Arthur Mitchell delights in his ballerinas

Dance
“I love to partner,” admits the great pioneering African-American ballet dancer Arthur Mitchell who joined New York City Ballet in 1955. In conversation he shares affectionate sound bites about the ballerinas he partnered when dancing for choreographer George Balanchine at New York City Ballet, 1955 – 1966. On Allegra Kent: “Otherworldly. A real creature, there was nothing she ...

Second star to the right …

Film
Second star to the right … and straight on till morning. With that lovely language, Peter Pan ‘google-maps’ his Neverland address, informing his new buddy Wendy where he and the tribe of Lost Boys reside. The fetching 1924 silent-movie version of the J.M. Barrie classic charmed nearly 2,000 adults who poured into the Orpheum Theater ...

Lizabeth Scott @ the Academy 5

Film
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page. Monday night’s edition of the Academy’s first-rate full-summer film series, “1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood’s Dark Side,” now at mid-schedule, enjoyed the tremendous pleasure of a guest appearance by actress Lizabeth Scott. The heavy-browed, sultry-voiced Scott graced 22 movies, primarily film noirs made between 1945-57 in which she played ...

Jane Russell remembers “Gentleman” Jack Cole 2

Dance · Film
“Yes,” answered Jane Russell last Wednesday evening, nodding emphatically when asked if choreographer Jack Cole had directed the dance sequences in Howard Hawks’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953). Russell’s brown eyes flashed and she became animated on hearing Cole’s name. The brunette bombshell of the 1940/50’s, appearing at a Hollywood Heritage event this past week, chatted ...

Classical theater, California-style

Reviews · Theater
Two wonderful recent theater outings in L.A., both highly recommended. There’s only one more weekend to skedaddle to the delightful 24th Street Theatre for final performances of “Anton’s Uncles,” which the effervescent creative team of Debbie Devine and Jay McAdams co-produced with Theatre Movement Bazaar‘s ex-Mummenshantz word-and-movement mavens, Tina Kronis and Richard Alger. I had ...

Legendary dancer/director Arthur Mitchell visits L.A. 1

Dance · Visual arts
In tandem with the soon-to-close “40 Years of Firsts,” a loving and comprehensive art gallery retrospective of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Arthur Mitchell, the troupe’s artistic director emeritus, will appear at the California African American Museum the evening of June 30. The multimedia exhibit, organized by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, ...

Baryshnikov backstage at REDCAT

Dance
Monday evening saw Russian-born ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov join the great Merce Cunningham Dance Company on stage for a fundraiser at REDCAT performance space in downtown Los Angeles. Beneficiaries: MCDC’s “legacy” project and REDCAT. After the show … Barysh & the Merce’ites click for better view Marisa Meets Misha click for better view Mark Murphy, Executive Director, REDCAT, ...

John Waters celebrates Johnny Mathis

Film · Language & ideas · Music
Sixties singer Johnny Mathis‘s name has popped up in surprising ways recently. DJ Josh Kun spun the velvet-voiced crooner’s version of “Kol Nidre” at “Get Down, Moses,” Kun’s Jewish/African-American “listening party.” Then, John Waters, the witty, loquacious, and dapper film director, cited Mathis as one of his key “role models.” It happened at an ALOUD ...

merce misha mashup 2

Dance · Visual arts
“Farewell Merce Cunningham Dance Company” weekend in Los Angeles was capped by a bonus performance in which Mikhail Baryshnikov appeared with the company. It was a fundraiser for the Cunningham Dance Foundation’s “Legacy Project” and REDCAT. Charles Atlas, with whom the choreographer collaborated on multiple video projects over thirty years, presented his film homage to Merce — ...

Merce’s marvelous Irish jig 3

Dance · Reviews
Co-published on Huffington Post arts page “It was unutterably moving to watch,” said long time company archivist David Vaughan of the historic reconstruction of “Roaratorio” (1983) that graced Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s fare-thee-well performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall this weekend. “We all feel Merce in the dance.” Indeed, watching company elder Robert Swinston, 60, ...