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Arts Alive Blog


Alpert Award Winners on Mixing Genres and Secretly Editing Movies

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 5/19/2016 7:22:00 AM

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts is an annual prize that recognizes risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts. This year's winners were recently announced and we spoke with two of them: Cauleen Smith won in the film/video category, and Dohee Lee won for music. 

Cauleen Smith

Smith's work often takes as its subject African-American women, because, as Smith told us, they are the keepers of culture. She also told us why she's drawn to Afrofuturism (an aesthetic that combines elements of science fiction with stories from the African diaspora), and how her first feature length film was edited in secret and almost got her kicked out of UCLA.

Dohee Lee

Dohee Lee told us that because her work combines genres like storytelling, music and dance, she doesn't usually think of herself as just a musician, or just a choreographer. But, says Lee, winning the ...

Actor Alan Mandell on Getting to Know Beckett and Directing Endgame

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 5/17/2016 8:26:00 AM

Alan Mandell is known for his roles in plays by Shakespeare and Beckett, as well as for his work on the big screen. He was Estragon in Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum in 2012. Now he's back in LA, acting in and directing another work by Beckett. Endgame is on now at the Kirk Douglas Theatre through May 22nd. 


I spoke with Mandell about his experience directing a play he's also acting in, and why this might be the last time we see him on an LA stage.

photo courtesy Susie Goodman

Drawing, Dreaming and Desire: Another Side of Artist Sam Francis

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 4/21/2016 10:28:00 AM

Sam Francis has an incredible origin story as an artist. He was studying to become a fighter pilot, when an emergency landing left him with an injury that ultimately lead to an extended hospital stay where only his hands and arms were free to move. It was in the hospital that he started to paint and after he had healed, he became known for his color-saturated abstract expressionism, including many large murals, like Basel Mural l, 1956-58, which is part of the Norton Simon's collection.

Sam Francis, Basel Mural l, 1956-58

But a new exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum shows a much different side of the Sam Francis. On display in Drawing, Dreaming and Desire are a collection of his rarely seen erotic drawings. Curator Gloria Williams Sander told us how another illness brought out this other side of Sam Francis.

photos courtesy Susie Goodman

Take Our Virtual Tour of the Norton Simon's "Duchamp to Pop"

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 4/5/2016 10:09:00 AM

Duchamp to Pop

Now on view at the Norton Simon Museum, Duchamp to Pop examines Marcel Duchamp’s influence on Pop Art and the artists at that movement's center like Andy Warhol, Jim Dine and Ed Ruscha.

Curatorial Associate Tom Norris built the exhibition with inspiration from two landmark exhibitions that took place in the 1960's at the Pasadena Art Museum (which later became the Norton Simon Museum): New Painting of Common Objects (1962), and the Marcel Duchamp Retrospective in 1963.

Pasadena Art Museum poster

Duchamp to Pop brings together 40 artworks from the Museum’s collection of 20th-century art, along with a handful of loans, and materials from the archives of the Pasadena Art Museum. We walked through the exhibition with Norris.


Tom NorrisDuchamp has always been a hero of mine, and those two 1960's exhibitions showed Duchamp's influence on more than just the eight original artists from New Painting of Common Objects. That part of the ...

Backstage Spotlight: New Play at Taper Forum; 21C Liederabend, OP. LA at Green Umbrella

Posted By: Sheila Tepper · 4/5/2016 9:01:00 AM

Welcome to the Arts Alive Backstage Spotlight, where we bring you information about some of the upcoming events we find especially interesting:

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1,2 & 3) is a new play written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize (in 2002) and a MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient. It is set during the civil war and confronts what freedom means then. It is at the Mark Taper Forum now through May 15. For more information call 213-628-2772 or online at


A "Liederabend," or evening of song, is a tradition that goes back to Schubertiads and the flowering of German Romantic poetry and song in the 1800s. Beth Morrison and her company Beth Morrison Projects, in collaboration with VisionIntoArt/Paola Prestini, has updated the concept for a concert that's a part of the LA Phil's Green Umbrella series. 21c Liederabend ...

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