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Rest your feet after all that shopping, get out of that L.A. holiday traffic for a few hours, and slip into a cozy theatre or concert venue during the Holidays!
Los Angeles theatre is alight with dozens of musicals, comedy, cabaret, magic, live radio plays, film and live mash-up productions, classic Dickens, music, dance, variety, and family-friendly shows themed to get you into the spirit of the season.
Here's is a healthy collection of shows available now and until you are just about ready to ring in the New Year.
ENSEMBLE THEATRE COMPANY (ETC) presents the second show of its 2019-20 Season, the can’t-miss, holiday event of the season, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, adapted by Joe Landry, from the screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra & Jo Swerling and directed by ETC’s Director of Education and Outreach, Brian McDonald.
Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present the Los Angeles premiere of a new adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play, based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour, adapted by Lance Arthur Smith, original songs and arrangements by Jon Lorenz, directed by Joseph Leo Bwarie.
"Miracle on 34th Street" brings a heartwarming and classic tale of faith, love, and the gift of miracles to the holiday season, featuring live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols this beautiful story is sure to ring in Christmas for all. OVATION RECOMMENDED PRODUCTION!!! At the Actors Co-op David Schall Theatre.
A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play - The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: The One-Man Play, directed by frequent Porters collaborator Drina Durazo. "Charles Dickens was known for being a performer of his own works; his novels were written with such vivid theatricality that they were almost like plays," says Durazo. "We're aiming to recreate the experience of Dickens' public recitals with a A Christmas Carol, The One-Man Play, and it's been a great joy exploring this beloved classic by way of Krieger's dynamic performance."
Having most recently taken on the roles of Theseus in The Two Noble Kinsmen and director of Romeo and Juliet, Associate Artistic Director Gus Krieger portrays over thirty characters in this telling of Dickens' classic tale. Having assumed iconic roles for the company including Richard III, Shylock, Benedick, and King John, Krieger is thrilled to return to the boards of North Hollywood.
A Los Angeles holiday tradition is back with some show veterans for just a few dates in a special engagement! It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play takes place at KAWL, a struggling 1940s radio station that good-hearted owner Michael Anderson is barely keeping alive. He calls on some old friends (with big personalities) and some less-than-professional station employees to offer up a live radio version of Frank Capra’s touching masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life in what might sadly be the station’s last live show. But it’s the holidays, a time when miracles can happen…
TROUBADOUR THEATER COMPANY continues its 25th SILVER ANNIVERSARY SEASON with "A CHRISTMAS CAROLE KING." Musical Direction by Derrick Finely, Directed and Adapted by Matt Walker, in a limited Engagement opening Friday, December 13, 2019, at The El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood!
For their 18th annual holiday offering, The Troubies have combined the soulful sounds of songstress Carole King with one of the most enduring stories of our time – Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – and the result is SO FAR AWAY from what you'd expect!
Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, at A Noise Within, Directed by Geoff Elliott & Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
ANW’s delightfully festive, musically merry holiday tradition returns! Families love the inspirational story of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge—the perfect burst of boundless good cheer for the season, and beyond!
“Only a die-hard humbug could remain unmoved by so charming a yuletide treat.” – Los Angeles Times
A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory. This is the 40th year for the beloved Orange County holiday classic—and marks the final time that Hal Landon Jr. will portray everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. No children under the age of 6, please.
Instead of performing Charles Dickens' beloved holiday classic for the umpteenth time, actors decide to perform every Christmas story ever told -- plus Christmas traditions from around the world, seasonal icons from ancient times to topical pop-culture, and every carol ever sung. A madcap romp through the holiday season! An outrageous holiday romp for the whole family (except those who still believe in Santa!) Written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez. Music by Will Knapp. Directed by Gary Lamb. Musical director: Sean Paxton.
Yippie ki yay, theatre goers! We're settling the debate, once and for all. Yes, "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. But when John McClane meets Ralphie from "A Christmas Story," let's just say more than just your eye might get shot out! What better way to end the year than by mashing up classic Christmas movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" with characters from some of your favorite "Not A Christmas Movie" movies like "Batman Returns?" Mix in a few iconic movie props, a team of talented writers, directors and actors and let the holiday drama and hi-jinks ensue! The way only our RUSH play festival can! Great for the whole family!
Written by Tyler Bianchi, Evan Baughfman, Jeff Folschinsky, Holly Sidell, Samantha Grace, Adam Neubauer, Samantha & Lilia Marquis, Directed by Jonathan Fahn, Jennifer Novak Chun, Holly Witham, Corey Chappell,
Randy Marquis, Tom Jones & Stacy Ann Raposa. At the Actors Workout Studio.
Developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Eight Nights is the heartfelt, lyrical portrait of a German Jewish refugee haunted by her past...witnessed over the course of generations of the same family that inhabits a single apartment from 1949 to 2016. Set during the eight nights of Chanukah, and spanning eight decades of the protagonist’s life, Eight Nights weaves together heart-aching moments with life-affirming humor to call out the trauma experienced not only by concentration camp survivors, but by African American descendants of slavery, by interned Japanese Americans, and by current victims of war in Africa and the Middle East.
Dysfunctional Family Christmas - Misunderstandings, Mistaken Identities, and Holiday Chaos create a fun-filled Christmas Morning at the Logan Home.
Before they sell the family home, Dean and Joanne Logan want one perfect final Christmas with their adult children. Although, once Grandpa is found dead, their plans go haywire as they attempt to hide the body from the family.
"A sardonic, merrily subversive tale—just the antidote to bright-eyed joy before too many shopping days have passed. Worth more than a photo album full of Santas!" NY Newsday. When it was first broadcast on National Public Radio, The SantaLand Diaries generated more requests for tapes than any story in This American Life’s history except the death of Red Barber. Timothy Olyphant brought the story to life on stage off-Broadway, and for the fourth year in a row Patrick Censoplano dons the candy-cane tights for a Santa Monica Playhouse holiday celebration in this outrageously funny one-man play from NPR’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris about the author’s experiences as an unemployed writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City, taking a wry look at how the holiday season brings out the best – and the worst – in us all. Toast the Holidays! Your ticket includes a pre-show glass of champagne or non-alcoholic eggnog.
The story of Sugar Plum Fairy, based on Loh’s original tale on This American Life, follows a 12-year-old Sandra and her over-the-top dream of landing the lead in the inevitable dance school production of The Nutcracker. Loh and friends are pitted against the vicious hierarchy of desirable roles in this well-weathered ballet, while she desperately yearns to be recognized as a pre-teen queen in her own right. The play features Shannon Holt and Tony Abatemarco in a rotation of quirky characters from her misfit friends to a rigid Russian ballet instructor, as well as being co-conspirators in spreading some literal holiday cheer around the theater. Wittily set to a classical music score (a la Disney’s Fantasia’s hippopotamus ballerinas), Sugar Plum Fairy is knitted together with moments of audience participation, and attendees are encouraged to dress in their most festive outfits, prepare for sugary showers of candy, and get photos for the ‘gram with Yuletide-themed set designs that include reindeer, an animatronic Santa, and even, if you’re lucky, Frosty the Snowman.
Sixteen actors play nearly 30 characters in a holiday spectacular that will put you in a festive mood! A play-within-a-play, this fast-paced comedy follows a small, LGBTQ+ community theatre as it struggles to pull together its annual holiday pageant.
