The results of Sunday’s Oscars were pretty ho-hum right up until somewhere around the 245th minute, when we all witnessed the most embarrassing accounting error of all time. Apparently the gentleman from PricewaterhouseCoopers was more focused on his star-struck tweeting than making sure he gave Warren Beatty the right envelope. However, let’s not let this snafu obscure the fact that the Academy surprised everyone and honored a genuinely marvelous film, Moonlight, only the second Best Picture Winner about LGBTQ people (the first was Midnight Cowboy) and the first with an all-African American cast.
Anyway, in our little Oscar contest, the winner was the only one with 20 correct, so they stood alone at the top. For the 2nd-5th place winners, 24 people correctly guessed 18 categories – and even with the Tie-Break question about the show’s running time there were still multiple ties.
Interestingly, for Best Picture, our winner picked La La Land – which for about two minutes was the correct answer – but they still beat their competition by two answers. Among the winners, the difficult categories were Best Picture (Moonlight or La La Land), Best Actor (Denzel Washington or Casey Affleck), Best Sound Mixing (La La Land or Hacksaw Ridge), and Best Live Action Short.
1st Place) Mariano A. of Beverly Hills.
18 Correct – 1 minute off official time
Tie 2nd) Jen M. of Pasadena.
Tie 2nd) Marina O. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 6 minutes off official time
3rd Place) Martha C. of Valley Village.
18 Correct – 8 minutes off official time
Tie 4th) Tristan K. of West Hollywood.
Tie 4th) Cory G. of Los Angeles.
Tie 4th) Jacob W. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 9 minutes off official time
5th Place) Rachel S. of West Hollywood.
It’s time for our annual Predict the Oscars Contest! The person who most accurately predicts the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s choices in all 24 categories, from the shorts to Best Motion Picture, will win fabulous prizes (free movies and concessions at Laemmle)!
First place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $150. Second place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $100. Third place wins a Laemmle Premiere Card worth $50. Entries are due by 10AM the morning of the awards ceremony on February 26th.
Not sure what a Laemmle Premiere Card is? Think of it like a prepaid gift card for yourself! Use it to pay for movie tickets and concessions. Plus, Premiere Card holders receive $2 off movie tickets and 20% off concessions. To find out more, visit www.laemmle.com/premiere-cards.
We’ve got some smart cookies for customers so we have a tie-breaker question: you also have to guess the show’s running time. Take the tie-breaker seriously! Last year, the running time question broke a tie between five entrants who correctly predicted 19 out of 24 categories!
We’ll announce the winners right here on our blog by March 1st. Good luck!
A real life 19th century American western adventure story, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist and pioneer in American history. We’re screening it this Monday, January 30 at 7:30 PM and Tuesday, January 31 at 1 PM at the Claremont 5, Playhouse 7, Fine Arts, Town Center 5 and Monica Film Center as part of our ongoing Culture Vulture series.
Daguerreotypist Robert Shlaer is featured in CARVALHO’S JOURNEY as an interviewee and also on location, re-creating daguerreotypes along the route Carvalho traveled in 1853. He will participate in Q&A’s after the Pasadena screening on Monday night and the Beverly Hills screening on Tuesday afternoon. Filmmaker Steve Rivo will participate in Q&A’s after the Beverly Hills screening on Monday night and after the Encino screening on Tuesday afternoon.
“Today, Rivo makes his own movies. He’s founder and owner of Down Low Pictures, an independent documentary production company based in Brooklyn. When he was offered a project about the painter and daguerreotypist Solomon Carvalho, a Sephardic Jew from Charleston, South Carolina, who accompanied legendary explorer John Fremont on his 1853 Fifth Western Expedition, the story’s resemblance to “The Frisco Kid” helped win him over.
“He talked about the resulting documentary, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY, on the phone from his studio in New York.”
Q. Did repeated viewings of “The Frisco Kid” give you an insight into Carvalho’s story?
A. That was kind of my only frame of reference. The comedic situations involved in having a rube on the trail, and not just any rube, but a classically Jewish character who has Jewish anxieties. Those elements of the Carvalho story were fun to play with. He was an observant Jew, so he couldn’t eat certain foods even when they were starving. And he wasn’t good at a lot of outdoorsy stuff like the rest of the party. He was a 38-year-old city slicker artistic type.
