April, 2010

Hitchcock’s Storied Sense of Humor Takes to the Ahmanson Theatre

The-39-Steps-Photo-8-1024x819We start off with an English gentleman.  He’s on stage, with his requisite pipe, telling us of the dull and boring days in a rented flat in central London that drove him to seek entertainment in a place as unlikely as the theatre.  He treks off to see red curtains pulled back revealing a perfectly comic duo in only their first role of the evening: as host and the night’s main act, Mr. Memory.  This is the beginning of “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps”, on now at the Ahmanson Theatre.

This show is not for the theatre purist easily offended by a lack of the ever-elusive “fourth wall.”  This is, instead, one of the funniest, most inventive, self-reflective plays I’ve seen in a long while.  With a cast of only four, the players cover many a persona often by simply changing their hat while still on stage.  The special effects were nowhere to be seen, either, with characters holding out and shaking their own coats to simulate the wind.  Various accents abounded as each actor moved between his or her alternate personalities – Clair Brownwell’s initial character, Annabella Schmidt, had a very German accent (pronouncing “involved” in all sorts of incomprehensible ways) before she switched to become the blonde Scottish woman, Pamela, out to get our leading man, Ted Deasy.

Deasy played only one man – the clever, but wanted Richard Hannay – and was a delight from the moment he stepped on stage.  He mastered a dry, elongated British accent and paired it with a quick-paced rapport, making the play seem almost like His Girl Friday, as directed by Mr. Hitchcock.  With references to Hitchcock’s films throughout, from a scene with Deasy running away from planes in silhouette a la North by Northwest to a sneaky puppet that made Mr. Hitchcock’s iconic cameo for him, “The 39 Steps” is a comical tour de force.

What made the show spectacular was the work of Eric Hissom and Scott Parkinson, cast as Man #1 and Man #2, respectively.  They went from train ticket takers to cops on the hunt for a murderer to inn-keepers to German spies (and their wives) to on-stage “special effects” coordinators taunting Deasy and Brownell to the end.  The Men (numbers 1 and 2) interacted with each other seamlessly, moving in perfect sync when necessary and telling one another when they’d forgotten to change their hat again and they were acting as the wrong character.

Perhaps the scene that prepared the audience best for what we were about to experience came toward the start when Annabella Schmidt, who had talked her way into staying at Mr. Hannay’s flat for the night, explained her predicament.  She told Hannay that she was being followed by detectives and that they would be there now beneath a street lamp near his apartment.  As Hannay went to pull back the blind to see for himself, Man #1 and Man #2 rushed on stage holding a prop street lamp.  They set it up and stood beneath it, their trench coat collars pulled up and black hats pulled down.  Quick-witted with a hefty side of film noir, vintage international intrigue, and absolutely no magical seamlessness between scenes.  “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps” tells you what its going to do as it does it, but in the funniest way possible – just make sure you brush up on your Hitchcock.

“Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps” runs now through May 16 at the Ahmanson Theatre downtown at the Music Center.  Please click here or call (213) 972-4400 for more information.

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deFineArtsLA Exclusive: Girl Flower!

00_triplexselectsthebestoflezsploitation_expresionencorto2008_mC’mon ladies, admit it—if you’re not a lesbian already, you’ve definitely given the idea some thought. I don’t want to make any assumptions about our readership here at FineArtsLA, but I know at least half of you have at least made out with a chick in some dimly lit back room—I mean, what are our 20s for? We all wonder what the other side of the lip gloss is like, right?

For those of you who haven’t yet adventured to the other side—and for those of you who have—this Friday affords a great opportunity for the voyeuresse in us all. In conjunction with Outfest, LA’s famous gay and lesbian film festival taking place in July, the UCLA Film and Television Archive will showcase the documentary montage film Triple X Selects: The Best of Lezsploitation. Director Michelle Johnson puts the “appropriate” back in appropriation, splicing spicy scenes from 60’s and 70’s lesberotica films—movies made by men, for men—into a romping 48 minutes of camp and cunts (don’t worry, nothing too explicit) that any woman is sure to enjoy. An open discussion with Johnson (aka Triple X) will immediately follow—so you can find out where to get the full versions of the films for later viewing.

