La Virgen in Los Angeles - 17 Years And Counting- A Conversation with Playwright Evelina Fernandez

Lauded playwright Evelina Fernandez's gorgeous and long-running annual play pageant La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dio Inantzin (Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of God), will perform at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles for the 17th year on December 6 & 7, at 7:30pm. As she and the team prepare to present the show again this year, I had to find out more about the production, its history, and a few tid bits on this year's presentation.

RQM: This is your 17th year - congratulations on such a long-running and successful run of this special event. Let's go back to the beginning - how did La Virgen get started?

EF: Thanks so much! We, the Latino Theater Company, first produced La Virgen at the Million Dollar Theater in 1991 right after the closing of the original LATC where we were in residence as the Latino Theater Lab and we later performed it at St. Alphonsus Church in East L.A. For those early productions we used El Teatro Campesino's version "La Virgen del Tepeyac" by Luis Valdez. Fast forward to 2002 when Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral was almost completed and our Artistic Director, Jose Luis Valenzuela, thought it would be wonderful to perform "La Virgen" there. The first response from the Cathedral staff was a "no." But, in November they changed their mind and we scrambled to make it happen, not wanting to pass up the opportunity. Campesino's script wasn't available so we decided to write our own adaptation with our own original music and we called it, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin (Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of God) and we've been doing it ever since.

RQM: One of the things that excites me about the show is that it gives voice to indigenous peoples and celebrates their role in the mythos and ethos of the Virgen story. What research was involved with developing that aspect of the show?

EF: There are many versions of this story. But, the genesis of all of them is the Nican Mopohua, the Nahuatl narrative of the four apparitions of La Virgen de Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego in 1531. I chose to embrace a new translation, "Tonantzin Guadalupe," by Miguel Leon Portilla (2000) which is a secular recounting of the Nican Mopohua that emphasizes Nahua culture and spirituality, unlike previous translations. I also read any and all scripts of the story that I could get my hands on, from the very religious to the very comical.

RQM: Has the show changed and evolved over the years? If so, how?

EF: Absolutely! The first year we performed at the Cathedral we had hand-held microphones and hand-held lights that began to lose power in the middle of the show. We have added new elements over the years like handmade indigenous costumes and music and dance solos that have grown organically from the participants. The story is the story, but the telling of it has grown and developed into the beautiful production you see today. Several years ago we added english supertitles to make the show more accessible for non-Spanish speakers and, most recently, we've added video projections and new sets that are designed as Mexican folk shadow boxes for the Virgin's apparitions. In addition, the script has changed over the years as I include new rhythms, suggestions and improvisations by the actors, many of whom have performed in the show for 17 years.

RQM: Theatre and religion have long lived hand in hand - back to the Egyptians, the Greeks, and later the Catholic mystery plays. What is the collaborative relationship like with the Cathedral?

EF: From the beginning the collaboration with the Cathedral has been one of mutual respect and support. The first years we performed, Cardinal Mahoney played a key role in introducing the play and the relationship between theater, music and cathedrals throughout history as gathering places to enjoy the arts. The new and open attitude of the Cathedral, the access to all to be on the altar and even sit in the Cardinal's chair made it easy for us to put up the play there. Even now, audiences are surprised that the Aztec dances take place on the altar and even consider it subversive (in the positive sense). After 17 years of working together, we have developed a "system", per se, of offering this holiday gift to all Angelenos and especially to poor and working people who cannot afford to take their families to other holiday offerings in the City.

RQM: I imagine this show attracts both traditional theatre goers as well as those who don't normally attend traditional theatre productions. What's the take away for you as a playwright to write a piece that speaks so broadly and widely to people?

EF: I always say that this is my favorite show because of the community in the play and the people who attend. Many of the participants, actors and community, have been part of the show since the beginning and doing the play is part of their holiday tradition. Yes, it's a play, but for our community, it is so much more. La Virgen de Guadalupe has long been a symbol of social justice for our community because she is the Virgin that looks like us. It's a story of hope and perseverance, but it is also story about racism, classism and the abuse of the indigenous people in Mexico after the conquest. It represents triumph for the underdog and the eventual reconciliation of the indigenous and European which represents who we are now as Mestizos. It's also wonderful to have this pageant attended and lauded by traditional theatre goers because I believe it promotes dignity and understanding of Mexican indigenous culture.

