Call it hip-hop history or unbearable hype -- pop's hottest showdown pits 50 Cent against Kanye West as both rappers offer releases meant to top the charts. 50 has threatened to retire if West's "Graduation" outsells his "Curtis." Start shopping for a condo in Florida, Mr. Cent: West's new single, the Daft Punk-sampling "Stronger," KOs the limp "Curtis" track "Ayo Technology," despite the latter's special guests, Timbaland and Timberlake. Rum-hawking country hedonist Kenny Chesney's "Just as I Am: Poets and Pirates" might clobber both anyway.
"Curtis," Interscope Records; "Graduation," Roc-A-Fella Records.
Stanley Holden was a world-class character dancer in England's Royal Ballet, unforgettable in the travesty role of Simone in Frederick Ashton's comic masterpiece, "La Fille Mal Gardée." But his most valuable contribution to ballet may have been as a teacher in Southern California, where he inspired generations of students and professionals to the highest artistic standards. An extended tribute to Holden, who died in May at 79, will form the centerpiece of the eighth annual Los Angeles Dance Invitational, a varied but invariably celebratory event.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, September 13, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Master Chorale: A Fall Arts Preview item in Sunday's Arts & Music section said the Los Angeles Master Chorale would present "The City of Dis" by Louis Andriessen on Oct. 14. The performance will be Nov. 18.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, September 16, 2007 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Pina Bausch: In the Fall Arts Preview last Sunday, choreographer Pina Bausch's name was misspelled as Nina in the "Must-See List" of Leonard Nimoy. Also, a preview item said the Los Angeles Master Chorale would be presenting "The City of Dis" by Louis Andriessen on Oct. 14. The performance will be Nov. 18.
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. www.ladanceinvitational.org
It wasn't exactly remodeling, but when Gordon Matta-Clark took a chain saw to a house, an old building or an industrial shed, he transformed it from a place of familiar function into a sculptural surprise. Dead from cancer at 35 in 1978, he didn't have time to create a large body of significant work. But Matta-Clark's legacy has grown steadily more influential, as the widely admired traveling retrospective arriving at MOCA attests.
Museum of Contemporary Art through Jan. 7. www.moca.org
As titles go, "Slow Dancing" could hardly be more concise. David Michalek's giant outdoor installation was first seen this summer at New York's Lincoln Center: a trio of 50-foot-high screens showing video images of 44 dancers, three at a time, executing five-second phrases slowed down to 10 minutes. Now the project will be on view nightly as part of the Dance at the Music Center series. The screens will be smaller -- 16 feet high -- but they'll be closer to the ground, and there will be four of them, one on each side of the Music Center fountain.
Los Angeles Music Center through Sept. 26. www.musiccenter.org
Playwright Wendy Wasserstein couldn't resist questioning long-standing assumptions. And in "Third," which had its premiere at Lincoln Center shortly before her death last year, she casts her satiric eye on the subtle prejudices of a liberal academic who finds herself at loggerheads with a privileged rich kid. The West Coast premiere will welcome Christine Lahti, another probing investigator of human contradiction, back to the stage.
Geffen Playhouse, Westwood, through Oct. 21. www.geffenplayhouse.com
British critics were stunned by the profane violence of Gregory Burke's "Black Watch," making its U.S. debut under the auspices of UCLA Live, when it premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival. The Guardian called it a "great dirty ballet of pulsating machismo and terrible tenderness"; the Sunday Times hailed it as the most celebrated Scottish cultural artifact since "Trainspotting." Based on recent interviews with soldiers, the drama, directed by John Tiffany for the National Theater of Scotland, follows six Black Watch privates deployed to Iraq.
Freud Playhouse, UCLA, through Oct. 14. www.uclalive.org
A Korean American widower gets laid off, and the shock launches him on a road trip through the Southwest with his 13- and 21-year-old sons aimed at bridging the emotional distance from them he's created. That's the setup for Julia Cho's "Durango," receiving its West Coast premiere by East West Players. As last season's dark drama "The Piano Teacher" showed at South Coast Repertory, Cho is fascinated with how people suppress truths until they're cornered by them. Chay Yew directs "Durango," as he did last year's New York production, which prompted the New York Times to praise Cho as "a young playwright of clear promise [who] develops even the potentially hackneyed themes with a laconic, natural ease that earns respect and admiration."
East West Players through Oct. 14. www.eastwestplayers.org
This year's L.A. Salsa Festival, "El Cantante de Los Cantantes," will be a tribute to the late singer Héctor Lavoe, featuring Willie Colón, his former partner, and other associates from the salsa boom of the 1970s, including singers Cheo Feliciano and Ismael Miranda, veterans with Lavoe of the New York-based supergroup the Fania All-Stars. Other top names on the bill are Venezuelan singer and bassist Oscar D'León, New York diva La India, Puerto Rican sonero Domingo Quiñones, pianist-arranger Isidro Infante and the beloved Yomo Toro on the traditional Puerto Rican guitar the cuatro.
Greek Theatre. www.greektheatrela.com