Culture Watch: What's new in books, theater, music and DVDs
“L.A. Rising: SoCal Artists Before 1980” Lyn Kienholz, ed. 516 pp. (California/International Arts Foundation). Perry Mason had an art gallery? Yes, the Raymond Burr Gallery was once in Beverly Hills. That's one factoid in an instantly indispensable “encyclopedia” of more than 500 artists who worked and showed in L.A. before the city emerged as an international powerhouse.
— Christopher Knight
Giya Kancheli: “Themes From the “Songbook” (ECM). Who knew that Giya Kancheli, the melancholy composer from the republic of Georgia, wrote sly, seductive songs and dances for Shakespeare and Arthur Miller plays and for Georgian films with titles such as “The Eccentrics” and “Earth, This is Your Son”? Here they are, played by Dino Salazar (bandoneón), Gidon Kremer (violin) and Andrei Pushkarev (vibraphone).
— Mark Swed
Vinicius Cantuária & Bill Frisell: “Lágrimas Mexicanas” (Entertainment One). After collaborating off and on for 25 years, this first full-length pairing of Frisell and the Brazilian singer-songwriter is a study in the jazz guitarist's ability to thrive in any genre. Frisell's Americana twang and echoing feedback mixed with twilit Bossa Nova is irresistible.
— Chris Barton
“András Schiff Plays Bach” (EuroArts). The Hungarian pianist — videotaped playing the six French Suites last summer in a church in Leipzig, where Bach lived and worked — would be the last word in elegance and intelligence, if the bonus disc of Schiff explaining Bach didn't contain those last, wondrous words.
— Mark Swed
“The Trial of Hamlet” (USC's Bovard Auditorium). Was the murder of Polonius a premediated crime, the act of a lunatic or an innocent mistake? Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy presides over a trial featuring high-profile lawyers and a celebrity jury. Monday 7:30 pm. (800) 838-3006 or www.Shakespeare
— Charles McNulty