Meet Natalie Portman’s evil twin, body double Kimberly Prosa 2

Dance · Film
I enjoyed my chat with dancer Kimberly Prosa, one of two body doubles for actress Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky’s BLACK SWAN. The film, a psychological thriller with dazzling special effects, opens nationwide December 3. Reports Prosa on her amazing and unexpected first-ever movie experience: “I went to audition at an open call looking for extras to ...

Merce and the midgets 2

Dance
Researching Merce Cunningham Trust trustee and former Cunningham dancer, Patricia Lent, I came across this post-911 story — a sweet tale so well written in the New York Times by Jennifer Dunning. The story concerns a class of P.S. 234 third graders taught by Ms. Lent, then a school teacher. She takes her kids to ...

A heady evening with Hedy Lamarr 2

Film
While he was growing up in Ottawa, Illinois, the film writer Stephen Shearer’s mother told him that in 1939 she and a girlfriend went to the local cinema to see Charles Boyer in “Algiers.” Co-starring with the Frenchman was MGM’s latest European import, Hedy Lamarr. In her first appearance in the film, cinematographer James Wong ...

ROA wrangles the rats of Los Angeles 2

Visual arts
All-Los Angeles materials — gnarly wooden boards, found rubble, discarded t.v. sets, sheet metal — form the foundation for the visiting Belgian artist ROA’s between-the-cracks, garbage-dumpster-at-night art show at the cool New Puppy Gallery. On these outsized flat surfaces, ROA paints precise portraits of critters and vermin. No, not the denizens of the L.A. art ...

The ABCs of being Eli Broad

Architecture & Design · Visual arts
Los Angeles is blessed with a surfeit of alphabet-soup acronyms for its world-class museums, famously, LACMA and MOCA. Both derive from the mother of all art-museum acronyms, MOMMY, er … MOMA. In a Huffington Post blog item, bad-boy Coagula Art Journal editor Mat Gleason posits options for Uncle Eli’s swank new warehouse of contemporary art. ...

Madam Mayor, aka Heidi Duckler, occupies City Hall 1

Architecture & Design · Dance
I’m looking forward to seeing Heidi Duckler | Collage Dance Theatre‘s “Governing Bodies,” a wild event in which the choreographer takes over Sergeant Joe Friday’s favorite digs: Los Angeles City Hall. Joe’s proud LAPD badge (number 714) bore the emblem of City Hall, once L.A.’s proudest architectural beacon —  it’s certainly still iconic — and for ...

Jack Cole & Marilyn Monroe reunite at Jacob’s Pillow

Dance · Film
It was my great honor to join a panel at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival on Saturday, August 14, 2010, to honor the peerless jazz choreographer Jack Cole, whom I revere and about whom I have written. As a former Denishawn dancer, Cole had a distinct history at “The Pillow.” Here I contribute a snippet about Cole’s choreography for Marilyn Monroe ...

William Eggleston straddles Wilshire Boulevard

Visual arts
Artist Ed Ruscha called him “a blessed rascal.” He influenced filmmakers David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, and Sofia Coppola. But more than that, he totally changed the medium of photography, according to William Eggleston expert Carole Thompson in a gallery talk  at Edward Cella Art + Architecture, right across Wilshire Boulevard from LACMA. Cella, relatively new to ...

Alex Ross: top critic, top halls, top tunes

Music
The music mavens in our group at the NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Classical Music & Opera were levitating into outer space after meeting a huge hero: The New Yorker‘s music critic, Alex Ross, the author of The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007) and Listen to This (2010). In a chat between ...

Robyn Gardenhire’s garden of riches

Dance · Reviews
In the video, artistic director Robyn Gardenhire rehearses her wonderful troupe, City Ballet of Los Angeles, which just delivered a mightily entertaining evening of dance at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in central Los Angeles. Gardenhire’s diverse dancers bring fine integrity to her vivid, high-energy dance works. She has two strong prima ballerinas: the ...