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Segerstrom Center program promises eclectic variety

First-ever Off Center Festival is from Jan. 13 to 21 and will highlight a variety of performance styles, from theater to mash poetry.

December 28, 2011|By Heather Youmans
  • Lord Huron
Lord Huron (Courtesy Segerstrom…)

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Jan. 13 will kick off its first-ever Off Center Festival, an eclectic nine-day program showcasing cutting-edge theater, music and dance, hip-hop, mash poetry and performance art.

Aimed at drawing audiences that reflect Orange County's cultural and generational diversity, as well as offering the public wide access to a new wave of creativity in performing arts through moderately-priced tickets, the festival will run through Jan. 21.

The extensive lineup will comprise eight different acts rarely seen by audiences in O.C.: Chautauqua, Reggie Watts, The Car Plays, "ReEntry," "The Word Begins," "Ten Tiny Dances," and indie bands Lord Huron and Mexican Institute of Sound.

"What's exciting to me is not just individual pieces, but the amazing, eclectic range of experiences," center President Terry Dwyer said in an interview. "Truly, we are asking our audience to expect the unexpected and take some chances on an adventurous ride."

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The festival, which partly is a collaboration with neighboring South Coast Repertory, will build on the center's Off Center series, which has been around for years and has featured free events, shows by independent bands playing outdoors in the center's plaza, and dance festivals. Now, a full festival expands on the Off Center idea, and is finally taking shape after a year of preparation.

Dwyer said enhancing the Off Center offerings would "bring in concentrated bursts of activity, a high-quality eclectic range of performances."

He added that the programs would help attract younger and more diverse audiences to the center, as well as first-timers.

Toward that end, the center is pricing tickets to shows across the board at $20 for single tickets, or a package of four or more shows for $10 each ticket.

"This is some of the best contemporary performance music, dance, comedy, hip hop street theater and alternative performances," Dwyer said. "It's really about the best anywhere, and for just 10 or 20 dollars. We really wanted to remove economic barriers and encourage people to just take a chance and just let us know what they think."

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The lineup

The Off Center Festival opens Jan. 13 with separately billed performances by the indie band Lord Huron and Chautauqua, a site-adapted, Vaudeville-influenced variety show packed with music, comedy Broadway-style song-and-dance numbers, feats of strength and short informative lectures by local guests.

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