How Alpine Yodeling Mutated Into American Blackface Minstrelry

Vestiges of the Racist Entertainment Persist in Art and Politics

In 1822 the Austrian emperor Franz I and his ally Tsar Alexander I of Russia held a meeting in a remote valley of the war-torn Tyrolese Alps. They were entertained by the Rainers, a locally renowned family of singing farmers. When the visiting dignitaries heard the improvisational simplicity of the family’s performance of native Alpine songs, they encouraged the four Rainer brothers and their sister to leave the war behind and take their homegrown mountain show on the road.

The Rainers performed their rustic harmonies across Europe and eventually …

Central Valley Kids, Meet Beethoven

In a Rural California County, We're Bringing the Symphony to a New Generation of Musicians

One May evening last year, I found myself driving on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South Los Angeles, away from Exposition Park towards the neighborhood of West Adams. My …

Visalia Opera Founder Rosalinda Verde

She Likes Singing in Empty Theaters and Indulging in a Good Steak

Rosalinda Verde is the founder of Visalia Opera. Before participating in a panel on the role the arts play in building communities, Verde talked about mariachi, rock, and opera–as well …

The Man Who Brought Flying Purple People Eaters to Life

Bob Baker Earned L.A.’s Love with Magical Marionettes and Ice Cream after Every Puppet Show

In the last decade, I’ve led dozens of tour groups on my Disneyland tour of downtown Los Angeles. We explore the heart and soul of the city as if it’s …

Can California Go Rogue?

Why an Eclectic Fringe Festival in Fresno Is a Model for the State’s Future

Does California need to go Rogue?

I’m not talking about secession or flying Sarah Palin down from Alaska but about what may be the most important California arts event most Californians …