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This weekend in LA: Cultural Events May 29-31st

A Model for Matisse (2006)

Model for MatisseFri May 29 7:00 p.m.

Norton Simon Museum. 411 W Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105. (626) 449-6840

Illustrious 20th-century artist Henri Matisse forms a rapport with French Dominican nun Sister Jacques-Marie, the inspiration behind his last creation, the Chapelle du Rosaire (Chapel of the Rosary) in Vence, France. Barbara Freed, Professor of French and Applied Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon, directed this documentary film. 67 minutes.


Willam Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

Opens May 31

Sundays at 3:30 pm

May 31 through September 27

Directed by Ellen Geer.

The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum*1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.

Topanga CA, 90290

(310) 455-3723 or

*The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is an outdoor amphitheater. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut, and picnickers are welcome before and after the performance.

BrubakerHaydn Celebration No. 5 “Haydnseek” Sunday May 31. 6 pm.

The New England Conservatory’s Bruce Brubaker celebrates the anniversary of Haydn’s passing (May 31, 1809), with 2 Haydn works: Sonata No. 52 in G major, Hoboken XVI/39, and Sonata in C major, Hob.XVI/50, with live electronic sounds by Laura Karpman &Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum. Bing Theater. Free. No reservations

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. L.A., CA 90036.

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Theater Review-So Farce, So Good at the ICT

So Farce, So Good:

 Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” at the International City Theater, Long Beach    

by Leticia Marie Sanchez       

Cultural Cocktail Twain

Mark Twain may be dead, but his work can still elicit quite a brouhaha. The hilarious West Coast premiere of “Is He Dead?” directed by Shashin Desai at the ICT proves that laughter remains the best medicine. 

If it were not for the Shelley Fisher Fishkin, the mirth-filled play may not have seen the light of day. Dr. Fishkin, Professor of English and Director of the American Studies of program at Stanford University, discovered Twain’s manuscript in the archives of UC Berkley’s Bancroft Library in 2002. Never produced during Twain’s lifetime, the play debuted in New York in 2007 and this month in Long Beach.

Upon entering the International City Theater, one sets eyes on the vivid and visually rich set designed by Stephen Gifford. Beautifully rendered replicas of Jean-Francois Millet’s paintings grace the artist’s atelier, easing the audience into the world of 19th century Barbizon, France. Mark Twain, author of “Roughing It,” and former gold prospector, entered the European world himself during the 1860’s and the 1890’s. Much of the play’s comedy derives from Twain’s juxtaposition of  the slapstick humor of the American West with the European sensibility of his cast of characters. The protagonist, French painter Jean-Francois Millet, determined to cast off the “starving” in Starving Artist, becomes embroiled in a scheme to fake his own death in order to drive up the value of his work.

The ICT cast spiritedly brings Twain’s comedy to life. Perry Ojeda, poised and dignified as the illustrious artist Millet, turns into a bumbling live wire when disguised as Millet’s buxom and zany “sister” Daisy Tillou. In addition to Ojeda, many of the actors reveal multiple facets of their personalities, creating hilarity. Even before he opens his mouth, Joe Fria, portraying a pompous British art collector, leaves the audience in stitches with his idiosyncratic walk. Later, Fria plays the King of France in one of the play’s zaniest moments, a scene involving a fetid piece of Limburger cheese. Jules Hartley also shines as a chameleon, transforming from the dulcet French lady Cecile Leroux into a mustachioed French gendarme whose eyes throw daggers of rage. The entire ensemble keeps Twain’s zingers flying at breakneck speed.

Twain’s play exposes the hypocrisy of a society that often values artists more in death than life. Vermeer and Van Gogh are but two of many artists who  lived in considerable poverty although their paintings today bring art dealers astronomical profits,approaching triple digit millions. Twain skewers this injustice, turning what could have been a tragedy into a pleasing melodramatic comedy. It is fitting that Twain once enjoyed life as a gold prospector, because in the esoteric archives of the Berkeley library Dr. Fisher discovered a nugget of comic gold.

