October 31, 2013 |
Happy birthday, John Keats. The Romantic poet best known for his odes -- "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode on Indolence," "Ode on Melancholy," "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche" -- was born 218 years ago today. The great English poet died in 1821 at the age of 25. He was born on Halloween in 1795, more than a century before English children took up the custom of wearing costumes on All Hallows' Eve, though he surely would have enjoyed listening to goblins recite a certain rhyme at their neighbor's doors.
October 30, 2013 |
If you attend only one event this year marking controversial real estate practices and epic events in California infrastructure, well, Nov. 5 might be a good day for it. Why? Because it was Nov. 5, 1913, that the Los Angeles Aqueduct opened, diverting water to parched Los Angeles County from the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra. Without that water (and the quiet land acquisitions that preceded the opening), Los Angeles as we know it wouldn't exist. At the Cascades area (in Sylmar)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 28, 2013 |
Dozens of people with handfuls of confetti quietly crowded into the front room of Elinor Otto's family home, waiting to surprise the birthday girl. The Boeing "Rosie the Riveter," who turned 94 on Monday, stepped through the door, open-mouthed, to choruses of “Surprise!” and “Happy birthday!” as loved ones feted her at a weekend party in Long Beach. Lt. Col. Bob Friend , a 93-year-old Tuskegee Airman, presented Otto with a rose corsage as she pointed to familiar faces shouting, “Oh!
October 25, 2013 |
Giuseppe Verdi's 200th birthday celebration resumes in Southern California this weekend with the three-day Italian Opera Festival at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. The composer's birthday was Oct. 10. On Saturday, the festival at Soka University, an offshoot of the annual Tuscia Operafestival in Viterbo, Italy, will feature a “Viva Verdi!” program that includes overtures and arias from 10 of his works, including “La Traviata,” “Il Trovatore,” “Aida,” “Otello” and Verdi's “Requiem.” Stefano Vignati, the Tuscia festival's music director, conducts the Tuscia Operafestival Symphony with reinforcements from the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, San Diego.
October 21, 2013 |
Move over birthday candles, and step aside telomeres; there may be a new kind of biological clock in town. And this one may prove useful in predicting where age-related diseases such as cancer are most likely to strike. The proposed new body clock measures DNA methylation -- the process by which genes are altered as the body's cells differentiate and their genetic programs change to meet new demands. Researchers pored over the DNA of some 8,000 samples from 51 different tissues and cells -- including blood, brain, muscle, heart, lungs, liver and pancreas -- to devise a formula by which DNA methylation could be used to determine the age of the tissue from which the tested cells are drawn.
October 19, 2013 |
At Wednesday's 10th birthday party for Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform the world premiere of Frank Zappa's "200 Motels. " It's made up of 13 orchestral suites by the late L.A. rock star and composer, only parts of which surfaced in his 1971 "200 Motels" feature film and double-LP soundtrack album. Zappa, who died 20 years ago of cancer just short of 53, devoted much of his creative energy to humorous scoffing at most aspects of the human condition.
October 18, 2013 |
Into every generation a sketch comedy (sometimes two or three or more) is born. Indeed, we can write the cultural history of our times in their names, from Sid Caesar's "Show of Shows" to the variety shows of Carol Burnett and Flip Wilson, to "Saturday Night Live" and "SCTV," to "Kids in the Hall" and "In Living Color" and "Mad TV," to "Key & Peele" and "Incredible Crew," with many more in between and yet to come. The latest link in this chain of laffs is "The Birthday Boys," premiering Friday on IFC. Its eponymous stars work out of the L.A. Branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (see also: "Upright Citizens Brigade," the late-'90s Comedy Central series that featured UCB co-founder Amy Poehler)
October 17, 2013 |
Bob Odenkirk and David Cross gave voice to several alternative comics from the Los Angeles performing scene on their “Mr. Show with Bob and David,” which ran on HBO for three years in the mid-'90s. Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brian Posehn and Scott Aukerman all appeared on or wrote for the show. Now Odenkirk, together with Ben Stiller, is boosting the profile of another L.A. comedy staple, the Birthday Boys, a sketch group that started up in 2007 and regularly played live at L.A.'s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
October 17, 2013 |
"Dancing on the Edge" (Starz, Saturdays). Stephen Poliakoff ("The Lost Prince") wrote and directed this early-1930s period piece set at the intersection of jazz and aristocracy. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Louis Lester, a black British jazz genius whose career starts to get traction when he crosses paths with hustling music journalist Stanley Mitchell (Matthew Goode) and gets himself a pair of singers (Angel Coulby and Wunmi Mosaku). A kind of "Upstairs/Backstage" drama, with a mystery attached, the five-part miniseries (plus a long epilogue -- appendix might be the better word -- in the form of interviews)
October 15, 2013 |
Some people have left such an enduring mark on civilization that we shouldn't wait for jubilees or other milestones to honor their birthdays. Such is P.G. Wodehouse , that great British master of farce, born 132 years ago today. For me, Wodehouse is the antidote to every ill that can arise in life. On my Wodehouse shelf there isn't a volume that hasn't been reread a hundred times, thumbed nearly to dust. There are passages in every book and story that can still leap off the page and make me laugh out loud, never mind that I can recite them by heart. Most Americans probably know Wodehouse mostly from the TV adaptation "Jeeves and Wooster," drawn from his most famous series of novels and stories and starring Stephen Fry as the butler Jeeves and Hugh Laurie (later of "House)