May 2009


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Photo found on http://www.justspaces.org.

Company of Angels Theatre and Urban Possibilities present

Downtown Voices

STANDING IN THE GAP

Friday May 29th. Saturday May 30th at 8pm, and Sunday May 31st at 3 and 7pm

at CoA Inside The Black Box at The Alexandria Hotel

501 S. Spring Street, (corner of 5th St.) THIRD FLOOR, Downtown Los Angeles, 90013

STANDING IN THE GAP is a new theatrical production that shares the insights, courage and talents of inner-city men and women.  In the gap between skid row reality and the real estate developers vision for a revitalized downtown stand the low income, often homeless men and women who for decades have relied on the safety net provided by the flop houses and streets of downtown LA.  In spite of attempts to build them out of existence, these men and women are still here and in “Standing in the Gap” they tell their stories.  Monologues, comedic scenes, and songs weave together to create a kaleidoscope of life in the other downtown.  In January 2009, CoA and U.P. joined forces to create a Theater Workshop for low-income residents of downtown.  These workshops provide a safe space to foster artistic expression for those unaccustomed to having this opportunity.   From these workshops a new theatrical ensemble was borne and their untapped talent created the theatrical pieces that make up “Standing in the Gap”

http://www.CompanyofAngels.orgCoA reflects and responds to the richness, diversity and complexity that is Los Angeles . Our company of diverse theater artists fosters mutual learning partnerships with the residents of this city through artistic development opportunities, community building enterprises and life experiences. Those partnerships develop emerging artists, create new work and re-envision theater to entertain and serve the City of Angels.

http://www.UrbanPossibilities.org U.P. exists to help and inspire homeless and working poor men and women see beyond their circumstances to fulfill their unlimited potential. We are a growing community of producers, artists, entrepreneurs and everyday people driven by the passion to create possibilities for those working hard to help them.

Tickets $30 & $20  at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/66571

CoA Inside The Black Box at The Alexandria

501 S. Spring St. Third Floor, Downtown LA, 90013


IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE A TICKET  PLEASE PURCHASE YOUR TICKET AND SELECT WILL CALL TO RECEIVE IT.  THEN TAKE ONE MORE IMPORTANT STEP AND EMAIL JACKIE@URBANPOSSIBILITIES.ORG  YOUR NAME AND THE NUMBER OF WILL CALL TICKETS DONATED.  OR YOU CAN CALL 323-883-1717 AND SOMEONE WILL GET BACK TO YOU AND PROCESS YOUR DONATION.  YOUR GIFT WILL ABSOLUTELY THRILL SOMEONE!  THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY

mrshobbs

Mrs. Hobbs was one of the “Monsters of Accordion” at Safari Sam, August 2008.

“Post Pop Cabaret Squeeze-box Diva” aka Mrs. Hobbs will perform this coming Monday “Where Did My Love Go?” with members of the clown troupe Everybody Nose as part of MAX 10, the monthly performance laboratory produced by the solar-powered visual and performing arts center, the Electric Lodge.

MAX 10 = 10 performers for 10 minutes 10 times a year @ The Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice, CA. 7:30PM. $10.00.

Also performing on June 1st are: Kingsley Irons, Daniel Brezenoff, Ken Rugg, Andrea Abbate, Valeria Dessiant, David Javelosa, Sara Henry and Jeff Decola.

Click here for more information on MAX 10.

You can sample Mrs. Hobbs music at http://www.mrshobbs.com.

tiger

A U.S. soldier watches over a Bengal tiger in Baghdad’s zoo that was donated by a U.S. conservation group. AFP picture found on the Radio Free Europe website. Click here to read their story: “Iraq asks World to Help Replenish Baghdad Zoo.”

Bloodstains on the Chin: El Ogrito and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo ~ excerpt of a review by LA Weekly‘s Steven Leigh Morris published on 05/20/2009.

Cannibalism and the safe havens of gardens are in the air this year, prevalent symbols of brutality and refuge, as we try to fathom the consequences of what we’ve been doing in the world for the past decade. Suzanne Lebeau’s El Ogrito (The Ogreling) — at the 24th Street Theatre — is a fairy tale about a mother trying to protect her young son from the heredity and instinct of blood lust. His father, you see, was/is an ogre, or one who eats children. After going through six of his own daughters, he fled in order to give his infant son a chance. Dad hangs offstage in the forest, watching with admiration as his son struggles with hereditary, demonic passions to eat little animals and, eventually, little children, while his mother strives valiantly to ban the color red from the house and serve him vegetarian fare grown in the garden — in these plays, gardens always serve as an antidote to the horrors of who we are.