Written by Joe Marshall, directed by Bree Pavey. The cast will feature (in alphabetical order) Cassandra Carmona, Matt Caudel, Noah Copfer, Andrew Cottrell, Madylin Sweeten Durrie, Dan Ellis, Javier Flores, Barbera Ann Howard, Sean James, Corey Klemow, Katy Laughlin, Ignacio Navarro, Alejandro Baquero Sanchez, Scottie Smith, Luke Sookdeo, and Bart Tangredi.
Rubicon Theatre audiences are invited to “rejoice and be plaid” this holiday season as Ventura’s non-profit professional theatre company presents the hilarious and heartwarming musical comedy PLAID TIDINGS in Ventura’s Downtown Cultural District. The production is directed by the original creator STUART ROSS, and the cast for PLAID TIDINGS includes SEAN BELL, ADOLPHO BLAIRE, JOSHUA DAVID CAVANAUGH and ZACHARY EDWARDS, all making their Rubicon Theatre debuts. The show includes holiday favorites such as “Cool Yule,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World”; a hysterically funny speed-date version of “The Ed Sullivan Show” featuring the Rockettes, the Chipmunks and The Vienna Boys Choir; and other memorable hits from the era, like “Sh-Boom,” “Fever” and “Hey There.”
The Los Angeles Times called PLAID TIDINGS “a many splendored thing.” Variety described the show as Musical utopia…the perfect show. And the Daily News called the show “heaven-sent holiday fare.”
“SANTASIA - A Holiday Comedy” created by Shaun and Brandon Loeser, directed by Shaun Loeser, is celebrating its 20th year. At the Whitefire Theatre, this Off-Broadway Hit and Critics’s Pick laugh out loud annual holiday romp, is the perfect blend of Yuletide snark and sentiment, and has been compared to "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Kids in the Hall", "In Living Color", "Saturday Night Live" and Vaudeville. This multi-media holiday special has it all including classic Rankin and Bass Claymation inspired movies, musical parodies, and heartfelt holiday moments.
The Wallis & For The Record’s biggest, record-breaking hit returns this holiday season! The multimedia concert celebration of one of the most beloved holiday films of all time is back by popular demand, now as a not-to-be-missed Los Angeles tradition. The team behind LA’s award-winning series For The Record transforms The Wallis’ Bram Goldsmith Theater into an immersive cinema, where the modern classic written by Richard Curtis is reborn as a revolutionary stage and screen event. To tell the story, the film and live action seamlessly intertwine throughout the London setting. Iconic scenes on screen share the stage with an all-star cast of singers and a 15-piece orchestra, as they reimagine the film’s hit soundtrack including “Christmas is All Around” and “Trouble With Love." Love Actually Live is a first-of-its-kind, theatrical cinema experience.
WARNING: This production features theatrical haze effects, adult content, and brief nudity. It is recommended for ages 13+.
The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale is excited to bring back one of the most anticipated concerts of the season, our annual holiday sing-along concert! Joining us on stage this year will be the delightful San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, under the direction of Sean Carney.
Led by Artistic Director Charlie Kim and accompanied by Bob Remstein, expect to hear your favorite holiday classics along with John Rutter's "Gloria" accompanied by a brass quartet. And lots of audience participation! Join us for a night filled with fun, music, and holiday cheer for the whole family. All ages are welcome.
Ugly Sweater Contest: Oh, and don't forget to bring your ugly sweater! This year SFVMC will give away free tickets for a future concert to the audience member who brings the ugliest holiday sweater.
The Merry Little Christmas Show - BroadwayWorld Critics’ Pick and StageSceneLA Award-winner Scott Dreier, star of last season’s acclaimed hit "Doris and Me," returns to The Colony Theatre with his holiday concert. Featuring special guest Kurtis Simmons and music director Andy Langham. Dreier will take audiences back to the feel of cherished, classic, holiday TV specials hosted by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and others — paying homage while also providing his modern take with pop and jazz interpretations of holiday treasures. The performance will include holiday classics including "Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," "I’ve Got Your Love to Keep Me Warm," "Merry Christmas Darling," and many more. This show will transport you back to your living room sitting around the fireplace telling stories and sharing songs of the season.
How did a nice Evangelical Christian girl from Arizona wind up doing a one-woman comical cabaret show at Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) in Santa Monica? Audiences will laugh and maybe even sing along, as they learn the secrets of Anna Abbott’s dual life in her new solo show, "A Very Goyisha Hanukkah," playing two performances only at The Braid, JWT’s art and performance space.
The Group Rep presents A Twisted Christmas Carol, a world premiere comedy written by Phil Olson, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York, a Texas-style spoof of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
Talk-backs are after Sunday shows 12/21 and 01/04. Upstairs at the Group Rep on the second floor of the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood 91601. The Upstairs venue is not handicapped accessible.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode, Directed by Jerry Pilato & Erica Livingstone
Santa's Reindeer Tells All! With each deer's confession, the truth behind the shocking allegations becomes clearer and clearer and seems to implicate everyone from the littlest elf to the tainted Saint himself. Don't miss this expose of North Pole Naughtiness.
Starring David Janisch as Dasher, Eric Trigg as Comet, Christine McCoy as Dancer, Andrew Walters as Hollywood (Prancer), Mclain Parker as Cupid, Melanie Mino as Blitzen, Michael Adler as Donner and Kellen Gold as Vixen.
Emmy Award-winner Leslie Jordan returns to Catalina Jazz Club with his hilarious holiday show "Deck Them Halls, Y’All" for one performance only. Best known for his stand-out roles in "Sordid Lives," "American Horror Story," "The Help," as the beloved Beverley Leslie on "Will & Grace" (for which he is currently shooting the final season), and most recently as Sid on the Fox series "The Cool Kids," Leslie Jordan has charmed fans for over four decades.
His hilarious holiday tales are not to be missed. Jordan’s special guest will be country-pop singer Brandon Stansell.
Los Angeles Times calls Impro Theatre “Amazing!” One of the funniest evenings as the troupe spins an entire play into comedy gold right before your eyes. Starting with an audience suggestion, the troupe creates completely improvised, full-length plays in the styles of the world’s greatest writers. Join us this holiday season for a hilarious comedy inspired by the works of Charles Dickens. Comic portrayals, cruel melodrama and heartbreaking tenderness explode onto the teeming streets of Victorian London. A fun and festive evening of comedy.
Laguna Playhouse brings back its holiday tradition! A Special, Stripped Down to the Abs, Musical Event! "The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf" at Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach!
With Special Guest Appearances by Broadway’s Nick Adams, jackbenny and more! Ho, Ho, Ho, you don’t want to miss this show!
Broadway stars Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up) return to the Laguna Playhouse for two nights of the most outrageous holiday show of the season. This undie-rock, comedy pop, award-winning duo perform stripped-down, mashed-up versions of holiday favorites and more. Expect to see ukulele, electric cello and an array of zany instruments.
BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are back in an all-new two-queen holiday extravaganza at The Montalbán!
After last year’s wildly successful "To Jesus, Thanks for Everything," Jinkx and DeLa return to the stage this holiday season in a high-spirited scramble to maintain your interest! DeLa is all sugar and Jinkx is all spice — but how do these two very different gals deal with the stress of the holidays? A little song, a lot of eggnog, and theatres full of people looking at them. Yup ... all they want for Christmas is attention!
