C’era una volta il West (1968)

Film
Concerning Sergio Leone’s epic masterpiece, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” what can a mere mortal possibly say? The scope, ambition, and perfection of this movie are of such gigantic proportion that it quashes idle chatter. You simply have to see it. It’s my good fortune to live in Los Angeles where this film-of-all-films was properly ...

Why is James Cameron so happy? 2

Dance · Film
Is it the $1.8 billion his film has garnered in world-wide box office receipts? Pish-tosh! All in a day’s work! James Cameron is a happy man because he stands surrounded by beautiful modern dancers: choreographer Lula Washington and her troupe’s two leading ladies, Christa Oliver and Tamica Washington-Miller. Lula, truly the Queen of Crenshaw Boulevard, ...

Martin Scorsese’s disappointing lecture at LACMA 3

Film
The brilliant witty and charming film director, Martin Scorsese, while visiting the hinterland to collect the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, stopped by the local museum for what was billed as a rousing discussion on the future of film there. The invitation to appear at the County Museum, LACMA, followed an outspoken ...

Rambova’s Aztec costume for Kosloff 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
Ballets Russes dancer Theodore Kosloff and his protegee Natacha Rambova pose at left, costumed for their Aztec dance number on the Keith Orpheum vaudeville circuit. Kosloff brought to the stage the role in which he made his cinematic debut  — Guatemoco, the Aztec prince, in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Woman God Forgot” in 1917. Here’s a ...

Life is good …

Film
… now that there's a new Pedro Almodovar film, "Broken Embraces." Highly recommended. The maestro strikes again. Vive Almodovar! Read A.O. Scott's inspired film review.    

Say a dance prayer for Gene Kelly in Pittsburgh 2

Dance · Film
Come on, home town! What’s this I hear about twenty years of fruitless effort to erect a statue of dancer Gene Kelly  — in a city where bridges, steel mills, skyscrapers, and sports stadia get built with ease? In a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, retired entertainment columnist Barbara Cloud gripes that she’s grown despondent waiting ...

Mike and Julia 4

Film · Language & ideas
After immensely enjoying the Nora Ephron film, “Julie and Julia,” I remembered that decades ago my father, Mike Levine, interviewed Julia Child on his talk show on KDKA, Pittsburgh’s 50,000-watt AM radio station. My dad, who during the “Madmen” era looked, dressed, and smoked like Don Draper, interviewed everyone — from his days as a ...

“La Danse” discount tix 2

Dance · Film
Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles offers arts•meme subscribers a generous discount for  “La Danse,” Frederick Wiseman’s acclaimed ballet documentary. Film is now playing at Laemmle Theaters in Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Encino. Read the interview with director Frederick Wiseman. Update: Sorry, no more discount coupons. This once in a lifetime opportunity has expired! Maybe in your ...

Frederick Wiseman’s love letter to ballet 5

Dance · Film · Reviews
“I love ballet,” admits 79-year-old documentarian Frederick Wiseman, whose rigorous films on hospital management, meat processing, and public housing have given way to late-life examinations of art and the artistic process. “Dance is the creation of something absolutely beautiful,” he says. “Yet it’s not a fixed form. It’s ephemeral. It’s evanescent.” “I’m no expert,” he ...

A slice of Lewis Klahr’s life

Film · Reviews · Visual arts
“Cake equaled love in my family,” said filmmaker Lewis Klahr following a cinematic magical mystery tour of his childhood memory bank. I understand this statement. I also get the intense spewing of fetishized objects — artfully collected, cut and pasted, and then animated — in Klahr’s amazing films. Critic J. Hoberman in the Village Voice ...