Now that Macheath’s back in town …

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

Not the Nutcracker 1

Dance
By now many of you will have seen the film from which this marvelous image is plucked — a mash-up of mesdemoiselles pounding the floorboards in Frederick Wiseman’s ballet documentary “LA DANSE.” They’re Paris Opera Ballet dancers hoofing it in Rudolph Nureyev’s version of Tchaikowsky’s “Casse-Noisette” or “The Nutcracker.” It’s my favorite scene in the movie. You gotta see these ...

“Noises Off” at A Noise Within

Reviews · Theater
You cannot be too hard pressed for Christmas gifts now that Glendale’s long-time theater group, A Noise Within, just extended its spendid staging of Michael Freyn’s comedy/farce from 1982 "Noises Off."  A huge hit on both sides of the pond, the play tracks the backstage shenanigans of a mediocre sex comedy called "Nothing On." The ...

Mike and Julia 4

Film · Language & ideas
After immensely enjoying the Nora Ephron film, “Julie and Julia,” I remembered that decades ago my father, Mike Levine, interviewed Julia Child on his talk show on KDKA, Pittsburgh’s 50,000-watt AM radio station. My dad, who during the “Madmen” era looked, dressed, and smoked like Don Draper, interviewed everyone — from his days as a ...

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 ...

The astronaut and the ballerina 1

Dance
Weightlessness has its rewards. In 1950, the ballerina was a featherweight slithering down her partner’s body and marching on her highest pointes as Balanchine’s snaky Siren in “The Prodigal Son.” In 1969 the astronaut, seen at right, clocked in at 35 pounds while padding around the moon’s soft terrain like a stuffed doll. Los Angeles County ...

Shtetl shport 1

Language & ideas
Jewish guys are not wimps — never have been. This according to shtetl shpecialist Yale Strom, a San Diego-based documentary filmmaker/photographer, leading ethnographer of klezmer music, and an unbelievably talented klezmer violinist who has taken more than sixty cultural research trips to preserve central European yiddishkeit. In a talk at the Yiddish Cultural Institute, Strom ...

Anna Halprin, Bill T. Jones, Hofesh Shechter

Dance · Reviews
The big event of a busy fall season has been the historic reconstruction of Anna Halprin‘s “Parades & Changes,” an influential landmark of postmodern dance dating from 1965-67 featuring a soundscore by electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick. The piece builds on improvisation on a set of movement  “scores” — a Halprin key word that she ...

Rudi of the sixties 2

Fashion · Visual arts
Not Rudolf Nureyev — although Rudi N also swung very hard in the sixties. Our guy is Rudi Gernreich (1922-1985) the Vienna-born, Los Angeles-based fashion designer known for his zestful, pared down aesthetic. His clothes celebrated the youth and action in American culture. Gernreich’s look screams swinging sixties. Today, the clothes remain clean, classy, and ...

“La Danse” discount tix 2

Dance · Film
Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles offers arts•meme subscribers a generous discount for  “La Danse,” Frederick Wiseman’s acclaimed ballet documentary. Film is now playing at Laemmle Theaters in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Encino. Read the interview with director Frederick Wiseman. Update: Sorry, no more discount coupons. This once in a lifetime opportunity has expired! Maybe in your ...