All photography ©2016 Leticia Marie Sanchez
The pale pink flower bed is “Muhlenbergia capillaris ‘Pink Cloud’”
Sun-drenched stroll at the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardensread more
Two Stolen Van Gogh paintings found in home of Naples Mafia boss
by Leticia Marie Sanchez
Two Vincent Van Gogh paintings that were stolen from a museum in Amsterdam fourteen years ago have been recovered in the house of a mafia lord at Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples.
The two paintings, Seafront at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, were stolen from the Van Gogh museum in 2002 by thieves who climbed to the roof of the museum using a ladder and then absconded by means of a rope. One of the agile art thieves earned the alias “The Monkey,” and the FBI Art Crime Team listed the brazen heist as one of the Top 10 Art Crimes.
What is murky is how the stolen Van Gogh paintings made their way from the hands of the original Dutch art thieves to the luxurious den of the Italian mobster where authorities found the paintings in decent condition. According to an Italian prosecutor, the mobster runs “one of the most dangerous and active crime groups” in the region. The mafia boss, Rafaelle Imperiale, flew the coop and is believed to be currently running a construction business in Dubai. Italian authorities have requested his extradition from the United Arab Emirates. Investigators have also seized other loot belonging to Signor Imperiale, including apartments, villas and a plane worth an estimated total of $22.3 million. Quite a stash there, goodfella.
Painting Above: ”Seascape at Scheveningen” (The Van Gogh Museum)read more
This week’s Cultural Cocktail recipe double includes: a double shot of Mozart, a chaser of Chausson, and a dose of Dohnanyi.
PITTANCE CHAMBER MUSIC
First concert of their 2016/17 inaugural season
Sunday, October 9th 3 p.m.
Featuring: Members of the L.A. Opera Orchestra: Roberto Cani, Violin; Jessica Guideri, Violin Ana Landauer, Violin; Yi Zhou, Viola; John Walz, Cello; Rowena Hammill, Cello; Stuart Clark, Clarinet; Steven Becknell, French Horn; Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artist Summer Hassan, Soprano; Paul Floyd, Piano
MOZART: Clarinet Quintet; MOZART: aria “L’amero saro costante;” CHAUSSON: Chanson Perpetuellel DOHNANYI: Sextet Op. 37
Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 135 North Grand Avenue, LA, CA 90012
For more information on tickets, please visit: http://pittancechambermusic.org
Photo Credit: Brenden-John Photography
From the Pittance Chamber Music Website:
“A Pittance/ Denizens of underworld/A cavern for a stage/Invisible to all but those Who peer into the cage/ And point and stare and wonder how/We fell into the trap/Of playing in an opera pit/Until they start to clap.
For then they rise for diva’s bow/ To see us there below. And now the truth is obvious/ Without us there’s no show/ Compared to grossest salaries/ A pittance is our fee/ But pit is where we make great art/ Where inspiration’s free.
–Rowena Hammill”read more
Bacchanalia at the Getty Villa
by Leticia Marie Sanchez
Roman party god Bacchus would look down fondly at the revelry taking place this fall at the Getty Villa Theater. Wine, women, and song abound. Director Matt Walker and his engaging Troubador Theater Company have adapted the work of Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus, refreshing lines from 200 B.C. with contemporary, hilarious zingers. The age-old story involves a prodigal son, Philolaches, partying like a rock star while his unsuspecting father, Theopropiedes, travels abroad. Aptly entitled “The Haunted House Party,” the ambiance of the adaptation feels like a ninety-minute zany house party with characters rapping, breaking into dance routines, and even calling out late audience members. As Matt Walker declared to the audience, “there is no fourth wall.” The strength of this production lies in the talented cast, spontaneous ad libs, audience engagement, and the sassy verbal juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern.
One of the play’s highlights occurred at the beginning during the witty riffing between the indefatigable Matt Walker (Tranio) and the uber-talented Beth Kennedy (Grumio) as she fell (ever so gently) on the marble floor of the Getty Villa Theater. With her sense of comedic timing and powerful charisma, Kennedy also stole the show as Mr. Moneygrub, a Roman banker who would have fit right in with the Goodfellas. As an ensemble, the Troubadors mastered various dimensions of entertaining including singing (especially Karole Foreman as Scapha and Misty Cotton as Delphium) and impressions (Rick Batalla’s spot on interpretation of a modern political figure had the audience roaring). Michael Faulkner (Theopropides), in his dulcet ballad at the play’s end, elicited sympathy as the duped father of a party animal.
Another strength of the production involved the juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, particularly in the dance routines. The Police’s “Roxanne” is transformed to “Philomatia, You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Dress Tonight.” Later, Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” contains references to the Colosseum and the Acropolis. “We are Topical,” sang the Troubies and indeed, with fast-paced allusions to Uber, Lyft, the 2016 Presidential Election, the pop culture references made the play a delight.
One aspect of the play that felt unnecessary was the excessive bawdiness. No, we did not really need to get (several) glimpses of the Slave Boy’s nether regions. The play also hit us over the head with the sexual proclivities and positions of Phoenicium and Erotium (the talented Leah Sprecher and Suzanne Narbonne). PSA: This play is not for children. In that aspect, the house party felt a bit Greek, and by Greek, I mean like a Fraternity party. The production was strong and hilarious enough on its own merit and did not need to attempt to elicit extra laughs with ribald gags.
Plautus, whose work influenced Shakespeare and Molière wrote in verse. At the Haunted House Party, the Troubadors creatively use verse- weaving classical allusions into rap, 70’s songs, and contemporary songs- to keep their audience on their toes. Or at least, chuckling on their seat cushions.
Beth Kennedy as Grumio and Matt Walker as Tranio in The Troubies’ Haunted House Party at the Getty Villa. Photo by Craig Schwartzread more
Playing at selected Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles until Thursday September 8th-
The beautifully restored 1992 Merchant Ivory film, “Howard’s End” embodies
for the perfect end-of-summer Cultural Cocktail film:
- Non plus ultra cast (Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter at their peak)
- Sublime Cinematography (The dreamy rainy umbrella scene evoked a Caillebotte painting)
- Stirring Music (Beethoven’s 5th!)
- Glorious glorious nature (ahh those bluebells)
Here’s a dose: “Ankle deep, he waded through the bluebells. His spirit rose and exalted as he breathed in the sun-drenched air. The glorious day was in its last decline. Long shadows lay on the sward and from above the leaves dripped their shimmering drops of gold-green light.”read more
An Ounce of Carousel animals, a Splash of Crafts, and a Dash of Croquet= a Magical Summer Cultural Cocktail!
Art is not simply a work hanging on a gallery wall. It can be a conversation, a recreation, or even a party.
CCH had the pleasure of attending the last day of Flying Horses and Mythical Beasts: The Magical World of Carousel Animals. This exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of History was curated by local conservator and collector Lourinda Bray.
On Carousel Family Day on August 28th, the museum treated guests to dazzling creatures, ice cream sundaes, and a craft room where children and their parents created colorful bejeweled carousel animals, inspired by the creatures in the exhibit.
To top it off, guests played croquet in the summer sun.
Now that’s a Cultural Cocktail (kid-tested, mother approved) worth imbibing!read more