The Getty Center
Martha Wainwright, performer at a past Saturday Nights at the Getty

Saturday Nights at the Getty is a free, contemporary performance series.

All performances take place in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center. Parking is $10 after 6:00 p.m.

Recently in the series


A multi-media performance by David Wojnarowicz and Ben Neill

Date: Saturday, January 11, 2020
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; advance ticket required.

ITSOFOMO (In the Shadow of Forward Motion) is a multimedia performance created by artist David Wojnarowicz and composer/musician Ben Neill in 1989. An iconoclastic artist of the 1980s East Village scene, Wojnarowicz is known for his rich use of symbolism in paintings, sculpture, film, photography, collage, and writing. By the late 1980s, he had emerged as a powerful activist for those suffering from AIDS before succumbing to the disease in 1992. Inspired by French theorist Paul Virilio's writings on speed and power, ITSOFOMO was co-conceived with Neill, a composer and inventor of the "mutantrumpet", a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument, who has worked closely with John Cage, La Monte Young, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, and many other downtown experimenters.

Integrating music, text, and video in a multi-dimensional format, the work embodies the act of acceleration and its sensory manifestations. First presented as a live performance at New York's interdisciplinary performance space The Kitchen in 1989, the piece binds the haunting urgency of Wojnarowicz's words to a sinister, elastic composition by Neill. ITSOFOMO escalates from barely whispered monologues and unnerving textures to a rallying, full-throated charge. It is through this frame that Wojnarowicz addressed the accelerating AIDS crisis and the politics of AIDS in the United States at that moment.

A fierce meditation on history and power, Wojnarowicz delivers his texts in an angry and immediate tone, spat out against the backdrop of Neill's mutantrumpet, percussion, and electronic music. Four videos run simultaneously for the duration of the work, incorporating a wide range of the unflinching imagery typical of Wojnarowicz's visual style that explore timeless themes of American myths, spirituality, sexuality, and death.
"The texts that David Wojnarowicz reads are an antidote to abstraction. Passionate, grounded, and dead-precise, these texts violently reclaim the body by forcing us to experience the visceral reality of space and time. Set against Ben Neill's delicate composed mutantrumpet, percussion, and interactive electronics, ITSOFOMO's forward motion becomes a battle to reclaim the organism of life." - Sylvère Lotringer
For this rare performance, Neill reprises his work, performing alongside the original percussionist Don Yallech, and Wojnarowicz's film imagery and recorded voice. This event falls on the heels of ITSOFOMO's first performance in New York in 25 years at the Whitney Museum, staged in conjunction with their retrospective exhibition David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night in 2018, and the 2019 reissue of the original recording on vinyl by Jabs Recordings, a Los Angeles-based record label run by curator Ethan Swan.

Recently in the series

Martin Creed's Getting Changed
October 26, 2019
London artist, musician, and Turner Prize-winner Martin Creed has created many works involving live music, dance, and language—in the form of word-sculptures, talks, and songs. Most recently he has been developing a new one-person show, Getting Changed, which is a hybrid of a talk, a concert, and a cabaret. Creed has been described as "part court jester and part subversive philosopher," and his new show explores borders both personal and national, communication in the form of clothes, and words as clothes for feelings—presented in his witty, responsive, freestyle way.

Lonnie Holley
January 12, 2019
Join artist and musician Lonnie Holley as he performs unique improvisational compositions inspired by his upbringing in the American South. Holley's art and music was born from struggle and hardship and has manifested in a beguiling and singular universe of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and sound. His journey to find healing through art-making has led him to collaborate and tour worldwide with artists like Animal Collective, Bon Iver, Bill Callahan and Deerhunter, to name just a few, and his artwork has been exhibited widely, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the White House.

PIANO-GRAPHS: New Music for the Player Piano
May 26, 2018
Join us for the debut of new compositions for the player piano by a unique range of contemporary experimental musicians. Translated into a visual poetry of dot-and-dash perforations, these scores on paper rolls push the almost-obsolete mechanical instrument to its limits. The player piano and photography—both invented in the mid-19th-century—illustrate the cultural impact of automation, reproduction, entertainment, and the representation of time. Complements the exhibition Paper Promises: Early American Photography.

Midori Takada
May 12, 2018
Experience a rare U.S. performance by Midori Takada, a composer, multi-percussionist, and theater artist renowned in Japanese vanguard circles. Following the recent reissue of her acclaimed debut solo album Through the Looking Glass (1983), Midori presents her precise and mesmerizing blend of rhythms from around the world, creating an ethereal, vibrant sound that affirms her place in the canon of minimalist composers alongside Brian Eno, Phillip Glass, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, and Steve Reich.

