First lady of nation recognizes first lady of dance

Dance · Film · Music
The freewheeling creativity that flourished in 20th century America spawned three indigenous art forms: film, jazz, and modern dance. The first two on this list (in descending order of magnitude), have functioned relatively adeptly in the market economy. Why? Because entrepreneurs recorded them on celluloid and disc, then packaged, promoted and distributed movies and records. Poor ...

Pauline Wagner, 100, remembers James Cagney

Film
“The man you saw on the screen was certainly not Jimmy Cagney,” said former studio-system contract actress Pauline Wagner, 100, following a screening of “White Heat” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Monday. Cagney was “one of the nicest persons in Hollywood,” so unlike Cody Jarrett, the homicidal psychopath with a mother ...

Cleopatra reclaims the Egyptian Theater 1

Film
What better place to celebrate the art (and commerce!) of Cecil B. DeMille than the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard? An under appreciated director who mined the nexus of the lofty and the lusty, DeMille fits well with the Egyptian Theater’s ornate aesthetic. His influence was ingrained in mainstream American culture by the time Sid Grauman ...

Charlie Chaplin to reappear at Cinecon

Film
I’m looking forward to attending the 46th annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood California over Labor Day weekend, September 2-6, 2010. The big event at this year’s festival is the screening of a previously lost Charlie Chaplin film, “A Thief Catcher” from Keystone Studios, 1914. Film collector Paul Gierucki found ...

Antonioni’s sophisticated chick flick

Film
How pleasant to stroll onto the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and travel in time and space to Italy of the 1950s — and totally avoid LAX. At LACMA we enjoyed Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Le Amiche” (“The Girlfriends,” 1955), the great Italian director’s refined social melodrama. The film depicts the world of ...

Ken Russell & Dr. Kildare tackle Tchaikovsky

Film
It was touching to see Richard Chamberlain with his wild-man director of forty years ago, Ken Russell, at Sunday’s screening of the octogenarian’s exuberant Tchaikovsky biopic, “The Music Lovers” (1970). The reversal of the usual post-screening Q&A set-up also seemed fitting. The actor and the white-haired cinema maestro sat not before the audience, on a stage, but ...

Kenneth Anger recalls blacklisted Jack Cole dancers 1

Dance · Film
The first time I heard the name Jack Cole was not from a dance person but from experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Upon hearing that I am a dance critic, Anger, 83, said: “Someone needs to write about Jack Cole.” Kenneth Anger has distinct memories of hanging out with Jack Cole dancers in Paris: “Hollywood was ...

Mitzi Gaynor fabulous in Jack Cole’s “I Don’t Care” 1

Dance · Film
I love everything about this amazing, high-spirited dance sequence choreographed by Jack Cole for The I Don’t Care Girl (1953). “I don’t care. I don’t care. What people think of me. I’m happy, go-lucky, men say that I’m plucky, so jolly and carefree!” From the first frames — the camera shooting upward through a mirror ...

Julius Garfinkle’s high integrity 5

Film
Blacklisted actor John Garfield, né Julius Garfinkle, was the subject of a curtain talk at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences following a screening of his enthralling boxing movie, Body and Soul (1947), part of the Academy’s screenwriter-driven film-noir series. Garfield’s unswerving dignity as a Jewish boxer (improbably named Charlie Davis) dominates the ...

Jack Cole to be celebrated at Jacob’s Pillow 2

Dance · Film
arts·meme‘s Debra Levine is proud to announce her participation, on Saturday, August 14, at 4 pm, in “Jack Cole, Unsung Genius” a celebration of the innovative jazz choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the summer dance camp for grown ups in Becket, Massachusetts. The Cole commemoration fits surprisingly well with Jacob’s Pillow history. In his ...