laviews

“LA Views II” is the second installment of the Company of Angels’ hugely popular Playwrights Group project, “LA Views,” which debuted in 2008. Among the inspirations for this show are Enrico Caruso, Sessue Hayakawa, Alla Nazimova, Pola Negri, Mabel Normand, Ramon Novarro, Mary Pickford, and Rudolph Valentino.

Luminaries of the Silent Era are the inspiration of contemporary Los Angeles playwrights Damon Chua, Leon Martell, Jamison Newlander, Henry Ong, S. Vasanti Saxena, Lilly Thomassian, Brenda Varda and Kyle T. Wilson.  This moving and comic chronicle, set during the heydays and nowadays of Downtown Los Angeles’ Alexandria Hotel, shines a light on the parallel lives of those who have inhabited this building in its heyday and those who dwell in its present embodiment. This production examines lives once lived at their most celebrated, while contrasting the reality of current existence that approaches irrelevance and obscurity.” http://www.companyofangels.org

Finding myself in the company of actor/poet Xavi Moreno at an exclusive private screening of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” in Boyle Heights last weekend, I decided Xavi was the perfect spokesperson for CoA’s new production. One reason is that he performed in two significant plays last year which highlighted L.A.’s history present and past:  the exuberant Company of Angels’ staging of  Ricardo A. Bracho’s “SISSY“,  about affirming one’s difference on the streets of 1970’s Culver City, and Cornerstone Theatre Group’s “FOR ALL TIME” written by KJ Sanchez, a heart wrenching examination into how civilians and convicts alike are affected by the consequences of their actions and by the laws of California’s  justice system. The other reason for making Xavi Moreno’s the ambassador to “LA VIEWS II”?  He’s one of those rare actors who can claim L.A. as his native city.

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Company of Angels members Richard Azurdia and Xavi Moreno in Boyle Heights.

Xavi Moreno:  I was born, raised and staged “East”of the LA River in the historic neighborhood of Boyle Heights. The house I grew up in has a view of the Hollywood sign from the front porch. I wasn’t inspired by seeing the sign every day – I couldn’t – it was always smoggy. It’s in my blood. My parents have always been entertainers. I was placed on stage 2 months after my birth. I played “Baby Jesus” in a comedic production of “El Nacimineto” that featured my pops as Jose and several other known Mexican actors at the famed El Million Dollar stage in Downtown. That was my first on-stage performance, naked and I’m still not equity..haha.

What kept the inspiration wheel rolling was my babysitters: El Chavo del Ocho, El Chapulin Colorado, La India Maria and novelas like Rosa Salvaje and Carusel de Ninos. My parents were always working so these folks took care of me and when the T.V was shut off, it was my turn to shine and that’s when my crush for live theater began and I have endured a lifelong love/hate relationship with the stage ever since. Theater has stereotyped me, personalized me, released me, and brought me many of my best travels, friends, and experiences, while it has also held me back and held me down. Theater is the foundation that all my accomplishments have been built upon. It’s the fuel that jets me always a step ahead of the pack.

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When Xavi’s life is not engulfed by theater, he performs as one of  Los Poets del Norte.


Xavi: At Company of Angels, we represent Los Angeles.  We are Gay! We are the vendor at the Hoover freeway exit selling oranges, we’ve experienced racism and hate war, we protect historical landmarks destroyed and restored. CoA is like LA is in different colors, shapes and sizes; we are in every direction from Indiana Ave to PCH, from San Pedro to Angeles Crest. We are every corner, block – make it 5th & Spring or Rodeo & Wilshire.

We help give voice to the voiceless stories that exist in our communities in every tongue, in every home, apartment, tent or cardboard box and now loft. We tell you the realness of our streets, the smut beneath the perils of LA’s spider-web freeways, and while we hold on to this history as the oldest professional repertory theater in Los Angeles, we stay true to our roots, we speak out, we live, we share, we make love, destroy, dream, make YOU dream, scream, laugh, cry, we create, impersonate and celebrate…we take the stories from every corner and create theater for Los Angeles by Los Angeles, playwrights, actors, directors. CoA Loves LA!

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Actors/Directors Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin.

Xavi: In LA VIEWS II, I play Cole in Damon Chua’s “Fresh Cream Pie” inspired by the late silent film comedienne Mabel Normand who, by searching my historical archives, is buried in East L.A at the Calvary Cemetery. Anyways this piece is set in present day Alexandria Hotel – I figure that cause it deals with YouTube, I don’t think YouTube was on 8mm back in the Alexandria heydays?? In “Fresh Cream Pie,” Cole and pal Mick, played by Mel Rodriguez, chat  up during a graveyard shift at the job about jealousy, million dollar lottery dreams,  sexual fantasies, you tube videos… I can’t tell you what happens you have to see it for yo-self…..see you at the 5th & Spring crossroads..

LA VIEWS II: TALES OF PRESENT PAST will be performed April 17th – May 10th, Fridays and Saturdays 8pm
Sundays 3pm &7pm @ The Alexandria, 501 S. Spring St. 3rd Floor, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90013
(plenty of safe street parking available.) For more information go to http://www.companyofangels.org.

Tickets: $20 General, $15 Students & Seniors. Box office: 323-883-1717. Purchase tickets online at
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/events/59877.

DIRECTORS:
TONY GATTO / JAMISON NEWLANDER
LUI SANCHEZ / NURIT SIEGEL

ACTORS:
KAREN ANZOATEGUI / JUANITA CHASE / MAURICE COMPTE
MARISSA GARCIA / JESSICA KOCHU / CURTIS KRICK
DARRELL KUNITOMI / JONATHON LAMER / JOSHUA LAMONT
JOYCE F. LIU / ERIC MARTIG / XAVI MORENO
ONYAY PHEORI / MEL RODRIGUEZ / BRIAN ROHAN
SARAH ROSENBERG / TARTA SMITHEMAN / MARCO TAZIOLI

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