Santa Monica

This Halloween, It’s Different

We’re sorry to break this to you, but…we think you’ve gotten a little too old to trick-or-treat.  When you show up at a stranger’s front door decked out in your very innovative homemade costume and they ask where your kids are – it’s a sign.  We’re not saying you have to throw away the pumpkin earrings or even your witch’s hat, we just thought we’d present you with a few, more adult suggestions to celebrate this most flamboyant of holidays.  There are tricks and treats to be had throughout this city and we wouldn’t want you to miss even one…

For the old-fashioned in all of us – Halloween night screenings abound!  Nosferatu will be screened with musical accompaniment at Walt Disney Concert Hall at 8pm and with culinary accompaniment at Vinoteque on Melrose at 7pm and again at 9pm.  Tomorrow night, at the Egyptian Theatre, you’ll experience the 50th anniversary of the Twilight Zone – a screening of some of the series’ most acclaimed episodes should start your night off right at 8pm.  It might be hard to hit them all, but you do have that broom stick…

For the slasher film fan in all of us – it’s as if someone read your mind!  Sspooky!  Starting tonight, there is a three-day lineup full to the brim with blood and gore.  Tonight’s Slasherpalooza!: A Night of Gonzo Slasher Films includes screenings of Hatchet, Shakma, and Night of the Demon.  Not to be outdone, Friday night’s The Strange World of Coffin Joe series features Embodiment of Evil alongside Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (which may be scarily reminiscent of your last therapy session).  Then, if you’re not all screamed out by Saturday, there’s a (family friendly) Bollyween party and fundraiser.  The Dosa truck will be there providing sustenance, there will be costume prizes, a couple of DJs spinning, a phantom photo booth, and tarot card readings – if you dare!

For the attention-seeker in all of us – Halloween isn’t about other people’s costumes, nor is it about how scary Jack Nicholson is in The Shining.  It’s about just how loud and on-pitch you can howl…er, sing.  The Music Center hosts a Friday Night Sing-Along on the plaza complete with lyric sheets and live accompaniment.  Just make sure your costume doesn’t outshine your voice…

nosferatuint01For the art freak in all of us – the Santa Monica Museum of Art is hosting their Halla Gala for which they recommend you dress as your “secret self” (Batman?) for an evening of mingling, a special exhibition, a particularly scary photobooth, Fellini-style movies, a Magic Carpet walk-off (those attention seekers would appreciate this too), as well as some capricious cocktails and delicious delectables to nibble on.

Fishnet stockings and character shoes don’t make a costume (and gentlemen, neither does a box surrounding your genitals) – so go get creative and send us photos of your most outrageous work.

Posted in Art, Bring Your Flask, Downtown, Exhibitions, Film, Food & Drink, High Brow, Hollywood, Low Brow, Museums, Music, Old School, Performance, Personalities, Santa Monica, West Hollywood No Comments »

Making the Museum Dash

I know that a good portion of you have been itching to reenact the scene from Jean Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders where the main characters Arthur, Franz, and Odile dash through the Louvre in 9 minutes and 43 seconds. No doubt most museums would frown upon that type of behavior.  (But not us!  Actually, give us a call if you are about to do this…)

To stay within the good graces of the fine cultural institutions in this city, we have a proposal.  Instead of making a mad dash through one museum, this weekend you can gather a few of your best friends and have your pick of pretty much any museum within this land to sit, stroll, walk — or run!  This weekend, twenty-four Los Angeles and Orange County museums are opening their doors without charging any admission costs.  Zip. Zero. Nada! So making that mad dash from door to door and museum to museum is  much easier and won’t hurt your wallet one bit.  And since the bill isn’t on you, you can feel free to stop by those few museums that you have been meaning to.

See how many places you can motor through.  I know both Godard and Bernardo Bertolucci would be proud.

Please click here to see a list of participating museums and information.

Posted in Downtown, Film, Miracle Mile, Museums, Pasadena, Santa Monica No Comments »

Rashomon… Like Never Before

rashomon_sp2Before Pulp Fiction, there was Rashomon.  Before The Usual Suspects, there was Rashomon.  Before Memento, before Elephant, before City of God, before Watchmen, before Lost, before pretty much any piece of cinema that effectively utilizes non-linear narrative, flashbacks, and multiple perspectives to tell its story, there was Rashomon.  Directed and co-written by the late and great joiner of Eastern and Western film, Akira Kurasawa, Rashomon weaves the tale of a purported rape and murder through the eyes of its four witnesses: the bandit, the woodcutter, the rape victim, and the dead man himself.  The accounts all contradict one another, and the audience is put in the position of impartial jury, charged with the task of piecing together the various strands of truth into a cohesive whole.

