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: A Must See Film, A Classic Play and Rediscovered Art

An amazing film with an electrifying performance by an Irish actress opens in theaters this Friday, June 21st. The film is called 'Wild Rose' and the electrifying performance is given by Jessie Buckley. This is by far my favorite film of the year.

Jessie plays Rose Lynn Harlan, a 23 year old wannabe country singer who dreams of going to Nashville. The film opens with Rose getting out of jail and from there we go on an amazing unpredictable journey with her as she tries to fulfill her dream of being a country star. Jessie is an incredible singer and that alone is worth the price of admission. Don't miss this film!

Death of a Salesman

Also opening on Friday is the Tony Award Winner for Best Play and Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' at the Ruskin Theatre located at the Santa Monica Airport. The play is strikingly relevant in our times and is considered to be on of the greatest plays of the 20th century. The play stars actor Rob Morrow as the tragic character Willy Loman.

To purchase tickets go to RuskinGroupTheatre.org or call 310-397-3244. 'Death of a Salesman' plays Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. It run till August 4th.

If art is what you crave this weekend then Diverted Destruction: Found Objects Rediscovered as Art is a must see.

The 11th annual Diverted Destruction exhibition is at the La Brea Gallery through August 20th. This is a provocative and ultimately profound concept. Gallery owner Liz Gordon has shown this type of exhibit yearly. She says it's one that is pivotal both in terms of the art itself and as an aesthetic for the L.A. art community.

Liz was an antique art dealer and throughout her 40 year career she had to decide on the value of millions of pieces that have come across her path. She always had a section in the store labeled the 'Artist Boxes' and these items were always sold at a fraction of their price in order to encourage artists to use them.

This time around the show has only female artists. Her reason? "We continue to live in a 'man's world' and look what they are doing and have done." she exclaims. "It's time we give women the platform and maybe, just maybe, the approach would be humanity first," she states.

This will be one very interesting art show. For more information go to DiversionsLA.com

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


Activist Theater Company Launches Inaugural Season in support of Los Angeles Justice Fund

The Thursday Night Theater Club's inaugural season to begin with the morality play, “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller, to benefit families in the Los Angeles area.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 14, 2018) - Activist theater group Thursday Night Theater Club (TNTheaterClub) opens its inaugural season with Arthur Miller's “A View from the Bridge” on August 23rd, at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. The LA Justice Fund will receive a percentage of each ticket sold during the 10-week run.

“A View from the Bridge” tells the story of Italian-American dock workers in New York as they navigate the ethics of undocumented immigration and its repercussions while dealing with their sexuality in a new country where their lives were under scrutiny. Thursday Night Theater Club gives this play a new relevance in today's context of the global attitudes toward immigration policies (I.C.E.) and the conflicts over marriage equality.

When the play first appeared, it was viewed as a parable about McCarthyism. Eddie's ratting on Rodolpho to immigration authorities was the equivalent of “naming names.” Given such topicality, you might expect A View from the Bridge to be hopelessly dated. Just the opposite is true. After all, betrayal wasn't limited to the ‘50s. Nor was homophobia and the havoc it wreaks on a household and a community.” -- The Advocate, February 17, 1998

The season will continue with back-to-back plays by Mark SchultzAaron Sorkin, and more, while bringing new life to the classic morality play format. Artistic directors Alice L. Walker and Tom Vitorino founded Thursday Night Theater Club with the intention of bringing timely and timeless works to the Los Angeles area.

We want to showcase plays that get into that moldable part of you, that maybe make you question your assumptions--how you think about ethics and policy,” says Walker.

The company will donate a portion of each ticket sold to a relevant charitable organization based on the themes of each play performed. The Los Angeles Justice Fund, which provides legal support and counsel for immigrant families, will be the first recipient.

Walker continues, “There is fabulous theater in LA, but it isn't always accessible,” noting that ticket prices for live theater in the area can be a barrier. “We're performing every Thursday. When you leave, we want you to think ‘Yeah, this is something I can do', and then we'll see you again 10 weeks later.”

Tickets are now on sale starting at $20 at ThursdayNightTheaterClub.com. The production opens August 23rd, and plays on Thursday nights through October 25th at El Portal Theatre: 5269 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood.

Robyn Cohen (“The Life Aquatic”, James Franco's Studio 4) is directing “A View from the Bridge”. Tom Vitorino, Alice L. Walker, and Samantha Jo star. They are joined by Mark Morante, Jack Menzies, Robin Roth, Julisa Gonzalez, and Jeremy Falla, Guy Nardulli, and Zack Sayenko.  (More info on the cast can be found here: ThursdayNightTheaterClub.com/hero)

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT THEATER CLUB

Established in 2018 as an artistic response to social injustice, Thursday Night Theater Club's mission is to ferociously explore morality plays that toy with ethics, law, and social constructs, while taking an active role in the local community. Co-artistic directors, Alice L. Walker and Tom Vitorino, helm the endeavor with a passion for exploring the human experience, no matter the medium. The company performs Thursdays at the intimate El Portal Theater, one of Los Angeles's most beautiful historic spaces.

For more information & tickets:  ThursdayNightTheaterClub.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ThursdayNightTheaterClub
Instagram: instagram.com/TNTheaterClub
Twitter: twitter.com/TNTheaterClub

ABOUT THE L.A. JUSTICE FUND
Launched in 2017, the L.A. Justice Fund has granted $7.4 million to increase access to legal representation and counsel to individuals and families dealing with deportation and removal proceedings in Los Angeles County. The Fund seeks to reinforce a safety net that is pro-family, pro-economic growth, and pro-civil and human rights. The L.A. Justice Fund is a partnership with Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, the Weingart Foundation and the California Community Foundation (CCF). Cities across the country have duplicated this innovative cross-sector approach.  For more information: CalFund.org/lajusticefund