JOAN OF ART: Under The Big Top, Flamenco, One Women Show With Music and a Seance

This week has a diverse amount of activities...even one of the unworldly kind.

I'll start with one that first appeared in Los Angeles in 1987 during the Los Angeles Festival. It was the opening night of the Festival and since that time Cirque Du Soleil has blown the minds of everyone including myself who has had the good fortune of seeing everyone of their incredible shows.

Well good news is that they are back in town with their new show VOLTA at Dodger Stadium. VOLTA is based on extreme sports; the principal character is a game show contestant named Was. It is the company's 41st production since it began and it's the 18th show presented under the Big Top.

VOLTA tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. It's the story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one's true potential and the power of the group to make that possible. It celebrates the freedom of movement and creativity. I can promise you that this show will not only be spectacular but as many of their shows do, will tug at your heart strings.

I for one can't wait to see this new production and if you would too then go to CirqueDuSoleil.com/volta for tickets and more information. The Show runs January 18th until March 8th.

Dodger Stadium is located at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue in LA 90012.

Now I absolutely love dance. I've studied modern and jazz for years. The one thing I've never tackled despite my deep admiration of the form is FLAMENCO. Luckily I get to attend The Ultimate Flamenco Dinner Show on Saturday January 18th in Long Beach.

Full of passionate dance and vibrant guitar playing, Andalusia native La Sole-Yvette Garcia's artistically diverse show encompasses the culturally rich, technically intricate art of flamenco.

But that's not all. Along with an evening's worth of exceptional entertainment, you'll enjoy Algeria's delicious Spanish and Latin American cuisine which includes classic dishes and deserts. Food and dance...What could be better?

I've been here before and I can promise the cuisine is delicious and the dancing sensational.

Performances start at 7:30pm and run throughout the year. For tickets and more information go to AlegriaCocinaLatina.com. The restaurant is located at 115 Pine Avenue in Long Beach 90802.

Next the WHITEFIRE THEATRE is presenting SOLOFEST 2020, a celebration of the solo journey. I've been an actress for many years but never even attempted to do a solo show because for me, being alone on the stage, is over the top scary. Having said that, I have incredible admiration for those people that do it and pull it off.

I've seen many one person shows at this theatre and all of them have been excellent. Their first show appropriately entitled LADIES FIRST started on January 4th and will be running on the 18th, 25th, 12th, 19th, 26th and February 1st and 8th.

Ladies First is a one woman musical written by Krisy Dennis and Bob Garret and performed by Krisy Dennis.

The show celebrates 14 amazing women from the original suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst to feminist activists Katharine Hepburn and Nora Ephron. Their monologues are inspired by speeches, quotes and interviews with these great women.

Krisy also sings songs by artists such as Alicia Keys, Kate Bush, and Stephen Sondheim.

The Whiteface Theatre is located at 13500 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks 91423. For tickets and more information go to WhitefireTheatre.com.

 

Lastly if ghosts are your thing then you must see WHISPERS IN THE DARK where they promise you will find some. This is an Unsolved Murder Séance.

There's a long buried mystery that's been waiting to resurface and they need you to help them solve the crime. This is an immersive experience that will take you on a journey into an unknown world of ghosts and spirits (hopefully friendly ones) that will leave everyone gasping for breath as messages, sights, and sounds emerge from the shadows.

I love to be scared so this sound like the perfect place for me to be this weekend. If you would like a seat at the Séance Table then drive or Uber over to the MAGICOPOLIS located at 1418 4th Street in Santa Monica, where the séance is taking place.

To buy tickets and for more information go to IHearWhispers.com.

Most importantly, whatever you choose to do this weekend, make it a fun one. I know I will.


The Second Annual 'She L.A. Summer Theater Festival' Opens at the 'Zephyr'

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre in Hollywood opens Tuesday, July 30, 2019, with five original full-length works by women-identifying writers.

Produced by She NYC Arts, She L.A. "was borne out of the desire of artists in the LA area to bring the She NYC Summer Theater Festival to the west coast", which "supports the creation and production of meaningful, powerful, and commercially viable works by women writers, composers, directors, and actors." As a non-profit,  SheNYC Arts, Inc. receives a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation, which, along with donations from theatre patrons,  enables them to provide a free program for high-school girls interested in producing and writing for the theatre through their CreateHer program.