Proceeding the discussion, you’ll have the chance to stick around and check out a classic lezsploitation flick, Just The Two of Us (1970), director Barbara Peters’ peek into the secret lives of housewives whose husbands are out of town.

So let that dirty little old man inside of you step out for a night, girls. And fellows—just, bring a date.

By Helen Kearns

The movie will screen at The Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer, 7:30pm, Friday April 20th. Visit the UCLA Film & Television website for ticket information.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Festival, Film, Neighborhoods, Video Art, West LA No Comments »

Burlesque Part II: Cherry Boom Boom!

KeyClub_14-1When my friends first dragged me to a Cherry Boom Boom show late one night at the Key Club on Sunset, I was more than reluctant.  I’m the type of girl who fights for women to keep their clothes ON in the entertainment industry.  More depictions of powerful women prosecutors, professors and presidents please; not more docile eye candy for the power-bloated male.

But what I discovered at the Key Club that night broke through my ridged outlook of propriety and introduced me to a new era of women’s comedy, creativity, and right to strut their stuff.

Although the leggy ladies of Cherry Boom Boom do embrace some of the imagery of the 1950’s pin-up girl, they are a bevy of powerful 21st century women whose passion and power will overwhelm you and leave you grasping at your seat.  The group combines nouveau cabaret dance vignettes with the gimmicks and humor of old time burlesque and a healthy dose of ‘don’t mess with me!  I’m proud of my body and who I am’. The Boom Booms’ intelligence, flair for storytelling, skill with a whip, and perceptive comic timing, enliven and enlighten the genre I had labeled as ‘stripping’ and judged so harshly from outside the Key Club doors.

Artistic Director and choreographer Lindsley Allen created the group two years ago and began touring small LA venues with the show.  They got such a buzz that Allen was invited to choreograph and co-direct a piece for Dancing With The Stars, starring Cherry Boom Boom and featuring Carmen Elektra. Allen, one of the original Pussycat Dolls, received her BFA in ballet and has had a successful career as a dancer and choreographer.

Cherry Boom Boom’s new show, “The Rendezvous”, opening at the King King Hollywood in May, also utilizes Allen’s background in Commedia Dell’Arte, the 16th century Italian clowning style. Allen studies commedia with Tim Robbins’s world-renowned theater company, The Actors’ Gang, and she chose to bring elements of that style to “The Rendezvous” to utilize the unique characters each of her dancers developed over the past year.  Rather than being a typical dance review, “The Rendezvous” brings to life the timeless commedia story of the thwarted LOVERS.“You get to go on a classic journey,” Allen explained, “All the dance numbers support the story.  I’m so excited to bring dance and commedia together. This show is a love affair between my two favorite worlds”.

The King King’s performance space is ideal for the piece. The multi-leveled stage, VIP lounge seating, and bar accentuate Cherry Boom Boom’s fusion between nightclub cabaret and Broadway show. You will definitely see me in line at the King King, this time dragging some new skeptics along with me.

- By Stephanie Carrie

“The Rendezvous” will perform at the King King on the last Thursday of every month, May-October.  Opening night is Thursday, May 27th.  Doors open at 8pm for a 9pm show. Be sure to stay for the dance party afterwards! For tickets www.kingkinghollywood.com or call (323) 960-9234.

Advance tickets highly recommended.


Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Dance, Fashion, Music, Musical Theatre, Neighborhoods, Performance, Personalities, The Social Scene, West Hollywood No Comments »

Wish Fulfillment

1207582406_c456cce5d6On an overcast Tuesday afternoon, when the traffic from the nearby 10 and 405 freeways is just starting to pack in, Bergamot Station in Santa Monica looks and feels more like an industrial depot center than one of Los Angeles’s prime gallery  hubbubs, and local art-dealer hot-spot of international acclaim. The parking lot if half-empty. Lonesome employees rumble by with crates full of water-cooler jugs. Sporadic patrons drift in and out of massive gallery spaces. On the whole, the place seems cold, even uninviting.

