Be with Merce — in books, films & classes

Dance · Film
498 Third Avenue, photo courtesy of James Klosty, “Merce Cunningham Redux“ Looking in the rear view mirror, it appears that no artist in our great century of American dance — the 20th — had a more revolutionary impact on the art form as did Merce Cunningham. His genius (it long endured; he lived and worked ...

Reviewing ‘The Report’: Adam Driver to next play Martha Graham? 2

Dance · Film · Reviews
The two faces of Martha We just endured the earnest-but-meh new movie, The Report (2019), written and directed by Scott Z. Burns with the backing of producer Steven Soderbergh. The film’s noble mission is to recount yet another norm broken in our once-shining nation: the Geneva Convention. A ‘backstage drama’ (an underground “scif” in CIA’s ...

Sean Spicer can’t dance? Sez you! 1

Dance
Sean Spicer and Lindsay Arnold on the first week of “Dancing With the Stars.”credit: Eric McCandless/ABC The last person on earth I thought I’d ever defend is the former flame-throwing, feisty-and-fuming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, now a television celebrity bursting from his lycra costume on “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC. [update: Spicer ...

Agnes Varda smiles. So does Ava DuVernay. 2

Film
One of the most prodigious female artists of our lifetime, the fanciful, thought-provoking, highly humane and feminist filmmaker, Agnès Varda (1928 – 2019), received kudos, a showering of affection, and shared solace over her recent death Saturday at ARRAY360. The rich film festival, which took place at the superlative cinema-campus founded in Echo Park by ...

Music in the key of joy: bossa nova with Sergio Mendes @ CAP UCLA 1

Music
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Sergio Mendes, Bebel Gilberto, Royce Hall Nov 16 In 1966, rock and soul dominated American pop music charts. But there was room for the infectiously swinging “Mas Que Nada”—the first international hit song in Portuguese. If Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto opened the door with “The Girl From Ipanema,” Sergio Mendes put an authentic Brazilian ...

Thank you, Robert Evans, for ‘Serpico’ scene at Lewisohn Stadium

Architecture & Design · Dance
In this snippet from Serpico (1973), fellow cops Tony Roberts and Al Pacino haggle in the eerie ghost town of a grand structure where so much New York art and culture — famously, summer concerts by the New York Philharmonic — met an avid audience. It’s the 8,000-seat-capacity Lewisohn Stadium on the campus of City ...

Balanchine’s rainbow of “Jewels” met by Mariinsky pristine classicism 1

Dance
“Emeralds,” to Faure They may not thrust, propel, and hit marks with the velocity and modern shapeliness of their colleagues in New York City Ballet. Why would they? They are differently trained. Speed was hindered by lugubriousness. Idiosyncratic details went undervalued. Still, it was beautiful to observe the purity of classical technique that Mariinsky Theatre ...

Farruquito, flamenco master, brings troupe to The Soraya

Dance · Film · Music
Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya, aka Farruquito Ed. note: This article was commissioned and first published by The Soraya. It is reprinted on artsmeme with permission. The brilliance was there from the start. At age 11, Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya, the reigning superstar of flamenco who performs under the sobriquet of Farruquito, appeared in Carlos Saura’s ...

Dame Helen rules, in new HBO drama “Catherine the Great”

Film
The face that launched a thousand ships. Good old Helen! Wait, wait … that was Helen of Troy. Our Helen, Dame Helen Mirren, equally regal as squired by her husband, the director Taylor Hackford, looked simply spectacular in an ensemble custom-designed by Badgely Mischka for a launch party for her new miniseries, “Catherine the Great.” ...

Jazz gladiator Joshua Redman brings it to Royce Hall

Music
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Ever since he came to national attention at the beginning of the 1990s, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman has defied the narrative of the wunderkind who bears prodigious talent, then declines. He’s taken on ambitious formats, often in the company of seasoned jazz gladiators, and Redman has more than held his mud. In the face of ...