Pina Bausch July 27, 1940 - June 30, 2009

Choreographer Pina Bausch Dies at 68, After Cancer Diagnosis

Pina Bausch, the German choreographer renowned for her pioneering, collage-like stagings that meshed dance and theater, died this morning, Tanztheater Wuppertal said on its Web site. She was 68.

Bausch’s unexpected death came just five days after a cancer diagnosis, the company said. She took the stage in Wuppertal to receive her last rounds of applause 10 days ago, the statement added.

“The dance world has lost its most significant contemporary choreographer,” German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said in an e-mailed statement. “She was an example and an icon, a great inventor and visual innovator. She succeeded in creating not only an independent body of work, but a completely new art form. We are talking, of course, about Tanztheater.”

After training as a dancer at the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany, Bausch became a soloist at the Folkwang Ballett. She began choreographing for the company in 1968, before she was appointed director and choreographer of the newly founded Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1973.

Bausch’s works focus on the personal -- human existence, relationships and communication. Among her productions are “Die Sieben Todsuenden” (“The Seven Deadly Sins,” 1976), based on a piece by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht; the violent “Blaubart” (“Bluebeard,” 1977); the witty “Kontakthof” (1978); and more recently, “Vollmond” (“Full Moon,” 2006.)

More Here...


Go See - Dark Knight of the Soul - @ MIchael Kohn Gallery

Now Through July 11

Iconoclastic filmmaker David Lynch and music visionary Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) have collaborated on their first ever project and installation, Dark Night of the Soul, on view at the Michael Kohn Gallery now through July 11. For their premiere collaboration, David Lynch and Danger Mouse have designed a two-room installation at Michael Kohn Gallery capitalizing on the interplay between the music from Danger Mouse’s and Sparklehorse’s album Dark Night of the Soul and the artwork David Lynch created for the album, allowing the mediums of art and music to complement one another. Fifty of Lynch’s photographs are mounted on aluminum panels that seem to float on the gallery walls, reinforcing the moody rhythms of the music from Dark Night of the Soul that will play throughout the gallery. The installation encourages a fully enveloping experience that surpasses the individual visual or auditory elements.

Dark Night of the Soul began when Danger Mouse, who has been a fan of Lynch’s for many years, approached the filmmaker about a possible project. The artists worked together and were inspired by each other—Lynch making photographs influenced by the original songs that Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse were creating. The result is Dark Night of the Soul, Danger Mouse’s first-ever gallery installation, and David Lynch’s first exhibition at Michael Kohn Gallery in nearly 15 years. (The first was in 1995, titled One through Ten, and featured photographs and drawings by the artist.) Lynch’s most recent installation, Diamonds, Gold and Dreams, was on view in the Cartier Dome at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2008.

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Tonight @ CINEFAMILY - Adult Swim's Tim & Eric Present: David Byrne in TRUE STORIES

David Byrne in -True Stories

presented by Tim & Eric

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, your tour guides through the trippy world of Adult Swim's breakout hit "Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" bring to the Cinefamily a sneak preview of some of their latest sketch work, along with one of their favorite films--which also maps for you a wonderful, wiggly world. Ever the kindly off-kilter narrator in colorful garb, spinning tales of oddballs and their neuroses, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, after the success of his band's 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, got the filmmaking bug himself and directed True Stories, a proto-"This American Life" look at the quirky side of Texas. Tim & Eric told us: "We used to watch this movie all the time when we were roommates back in Philly. It's always been an inspiration for us and has definitely influenced our sense of humor." Byrne's long-standing Americana fetish never shined more boldly than here, and with his warm, down-home persona, he charmingly winds us through kooky story strands featuring one of the most fun ensemble casts of its decade (John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, Pops Staples, Tito Larriva and the always-fascinating Spalding Gray.)
Dir. David Byrne, 1986, 35mm, 90 min.

