Michal Rovner

In case you missed “Incognito,” the unique “guess-the-artist” annual fundraising art show benefiting Santa Monica Museum of Art, you still have a chance to get in on another great art show and sale that serves a worthy cause while honoring two local arts leaders.

From May 29 through June 1, the Rosamond Felsen Gallery at Bergamot Arts Station hosts “The Grinstein Artist Invitational: From Generation to Generation,” a benefit exhibition and art sale supporting Inner-City Arts.

Works by a treasure trove of local A-list luminaries on the established edge of contemporary art will be on view, especially those who’ve worked with Stanley and Elyse Grinstein over four decades.

In addition to being generous art patrons, the Brentwood couple, globally renowned for their West Hollywood printmaking workshop Gemini G.E.L., introduced L.A. to a network of artists from around the world and brought L.A. artists to the attention of the rest of the world.

It’s no surprise to see that such superstars as Ed Moses, Lita Albuquerque, Ed Ruscha, Laddie John Dill, and Helen Pashgian have come together to contribute works and have each invited another artist, whom they consider worthy of more attention, to participate in the exhibition.

For the savvy collector as well as curious observer, there’s a special “First Look” event on May 28 in advance of the benefit sale, featuring a reception with artists, including drinks and light bites.

Since 1989, Inner-City Arts has provided hands-on arts instruction to low-income, at-risk youth, serving 150,000 children, working in 55 L.A. schools and providing training for teachers, many whose schools offer students no arts education.

Details on who’s involved and how you can help are here: inner-cityarts.org or call (213) 627-9621.


Also at Bergamot


Speaking of Bergamot, on Saturday, May 10 between 5 and 7 p.m., stop by Shoshana Wayne Gallery for the opening reception for Israeli artist, Michal Rovner, whose striking works in video, sculpture, drawing, photography, painting, sound, and installation illuminate themes of change and the human condition.

While the imagery is from Israel, her landscapes are stripped down, fragmented, and homogenized in such a way that they could be almost any mountainside, desert, or ocean and they evoke an emotional response.

The main gallery features two projections, one on a painted surface and the other on 11 slabs of black limestone. The projected images unify the separate slabs while underscoring their separateness, allowing viewers to think about archeology and politics, past and present.

In the smaller gallery, there are five of Rovner’s screen works, each composed of LCD screens, video, and Japanese paper. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition at Shoshana Wayne. Find out more at www.shoshanawayne.com or call (310) 453-7535.


Some favorite writers


Tonight at UCLA Hammer Museum there’s a lovely confluence of Hollywood and literature. Academy Award nominated director and screenwriter David O. Russell (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) engages in dialogue with local author, Mona Simpson.

Among her recent novels is “My Hollywood,” which explores the juxtaposition of different lives inside the household of a glittery Hollywood couple, a frustrated composer, married to a TV writer, who’s thrust into the role of clueless mother, and the Filipina nanny who raises her employer’s child in order to pay for her own children’s education.

On the faculty of UCLA’s English department and the organizer of the Hammer’s “Some Favorite Writers” series for eight years, Simpson has just published her newest novel, “Casebook” which she’ll discuss with Russell.

The discussion takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m. All Hammer events are free, and parking is just $3 after 6 pm in the Hammer parking lot. More info at www.hammer.ucla.edu.


L.A. influential


Actor, director and composer John Rubenstein is the son of the legendary pianist, Arthur Rubenstein. A Los Angeles native, he’s perfectly positioned to serve as MC for the next concert in L.A. Chamber Orchestra’s Westside Connections series, on Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Moss Theatre on the campus of New Roads School.

The series, with “LA Influential” as this year’s theme, examines the impact this diverse city has had on arts and culture through the eyes of distinguished speakers and musicians.

Rubinstein created the role of Bob Fosse’s Pippin on Broadway and received a Tony Award for “Children of a Lesser God,” and Christopher O’Riley is a versatile pianist as well as host of the popular NPR radio program “From the Top.” They join LACO Music Director Jeffrey Kahane, now in his last season, along with Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and Principal Cello Andrew Shulman in a performance that pays homage to the legacy of both John and Arthur Rubinstein, and features the music of Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Brahms.

For tickets and information call (213) 622-7001 or visit www.laco.org.


Summer theatre camp


Wondering what to do with the kids when school gets out for summer?

Check in with Santa Monica Playhouse, whose 2014 Summer Theatre Camp will offer one-, two- and three-week workshops, including Play Production, ages 7 to 12; a Teen Performance Lab (12 to 17); a one-week “Create a Play” workshop, ages 6 to 15; and an Early Stages Workshop for little ones aged 4 to 6.

Call the Playhouse Education Conservatory at (310) 394-9779 or visit

http://SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com for details, dues and reservations.

And while you’re at Santa Monica Playhouse, don’t miss the reprise of Alan Aymie’s “A Child Left Behind,” an outstanding one-man show about how the LAUSD ratings system and the L.A. Times’ publication of teachers’ grades nearly upended his life.

I wrote about this show in these pages in October 2012 http://www.smdp.com/a-child-left-behind/112947 and I recommend it for adults, teens, parents, and anyone concerned with L.A.’s educational system.

A Child Left Behind plays Fridays, May 16 – June 13 at 8 p.m. And there are discounted tickets for teachers, students, seniors and groups of eight or more. Call the box office (310) 394-9779 ext. 1 for tickets.



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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