Kalman show closing soon at Skirball

Visual arts
The whimsical flotsam and jetsam of the graphic designer, magazine illustrator, children’s book writer and tchotchke collector Maira Kalman is on view at the  Skirball Center through February 13. The impressive show, “Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World),” displays Kalman’s prodigious output. Yes, I bought Kalman’s illustrated Strunk and White at the gift shop. Because ...

Pavlova’s “Dumb Girl,” her sole Hollywood hurrah

Dance · Film
We recently wrote about Anna Pavlova’s foray to Hollywood in 1915 to star in “The Dumb Girl of Portici” at Universal Pictures under female director Lois Weber. That’s Pavlova getting manhandled on the left. At the far right stands Weber, megaphone in her hand. Espying the chaos, bedecked in jodphurs and kneeboots, is Weber’s husband, Philips ...

Anna Pavlova visits Hollywood 3

Dance · Film
It was standard practice at Universal Studios in the silent film era to have observers on the set. We wrote about this in a previous post. One movie star proved the exception to this rule. Not an actor, but a dancer. And not just any dancer, but ballet’s first superstar, Anna Pavlova, the great globe-trotting ballerina ...

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 ...