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While researching the new biography of the great film director/editor Hal Ashby, Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel, Nick Dawson discovered this director's cut of Ashby's 1982 film Lookin' to Get Out. Burt Young and Jon Voight (who co-wrote the script) star in this beautiful losers story of gambler's scams, loyalty, and human nature. If you don't like Ashby's films from the 1970's (Harold and Maude, Coming Home, Being There, The Last Detail, Shamfuckingpoo...) you might as well pack up your spaceship and return to whatever planet you came from. His later films have often been referred to as his decline - tonight we have a chance to see the work of a genius before the studio re-cut his film into the version we know today. Jon Voight will be there as well as co-star Ann Margret and the great cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Nick Dawson will also be there with the new biography. This is the first time Lookin' to Get Out: The Director's Cut will be shown in a theater and it will be released on DVD the same day. Go to the UCLA Film and Television Archives for tickets.

Monday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Billy Wilder Theater
Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024

(picture from Hal Ashby's cameo in Harold and Maude)


This weekend the beautiful angles of Dwell Magazine will invade Los Angeles and shows us how to do the apocalypse in style. Dwell On Design is a convention of form and function with a bit of Green Theory thrown in to help patch up that hole in the ozone (how many holes are there now?). There will be exhibitors, seminars, lectures, awards, and shopping. Daniel Pink will be there. Plastica will be there. Vitra will be there. Built, Go Green, Kohler, Modernica...there will be no shortage of wonderfully clean lines and shapes. This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Conventions Center in the South Hall.

Dwell on Design 2009 LA

Tomorrow at REDCAT Avant Garde Dance Giant Yvonne Rainer

Yvonne Rainer

West Coast premieres

The avant-garde dance and film pioneer stages a radical re-vision of The Rite of Spring, the brilliant and controversial Nijinsky-Stravinsky ballet that scandalized Paris audiences in 1913 with its "primitive" movement and dissonant score. Rainer choreographs RoS Indexical for only a quartet of female dancers and sets it to the soundtrack of Riot at the Rite, the BBC reenactment of the raucous, chaotic opening night of the modernist landmark. The second half of the program is a commission entitled Spiraling Down. This new work draws inspiration from a variety of sources--newspaper photos, soccer moves, old movies, classic modern dance, ballet, Steve Martin, 19th-century actress Sarah Bernhardt, even Rainer's own disinterred dances from the 1960s. These materials and others, including spoken texts, come together to create an eerie resonance that is both melancholic and unpredictable.

In conjunction with these performances, REDCAT and The Getty Research Institute host conversations with the artists.

Thursday, June 25
Post-performance conversation moderated by Roger Copeland
Dancers Emily Coates, Pat Catterson, Patricia Hoffbauer, and Sally Silvers return to the stage for a moderated conversation with dance and theater scholar Roger Copeland. With Copeland they discuss the collaborative process of creating Rainer's works, and the experience of performing them, from the dancers' perspectives.

Saturday, June 27, 6:00 PM
Robert Storr in conversation with Yvonne Rainer
Prior to the Saturday evening performance, artist and critic Robert Storr holds a public conversation with Yvonne Rainer. Focusing on Rainer's enormous impact on postwar art, the conversation explores her engagement with multiple avant-garde art practices and their political and aesthetic possibilities. Free, for reservations call 213-237-2800


FOUND Magazine's Denim and Diamonds Tour Makes a Stop @ LARGO Tomorrow

To celebrate the release of FOUND's brand-new book, Requiem for a Paper Bag, the intrepid FOUND road warriors Davy and Peter Rothbart have climbed back in their tour van for a 55-city cross country odyssey. At each exhilarating show, Davy (FOUND's plucky point guard) has been sharing the latest magnificent and mesmerizing finds that've landed in the mailbox at FOUND HQ, plus hilarious found tales from contributors to the new book including Seth Rogen, Chuck D., Sarah Vowell, Devendra Banhart, and Wire creator David Simon.

Largo at the Coronet Theater,
8:30 pm, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd.,
Sponsored by Skylight Books, The Onion and Decider;
with The Watson Twins, Brett Loudermilk, and DJ Andrew Cohn;
tickets are $20, advance tickets available at 310.855.0350


At The Hammer Museum Tonight!

