Five Dance Shows to See in L.A. This Week, Including Huck Finn Going Butoh
By Ann Haskins
This week's events include a New York transplant's local debut and a Mark Twain character mixing with a Japanese dance form.
5. Huck Finn goes butoh Oguri is arguably L.A.'s most recognized proponent of the dance genre of butoh and, with his Body Weather Laboratory, responsible for expanding the understanding of and appetite for this hypnotically slow, mesmerizing, sometimes apocalyptic dance form. This edition of BWL's annual Flower of the Season finds Oguri joined by Yasunari Tamai from Japan for the local premiere of Notaway-Quest for Freedom. Both Oguri and Tamai trained and danced with Japan's Min Tanaka, a seminal figure in the development of butoh in post World War II Japan. Notaway takes its inspiration from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Huck's travels that had no specific destination, just away from where he was--not unlike butoh's travels away from classical Japanese dance. Frequent Oguri collaborator Wadada Leo Smith provides music, performed live by Smith's Golden Quartet at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice; Fri., March 1, 8 p.m., Sat., March 2, 5 & 8 p.m., Sun., March 3, 3 p.m.; $22 in advance, $25 at door; $17 students, seniors & under 18 years. www.brownpapertickets.com. (310) 306-1854. www.electriclodge.org.
Marin's Brenda Chapman shares Oscar glory for 'Brave' with her teenage daugthter
By Paul Liberatore
For Marin Filmmaker Brenda Chapman, the best part of winning the animated feature Oscar for co-directing Pixar's "Brave" was being able to stand on the Dolby Theatre stage in Hollywood on Sunday night and proudly tell the world that her 13-year-old daughter Emma, an eighth-grader at Mill Valley Middle School, was the inspiration for Merida, the movie's headstrong young Scottish heroine.
"That was a big dream come true," she said in a phone interview this week from her office at Lucasfilm in the Presidio. "It was really fantastic." Read More.
Exploring the Bookshelf of Animation Legend Jules Engel
What kind of books might an animation artist have kept on their bookshelf sixty years ago? They certainly wouldn’t have owned many animation books. In the 1950s, there was no Illusion of Life or Animator’s Survival Kit, and the entire number of books published about animation could be counted on one hand. Inspiration for the classic animation artist lay beyond the world of cartoons and animated film.
I was reminded of this when I found a photo of Jules Engel, a background painter who started at Disney prior to joining the Modernist studio United Productions of America (UPA). The shot below was taken at UPA circa 1954-’55. Engel later made his own independent shorts and created the CalArts Experimental Animation program, which he ran until his death in 2003. Read More.
Coursera Adds 29 University Partners From 13 Countries
By David F. Carr
Coursera is adding 29 new university partners, including Penn State, Case Western Reserve, Rutgers and institutions in 13 countries.
Added to the 33 universities already on board, this expansion nearly doubles the reach of Coursera. "We're already the largest MOOC [Massive Open Online Courses] platform in the world by almost any metric you could choose," said CEO and co-founder Andrew Ng said. "I see this as a sign that universities all around the world are signing on to this mission of offering the best education to everyone, for free."
In reality, the pattern may be more to offer a taste of the best education for free. At Penn State and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), one motive for participating is that Coursera could serve as a recruiting tool, although representatives from both universities promised not to make it a hard sell.
Over the last year, elite American universities have raced to stake out a place in the new world of free online courses — and now, universities around the globe are following suit.
This week, the two largest ventures providing what are known as MOOCs — massive open online courses — are announcing new partnerships with leading universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, China, Singapore, Japan and Australia, and signing additional American universities.
Coursera, founded by two Stanford University computer professors, is adding 29 universities — including École Polytechnique in France, the National University of Singapore, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and National Autonomous University of Mexico — to its current 33 partners.
Tim Burton on His Life and Movies Coming Full Circle with 'Frankenweenie' (Video)
By Scott Feinberg
Last week, I sat down in a suite at the Chateau Marmont across from the writer-director-producer-animator Tim Burton, who made many of the most memorable movies of my childhood, including the first film that I ever saw in a movie theater. (My dad thought that Edward Scissorhands was a movie for kids. We quickly figured out that he was wrong.)
