Category: Grand Avenue

Monster Mash: Eli Broad offers $7.7 million for museum site; da Vinci painting reveals secret

July 14, 2010 |  8:03 am

Leonardo -- Paying up: Eli Broad offers $7.7 million for a site lease for his art museum in downtown L.A., winning over a skeptical county supervisor in the process. (Los Angeles Times)

-- Hidden history: A project to restore Leonardo da Vinci's "Virgin of the Rocks" has revealed that he likely painted the entire work himself rather than with the help of his assistants. (Reuters)

-- Public outcry: An outdoor art poster that blends Mickey Mouse with a swastika and a nude woman's body is causing anger in western Poland. (Associated Press)

-- Let's go to the movies: London’s Royal Opera House and the Globe Theatre will broadcast performances to cinemas around the world. (Indiewire)

-- Adventures in New York real estate: Dance New Amsterdam gets a six-week reprieve from eviction. (NY1)

-- Valuable art: Iraq's modern art collection remains in limbo. (New York Times)

-- Still going strong: The national tour of "Dreamgirls" adds dates in San Francisco; Atlanta; Memphis, Tenn.; and Miami. (Playbill)

-- Contemporary hero: A new opera titled "Billy Blythe" follows a day in the life of the young Bill Clinton. (New York Daily News)

-- Also in the L.A. Times: Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne on the preparations for the Civic Park in downtown L.A. 

-- David Ng

Photo: Leonardo da Vinci's "The Virgin of the Rocks." Credit: Associated Press

First look at architecture, furniture for Civic Park

July 13, 2010 |  2:47 pm


As the Civic Park downtown edges closer to a Thursday groundbreaking ceremony, its designers, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, are putting the finishing touches on a number of design elements. Most striking is a series of street furniture including chairs, benches and tables in a shade of hot magenta. Two of the chairs are shown above.

According to Mark Rios, who is leading the design team on the project, the first pieces of architecture planned for the park are a pair of support buildings. Executed in a simple, modern style, the buildings slide small interiors and shaded outdoor areas beneath sloping roofs. One, holding a cafe, will be located at the western end of the park, near Grand Avenue; the other will sit near Spring Street.

Renderings of one of those buildings -- and more views of the furniture -- are after the jump. Click any of the images to enlarge.

And my assessment of the latest version of the park design is here.

--Christopher Hawthorne

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'Gangsta Wagner' puts a hip-hop spin on the 'Ring' cycle at Grand Performances

June 21, 2010 |  5:05 pm

Grand-Performances With his loose cream-colored suit, red and white high-tops, short fluffy beard and hair braided into two tight strands running down his broad back, Geoff “Double G” Gallegos hardly looked like the stereotypical symphonic conductor. While bouncing on the podium, he vigorously waved at the rows of musicians before him who swayed with their instruments. Full sections of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion were represented, plus turntables, keyboards and electric guitars. Behind Gallegos, at the front of the stage, young men in baggy jeans and bright T-shirts bobbed their heads furiously as they rapped and sang.  Mixing hip-hop and rap with symphonic sounds might be a surprising blend, but it sure made for an energetic show.

Several hundred people gathered Saturday night at California Plaza in downtown L.A. to see Gallegos lead the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra in a performance of “Gangsta Wagner.”

The show was offered by the summer concert series Grand Performances as part of the city-wide "Ring"  festival. Intending to enhance, expand and explicate the Los Angeles Opera production of Wagner’s “Der Ring Des Nibelungen,” the festival features a multi-venue collaboration of lectures, films, live performances and more. Grand Performances wanted to participate by offering something more for the general public than the audience of opera aficionados.

The result was “Gangsta Wagner,” composed, arranged and orchestrated by Gallegos.  Despite studying the classics at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Gallegos confessed to being unfamiliar with Wagner when Grand Performances commissioned the work. He said during the performance that, “I only knew the part in 'Apocalypse Now' when they go charging into the jungle,” referring to "Ride of the Valkyries."  But in learning about Wagner, Gallegos came to admire the composer’s innovative music, saying, “People who think outside the box usually get persecuted.”

