Advertisement
Share

Essential Arts & Culture: China and Taiwan’s music diplomacy, Ghost Ship fallout and Gary’s Busey-isms

The front of the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, damaged by a deadly fire.
(Eric Risberg / AP)

China and Tawain — a classical take. Evaluating the fallout of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland. And a look at an inspiring new piece of American architecture. Plus: The road show that is Gary Busey. I’m Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, with the week’s essential stories:

Diplomacy goes classical

Long Yu conducts the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Walt Disney Hall.
Long Yu conducts the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Walt Disney Hall.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

As the global diplomatic establishment goes Def Con Seven over the president-elect’s phone call with Taiwan’s leader, it turns out that both the China Philharmonic and the Taiwan Philharmonic have been performing in Southern California. Classical music critic Mark Swed caught their respective shows at Wall Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. “One-China policy has never meant a one-orchestra policy,” he writes. “The more, and the more different, the better.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: It is the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth and to celebrate, the Los Angeles Opera put on a semi-staged performance of “Wonderful Town.” The show was conducted by Grant Gershon, who, according to Swed, “knew how to pace every number, how everything song should be sung, how every dance should swing.” Los Angeles Times

Cast members dance during the "Wonderful Town" musical at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion.
Cast members dance during the “Wonderful Town” musical at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times )
Advertisement

This past week, Swed also sat in on a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel (sporting a new beard), with Russian piano sensation Daniil Trifonov. On the menu: some old guard Rachmaninoff, with some Prokofiev and Scriabin to keep things “revolutionary.” Los Angeles Times

The tragedy of Ghost Ship

Joy Newhart, who was evicted from a converted warehouse in Oakland deemed unsafe by the authorities.
Joy Newhart, who was evicted from a converted warehouse in Oakland deemed unsafe by the authorities.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times )

The fire at the Ghost Ship artist studios in Oakland has put a spotlight on the Bay Area’s general unaffordability for artists. The Times’ Liam Dillon looks at why artists will often inhabit these jerry-rigged spaces — and how it will likely spell doom for other informal artist colonies. Los Angeles Times

A Wainwright-Millepied collaboration

Dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied at the Theatre at Ace Hotel
Dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied at the Theatre at Ace Hotel
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

When Rufus Wainwright released his 2010 album, “All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu,” the spare compilation inspired dancer-choreographer Benjamin Millepied to build a piece around it — one he is performing at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel this weekend. Titled “Homecoming,” the work likely represents the last time Millepied will take to the stage. “It’s always a big effort to get on stage and have other things I’m working on,” the choreographer tells Times contributor Tim Greiving. Los Angeles Times

A ‘Creation’ at Disney Hall

Alberto Arvelo, who created the visuals for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's performance of Haydn's "The Creation."
Alberto Arvelo, who created the visuals for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performance of Haydn’s “The Creation.”
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times )

Venezuelan film director Alberto Arvelo has teamed up with conductor Gustavo Dudamel to stage a special version of Joseph Haydn’s epic oratorio, “The Creation.” The director has created a “very contemporary” filmic experience to accompany the Los Angeles Philharmonic as it performs the work. “It’s the creation of Earth, it’s the creation of many things,” Arvelo tells Tim Greiving. “But with the music of Haydn ... the first part, the chaos, is [like] a piece from the 21st century.” Los Angeles Times

Table-top Shakespeare

Macbeth played by a jam jar; Cordelia, a bottle. The British performance troupe Forced Entertainment is radically restaging Shakespeare’s work in a series of performances at the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA through Sunday. In each, a lone actor sits at a table and re-tells one of the playwright’s complex dramas using inanimate kitchen objects. “There is a kind of comedy in it,” artistic director Tim Etchells tells The Times’ Jessica Gelt, “but incredibly something quite beautiful happens when these things meet.” Los Angeles Times

Busey on stage

The prolific actor Gary Busey, known for roles in everything from “Lethal Weapon” to the cinematic classic “G-Men From Hell” — not to mention “Celebrity Apprentice” — just wrapped up a two-week run of the off-Broadway play “Perfect Crime.” The Times’ Steve Zeitchik spoke with the actor about his Busey-isms, aliens and burping on stage after eating a corndog. Has to be read to be believed. Los Angeles Times

A new museum at UC Davis

Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne headed north to visit the new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis near Sacramento. Designed by the New York firm Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL for short), the 30,000-square-foot structure, draped with a crosshatched canopy, houses a museum as well as studios and classrooms. It is, he writes, a building “to boost your faith in the future of American architecture.” Los Angeles Times

Mnuchin leaves MOCA

Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Steven Mnuchin speaks to reporters at the Trump Tower in New York.
Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Steven Mnuchin speaks to reporters at the Trump Tower in New York.
(Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)

Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary, has resigned from the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Prior to his resignation, an anonymous coalition of artists had been circulating a petition around Los Angeles to remove him from the board, describing him as “Trump’s minion.” Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic

Grammy Update

The 2017 Grammy Award nominations are in — and the Beyhive should be happy, ’cuz Beyoncé is slaying, with nine nominations. Times contributor Richard S. Ginnell evaluates the classical nominations (which he says include some worthy choices), while Jessica Gelt looks at the choices in musical theater. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times

In other news…

The last girder is placed on the arch of the LAX Theme Building, designed by architect Paul Revere Williams.
The last girder is placed on the arch of the LAX Theme Building, designed by architect Paul Revere Williams.
(Jack Carrick / Los Angeles Times )

Paul Revere Williams, the Los Angeles architect who helped design iconic structures such as the LAX Theme Building, and who was the first black member of the American Institute of Architects, has been posthumously awarded the AIA Gold Medal. AIA

— Critic Kriston Capps says Williams is a worthy choice, but his selection shines a light on the AIA’s awards problem: Namely, that it has never given its Gold Medal to an African American or female architect who is still practicing. Citylab

The Eagles, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples and James Taylor were honored in a bittersweet Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. Los Angeles Times

— And since we’re on the subject of awards, artist Helen Marten, known for her whimsical installations, has won Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize. Her selection, though. has critics on the attack and counterattack. A good ride on the drama train. New York Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian

— Artist Itay Zalait placed a golden statue of Benjamin Netanyahu in a Tel Aviv square as a political prank. The Washington Post

— How the entertainment industry is regrouping in the wake of Trump’s win. Los Angeles Times

— In related news: Essayist Adam Kirsch looks at the ways art can — and cannot — effectively channel the political zeitgeist. Slate

— The art collection of the fugitive governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz has been seized — and it possibly contains works by David Alvaro Siqueiros, Joan Miró and Leonora Carrington. BBC

— Battling brain cancer, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovksy has withdrawn from all upcoming opera engagements, including a gig at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Opera News

Davóne Tines became the buzz of California’s opera world at the Ojai Music Festival over the summer — and he is set to perform in John Adams’ “El Niño” at Disney Hall next week. Los Angeles Times

— Essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has dubbed Leimert Park’s Eso Won Books his favorite book shop. Get over there, El Lay! That shop is a gem. New York Times

Matt Eich’s moving photographs of rural poverty in Ohio. With some heartfelt words by Times staffer Kate Linthicum. New Yorker

And last but not least…

Music writer Betto Arcos has rounded up some of the best, most meaningful Cuban music from the various eras of the Fidel Castro regime. Get grooving, brother. PRI’s The World

Sign up for our weekly Essential Arts & Culture newsletter »

Find me on Twitter @cmonstah.


Advertisement