A little bit of the European theater world is coming to the skid row neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles.
Inner-City Arts is teaming up with the British-German theater company Gob Squad and L.A.'s Center Theatre Group to launch a two-year stage project. The initiative will involve a handful of Inner-City Arts students participating in a theater production about the process of aging.
The British Council, a nongovernment cultural organization, is investing $10,000 in the project. CTG will help to oversee the collaboration.
The collaboration between Gob Squad and Inner-City Arts is scheduled to begin in September when the European company will be in town for an engagement at REDCAT.
Joseph Collins, the head of Inner-City Arts, said CTG approached him about a month ago about the project. He said 12 students ranging in age from 8 to 14 will participate in the stage production.
Inner-City Arts has been developing close ties with Britain in recent months. In July, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to the school's campus and participated in an art class and other activities.
'Engagement' at Tribeca festival
The Tribeca Film Festival is going to the comedy well this year, announcing that the Jason Segel marital pic "The Five-Year Engagement" will open its annual gathering April 18.
"Engagement" follows a couple (played by Segel and Emily Blunt) who find plenty of bumps on the road between their engagement and their wedding. The movie marks a reunion for Segel and director Nicholas Stoller, who last collaborated on the 2008 hit "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." The pair cowrote the new film, on which Judd Apatow served as a producer. The festival has moved in different directions with its opening-night slot, one year going serious with "United 93" and another year taking the animated route with "Shrek Forever After." It last opened with a live-action comedy in 2009, when Woody Allen's "Whatever Works" kicked off the festival.
This year's Tribeca Film Festival, the 11th annual affair, runs through April 29 in downtown Manhattan.
New York Times workers protest
More than 200 newsroom employees at the New York Times staged a silent moment of protest Wednesday afternoon to publicize their objection to a management plan that would reduce future retirement benefits, not long after former Chief Executive Janet Robinson left the company with a more than $15-million retirement deal.
Management has alienated the workers by suggesting they would offer no wage increase and provide no more company contributions to the pension plan.
Reporters, editors and others left their desks at about 4 p.m. and massed outside the third-floor conference room where the Times' top editors hold their daily meeting to decide which stories should go on the paper's front page. Times Editor Jill Abramson, Managing Editor Dean Baquet and others filed by as their employees stood silently, most wearing stickers that read "Without Us, It's Just White Space." The workers have been without a contract for a year.
Ivy Leaguers can't resist Gaga
Lady Gaga caused quite a sensation Wednesday on Harvard University's campus.
The singer was at the school to launch her Born This Way Foundation with Oprah Winfrey and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
She said that the foundation's goal is to empower youth and inspire bravery. The foundation shares a name with her album, and she said its message will be for students to create a more loving environment at their schools and in the world.
About 100 students mobbed the singer.
Elephant troupe to reorganize
The Elephant Theatre Company — one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood's Theater Row district — has suspended operations for the 2012 season largely because of financial difficulties and will undergo an internal reorganization, company leaders said Tuesday.
"We're in a challenging position to continue," said David Fofi, a founder and artistic director of the Elephant. Founded in the mid-'90s, the Elephant specializes in new American plays, often with edgy themes. The small nonprofit organization is the resident theater company of the Elephant Stages building, located on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. In 2010, the company partnered with the LAByrinth Theater Company of New York, producing works by playwrights such as Stephen Adly Guirgis.
"We could have kept going the way we had been, scraping by," said Lindsay Allbaugh, a co-artistic director of the Elephant. "But we would not have been able to last much longer without reorganizing and restructuring."
In recent seasons, the Elephant has mounted four stage productions a year. The company has an operating budget of about $75,000 to $85,000 per year, according to Allbaugh. The Elephant has a seven-member board, including three company officers and four outside individuals.