Divas of our lifetime! Dionne Warwick, Chita Rivera on stage

Dance · Music
stellar ladies of the arts, one singer, one dancer

She’s a beloved American cultural icon. She’s beautiful and well preserved. AND she has a new movie, a documentary. Dionne Warwick began singing professionally in 1961. Discovered by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the marvelous songbird went on to record 18 consecutive Top 100 singles (Don’t Make Me OverWalk On BySay A Little PrayerA House Is Not A HomeAlfieHeartbreakerDéjà Vu, among others). She received her first Grammy in 1968 for Do You Know the Way to San Jose?. Ms. Warwick became the first African-American solo female artist to win the prestigious award for Best Contemporary Female Vocalist Performance.  It is a thrilling opportunity to hear her in the intimate setting of the Luckman Theatre at Cal State Los Angeles. Our friends at the Luckman tell us that the credit for snagging Dione Warwick …

goes to the executive director, Nicholas A. Mestas, and his ongoing effort in bringing talents here, including Warwick. The Luckman is fortunate to have her with an increasing amount of America’s known artists this season. As of today, Melissa Etheridge is on board!

Dionne Warwick | Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State Los Angeles | Sat Dec 17

She, too is a historic, ground-breaking woman of the performing arts. She is a break-the-mold triple-threat performer, a Broadway legend. Chita Rivera, the original Anita of West Side Story tells her story in song and dance. The incomparable Tony Award winner will recreate signature moments from her legendary career from West Side StorySweet Charity and Bye Bye Birdie to ChicagoKiss of the Spider WomanThe Visit and more. In addition to a special tribute to her dear friends John Kander & Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse & Lee Adams, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured, accompanied by her long-time trio.

Chita Rivera: The Rhythm of My Life | Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall | Sun Dec 11

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Movie picks: by, for, and about grown women

Film · Reviews

The fascinating actress, Tilda Swinton, gives a pitch-perfect performance that traverses the wide-ranging emotions — tenderness, sadness, yearning, powerlessness, regret — of the mother-daughter relationship. The Eternal Daughter, the latest in a series of artistic collaborations between Swinton and director Joanna Hogg (prior forays, The Souvenir, Parts I & II), never jars as it moves inexorably toward the demise of the mother. The movie’s setting — a memory-laden mansion —gives a run for the money to other great decrepit buildings of cinema: in Rosemary’s Baby, The Haunting, and more recently, The Humans. I found the film immensely moving, and Swinton, in her double role, nothing less than a marvel to watch.

Wow. Don’t mess with artist/photographer Nan Goldin. In Laura Poitras‘s neatly assembled documentary, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Goldin is revealed as a survivor. She’s deeply scarred by her dysfunctional family; she’s an alum of mean streets the likes of which no nice Jewish girl from suburbia should encounter; and as the creator of very difficult art, she has had to navigate the male-dominated art world. Unluckily for the blandly named Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Goldin, like so many others, found herself in the clutches of the highly addictive, even lethal, painkiller, OxyContin. Again surviving, she determined to do something about it. Goldin’s leadership of a gutsy, on-message take-down of the arts-loving family behind Purdue, the Sacklers, makes for revelatory story-telling. An added plus is the skillfully interwoven saga of the artist’s personal life. Highly recommended.

Arts journalist Debra Levine founded artsmeme in 2008.

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Ruth St. Denis sightings

miss ruth 1914 As time marches on, the figureheads of the 20th century dance fall from our reach. But a surprising number of dance devotees in Los Angeles had contact, however minimally, with the great modern-dance pioneer, Ruth St. Denis. Forever known as “Miss Ruth,” she spent her final decades in our city. First up ...

Arts separatism for sale

Fashion · Visual arts
purchase blacma teeshirt here The latest ‘merch’ from the Los Angeles County of Museum, the erstwhile color-blind LACMA, got our attention. What on earth is BLACMA? Let’s look into the teeshirt’s backstory. This shirt was made to commemorate the establishment of LACMA’s Black/African American Employee Resource Group (BLACMA) in 2021. This internal group of employees ...

Warmth, beauty, diversity: ABT’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at Segerstrom Center 1

Dance · Music
From Act I of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor. The world has started to feel at tad more normal, right? One key way that is so important for us all, but especially for our children is the return to the theater. Yes, the careful among us still wear face masks — totally fine. ...

An infusion of ‘now’ into Trisha Brown Dance Company

judith sánchez ruíz   credit: arnaud beelen Interesting news from Trisha Brown Dance Company (TBDC) in New York: the 50+ year-old dance company has announced its first creative commission since the death of its founding choreographer Trisha Brown in 2017. Cuban-born choreographer Judith Sánchez Ruíz, who was a TBDC member from 2006 to 2009, has been ...

Blake Edwards cool neo-noir ‘Experiment in Terror’ in 60th anniv screening

shot on location san francisco early 60s Movie director Blake Edwards, known primarily as a comedy specialist, followed the biggest hit of his early career, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, with a complete change of pace, the neo-noir thriller, Experiment in Terror. In this a taut suspenser released in 1962, Edwards utilized a full range of stylistic ...

Elizabeth! OC arts patron honors exiled Russian ballet dancers in Segerstrom gala

“Reunited in Dance,” was a gala so glorious, so glamorous, so grand that it would normally take a village to produce. But perhaps you haven’t met Elizabeth Segerstrom. A Polish-born, Russian-speaking dynamo who holds a doctoral degree in psychology, she is an accomplished entrepreneur and published author. Elizabeth (everyone calls her that) threw a ballet ...

Composer Inon Zur: symphonic scores for video games

Film · Music
noreen green, inon zur, emily bear (at piano)photo courtesy los angeles jewish symphony When The Grammys™ added a brand-new category earlier this year—‘Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media’—it was in acknowledgment of musical excellence. But it also had to do with business. Big business. In 2022, video gaming is primed to ...

Jacopo Tisi nails grand jete in ‘Corsaire,’ part of ‘Reunited in Dance’ 1

That’s a grand jete that packs a wallop. Just sensational. Every element of the Italian-born danseur noble Jacopo Tisi‘s position is proper. His legs are equally rotated outward in his hip joints; his feet are fully stretched; the arcing curve in his spine that finishes at the top of his head is sublime; his arms ...