Q. The hardships of his trip were not so funny, though. More like “The Revenant.”
A. It is always surprising how physically difficult, challenging, and a little bit crazy it would be to get in a wagon and try to cross the country in the middle of winter. It’s inconceivable to us today. We get on an airplane and complain.
Q. What do you think viewers will take away from this film other than a new appreciation for air travel?
A. There are a lot of different things people have responded to — American Jewish history, Western expansion, the birth of photography, and a personal story of an artist. What attracted me was that it was a little bit of biography, but it was also kind of a travel story, and an adventure story through which you could talk about other things, the experience of outsiders in American culture. It’s a film about someone we didn’t know anything about.
Q. I understand you just finished a 10-part series for the True TV network on Hollywood comedies. Did you get to include “The Frisco Kid?”
A. I jokingly raised the possibility, but so few people have seen that movie. It’s the Solomon Carvalho of Jewish Western comedies.
Dear opera, ballet, fine art and live theater buffs, we have completed the schedule for our weekly Culture Vulture series, January, February and March 2017 and we have got some wonderful things to show you. As you may or may not know, we screen these every Monday night at 7:30 and Tuesday afternoon at 1 at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, the Town Center 5 in Encino, the Claremont 5 in Claremont, the Ahyra Fine Arts and the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica. The full schedule is below and at https://www.laemmle.com/culturevulture.
January 9 & 10: THE GOLDEN AGE from the Bolshoi Ballet
A satire of Europe during the Roaring 20s, THE GOLDEN AGE makes for an original, colorful, and dazzling show with its jazzy score and music-hall atmosphere. This ballet that can only be seen at the Bolshoi has everything to it: mad rhythms, vigorous chase scenes, and decadent cabaret numbers. With its passionate love story featuring beautiful duets between Boris and Rita, the Bolshoi dancers plunge into every stylized step and gesture magnificently.
January 16 & 17: NO MAN’S LAND from the National Theatre
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart star Sean Mathias’ acclaimed production of NO MAN’S LAND, one of the most brilliantly entertaining plays by Harold Pinter. One evening, two aging writers, Hirst and Spooner, meet in a pub and continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby. As the pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories more unbelievable, the conversation soon turns into a revealing power game, further complicated by the intrusion of two sinister younger men.
January 23 & 24: THE CURIOUS WORLD OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH from the Noordbrabants Museum
Who was Hieronymus Bosch? Why do his strange and fantastical paintings resonate with art lovers now more than ever? THE CURIOUS WORLD OF HIERONYMOUS BOSCH features the critically acclaimed exhibition ‘Visions of a Genius’ at the Noordbrabants Museum in the southern Netherlands, which brought the majority of Bosch’s paintings and drawings together for the first time to his home town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and attracted almost half a million art lovers from all over the world.
January 30 & 31: CARVALHO’S JOURNEY
A real life 19th century American western adventure story, CARVALHO’S JOURNEY tells the extraordinary story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew born in Charleston, South Carolina, and his life as a groundbreaking photographer, artist and pioneer in American history.
February 6 & 7: SAMSON ET DALILA from l’Opéra de Paris.
Based on the biblical story, Saint-Saëns’s 1877 opera would not be performed at the Palais Garnier until fifteen years later. This first Parisian performance in 1892 included the hitherto unperformed “Dance Of The Priestesses.” Nevertheless, it became one of the most performed French operas in the world, together with Faust and Carmen. Conducted by Philippe Jordan, this new production brings back a repertoire masterpiece that has not been performed at the Paris Opera for twenty-five years.
February 13 & 14: FEELINGS ARE FACTS: THE LIFE OF YVONNE RAINER
Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer chronicles the defiant, uncompromising, and highly influential ideas of postmodern choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. Over the course of her career, she revolutionized modern dance, generated what later became known as performance art, and changed the basic tenets of experimental filmmaking – all during a time when women were largely ignored in the art world.