That is unless you accidentally stumble into the hallway of the Santa Monica Museum of Art—denoted only by a metallic sign that says “Museum”—and find yourself wondering what all the small, clay objects are doing strung up on the wall, as if hanging from massive, marker sketches of keys, backpacks, doorknobs, and necklaces. It’s this quaint collection of colorful figurines which, from first sight, breathes humanity into an otherwise blue atmosphere. For good reason too: every ornament on the wall is made by an artist below the age of 18—mainly ranging from 5-years-old to 10.

It’s called Wall Works: Project Icons and is the brainchild of clay and found-object artist Anna Sew Hoy. In collaboration with SMMA and six participating schools from around the Los Angeles area, Hoy asked children from kindergarten through 12th grade to describe their personal wishes, and transform them into pocket-sized “talismans” to help visualize their fulfillment. The wishes themselves, as written in the kids’ own handwriting, and paired with photographs of their corresponding talismans, can be viewed in conjunction with the exhibition. And all it takes is a quick glance at one or two of these wishes to get you digging through them like a treasure chest filled with jewels of innocent brilliance.

“I wish for a talking star to play with me,” writes Karina, who’s  yellow clay star sports sunglasses and a full rack of teeth.

“I had a limen tree so I can have limen juice,” says Megan. And no, this is not simply poor spelling, because Megan’s talisman is neither a lemon nor a lime. Not yellow nor green. It’s in between. It’s a limen. Why no sports drink has come up with this word combination before is beyond me.

It’s interesting: most of the younger kids’ wishes have to deal with fruit, or animals, mice in particular. And the pocket icons they create to represent these wishes are all courageously distorted versions of reality—imperfect, and yet lovely. Only when the children and their respective handwriting grow older, more refined, do the wishes become more realistic and abstract at the same time. Earnestness and anxiety replace playfulness.

“To be good at soccer,” one boy announces. “To be a better basketball player.” “To have a bigger garden.” “To be an architect.” Most all are sports and career related, with the occasional plea for world peace thrown in the mix. The older kids’ clay talismans also become more defined and mimetic, while losing some of the accidental whimsy of of their younger counterparts.

Extrapolating the results—or at least my observations—of Hoy’s project into the greater art-world, I can see how a place like Bergamot Station can seem so cold, the warm humor of its art lost in the jumble of warehouses and parking spaces. It’s the fulfillment of those older childens’ wishes for bigger and better things taking over the goofy vitality of those younger, fruit-and-mouse wishes.

And yet still, when you look at the wall of hanging talismans, they all pretty much look alike, old and young together. Each one the subject of natural distortion—due to the imperfect nature of clay-work—and each one something more than just a good luck charm. They are tactile. You can feel the wishes with your fingers. You can see it. It’s not just an airy idea. It’s a creation.

Anna Sew Hoy’s Wall Works: Project Icons can be viewed at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in Bergamot Station until May 31. For more information, please visit www.smmoa.org, or call (310) 586-6488.

Posted in Art, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Exhibitions, Galleries, Mixed media, Museums, Neighborhoods, Santa Monica No Comments »

What’s What in the Art World at Large (And What To Do in LA)

yves_saint_laurentWe may be geographically far from, well, everywhere in the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep up with all the arts endeavors across every which pond.  So here’s a bit of news (for the very serious and elite readers) and a bonus round of what’s going on in LA that really deserves your attention (for those who care about little outside LA county).

