Happy holidays from arts•meme … and Betty Grable!

Film
Just back from shopping at Bullock’s Wilshire! Wishing you and yours Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love, Betty *          *         * They don’t make movie stars like Betty Grable anymore. She was a massive star, a household presence, a vivacious hoofer, a charismatic singer/dancer/commedienne. We’ll honor Grable by screening two of three movies she ...

“All That Jack” talk a key element of Cole retrospective 2

Dance · Film · Language & ideas
It is exciting to share ideas, feelings and observations with a savvy audience about a master of cinematic dance. That’s Jack Cole, whom I have been researching, writing and giving talks about for eight years. Where better place to pay tribute to this influential, mid-century American artist than The Museum of Modern Art? And that ...

MoMA announces ‘All That Jack (Cole)’ films 2

Dance · Film
It’s historic. Never before has the brilliant Hollywood choreographer’s cinema output been compiled in a single, curated exhibition. The rare opportunity to grasp and assess the entirety of Cole’s talent and influence is in store for New York audiences from January 20 through February 4, 2016. Over the course of two weeks, 18 films (most ...

Jack Cole’s “Down to Earth” recast as Kenny Ortega’s “Xanadu”

Dance · Film
I like this freewheeling, highly cinematic dance number for nine women, “I’m Alive,” choreographed by Kenny Ortega for Xanadu (1980). Its hyper-realism, fresh swapping of perspective, and other charming trickery prove what the camera can do with dance that’s not possible on stage. Smooth editing and special effects enhance the number. “I’m Alive” and the ...

Reading tap 1

Dance · Film · Language & ideas · Reviews
by 
Dancing, like writing, is a craft before it is an art. Rare is the professional who excels at both; the thousands of hours of practice necessary to make an artist rarely allow time for rigorous training in another genre. Somewhere between the craft and the art, though, lie scholarship and criticism, and the world is ...

Jack Cole’s pinnacle, “Ladies in Waiting” 3

Dance · Film
Mitzi Gaynor, at right above, in a sotto voce-hiss to Kay Kendall in Jack Cole‘s brilliant “Ladies in Waiting” dance sequence from LES GIRLS (MGM, 1957), delivers bad news. Kendall will soon be exposed as a chorus dancer to her fiancé and his proper family. The number, full of drama both comic and tragic, uses ...

Historic Jack Cole film retrospective to MoMA

Dance · Film
ALL THAT JACK (COLE) celebrating a great Hollywood choreographer 18-film retrospective/interviews/talks coming to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY Jan 20 – Feb 4 2016 save the dates – film listings in december

Jack Cole’s precious “Ain’t Misbehavin'” from GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES (1955)

Dance · Film
In which Cole first slows the Fats Waller song to a snail’s pace for Alan Young to sing, then ramps it up, to a jungle beat, spewing forth his love of African dance.

Bicoastal Jack Cole cross-fertilizes crazy hair Broadway-to-Hollywood

Dance · Fashion · Film
Actress Joan Diener, featured on Broadway in Kismet (1953 – 1955) shares a crazy-hair look with Betty Grable, pictured below in “Down Boy” from Three for the Show (1955, Columbia Pictures). Jack Cole, who choreographed (first) Kismet then the movie, took great care with the appearance of the women with whom he worked. He also ...

Fred, seriously

Dance · Film
Hollywood’s great dancing man, always jolly and carefree, here displays a different aspect. Fred Astaire in a somber mode, in Stanley Kramer’s ON THE BEACH (1959). Photo credit: theroadshowversion.com