Category Archives: singer

Gabriel Osuna and Company Jazz Up ‘Forever Flamenco’ on Feb 16 at the Fountain Theatre

Dancer Fanny Ara

Dancer Fanny Ara

The inclusion of piano makes Osuna’s show unique

The hottest flamenco is at the Fountain! With only 80 seats in four rows, the Fountain Theatre is the perfect venue. Each performance features a roster of world-class Flamenco dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of Flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain. This month’s line-up, under the artistic direction of guitarist Gabriel Osuna, includes Fanny Ara from San Francisco and Elena Osuna from Albuquerque, as well as Matthew Amper on piano, a unique addition under Osuna’s direction.

Gabriel Osuna

Gabriel Osuna

The Company of Artists:
Artistic Director/Guitarist: Gabriel Osuna
Dancers: Fanny AraManuel GutierrezElena Osuna 
Singer: José Cortes
Pianist: Matthew Amper
Percussionist: Gerardo Morales

Founded and produced by Deborah Lawlor, Forever Flamenco is now enjoying its 13th sold-out year at our intimate Fountain Theatre. Stage and Cinema recently hailed it as “an assemblage of the greatest flamenco artists anywhere.”  

Forever Flamenco Sunday, Feb 16 8pm (323) 663-1525  MORE

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: ‘Forever Flamenco’ at the Fountain Theatre

company bowEnjoy these glorious photos by Bruce Bisenz capturing the passion and excitement of our Forever Flamenco concert on January 19 starring Lakshmi Basile and company. Featuring artists Lakshmi Basile, Pedro Cortes, Luis de la Tota, Jesus Montoya, and Jeff Pekarek. Produced by Deborah Lawlor and now in its 13th smash year, our Forever Flamenco series has established the Fountain the hottest flamenco venue in Los Angeles. Check out Bruce’s photos and see why! 

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All-Star Flamenco Weekend Launches 2014 at the Fountain Theatre Jan 17-19

Manuel Guiterrez

Manuel Guiterrez

Fanny Ara

Fanny Ara

Forever Flamenco! presents an All-Star Flamenco Weekend: Antonio Triana and Company on Jan. 17 and 18, featuring magnificent singer José Cortés (from Spain) and mesmerizing dancer Fanny Ara (born in France, trained in Spain); and Lakshmi Basile and Company on Jan. 19, featuring two guest artists – guitarist Pedro Cortés and percussionist and festero Luis de la Tota, who brings joy and fun to every show he’s in.

With only 80 seats in four rows, The Fountain Theatre is the perfect place to view Flamenco. Each show features a roster of world-class Flamenco dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of Flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain.

PROGRAM:

Friday, Jan. 17 at 8 pm and Saturday, Jan. 18 at 8 pm

  • Antonio Triana and Company
    • Guitarristas (Guitarists) - Gabriel Osuna, Antonio Triana
    • Cantaores (Singers) - José Cortés, Antonio de Jerez
    • Bailaores (Dancers) – Vanessa Albalos, Fanny Ara, Manuel Gutierrez

Sunday, Jan. 19 at 8 pm

  • Lakshmi Basile and Company
    • Guitarrista (Guitarist) – Pedro Cortés
    • Cantaor (Singer) - Jesus Montoya
    • Palmero/Cajonero (Percussionist) – Luis de la Tota
    • Up-right Bass – Jeff Basile
    • Bailaora (Dancer) – Lakshmi Basile

Forever Flamenco Jan 17-19  (323) 663-1525  GET TICKETS

Just Added! Explosive Dancer Manuel Gutierrez Joins ‘Forever Flamenco’ this Sun Nov 10 at the Fountain Theatre

Manuel Gutierrez at 'Forever Flamenco at the Ford'

Manuel Gutierrez at ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’

If you were fortunate to be at our summer gala concert Forever Flamenco at the Ford at the 1200-seat John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, then you remember the explosive dancer Manuel Gutierrez. His show-stopping passionate dance style was unforgettable.  Well, good news. He’s back! Manuel Gutierrez will now be joining the already stellar lineup of Forever Flamenco this Sunday, November 10 at 8pm , at the intimate Fountain Theatre.

The show this Sunday night, led by the artistic direction of percussionist Joey Heredia, was already promising to be exciting and innovative with the inclusion of jazz musicians Pablo Medina (piano) and Oskar Cartaya (bass).  Joining them will be dancer Mizuho Sato, guitarist Kai Narezo, singer Antonio de Jerez and singer/guitarist Jose Garcia. Tickets are going fast. You don’t want to miss this one! 

Now in its 11th smash year, Forever Flamenco is a Los Angeles phenomenon.

