By Jean Strauber, Entertainment Editor


Free nature walks to different parts for Griffith Park, led by park ranger Ernie Ybarra, will be offered on September 24th, October 1, 15, November 5, 19 and 25th, and December 3rd and 17th from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For these hikes you meet at the Griffith Observatory parking lot, 2800 East Observatory Road. Ranger Ybarra will also lead beginner level night hikes on September 23rd, October 14th, November 18th, and December 15th from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Meet at the Ranger Station at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive. Ranger Ybarra also leads hikes to various locations in Griffith Park, including the Hollywood sign, captain’s Roost, Dante’s View and more. Please dress accordingly and bring drinking water and snacks. For more information about these hikes please contact him at (323) 644-6661 or by e-mail at ernie.ybarra@ lacity.org.

Hollywood Bowl


On Thursday, September 1, I had the privilege of seeing Katia and Marielle Labeque performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony. Making his Hollywood Bowl debut was Juanjo Mena who began the evening with the Interlude and Dance fro Falla’s “La Vida Breve.” I found that music pleasant enough and very reminiscent of countless Hollywood movie scores. Very pleasant sounding. The two sisters then came on stage to perform Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. Katia and Marielle were technically perfect, every note sounding loud and clear.

They appeared to be enjoying themselves in this work that is so reminiscent of George Gershwin’s American in Paris with honking horns, buzzing motorbikes and gently sounding bells. Katia kept popping up from her bench at the end of an arpeggio or musical phrase. They were clearly having a good time and wanted us to enjoy ourselves equally — which my friends Francine Oschin and Jeffrey Ebenstein did. Their jazzed up encore, the “Jet Song” from West Side Story was fabulous.

They audience kept applauding bringing them back for welldeserved curtain calls. The rest of the program was Spanish-themed with Mena leading the orchestra in Debussy’s “Iberia” after intermission followed by Falla’s “The Three-Cornered Hat” Suite No. 2. Both the Debussy “Iberia” and “The Three-Cornered Hat” Suite No. 2 are what I would call “light and airy.” Nothing heavy nor dogmatic nor trying to make a statement. It’s the type of composition that I would call background music at the movies or on Muzak in the elevators or even in my dentist’s office. Nothing painful, just pleasurable. My biggest disappointment was that the evening was over before 10:00 p.m.

I would have like to have heard much more. On Tuesday, September 6, I had the great pleasure to see Itzak Perlman performing Beethoven’s “Two Romances” and then conduct Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 and the classical work voted many years ago as No. 1 in the Classical Hit Parade (on nolonger- on-the-air KFAC) Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. As usual Perlman serenaded us with the slow moving and lyrical melodies of the Romances. He can do no wrong with his instrument. As for the Beethoven symphonies, Perlman is as capable with the baton as he is with the violin bow. He concluded the first half of the concert with Beethoven’s Symphony NO. 8. The second half was devoted to the symbol of a perfect symphonic work, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. You had the orchestra and its leader working in tandem in reproducing this magnificent orchestral work.


On Thursday, September 15, the Hollywood Bowl concludes Classical Nights with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance of Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music accompanied by the Bowl’s superb pyrotechnics display. Also on the program are Jennifer Koh (violin), Christian Poltera (cello) and Sergio Tiempo (Piano) performing Beethoven’s Concerto for violin, cello and piano.

The program opens with Rossini’s Overture to La Cenerentola and also includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 (SURPRISE) and concludes with Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music. Did you know that Handel’s five-movement work was originally scored for a very large wind ensemble: 24 oboes, 12 bassoons (and a contrabassoon), nine trumpets, nine French horns, three pairs of kettledrums, and a number of side drums. Tickets for Classical Music nights cost as little as $1.


I have just returned from seeing Mike Burstyn as Al Jolson in “Jolson at the Winter Garden.” What an enjoyable evening! For those who remember this great star of Broadway, you’re in for a real treat as Mike recreates those popular Sunday evening concerts that Jolson held in New York on Sunday nights. He captured the late Mammy’s singer love of performing. All of the songs that Jolie made famous were performed from Rock-A-Bye Your Baby to “My Mammy.” The audience participated in a fun sing-along with “Carolina in the Morning.” Of course, many of us sang along with Burstyn and his back-up singers throughout the evening.

JOLSON AT THE WINTER GARDEN will only be running until Sunday, September 25th at the historic El Portal Theatre. Created and written by Bill Castellino and Mike Burstyn, directed and choreographed by Bill Castellina, the cast is led by Mike Burstyn as Al Jolson and the supporting cast includes Jacqueline Bayne, Laura Hodos, and Wayne LeGette. The historic El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood CA 91601. Performance Schedule: Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Matinees at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: $35, $50, and $60. For tickets and further information please call the Box Office at (877) 733-7529 or buy online at www.ElPortalTheatre.com.


Anne Archer will be starring as Jane Fonda in “JANE FONDA IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION” which will open October 8 at the Edgemar Center for the Arts located in Santa Monica. Written adn directed by Terry Jastrow, codirected by Michelle Dunner and produced by Jastrow and Alexandra Guarnieri, this new play tells the story of America’s most famous, controversial and effective anti-war activist. JANE FONDA IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION uses a little-known event which occurred in Waterbury, Connecticut on June 18, 1988, where Fonda confronted a room full of hostile war veterans who were boycotting the announced filming of her movie STANLEY 7 IRIS (co-starring Robert De Niro) as a forum to surface many controversial and polarizing issues that had festered for years regarding her activism during the Vietnam War.

You see and hear the story of what happened as told by an impartial writer whose intent is to tell the accurate and balanced story of what Jane Fonda did so people will know the facts and can formulate their opinion accordingly. Anne Archer is known for her starring roles in movies such as “Fatal Attraction,” “Patriot Games,” “A Clear and Present Danger” and more. She has also enjoyed success in the theatre starring in “Les Liasons Dangereuses” at Williamstown Theatre festival, “The Poison Tree” at the Mark Taper Forum and other venues.

Previews Oct. 5-7; Opens Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 and closes Oct. 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. in the Intimate Black Box Theatre. Admission: $34.50. The Edgemar Center for the Arts is located at 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica. Valley parking is optional ($5) and across the street there is a municipal parking lot (metered). For reservations call (310) 392-7327 or go to www.edgemarcenter.org.

By Jean Strauber

Entertainment Writer

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