Go See - Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Now @ Laemmle's Pasadena

The opening credits of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child immediately exhibit this documentary's sense of clever, deliberate layering of visual and audio components. (See any number of docs with faux-weighty facts delivered via Powerpoint-style wipes — it’s more of a unique quality than you’d think.) Title card lettering drops in, character by character, in synchronization with the bebop backdrop of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Salt Peanuts.” Footage of the young artist dancing, working, and playing with pups in the studio scrambles alongside the frenetic song, as flashes of Jean-Michel Basquiat's drawings and paintings are introduced. It’s lively as hell, and the scene for Basquiat’s irresistible story is effectively set.

Born in 1960, the Brooklyn-raised Basquiat, as the film notes early on, first became famous for his art, “and then he became famous for being famous, and then he became famous for being infamous.” The film plays out through a carefully constructed and impeccably paced narrative, wherein myriad aspects of Basquiat’s eight-year career trajectory are illuminated in choice detail. From the beginning, director and producer Tamra Davis makes her role within the documentary and her relation to the artist transparent: she discloses that the intimate recurring interview footage of Basquiat was something she filmed “of my friend” in 1986, two years before his death. The footage, which until now sat in a drawer for 20 years, serves as the film’s centerpiece and anchor, one of the many effective devices that brings the artist to life.

Davis starts the story in New York City in 1978, when Basquiat arrives in Manhattan after dropping out of high school. The downtown New York art world first takes notice when unusual, phrasal graffiti appears around the city credited to an unknown SAMO© (“same old shit”), who is Basquiat and friends incognito. The content is telling, too: “SAMO© AS A NEO ART FORM” and “SAMO© AS A RESULT OF OVEREXPOSURE” foreshadow the artist’s forthcoming rise and fall. Next, Basquiat naturally falls into the city’s No Wave music scene by playing in a band called Gray (his first public work, one interviewee says), and regularly appearing on Glenn O’Brien’s public access television show TV Party. Then Debbie Harry (Blondie) makes the first purchase of a Basquiat painting for $200, not long after he’s given the funds to work with paint on canvas for the first time. Shortly thereafter, Basquiat has work featured in The Times Square Show, “the first radical art show of the ‘80s,” alongside artists like Keith Haring. These events catalyze Basquiat's efforts first into a viable career and then into a stratospheric presence as a top artist.

But the film’s allure doesn't ride solely on the clarity with which this chain of events is rendered. It’s also the emotional ebb and flow in tandem with the narrative that the filmmakers maneuver to great effect. By 'maneuver,' I don’t mean any undue manipulation of the viewer, but an accounting for the audience’s progressing state of mind. Basquiat's extraordinary story is told so compellingly here because of how the viewer is carried in emotional synchronization with him. We smile when he smiles, and we sigh when he sighs. He’s as charming as everyone tells us he is, and it’s easy to see how Basquiat ended up the leading figure in his cult of personality. Even Andy Warhol fell for him.

Beyond the artist’s personal life, the film does good work in contextualizing his art. The different personal likes that might figure into a present-day Facebook profile — like Basquiat’s love for BeBop jazz and the poetry of William Burroughs — are extracted from and discussed alongside his works. We’re shown with perfect clarity how he references and reinterprets their avant-garde techniques. Basquiat's work is also discussed in a wide range of interviews that include art-world figures like dealer/gallery owner Larry Gagosian and Museum of Modern Art chief painting and sculpture curator Ann Temkin. Music and art historians are also called in, in addition to friends of the artist like Thurston Moore, Fab 5 Freddy, and Julian Schnabel. What we get is a fairly holistic exploration of Basquiat by those who knew him best.

