Tap across 42nd Street with “Gotta Dance!” book & movie posters

Dance · Film · Language & ideas
Above: Belgian poster for 42nd Street (Lloyd Bacon, USA, 1933). Artist unknown. “The sharp, spunky granddaddy of all backstage musicals… [Busby Berkeley’s] choreography takes center stage in this stunning Belgian poster, showcasing his dancers atop and within the three-dimensional title treatment… the actors took second place to Busby Berkeley’s dazzling, kaleidoscopic production numbers, with their ...

Choreographer Leonid Yakobson’s Soviet struggle detailed at USC Conney Conference

Dance · Language & ideas
Our good friend, the Stanford University-based dance historian Janice Ross, has written an important new biography about a seminal choreographer in the Soviet Union whose name does not have much recognition in the U.S. Few outside Russia know of Leonid Yakobson, a contemporary to George Balanchine and the leading modernist — and only Jewish — ...

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.” ...

The gorgeous sound of Godard’s ‘Goodbye to Language’ 1

Film · Language & ideas
The handwritten scrawl below comes from the pen of cinéaste-provocateur Jean-Luc Godard. The influential director, still working in his eighties, shares the scenario for his startling new film, “Goodbye to Language” (“Adieu au langage”), now in an exclusive run at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre through much of next week. Godard’s 43rd film, a ravishing ...

‘Kinetic Los Angeles’ heralds impact of Russian ballet in California

Dance · Language & ideas
This startling and marvelous image of a ballerina garbed in an unprecedented and surely unreplicated costume graces the cover of “Kinetic Los Angeles: Russian Emigres in the City of Self-Transformation.” The journal, the 20th edition of the esteemed “Experiment,” has just been published by the Institute of Modern Russian Culture at the University of Southern ...

Sid Grauman, Kim Jong Un collude on Christmas to screen “The Interview” 1

Film · Language & ideas
In a cultural mash-up that could perhaps happen anywhere — but let’s face it, it succeeds best in crazy Los Angeles — a Jew and a North Korean are celebrating Jesus’s birthday by screening “The Interview” at the Egyptian Theatre, the movie palace Sid Grauman built in 1922. The screenings are the best rebuttal to ...

Rachel Maddow hails dancing brothers & sisters from Cuba 2

Dance · Language & ideas
Mr. Obama, tear down that wall! In her news broadcast last night, MSNBC commentator/anchorwoman Rachel Maddow gave a righteous shout-out to the Cuban-expatriate (really “exile’ is the proper expression up till now) classical dancers who grace our major ballet companies — and oh yes, for good measure Maddow also notes sports figures! Featured dance companies ...

Culture war erupts over cellphone useage @ AFI Fest

Language & ideas
It was the aggrieved versus the entitled in an unsurprising yet noteworthy altercation that broke out at AFI Fest, as the shared public viewing experience ratchets down. The depressing incident (ironically occuring at a screening of a new biopic on British painter William Turner) perhaps serves as a cautionary tale for those of us aggrevated ...

California women of dance recognized

Dance · Language & ideas
It took a New Yorker, dance writer Wendy Perron, to draw attention to an interesting phenomenon … In her recently published essay, Wendy notes the surplus of women holding leadership roles in California dance across the board:  management, production, presentation, talent representation, criticism and, indeed, as artists. Read Wendy’s blog item here. The story includes ...

Italian choreographer Dewey Dell’s “Marzo” smartly advances dance

Architecture & Design · Dance · Language & ideas · Visual arts
At long last, something new, thank God. It took a cluster of young Italians to inject pop and sizzle into dance’s tired traditional proscenium-arch format, creating a “screen” within the frame, replicating the tiny rectangles into which most audience members gaze much of their day. And I think “Marzo” (Italian for “March”), a super flamboyant work ...