Andrea Martin, beautiful & funny, performs in support of Armenian women in need


We so enjoyed last night’s cabaret-style performance by actress Andrea Martin, accompanied by her versatile sidekick (every woman needs one) Seth Rudetsky.

The evening-length fundraiser for the Armenian International Women’s Association took place at North Hollywood’s show-bizzy El Portal Theater.

Paying respect to her Armenian family background, the multiple Emmy Award-winning and two-time Tony Award-winning actress (Pippen, 2013, My Favorite Year, 1993), in wonderful voice, delivered a lively hodgepodge of comic songs and ballads, character sketches, nostalgic videos, and personal reminiscence. Then came the best: kvetching and moaning about life in the entertainment fast-lane. We all love learning that a talented, slender, beautiful Broadway star, who at a certain age can still navigate a stage in spike high-heels, has tsuris! Martin, a trouper abundantly at ease before a live audience, brought with her great news of her NBC television series “Great News,” produced by Tina Fey.

This lady is forever enshrined in arts·meme hall of fame for her brilliant comedy sketches as part of the legendary tribe at SCTV — it included Catharine O’Hara, Martin Short, John Candy, Eugene Levy, among others. Wrongly considered the shadow group of Saturday Night Live, SCTV in fact formed a vivacious precursor with several crossovers of personnel.

Martin belongs to a rarefied elite of female character-comics (oddly, all brunettes) that includes Elaine May, Gilda Radner, Lily Tomlin, and lately Tina Fey. Somehow Martin combines being super pretty, super approachable and super ready to go waaaaaay out on a crazy limb in a way that makes her my favorite.

The benefit evening for a very good cause — the aid of Armenian women and child victims of domestic violence — included a delicious Armenian-food-inspired buffet and bar. A very good time was had by all.

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arts·meme at nine, an industrious builder of the arts

Language & ideas

Happy birthday dear arts·meme, happy birthday to you~!

On May 24, 2008, we launched your favorite arts blog. We’ve been assiduously building ever since. Brick by brick, story by story, we have accrued a steady pile of nearly 2,000 blog posts. It’s all interwoven, as we like to feature artistic mash-ups, mostly in dance and film. Wherever the fine arts overlap and overlay, we’re there with our pot of glue patching them together.

A special shout-out to our advertisers. Thank you for helping us build a healthy arts community that values arts journalism!

Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Valley Performing Arts Center, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Pepperdine University Center for the Arts, Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, American Cinematheque, German Currents Film Festival, EU Film Festival, Laguna Dance Festival, Laemmle Theatres, Norton Simon Museum, Levitt Foundation, Birdwatcher, the film

Happy birthday, dear arts·meme, may you live till ten!

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Looks fascinating: “Les Blancs” by Lorraine Hansberry @ Rogue Machine


Lorraine Hansberry’s final work, completed just before her death in 1965, Les Blancs, depicts the waning days of colonialism. Set in a time frame crossing into the 20th century, it reveals the impossible moral choices faced by individuals who must reconcile personal happiness with idealism. It is rich with music and dance and set in and around a mission compound in Africa.

The production’s director, Gregg T. Daniel, says,“When Lorraine Hansberry wrote this piece she set the story in Africa but it deeply resonates with the civil rights movement in the United States, including gender equality. It’s astonishingly current in terms of equality issues, and brilliantly relevant.”

Photo: Shari Gardner, Desean Kevin Terry, Jelani Blunt in Les Blancs.

Photo credit: John Perrin Flynn

Les Blancs | Rogue Machine | opens May 27

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Not a ‘witch hunt,’ Mr. Trump, decries daughter of John Garfield

Film · Language & ideas
Mr. Trump, words matter. If not to you, then to the rest of us. Trump’s repeated flinging of the loaded expression ‘witch hunt’ (yet again this morning, via Twitter) in a moment of his wounded narcissism strikes a deep, deep chord. It brings painful memories of a shameful chapter of American history. It brings rage ...

Ella at 100: virtuosity, joy and swing 3

Featured · Music
arts·meme jazz critic Kirk Silsbee excerpts his liner notes to the new four-CD set, Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For a Centennial (Verve 2016-00957) At first blush, one hundred songs from any artist seem like overkill. In the case of Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), whose recordings number in the thousands, one hundred is just about enough to ...

Let choreographer Laura Karlin decorate your home

I very much enjoyed Invertigo Dance Theatre founder/choreographer Laura Karlin‘s “Interior Design,” a high point of the vigorous opening night of the Los Angeles Dance Festival last weekend. Hosted by director Deborah Brockus at the cozy Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, this year’s festival offered a parade of Los Angeles dance companies the opportunity to display their ...

Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce pay tribute to ‘L.A. Confidential’ director Curtis Hanson

Featured · Film
”He was my friend. I loved the man,” said actress Kim Basinger of film director Curtis Hanson, who died tragically at a too-young age in September 2016. Basinger’s two films for Hanson included L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997) and 8 MILE (2002).  The super slender blonde, a down-home stunner, sparkled alongside co-star Guy Pearce in a joint ...

‘Starring Europe’ top film picks: from France, from Italy

Well, they all look so good, don’t they? The fourth annual European film festival in Los Angeles, Starring Europe: New Films from the EU, kicked off with a swinging red carpet/gala reception in the peerless courtyard of Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre last night. Remarks prior to the opening-night feature, MELLOW MUD, a Latvian film, indicate that ...

Opens tonight! STARRING EUROPE filmfest

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain. Wouldn’t you just love to get on a slow boat and visit them all? Boat trip perhaps not necessary. Nor a flight ticket. Starting tonight, Tuesday May 9 and running through May 15, the American Cinematheque will host ...

Review: Kyle Abraham’s superlative A.I.M. @ The Broad Stage

Dance · Featured · Reviews
Only a handful of contemporary choreographers could pull off an evening of the magnitude and excellence that Kyle Abraham did last night, together with his 8-member dance company,, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. For this kind of presentation, that featuring a single choreographer’s voice, Kyle is now kyng. He’s keeping it going ...