But delving further into some of the problematic ways the work and the artist were received helps complete this representation of Basquiat the phenomenon. If he was famous for his fame and later his infamy, as The Radiant Child tells us, the film concludes that it was complicated and had as much to do with the persona outwardly attributed to him as the way he managed to cope with it. We’re shown interviews where Basquiat bucks back against racist, reductive characterizations of his art (primitive and primal: “Like an ape? A primate?” he charges) that apparently constituted an embarrassingly large portion of the white liberal art criticism that took him into consideration. At least Temkin, the MoMA authority, takes a moment to concede that people in positions like hers are so immersed in "established" art that it can be hard to deal with new art that makes them uncomfortable. Hindsight, etc. But by the time the film and artist’s inevitable end arrives, it’s hard to swallow that quick fade to black. TinyMixTapes

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Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (Opening Scene)


At the Hollywood Bowl - John Williams and the Music of the Movies

August 27, 28 - 8:30p

In a career that spans five decades, JOHN WILLIAMS has become one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and for the concert stage. He has served as music director and laureate conductor of one of the country’s treasured musical institutions, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he maintains thriving artistic relationships with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Williams has received a variety of prestigious awards, including the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honor, and the Olympic Order; and numerous Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globe Awards. He remains one of our nation’s most distinguished and contributive musical voices.

Williams has composed the music and served as music director for more than 100 films. His 35-year artistic partnership with director Steven Spielberg has resulted in many of Hollywood’s most acclaimed and successful films, including Schindler’s List, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones films, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Munich, Hook, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and Empire of the Sun. Williams composed the scores for all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Superman, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, Memoirs of a Geisha, Far and Away, The Accidental Tourist, Home Alone, Nixon, The Patriot, Angela’s Ashes, Seven Years in Tibet, The Witches of Eastwick, Rosewood, Sleepers, Sabrina, Presumed Innocent, The Cowboys, The Reivers, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips, among many others. He has worked with many legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, William Wyler, and Robert Altman. In 1971, he adapted the score for the film version of Fiddler on the Roof, for which he composed original violin cadenzas for renowned virtuoso Isaac Stern. He has appeared on recordings as pianist and conductor with Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Jessye Norman, and others. Williams has received five Academy Awards and a total of 45 nominations, making him the Academy’s most-nominated living person. He has also received seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA), 21 Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, and numerous gold and platinum records. Whew!

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Tonight @ The Egyptian Theater - Perry Henzell Tribute: Godfather of Jamaican Film

Perry Henzell has been called "the most important filmmaker to emerge from the Caribbean." His landmark film The Harder They Come was responsible for introducing Reggae music to the world. With unique insight, visual sense and original thinking, he forever changed the way we look at things. Through his films, stage plays, and novels, the worldwide impact of his work continues to grow. The American Cinematheque salutes the memory of Perry Henzell with an evening dedicated to his feature films.

Discussion between films with Justine Henzell (Perry's daughter), producer David Garonzik, P.J. Soles (actress), Arthur Gorson (friend and producer), Roger Steffens (reggae historian) and special surprise guests. Moderated by Wayne Jobson.

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Friday , August 20th @ CINEFAMILY - Model Shop + Play It As It Lays

Model Shop + Play It As It Lays -

It was only a matter of time before the call of Hollywood's dream factory ensnared French director Jacques Demy, that lover of old musicals and stylized fantasies. What Columbia Studios may not have know, is that Demy's other great love was Robert Bresson, and when he wasn't making glorious Technicolor romances like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, he was delivering coolly detached, 2 A.M.-of-the-soul art films. Guess which kind of film his stay in Los Angeles inspired?

Turning his camera on the sun-bleached, pop culture-drenched local andscape and playing down his usual style, Demy gives us a 24-hour period as experienced by George, a layabout soon-to-be Vietnam draftee whose girl, car and Venice pad are about to become a memory. Enter a mysterious French woman (Anouk Aimée) he spies driving down a Hollywood boulevard that captures his imagination; entranced, he trails her from Malibu to Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and back again, in the blind hope of some kind of real human connection.

Long considered a "lost" Demy project, Model Shop's camerawork and art direction are never less than faultless, its soundtrack (courtesy of local band Spirit) is a total jewel of the period -- and its generous footage of L.A. circa '69 is now a treasure trove unto itself. Dir. Jacques Demy, 1969, 35mm, 97 min.

Play It As It Lays - 10p
The killer quote in this killer 1972 adaptation of the Joan Didion classic of American existentialism is this: “We’ve been out there where nothing is.” Spoken by a closeted, suicidal, kept-man movie producer played by Anthony Perkins, is Didion (via Mommie Dearest and The Swimmer director Frank Perry) talking about Hollywood? Bleak California deserts? Bleaker California souls? The real answer can be found in the eyes of a ragingly beautiful Tuesday Weld as her acting career, marriage and sanity are stripped away by the force of the meaninglessness swirling all around her. Photographed by Blade Runner cameraman Jordan Cronenweth in exhilarating early 70’s experimental mode, the film is a sun-shot, shattered mirror held up to exactly the place, in the heart of American society, where the nothing lies. Dir. Frank Perry, 1972, 35mm, 99 min.