RQM: I've been told we have a new Virgin this year. Tell us a little about her and her work.

EF: Esperanza America has covered for Suzanna Guzman in the past. She's been in many of the Latino Theater Company productions at our theater, the LATC ; "A Mexican Trilogy" and, most recently, she played La Virgen in "The Mother of Henry." She's been in our productions of La Virgen since she was 5 years old. This year Suzanna had a conflict with the dates and so Esperanza is going on for her again. She has a beautiful voice and is a lovely actor. Oh, and she happens to be my and Jose Luis's daughter!


JOAN OF ART: A Very Merry Magic Mania, Cars and More Cars, Evolution of L.A. Street Art and a Musical Icon

I know a lot of you are busy Xmas shopping and taking advantage of all the sales going on, but if you decide to take a break from all that and want to have some fun, here's a few events that you should check out.

One of my favorites is A VERY MERRY MAGIC MANIA hosted by Magician Extraordinaire Albie Selznick. I've seen many of Albie's shows and have always been blown away by his talent.

After a summer of bringing magic to the masses at the Santa Monica Playhouse, Albie is back with a new show called A VERY MERRY MAGIC MANIA. It will still be at the Santa Monica Playhouse, but instead of Mondays, it will be Saturday and Sunday evenings, from November 23rd through December 29th.

This Saturday at 8pm magicians Trigg Watson, Chris Randall, Dave Cox and Chris Moorman will be performing while on Sunday at 3pm Michael O' Brien will be added to the show.

A VERY MERRY MAGIC MANIA offers the opportunity to see multiple world class magicians in an intimate venue. Albie's guest magicians have appeared on America's Got Talent, Penn & Teller: Food Us, Masters of Illusion, Wizard Wars, to name just a few.

For tickets or more information go to MagicManiaLA.com or call 310-586-1166.

Now besides magic I love cars. Well in truth I love vintage cars, but I still can't resist going to the LA AUTO SHOW every year and this year is no different. Starting Friday, November 22nd through Sunday December 1st one of the world's largest auto shows with 1,000 vehicles will return to LA and I can't wait to see what the future holds when it comes to driving.

This show is a one stop shop for comparison shopping for cars, trucks, SUV'S, electric vehicles and more without any sales pressure.

Whether you're shopping for a new vehicle, or just want to do some free test drives while experiencing the latest tech or exploring an assortment of customized rides and exotics, you will find it here at the LA AUTO SHOW at the LA CONVENTION CENTER, 1201 South Figueroa Street in Downtown LA next to the Staples Center.

Besides the cars, there will be numerous celebrity appearances from the entertainment, sports and automotive worlds and they're available for meet and greets, autograph signings and selfie sessions. For more information go to LAAutoShow.com or call (310) 444-1850.

Another thing I can't get enough of is STREET ART. I've walked the streets of downtown L.A. where I saw some of the best Graffiti art. Well now you don't have to travel that far to see some great Street Art. Just go over to the Annenberg Space For Photography on Friday, November 22nd at 7pm where you'll find THE EVOLUTION OF STREET ART IN LA, an evening with Judy Baca, Brooklyn-based street artist Swoon, and graffiti artist Saber.

Since the 1970's street artists - from muralists to graffiti artists have tried to 'maintain real estate.' Whether protecting giant murals from small but marring graffiti tags, to ensuring giant 'bombs' are not whitewashed by city or state authorities, L.A.'S STREET ART SCENE has battled to preserve its representation of the city's civic life.

Building on these themes for this lecture and discussion, muralist and Social and Public Art Resource Center co-founder Judy Baca will present on the transformation of L.A.'S storied mural and graffiti art scenes.

Known best for her work, The Great Wall of Los angeles (1976-83, Baca will also lead a conversation with the Brooklyn based street artist Caledonia Curry (aka Swoon) and graffiti artist Saber to explore the roles graffiti and mural art plays in representing marginalized communities in a quickly gentrifying city.

The Annenberg Space for Photography is located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, in LA 90067. For more information go to AnnenbergSpaceForPhotography.org.

Last but never least there is a Musical icon performing at the Wiltern Theatre. The icon is known simply as MADONNA.