First, a stop in Paris at the Petit Palais.  The Parisian museum brings to the fore the artistic achievements of none other than Yves Saint Laurent.  Curated by Florence Muller and Farid Chenoune, the exhibit, called Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective features gowns, menswear, some of the designer’s treasured personal items used in creative pursuits, and it highlight themes used throughout the many collections in Saint Laurent’s illustrious career.  One ticket to France, please! {Global Post}

Onto Italy.  In Milan, our very own Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition has commenced.  Founded in 1993, Domingo’s opera competition is meant to find the cream of the crop amongst new talent in opera.  The singers represent not only a range of vocal categories (from coloratura soprano to the lowest bass), but also an array of countries around the world.  The competition ends May 2 (this Saturday), so you’ll have a new vocalist’s career to follow starting Sunday, May 3rd.  We have a feeling it will be meteoric.  {Culture Monster}

Not to shower the French with too much attention, though they don’t mind, Sotheby’s has made quite the announcement prior to the upcoming auction season.  The storied (and once thought lost) private collection of legendary Parisian art dealer Amrboise Vollard is set to meet the auction block.  His career was spent promoting such up-and-comers as Picasso, Cezanne, and Renoir and Vollard’s collection includes not only paintings, but such enticing items as prints, drawings, and artist books.  The sale will be held in London on June 22, so brush up on your British colloquialisms.  {ArtInfo}

Back at home, there is much to celebrate.  Dig into your pockets just a bit to buy yourself a ticket to the Architecture and Design Museum’s official Grand Opening!  For $75, you’ll mingle with a veritable who’s who of the architecture and design world in LA at the reception tomorrow night (April 27), (hint: you can also find them anywhere from Father’s Office to Tar Pit on weeknights), check out the first exhibit, and bid on things at the silent auction.  {A+D Museum}  Also, if you haven’t uploaded his schedule into your iCal already, Gustavo Dudamel has returned to the LA Phil – he’s conducting pretty regularly from now through May 8 on a number of concerts all worthy of splurging for tickets.  {LA Phil} This is your last chance to see LACMA’s exhibit Renoir in the 20th Century.  The exhibit closes May 9. {LACMA} Last, but certainly not least, turns out that parodies of Wagner and his Ring Cycle abound.  LA Times’ Culture Monster shows us the best of the best. {Culture Monster}

Posted in Architecture, Art, Bring Your Flask, Classical Music, Conceptual, Contemporary Art, Downtown, Exhibitions, Fashion, Festival, Food & Drink, Galleries, Miracle Mile, Museums, Music, Neighborhoods, Old School, Painting, Personalities, Photography, The Social Scene No Comments »

Sassy, Classy, and Proud

Until I got to LA, the world of burlesque was somewhat foreign to me. I had a vague notion of 1920’s showgirls doing Bob Fosse numbers for over-excited guys in trench-coats and fedoras, a lot of nasally yammering and two-note whistles. But even this general notion of burlesque was gleaned from Looney Tunes and old movies, not real life.

Then in LA, I realized there was an actual burgeoning scene, filled with human beings, or at least the Hollywood equivalent. It seemed everywhere I went, there was some amateur poster or postcard hanging up, featuring a scantily clad woman in heavy make-up, teasing me to visit the “Saturday Night Follies” or “Beatrice’s Boudoir.” Thus I developed a kind of adverse reaction to the ad saturation. I felt these so-called burlesque girls were simply suburban strippers in disguise, lacking the fortitude to go the whole way. To me, it was post-feminism imploding in on itself.

Still I hadn’t yet seen a burlesque show with my own two eyes, and had very little idea what it entailed. So this past Sunday night, I decided to get up off my hypocritical, ivory-stained tuchus, and check out “Red Snapper’s Sassy, Classy Burlesque Revue” at The Sherry Theatre in North Hollywood.

I held some hesitation over whether to bring a notebook or not. Normally I always bring a notebook to any event I review, whether it be a gallery or a film screening, but the idea of taking notes while a girl is showing off her tasseled breasts seemed somehow creepy to me. In the end, I decided to take notebook, but keep it on the down-low.

Right from the start of “Red Snapper’s Sassy, Classy Burlesque Revue” I realized how ignorant I’d been. There was a giant, inflatable bottle of Absinthe set up on the stage, three guys in sharp suits and slicked-back hair sitting behind me—each toting a bottle of champagne and going by the monikers of Frederick O’Hollywood and Patrick the Bank Robber. Burlesque, it seemed, was a kind of costume party, a carnival, a renaissance fair for those who preferred jazz with their coffee. And everyone was happy.

