Liza with a Z at “Last Remaining Seats” 1

Architecture & Design · Film
I love the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats summer film festival on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Nothing in our city compares to it as a community event. (Lakers fans may disagree!) To sit in the faded remains of downtown’s glamorous vintage theaters, chock-a-block with an excited, engaged, clapping, laughing, appreciative audience, watching classic ...

La Barbra at BevHills Bergman tribute 2

Film · Music
Barbra Streisand is still a very big star. This was extremely evident at last night’s Alan & Marilyn Bergman tribute at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Wilshire Boulevard outpost. The tribute opened with a film clip of Barbra ogling Robert Redford in Sydney Pollack’s The Way We Were (1973). It closed with Babs, ten years later, ...

Wolf men and other men 2

Film
“It’s rare to truly see a film anymore,” said Robert Boyle, opening a conversation at the Art Directors Society tribute at the Egyptian Theater Sunday night. The legendary art director followed that enigmatic statement by noting how television technique has infiltrated feature film production — in a bad way. According to Boyle, today’s movies are “all ...

The devilish Madam Satan 6

Dance · Film
This is the amazing “electricity” dance sequence from Cecil B. DeMille’s early talkie Madam Satan (1930). A socialite costume ball is taking place — where else? — in a moored zeppelin. The floor show, pictured above, features the fearsome dancing of Theodore Kosloff, a former Ballets Russes star who lived in Los Angeles and acted in many DeMille silent ...

Jewish prince of Hollywood 1

Film
What can I, a mere mortal, possibly add to the legend of Irving Thalberg, Hollywood’s “boy wonder” producer who helped transform American movie making from a haphazard endeavor into a real industry; indeed a mass-market, fantasy production line. Starting as a secretary to “Uncle” Carl Laemmle at the tender age of 20, Thalberg earned stripes at Universal by bossing ...

Girl Power 2

Dance · Film
The home-run event of the summer was Howard Hawks’s comic masterpiece, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), projected on the humongous screen of the vintage Los Angeles Theater (1931) on Broadway in downtown L.A. Viewed as oversized fleshy Amazons whose umpteen parts miraculously move together, MM and Jane Russell cruise through this nutty film, singing, dancing, and ...