Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Featured · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

To higher musical spaces and places, with Jacaranda

Music
Chamber music, a relatively portable art form (relative to, say, a symphony orchestra), in May climbed our city’s peaks in celebration of The Big Vista, the annual summer party of our top-favorite contemporary-classical music series, Jacaranda. Bundling repertoire culled from the edgy, the new, and the yet-to-be-imagined into stimulating, curated concerts for receptive audiences in ...

“Dreamgirls”‘s Moya Angela to sing national anthem at Dodger Stadium 2

Theater
It’s Oh say can you see & And I am telling you — all in one fell swoop. We’re all looking forward to four performances of the Tony Award-laden “Dreamgirls” at the Valley Performing Arts Center in early May. And now all the more so — having learned that the production’s star, Moya Angela, will ...

Choreographer’s playlist for “Huma Rojo” … work it!

Dance · Music
Catalonian choreographer Cayetano Soto breaks from the tedium and slathers on the hot sauce. Soto’s tasty group choreography for “Huma Rojo,” his latest work for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, spools to this all-Latin-beat retro-soundtrack: Ray Barretto, El Watusi Xavier Cugat & Orchestra, Apache Perez Prado and His Orchestra, Quizas, Quizas, Quizas Abbe Lane, Whatever Lola ...

Class! John Pizzarelli’s Sinatra tribute at Valley Performing Arts Center

Music
I missed vaudeville. But I am making up for that loss by enjoying the rich artistic mash-ups and performance combos that Thor Steingraber is staging — he’s been inviting multifarious artists to share the stage of the sublimely intimate Valley Performing Arts Center where he is executive director. Anyone lucky enough to toast Frank Sinatra ...

Infectious holiday fun: “Salsa Navidad” at VPAC

Dance · Music
by 
Oscar Hernandez came of age in the burgeoning New York Latin music scene of the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Fania label recorded many of the greats canonized today: Willie Colón, Bobby Valentín, Pete Rodriquez, Johnny Pacheco, Cheo Feliciano, Larry Harlow, Hector Lavóe, Ray Barretto, Luis ‘Perico’ Ortíz, and Papo Lucca among others. It was ...

What a week! Los Angeles blossoms in the fine arts

Architecture & Design · Dance · Music · Reviews · Visual arts
I’ve inhabited Los Angeles more or less, since 1989. The city’s rich art existence, long undetected, has kept me busy and happy here. There is little doubt, however, that something arts-phenomenal is happening right now in our city. It must be true; the New York Times is sputtering about it all the time. In fact, ...

Diavolo meets New West Symphony at Valley Performing Arts Center 2

Architecture & Design · Dance · Music
We live in strong anticipation of DIAVOLO‘s season-opening “L’Espace du Temps” performance at the beautiful, acoustics-rich Valley Performing Arts Center. The performance will enjoy live orchestral accompaniment by New West Symphony, under the direction of Christopher Rountree, of a trio of scores by great composers: Foreign Bodies (2007, Esa-Pekka Salonen); Fearful Symmetries (2010, John Adams); ...

Hold onto your hats ~ here comes VPAC’s new season!

Dance · Music · Theater
A new season at a performing arts center arrives as a list, perhaps just like any list. But if you pause to peruse the rich offerings on tap at Valley Performing Arts Center in the coming season, 2015-16, you’ll feel the fun. Arts energy that is fun, youthful, excellent and diverse will emanate from Cal ...

Stellar dance company keeps Martha Graham forever young

Dance
Wow, Martha Graham. Your excellence, exactitude and relevance entered a new era as the vigorous and beautifully trained dancers of Martha Graham Dance Company simply shined in a well-selected repertory evening, Saturday, at Valley Performing Arts Center. Onto the generous and beautifully lit VPAC stage, before a notably rapt, sold-out audience, paraded the latest crop ...