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CalArts hosts nontraditional graduation

Posted: May 17, 2013 11:10 p.m.
Updated: May 17, 2013 11:10 p.m.

As is typical of the California Institute of the Arts, the school’s graduation ceremony Friday was anything but ordinary.

Traditional caps and gowns were ditched in favor of golden crowns, kimonos and even a set of butterfly wings. "Pomp and Circumstance," the processional music of choice for most graduation ceremonies, was replaced with the frenetic and upbeat rhythm of drums and rattles from the school’s African Music and Dance Ensemble.

All told, several hundred graduates in the college’s schools of film and video, critical studies, theater, dance, music and art made their way across the stage in front of a raucous crowd at the college Friday night.

And rather than the customary walk across the stage and exchanging of handshakes, graduates danced, pranced and blew kisses on their way, often to exchange hearty hugs of celebration with school officials.

Others brought their children or their dogs on stage to walk with them when they got their degrees.

Some, like graduate David Braun, turned the ceremony itself into performance. Braun, decked in a white lab coat, brought a wheelchair with him on stage, only to make it crash onto the grass below moments later.

Others took the opportunity to grab a few seconds at the microphone, often to thank their parents for their support.

Graduate Spencer Holden thanked his parents and classmates for his experience at the school.

"This has been the greatest time of my life," he said.

Steven Lavine, the president of CalArts, told the graduates to continue to adhere to the lessons and attitudes they learned at the school.

"This world can be a pretty hard, flat, uncaring place," he said. "It desperately needs the qualities of heart, mind and invention you can bring it."


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