Death of a great dancer 3

Dance · Music

La Barbra at BevHills Bergman tribute 2

Film · Music
Barbra Streisand is still a very big star. This was extremely evident at last night’s Alan & Marilyn Bergman tribute at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Wilshire Boulevard outpost. The tribute opened with a film clip of Barbra ogling Robert Redford in Sydney Pollack’s The Way We Were (1973). It closed with Babs, ten years later, ...

Biblical love from BODYTRAFFIC 1

Dance · Music
The love story of Jacob and Rachel inspires a unique dance/music event at Wadsworth Theater next Tuesday May 19. It’s an occasion rich in Los Angeles cultural history. It’s also a joyous one — the delayed premiere of a colorful, full-bodied ballet score written by composer Eric Zeisl in 1954. The original performances in the fifties were an intended collaboration with ...

Maurice Ravel, meet Billy Childs

Music · Reviews
One of better-kept secrets of Los Angeles cultural life is Pacific Serenades, the chamber music series now 23 years in existence, but who knew? I was the privileged guests of artistic director Mark Carlson at an utterly civilized outing that combined a ripping string quartet, well-chilled chardonnay, and little fruit tarts. What could be better on ...

Thelonious Monk’s piano 4

Music
Amidst the brouhaha over Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman’s anti-U.S. protest during a recital at Disney Hall, arts•meme was struck by this information nugget in Mark Swed’s L.A. Times story: Zimerman is a magnificent obsessive.  He travels with his own Steinway, is his own piano technician, and even his own truck driver.  He typically spends half a year ...

A very cool cat: Burt Bacharach 3

Music · Reviews
We got a lot of joy from “Back to Bacharach and David,” the retrospective of the songs of composer Burt Bacharach and his lyricist Hal David dating from 1960-70. Originally produced off-Broadway in 1992, the revue had its first Los Angeles showing at the Music Box, an old vaudeville house located on a tough stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.  ...

Aretha Franklin for president 2

Fashion · Music
The editorial board of arts•meme — that would be me — loved the Inauguration. So did every single person in the entire world. We loved each of the show’s art events.We loved the fashion, the poetry, and we loved the multi-ethnic classical quartet of Jew, black, Asian, and Latina.(In post-racial America, we notice this less.) ...

Hungarian goulash in Los Angeles 1

Film · Music
We enjoyed an impromptu Hungarian arts festival in Los Angeles over the past month. First was a Disney Hall recital by Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff known for his Bach interpretation, but lately he is performing all the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas. Schiff is a sublime artist — except when he is glowering at the audience for coughing or rustling programs, ...

The incomparable Lou Reed at RedCat

Music
Last night Benoit and I sat in the small theater in the basement of the Disney Concert Hall as Lou Reed and his art-school buddies bombarded our ears with a wall of electronic sound. Lou Reed is a very tough minded and uncompromising artist. The music (two extended pieces lasting 1.5 hours) invaded our senses, sounding alternately like avant-garde ...

Jimi Hendrix hung out in Los Feliz 1

Fashion · Music
Urban legend has it that after a druggy night at a hippie crash pad in Los Feliz, Jimi Hendrix composed “Purple Haze.” According to the story, Hendrix was inspired by a psychedelicly painted bathroom.  The erstwhile hippie house — now a designer’s emporium and yet another L.A. real estate event — sits atop a hill overlooking my apartment building. That means that ...