Love for Ethel Martin

Dance · Film
The Jolson Story
Yes, love for Ethel Martin, the career-long Jack Cole dancer whose consistent, forthright and outspoken advocacy for Cole is nourishing my research. I agree with Ethel’s assessment whole-heartedly; she saw in Cole a great Unsung Genius. She devoted her career and all of her feisty spirit to him. In turn, I am doing my best ...

Let’s go to the drive-in.

Architecture & Design · Film · Visual arts
Projection for Two Stations a looping video will transform the parking lot of Bergamot Station Arts Center into a nightly pop-up drive-in movie. The clever creator of this best possible use of a Santa Monica evening is artist Alia Malley (b.1973, California). Malley received her BA in Critical Studies from USC School of Cinematic Arts ...

Movie machinations by Vincente Minnelli

Left to right:  Kirk Douglas, Claire Trevor and Edward G. Robinson in TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN (1962), directed by Vincente Minnelli.
A crazy-good pairing of movies, both which pull the audience behind the camera and into the world of film creativity, will close UCLA’s Kirk Douglas: A Centennial Celebration. Both flicks are biting fun, tongue-in-cheek. Both are directed by Vincente Minnelli. Both star Kirk Douglas. TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN (1962) concerns the wild-and-crazy scene filming ...

Eden Ahbez: the wild, the innocent & the Vine Street shuffle

[ed. note: author Kirk Silsbee’s story was originally published, in slightly different form, in the L.A.Weekly] Some people only have one hit record in them. History’s one-hit wonders make up a long, sometimes colorful and often tragic legion. Eden Ahbez was lucky. He had a compelling song, with an unusual melody and a gentle message ...

Rebecca Bruno’s walk around time at the Norton Simon Museum

Dance · Fashion · Visual arts
I like costumes and coifed hair on dancers. Big thumbs up. That’s only one reason I so enjoyed dancer/choreographer Rebecca Bruno’s solo outing, “Unfinished” at the Norton Simon Museum last Saturday afternoon. The intriguing hour-long work set to cool music by Sam Widaman and atmospheric scenic design and lighting by Yann Novak also came equipped with ...

Michael Vlatkovich’s unpredictable musical universe @ the Hammer

Michael Vlatkovich’s idiosyncratic music balances the meticulous writer with the laissez faire bandleader. The trombonist/composer has the uncommon luxury of convening seven pieces at the Hammer Museum’s free JazzPOP series this coming Thursday night. Drummer Chris Garcia, who has played with Vlatkovich since 1991, recalls a tour. “We had a new bass player,” Garcia says. ...

At Central Opera House, Cole choreographed ‘Bonanza Bound’

Architecture & Design · Dance
The former Central Opera House at 205 East 67th Street in New York City, pictured above. Here Jack Cole labored to create dance numbers for a notorious Broadway bomb, Bonanza Bound (1947). The turkey, however, had top talent behind it. A very rare musical flop by  Comden and Green. After their astonishing rise from cabaret ...

The sound of America, courtesy of MUSE/IQUE

Dance · Music
Enough of politicians yammering about being American! Let’s experience our national spirit in a much more intuitive manner, through art. Chamber-music series MUSE/IQUE is here to help. Established in 2011 by artistic director Rachel Worby (at left), the Pasadena-based MUSE/IQUE presents a three-concert summer lawn-festival across a dizzying array of genres — classical, ballet, jazz. ...

“Phantom Limb” group show @ Narzarian’s

Visual arts
Trenton Doyle Hancock, The Referee, 2014, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 66 inches x 108 inches. Courtesy of Hales Gallery, London This vivid and jam-packed work in acrylic paint part of an intriguing-looking new group show at Shulamith Nazarian gallery in Venice. Phantom Limb include works by the prolific Houston-based Trenton Doyle Hancock, as ...

A tradition of dance carries forth at the Norton Simon

Dance · Visual arts
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), c. 1000 India: Tamil Nadu, 975-1025 Bronze 31-3/4 x 24 in. (80.6 x 61.0 cm) The Norton Simon Foundation This gorgeous statuary — Shiva, as the Lord of Dance — reigns supreme in the Norton Simon Museum’s distinctive collection of Asian art, and has done so for many years. ...