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George Takei helps L.A. museum acquire internment camp artifacts

Rare Japanese American artifacts and artworks created in internment camps during World War II and recently put up for sale in a controversial auction have instead been acquired by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, officials are expected to announce Saturday night.

The acquisition, to be announced at the museum's annual fundraising gala, consists of about 450 works that had been set for auction April 17 through the Rago Arts and Auction Center in New Jersey. Tens of thousands of Japanese Americans, many former internees or their descendants, joined social media protests after hearing of plans to sell the works, some of which may have been donated decades ago with the expectation that they would be used for educational purposes, not for profit. Rago halted the sale.

Instrumental in convincing the auction house not to go forward with the sale was Japanese American National Museum board trustee and actor George Takei, Sulu in the original "Star Trek." An outspoken activist...

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Miranda July, Pussy Riot will be part of new CAP UCLA season

Appearances by Miranda July and the Russian protest group Pussy Riot will be among the highlights of the new season at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.

The season begins in August and will also include performances of Toni Morrison's play, "Desdemona," directed by Peter Sellars.

Organizers at CAP UCLA, which announced the new season this week, said that members of Pussy Riot will appear in conversation on Feb. 11 at Royce Hall. The feminist protest group stages performance pieces that have sometimes targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

July will present her latest piece, "New Society," (Oct. 17 and 18) at the Freud Playhouse. The inter-disciplinary performance piece explores the way societies come together and interact. 

"Desdemona" (Oct. 8 to 11) explores the female heroine of Shakespeare's "Othello" in a staging by Sellars. The unconventional piece was written by Morrison as a collaboration with  Malian singer Rokia Traoré. The stage work has already been seen at...

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Diavolo's Jacques Heim runs a tight ship

When Jacques Heim arrived in America in 1983 at the age of 19, he had aspirations to become an actor. His rebellious and often-wacky nature had gotten him kicked out of six schools in Paris before his family told him to try the “land of opportunity.”

So Heim enrolled as a theater major at a small liberal arts college on the East coast. But when he noticed his American classmates making funny faces as he recited Tennessee Williams, he had a serious talk with his teacher.  “He said, 'Look. Sorry, Jacques, you cannot become an actor.  Your English is awful.' ”

Heim then joined a dance class, where he would not have to speak. “That’s how everything started,” he said. “Suddenly I found my love for the universal language of movement.”

Fast forward three decades. Heim is now the artistic director and founder of Diavolo, Architecture in Motion , a modern dance troupe based in downtown Los Angeles.

“To become a great leader, you need to know your weaknesses and strengths,” he said. “You need to...

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A flatly false claim by new Whitney Museum about my 1993 review

Being misquoted is one thing, but being completely misrepresented in an art museum wall text is quite another – especially when something I wrote more than 20 years ago is used as a slur concocted from the direct opposite of my critical opinion.

Several friends contacted me over the weekend about a shocking wall text in an exhibition at the new Whitney Museum of American Art, opening Friday in New York’s downtown meatpacking district. The text seeks to evade the museum’s responsibility for its past focus on straight, white, male artists.

Whitney curators had mounted a conservative, patronizing show in 1993 – and the wall text shifts responsibility for it to the unsurprising review of an art critic.

That would be me.

Here are the opening lines of my review: “The good news about the newly opened ‘1993 Biennial Exhibition’ at the Whitney Museum of American Art is that, for the first time ever, it’s not a show dominated by recent work made almost entirely by straight white guys. Instead, with...

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Eric Idle joins cast of 'Spamalot' at Hollywood Bowl

Eric Idle, who penned the hit musical comedy "Monty Python's Spamalot" that debuted on Broadway 10 years ago, will join the cast of the Tony Award-winning show when it is staged at the Hollywood Bowl this summer.

The Monty Python veteran will be joined on stage by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Craig Robinson, Merle Dandridge and Warwick Davis. The Bowl's production is scheduled to run for three performances from July 31 to Aug. 2.

Idle will play the role of the Historian, a kind of narrator who sets the musical's plot into motion. (The funnyman wasn't part of the original Broadway cast.)

Monty Python has had a long association with the Hollywood Bowl. More than three decades ago, the beloved British comedy team appeared at the Bowl in a sketch comedy show that was recorded and eventually released as a movie.

Robinson -- of "The Office" and "Hot Tub Time Machine" -- will play King Arthur, a role originated in New York by Tim Curry. Ferguson will play Sir Robin, a role played on Broadway by David...

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Paris Photo, Photo Independent fairs hit Hollywood this weekend

The art world will congregate around photography this weekend. The focus? Two art fairs in Hollywood. Paris Photo Los Angeles, the U.S. edition of the long-running French fair now in its third year in L.A., will take over the Paramount Pictures back lot; the artist-focused Photo Independent, which kicked off last year, will set up shop at Raleigh Studios across the street.

Paris Photo has a new director, Florence Bourgeois, and a new artistic director, Christoph Wiesner. They are putting their stamp on an event that showcases historical and contemporary work. Photo Independent, founded by Fabrik Media’s Chris Davies, is made up mainly of non-gallery-represented artists looking for new audiences, so it’s fertile ground for discovery.

We caught up with the directors of both fairs to discuss what’s in store. Below you'll see a Q&A with Davies about Photo Independent, but first a conversation with Paris Photo L.A.’s Bourgeois and Wiesner:

As new leadership for Paris Photo, what’s your vision...

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