February 20 & 21: AMADEUS from the National Theatre
Lucian Msamati (Luther, Game of Thrones, NT Live: The Comedy of Errors) plays Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s iconic play, captured live at the National Theatre, and with live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, arrives in Vienna, the music capital of the world – and he’s determined to make a splash. Awestruck by his genius, court composer Antonio Salieri has the power to promote his talent or destroy his name. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music, and ultimately, with God.
February 27 & 28: I, CLAUDE MONET
From award-winning director Phil Grabsky comes this fresh new look at arguably the world’s favorite artist – through his own words. Using letters and other private writings I, CLAUDE MONET reveals new insight into the man who not only painted the picture that gave birth to impressionism but who was perhaps the most influential and successful painter of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
March 6 & 7: UN BALLO IN MASCHERA from the Bayerische Staatsoper
The Bavarian State Opera’s former music director Zubin Mehta returned to the fabled house, where his image in bronze adorns one of the foyers, to celebrate his 80th birthday by conducting Verdi’s middle-period masterpiece for the first time in a staged production. His remarkable cast includes soprano Anja Harteros singing Amelia for the first time and “filling every note with Verdian intensity;” tenor Piotr Beczala as a “visually and vocally dashing Riccardo;” and George Petean as an “exemplary” Renato (Neue Musikzeitung).
March 13 & 14: WOOLF WORKS from the Royal Opera House Ballet
The first revival of Wayne McGregor’s critically acclaimed ballet triptych to music by Max Richter, inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf and starring Alessandra Ferri and Mara Galeazzi.
March 20 & 21: SAINT JOAN from the National Theatre
Joan: daughter, farm girl, visionary, patriot, king-whisperer, soldier, leader, victor, icon, radical, witch, heretic, saint, martyr, woman. From the torment of the Hundred Years’ War, the charismatic Joan of Arc carved a victory that defined France. Bernard Shaw’s classic play depicts a woman with all the instinct, zeal and transforming power of a revolutionary. Josie Rourke (Coriolanus, Les Liaisons Dangereuses) directs Gemma Arterton (Gemma Bovery, Nell Gwynn, Made in Dagenham) as Joan of Arc in this electrifying masterpiece.
March 27 & 28: THE ARTIST’S GARDEN: AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM from the Florence Griswold Museum
American impressionism took its lead from French artists like Renoir and Monet but followed its own path that over a thirty-year period reveals as much about America as a nation as it does about a much-loved artistic movement. The story of American impressionism is closely tied to a love of gardens and a desire to preserve nature in a rapidly urbanizing nation. Traveling to studios, gardens and treasured locations throughout the Eastern United States, UK and France, this mesmerizing film is a feast for the eyes.
Ahrya Fine Arts
Cantor Phil Baron – of Valley Beth Shalom – BUY TIX
BONUS! – BARBARA ISENBERG will be on hand to sign copies of her book TRADITION!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World’s Most Beloved Musical.
Cantor Paul Buch – of Temple Beth Israel – BUY TIX
Jump below to find out more about our hosts.
Will the matchmaker make you “the perfect match?” There’s only one way to find out … join us this year for our 9th Annual Fiddler on the Roof Christmas Eve Sing-a-Long … plus FIRST NIGHT OF CHANUKAH CELEBRATION!
The rare concurrence of Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah adds a new wrinkle to our tradition this year, enabling the community to come together in celebration of the Jewish holiday. “This year we can sing from the rooftops … and light the Chanukah Menorah!” comments Greg Laemmle.
To accommodate demand, the popular Fiddler program has been extended to six venues including the newly re-opened AHRYA FINE ARTS art deco movie palace in Beverly Hills.
In addition to exuberant movie and song, the evening will feature TRIVIA with PRIZES being awarded to Fiddler buffs with the quickest recall. Dressing in COSTUME is not required, but highly encouraged! Who knows, perhaps the best costume will garner a prize? That will be up to the emcee.