Rehearsal of "She's Not There" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Here is an overview of the fives shows featured in this year's festival:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani - A few months after 9/11, Sharzahd Jensen, a caregiver, arrives for her newest assignment: as a live-in aid to an elderly, blind Iranian man. New to the town, she befriends a kind lawyer. A few days in, Sharzahd notices harassing letters and graffiti targeted towards her new patient, but who is the real victim and who can she trust?

Aschtiani returns to the Festival as a part of SheLA, where her previous play, "Children of Camelot," was a part of SheNYC in 2017. In addition to playwriting, Aschtiani has been an active member of the theatre world for over twenty years as an actor and producer. Her third play, "Bismillah," is also playing this summer in the Fresh Fruit Festival in NYC.

The show, scheduled on Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m., is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

Rehearsal of "Charlie Boyd" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Multi-award winning playwright Ali MacLean’s "She's Not There" focuses on how a third-party threatens the relationship of a contented couple. That third-party: a shadowy form that seeps into the walls to attempt to kill one of them. "The play anthropomorphizes depression and explores how it can devastate a person and the lives of those around them."

MacLean’s work has been performed and workshopped at the HBO Workspace, Comedy Central Stage, A Noise Within, Antaeus Theatre, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre. "She’s Not There" has been performed in the Screencraft Stage Play Competition, The Garry Marshall Theatre New Works, The Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation Project, and won the John Gassner Playwriting Award.

The show scheduled on Friday, August 2nd, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh is a comedy about a bitter couple who accidentally reunite in their home the day before their divorce is finalized. "A quagmire of egos, misplaced feelings, and stubborn pride" follow, but the future of their relationship is anyone's guess.

Rehearsal of "Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" for the 2nd Annual She LA Summer Theater Festival 2019, at the Zephyr Theatre, Hollywood. Photo courtesy of She L.A./ SheNYC.

Playwright and director Lukesh's "Do Us Part" won the Special Marquee Award in the 2017 American Movie Awards stage play division, and her feature scripts, TV pilots, shorts, and stage plays have garnered numerous writing awards in contests such as Gimme Credit, BlueCat, Page International, Final Draft Big Break, and the Nicholls Fellowship. A seasoned playwright and screenwriter, she provides script consultation on her site KarenLukesh.com.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner is a comedy about a college student home from Winter break, whose friend, Charlie Boyd, "re-enters her life abruptly after a shared secret compelled him to disappear. Set amidst a Hanukkah rivalry, this madcap romance brings you love, betrayal, drugs, crossword puzzles, mysterious visitors, and many, many menorahs."

Originally from Salem, Massachusetts, Wittner makes her playwriting debut with "Charlie Boyd."  Formerly a member of the sketch comedy troupe Chocolate Cake City in Boston, Wittner's previous performance credits include "The Donkey Show" at the American Repertory Theatre and "We Are Pussy Riot."

"Between the Colored Lines & Other Black Girl Tales" is a poetic stage play by Tiffani Dean that features a married couple at a turning point, where a wager determines who holds the proverbial remote control during Monday Night football. This innovative stage play with dance, music, and poetry chronicles the next few weeks of their relationship, as the dramas that play out on TV shed light into the real-life relationship that has been happening on their couch all along.

Dean, from Philadelphia, is an author, playwright, poet, executive director, executive producer, co-founder of Family Poetry Collective, co-founder The Collective Mic, LLC, The Collective Mic Productions, The Collective Mic School Of The Arts, and The Collective Mic Art Gallery & Arts Café.

The 2nd Annual "She L.A. Summer Theater Festival" at the Zephyr Theatre:

"To Each His Own" by Nakisa Aschtiani
Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, 12:00 p.m.*

*Sunday, August 4th at 12 p.m. is an enhanced performance for blind and visually impaired patrons.

"She’s Not There" by Ali MacLean
Friday, August 2, 2019, at 8:30 p.m.*

*Friday, August 2, 2019, will have a talkback with the creative team and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services following the 8:30 p.m. performance.

"Do Us Part" by Karen Lukesh
Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.

