In defense of John Wayne … a statement from his son

Film · Ideas & Opinion
ed note: Among the many jolting erasures of our time, a call has arisen to revert John Wayne Airport, named in 1979 in honor of the movie star, to its original name Orange County Airport. We are pleased to publish these words written by Wayne’s son Ethan. John Wayne was not a racist. That term ...

arts·meme reveals all at age twelve

Dance · Ideas & Opinion
At twelve, she’s a little lady. A proper one. But sometimes she lets it all hang out — just like Tamara Toumanova in this photo with bad boy Danny Kaye. arts·meme is getting up there in the pre-teen category. Twelve years old today ~ May 24, 2020! Please have fun with our annual birthday posts. ...

‘Content’ is such an ugly word for the arts 11

Dance · Ideas & Opinion
Everyone is doing the best they can in a pandemic. But will the rush to provide online content serve dance well over time? Pictured: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in ‘Revelations’ photo credit Paul Kolnik In olden days, two months ago, we attended live performances — dance, theater, and music. Along with movie screenings, that ...

Enjoy nature. Read a book. Do nothing.

Ideas & Opinion
April 12, 2020Dear artsmeme people! No long letter. No links. No pushing to you to look at this or look at that. You can do as you wish. But since we cover primarily the live performing arts, which are on hiatus, we’re going with that flow for now. It’s a first time in our 11-year ...

On Super Tuesday: ‘For the People’ movie marathon

Film · Ideas & Opinion
Heck, we go to the movies all year round. We go on Tuesday, bluesday; we go any day. But a special free-to-the-people invitation to activist/feminist/film director-producer Ava DuVernay‘s cool screening room and production digs in Echo Park gets our interest. Ms. DuVernay is offering, free to the public (ahem, after you vote, guys!), a “For ...

An Oscar cookie for the New York dance world

Dance · Ideas & Opinion
Strike a dance pose! cried the photographer, and the critics complied. Contrary to popular belief, when artsmeme is not excavating the coal mines of library archives for factoids to tickle your fancy, or cajoling you to attend the latest cool performance, she has a social life! This gathering on Oscar Sunday in New York included ...

Talking Ben Hecht

Film · Ideas & Opinion · Reviews
One of the greatest American screenwriters, Ben Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts—reporter, novelist, playwright, crusader for the imperiled Jews of Hitler’s Europe, and propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. He was also a balletomane and auteur (wrote, produced and directed) the ballet-noir, Specter of the Rose (1946). Whatever the outrage he ...

Written woman-to-woman: Hedda to Hepburn

Film · Ideas & Opinion
Citing her “gaity,” “gallantry,” and, oddly enough, her “gentlemanly way of expressing” herself, this fan mail from columnist Hedda Hopper to actress Katharine Hepburn is part of a treasure trove, a just-published compendium of personal communiques from-and-to the film industry … Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking. Basically, Hopper, consciously ...

Donald Trump’s ‘perfect call’ taps Mario Puzo playbook

Film · Ideas & Opinion
From the Zelensky call transcript: July 2019 telcon Donald Trump to President Zelensky of Ukraine

Complexions brings dances for ‘now’ to Long Beach

Dance · Ideas & Opinion
Complexions Contemporary Ballet performing WOKE.  photo: Nina Wurtzel Complexions Contemporary Ballet continues to prod, provoke, and entertain. When choreographer Dwight Rhoden and dance-superstar Desmond Richardson co-founded their rainbow coalition of a ballet troupe in 1994, it took hold. Spurred by their mentor Alvin Ailey, the two men staked their claim on the power of dance ...