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Ring Festival June Highlights

Two-day Conference: “Wagner in LA:

The Opera of the 21st Century?” June 1–2, 2010, 10 am–6 pm

Hammer Museum

1pm Spectral Gesamtkunstwerk

Juliet Koss, Chair, Department of Art History, Scripps College

2:30pm Re-Inventing Bayreuth for the 21st Century: The 2007 Meistersinger as a Self Reflection of Performance History

Clemens Risi, Professor of Theater, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Berlin

4pm The Ring in Pieces: Götterdämmerung (Stuttgart Opera, Peter Konwitschny, 2002-2003)

David Levin, Professor of German and Theater and Performance, University of Chicago

5:30pm Wagner as a Christian Jew: The Alternate Endings of The Twilight of the Gods

Slavoj Zizek, Senior Researcher, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

7pm Public Reception

Info: or (310) 443-7000.

10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024

“Wagner and Myth,” June 5, 2010,
10 am–4 pm; LACMA

A day-long seminar featuring LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music

Director James Conlon, LACMA curator Timothy O. Benson,

Wagner scholar John Deathridge, UCLA Musicology Professor

Mitchell Morris, and opera lecturer Desirée Mays. The seminar day

includes lunch and admission to the galleries.

Admission $65, open to 200 participants.

Register:   o r (213) 972-8001.

Bing Auditorium, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

American Jewish University
Seminar: “Art & Morality—Music of an Anti-Semite,”
June 6, 2010, 10 am–3 pm
Dr. Michael Berenbaum moderates this seminar. Presenting
scholars include Sander Gilman, Steve Lowenstein, and Marc
Weiner. LA Opera’s Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon
will share brief remarks and Gottfried Wagner will make an
afternoon presentation.
RSVP: (310) 476-1279, seating is limited.
Gindi Auditorium (AJU), 15600 Mulholland Dr., Bel-Air, CA, 90077
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Ring Festival LA: May Highlights

Robert v. Fullerton Art Museum

California State University, San Bernardino

“Timeless Enchantment: Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung

in Performance, from Bayreuth in 1876 to LA in 2010,”

May 12, 2010, 5 pm

Info: or (909) 537-5000.

5500 University Pkwy. San Bernardino, CA 92407

LA Opera Library Project:
Free Speakers Bureau talks
Beverly Hills Public Library.
“The Men of the Ring of the Niebelung,”
May 18, 2010, 7 pm. 444 N. Rexford Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210,
(310) 288-2220,

University of Southern California:
Brain and Creativity Institute
Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater.
“Myth, Wagner and the Human Brain,” May 30, 2010, 3–5 pm
A colloquium, featuring acclaimed theater and opera director
Peter Sellars, world-renowned visual artist Bill Viola, and Antonio
Damasio, internationally-renowned  neurologist .
Tickets: $10,, (213) 237-2800.
REDCAT, 631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
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Largest LA Cultural festival since the 1984 Olympics!

April 15 – June 30, 2010

The first ever presentation in Los Angeles of  the  four-opera drama The Ring of the Nibelung.

For a full listing of events, please visit:

for the multiplicity of events from not only LA Opera, but also from cultural institutions as diverse as UCLA, Descanso Gardens, and American Jewish University.

Photography © LA Opera

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100,000+ Readers on Cultural Cocktail Hour

Thank you to all my loyal readers!

In April, the readership of Cultural Cocktail Hour crossed the 100,000 mark!

Time to take out a glass and pour yourself a Congratulatory Cocktail fizzing with music, beauty, and self-expression.


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This Weekend in LA: April 10-11, 2010


Saturday April 10th, 11 am

LA Philharmonic. Christian Vasquez, conductor;

Luminario Ballet; Copland: Rodeo;  Ginastera: Estancia Dances

Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 South Grand Ave, LA CA 90012 (323).850.2000


Saturday, April 10 |

8:20 pm

The Films of Jean Renoir


5905 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA 90036. (323) 857-6000.


Sunday April 11

1:00 p.m

Götterdämmerung. Richard Wagner. Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

135 North Grand Avenue. LA CA 90012. (213) 972-7219

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Hope in the City III: Behind the Seams

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Photography © 2010 Leticia M. Sanchez

March 24, 2010—

As a Catholic, I was unsure of what to expect inside the former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in downtown LA. Hope in the City III, produced by Mosaic, not only exuded creativity, but also demonstrated a spiritual commitment to the global and local community. The proceeds from the fashion show and art auction went to several noteworthy charities, including Serve LA and Beyond Us; the scope of the latter extends from Haiti, Sudan, South India, and beyond.

The innovative designs on the runway included the experimental “Wear Your Story”  in which designers fashioned 85% of their garment from an LA Weekly. Models also donned head pieces by Salvatore Salamone, inspired by leaves; spring time has indeed sprung in Los Angeles, a city of constant innovation.

