It’s raining female artists in Los Angeles

Dance
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in live performance with PussyRiot at The Broad Stage, photo by Ben Gibbs We’ve had some crazy tumultuous storms lately in Los Angeles, a weather pattern augured to continue as women are finally seizing the stages of performing arts centers around town. For a mighty wind of female fabulousness — and fury — ...

She imagined, she designed and she built: Julia Morgan

Architecture & Design
Cali’s renowned female architect and her mansion by the sea for Marion Davies All she did was to conceptualize, design and build Hearst Castle in San Simeon, as the West Coast corollary of Versailles. It wasn’t much. It took no time at all — 28 years. There on a high cliff overlooking the Pacific, in ...

Beautiful unburdening: Rosanne Cash at the Soraya

Music
In promoting her new album, She Remembers Everything, country singer Rosanne Cash features photos of fellow female songbirds, among them Janis Joplin, accompanied by a plaintive lyric, “Who know who she used to be before it all went dark?” That’s a gripping start — as if she needed one, she doesn’t, following her triple Grammy-winning ...

To be young, gifted & Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul in ‘Amazing Grace’

Film · Music
“Amazing Grace,” with two-million vinyl discs exiting record stores, was the top-selling gospel record of all time and Aretha Franklin‘s top-selling album. Released in June 1972, the album coincided with the very same month I graduated from an all-white high school in suburban Pittsburgh. Right around that time, on Sunday afternoons, I would visit Black ...

‘Little Sparrow’ to Long Beach: ‘Piaf! The Show’

Featured · Music
Karen Carpenter would approve. She would be thrilled to learn that the noble performing arts center named in her honor will be presenting a concert by The Little Sparrow. Well, almost! The Sparrow once removed. “Piaf! The Show,” a delicious way to pass a Sunday afternoon, popped out at me when I studied the season ...

Marilyn could play comedy … or tragedy … according to her directors

Film
Henry Hathaway, on MM and high drama: I think her whole life might have changed in Darryl Zanuck would have let her  … I wanted to do Of Human Bondage with Marilyn and Jimmy Dean way back then … because after I did that picture with her [Niagra] I found her marvelous to work with, ...

A singer’s love of language: Luciana Souza comes to Royce Hall

Music
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It’s been a recurring pleasure to chart the creative arc of Brazilian singer and songwriter Luciana Souza through her SoCal appearances over the years. We remember Jazz Bakery evenings where she held the room spellbound with a tempered vocal delivery on jazz-rooted arrangements and musical interaction. Souza’s clear soprano uses volume judiciously: she can send ...

Make ’em laff, ladies, at Palm Springs International Comedy Festival

Film
We all need a laff. Pardon my French, but I laughed my a** off watching the exquisite comic timing of Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in delivering the brilliant script of CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME. A very funny movie with a woman director — highly recommended. I am equally pleased to see Kathy ...

Gloria Cheng’s garlands for new music in Los Angeles

Music
Ed. note: The great and gracious pianist Gloria Cheng is a guest contributor to the blog, with an excerpt from an essay she herself penned recounting the scene for new music in Los Angeles. “Only in Los Angeles?” was originally published by NewMusicBox and is excerpted with kind permission. Writes Gloria Cheng: It could be ...

Susan Graham’s make-believe witchcraft

Music
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Ed. note: arts·meme is delighted to excerpt an interview with L.A. Opera guest singer Susan Graham. The interview, conducted by Gary Murphy, was first published by the Opera League of Los Angeles. After nearly 25 years performing on world stages, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham still finds the thrill of new challenges. Her opera repertoire spans four ...