JOAN OF ART: An Iconic Musical, A Three Weekend Celebration of Food, Music & Beer, Halloween Scares & Another Kind Of Culinary Food Festival

Fall is upon us which means the start of a long holiday season, but before we get to that, there's one of my favorite musicals opening on October 18th at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, THE MUSIC MAN.

This beloved Meredith Wilson musical, which I personally have seen many times throughout the years, including the one with Hugh Jackman, will star Broadway's Adam Pascal ('Rent') as the fast talking traveling salesman Harold Hill.

In 1957 The Music Man became a hit on Broadway, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and running for 1,375 performances. It included some of the most memorable songs including 'Till There Was You' and 'Goodnight My Someone' and the brassy favorite '76 Trombones.'

This is a total feel good musical that will have you smiling long after the curtain falls. The show opens Friday October 18th at 8pm and will close on Sunday October 27th.

For show times, tickets and other information go to BAPACThousandOaks.com  or call 805-449-2787. The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is located at 2100 East Thousand Oaks Blvd in Thousand Oaks.

Now what would October be without the annual OKTOBERFEST which opened last weekend at the Fairplex and will be there for two more days, October 18th and 19th. This celebration is filled with authentic Bavarian music, German Food, chicken dances and guaranteed to be a blast for you and your family.

Guests will enjoy two stages, one complete with an Oom Pah Pah band, 12 beers on tap at multiple bars and enough food to feed a village. Two of the biggest expo halls and the outdoor plaza have been transformed and decorated to recreate a German fair.

Queen Nation, a cover band, will rock you along with The Rheinlanders and DJ Schlage spinning on the 1's and 2's.

For more information and to buy tickets go to Fairplex.com/events/oktoberfest. The Fairplex is located at 1101 West McKinley Avenue in Pomona, 91768.

Since Halloween is coming up there are plenty of places guaranteed to scare you silly and one of the scariest of all takes place at Universal Studios in Hollywood. It's Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and this year it has more spine-tingling mazes than ever before.

The studio that created the original monster movie genre, once again breathes new life into your darkest nightmares bringing you more hair-raising encounters including the dark secrets that lurk in the Upside Down in the next chapter of Netflix's STRANGER THINGS, the ultimate in paranormal thrills from GHOSTBUSTERS and coming face to face with your worst nightmare - yourself in Jordan Peele's film US.

There will be scare zones each gorged with murderous monsters and unimaginable horrors awaiting your arrival. What could be better than that? 'Horror Nights' runs now through November 3rd. Oh did I mention when and if you want a break from all the scary stuff there will also be a live band featuring the best music of the '80s, DJ dance parties and more.

To buy tickets go to Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com. Universal Studios is located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City.

Lastly there is another kind of food experience happening this weekend and it's called TASTE CULINARY FOOD FESTIVAL taking place at The Atrium at Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles.

The festival is back for a second year and returns for a weekend long celebration of global cuisine and culinary events. This culinary experience features samplings from the Center's best restaurants along with chef experiences, wine and spirits tastings, plus live entertainment while you sip and savor your way through the best cuisines from around the world.

Ticket holders will get to enjoy samplings and tastings from restaurants like: Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, Eataly, Javier's, Halo Top Scoop Shop, La Colombe, The Crack Shack and so many more.

Tickets to attend will cost $55 for adults over 21 years of age and $35 for guests under 21.

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options will be available at the event. TASTE takes place on Friday October 18th from 5:30-8:30pm, Saturday October 19th from 11:30am-2:30pm, and 5:30pm-8:30pm. The last day is Sunday, October 20th, from noon until 3pm.

Go to Westfield.com/CenturyCity to purchase tickets and for more information.

Wishing you a very fun weekend.


"MEET THE PUBLICISTS" PANEL PODCAST

Better Lemons and Theatre West hosted “Meet the Publicists” featuring several of LA's premier publicists for a panel discussion of theatre publicity, marketing, and promotion.