Photography Montage below:

Vibiana’s interior and courtyard, pre-show dancers, “Wear Your Story” runway presentation, art auction including painting by Melissa L. Parham, head pieces by Salvatore Salamone

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Project Ethos:LA Fashion Week- March 19

The Spirit of Ethos at LA Fashion Week

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Photography © Leticia M. Sanchez

March 19-  At the Music Box in Hollywood,  Project Ethos held an evening of emerging artists in music, fashion, and art. The Greek root “Ethos” can refer to “the spirit of a people” and the red carpet event lived up to its lively name.  Ethos featured the collections of ten designers, including two from “Project Runway,” Season Six contestant Gordana Gehlhausen and Season Seven contestant Jesus Estrada.  The art gallery on the rooftop, overlooking the new W hotel, proved the most welcome surprise on a warm Los Angeles evening.

Artist Erin Hammond showcased a collection of portraits of women. Hammond revealed  that Gustav Klimt inspired her. One could see the link between both artists’ vibrant expressionism.

Left: Painting by Erin Hammond

Right: Adele Bloch-Bauer II: Klimt

On display at Project Ethos was another work by Hammond, revealing a woman’s split soul, two sides of the same coin. The woman’s strong direct gaze suggests a pragmatic nature coupled with the dreamy, fantasy-like motif at the painting’s bottom half. The painting can be read to represent the dichotomy between the Id and the Ego or even the Conscious and Sub-Conscious. Hammond explained that she actually commenced with the bottom half of the painting, before turning it over and realizing its multi-faceted possibility.

Left: Painting by Erin Hammond

Most striking in its originality was Arnold Randall’s “Casual Tee of War” comprised of bullets, bullet shells, spray paint, and oil on wood. Guests gathered around Randall’s work, unbelieving that the golden, Giotto-like-effect was in fact, composed of ammunition. In his website, Randall verbalizes his subject’s inner thoughts, “We are the untold, the forgotten, our relevance is weaker than the cause yet we are stronger than any bomb…casualties of war.” Though his work, Randall achieves the highest purpose of art: giving a voice to the voiceless.

Above: Mixed Media by Arnold Randall

After the art exposition, live performances by Bruno Mars and Love Grenades took place inside the Music Box theater, where unusual paintings lined the walls.

Left: Wall Painting, Music Box, Hollywood

The paintings conveyed the mood of creatures in Dante’s inferno.

The final component of the evening consisted of runway shows of ten designers.

The most noteworthy for consistency in style were Love Child, which expressed a 1960′s aesthetic and Haus of Estrada, whose Fall 2010 line conveyed an edgy Gothic theme.

All of the emerging artists proved that the ethos of self-expression is alive and well in the City of Angels.

Left: “Love Child” by Rachael Feigelson

Below: Haus of Estrada by Jesus Estrada

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BOXeight’s Fashion:Refocus- LA Fashion Week- March 2010

Leitmotifs and Painting with Light; Fashion: Refocus at BOXeight Studios

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Fashion Photography:

© 2010 Leticia M. Sanchez

March 20– BOXeight Studios showcased Fall and Winter 2010 Collections from a unique vantage point: a behind-the-scenes look at fashion photography. Guests were voyeurs to the inner sanctum of a photo shoot. The models’ make up stations sat on an open stage, and one could observe as the designers placed finishing touches on their creations.

Fashion and photography are sister arts. They both open the door for non-verbal communication. Photography, from the Greek root “Writing with Light” allows one to express the proverbial thousand words in one instant. Whereas fashion was once documented through flat graphic illustration. the advent of modern photography captured the movement of clothes in vibrant dimension.

Similar to photography, fashion serves as non-verbal language. A simple article of clothing can connote religious, political, or social identity. One need only to look at the charged meaning behind the choice of an orange or green garment in Northern Ireland to witness its communicative power.

Both fashion and photography not only portray scenes, they also reveal truths about ourselves and the choices we make.

BOXeight’s presentation successfully depicted the interplay between fashion and photography by presenting the rawness of the process, vivid and playful, before it becomes a finished product. Three designers in particular stood out for their artistic expression: Eduardo Lucero, Lloyd Klein, and Michael Costello.

Design by Eduardo Lucero

Eduardo Lucero‘s last name translates into “bright star” and his designs befit a shining star. In fact, Hollywood starlets favor his designs which accent a woman’s curves.

His model appeared like a golden star from Mount Olympus, more Artemis than Aphrodite, ready to conquer the world. What is fashion if not our own body armor similar to the one worn by the knights of yore?

