Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

Arts Alive Blog


Olympian & WWII P.O.W. Louis Zamperini's Children Talk About Their Father the Hero

Posted By: KUSC · 12/18/2014 1:10:00 PM

The movie Unbroken, coming out on Christmas Day, is the almost inconceivable true story of Louis Zamperini. Born in Torrance, California, he made a name for himself as a rebel and a rule-breaker when he was young. As a teenager, he was an Olympic long-distance runner. After his bombardier plane crashed during World War II, Zamperini was lost at sea for 47 days, before being captured by the Japanese and tortured in a P.O.W. camp for the remainder of the war.

Zamperini published two versions of his memoirs, but his notoriety had started to fade when a short documentary ran during TV coverage of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Then author Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit) wrote the bestseller Unbroken about Zamperini and his story once again fascinated the nation.

Angelina Jolie directed the film version of Unbroken. Zamperini, himself, died only a few months ago at age 97, ...

Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World’s Most Beloved Musical

Posted By: Gail Eichenthal · 12/4/2014 12:44:00 PM

Since it first opened on Broadway in fall, 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has rarely been absent from the worlds' stages. LA-based journalist and author Barbara Isenberg's latest book tells the tale of how its poignant story, sense of humor and universal themes struck a chord with audiences ... even when the backstage drama was less light-hearted. 

KUSC's Gail Eichenthal talked to Isenberg about the birth of the show, and what the stage and screen productions overcame (from accusations of communism to a curious lack of on-set snow) to become an iconic piece of musical theater now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

On Sunday, December 14th at 4PM, Isenberg will give opening remarks at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple's Chanukah Concert and Sing-along Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof.

Remembering Bob Baker & His Marionette Theater

Posted By: Kelsey McConnell · 12/2/2014 9:00:00 AM

Puppet pioneer Bob Baker passed away last Friday at the age of 90. His Bob Baker Marionette Theater has held down the corner of 1st and Glendale, just outside of Downtown Los Angeles, for over half a century. We talked to Baker at the theater in 2012. Here is that conversation:

And here are photos from Arts Alive's trip to the theater.



The lady of the hour, Clara, with the Nutcracker of the hour.



Two Bob Baker additions to the cast of The Nutcracker, a robot and a psychedelic rock band.


 Another band, this one in the form of shadow puppets.





As Bob Baker says, the real show for the adults is watching their children.



 In The Shop with Alex Evans.



Bob Baker says that little girl puppet had The King hiding in his dressing room.

Arts Alive feature "The Real Story of Saving Mr. Banks" & Vijay Gupta profile Win National Entertainment Awards: Listen to them here!

Posted By: KUSC · 11/24/2014 8:39:00 AM

The LA Press Club's National Entertainment Awards were announced over the weekend and Arts Alive took home two honors!

Arts Alive won best Radio Feature for The Real Story of Saving Mr. Banks produced by Arts Alive and contributing reporter Tim Greiving. Here's what the judges said:

In Tim Greiving’s interview with Mary Poppins’ co-songwriter Richard Sherman and the actor, Jason Schwartzman, who portrayed him in the movie about the problems Walt Disney had in making the movie with the story’s difficult author P.L. Travers, the listener finds out that Sherman thinks the portrayal of him is “spot on.” A terrific, well-produced feature about the making of the film, Saving Mr. Banks.

You can listen to the award-winning feature using the player below:

Arts Alive also placed 2nd in the Best Personality Profile category for Brian Lauritzen's interview with LA Phil Violinist and Street Symphony Founder Vijay Gupta. You can listen to that ...

KUSC Talks to the Director of LA Opera's Florencia en el Amazonas

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 11/21/2014 12:20:00 PM

LA Opera's Florencia en el Amazonas set

Florencia en el Amazonas, opening this weekend at LA Opera, was created by Daniel Catán, based on the writings of author Gabriel García Márquez, a pioneer in the genre of magical realism. In the opera, a famous prima donna is riding a steamboat through a rainforest hoping to reconnect with the great love of her life. 

Francesa Zambello is directing Florencia en el Amazonas. She made her LA Opera debut in 1991 with The Trojans and has been back to direct productions of Billy BuddPorgy and Bess and the first LA Opera staging of Florencia en el Amazonas in 1997 We talked to Zambello at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion about how this production differs from LA Opera's earlier version.

Click here to watch a conversation between Zambello and LA Opera President Christopher Koelsch.

LA Opera President Christopher Koelsch


photos courtesy Susie Goodman

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