Category: Grand Avenue

Music Center garage gets automated, now takes credit cards

December 1, 2011 |  9:00 am

Music Center
The above sign has been greeting patrons who park in the Music Center’s garage, but don’t be alarmed: the new automated parking system debuting Thursday at the downtown venue will apply only to weekday daytime users. Parking for performances, like the shows themselves, will still involve the human factor. Contrary to what the sign says, attendants will be on duty.

The main change for performing arts patrons who use the eight-level, county-owned garage beneath the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre and Mark Taper Forum is that they'll now have the option of paying the $9 fee with a credit or debit card.

For concert-goers using the garage beneath Walt Disney Concert Hall, parking remains cash only.

Nick Chico, Los Angeles County’s manager of parking services, said Wednesday that the 1,400-car garage under 135 N. Grand Ave. is the first in a series of county-owned parking facilities that will be automated; the Disney Hall garage probably won’t be re-equipped for some years to come.

The biggest advantage, he said, is an expected end to revenue “leakage” –- a euphemism for when the human factor introduces a degree of larceny. Based on industry-wide experience, Chico said, the county’s initial $1 million investment in equipment, software and changes to garage structures and electronics promises to yield a 6% to 15% increase in parking receipts. The county keeps 81.78% of parking proceeds, with the rest going to Classic Parking, the company contracted to run the garage.

Until 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, garage users -– primarily people with business in the nearby courthouses and County Hall of Administration -– will no longer pay as they enter. They’ll zip right in and park. But when it’s time to leave, before getting back into their cars they’ll use one of four newly installed machines to pay what they owe. The machine will spit out a receipt to present at the exit gate, enabling a bar to rise and sending each vehicle on its way.

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Review: Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trey McIntyre Project

November 23, 2011 |  1:22 pm

Preservaton Hall Jazz Band
Vibrant New Orleans-style jazz and brilliant contemporary ballet collided in ways at once unpredictable, satisfying and often wondrous when the musicians of Preservation Hall and the dancers of Trey McIntyre met at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Tuesday.

With “Band's in Town,” the eight members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band immediately established their stylistic authority and consummate skill as soloists, playing from a tiny platform at the far end of the hall. The prevailing acoustics masked the amplified vocals but kept Freddie Lonzo's trombone and Ben Jaffe's tuba nearly seismic, even in the fabulous massed jams.

If the band upheld a noble American tradition on Tuesday, the choreography extended it by finding exciting movement equivalents for some of the bedrock principles of jazz -- intricacy, for starters, plus individual expression and a sense of unbridled syncopation. In the 9-month-old “The Sweeter End,” the 10 members of the Trey McIntyre Project performed with devastating sharpness a breathless, engulfing, high-speed amalgam of ballet steps, gymnastic feats, ballroom fragments and eruptions of snake-hips undulation. And it always flowed, always swung.

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Dance review: Final Ballet Nacional de Cuba 'Don Quixote' at the Chandler Pavilion

June 27, 2011 | 11:33 am

La magia de la danza DON QUIJOTE (Viengsay Valdés y Alenadro Virelles) 005 Foto Nancy Reyes For the final performance of its first North American tour since 2003, Ballet Nacional de Cuba danced a thrilling, go-for-broke “Don Quixote” on Sunday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Corps unanimity proved much stronger than at the Thursday opening, and nearly every soloist exemplified ideal Cuban incandescence. Highlights included Dani Hernández as a brilliantly sinewy yet aristocratic  Espada, Jessie Domínguez as a sparkling Mercedes and Osiel Gounod exploding into star-is-born virtuosity  as the Young Gypsy.

As Basilio, Alejandro Virelles contributed gorgeous floating jumps and a stylistic purity that would be welcome in any ballet of the repertory. And, as always, Viengsay Valdés as Kiri stopped time cold by coming out of supported turns into miraculously sustained balances on one pointe -- often with  changes of position midway through. There was one standing ovation before the solos in the grand pas de deux and another at the end. Unforgettable.


Dance review: Ballet Nacional de Cuba opens at the Pavilion in 'Don Quixote'

Dance review: Ballet Nacional de Cuba at Segerstrom Center

Alicia Alonso, Cuba's living legend of ballet

-- Lewis Segal

File photo: Viengsay Valdés and Alejandro Virelles in "Don Quixote." Credit: Nancy Reyes


Dance review: Ballet Nacional de Cuba opens at the Pavilion in 'Don Quixote'

June 24, 2011 | 12:26 pm

DelgadoHas Ballet Nacional de Cuba been on the road too long? Opening in the full-length “Don Quixote” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Thursday the company displayed the extraordinary depth of training, technical bravado and expressive warmth that make it unique -- indeed, a joy. However, unison execution proved problematic throughout the first half of the ballet -- especially among the men. Even in the generally sharp final divertissement, the pas de quatre found Roberto Vega and Osiel Gounod badly mismatched.