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@ GIANT ROBOT - Bryan Lee O'Malley Event and Game Night 2 Saturday, August 21, 2010.

Giant Robot Presents:
Signing and Game Night 2 with Bryan Lee O'Malley

Saturday, August 21, 2010, 5-7p signing 7 - 10p Gaming

2062 Sawtelle Blvd. 90025

In conjunction with the Attract Mode videogame culture shop, Giant Robot is proud to host Game Night, a new event that takes place at GR2 every two months. Each evening will feature a different developer and its games in a relaxed, community-building setting.

For Game Night 2, Giant Robot is pleased to present artist Bryan Lee O'Malley, who will be celebrating the sixth and final installment of his Scott Pilgrim comic-book saga (adapted into a movie directed by Edgar Wright for Universal) and playing the brand new Scott Pilgrim video game (published by Ubisoft with art direction by Paul Robertson and music by Anamanaguchi).

O'Malley will sign volumes of Scott Pilgrim from 5p - 7p

Games will be played from 7p - 10p

Bryan Lee O'Malley is also featured as the cover artist of the July-August issue of Giant Robot magazine. Giant Robot was born as a Los Angeles-based publication about Asian, Asian-American, and new hybrid culture in 1994, but has evolved into a full-service pop culture provider with shops and galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, as well as an online equivalent.

Game Night 2 will take place on August 21 from 5p - 10p


Saturday 8.21. @ LACE - ASAP presents DIY LA w/ Jen Smith & Mark Allen

Join Mark Allen and Jen Smith as they explore DIY culture in Los Angeles along with other special guests. Mark Allen will be speaking about the basics of starting your own (art/music/literature/whatever) space using Machine Project as an example. Jen Smith will lead a pickling workshop where you can create your own pickled sensations.

Mark Allen is an artist, educator and curator located in Los Angeles. He is the founder and director of Machine Project (www.machineproject.com), a non-profit performance/installation space investigating art, technology, natural history, science and poetry.

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West Coast Premiere! Limited Engagement!

Legendary pop music genius
, record producer Phil Spector created the “wall of sound” and was the driving force behind some of the greatest hits of the ’60s: Be My Baby, He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, to name just a few. Today he is imprisoned serving 19 years to- life for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson. During his first trial (a hung jury), Spector gives a rare freewheeling interview to Vikram Jayanti, filmed at his castle, seated before the white piano which he bought with John Lennon, for Imagine. He lucidly holds forth on his life and work: his father’s suicide when he was a child; the process through which he achieved his distinctive sound; his friendship with Lennon; and his case that (despite Paul McCartney’s position), he salvaged the Beatles’ album, Let It Be. Then there is Spector’s curious enmity toward Tony Bennett and Buddy Holly (“he got a postage stamp even though he was only in rock ’n’ roll three years”), and a grandiosity that has him likening himself to Bach, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo. And, yes, there is an endless parade of hairstyles and flamboyant outfits.

Guns Don't Kill People...Music Producers Do!

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Elizabeth Mitchell and Family @ The Getty August 14 & 15

Sharing "handmade" songs from their upcoming album, Sunny Day, Elizabeth Mitchell, her husband Daniel Littleton and their nine-year-old daughter Storey remind us of the joy to be found in the simplest moments of everyday life. Breathtaking vocals, fresh new arrangements and harmonica solos by Storey make for a magical weekend. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Sunny Day before its October release it's sure bet to brighten the rest of your summer days .

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Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers: Double Book Launch + Q&A + Signing Saturday 8.14. @ Family

Family Bookstore is pleased to host the launch of two new books by Mcsweeneys:

There Are Many of Us by Spike Jonze & It Is Right to Draw Their Fur by Dave Eggers. Eggers will conduct a live Q&A with Jonze, followed by audience questions. Both will be signing books afterward. Also, Co-composer of the soundtrack to Jonze's film I'm Here, Aska, will perform an acoustic live set to begin the evening filled with gorgeous photography, behind-the-scenes ephemera, and funny, inspiring interviews, There Are Many of Us celebrates the uniquely spontaneous making of Spike Jonze's new movie I'm Here, a boy-meets-girl love story, set in LA, experienced by robots. The book includes an original CD soundtrack as well as a DVD of the thirty-minute movie I'm Here, with special bonus content.

