By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
This new show of work at the recently configured Mid-City Arts space will feature live painting and a large-scale indoor mural installation accompanied by smaller pieces, and is an homage to the neighborhood, something Retna promises with every work he completes, whether inside a gallery or out in an alley. “These blocks and corners were where I was given the opportunity to do my art and was shown a lot of support by the community,” Retna explains. “Communities like these are where we come from, and it feels good to give something back to the future generation of kids doing this.” Word. Mid-City Arts, 5113 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; Mon.-Sun., noon-8 p.m.; through July 5; reception Sun., June 7, noon-6 p.m. www.midcity-arts.com.
THIS CONCERTO KEEPS BOBBIN IN MY HEAD
Did you know that we have the Singer sewing machine to thank for Francis Poulenc’s Organ Concerto in G minor? Ain’t that a stitch? It seems that one of the French composer’s most avid patrons was the Princess Edmond de Polignac, née Winnaretta (now there’s a name!) Singer, heiress to the sewing-machine fortune. At her huge Greek Revival mansion in Paris’ tony XVIth Arrondissement, Winnie installed an organ and commissioned works for the magnificent instrument — among which was a concerto that would be simple enough for her to play. Jean Françaix was offered the job first, but he was too busy writing a film score and suggested his pal Poulenc instead. So Poulenc — who, like Françaix and the other members of Paris’ irreverent “Les Six,” was known for his witty, playful compositions — set to work, and discovered that the task was far more complicated than he’d imagined. Never having composed for the organ, Poulenc nevertheless ended up writing a work that went far beyond the princess’ expectations. When the Organ Concerto in G minor premiered at the Hotel Singer-Polignac in December 1938, it was with none other than Maurice Duruflé as soloist and the legendary Nadia Boulanger conducting. Written for string orchestra and timpani instead of a full orchestra, the concerto recalls Bach’s great organ fantasias. You can hear it this weekend at A Festival of Music, performed by the Los Angeles Concert Orchestra with Christoph Bull as soloist, along with Beethoven’s Mass in C major and Puccini’s “Gloria” from Messa di Gloria, with tenor soloist Rodel Rosell. First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica; Sun., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; $20, $15 students & seniors. (310) 393-8528 or www.santamonicaumc.org.
LITTLE RASCALS GONE BAD
Before directing Midnight Express, 1978’s feel-good movie about an American trapped and sodomized in a Turkish prison, Alan Parker, inspired by his own family, gave the kiddie world his first feature film, 1976’s musical Bugsy Malone. The movie is filmed in the U.K. and set in Prohibition-era Chicago, and its entire cast is child actors 16 and younger who play flapper girls with kewpie-doll voices and midget mobsters with penciled mustaches and names like Fizzy and Knuckles, including rival bosses Dandy Dan and Fat Sam (John Cassisi, a chubby Brooklyn kid plucked from obscurity). They sing and fight in the streets and in Fat Sam’s speakeasy, and in the film’s finale, which culminates in a giant pie fight — cream pies, not bullets, were used. A pre–Happy Days Scott Baio was cast as head henchman Bugsy, while a post–Taxi Driver Jodie Foster played the tough-talking main dame Tallulah, who got all the film’s best lines: “I like my men at my feet.” Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Sun., June 7, 11 a.m.; free. (310) 443-7000.
MONDAY, JUNE 8
THE NANCI GRIFFITH SHOW
If you caught the always-lovely Nanci Griffith at the Acoustic Music Festival on the Santa Monica Pier yesterday, you won’t want to miss this super-rare chance to hear the country-folk singer/songwriter speak about her swoon-worthy new album, The Loving Kind, at the Grammy Museum. The museum’s new series, called “The Drop,” puts artists in a chair on the Grammy Sound Stage for a little interview about the creative process, followed by questions from you, the well-prepared, reverential audience. Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., dwntwn.; Mon., June 8, 8 p.m.; $14.95. (213) 745-6800.
TUESDAY, JUNE 9
ORDEAL OR MOVIE DEAL
Every kid wants to have “Fun Dad.” Norman Ollestad had “Extreme Fun Dad.” From the age of 3, little Norman was surfing, skiing on the competitive circuit when he really would rather have been riding bikes with other kids his age in his own neighborhood. Then the chartered Cessna he was on with his father, a former child star and FBI agent, crashed in the San Gabriel Mountains in a blizzard, leaving only 11-year-old Norman alive. He managed to survive a nine-hour ordeal descending a mountain, and tells his story in Crazy for the Storm. “The actual hours spent writing were not as hard as the aftermath each day,” Ollestad says of the creative process for this difficult memory. “After working, my throat would get sore and my head would ache with a low-grade feverlike feeling. I forced myself to exercise — surf or swim or bike — then I tried to take a nap. I did a lot of yoga every morning to prepare me for the writing ahead. Now that the book is finished, behind me, I feel a sense of weight having shed from me — a post-catharsis lightness.” Had the crash never happened, he says, “I would have probably gone to an Ivy League college — as my dad had wanted — and be active in politics. My dad and I would still be surfing and skiing together, though.” Yes, a movie is in the making. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., June 9, 7 p.m. (310) 659-3110.
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