All hail Travis Banton, Paramount Pictures costume designer

Fashion · Film
LACMA’s retrospective of Ernst Lubitsch comedies, made in America with a classy European sensibility, opened with the giddy perfection of the German-born director’s “Trouble in Paradise” (1932). Of all the ingredients simmering in this film’s sweet stew, it’s the pre-code evening gowns in which “Trouble”‘s two leading ladies circulate the sound stage dropping witty dialogue ...

Ernst Lubitsch’s 90-minute tour of paradise

Film
Tonight at LACMA — the launch of Ian Birnie’s 16-film retrospective of the American-made comedies of Ernst Lubitsch. Both films run a dreamy 90 minutes long! Let’ s see how much great entertainment the German expat could pack into 1.5 hours. Nicola Lubitsch, the director’s daughter, will be in the house for a curtain talk. ...

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, ...

Arthur Mitchell delights in his ballerinas

Dance
“I love to partner,” admits the great pioneering African-American ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell who joined New York City Ballet in 1955. In conversation he shares affectionate sound bites about the ballerinas he partnered when dancing for choreographer George Balanchine at New York City Ballet, 1955 – 1966. On Allegra Kent: “Otherworldly. A real creature, there was nothing she ...

Second star to the right …

Film
Second star to the right … and straight on till morning. With that lovely language, Peter Pan ‘google-maps’ his Neverland address, informing his new buddy Wendy where he and the tribe of Lost Boys reside. The fetching 1924 silent-movie version of the J.M. Barrie classic charmed nearly 2,000 adults who poured into the Orpheum Theater ...

Lizabeth Scott @ the Academy 5

Film
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page. Monday night’s edition of the Academy’s first-rate full-summer film series, “1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood’s Dark Side,” now at mid-schedule, enjoyed the tremendous pleasure of a guest appearance by actress Lizabeth Scott. The heavy-browed, sultry-voiced Scott graced 22 movies, primarily film noirs made between 1945-57 in which she played ...

Jane Russell remembers “Gentleman” Jack Cole 2

Dance · Film
“Yes,” answered Jane Russell last Wednesday evening, nodding emphatically when asked if choreographer Jack Cole had directed the dance sequences in Howard Hawks’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953). Russell’s brown eyes flashed and she became animated on hearing Cole’s name. The brunette bombshell of the 1940/50’s, appearing at a Hollywood Heritage event this past week, chatted ...

Classical theater, California-style

Reviews · Theater
Two wonderful recent theater outings in L.A., both highly recommended. There’s only one more weekend to skedaddle to the delightful 24th Street Theatre for final performances of “Anton’s Uncles,” which the effervescent creative team of Debbie Devine and Jay McAdams co-produced with Theatre Movement Bazaar‘s ex-Mummenshantz word-and-movement mavens, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger. I had ...

Legendary dancer/director Arthur Mitchell visits L.A. 1

Dance · Visual arts
In tandem with the soon-to-close “40 Years of Firsts,” a loving and comprehensive art gallery retrospective of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Arthur Mitchell, the troupe’s artistic director emeritus, will appear at the California African American Museum the evening of June 30. The multimedia exhibit, organized by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, ...

Baryshnikov backstage at REDCAT

Dance
Monday evening saw Russian-born ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov join the great Merce Cunningham Dance Company on stage for a fundraiser at REDCAT performance space in downtown Los Angeles. Beneficiaries: MCDC’s “legacy” project and REDCAT. After the show … Barysh & the Merce’ites click for better view Marisa Meets Misha click for better view Mark Murphy, Executive Director, REDCAT, ...