A Dark, Disturbing but Relevant Film, A Classic Play, Music That Will Have You Up On Your Feet and Get Ready To Laugh


Joan Alperin

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic


To quote the Joker, 'What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash?' 'You get what you f-ing deserve.' That about sums up the brilliant, dark, disturbing, profound film JOKER directed by Todd Phillips who also wrote it along with Scott Silver.

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix who gives an astonishing performance as Arthur Fleck/Joker proving once again he may just be one of the top ten great actors of our generation. Phoenix lost a lot of weight to play the part. He looks thin, frail, hungry. Phoenix is in practically ever scene and he is absolutely mesmerizing.

Before he becomes the Joker, Arthur is one of societies freaks. He's beaten up, made fun of, a misunderstood loner. All Arthur wants to do is make people laugh. After all he's a clown and that's what he's paid to do.

Arthur tells us he 'just doesn't want to feel so bad anymore.' But that's not to be. We see the mental, moral, emotional and physical make up of the man who becomes the Joker. This is not a comic book movie. It's a devastating film about one of the most iconic villains in cinema history but at the same time, it comments on our society and what's happening in this country now. 'Joker' opens in theaters Friday, October 4th. Get your tickets now.

Speaking of powerful, Arthur Miller's ALL MY SONS is just that. The play opened on Broadway on January 1947 and it's still relevant today. 'All My Sons' is based upon a true story. The Wright Aeronautical Corporation based in Ohio had conspired with army inspection officers to approve defective aircraft engines destined for military use.

The Tony winning play starts in the middle of the action, abruptly in August 1947. Joe Keller, a self made businessman and his wife Kate are visited by a neighbor Frank. At Kate's request Frank is trying to figure out the horoscope of the Kellers' missing son Larry, who disappeared three years earlier while serving in the military during World War II.

The entire play takes place over one day in the yard of the Keller's. Secrets of the past expose who is family and how we justify the sacrifice we make for family. 'All My Sons' is directed by Elina de Santos and she does an excellent job.

Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 705 1/2 Venice Blvd in Venice. The play is presented by the Co-op of PRT. This is an electrifying drama of family conflict, patriotic duty and personal greed and even though it is set in the aftermath of WW II I'm sure it's very relatable for events occurring in 2019.

For tickets go to PacificResidentTheatre.com.

Now for something lighter. HARVELLS is a club that has been presenting Blues, Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, Spoken Word, Burlesque and more since 1931. I've seen a lot of great acts there, but one of the best is called THE TOLEDO SHOW. It plays every Sundays at 9pm.

As quoted by the Los Angeles Times, Toledo is 'the coolest Cat working in Hollywood.' 'The show is top notch and really must be experienced. Toledo is considered on of the hottest acts in modern music.' Toledo is a Soul singer, Jazz man, poet, dancer, choreographer, connoisseur of haberdashery and probably one of the most dramatic and entertaining performers you will ever see.

He's toured all over the United States and Australia always getting rave reviews. His vocal styling's have been compared to Tom Waits, Marvin Gaye, Sly Stone and Barry White. How could it be any better? I'm seeing him again this Sunday and I can't wait. Oh if Burlesque is your thing, you will definitely get to see that as well. It's part of the show and if you like sexy female dancers called 'Dames' in the show, you'll love watching them hanging from rods installed near the ceiling of Harvelle's during a song.

Harvells is located at 1432 4th Street in Santa Monica. For tickets call 310-395-1676 or go to Harvelles.com

Lastly one of my favorite improv group takes place at the GROUNDLINGS. I've been going there for years and I've always laughed so hard that I almost fell off my chair. Their new show entitled ALL THE LEAVES ARE GROUNDLINGS opens this Friday, October 4th, and I promise you will love every minute of it.

For tickets call the box office 323-934-4747 or go to Groundlings.com/shows/all-the-leaves-are-groundlings. Some of our best comedians have come from The Groundlings School, including Kathy Griffith, Jon Lovitz and Laraine Newman just to name a few. ALL THE LEAVES ARE GROUNDLINGS plays Fridays at 8pm and Saturday at 8pm and 10pm.

The theatre is located at 7307 Melrose in West LA.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.