Pittsburgh folklore has it that there is a working class bar which has the reputation for being the place where a teenage Andy Warhol drew on napkins in exchange for Coca-Cola. While drinking at that same bar, playwright, Vince Melocchi, began to see it in a different way… as a creative, mysterious place. He noted, “Andy allowed us to see, think, and feel about art in a completely new way. I wanted to find out who and what were his real influences. Andy Warhol’s Tomato imagines a chance encounter between Warhol and a Pittsburgh bar owner, as one of the steps on Warhol's extraordinary journey in life”*
Enjoy this interview with Derek Chariton - Heinrich (Stargate Origins) and the cast of “Andy Warhol’s Tomato” at The Pacific Resident Theatre, running until Sep 29th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.
Director Marc Antonio Pritchett is currently rehearsing his cast for the next main stage production Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Theatre Palisades. I sat down with this classically trained actor, singer, and stunt combatant to learn more about his take on this classic crime script and uncover a few details about this multi-talented entertainment industry professional.
The Mousetrap is truly a classic of the whodunnit genre. What is your take going to be?
How are you directing this production for Theatre Palisades?
It’s amazing to break into this material and really see how detailed Agatha Christie was - which she had to be, as the queen of crime! She put all of these little details, all of these “Easter eggs” into places that will pay off later in scenes. In rehearsal, it’s a challenge. But the payoff is worth it. We just have to cross all of our t’s and dot our i’s, and manage to act in there as well, to pull off this amazing show that’s been done more than any other show ever.
There will be some fun discoveries and connections for those who watch and listen very closely. We are definitely honoring the original script, and we are making it as digestible for a modern audience as possible.
Why did you choose to direct Agatha Christie?
I’ve always been into the genre! As a kid, I was into Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes. I loved to try to figure out what was going on before the ending. So this is a really unique opportunity to help shape that experience for other people.
What inspires you as a director?
Probably the most impactful experiences have been working with the classics - working with Shakespeare in particular, where, in addition to the normal things you have to work with in a play, you have this heightened language that you have to make seem commonplace. You have to get the actors to emote through the language, and to get them to be able to communicate in a way that modern people can hear.
I also have a background in Opera, which is very helpful, because in many cases with that genre, the audience is just looking at supertitles and may have no idea what’s going on! So you really have to make sure the performers are communicating physically and emotively for the audience to be able to follow the story all the way through.
We know directing is only one of your many skills and talents. What are some of the others?
I’m a session singer. Recently, I sang on the new Lion King movie soundtrack, which was an amazing experience! I also do fight work, sword work in particular. I’m a fight coordinator and I run a stage combat school.
So it’s a weird, eclectic mix but it all comes together when I'm directing or acting.
I went to the University of Georgia where I was a double major in Music and Drama, and I also studied Martial Arts and Fencing. A counselor there directed me to go into entertainment where all of these skills could come together. No one cares if a concert pianist can throw a side-kick, but an actor who can play piano and throw a kick is more valuable. And this is true with directors as well. So I changed my music focus to film composition, and fighting into stage combat.
What shows are on your future wish list? Besides all of Shakespeare, of course...
Hamlet was one of my first professional gigs, which I did 170 times! I’d like to do something like David Ives (All in the Timing) again, an evening of one-acts. I love hilarious one-acts like that, so either specifically David Ives, or someone who is similar. Also, some of the parodies to the classics are fun, like Fortinbras. I’ve always wanted to direct that. So maybe have a run of Hamlet on a double bill with Fortinbras.
The Mousetrap, by Agatha Christie, is performing at Theatre Palisades from August 30 through October 6, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm.
You can purchase tickets via phone at 310-454-1970 or via http://www.theatrepalisades.com/ Tickets are $20-22.
www.better-lemons.com /Aug 3-Sep 29
Pittsburgh folklore has it that there is a working class bar which has the reputation for being the place where a teenage Andy Warhol drew on napkins in exchange for Coca-Cola. While drinking at that same bar, playwright, Vince Melocchi, began to see it in a different way… as a creative, mysterious place. He noted, “Andy allowed us to see, think, and feel about art in a completely new way. I wanted to find out who and what were his real influences. Andy Warhol’s Tomato imagines a chance encounter between Warhol and a Pittsburgh bar owner, as one of the steps on Warhol's extraordinary journey in life”
Theatrical shows NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar! For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.