It Is Right to Draw Their Fur is Dave Eggers's first collection of drawings. Most of these works are of unusual mammals, most often accompanied by slogans with ancient, heroic, or just plain odd overtones. This full-color package will be a combination of 26 large-sized prints and an accompanying booklet.

Saturday, August 14, 830p

Family Bookstore
436 N Fairfax Ave - 90036

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Yesterday Executive Director Mark Murphy and Gallery Director Clara Kim announced REDCAT's Fall 2010 Season. Kicking off on September 16, 2010 with projects in both the theater and gallery, REDCAT gathers artists of diverse backgrounds and disciplines from around the world, encouraging exploration and discovery among its artists as well as its patrons. The season opening features a world premiere by legendary Indonesian choreographer Sardono W. Kusumo in collaboration with renowned lighting designer Jennifer Tipton; and the Los Angeles debut presentation of two pioneers of video art in China, Zhang Peili and Zhu Jia.

"We are launching our most international and daring program yet," remarks Mark Murphy, "The work embodies the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration that is the core of our mission, including new premieres and collaborations that celebrate the inventive partnership of great creative minds. We treasure artistic integrity and understand the importance of dialogue and exchange, particularly in challenging times."

REDCAT's eighth season spans the globe, bringing together diverse cultural traditions and new innovations, while highlighting artists pushing the boundaries of genre and artistic expression. A complete list of offerings this fall grouped by primary discipline follows:

Sep 17-Nov 21 | Not Only Time: Zhang Peili and Zhu Jia
A focused, parallel examination of work from the early 1990s to present day, including new commissions, by the pioneers of video art in China.

Dec 7-Jan 30 | Decolonizing Architecture, A project by Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Eyal Weizman
A research project using architecture as an arena of speculation that investigates the complex spatial dynamics of the West Bank.

Oct 28 | Alfred Brendel: On Character in Music
The legendary pianist gives a lecture-demonstration featuring musical examples from the Beethoven sonatas.

Oct 31 | Mark Danielewski: The Fifty Year Sword
In the spirit of Halloween, the critically acclaimed author creates a special treat for the occasion.

Sep 16-19 | Sardono Dance Theater and Jennifer Tipton: Rain Coloring Forest
Evocative movement, music and visuals evoke universal themes in this world premiere multimedia performance.

Oct 8-10 | Traditions Engaged: An International Festival of Classical Indian Dance & Music
Leading Indian classical artists and emerging practitioners gather for three days of unparalleled performances and discussions.

Oct 14-17 | Tere O'Connor: Wrought Iron Fog
O'Connor's richly layered choreography highlights unexpected shifts in rhythm and mood while building complex relationships.

Nov 10-14 | Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance: How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere
A multimedia work inspired by a 102-year old former Mississippi Delta sharecropper and his spaceship.

Dec 17-18 | CalArts Winter Dance
The centerpiece of this rich program is a restaging of Trisha Brown's 1983 masterpiece Set and Reset.

Jan 13-16 | The A.W.A.R.D. Show!
The Joyce Theater Foundation brings its wildly successful dance event to Los Angeles.

Sep 20 | Nina Menkes: Hitparkut (Dissolution)
Winner of the Anat Pirchi Award for Best Drama at the 2010 Jerusalem International Film Festival.

Sep 27 | The Best of Ottawa 2009
A selection of 12 outstanding films from the Ottawa International Animation Festival 2009.

Oct 4 | Erie By Kevin Jerome Everson
A new film consisting of single-take, 16mm sequences filmed in and around communities near Lake Erie.

Oct 11 | Lewis Klahr: Dreaming over the Flux of Things Past
Master collagist Lewis Klahr returns with a new series, Prolix Satori.

Oct 23 | Between Displacement and Nostalgia: Conflicted Memories of Cuba
Cuban novelist Edmundo Desnoes is on hand to discuss two films inspired by his writings.