María Volonté: Blue Tango Project
November 11, 2017
Hailing from the colorful and gritty La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, the Blue Tango Project is a groundbreaking collaboration between Argentine-born Latin Grammy nominee María Volonté and California harmonica player Kevin Carrel Footer. Together, Volonté's voice and guitar fill the stage with echoes of tango's forbidden pleasures while Footer's harmonica cries with the lament of solitary blues soul.

Terry Riley with Gyan Riley performing to Untitled (Shepard-Risset Glissando with color) by Peter Coffin
December 17, 2016
A rare and original performance with the renowned and widely influential composer Terry Riley, known as the father of minimalism for his groundbreaking 1964 work In C. Together with his son, composer and guitarist Gyan Riley, they will perform as part of Untitled (Shepard-Risset Glissando with Color) an immersive artwork by New York conceptual artist Peter Coffin.

Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler
February 27, 2016
Philadelphia-based harpist Mary Lattimore and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler perform original live scores to Philippe Garrel's Le Révélateur and Guy Maddin's Odilon Redon or the Eye Like A Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, two enigmatic films that mine the dark, dreamlike aesthetic explored in the exhibition Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints.

Lee Ranaldo
November 7, 2015
For thirty years, Lee Ranaldo was the lead guitarist of Sonic Youth, one of the most influential and artistically sophisticated alternative rock bands of the recent era. Since the band's end in 2011, Ranaldo has been exploring new roles as a solo performer, the leader of his new band The Dust, and beyond, to interdisciplinary collaborations in alternative venues like cathedrals and museums.

Jessica Pratt
October 10, 2015
Jessica Pratt is a singer-songwriter whose singular voice and transfixing, intimate performances are rooted in a California psychedelic folk tradition. However, the acoustic dream-pop meditations on her album On Your Own Love Again go beyond straightforward folk sounds, with a distinctly British perspective that evokes the high-pitched eccentricities of Kate Bush, the delicate pop melodies of early Marianne Faithfull, and the lingering introspection of Nick Drake.

Year Without A Summer: Poetry For J.M.W. Turner
May 2, 2015
The Write Now Poetry Society presented an evening of poetry, music, and art. Stars of contemporary poetry perform new work inspired by the art of J.M.W. Turner, whose visually stunning, heart-pounding exploration of the struggle with darkness came out of mastering light. Complements the exhibition J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free.

Julianna Barwick and Matthew Brandt
April 25, 2015
Ethereal singer Julianna Barwick uses dazzling loops and layers to create absorbing vocal constructions that transport you to otherworldly sonic landscapes. In a special collaboration, she is joined by Los Angeles photographic artist Matthew Brandt, whose signature chromatic alchemy creates a lush and evocative visual counterpoint. Complements the exhibition Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography.

January 31, 2015
Body/Head is an electric guitar duo comprised of musician, artist, and boundless creative force Kim Gordon, best known as a member of the legendary alternative rock band Sonic Youth, and improvisational noise guitarist Bill Nace. Since Sonic Youth called it quits in 2012, each of its members have embarked on their own musical and artistic projects that have exposed and distilled the specific qualities they brought to the group. Body/Head is evidence that Gordon brought an undeniable edge and avant-garde sophistication that supplied the weird magic at the band's core. The epic and abstract sonic waves in Body/Head's sound accentuate a volatile energy that is at once indecipherable yet powerfully emotional. Often performed with time-bending video, Body/Head's unique form of dreamy improvisational performance reflects Gordon and Nace's gravitation toward an array of artistic material, from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and experimental folk musician Catherine Ribeiro, to the films of French feminist filmmaker Catherine Breillat.

William Tyler
May 10, 2014
William Tyler is a Nashville-based guitarist who has spent the last several years recording and touring with Silver Jews and Lambchop, among others. In 2010 Tyler struck out on his own to record "Behold the Spirit," which was celebrated by Pitchfork as "the most vital, energized album by an American solo guitarist in a decade or more." His latest project, "Impossible Truth," was inspired by two books: Barney Hoskyns's Hotel California, which chronicles the Laurel Canyon music scene of the early 1970s, and Mike Davis's The Ecology of Fear, a sociologist's take on the history of the destruction of Los Angeles via real and imagined disasters. The simultaneous tackling of these tomes led Tyler to build an instrumental narrative inspired by the promise and psychosis of Southern California, producing an atmosphere of apocalyptic expectation and bittersweet nostalgia.