The first performer, one Mr. Snapper (aka Andrew Moore), the emcee of the night, got things going with a cute ukulele rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” pitch-perfect trumpet scat-singing and all.  But in burlesque, there’s no such thing as cute—or even perfect—without raunch. So Mr. Snapper told a dirty joke before bringing up the premiere dancer: How does a college man propose? Answer: You’re having a what?

Bebe Firefly, the first lady as it were, was the reason for the inflatable Absinthe bottle. She was dressed as a dolled-up green fairy, the kind that supposedly pops up every once in a while under the influence of the nationally illicit spirit. To the tune of a jazzy, speed-guitar riff, Bebe proceeded to mix a glass of alcohol with sugar on stage, consume it, and promptly shake her hips and bust until all that was left was a thong and some tassels. The crowd, both men and women, all hooting and hollering, loved it.

Next up was Iona Vibrator, donning an elaborate, Asian/New Orleans fusion outfit, which came off in a similarly ritualized fashion to that of Bebe’s. After her: Ms. Jessabelle Thunder, who’s David Lynch-esque number made me realize the hypnotizing effect of such dances. It’s mostly just simple back and forth, some turns and winks thrown in, but for some reason it’s just enough to keep you swaying along with them.

The show’s producer and name-sake, Red Snapper, arrived on stage next, ushering the audience into the second half of the night—the more experienced girls. Snapper was obviously a crowd favorite, more than comfortable strutting around in a pair of garters and stockings, doing a kind of naughty 50’s housewife parody. The supposed female empowerment associated with modern burlesque became more apparent in Snapper’s performance. She possessed a definite control over her own teases, an excited familiarity with her routine that translated into a kind of feminine pride.

Panama Red followed, with Costa Brava not far behind, each showing off their own expertise with unique additions to the basic ritual of the formalized strip-tease. Whether it was Panama Red’s jungle-themed chest-shake, or Costa Brava’s feathered fan dance, these girls clearly knew what they were doing, and found ways to make playful what could become tiresome.

The show-stopper, both literally and figuratively, was Evie Lovelle, the seeming celebrity of the group, appearing in her last performance before a European tour. As she came out from backstage, wearing a tight corset which practically choked her tiny, tiny waist, the audience went nuts. And I could see why. She had long, black hair; gorgeous, pale skin; and a knowing smile that’s typically reserved for starlets of the silent film era. She’ll fit in just perfect in Europe.

Leaving the show, I talked to two female members of the audience, both of whom expressed interest in trying out burlesque themselves. They said they appreciated how the medium applauded real women, and how even conventionally “flawed” body-types could be made beautiful and powerful. As for me, I’m still not quite convinced of the transformative value in burlesque—after all, every number ends with what’s known as the “final reveal”—but I will say that I had a fun time. And as it tuns out, my note-taking didn’t feel that creepy at all. I suppose that’s because nothing seems that creepy about burlesque. It’s a celebration, rather than a perversion, and for that, I’ll hoot and holler with the rest of ‘em.

Photos by Holly Go Darkly

To find out about any and all upcoming burlesque shows in Los Angeles, please visit www.losangeles.Burlesque411.com.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Dance, Music, Neighborhoods, Old School, Performance, Personalities, The Social Scene, Theatre No Comments »

SUNDAY FEATURE: A Community of Cars

“If the audience does not ‘get’ the work, it is just as much the fault of the artist, IF NOT MORE.”- Anis Mojgani

LA Weekly’s theatre editor and critic Steven Leigh Morris wrote an interesting—if a tad bit melodramatic—article last week for the magazine’s cover story. It’s called “Why Theater Matters,” and if you get beyond Morris’s initial mish-mash of personal, historical, and statistical references, you find that there is a sincere, thoughtful point he’s trying to make: that Los Angeles can become an economically and artistically thriving theatre town if we focus on what we do well already—produce new work by new writers—and obtain the active support from both government and private donors.

