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Metropolitan Opera extends labor talks by three days

The Metropolitan Opera in New York avoided a lockout of union workers late Thursday by extending contract negotiations by 72 hours. The opera had previously threatened a work stoppage if negotiations with 15 of its unions weren't concluded by midnight Thursday.

A federal mediator was called in from Washington to help broker an agreement Thursday. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which requested the delay, is leading talks between the Met and two of its unions, one representing musical artists, including dancers, singers and stage managers, and the other representing orchestra musicians and music staff.

A release sent by the Met late Thursday said that the company had reached new contract agreements with three of the 15 unions involved in the negotiations, those representing building engineers, call center workers, ushers, cleaning staff, security guards and others.

"The Met is hopeful that the 72-hour extension will allow productive negotiations with all the other unions...

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REDCAT New Original Works Festival

There is only one thing I can tell you for sure about this week’s program, the second of three, for the New Original Works Festival at REDCAT. It won’t be like last week’s.  Or next week’s. 

The festival is of emerging works by established cutting-edge local choreographers, dancers, directors, actors, musicians and those that fit between genre cracks. Nothing is really ready, but ready enough to generate considerable curiosity.  Some pieces, at least, will have a life, and that usually is enough to sell out the alternative space underneath Walt Disney Concert Hall most nights.

The three new works this week include dancers Oguri and Roxanne Steinberg in Carole Kim’s multimedia “The Singing Head,” said heads being single-cell oceanic organisms; Marsian De Lellis’ tabletop puppetry personifying the Golden Gate Bridge and a baby blanket (they fall in love!); and the Afrofuturism of sound and movement artist d. Sabela grimes. Through Saturday. Read more

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Huntington Library acquires rare Chinese illustrated book

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is building on the work it started in 2008 with the opening of its Chinese Garden. On Thursday it announced that it had acquired a rare and prized 17th century Chinese illustrated book.

The book features a set of intricate color woodblock prints known as "The Ten Bamboo Studio Collection of Calligraphy and Pictures." It was published in 1633 by Hu Zhengyan, a calligrapher and seal-carver who named the book after his studio in Nanjing, which was a gathering place for his many artistic friends. He also ran his printing business out of his studio.

June Li, the curator of the Huntington's Chinese Garden (Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Floating Fragrance) who also helped fund the purchase, says that the acquisition is the first significant set of Chinese art to come to the Huntington. As an early example of colored woodblock work, the book influenced much of the art that would come in later years in that form.

"When the...

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Snazzy party for a cause: Inner-City Arts presents Summer on Seventh

Every year Inner-City Arts buses approximately 8,000 children from some of L.A.'s most underserved communities to its Michael Maltzan-designed downtown L.A. campus. There, amidst a gleaming-white modernist landscape, the kids are immersed in art in a way that their neighborhood schools can't afford.

Since its founding in 1989, Inner-City Arts has educated more than 150,000 L.A. school children. And it's not slowing down.

That's why each summer the school holds an elaborate fundraising party targeted at arts lovers and others interested in both their communities and the lives of the city's children.

This year's party, called Summer on Seventh, is taking place on Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. It features a rooftop concert with performances by Peanut Butter Wolf, Yacht and De Lux; as well as DJ set by dublab that concludes with a show by Daedalus.

Animal Charm, known for its elaborate video projections, will furnish mood lighting; the Spare Room will shake up specialty cocktails;...

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San Diego Symphony appoints new CEO

The San Diego Symphony on Thursday named a new chief executive officer to succeed the outgoing Edward "Ward" Gill, who has led the orchestra for more than a decade. 

Martha Gilmer, who is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's vice president for artistic planning and audience development, will start her new job in San Diego on Sept. 24 for a three-year appointment.

Gilmer has worked at the Chicago Symphony for more than three decades in various capacities. Her new appointment marks the second high-level departure from the Chicago orchestra,  after Deborah Rutter stepped down as president to take a job leading the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

Gill announced his plan to step down from the San Diego orchestra last year. He joined the organization in 2003 following a period with the Minnesota Orchestra. 

The San Diego Symphony's main performance venue is Copley Symphony Hall. In addition to a full orchestral season, musicians of the symphony also serve as the pit...

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L.A. theater openings, Aug. 3-10: 'Meet & Greet' and more

Four actresses have a "Meet & Greet" at Theatre Asylum’s Elephant Space, the Geffen Playhouse gets gussied up with Neil LaBute's "Reasons to Be Pretty," and "Time Stands Still" in Donald Margulies' drama at San Pedro's Little Fish Theatre.

Eclectic Voices Festival Readings of new works by company members. Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village. Sun.; next Sun., 2 p.m.; Mon.-Tue., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 12. Free. (818) 508-3003.

Meet & Greet One-act comedy about four actresses vying for the same part in a new sitcom. The Elephant Space, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A. Sun., next Sun., 4 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; ends Sept. 21. $20-$30. (323) 962-1632.

It Happened in Roswell Workshop production of a new sci-fi musical comedy. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Sun.-Mon., next Sun., 8 p.m.; ends Aug. 25. $20. (818) 506-8500.

The Sheena Metal Experience The radio personality celebrates her 20th anniversary in L.A. with a live broadcast featuring...

