‘What?’ indeed! Lari Pittman’s brain-tingling artworks at the Hammer

Visual arts
“Birthplace, 1984” installation photo by Susie Goodman artsmeme is delighted to celebrate the dazzling retrospective of astonishing works by Los Angeles artist Lari Pittman now at the Hammer Museum by reprinting, with the author’s kind permission, two separate interviews, one with Pittman and a second with the exhibition’s curator Connie Butler. The author/interviewer is KUSC’s ...

Boy enslaved: ‘Buoyancy’ (2019)

Film · Reviews
A real stunner — and a stunning achievement for a first-time feature-film director named Rodd Rathjen — Buoyancy, the Australian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. At age 14, Charka (Sarm Heng) chomps at the bit to escape his daily labor in Cambodian rice paddies under his father’s tyrannical command. ...

A “Nutcracker” for our times from Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Dance
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Jenelle Figgens, Pete Leo Walker Ed note: This story by Gillian Renault was originally written for The Younes & Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center and is reprinted on artsmeme with permission. The Soraya’s resident dance company, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, is capping off a quintet of annual appearances in Northridge this holiday season. Though best ...

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 ...