THE LONESOME WEST, BY MARTIN MCDONAGH
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In this dark comedy written by the Academy Award Winning Writer/Director of In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Valene and Colman are brothers residing in the far reaches of rural west Ireland. https://t.co/OFHaEfQth9pic.twitter.com/rum9du6lpn
VALERIE PERRI AND JACK & BENNY LIPSON: ALL IN THE FAMILY
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Celebrated singer/actress Valerie Perri and her twin sons composer/singer/multi-instrumentalists Jack and Benny Lipson bring their unique musical show "All in the Family," directed by Barbara Epstein, to the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura for two https://t.co/f0SzKXKjOBpic.twitter.com/jGR6dfYkCL
Hot off a successful run at the Hollywood Fringe, the most evil man in the world Sylus Rothchild is running for President. He's the only candidate who has a puppet as his campaign manager, and a warrant out for his arrest. https://t.co/pYo2Qyyyuopic.twitter.com/tvWQazb8VA
Storybook Theatre's version of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale is hopping into Theatre West this Fall. As always at Storybook, there will be plenty of audience participation and singing and dancing. https://t.co/jUaqayClsqpic.twitter.com/REo7sSKPUU
HANDJOB - When a gay writer hires a man to work as a “shirtless cleaner,” homophobia, racism and issues of consent bubble to the surface.This outrageous comedy will leave you gasping with shock and laughter as it explores the deepest sensitivities... https://t.co/ZKqDWiz1Tppic.twitter.com/8WtjpZATde
FERTILE: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE EXPECTATION OF PROCREATION
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WINNER Producers' Encore Award & NOMINEE Best Solo Performance 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival! Jenny has a plan. A plan to get pregnant. Everyone says, time is running out - she just turned 35, after all. https://t.co/v9HGuEY2nEpic.twitter.com/JRcR1yACCL
A staged reading of a new play, which was a 2018 NYT Critic's Pick. Written by Gracie Gardner, directed by Kate Bergstrom. Presented outdoors on The Fowler Museum's Goldenberg Terrace, ATHENA is a coming-of-age comedy by critically acclaimed playwright https://t.co/GPlg21sRZtpic.twitter.com/KCzekGIX92
Arianne MacBean is a writer, educator and Artistic Director of The Big Show Co., a LA-based interdisciplinary performance group. Although when asked how she would describe herself she leads with choreographer, her biography on her company page does not list that among her many titles. In contrast, her Instagram profile defines her as “Choreographer, Writer, Educator, Girl Gang Boss.” She dances and performs with her company, but specifically says that she is no longer a dancer. This enigmatic question of self categorization set off a conversation full of layered responses and complex ideas related to identity, process and creation. Her journey to become the artistic force that she is today was and continues to be long, winding and constantly evolving.
Like most creatives in Los Angeles, MacBean wears many hats, has numerous titles and shoulders many responsibilities. In addition to being the director and force behind the Big Show Co., she was the Director of the Dance Program at Oakwood Secondary School for eighteen years, and is now adjunct faculty at Cal State University Long Beach, Pasadena City College, and Glendale Community College. Her classes include graduate seminars in Dance Management, graduate level Modern Technique and Composition, Beginning and Intermediate Hip Hop, Modern Technique and Dance History. She is a regular facilitator of professional development workshops for LAUSD teachers on how to promote diversity in the classroom through movement. Through the Big Show Company, she leads Memory Writing Workshops at Casa Treatment Center in Pasadena, for women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, and she has spent many years working with U.S. military veterans leading free Memory Writing & Movement Workshops. She is a published author. Her academic dance works include Dancing into Diversity – a curriculum for self-discovery, empathy and creative leadership, which was published in the 2014 special teacher edition of The Journal of Dance Education and Scripting the Body, an essay and curriculum which was published in 2001 and which continues to guide her work today. She also wrote a charming children’s book, Backyard Fairies. In 2012, she was awarded the year-long CHIME Mentorship Grant, produced by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco, which is a mentorship program for professional choreographers. Other recent awards include the 2018-19 Cultural Trailblazer Award and 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence Grant from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as the 2016-17 & 2017-18 California Arts Council Veterans Initiative in the Arts Grant.
left to right: Max Eugene, Arianne MacBean, Genevieve Carson, Brad Culver, and Angelina Attwell. Photo: Dyanne Cano
Both men began as actors and have become movers. The women are all technical dancers, but as they have worked together for over a decade, those lines have become blurred. What you see in The Big Show Co.’s work is the result of literal years of breaking down then rebuilding creativity.
