Center Going Off for Festival

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Segerstrom Center for the Arts tonight will begin its Off Center Festival, promising “a dizzying mix of contemporary theater, music, dance and performance art” taking place throughout the Center over the next nine days.

Every company and performer will be appearing at the Center for the first time.

“Ten Tiny Dances” features choreography on a 4-foot-square stage. —Photo by Jay Lawton

The festival kicks off with “Chautauqua!,” a site-adapted vaudevillian-influenced variety show packed with music, comedy and short lectures by hand-selected local guests. Taking the spotlight for the Center shows will be OC Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano; Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the UCI School of Law; Shelley Hoss, president of the Orange County Community Foundation; and Jim Washburn, arts and music writer and historian.

The festival will continue with the soundscapes and sonic textures of indie band Lord Huron with supporting band, The Union Line; a one-of-a-kind set by explosive comedian/musician Reggie Watts with opening band BLOK, winner of OC Music Awards’ Best Electronic Band 2011; and an in-your-face examination of our automobile-obsessed society in “The Car Plays,” which puts actors and audiences together in actual parked cars, and will include commissioned pieces.

The festival line-up also features “ReEntry,” a riveting story based on actual experiences of soldiers returning home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; a mash-up of poetry, hip-hop and comedy in “The Word Begins,” presented in association with South Coast Repertory’s Studio SCR; experimental dance performed on the smallest dance floor ever in “Ten Tiny Dances,” including new works by local choreographers Melanie Rios of The Wooden Floor, Jennifer Backhaus of Backhausdance and L.A.’s Meg Wolfe; and Indie Music Award winner for Best Dance/Electro Album, Mexican Institute of Sound with opener Nancy Sanchez.

“The inaugural Off Center Festival will animate our campus with an eclectic and energetic array of the finest in contemporary performance,” said Center President Terrence W. Dwyer. “Our audiences will be treated to the most unexpectedly imaginative performances of music, theater and dance. Our hope is this festival will engage new audiences from throughout Orange County and that its diverse performances will, in an exciting way, redefine for them what is a Center experience.”

Single tickets for the performances are $20 and multi-show packages are available with tickets at the low price of $10. Tickets can be purchased online at, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling 714-556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 15 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. Performances are all-ages. Artists and program are subject to change.

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