Marvelous Marvin Hamlisch takes up Pasadena Pops baton 2

Music
“I love Pasadena,” proclaimed Pasadena Pops’s new conductor, Marvin Hamlisch, perfectly suited for the family-oriented position because he’s no shrinking violet. The veteran composer of Broadway (“A Chorus Line”) and Hollywood film (“The Way We Were,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Sting”) continued: “I like the idea of being around talent in L.A. and Hollywood. We can ...

Choreographer Kyle Abraham, Pittsburgh homeboy, BESSIE awardee

Dance
Gifted dance artist Kyle Abraham, whose “The Radio Show” just won a Bessie Award, and who I immensely enjoyed meeting at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in August, is my homeboy from Pittsburgh. Never mind that I’m a good twenty years older than Kyle — a full generation. He and I share a few Pittsbuggian, er ...

Kyle Abraham makes it or breaks it

Dance · Music
“I got really frustrated when a good song got ‘broken,'” says the soft-spoken young choreographer, Kyle Abraham, chatting over breakfast at Jacob’s Pillow this past weekend. “I’d call the station many times to vote in support [of cutting-edge music the audience didn’t like.]” During my three-day visit to the historic summer dance venue, I enjoyed ...

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...

Mike and Julia 4

Film · Language & ideas
After immensely enjoying the Nora Ephron film, “Julie and Julia,” I remembered that decades ago my father, Mike Levine, interviewed Julia Child on his talk show on KDKA, Pittsburgh’s 50,000-watt AM radio station. My dad, who during the “Madmen” era looked, dressed, and smoked like Don Draper, interviewed everyone — from his days as a ...

Twyla, Laura, and me 7

Dance · Reviews
When American women demanded, and then seized, social and sexual liberation in 1970, I was an intense 15-year-old high-school girl in suburban Pittsburgh. Feminism hit me hard and it formed me. I entered young womanhood with the lovely delusion that life would deliver every achievement and pleasure I sought. Five years later, having already burned through ...

Nijinsky danced in Pittsburgh 5

Dance
Santonio Holmes’s game-winning Super Bowl pass reception for the Pittsburgh Steelers reminds me of ballet! It’s a very dancerly moment. He’s reaching up with all his might to catch the football. He’s reaching down with all his might to keep his toes in-bound. Santonio’s outstanding litheness is unsurprising in view of my recent discovery that brilliant Ballets Russes dancer-choreographer, ...

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 ...