The following publicists were on the panel:

Tim Choy (Davidson & Choy Publicity)
DAVIDSON & CHOY PUBLICITY (Press Representatives) resume includes the original Evita through The Book of Mormon and stints with American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Clients include Actor's Gang, Broad Stage, El Capitan Theatre, Ford Theatres, Hollywood Bowl, Lythgoe Pantos, Pasadena Playhouse, Segerstrom Center, Shakespeare Center LA, The Soraya, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Lucy Pollak (Lucy Pollak Public Relations)
Lucy Pollak has been providing publicity services to the Los Angeles arts community for the past 27 years for companies including 24th STreet Theatre, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Echo Theater Company, Fountain Theatre, International City Theatre, L.A. Theatre Works, Latino Theater Company at the LATC, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Padua Playwrights, Theatre Planners, Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum; numerous independent theater and dance productions; and large events and festivals such as the annual L.A. County Holiday Celebration at The Music Center.

From 1981 to 1990, she was production manager/staff producer at the Odyssey Theatre, where she co-produced over 100 productions with artistic director Ron Sossi.

She is the recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critic's Circle Award (Master Class), an LA Weekly Award (Mary Barnes), four Drama-Logue Awards (Mary Barnes, Idioglossia, Accidental Death of An Anarchist, It's A Girl!), and a Women in Theatre Recognition Award. She has served on the boards of directors of the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance (now L.A. Stage Alliance), Women in Theatre and P.A.T.H. (Performing Arts Theatre for the Handicapped).

Philip Sokoloff
PHILIP SOKOLOFF has been a publicist for 24 years. He represents over 100 live attractions and several dozen feature films annually. His long-term clients include Theatre 40, Edgemar Center for the Arts, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Robey Theatre Company, Arena Cinelounge, Dean Productions and more.He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. He has also produced for stage and television and has been an actor for 49 years.

Lynn Tejada (Green Galactic)
For 25 years, Green Galactic Founder Lynn Tejada has been the go-to publicist in Los Angeles for alternative art and culture producers, representing clients on a local, regional, national, and international scale. Since 1994, her promotions and client-base has included music of all sorts, theatre, art, film, dance, and more.

Tejada is also drawn to helping charities and nonprofit clients – she currently sits on the board of Linda Carmella Sibio's Bezerk Productions, Dance Camera West and on the advisory board of Lauren Segal's Give A Beat. She is also on the Honorary Board of Flea's Silverlake Conservatory of Music and sat on the board of humanitarian nonprofit NextAid for many years.


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.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 23 - 29, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, and Musicals NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Short & Sweet Film Festival

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The Outsider

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Operation Ajax

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Absolutely Halloween

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You Don't Know My Life!

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Do Us Part

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The Surveillance Triogy

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Mono/Poly

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Cock

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Living After

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My Favorite Suicide

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(IM)PERFEKT

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LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

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The Italian in Me

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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.


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 16 - 22, 2019

Theatrical shows, Film Festivals, Fringe Festivals, Dance, and Shakespeare NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Rooftop Screams at the Montalban

The Addams Family

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Evil Dead

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Hocus Pocus

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Dawn of the Dead

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The Mummy

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Ghostbusters

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Beetlejuice

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Get Out

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Coco

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Theatrical Festivals, Shows, and Dance Performances

Gem of the Ocean

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Driving Wilde

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To Dad With Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen

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Charlotte Stay Close

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My Name is Mommy

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Jack and the Giant

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Fools

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Fertile

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Yoga Play

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Titus Andronicus

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Tonoccus McClain: Living A Why Not Life

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Buried Child

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The Chinese Lady

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Little Shop of Horrors

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Measure for Measure

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I Never Saw Another

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The Music Man

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Never is Now

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Miss Lilly Gets Boned

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The Dumb Waiter

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Barrymore

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Romeo and Juliet

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HalfTruths, Full Plate

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Milkcrate Monologues Vol. 1

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TST Sum Poetry

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Conversations 'Bout the Girls

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Art is Useless When You're Being Mauled by a Bear

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Fourth Annual Binge Fringe Festival of FREE Theatre

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Masoch and Desade

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4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane

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Peter & the Wolf Presented by LA Youth Ballet

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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.