The group dancing ought to tighten up with repeat performances (through Sunday). But the rumpled cloth scenery by Salvador Fernández  also suggests a shabby touring compromise. Created in 1988, the production by Alicia Alonso, Marta Garcia and Maria Elena Llorente adopts much of the familiar Petipa/Gorsky choreography but sets the action during the French occupation of Spain. Thus, as always, Don Quixote seeks his vision of the perfect woman, but now also exemplifies native resistance to the invader.

BalletcubapromoThis social/political context conditions but never obstructs the celebratory nature of the work, 
or the star performances at its center. Indeed, for Latin fire, high-speed bravura and drop-dead exactitude, Anette Delgado's performance of Kitri owned the night. The balances, the extensions, the turns, the flying splits, the freedom in the lifts -- here was a virtuoso dancer in her element. Her only failing: a rather constricted, emotionally vacant lyricism in the dream scene.

As Basilio, Dani Hernández looked so young that he probably needed a note from his mother to stay up as late as Act 3. But he partnered Delgado strongly, danced every demanding solo faultlessly and exhibited exemplary classical line down to the tips of his long, long feet.        

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Eli Broad's museum names veteran of San Diego museums -- and U.S. Marines -- as second-in-command

June 1, 2011 |  6:26 pm

HeathFoxBroadArtFoundation Heath Fox, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel who made a second career helping to run art and photography museums in San Diego’s Balboa Park, was named Wednesday to serve as second-in-command at the Broad –- the downtown art museum that will house Eli Broad’s contemporary art collection and is expected to open in about two years.

As deputy director of operations, Fox, 57, will report to museum director Joanne Heyler. He begins June 27 and will spend the coming two years helping to devise the museum’s operating plan and management approaches. When the Broad opens, he’ll be responsible for planning and operations.

After retiring from the Marines in 1996 after 20 years of service, Fox became associate director of administration at the Museum of Photographic Arts from 1997 to 2001; he oversaw its $6-million expansion in 1999-2000, which increased the museum's size from 7,500 square feet to 31,000.

From 2001 to 2006, Fox was director of administration for the San Diego Museum of Art, serving as its acting director for a year following Don Bacigalupi’s resignation to lead the Toledo Art Museum. (Bacigalupi now works for somebody who could buy and sell Eli Broad three times over, by Forbes magazine’s reckoning: He’s executive director of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, scheduled to open in November in Bentonville, Ark.,  as the personal project of Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, who’s said to be worth $21.2 billion. Crystal Bridges’ endowments now total $800 million.)

Fox moved from museums to academia in 2006, taking his current position as assistant dean of arts and humanities at UC San Diego, with a portfolio that includes strategic planning and administration. Fox earned an undergraduate degree in business finance from Virginia Tech, a master’s in museum studies from the University of Leicester in England, and pursued further studies at Harvard in non-degree programs for management professionals, as well as studying European art history at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London.

In a statement announcing his hiring, Heyler cited Fox’s “breadth of experience and solid track record in arts administration.”

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Monster Mash: Eli Broad chooses Grand Avenue for new museum; Egypt still looking for Van Gogh painting

August 24, 2010 |  8:22 am


-- Official confirmation: Eli Broad announces that he will build his new museum on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A., with Diller Scofidio + Renfro as the architects. (Los Angeles Times)

-- On the hunt: Egypt has arrested a senior culture ministry official and others on charges of negligence related to the theft of a Vincent Van Gogh painting in Cairo, but the artwork is still missing. (Agence France-Presse)

-- Broadway bound: The Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice," starring Al Pacino, will open Nov. 7 on Broadway  at the Broadhurst Theatre. (Playbill)

-- Whispers: The rumor that Michael Brand, the former head of the Getty Museum, is moving to the Royal Ontario Museum turns out to be false. (ArtInfo)

-- Populist calculation: Andrea Bocelli will make his Metropolitan Opera debut in a recital set for Feb. 13. (New York Times)

-- Better late than never: "Sister Act," the musical based on the movie, will open on Broadway in April 2011, though the exact date hasn't been released. (Playbill)

-- Also in the L.A. Times: Architect critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at Eli Broad's choice of Diller Scofidio + Renfro for his new museum.

-- David Ng

Photo: The site on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. where Eli Broad will build his new contemporary art museum. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

It's official: Eli Broad will build his art museum downtown; Diller Scofidio + Renfro will design [Updated]

August 23, 2010 |  1:46 pm

Broadsite2 Eli Broad officially confirmed Monday what many Los Angeles area officials and art-world leaders were expecting: The billionaire philanthropist and his wife, Edythe, will build their new contemporary art museum, the Broad Collection, on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A.

The announcement not only represents the culmination of a years-long process in which Broad considered building in locations in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, but also settles the larger question of where his coveted art collection – which had been the envy of museums around the country – will ultimately reside.

Broad said Monday that Grand Avenue had been his top choice and that the museum will help turn downtown into a “vibrant center” for the city’s cultural community.

“I think we’re going to create a downtown cultural alliance,” said Broad, referring to the site’s proximity to the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. He added that he hopes the museum will jump-start the long-stalled Grand Avenue Project — a costly initiative intended to revitalize the downtown neighborhood with stores, hotels, condominums and restaurants.