I too believe in the promotion of more experimental and personal theatre, as opposed to the tired revivals from New York-based playwrights. And I too believe that both private and public funding, if kept in check, would do a great service to a struggling community. Yet I see a fundamental flaw in Morris’s thinking (for a far more extensive and intelligent retort to Morris’s arguments, check out the two-part blog from my friend, Andrew Moore, who’s also President of the local theatre company, Theatre Unleashed).

He forgets about the artist’s relationship to the audience—not just the producer.

A good artist/audience relationship can take on two forms. One is literal, meaning you know someone in the play, you’re friends with the writer, or you’re a part of the theatre company (for the record, this is the reason the UCB Theatre has lines around the block on Saturday night). The second form is less tangible, but just as vital, and works for the same reason a literal relationship works; because you care about the performance. And the only way to truly care about a piece of theatre is to empathize with it—to see where it’s coming from, and relate.

Last week, for instance, I had the privilege to see a local show that took on both forms of this artist/audience relationship—the literal and the empathetic—and the power of the relationship was reflected in its opening weekend numbers (full houses). It was the IAMA Fest 2010, which is an annual festival of one-act plays written, directed, designed, and performed by members of the IAMA Theatre community—and it runs until April 11th at the Working Stage Theatre in West Hollywood.

This year’s result is a wonderful collage of twenty-minute vignettes, interspersed with short video introductions, all which take place within this city’s limits, and involve some sort of automobile. There’s “Canyon,” written by Christian Durso: a somber, unnerving piece about two old friends, a truck, a canyon, and a particularly violent shared memory. After that is “Neighborhood Watch,” a delightful throwback to the screwball comedies the 1940’s and 50’s, written by Rick Marin and Ilene Rosenzweig. This one follows a yuppy pair of over-eager, Prius-posing neighborhood-watchers, and what happens when they get bored. “Penelope,” the third piece of the quatrain, is by far the best. It’s a long monologue from scribe Louise Munson, which takes the audience by the hand and leads them through the sexual and emotional exploits of a 20-something female, lost in LA, but mostly in her own head. The fourth and final one-act is a preview of the upcoming play, Accidental Blonde, the sixth installment of the “Seven Deadly Plays” from writer—and basic fuel of the company—Leslye Headland.

The scripts didn’t simply speak for themselves though; one of the strongest connection points between artist and audience—in almost any medium—is that of an actor and viewer. The reason for this is because acting is essentially a hyper-conscious form of life; the artist, at least superficially, is doing nothing that the audience doesn’t do themselves already. Thus, when an actress like Amy Rosoff, who plays the sole character in “Penelope,” stands in front of you, and spills her guts out onto the stage, allowing for only passing hints of her true self, it’s a form of confession. And when she was done, you care about her. You care for her. On the other side of the coin are those more physical, classical performers like Adam Shapiro and Laila Ayad, stars of “Neighborhood Watch.” With them our reality is heightened just far enough from ourselves that we can believe it, yet still laugh.

As far as the set was concerned, the running motif of the car in is no accident. To me, it’s a brilliant metaphor for local, LA theatre itself. Because theatre, like a car in Los Angeles, is a pretty necessary item. They both move us, yet we don’t move while we’re in them. They’re also intensely personal spaces, but still relatable to almost anyone. Also, theatre, like a car, needs fuel to run, but it helps fuel the economy of Los Angeles at the same time. And yes, there’s a future, more fuel efficient theater on the horizon, but for now, we have to deal with the one we have, broken lights, squeaky frames and all. Every day there’s a car crash, and yet we keep on driving. Why? For the same reason that places like IAMA and Theatre Unleashed keep pumping out great work. Because Los Angeles does have a community, an audience if you will. It’s just an audience of cars.

IAMA Fest 2010 runs until April 11th at the Working Stage Theatre. For more information, please visit www.iamatheate.com.