We all know she gives larger-than-life performances so it'll be interesting to see her 'scaling-down.' Ahead of the release of her new album, MADAME X, Madonna is embarking on a small-ish theatre tour including 11 nights at the Wiltern Theatre located at 3780 Wilshire Blvd, in Koreatown, 90010.

The doors open at 7:30pm but Miss M. won't be going on until 10:30pm. The tour actually started on Tuesday, November 19th and continues through Monday November 28th. For more dates, times, tickets, etc go to Wiltern.com.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope you all have a blast.


L.A. Actor, Producer 'Nick Rubando' is Running to Flip the 5th in Ohio for Congressional Seat, Brings Hollywood Fundraiser to 'Three Clubs'


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.



 


JOAN OF ART: A Film About Two Great Men With a Dream, A Rocking Rocker From The Past, A Beautiful Garden of Lights, and A Night of Comedy

As everyone gets ready for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and shops for sales online and the old fashion way (in retail stores), there are many fun things to do this upcoming weekend to relieve the stress of it all.

First, one of my favorite films of the year (yes I've said that before, but the list keeps growing) is about to open this Friday at theatres around town.

The film is FORD v FERRARI starring Matt Damon as American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as the fearless British race car drive Ken Miles.

This is the true story of how the two men battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Company. Together they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

Directed by James Mangold this film will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. The car races are amazing and Matt Damon and Christian Bale do an incredible job of acting. The film, besides being extremely entertaining, is also a fascinating glimpse into history.

It's definitely a 'must see' on the big screen.

Remember the song HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN? How could you not? There has been countless renditions of it by more singers than I could possibly name in this space. Well Eric Burdon, the English singer-songwriter and vocalist of the rock band The Animals and funk band War who made this traditional folk song famous in 1964 will be appearing Friday, November 18th at the Fred Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks and I will definitely be there.

He will be appearing of course with his group The Animals and this promises to be one electrifying concert. Eric has been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1994 and named one of the 100 Greatest Voices of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. He has one of the most distinctive and soulful voices in rock.

This is one show you don't want to miss. The Fred Kavli Theatre is located at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks, CA. For tickets and more information go to BAPacThousandOaks.com or call the box office at (805) 449-2787.

Now if you're craving something a bit more mellow this weekend, head for The Descanso Gardens to see their Enchanted Forest of Light starting this Sunday, November 17th and playing through January 5th 2020.

Enchanted Forest of Light is an interactive nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles featuring a one mile walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens.

There are a variety of large scale light displays, many of which are interactive, allowing visitors to manipulate the lights and sounds. If you've never been to Descanso Gardens just know that you are in for something very special. They are renowned for their botanical collections and spectacular seasonal horticultural display.

Descanso founder, E. Manchester Boddy preserved these 150 acres of gardens, woodlands and chaparral for future generations to experience the natural heritage and beauty of Southern California.

For tickets and more information go to DescansoGardens.org. They are located at 1418 Descanso Drive, LaCanada, Flintridge 91011.

Lastly I plan on ending the weekend this Sunday laughing and what better place to do it then at The Hudson Theatre where their all new TMI Hollywood Thanksgiving Show, featuring music and stand-up by Luke Null from Saturday Night Live and the new album 'Guitar Comic'. will be playing.

If you love SNL and love to hate TMZ then TMI HOLLYWOOD, LA'S longest running comedy show is a hilarious night out for you.

Every Sunday night TMI presents an all new 90 minutes of sketch comedy based on the stories of the week in entertainment, celebrity and pop culture. It's hosted each week by a celebrity guest and featuring live performances by some of Los Angeles' best up and coming musicians and stand-up comics.

Nothing is off limits. Nothing is too silly or trivial and nothing is too controversial. TMI with its own unique and hilarious take on a story will have you laughing so hard you may fall out of your chair.

The Hudson Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. For tickets and more information go to TMIHollywood.com or call 323-856-4249.

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


JOAN OF ART: DARK SIDE OF THE DOME, 100 MUSICIANS, AND ANOTHER SCORSESE MASTERPIECE

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.

For tickets and information go to Wisdome.LA/dark-side-of-the-dome or call 323-689-6530. The park is located at 1147 Palmetto Street, LA.

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.


JOAN OF ART - A Concert to Celebrate, Remember and Honor All The Animals We Have Loved & Lost, Gravity and Other Myths, and a Musical Legend

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 is a show you do not want to miss!

