Merce Cunningham Dance Company journeys to Jerusalem and Moscow

Dance
A special report from arts•meme foreign correspondent Anna Finke, traveling with Merce Cunningham Dance Company. By day, Anna works as MCDC’s wardrobe supervisor and photographer. She blogs at Finke-Ink. Anna writes first on visiting Israel: We were all excited to take in this new country and the Jerusalem Season of Culture was a wonderful host. ...

George Chakiris remembers West Side Story in advance of 50th anniversary screening @ Hollywood Bowl

Dance · Film
Prior to next week’s “West Side Story” night at the Hollywood Bowl — a screening of the ten-Oscar-winning, Bernstein-Robbins-Sondheim-Laurent film celebrating its 50th year anniversary — it’s a great pleasure to post L.A. renaissance guy Tom Gregory‘s lovely interview with Bernardo, er… the wonderful George Chakiris. At the Bowl, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will play ...

Mick Jagger’s ‘Exile,’ says fellow traveler John Van Hamersveld, named in downtown Los Angeles 1

Music · Visual arts
Who knew? When we were high school kids in suburban Pittsburgh in 1972, devouring the images on the cover of The Rolling Stones’s unspeakably great double album, “Exile on Main Street,” who knew that 39 years later, in a Los Angeles art gallery, I’d have a nice chat with the graphic artist who created the ...

Cuban National Ballet cruises L.A. in classic “Don Quixote” 2

Dance · Reviews
Our Cuban brothers and sisters cruised into the Los Angeles Music Center last night driving their charmingly ramshackle “Don Quixote,” a vehicle purring on high-octane Russian ballet technique that’s been passed through generations — similar to the classic cars parading Havana’s island coastline. The ballet was choreographed in 1988 by Alicia Alonso, after Petipa’s original ...

Pierre Bonnard – pour Martine

Visual arts
Carafe, Marthe Bonnard with Her Dog (1915)

Sassy. Sarah Vaughan.

Music
Sarah Vaughan deconstructs the great standard, “I’ll Remember April.” Tune by Gene de Paul, lyrics by Patricia Johnston and Don Raye.

Forget it, Jake, it’s China[town].

Film · Ideas & Opinion
Robert Towne’s great line was my mantra on the recent China trip. At least one time every day, there was good reason to say it. Not one of the 20-something dancers on the bus knew the meme — or the film reference.

René Blum and his Ballets Russes get another go-round in new book 1

Dance
Blum’s female universe, bountiful & beautiful, en route to New York, 1938 (photo courtesy of the author, click for detail) “In October 1938, the company sailed to the United States with the new Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo under the artistic direction of [Léonide] Massine and [René] Blum, who was billed as founder … for a ...

Mao & Gu: twins separated at birth?

Ideas & Opinion
In China for three weeks, the only television I watched was the dramatic series about the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Airing nightly around 11 pm, the show stars an actor named Gu Yue, uncanny as a Mao Tse-tung lookalike. I enjoyed my daily dose of communist propaganda … a nice way to cap-off ...

Vincent Price: “Shock” … and art

Film · Visual arts
A pretty decent selection of late-night movies — just what you need when you are strangely full of energy from about one till four am — is getting me through my post-China jet lag. Last night I whiled away the hours with “Shock,” a 1946 film noir starring horror guy Vincent Price as a dicey ...