FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2017

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In first-time collaboration, Skirball Cultural Center and Los Angeles Performance Practice
co-present the celebrated experimental opera


Probing the mythology surrounding Pancho Villa, the opera illuminates
what the legend means in both Mexican and American cultures

Part of the fifth annual LAX Festival and Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Tuesday, October 10, 8:30 p.m. at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel
$25–$45 General | Tickets and info:

LOS ANGELES, CA—Explore the life and legacy of legendary bandit, enigmatic general, and hero of the Mexican Revolution Pancho Villa, with the West Coast premiere of the rousing experimental chamber opera Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance. Part of the fifth annual LAX Festival and the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, the performance is co-presented by the Skirball Cultural Center and Los Angeles Performance Practice—in a one-night-only engagement—on Tuesday, October 10, at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel. Featuring music by visionary Austin-based composer Graham Reynolds and a libretto by acclaimed Mexican theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, the opera is an insightful examination of the Mexican and Mexican-American impact on the culture and politics of West Texas and the American Southwest.

“We are pleased to partner with the Skirball to bring this compelling work to Los Angeles,” remarked Miranda Wright of Los Angeles Performance Practice. “Paying tribute to a legendary revolutionary, Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance sonically traverses both Mexican and US perspectives on a complex figure to foster a borderless dialogue about our shared histories. We look forward to audiences feeling inspired to engage in urgent conversations about borders and the limitations of that very concept.”

Exploring facts from Villa's biography while also examining the mythology surrounding him, the opera asks what Pancho Villa means to Mexican and American culture and where these meanings intersect and conflict. In addition to Reynolds and Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance brings together director Shawn Sides of Rude Mechs, Kronos Quartet lighting designer Brian Scott, Austin Lyric Opera tenor Paul Sanchez and mezzo-soprano Liz Cass, Grammy Award–winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, backed by a stellar chamber ensemble and remixes by famed Monterrey DJ Toy Selectah. It is performed in English and Spanish with bilingual supertitles.

Featuring hybrid compositional and production techniques and an extensive sound palette, Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance is a transnational collaboration that was originally commissioned by Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX) and co-commissioned by Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX). The opera is the third installment of The Marfa Triptych, Graham Reynolds’s genre-hopping trilogy of musical performances.

About Graham Reynolds
Called “the quintessential modern composer” by the Independent (UK), Austin-based composer-bandleader-improviser Graham Reynolds creates, performs, and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs, and concert halls with a wide range of collaborators across a multitude of disciplines.

Reynolds recently scored Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne for Amazon Studios; Rude Mechs’s Stop Hitting Yourself for Lincoln Center Theater; Ballet Austin’s Belle Redux; and a multi-year commission from Ballroom Marfa, The Marfa Triptych. For Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance, Reynolds received the 2016 Creative Capital Award.

With the jazz-based and far-reaching Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds has repeatedly toured the country and released four critically acclaimed albums. As Artistic Director of Golden Hornet Composer Laboratory, he has produced more than sixty concerts of world-premiere alt-classical music by more than seventy composers, as well as countless pieces of his own. He is a company member with the internationally acclaimed Rude Mechs theater collective and resident composer with Salvage Vanguard Theater and Forklift Danceworks.

Reynolds’s accolades include a Creative Capital Award, an Independent Music Award, two Frederick R. Loewe Music Theatre Awards, nine Austin Critics Table Awards, the John Bustin Award, multiple Austin Chronicle Best Composer wins, and a B. Iden Payne Award. Graham recently released a twelve-album set on Innova Recordings in early 2017.

Pancho Villa from a Safe Distance is presented by the Skirball Cultural Center in association with its exhibition Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner’s Mexico. Lead support to the Skirball for such exhibition-related programs is provided by:
Ellie and Mark Lainer

Additional support is provided by:
Brener Family
Linda and Michael Keston

About the LAX Festival and the LAX/MEX 2017 Exchange
The annual Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival is produced by Los Angeles Performance Practice (LAPP) and hosts ten days of contemporary performances by Los Angeles-based artists, presented in dialogue with works by guest artists from beyond our borders. Beginning with this year’s 5th anniversary edition, LAPP focuses each Festival on an exchange platform with a specific city, engaging artists, curators and organizations in performance presentations, dialogues and artist-to-artist interactions that are designed to cultivate mutual inquiry and long-term network development.

pacific standard timeAbout Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA
Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA takes place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California, from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, and from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America. 

About Los Angeles Performance Practice
Los Angeles Performance Practice is a non-profit organization devoted to the production and presentation of contemporary performance by artists whose work advances and challenges multi-disciplinary artistic practices. Across a range of platforms and partnerships, LAPP builds an active network of contemporary practitioners—curators and producers, artists and designers, audiences and patrons—all leveraged in service to the ideas and issues of our time.

About the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger and inspired by the American democratic ideals of freedom and equality. We welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society.

Visiting the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to exhibitions: $12 General; $9 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $7 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.