American Magic-Lantern Theater

The Darker Side of LIght Exhibition
Related Program

Inspired by the Hammer exhibition The Darker Side of Light, the American Magic-Lantern Theater performs a Victorian era Magic-Lantern show, replete with flying ghosts, macabre goblins, and a petrifying rendition of Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. Using original glass slides and a spectacular antique Magic-Lantern, the AMLT re-creates this popular 1890’s combination of projected color images, dramatic storytelling, live music, hilarious comedy, and frightening special effects.

Alongside The American Magic Lantern Theatre's performance the museum will present a special one-evening exhibition of rare magic lanterns, slides and related paraphernalia from the collection of UCLA Design | Media Arts Professor Erkki Huhtamo. Professor Huhtamo's personal collection is one of the most extensive in the United States, and contains many rare items related to the history of visual media and optical projections. The exhibition will feature representative examples of magic lantern projectors both from Europe and the United States, a selection of slides, including a unique set of early nineteenth-century mechanical Phantasmagoria ghost projection slides, accessories such as illuminants, engravings depicting lantern shows and lanternists, broadsides, tickets, and more! Most of the items are shown publicly for the first time.

See why NPR calls it an incredible experience . . . and , "if they come to your town, don't miss them. They're a living national treasure."

More Here...



Two stellar events to choose from tonight...at Skylight Books Dean Wareham will be reading from his memoir Black Postcards: A Rock and Roll Romance. I am 75 pages into the book and it's like being backstage for someone's life. All the great songs that have spilled from this man's mouth...it is rumored he will be bringing a guitar.
Also tonight Trinie Dalton will be doing a special presentation at Maching Project tonight entitled MIRROR/HORROR. She will be showing slides and speaking about mirrors in film, art, witchcraft, etc. She will also be showing animations. Her short story collection Wide Eyed is great and her new book MYTHTYM is a collaborative art book that slays with its awesomeness.

Dean Wareham 5:00 p.m.
Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Trinie Dalton 8:00 p.m.
Machine Project
1200 D North Alvarado
Los Angeles, CA 90026




Laemmle Theatres and Emerging Cinema are pleased to present ESSENTIAL ARTHOUSE, a summer weekend morning series of classic world cinema from the peerless Janus Films Library.

Laemmle Theatres screens all the movies in this series via digital cinema projection simultaneously. All screenings begin at 11 a.m. except SEVEN SAMURAI, which starts at 10 a.m.

06/20 - 06/21 THE 400 BLOWS, 1959, Francois Truffaut
06/27 - 06/28 BLACK ORPHEUS, 1959, Marcel Camus
07/04 - 07/05 HIGH AND LOW, 1963, Akira Kurosawa
07/11 - 07/12 JULES AND JIM, 1962, Francois Truffaut
07/18 - 07/19 KNIFE IN THE WATER, 1962, Roman Polanski
07/25 - 07/26 LA STRADA, 1954, Federico Fellini
08/01 - 08/02 PYGMALION, 1938, Anthony Asquith
08/08 - 08/09 SEVEN SAMURAI 1954, Akira Kurosawa
08/15 - 08/16 THE SEVENTH SEAL, 1957, Ingmar Bergman
08/22 - 08/23 THE SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, 1973, Victor Erice
08/29 - 08/30 SUMMERTIME, 1955, David Lean
09/05 - 09/07 WILD STRAWBERRIES, 1957, Ingmar Bergman

More Info Here...

TONIGHT CINEFAMILY's Comedy Death Ray Series Continues with Patton Oswalt Presenting "God Told Me To"

SERIES: Comedy Death Ray

God Told Me To -
Presented by Patton Oswalt

Filmmaker Larry Cohen's written a lot of movies based around gonzo satirical high concepts, from killer babies to killer Aztec dragon gods, to killer creamy desserts--heck, he probably wrote another one, dictated loudly into a microcassette recorder while stuck in L.A. traffic, before I could finish this sentence. But even by Mr. Cohen's high standards, God Told Me To is quite a feat of convoluted daring-do. Starting with a Charles Whitmore-style sniper, people all around New York are killing off strangers, calmly admitting their guilt, and offering only one explanation, "God told me to". From there, any possible attempt to say what happens in this wildly unpredictable mystery would easily qualify as a spoiler, but let me tempt you with a glowing, hermaphroditic yellow hippy with dreadful powers, played by a scar-faced Richard Lynch. Patton says: "“I picked God Told Me To because I’ve never seen it — and I’ve always wanted to see Andy Kaufman go on a shooting rampage.” That does happen, by the way.
Dir. Larry Cohen, 1976, 35mm, 91 min.

