SPARK! 8th Annual Visions and Voices Multimedia Kickoff

Visions and Voices

Don’t miss Visions and Voices’s annual kickoff event—an arts extravaganza featuring music, dance, performance art and spoken word! The event will also include a welcome by USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett. Attendees will receive free Visions and Voices T-shirts and bags! 
SPARK! 8th Annual Visions and Voices Multimedia Kickoff

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 08/22/2013 17:30:00 08/22/2013 23:59:59 6 SPARK! 8th Annual Visions and Voices Multimedia KickoffDon’t miss Visions and Voices’s annual kickoff event—an arts extravaganza featuring music, dance, performance art and spoken word! The event will also include a welcome by USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett. Attendees will receive free Visions and Voices T-shirts and bags! University Park Campus
5:30 PM
University Park Campus
Reception to follow.

Admission is free and open to USC students only. Line up and get a wristband at the event check-in on Trousdale Parkway in front of Bovard Auditorium. Wristbands, shirts and bags will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. Arrive early!
USC Visions and Voices’s annual arts extravaganza will kick off the new season with music, dance, theatre and performance art. The incredible DJ duo Urban Assault (aka Faust & Shortee), which features two of the most skilled turntablists in the world, will energize the audience with an electrifying pre-show performance. Delightful art-folk duo The Bengsons will rouse the crowd with their radiant and socially conscious music. Joel Brown and Sebastian Grubb of AXIS Dance Company, which features performers with and without disabilities, will change the way you think about the human body. National slam champion Javon Johnson will inspire you with his dynamic spoken-word poetry. Critically acclaimed writer, performer and comedian Monica Palacios will show you what groundbreaking Chicana queer performance looks like. In the moving multimedia play Refugee NationLeilani Chan and Ova Saopeng will shed light on the experience of a young generation of Lao-Americans struggling to understand their history. At a lively post-show reception, experience the incredible moves and grooves of Aaron Childs and his soulful band. The event will also include a welcome by USC Provost Elizabeth Garrett and a presentation by USC cinematic arts professor Tara McPherson. Plus, attendees will receive free Visions and Voices T-shirts and bags!

About the Artists:

Prepare to leave all your preconceptions at the door. AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, will change the way you think about dance and the possibilities of the human body forever. Founded in 1987, AXIS has become a jewel of the contemporary dance scene and the disability community. Under the artistic direction of Judith Smith, AXIS has paved the way for a powerful contemporary dance form—physically integrated dance—performing in over 75 cities nationwide, as well as in Europe and Siberia and on FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance. AXIS has received seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and an additional nine nominations. (Facebook)

The Bengsons are a Brooklyn/Berkshires-based husband-and-wife art-folk duo. Likened to a pairing of Janis Joplin and David Byrne, their radiantly emotive songs blend rousing, all-join-hands group choruses with spry vocal melodies and rich instrumentation that incorporates everything from banjo to accordion to classical harp. Praised by the New York Times for possessing “not only a tremendous musical talent, but also a raw honesty and sincere righteousness,” The Bengsons have performed to acclaim across the country and around the world. (FacebookTwitter)

Aaron Childs and his band strive to create positive energy and unity through their soulful and energetic music. They make every performance an experience, incorporating choreography and a constant groove to keep the audience dancing. Aaron and his band invite you into their world, using their music to provoke feelings of happiness, love and passion in everyone. (Twitter)

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Javon Johnson made second homes out of libraries, bookstores and any other place that harbored knowledge. Johnson is a National Poetry Slam champion and only the second person in Slam National’s history to win back-to-back titles. He has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry and BET’s Lyric Café, and he co-wrote poetic narration for the Showtime documentary Crossover. He received a PhD in performance studies at Northwestern University and formerly served as the Visions and Voices postdoctoral fellow at USC, where he taught in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. He is currently a professor at San Francisco State University. With the hope that he will touch others in the same way that so many writers have influenced him, Johnson uses poetry to dismantle systems of oppression and inequality.

Critically acclaimed Chicana lesbian writer/performer Monica Palacios is widely recognized as working at the forefront of Chicana/Latina, queer, lesbian, feminist performance. Palacios was the first out Chicana lesbian comic to hit the stage in San Francisco in 1982. Palacios was named one of the 2013 “Latinas of Influence” by the television program Palacios’s play Miercoles Loves Luna was selected for the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in 2013. Her play Clock will be produced for Teatro Bravo’s 2014 season in Phoenix. Palacios celebrated her 30 years as a groundbreaking Chicana lesbian artist with her show Queer Chicana Soul, garnering a personal recognition by Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who declared October 12, 2012, Monica Palacios Day. She is also a lecturer in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at UC Santa Barbara. 

Refugee Nation is a powerful play about Laotian refugees in the United States performed by Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng. Chan is the founding artistic director of TeAda Productions, whose cross-disciplinary performances have addressed health, education and social-justice issues in communities of color. Chan received the 2009 Rainbow Award from the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. She has performed at Japan America Theatre, Grand Performances, the Getty Center, New WORLD Theater, Great Leap and many other venues across the country. Ova Saopeng is an actor, arts educator and associate producer with TeAda Productions. He is a proud graduate of the USC School of Dramatic Arts and has performed nationally. He is an active member of We Tell Stories and a founding member of Waters Edge Theater, two educational children’s theatre companies. Film credits include Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Love Is Good and Burmese Refugee by Michael Tacca.

Urban Assault (aka Faust & Shortee) has been a powerhouse in the DJ/production world for almost twenty years, electrifying audiences on a global scale. Specializing in the grimy-beat and filthy-bass-line genres of dubstep, drum and bass, drumstep, glitch hop and electro house, this dynamic duo continues to awe masses worldwide both in the studio and on stage. Ranked as one of the top five turntablists in the world by SPIN magazine, Faust released the first turntablist album in history, the critically lauded Man or Myth?. Shortee is one of the most diverse, technically skilled female DJs in the world and has been called “the world’s premier female DJ” by the Grammy Foundation and “Queen of the Scratch World” by DJ Times. Both Faust and Shortee were featured in the award-winning documentary Scratch, marking their historical contributions to DJing and turntablism.

Photo (AXIS Dance Company): David DeSilva
Photo (The Bengsons): Paul de Luna
Photo (Javon Johnson): Steve Cohn
Photo (Aaron Childs): Kylie Nic Photography  

  • Center for Feminist Research
  • University of Southern California
  • Mark Taper Hall of Humanities
  • Room 422
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, California
  • 90089-4352 USA