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Jazz, Civil Rights Are in Focus

November 19, 1990|KEVIN ALLMAN

The Scene: Friday's opening-night reception for "Jazz and the Movement," an exhibition by Boston-based photographer Herb Snitzer at the Verve Gallery on Melrose Avenue. The title refers to the civil rights movement, which Snitzer juxtaposes with the jazz world in photographs and collages. The show, also featuring evocative photos of jazz greats in performance and in repose, runs through the end of the year.

The Buzz: You can't have an opening these days without a reference to the current bete noire of the art world, Jesse Helms, and this one was no exception. Snitzer included photographs of the North Carolina senator superimposed over naked bodies and the Bill of Rights. Though Snitzer said he didn't believe in government funding of the arts, he was quick to offer the opinion that "Jesse Helms personifies all that's wrong with America."

Who Was There: Gallery owner Bill Goldberg, who curated the show; jazz artists David Sanborn and Maxine Weldon; Tim Hauser of the Manhattan Transfer; Lionel Richie; and Jamaal Wilkes. Live music was provided by a combo that included saxophonist Buddy Collette, drummer Al (Tootie) Heath, bassist Andy Simpkins, and pianist Milcho Leviev.

Only in L.A.: "See that guy? He's Nicolas Cage and Jodie Foster's personal trainer," said one publicist excitedly.

Dress Mode: California casual, with loose slacks and loosened ties and comfortable shoes.

Chow: Cheese, fruit and melon balls. White wine and seltzer were cooling in a wash tub filled with ice and served up in plastic cups--in other words traditional art gallery cuisine.

Money Matters: The photos and collages ranged from $475 to $2,000, but Snitzer was autographing posters for $22 apiece.

New Age Pickup Line: "All we are is energy inhabiting a human body," said one young woman to a man she had just met. He replied politely, "I must say, you have very attractive energy."

Triumphs: Unlike most L.A. parties, everyone there seemed to know each other or at least know of each other. Promiscuous business card swapping was nonexistent, and old friends went out on the sidewalk to catch up on each other's lives.

Glitches: As with all art openings, one has to go back to see the show. This opening was so crowded at times it was impossible to get a good look at the photos, but that goes with the territory. It's a law of party physics that guests swell to fill all the available space.

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