La belle Catherine … Deneuve

Film
The film goddess Catherine Deneuve, at 66 larger than life, still impossibly beautiful, and emanating the off-putting mix of power and femininity that characterizes French women (and intimidates me!), received the audience’s full adulation in a personal appearance tonight at LACMA’s Bing Theater. Fittingly, today is International Women’s Day. Et quelle femme! We’d just watched ...

A martini with Jane Fonda 2

Film
“If you’d had the day I’ve had, you’d be drinking a martini,” said Jane Fonda, as she entered LACMA’s Bing Theater, speaking directly to the audience before taking her seat on stage. She was slated for a conversation prior to the screening of Alan Pakula’s marvelous thriller “Klute,” the actress’s breakthrough dramatic role from 1971. Still ...

James Dean would follow Eartha Kitt anywhere! 1

Dance · Film · Music
Even to Katherine Dunham‘s dance class circa 1955 … but who wouldn’t? Eartha Kitt danced with the Dunham troupe from age 16 to 20, approximately, touring Europe, and becoming a cabaret sensation in Paris. James Dean, on the other hand … this great photo care of koolcatshipchicksblog. fabulous dunham historic photos here.

The Lion Queen 2

Film
Calling all moms! You think you have it rough. Then try just one day as Ma Di Tau, lioness, a single mother raising three urchins in the open plains of Botswana. You’re moving neighborhoods, you’ve got the kids in tow, and, OMG, they’re all still nursing. There are vicious (male) lions advancing on you from ...

L’Enfer: Clouzot’s movie project from hell 1

Film · Visual arts
Film director Henri-Georges Clouzot nearly lost his mind, as well as his career and even his life, obsessing over the Austrian-born multilingual actress Romy Schneider. In 1963, Clouzot, then one of France’s most acclaimed filmmakers, began work on “L’Enfer,” a tale of male jealousy and madness. A blank check from Columbia Pictures burning in his ...

Judy Garland doesn’t care, and I don’t care either! 1

Dance · Film · Music
Judy Garland kills in the arts•meme theme song, “I Don’t Care,” from “In the Good Old Summertime” (1943). They say I’m crazy Got no sense But I don’t care They may or may not mean offense But I don’t care You see, I’m sort of independent I am my own superintendent And my star is ...

C.B.’s captivating “Cleopatra”

Film
We just loved Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra (1934)  — a movie that burns at high voltage for one hundred entertaining minutes. It looked all the better projected onto the Egyptian Theater’s humongous screen. Scott Eyman, author of the new DeMille biography, “Empire of Dreams,” was on hand to banter about the film with critic Leonard ...

Mitzi Gaynor fabulous in Jack Cole’s “I Don’t Care” 1

Dance · Film
I love everything about this amazing, high-spirited dance sequence choreographed by Jack Cole for The I Don’t Care Girl (1953). “I don’t care. I don’t care. What people think of me. I’m happy, go-lucky, men say that I’m plucky, so jolly and carefree!” From the first frames — the camera shooting upward through a mirror ...

Meredith Monk, liberator of singers

Dance · Music · Reviews
Multimedia artist Meredith Monk, labeled avant-garde for her reducing of dance, music, and drama to their most basic and powerful elements, gave the great voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale a remarkable gift: their bodies. Halfway through “Songs of Ascension,” the final work of Sunday evening’s Monk tribute, the singers circulated the stage of Disney ...

Travis Banton turned tootsies into stars 1

Fashion · Film
I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with writer David Chierichetti, the film fashion expert. David is the biographer of the under appreciated film director Mitchell Leisen; costume designer Edith Head; and he is author of coffee table volume, Hollywood Costume Design. Driving in L.A. traffic en route to the Egyptian Theater, ...