“Once a month at the Fountain Theatre, Deborah Lawlor presents Forever Flamenco, an assemblage of the greatest flamenco artists anywhere.”   - Stage and Cinema 
Percussionist Joey Heredia.

Percussionist Joey Heredia.

Forever Flamenco Sun Nov 10 8pm (323) 663-1525  MORE

Timo Nunez Ignites ‘Forever Flamenco’ on Sunday, Nov 10 at Fountain Theatre

Timo Nunez

Timo Nunez

“Once a month at the Fountain Theatre, Deborah Lawlor presents Forever Flamenco, an assemblage of the greatest flamenco artists anywhere.”   - Stage and Cinema

With only 80 seats in four rows, the Fountain Theatre, named “the foremost venue of flamenco in Los Angeles” by the LA Weekly, is the perfect place to view flamenco. Each show features a roster of world-class dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of Flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain.

Forever Flamenco_Clara Rodriguez_1This month artistic director/dancer Timo Nuñez will be joined by dancers Clara Rodriguez and Briseyda Zarate; singer Jesus Montoya; guitarist Gabriel Osuna; and percussionist Joey Heredia.

Passionate. Exhilarating. World class flamenco in an intimate setting. 

Forever Flamenco Sunday, Nov 10 8pm  (323) 663-1525  MORE

 

Flamenco Meets Canvas in ‘To Paint a Woman’ This Sunday, Sept 15, at the Fountain Theatre

paint

The Fountain Theatre’s Forever Flamenco series takes a unique swirl of the brush this Sunday night, Sept 15th at 8pm with To Paint a Woman. Artist Roderick Smith will create a painting on canvas live on stage while the flamenco concert is underway. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy the passionate flurry of flamenco and paint as they whirl simultaneously before your eyes.

Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith

Produced by Deborah Lawlor and under the artistic direction of guitarist Ethan Margolis, To Paint a Woman is an all-male flamenco performance inspired by a Spanish fandango verse “Por Pintar A Una Mujer” about the idealization of women.
Por pintar a una mujer
A un loco le dio la manía
Por pintar a una mujer
Y cuando pintá la tenía
Le puso un letrero a los pies
“Ya me tienes como tú querías”
                *
To paint a woman
A crazy man was given the notion
To paint a woman
And once he had the painting finished,
He placed a sign at her feet…
“Now you have me as you have always wanted”
Luis de la Tota

Luis de la Tota

This one-of-a-kind performance also features a rare Los Angeles appearance by special guest cajonero/palmero/festero Luis de la Tota from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. The full line-up includes visual artist Roderick Smith dancers Manuel Guiterrez and Oscar Valeroguitarist Ethan Margolis,  singer Antonio de Jerez,  and upright bassist  John Leftwich.

Forever Flamenco  Sunday, Sept 15 8pm   (323) 663-1525    MORE

Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos Heat Up ‘Forever Flamenco’ on Aug 18th at the Fountain Theatre

FlamenkeandoThe Fountain Theatre presents Forever Flamenco! with Yaelisa y Caminos Flamencos in “Flamenkeando— With only 78 seats in four rows, the Fountain is the perfect place to experience the fire andpassion of flamenco. This month’s lineup includes dancers Manuel GutierrezYaelisa and Devon LaRussa, who offers a hybrid of contemporary/flamenco style; singer/dancer Oscar Valero and singer El Grillo, both from Spain; guitarist Jason McGuire (“El Rubio”); and percussionist Joey Heredia.

Caminos Flamencos was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area by Emmy Award-winning dancer and choreographer Yaelisa. The mission of Caminos Flamencos is to create and present contemporary, traditional and theatrical dance programs showcasing artists from Spain and the U.S., which reflect the changing face of flamenco in the 21st century. Their programs seek to preserve the legacy of Spain’s rich artistic heritage, and bring them to people of all backgrounds, enriching the lives of people with Spanish and Hispanic ancestry, and of the community at large.

If you were lucky to be at our fabulous jaw-dropping Forever Flamenco at the Ford in June, you experienced the artistry of Yaelisa and guitar master Jason McGuire in action. The stars not only shone bright overhead on that hot summer night. Stars twinkled backstage as well, as Yaelisa was visited by TV/Film actress and flamenco fan Eva Longoria.

Yaelisa with Eva Longoria backstage at 'Forever Flamenco at the Ford' (June 15, 2013).

Yaelisa with Eva Longoria backstage at ‘Forever Flamenco at the Ford’  June 15.

