Entertainment & Arts

Newsletter: Essential Arts: An eyebrow-raising comparison, and art on a national monument

I’m Kelly Scott, arts and culture editor of the L.A. Times, and it's summer in the city: Here are some of the stories of the season that we covered this week.

Wang and Horowitz: Yes, there are similarities. Really.

Mark Swed may be the only person who would compare the amazing piano soloist Yuja Wang to Vladimir Horowitz. One is so of the moment; one is so 20th century. Not to mention their different performance attire. And different centuries. Nevertheless, Swed wrote, “Like Horowitz, you get the feeling that her body, not her, is the music, that the connection with the keys is a force greater than mere willpower.” Also like Horowitz, he went on, “the showmanship is intense.” Wang wowed again at the Hollywood Bowl last week, four years -- and many, many successful performances around the world -- after the Little Orange Dress Incident.

Yuja Wang returns to the Hollywood Bowl with conductor Lionel Bringuier in flamboyant form both in fashion and, more to the point, in performance. (Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times)

Mr. Govan Goes to Washington

For years, Michael Govan had been going about his life as LACMA director with a nagging concern: how to secure the future of the massive land art project, "City," that Michael Heizer is making in the Nevada desert. Before it has even been finished. The work itself is on private property, but it's surrounded by federally owned land, and who knows what might happen to that? You almost wonder if Govan didn’t mind Heizer taking more than 40 years to complete it -- more time to lobby for federal protection. Finally, on Friday: success. When it opens, which doesn’t sound that far off, "City" will be within the Basin and Range National Monument, proclaimed by President Obama.

The Central Avenue sound

John Dolphin, a music entrepreneur who played a role in the 1950s rhythm and blues scene in L.A., is the subject of a new musical, “Recorded in Hollywood.” Dolphin's record store on Central Avenue stayed open 'round the clock and also housed a recording studio where artists such as Charles Mingus and Buddy Collette and Pee Wee Crayton and Memphis Slim recorded on Dolphin's labels. The show was written by Jamelle Dolphin, his grandson, and after opening -- and extending -- at the Lillian Theater, moved to the larger Hudson Theater.

Script writer Jamelle Dolphin and director Denise Dowse are key figures behind the musical "Recorded in Hollywood" at the Hudson Theater in Hollywood on June 25, 2015. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Broad museum's art is going up

Maybe it was the 25 panels that convinced them to move it in a little early. The Broad, Eli and Edythe Broad’s art museum scheduled to open Sept. 20, welcomed Takashi Murakami’s “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow,” last week, all 10 feet high by 82 feet long of it. Jessica Gelt joined Broad director Joanne Heyler and museum preparers for the process of mounting the painting -- and got a look at all the crates of artwork waiting to be opened and the expanse of white walls waiting to accommodate it.

More than a mask change

You think you know “Phantom of the Opera.” You’ve seen it -- more than once -- over its 27-year life. You remember set pieces like the gondola trip to the Phantom's lair, the colorful wild dance number on the huge staircase that opens the second act, the famous chandelier. But if you go to vintage musicals hoping to kvell in exactly the same places, take note (spoiler alert): The Phantom playing the Pantages this summer has "had some work done."

“The Phantom of the Opera” wowing Pantages audiences features Chris Mann as the Phantom and Katie Travis as Christine. (Matthew Murphy)

In short

The new president of the Natural History Museum is Lori  Bettison-Varga, succeeding longtime chief Jane Pisano. ... Sandra Tsing Loh has something new to kvetch about: being a woman after her "fertility cloud” has lifted. ... Patti LuPone, Cell Phone Enemy Number One.

Coming Up

Charles McNulty reviews "Kiss Me,  Kate" at the Old Globe in San Diego. ... Mark Swed reviews the comic opera "Scalia/Ginsberg," streamed live from the Castleton Festival in Virginia. ... Christopher Knight reviews the Hammer Museum's Mark Bradford show.

What we’re reading

Cezanne was prolific. In addition to nearly a thousand paintings, he left more than 600 watercolors and about 1,500 drawings. Finally, Christopher Lloyd's "Paul Cezanne: Drawings and Watercolors," just out from the Getty Museum, takes a very thorough look at the works on paper.-- Christopher Knight, art critic.