Culture Monster
All arts, all the time
Branded Arts to stage festival at Chinese Theatre in Hollywood

Art entrepreneur Warren Brand's Branded Arts in Culver City has staged about half a dozen large-scale events fusing live music, fashion and street art. He's also spearheaded about 90 public murals in the Los Angeles area, including Kenny Scharf’s cartoony “Chunk Pack” at La Cienega and Washington boulevards in Culver City and David Flores’ Nelson Mandela tribute mural at Lincoln and Venice boulevards in Venice.

On Saturday, Brand will stage what he called his biggest event yet. Branded Arts will take over the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for a one-night arts festival.

Brand said he's "giving young artists the opportunity to get out there and grow their followings, giving galleries the chance to show artists they’re representing and engaging young people from around L.A. that would never otherwise be engaged with the arts.”

The Saturday festival, $20 cover, will have live painting by about 20 artists. A group art installation will be staged on the sidewalk, amid the famous hand...

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Michael Tilson Thomas explains concert incident involving woman, child

Michael Tilson Thomas was the talk of the classical music world this week -- not for his skills as a conductor, but for an incident involving a woman and a child at a recent concert with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Florida.

Tilson Thomas conducted a program that included Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 with pianist Yefim Bronfman on Oct. 17 at the New World Center in Miami. The South Florida Classical Review reported this week that an incident occurred between the second and third movements of the Brahms piece during which the conductor objected to a woman and child seated in the audience, telling them that they were distracting him.

The woman and child eventually left the concert hall, according to the report. A number of classical blogs picked up the report and the story subsequently went viral. Some speculated about whether the individuals were ejected from the hall by the conductor, or if they were asked to move and left on their own initiative.

Tilson Thomas heads the New...

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Disney and Segerstrom firing up their organs this weekend

Southern California has a spectacular, if quirky, standing in the organ world. First Congregational Church of Los Angeles on Wilshire boasts the biggest organ in the world, with more than 20,000 pipes.  The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove has one of the most colorful, designed by Virgil Fox, and now undergoing renovation. Balboa Park in San Diego is home to the world’s largest outdoor organ.

But until Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003, we were poor in concert hall organs. Royce Hall was long the most notable, and it went through considerable trouble to hide the pipes. So little liked, in fact, were concert hall organs in the latter part of last century that even Alice Tully Hall, which has Lincoln Center’s only organ, hid its pipes as well.

By making the Disney Hall organ a centerpiece of Disney’ interior design, Frank Gehry changed everything.  If ever there was an organ demanding to be heard, it was Disney’s, which happens to sound glorious in the hall’s lively acoustics. No...

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L.A. Islam Arts Initiative to open shows at Barnsdall

Artist Amitis Motevalli, who grew up in Los Angeles' El Sereno neighborhood after her family immigrated from Tehran in 1977, recalls pronounced racism, particularly in the early 1980s, after the Iran hostage crisis.

“We had privileges my friends back in Iran didn’t have, but there was also a lot of prejudice toward people who were Muslim or seen as Muslim,” Motevalli says. People would say, "'Your culture is so sexist,'" she remembers, "or people would shout out obscenities in public to my parents because they were from Iran. It felt impossible they’d have an understanding of our culture."

More than 30 years later, Motevalli, project manager at L.A.’s Department of Cultural Affairs, is blending her passion for art and civic engagement to educate people about the nuances of Islamic arts and culture. She’s one of the founders of the L.A. Islam Arts Initiative (LA/IAI), a citywide event that ramps up Sunday and brings together about 30 local arts institutions including REDCAT and CalArts...

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Keira Knightley set for Broadway debut in 'Therese Raquin' in 2015

Keira Knightley has played numerous period heroines on screen, from her Oscar-nominated role in "Pride and Prejudice" to this year's "The Imitation Game." Next year, the British actress will once again don the wardrobe of another era in the play "Thérèse Raquin," which will mark her Broadway debut.

"Thérèse Raquin," adapted from the Émile Zola novel, is set to open Oct. 29, 2015, in a production from the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. The new adaptation of the novel is written by Helen Edmundson, the British playwright whose other stage adaptations include "Coram Boy" and "War and Peace."

The production, directed by Evan Cabnet, will be part of the Roundabout's 50th-anniversary season, which will also include an off-Broadway production of Stephen Karam's "The Humans" and other productions to be announced.

Zola's 19th century novel tells the story of a young woman who enters into an unhappy marriage and later embarks on a love affair with her husband's friend. The novel has...

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L.A. theater openings, Oct. 26-Nov. 2: 'Ragtime' and more

3D Theatricals' staging of "Ragtime" marches on to Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Coeurage Theatre Company sinks its teeth into Trey Parker’s "Cannibal! The Musical," and the Encuentro Festival rolls on at LATC.

Todd Ellison: Broadway’s Greatest Hits The veteran music director is joined by musical-theater veterans plus “Glee’s” Jane Lynch. Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Sun., 3 p.m. $35-$65. (818) 677-3000.

Dylan Thomas Centennial This celebration features the poetry of Dylan Thomas and the songs of Bob Dylan. Found Theatre, 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. Sun., 7 p.m. Free; donations accepted. (562) 433-3363.

FULL COVERAGE: Theater reviews

Murder on the Air Vaudeville-style musical mystery set at a radio station. Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Sun., 7 p.m. (626) 355-4318.

Margaret M. Spirito — The Sounds of Dirty Jersey The actress-singer performs in this cabaret show. Rockwell: Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont...

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