Andy Prieboy: A Thousand Gorgeous Lies: A Musical Dissertation on the Inevitable Collision Course of Rock and Romance
March 1, 2014
Working with influences as diverse as Irving Berlin, Ray Davies, Kurt Weill, and W. S. Gilbert, singer-songwriter Andy Prieboy's 30-year career has included recording three albums with Wall of Voodoo, and solo albums with songs covered by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Concrete Blonde. He went on to create the acclaimed comic rock oratorio "White Trash Wins Lotto" and publish the novel The Psycho Ex Game. Most recently he completed a successful residency at the Steve Allen Theater that featured his talents as a songwriter, storyteller, and wiseacre.

Write Now Poetry Society presents Six Impossible Things
October 26, 2013
Luminaries of contemporary poetry and spoken word showcase new work inspired by the photographs of Abelardo Morell. Produced in collaboration with the Write Now Poetry Society, these performances are interwoven with lush live music and dance to create an ecstatic exploration where the visual and literary arts collide. The evening is hosted by Write Now founders, Amber Tamblyn and Mindy Nettifee, and participants include poets Beau Sia, Corrina Bain, Jack Hirschman, Jennifer L. Knox, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Sonya Renee, and Narcissister.

Armenian Public Radio
February 23, 2013
Armenian Public Radio breathes new life into traditional Armenian songs by weaving a blend of blues and American folk-lead riffs with Anatolian rhythms and silver vocal lines. Influenced by the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Simon and Garfunkel, the trio polishes away the grit from village songs and reinterprets them with modern sensibilities.

Petra Haden
January 26, 2013
Petra Haden's wondrous new album Petra Goes to the Movies features epic and evocative scores that have been ingeniously recreated utilizing layers of remarkably inventive vocals. Joined by a 16 member choir, Haden delivers stunning a cappella versions of songs from films such as Psycho, Taxi Driver, Superman and more.

Cold Specks
November 17, 2012
At only 23 years old, the soulful voice of Cold Specks's lead singer, Al Spx, which is complemented by her talented six-piece band, has a beautiful, experienced sound. Cold Specks's "doom-soul" style, as she describes it, is timeless and raw, offering a sense of peacefulness and meditation for listeners. In May 2012, Cold Specks released their debut album, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. Filled with tales of redemption, prayer, faith, and loss, Al Spx's songs are delivered with an earthy, gospel-like power. She resembles the superstars of her style, such as Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and is inspired by legends Bill Callahan and Tom Waits. Al Spx and her band are sure to leave you wanting more.

Abigail Washburn
March 31, 2012
Singer-songwriter Abigail Washburn performed in the tradition of American old-time music. The Nashville-based clawhammer-banjo player paired venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results felt both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before.

Read the Los Angeles Times' review of the concert.

Los Angeles Free Music Society
December 3, 2011
Influential experimental-music anarchists Los Angeles Free Music Society have had an immeasurable impact on the spread and evolution of noise, avant-garde music, and DIY culture in the past 40 years. This live program included ensemble performances by Extended Organ, Le Forte Four, Smegma, and a solo performance by Tom Recchion. This event was part of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center.

An Invitation with Inara George and Van Dyke Parks
November 5, 2011
Two Los Angeles musical legends from different generations came together for an unforgettable evening of sonic confections. Van Dyke Parks has played with almost everyone that matters in modern music—from the Beach Boys to U2 by way of the Grateful Dead, Ringo Starr, and the Byrds. Inara George is the lilting voice behind the indie-rock duo the Bird and the Bee. Joining them in the performance was a chamber orchestra led by concert master Peter Kent. This event was part of Pacific Standard Time at the Getty Center.

Dark Blushing
September 10, 2011
Presented in collaboration with Write Now Poetry Society, Dark Blushing was a unique evening of poetry, music, and art featuring some of the brightest stars in contemporary poetry—Patricia Smith, Ilya Kaminsky, Jeffrey McDaniel, Rachel McKibbens, Brendan Constantine, and Suzanne Lummis—all presenting new work inspired by the exhibition Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings.

Their performances were accompanied by the lush live music of Portland artist Timmy Straw, whose work combines classical training on piano and strings with electronic beats and loops. Legendary jazz bassist Roberto Miranda also joined the line-up and added his dynamic improvisations to the live readings. Iconoclast Marilyn Manson made a special appearance reading the poetry of William Blake, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's work was read by actress America Ferrera. The poet-artists Blake and Rossetti's drawings are featured in the Museum's exhibition. Hosted by actress and author Amber Tamblyn and poet Mindy Nettifee.

Read a recap of the show and download the full text of all the poems on our blog, The Iris.