We’re excited announce several new hosts this year. These include Broadway performer Susan Edwards Martin, Klezmer musician Gustavo Bulgach, comedian and star of YidLife Crisis, Eli Batalion, and community leader Jason Moss. Returning are Cantor Paul Buch of Temple Beth Israel and Cantor Phil Baron of Valley Beth Shalom, the latter to be master of ceremonies at the Ahrya Fine Arts.
Jump down to get more info on each of our hosts.
Our own Greg Laemmle is enthusiastic as ever about the Fiddler experience, declaring that “Christmas Eve isn’t just Chinese food anymore!” Furthermore, “We welcome all those in the community who are looking for an alternative Christmas eve experience … and this year, a different first night of Chanukah to boot!”
He continues, “This is your once-a-year chance to be the star of the shtetl. Join voices with friends and neighbors and sing your heart out alongside Fiddler’s screen legends,” he continues. “And it’s okay if you haven’t memorized all the songs. We provide the lyrics.”
Song highlights include the iconic “TRADITION”, “IF I WERE A RICH MAN”, “TO LIFE”, “SUNRISE SUNSET”, “DO YOU LOVE ME?” and “ANATEVKA”, among many, many more.
Don’t miss the buggy! Those who wish to attend the program are advised to purchase tickets in advance as the program has traditionally sold to capacity.
Fiddler Hosts – 2016
Cantor PHIL BARON at the Ahrya Fine Arts (Beverly Hills)
Cantor PHIL BARON of Temple Valley Beth Shalom in Encino comes to us courtesy of community partner JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY (JHS) and the BREED STREET SHUL. Baron is the son of a violinist and the grandson of a Vilna rabbi. Before becoming a cantor, he took a successful detour into children’s entertainment, where he had over 300 original songs recorded – nearly 200 of these by the Walt Disney Co. He co-created two television series for Jewish children, Bubbe’s Boarding House, and the multiple award-winning series Alef…Bet…Blast-off! As a vocalist he has been featured with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New Orleans Philharmonic.
SUSAN EDWARDS MARTIN at the NoHo 7 (N. Hollywood)
Broadway star SUSAN EDWARDS MARTIN will represent partner Temple Beth Hillel at our NoHo 7 venue. A star of Broadway, Martin is an accomplished singer, musician, actress and comedienne who originated the role of ‘Lady Blue’ in HARVEY FIERSTEIN’s Tony Award-winning play “Torch Song Trilogy.” She has also appeared in many other Broadway and Off-Broadway productions such as “Bubbling Brown Sugar,” “The Suicide,” and the long-running musical comedy “Scrambled Feet.” Numerous television credits include a recurring role on “Days of our Lives,” and guest appearances on “NYPD Blue,” “Designing Women,” and “Columbo,” among many others. Martin is currently creating a new original musical, “Unlimited” based on her personal story of growing up in Long Island and her ensuing life in show business.
JASON MOSS at the Playhouse 7 (Pasadena)
Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys JASON MOSS will be our host at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. Under his leadership, the Federation has doubled its programming with the creation of such programs as the Cultural Arts Program, PJ Library, a nationally recognized program to reach and connect with unaffiliated Jewish families. In addition, Moss will soon launch JLife SGPV, a lifestyle magazine celebrating Jewish life in the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.
ELI BATALION at the Royal Theatre (West L.A.)
Star of comedy web series Yidlife Crisis, ELI BATALION will be our host at the Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles. Created with co-star JAMIE ELMAN, Yidlife Crisis is a love letter about modern Jewish identity set in Yiddish (with English and French subtitles), that uses comedy as a vehicle for inclusiveness. Batalion is a multi-faceted talent, at once writer, producer, actor, and composer for film TV and stage. His many projects have ranged from award-winning horror musical films (including the recently release “Stage Fright” starring Minne Driver and Meat Loaf) to touring musical comedy productions and live comedy shows such as the cult hit “J.O.B The Hip-Hopera.”