Returning to Hollywood by popular demand, platinum-selling recording artist and Tony Award-nominated actor Sam Harris brings his new holiday show to Catalina Jazz Club for one performance only. Led by his longtime musical director Todd Schroeder, Harris will perform Broadway, pop, and holiday fare.
The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents "A Charlie Brown Christmas" by Charles M. Schulz, based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer, and by Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby Persson.
When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but this proves to be a frustrating endeavor. When an attempt to restore the proper holiday spirit with a forlorn little Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to discover the real meaning of Christmas.
The Nutcracker from critically acclaimed Inland Pacific Ballet,celebrating 25 years. The Nutcracker comes to life with this magnificent ballet comprised of beautiful sets, dazzling costumes, and more than 80 dancers on stage. The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve and sets out on a wondrous journey to the Land of the Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls, and a fantastic dream with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, and the delightful Sugar Plum Fairy stir the imagination. Meet the cast after the performance for photos and autographs. This is family entertainment at its best.
Experience the joy of the season as Jenny Wong, GMCLA’s interim Artistic Director and Associate Conductor of the LA Master Chorale, leads GMCLA in choral classics, timeless Christmas carols, a medley of hits from the beloved film Love Actually, Broadway bonanzas, and Mariah Carey’s anthem – it’s all you’ll want for Christmas. A Los Angeles tradition for the entire family, this concert will be truly Spectacular!
Curated by Performances à la Carte, Jazz ‘n Paz continues with its’ seasonal intimate jazz series showcasing some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. To ring in the holidays, the December concert, Carols of the Belles, features the vocals of the iconic Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara, at Pasadena’s Neighborhood UU Church. In a jazzy program of standards and holiday favorites, the musicians behind the angelic voices feature Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Luca Alemmano on bass...A Holiday Champagne Party will follow the concert and may be added to any concert ticket purchase online for an additional $12. The party will feature appetizers, desserts, champagne and non-alcoholic punch along with music, dancing, comedic holiday improv antics and capped off with a Holiday Sing-A-Long.
L.A.’s largest holiday spectacular celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019 is at The Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Join this year’s co-hosts, internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán and actress Marissa Ramirez (Blue Bloods), for this free, three-hour holiday show featuring 25 music ensembles, choirs and dance companies from the many neighborhoods and cultures that make up L.A. Once again, PBS SoCal will host a live broadcast of the event that has been a Los Angeles holiday tradition since 1959, while KCET will air the program twice on Christmas Day.
Legendary Cuban jazz trumpet player Arturo Sandoval, accompanied by his world-renowned band, will kick off this year’s celebration with a medley of holiday songs. Returning favorites include Hālau Keali’i o Nālani & the Daniel Ho Trio, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, gospel choir Greater LA Cathedral Choir, Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy and folklorico troupe Pacifico Dance Company. Some of this year’s newcomers include Latin folk band Cuñao, the dancers and drummers of African Soul International and a cappella group Street Corner Renaissance.
All-female, two-time GRAMMY award-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea will team up with their “brother” band Mariachi Espectacular, and Jewish cultural revival band Mostly Kosher will share the stage with Urban Voices Project, a choir made up of men and women surviving homelessness on Skid Row. Those who can't make it to The Music Center on Dec. 24 can watch the live broadcast on PBS SoCal starting at 3 p.m., with the rebroadcast on KCET on Christmas Day from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., or online at pbssocal.org/holidaycelebration.
Fifteen Men in a Smoke-Filled Room - Chicago, June, 1920. The Republican National Convention is in full swing. Warren G. Harding is overwhelmed by the prospect of being the nominee of the Republican Party for President. https://t.co/CgSb5LEFqPpic.twitter.com/XIkQgbSPDO
Actor and producer Nick Rubando, whose co-productions of Maddy's Musical and more have been a part of the L.A.'s ever-growing smaller theatre scene—including during the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Hollywood's Media District each June—made the choice to leave his career in entertainment in Los Angeles in order to flip a congressional seat in his home state of Ohio's 5th Congressional District currently held by Republican incumbent Bob Latta.
As Democrat, Rubando, is running against two other candidates in the March primaries. Since announcing his candidacy, he has spent the last 27 weeks of his campaign gaining supporters and volunteers along the way in a grassroots effort to affect change in Ohio's 5th district, an area that has been subject to gerrymandering and resulting legal battles. Rubando, who majored in Journalism with a minor in Marketing at Indiana University, brings a platform that includes national issues such as removing big money and corporate super PAC's from politics and continued national healthcare, to more local issues such as factory farm toxic run-off and algae bloom that is destroying Lake Erie and family farms and the trade wars and tariffs that are damaging Ohio's farming community and economy.
Rubando, who, along with David Ruben and their company R&R Incorporated, produced musical reviews and shows such as "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs," "Musicals & Mimosas," and "Inspecting Carol" at the Three Clubs in Hollywood. He returns to Los Angeles during the November holidays to both visit family and friends and to hold a fundraiser at the Three Clubs to support his campaign back in Ohio. The fundraiser, "Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser," on Saturday, November 30, 2019, will bring together donated entertainment by his family of performers and supporters, whose productions have also been featured at the Three Clubs, to show their support for Rubando.
Via telephone, Rubando spoke clearly and passionately on what prompted his decision to run, his grassroots efforts in his campaign, the people he has met on the campaign trail, working with his team of volunteers, and his vision for Ohio's 5th District as their Congressional Representative.
So let's begin with what was your political background or inspiration that made you consider running for a congressional seat.
"I actually worked for the Katie Hill for Congress campaign in 2018. And there has been some stuff with Katie [in the news] recently, but when I joined up on her campaign she was a young, first-time candidate who moved back to her home town to really take on an unresponsive incumbent. I thought it was really important to be on her campaign. You know, after Donald Trump got elected, we would watch the news, and it was just bad news after bad news—and it felt demoralizing. It felt like there was nothing that I could do, or really any of us could do, to make it change. And then when I learned about Katie's campaign, I was really excited about her message and I wanted to help bring about that kind of change.
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
This was in the Semi Valley area, just north of Los Angeles. So, I started with the campaign before the Democratic primaries. I would drive up there—sometimes an hour's drive—and knock on doors. And that started to motivate other people to knock on doors with me, and I started teaching other people about best practices. And it felt amazing, because every time something bad in the news would happen, it'd be like, 'It's fine! Because on Saturday I'm going to go knock on doors for Katie Hill and I am going to make a difference!'
Katie ended up winning the Democratic primary and then she ended up flipping that district. It used to be a Republican-held seat, and then she flipped it and it became a Democrat-held seat and it was amazing! It was amazing to see the hard work that we had all put into that race come into fruition and really be something great and be a positive change for that area.
So [later] I started doing some research into my home town after that race. I was inspired by how Katie moved back into her home town and I started looking into my home town—I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. So, I did a little research online and the first thing that came up was toxic algae bloom that had ruined Lake Erie—Lake Erie, this beautiful, pristine, fresh body of water that I used to go swimming in and go tubing in and go fishing in. And now they have these toxic algae blooms that occur every Summer there, which, for a couple of years was so bad that residents couldn't even drink the water that was coming out of the faucet. When I was in L.A., as well as in the theatre programs that I was running and performing in, I was also working for a tech start-up. And they were really big in the American food industry.
And from researching and being a part of this tech startup I was learning a lot about CAFO [confined animal feeding operations] or factory farms—these large-scale warehouses where they keep animals shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder and pump full of antibiotics—and I learned that the wastewater from these facilities gets dumped into rivers. This wastewater then spreads onto fields and then it runs into rivers and it goes into Lake Erie, and that's what causing these toxic algae blooms.
