July 2009


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The Smiling Spider will be taking a break for the rest of the summer but I wanted to leave you with a few shows worth seeing. First, the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors are taking over the city with their new sketch comedy “Bow Down to your Asian Masters”:

July 31th-August 23th. Thurs., Fri., Sat., & Sun. @ 8pm, 4 WEEK LIMITED ENGAGEMENT! (July 30th PREVIEW $5) @ THE COMPLEX (Dorie Theater) , 6476 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90038, (East of Highland Ave.) Reservations: 818-754-4500 (vm) or purchase tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/70969 . Information: email 18mmw.mail@gmail.com or go to http://www.18mmw.com.

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At CASA 0101, you can enjoy the latest episode of EL VERDE, the super hero on an everlasting quest to discover what his super power is… August 7th-30th. For more information go to http://www.casa0101.org.

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LODESTONE THEATRE ENSEMBLE, under the artistic direction of Philip W. Chung & Chil Kong, proudly presents CLOSER THAN EVER, a musical revue in two acts with words by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire. Directed by Chil Kong. Music Direction by Akira Nakano. Starring: Sharline Liu, DT Matias, Blythe Matsui, Paul Na kauchi, Erin Quill, EJ Arriola, Jully Lee, Jiehae Park, & Miley Yamamoto.

An all Asian American revival of CLOSER THAN EVER, the classic 1989 musical revue which won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and was nominated for multiple Drama Desk Awards. CLOSER THAN EVER features self-contained songs which deal with such diverse topics as aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages and unrequited love. This is the second mainstage production of Lodestone’s tenth and final “Beginnings and Endings” season.

Thursday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 2pm. ALL THURS. SHOWS: 2-for-1 general admission tickets if you say the codeword “Doors” at box office. NOTE: Thurs., August 13 performance is SOLD-OUT. To RSVP: (323) 993-7245. For more more information, go to: http://www.lodestonetheatre.org.

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I would also like to acknowledge R. Ernie Silva whose solo show, Heavy Like the Weight of  A Flame, has been extended at  the Odyssey Theatre through September 5th. R. Ernie Silva prances about the stage with uncommon grace and power in this autobiographical journey written by Silva and novelist James Gabriel. The show is deftly choreographed and directed by Mary Joan Negro with special mention to Bosco Flanagan whose lighting design subtly evokes the dark places visited by Silva and reflected off of his unsually expressive face.

The following review was found on http://theguide.latimes.com: “Watching R. Ernie Silva in his autobiographical ‘Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame” is like listening to exquisite poetry, music both classical and jazz all wrapped in the true life experience of the urban jungles of New York. His movement, lovely guitar riffs and impersonations of the players in his life story add to a profoundly satisfying evening of performance art. This is special theater, well worth going to.” By mypetard.

Like El Verde, I hope Ernie Silva will treat us to more episodes of his identity quest. Click here for more information.



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Jolted in the night, San Francisco’s East Bay residents attempted to shield themselves from shattering windows as the sky blazed.  320 people were killed, 400 more were injured, and everything within a one mile radius was destroyed in a flash.  50 survivors were imprisoned for mutiny.  If you have not heard about the worst home front military disaster in our history, you will now know why.  If you had already known about it, you will find out that there is still much more to the story. The worst home front military disaster in US history has been one of our best kept secrets, until now.

After 6 decades (July 17, 2009 marks the 65th anniversary of the tragedy), the story known as the MUTINY AT PORT CHICAGO is finally brought to the stage in this WORLD PREMIERE production at Ruskin Group Theatre July 10-August 15, 2009.

Ruskin Group Theatre has been making an impact on the Los Angeles theatrical scene with an eclectic mix of thought provoking plays and programs.  Their ‘Fostering Imagination’ program sponsors foster kids in theatre & film classes that produce several original shows each year.  The CAFÉ PLAYS, created by RGT are produced monthly and are the culmination of writers, actors, and directors who meet at 9am, where they are given a theme.  They then write, produce, and perform a show by 7pm the same day.  Recently celebrating their 5th anniversary, RGT supporters Ed Asner, Dylan McDermott, Chris Malkey, Olivia d’Abo, and other industry celebrities joined to produce the Best of Café Plays (both shows sold out within hours).  Anthony Hopkins and Anthony Franciosa were some of the Ruskin School of Theatre’s first teachers.