Last remaining performances: 8pm Saturday May 23;  2 pm Sunday May 24th

International City Theater. Long Beach Performing Arts Center. 300 E. Ocean Boulevard. Long Beach.

ICT Box Office: (562) 436-4610.

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Cultural Events LA: May 20-24


La Traviata  by Giuseppe Verdi Opening Night

Thur. May 21. 7:30 p.m.

LA Opera. 135 North Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012. (213) 972-8001





La Sylphide

Los Angeles Ballet

Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary, Artistic Directors;

Freud Playhouse, UCLA: Sat. May 23: 7:30 p.m;

Sun. May 24th 2 pm;

405 Hilgard Ave.,Westwood

Alex Theatre Glendale; Sat. May 30, 7:30 p.m

216 North Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203

For more information call: 310.477.7411









Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson: Literary Giant of the 18th Century

Opens May 23

Library, West Hall.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA  91108




La Cenerentola Thumbnail

Rossini’s La Cenerentola – Live in HD from the MET

Encore performance.

Wed. May 20 7 p.m.

Starring Elina Garanca.

AMC Santa Anita. 400 S. Baldwin Ave. Arcadia, CA. 91007


For more information about participating movie theatres visit:



Verdo Otello

Verdi’s Otello

Salzburg Festival.

Thurs. May 21. 7:30 P.M

Laemlle’s Playhouse 7.

673 East Colorado Boulevard. Pasadena, CA, 91101.


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FREE PUBLIC CONCERT: Wed. May 20th 6:45 p.m


Performance by Principal Artists of

Camerata Pacifica

& Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St LA, CA 90012

Boyce; Symphony Nº1 in B Flat Major, Opus 2; Bach; Concerto for Oboe & Violin in D Minor, BWV 1060

Vivaldi; Concerto for 4 Violins, Opus 10 Nº3; Bach; Brandenburg Concerto Nº4 in G Major, BWV 1049

You must reserve your tickets online.

Or call: 805-884-8410

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Cultural Events Los Angeles: weekend of May 16th-17th


Da Camera Society: Presenters of Chamber Music in Historic Sites

Sat. May 16 8 pm

Doheny Mansion. 8 Chester Place, LA, CA, 90007.

Colorado String Quartet.

Mozart, Oboe Quartet in F, K. 370; Samuel Barber, Quartet in b, Op. 11;  L. Boccherini, Oboe Quintet in C, Op. 45, No. 1; F. Schubert, Quartet in d, D. 810, “Death and the Maiden.”

213.477. 2929


Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

Theater Arts at Caltech

Sun, May 17: 7:00 PM

Performances will be held outdoors at the Gates Patio, on the North side of Building #26

California Institute of Technology. 332 South Michigan Ave.,Pasadena, CA

(626) 395-4652


Jain NS

On the Enlightened Path:

Jain Art from India

Norton Simon Museum of Art. 411 W. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105 (626)449.6840

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Cultural Events LA: May 9th and 10th


MOCA Fresh Silent Auction.

The museum’s popular biennial fundraising event features over 250 artworks by established and emerging artists from all over the world. All proceeds support MOCA’s contemporary art programming.

Sat. May 9th.  7–11pm

Food, Drinks, and Music. DJ Rashida. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. 152 North Central Ave. LA, CA 90013

For information about tickets, call 213. 633. 5381 


Cameron Carpenter

Sun. May 10, 4:00 PM

Hollywood United Methodist Church. 6817 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028    





The Colburn Chamber Orchestra

Sun. May 10th 6 pm

Ronald Leonard, conductor, performs Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in C minor, Opus. 2, No. 2, Copland: Two Pieces for String Orchestra and Hoedown from Rodeo, Bartok: Rumanian Folk Dances, and Glasunov: Suite for Strings. Bing Theater | Free, no reservations

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. L.A., CA 90036



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Cultural Events LA: May 1- May 3

frame_350x300_pompeiiOpening this weekend

Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples

May 3–October 4, 2009.

LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. L.A., CA 90036

Pompeii and the Roman Villa is a specially ticketed exhibition. Purchase tickets online or by calling 877.522.6225.



is-he-dead_1_sm Is He Dead?  The West Coast unveiling of a newly discovered play by American humorist Mark Twain. A fledgling artist concocts a scheme to fake his own death in order to increase the value of his paintings.

Adapted by David Ives; Directed by Shashin Desai

May 1-  May 24      

Thurs. at 8 pm; Fri. at 8 pm; Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2 pm:

International City Theatre. Long Beach Performing Arts Center. 300 East Ocean Blvd. Long Beach CA 90802

(562) 436-4610 or




Ballet Preljocaj: LES 4 SAISONS

A Choreographic Version of Vivaldi’s Monumental Music

May 1-2, 8pm

 UCLA Live’s Royce Hall.340 Royce Drive LA, CA 90095

For tickets visit, call 310-825-2101, or contact Ticketmaster. 

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Review: Immortality Through Art

Immortality through Art

 By Leticia Marie Sanchez



Live Forever

Mr. Electrico to Ray Bradbury


Let baser things devise 

To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,

And in the heavens write your glorious name

Edmund Spenser, Sonnet 75


Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

 William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18


Nestled in the hillside of Pasadena, among its beautiful views, which the Spanish dubbed Linda Vistas, exists a gem, American Legacy Fine Arts. Some of the artists represented at this gallery include Peter Adams, Béla Bácsi, Jeremy Lipking, Jove Wang, Aaron Westerberg, and Alexey Steele. American Legacy Fine Arts weds American contemporary art with classical standards.

Sculptor Christopher Slatoff, for instance, epitomizes the synthesis between classical technique and modern narrative. A piece that incarnates this fusion is Fr. Electrico, a complex and stirring sculpture that captures a life-changing moment in the young life of writer Ray Bradbury.


The sculpture’s form, a clear allusion to Michelangelo’s Pieta, firmly anchors it in history, while its innovative subject matter, an imagination set ablaze, give it wings to soar into the future. Just like the Virgin Mary clasps her son in a gentle embrace, Mr. Bradbury’s father tenderly cradles his twelve-year old son on the walk home from a long day at two different circuses. The father’s composition has a two-fold meaning: the front view represents Bradbury’s literal father, while the back view reveals a figurative father, Father Electrico. At the circus, the young Bradbury felt a shock in the form of a mildly charged metal wand that Mr. Electrico, a carnival magician, placed on his forehead, causing the boy’s hair to stand on end. During this life-changing moment, Mr. Electrico exclaimed, “Live forever.” The very next day Ray Bradbury began writing and has never stopped. The symbols on the back of Father Electrico: astronauts, firemen and lions, represent images from Ray Bradbury’s writing, images which have touched millions of readers around the world.

Art functions as a kaleidoscope, a constantly shifting lens through which we can alternatively glimpse the past and the future. Whether the life of Christ, the masterpieces of Michelangelo, or the futuristic dimension of Fahrenheit 451, art allows us to explore life’s mysteries. Art allows its creators to live in an eternal realm.  The connections between Fr. Electrico and Michelangelo’s Pieta go deeper than formal similarities. Like Christ, Ray Bradbury will achieve immortality. Like Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare, Mr. Bradbury, through the written word, will live forever. The work of writers, sculptors, painters, and composers live on through generations and, sometimes, civilizations.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives Art, which gives eternal life to the artists, and nourishment to all of us who have been touched by its grace.