I was so disgusted by it that I wanted to move back to my home town to make a difference there. Ohio is such an important battleground state, and with the 2020 elections coming up, I thought where better to go than to my home town to really create some positive change. When I got there I wanted to work on a Congressional campaign because that is what I had been doing in the past. So I was asking people, 'Who's running against Bob Latta?' He is the Republican incumbent. And people were saying [at the time,] 'You know, I don't think anyone's doing it. No one really has stepped up.'
The district's kind of hard. It's pretty gerrymandered. This guy raises a lot of money, he gets almost 75% of his donations from corporate PACs, and I couldn't let that stand. I have never been someone who asks why something happened. I always ask 'Why not?' So, I thought, 'I'm just going to run myself! I'm going to step up and run this race!' And so far the response has been fantastic. I do a lot of work with the Young Democrats of Wood and Lucas County, the two largest counties in the districts, and the work with the Advocates for Clean Lake Erie—all these groups have been super supportive during our campaign. I've also gotten really close with the Ohio Farmer's Union who doesn't like these factory farms either, because every time one of these farms opens up it usually closes down about ten family farms. It's a crisis that is going on in the American food industry here in Northwest Ohio and we're trying to change that.”
You mentioned about gerrymandering in Ohio, has any of that been undone?
“[Federal courts] have ruled that the districts are gerrymandered—that they are unconstitutionally drawn. But because they will be redrawn at the 2020 census, the courts have decided to wait until the 2020 census is completed to redraw the lines. So, the lines will not be redrawn for this race, but the next congressional race...there'll be all brand new lines!
Ohio, if you look at the voting breakdown, is a 50/50 State where there are just as many people who vote for Democrats as do Republicans. But we have to look at our Congressional Representatives. We have four Democrats, and I believe seven Republicans, so you can see where it really should be a split, but it is not the case there.”
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
Regarding the tech start-up you mentioned, where is it, and what is it that they are trying to do? How were they influential to you?
“I worked for a company called Thrive Market. They are based in Marina Del Rey. They are a fantastic organization. Their mission is to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. So what they do is they sell organic groceries online and provide organic foods to your door. It's similar to like a Whole Foods Market, but cheaper. It's a membership model, like a Costco, where you pay something like $55.95 for the whole year, but you get premium discounted groceries, but they deliver them all throughout the United States. You look at places in Northwest Ohio, or some of the rural suburbs that I'm representing, these places are like “food deserts”—you have to drive far to get to a grocery store, and then if you want organic food or really higher quality goods, you can't always find them at regular markets. But this company would deliver them right to your door.
So with regard to the algae bloom issue in Ohio, let's talk more about what you learned was happening there.
"When I lived in California, I was not aware that Lake Erie was having this algae bloom problem even though I was aware of factory farms. But once I started doing some research on my hometown, I noticed these algae blooms were occurring a lot. Literally just a couple years ago people in the whole northwest Ohio area couldn't drink the water, they couldn't take showers, because the water was so toxic and I learned that the reason for that was the waste run-offs caused by these huge, large-scale factory farms.
The problem is that you have the Trump administration rolling back screening protection laws in the EPA which makes it even easier for these companies to dump their waste. So the problem is just compounding upon itself.”
What was the catalyst that propelled you to run for Congress and what kind of background brought you to consider it?
“In college—I was at Indiana University—and on the 2008 Obama campaign, I registered student voters. That was the first time that I got politically active—engaging students and ensuring that we could get a big a turn out in the state of Indiana. When we were working on that campaign, we flipped the state of Indiana from red to blue for the first time in 50 years. That Barack Obama win in 2008 was historic!
Photo courtesy of Nick Rubando for Congress.
At the time that I worked on the Obama campaign, my parents divorced and my mom was kicked off of my father's health insurance while she was struggling with some health concerns. It was a struggle to see her try to get an insurance card with a pre-existing condition.
I worked so hard for Obama, and then he passed the Affordable Care Act, and at that point in time—for the first time—my mom was able to afford an individualized insurance plan. And that changed her life. She was able to start her own small business because of that. So I saw how the work that we did, on just a small scale, was able to enable a presidential win...Government, in general, really can affect people's lives in a positive direction. And that's why it is so important to get politically engaged—and to vote—and to figure out what is important to you and to get behind it because it affects the lives of millions of Americans.”
What has the campaign trail been like and how many townships and counties have you visited?
"Our district has 14 counties, and we have visited them all. We have gone to Democratic meetings, meetings of concerned citizens, met with farmers, etc. We have gone into coffee shops and talked to people because we really want to know what is happening on the ground level. We've gotten to every single county, multiple times, and we're approaching as many people as possible. You know, our current representative never holds any Town Halls. He's absent, and people can never get in touch with him, so we are trying to paint a very stark contrast. I'm doing my best to meet with people so they can get to know me and learn to trust again. So they are like, 'Hey this guy's available when [Latta] is just sitting in Washington not doing anything for our community. We have been getting out into the community. We've put a lot of miles on the car!"
With your grassroots efforts, and not accepting corporate donations, I assume that the campaign is self-funded. What has your campaign crew been like?
"I didn't have any money to begin with, but we've gotten so much support and buy-in from the community. We have over 600 individual donors and we've raised close to $70,000. I have a campaign manager who is someone who ran in local elections here. Our campaign headquarters is directly across from Bowling Green University, so we have been getting a lot of [help] from the college students. We have about ten college student volunteers who come into the campaign office almost every day and who are intent about making a change.
We are picking up [supporters] everywhere we go, which is a great thing about visiting these counties. We meet with people and talk to them, and they want to join the team. We have now different captains everywhere we go."
“At the end of the day I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them.” – Nick Rubando
With your background as a working actor and producer in the entertainment industry, and working in L.A. Theatre, how has that experience translated? What have you learned from it and how do you feel it will make you a better representative of the people?
"I think one of the biggest things I have learned in the entertainment industry, especially in theatre, is empathy. When you are taking on a role, you really have to put yourself into someone else's shoes. And think about what life is like in their situation, how they view things, [and] what kind of problems they have. That empathy that I have been able to learn has served me so well [toward] being a representative. I go out into these communities and I'm speaking to these farmers. And I might not have the best understanding of what a farmer goes through every day, but through my work in the entertainment industry, I can put myself in that individual's shoes. At the end of the day, I really have to understand what all of my constituents are going through so I can best advocate for them. And I feel so lucky that I have been able to gain that kind of empathy through the work that I have done in the entertainment industry."
What would you say or feel is your responsibility personally for making change in Ohio, for the U.S., and to the world?
“I think everyone has a responsibility as American citizens. People have fought and died for their right to vote, and their right to make a change in this country and for their voices to be heard. So I think the most American thing that you can do is become an engaged citizen and attempt to make change. This was an opportunity that was presented to me. People wanted me to get involved in this and I didn't have anything else going on.
When you are running for [a political] office it's tough if you have a family, or you have small children that you have to take care of. I'm lucky I don't have that, so I have this big opportunity to step up and fulfill my duty as an American citizen. And I think that everyone who lives in this beautiful country shouldn't take it for granted. If we've learned one thing from the Donald Trump era is that we cannot take our democracy for granted. Too many times we think that everything is going to be fine and that other people will take care of us, but in reality we are all responsible. We are all responsible for this beautiful thing called America. So we all need to step up and get involved wherever we can."
