On the untold stories front and making Los Angeles history alive through theatre, on June 1, 2016 an audience viewed a glimpse into the creative and research processes of award winning Los Angeles writer-performing artists/anthropologists Richard Montoya and Roger Guenveur Smith as they made the public aware of their play-in-progress tentatively titled “American Venice.” As part of a DouglasPlus Conversation “Excavating Venice of America” held at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California –– I, Los Angeles historian Alison Rose Jefferson, Josh Kun of University of Southern California (a 2016 McArthur Fellowship awardee) and George Price, a third generation Venetian, joined Montoya and Smith in a conversation about stories of Los Angeles’ shared and contested history of this iconic oceanfront neighborhood. L.A. Center Theatre Group’s Associate Artistic Director Diana Rodriguez was the evening’s moderator. As consultants on this project, I and the other speakers along with the audience were pleased to have a chance to hear Montoya and Smith read excerpts from the play-in-progress. More information about the opening of the “American Venice” play based on untold true stories about the African American and other group’s experiences will arrive in late 2017.
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Alison Rose Jefferson, Keynote Speaker, Santa Monica Conservancy Annual Meeting and Awards on Feb. 8, 2015