UCLA

100 Ways: Space

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Published May 15, 2019 11:35 AM


Funny Ladies

Carol Burnett and Judy Kaye


Carol Burnett.

When Carol Burnett came to UCLA in 1951, an anonymous donor paid her tuition. She studied theater arts, auditioned for campus productions and discovered her knack for comedy. Her life changed forever in 1953, when her acting at a party for a faculty member wowed a couple in the audience so much that they offered to lend her $1,000 to try her luck in New York. She took the loan and repaid it exactly five years later. She made her Broadway debut in 1959, in the musical Once Upon a Mattress.

Singer Judy Kaye got her start at UCLA when she won the role of Lucy in a production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Then came the national tour of Grease, playing tough girl Betty Rizzo. From there, her star ascended. Today, she is a two-time Tony Award winner (for Phantom of the Opera and Nice Work If You Can Get It), and her voice, spanning three octaves, has dazzled audiences of musicals, plays, operas and symphonies.


A Place to Play

L.A. River

Three yeas beforeFrank Gehry unveiled his 2017 master plan for the L.A. River, UCLA Associate Professor of English Allison Carruth hatched her own plan to make the 51-mile waterway a citizen-friendly experience. Teaming with arts collective Project 51 and Jenny Price, a research scholar with the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, Carruth produced a pocket-sized guide to the river’s low-key attractions. The twist: “Play the River” came formatted as a deck of playing cards. In place of diamonds, hearts and clubs, each oversized card contained a map and factoids pegged to a prime riverfront location suitable for biking, hiking, bird-watching and contemplating nature. The 51-week program is archived at playthelariver.com.

Paved after World War II at a substantial cost in the wake of a catastrophic 1938 deluge, much of the river flows through flood-control ditches. But charming nooks and crannies abound. They include a shaded breezeway beneath the First Street Bridge that provides bucolic respite from urban life. Carruth says, “When you look up, there’s this portico that would be the perfect place for friends and couples visiting the river to reenact the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene.”


Kayakers paddle through Elysian Valley Gateway Park on the L.A. River.

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