Photo by Monique A. LeBleu ~ Nick Rubando as Le Phantom, Master of Ceremonies, in "Legends of the Hidden Three Clubs" for Hollywood Fringe, at Three Clubs, Thursday, June 10, 2017.
Let's talk about the local fundraising event at Three Clubs coming up. How did that come about and what can people expect from that?
“I have friends and family in the Los Angeles area, and they have been extremely supportive of this race. And they asked, 'What is one thing that we can do to help you out?' As I mentioned, we have a grassroots campaign and we're going up against an incumbent Republican who is taking 75% of his donations from corporate PACs. The worst of it all is that it's the exact same corporate PACs that he is making the laws about in Washington. He sits on the Energy and Commerce committees...oil and gas companies and the pharmaceutical companies, and those are the same corporations that he gets money from. And the pharmaceutical companies are the worst because our state is number two in opioid-related deaths and our [current] Representative gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from opioid manufacturers each year to get elected. And that is terrible!
It's so important that we're able to get support from individuals so we can have snacks and water and materials for our volunteers when they come into the [campaign] office. We need donations so we can print educational materials about our campaign that we hand out to our constituents when we knock on doors, so we can purchase online ads, send out mailers, etc. I'm a first-time candidate, so it's essential that I get name recognition and that my campaign message gets heard.
The fundraising event on November 30th at Three Clubs in Hollywood will raise money towards democracy and at the same time will have great entertainment. The crew from Cherry Poppins will be dancing, singing, and performing and 'MAD😜LIB! The Musical' show will also be there. It's amazing that these individuals that I have worked with for so long really believe in what we are doing and are helping out. They want to see a change and they're using their art to help inspire and create that change. That is phenomenal to see."
Is the Three Clubs donating the evening, in terms of the space, and anything else?
“The space is completely free. We are not paying for it. There will be food included in the ticket price, which is coming from my family, and my friends are helping serve. People have to pay for alcohol, but the Three Clubs is giving us the entire space and the entire night for free. They are such an amazing venue. I have done so many great shows there and they have been a huge supporter of my work! And I believe that a ticket to this kind of show is worth $35, while at the same time supporting democracy and getting some good food. It's going to be a really awesome event and evening!
This fundraiser is extremely important and we want everyone to come out to this event and meet with like-minded people so we can also make some changes in Los Angeles.”
Regardless of the outcome, do you have any plans, either way, win or lose? What is the first thing you would or will do once you'd win and any other plans down the road?
“Well, if we win, we'd be in Congress. And the first thing I would like to do is pass a law to get big money out of politics. And another thing I'd want to do is to ensure that Members of Congress won't be allowed to accept donations from companies that they actively legislating on. So if you are making laws that are about the energy and gas sectors, you are not allowed to accept money from big oil companies. You would think that would be a no-brainer, but that is not the case right now. These would be my first pieces of legislation that I would want to push through."
But the advantages of Super PACs go both ways, or all ways, politically, so anyone can benefit from them, right? Is that something you choose not to accept then?
“We're not accepting any corporate PAC money. But I should mention that our campaign was recently endorsed by an organization called Brand New Congress. They have a documentary on Netflix called “Knock Down The House.” They were very influential in the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so we are extremely excited about that."
Nick's Hollywood Return Fundraiser is Saturday, November 30, 2019, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Three Clubs located at 1123 Vine St, 90038, in Hollywood. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased here. Donations can also be made here.
There are so many unique events going on this weekend and since I won't be able to attend all of them, I picked out a few of my favorites.
On Friday I will venture to Downtown LA to visit the acclaimed experiential immersive theme art Park WISDOME.LA.
I've been there in January for their amazing shows Samskara and this one promises to be just as awesome.
This weekend, November 7th and 8th, PINK FLOYD's Dark Side of the Moon will be playing live in a 360 dome by Think:EXP FT members of Pink Floyd, Jane's Addiction, Kid Rock, and Fishbone. The popular, new, full dome music and art venue in the Downtown LA Arts District transforms into a 360 degree virtual reality experience for'Dark Side Of The Moon.'
Think:EXP combines musical art and eye popping visuals with 3D sound, as an all star band plays Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon' album in its entirety. You will journey into the magical realms of virtual reality, iconic musical art and 3D sound for the mind-bending debut of Think-EXP who bring together the 10 piece above mentioned bands which includes world renown musicians: Scott Page from Pink Floyd, Roberta Freeman from Pink Floyd, Stephen Perkins from Jane's Addiction, Kenny Olson from Kid Rock/Hendrix Experience and Norwood Fisher from Fishbone.
On 8th and November 9th - 10th you can join Melvin Seals & JGF as they celebrate Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead with an immersive exploration of his music and art.
Come Saturday I am also venturing Downtown again to see an amazing event entitled ART AT THE RENDON - RHYTHMS OF THE CITY. I've been to the one hundred year old vacant hotel The Rendon to see another one of their shows and it was incredible.
From November 8th to the 10th Art At The Rendon will present an immersive, site-specific experience that will fuse various styles of live music and dance into a simultaneous, collaborative performance that transforms the building itself into a musical instrument.
RHYTHMS OF THE CITY will highlight the musical and cultural diversity of Los Angeles while emphasizing the synergy of the city as a whole. 100 musicians will come together to perform a piece of music by Grammy winning composer Heitor Pereira - a love song to Los Angeles.
One building, 40 Rooms, 100 Musicians. Don't miss it.
100% of the proceeds will be donated to Play with Music, a Los Angeles non profit that brings music and technology education to undeserved youth. For tickets and more information go to ArtattheRendon.com. The Rendon is located at 2055 7th Street, Downtown LA, 90021.
So after all this great music what could be better then to see a great film and Martin Scorsese's THE IRISHMAN is a masterpiece. The film directed by Scorsese and written by Steven Zairian was produced by Netflix, where you'll be able to see it at the end of November. But you should definitely see this film on the big screen, so check out your local theaters for the showtimes.
It stars Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino. The Irishman follows the misdeeds of Frank Sheehan (Robert DeNiro) a real life hit man for the Philadelphia mob who first cozies up to the head of the Bufalino crime family (Joe Pesci) and eventually becomes an enforcer for Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino)
As the story crosses decades, Scorsese and his screenwriter use Sheeran as a narrative means of dipping in and out of the East Coast underworld, painting an expansive and disturbing portrait of American avarice that has ever been produced.
There is so much more I could say about this film but I won't because this is one film that should just be seen without spoilers. THE IRISHMAN is playing at theatres around Los Angeles.
Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you all have a fun one.
