Four walls hold haunting memories in “An Apartment in Berlin”

Architecture & Design · Film
“An Apartment in Berlin” feels like just the right movie to see after our Sunday visit to the Skirball Center’s Light and Noir, a highly affecting exhibit which through multimedia recounts the lives of emigres and exiles who fled European anti-Semitism and wended their way to Los Angeles to contribute brilliantly in the film industry. ...

Come fly with artist Dan Reisinger

Visual arts
Love the display of vintage El Al posters by Dan Reisinger (b. 1934), one of Israel’s design pioneers, known internationally for his innovative use of symbols and vibrant visual language. The entire Reisinger exhibition spans fifty years of iconic posters including ones of social and political protest (1963–1993); but the cream of the crop are ...

Tere O’Connor Dance @ Skirball Center

Dance
I see a lot of performances. Did you notice that? I do. But few dance concerts left as strong an impression as Tere O’Connor Dance‘s oh-so-casual “Rammed Earth,” presented at a downstairs performance space of the Skirball Center in 2008. I remember dancers cruising, moving, in clusters, formations, lines and rows. Simple, throwaway stuff that ...

Oy. Harry. Would you please lighten up? Harry Houdini goes for a dip.

Theater · Visual arts
European financial system on the brink … Steve Jobs dead at 56 …. distraction and dissolution everywhere. It all feels so dire. Not sure whether this photo of major meshuggenah, Harry Houdini, will lighten your mood or not. Something in this shot of Mr. Ball-and-Chain spoke to me. Seems to suit the zeitgeist. World, could’ja ...

Why composer David Lang didn’t call Shostakovich, or Arvo Part, in 1975

Music
A few Mondays back, on September 19, in the dark days BPST (before Pacific Standard Time) … [when we only had 100 nightly arts events to attend in Los Angeles  — and now we have 1,000] … one of our favorite musical societies, Jacaranda, threw a swell do at the Skirball Center. The idea was ...

Eiko & Koma’s “Water” @ Skirball Center

Dance · Visual arts
“Water is in our bodies, rivers, sea, our womb, and our tears.” So say Eiko & Koma, the Japanese-born performance duo, in an artists’ statement. Immersed for 45 beautiful, but bitter-cold, minutes in a Skirball Center lily pond, they encourage their audience to “remember and imagine the ancient water from which all living things came.” ...

What a guy! Ehrich Weiss, a.k.a. Harry Houdini

Language & ideas · Theater
The absolutely fabulous “Houdini: Art and Magic,” which opens tomorrow at the Skirball Center along with its equally wonderful companion show, “Masters of Illusion, Jewish Magicians of the Golden Age,” injects fun, mystery and gamesmanship into the ether — right when we need it most. Jewish guys dressed in turbans and tuxedos, waving wands, and ...

Harry Houdini, who he? See: Skirball Center

Visual arts
Houdini: Art and Magic, coming soon to the Skirball Cultural Center, traces magician and escape artist Harry Houdini’s evolution from fledgling circus performer in the 1890s, to stage magician at the turn of the twentieth century, to star of stage and film. Featuring more than 150 artifacts, the exhibition illuminates Houdini’s compelling story through historical ...

Kalman show closing soon at Skirball

Visual arts
The whimsical flotsam and jetsam of the graphic designer, magazine illustrator, children’s book writer and tchotchke collector Maira Kalman is on view at the  Skirball Center through February 13. The impressive show, “Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World),” displays Kalman’s prodigious output. Yes, I bought Kalman’s illustrated Strunk and White at the gift shop. Because ...

Skirball’s “Get down, Moses” listening party

Language & ideas · Music
The “listening party” — a groovy event in which cultural anthropologist Josh Kun spins discs to illustrate the complex historic relationship between African-American and Jewish popular music — had serious naming issues. Kun launched it as “Black Sabbath.” It got changed to “Go Down, Moses.” Then, some genius in the Skirball Center p.r. department tweaked ...