“The Art of the Steal” @ LACMA

Film · Visual arts
The Barnes Foundation, established in 1921 by collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes, holds one of the world’s largest collections of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, valued at 25 billion dollars. The documentary, “The Art of the Steal,” raises provocative questions about money, culture, and ethics as it chronicles the legal and political efforts used to break ...

Uncle Carl’s two-bit boxed lunch 1

Film
From the get-go — for Universal Pictures that would be 1909 — film industry pioneer “Uncle” Carl Laemmle, a keen entrepreneur, allowed visitors on film sets. In the early days of Los Angeles filmmaking, shooting took place in plein air. Indoor production came later. To accommodate curiosity seekers, Laemmle erected a special grandstand. From this ...

Zero’s Nero 1

Film · Theater
Just the idea of Zero Mostel makes me laugh. Watching him in movies, I’m gripped by fear that the camera will leave his face … and I’ll miss something funny. The rotund comic genius starred in the original Broadway production of Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ...

C’era una volta il West (1968)

Film
Concerning Sergio Leone’s epic masterpiece, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” what can a mere mortal possibly say? The scope, ambition, and perfection of this movie are of such gigantic proportion that it quashes idle chatter. You simply have to see it. It’s my good fortune to live in Los Angeles where this film-of-all-films was properly ...

Why is James Cameron so happy? 2

Dance · Film
Is it the $1.8 billion his film has garnered in world-wide box office receipts? Pish-tosh! All in a day’s work! James Cameron is a happy man because he stands surrounded by beautiful modern dancers: choreographer Lula Washington and her troupe’s two leading ladies, Christa Oliver and Tamica Washington-Miller. Lula, truly the Queen of Crenshaw Boulevard, ...

Martin Scorsese’s disappointing lecture at LACMA 3

Film
The brilliant witty and charming film director, Martin Scorsese, while visiting the hinterland to collect the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, stopped by the local museum for what was billed as a rousing discussion on the future of film there. The invitation to appear at the County Museum, LACMA, followed an outspoken ...

Rambova’s Aztec costume for Kosloff 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff and his protegee Natacha Rambova pose at left, costumed for their Aztec dance number on the Keith Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Kosloff brought to the stage the role in which he made his cinematic debut  — Guatemoco, the Aztec prince, in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Woman God Forgot” in 1917. Here’s a ...

Life is good …

Film
… now that there's a new Pedro Almodovar film, "Broken Embraces." Highly recommended. The maestro strikes again. Vive Almodovar! Read A.O. Scott's inspired film review.    

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...

Mike and Julia 4

Film · Language & ideas
After immensely enjoying the Nora Ephron film, “Julie and Julia,” I remembered that decades ago my father, Mike Levine, interviewed Julia Child on his talk show on KDKA, Pittsburgh’s 50,000-watt AM radio station. My dad, who during the “Madmen” era looked, dressed, and smoked like Don Draper, interviewed everyone — from his days as a ...