Fr. Electrico, by Christopher Slatoff is currently on view at:

American Legacy Fine Arts, LLC. 949 Linda Vista Avenue. Pasadena, CA. 91103. (626) 577.7733

Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Friday by Appointment; Saturday: 11 a.m- 5 p.m

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Cultural Events LA April 24-26

l_39821bcecc6a9ffe5b240b794d1999d5Slumgum:  April 24th: 8-10 p.m

Café Metropol. 923 E. 3rd. Street, Los Angeles

Slumgum weaves elements of jazz, free improvisation, world music, and contemporary classical music.



ensembleHarmonia Baroque Players

Sunday, April 26, 2009, 4:00 p.m. Oneonta Congregational Church. 1515 Garfield Avenue. South Pasadena, CA 91030

Sonata in B-flat Major, Johann Friedrich Fasch; Sheep May Safely Graze, J. S. Bach;Why Should Men Quarrel?Henry Purcell; Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris, Marin Marais;  Nell Dolce Dell’Oblio,  George Frideric Handel;  Trio Sonata in D minor,  Jean Baptiste Loeillet; Jauchzet Dem Herrn; Christoph Bernhard

(714) 970-8545

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Review: A New World at the Pasadena Symphony

          A New World at the Pasadena Symphony 


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Peter Adams’ painting, The Pools Above Sturtevant Falls, graced the entrance of the Pasadena Symphony on Saturday, April 18.  Mr. Adams’ painting of the cataracts  in Santa Anita Canyon beckons the viewer to take a dip in translucent aquamarine waters. The tempting pool, with its sunlight swirl, retains an air of mystery. Is the sun rising or setting? An evanescent moment, as ephemeral as a musical note.

An invitation to enter into a New World.

Mr. Adams’ painting heralded the theme of Saturday Night’s concert: A New World.  The program represented a new world of styles, techniques, and cultures in the music of Darius Milhaud, Felix Mendelssohn, and Antonin Dvorák.

Darius Milhaud’s Le Creation Du Monde should be called A Frenchman in Brazil because many mistakenly believed that Milhaud’s piece copied Gershwin’s American in Paris. In fact, Le Creation Du Monde came first, in 1923, a year before Rhapsody in Blue and five years before an American in Paris. Milhaud, a French native, derived inspiration from his journeys to Brazil and Harlem. Not everyone reacted with acceptance towards Milhaud’s new musical world. Milhaud wryly observed the pundits’ reaction, declaring, “The critics decreed that my music was frivolous and more suitable for a restaurant or a dance hall than for the concert hall. Ten years later the selfsame critics were discussing the philosophy of jazz and learnedly demonstrating that La Création was the best of my works.” Those embarking on musical, nautical, artistic, and scientific New Worlds, from Columbus to Galileo to Picasso to Milhaud often find that being derided as a lunatic is simply the first step towards being hailed as a genius.

Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E. Minor, Op.64  also represents a foray into uncharted waters. While most orchestral works slowly develop the exposition of main themes, Mendelssohn’s unusual structure has the main theme burst through the piece at the beginning. Violinist Linda Wang, performing on an Old World violin, a 1767 Guadagnini, captured the energy of this dynamic movement. Unlike the mocked Milhaud, Mendelssohn fortunately found immediate acceptance of his unusual style.

Finally, Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, op. 95 “From the New World” exhibits the composer’s passion for his new world, the United States. A native of what is now the Czech Republic, Dvorák wrote Symphony No.9 while living in New York. Dvorák’s homage to his new domicile incorporates the influences of African American spirituals as well as the Native American legend of Hiawatha. Longfellow’s poem Song of Hiawatha inspired Dvorák so much that he once attempted to compose an opera based on the work. Many motifs from Hiawatha, such as the wedding dance, blend seamlessly into Dvorák’s symphony. This piece celebrates the diversity and variety of our heritage and has become an immensely popular work. Ironically, it took a visiting composer from outside of the United States to weave a tapestry that so cohesively captured the American spirit.

Legend has it that Neil Armstrong took  “From the New World” Symphony with him on the Apollo 11 mission, the historic odyssey that marked man’s landing on the moon. The astronauts transported Dvorák’s piece to a whole new lunar world. Music emboldened the heroes as they made their giant leaps and bounds for mankind. We, too, can take music with us when we catapult into new worlds, whether it is a hike near Sturtevant Falls or a trip to distant lands.

The lightest of all belongings, music is that suitcase which we we carry in our hearts.  

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