Fred Astaire, pianist

Dance · featured · Music

On this Labor Day weekend 2014, let’s let Fred Astaire, pianist (and, oh yes, dancer), do all the work!

Enjoy this incredible Fred-on-piano clip from LET’S DANCE (1950). Love Fred’s little ballet barre opening the number … then he gives a whirlwind “site-specific” dance tour of two pianos!

Our thanks to Hollywood dance historian Larry Billman for bringing this great number to our attention.

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Direct from Havana! Irene Rodriguez Spanish dance @ MOLAA

Dance · Visual arts


I would travel great distances to see authentic African, Indonesian and certainly, Cuban dancers; that’s the way I roll nowadays. I’m a relative latecomer, but an avid one, to authentic ethnic dance. An unusual dance offering this weekend in an equally unusual venue: Havana-based Compañia Irene Rodriguez will perform Spanish dance at Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art.

MOLAA_Cuban-2We’re going. How else can we taste the flavor of a great dance culture given our nation’s foreign policy that isolates Cuban artists?

According to the presenter, Rodriguez is among Cuba’s most prominent dancer/ choreographers, in 2012 taking first prize in the VIII Certamen Iberoamericano De Coreografía presented by Alicia Alonso for “El Crimen Fue en Granada.”

Founded in 2012, the Company has gained a reputation as one of the best purveyors of Spanish dance in Cuba, expanding on the traditional vocabulary and incorporating contemporary elements and Cuban national rhythms.

A great opportunity, as well, to peruse the galleries of MOLAA, founded in 1996 in Long Beach as the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. Since its inception, MOLAA has doubled in size and continues to expand its permanent collection, ranging from works by Tamayo and Matta to Cruz-Diez, Los Carpinteros and Tunga.

A beautiful program for a Sunday evening.

Compania Irene Rodriguez Spanish Dance | Museum of Latin American Art | Sunday Aug 31

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Walk this way … to “Young Frankenstein”‘s 40th birthday party

featured · Film

As the young Doctor (“Frankensteen“) has now advanced to prime middle age, his story, told with pinpoint historic accuracy in the great Mel Brooks movie spoof, “Young Frankenstein” (1974), will spool at the Academy in celebration of his fortieth birthday this year. Brooks, twice that age, will submit to interview by Leonard Maltin at the special season-opening AMPAS event. Co-stars Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr will also appear in person, as will the film’s exec producer Michael Gruskoff. A cultural experience to be in the same room with Mel Brooks.

More madness with Igor (pronounced “Eye-gore“) here:

Young Frankenstein | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences | Tuesday Sept 9, 7:30 pm

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September’s dance reckoning in Los Angeles

Dance · featured
For kids, September means back to school; for Jews, it’s the High Holidays. For dance lovers, an impossible surplus — even a Sophie’s Choice – of hot hot hot dance performances one September weekend. All augur certain fun, and because we’re in southern California each option combines nicely with an outdoor picnic. Nettlesome choices for dance fans! Fri ...

Los Angeles commercial dance gains seriousness, talent 1

Dance · featured
Commercial dancers have more fun. That was abundantly clear at last Sunday’s bang-up showcase and reception hosted by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in honor of the nominees for this year’s Emmy Award for Best Choreography. [At the "Creative Arts Awards," given in advance of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, August 24, the ...

Welcome Beatles 1964 fifty years later @ Levitt Pavilion

Music · Visual arts
  Celebrate 50 years of the Beatles in the U.S. this weekend at Levitt Los Angeles with a unique Beatles retrospective featuring the Omega String Quartet, the same outstanding group that brought the largest show in the history of Levitt — the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Retrospective last summer, 2013. A psychedelic ...

The jazz strata of Ave Pildas 1

featured · Music · Visual arts
If you receive photographer Ave Pildas’s weekly e-blasts, you know the prolific nature of his work. His street snaps can be quirky, straightforward, unpredictable, ironic, reverent, whimsical, iconic, or just plain fun. He has an eye for the beautiful and the surreal but the transmissions often time to current events or seasonal observances. They show ...

Review: Ate9 Dance & Fleck a pithy pairing @ REDCAT

Dance · Reviews · Theater
“It’s the second night of the third week of the 11th year of the New Original Works festival,” announced Mark Murphy, executive director of REDCAT performance space Friday night in a pre-show greeting of his audience. Surveying the full house of folk who track with emerging performance art, Murphy’s flickering smile seemed to convey, “But ...

Lil Buck pays back James Brown

Dance · Music
JB’s immensely funky riff from 1973, “The Payback” given exceptional dance interpretation today — first by the quicksilver Lil Buck, then by a less brilliant partner Jon Boogz. While Boogz dances, Lil Buck upstages him by leaning against a wall. Then he cycles through for a second round at video-end.

Nude ballet photos! Herman Cornejo, Ivan Vasiliev in near buff

Dance · Fashion · featured · Reviews
Herman Cornejo_Diana & Acteon_8.02.14-1
Yes, budgets are tight. So we’re seeing our biggest ballet stars come on stage wearing less and less clothes! In this case, it’s no huge punishment. We are talking about two of the loveliest, most talented — and beefiest — guys in ballet today. Pictured at left, Herman Cornejo, who commenced the “Diana & Acteon” ...