Mae I entertain you, asks Ms. West

Actress, singer, comedienne, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol — no, we’re not describing  arts∙meme. Rather, it’s the inimitable movie star Mae West. Movieland’s most provocative purveyor of dirty double-entendres did her job while strapped into an hour-glass figure. West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the New York stage before moving to ...

Fare-thee-well, glorious Kathak dancer Chitesh Das 2

Saddened to hear news of the departure from Planet Earth of the great San Francisco-based Kathak dancer, Pandit Chitresh Das, whose brilliant cultural ambassadorship for his native art form extended to a eye (and brain)-popping performance at Grand Performances last September. [arts·meme loved and reviewed the show here] We also saw Chitresh hit the floorboards, hard, ...

Finessing Fosse’s furious, filigreed dance style

New Yorkers can sign on — hey, Angelenos may like to fly east — for a rare opportunity. It’s January’s installment of a monthly master-class series that seeks to preserve a classic American jazz-dance vernacular: the angular, syncopated dance jive fostered by choreographer Bob Fosse. A good sampling of Fosse’s house-style is on view in ...

Cleopatra enters Rome, courtesy of Hermes Pan 1

Dance · featured · Film
Excerpted from John Franceschina’s recent Hermes Pan biography, On 10 May 1961, Pan worked out an agreement with [“Cleopatra” producer Walter] Wanger in which he would provide choreography for the film at $2,000 a week, guaranteed for no less than fifteen consecutive weeks. In addition, he was guaranteed credit as “Choreography by Hermes Pan” on ...

Around the movie world in five days: Golden Globes foreign-film screenings

It’s that time of year. Buck up, buckeroo. Sweat out your holiday cocktailing and get back to business. In Los Angeles, fortunately, “business” takes the form of “pleasure,” as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the American Cinematheque buddy up for annual screenings of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film award in advance of ...

Merry Christmas, Adolf! ~ love, TCM 2

Dance · Film
Achtung, baby! Righteous programming, this Christmas night, from Turner Classic Movies: choreographer/director Alan Johnson’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1984), a remake of the Lubitsch political satire, well selected on this day of off-the-grid distribution of North Korea spoof, “The Interview.” Johnson and the great Mel Brooks collaborated on this promotional video for the ...

Sid Grauman, Kim Jong Un collude on Christmas to screen “The Interview” 1

Film · Language & ideas
In a cultural mash-up that could perhaps happen anywhere — but let’s face it, it succeeds best in crazy Los Angeles — a Jew and a North Korean are celebrating Jesus’s birthday by screening “The Interview” at the Egyptian Theatre, the movie palace Sid Grauman built in 1922. The screenings are the best rebuttal to ...

Mitchell Leisen’s first design project? A costume for Martha Graham!

Dance · Film
Los Angeles has long been an arts beehive, dating back to the 1910s when modern-dance goddess Martha Graham and film director Mitchell Leisen converged here. We enjoyed receiving this amazing Los Angeles dance-film anecdote from Norton Owen, a friend of arts·meme and the Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Writes Norton: I am ...

Discount tickets for Laemmle “Fiddler on the Roof” an arts·meme holiday “tradition”

An alternative Christmas eve outing … We want to warmly invite readers of all holiday persuasions to join arts·meme‘s Debra Levine for the fun Christmas Eve Singalong Fiddler on the Roof at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 theater in Pasadena. For the second year, Debra has the honor of hosting the seven-year-running “tradition” on behalf of ...

Shtetl soul to rock citywide Laemmle Theatre “Fiddler” screenings 1

Dance · Film
On view here Jerome Robbins’s great “bottle dance” rising in a cloud of soulful Jewish peasant-dust at the wedding ‘banquet’ of Tzeitel and Motel. Apropos this brilliant dance number — for this dance critic the indelible imprint of director Norman Jewison’s surprisingly powerful visual recreation of the Eastern European world of the ‘shtetl’ Jews — ...