Hendrix died forty years ago … 2

Music
… on Sept 18 1970. He was 27 years old. “I’m going to sacrifice something right here that I really love.” Watching this mesmerizing video from 1967 in which Jimi does just about everything possible with his guitar (the mentionables include playing blind and playing behind his back), it sets my standard for performance art. ...

Happy 100th birthday, Julius Shulman 3

Architecture & Design · Visual arts
In keeping with arts·meme’s devotion to the dearly departed, we’d like to add Uncle Julius to the mix. The great Brooklyn-born, Los Angeles-reared architectural photographer left our midst last year. By most measures, his was a life well lived (1910-2009). He left behind the visual splendor of his timeless photography, which captures and defines California ...

Remembering Kevin McCarthy 4

Film
Guest writer Michael Schlesinger contributes this reminiscence of actor Kevin McCarthy, who died earlier this week. I met Kevin McCarthy through our mutual friend, actor James Karen; we sometimes all had lunch at Musso & Frank’s. And it turned out that Kevin lived a few blocks from me in Sherman Oaks, so I happily chauffeured ...

“Ballets With a Twist” serves drinks all around 3

Dance
It was one of those magical Los Angeles evenings. In a location as romantic as its name – Rustic Canyon – the New York-based Ballets with a Twist made its local debut Friday night. The forested glen, tucked about a mile inland from the Pacific Ocean, provided a fantasy setting for the choreography of Marilyn ...

MOCA’s Arshile Gorky show to close 20 September

Visual arts
I was entranced by a Sunday afternoon visit to MOCA, where the historic Arshile Gorky retrospective is still on. Beautiful, strange, powerful paintings. It’s slated to come down in one week — on 20 September. Recommend that you make the effort and see this show. Thursday night is free night. Gorky was the Armenian-born precursor ...

Michelle Obama expands White House dance card 2

Dance
arts·meme guest writer Lisa Traiger contributes this report from D.C. The White House billed it as the first dance event. Yet, the gilded East Room has hosted its share of dance over the years, including performances by American Ballet Theatre and Jerome Robbins’ Ballets: USA during the Kennedy Administration; Patricia McBride and a chandelier-grazing Mikhail ...

Jane Withers charms CINECON in “This is the Life” 2

Film
She wasn’t as pretty as her compatriot at 20th Century Fox, Shirley Temple. Both girls had high energy and talent to burn. But child star Jane Withers had something extra: disarming credibility. Appearing in person at a screening of her surprisingly moving film, “This is the Life” (Fox, 1935, dir: Marshall Neilan), Withers approached the microphone ...

Don Murray held Marilyn Monroe close in “Bus Stop”

Film
Read this story on The Huffington Post. We passed the Labor Day weekend inhaling the Egyptian Theater’s popcorn-soaked oxygen during  the 46th annual CINECON — a festival of the weird, the wonderful, and the rarely viewed. Cinecon is a connoisseur’s festival; and the key word is rare — movies that for whatever reason haven’t been ...

First lady of nation recognizes first lady of dance

Dance · Film · Music
The freewheeling creativity that flourished in 20th century America spawned three indigenous art forms: film, jazz, and modern dance. The first two on this list (in descending order of magnitude), have functioned relatively adeptly in the market economy. Why? Because entrepreneurs recorded them on celluloid and disc, then packaged, promoted and distributed movies and records. Poor ...

Pauline Wagner, 100, remembers James Cagney

Film
“The man you saw on the screen was certainly not Jimmy Cagney,” said former studio-system contract actress Pauline Wagner, 100, following a screening of “White Heat” at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Monday. Cagney was “one of the nicest persons in Hollywood,” so unlike Cody Jarrett, the homicidal psychopath with a mother ...