What a woman! Josephine Baker struts her stuff in “Bananas”

Dance · Theater
Just in time to celebrate Women’s History Month, the great Josephine Baker, as channeled by vivacious actress Sloan Robinson — whose pet project this is — will again rule the roost in “Bananas.” The award-winning production (it garnered the NAACP Theatre Awards in 2009) recounts La Baker’s rise from the slums of East St. Louis ...

Forceful Mamet patois bolstered in Deaf West Theatre “American Buffalo” 1

Language & ideas · Theater
In the photos, actors playing a trio of small time Chicago criminals (Troy Kotsur, Paul Raci, Matthew Ryan Pest) stammer, stutter, sputter, and spew the kind of rat-a-tat-tat verbal-jousting that characterizes the dialogue of David Mamet. It’s on offer in a new staging, just opened, of the playwright’s groundbreaking two-act play from 1975, “American Buffalo.” ...

REVIEW: Daddy Dearest: Chris Lemmon’s touching tribute to Jack

Film · Reviews · Theater
A charming and winsome theatrical evening with a couple of talented Hollywood men … In “Jack Lemmon Returns,” now on through month’s end at the Broad Stage’s intimate “Edye” theater, Chris Lemmon shares his family photo album sprung to life. It’s the actor/musician’s one-man show of memories and anecdotes about his father, the hugely accomplished ...

Farewell, puppet man …

Film · Music · Theater
Sad news to hear that puppeteer Bob Baker (1924-2014) died today at 90 of natural causes. Baker, along with his partner Alton Wood, founded the Los Angeles-based Bob Baker Marionette Theater in 1963, the oldest and longest running children’s theater company. In June 2009, the theater was designated as a Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument. Baker’s puppetry was ...

High culture at the movies, courtesy of Laemmle Theatres

Dance · Film · Music · Theater · Visual arts
At the other end of the civilization spectrum from AFI Fest’s recent pepper-spray incident (ironic, isn’t it, that fisticuffs broke out at a screening of a new bio-pic about British painter William Turner), is the marvelous roll-out, now in its third month, of Laemmle Theatre’s “Culture Vulture Mondays.” The series is just one way that ...

Arts ladies of the weekend 2

Dance · Reviews · Theater
It gave pleasure, in disparate performances over the weekend, to find and then ruminate on two outstanding players — both exemplary contributors operating in a mixed terrain. The duo included dancer Taisha Paggett and actress Carolyn Ratteray, both top notch, both, by happenstance, African-American artists. Ms. Paggett appears to be the muse of the savvy ...

Review: Ate9 Dance & Fleck a pithy pairing @ REDCAT

Dance · Reviews · Theater
“It’s the second night of the third week of the 11th year of the New Original Works festival,” announced Mark Murphy, executive director of REDCAT performance space Friday night in a pre-show greeting of his audience. Surveying the full house of folk who track with emerging performance art, Murphy’s flickering smile seemed to convey, “But ...

Boyhood revisited: in film, dance, and theater 1

Dance · Film · Theater
Some contend that the final frontier is space. But in the creative world, that distinction has been relegated to childhood — an exploration lately undertaken by kids themselves. Many by now have seen Richard Linklater‘s astonishing and critically acclaimed film BOYHOOD. The movie tracks one young man’s bumpy coming of age, filmed in real time over ...

At CAP-UCLA, the ‘B’s have it!

Dance · Language & ideas · Theater · Visual arts
To be or not to be, that was the question Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA artistic director Kristy Edmunds pondered in fashioning her arts-forward performance series for the 2014-15 season. So much so that the curator tilted in one direction: toward artists with names starting with the letter ‘B.’ Yes, a barrage ...

REVIEW: Maurice Hines tappin’ to mother’s heartbeat @ The Wallis 1

Dance · Music · Reviews · Theater
The act was called Hines, Hines & Dad. But song-and-dance man Maurice Hines, 70, rectified any oversight of his mom, Friday night, as he opened his one-man show powered by personal history, “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life,” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. The touching, classy, and beautifully staged cabaret program, ...