Designer Lloyd Klein, trained in architecture, once held the distinguished post of Head Designer for the legendary French Fashion House, Maison Madame Grès. The impact of this influential designer can be seen in Klein’s work, in the intricate draping and cut of Klein’s fluid gowns. His work also conjures another legendary designer, Madeleine Vionnet who draped her evening dresses like Greek statues.

Left: Lloyd Klein dress, Box Eight Studios.

Above Right: Gown by Madame Grès

Above: Dress by Designer Lloyd Klein, Box Eight Studios.

March 20, 2010

The designs of Michael Costello, with their intricate embellishment and texture embody Haute Couture.

At age 14, Costello showcased his first couture collection garnering him attention in a piece by Vogue entitled “Los Angeles’ Hidden Talent.” At the age of 15 he opened his first boutique in Palm Springs.

Dress by Michael Costello, Box Eight Studios.

Costello started designing at age 4, the same age as a certain 18th century musical prodigy. The designs in Costello’s Fall 2010 are evocative of 18th century court with its attention to detail and artistry.

One could almost imagine Marie Antoinette, the Princesse De Lamballe, and other aristocrats of the court dressed in Costello’s sumptuous gowns as they nibbled on gateaux.

BOXeight’s presentations showcased the artistry of Los Angeles designers making a statement as harbingers of good taste.

All captured by the every-watchful camera lens.

Design by Michael Costello, Box Eight Studios.

Dress below by: Michael Costello

Box Eight Studios.

March 20, 1010

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LA Fashion Week March 18- LA Millinery Guild featuring Anita Hopkins

Hats off to Millinery Guild’s “Mad Hatter” Fashion show-

LA Fashion Week

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

All Fashion Photography ©2010 Leticia Marie Sanchez

March 18, 2010-

The L.A Millinery Guild hosted its first fashion show, kicking off LA Fashion Week to an electrifying start. The theme of the show, the “Mad Hatter party” showcased the hats of designers Diego Hats, Hatstruck, Montez, Stage Door Daisy, Elizabeth Marcel, Suzi Holloway, Jill Pfeifer, Linda J. Key, and headliner Anita Hopkins.

The show juxtaposed vintage allusions with futuristic design. During the nostalgic component of the show, Sarah Vaughn’s throaty voice evoked sirens of the past, sirens who donned hats in equal measure to Sunday morning service and Saturday night jazz clubs. The show served as a reminder that hats not only belonged to the whimsical world of Mad Tea Parties, but to the social history and fabric of American society crossing all cultural lines.

Hats have played a key role throughout the past, from berets worn by women in Minoan Crete to the Petasos worn by Classical Greek ladies. Etruscan women wore snoods with curls hanging over their foreheads while the women of the Byzantine court donned pearl-encrusted headresses, akin to today’s headbands.

Women living during the Italian Renaissance wore turbans while 13th century women donned the “Crespinne” a hairnette coupled with a fabric called the “barbette.” If  a woman wore a crespine alone it was considered shocking.

While the first half of the show conjured the past, the latter portion envisioned the future with designs by Anita Hopkins. who reinvented Lewis Carol’s theme as Alice in Spaceland. The dramatic theme song from the film “2001: Space Odyssey” heralded the entrance of her Fall 2010 Collection. Hopkins is a designer who successfully weds beauty and drama, with a wry sense of humor.

It is no coincidence that the blockbuster comedy “Bruno” featured her ubiquitous yellow hat on its title character and worldwide posters. Her designs at the Millinery show likewise evoked the dramatic, the iconic, and the cinematic, including the runway’s hero, the  Space Cowboy. Due to the minimalistic costumes on the models, the hats came into the foreground, top hats that evoke an alluring Mad Hatter, a happily wedded couple, and an Andromeda, alluding both to the Greek princess and the spiral galaxy.

Most strikingly, the material for all the hats and costumes was comprised of—plastic rap.  10,000 square feet of plastic wrap, to be precise. From a material most people would discard without a second thought, Ms. Hopkins created turbans, skirts, top hats, and vests. Even during a dour economy, artistry soars, showing that talent has no bounds.

The inventive use of Plastic Wrap calls to mind a moving scene in the film American Beauty. The teenage Ricky Fitts videotapes an empty white bag dancing in the street. Watching the video tape, transfixed, absorbed in what others pass by, Fitts observes, “It helps me to remember.. there’s so much beauty in the world.

Below: Designs by Anita Hopkins

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LA Fashion Week Reporting March 2010


It may be spring time in California, but designers are showcasing their Fall 2010 collections.

This week’s Cultural Cocktail includes: LA Millinery Guild’s first fashion show, Project Ethos in Hollywood,  BOX eight’s Fashion Refocus, and  Hope in the City’s Fashion Show and Art Auction at Vibiana’s.

Stay Tuned for the inside scoop!


Leticia Marie Sanchez


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