Actors Art Theatre is happy to announce the world premiere of the solo show “Nothing Ever Goes On Here” starring Ellen Newhouse, written and directed by Jolene Adams, adapted from the memoir, “Nothing Ever Goes On Here” by Ellen Newhouse. https://t.co/gX17DMisfSpic.twitter.com/EMtIq2Uy3W
The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep presents A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz Based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer By Special Arrangement with Arthur Whitelaw and Ruby... https://t.co/on5GXs7OMUpic.twitter.com/QgB1ZVSJlm
Waiting for Waiting for Godot -WEST COAST PREMIERE! It is probably not their night. Ester and Val are understudies for a production of Waiting for Godot. They are committed to art, and frustrated by anonymity. https://t.co/kZx3ApuOTupic.twitter.com/Ket7kKNABB
EIGHT NIGHTS - A new play with much music, influenced by the golden era of Hollywood musicals, from Irish writer/performer Pat Kinevane and the team that previously brought Forgotten, Underneath and the Olivier Award-winning Silent to the Odyssey. https://t.co/JYdAYe0h3apic.twitter.com/XT2oq6CW6Q
Actors Co-op Theatre Company is proud to present the Los Angeles premiere of a new adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street: A LiveMusical Radio Play, based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour, adapted by Lance Arthur Smith,... https://t.co/NDN9J4rFFmpic.twitter.com/RG03HCSNc2
PETER PAN AND TINKER BELL: A PIRATES’ CHRISTMASLAGUNA PLAYHOUSE and LYTHGOE FAMILY PANTO announce that LINCOLN CLAUSS (Broadway’s Bat Out of Hell) will star as “Peter Pan,” DAKOTA LOTUS (Disney’s “Coop & Cami Ask The World”) will star as “John Darling”.. https://t.co/ubnAJrwdVrpic.twitter.com/k5bXua0fw7
Saint Joan: Fundraiser celebrating the Downtown Women’s Center
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Please join us for a special Fundraiser celebrating the Downtown Women’s Center: a gender neutral staged reading of SAINT JOAN by George Bernard Shaw. Saturday, November 23rd at 8 PM. Thymele Arts, Hollywood. https://t.co/Y1w2VeSHx4pic.twitter.com/YnRCh2XMpl
MUSKET AND THE RAT - Musket Cherry is a young woman who lives in a gritty, rugged, ungentrified neighborhood in Chicago. Her mom is a deadbeat alcoholic. Musket’s anchors are her beloved brother Weso, her best friend Gay Stevie, and her boyfriend Billy. https://t.co/JMCjKnEe1opic.twitter.com/4BecwtK7RB
SkyPilot Theatre Company’s Runway series will close out its 2019 season with a selection that pays homage to a literary classic. "A Twisted Christmas Carol" will be performed on Wednesday, Nov. 13th at 8pm at Oh My Ribs! Theater, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd. https://t.co/GmxnSDiJ9tpic.twitter.com/kqafzOWMN9
Ten performances only: ANITA BERBER IS DEAD! Starring Tonya Kay as Anita Berber Music and Lyrics by Jim Lang and David Melville Book by Melissa Chalsma Developed in Collaboration with Tonya Kay Directed by Melissa Chalsma https://t.co/QmFRa906P9pic.twitter.com/RgeNCoMQ3a
The Group Rep presents StoryTime, a story salon produced by Patricia Willson, featuring live personal stories of triumph, tragedy and just crazy shit told by wonderful storytellers, Sunday, November 17 at 7: https://t.co/wpfYF5uA1apic.twitter.com/r3cW6Ap8SO
As you probably know from my previous event recommendations, I absolutely love animals. In fact, I have to pet every dog I meet on the street so needless to say, I can't wait to see RACHEL FULLER'S ANIMAL REQUIEM, a concert to celebrate animals.
The concert presented by CAP UCLA in collaboration with Harvey Goldsmith and Live Nation will take place at Royce Hall, UCLA on Saturday, October 26th at 8pm. It will have special guests which includes Pete Townshend, Jewel, Jane Lynch, Bruce Sledge and Caroline McKenzie. Composer Rachel Fuller achieved international recognition as the orchestrator of her husband Pete Townshend's QUADROPHENIA which has toured worldwide to critical acclaim.
'Animal Requiem' was created to raise awareness for the continued suffering of animals affected by cruelty, negligence and abuse. It is also meant to honor every person who believes in a world where animals are treated with kindness and compassion. What could be better than that? Animals are all about love. They are non-judgmental and they love you unconditionally.
Miss Fuller wrote this piece after she lost six dogs to old age over a span of five years. She wanted to find a way to say a proper goodbye in order to have some closure. This promises to be an evening that will definitely touch your heart and lift your spirits.
For tickets and more information go to CAP.UCLA.edu or call 310-825-2101. Royce Hall is located at 10745 Dickson Ct. Los Angeles CA.
Now if dance is your thing, head on over this weekend to The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica to see the intensely beautiful, internationally renowned dance company, GRAVITY AND OTHER MYTHS from Australia.
These dancers push the boundaries of contemporary circus. In its award winning show BACKBONE, the company literally tosses around the perception of what strength is, in what has been called 'a genre-defying thought-provoking, visual extravaganza'.
GRAVITY AND OTHER MYTHS; BACKBONE plays Friday, October 25th at 7:30pm, Saturday, October 26th at 2 and 7:30pm. For tickets and more information go to TheBroadStage.org or call (310) 434-3200. The Broad Stage is located at 1310 11th Street in Santa Monica.
This stage adaptation of the life and music of James Brown from 1951-1968 stars the super talented Dedrick Weathersby as the Godfather of Soul.
The show spans nearly two decades of Brown's monumental career. You'll see how a divided country, the growing Civil Rights movement and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shaped the artist's work. An eight piece band accompanies the show bringing the passion of his music alive.
Some songs include: 'Please Please', 'Papa Got A Brand New Bag,', 'Cold Seat,' 'I Feel Good,', 'This is a Man's World,' among many other of his hits.
For tickets and more information go to RememberingJamesOneManShow.com. Barnsdale Gallery Theatre is located at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard in East Hollywood, 90027.
Whatever you choose to do this pre-Halloween weekend, make it a fun one.
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.
I love Quentin Tarantino's films. I've seen every single one of the them more then twice and I know, having seen "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" at a press screening early this week, I will definitely be seeing it again.
This time Tarantino takes us on a trip back to 1969. The place is Hollywood, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) discover as they make their way around an industry that they hardly recognize anymore.
The ninth film from this writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's Golden Age. The film is touching, funny and knowing what winds up happening...horrifying.
"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" opens in theatre July 26th. Also in the cast is Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry in his last role and the wonderful Margot Robbie who plays Sharon Tate capturing her childlike innocence and joy which adds to the audience's pain of knowing her fate.
Compared to all of Quentin's other films, this one is the least violent. It has plenty of humor and insight into a time long gone.
'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' starts Friday and will be playing in theaters all around town, but get your tickets as soon as possible. I'm sure the film will be selling out quickly.
VICE IS NICE is the next thing on my list and it is not at all what it sounds like. This is an event put on by the Animal Rescue Alliance on Saturday, July 27th from 6:30pm to 11pm. You will have a blast at this event and at the same time make a big difference in the lives of animals are in need of a home.
Last year over 750 animal lovers attended VICE IS NICE and helped raise much needed funds for the Animal Rescue Alliance. This 10th annual event will be the best one ever. Music, dancing, drinks, food, raffle, casino games, tarot card reading and more.
The Animal Rescue Alliance rescues and finds loving homes for abandoned and abused companion and farmed animals. They offer sanctuary to those animals that have special needs and for which it is more difficult to find a good home. The animals come from a variety of backgrounds...from homeless strays and feral animals to rescues from kill shelters and hoarding situations.
Wherever and whenever they see an animal in distress, they help. This is one of my favorite organizations. All an animal wants is to be loved and in return they are forever grateful. I always say, an animal always knows when you save their life. Why not support an organization that does just that?
The Animal Rescue Alliance (TARA) is located at Rancho Providencia, a peaceful four acre ranch in Chatsworth. TARA is a haven for goats, horses, donkeys, parrots, geese, cats and dogs. Their address is 10945 Old Santa Susana Pass Road, Chatsworth, CA 91311.
