Two current photo exhibits focus on New York City, with all its ethnic variety, architectural styles and startling contrasts of wealth and poverty.
The J. Paul Getty Museum is showcasing the work of Walker Evans, a longtime photographer for Fortune magazine whose photos are present in James Agee's book "Let us Now Praise Famous Men." Best known for his Depression-era images of the rural South, Evans also pioneered the genre of "street photography," with New York of the 1930s through the 1960s as his favorite subject.
Particularly striking is his series on subway riders and the dress styles of the natives, ranging from working men to Wall Street stock brokers.
The exhibit runs through Oct. 11. For information, phone (310) 440-7300, or check out the web site at www.getty.edu/.
The Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica is displaying a different perspective on the Big Apple by two classic photographers.
Berenice Abbott, who died in 1991, was commissioned by the Federal Arts Project to document New York's growth during the 1930s, rising next to 19th-century buildings and storefronts.
Her focus is on the city's architectural styles, with only peripheral attention to the inhabitants, among them legions of homeless. Most impressive is a nightview of skyscrapers, with thousands of lights streaming through the windows.
The human side of New York, particularly its children at play and its young lovers, is shown in a companion exhibit on the works of Arthur Leipzig.
Those who grew up in the city during the 1940s and 1950s and played stickball, Red Rover or Follow the Leader, will recognize themselves in Leipzig's warm, happy photos.
Both exhibits run through Aug. 31. For information, call (310) 453-6463. --Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Among the foreign diplomats who risked their careers and personal safety to rescue Jews during the Holocaust, the name of Switzerland's Carl Lutz stands out.
Like Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, Lutz was stationed in Budapest during the fateful years of 1944 and 1945. Working under the nose of Adolf Eichmann, Lutz was able to spirit 10,000 children to Palestine and then set up 78 safe houses in Budapest to shelter 62,000 Jews, apparently the largest number saved by a single individual.
The local Consulate General of Switzerland has opened a small photo exhibit that honors Lutz's deeds and details the story of this devout Methodist, who believed he had a God-given responsibility to rescue the Jews.
The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays at the Swiss Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1400, in West Los Angeles. For information, call (310) 575-1145. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
The Two Faces of William Ginsburg
By Wendy Madnick, Valley Editor
Sure he slammed Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and Linda Tripp, but William Ginsburg flung his heaviest punches against the media, which he accused of turning the Monica Lewinsky-President Bill Clinton sex scandal into the "shonda" of the century. Ginsburg spoke Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Valley Business & Professional Division of the Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance, one of his first major public addresses since leaving Washington, D.C., and his role as Lewinsky's attorney.
The 175 attendees at the breakfast meeting, held at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, heard an affable, outspoken, even charming man, who spoke candidly about his experiences. Ginsburg's massive distrust of the Fourth Estate dominated what was supposed to be a speech about the Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC). "Their philosophy seems to be 'scoop or perish,' make the stories happen or lose the news. This is antithetical to good reporting," he said, later commenting, "They have become a danger and some consideration must be given, not to eroding (their rights), but to holding them accountable."
As for Starr, Ginsburg painted him as a man pursuing a political agenda with no regard for the constitutionality of his actions. He theorized that Starr's persistent dogging of President Clinton stemmed from being twice passed over for a seat on the Supreme Court. He also blamed Congress for relying on the OIC to do its job and for "treating this like the hot potato it is."
"Mr. Starr is on a political mission motivated by his supporters and perhaps his own ego," Ginsburg said. "The truth is being lost in a relentless pursuit by one person. The clients of the independent counsel are the people of the United States and I believe [by their reaction in the polls] the people have spoken."
Another favorite target was Linda Tripp, who Ginsburg joked was a "cure for Viagra" and whose recent press conference Ginsburg compared to the "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" speech in "Evita." Even President Clinton served as a source for Ginsburg's wit, although the attorney studiously avoided commenting on the President and Lewinsky's alleged relationship, citing attorney-client privilege. When a member of the audience asked if he thought Clinton would continue denying the affair, Ginsburg quipped, "He would deny going through a green light if he were able to drive."
Many in attendance seemed to share Ginsburg's sentiments regarding the Lewinsky case. When, in reference to Starr, Ginsburg said he wanted "a tax credit or refund -- I'm tired of paying for his activities," the comment met with a hearty "yes" from the audience.
"I thought he was outstanding," said Sandra Klasky, a former president of the Valley Alliance. "He laid out the parameters, that he wouldn't speak about Monica, yet he gave us a lot of good information."
The breakfast meeting was the fourth such event this year for the Valley Business & Professional Division.
Preceding Ginsburg, five representatives of the Tel Aviv Neighbors dance troupe entertained the guests with a brief song-and-dance act. The troupe, a part of the Federation's Los Angeles/Tel Aviv Partnership, performed the night before at the University of Judaism's Gindi Auditorium and are touring through August 7.