Don’t miss this month’s Forever Flamenco at the intimate Fountain Theatre on Sunday, August 18th at 8pm. (323) 663-1525  MORE

Keeping the Fire of Flamenco Burning in Los Angeles: Katina Dunn and Jose Tanaka

Katina Dunn and Jose Tanaka

Katina Dunn and Jose Tanaka

By Mikey Hirano Culross

A new documentary, exploring the reach of flamenco music and dance into Los Angeles, screens Friday at the Fountain Theatre.

Conventional wisdom would have us assume that anyone directing a documentary has at least scant knowledge of the subject being explored.

Asked how much she knew about flamenco music before beginning her film project, Katina Dunn was pretty forthcomng about it.

“Nothing. Not a thing,” she said.

A journalist by trade, the Chicago native happened into a small club in Hollywood in 2010, and was instantly enchanted by a group of flamenco musicians and dancer Mizuho Sato.

“After I saw these guys playing, I went home and searched for them on Google, and there was nothing,” Dunn recalled at the Rafu Shimpo offices last week. “I knew I had to do something on them, because their performance was so moving. I knew what they were creating was incredible.”

Dunn’s directorial debut is the film “Kumpanía: Flamenco Los Angeles,” which will have a screening this Friday, at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood. Showing as part of the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, the film will be followed by a live concert by flamenco guitar virtuoso Jose Tanaka, who is among the artists profiled in “Kumpanía”.

Dunn’s film explores the reach of flamenco into cultures outside of its birthplace in the Andalusia region of southern Spain. The folk music – whose name translates roughly to “the folklore of the flame” – has enjoyed great popularity in Japan, where it is said there are more flamenco schools than in Spain.

Mizuho Sato

Mizuho Sato

Tanaka, 44, said his parents were part of the generation that first embraced flamenco, and his given name is a direct result of their enthusiasm. He endured endless lessons, and when he was 18, his mother suggested he go study guitar in Spain.

Young Jose had other ideas.

“I said, ‘Screw that, I’m going to Hollywood!’ I wanted to be a rock star,” he explained.

Tanaka was working as a guitar instructor at a small music school shortly after arriving in L.A. in 1987. He said he soon became disillusioned with the monotony of his job.

“At the time, hard rock bands like Metallica and Pearl Jam were very popular, and I was teaching these kids that kind of stuff,” he said. “I found that they picked it up so quickly and I felt like I wasn’t much better than those kids. I didn’t feel like I was special, and all this time I was avoiding flamenco.”

All the while, his mother back in his hometown of Kyoto continued to send news of up-and-coming flamenco artists. But it wasn’t until the renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucía came to L.A. for a concert that the flamenco fire was rekindled in Tanaka’s heart.

“All the memories started to come back. There were a lot of mixed feelings, but I realized how much I missed flamenco. I was really brought to tears,” he said.

“Kumpanía” also features Sato, a native of Iwate Prefecture who teaches dance and has been performing with Tanaka’s group since 2004.

Jose Tanaka will perform a live solo concert immediately following the screening of ‘Kumpania’ on Friday night, July 19 at 8pm at the Fountain Theatre. 

Mikey Hirano Culross is Arts & Entertainment Editor for Rafu Shimpo

Kumpania & Jose Tanaka Friday, July 19 (323) 663-1525  MORE

New Video! Hit Comedy/Drama ‘Heart Song’ Extended to Aug 25 at the Fountain Theatre

"Heart Song" at the Fountain Theatre

“Heart Song” at the Fountain Theatre

Hailed as “superb” and “magnificent” by critics and audiences alike, the Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed hit comedy/drama Heart Song has been extended to August 25th. The Hollywood Reporter cheers Heart Song as “a genuine delight”, the LA Weekly heralds it as “beautifully performed,” and Broadway World declares Heart Song “a celebration of life you won’t want to miss.” 

Written by Stephen Sachs and directed by Shirley Jo FinneyHeart Song follows the funny and touching journey of Rochelle (Pamela Dunlap), a middle-aged Jewish woman in New York City struggling through a mid-life crisis and the recent loss of her mother. When Rochelle is convinced to take a flamenco class with other women led by a passionate Gypsy instructor (Denise Blasor), her life and world-view is changed forever.   

Enjoy The New ‘Heart Song’ Video Trailer

Heart Song  (323) 663-1525  MORE INFO

Fountain Theatre’s Fantastic Flamenco Fiesta at the Ford

Fin Fiestaby Tony Frankel

While classic and modern dance seem to be continually reinventing themselves, Flamenco remains a bedrock of the moving arts. As Forever Flamenco! at the Ford proved last Saturday, age and body type have nothing to do with the soulful expressiveness inherent in this traditional dance form.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."

