Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sweet Music Soft and Mellow

Denise Donatelli performing at LACMA

Every summer, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) hosts a series of Friday jazz concerts, in partnership with our local jazz station , KKJZ 88.1 FM. To celebrate the birth date of Duke Ellington, I figured that I'd catch a live performance. Being a member of LACMA and interested in a few shows currently on exhibit, I made the trip out to the Miracle Mile.

The concert was held at the Grand Entrance. Seating was iffy, but I got a good location. Sound was passable, although the audience was full of chatterboxes. Y'know, just because it's free doesn't mean it has no value!!! The band performed two sets with a brief intermission between.

This was the first time that I have seen Denise Donatelli perform live. I don't know if this was the right venue for her. She has a warm and gentle voice and her movements are sensuous and smooth. I think she must be fantastic in a club venue, but, in the LACMA entryway, the nuances of her performance are lost in the hubbub. Nevertheless, a diamond in the ruff is still a diamond. It was a good show.

Her performance of "Don't Explain" was especially good, bringing out the pain and futility of the words with a gentle subtly. Most performances try to out-soul or out-anguish Billie Holiday, but that's a losing strategy. Donatelli instead delivers the words with a sense of comfort, smooth as honey, but there is an "aftertaste" of pain in her words. Fantastic artistry.

Since I was at LACMA, I decided to look at a few of their current exhibits. So, before and after the concert, I went scrambling around the campus looking at art. The first show that I got to see was Elizabeth Taylor in Iran.

This was a series of thirty-two photos taken in 1976 by Firooz Zahedi in pre-revolution Iran. Apparently, the original negatives were lost and these few photos were produced off a contact sheet. An interesting little show, it disproved my belief that no woman can look sexy in a chador. Of course, few women are a hot hot hot as Liz Taylor. ;-)

Here's a vid:

The second show that I visited was David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy.

Star Cage by David Smith (1950)

I'm not a big fan of Smith's work. However, this is a very interesting exhibit which has me reassessing these works. First, it shows the geometric continuity underlying Smith's aesthetic development. Second, the exhibit layout provides an easy reference between works, which enhances the viewers capacity to recognize and appreciate design nuances. Finally, with over 100 works to view, the sheer scale of the exhibit allows the viewer to get a lasting feel for Smith's artistic vision. It's a very worthwhile show, even if you're not into the subject matter.

Finally, this one took me by surprise. The Magna Carta is in Los Angeles?!!

Yeah, on loan from the Bodleian, it's in town for only a short visit (April 26 to May 5) in celebration of BritWeek. Hmm. . . Anyways, I was happy that I caught a viewing of it. This one was from 1217. I think that I've seen the 1225 version on one of my trips to the UK. Pretty cool.

Of course, I can't visit LACMA with paying a visit to Michael and Bubbles. ;-)

Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons (1988)

Here's a link to LACMA.

Here's Denise Donatelli's website.

Here's the Wikipedia page to David Smith.

And the Magna Carta's Wikipedia page is here.


No comments:

Post a Comment