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Ryuichi Sakamoto reveals he has cancer, cancels engagements

Ryuichi Sakamoto, the popular Japanese composer who won an Academy Award for his work on Bernardo Bertolucci's  "The Last Emperor," has revealed that he has throat cancer and is canceling appearances so that he can focus on treatment.

Sakamoto posted the announcement on his official website this week saying that he was diagnosed with throat cancer at the end of June. "I have decided to take time off of work to concentrate on treating it," he said.

The 62-year-old composer is withdrawing from the first Sapporo International Art Festival in Japan where he was to serve as the guest director. The festival, which includes art exhibitions, music performances and other events, is still scheduled to run from July 19 to Sept. 28.

Sakamoto said he also is withdrawing from a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Park Hyatt Toyko.

Sakamotois a new-music composer who has written a range of pieces including opera, solo instrumental works and electronic music. He won an Oscar for co-...

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Detroit Institute of Arts collection worth billions, report says

The permanent collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts could be worth as much as $4.6 billion, according to a new report that also said the museum would see only a fraction of that amount if the city proceeded with its controversial plan to liquidate the prized collection.

A study published Tuesday from the New York art investment firm Artvest Partners estimated that the DIA collection is worth $2.8 billion to $4.6 billion. In reality, the collection would sell for just $1.1 billion to $1.8 billion, it said.

The difference is due in part to art-market trends; some parts of the market are considered to be stagnant.

The report said that selling the DIA's most valuable works "would deprive the museum of its core attraction, drastically reduce attendance and related revenues" and would ultimately force the closure of the organization due to a loss of economic stability.

Selling art from the collection also would likely lead to litigation from donors and heirs of former donors, according...

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Google's wrong information about MOCA misleads museum-goers

Mark Twain wrote that there were three kinds of lies: "lies, damned lies, and statistics."

The 21st century version, as L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art and some of its patrons are finding out, might be "lies, damned lies, and algorithms" -- as in Google's famous and mysterious search formulas that, like mighty mathematical genies, have made the company vastly rich.

Daniel Fink, an avid arts patron from Beverly Hills, was left damning the algorithms this week, having found out the hard way that you can't always trust what you get when you Google.

Fink had some free time on Tuesday and decided to take in MOCA's big retrospective exhibition on the L.A. artist Mike Kelley. He googled "MOCA" to check how late the museum would be open.

And then he got caught, unsuspecting, in an information-age snare. Instead of looking to the left of the results page and clicking on the official museum website, Fink saw MOCA's stylized four-color logo over on the right. Below it was lots of what seemed to...

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Louvre, Eiffel Tower targeted by Islamic terrorist, reports Le Parisien

The Musée du Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and at least one other popular cultural destination in France were the targets of an Islamic terrorist who was arrested in June 2013 before carrying out the attacks, according to reports this week in the daily Le Parisien.

The articles state that the alleged young jihadist, referred to as Ali M., also targeted bars and nightclubs. His writings include references to a prominent cultural event in the south of France, which the reports interpret to be the Festival d'Avignon, a prestigious annual event for theater and classical music.

Among other possible targets were nuclear facilities and airports, according to the newspaper. Ali M. is identified in the reports as a 29-year-old Algerian who has lived in southern France, in the Vaucluse region, where he worked in a halal butcher shop.

He was reportedly plotting with a high-ranking member of the group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), an anti-government group in Algeria.

Ali M. was arrested a...

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'In the Boom Boom Room' piles on misery with unrelenting punch

2Cents Theatre has taken on David Rabe's seldom-revived early play "In the Boom Boom Room" (1972), the trippy, choleric story of a Philadelphia woman’s degradation.

The play can’t exactly be considered a cautionary tale, since even 40 years ago, nobody needed cautioning against the poor choices made by dimwitted Chrissy (Kate Bowman): working as a go-go dancer, getting into astrology, marrying a thug. Rabe piles hardships onto poor Chrissy to prove a point about women's limited options in a world that values them only for their bodies. 

But at least here, under the direction of Kristen Boulé, this point is made in the first scene, only to be reiterated for the next several hours in an alternately leaden and shrill tone and a diverse range of interpretations of the Philadelphia accent.

Rabewrote this tricky patois into the script, so dialect coach Richard Tatum has instructed the cast in its distinctive phonemes, and they work very hard at them. The florid pronunciations of Cris D'...

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Sound and color at Santa Monica Museum of Art

Music and painting sometimes share a language. Color is applicable to both, as is chromatic. They also share physics. Colors, for instance, are waveforms, as are tones.  

Moreover, musicians and visual artists regularly inspire one another. Morton Feldman’s “Rothko Chapel,” which played late at night under the stars at the Ojai Festival last month, honors in tone Mark Rothko’s last paintings. Currently at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London is an exhibition by Sean Scully, who has entitled his paintings made up of blocks of color, “Kind of Red” — a response to Miles Davis’ classic album, “Kind of Blue.”