Maria Bermudez

There are many forms of dance and song that emerged as a celebration of life amidst human suffering, but surely Flamenco thrillingly stands out as an example of such an art form. There are moments in the music that clearly reflect Indian, Islamic and Moorish influence. Some Flamenco music styles (palos) have been attributed to Jewish influences, as the Jews were firmly ensconced in Iberia since Roman times. And Andalusia, home to Flamenco, is in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

“But who wants a history lesson?” asked Artistic Director Maria Bermúdez to the sold out crowd at the Ford Amphitheater. This evening was about celebrating Flamenco and to honor Deborah Lawlor, founder of the Fountain Theatre, where Forever Flamenco! plays once a month. Bermúdez, who has an uncanny ability to gather unparalleled artists, presented a line-up of local, national and international artists for a sexy and captivating evening.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."

Manuel Guiterrez

The explosive energy created by dancer Timo Nuñez at the start was, as they say, a hard act to follow. In his shiny red shoes, this tall and elegant artist began casually, but soon offered dynamic footwork that sounded like firecrackers. Then he would do a studly stroll, allowing the dance to breathe, often lifting his shirt to show a bit of skin. Sometimes, this graceful storyteller of dance stared at us as an egret looks for a fish in a lake. Although I don’t remember ever seeing such a hunky egret.

Equally thrilling was Manuel Gutierrez, who opened the second act and emulated a bullfighter. He wasn’t showing off, yet he displayed a crackling tap and pedal pyrotechnics the likes of which confirmed why Flamenco is so compelling. So fiery and passionate was Gutierrez that my companion said afterwards, “That’s it. I’m booking us on the next flight to Seville.”

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."

Alejandro Granados

The ridiculously sexy and sensuous Fanny Ara (think Salma Hayek) offered us a dance which was defiant, seductive, searching and scorching hot – and WAY too short. Mizuho Sato was another classic beauty who I wish had more stage time. All of the guitarists, whether jazzy or classical, were some of the best I have ever heard. Jason McGuire accompanied Ms. Ara with smoldering fast fingerwork that was a brilliant combination of new age work, á la William Ackerman, and traditional Flamenco. I can’t believe all of that music came out of one guitar. Likewise Jose Tanaka, who overlayed his work with a soulful yearning and accessible dissonance. The other guitarists – Antonio Triana, Ben Woods and Adam del Monte – were ably accompanied by the extraordinary percussionist Joey Heredia.

Alejandro Granados was a man drunk with life and passion. Somewhat nattily dressed in red pants, Granados looked like he could be a seaside merchant or a pawn shop owner. But looks and age have nothing to do with the spirit of Flamenco. Audience members actually began to shout as this older gentleman executed a timeless combination of dance artistry and comedic storytelling, giving us more character than an O’Neill drama.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."It may be politically incorrect to mention a woman’s age or body type, but whether we are supposed to say Rubenesque, full-figured or otherwise, there were some women on stage whose magnificence proved that anyone can master Flamenco. Lourdes Rodriguez, with spangles around her waist, brought whimsy, silliness and celebration to her dance (she was the one I most wanted to run up on stage to dance with). Linda Vega’s work was so admirable that I was shocked to discover that this was Ms. Vega after knee surgery. Well done! Most impressive was Yaelisa, a middle-aged woman who proved that time cannot quell the fiery gipsy spirit. This seasoned performer with amazing rhythm was humorous, expressive, joyful and reflective, vacillating from a spunky spirit to a trance-like seduction.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."

Fanny Ara

The vocalists were no ordinary singers; to the untrained ear, it may seem like they are struggling to hold a note, but that wailing and fluttering is the evolved style of the suffering gipsy, and, at times, sounded eerily like the plaintive yowling of nomadic Native American tribes or the spiritual yearnings of Jewish Sephardic music. Our powerful singers were Jose Cortes, Ana de los Reyes, Pelé de los Reyes and Ismael de la Rosa.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema LA Dance Review of the Fountain Theatre's "Forever Flamenco! at the Ford."

Timo Nunez

In some of the group numbers, it was difficult to ascertain what was choreographed and what was spontaneous, but all of these impeccable artists worked together seamlessly, occasionally eyeing each other’s body parts (feet, hands, hips, eyes) as they performed with rhythmic intention – no differently than the most passionate lover looks upon a paramour during sex.¿Hace calor aqui? I would have preferred a stronger finish in some of the sets, as dancers just casually strolled away. But come to think of it, I’ve had some lovers do that, too.

The free-for-all in the finale included one of the most captivating moments captured on stage when four young girls executed some flawless dancing in colorful Flamenco flocked skirts. These artists who promise to bring Flamenco into the future were more than adorable – they were breathtaking and inspiring. Then again, so was the entire evening.

photos © Optimage Photography

Tony Frankel writes for Stage and Cinema