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April 4, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The Bristol Old Vic production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" currently at the Broad Stage and the Théâtre de Bouffes du Nord production of "The Suit," which opens Wednesday at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, both are connected to South Africa. Shakespeare's play involves Cape Town's Handspring Puppet Company. "The Suit" is an adaptation of a short story by South African writer Can Themba.  Furthermore, both productions are projects of British directors. But while Tom Morris and Peter Brook are generations apart and Morris' "Dream" and Brooks' "Suit" represent quite different sensibilities, what the directors mainly have in common is that each, in his own way, has worked now and then in opera and made a considerable impact doing so.  Morris' primary claim to fame may be his collaboration with Handspring on "War Horse.
March 26, 2014 | By Nita Lelyveld
Go to any corner in many a part of this city and you'll find a Hollywood dream. David Harwell's corner is North La Cienega Boulevard and West 3rd Street. There, he dances with a sign that reads, "CHECKS CASHED, MoneyGram, CURRENCY EXCHANGE. " On a nearby lamppost, he bungee-cords another sign, featuring his photo, name and the words, "Like me on Facebook. " So far, 26,000 people have done so . Harwell wants to build a fan base. He's a sign dancer now, but he wants to be an actor.
March 26, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.
When one of us takes in another's face, it's like a party in the brain. Signals dart from region to region as we piece together the eyes, the mouth, the emotional expression, the degree of attraction or fear we may feel, the memory of a familiar feature or mannerism. New research has found that, by listening in long enough to an individual's brain as he or she gazes at many faces, one can sketch a pretty good facsimile of an unfamiliar new face that person is seeing. Using the same technique, one might one day be able to reconstruct a facial image called to someone's mind by memory, or even seen in a dream.
March 23, 2014 | By Nita Lelyveld
One day, David Harwell's car will come. An industry bigwig will drive by the corner of La Cienega and 3rd. He'll be discovered. He'll live his Hollywood dream. Harwell feels it in his bones as he moonwalks in front of a mini-mall. He knows it as he swivels his arrow-shaped sign that reads: "CHECKS CASHED, MoneyGram, CURRENCY EXCHANGE. " When a Starline Tours bus barrels down the boulevard, passing the Beverly Center and heading his way, he steps into the street and shimmies toward the people holding up cellphones on the upper deck.
March 18, 2014 | By Shan Li and Abby Sewell
Chinese automaker Build Your Dreams is close to losing a $12-million contract to deliver a fleet of electric buses to Long Beach Transit, a deal the company hoped would jump-start its U.S. operations. Federal transit officials said that BYD violated some regulations that made it ineligible to bid in the first place. Both sides are in talks to determine how to best exit the contract ahead of what is expected to be a new round of bidding. It would mark a big setback for the Chinese company, which outbid four rivals last spring to build 10 electrically powered buses for Long Beach.
March 17, 2014 | By Gary Klein
USC's women's basketball team gathered Monday among family, fans and athletic department personnel to learn its NCAA tournament opponent and destination. A stirring run to win the Pac-12 Conference tournament March 9 ensured there would be no sense of bubble-induced foreboding, only eager anticipation. When USC's name flashed during the televised announcement of the 64-team field, the reception room in the Galen Center erupted in cheers and applause. USC, making its first tournament appearance since 2006, will play St. John's on Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn.
March 14, 2014 | Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Summer Dreams" (CBS, Saturday). A vivid, elegantly made, two-hour documentary centering on the NBA Summer League, a 10-day yearly event, held in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, where pro-ball hopefuls and rookies run and dribble, pass and shoot before a worldwide array of coaches and executives -- a kind of last-chance marketplace for some, and a pre-season workout for contracted others. ("The 'American Idol' of basketball," Dallas Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson calls it. "It's a little stepping stool, man," says undrafted outsider Dwayne Davis.)
March 14, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Shakespeare with puppets, a legendary director still breaking ground in his 80s, and a couple of Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas are just some of the highlights of the spring theater season. As for new work, there's a brand new play by one of America's rising playwriting talents. But even the classics are being served in novel ways and the prospect of Annette Bening performing monologues by Ruth Draper has all the charge of a world premiere. MARCH 18-APRIL 13 'A Song at Twilight' This late work by Noël Coward is in the capable hands of director Art Manke, who has been shining a spotlight on the lesser-known reaches of the Coward canon.
March 13, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ayelet Waldman's "Love and Treasure" (Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, April 1) is a triptych novel that follows the lives of American and Hungarian Jews across the 20th century. A story of relationships, art and loss, it moves among a granddaughter trying to solve a puzzle, feminists in Budapest between the wars and European Holocaust survivors headed to Palestine. "When my book was being auctioned in Britain, one of the people who didn't bid on it said, 'This book is too Zionist for us.' And then my Israeli publisher, who did end up buying it, was like, 'Man, this is a really anti-Zionist book.' I got those responses the same day," Waldman says via Skype.
March 11, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
A year ago, when the Republican National Committee's searing 2012 election postmortem was released, it was possible to imagine, for a fleeting moment, that the GOP might finally grasp why it has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' act of public self-flagellation showed that he was ready to ask tough questions of a party that has alienated the fastest growing demographic segment of voters in this country - Latinos - and failed to woo younger voters, women and gays.
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