My 15-year-long ballet “career” has introduced me to astounding music, from Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C major” (from George Balanchine’s “Serenade”) to Danny Elfman’s “Beetlejuice” score (from a funky piece by my amazing Westside Ballet teacher Veronica Apodaca). Now, I’m again adding to the list. In a recital this Friday at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, I’ll perform two pieces with Colburn’s adult ballet class – and our music ranges from 19th century classical to 20th century Latin jazz.
I saw my first musical when I was five. It was Chess: A story of Cold War hostility set during an international chess competition — U.S. versus U.S.S.R., of course — and the lovers’ lives who get tangled up and mangled up amid the scheming….The musical, which premiered in 1986 with music by ABBA songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and lyrics by Tim Rice, runs at East West Players in Little Tokyo until June 23….
Lotusland’s roundup of what’s cool to read this week on the web — about Leimert Park, architecture, “literary L.A.,” chef John Sedlar, the Boston bombings, and more.
Last week, creative thinkers Brian Cross, Eamon Ore-Giron, Josh Kun and Susannah Tantemsapya met up at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts to discuss “Music as Urbanism.” Their presentations took us from the American southwest to Cali, Colombia, and home to Los Angeles. We heard (literally) about Peruvian processionals, Colombia’s “música pacífica,” and Mexican migrant music. And we contemplated the sonic landscapes of both our cities and our minds. Here are a few ideas that buzzed most loudly in my head.
When chef Michael Cimarusti opened Providence, the chic and celebrated L.A. seafood restaurant, he put on the menu the very best of the tunas: Bluefin.
Chefs worldwide admire bluefin tuna for its fatty flavor, ruby color and versatility. So do diners — the majority unaware that bluefin is on the verge of extinction. The end could come within 50 years, scientists say.
When writer Jose Antonio Vargas spoke recently at USC, we learned that his struggles as an undocumented immigrant fueled his career in journalism. “If I can’t be here because I don’t have the right papers, what if I’m on the paper?” he had thought as a high schooler. “How can they say I don’t exist?” For Vargas, writing became a way to prove his existence in America, documents be damned. And more important, it motivated him to “succeed my way into citizenship.” Citizenship continues to elude him, though. To push for change, he shares his story around the United States with groups from college students to Tea Party members.
Ever since the Mexican-American War split a chunk of Mexico’s west coast in 1848, Tijuana’s border existence between two major countries has made it unique. The position has made the city a hot spot for tourism, crime, drug trafficking, immigration, industrialization, art, music, and even “zonkeys.” But now there’s another reason for Tijuana’s singularity: the food. During three days last October, I sampled some of Tijuana’s finest food from taquerías to posh restaurants. Read about it here. [Post in both English and Spanish.]
Looking for an introduction to Yucatecan cuisine? Try a panucho. Panuchos begin as traditional corn tortillas, but then are grilled to form crispy exteriors that shelter tender black beans that have been nudged inside. It is then topped with shredded turkey, pickled onions, and avocado. The dish is a staple at Chichen Itza – not the monumental Mayan pyramids of Mexico, but a quick-serve restaurant tucked inside Mercado la Paloma in South L.A. near USC. [keep reading…and check out the how-to video from one of Chichen Itza’s chefs.]
In the novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932), British writer Stella Gibbons spins a tale of doom, dreams, families, and farmland. Not a morose tale, though. It’s irreverent and sometimes wacky — a parody of somber authors who have written grandiose tomes of bucolic life. (Think Thomas Hardy and Tess of the D’urbervilles or worse, Jude the Obscure.)
In the Foreward, Gibbons addresses a letter to a certain “Anthony Pookworthy,” supposedly an esteemed novelist who chronicles “spiritual struggles, staged in the wild setting of mere, berg, or fen.” Right. In the note, Gibbons reflects on her own writing career, making a hilarious jab at both journalistic and literary writing styles…
Los Angeles housing developer The Heyday Partnership put its new project, Buzz Court, on the market less than two months ago. And now? Sold out. It must be a sign of the times — “green” architecture is as good as gold. I learned about Heyday when I wrote a case study of their previous project, Rock Row in Eagle Rock. (Full paper below.) I was impressed that the project incorporated a range of sustainable strategies without compromising aesthetics. Buzz Court seems to evince the same qualities. And Los Angeles is better for it.