Forever Flamenco, Forever Ford Amphitheatre

What is not to love about Saturday night at the newly refurbished Ford Amphitheatre for “Forever Flamenco”? The distinguished flamenco presentation series normally based at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood transfers every summer to the plein air setting of the Ford. There’s been a jog for the upgrade of the facility and we’ve been missing ...

‘West Side Story’ feted, dissected, appreciated at the Academy

Dance · Film
Actors Robert Banas, Maria Jimenez Henley, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn prior to a screening of "West Side Story" presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Monday, July 18, 2016.
Fascinating film lore revealed by producer Walter Mirisch, at Monday’s panel discussion prior to a special screening of West Side Story (1961) at the Academy. Apparently Jerome Robbins, WSS’s creator/co-director, was extremely resistant to the location shooting, in New York City, of the “Prologue” — the movie’s brilliant opening minutes when an overhead shot drills into ...

Robert Frank doc, ‘Don’t Blink,’ opens soon in L.A.

Robert Frank, now 91 years old, is among the most influential artists of the last half-century. His seminal volume, The Americans, published in 1958, records the Swiss-born photographer’s candid reactions to American poverty and racism. It helped define the off-the-cuff, idiosyncratic elegance that are hallmarks of Frank’s artistry. Director Laura Israel (Frank’s longtime film editor) ...

Armand & Henry & Vincent & friends have a play date

Visual arts
Industrial tycoons Henry Huntington and Armand Hammer, two of Los Angeles’s most significant arts barons, ruled over great collections that form the core of major museums in Los Angeles. (Collectors respectively of the early and mid 20th century, Huntington and Hammer still pale by comparison, in their acquisitive nature, to L.A.’s tycoon-collector of the day, Eli ...

Worldly woman shocks small-town America! Pola Negri, you go girl.

Woman of the World.WEB.2
“A Woman of the World” (1925) stars Pola Negri in a comedy about a sophisticated European countess (do they make ’em unsophisticated?) who encounters culture shock during her visit to small-town America. Her continental freedoms — she smokes in public, she wears flashy makeup — clash with local morals. A crusading District Attorney enters the ...

Gwen & Chita’s ‘Nowadays’ better than ours

Dance · Theater
In this yummilicious snippet from the Tony Award broadcast of 1984, Broadway goddesses Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon deliver a pastiche-pairing of numbers from Bob Fosse’s “Chicago.” Chita electrifies with her song-and-dance forcefulness in “All That Jazz.” But Verdon, joining for “Nowadays,” gives a lesson in subtle upstaging — no easy feat considering her dance ...

Jazz singer Jeri Southern, appreciated

There were other female jazz pianists who also sang in the 1950s, but none shared Jeri Southern’s formidable pianistic technique, vocal individuality, and unerring choice of good material. She sang the most bittersweet love songs in the most intimate manner. And few could inspire the nightclub reveries Southern conjured—of melancholy, infatuation, optimism, idolatry, disconsolation, and ...

Whaley Foundation grants to support Los Angeles visual artists

Visual arts
In a community celebration on Saturday, the Davyd Whaley Foundation launched a program of grants targeted to directly support  individual Los Angeles-area visual artists. The recently established foundation is one of the few private philanthropic organizations in L.A. to do so. Foundation founder/executive director Norman Buckley announced the program of two $10,000 grants, with planned ...

Kirk! UCLA Film Archive kicks off sweeping centenary celebration

Film · Visual arts
Would not dream of missing Friday’s opening night — or viewing many of the 25 film titles featured therein — of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s centenary retrospective for actor Kirk Douglas (b. 1916). In his 60-year career he appeared in 90 movies, so claims Wikipedia. The massive movie star still lives among us. Kirk ...

Jets & Sharks rumble @ Laemmle Anniversary Classics WSS screening

Dance · Film
A great evening on Wednesday when film critic Stephen Farber interviewed Russ Tamblyn (“Riff”) at a 55th anniversary screening of “West Side Story” before a very full house at the Laemmle Ahyra Fine Arts Theatre. A slew of dance royalty attended the screening: Dancer Bobby Banas (“Joyboy” in the movie), Barrie Chase of Fred Astaire ...