More Here...


Larry Johnson -
June 21 - September 6, 2009

The Hammer Museum presents the first full-scale survey exhibition in the U.S. of the work of Larry Johnson. Johnson, born in 1959, is one of many important figures who emerged from CalArts in the 1980s. His unique style blends drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, and text. Many works explore themes of Hollywood and celebrity, where aspirations and fantasies bump up against reality. Texts are a crucial part of Johnson's work, either written by him or appropriated from disparate sources such as People magazine, pulp fiction, celebrity autobiographies, black box flight recorders, and rock lyrics.

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At Richard Heller Gallery

Group Exhibition
Dereck Albeck, Hiro Kurata, Mars Mario Martinez, G Bradley Rhodes, Britton Tolliver, Sage Vaughn, Oliver Vernon

Now Thru July 3, 2009

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Goran Bregovic's West Coast Debut Tommorrow Night @ Royce Hall

Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra

With a lively ensemble that includes a 4-piece classical string orchestra, a 6-man choir, and two Bulgarian female vocalists,- international star-Goran Bregovic & his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra are perhaps the largest, most diverse and most irresistible world music group to hit the Royce Hall stage. A household name in his native Balkans for more than three decades as a film composer and rock musician, Bregovic has been broadening his appeal around the world with his ecstatic, eclectic and charismatic style of gypsy dance music. The Spanish paper El Pais described the group as “one of the most beautiful symphonies of Old World Europe … [Bregovic] creates the most breath-taking music on this continent … intense, vigorous, colorful, passionate, exotic, fascinating.”

More Here...


Tonight at Skylight Books

Adrian Tomine and Seth in Conversation

Shortcomings (by Tomine - now in paperback), A Drifting Life (the Tatsumi memoir edited and designed by Tomine), George Sprott by Seth, and The Collected George Wright (edited and designed by Seth)

More Here


The American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents... Agnes Varda

June 24 - July, 1, 2009

Director Agnes Varda In Person with A Sneak Preview
of Her Latest Film: THE BEACHES OF AGNES

A gifted and outspoken feminist and one of the most acclaimed directors anywhere in the world, Agnes Varda could be considered the prototype of today’s independent filmmaker. Varda is a survivor, a stubborn and patient observer of her time and her people, like the pop singer in CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, the lovers in LE BONHEUR (HAPPINESS) or the drifter in VAGABOND. "I have fought so much since I started … for something that comes from emotion, from visual emotion, sound emotion, feeling, and finding a shape for that," Varda has said. Varda directed her first feature, LA POINTE COURTE, in 1954, with no formal training in filmmaking. The movie has often been identified as the film that started the French New Wave ("and a famous flop," as Varda has wryly noted). Along with Alain Resnais and Chris Marker, she made up the so-called "Left Bank Group" of the early 1960s, distinct from other New Wave directors for their interest in both documentary and fiction and their passion for both political and social filmmaking. Her marriage to Jacques Demy (1931-1990) made her one-half of the most beloved filmmaking couple of their day, and her tribute to Demy, JACQUOT DE NANTES, is one of her finest films.

Plus a Mini-Retrospective!
Including two documentaries capturing 1960s Los Angeles - shot when Varda and husband Jacques Demy lived in LA!

More Here...


Aïda Ruilova at the HAMMER MUSUEM Tomorrow

Aïda Ruilova
June 16 - September 27, 2009

In her expressive and rhythmic films and videos, Aïda Ruilova deftly manipulates sound and expression and her fascination with horror movies always hovers near the surface. Her more recent, longer works take her gothic, B-movie style further with short narratives that are never fully resolved and always leave us wanting more. For her Hammer Projects exhibition in the Video Gallery, Ruilova will produce a new film or video in Los Angeles as part of her Hammer residency.

