Randy Berler’s cinematic oasis

Art films? Alternative films? Foreign films? Independent films? Randy Berler has brought the best of them to the South Bay for 10 years by Bondo Wyszpolski South Bay Film Society was founded in 2012 by Randy Berler and is known as the Laemmle of the South Bay. It curates the best of the art house…

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Hadestown, one hell of a ride

Going Down? Tony Award-winner “Hadestown” at the Ahmanson by Bondo Wyszpolski As the house lights dim and the stage lights emerge, we seem to be in a Depression-era New Orleans honkytonk saloon. Right away, ah, there’s a welcoming allure, but one years in the making. This unconventional re-spinning of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth by…

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Power politics and Persian palaces

In the court of the crimson king “Persia: Ancient Iran and the Classical World” at the Getty Villa by Bondo Wyszpolski The more you learn, the less you know. We’ve all heard of Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurrelius, but most of us, I assume, will scratch our pates at the mention of Arsaces,…

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World music in an intimate setting

Songs of past and present, near and far Chanteuse Jessica Fichot evokes Paris and old Shanghai at Collage by Bondo Wyszpolski For those on the alert for musicians with a singular grace and style, it is impossible to bypass Jessica Fichot, whose first two albums were in the French chanson tradition and whose third album…

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Solmaz Shams: always in style

Blessed if you’re this well dressed The wearable art of Solmaz Shams by Bondo Wyszpolski There’s a common saying that clothes don’t make the man, or woman, but that they do make a first impression; and often a first impression is a lasting impression. But also, as Paloma Picasso said years ago in Vogue, “To…

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The 10,000 faces of portrait artist Susan Whiting

Portrait of a portrait artist If it has a face, Susan Whiting can paint it by Bondo Wyszpolski It’s possible you’ve had your portrait done by Susan Whiting and don’t know it; and if not you then maybe a family member or good friend. None of you might suspect that the drawing, whether on the…

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David Benoit, Keiko Matsui, in concert

David Benoit, Keiko Matsui, and an evening of jazz and classical music at the Norris Theatre For the symphony, a new name and an anniversary by Bondo Wyszpolski The wheels are again starting to turn for David Benoit and the Pacific Vision Youth Symphony (formerly the Asia America Youth Symphony). “The first year of COVID,…

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“The Lehman Trilogy” – a sound investment

The bigger they come, the harder they fall “The Lehman Trilogy” at the Ahmanson by Bondo Wyszpolski It would seem like a hard sell: a three-and-a-half hour play about the fourth largest investment bank in the United States and its demise, in 2008, as the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. But never mind all that.…

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Lady behind the lens: early 20th century photographer back in focus

Reclaimed and recognized “Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective” at the J. Paul Getty Museum by Bondo Wyszpolski While Imogen Cunningham is not as well known as other early- and mid-20th century photographers such as Paul Strand, Alfred Stigelitz, Edward Wilson, Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, her work parallels and bears comparison to theirs in many respects.…

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Tuning up for BeachLife’s SpeakEasy

BeachLife rolls out the barrel… and the lineup Toasting BeachLife’s SpeakEasy by Bondo Wyszpolski The other evening friends, influencers, and members of the press were invited over to the BeachLife Beach House in Redondo to raise a glass to the music (and art) lineup that will grace the SpeakEasy stage, a more intimate music setting…

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“Slave Play”- different strokes for white/black folks

Unchained melody Provocative “Slave Play” at the Taper by Bondo Wyszpolski What we’re faced with here is a dramatic piece of theater that does what art is supposed to do, which is to confront, challenge, engage, and provoke the viewer. It’s also both forceful and smart. “Slave Play,” and let me stress that the “play”…

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Party Pictures: Poussin and Watteau

Music and dance: two French fantasies Nicolas Poussin and Antoine Watteau at the Getty by Bondo Wyszpolski Let’s do this chronologically, with Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) the subject of “Poussin and the Dance,” just opening, and on view through May 8, at the Getty Center. To my surprise, I’ve read the entire catalog by Emily A.…

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Peter Paul Rubens: a lad from Antwerp

Lights, camera, Rubens! “Rubens: Picturing Antiquity” at the Getty Villa by Bondo Wyszpolski The Marvel Superheroes of yesteryear were the gods and goddesses of classical mythology, and it took an “action painter” (no, not Jackson Pollock) to capture them in the heat of the moment, whether that moment be wrestling lions, spearing wild boars, riding…

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Out front with Jim Lindberg of Pennywise

Off the beaten path Jim Lindberg sounds off on his solo album, “Songs from the Elkhorn Trail” by Bondo Wyszpolski Pennywise singer and songwriter Jim Lindberg needs little or no introduction, since the band (with Fletcher Dragge, Randy Bradbury, and Byron McMackin) has been a hard-rocking local—and national—sensation since the 1990s. On his just released…

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