That garden shows up also in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, being given its world premiere by Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas. It’s a beautiful play but not a huge risk for CTG. They got a generous NEA grant to produce it, after it was developed by the Lark Play Development Center in New York. On the part of a CTG, it’s more a triumph of administration than creativity but a triumph nonetheless. Among the living and the ghosts populating Joseph’s dreamscape is a topiarist in 2002 Baghdad named Musa (Arian Moayed), though the occupying American soldiers inexplicably call him Habib. Musa works for Uday Hussein — yes, that would be one of Saddam’s notorious sons. On the palace grounds where Musa works, he has created large sculptures from trees — now tattered figurines of an elephant and a lion and giraffe, which show up in Derek McLane’s scenic design. The place seems to have a calming effect on the people who wander through.

(Howard KordersIn the Garden, which was part of South Coast Repertory’s Pacific Playwrights Festival this year, also features a garden as an emblem of refuge in American-occupied Iraq. The man who designed it is an American architect working on commission. His creation, taking 16 surreal years to complete, includes the intoxicating scent of lemon blossoms derived from the childhood memory of his Iraqi patron. That garden, like the garden in Bengal Tiger, is a place where time stands still, until it’s bombed by the U.S. forces.)

Click here for full review.

EL OGRITO is playing on Saturday, May 30th at 1pm at the 24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th Street, LA, CA 90007, http://www.24thstreet.org.

BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO is playing through June 7th at the Kirk Doublas Center, 9820 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230. Click here for more information.

alwaysandforever

Alma is fifteen years old, and longs to escape the drudgery of a traditional quinceañera.
But when she prays for a chance to meet musical heartthrob Adán Sánchez, she accidently
conjures the spirit of Jesús Malverde: patron saint of Mexican drug smugglers. The result
is a coming-of-age adventure about loss and hope… and the magic of music.

Starring: (in alphabetical order) Joe Angeles (understudy),Michelle Castillo, Candace Daniels, Robert Fonseca, Ezequiel Guerra, Geo Hernandez, Arturo Medina, Xavi Moreno, Federico Patiño and Dalia Perla

Produced by Emmanuel Deleage, Xavi Moreno, Todd Silver and Lisa Pringle

CASA 0101 Theatre
2009 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

15 Performances Only!
Friday May 22nd through Sunday June 14th
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM
Sundays at 7 PM

Tickets are $15 general admission,
$12 Students/Seniors
and $10 Boyle Heights Residents
Group rates available

For reservations or information please call 323-263-7684 or visit http://www.casa0101.org.

Click here for my recent interview with actor Xavi Moreno.

Cheeseball_2 copy

Sister Elizabeth Donderstock makes cheese balls that sustain the existence of her entire religious community, Clusterhaven. However, she feels unappreciated among her Squeamish brethren, and she decides to try her luck in the outside world. She meets a Cockney-speaking Ukrainian immigrant couple and finds a job at Plymouth Crock, a restaurant run almost entirely by recovering alcoholics. Things are going great for Liz, until she’s offered a promotion to manager.  Liz has a sweating problem and to get the job, she’ll have to have an operation to fix it. Meanwhile, back at Clusterhaven, Liz’s compatriots just can’t seem to duplicate her cheese ball recipe, and it’s going to cost them their quaint, cloistered lifestyle. They are panic-stricken and sure she sabotaged the recipe. Does Liz go through with the operation? Can the Squeamish be saved? Will the cheese balls ever taste good again? The answers to these and so many other questions can be found in this comedy from the Talent Family, David and Amy Sedaris.

Click here for a preview of the book.

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REverse1

Ewan Chung, Emily Kuroda and Peggy Ahn in Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

“After 10 years, Lodestone Theatre Ensemble is calling it quits. No, this isn’t another sad tale of an arts group crunched by the imploding economy. L.A.’s maverick Asian American stage company simply decided that it’s time to go.”We felt we had hit our stride,” says co-artistic director Philip W. Chung. “We had done all that we could with this incarnation.”… Lodestone’s final season is designed to showcase its desire to tell unconventional stories in unconventional ways (its motto is “plays without rules”) and an affinity for life’s dark sides, tempered by a sense of humor. “We’ve always done whatever we wanted,” says Chung. That’s meant shunning staples of Asian American theater — generational struggles, cultural identity crises — and pursuing “new plays by new writers, plays with more edge that might even be seen as twisted.” From “Lodestone Theater Ensemble is going out on its own terms” by Karen Wada, Los Angeles Times, 05/03/09. Click here for full article.

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Feodor Chin and Peggy Ahn in Tim Lounibos’ BE HAPPY. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

Tim Lounibos, co-founder, who wrote BE HAPPY one of the 4 one-acts comprising TEN TO LIFE, the first show of the final season: “I’ve been with Lodestone from the start and spent the past one and a half years in a dark claustrophobic room with my fellow Lodestone colleagues, creating a perversely compelling show to kick off our final year. TEN TO LIFE is part Twilight Zone, part Outer Limits, part Hitchcock and, hopefully, 100% entertaining-exactly what Lodestone should be.”