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Famous “Corpse Flower” set to bloom again

at The Huntington any day now...

When it bloomed at The Huntington in 1999, the gigantic Amorphophallus titanum (a.k.a. the Corpse Flower) created international headlines. A second flowering in 2002 was equally sensational. Now, one of the famous Corpse Flower’s offspring is getting ready to make its debut. Propagated from seed produced by the 1999 bloom, one could call it a genuine “son of Stinky.”

Native to the equatorial rain forests of Sumatra, the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum, can reach more than 6 feet in height when it blooms, opening to a diameter of 3–4 feet. But the plant is perhaps most famous—or infamous—for its exceptionally foul odor. Hence the nickname, Corpse Flower.

More Here..


TONIGHT at CINEFAMILY - Bob Odenkirk Presents "Real Life"

SERIES: Comedy Death Ray
Albert Brooks in - Real Life

presented by Bob Odenkirk

Thirty years before the stealthy steadycams of reality TV infested the livingrooms of America like so many brain-sucking termites, this note-perfect satire of self-serious documentaries (specifically the hit television show "An American Family") prophesied the exact extent to which the genre would derange both the subjects of faux verite schlock and the audiences that hung on every artificial (re)enactment. We were more than a little excited when we found out that tonight's presenter, Bob Odenkirk, chose to screen Albert Brooks' 1979 directorial debut for this series. Odenkirk writes: "Real Life is one of the first ultra-smart, dry-as-a-bone comedies that I ever saw in my life, and it's still one of the funniest and most perceptive. It's a great, hilarious movie, but sadly, no one farts in it or is brazenly un-PC to a woman. Still, it's genius!" Those who need more convincing should refer to depressive Charles Grodin, at his most Grodiny, facing off against manic Brooks in the bi-polar comedy Jew-Off of the century. There's also the demented visuals, including cameramen who, in an effort to be less invasive, wear beach-ball sized cameras that cover their whole heads, and which make them appear, in the words of reviewer Eric Shulte, "like hydrocephalic stormtroopers."

Dir. Albert Brooks, 1979, 35mm, 99 min.

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LACMA's French Crime Wave Series Continues w/ Jean Pierre Melville's 'Le Cercle Rouge'

Le cercle rouge
Friday, June 12 | 7:30 pm @ LACMA

Melville's last great gangster film is a masterpiece and a summation of his themes of honor, loyalty, and tragic destiny. Corey (Delon) is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel (Volontè), a wild-eyed terrorist and murderer, escapes from police custody. With the help of a third man—an alcoholic ex-cop named Jansen (Montand)—they plan a daring heist from a jewelry store on the chic Place Vendôme. Combining silence, immaculate camerawork and precise editing rhythms, Melville delivers one of the greatest heist sequences on film while drawing brilliant performances from his three iconic actors. "Jean-Pierre Melville was the coolest, most stylish auteur of his time… He's had a great influence on my work… I learned how to hold a gun, and subsequently taught my actors, by watching Alain Delon in the films of Melville."—John Woo.

French Crime Wave
1970/color/150 min. | Scr/dir: Jean-Pierre Melville; w/ Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Gian-Maria Volonté.


Tonight! Hollywood Hotshots with Charlyne Yi

Jazz legend John Reynolds and his washboard playing brother, Ralf Reynolds, bring you an evening of "upstairs" hot jazz. Guests include performers who have previously worked with Thelonious Monk and Benny Goodman.

8pm, Second Wednesday of Each Month
Tickets $10

June 10th - Special Guest:




June 11-21, 2009
West Coast premiere

The Wooster Group's production of Francesco Cavalli's La Didone takes up a work from the days when opera was an emerging art form, born out of the power of the voice and the lute in pure acoustic space, and sets it down in a new world splintered by telepresence and made brazen by the electric guitar.

