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.” ...

‘My take’: MJ’s choreographer Vince Paterson speaks out 3

Dance · Music
Vince Paterson, Michael Jackson, ‘Smooth Criminal’ Ed. note: We are pleased to invite the hugely accomplished and talented choreographer Vince Paterson for this guest column written in response to the two-part documentary, “Leaving Netherland” now on HBO. I am repulsed by the number of people ready to nail Michael Jackson to the cross — without ...

Fran at the Ace: fresh, frank … fraught!

Fashion · Language & ideas
Of her many accolades and achievements, what we find most cool and enviable about essayist/raconteur Fran Lebowitz is Vanity Fair having named her as one of the most stylish women of the year. She obviously presents well, so she’ll fit right into Los Angeles at her upcoming “Fran Lebowitz in Conversation” event presented by the Center ...

Terence Blanchard’s jazz message, in cabaret seating, at The Soraya

Music
by 
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard has been visiting this part of the country for years. Starting in the ’80s, he shared the valedictory frontline of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison. Leaving the venerable drummer (“Our father, who art Blakey” quipped trumpeter Valery Ponomarev), Blanchard and Harrison co-led a good mainstream jazz band. They ...

The subtle art of the New Yorker cartoon in an HBO documentary

Film · Visual arts
Whether they leave readers amused, inspired or baffled, the iconic single-panel cartoons in The New Yorker magazine have been a cultural touchstone over the past 90 years. They power not on a laugh out loud, but on a brain-tickling smile. VERY SEMI-SERIOUS, a film directed by Leah Wolchok that glimpses the process behind publishing the ...

Stones still rolling fifty years later, on HBO 1

Music · Reviews
When the great blues-steeped rock band, The Rolling Stones, launched in 1962, I was seven years old — and already an budding arts journalist. Their marking a half century of existence is the magical stuff of a generation. Last night we previewed Crossfire Hurricane, the 100-minute tour de force of fascinating original footage knitted together ...