Written and directed by: Paul Leaf. Produced by: Mike Myers and Dana Lynn Bennett

Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Road, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Tickets (310) 397-3244.  Running: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm. Sundays at 2 pm. Closing performance: Saturday, August 15, 2009. All Seats are $20 ($15.00 for students, seniors, and guild members.)

With J. Teddy Garces, Maury Sterling, Josh Drennen, Cris DAnnunzio, Durant Fowler, Eric Bivens Bush.

For more information on the mutiny itself, go to http://www.portchicagomutiny.com.

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J. Teddy Garces as Ed.

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The consequences of love can be horrifying, yet miraculously tender.  Callie meets Sara and an astonishing chain of events is set into motion.  This story pays homage to life’s abrupt and unexpected transformations…to romance, and to the search for personal identity.

STOP KISS will run Friday, July 10 and then every Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm through July 26th.  Afterwards, August 2nd & 3rd and continuing Fridays & Mondays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm in rep with TREEFALL thru August 23, 2009.  Check dates on website or call (323) 930-0747.  ROGUE MACHINE in Theatre Theater is located at 5041 Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased by calling (323) 960-7774 or at http://www.roguemachinetheatre.com.

ROGUE MACHINE draws upon the diverse and extensive experience of its collective while creating high-quality productions by contemporary playwrights who specifically address our culture and time.  The ROGUE MACHINE mission includes building a theatre of ideas and nurturing the development of plays from contemporary writers while manifesting current culture, and consciousness.  ROGUE MACHINE projects will exhibit a strong emphasis on presenting new plays or plays new to Los Angeles.

Written by Diana Son. Directed by Elina de Santos. With Deborah Puette, Kristina Harrison, Inger Tudor, Joerge Watson and Christian Anderson.

4TH JULY DRUM CIRCLE

The calendar on the Venice Beach Drum Circle website hasn’t been updated since 2007 but I believe dancers and performers gather every Sunday. I walked along Venice Beach yesterday late afternoon and at 6:30pm the drum circle was well under way.

The web site is still a great place to get information about the history of the Drum Circle and the many controversies surrounding it since the year 2000 when the site was created, including the Boardwalk Lottery, which sadly resulted in the exodus of true artists selling their work and the arrival of junk arts and crafts. I hadn’t been to Venice Beach in a long time and was truly saddened by the mediocrity of the art and jewelry on display.

According to DrumsOnTheWeb.com, which lists Drum Circles in the US and around the world, the Venice Beach drum circle dates back to the 1960’s.

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I visited MOLAA a few weeks ago  and highly recommend this museum which offers, among others, poetry, films, cooking classes and is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary of Murals Under the Stars starting on July 18th. I might just have to go back on that day just so I can taste the Mango Cheesecake offered by Viva Cafe. I had their arroz con leche on the outdoor patio and I can still taste the generous offering of sticky sweet rice and cinammon.

Their current exhibit: “Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamin” runs through August 16th.

The pictures on this post are only a small sample of the eclectic art gracing the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture and Events Garden.

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Oswaldo Guayasamin’s El Grito II, The Cry II, 1983, Oil on canvas.

In the HBO movie “John Adams”, John Adams asks Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence. “Why me?” asks Jefferson.  “I have a great opinion of the elegance of your pen,” is John Adams’ third reason.

Benjamin Franklin (Tom Wilkinson) and John Adams (Paul Giamatti) review Jefferson’s draft.  Benjamin Franklin to Jefferson: “You lay the evils of slavery at the feet of the King but you say nothing of slavery itself sir.”

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Theatre Unleashed presents Metamorphose, the second installment in its Galleries series, July 1-2 at Studio/Stage in Hollywood. Transcendental theatre at its finest, Metamorphose is less of a show and more of a collective Hero’s Journey into the belly of the whale. With a loose structure and ever-changing performances developed from weeks of introspection, connection and exploration guided by the many cycles of change, this artistic event promises nothing but surprise and impact…for the audience and performers alike.

When: July 1st & 2nd, 2009 @ 8pm

Where: Studio/Stage
520 N. Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 9004

Tickets: $10 General Admission
To RSVP:
Call (818) 849-4039 or order tickets online at brownpapertickets.com.