But if it’s just the story or historical time capsule you want, go rent it on Netflix.  Because Rashhomon is, aside from the narrative innovation, also a masterpiece of cinematography—it was the first film ever to shoot directly into the sun—and the only way to truly appreciate the visceral beauty is to see it in its original 35mm format.  Fortunately for us Angelenos, this is still possible and starting this Friday, October 2 at the Nuart Theatre, for one week only, Rashomon will be showing in a newly restored film-print created from the original, 1962 camera negatives.  Cleaned by hand, as well as state-of-the-art digital technology, the print contains a newly improved soundtrack and enough resolution to properly honor the supreme talent of Kurasawa’s genius collaborator/cinematographer, Kazuo Miyagawa.

Basically, whether you’re a veteran camera-op or a wannabe screenwriter, or just your average kung fu nut, you probably owe something to Rashomon, and its not often you get to see such a vastly influential example of cinematic craft in such perfect condition.  It may be twenty years from now that another opportunity like this even comes about, and by that time, you and your three friends will be so busy arguing about what happened on that one night, twenty years back, when you were supposed to all go see Rashomon at the Nuart, that none of you will even bother to notice.

The newly-restored Rashomon plays from October 2nd – October 8th at the Nuart Theatre.  For more information, please visit www.landmarktheatres.com or call (310) 281-8223.

Posted in Film, Santa Monica No Comments »

New Waves of Enlightenment

Enlightenment comes in many forms, especially in Los Angeles.  Depending on the weather, the day of the week, or the current passing trend, enlightenment can be found in a yoga class, in a martini shaker, or at the movies.  Where some need to sweat out their worries on a treadmill, others are of the school of thought that meditation, silence, and breathing are the ticket.  Personally, one thing that works every time is good music, played loud and up close.  I’m not talking about the ‘jump on your bed while listening to Pearl Jam’ kind of loud and up close, I’m talking about the kind of music that moves you to your core – Yo-Yo Ma on the violin or Ravi Shankar on the sitar, for example.

This weekend at the Broad Stage, you’ll find another musician bringing enlightenment in bulk – Rajeev Taranath.  One of the world’s leading Sarod players, Taranath will grace the stage on Saturday evening with tabla virtuoso Abhiman Kaushal for a performance guaranteed to shift your perspective for the better.  The Sarod is a stringed instrument similar to the sitar that has long been used in classical Indian music, while the tabla is a classical Indian drum that has been featured in both traditional and popular music around the world.

What’s more is… Fine Arts LA has got tickets for you!  The lucky winner of today’s Extra! Extra! raffle will win tickets to see Rajeev and Abhiman enlighten Santa Monica on Saturday night at the Broad Stage at 7:30pm.  Some Extra! Extra! details you’ll need to remember: by entering into this raffle, you’re also eligible to win the next three (3!) raffles!  All we need is your first name, last name, and email address and voila – you’re a newly enlightened guru!

(Click here if you don’t want to risk it and you’re just gonna buy your own tickets.)

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Posted in Extra! Extra!, Music, Santa Monica, Tickets, World Music No Comments »

Every Ballerina’s First Love

As a young ballet student, it’s not easy to forget the first time you see an unparalleled performance – on tape, on stage, or in the studio.  I won’t forget the first time I saw the pointed toes, spectacular leaps, and turns of one Mikhail Baryshnikov, easily classified as unparalleled in every sense of the word.  Sitting in the ballet studio all huddled around the TV in tights and ballet shoes, we watched a video of Baryshnikov in a pas de deux, lifting Gelsey Kirkland with grace, ease, and his boyish charm.  It was one of those moments where, even as young boys and girls, we realized what we were working toward. Even those who aren’t ballet fanatics will remember fondly when they saw Baryshnikov light up their screens as the elusive artist Mr. Aleksandr Petrovksy in Sex and the City.

Kicking off the Broad Stage’s second season is a performance that, like Baryshnikov himself, inspires the word  ‘unparalleled.’  Dancing with Ana Laguna, the performance will see the start of their limited engagement tour of “Three Solos and a Duet” across the US.  They’re performing new works by contemporary choreographers like Mats EkAlexei Ratmansky (formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet), and New York City Ballet’s Benjamin Millepied.  

If there was any way to otherwise convey my excitement about a performance as groundbreaking and enticing as this one, I’d take it.  Once you move past Baryshnikov’s casual good looks, confidence, impeccable technique, and spectacular artistry, you’ll be faced with the performance itself, which marks four premieres as danced by a living legend. Ana Laguna, truly not to be overlooked, will hold her own next to Mr. Baryshnikov with ease – she’s long been Mats Ek’s muse (and wife),  danced with the Cullberg Ballet, and staged a number of Ek’s works at the Opera de Paris and the Compania Nacional de Danza in Spain.  Her career has also been studded with awards from around the world.  I’ll reason with you – they’re not exactly lithe twenty-year-olds up on stage.  But remember how good Something’s Gotta Give was?  Enough said – certain things really are better with age (and the wisdom that comes with it.)  They say that youth is wasted on the young for a reason…

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ana Laguna are performing their “Three Solos and a Duet” at the Broad Stage on Friday, September 4 at 8pm and on Saturday, September 5 at 7:30pm.  For more information, please call (310) 434-3200 or click here.

Posted in Ballet, Dance, Santa Monica No Comments »