Lights Change: A Conversation with Writer Jacqueline Wright

About 10 years ago when I was an intern-turned-associate literary manager at Ensemble Studio Theatre/Los Angeles, I encountered the brilliant dramaturgical mind of Jacqueline Wright. What excites me about her work is that she is a writer and performer who constantly expands our minds as witnesses of the art-making experience. For her, like me, audiences are not just passive consumers of creative work - they are collaborators and, as collaborators, we writers make them work: we don't always tell stories that are linear, cause and effect, character psychology driven, - you name the normative convention often on view in the mainstream. Jacqueline's background in experimentalism makes her a nimble dramatist who weaves into and out of narrative structures, point of views, modalities of storytelling, and genres.

This is no exception in her provocative work Driving Wilde, currently playing at Theatre of NOTE in Hollywood. I caught the piece and engaged in a hearty conversation with Jacqueline afterwards amongst the seats which were just filled with enthusiastic patrons of the show. If you listen closely, you'll hear and feel the verve of the audience that exited the theatre a few moments prior, indubitably changed, challenged, and expanded by the experience they just received during Driving Wilde.

I would be remiss not to give you the tools to see this show yourself, for it is a must see. More information is available at TheatreOfNote.com

And now, Lights Change with my buddy Jacqueline and me:


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 9 - 15, 2019

Theatrical shows and Staged Readings NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Through A Magicians Eyes: Starring Blaise
Serra

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House Of Me

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The Music Of Brian Gallagher

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Thelma Houston: From Sunshower To Motown

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In Trousers

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Sight Unseen

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Aleichem Sholom! The wit and wisdom of Sholom Aleichem

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The Pack

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The Three Musketeers At North Coast Rep Theater School

Sh

More Guns!

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Opening Night: The Improvised Musical

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The Really Awesome Improv Show

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Canuck As F*ck

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Life In Boobs

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All My Sons

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Omniscope: Dance And Architecture Show

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Supportive White Parents

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To T, Or Not To T

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Steve Grand: The Pink Champagne Tour

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The Nosotros 49th Annual Golden Eagle Awards at The Montalbán Theatre

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – September 2 - 8, 2019

Theatrical shows and Staged Readings NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Marilyn Monroe: The Last Interview

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Love in Bloom

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The Edgar Allan Show

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The Mystery Of Irma Vep - A Penny Dreadful

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Night of the Living Dead

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Little Women

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Tyrus

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Pit of Goblins

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Representative Misbehavior

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I Dig Rock and Roll Music

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Poker at the Pantages

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A Kid Like Jake

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Never Ever Land

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Red Thread

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Second Saturday Series

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Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 26, 2019 - September 1, 2019

Theatrical shows and Staged Readings NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!

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

Life In Boobs

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The Mismatch Game

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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The Solid Life of Sugar Water

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SAUGERTIES

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Yellow Face, Off The Page series of staged readings at Sierra Madre Playhouse

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Tuesday Night Comics at North Coast Rep

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Corina, From Lap Dance to Sundance

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SnoWhite

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Wake Up Little Susy

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The Joy Luck Club

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Deadly

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Arther Miller's Death of A Salesman

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The Queen's Fool

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In Circles

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Sherwood Award-winning Kristina Wong Brings 'UndocuStories' Through LA Department of Cultural Affairs Grants

Actress, Comedian, and local Politician, Kristina Wong, will be presenting a “UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom” workshop series at the Dream Resource Center in MacArthur Park, beginning September 3, 2019.

Sponsored by UCLA Dream Resource Center, Wong, and the UCLA Labor Center, the workshop is funded by an Artist-in-Residence grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

In the eighth year as recipient of this grant as Artist-in-Residence, Wong, who refers to her work as “mind-blowing social commentary with a little humor,” on a picture of her 2020 Census Form posted on her Facebook page, facilitated a similar workshop last year where DACA recipients, undocumented individuals, permanent residents, mixed-status families, and allies participated with a similar grant, which was increased this year from $8,000 to $12,000.

