James Dean would follow Eartha Kitt anywhere! 1

Dance · Film · Music
Even to Katherine Dunham‘s dance class circa 1955 … but who wouldn’t? Eartha Kitt danced with the Dunham troupe from age 16 to 20, approximately, touring Europe, and becoming a cabaret sensation in Paris. James Dean, on the other hand … this great photo care of koolcatshipchicksblog. fabulous dunham historic photos here.

The Lion Queen 2

Calling all moms! You think you have it rough. Then try just one day as Ma Di Tau, lioness, a single mother raising three urchins in the open plains of Botswana. You’re moving neighborhoods, you’ve got the kids in tow, and, OMG, they’re all still nursing. There are vicious (male) lions advancing on you from ...

L’Enfer: Clouzot’s movie project from hell 1

Film · Visual arts
Film director Henri-Georges Clouzot nearly lost his mind, as well as his career and even his life, obsessing over the Austrian-born multilingual actress Romy Schneider. In 1963, Clouzot, then one of France’s most acclaimed filmmakers, began work on “L’Enfer,” a tale of male jealousy and madness. A blank check from Columbia Pictures burning in his ...

Judy Garland doesn’t care, and I don’t care either! 1

Dance · Film · Music
I love the insouciant song written for vaudevillian Eva Tanguay in 1906, “I Don’t Care.” It’s my theme song. Here Judy Garland sings it in “I Don’t Care,” from “In the Good Old Summertime” (1943). The anthem is also the arts•meme theme song. They say I’m crazy Got no sense But I don’t care They ...

C.B.’s captivating “Cleopatra”

We just loved Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra (1934)  — a movie that burns at high voltage for one hundred entertaining minutes. It looked all the better projected onto the Egyptian Theater’s humongous screen. Scott Eyman, author of the new DeMille biography, “Empire of Dreams,” was on hand to banter about the film with critic Leonard ...

Mitzi Gaynor fabulous in Jack Cole’s “I Don’t Care” 1

Dance · Film
I love everything about this amazing, high-spirited dance sequence choreographed by Jack Cole for The I Don’t Care Girl (1953). “I don’t care. I don’t care. What people think of me. I’m happy, go-lucky, men say that I’m plucky, so jolly and carefree!” From the first frames — the camera shooting upward through a mirror ...

Meredith Monk, liberator of singers

Dance · Music · Reviews
Multimedia artist Meredith Monk, labeled avant-garde for her reducing of dance, music, and drama to their most basic and powerful elements, gave the great voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale a remarkable gift: their bodies. Halfway through “Songs of Ascension,” the final work of Sunday evening’s Monk tribute, the singers circulated the stage of Disney ...

Anna Pavlova visits Hollywood 3

Dance · Film
It was standard practice at Universal Studios in the silent film era to have observers on the set. We wrote about this in a previous post. One movie star proved the exception to this rule. Not an actor, but a dancer. And not just any dancer, but ballet’s first superstar, Anna Pavlova, the great globe-trotting ballerina ...

Travis Banton turned tootsies into stars 1

Fashion · Film
I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with writer David Chierichetti, the film fashion expert. David is the biographer of the under appreciated film director Mitchell Leisen; costume designer Edith Head; and he is author of coffee table volume, Hollywood Costume Design. Driving in L.A. traffic en route to the Egyptian Theater, ...

Liza with a Z at “Last Remaining Seats” 1

Architecture & Design · Film
I love the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats summer film festival on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Nothing in our city compares to it as a community event. (Lakers fans may disagree!) To sit in the faded remains of downtown’s glamorous vintage theaters, chock-a-block with an excited, engaged, clapping, laughing, appreciative audience, watching classic ...