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 ...

Frederick Wiseman’s love letter to ballet 5

Dance · Film · Reviews
“I love ballet,” admits 79-year-old documentarian Frederick Wiseman, whose rigorous films on hospital management, meat processing, and public housing have given way to late-life examinations of art and the artistic process. “Dance is the creation of something absolutely beautiful,” he says. “Yet it’s not a fixed form. It’s ephemeral. It’s evanescent.” “I’m no expert,” he ...

A slice of Lewis Klahr’s life

Film · Reviews · Visual arts
“Cake equaled love in my family,” said filmmaker Lewis Klahr following a cinematic magical mystery tour of his childhood memory bank. I understand this statement. I also get the intense spewing of fetishized objects — artfully collected, cut and pasted, and then animated — in Klahr’s amazing films. Critic J. Hoberman in the Village Voice ...

Before Hollywood came Edendale 2

Architecture & Design · Film
This rustic boulevard, photographed at the turn of the twentieth century, occupied a Los Angeles neighborhood with the aspirational name of Edendale. One hundred years later, it’s called Echo Park. The street was then Allesandro. Now it’s Glendale Boulevard, or more accurately, a two-mile suction tube for automobiles hurtling toward downtown Los Angeles. On this ...

Red hair, red shoes 2

Dance · Film
I recently attended a screening of The Red Shoes, the 1948 Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger classic lovingly restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, British Film Institute, and others. This film’s huge blast of technicolor transforms red-headed Moira Shearer into an unspeakably firey, unearthly creature … her neat figure, fair complexion, and carrot top ...

Bill Stern’s keen eye for California design

Visual arts
For about half a century starting in the 1890s, California orange and lemon growers branded their wares using vivid and outstanding graphic design. The fancifully imagined, richly colored paper labels adhered to wooden packing crates. When (pre-printed) cardboard boxes replaced the crates, labels fell into disuse. Warehouses were full of them by the early 1950s. Now they are valued art objects. ...