THE FUTURE IS NOW is a free art show that starts on July 27th and runs through August 11th.
Art Share LA'S 'The Future Is Now" poses the question: What then, does our future look like? Will it be a warning? A call to Action? A celebration of ingenuity? Witness for yourself what the future for you, Los Angeles, and the world may hold. Intriguing? VERY.
Art Share LA is located downtown at 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles. They are opened Wednesday-Sunday 1-6pm.
For more information call them at 213-687-4278 or email them not only about their upcoming shows, but submitting art work as well at... ArtShareLA.org.
While you are downtown you might want to head over to the REDCAT theatre to check out THE NEW ORIGINAL WORKS FESTIVAL 2019. At REDCAT you will find some of the world's most intriguing envelope-pushing avant-garde theatre, film, music and performance art.
This Annual New Original Works Festival launches nine new works by Los Angeles emerging and mid-career artists who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary performance to invent hybrid artistic disciplines, re-imagine traditions and confront urgent issues. All artistic teams receive free rehearsal space, tech support and artist fees.
I've been looking forward to this event since I attended their picnic last year.
As the Los Angeles area's premier wildlife medical care and rehabilitation facility, California Wildlife Center strives to ensure that each animal in their care receives the highest level of help to allow them to return to their wild state. Since 1998, CWC has experienced a steady increase in animal patients, caring for more than 44,000 wild animals, many whose injuries were caused by the impacts of their urbanized environments.
A long term goal of the center is to promote protection of wild habitats and the environment through education, training and partnerships with the communities it serves. Many people have questions and misconceptions about how to help wildlife, which can create unintended consequences to the wildlife they admire. Some conflicts with wildlife occur when raccoons empty trash cans, deer raid gardens and birds nest in chimneys.
Coexistence begins with the understanding of how to share our communities with wild animals. In order to do this, the California Wildlife Center educates individuals about the animals in their environment and provide solutions to existing problems, such as helping a neighborhood discourage a prowling coyote.
When people learn about the hardships animals face each day, they are more willing to take a proactive approach toward protecting the natural environment and the habitats of our wild neighbors. At CWC, they educate communities, and in doing so, they challenge homeowners, teachers, students and businesses to continue learning about their environment and enriching the lands in which we all live and play. What could be better?
On Saturday, May 4, 2019 the CWC will be putting on their second annual Feathers, Flippers and Fur Picnic starting at 2:00 pm and running until 5pm at King Gillette Ranch located at the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes in Calabasas.
You will get to experience the wonders of wildlife while feasting on Gourmet Vegetarian Cuisine from your favorite local eateries as well as wine tasting from local wineries.
There will be live music by Wild Ride and a performance by Jimmy H. a comedy magician. Your kiddies can get their face painted while you are doing a guided meditation led by Draza Jansky. Also you can participate in a Silent Auction which will offer amazing packages for the whole family, plus many more fun activities.
Tickets are $75.00 for adults, $25.00 for children ages 3-16 and children ages two and under are free. Tickets include food, wine and all activities. All the proceeds go to this incredible organization. To purchase tickets and to learn more about the event, sponsorship opportunities visit CAWildlife.org.
Now before I spend the day basking in the sun with all these wonderful animals and animal lovers, the night before, Friday May 3rd, I'll be downtown at the BUILD BRIDGES, PAINT WALLS show at the Rendon Gallery, which is partnering with the UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese, to present this amazing exhibit.
This is a multimedia exhibition featuring murals, graphic art and photography celebrating latinidad and the international cultural exchanges that make Los Angeles great.
The show starts at 7pm and runs until 10pm. The Rendon Gallery is located at 2055 East 7th Street, Los Angeles.
The event is put on by Cartwheel Art who focus on immersive experiences, designing community driven and diverse programming such as guided group tours, art activated events and curated exhibitions.
For more information and to purchase tickets go to CartwheelArt.com. I've been to many Cartwheel Art events and everyone has been unique and simply put, fantastic.
I love theatre and last week I got to see an extremely funny and touching play entitled BOXING LESSONS which is playing at The New American Theatre located at 1312 North Wilton Place in Hollywood.
When a famous writer dies under mysterious circumstances, family and friends gather in his cabin on a remote island in Puget Sound to box up his belongings. In the process, they come to realize just how much they love, despise and need one another.
This is a world premiere dark comedy written by award winning playwright John Bunzel and perfectly directed by Jack Stehlin. This definitely falls into my 'must see' category. The cast is great and you will laugh big time. I even teared up which always makes me happy. There's tons of wild plot twists and revelations.
The play opened on April 26th and run through June 2nd. Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and some Sundays at 3pm. To purchase tickets and for more information go to NewAmericanTheatre.com or call 310-424-2980.
But most importantly, whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one people.
In today's volatile political and social climate, actors and celebrities are often as well known for their causes as for their movies and plays. Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Yoko Ono, and Alyssa Milano, to name just a few, are known for numerous foundations and humanitarian causes, for speaking up and out, and for making huge financial donations. It seems as if this is a new development, due to the omnipresent information that fills our screens regarding the famous. However, if you travel a little further back in time you find Jane Fonda fighting the Vietnam war, and prior to that, Audrey Hepburn leaving acting to focus on humanitarian work for UNICEF. The intersection of arts and activism is not new, and it doesn't always have clear cut benefits for those who engage in it. Especially in certain eras, morals and integrity stood in direct opposition to fortune and popularity. Many who stood up for the former ended up fading in the latter. For those who aspire to use public platforms to create and facilitate change, Marsha Hunt is a person to both honor and emulate.
Marsha Hunt is a retired actress and activist. She is 101 years old and still lives in her beautiful home in the San Fernando Valley. She has led an amazing life, both as an incredibly gifted and intelligent performer and as a forward thinking activist championing both individual rights and institutional evolution. Everyone should know her name, her unique voice and be aware of her legacy. This article serves simply as an introduction to her incredible life and work. It is impossible to condense all that she has created and stood for into one piece. I've included numerous links and additional information at the end of this post.
Ms. Hunt was born in Chicago in 1917. She did it all. While training as an actor, she began to work as a model, becoming one of the industry's highest paid by 1935. Although she wanted to do theater, she moved to Los Angeles in 1934 at the age of 17 and was initially signed by Paramount, where she starred in several films. Even at this tender age, she started to assert her rights. She refused to do pin up photos (known as “cheesecake” and “leg art”) and did not take part in the social party scene. She was starting even then, to find her own voice and to stand up for her values. Although she showed promise, Paramount released her from her contract after a few years. She freelanced for a while before ending up at MGM, where she stayed on contract through 1945. Notable films include Pride and Prejudice and Blossoms in the Dust. She also starred in the only wartime film to acknowledge the Holocaust, None Shall Escape (1944). While she did not become an A list star, she worked constantly as a supporting actor in quality films. During the war she also sang on USO tours and developed a career in radio. She appeared in over 50 films in her career, over the course of several decades.
Ms. Hunt's film career came to an abrupt halt when she was caught up in the Communist witch hunt of the McCarthy era. Ms. Hunt was and continues to be outspoken, with a liberal belief system that she guards fiercely. Ms. Hunt, along with her second husband, screenwriter Robert Presnell Jr., were so disturbed by the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that they joined the Committee for the First Amendment which was formed in 1947 and made up of many A list actors and Hollywood players. The group went to Washington to protest the hearings and produced Hollywood Fights Back, a star-studded radio program which was co-written by her husband.