Then, traveling further forward in time, and stirring another Italian cultural artifact into the mix, the Group brings into collision the ancient shipwreck tale of Aeneas with the crashed spaceships of Mario Bava's 1965 low-budget sci-fi horror film Terrore nello spazio (Planet of the Vampires).

The elements of this cult movie—the sleek matching leather space uniforms, the forbidding planetary landscapes, the battles with the walking dead over the all-important meteor rejector—come into unexpected synergy with the baroque textures of Cavalli's score and the classic themes of the Dido story: the loss of culture and family, the destructive (and redemptive) power of erotic passion, and the sheer tenacity of human nature in the face of annihilation.

With: Hai-Ting Chinn, Ari Fliakos, Jennifer Griesbach, Hank Heijink, Andrew Nolen, Kamala Sankaram, Scott Shepherd, Harvey Valdes, Kate Valk, David Walker, Judson Williams, and John Young-

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Call for Proposals | Artist in Residence Program at Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena

Call for proposals to be considered for The Artist's Studio: An Artist in Residence Program at One Colorado, Pasadena, CA.

The Armory Center for the Arts and One Colorado invite artists to apply for a three month paid Artist in Residence program that is a unique opportunity for an artist who enjoys interacting with the general public in a retail environment. The program is designed to bring art into a public space where both the artist and the public will learn from and be inspired by the interactions.

Submissions are due at the Armory by Monday, June 22 at 5 p.m.
Artists will be notified by Tuesday, June 30.

For additional information go HERE


Stage Review: David Mamet's 'OLEANNA'

Now thru July 12, 2009

Mark Taper Forum
at the Music Center
downtown Los Angeles

Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles
star in David Mamet's '

I was in graduate school when David Mamet's "Oleanna" premiered in 1994, and it was one of those plays that had everyone talking: who's 'right'? The arrogant male professor, or his naive, self-righteous female student? At the time, you'll recall that 'Political Correctness' and 'Sexual Harassment' had yet to become things anyone with a shred of sensitivity could comfortably joke about. If they've more or less evolved into punchline material now 15 years on, it's because we appear to have learned the lessons of the era--about being a little more aware of the words we choose, the jokes we tell, and the way we touch and look at others--pretty thoroughly: just ask Don Imus and Michael Richards.

"Oleanna" is, in a sense, Mamet's early-90's, dystopian vision of where the 'political correctness' movement was taking us: John, a professor on the verge of tenure (Bill Pullman) meets in his office with Carol, a female student who's having trouble in his class (Julia Stiles). She complains that she doesn't understand his teaching and worries that she will flunk his class. Fearing that his work and lectures are becoming inaccessible, he offers to help her in one-on-one sessions. In the course of explaining some of his ideas, he references a study of sexual behavior, utters the words "I like you," and at one point, seeing she is upset, attempt to put his arm around her.

These fleeting moments take on a "Rashomon"-like quality in the play's second and third acts: she levels charges of sexual harassment against him, which puts his pending tenure confirmation and home purchase in jeopardy. Hilarity doesn't exactly ensue (far from it), but mayhem of various kinds certainly does.

I saw a production of "Oleanna" back in the '90's, directed by Mamet himself, and while I remember thinking that both characters were reprehensible, I also remembered that their clash was pretty balanced. Carol made some good points: John WAS pedantic. His actions could be construed as smarmy. He did appear to be trying to bribing her with a high grade in exchange for, if not sex, certainly a few hours of her undivided attention. At the same time, Carol's charges were blown out of all proportion, and her naivete drove her to vengeful extremes.

Now, fifteen years on, and eighteen after the Anita Hill hearings, the current production feels a bit like a period piece: when the big accusations fly (she equates his offer of help and subtle physical overtures with rape), we feel like we've heard it all before, found a point of compromise, and moved on. The opening night audience was clearly not in Carol's corner: there was audible, and contemptuous laughter at some of her grander proclamations, and when Pullman finally tells her to "Get the fuck out of my office," there was scattered applause.