La-et-broad-museum Broad also announced Monday that he has chosen the New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the approximately 120,000-square-foot museum, which will include exhibition space, offices and a parking garage. The Broad Foundation said the designs would not be released until October.

The price tag for construction is estimated at $80 million to $100 million, which Broad will fund.

Construction on the parking garage is scheduled to start in October. The museum construction is set to begin in the spring, with a completion expected in late 2012. The Broad Art Foundation will relocate from Santa Monica to the new museum downtown.

Monday’s announcement came just after the Grand Avenue Authority officially approved Broad’s proposal for the museum. It was the last hurdle that the billionaire had to clear for the project to officially begin. The five-member panel voted unanimously to approve the museum.

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Eli Broad's museum OK'd by supervisors, making it virtually a done deal

August 17, 2010 |  2:38 pm

BroadMuseumSiteLawrenceKHo While Eli Broad's downtown museum still needs one more agency's approval before it gets its official green light, Tuesday's 5-0 approval by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors means that it is more or less a sure thing.

The vote scheduled for Monday by the last agency whose OK is needed -- the Grand Avenue Authority, a joint powers authority of state and local officials -- would seem to be a mere formality, given that all four of its voting members are now publicly on record as supporters of the $80-million to $100-million project.

The museum would plant the 2,000-work contemporary art collection of the billionaire philanthropist and his wife, Edythe, at Grand Avenue and 2nd Street, a literal stone's throw from Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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Eli Broad's museum gets City Council OK; two more agency approvals needed

August 6, 2010 |  3:35 pm

BroadMuseumSiteLawrenceKHoThe Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved Eli Broad’s downtown museum Friday, a step closer for the estimated $80-million-to-$100-million structure to house 2,000-plus contemporary artworks he and his wife Edythe have collected.

The council’s 14-0 vote certified last month’s vote by commissioners of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, changing the original 2007 development plan for the Grand Avenue Project to add the museum to the front half of a parcel at Grand Avenue and 2nd Street that was to have been for condominium towers.

The Broad Collection, as it is tentatively called, next needs approval from the county Board of Supervisors and the Joint Powers Authority, a panel of local and state officials that oversees the Grand Avenue Project. But Broad’s spokeswoman, Karen Denne, said he still has not ruled out Santa Monica’s competing offer of a rent-free, city-owned site next to the Civic Auditorium.

“He needs to know that the project is possible on Grand Avenue before he decides between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles,” she said.

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Eli Broad's art museum could get public funding; competing Shen Yun group says it can't get a fair hearing

July 30, 2010 | 12:43 pm

BroadMuseumSiteLawrenceKHo Here are a couple of interesting new wrinkles in the saga of Eli Broad's bid to plant his art collection in a museum on Bunker Hill, within football-throwing distance of both Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

First, a check of the fine print to the deal that L.A.'s Community Redevelopment Agency OKd two weeks ago -- the first of four governmental approvals needed for the museum to go forward -- shows that the estimated $100-million structure may not be built entirely with Broad's own money, after all.

The deal that CRA/LA commissioners approved on a 4-0 vote calls for Broad's museum to get a rebate of public funds that could exceed $10 million -- although exactly how much it would get, and when, depends on the hard-to-predict timetable and construction costs for the rest of the Grand Avenue project. That estimated $3-billion commercial, residential and cultural development plan has been stalled by the bad economy.

Under longstanding redevelopment agency policy, developers pay 1% of their projects' design and construction costs into a fund to create artworks or cultural facilities that benefit the neighborhood. Broad's deal calls for him to get 40% of the arts levy for three other parcels in the Grand Avenue project, 20% of the total for a fourth, and 40% from another, nearby CRA/LA property that was originally supposed to be developed in the 1980s California Plaza project, but remains unused.

Meanwhile, the Shen Yun Performing Arts group, which covets the same 2nd Street and Grand Avenue site where the Broad museum is supposed to go, hasn't given up trying for an eleventh-hour reconsideration of how that land should be used.

Shen Yun held a news conference Thursday a block west of the projected museum site, saying L.A. officialdom has stonewalled its effort to get a fair hearing. Shen Yun, which has close ties to the Falun Gong religious movement that is banned in China, wants to build a 3,000-seat theater for its dance performances -- a blend of traditional Chinese styles and technological spectacle -- and a 454-foot-high residential tower as a dorm for students who would learn the Shen Yun method, then join the group's global touring troupes.

After the news conference, Shen Yun spokesmen told The Times they suspect the Chinese government is trying to pressure L.A. officials and the business community to block the plan -- a notion that L.A. councilwoman Jan Perry and Related Cos., the Grand Avenue project's developer, sharply dismissed.

For the full story on the Broad museum rebates, click here; for more on Shen Yun, click here.

-- Mike Boehm

Photos: The site where Eli Broad wants to build a museum to house his art collection is now a parking lot. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times.

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