edited by MAYER RUS
Robert Doisneau, best known for his black-and-white photographs of Parisian street scenes, headed to Palm Springs in 1960 to document the lifestyles of the rich and famous for Fortune. He wasn’t amused. Consider his description of California’s sun-baked Shangri-la and the sybarites who disported themselves on its golf courses and in its ubiquitous swimming pools: “On the land bordering the greens, houses resembling Swiss chalets or Chinese pagodas had been built, like so many fantasies and memories of traveling. Inside, old, very rich couples slowly bored themselves.” The shots—a kaleidoscope of merchant kings, country clubs, palm trees, sun hats and parking lots—have now been collected in Palm Springs 1960 (Flammarion), and the late artist’s sense of astonishment, curiosity and revulsion comes alive on every page. Surveying the city’s scene today, he would surely think, Plus ça change. $34.95.
When was the last time you settled in with some candy and ’corn to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks or The Jungle Book in all their full silver-screen glory? Disney is invading ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Pasadena with a series of classic movie showings throughout August. It’s a fine opportunity to show young whippersnappers what life was like in the dark ages, before downloads and DVDs. arclightcinemas.com.
Gaetano Pesce gets the star treatment in Pieces from a Larger Puzzle, his first West Coast solo exhibition. Prototypes, plans, production models and video illuminate one of the most innovative, influential voices in design. The exhibition spans four decades, from his iconic Up chair series to the iconoclastic offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day in New York to the maestro’s contemporary experiments in color and form. Through August 31. Free. Italian Cultural Institute, 1023 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, 310-443-3250, iiclosangeles.esteri.it.
Heath Ceramics, the American pottery institution, and L.A.’s Skid Row Housing Trust, a model of progressive action to end homelessness, are collaborating on a kind of kitchen aid. Throughout August, Heath is collecting dinnerware donations in exchange for 25 percent off its corresponding products. So, bring in eight of your old Pottery Barn plates or Ziggy mugs and get a discount on eight new Heath plates or mugs. The trust will then distribute all the donated tableware to community kitchens and residents living in its various housing units. Mmm-mmm good. 7525 Beverly Blvd., L.A., heathceramics.com, skidrow.org.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles—which started as a ragtag group of volunteers some 31 years ago and has become a musically soaring powerhouse—returns to Disney Concert Hall for Sure on This Shining Night, featuring “The End of It All,” a commissioned work composed by John Tejada for choir and electronica. Operatic selections from Verdi and Bizet, David Conte’s uplifting Invocation and Dance and several modern commissioned works are just some of the other pieces included in the program. As part of the Harvey Milk Schools Project’s effort to promote tolerance, the stirring GMCLA Alive Music Project Youth Chorus makes its center-stage debut. Bravo! August 21. $25–$80. 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A., ticketmaster.com.