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

Film
“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

Music
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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 ...

Cindy Sherman, Broadly speaking

Visual arts
“As a man, it makes me agitated to see images of women looking so distressed,” a fellow critic remarked to me as we inched through the progressively disturbing galleries of The Broad‘s first dedicated special exhibition. “Imitation of Life,” a 120-image, encompassing career retrospective, showcases the prodigious output of renowned self-portraitist/performance artist/photographer Cindy Sherman. As ...

TCM Fest: Angela Lansbury brings wit, hauteur, menace to ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

Film
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In 1961 Angela Lansbury was playing the mother of rising star Warren Beatty in All Fall Down, an intense family drama adapted by playwright William Inge from the novel by James Leo Herlihy. In that film she seemed thoroughly convincing as the overbearing mother to Beatty, even though she was only 11 years older than ...

Gina! The great Lollobrigida appears @ TCM Fest 2

Film
So much fun, at Friday’s TCM Fest 2016, to view director Carol Reed’s marvelous Cinemascope circus movie, “Trapeze,” a color-drenched treatment of a world gone-by; the setting, a circus smack in the middle of Paris. Cast as a foxy and ambitious she-acrobat, Gina Lollobrigida brings her earthy presence to the film, as she jockeys her ...

A visit with Anna Karina @ TCM Fest 2016

Film
Looking forward to hearing French New Wave film goddess, Anna Karina, introduce Jean-Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders at TCM Fest 2016 this weekend. Karina, a Danish-French actress, director and writer is known for roles in influential French New Wave films, including A Woman is a Woman (1961), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965) and Pierrot ...

Fonda & Friend feted by Pasadena Playhouse

Theater
The inestimable Jane Fonda, two times an Oscar winner and an inspirational figure to many women, together with her significant other, record producer Richard Perry, will be honored at an annual fundraiser at the historic Pasadena Playhouse. Billed as “the best party in Pasadena,” this happy occasion merits a wish, You go girl! And you ...

Peggy’s place

Film · Visual arts
Art of This Century, view of the Abstract Gallery, New York, ca. 1943. Courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Left to right (paintings): Vasily Kandinsky, Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2, 1913; Kazimir Malevich, Untitled, ca. 1916; Francis Picabia, Very Rare Picture on Earth, 1915; Albert Gleizes, Woman with Animals (Madame Raymond Duchamp-Villon), 1914 (partially visible ...

Julie Christie, in message, remembers Omar Sharif, David Lean

Film
A highlight of Wednesday night’s wonderful Laemmle Theatres “Anniversary Classics” series screening of DR. ZHIVAGO (1964) had host Stephen Farber delivering a personal message from actress Julie Christie sent especially for the occasion. The note concerned her dashing leading man, Omar Sharif, whose death on July 10, 2015 the screening was dedicated to memorializing. Sharif ...