Mae I entertain you, asks Ms. West

Actress, singer, comedienne, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol — no, we’re not describing  arts∙meme. Rather, it’s the inimitable movie star Mae West. Movieland’s most provocative purveyor of dirty double-entendres did her job while strapped into an hour-glass figure. West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the New York stage before moving to ...

Cleopatra enters Rome, courtesy of Hermes Pan 1

Dance · Film
Excerpted from John Franceschina’s recent Hermes Pan biography, On 10 May 1961, Pan worked out an agreement with [“Cleopatra” producer Walter] Wanger in which he would provide choreography for the film at $2,000 a week, guaranteed for no less than fifteen consecutive weeks. In addition, he was guaranteed credit as “Choreography by Hermes Pan” on ...

Merry Christmas, Adolf! ~ love, TCM 3

Dance · Film
Achtung, baby! Righteous programming, this Christmas night, from Turner Classic Movies: choreographer/director Alan Johnson’s TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1984), a remake of the Lubitsch political satire, well selected on this day of off-the-grid distribution of North Korea spoof, “The Interview.” Johnson and the great Mel Brooks collaborated on this promotional video for the ...

Mitchell Leisen’s first design project? A costume for Martha Graham!

Dance · Film
Los Angeles has long been an arts beehive, dating back to the 1910s when modern-dance goddess Martha Graham and film director Mitchell Leisen converged here. We enjoyed receiving this amazing Los Angeles dance-film anecdote from Norton Owen, a friend of arts·meme and the Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Writes Norton: I am ...

God dances, courtesy of director Charles Walters, on TCM

Dance · Film
Fred Astaire wants to be a dancin’ man in THE BELLE OF NEW YORK (1952). Do you think he succeeds? Part of Turner Classic Movies Friday Night Spotlights devoted to the dancing movies, and more, of director Charles Walters.

Mitzi Gaynor to “go on with the show!” @ “There’s No Business … ” screening

Dance · Film
We are so looking forward to big screen viewing, on its 60th anniversary, of 20th Century-Fox’s star-studded Cinemascope colossus, THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS (1954) next Tuesday, Dec 9 at the Regent Theater. [Everything you ever wanted to know about “There’s No Business” on this amazing webpage… ] The musical, chock filled with great ...

How “Birdcage” choreographer Vince Paterson created ‘Fosse Fosse Fosse’ number 4

Dance · Film
“I had the joy of working with Mike Nichols twice. First on “The Birdcage,” and then on “Closer,” I directed Natalie [Portman] and Clive [Owen] in some movement.” We were chatting with choreographer Vincent Paterson on the sad occasion of the death of director Mike Nichols. While working on “The Birdcage,” Paterson created, on the ...

Tyrone Power, divine, disheveled

We’re super looking forward to seeing Tyrone Power in a less discombobulated state than in this make-up test for “Nightmare Alley.” That is on offer Friday night at a screening of jazz movie, ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND (1938), at wonderful Barnsdall Art Park. The 100th birthday party for the handsome actor will feature introductions by his children, ...

Queen Liz gorgeously garbed in ‘Hollywood Costume’

Fashion · Film · Visual arts
The pinnacle (for this viewer), tour-de-force display of the Motion Picture Academy’s “Hollywood Costume,” now on view at LACMA’s May Company building, comes about mid-way through the multi-room exhibition and stretches across a long platform. “A Royal Romance” features a sumptuous swathe of historic Hollywood costumes that have dressed movie characters of British nobility — ...

Vaslav & the Tramp 2

Dance · Film
Los Angeles, 1916: An encounter between two great body-artists — Vaslav Nijinsky and Charles Chaplin. Never saw Nijinsky looking happier. Like this? Read more: The Tramp meets the Dying Swan Charlie Chaplin in China