GUSTAVO BULGACH at the Town Center (Encino)
Accomplished Klezmer musician and bandleader GUSTAVO BULGACH will be our host at the Town Center 5 in Encino. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Bulgach was inspired at an early age by the religious and secular life of the Argentine community. Now based in L.A., Bulgach travels the globe uplifting audiences with a vibrant, soulful Klezmer he terms the “soundtrack of the Diaspora.” Bulgach has been a longtime member of the House of Blues Foundation house band backing artist such as LITTLE RICHARD, TAJ MAHAL, and THE WAILERS. His own outfit, KLEZMER JUICE, was featured in the Hollywood mega hit movie THE WEDDING CRASHERS featuring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.
Cantor PAUL BUCH at the Claremont 5 (Claremont)
Cantor PAUL BUCH has served Temple Beth Israel in Claremont since 2003. He came to the cantorate after a 25 year career in TV and film production in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland. In addition to his cantorial duties, Buch is President of the Claremont Interfaith Council and serves on the Faith-Based Roundtable of the Pomona Unified School District. He is also Chair of the City of Claremont’s Human Relations Committee and serves on an advisory committee at the Claremont School of Theology. This will be his third consecutive year as our Fiddler host in Claremont!
Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborne’s modern classic THE ENTERTAINER conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment. Rob Ashford directs Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice in the final production of the Plays at the Garrick season.
“Branagh rises to the occasion with a performance that is never less than thoroughly arresting. [Four out of five stars.]” (Paul Taylor, Independent)
Recent events being what they are, we welcome several upcoming films that look deeply and well at our country and its underrepresented groups in drastically changing and challenging times.
A precursor to the marriage equality movement, the fight to legalize interracial marriage culminated in the story depicted in LOVING (opening November 18 at the Playhouse and November 23 at the NoHo, Claremont and Monica Film Center).
Written and directed by gifted young filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special), the film celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown.
Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry – and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since. The acting is excellent, prompting Michelle Dean to write in the New Republic that “Edgerton is likely to get more attention, though it is Negga’s incredible performance that makes the film so powerfully subtle.”
A tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, MOONLIGHT is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality. The film has been garnering rave reviews from everyone who see it.
Writing in the Detroit News, Adam Graham called it “a film of rare grace – a tender, compassionate, restrained look at a life lived in the shadows.” Ty Burr of the Boston Globe called MOONLIGHT, “in its quietly radical grace…a cultural watershed – a work that dismantles all the ways our media view young black men and puts in their place a series of intimate truths.” We open the film this Friday at the NoHo 7, November 18 at the Playhouse and Monica Film Center, and December 16 at the Claremont 5.
Our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced a huge new population of young veterans and their service and experiences are the focus of two new films. We open the documentary NATIONAL BIRD on November 18 at the Monica Film Center. It follows the harrowing journey of three U.S. military veteran whistle-blowers determined to break the silence surrounding America’s secret drone war. Tortured by guilt for their participation in the killing of faceless terror suspects, and despite the threat of being prosecuted, these three veterans offer an unprecedented look inside this secret program to reveal the haunting cost of America’s global drone strikes. Wim Wenders and Errol Morris are the executive producers. Jason Bailey of Flavorwire called the film ” gripping indictment of America’s increasing reliance on drone warfare. Scary, potent, powerful stuff.”
MAN DOWN is a fictionalized account of U.S. Marine Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf), who returns home from his tour in Afghanistan to find that the place he once called home is no better than the battlefields he fought on overseas. Accompanied by his best friend Devin Roberts (Jai Courtney), a hard-nosed marine whose natural instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later, he searches desperately for the whereabouts of his estranged son, Jonathan (Charlie Shotwell) and wife, Natalie (Kate Mara). We open MAN DOWN December 2 at the Playhouse and Monica Film Center.
Finally, legendary director Ken Loach’s new movie I, DANIEL BLAKE is not a U.S. film but one that does offer a profound look at the issue of income inequality in a way that has a strong bearing on our problems here in the U.S.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest I, DANIEL BLAKE is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity.
In his Variety review, Owen Gleiberman described I, DANIEL BLAKE as “one of Loach’s finest films, a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity that goes right back to the plainspoken purity of Vittorio De Sica.” The film is a reminder that what ails us here at home has parallels abroad.