One of the featured photos in the exhibit 'Genesis' by Sebastião Salgado, who documented some of the world's most pristine places.

One of the featured photos in the exhibit ‘Genesis’ by Sebastião Salgado, who documented some of the world’s most pristine places.

One reviewer called it “the most important photographic exhibition of the year,” and even with a competing show in town featuring outstanding works by bad-boy Helmut Newton (whose style and substance are radically different), I agree. “Genesis” by Sebastião Salgado is extraordinary.

The exemplary Peter Fetterman Gallery at Bergamot Station hosts the first U.S. exhibition of “Genesis” and Fetterman himself has curated the show in stunning fashion. You will, indeed, be transported as you walk through this space.

Internationally celebrated, Brazilian-born photographer Salgado was an economist before becoming a photographer. Staring economic inequities in the face, he began shooting iconic images of poverty-stricken workers doing back-breaking labor under horrible conditions, powerful images that told stories through the faces of the laborers in the enormous and dusty, dirty, Earth-scarred holes where they toiled.

Salgado is renowned for documenting the effects of global industrialization and urbanization. But now he is sharing with us stark, awe inspiring black-and-white photographs of the world’s most pristine places. Over an eight-year period, Salgado traveled to 32 remote locations to capture the grandeur, the majesty, the beauty that is Earth, giving humanity a gift to remember the planet by before it’s too late.

While many images look like stage sets for fantasy films, they are very real and that is the magic of Salgado. I’m humbled, respectful and grateful to witness these places, that I am unlikely ever to see, through his eyes.

As he nears the age of 70, it’s hard to imagine Salgado engaging in a future project as complex, comprehensive or meaningful as this; one can only hope he will continue.

“Genesis” travels to museums in London, Canada, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and beyond, but you’re lucky enough to have this exhibition in your backyard. Don’t miss this opportunity to see it in such an intimate setting.

Peter Fetterman Gallery hosts “Genesis” at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Art Station through Oct. 19. Call (310) 453-6343 or visit www.peterfetterman.com for more information.

 

All in the family 

 

It’s a rare play these days that can cause an audience to gasp at a kiss. This actually happened.

Playwright Arthur Miller, best known for “Death of a Salesman” and “All My Sons,” writes about everyman characters whose lives become tragic.

In “View from the Bridge,” now onstage in a critically-lauded production at Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, we meet Eddie Carbone (Vince Melocchi), a Brooklyn longshoreman who considers himself an honest provider and husband, who gives without asking for anything in return.

His wife’s cousins from Sicily are coming to stay with them in their tiny apartment, and Eddie lectures the family never to answer questions if immigration officials come to their door because these cousins will be here illegally. The cousins have taken the risk because they and their war-torn nation are desperately impoverished. Marco (Satiar Pourvasei) has a family and a sick son whom he hopes to support and return to; young Rodolpho (Jeff Lorch) is a freewheeling, high-spirited young man, who loves to sing, and wants to “make it” in America.

Eddie has raised his niece Catherine (Lisa Cirincione) since her mother died, but lately his concern for this affectionate, grateful and now fully-developed young woman, has become fierce within him, making him overly protective of her virtue, a fact duly noted by his long-suffering wife Beatrice (Melissa Weber Bales), who comments that they haven’t been intimate for many months.

Rodolpho wins Catherine’s heart, inciting Eddie’s jealousy. He tells Catherine Rodolpho only wants her to gain citizenship, and accuses Rodolpho of being “not right” (i.e., gay) because he likes to sing and has a way with clothing.

The story’s arc is no surprise having been foretold by the lawyer Alfieri (Robert Lesser), who serves as the Greek Chorus, giving us the bigger picture as the play unfolds, and asking us to consider what it means to be a good man.

Eddie will incur the wrath of Marco not only for insulting his brother Rodolpho, but because Eddie has done the unforgiveable: he has called immigration on them himself.

The tragedy unfolds as you’d expect it to, but the greater tragedy is that Eddie’s passion for Catherine has blinded him to his own flaws, his hypocritical self-righteousness and his failure to do the right thing by her. Eddie cannot tell himself the truth and it destroys him.

The staging is impeccable, the acting’s top notch. Congratulations to Artistic Director Marilyn Fox for both the play’s direction and the company’s.

“A View from the Bridge” runs at Pacific Resident Theatre, one of our local treasures, located at 703 Venice Blvd., in Venice. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. Purchase tickets online at www.pacificresidenttheatre.com or call (310) 822-8392.

 

Actors play themselves 

 

What an intriguing film French director Alain Resnais has given us. Only a mature director could deliver such a beautiful ode to the art of acting, honoring age and beauty alike.

While not household names in the U.S., the superstar French cast that Resnais has assembled in “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” could never happen in Hollywood. The film is a homage to these actors, who play themselves as actors.

A famous playwright friend has died, and the actors have been summoned to hear his final wish, prerecorded before his death.

A young theatre troupe has requested his permission to stage his play “Eurydice,” which established these actors’ careers. He asks them to judge whether the troupe is worthy to do so.

As they watch the company’s performance on screen, the actors begin taking on their old roles, interacting with the film and each other. The melding of action on screen, and in the room, is subtle at first, but as the actors observing take over the action, the result is that we see aging actors imbued with experience who are as vibrant as the youth.

Playing at Laemmle’s Music Hall in Beverly Hills, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” is aptly titled. Visit www.laemmle.com for tickets and showtimes.

 

Sarah A. Spitz is a former freelance arts producer for NPR and former staff producer at public radio station KCRW — Santa Monica. She has also reviewed theatre for LAOpeningNights.com.

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