Wolf men and other men 2

Film
“It’s rare to truly see a film anymore,” said Robert Boyle, opening a conversation at the Art Directors Society tribute at the Egyptian Theater Sunday night. The legendary art director followed that enigmatic statement by noting how television technique has infiltrated feature film production — in a bad way. According to Boyle, today’s movies are “all ...

Ailey guys fly 3

Dance
Doing the math is a bit frightening, but I’ve been viewing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for about 30 years. So going to an Ailey concert feels a lot like visiting an old friend. This proud dance company, with its sensational dancers, puts on a show like no other. The male corps de ballets, led ...

The devilish Madam Satan 6

Dance · Film
This is the amazing “electricity” dance sequence from Cecil B. DeMille’s early talkie Madam Satan (1930). A socialite costume ball is taking place — where else? — in a moored zeppelin. The floor show, pictured above, features the fearsome dancing of Theodore Kosloff, a former Ballets Russes star who lived in Los Angeles and acted in many DeMille silent ...

Ohad’s story 3

Dance
This photograph is from a dance work called Shalosh (Hebrew for “three”) by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. I love the photo. I like the skinny, long-legged girls. I like the nervous tension, the skewed angles, and the extreme tilt of the head. Here is a choreographer who has found new ways of moving. He has reinvented the ...

Jerome Robbins in your living room 3

Dance · Film
The buzz on the PBS American Masters documentary about our brilliant American choreographer Jerome Robbins is very positive. I’m looking forward to it so much. Air time: Wednesday evening, February 18 @ 9 pm. Apropos Robbins, while in Paris in 2002, I encountered, totally by accident, a dance-film festival taking place in the downstairs screening room ...

Nijinsky danced in Pittsburgh 5

Dance
Santonio Holmes’s game-winning Super Bowl pass reception for the Pittsburgh Steelers reminds me of ballet! It’s a very dancerly moment. He’s reaching up with all his might to catch the football. He’s reaching down with all his might to keep his toes in-bound. Santonio’s outstanding litheness is unsurprising in view of my recent discovery that brilliant Ballets Russes dancer-choreographer, ...

Aretha Franklin for president 2

Fashion · Music
The editorial board of arts•meme — that would be me — loved the Inauguration. So did every single person in the entire world. We loved each of the show’s art events. We loved the fashion, the poetry, and we loved the multi-ethnic classical quartet of Jew, black, Asian, and Latina. (In post-racial America, we notice ...

Jewish prince of Hollywood 1

Film
What can I, a mere mortal, possibly add to the legend of Irving Thalberg, Hollywood’s “boy wonder” producer who helped transform American movie making from a haphazard endeavor into a real industry; indeed a mass-market, fantasy production line. Starting as a secretary to “Uncle” Carl Laemmle at the tender age of 20, Thalberg earned stripes at Universal by bossing ...

Hungarian goulash in Los Angeles 1

Film · Music
We enjoyed an impromptu Hungarian arts festival in Los Angeles over the past month. First was a Disney Hall recital by Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff known for his Bach interpretation, but lately he is performing all the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas. Schiff is a sublime artist — except when he is glowering at the audience for coughing or rustling programs, ...

The incomparable Lou Reed at RedCat

Music
Last night Benoit and I sat in the small theater in the basement of the Disney Concert Hall as Lou Reed and his art-school buddies bombarded our ears with a wall of electronic sound. Lou Reed is a very tough minded and uncompromising artist.The music (two extended pieces lasting 1.5 hours) invaded our senses, sounding ...