A visit with Anna Karina @ TCM Fest 2016

Film

ANNA-KARINA-470x350Looking forward to hearing French New Wave film goddess, Anna Karina, introduce Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders at TCM Fest 2016 this weekend.

Karina, a Danish-French actress, director and writer is known for roles in influential French New Wave films, including A Woman is a Woman (1961), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965) and Pierrot le Fou (1965).

AK_Feature_video_stillBorn in Denmark, Karina moved to Paris in 1958, where she worked as a model before meeting director Jean-Luc Godard, for whom she starred in a number films.

In 1961, she earned the Best Actress Award at the Berlin Film Festival for her work in A Woman is a Woman. She would go on to work with such directors as Jacques Rivette, Luchino Visconti, George Cukor and Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Project5She has also written three novels, Golden City, On n’achete pas le soleil and Juscqu’au bout du hazard, and recorded four albums, Une Histoire D’Amour, Chansons De Films, Le vilain petit canard  and La Petite Sirène.  Allons-y, Anna!

Band of Outsiders (1964) introduced by Anna Karina | TMC Classic Film Festival  | Sat Apr 30, 9:15 pm
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Dark doings under SoCal sun in “Private Property” at TCM Fest

Film
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Corey Allen & Warren Oates

The Big Sleep and Horse Feathers are among the treasured favorites unspooling in spiffed-up restorations at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday night in Hollywood. But it’s not all starry A-listers on this year’s lineup. The vintage-film faithful will have a chance to discover an obscure and deeply weird independent film from 1960, Private Property, which features one of the first big-screen performances by the great character actor Warren Oates.

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Unseen for decades and long considered a lost film, the 1960 black-and-white drama pulses with dread, its story pitting two knife-wielding nutjobs (Oates and an extraordinary Corey Allen) against a bored trophy wife (Kate Manx). Billed as a noir in promotional material, it’s more a psychosexual melodrama, with Allen’s sociopath determined to get his virginal sidekick some action, if only to ease his own troubled mind about his criminal partner’s sexual orientation. The two drifters are first seen climbing up from the beach onto Pacific Coast Highway — as though emerging from some abyss or id or swirling maelstrom.

Warren Oates

For his directing debut, writer Leslie Stevens — a protégé of Orson Welles who would later create the series “The Outer Limits” — cast his wife, Manx. She would make only one other feature and was dead within a few years, a suicide. Here, in her little white Corvette and pale blond coif, she has a sad-eyed fragility, whether she’s making grilled-cheese sandwiches or spraying arsenic on roses. She’s this unsettling movie’s “private property,” no less than the hilltop home where her character is seduced and preyed upon.

The restoration looks and sounds great, thanks to the preservation whizzes at the UCLA Film & Television Archive and distributor Cinelicious Pics. (Among the credits is camera operator Conrad Hall, who went on to a long and distinguished career as a cinematographer; his work on Fat City will get its giant-screen due later in the festival, at the TCL Chinese Theatre.)

Corey Allen, Kate Manx & Warren Oates

Private Property offers glimpses of a less populated (and traffic-clogged) city that might make Angelenos sigh. But just beneath that quiet surface churns a whole world of nasty, more than evident in the film’s Freudian poses and entanglements. It’s no wonder the Legion of Decency condemned it on its initial release, or that its upending of modern civilities clicked with more open-minded European audiences. Today, the movie’s stylized glances at the forbidden can feel overdone or campy. But even if it provokes a laugh or two, there’s a nervous edge to that laughter as we welcome home this singularly twisted, insinuating work.

Private Property | TCM Classic Film Festival | Chinese Multiplex | Friday, April 29 5:15 pm

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“Dreamgirls”‘s Moya Angela to sing national anthem at Dodger Stadium 2

Featured · Theater

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It’s Oh say can you see & And I am telling you — all in one fell swoop.

tn-500_1nWe’re all looking forward to four performances of the Tony Award-laden “Dreamgirls” at the Valley Performing Arts Center in early May.

And now all the more so — having learned that the production’s star, Moya Angela, will warble The Star Spangled Banner at Dodger Stadium this coming Sunday, May 1.

The chanteuse will crack open the Sunday afternoon match-up between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

Isn’t that called a matinee performance? No, no … it’s a “day game.”

[Another cool cross-cutting of the sports and theater worlds is that broadcaster Vin Scully, the long time “Voice of the Dodgers” is now the “Voice of VPAC.” At eight p.m. sharp, the theater plays a pre-performance announcement recorded by Scully, a fan of musical theater. This fun late-career perk arranged by Valley Performing Arts Center Executive Director Thor Steingraber, also known as a baseball nut.]

But as for Moya Angeles, er … Moya Angela, you go, woman! Here’s hoping this huge honor will lead to stellar “Dreamgirls” performances for you!

Dodgers v. Padres | Dodger Stadium | May 1
Dreamgirls | Valley Performing Arts Center | May 6 – 8

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Remembering Mia Slavenska

Dance · Featured · Film
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This simply spectacular photo memorialize a tremendous dancer of the twentieth century, the great Croatia-born prima ballerina Mia Slavenska.The rock solid legs, the startling physical intensity, the blazing eyes, all Slavenska. Following her career with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Slavenska’s long and winding road led, in the 1970s, to teaching classical ballet at ...

LACMA’s purchase of movie poster collection a boon to Los Angeles, says Michael Govan

Film · Visual arts
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Joyful news as the artistic merits of the marketing of movies during the High Hollywood era gets strong validation with the addition of an important movie-poster collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director,  announced on Saturday April 16 the acquisition of the Mike Kaplan ...

A man, his piano and his art. Prince’s final concert in Atlanta.

Featured · Music
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Ironic and touching that in final performances before his sadly premature death this week, Prince played a stripped-down concert, an all-art, no-frills affair. Photo courtesy of Atlanta photographer Amiee Stubbs, who tweeted as follows: I snuck a photo of #Prince during his concert in ATL last week. Don’t normally break the rules, but so glad ...

Film maestro Claude Lelouch’s visual symphony, “Un + Une”

Featured · Film · Reviews
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Director Claude Lelouch (far right) with his A-list cast of “Un + Une” — Jean Dujardin, Christophe Lambert, Elsa Zylberstein. The director of some fifty films brought his latest to COLCOA French film festival’s big screen last night. The film explores Lelouch’s central theme and his career concern: to plummet the love that exists between ...

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago brings rare Forsythe creation to the Barclay

Dance
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There’s history here. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago was first presented by the Irvine Barclay Theater at UC Irvine nearly 25 years ago under the auspices of its founding director, Lou Conte. The company, since 2009 under the leadership of artistic director Glenn Edgerton, has moved from its jazz-dance roots to being one of the nation’s ...

Phantasmagoria on tap in ‘Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema’

Film · Visual arts
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A treasure trove of hand-colored cinematic footage restored in rare films illustrate the first-ever uses of applied color in movies. Accompanied by live music, superb digital transfers of restored work from the archives of EYE Film Institute Netherlands transport viewers to a moment in time when colored moving images truly opened a portal into otherworldly ...

Do clothes make the woman? Check with Jane Szabo @ MOAH.

Fashion · Visual arts
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“Artist as Subject,” an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, California, expands upon the traditional self-portrait by exposing the artist’s inner state, body, history or habits of daily life. Featured in MOAH’s show is photography by Los Angeles artist Jane Szabo, who explores the outward ways in which women ...