HaciendaHeights2

Feodor Chin, Janet Song and Ewan Chung in Annette Lee’s HACIENDA HEIGHTS.

I saw the show last Saturday and all I can tell you, without giving away too much, is that it lived up to its bizarre, entertaining, perversely compelling  and twisted expectations.  My unnatural opinion – to stay in the spirit of TEN TO LIFE – is that watching Annette Lee’s HACIENDA HEIGHTS made me feel like an organ being transplanted into a body that never quite accepted me: the whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its inventive yet odd parts. Tim Lounibos’ first creation,  BE HAPPY, is a house of dangerous mirrors reflecting the most vulnerable aspects of ourselves and constantly keeping us on the edge of our restraint seat thanks also to the wonderful chemistry between Feodor Chin and Peggy Ahn. I already knew that Judy Soo Hoo was one of the Brothers Grimm’s most talented cousins. Phantasmagoria is the word that came to my inquisitive mind as I struggled to describe her RED DRESS. When I looked up the eccentric noun on http://www.thefreedictionary.com, its definition perfectly described what I had witnessed: “A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.” I’m only sorry I didn’t get all of the explosive finale because of a certain magic wand used by actress Emily Kuroda with such authority that, on that night, it drowned out her voice.

I know, I know, it’s only three stories and I said TEN TO LIFE consists of 4-one acts. In Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse, Jully Lee (I always look forward to see her perform,) Ewan Chung and Feodor Chin show off their range and hit many notes, from ardent to discordant,  in quite a few interesting and compromising positions. I really can’t say anything more about it. And certainly not anything wrong. My hands are tied. I shouldn’t say that. I don’t want my hands tied. You see, I’m afraid the author will go after me if I say something wrong about RE:verse. If he greets you in the lobby, don’t be fooled by his gentle nature… and please, I urge you, don’t tell anyone that I said on the blogosphere of 112.8 millions and counting, that Nic Cha Kim is…. unrepentantly WICKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REverse3

Jully Lee and Feodor Chin  in Nic Cha Kim’s RE:verse. Photo by Nic Cha Kim.

The cast includes Peggy Ahn, Feodor Chin, Ewan Chung, Elpidio Ebuen, Emily Kuroda, Jully Lee, Janet Song, Carin Chea, Vincent Gabucan, Junko Goda and Joon Lee. The show is directed by Alberto Isaac.

Through June 7th. For show times, admission prices and directions to the GTC Burbank, go to http://www.lodestonetheatre.org.

goldengate

The following is an excerpt of a story written by AlDesmadre for the LA Eastside blog:

Most of us are sadly familiar with the present state of a former Eastside jewel, the Golden Gate Theater.

The property, including the remaining auditorium structure, are currently under ownership by a development company who appears inclined to possibly lease it to a commercial builder. I’ve heard of a proposed Walgreen’s drug store or something of that nature being mentioned. Over the past few years, I’ve undertaken a grassroots preservation effort by networking with local individuals and groups who unanimously agree that this former icon deserves a legacy worthy of the historical and cultural importance of our East Los Angeles community.

I now call out to anyone out there who agrees that this site of the Golden Gate Theater should house something of more significance and better use for the community than another drug store. And now, there’s a small glimmer of hope…

Based on my recent posts on the Golden Gate, I have recently been contacted by the Los Angeles Conservancy to share my efforts with them and present our case at a public hearing scheduled for next week. If you agree with us and would like to support our proposal for something better on that corner, now is the time that we need your emails and letters of support. Post your responses here, send an email, whatever way suits you, and I will compile the entire show of support and present it to the planning commission. And please do it soon! We’re also banking on our faith that Ms. Molina and the County board will also lend their support by reconsidering the current plans for the space.

Imagine the possibilities, An East L.A. Cultural, Arts & Heritage Center, a place for our neighborhood students to rediscover their local history. A place to showcase the images, recordings, readings, history, literature & arts that the Eastside has contributed to the world. Or perhaps a local non-profit could find some wonderful use for it. I especially would like to see the stage and auditorium refurbished and reused again. I’d almost say: “Anything but another drug store!

Thanks to all in advance! Let’s do this. Below is a copy of the L.A. Conservancy’s position letter with the information on the hearing at the very bottom.

Click here for full story.

The web site Cinema Treasures is a great place to learn about the theater history and its impact on the community, like in this reader’s comment: “Growing up, I lived near Atlantic and Olympic and have many wonderful memories of days at the Golden Gate. What a classic, beautiful theater!! I would often just go and watch whatever was playing. I remember one afternoon when my mother gave me some money for the movies and I went there by myself and, as a 10 year-old, watched “Psycho”!! I also loved the set-up, where you would purchase the ticket at the booth at the sidewalk on Whittier Blvd., then walk down the covered courtyard, past the shops before entering the theater. On hot summer afternoons, there was no better place to be. Too bad it has not been restored. I would also love to see other photos of the place in its glory days.”

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