But too seldom do music and painting actually share a physical space as will be the case Saturday afternoon at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, where electronic music composer Mark Trayle will present an hour-long sonically immersive concert in the midst of Robert Swain’s “The Form of Color,” an immersive exhibition of color test patterns that surround the viewer. Trayle’s music of...

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Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yefim Bronfman cancel Hollywood Bowl appearance

Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and pianist Yefim Bronfman have canceled their joint appearance on Tuesday with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Orchestra leaders said that Bronfman had to withdraw for medical reasons and that Salonen canceled for unforeseen personal reasons.

The concert will take place as scheduled with the same program consisting of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concert No. 1 and Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" Suite.  Conductor James Gaffigan will lead the orchestra, with pianist Behzod Abduraimov.

Orchestra leaders said that Bronfman's cancelation was due to an "unavoidable scheduling of a minor medical procedure." The orchestra had billed the Salonen-Bronfman joint appearance as "a rare visit to the Hollywood Bowl for both artists."

Salonen is still scheduled to appear at the Bowl on July 17 for a concert with the L.A. Philharmonic featuring pianist Yuja Wang. The Finnish conductor served as the music director of the orchestra from 1992 to 2009, and currently...

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LACMA, Metro discussing new museum tower on Wilshire Boulevard

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced plans this month to build a new wing spanning Wilshire Boulevard.

It also wants to build up — way up.

The museum is working on an ambitious proposal for a skyscraper near the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax Avenue, on land partly owned by LACMA across from its main campus.

Museum officials envision the tower, rising above a planned Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway station at Wilshire and Orange Grove Avenue, as having a hotel and condominiums. It would also contain LACMA galleries, including a new architecture and design wing and, potentially, architect Frank Gehry's archives.

"We're working with the other owners of the property and with Metro," said LACMA Director Michael Govan. "There's good reason to build a major development there. You've got subway access and density on Wilshire. My dream is some beautiful piece of architecture with an architecture and design museum at the base, which would add to Museum Row."

If built, the...

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Stax Records musical aiming for Broadway

Following in the footsteps of Broadway's "Motown: The Musical," the Tony Award-nominated jukebox production that opened in New York last year, Concord Music Group is looking to launch a musical of its own, telling the story of the rise of the Stax Records label.

The musical, which is being developed by Concord and Stuart Benjamin, is aiming to open on Broadway in 2016, though no dates have been announced. (Benjamin was a producer of the 2004 movie "Ray.")

Stax grew to prominence during '50s and '60s for its output of popular tunes by artists including Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Booker T.

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LACMA to present exhibition on German Expressionist cinema

An exhibition devoted to the German Expressionist cinema of directors such as Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene will open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in late September for a seven-month run.

"Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s" is scheduled to run at LACMA from Sep. 21 to April 26. The Weimar-era-themed show comes from the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, where it ran in 2006. 

The show is the latest exhibition from LACMA exploring the art of cinema, following other shows focusing on Stanley Kubrick, Gabriel Figueroa, Agnes Varda and Tim Burton.

LACMA said the new exhibition will feature nearly 150 drawings, as well as set stills, manuscripts and posters, the majority gathered by Lotte Eisner, the late film historian. It will also include objects from the collections of LACMA's Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies and from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library.

Among the approximately 25 movies to be...

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Getty Research Institute acquires Robert McElroy archives

The Getty Research Institute said Thursday that it was acquiring the archives of the late photographer Robert McElroy who documented New York's vibrant performance-art scene in the 1960s.

McElroy, who later became a staff photographer for Newsweek, captured the works of a number of prominent artists of the period, including Allan Kaprow, Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg.

Getty officials said the acquisition was partly a donation by McElroy’s widow, Evelyn McElroy, and partly a purchase. The acquisition includes approximately 700 vintage prints developed by McElroy, 10,000 negatives and contact sheets, and a paper archive that includes posters and correspondence.

McElroy is perhaps best known for photographing so-called happenings, a type of performance art that combined live performance and abstract expressionism in a new physical form.

The Chicago native was born in 1928 and served in the Army. He later attended Ohio University and eventually made his way to Greenwich Village's bohemian...

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American Museum of Natural History is holding an adult sleepover

Having recently cleaned its big blue whale, the American Museum of Natural History in New York is ready to welcome adult visitors for its first 21-and-over sleepover Aug. 1.

The museum has hosted sleepovers for children during which the young visitors were allowed to roam the galleries after public hours. The adult sleepover -- which is already sold out -- is limited to 150 guests, with admission at $375 per person, and will include a three-course dinner, entertainment and a breakfast snack.

Visitors are expected to bring their own sleeping bags and comfortable clothes for sleeping; no pajamas are allowed. The museum said that guests will be able to sleep under its 21,000-pound fiberglass model of a female blue whale, which the museum recently cleaned -- a process that it streamed online

The museum continues to host kid sleepovers throughout the year for ages 6 to 13, with special nights for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. 

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