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's L.A. WEEKEND, A Fantastic Remake, A Visit With Some Very Cool Wolves, An Evening With an Illusionist, and Brunch In Nature's Paradise

This extraordinary film, A Star Is Born, opens on Friday, October 5th and don't walk but run to get your tickets. I saw it last week at a press screening and it is definitely my favorite film of 2018. I predict that the film as well as its stars will get several Oscar nods.

Bradley Cooper not only co-wrote, directed, sings, plays the guitar and stars in the film, but he spent 18 months learning how to play the guitar from Willie Nelson's son. He also worked with a vocal dialect coach to get his voice to sound like a drugged out alcoholic rock star and the dude just killed it. Lady Gaga was excellent portraying her character's vulnerability and sense of wonderment as her life begins to change from struggling songwriter to a huge star. By the way, Bradley and Gaga have serious chemistry.

This is the totally fantastic 'rock and roll' remake of the Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand version.

Two years ago I went to this awesome place called The Wolf Connection located at 29063 Aliso Canyon Rd, Palmdale, CA 93550 and this Saturday I'm returning to this very special sanctuary.

All the wolves here have been rescued. They were victims of a wide variety of horrific situations from abuse and neglect to owners going through hardship and no longer able to care for them.

Whatever the case, these magnificent beings come to The Wolf Connection to find and embody a new purpose - a life of service changing the lives of countless young men and women from all walks of life. Visitors get to meet with these magical creatures in person and even go hiking with them. You can also help with the care of the wolf that touches your heart in a special way by adopting them and enjoying special one on one time with your new special friend.

To arrange a visit call 661-450-8191 or go to their website WolfConnection.org. This is definitely an unforgettable experience. I know I haven't forgotten it and that's why I'm going back.

I absolutely love magic and of course magicians so Saturday evening I will be at the beautiful Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and Performing Arts Center to see Ivan Amodei Secrets & Illusions. Ivan is an international star and his illusions are considered unparalleled. He even fooled Penn & Teller.

Ivan will take you "on a wild ride of mind games, danger and surprise as he journeys through the deserted streets of Paris, to the darkened Louvre Museum where he peels back the paint of the Old Masters to discover the secrets to life one breathtaking illusion at a time" and that's just one part of his dazzling performance.

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA. To purchase tickets go to SecretsAndIllusions.com or call 1-800-745-3000. You can also buy them by visiting the box office. Tickets are $55.00-$85.00. The show runs October 6th at 3:30pm and 8:00pm.

Finally I can't think of a more perfect way to end the weekend then to have brunch at Inn Of The Seventh Ray located in my Topanga Canyon neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon.

The Inn of the Seventh Ray is considered one of Los Angeles's most romantic restaurant. If you choose to dine outside, which I highly recommend, you will be surrounded by grand old sycamores, waterfalls along winding brick pathways and two creeks. It's absolutely breathtaking. Oh and the food is absolutely delicious.

Their famous Sunday Champagne Brunch is touted as one of the best in Los Angeles. Their Californian cuisine is made with seasonal organic ingredients and the menu is quite eclectic. There is something for everyone. This is a perfect way to spend a Sunday with a friend, a lover, your wife or husband or someone you want to ask to be your wife.

For reservations call (310) 455-1311 between 10am to 10pm or go to [email protected]

The restaurant is located at 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga CA. To check out the menu go to InnoftheSeventhRay.com.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great weekend everyone.