Lastly that musical legend I mentioned, is none other than JAMES BROWN. 'Remembering James-The Life and Music of James Brown' will be at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood this weekend.

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.


JOAN OF ART - Chills & Scares, An Iconic Singer, Songwriter and Poet, A Rock Group That's Still Rocking & More Halloween Fun For The Whole Family

For the past five years, every Halloween, I find myself having the intense need to be scared and the place that fulfills that desire is found on the Queen Mary where they put on one of the most creative and terrifying Halloween event entitled DARK HARBOR.

This is the ultimate SCREAM festival. You walk through dark mazes where you will be greeted by monsters, ghouls, super gory scenes and people sneaking up on you in pitch black darkness to tap you on the shoulder. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed at the top of my lungs during this experience all aboard the Queen Mary which has been said to be haunted. What could be better?

There are over two hundred monsters, six terrifying mazes, nightly live entertainment, secret bars and exciting rides. This is Southern California's most authentic haunted attraction. It started in September and runs through November 2nd. There is no better place to experience Halloween.

For tickets and more information go to QueenMary.com/calendar-of-events/dark-harbor/2019 or call 1-877-600-4313.

If getting terrified isn't you thing then I suggest on October 11th, you take a trip over to UC Irvine-Bren Center to see the one and only BOB DYLAN. There is no need to explain who Bob Dylan is. If you don't know, then you should go to I tunes and download all of his music.

 

No musician has had such an influence on society as he had. The show starts at 8pm. UC Irvine-Bren Center is located at 100 Mesa Road, Irvine CA. For tickets go to BobDylan.com.

Speaking of music, there is another group playing in Los Angeles this weekend and perhaps you've heard of them. They're called THE WHO and if Dylan isn't your thing, fo see The Who instead playing at the Hollywood Bowl this coming Friday, October 11th, at 7:30pm.

This is their North American MOVING ON TOUR and they will definitely bring their indelible brand of powerhouse rock to the Hollywood Bowl. For tickets and more information go to HollywoodBowl.com.

Now kids might find the DARK HARBOR event a little too scary so that's why I suggest you take them to NIGHTS OF THE JACK which is an interactive family friendly Halloween experience at the beautiful King Gillette Ranch in Calabases CA.

You and your family will walk around a half mile trail around the vast grounds that display intricately hand carved and illuminated jack o'lanterns. It also features a live pumpkin carver, gift shop, top LA food trucks and their 'Spookeasy Bar' serving specially crafted Halloween cocktails and tons of other 'Instagramable' moments for all to enjoy.

This year they are in partnership with Nickelodeon so the event will feature a special 'SpongeBob Square Pants' installation which bring to life fan favorite SpongeBob characters and iconic Bikini Bottom places through an illuminated pumpkin display, as well as an "Are You 'Afraid of the Dark?" pre-show tent space to include twisted surprises, along with an interactive augmented reality experience.

For tickets and more information go to NightOfTheJack.com. The King Gillette Ranch is located at 26800 West Mulholland Highway, Calabasas, CA 91302.

Whatever you chose to do this weekend, have a great one people.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For tickets go to PacificResidentTheatre.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The theatre is located at 7307 Melrose in West LA.

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


JOAN OF ART: Never Is Now - A Powerful Play, A Must See Film About A True Legend and a Night of Magic

What makes a play memorable? For me it's one that moves me emotionally and one that makes me think. NEVER IS NOW is just such a play. There are some events in history that are very hard to visit, but at the same time, it's so important that we do just that, which brings me to this world premiere directed by Tony Abatemarco and Celia Mandela Rivera playing at the Skylight Theatre. I've seen numerous productions put on by this theatre company and have never been disappointed. They do excellent work and this production is no exception.

The play asks the question...What happens when people from diverse backgrounds experience the first hand accounts of ten survivors who were labeled 'undesirable' and thrust into Hitler's systematic genocide.?

Award winning playwright/producer Wendy Kout disturbingly links then and now so we may understand what breaks us apart and embrace what bonds us together. NEVER IS NOW according to Wendy is just the beginning of the conversation.

This is a theatre experience that you will be thinking about long after the curtain falls. I know I was. You can see this play Fridays at 8:30pm, Saturdays at 4pm & 8:30pm and Sundays at 2pm through October 27th.

Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave in East Hollywood, 90027. To purchase tickets go to SkylightTheatre.org or call 213-761-7061.

When I was a little girl my grandmother told me that her favorite singer was a woman named Judy Garland. After watching her films over the years, she became one of my favorite singers as well.

On Friday, September 27th, the film JUDY starring the brilliant Renee Zellweger opens and having seen it, I predict she will win the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress. She absolutely nails the part. Not only is her portrayal of one of the world's greatest entertainers right on point, when Renee sings, she sounds just like Judy capturing Garland's emotional intensity.

JUDY takes place during the winter of 1968 when the singer arrived in London to perform a five week sold out run at The Talk of the Town. As she prepares for each show, we journey into her past and get to understand why the singer was so tormented and had to resort to drugs and alcohol to ease her pain.

The film features some of Judy's best known songs, celebrates her voice and shows the audience why she had such a desperate need for love and constant reassurance. Don't miss it!

Next to seeing great plays and films I love watching magic shows and that's exactly what I'll be doing this Saturday night. Ivan Amodei, one of my favorite magicians, will be performing at Janet & Ray Scherr Forum Theatre located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks. Ivan is considered to be one of today's most gifted illusionists.

His show is entitled Secrets & Illusions and having seen it twice before, I promise you, it's one you won't forget.

Ivan could easily settle for just amazing people, but he does so much more. Whether it's his world class sleight of hand, fantastic storytelling or mind-blowing mentalism, every 'trick' embodies a powerful truth about empowerment and hope. He has won six People's Choice Awards for Best Entertainer and his long running show Intimate Illusions was a Top Pick by the Los Angeles Times.

If you love magic as much as I do, than Ivan Amodei is the magician to see. For tickets or more information go to IvanaModei.com, CivicArtsPlaza.com or call the Civic Arts Plaza box office at 805-449-2787.

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


JOAN OF ART - A Cinematic Masterpiece starring Brad Pitt, A Swinging Good Time, and Surviving the Darkest Time in History

AD ASTRA is a film set in the near future about one man's physical as well as psychological journey into space. The film is, in one word...brilliant.

It stars Brad Pitt who gives one of his best performances of his career as Astronaut Major Roy McBride who is sent on a deeply classified mission to investigate a rash of solar surges coming from Neptune that threatens the existence of Earth's survival. Roy's father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) who has been presumed dead for years is being blamed for the occurrence.

Clifford McBride a renowned astronaut was sent to Neptune 29 years ago to search for intelligent life, but he never returned. Now U.S. intelligence believes that Clifford is alive and responsible for the calamities that are taken place on our planet.

As Roy travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet, his journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our own place in the cosmos.

The film co-written by James Gray and Ethan Gross has stunning visuals, great special effects, but in the end, it's all about Brad Pitt.

Brad is in every scene and he is absolutely mesmerizing. This is a sci-fi film like no other. There are no aliens...just a man exploring outer space and most importantly his own inner world. Come Oscar time, Brad is definitely going to get a nod for his fine work.

AD ASTRA which is a popular Latin phrase meaning 'to the stars' opens in theaters nationwide on Friday September 20th. Do not miss it!

After exploring the depths of our galaxy I think it would be fun to get up and dance and by dance I mean 'swing' to the sounds of the best big band group around today, BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY.

In case you're unfamiliar with the group, they are a contemporary swing revival band from Southern California that in 2018 marked their 25th anniversary. Since its formation in the early nineties in Ventura, the band has toured virtually nonstop, performing on average, over 150 shows a year with record sales of over two million to date.

Their notable singles include 'Go Daddy-O', 'You & Me & the Bottle Makes 3 Tonight' and 'Mr. Pinstripe Suit.' I've seen them numerous times and can't wait to see them this Saturday evening, September 21st at The Canyon Club.

Doors open at 6pm and they go on at 9pm. The Canyon Club is located at 28912 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills CA 91301. For tickets or more information call 818-879-5016 or go to WhereMusicMeetsTheSoul.com.

Two weeks ago I saw a beautiful, sad, fascinating play entitled THE CHINESE LADY which actually was a fascinating history lesson. The play is at the Greenway Court Theatre located at 544 North Fairfax Avenue in LA and one that I highly recommend.

