Kenneth Anger recalls blacklisted Jack Cole dancers 1

Dance · Film
The first time I heard the name Jack Cole was not from a dance person but from experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Upon hearing that I am a dance critic, Anger, 83, said: “Someone needs to write about Jack Cole.” Kenneth Anger has distinct memories of hanging out with Jack Cole dancers in Paris: “Hollywood was ...

Love among the geniuses

Film · Music
Read this story on The Huffington Post. Two recent biopics portray the torrid love lives of great artists — one of our favorite subjects. First, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009), a chicly decorated French film about a purported love affair between the stern couturière and the equally rigorous modernist composer — all while Mme ...

Philippe Petit, wired, even when not on wire 2

Dance · Language & ideas · Visual arts
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page “Falling is not my specialty,” quipped Philippe Petit in verbal jousting with “extreme” choreographer Elizabeth Streb during “Hammer Conversations” at the museum’s Billy Wilder Theater last week. Streb was describing how dance “must be extreme or no one will notice it as action.” In amazingly fluent English, Petit rejoined, ...

Our exigent film-viewing life in Los Angeles 2

Film
We are truly April fools! It’s a topsy-turvy world … because the laid-back capital of the universe is on fire with film events this month. We in Los Angeles are sweating bullets trying to attend all the film festivals on offer in our city. For film alone, the April line-up is quadruple-booked. arts•meme’s good friend, ...

Frederick Wiseman’s love letter to ballet 5

Dance · Film · Reviews
“I love ballet,” admits 79-year-old documentarian Frederick Wiseman, whose rigorous films on hospital management, meat processing, and public housing have given way to late-life examinations of art and the artistic process. “Dance is the creation of something absolutely beautiful,” he says. “Yet it’s not a fixed form. It’s ephemeral. It’s evanescent.” “I’m no expert,” he ...

Jerome Robbins in your living room 3

Dance · Film
The buzz on the PBS American Masters documentary about our brilliant American choreographer Jerome Robbins is very positive. I’m looking forward to it so much. Air time: Wednesday evening, February 18 @ 9 pm. Apropos Robbins, while in Paris in 2002, I encountered, totally by accident, a dance-film festival taking place in the downstairs screening room ...

Quatorze juillet – California edition 1

Film
We passed the la fete nationale, Bastille Day, as follows:  We attended a great LACMA double-bill featuring the suave, yet underrated, French film actor, Charles Boyer. C’etait vendredi, that was Friday. We then flew to San Francisco on Sunday and enjoyed a cafe creme and pain au chocolat at Cafe de la Presse. Vive la France.

I met Yves St. Laurent 2

Fashion
The death of fashion designer Yves St. Laurent June 1 reminded me of the time I met him in Beijing. The year was 1985. I was working for Banque Paribas, based in Hong Kong. During one of my business trips to Beijing, the French cultural commission staged a retrospective of Yves St. Laurent’s haute couture. This fashion expo ...