It’s Jack Cole time Tuesday on FX’s ‘Fosse/Verdon’

Dance · Film

Actor Christopher Tocco, above, plays Jack Cole in a backstage scene with the young Gwen Verdon in FX’s blockbuster eight-episode docu-drama, “Fosse/Verdon.”

“Fosse/Verdon”‘s backstage scene between Verdon and her mentor Jack Cole is preceded by a Jack Cole jazz number vividly choreographed by “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, who is a co-producer of this series. Out with a bang, shot from a cannon, come four men and one women. It’s oh so very brief! But it conveys immediately that something new and very cool is detonating on the nightclub floor before the young Gwen Verdon’s impressionable eyes.

Blankenbuehler’s choreography strikes me as inspired by “Beale Street Blues” performed by the Cole dancers in a television appearance on the Sid Caesar Show led by Chita Rivera, who is partnered by Cole, circa 1960.

Chita was recently interviewed by Vincent Dowd of the BBC about Cole just last week (I am also part of the show!). And watch Fosse/Verdon Tuesday night!

“Beale Street” in its original permutation appeared in The I Don’t Care Girl (Fox 1953) danced by, in appearance order, Gwen Verdon (she’s out first in her hot-pink ensemble, to a blaring trumpet), Julie Newmar (seated in chair) Matt Mattox and Marc Wilder, entering together. Then out comes Mitzi, watch out! and more. An insanely brilliant dance number. Rich!! Do you wanna see Gwen Verdon dance? I mean really dance? Watch below.

“Me and My Baby,” epi 3 of “Fosse/Verdon” | FX |Tues April 23, 10 pm

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Silent Movie Theatre before/after #metoo accusation

Architecture & Design · Film

Maybe I’m too old but I don’t really feel like investigating what occurred, or didn’t, or the truth to the accusations. All I know is that the disbanding of The Cinefamily began with complaints about male chauvinism, or “institutional” disrespect for women, or rumors of a real crime, rape. This is rumor. It led to the unraveling of The Cinefamily’s obviously vulnerable organization which, despite some clearly miscreant behavior, managed to project movies onto the screen at the former Silent Movie Theater for a frothy group of followers, both guys and gals. I certainly enjoyed going there from time to time. And I liked seeing the place. Anyway, that was then. Here is how it looks now — unblemished by sexual harassment, but highly blemished by graffiti. A dismaying sight.

Silent Movie Theatre April 2019, photo by Chris Nichols

Here is the story, in Variety, dateline Nov 14, 2017:

Los Angeles independent film venue Cinefamily will permanently shut down and dissolve the board following allegations of sexual misconduct made against some of Cinefamily‘s executives in August that led to two resignations from the company. Read more here.

I had a very nice meeting a few years ago with Hadrian Belove about dance-film, during which he argued compellingly for his admiration of Bob Fosse as a director. We had a lengthy conversation and it was all fine and dandy. I hope whomever was hurt by Cinefamily has now recovered. But what about that poor building?

A big artsmeme thanks to Chris Nichols for the photo.

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Clippings tour: ‘Dirty Dancing,’ original version

Dance · Film
42nd Street (1933) choreography by Busby Berkeley This month’s edition of “Dirty Dancing: The Original” dates to the 1930s. If you think the McCarthy era saw the birth of the Hollywood black list you got that wrong. A work ‘lock-out’ took place during the Depression when chorus girls did not (ahem) ‘put out’ — and ...

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The struggle to love, @ TCM Fest 2019

Film
HOLLYWOOD, CA – APRIL 11: Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal attend the 30th Anniversary screening of “When Harry Met Sally” at the 2019 10th Annual TCM Classic Film Festival on April 11, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM) There was a happy feeling when hordes of classic film fans descended upon Hollywood Boulevard ...

Jack Cole on the Beeb

Dance
Jack Cole, Chita Rivera, Beale Street Blues It’s correct. The attention given, this past week, to the choreographer Jack Cole at the very moment of the debut of the Fosse/Verdon mini-series on FX. It’s correct because Verdon, a miraculous, one-off entertainer, was nearly a creation of Cole’s. And it’s correct because, basically: no Jack Cole, ...

Nureyev – the man, the dancer – in a stimulating documentary

Dance · Film
A rich companion piece to the soon-opening feature film, The White Crow (our review here), is the cleverly constructed new documentary, Nureyev, co-directed by BAFTA-nominated directors Jacqui Morris and David Morris. This doc, with its very unusual structure, was made with the support of the Nureyev Foundation. Released by CineLife Entertainment, Nureyev is a reworking ...

THE WHITE CROW: Getting Rudik right 2

Dance · Film · Reviews
WHITE CROW director Ralph Fiennes sets up museum shot for Oleg Ivanko as Rudolf Nureyev My headline news: dance people will absolutely love The White Crow. Most everything — in dance terms — about this rapturous feature film depicting the early life of ballet’s dark prince, Rudolf Nureyev, is spot on. (The film, based on ...

Gwen Verdon to critic: Don’t overlook my choreographer

Dance
Gwen Verdon, a woman with values, in a handwritten note from September 1958, mildly protests to Los Angeles Times film critic John L. Scott about a crazy oversight in his review of the film Damn Yankees. [Pause the slide show for easier reading.] Scott was sufficiently impressed by Verdon’s message that he saved the letter ...

Jerry’s beach house … 1

Architecture & Design · Dance
This lovely Bridgehampton cottage, a creative, restorative retreat for its former owner, Jerome Robbins, can now be yours. It is for sale by the Jerome Robbins Foundation. According to Forbes.com, His two-bed, 2 ½ bath wooden-shingle cottage on an acre along the Hamptons oceanfront was the perfect spot, with a wraparound deck and views of ...

Death of a dancer: Lawrence Rhodes

Dance
Lawrence Rhodes, Brunilda Ruiz in “Time Out of Mind” – Harkness Ballet 1965 Michael Avedon photo courtesy Finis Jhung I first saw Lawrence Rhodes (1939-2019) dance with the Pennsylvania Ballet. Growing up in Pittsburgh, the company was a point of pride. The below photo is very much how I remember Rhodes’s dancing. His elegance, power, ...