Fran at the Ace: fresh, frank … fraught!

Fashion · Language & ideas

Of her many accolades and achievements, what we find most cool and enviable about essayist/raconteur Fran Lebowitz is Vanity Fair having named her as one of the most stylish women of the year. Obviously she looks good so she’ll fit right into Los Angeles, at her upcoming “Fran Lebowitz in Conversation” event presented by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA). She also has a few ideas. That’s the New York part.

You can experience the innards of her brain tumbling forth in a verbal cascade — doesn’t that sound magical? — at the infinitely boss Theatre at the Ace Hotel. This talk-a-thon is one of the big-name 2018-19 season openers for CAP, the esteemed presentation series that this year will offer 14 shows at the Ace, a historic refurbished movie house in downtown Los Angeles. Lebowitz will parry and chatter with KCRW’s Matt Holzman whom we hope is up to the task. (Maybe practice with Warren Olney?)

We’re fans of the fran-ciful Lebowitz having read her two bestselling books of essays, Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981). We have seen her appear in numerous provocative documentaries including Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016), Regarding Susan Sontag (2014), and Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990). Lebowitz’s own Martin Scorsese-directed documentary, Public Speaking, premiered on HBO in 2010.

Her stature as a cultural critic and keen observer of human nature puts her in the league of a modern-day Dorothy Parker. This modern-day Sheila Graham looks forward to a lady-writer face-off at the Ace.

Fran Lebowitz in Conversation | The Theatre at Ace Hotel | Sun Sept 30

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Flourishing Los Angeles experimental dance scene of the ’80s recalled


ed. note: We hear much about the current vigor of Los Angeles dance. A guest writer, the visual artist Steve DeGroodt adds his historic perspective in this essay contributed to the blog.

There is a vibrancy and presence that has been missing in the world of dance in Los Angeles for some time. What once was vital is now vacant, a fallow field once replete with exciting possibilities of movement.

Simone Forti
is perhaps the only veteran performer who can still challenge an audience with what dance can be. She, however, is a beacon whose light is fading. Where are the younger dance performers to take her place? (If such a thing is possible which I don’t believe it is.) Simone brought her own identity, a unique art of movement that referenced earlier pedestrian and task-oriented movement of the 1960s.

So too choreographer Rudy Perez. His vision of dance manifest the potentiality of movement. One that explored the existential coupling and spinning of partners only to fall away. Their communication breakdown gave one pause to reflect upon one’s own life.

Though he no longer is actively performing, Rudy still conducts a workshop every Sunday at West Side Dance Academy in West Los Angeles. But to whom does he pass the torch? Where is the dance of our time? Where is audience?   

I can remember that, in the 1980s and ’90s, Los Angeles dance was on fire. So many dance performance and festivals. One in particular, The Los Angeles Festival, in September of 1987 stands out. The lineup: Compagnie Maguy Marin, The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, La, La La Human Steps, Lyon Opera Ballet, Lewitzky Dance Company, Peter Brook’s Mahabarata, The Wooster Group, Rachael Rosenthal, and more. And of course The Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble.  All this in a period of three weeks.

 As a visual artist collaborating with Rudy on his dance performance piece Equal Time, for the Los Angeles Festival, it was a time of insight. One that would lead to the 1992 Dance Crazy Kid from New Jersey Meets Hofmannsthal – our second collaboration.

Yes, it was a different time, a time when support for the arts was a real thing. My hope is that like a field that has gone fallow, it will in due time be re-nourished by the nutrients of support — a rich moment to return again. One with dance performers vital and relevant to our times.

Steve DeGroodt is a musician, a painter and sculptor. His work is now on view in Phantom Lim at Torrence Art Museum. The Echo Park Film Center will screen two of his films Sunday August 19.

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Message from Shepard: “Thanks for caring about climate change”

Visual arts
Obey Fire Sale. 18 x 24 inches. Screen print on cream Speckle Tone paper. Signed by Shepard Fairey. Numbered edition of 550. $55. Available Thursday, August 16, 10 am (PST) on in Store under Prints. Limit 1 per person/household. Artist’s Statement My “Obey” print is a comment on the challenges any individual faces pushing ...



The valleys are alive with the sound of gibberish, courtesy of artist Paul McCarthy

Dance · Film · Language & ideas · Music · Theater
Maria, pictured above and played by Julie Andrews in the syrupy Hollywood movie-musical, The Sound of Music (1965), delivers her iconic hilltop anthem, but in a bizarro version created by visual artist Paul McCarthy, her scale runs do ti la so fa mi re do. McCarthy created cisuM fo dnuoS ehT / The Sound of ...

Ford Theatre’s magical August dance-weekend adds intimacy

Architecture & Design · Dance · Featured
Unicorns and moonbeams! That magical stuff will spool at the Ford Amphitheatre when the beloved outdoor stage winds toward summer’s-end 2018. Lending unusual piquancy in a special dance-weekend are full-evening works by up-and-coming choreographers: Marjani Forté-Saunders (Aug 24, 25) and Stephanie Zaletel (Aug 26 only). To accommodate the intimate, experimental nature of these dance performances, ...

Makarova/Godunov triumph in Don Q. Watch and enjoy.

Both Russian-trained sensations. She of the Kirov, he of the Bolshoi. Both Soviet defectors. I never saw him dance in person. I saw her dance many times, with ABT. Note his one-armed lift (of her) at 0:53. Note her turns — every last one of them. Her turns breathe. See her (twice-executed) en dedans pirouette, ...

Bob Fosse, dancer, at UCLA Film & Television Archive

Dance · Featured · Film
We’re all familiar with Bob Fosse, choreographer, and Bob Fosse, film director, right? And if we aren’t, UCLA Film & Television Archive is giving us a great opportunity to catch up as it celebrates a key influencer of modern cinema in “Fosse, Fosse, Fosse!” Fosse was a rarity … he advanced from dancer to choreographer ...

Osipova in premiere as Isadora Duncan at Segerstrom

How will the California-born Isadora Duncan be remembered 50 years from now? As the woman whose barefoot, Greek-vase inspired abandon birthed the modern dance movement? Or for her shocking, free-love lifestyle in Europe and Russia and early tragic death – decapitated by scarf while riding in a Bugatti sports car? To the uninitiated, and by ...

Tarantino’s dream: the Pussycat meets the Bookshop 2

Architecture & Design · Film · Language & ideas
Women around the world are beside themselves with joy to see movie director Quentin Tarantino bring back the sleaze old days of the late sixties, when XXX-rated porn movies spooled at the bygone Pussycat Theatre. Admittedly, even I miss rolling by this colorful (ahem, it was the color purple) ediface of screaming architecture on the ...

Pavilion ‘Levitt-ates’ our city, says Mayor Eric Garcetti

Architecture & Design · Music
I love the Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles. But don’t listen to me. Listen to Mayor Garcetti, who calls it a “spark” and a “community asset” whose “vitality is a model of urban revitalization.” According to Garcetti, “We can have all the best clean-up in the world, but if there’s nothing in between that keeps people ...