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Metropolitan Opera unions facing lockout as deadline nears

Throughout its storied history, the Metropolitan Opera in New York has weathered a number of crises as dramatic as anything presented on stage -- strikes, ailing music directors, a fired diva, a backstage murder and a disastrous conflagration in the late 19th century that gutted its former midtown theater.

This week, an ongoing dispute involving 15 of the Met's unions is set to take its place among the biggest crises that the company has ever faced. Opera management has set a deadline for midnight, Friday morning, for contract negotiations to conclude or it will impose a lockout of musicians, stagehands and other unionized employees -- and possibly delay the start of the new season.

The feud has been public and vicious, with the musicians union in particular calling into question the effectiveness of Met general manager Peter Gelb. At the heart of the disputes are budgetary cuts being proposed by Gelb, who has maintained that the company faces weak box-office revenue as public interest...

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Allison Williams in 'Peter Pan' continues a cross-dressing tradition

As the lyrics go, Peter Pan is the boy who won't grow up, won't wear a tie and is never, ever gonna be a man. The stage musical version of J.M. Barrie's story has traditionally made Peter's refusal literal by casting a grown woman in drag to play theater's most famous obstinate boy.

When embodied by a woman, many of whom have been middle-aged, Peter speaks the truth when he refuses to grow a mustache or a fraction of an inch.

On Wednesday, NBC announced that its live broadcast of "Peter Pan" will star Allison Williams, a young actress whose short career has so far included a role in the HBO series "Girls." (She also happens to be the daughter of "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams.)

The live broadcast is scheduled for Dec. 4, and will star the previously announced Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.

Williams will follow in the cross-dressing footsteps of Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby -- all of whom have played Peter on Broadway. Martin also starred in a televised...

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Norton Simon Museum awaits Manet's 'The Railway,' part of loan exchange

A special guest is pulling into the Norton Simon Museum just in time for Christmas.

Edouard Manet's 1873 painting "The Railway" will take up temporary residence in the museum's Impressionist Art Wing on Dec. 5. The painting, which depicts a young woman reading beside the Gare Saint-Lazare, will remain there until March 2, 2015.

After that  it will return to its home at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., which acquired it in 1956.

The loan is part of an art exchange program established in 2007 between the Norton Simon, the National Gallery of Art and the Frick Collection in New York City.

In the past the Norton Simon has loaned out pieces by Rembrandt, Renoir and Rubens, and received paintings by Van Gogh, Goya and Raphael.

With these exchanges the Norton Simon hopes to allow visitors to see art they might not otherwise be able to, and enable it to incorporate the loaned paintings into permanent collection galleries that reverberate with a sense of the times.

"When Manet...

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Discovery Science Center's L.A. offshoot museum to open in November

Turning a lingering and expensive civic embarrassment into a new asset for science education, a never-used, $21.8-million building paid for by the city to give the San Fernando Valley its first major museum finally will open Nov. 13 at Hansen Dam Recreation Center.

Dubbed the Discovery Cube Los Angeles, it will operate in tandem with the long-established but newly renamed Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana -- known as the Discovery Science Center since its 1998 opening.

Discovery announced the L.A. museum's opening, which will arrive seven years later and under different auspices than originally planned.

At 71,000 square feet, including an outdoor courtyard, Discovery Cube L.A. expects to draw 180,000 visitors in its first year, said Dan Nasitka, spokesman for its Santa Ana sister venue.

The “cube” designation comes from the organization’s giant, 108-foot-high landmark cube in Santa Ana that looms above the 5 Freeway to beckon potential visitors. The L.A. museum will have its...

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'My Bed' by Tracey Emin to be lent to Tate in London

The collector who recently purchased Tracey Emin's provocative installation "My Bed" will be lending the artwork to the Tate in Britain on a long-term basis, the art organization announced on Tuesday.

Emin's 1998 installation -- which features a messy bed accessorized with bottles, cigarette butts, a condom and underwear stained with menstrual blood -- was sold earlier this month for about $4.3 million as part of a Christie's auction of contemporary art in London.

Charles Saatchi was the seller of "My Bed," having purchased the work more than 10 years ago for about $255,000, according to a report this month from the BBC.

The Tate said in a release on Tuesday that the buyer was Count Christian Duerckheim, the German-born industrialist who has spent decades collecting. The terms of the loan are still being finalized but it is expected to be for at least 10 years, according to Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate.

Duerckheim said in a statement that he has "always admired the honesty of...

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Lythgoe Family Productions betting on panto

Kris Lythgoe — whose father is "American Idol" and “So You Think You Can Dance” producer, Nigel Lythgoe — and his wife, Becky, have a flair for theatrics. The couple staged a murder mystery-themed wedding last April and they're both enthusiastic members of Hollywood's Magic Castle.

Their Lythgoe Family Productions, which puts on interactive, Broadway-style musicals for kids, is becoming something of a force in live, family-friendly entertainment. Lythgoe shows reinterpret panto — the British Christmas tradition dating to the 1700s of musical comedy that mixes classic fairy tales with modern pop songs.

Their latest, “Princess and Pirates Sing-a-Long Concert,” in partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, is at the Kirk Douglas Theatre on weekends through Aug. 10. It features cast members from the TV shows “Glee” and, not surprisingly, “So You Think You Can Dance” as well as from Broadway's “Next to Normal” and the national tour of “Wicked.” It’s directed and choreographed by “So You Think...

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