Death, Jesus, Love and Belly Buttons, New Season At LB Playhouse Begins

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Gregorio Luke announces new season at the Long Beach PlayhouseGregorio Luke will present a new season of lectures at the Long Beach Playhouse (5021 Anaheim St. Long Beach CA 90804) Season begins Tuesday Nov. 1st with DAY OF THE DEAD; continues Sunday Dec. 18th with JESUS HIS LIFE IN ART; Tuesday Feb 14th 2012 with ART OF LOVE and concludes Wednesday March 21st 2012 with THE BELLY BUTTON. All lectures will be held at 8 pm Tickets are $20 and $30 with 10% discount for students, teachers and seniors.  There is also the option of buying the complete series of 4 shows for the price of 3. For tickets call 562-494-1014 or online  Free parking.

DAY OF THE DEAD, Tuesday Nov 1st at 8 pm, Gregorio Luke analyzes every aspect of Mexico’s Day of the Dead tradition: papel picado, ofrendas, cuisine, sugar skulls etc. “I believe,” affirms Luke, “That the Day of the Dead in Mexico is the very opposite of Halloween, because rather than remembering death we abolish it symbolically. During this time in Mexico we believe that those who have passed return to us. And they do. The very act of creating an altar with the deceased’s favorite things or preparing a dinner with their favorite dishes is a social act of remembrance. In Mexico we have the idea that the only ones who really die are those we forget.” Luke’s presentation will feature the skeletons of popular engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada as well as clips of films like Macario and Luis Buñuel’s Wuthering Heights. An exhibit curated by Michael Stearns on Day of the Dead art and traditional altars will be held in the Gallery at Long Beach Playhouse. Typical dishes by Lola’s Mexican food will be available for purchase. Doors open at 6 pm.

JESUS HIS LIFE IN ART Sunday Dec 18th at 8 pm. Every aspect of Jesus’ life as painted by the world’s greatest artists will be projected chronologically.  Gregorio Luke affirms: “During years I have been collecting images of Jesus’ life I have seen thousands of paintings and drawings in Museums and libraries and identified those that move me the most.  I have looked for the best Nativity scene or the most dramatic painting of the Massacre of the Innocents or The flight to Egypt. I have searched for illustrations of the parables and the miracles. Obviously, the selection is subjective and reflects my own personal taste. There are more Grecos and Rembrandts than any other artists but I’m satisfied with the results; the cumulative effect of seeing one masterpiece after another is stunning, an extraordinary experience.  As to my narration I tried to make it as simple as possible. What I wanted was to tell the story with images. I wanted the visual narrative to be so powerful that it could stand on its own. “

THE ART OF LOVE TUESDAY FEB 14TH 2012 at 8 PM.  “I have,” says Gregorio Luke, “Been doing this presentation for over ten years. And every time I add something new.  This time I will expand on love scenes in movies. We will be showing some real gems, like the dinner scene in Tony Richardson’s 1963 Tom Jones, one of the sexiest ever filmed, I will also include love scenes of French cinema especially Francois Truffaut’s or that lovely scene of censured kisses in Cinema Paradiso.  I want to expand the section on the love lives of kings and queens, as well as the erotic practices in ancient Asia, where there was no concept of original sin. We will also enrich the sections of love in the US in the forties and the Age of Aquarius.  Last year I invited dancers, this year I want to include musicians as guest artists.”

THE BELLY BUTTON Wednesday March 21st 2012 at 8 pm.  Newsweek has said that we live in “the age of navel gazing.” In this presentation we will see the best representations of the belly button in art as well as in contemporary photography. Also included will be live demonstrations of belly dancing ranging from the Middle Eastern to Polynesian styles.  “This subject has fascinated me,” affirms Luke, “Since I learned that the word ‘Mexico’ in Nahuatl means ‘the belly button of the moon.’ ” The belly button was very important in ancient art. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was always represented with a perfect navel. In the Song of Songs King Solomon refers to the belly button of his lover as ‘a perfect, inexhaustible chalice.’  In modern times the revelation of the belly button has introduced the most dramatic changes in fashion since the mini-skirt: low cut jeans, short tops and an assortment of rings and jewelry for the navel have become commonplace. What every female pop star has in common: from Britney Spears to Shakira, is precisely that they all show their belly buttons.  Gregorio Luke will conclude his lecture by comparing the belly buttons of Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch, considered the most beautiful of the 20th century.

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