Leviathans on film, and in the Great Hall

Swimming with the fishes and the whales Where? At the California Science Center and the Aquarium of the Pacific by Bondo Wyszpolski There’s little quite as thrilling as a big subject on a big screen, and it doesn’t get any larger than “Blue Whales: Return of the Giants” on an IMAX screen over at the…

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Danish landscapes, portraits at the Getty

Less gold, but still aglow Beyond the Light: Identity and Place in 19th-Century Danish Art by Bondo Wyszpolski Don’t let the subtitle (identity and place?) keep you from this modest but solid exhibition of drawings and oil sketches, most of the work created during the 1820s-1840s with the notable exception of Vilhelm Hammershøi, who came…

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The elegant photography of Rodney Smith

A man who loved beautiful things Rodney Smith: A Leap of Faith, by Paul Martineau (Getty Publications, 248 pp; $65) by Bondo Wyszpolski This is as much a luxury item as it is a volume of elegant, bewitching photographs, and it complements similarly-related books that Getty curator of photographs Paul Martineau has written for the…

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The day they found the Peninsula

The way we were, and the way we are In a new exhibition, Rick Humphrey merges art and local history by Bondo Wyszpolski In the early 1920s, a grand vision for the Palos Verdes Peninsula began taking shape, promoted by its founding fathers. But by the end of that same decade something nasty came along…

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Tea time and time travel at the Huntington

Steeped, and ready to pour Tea service returns to the Huntington by Bondo Wyszpolski The historic Rose Garden Tea Room folded up its petals for the duration of the pandemic, but the closure also allowed for extensive renovations. Located in San Marino, on the grounds of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, the…

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Shoreline inspirations

Paddle out catch it “Swell” rises at the Manhattan Beach Art Center by Bondo Wyszpolski The opening last Friday of “Swell” gathered high-fives in place of hang-tens; it’s an exhibition of surf-and-sea inspired art that sidesteps traditional imagery (surfers and surfboards) and focuses more on the materials used to evoke the combined effects of sand,…

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If the Founding Fathers had been Founding Mothers

The revolution continues “1776” at the Ahmanson features an all-female, gender-expansive cast by Bondo Wyszpolski John Cage is quoted as saying, “I like being moved. I don’t like being pushed,” and I’ve sensed that many viewers of “1776,” in the production recreated by directors Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus, have felt not so much…

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Temperature rising

“Dimanche” at the Broad Stage pleases and provokes by Bondo Wyszpolski I received an extra graduate degree at UCLA simply by attending dozens and dozens of theatrical and musical performances in Royce Hall, Schoenberg Hall, and the Freud Playhouse. Most of these took place a very long time ago but I was thinking of them…

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An ancient castle, a primeval forest, and forbidden love

Somewhere in time Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” at the Music Center by Bondo Wyszpolski It’s always autumn in a Symbolist work of art, often lit by the pale, fading light of dusk. And even if that’s not quite the case every time it’s elevated and exemplified in Claude Debussy’s dreamily sensual opera which he composed…

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All she needs is wealth, culture, and social standing

Rags to Riches A big hand for “Little Me” in Manhattan Beach by Bondo Wyszpolski The Manhattan Beach Community Church Theatre began with a few productions in the latter 1950s, and then really went to town in the ‘80s and hasn’t stopped since. While we often speak of theater groups as companies, this one seems…

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Child drama, adult trauma

Scattered leaves “The Secret Garden” wilts at the Ahmanson by Bondo Wyszpolski In the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett a cholera epidemic sweeps through British India and 10-year-old Mary Lennox is orphaned, then sent to Uncle Archibald Craven in Yorkshire, to a forlorn mansion that would be at home in a gothic tale by…

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Poetic license

Sensible and sensitive Jess Morton’s transition from physics to poetry by Bondo Wyszpolski For half a century, JB Kennedy sold secondhand books, moving from one South Bay beach town to another. My initial encounter with him was in the late 1970s when his bookstore was on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. He later owned a…

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Art, yes; grace and beauty

Pictures from an exhibition The art looked nice, and so did many of those in attendance by Bondo Wyszpolski The LA Art show is up through Sunday, Feb. 19, in the West Hall at the LA Convention Center, 1201 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. I took a few photos, and here are some of them.…

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Music of the spheres at Disney Hall

Starlight, star bright To the heavens with the Los Angeles Master Chorale by Bondo Wyszpolski Well, with one thing and another, I’ve missed attending performances by the L.A. Master Chorale, but I’m grateful to have attended “Choose Something Like a Star” this past Sunday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The program, conducted by Grant…

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Founding fathers found in Torrance

John Adams, rock star The Aerospace Players fly high with “1776” by Bondo Wyszpolski Okay, there were some tech issues and so forth on opening night, but the large and mostly amateur cast that staged the musical “1776” pulled it off. And quite well, actually. We’re talking about the 1969 work with music and lyrics…

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