Sundays With Rudy

By Victoria Looseleaf

We can’t believe it’s the last day of June and have hardly written a word – for The Looseleaf Report, that is. We have, however, been quite busy cranking out “long-form journalism” for KCET’s Artbound.

Yes, our first piece on American Contemporary Ballet went live on May 29, 2013, the 100-year anniversary of the Stravinsky/Nijinsky Rite of Spring. We planned it that way and still hope that ACB artistic director Lincoln Jones tackles Stravinsky’s two-piano reduction of the score with his fabulous troupe of dancers. (Photo below by Lauren Ward)

Wouldn’t his muse and associate director, Theresa Farrell make an absolutely delicious Chosen One? We’d also like to see Jones choreograph to Bach’s Goldberg Variations (and have told him so), but only time will tell (and money, musicians and whatever else it takes to make a dance set to this piano masterpiece), as Jones, like the great George Balanchine (about whom we wrote for the New York Times), is never bereft of ideas. See for yourselves at their August concerts, when two new ballets are performed to live music.

Our second Artbound story was about the magnificent painter Kenton Nelson (left). It’s no secret that ballerina Farrell modeled for him for his large oil painting, Interval, and that ACB used the work for its second season brochure. Ergo, if you want to see how the Pasadena born-and-bred artist developed into one of today’s highly acclaimed narrative realists, check out our feature, and please ‘like’ our Artbound stories on FB, so they have a shot at being made into mini-docs.

Btw, after writing about Nelson, we covered Bodytraffic and L.A. Dance Project for the Los Angeles Times (check out our review here). And while we were working on our last Artbound feature on choreographer Rudy Perez (referred to in this blog posting’s title; cover phot0, Countdown, by Steve Sbarge, 1965), we were gobsmacked with the news of James Gandolfini’s death.

Too stunned to write about him ourselves, we went into high Sopranos mode, reading others’ remembrances of him, YouTubing favorite eps and talking to friends about this gentle giant with the sad, sad eyes. We were also grateful that we actually had the privilege of seeing Gandolfini act on stage (God of Carnage), and also met him at the opening night party.

Oy! Whadda guy. He was also one of the most brilliant actors of all time (so sayeth Sopranos creator David Chase, and he would know). And so we quote Tony Soprano, who, so often after one of his associates ‘died,’ would say, ‘Whadda ya gonna do!’

Well, what we did was we kept on writing, in this case about Perez, a Los Angeles treasure. Still leading his weekly performance lab, Sundays With Rudy, at age 83, Perez is the living embodiment of postmodern dance. After all, he studied with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham and was also part of Judson Dance Theater. But you’ll learn all about him when you read our story here.

And while Perez has received well-deserved recognition since moving to the City of Angels in 1978, we feel justified in quoting Arthur Miller’s Linda Loman in the playwright’s classic work, Death of A Salesman, when she says of her husband, the tragic Willy Loman, “Attention must be paid!”

Rudy, if we can help generate said attention – in the only way we know how – through the written word, this makes us happy. We love you and, if we could, we would not only spend Sundays with you, but every day of the week. You are our guru, our guide, our inspiration. To quote another, er, iconic male, Billy Joel, “Don’t go changing…”

About Victoria Looseleaf

Victoria Looseleaf is an award winning arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, KUSC-FM radio, Dance Magazine, Performances Magazine and other outlets. She roams the world covering dance, music, theater, film, food and architecture. Have pen - and iPad - will travel! Her latest book, "Isn't It Rich? A Novella In Verse" is now available on Amazon. Thank you for reading! Cheers...
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