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MOCA taps L.A. artist Doug Aitken to make its next gala groovy, if not Gaga

June 18, 2010 |  6:30 am

DougAitkenSpencerWeinger They said it, not us:

In announcing its next annual gala, set for Nov. 13, L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art asserted in a news release Thursday that last year’s bash in a tent in the middle of Grand Avenue had set “a new standard for museum galas” while raising $4 million.

Which, of course, raises the question: So what do they do for an encore? The answer begins with Doug Aitken, the L.A. video-artist MOCA says it has commissioned "to create an expansive, experiential work for the event."

To recap: November’s party, a 30th anniversary celebration, carried the extra weight of showing the world that an institution that had made headlines a year earlier by overspending and/or under-fundraising itself into near-extinction was back on its feet -- a “MOCA New,” as the gala’s title put it.  Eli Broad and other donors had come up with needed cash infusions, and the museum wanted to show it was ready to carry on in the acclaimed tradition reflected in the exhibition it was opening, a sprawling display of greatest hits (running still, through July 12) called “Collection: MOCA’s First 30 Years.”

GagaVezzoliAnnJohanssonFTTTo that end, MOCA commissioned the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli, an affectionate if ironic video-art chronicler of the world of celebrity, to curate the 2009 gala. He came up with Lady Gaga debuting a new song at a grand piano decorated by Damien Hirst – a set-piece that by evening’s end had been auctioned for $450,000. Gaga wore a Vezzoli-made mask, and a very strange hat by architect Frank Gehry that looked like an homage to his Disney Hall.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie took in a preview of the exhibition, and Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Christina Ricci made the scene.
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Monster Mash: Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch set for 'Night Music'; Broad closer to picking his architect?

June 8, 2010 |  8:00 am

Peters Double play: Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch will succeed Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury in the Broadway revival of "A Little Night Music," which was set to close June 20 but now will resume performances in July. (Playbill)

Search narrows: Billionaire Eli Broad reportedly is leaning toward the New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design the art museum he hopes to build on Bunker Hill. (Los Angeles Times)

Financial aid: The New South Wales state government says it will spend $125 million on building improvements for the Sydney Opera House, including creation of an access tunnel to help reduce the high number of traffic accidents that occur outside the arts complex. (Agence France-Presse)

Heavy lifting: The Metropolitan Opera has installed steel girders under its stage to support the 45-ton set required by director Robert Lepage's version of Wagner's "Ring," which will unfold over the next two seasons. (New York Times)

Back on Broadway: Little Orphan Annie is planning to return to Broadway in 2012 in a revival of the Tony-winning 1977 musical "Annie" that will feature a revised book and dialogue. (Los Angeles Times)

Stritch-2 Protective measures: The International Council of Museums on Tuesday is announcing a "Red List" of cultural objects in Central America and Mexico that may have been exported illegally or are susceptible to illicit trafficking in an attempt to fight looting and smuggling and the destruction of archaeological sites. (Art Daily)

On the big screen: A live broadcast of the Tony-nominated musical "Fela!" -- filmed at London's National Theatre -- will be coming to movie theaters around the world in January, ahead of planned national and international tours later in 2011. (Los Angeles Times)

Perfect timing: "Thurgood," the one-man play in which Laurence Fishburne portrays the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, is a hit in Washington, just as Marshall's onetime clerk, Elena Kagan, is seeking a seat on the high court. The show will move to the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood later this month. (Associated Press)

Postponed: The $660-million reconstruction of Berlin's royal palace -- an edifice razed by the East German government in 1950 -- has been delayed for three years by budget concerns. (Bloomberg)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Music critic Mark Swed says the Los Angeles Opera has accomplished what it set out to accomplish -- mounting a notable "Ring" cycle; theater critic Charles McNulty finds the "Ring"'s finale, "Götterdämmerung," bold, energizing and exhausting; art critic Christopher Knight reviews "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective" at the Museum of Contemporary Art; television critic Mary McNamara says Fox's "Glee" is a musical comedy hit that sings to a forgotten generation.