“When that core group came together, we started to develop this creative process. It was unlike anything we had ever done before and we started making work that was unlike anything we had ever seen before and we called it dance theatre. We generated the text and the movement simultaneously and we started to refine and then I started to think about the creative problem solving…..to codify it, to think of it not just as creating material for performance but as a way of processing information that feels to me a little bit more authentic to life.”
“I grew up, even in grad school with this idea of the integrity of the art. There was a lot of judgement…that these ideas need to be completed. I still feel all of those things and bring all of that but I wanted process to reflect what I wanted to show up on the stage which was much more dynamic and not tied up or wrapped up in a string, which is much more reflective of the way I live; I have ideas, they come, they melt away, I’m laughing, then I’m crying because I am so sad at what I’m laughing at and then I’m pissed and I love this person then I hate them all in the same minute. We called it the creative problem solving method.” She jokes that naming the process was mostly for grant writing purposes.
Once they had solidified and codified this method, they looked out, away from the core group of dancers/performers and sought to apply it to more diverse communities. At the suggestion of a friend’s husband, himself a veteran, she started working with groups of veterans in free workshops and began to develop the idea of memory making as a performative act. A result of that undertaking was The Collective Memory Project, a show that was developed and performed at The Ford Theatres in June of 2018. Creating the show was a three year long process.
The Collective Memory Project at The Ford Theatres, June 2018 Photo: Timothy Norris
When asked about her work as an activist, the issue of self identity was once again raised. “I don’t really see myself as an activist. The work that I do is creative work and I think it is activism, but it is a collaborative community process and its this really intuitive listening and pushing and guiding and listening and pushing and guiding. And re-visioning with the material that comes in front of me, we start with text and start mining human experience. Then you have to guide these non-performers into thinking performatively and thinking about storytelling, but there is the goal of art, but that separates from the trauma of it...”
That stated, there are multiple avenues that Arianne pursues with the creative memory writing process; Memory Writing Workshops, Memory Movement Workshops and Creative problem solving. For example, in addition to veterans, she works with women in recovery from addiction. These workshops are mainly writing, though as with everything that Arianne is associated with, movement finds a way in. In contrast to the work that led to the Collective Memory Project, the workshops are not performative. They are about personal growth and the journey that each individual takes.
All of this creativity, whether focused on a performative or personal goal is intense and can be triggering for both the participants and MacBean. The related issues of balance and care came up in our conversation in numerous ways: in regards to being a mom and teacher, as a guide and therapeutic leader, and in her family life. MacBean has a husband and two tween daughters. She is close to her parents, who live in Berkeley, where she grew up. Her mom has stage four breast cancer and was just diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimers. There is a lot to juggle and she is open about having her own therapist to help deal with it all. Even with the stress, MacBean expresses gratitude and excitement for her complicated family and life, and for how she has grown artistically with and as a result of it. Once she had kids, she found that she had to start integrating more of the sides of herself, moving on from the heady space of academia into a softer, more accepting place. Her motherhood and teaching is intertwined with her creative output. “It’s all part of the process...with my family, we have always danced." She found that there was a stripping down of self restriction and self judgement both in her own work and in the work she of others she watched. She had to let go of the pretentiousness of it all, the academic certainty of right and wrong when it came to art and open up to much more fun. “I had to start to watch musical theater, and LOVE it!” She shares a family tradition; the Backyard Big Show. Friends and family who love to dance but may not be dancers themselves come together to create once a year. Everyone brings a dish to share and a dance for the show. The Backyard Big Show echos the work she does with her company. It is an organic process of working with communities and creating art while not taking yourself seriously. There really is a lot of play, both in the family celebration and in the creation of ultimately serious but still entertaining and joyous dance theatre.
