I grew up in Southern California–spent the first 20 years of my life there, so I know of what I speak when I say that Southern California is the last place I think of when I think of living in a sustainable fashion. Let’s face it, there is nothing sustainable about the way folks live there. The twentieth century saw a desert transformed into an agricultural and just plain cultural mecca, but plenty of ecological tolls were collected in return, not least of which is the awful air pollution and water woes found in the land of the perfect weather.
Most of my family still lives down there, so I am there usually at least a couple of times a year. I can’t stand it. I’m just trying to be honest. But here we are, working on ecoTheater, and out of the woodwork come Mo’olelo and CalArts, two Southern Californian institutions–one very small, very new, and the other much older and very big; one strictly about performance, the other about many things, but primarily the education of tomorrow’s cutting edge artists. The other day I received an email from Ian Garrett, an MFA candidate at CalArts, letting me know that he and the associate dean of the School of Theatre Leslie Tamaribuchi, are developing a class on sustainable theater for CalArts. Wow. That’s very good news.
I am waiting to set up an interview with Garrett, and will post more on this development when I can. Another exciting side note is that I have finally managed to make contact with Larry Fried and his partner Theresa May, co-authors of the one-of-a-kind book Greening Up Our Houses.
I am frantically working on setting up an interview with them as well, since they are truly pioneers in the field–their book, for instance, was published in 1994! They were ahead of their time, which is a bit sad to think about. Global warming (no, not climate change, as those trying to play it down have managed to dub it in the media and collective conscience of the public) and scores of other environmental concerns were well known even in ’94.