The 54-year-old looked like a character in a Tim Burton film -- endearingly fragile and yet also otherworldly -- with a broken arm in a sling, a big mischievous smile on his face and his hair awry like the "mad scientist" he once dreamed of becoming. Nearby was a plastic container marked "Tim's Toys," several of which had been removed and placed on a desk to make him feel at home during an extended stay in Los Angeles. There were also colored markers within reach -- he has loved to draw for as long as he can remember, and was in town talk about Frankenweenie, the animated feature for which he is now a best animated feature Oscar nominee, and on behalf of which he had attended the Oscar nominees luncheon the previous day.
"You might be able to tell I was a big monster fan," Burton tells me. "I grew up watching the Universal horror movies, Japanese monster movies and pretty much any kind of monster movie. That was my genre." He also loved animation, particularly of the stop motion variety popularized by Ray Harryhausen. "I think I knew his name before I knew any director or actor names," he says. "He was probably the person that got me more interested in animation than any other form of filmmaking."
Tony Oursler Solo Show at PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv, Ukraine (VIDEO)
By Vernissage TV
Tony Oursler's exhibition agentic iced etcetera at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev, Ukraine, is the first major solo exhibition by the artist in Eastern Europe. Tony Oursler: agentic iced etcetera features specially produced new works -- including a Ukrainian speaking installation -- as well as some of the most iconic pieces by the artist. The New York-based risk-taker has been a pioneer of New Media and video art, and is known for projecting moving images onto objects. In the video below, Eckhard Schneider (General Director, PinchukArtCenter) talks about the mission of PinchukArtCentre, and Bjorn Geldhof (Deputy Artistic Director, PinchukArtCenter) speaks about the significance of Oursler's oeuvre. Finally, Oursler himself talks in detail about his new works on view.
Oursler is today among the most important as well as the most influential artists of our generation. Formally, he has has developed a wide-ranging use of materials such as resin, glass, fabric, steel and various found objects, which are kaleidoscopically overlaid with projection, light and sound, forming a unique embodiment of his themes.
Early O’Neill Receives a Wooster Rendition at REDCAT
By Amy Tofte
As a young man, Eugene O’Neill worked as a merchant sailor along the Eastern seaboard. Inspired by languages and cultures from around the world as well as an unforgiving existence at sea, O’Neill’s canon of plays often captured authenticity of character through authentic dialect and hard-knock themes.
Nearly a century later, the experimental Wooster Group and New York City Players joined forces to develop three of O’Neill’s one-act Glencairn plays — Bound East for Cardiff (1914), The Long Voyage Home (1917), and The Moon of the Caribbees (1918). Their production of Early Plays comes to LA’s REDCAT with four performances this week.
Oscars: The Playlist Guide To The Live-Action, Animated & Documentary Short Nominees
By Oliver Lyttelton
We don't know about you, but until the last few years, whenever it came time to make our picks for Oscar pools/wagers, there's always one section of the awards that so often comes down to luck -- the short films. In the years since shorts stopped playing widely before features, it became harder and harder for the layman to actually watch nominees, and even harder to predict what would actually win.
But these days, things are better. Many of the films make their way online in advance of Oscar night, or are shown at special screenings around the world. But if you haven't managed to catch the films in time for next Sunday's awards, no fear, because we have. So, whether you're an Academy member wondering what to put on your ballot, or someone looking for the edge in your annual office Oscar pool, check our our verdicts on the films, and their chances of winning, below. And if you have seen the films concerned, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Interview: Rich Moore on His Long Journey With "Wreck-It Ralph"
By Nathaniel R.
The Animated Feature Oscar race has been unusually competitive this year. In the final week of voting (ballots are due tomorrow) FYC ads and toys were still showing up in the mail. Which to play with first: Brave bow and arrows, Frankenweenie stuffed animal, or Wreck-It Ralph hands? That is the question. When I spoke with Rich Moore, a long time animation force who made his theatrical directing debut with Wreck-It Ralph, a few weeks back he was very contemplative. Awards season has been a "surreal" experience especially nomination morning.
Moore never quite equated his own story with that of Wreck-It Ralph's but I couldn't help projecting and connecting the dots when he told his story. There was a sturdy sweetness to it, not unlike Ralph's own, as he repeatedly expressed loyalty and gratitude for each of his past projects and opportunities. After graduating from CalArts in the late 80s he went to work for 70s animation legend Ralph Bakshi on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse -- which might not seem like a prime gig to us in retrospect but back then it was. "Those days there were not a lot of jobs for young animators," he explained.