Hitler’s emigres & exiles in Southern California 1

Language & ideas · Music
Prominently marked in my calendar for February 16 is a book talk at the L.A. Central Library’s ALOUD series by my friend Dorothy Lamb Crawford. Dorothy, a musicologist whom I met at the Ballets Russes centenial celebration in Boston last year, writes about the brilliant gathering of composers, conductors, and other musicians who fled Nazi Germany to ...

Now that Macheath’s back in town …

Music
Reading Terry Teachout’s biography of Louis Armstrong and loving it.  

Herb Alpert, local hero 8

Music
Herb Alpert was born in Los Angeles in 1935 and he lives here still. His father, a Russian Jew from Kiev, was a tailor. His mother, of Hungarian descent, encouraged his music, giving him a trumpet on his eighth birthday. Alpert grew up in Fairfax district, the second Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles after Boyle ...

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.) ...