L.A., the river city - by KCET and Cornerstone Theater Company

Do you already love the L.A. River, or maybe you still don't know where it is? Either way, you'll do well to check out Cornerstone Theater's Touch the Water: A River Play, which runs to June 21 (tickets here), and KCET's new online L.A. River extravaganza in their Departures series on L.A. communities.

Because Los Angeles, in truth, is a river city, and both of these capture amazingly well the central role of the river in L.A.'s past, but also the life of the river in L.A.'s communities today (human and nonhuman)--as well as how the revitalization of the river will help create the L.A. of the future.

And they're both fun, and broadly imaginative and smart, and quite moving. The Cornerstone play happens outside on a temporary stage on the river's banks (bring coats). You'll hear original songs and a live band, and you'll meet a river ghost, a sea turtle, an egret, a drunk guitarist, a grieving sister, a big-hearted biologist, and a Frenchman who is not what he seems.

On the KCET site, you can click your way down the river through graphics, video, and audio clips, to meet activists, politicians, riverside merchants and residents, engineers, scholars, artists, kayakers, kids, the swiftwater rescue team, maintenance workers, ecologists, egrets, carp, lizards, rabbits, and black-necked stilts.

The play runs Wednesdays to Sundays--and get your tickets now since that outdoor theater by the river is small. The KCET site runs, well, forever, but I'd try it out sooner if you can.

(And if you want an on-the-banks tour of the river, e-mail me for info from some of us who do them, or check the Friends of the L.A. River site.)

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