-- Karen Wada

Top photo: Bernadette Peters. Credit: Jason DeCrow / Associated Press. Bottom photo: Elaine Stritch. Credit: Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Monster Mash: Gustavo Dudamel hurt at concert; Eli Broad sees merits to downtown museum site; Italy's opera houses go silent

May 7, 2010 |  8:03 am

Gustavo-thursday --Sidelined: Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel pulled a neck muscle while conducting the first half of a concert on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. After intermission, associate conductor Lionel Bringuier took the podium to complete the program. (Los Angeles Times)

--Grand plan: Although he says he hasn't decided between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, Eli Broad says that if his new art museum were on Grand Avenue, it would draw a bigger audience and help fulfill his vision of downtown as an economic and cultural magnet. (Los Angeles Times)

-- Offstage drama: Opera houses across Italy have been silenced by artists' protests and wildcat strikes after the government passed emergency austerity measures aimed at the 14 state-supported theaters. (Associated Press)

--Happy feet: "Come Fly Away," "Fela!" and "Memphis" are among the shows earning multiple nominations for this year's Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, which honor achievement in dance on Broadway and in film. (

--Bright prospects: Even in this rocky economy, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has reason to feel optimistic. The performing arts and cinema center is about to break ground on a $45-million theater and education facility -- a project that is almost entirely paid for. (Wall Street Journal)

--Connected: Finland's Savonlinna Opera Festival has invited the public to help it create an opera--including libretto, score, sets and costumes -- based on online submissions. (Reuters)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles County will spend $350,000 to consider ways to upgrade the John Anson Ford Theatres in Hollywood; music critic Mark Swed reviews "Party for Betty!" at REDCAT.

-- Karen Wada 

Photo: Gustavo Dudamel injured a neck muscle while conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Broad says downtown art museum would draw better than one in Santa Monica

May 6, 2010 | 10:16 am

Broad Eli Broad says he still hasn't decided between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles as a site for a new museum to house his contemporary art collection.

But in a conversation Wednesday with Times editorial board members and reporters, Broad made his first public comments suggesting a preference, and downtown at the southwest corner of 2nd Street and Grand Avenue, next to Walt Disney Concert Hall and across from the Museum of Contemporary Art, would seem to be it.

"Santa Monica we haven't ruled out, by the way," Broad said after outlining how a Grand Avenue museum would help fulfill his longstanding vision of building up downtown L.A. as a magnet for economic growth and cultural tourism. "But it's not like being downtown if you want to draw the biggest possible audience."

Broad, L.A.'s leading arts philanthropist, with a net worth Forbes magazine estimates at $5.7 billion, said that if the review process goes smoothly, work on a downtown museum could begin in July, with an opening as soon as the summer of 2012.

If negotiations fail, he could turn to the 2.5-acre parcel next to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The Santa Monica City Council in March approved an agreement in principle to lease the city-owned land to Broad for $1 a year while also contributing $1 million toward design costs. Broad would pay the rest, an estimated $50 million to $70 million. Final approval would await an environmental review and a vetting of the building plan.

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Monster Mash: Broad downtown museum plan gets mixed reviews; 'Chicago' film funding fight

April 30, 2010 |  7:53 am

Chicago --Split opinions: Some see a plan to build billionaire Eli Broad's art museum downtown -- with a $1-a-year lease -- as a great deal while others see it as a giveaway. (Los Angeles Times)

--Follow the money: The creators of the 1975 Broadway musical "Chicago" -- John Kander and the heirs of Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse -- are suing Miramax Film Corp. and Walt Disney Pictures in a fight over proceeds from the 2002 hit film version of the show.  (Los Angeles Times)

--Chicago bound: Michael Darling, a Seattle Art Museum curator and a former curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has been named chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. At MOCA, Darling coordinated the "Superflat" show in collaboration with artist Takashi Murakami that attracted nearly 100,000 visitors. (Wall Street Journal)

[Update: An earlier version of this item incorrectly said the show included a shop that sold Louis Vuitton purses with the artist's designs. This was a different MOCA Murakami show.]

--Georgia on his mind: Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who recently won acclaim in off-Broadway's "The Scottsboro Boys," will star in "Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical," which will open on Broadway in November. Dixon played Charles when an earlier version of the show debuted at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2007. (Playbill)

--Troubled times: Alan Fletcher, the beleaguered head of the Aspen Music Festival, has received a nonbinding no-confidence vote from a group of board members, artists and faculty members at the summer classical-music series and school. (Denver Post)

--New voyage: Thomas Keneally, the Australian author of the book that became the movie "Schindler's List," has created a musical with rocker-writer Larry Kirwan about four Irishwomen sentenced for petty crimes who are sent away to Australia. (Wall Street Journal)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Art critic Christopher Knight reviews the Oakland Museum of California; J. Paul Getty Trust president James Woods makes a case for preserving the Getty's management structure;  Cal Arts uses star power to help raise the profile of its 20-year-old Community Arts Partnership program.

