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Winter 2000
Culture Watch:Take a Walk on the Wild Side

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Sefton's stage will be populated not just with recognized commercial artists, but also with performers who are lesser known to mainstream audiences. He would like to bring, for example, local artists such as The Watts Prophets, who are among the founders of rap music, as well as international artists who've never been to the West Coast. And he wants to tap into the talent that's right here at UCLA, from ethnomusicology students to World Arts and Cultures faculty.

The talent that's here is very exciting," says Sefton. "I said in my press junket, 'All I have to do is go through the internal telephone directory to plan my first year.'"

Sefton also wants to break out of the boundaries of traditional performance spaces and to expand the program beyond the campus. "There are big festivals and programs I'd like to introduce that don't fit into any hall spaces," he says. "They'll have to go into bigger or smaller spaces. I have my eyes on the athletic fields. There are things I will do off campus completely because I think, as a wider definition of outreach, the way to encourage people to be connected to what's going on is to go out to them."

With all this in mind, what might we expect from Sefton in the near future? He promises "lots of stuff in the pipeline," including one big introductory event in the spring.

"My plan is to do something this year - because obviously I've inherited a whole year's program, much of which is great, but it's not my program - that just basically announces my arrival, a kind of indication of where I'm going," he says. "I can talk all I like about what my vision is, but until I actually put a gig on, nobody's going to know what I'm talking about."

So fasten your seat belts. It's going to be an interesting ride.

Amy Ko is an associate editor of UCLA Magazine.

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