Errol Flynn could dance, insists Julie Newmar

Dance · Film
Julie on set in gold head-to-toe makeup applied by makeup man Antole Robbins, Flynn observing at rear c. 1952

Beyond his many physical gifts that made him the most derring-do of screen actors to famously do his own stuntwork, the long-legged Aussie-born movie star, Erroll Flynn (1909-1959) could also dance. Who knew? It was a gem of a factoid shared in an interview with dancer/Cat Woman, Julie Newmar. She is someone who would know, she worked with Flynn on a project in Cuba, we are not yet certain its title.

“I want to tell you something else,” Julie told me. “Something he’s never been given credit for. This person is a non dancer. But he was a natural. He was born on the island of Australia, and that was Errol Flynn. If you can find him doing a song and dance number; I have never seen such a natural dancer, singer. He is known only as an actor, his timing was out of this world, his instincts were better than dancer-dancers.”

Errol Flynn, dancer
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Debunked! Bunker Hill, unblemished, in new book

Reviews

By day, it wasn’t an ‘urban underbelly.’ It was Anytown USA, a hustle-bustle neighborhood of oversized Victorian homes with porticoes and porch swings; corner grocery stores, playgrounds and bus stops. It was the terminus of the charming funicular, Angel’s Flight, that shuttled workers to and from their downtown Los Angeles jobs. By day, the flattish hilltop community was flooded by California sun. After sunset, it was a town transformed. That’s when the bars, the broads, and the bad-boys, the losers and the lost ones, skulked the streets creating a mythic identity of L.A. Noir forever linked to old Bunker Hill.

This urban saga is on offer in a new thinnish tome, Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir. The author is Nathan Marsak, a Los Angeles historian and preservation advocate.

Marsak tells the story of the district’s inception in the mid-19th century to its present day. Once home to the wealthy living in Los Angeles’s ‘first suburb,’ then the epicenter of the city’s shifting demographics, Bunker Hill survived its attempted erasure and reemerged as a hub of arts, politics, business, and tourism. It went from bad boys to ballet boys.

photo courtesy nathan marsak

We asked a friend of artsmeme, Chris Nichols, an author, cultural historian and bright light behind the “Ask Chris,” column of Los Angeles Magazine, to give us his reaction to the book.

I liked the book a lot. Nathan Marsak is brilliant and funny. He manages to weave several interconnected stories about politics, urbanism, art, film noir, redevelopment, as well as a straight history of how this neighborhood came to be — and how it came to be destroyed. The destruction of Bunker Hill is a great Los Angeles myth which everyone approaches with some intrinsic bias (like the history of Dodger Stadium) and Marsak does a good job of being impartial. He’s passionate, but not placing blame on any one person or side. He obviously spent years on research and you can tell. He talks as though he were there — and that’s my favorite kind of historian.

Chris Nichols, on ‘Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir
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Kristina for king!

Ideas & Opinion · Theater
We already have a king. Some people feel we need a new one. Why not Kristina Wong? She’s nice. She’s funny. And she’s handy with a pandemic. When COVID-19 hit us with our proverbial pants down, she stepped into the breech, making face masks and using the radical route of the United States Postal Service ...

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Ballet’s finest execs discuss challenges to female leadership in art form

Dance
The moderator convened this on-line discussion during “a pivotal moment in our history and so much challenge for ballet.” That’s according to Kathryn Roszak, Artistic Director of Danse Lumière and a former artist with San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet, in leading a pithy discussion that illuminates a trend we have lived through in ...

Book review: Post-modern vaudeville … from The Grand Union

Dance · Reviews
by 
dilley, arnold, rainer, grand union Ed. note: Guest author Elizabeth Zimmer contributes this review of Wendy Perron‘s new book, The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970-1976. If you miss dance in our time of pandemic-related deprivation, get this book. Wendy Perron, a near-contemporary and sometime colleague of members of the Grand Union, was ...

Breathe in, breathe out: Westside Ballet’s ‘Grace & Grit’ drive-in movie event

Dance · Film
joy womack, for westside ballet Attention, all dance-deprived! A fun event, with a poignant underpinning, will be a pop-up drive-in movie evening of filmed dance offerings hosted by Westside Ballet in tandem with the Public Policy Institute of Santa Monica College. I like how it puts dance — and the determination to present dance — ...

A Martha Graham x-ray of Trump’s COVID medical team

Dance · Ideas & Opinion
“The body never lies.” This aphorism is taught to every student of Dance History 101. It comes from Martha Graham, who received it from her father, Dr. George Graham, a neurological physician. “Martha, you must never lie to me, because movement never lies, and when I see your body I’ll know you are lying.” Dr. ...

Still stimulating: ‘The Grand Union’ in 50th anniversary conversation

Dance
A special on-line convocation of a dance-talk series hosted by Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Place in New York’s East Village, Conversation Without Walls, will take place November 21. Participants include weighty women of the arts, the dancer and Danspace co-founder, Barbara Dilley, and artist, Yvonne Rainer, and writer, Wendy Perron. To mark the 50th ...

Make ’em laff, virtually! Palm Springs International Comedy Festival 2020

Film · Theater
mad, mad, mad, etc. made in palm springs For those of you having trouble eking out a grin behind a face mask, we have just the solution. Laff, guffaw, giggle, chuckle, and bray like a hyena in your mask-free living room from October 11 – 18. That’s when the Palm Springs International Comedy Festival offers ...

Jazz serendipity: Alan Broadbent Trio’s ‘Trio in Motion’

Music · Reviews
by 
The longstanding professional relationships of the Alan Broadbent Trio might indicate that the recording at hand is the result of a comfy, well-worn process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each selection of their new album, Trio in Motion (Savant) is a journey, and the performances are travelogues that sometimes surprise the musicians as much ...