Like many other notable actors and screenwriters who dared to stand up to the government and studio system, Ms. Hunt's career came to a complete stop in Hollywood. She was asked to denounce her activities if she wanted to find more work and she steadfastly refused. In 1950, Hunt was named as a potential Communist or Communist sympathizer (along with 151 other actors, writers and directors) in the anti-Communist publication Red Channels. Though she would continue to work through her 90s, the blacklist effectively stopped her ascent in major motion pictures.
Not one to sit still however, Ms. Hunt simply knocked on other doors, returning to her first love; theater. She made her Broadway debut in Joy To The World, in March of 1948. She continued to go between theater, working both on Broadway and in Los Angeles, television and radio for the rest of her career. She starred in the first live televised Shakespeare play, playing Viola in Twelfth Night. In 1950 she appeared on the cover of Life Magazine as the star of the Broadway play, The Devil's Disciple. In 1987 she even appeared in an episode of Star Trek! In addition to opening up time for theater, the blacklist also opened up her time for activism. This was not a new avenue for her to travel. She had worked throughout the war years at the Hollywood Canteen dancing and socializing with service men, especially on Saturday nights, when no one else wanted to. But, after the blacklist, the world opened up to her. As she stated in an interview with Film Talk in response to the question:
"How did you get involved in all the charity work you did for so many years?" When I had so much free time because I wasn't allowed to act, I discovered the outside world. I went around the world with my husband and I came back as, what I called, a planet patriot. I fell in love with the planet, not just my country, but all of us. I learned about the United Nations which was right here in this country and I spent twenty-five years working as a volunteer on behalf of the UN, I worked on the Year of the Child, international cooperation, and made a documentary film during World Refugee Year with fourteen stars appearing in it to tell thestories of different refugees. There were still twenty-five million people floating around the world, stateless, with no travel papers, no identity papers, no work permits – fifteen years after World War II ended. The United Nations was trying to get the governments to open their borders and let their fair share of refugees in, so I made this film to acquaint Americans with it. It was very rewarding.
In addition to world wide charity work, Ms. Hunt made a huge difference right in the San Fernando Valley, opening the first homeless shelter for women and children. This is especially poignant because her own baby did not survive. During the turmoil of the McCarthy era, she gave birth to a baby girl, born prematurely, who later passed away. This was a true heartbreak for her and she did not have any other children.
Ms. Hunt's creative spirit is expressed in numerous ways. In 1993 she published The Way We Wore ... a beautiful coffee table book detailing fashion of the 1930s and 1940s. All of the photos are of her, in glorious outfit after glorious outfit. Many are studio shots used as publicity for her 50 movies, some are fashion shots for the designers. Each photo is explained and detailed by Ms. Hunt in her own charming manner. I actually met Ms. Hunt when I was directing and costuming a play set in the 1940s. She lent us clothes, making sure that each piece was truly representative of who would wear it. Her knowledge of fashion rivals many who made it their life's work. Her generosity of spirit was on display even in such limited contact.
One of the most charming surprises, but one that goes to the heart of Ms. Hunt's belief system is the song that she wrote about love and marriage equality for same-sex couples, titled Here's To All Who Love. She wrote it at age 95, and it has become an anthem at marriage ceremonies. She wrote it as a gift and it is has been received as one.
There is a documentary by Roger Memos about Marsha Hunt. It had a short run in 2015 but in order to recut it for streaming services, Mr. Memos is raising funds. The documentary was filmed in collaboration with Ms. Hunt and features countless interviews, clips and insight. It is a labor of love and an amazing project. If you would like to read more about the documentary you can check out the Facebook page. If you would like to donate to the GoFund account to help with the sound mix, closed captioning, the film's website and the film trailer, please click here.
In preparation for this article, I sent Ms. Hunt some questions to answer via email. Rather than edit them, I will share them with you as is.
Marsha being surprised by the crew of her documentary for her 75th anniversary. She is in her late 90s in this photograph.
What similarities do you see in the political climate today and during the 1940s and 1950s?Are there differences that you feel are more or less dangerous? At 101 years of age I am not as well informed as I once was. But of course I favor, as always, the most peaceful, most even handed solution to problems.
I don't know if you would remember, but we have actually met! You were extremely generous in helping me costume a play that I directed, set in the 1940s. I came over and you lent us clothing and gave me a copy of your book, which I treasure. How do you feel that fashion (or the lack of it) affects women's power and collective voice? I have been watching the new congress and all of the new younger and female members of the House in their bright clothes and fashion forward choices. Does this, in your opinion empower or diminish them? I think there is an effect but it's hard to define. I think how well, how effectively, a woman legislator dresses can tell us something about her IQ, the effective, the becoming, the appropriate, which then empowers them. I don't think “fashion” diminishes unless it's extreme - then it can be negative, but I think that's pretty rare. I guess women in government dress without “headlines'. If they were fashion plates it would be distracting from their effectiveness in what they are there to do. It would become the wrong topic.
What do you want to tell women and actors who find that their activism is more important to them than their acting careers? Do you think it is worth it, if being known for your politics is hurting your castability. Do you think that is a truism, or simply a fear? When you take positions you lose some people just as you gain others. On matters of importance to me, it is worth it.
What role do you think that the unions should play in helping actors become activists? Should the union be neutral or an active partner? (NB: Ms. Hunt was active in SAG prior to the blacklist and served on the board)
The union is there to protect and help the actor so when one's union takes a position the individual is spared blame or credit for it. At that extent we are protected by our unions.
Do you see any positive aspects to social media as it it used today? Do you see it as a danger (do you not care about it at all??) The internet/social media is a way of “getting it out there” but then nothing remains private including opinions.
What changes would you like to see, both in the nation and in the entertainment/film industry, in regards to women specifically. The changes in the entertainment/film industry ideally would be that it that it be an open opportunity to write, direct, produce whether a woman or a man.
The iconic singer/songwriter's holiday event, hosted by Stevie's nonprofit organization, the We Are You Foundation, will benefit children, people with disabilities, and families in need. Concertgoers are asked to bring an unwrapped toy or unwrapped gift to donate, which is 100% tax deductible since no goods or services will be exchanged.
One of my favorite plays is in town from New York City. Sam Shepard's FOOL FOR LOVE and I will be in the audience come Saturday night. This is a bi-costal production.
In a low-budget motel room on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert, May, a conflicted young woman sits dejectedly on her rumpled bed while Eddie, a rough-spoken rodeo performer crouches in a corner fiddling with his riding gear. When he attempts to console May she suddenly attacks him.
As the recriminations pour out, the desperate nature of their relationship becomes apparent: They cannot get along with or without one another, yet neither can deny their burning passion.
Fool For Love had it's Off-Broadway premiere in 1983 at Circle Repertory in New York and was nominated for the Pulitzer Price in drama in 1984. This is one of Sam Shepard's best.
The concert takes place on Saturday evening December 8th starting at 4pm and on Sunday, December 9th at The Forum located at 3900 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood CA 90305.
Some of the guests scheduled to perform are Smashing Pumpkins, Florence & The Machine, Third Eye Blind, Death Cab for Cutie, Bastille, Greta Van Fleet and Thirty Seconds to Mars plus many more groups. Also if Punk is your thing, Bad Religion and AFI will be on hand.