Inspired by the true story of America's first female Chinese immigrant, THE CHINESE LADY is a dark, poetic, yet whimsical portrait of America through the eyes of a young Chinese woman, Afong Moy (the excellent Amy Shu).

Afong is just 14 years old when she's brought to the United States from Canton in 1834. She is put on display for the American public as 'The Chinese Lady.' For the next half century she performs for curious museum goers showing them how she eats, what she wears and the highlight of the event, how she walks with bound feet.

As the decades wear on, her celebrated sideshow comes to define and challenge her very sense of identity. Sharing the stage with Amy is Trieu Tran, a powerful actor who plays The Chinese Lady's translator. This is definitely 'a must see play.'

For tickets and show times please go to GreenwayCourtTheatre.org.

Now there's another great music event going on this weekend and it's happening at the Shrine Auditorium. Lenny Kravitz, a four time GRAMMY award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist elevates the union of rock 'n roll, funk, blues and soul he patented in 1989 and will be performing for one night only on Saturday, September 21st.

He is all about raising vibration. In his own words, Lenny feels that 'we need to reach higher.' 'We need to be more thoughtful, spiritual, loving and open. He says 'we need to stop thinking of borders, boxes and imaginary forms of separation.' 'We're all on planet Earth together and we must do better.' After reading these words, I can promise you that this will be one amazing concert.

The Shrine is located at 665 West Jefferson Blvd in LA. To buy tickets or for more information call 213-748-5116 or go to ShrineAuditorium.com.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 5 - 11, 2019

Theatrical shows and Cabaret NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

MACBETH

Share on social media.

THE VANDAL

Share on social media.

NIKI HARIS: SISTERS IN SOUL

Share on social media.

LOST MOON RADIO SUMMER BLOCK PARTY

Share on social media.

ANDY WARHOL'S TOMATO

Share on social media.

THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK

Share on social media.

TO GILLIAN ON HER 37TH BIRTHDAY

Share on social media.

PAUL ROBESON THEATRE FESTIVAL

Share on social media.

NOW MORE THAN EVER: AN AFTERNOON OF HUMOR

Share on social media.

A THOUSAND CLOWNS

Share on social media.


JOAN OF ART - 10th Annual Reggae on the Mountain, Twilight Dinner on the Farm, and Going Back in Time 

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.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to ReggaeOnTheMountain.com.

Now for the most anticipated event of the weekend, at least for me, but it actually it a great one for everyone, is the TWILIGHT DINNER ON THE FARM put on by KINDRED SPIRITS CARE FARM on Saturday, August 10th from 7 - 10pm.

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.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – July 22 - 28, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, Cabaret, and Music Programs  NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar, including Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore! Producers and Best of Broadwater Award recipients.

For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Treya's Last Dance

Share on social media.

Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium

Share on social media.

TRUE WEST

Share on social media.

Harry Potter & The Forbidden RUSH

Share on social media.

A Midsummer Night's Dream Anniversary Show

Share on social media.

GOOD MOURNING

Share on social media.

BARRYMORE

Share on social media.

I'M NOT A COMEDIAN...I'M LENNY BRUCE

Share on social media.

But, I'm Almost Famous?

Share on social media.

SHAME OF THRONES: The Musical

Share on social media.

Dido and Aeneas and Gianni Schicchi

Share on social media.

Dance in Flight

Share on social media.

Songfest

Share on social media.

Futureproof

Share on social media.

Kristine W and Ada Vox In Concert

Share on social media.

Ragtime

Share on social media.

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

Share on social media.

The Cherry Orchard

Share on social media.

Darlene Love

Share on social media.

Ruben Sings Luther

Share on social media.

Blake Pouliot, violin

Share on social media.

Naturally 7

Share on social media.

An Evening of Stories and Songs with Chris Hillman featuring Herb Pedersen

Share on social media.

Simply Three

Share on social media.

Versa Style Dance Company

Share on social media.

Leo Kottke

Share on social media.

Taimane: Elemental Tour

Share on social media.

Phil Norman Tentet

Share on social media.

Viva MOMIX

Share on social media.

The Rainbow Fish

Share on social media.

Take Me to the River Live! – Celebrating the Music of New Orleans

Share on social media.

Zlatomir Fung, cello

Share on social media.

Tommy Emmanuel with Special Guest Jim and Morning Nichols

Share on social media.