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“Declarations of Love in Music and Image”- The J. Paul Getty Museum and LA Opera

On May 3rd The J. Paul Getty Museum in conjunction with LA Opera, hosted a conference on the “Declarations of Love in Music and Image.” Speakers included: Michael Walsh, music critic for TIME magazine, Mitchell Morris, UCLA Musicology Professor, and Scott Allan, assistant curator in the Department of Paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The conference concluded with a dynamic and moving performance by LA Opera. Soprano Tammy Jenkins, Tenor Robert MacNeil, and pianist Daniel Faltus performed selections from Puccini’s Tosca, Suor Angelica, and La Rondine.

Scott Allan illuminated the Getty exhibit on Fragonard’s “Allegories of Love”, a departure from the artist’s earlier, frothier Rococo style. Love becomes elevated from frivolous entanglements to a new state of spiritual ecstasy. The exhibit compared Fragonard’s Sacrifice of the Rose with Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa.

 Allen also noted that in the Allegories, Fragonard’s palette becomes darker, more muted, invoking nocturnal mystery. For instance, in The Oath of Love, these darker shades contrast with the lovers who are symbolized by a radiant central energy.

  Fragonard’s Kiss illustrates the power of love to vanquish even death.  The sarcophagus breaks open and one can see the lovers embrace through the vapors as Love travels to the great beyond.

Fragonard’s The Kiss, 1785, Brown Ink over black chalk; The Albertina, Vienna

Professor Morris’ lively lecture on Puccini revealed that at the time of La Rondine, musicologist Fausto Torrefranca accused Puccini’s music of inciting criminal decadence.  Cesare Lombrosio, an Italian Criminologist, believed in the degeneration social theory, whereby humans could “evolve” into a class of criminals. Torrefranca’s critical attacks suggested that Puccini’s opera could do the trick.  Modern audiences, those of the Mozart for Babies age, may find it absurd to think that at one point in history, exposing children to opera was considered a recipe for Juvenile Delinquency. Perhaps Torrefranca’s misguided attacks can be best summarized by a Bon Jovi song: Shot through the Heart and Opera’s to Blame, Darling, you give Music a bad name.

  On Torrefranca’s Most Wanted List

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This Wednesday, a play that won’t break the Piggy Bank

   Sometimes the best things in life are free!

For those who have a taste for the theater, but not always the ducats to attend, this Wednesday May 14th the Pasadena Playhouse is offering a “Pay What You Can” Performance Of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

Pasadena Playhouse Mainstage

Tickets offered on a pay-what-you-can basis to arts groups and community groups – call the box office at (626) 356-7529 for details. 

Take advantage of this opportunity! Tickets for this production are normally at least $50.

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Cultural Events this weekend in Los Angeles, May 10

Art: To see or not To See

1. Huntington Library

Chinese Gardens: Liu Fang Yuan, The Garden of Flowing Fragrance

 A scholar’s retreat: step back in time where you can inhale the lotus, plum, and pine. Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA, 91108. 626.405.2100

 2. Theater: To Attend or Not to Attend

Of Mice, Men, and the American Dream: A Weeklong Celebration of Culture and Community May 12-17. Pasadena Playhouse. 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA, 91101. (626)356.7529 

Highlights include: The performance of Mice and Men at the Pasadena Playhouse, photo exhibit: “In the Fields,” and lectures with historians, critics, and activists.

 3. Music: To Hear or Not To Hear

 Do not mourn Adonis- he is still alive!!

Check out Cuban sensation Adonis Puentes at:

The Latin Jazz Festival at the Greek Theater, May 10th. 7pm  2700 North Vermont, Griffith Park, CA, 90027

Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, May 12th 8pm. 6122 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, CA, 90028



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Cultural Events Los Angeles; This weekend in LA, May 2-4

  This week’s cultural cocktail:  A dose of book burning, a pick-me-up of Prokofiev, and a shot of Bette Davis’ eyes! Enjoy.

Film: To see or Not to see

Fasten Your Seat Belts: The Essential Bette Davis

LACM5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90036. (323).857.6000

 Friday May 2 7:30 P.M Jezebel; 9:30 P.M The Old Maid

Saturday May 3 7:30 P.M All About Eve; 9:30 P.M Of Human Bondage               

For information about tickets, please visit:


Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451

Playing through June 18th. 

Thur, Fri, Saturday: 8p.m.; Sunday 3p.m.

 Fremont Center Theater; 1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, CA, 91030

A theater Mr. Bradbury supports. If you are lucky, you may even see him in the audience! For tickets call: (323) 960-4451 Online:


MUSIC: TO HEAR OR NOT TO HEAR   Sunday May 4, Royce Hall UCLA

American Youth Symphony. 7pm Concert; 5:30 Pre-Concert Lecture; Free Admission!

 Alecander Treger, conductor; Natasha Paremski, piano; Liadov, Eight Russian Folk Songs; Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Prokofiev, Symphony No. 5. For more information, visit:



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To See Or Not to See This Weekend in LA, April 26

FILM: To see or not to see




La Fille du Régiment– Donizetti          

 Saturday, April 26, 2008

 If you do not have the luck to be at the Metropolitan Opera, fear not. 

The Met now screens operas live in HD in movie theaters across the world! To find out about tickets and show times at a theater near you visit

 Juan Diego Flórez’s high C’s have received A’s from critics and audiences alike. La Fille du Régiment is a co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, and the Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna.

