Talking Ben Hecht

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

Complexions brings dances for ‘now’ to Long Beach

Dance · Language & ideas
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 ...

Boys dance 3

Dance · Language & ideas
For weeks I have planned to include this beautiful video by the master instructor of young men (and young women), Fabrice Herrault. It seems like a timely moment to share it now. Please enjoy the purity, intelligence and discipline on display as a result of Fabrice’s gentle but exigent pedagogy. His work serves no political ...

Eleven-year-old arts·meme sings birthday song to self

Language & ideas
Ten was a biggie. That was last year. We threw a party. A birthday bash. But this one snuck up on us, and behold, on May 24, 2019, arts·meme turned eleven years old. Happy birthday, arts·meme ! No one noticed. We even forgot the date ourselves. So little Miss arts·meme had to sing an arts·memey rendition ...

Orpheus-themed event blends music, poetry, film @ The Edye

Film · Language & ideas · Music
Black Orpheus (1959) dir Marcel Camus The tragic love of Orpheus for Eurydice has inspired poets, artists, and musicians—among them Rainer Maria Rilke, Christophe Willibald Gluck, and in our own time choreographer Mark Morris and composer Philip Glass, whose 1993 Orphee Suite was inspired by Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film. An interesting event exploring the Orpheus ...

REVIEW: Diana Wyenn, theater in her veins 2

Language & ideas · Reviews · Theater
First, I squirmed. Then I squiggled. I crossed my legs, then re-crossed them. Drawing a deep breath, I wondered at one point if I might faint. Talk about visceral theater! Diana Wyenn’s one-woman show, Blood/Sugar, seen last night at the wonderful Bootleg Theater, goes granular, right down to the grains of sugar your pancreas is ...

By day or night, ice or ammo: a tale told in imagery

Language & ideas · Visual arts
Osceola Refetoff, “Stop-Liquor Jr Market, Mojave, California Los Angeles-based photographer Osceola Refetoff was named Photo Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club in noting Refetoff’s work with KCET’s arts and culture series Artbound.  Refetoff also took top honors in the Photo Essay category for the Artbound story in collaboration with Christopher Langley, ...

‘Eloise’ to reign over new home after Bonhams auction

Language & ideas · Visual arts
Toting a history as lively as its inspiration, this portrait of the mischievous overlord of the Plaza Hotel, Eloise, was painted as a birthday gift by Hilary Knight for his Eloise co-creator, Kay Thompson, in 1956. After displaying the work during her appearance on Edward R. Murrow’s “Person to Person” on CBS, Thompson then loaned ...