The characterizations skew the play further in John's favor: Pullman is a skilled actor, and a master of Mamet's stylized language. For once all the ellipses and half-thoughts make sense: John is already feeling the walls closing in from the opening moments, fielding call after desperate call from his wife and real estate agent, and can barely finish a thought. Always likable on film, his warmth is even more palpable in person: throughout, we can feel his natural desire to do right by everyone--the hectoring voices on the phone, the administration, his students, Carol herself--even as he stumbles, badly and irrevocably, in the process.

Stiles, however, seems slightly miscast: despite having played the role once before, she seems too poised, too together, altogether too confident to seem legitimately threatened by Pullman (Aaron Eckhart, a significantly more imposing, and more naturally-devious actor than Pullman, played John opposite Stiles in the previous production: could that have been a better matchup?). Carol's counterattack on John in the second act, then, feels almost arbitrary.

By the end, this Carol seemed coldly calculating--almost an Iago figure--rather than a vulnerable woman finding a legitimate voice with which to fight back against her oppressor. The character makes repeated references to a life of hard knocks and economic hardship, but on the night, with her clear skin, flowing blond locks, and trendy outfits, Stiles came across more as the product of privilege and a good health insurance plan.

It's possible that this slightly sinister take on Carol may be a bold choice by Stiles, and by the director, Doug Hughes, as if they are daring their Los Angeles audience of deep-blue, artistic types to cheer for the straight, white guy in power, despise the articulate champion of feminism who takes him down, and then feel guilty for it afterwards. If that's the case, it doesn't quite work: lacking much motivation or vulnerability, Carol, already a tough role, becomes almost inhuman in this formulation, and the character's seams as a theatrical contrivance start to show. It then becomes too easy to write her off, side with John, and reduce "Oleanna"--unfairly, I think--to a cautionary tale about the dangers of opportunistic young women who game the Sexual Harassment system.

Nevertheless, it's an engaging, at times lacerating evening, and the crushing climax, which in the '90's production felt to me like clunky playwriting, is now genuinely horrific, thanks mostly to Pullman's finely-modulated descent into despair. It's clear that Mamet had an ax to grind with this play; he's got a beef with academia; a beef with classism and sexism, and perhaps most obviously, a beef with the dehumanizing, muzzling effect of Political Correctness. He seems to have written "Oleanna" to warn us of the monsters he believed we were on the verge of becoming some fifteen years back. We haven't yet, thank God, and, dated though it may seem, we may in part have "Oleanna" to thank for that.

- Andrew Heffernan

Call for Artists | TARFEST 09

Call to Visual Artists and Filmmakers -


Visit TarFest Art for submission information to TarFest Art Show curated by Rita Gonzalez, (Curator, LACMA). Also, visit TarFest Film Festival for submission info for short films and music videos. Tarfest will take place September 26-28 at various Miracle Mile locations.


New UCLA Live 2009-10 Season Announced

A world premiere production of “Medea” starring Annette Bening will kick off UCLA Live’s 2009-10 season, announced artistic and executive director David Sefton Wednesday evening at Royce Hall.

The play, the first-ever original production created by UCLA Live, will be directed by Croatia’s Lenka Udovicki who is known for her opera and theater creations throughout Europe. “When Lenka brought this project to me, I was thrilled. And the fact that an actress of the caliber of Annette Bening had signed on to play the lead just confirmed what a tremendous opportunity this was,” said Sefton, who typically spends months traveling each year to find performances for UCLA Live. “For nine years we have been bringing extraordinary work to Los Angeles — this project lets us stretch in new directions as a producer. I am certain audiences are going to be blown away by the results.”

"Highlights of the 2009/2010 Season include"- A rare as hens teeth appearance by R. Crumb,They Might Be Giants, Neil Gaiman, McCoy Tyner, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman and David Sedaris.

Also, L.A.-based Latino performance troupe Culture Clash will celebrate their 25th anniversary with a gala performance at Royce Hall on Oct. 30 featuring guest performers such as Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine, comedian Carlos Mencia, singer-songwriter Michelle Shocked, actor Edward James Olmos and many others. In addition to music and comedy, the evening will include a preview of the next Culture Clash theater project, Palestine, New Mexico.”

For a complete schedule by genre go Here!