From The Big Show Co Instagram
MacBean and The Big Show Co. will be in residence at the Ford Theatres in the Fall 2019 with a new project entitled, She/Her: Memory Trace - dance theatre exploring femininity and the military veteran experience. The project was inspired partially from a memory that was explored in the first show; attending San Francisco Ballet performances at the Opera House with her mom. She was already thinking about the influences of mothers, women and feminine energy on memory when one of the veterans contacted her about writing about his mom. This desire was partially inspired by the journey that MacBean is going through with her own. “I started to think about the military and men and this really male dominated space and how do they feel about the women in their lives, and how the women in their lives have affected how they think of themselves as men in relation to the military. Then I thought about the very few women who did come to our writing workshops and how they had extremely different experiences than the men, which then made me wonder about my own relationship with ‘femaleness’. I have always been more of a masculine woman. I have never been much of a girly girl. Nathan Clum, The Dramaturg and Co-Facilitator for all Collective Memory Project Writing Workshops, is gay and he is always thinking about his femaleness and we are in this new culture with gender fluidity being so much more accepted than before. The show will jump from this perspective to further explore the idea of durable memory and seek to discover at a deeper level why and how “memory and identity is a creative act.”
The Big Show Co. is still seeking veterans to work on this new project.
Paid Workshops and Performance! Male & Female Veterans Wanted! Must be available on the following dates/times:
- Workshops:Sundays, September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 27; 10am - 1pm at the Ford’s Community Room
- Project Launch Showing on the Terrace at the Ford Theatre, Saturday, November 2, 10-4pm. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
- Wrap-Up Workshop: Sunday, November 17; 10-1pm
Project Launch Showing at the Ford Theatres: Saturday, November 2, 2019 10am-4pm
There is so much more to Arianne MacBean than is possible to share in this article; her love for Hip Hop, her passion for teaching, the joy that talking about her children brings to her face. I would encourage you to check out her irreverent Instagram account, her amazing performances, and maybe take part in one of the workshops. The possibilities that are opened up by her work and collaborations are infinite.
Set deep in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia against a backdrop of violence and injustice, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a play within a play. Amidst the rubble of a bombed out village in the aftermath of World War II, farmers debating the best use of their land enact a parable in which a humble kitchen maid risks her life to rescue an abandoned baby from civil war.*
www.better-lemons.com /Jul 11-Aug 26
Set deep in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia against a backdrop of violence and injustice, The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a play within a play. Amidst the rubble of a bombed out village in the aftermath of World War II, farmers debating the best use of their land enact a parable in which a humble kitchen maid risks her life to rescue an abandoned baby from civil war.
taken from the website
A young couple (new in town) decide to host a dinner party so they can make friends and promote their business. They invite a couple who have abandoned their song-and-dance act and show biz to raise their daughter; and a haughty psychiatrist and her engineer husband who has given up his high-paying job to write a novel. All three couples are stressed, undergoing house renovations, and could use a little fix-up in the relationship department as well. All hell breaks loose at the dinner party in this fast-paced comedy where couples, designs and cultures clash. The party will have a surprising impact on all six lives.*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Renovations for Six” at Theatre 40, playing through Aug 18th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.
There are a lot of great things happening this month in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. I'm breaking from format. I usually recommend things coming up on any given weekend, but tickets are running out fast for one of the best event of the year, which is THE 10TH ANNUAL REGGAE ON THE MOUNTAIN. This amazing festival which I've attended for the last eight years has been in Topanga Canyon but it has grown so much that they have moved this years event to beautiful King Gillette Ranch in Malibu.
The festival is Saturday, August 17th and Sunday, August 18th from 9am 0 10pm. If you're not a fan of this genre of music, I promise after attending Reggae on the Mountain you will be.
Some of the best Reggae artist will be there. Appearing on stage Saturday will be the great Steel Pulse, Julian Marley, Pato Banton, Anthea, Arise Roots just to name a few. Sunday you will find the one and only MATISYAHU. I've seen him several times in concert and he alone is worth the price of admission.
On the bill with him will be Third World, Hirie, Mike Love, Gondwana, Makua Rothman, Cisco Adler, Pachamama and many others that promise to bring you great entertainment.