Posted in Art, Festival, Neighborhoods, Performance, Personalities, Theatre, West Hollywood No Comments »

Electric Lady Blues Days

Face it: people forget. We forget about music, and how good it is. In our perpetual i-tunes search of the latest and newest, we forget  to stop every once in a while and  pay tribute to the greats. Which brings us to this city’s true music Mecca, the GRAMMY Museum, which holds access to the oldest,most rare—not to mention loudest—archives of American music, everything from Copland to Kanye, as well as hi-tech installations that make browsing decades of music history a breeze. Whether you’re one of those with a well to-do collection of rare vinyl, or among those drowning in the witty repartee of record store clerks, you should probably stop by for a brush up with the basics.

Amidst these music genres that the United States—and by extension, the museum itself—has collected, 60s rock resonates stronger today than almost any. The ghosts of three tragic, ‘Summer of Love’ icons, in particular, collectively haunt the mansions of pop-music more than most “original” artists would care to quantify. The exhibition Strange Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix invites long-time lovers of flower power and budding rock ‘n’ rollers alike to climb the ladder up into the attic of rock royalty, and explore the explosion. Gathering items as extravagant as Janis Joplin’s custom-painted 1965 Porsche Cabriolet to the outfits Hendrix, Joplin, and The Doors wore on stage, to Jim Morrison’s personal journals, the Grammy Museum sends you down the rabbit-hole of psychedelic rock, and lets you find your own way out…if that’s even possible.

By Danyel Madrid

Strange Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix opens April 5th at the GRAMMY Museum.  Please click here for more info.

Posted in Art, Downtown, Exhibitions, Museums, Music, Neighborhoods, Old School, Performance, Personalities No Comments »

La Vie En Rose: Jazz Legends at Fahey/Klein Gallery

various_ex_legends_01-216x300Capturing the magic of the jazz age can’t have been too hard.  From Duke Ellington at the piano to Frank Sinatra on stage, cigarette firmly in hand, it’s easy to see the je ne sais quoi that was ubiquitous in the days of bow ties and soul singers.  To read articles about jazz legends, to listen to their music, and to see photographs of their personal moments, we can catch a glimpse of the spirit of the music; the pain and the passion that made the jazz age so spectacular.

Not that you’ve ever needed a new reason to fall in love with Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday, but on view now at Fahey/Klein Gallery are two exhibits by legendary photographers who got a chance to capture musical icons from jazz greats like Miles Davis to rock stars like Mick Jagger.  In the big gallery space, you’ll find a plethora of black and white images that make you wish you’d worn your white gloves and perhaps a broach.  One image that stands out among the rest is the one above, of Frank Sinatra in silhouette on stage in a smoky room – the photo is large and the effect washes over you.

In the smaller room, find brightly colored, bold, and marshall_ex_trust_08-300x202fantastical images of Jimi Hendrix on his knees on stage, the Allman Brothers sitting with their equipment outside a venue, and a young Santana in his element.  The photos in this room look like stories in and of themselves; if they were taken during indifferent moments, they surely created stories after having been captured.  The represented jazz photographers are such household names as Herman Leonard, William Gottlieb, and William Claxton with rock and roll photographs hailing from the lens of Jim Marshall.

If you’ve ever wondered what getting someone under your skin Frank Sinatra - Classic Sinatra - His Great Performances, 1953-1960 - I've Got You Under My Skin or what Billie’s “Stormy Blues” actually looks like, this exhibit is for you.  Walking through the exhibit, you may spontaneously feel like you hear a saxophone playing faintly or Ella Fitzgerald’s sultry voice.  You may wish the room suddenly became darker or filled with smoke and whispered stories about the scene at Musso and Frank’s or the old Dominick’s.  Good thing this exhibit’s a little easier to get into.

“Legends of Jazz Photography” and Jim Marshall’s “Trust” are on view at Fahey/Klein Gallery now through May 15, 2010.  For more information, please call (323) 934-2250 or click here.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Exhibitions, Galleries, Hollywood, Jazz, Personalities, Photography No Comments »