Kristin Hersh presents Rat Girl Live
April 9, 2011
Best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the seminal American art-rock band Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh brought the American debut of Rat Girl live to the Getty. This solo spoken-word and musical performance draws from Hersh's life as a teenager wrestling with issues of mental illness, creativity, teenage pregnancy, and the pressures of sudden fame. Combining film, music, and excerpts from her acclaimed memoir, the show is an intense, moving, and original experience.

The Nels Cline Singers with Yuka C. Honda
February 5, 2011
One of the most versatile, imaginative and original guitarists active today, Nels Cline displayed a mastery of guitar expression that encompasseed delicate lyricism, sonic abstractions, and skull-crunching flights of fancy. Cline brought his latest trio, the Nels Cline Singers to the Getty along with multi-instrumentalist Yuka C. Honda of Cibo Matto.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Floored" from The Nels Cline Singers CD
Initiate (Cryptogramophone, 2010).

Stew and The Negro Problem
October 30, 2010
Stew, the Tony-award winning writer, performer, and philosophical wiseguy rock artist behind the hit Broadway musical, Passing Strange, returns to the Getty with his longtime collaborator Heidi Rodewald and their ensemble, The Negro Problem, for the first time since 2005. With an incisive, bravura performance featuring their signature lyrics and genre-bending arrangements, this multi-media concert presentation is not to be missed.

Micachu and the Shapes
April 17, 2010
Equally at ease composing for orchestras and mixing multi-layered mash-ups, the enigmatic and classically trained British musician Mica Levi fronts the experimental pop trio Micachu and the Shapes. Their boundary-blurring sound brilliantly merges hip-hop-tinged beats, rock guitar, found samples, singalong melodies, and homemade instruments, including Levi's signature adapted guitar, the Chu.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Golden Phone" from Micachu and the Shapes CD
Jewellery (Rough Trade, 2009).

Rana Santacruz
March 27, 2010
Mexican Bluegrass meets Irish Mariachi in Rana Santacruz's rock- and folk-inspired music. Featuring cajón, upright bass, accordion, guitar, banjo, jarana, violin, and trumpet, Santacruz starts in Ireland, runs through Appalachia, swings through New Orleans, and careens across Mexico with an eclectic mix of acoustic instrumentation.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "No Puedo Mas" from Rana Santacruz's CD
Chicavasco (2009).

The Living Sisters
March 13, 2010
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriters Inara George (The Bird and the Bee), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Eleni Mandell joined together as The Living Sisters for their debut album Love to Live. The accomplished trio embrace their mutual love of country, soul, gospel, and jazz with their signature gorgeous harmonies, poetically charged lyrics and sing-along choruses backed by retro pop instrumentation.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Ferris Wheel" from The Living Sisters's CD
Love to Live (Vanguard Records, 2010).

Money Mark & Emily Wells
February 27, 2010
Violinist and singer Emily Wells loves rap music and Vivaldi. Money Mark (Mark Nishita) is a musician and producer who transformed the sound of the Beastie Boys. From these unique perspectives, the two artists came together for a special collaborative performance, where classical roots met up with hip-hop rhythms, looped violin melodies, and a special cell phone ring tone symphony.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Chocochip" from Money Mark's CD
Change Is Coming (2001).

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Symphony 6: Fare Thee Well and the Requiem Mix" from Emily Wells' CD Dirty (2009).

The Refugees
May 30, 2009
The three women who form the Refugees—Cindy Bullens, Deborah Holland, and Wendy Waldman—demonstrated their mastery of a variety of musical styles including country, rock, folk, and Americana, as well as their soaring harmonies, indelible musicianship, and unforgettably humorous stage presence.

Dustin O'Halloran
May 9, 2009
In this rare live performance, O'Halloran brought his meditative approach to piano composition the stage, accompanied by string musicians and framed by a moving backdrop of live video.

John Doe and Exene Cervenka
April 25, 2009
This concert was a rare opportunity for John Doe and Exene Cervenka, with no additional musicians, to showcase their decades-long collaborative songwriting and singing partnership. They performed material from their solo projects as well as from the Knitters and X.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Hotel Ghost" from John Doe's CD A Year in the Wilderness (2007, Yep Roc Records).

Peter Himmelman
March 7, 2009
Peter Himmelman—critically lauded rock troubadour, Grammy-nominated creator of children's music, and Emmy-nominated film and television composer—showcased songs that have been praised for their "emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency."

Martha Wainwright
February 28, 2009
Martha Wainwright performed songs from her new album I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too. A sharp-tongued performer who doesn't hold anything back in concert, Wainwright has emerged as the latest star from a legendary family of performers.

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.