Welton Becket's Mark Taper Forum
Scheduling issues for two of the city’s largest arts organizations made headlines twice this week here in LA. The first piece came from Michael Ritchie and the Center Theater Group who noted that beginning this summer, the Mark Taper Forum will close for a year to undergo significant and frankly very needed renovations. The very tight seating and lack of a lobby has made this building seem out of date for quite awhile and apparently these are the top two issues on the renovation agenda. The good news is that the good parts of the theater itself including the magnificent relief mural on the front and sides of the building designed by architect Welton Becket will remain intact. The Taper will reportedly offer subscribers a four play season next year with two shows at the Ahmanson Theater and two others at the Kirk Douglas. Whether or not this event will help with the perceived artistic floundering at the Douglas remains to be seen.
The other interesting note was yet another reminder that LA is still a company town. Leon Fleisher and Jaime Laredo will be on tour in February across the country and an LA performance had been scheduled for February 25th on the campus of UCLA. This also happens to be the night of the Academy Awards Telecast and fate would have it that one of the oscar-nominated short documentary subject films, Two Hands
directed by Nathaniel Kahn and Susan Rose Behr concerns Fleisher and his struggles with his own health and physical issues. I’ll be screening this and the other documentary short subjects on the 9th so more on this will follow. Needless to say, the producers drummed up a ticket for Fleisher at the Kodak Theater on that Sunday, so the concert has now been moved up a day to Saturday the 24th. Too bad for me since I have another conflict that night, but at least UCLA with what is easily the worst-run box office in the city has wisely chosen to allow people refunds on their tickets if they want.