The concert is being put on by LABEL 27 which was founded in 2009. They produce and promote music and art festivals in the Los Angeles area. The organization is dedicated to hosting large, all inclusive gatherings that exhibit a culturally eclectic array of world renowned musicians, artists and thinkers.
They first got started producing the Canyon Underground Stage at Topanga Days and soon evolved into producing dozens of events a year. It's a community oriented organization and a large percent of event profits have been donated back to the Topanga Community Club.
Along with the two stages where your favorite Reggae artists will be performing there will also be amazing food for sale along with various other vendors.
Also Reggae On The Mountain is getting some major upgrades this year including camping, extended hours, increased capacity and after hours silent dance hall. Oh and for those people that want to chill out, there will also be a Yoga and Wellness Village.
Convenient parking is available on site. Camping is allowed Saturday night only and the campsites open for load in at 9am on that day.
There is a VIP PACKAGE which includes a lounge/viewing deck access, front row stage access, private restrooms and four drink tickets per day.
This will be an absolutely beautiful experience especially for animal lovers. You get to enjoy a unique event at a unique place. This small, secret farm in the middle of Reseda is a jewel that is unknown to most and almost no-one gets to experience the serenity and bliss that happens during twilight on the farm.
Summer evenings are magic enough, but add the delight of an amazing vegan four course meal created from ingredients harvested from the farm that morning and the fun of hanging out with the animals as they settle down for the night.
You get to meet their lap chicken Patty, and feed grapes to Pedro the alpaca and their pig Peanut. You won't find an experience like this anywhere else in Los Angeles.
Kindred Spirits Care Farm is a non profit organization that has established farm sanctuaries on the grounds of public high schools. In these farms, students learn compassion, cooperation and connection to the earth, animals and each other through sustainable farming.
People heal by being in connection with animals and nature. They bring the opportunity to kids who can really use some peace and wholeness in their lives.
Twilight Dinner on the Farm is located at 18741 Elkwood Street, LA 91335. For tickets and more information go to KindredSpiritsCareFarm.org.
Do you remember The Average White Band and Tower of Power? Did you spend your nights dancing to their music? Well if you have, you will have the chance to take a trip down memory lane and see these two great groups together at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank on Sunday August 11th at 6:30pm.
Tower of Power is arguably one of the biggest names in soul, funk and R&B. They have one of the most defining horn sections, flour to the floor drum beats and syncopated brass lines. Definitely pioneers of a very memorable sound.
Along with them you will get to see The Average White Band which is one of the top Soul, R&B, and jazz-funk groups alive. First known for the timeless instrumental hit PICK UP THE PIECES, the band's future would lie in its diverse songwriting and unique approach defying strict adherence to any one facet of rhythm and blues. They were the first Brits to simultaneously top the US Top 100 Singles, Albums and R&B Charts.
This is one concert you don't want to miss! Doors open at 5:30pm and the show begins at 6:30pm.
For more information and to purchase tickets please go to WhereMusicMeetsthesoul.com. The Starlight Bowl is located at 1249 Lockheed View Dr, in Burbank.
Whatever you plan to do this weekend or the next, make it a fun one. These shows will definitely help you do that.
Dancing at Lughnasa is set in the summer of 1936 during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa. Five unmarried sisters — Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Chris — live in the rural Irish countryside outside the tiny village of Ballybeg.*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Dancing at Lughnasa” at Atwater Village Theatre, playing through Aug 18th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.
www.better-lemons.com /Jul 18-Aug 18
A young couple (new in town) decide to host a dinner party so they can make friends and promote their business. They invite a couple who have abandoned their song-and-dance act and show biz to raise their daughter; and a haughty psychiatrist and her engineer husband who has given up his high-paying job to write a novel. All three couples are stressed, undergoing house renovations, and could use a little fix-up in the relationship department as well. All hell breaks loose at the dinner party in this fast-paced comedy where couples, designs and cultures clash. The party will have a surprising impact on all six lives.
taken from the website
www.better-lemons.com /Jul 12-Aug 18
Dancing at Lughnasa is set in the summer of 1936 during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa. Five unmarried sisters — Kate, Maggie, Agnes, Rose and Chris — live in the rural Irish countryside outside the tiny village of Ballybeg.
taken from the website