Oct 25 | Revelations of the Everyday: Films and Videos by Vincent Grenier
A collection of works from one of the most significant bodies of experimental films and videos.

Nov 1 | Spectacles of Light: Films and Videos by Peter Rose
Works on this program propose an annotated, nocturnal portrait of a vanished culture.

Nov 22 | Thom Andersen: Out of the Car and into the Music of the Streets
These three sad, funny, beautiful works take you through Los Angeles, 2009; and Munich, 1967/1968.

October 2 | Henry Grimes and Friends
Legendary jazz bassist Henry Grimes makes first L.A. appearance since moving to New York in 2003.

October 3 | Robert Henke: Monolake Live
The co-creator of the Ableton Live software gives a special Monolake Live performance.

Oct 22 | California E.A.R. Unit: Champ Vital (Life Field)
Los Angeles' fearless new music ensemble returns with works by David Rosenboom and E.A.R. Unit members.

Nov 2 | Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet
Hailed as harbingers of modern music, the quartet explores texture, sonority, rhythm, and ensemble fluidity.

Nov 5 | SCREAM Festival: Noisefold
A powerful synaesthetic experience where noise, music and image interact on a symphonic scale.

Jan 28-30 | CEAIT Festival: Iannis Xenakis: Now and Tomorrow
Three scintillating concerts by the legendary pioneer of music and architecture and composers he inspired.

Sep 23-26 | Radoslaw Rychcik/Stefan Zeromski Theatre: In the Solitude of Cotton Fields
Two seductive frontmen have more than singing on their minds in this theatrical tour de force.

Oct 21 | Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir
Alpert Award-winning artist Billy Talen
takes to the pulpit as Reverend Billy accompanied by his joyous 25-voice choir.

Nov 17-21 | Wunderbaum: Venlo
The daring Dutch theater ensemble returns to premiere a new work created while in residence at REDCAT.

Dec 1-12 | The Wooster Group: Vieux Carré
U.S. Premiere of The Group's multimedia staging of Tennessee Williams' memory play set in a boarding house in New Orleans.

Jan 19-23 | Betontanc and Umka.lv: Show Your Face!
Virtuosic puppetry, physical theater, dance, and music combine to tell the tale of a modern-day Everyman.

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THE RISE OF RAD: The Influence of Skate Culture On Contemporary Art @ The Torrence Art Museum

Now on View Through September 4, 2010 - Erupting from the Californian surf scene of the 1960s and branching out into music, language, street art and street clothing, skateboard culture has spanned the globe with its focus on individuality, freedom and a transgressive mixture of sport and play. This exhibition’s focus is on contemporary art that can trace its roots to this sub-culture-gone-mainstream, exploring urban architecture, resistance, and the core values of the skate phenomenon through the matrix of urban theory and politics.

It utilizes theoretical, historical, sociological and contemporary art facets to fully explore how a Californian children’s toy went through technological advances that led to a revolution throughout youth culture and, in turn, spread to the world and impacted culture from the street to the museum.

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Tonight @ The Skirball Cultural Center - Peter Sellers in "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas"

The brilliant comic Peter Sellers stars in this slapstick send-up of America on the verge of the counter-cultural revolution. It's one of the few 1960s satires of the hippie culture that doesn't appear to be concocted by grumpy old men, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. Harold Fine (the protagonist) is a staid Jewish attorney and engaged to the equally straitlaced Joyce (Joyce Van Patten), Harold wistfully dreams of having a more exciting lifestyle. Through a fluke, Harold is obliged to drive a station wagon emblazoned with "psychedelic" imagery; it is with this vehicle that he picks up his flower-child brother Herbie (David Arkin), and Herbie's groovy chick Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young). Rather enjoying the company of people outside of his establishment orbit, Harold lets Nancy stay over at her place, and she plies him with marijuana-spiked brownies. His inhibitions released by the spiked pastries, Harold kicks over the traces, grows his hair to shoulder length, and embarks upon an affair with Nancy. But when the effects of the brownies wear off, Harold suddenly feels like the rather foolish middle-aged man that he is. The beauty of I Love You, Alice B. Toklas is that it patronizes neither the hippies nor the Establishment characters; both groups are shown as human beings rather than agit-prop stereotypes. Paul Mazursky co-wrote the script and Hy Averback Directed.
1968, 92 min. Rated R.

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