Twenty years ago the torpor of the oil bust held fast in Lafayette. Residents were fleeing the region in search of opportunity. The Lafayette Municipal Auditorium was shuttered for renovations, and the Fine Arts Foundation, a performing arts presenter, folded its tent in bankruptcy. It was dire straits for performing arts fans, but also an opportunity to fill a vacuum. When the old Muni reopened as the Heymann Performing Arts Center, the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana was poised to fill the void, and to fill the stage with a wide world’s variety — classical, jazz and popular music and dance; musicals; orchestras, chamber groups and soloists; Euro circus and Asian acrobats. Lafayette’s cultural life got a booster shot that continues to help maintain our immunity to stupidity.
“Our favorite moments will always be the times when people in our community learn more about the world, about literature, about other cultures or about themselves because they attended a show,” says PASA Executive Director Jackie Lyle. “Stage lights are for artists. We’re here to make the lives of those we serve livelier and better.”
Lyle has presided over PASA from jump, helping — along with a board of directors and a small but committed staff — to build the fledgling non-profit into an Acadiana brand. In addition to its annual performance series, PASA reaches out to the community through daytime performances for students, PASA Plus (performances for senior citizens), Play it Again (a recycled instrument drive for schools), a scholarship fund for aspiring artists, and PASA in the Park, an outdoor performance series. “PASA’s founders never envisioned the array of activities that make up the organization’s portfolio today,” Lyle says, adding that those satellite activities “evolved from a combination of need, circumstance and opportunity.”
PASA in the Park grew out of need: The Heymann Center was closed in October 2005 due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but the Aquila Theatre’s production of Hamlet was already booked and needed a venue. PASA moved the Shakespeare performance to Parc International — an ideal remedy for the circumstances. “Didn’t we all need something else besides 24-hour news, anyway?” Lyle observes.
Over the years PASA has also commissioned new works: David Parsons’s Swing Shift (2003) and Elisa Monte’s Feu Follet (1995) and Zydeco Zare! (2008). Those modern dance pieces are still being performed worldwide, born of the financial underwriting of a Lafayette non-profit. That’s pretty cool.
PASA celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 25, with a performance by one of the most dynamic, original, ground-breaking and uniquely American dance companies for nearly a half century. “Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater embodies the history, diversity, excellence and beauty of our nation and of PASA,” says Lyle.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
Lyle Loves It
An executive director’s short list of PASA highlights
“The performance by superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman and the late pianist Samuel Sanders and Tony Bennett’s concert were big hits. The performances of La Traviata and La Boheme by the Stanislavski Opera were our most solid and most inventive opera offerings. The 1990 recital by soprano Dawn Upshaw, one of opera’s most popular names today, was a beautiful night of singing, just after she had won her first Grammy award. Although composer Philip Glass’s solo recital was lightly attended, that selection certainly demonstrated PASA’s commitment to local access: a recital by Philip Glass is an unusual event anywhere, but Glass fans here were able to hear him perform his own music within a short drive from their homes.” — Jackie Lyle
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
The look of leather
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Historic three bedroom in Crowley or contemporary town house in Lafayette
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home