Participants in the "UndocuStories" workshops in 2018 in an exercise involving karaoke. (Photo courtesy of Kristina Wong/UCLA Dream Resource Center)

“Last year’s show was a combination of comedy sketches, poetry, movement work, first-person testimonials and a cover of Vanilla’s Ice Ice Baby called “ABOLISH Ice, Ice Baby,” she said. “This year's workshop will specifically center on experiences of undocumented immigrants.”

Wong, who is a newly elected Representative for Sub-District 5 Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council, recently received the Center Theatre Group’s Dorothy and Richard E. Sherwood Award for her work as a “Boundary-Pushing Artist,” which was presented to her at the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards ceremony at this year.

"UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom" is a twelve-week theater workshop facilitated by Wong, that will feature guest artists Yosimar Reyes (2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry) and Kat Evasco (Working in the Theater) who will teach skills in comedy writing, Theater of the Oppressed (TO), movement, and performance, where participants will engage on issues that “impact the undocumented immigrant community, transforming those stories into an original theater piece for the public,” said Wong on the LAFPI site.

According to the Mandala Center for Change, TO is a form of community-based education that “uses theater as a tool for social change" that was developed by Augusto Boal.  Theater of the Oppressed "is now used all over the world for social and political activism, conflict resolution, community building, therapy, and government legislation. It is also practiced on a grassroots level by community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, cultural animators, and more."

Per Wong, as a public elected official in Koreatown in “a small, unpaid position, but very mighty,” a lot of her constituency and neighborhood is undocumented. In her first 100 days in office, and while still working as an actress, comedian, and writer, she wrote a community impact statement about supporting the abolishment of ICE (Integrations and Customs Enforcement), and that process may make it into a future show. Since then she has made it her goal to work and educate toward achieving social justice through her comedy, where she discusses social issues affecting people of color—especially women of color—, white privilege, and how to be an armchair social justice warrior (or a better one on foot). A great example of her approach is one of her earlier productions titled the “Wong Street Journal.”

“Last year, our allies were really great about stepping up to support the storytelling of our undocumented participants and de-centering themselves when necessary to keep the focus of storytelling on the experiences of undocumented participants,” said Wong in her blog.

Each week, for twelve weeks, with information provided by the Dream Resource Center, participants will explore a new topic that specifically affects the undocumented community, such as “Know your Rights” or healthcare options for undocumented communities and unaccompanied minors crossing the border, along with theater games, a mix of improv and sketch writing exercises, and performance work.

For some individuals who might be concerned about giving their identities with regard to the workshop and performances, they will establish community rules at the top of each meeting so that “everyone is on the same page about how to work together,” according to the LAFPI article, so participants may not be required to give full names if they are undocumented.

“Just let us know if you don’t want your name published on materials or if there are limits as to what you want to share with the group or publicly,” Wong wrote on the LAFPI site.

With regard to any fears about ICE roundups, Wong said, “they would have to have a warrant” [for an individual] and that there are staff members present who are “super trained on how to address ICE” if they were to show. But she feels confident that would not happen or be an issue.

“To those who are not undocumented, it seems scary, but the "Know Your Rights" training in the workshop prepares the undocumented as well as the allies so that we are all ready to put the knowledge to the task," Wong said. “But also they have to ring a doorbell to come in, so we'd at least be able to confront them at the door.”

The “UndocuStories: Journeys of Justice and Freedom” workshop is located at UCLA Downtown Labor Center at 675 S Park View St, Los Angeles, CA 90057, which will meet Tuesdays from September 3 - November 19, 2019, from 6 - 8 p.m., with the final performance on November 19th at 7 p.m. Participants do not need to be a UCLA student to attend, there are no age restrictions for the workshop, the workshop is free, and dinner will be provided at each session. For more information contact: [email protected].


Now Registered on the Better Lemons Calendar – August 19 - 25, 2019

Theatrical shows and Festivals NOW registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

Grumpy Old Men The Musical

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Stage Raw + Play La Theatre Festival Weekend

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Puffs

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King Lear

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Fool For Love

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Ask A Black Woman

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The Trouble Is, You Think You Have Time

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Tales From The Powder Room

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Little Women

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Dial M For Murder

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Give Up The Ghost

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