April 29, 2012 |
On a recent Sunday morning, at an hour when many a teenager is still prone in bed, Adam Bernstein, 15, and Eli Gruska, 13, were lying face down on the floor of a Los Angeles ballet studio. Both boys would soon be heading to New York City for the biggest ballet competition in the country. They and the others in this all-boys class were awaiting instructions from Marat Daukayev, former principal dancer withRussia'sfamed Kirov Ballet (now the ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre). Daukayev begins his boys' class with sets of push-ups, not pliés.
June 19, 2012 |
As the 34th annual Playboy Jazz Festival wrapped up on Sunday, Bill Cosby danced across the stage to play his final solo beneath the iconic bunny. "It's my last time here," he announced to the applauding crowd, which filled the Hollywood Bowl to the last bleacher. "And I'm gonna give you something you've never heard before. Take it back to the bridge!" Cosby grabbed a trombone from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who followed his order with upbeat, New Orleans-style jazz.
July 15, 2012 |
We're blessed here in L.A. Some of the most notable Latin musicians in the world call this city home: Spanish Harlem Orchestra leader Oscar Hernández, bossa nova pioneer Sergio Mendes and, more recently, Cuban trumpet player and composer Arturo Sandoval. Sandoval's presence brought some much-needed gravitas to a performance of classical and jazz fare by the Muse/ique orchestra Friday at Caltech's outdoor Beckman Mall in Pasadena. Everything has already been said about Sandoval's superb phrasing and virtuoso technique.
March 13, 2011 |
Andreas Mitisek has plenty of reasons to be nervous: It's just a few minutes before he'll vault onstage to talk about "Medea," the bloody, extreme opera he's distilled and remade. And it's only an hour before the boyish 47-year-old will conduct the orchestra during a performance of the piece. Mitisek also designed the production's stark lighting ? emitted eerily from below ? that had been sharply criticized in a review a few days before. But instead of composing himself in a green room, trying to control his anxiety while memorizing his speech or conducting, Mitisek is relaxing on an audience seat, discussing his love of putting on shows.
August 11, 2012 |
Works of art can do just about anything - except explain how other works of art work. That's one of the reasons many movies and books about artists fall short. They presume to tell us the truth about things they are in no position to explain, much less match the artistry of. Documentary films do not face this problem. Three recent ones work wonders because they allow their subjects to speak for themselves. More important, Matthew Akers' "Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present," Corinna Belz's"Gerhard Richter Painting"and Neil Berkeley's "Beauty Is Embarrassing" do not reveal how Abramovic, Richter or Wayne White make their work.
April 30, 2012 |
Piotr Beczala may be one of the new generation's top three tenors, along with Jonas Kaufmann and Juan Diego Flórez. Each has his specialty - Kaufmann's is drama, Flórez's is bel canto and Beczala's is ardent romanticism. That ardency was evident when the 45-year-old Polish tenor made his U.S. recital debut Saturday at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The audience was primed and ready. Already some had loved him as Des Grieux opposite Anna Netrebro's Manon in a Met Opera broadcast this month.
April 26, 2012 |
You'd be hard-pressed to find a musical with less dramatic tension than "Million Dollar Quartet" anywhere this side of a "My Little Pony" touring show. The production that opened Tuesday at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts really just wants to let the good times roll, so you can be glad it devotes only about 10 minutes of its 105-minute running time to drumming up token conflicts between Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash and their visionary producer, Sam Phillips.
May 21, 2012 |
While promoting the movie"Battleship"in Tokyo last month,U.S. ArmyCol. Greg Gadson found himself face-to-face with a stunned reporter. "He thought I was computer-generated," said Gadson, a burly former West Point football player who walks with the aid of futuristic-looking titanium prosthetics. "He thought my legs were movie magic. " There was no CGI needed for Gadson's performance as a wounded combat veteran in "Battleship" - both of his legs were amputated above the knee after he was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.
December 20, 2009 |
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, impatient dancers, choreographers, critics and audience members all hoped that a new breed of innovators would appear to transform theatrical dance the way that Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev radically renewed and updated classical ballet in the first decade of the 20th. We're still waiting. Where are the bold, young choreographers creating imperishable dances, the adventuresome composers and designers venturing off the middle of the road?
June 8, 2012 |
CHICAGO - Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 painting "Whaam!" shows an American fighter pilot shooting down an enemy aircraft in a dramatic explosion of comic-book color. Among his most familiar works, it turns up in the third room of a wonderfully revealing retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the painting looks very different than it has before - deeper, richer, more bracingly complex. That's one sign of a worthwhile show. "Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective" is huge - more than 100 paintings, plus sculptures and drawings, spanning half a century.