Happy 70th birthday, Captain Beefheart

Language & ideas · Music · Visual arts
Guitarist Gary Lucas‘s Captain Beefheart symposium was already in the works when he received a text message December 16 that Beefheart, aka Don Van Vliet, was no more. After years of suffering from multiple sclerosis, the enigmatic rock vocalist and musician, who had long forsaken music for painting, died at 69. Speaking to a theater ...

One-One-One-One

Film · Language & ideas
The world is one-one-one-one today. Happy birthday world.

Bloody mamas: violence against women in art and life

Dance · Film · Language & ideas · Visual arts
Monday, November 15, 2010, was a grisly night for women in Los Angeles. Both in art and in life, the blood of women flowed unnaturally and to no good purpose. Shortly after midnight, Ronni Chasen, the owner of her own public relations firm and a hard-driving career woman, was found bleeding to death, crashed in ...

arts•meme honored

Dance · Language & ideas
Guide to Art Schools Top 50 Ballet Blogs arts•meme received a lovely honor by being named among the fifty best ballet blogs (we assume this means “in the universe”) by the ‘guide to art schools.’ We are grateful for the honor and will try to merit our certificate!

Philippe Petit, wired, even when not on wire 2

Dance · Language & ideas · Visual arts
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page “Falling is not my specialty,” quipped Philippe Petit in verbal jousting with “extreme” choreographer Elizabeth Streb during “Hammer Conversations” at the museum’s Billy Wilder Theater last week. Streb was describing how dance “must be extreme or no one will notice it as action.” In amazingly fluent English, Petit rejoined, ...

John Waters celebrates Johnny Mathis

Film · Language & ideas · Music
Sixties singer Johnny Mathis‘s name has popped up in surprising ways recently. DJ Josh Kun spun the velvet-voiced crooner’s version of “Kol Nidre” at “Get Down, Moses,” Kun’s Jewish/African-American “listening party.” Then, John Waters, the witty, loquacious, and dapper film director, cited Mathis as one of his key “role models.” It happened at an ALOUD ...

Skirball’s “Get down, Moses” listening party

Language & ideas · Music
The “listening party” — a groovy event in which cultural anthropologist Josh Kun spins discs to illustrate the complex historic relationship between African-American and Jewish popular music — had serious naming issues. Kun launched it as “Black Sabbath.” It got changed to “Go Down, Moses.” Then, some genius in the Skirball Center p.r. department tweaked ...

The satin sound of Johnny Mercer

Language & ideas · Music
While I was recovering from knee surgery, my buddy S.V. brought me recuperation DVDs — among them “The Dream’s On Me,” documentarian Bruce Ricker’s film homage to lyricist/composer Johnny Mercer. [The documentary, executive-produced by Clint Eastwood, airs from time to time on TCM.] Mercer, a tireless music maker of the highest order (by the way, ...

John Waters & Carrie Fisher dish at ALOUD 1

Film · Language & ideas
This just in from Louise Steinman, curator-turned-impresario of the Library Foundation’s ALOUD book talk series. Louise has nailed down what promises to be a wild and wonderful evening of conversation Filmmaker John Waters communes with his interlocutor, Carrie Fisher. Two of show business’s sharpest minds (and fastest tongues!) meet to discuss their role models! John ...

arts·meme enters the terrible twos 2

Language & ideas
“You should be blogging,” my brother Mark first said to me sometime around 2005. I succumbed on May 24, 2008 when arts·meme went live — with Mark’s excellent tech support. Then he started saying, “You should be tweeting.” Okay, enough is enough! Inspired by a Los Angeles Philharmonic concert under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, I ...