 MUSIC:  To Hear or not to Hear




Southwest Chamber Music at the Norton Simon Museum

8:00 p.m. Concert; 7:30 p.m. Prelude Talk

 411 W. Colorado Boulevard,  Pasadena, CA 91105-182; 626.449.6840


Charles Ives Children’s Day at the Camp Meeting

Franz Schubert The Shepherd on the Rock

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 4 in G major (arr. Stein)

 For tickets:

ART: To See or Not To See  

“Consuming Passion: Fragonard’s Allegories of Love”


Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California 90049





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To see or not to see in LA this weekend 4/18/08

Weekend Cultural Menu


Art: To see or not to see:

  “The Color of Life: Polychromy in Sculpture from Antiquity to the Present”

Daily through June 23, 2008

Museum, Floor 2, Getty Villa

 The White House should not be white.  Greeks had fun with garish colors. Check it out.

 Check Website for ticket availability:

 Music: To hear or not to hear

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Thibaudet Plays Grieg

 Thursday April 17, 2008 8:00 P.M

 Friday April 18, 2008 8:00 P.M 

Saturday April 19, 2008 2:00 P.M

Sunday April 20, 2008 2:00 P.M

 111 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA, 90012


 FEATURED ARTISTS: LA Philharmonic; Charles Dutoir, conductor; Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Piano


Ravel, Mother Goose Suite; Grieg, Piano Concerto; Saint-Saens, Symphony No.3 “Organ.”


Books: To read or not to read

Stravinksy’s The Poetics of Music

Who makes the best companion to a concert? Igor Stravinsky!

In 1939 Igor Stravinsky delivered the Charles Eliot Norton Lecture at Harvard, a six-part lecture series which eventually comprised this gem of a book. Stravinsky’s insights are as timeless as music itself. He will make a wonderful companion to the Philharmonic, the Met, or even listening to classical music in your room. He discusses Wagner, Verdi, Berlioz, Weber, Tchaikovsky, and Mussorgasky in a language that is as poetic as it is polemic.


Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Igor Stravinsky. 1920. Graphite and charcoal. Musée Picasso, Paris, France.

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Gen Art’s The New Garde: LA Fashion Week, March 2008

 Since 2003, Gen Art has given the opportunity to emerging fashion talent to display their work in high-profile group runway shows and fashion presentations in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Designers debuted by Gen Art include: Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, and Philip Lim for Development.

Taking place during L.A’s Fashion Week, the New Garde sashayed at the Park Plaza Hotel,showcasing designers including Jessie Kamm, J. Mary, and Le Sang des Betes.

 Upon Entering the Park Plaza, guests were greeted with a Singing in the Rain and Grecian Goddess motif. Three young gamines, encapsulated in clear white boxes and holding transparent umbrellas, smiled bravely while faux raindrops splashed upon their fetching bright blue dresses. They carried parasols labeled Botox, a cynical insinuation that a wrinkle-free complexion can keep rainy days at bay?



 A few steps beyond, tall, willowy Graces in floor-length yellow and white draped gowns, stood atop platforms, like Aphrodite or Galatea, ready to spring to life. The blue dresses conveyed a sense of playfulness, outfits to wear to paint the town red. On the other hand, the yellow and white gowns expressed formality, attire for a wedding, while the fringe hinted at the potential for kicking up one’s heels, a throwback to the Charleston, Roaring Twenties, and visions of Daisy Buchanan.











J. Mary’s demi-couture employs structured feminine tailoring, evoking Film noir, enthralling Femme Fatales of the 1940’s in their trench coats and power suits.   J. Mary favors dark colors, and the rotating runway of the Gen Art show hinted at smoke and mirrors, a mystery lurking behind the curtain.

                                                     J. Mary

Jessie Kamm displayed her collection in an Out of Africa Motif, a tableaux of models standing inside a khaki-colored tent replete with exotic plumage and plants. On the pulse of fashion, Kamm’s work corresponds with the popular safari trend that has taken the runways by a Botswana storm. Kamm’s clothes are eminently wearable, from the classic white shirt and khaki pants that can take one from work to travel in the Serengeti. Kamm’s work reminds women to put their best foot forward; it is, afterall, a jungle out there.

Jesse Kamm

  Nature is a recurring motif in Kamm’s work; a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, inspired her Desert Death collection. Monarch Butterflies, tortoises, and rabbits transform tunics, tanks, and hooded capes into wearable art. (See

 Kamm draws the original designs by hand. Vogue calls her work, “artisinal hipster” clothing, but her ethic goes beyond the simply hip. Kamm, along with her scientist husband, Lucas Brower, own land in Panama that they are converting into a sustainable sanctuary which runs on solar power and rainwater. Beyond the runway, the fashion, and the spectacle, looking to the Earth for inspiration and striving to protect her is what is truly beautiful.



 Text and Photography Copyright © 2008 LMS




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Peripatetics: Jump into LA’s only cultural cab

You are not alone

For those in Los Angeles, Cultural Cocktail Hour can also serve as a menu to cultural events around the city. If you would like to entertain out of town guests or are looking for your own artistic adventure, consider this your Cultural Taxi (and yes, I will be covering New York as well!)

Cultural Cocktail Los Angeles

1 Part Dudamel

2 Oz of The Getty Malibu

2 Teaspoons Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

And a Splash of BCAM

Shaken, Not Stirred

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Good evening from your Resident Mixologist


Time to A-Muse Ourselves!

Calliope, Erato, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Company.

Time to A-Muse Ourselves!



Cultural Cocktail Hour is a happy hour in which we can share shots of music, swizzles of fine art, chasers of literature, frappees of fashion, and nips of theater.

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