A Jack Cole audition for KISMET (1944)

Dance · Film
The choreographer Jack Cole is most known for his Oriental dance numbers in KISMET (MGM, 1955) directed by Vincente Minnelli. But a decade prior, also at MGM, Cole choreographed KISMET (1944) starring the non-dancer, Marlene Dietrich. Dancer/ballet instructor Joan Bayley, who went on to become choreographer’s assistant to Robert Alton, auditioned for Cole as a ...

Floating craps game at Vegas’s Sands Hotel reimagined

Architecture & Design · Music
According to author Lynn Zook, who has written two cultural histories of the Las Vegas Strip, the Sands Hotel came to symbolize the Las Vegas of our collective memory. It was here that the color line was broken; here that Sinatra, Martin, Davis and the rest of the Rat Pack held court in the Copa ...

Happy 50th Mr. Rogers from fellow Pittsburghers at arts•meme 4

Music
 Click the arrow above for the sweet sound of Fred Rogers inviting you to be his neighbor. “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” debuted fifty years ago, on February 19, 1968, produced by WQED-Pittsburgh. We’re global now. But arts•meme‘s editorial and technology team has roots in the friendly, neighborly city of Pittsburgh. Proud that Mr. Rogers drew ...

Electric Miles Davis in the new millennium, at The Soraya

Music
by 
Miles Davis (1926-1991) was out of the public eye in the late 1970s. The legendary trumpeter and bandleader had changed the course of music—not just jazz—several times, and was half a decade into his electric period, inaugurated by 1969’s Bitches Brew. That epoch rewrote the rules of ensemble interaction, as Miles turned eager young soloists ...

When Sally gave Marilyn (Monroe) her jazz pants 1

Dance · Fashion
You all remember when Harry met Sally. But what about when Sally (Goldin) gave Marilyn (Monroe) her pair of jazz pants? This happened! A jaw-dropping moment when Sally Goldin said, “I gave Marilyn a pair of my jazz pants.” Uh, okay, Sally. That Marilyn? You gave Marilyn Monroe your JAZZ PANTS?? “Oh, yes,” shot Sally ...

Last hurrah, 70 years ago, for Jack Cole at Florida’s Colonial Inn

Dance
Seventy years ago today, February 14, 1948, a display ad for the erstwhile Colonial Inn in Hallandale, Florida, ran in the Ft. Lauderdale News. The Inn was neither colonial nor an inn. It was a “carpet joint,” a boozy, broad-filled gambling joint whose boss man was notorious. The club would soon be closed down by ...

A ‘red-sock’ Valentine from Grover Dale … and Debbie Reynolds 3

Dance · Fashion · Film
A perfect post for St. Valentine’s Day is the ‘sock-in-the-jaw’ dancing Grover Dale delivers in “He’s My Friend,” choreographed by Peter Gennaro for The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Dale is right on the money in this wonderful number. Gus Trikonis and Debbie Reynolds also excel, Debbie more than holding her own with the two dynamos ...

The flickering of truth, by Jasper Johns, at The Broad 1

Visual arts
by 
One hopes for something resembling truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work — Jasper Johns When the first survey articles and books on Pop Art were published in the 1960s, Jasper Johns was usually included. The painter, sculptor and constructionist often depicted vernacular objects in his work ...

Wicked and proud: choreographer Liz Lerman in conversation

Dance · Language & ideas
Choreographer, dancer, and writer Liz Lerman will present an interactive lecture this week concerning a project she calls, “Wicked Bodies.” Lerman is researching the visual portrayal of women’s bodies throughout history. The Wicked Bodies project provides a format in which Lerman interviews guests, gathering data “real-time,” adding to her perspectives and understanding of the images, issues, ...

Joan Crawford: an actress who paid her dues before #metoo

Film
A great double bill, this Friday night, as part of “Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film” series on now at UCLA Film & Television Archive, two powerful films directed by Curtiz and starring Joan Crawford. Mildred Pierce (1945) Joan Crawford’s career-renewing turn is the primary but far from the only attraction adorning one of Michael ...