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 ...

Ow! Betty Grable sizzles in Jack Cole choreography 2

Dance · Film
Jack Cole and Betty Grable were drinking buddies and they loved each other. He called her “Thumper” and she matched his stream of curse words one-for-one. He kicked her sagging career into high gear and she relied on him. I love how she shakes it in this number, video below. It’s “How Come You Do ...

Jack Cole’s modern-dance roots at the Pillow

Dance · Film
Norton Owen, Director of Preservation at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshire Mountains, initiated a celebration of the jazz choreographer, Jack Cole in August. In the video below Owen, joined by dance historian Maura Keefe and southern California’s own Larry Billman (at 8:17), discusses Cole’s early career and clarifies his connection to the place ...

Jack Cole & Marilyn Monroe reunite at Jacob’s Pillow

Dance · Film
It was my great honor to join a panel at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival on Saturday, August 14, 2010, to honor the peerless jazz choreographer Jack Cole, whom I revere and about whom I have written. As a former Denishawn dancer, Cole had a distinct history at “The Pillow.” Here I contribute a snippet about Cole’s choreography for Marilyn Monroe ...

Start ’em young 1

Jack Cole dancer Nita Bieber coaches her nephew, Christopher, in ballet at an early age. From Life Magazine in 1949.

Jack Cole bangs the drum, but not slowly 1

Norton Owen, Jacob Pillow‘s wonderful Preservation Director, gave kind permission to publish this extraordinary photo of Jack Cole teaching class at the rustic dance retreat in 1971.  (Click photo for detail.) A Jack Cole dancer, Rod Alexander, once described how the ferociously intense choreographer would give his drum as much of a beating as he ...

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 ...

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 ...

Jack Cole to be celebrated at Jacob’s Pillow 2

Dance · Film
arts·meme‘s Debra Levine is proud to announce her participation, on Saturday, August 14, at 4 pm, in “Jack Cole, Unsung Genius” a celebration of the innovative jazz choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the summer dance camp for grown ups in Becket, Massachusetts. The Cole commemoration fits surprisingly well with Jacob’s Pillow history. In his ...

Jane Russell remembers “Gentleman” Jack Cole 2

Dance · Film
“Yes,” answered Jane Russell last Wednesday evening, nodding emphatically when asked if choreographer Jack Cole had directed the dance sequences in Howard Hawks’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953). Russell’s brown eyes flashed and she became animated on hearing Cole’s name. The brunette bombshell of the 1940/50’s, appearing at a Hollywood Heritage event this past week, chatted ...