"Charlie Boyd" by Allie Wittner
Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 7:30, 2019, p.m.
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 2:00 p.m.

"Between the Colored Lines and Other Black Girl Tales" by Tiffani Dean
Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 5:30 p.m.

The Zephyr Theatre is at 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046. Tickets are $20 are available at  SheLAArts.org.

SheNYC Arts, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, made possible in part by a generous grant from The Puffin Foundation and from theatre patron donations.


JOAN OF ART: Tarantino, Vice is Nice, and Art Share

I love Quentin Tarantino's films. I've seen every single one of the them more then twice and I know, having seen "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" at a press screening early this week, I will definitely be seeing it again.

This time Tarantino takes us on a trip back to 1969. The place is Hollywood, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) discover as they make their way around an industry that they hardly recognize anymore.

The ninth film from this writer/director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood's Golden Age. The film is touching, funny and knowing what winds up happening...horrifying.

"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" opens in theatre July 26th. Also in the cast is Al Pacino, Dakota Fanning, Luke Perry in his last role and the wonderful Margot Robbie who plays Sharon Tate capturing her childlike innocence and joy which adds to the audience's pain of knowing her fate.

Compared to all of Quentin's other films, this one is the least violent. It has plenty of humor and insight into a time long gone.

'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' starts Friday and will be playing in theaters all around town, but get your tickets as soon as possible. I'm sure the film will be selling out quickly.

VICE IS NICE is the next thing on my list and it is not at all what it sounds like. This is an event put on by the Animal Rescue Alliance on Saturday, July 27th from 6:30pm to 11pm. You will have a blast at this event and at the same time make a big difference in the lives of animals are in need of a home.

Last year over 750 animal lovers attended VICE IS NICE and helped raise much needed funds for the Animal Rescue Alliance. This 10th annual event will be the best one ever. Music, dancing, drinks, food, raffle, casino games, tarot card reading and more.

The Animal Rescue Alliance rescues and finds loving homes for abandoned and abused companion and farmed animals. They offer sanctuary to those animals that have special needs and for which it is more difficult to find a good home. The animals come from a variety of backgrounds...from homeless strays and feral animals to rescues from kill shelters and hoarding situations.

Wherever and whenever they see an animal in distress, they help. This is one of my favorite organizations. All an animal wants is to be loved and in return they are forever grateful. I always say, an animal always knows when you save their life. Why not support an organization that does just that?

The Animal Rescue Alliance (TARA) is located at Rancho Providencia, a peaceful four acre ranch in Chatsworth. TARA is a haven for goats, horses, donkeys, parrots, geese, cats and dogs. Their address is 10945 Old Santa Susana Pass Road, Chatsworth, CA 91311.

For tickets and more information go to TheAnimalRescueAlliance.org. or call 818-256-0060.

THE FUTURE IS NOW is a free art show that starts on July 27th and runs through August 11th.

Art Share LA'S 'The Future Is Now" poses the question: What then, does our future look like? Will it be a warning? A call to Action? A celebration of ingenuity? Witness for yourself what the future for you, Los Angeles, and the world may hold. Intriguing? VERY.

Art Share LA is located downtown at 801 East 4th Place, Los Angeles. They are opened Wednesday-Sunday 1-6pm.

For more information call them at 213-687-4278 or email them not only about their upcoming shows, but submitting art work as well at... ArtShareLA.org.

While you are downtown you might want to head over to the REDCAT theatre to check out THE NEW ORIGINAL WORKS FESTIVAL 2019. At REDCAT you will find some of the world's most intriguing envelope-pushing avant-garde theatre, film, music and performance art.

This Annual New Original Works Festival launches nine new works by Los Angeles emerging and mid-career artists who are redefining the boundaries of contemporary performance to invent hybrid artistic disciplines, re-imagine traditions and confront urgent issues. All artistic teams receive free rehearsal space, tech support and artist fees.

The 16th Annual New Original Works Festival kicks off with a program of works by solo artist Sola Bamis; visual and performing artists, Zach Dorn and Danielle Dahl; choreographer Katherine Helen Fisher and Andrew Ondrejcak's THE MUSES renders a suite of lush and riotous dances that conjures a communal space in celebration of the divine feminine.

For more information and for future performances go to RedCat.org.

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