--Karen Wada

Photo: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in the 2002 film version of "Chicago." Credit: David James, via AFP




Monster Mash: new leader for Alvin Ailey; more of Anne Frank's diary on display; Banksy's name game

April 29, 2010 |  7:51 am

Alvinailey -- Top job: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has chosen choreographer Robert Battle as its new artistic director to succeed Judith Jamison, who is retiring in 2011. (New York Times)

-- Wartime record: Nearly all of Anne Frank's diary -- including notebooks and pages that had been stored in Dutch government archives -- is on display for the first time at the house in Amsterdam where the Jewish teenager hid from the Nazis. (Associated Press)

-- In exchange: British graffiti artist Banksy has given the members of a London band once called Exit Through the Gift Shop a huge $300,000 painting after they agreed to change their name so he could use their old moniker as the title of his new film. (Telegraph)

-- Guitar hero: A patchwork full-length leather coat and other personal items belonging to '60s rock icon Jimi Hendrix will go on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington this summer. Hendrix's grandmother was Cherokee. (United Press International)

-- Going underground: London's Old Vic theater is taking over a series of tunnels beneath Waterloo Station as a space for performances, film screenings and curated art exhibitions. (The Art Newspaper)

-- Grand finale: Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, South African soprano Pretty Yende and Canadian rocker Bryan Adams will perform in a July concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, to mark the end of soccer's World Cup. (Associated Press)

And in the Los Angeles Times: Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne offers city officials advice on what to ask of billionaire Eli Broad if he wants to use a Grand Avenue site for his art museum; Tony winner Sutton Foster is bringing her new one-woman show to the Kirk Douglas Theatre; the Huntington Library will present the first exhibit from its Charles Bukowski collection this fall.

--Karen Wada

Photo: Matthew Rushing, Renee Robinson and Constance Stamatiou of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa in March. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Monster Mash: State comes down on MOCA; Jeffrey Deitch's debut show; 'Glee's' Jonathan Groff heading to West End

April 16, 2010 |  8:19 am

Groff --Corrective measures: The California attorney general's office determined the Museum of Contemporary Art skirted state law for years en route to its 2008 financial crisis, and has ordered MOCA to hire a consultant to help improve its financial management. Board members also will be required to receive special training in their fiduciary duties, (Los Angeles Times).

--Opening act: For his first exhibition at MOCA,  incoming director Jeffrey Deitch will present a survey of works by actor and artist Dennis Hopper, curated by painter and director Julian Schnabel. (Los Angeles Times)

--Bound for London: New "Glee" heartthrob Jonathan Groff, a Tony Award nominee for "Spring Awakening,"  reportedly will appear with Olivier Award-winning actor Simon Russell Beale in a West End revival of Ira Levin's comic thriller, "Deathtrap," this summer. (Daily Mail)

--Bound for New York: Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" fame will make his Broadway musical debut next spring as aspiring executive J. Pierrepont Finch in a revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." (Los Angeles Times)
--High note: Tenor James Valenti, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Verdi's "La Traviata" in March, has won the 2010 Richard Tucker Award, which is given to an American opera singer considered to be on the verge of a major international career. (Associated Press)

--Calling it quits: Beverly Hills has dropped its bid to host Eli Broad's art museum, which leaves Santa Monica and downtown's Grand Avenue in the running. (Los Angeles Times)

--Still ailing: Conductor Seiji Ozawa, who is recovering from esophageal cancer, has withdrawn from two concerts with his former band, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at Tanglewood this summer. (Boston Globe)

--Rising star: Kara Lee Corthron has won the third annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award for emerging writers. Past winners include Rajiv Joseph, whose "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," a finalist for this year's Pulitzer drama prize, will open at the Mark Taper Forum on April 25. (Playbill)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Music critic Mark Swed reviews David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony at Walt Disney Concert Hall; film critic Kenneth Turan reviews British guerrilla artist Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop;" L.A.'s Ring Festival officially begins.

-- Karen Wada

Photo: Jonathan Groff. Credit: Kevin Winter/ Getty Images


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