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 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

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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


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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Audio Interview: Derek Chariton - Heinrich (Stargate Origins) stars in "Andy Warhol’s Tomato" at Pacific Resident Theatre

Pittsburgh folklore has it that there is a working class bar which has the reputation for being the place where a teenage Andy Warhol drew on napkins in exchange for Coca-Cola. While drinking at that same bar, playwright, Vince Melocchi, began to see it in a different way… as a creative, mysterious place. He noted, “Andy allowed us to see, think, and feel about art in a completely new way. I wanted to find out who and what were his real influences. Andy Warhol’s Tomato imagines a chance encounter between Warhol and a Pittsburgh bar owner, as one of the steps on Warhol's extraordinary journey in life”*

Enjoy this interview with Derek Chariton - Heinrich (Stargate Origins) and the cast of “Andy Warhol’s Tomato” at The Pacific Resident Theatre, running until Sep 29th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website

JOAN OF ART - A theatre experience that makes you question what it is to be human, Grammy Award Winning Blues Man, Artisans and their wears and healthy delicious food

The weekend is here and the rain has stopped so it's time to step outside for some fun, starting with a play that, besides entertaining you, will definitely make you think.

Smart Love written by Brian Letscher and directed by Elina de Santos is about Artificial Intelligence and how humans, one day, will most certainly be faced with deciding what makes us truly human.

In this excellent production, now playing at the Pacific Resident Theatre located at 703 Venice Boulevard in Venice, the main character Sandy (the excellent Melissa Weber Bales) a woman in her 50's, is faced with exactly that question.

Thanks to her son Benji (Zachary Grant) who may or not be crazy arrives at her house with a surprise. He has brought back to life her husband, Ron (the wonderful Michael Mantell). It seems Benji has stolen Ron who is an A. I. (Artificial Intelligence) from MIT and the federal government who are hunting him in order to retrieve their merchandise. You can't blame them since Ron cost $20 million dollars to create.

Smart Love runs Thursday through Saturday at 8m and Sundays at 3 until Febuary 24, 2019. For tickets call 310-822-8392 or go to PacificResidentTheatre.com.

Now there is nothing like some really great music to make you feel good so Saturday night I will be at the Canyon Club located at 28912 Roadside Drive Agoura Hills CA, to see the legendary Taj Mahal and the Phantom blues Band.

Grammy Award winning Taj Mahal is not only a legend but he's a visionary whose blues/world music is known for trailblazing exploration of a variety of musical genres. This blues master's career spans fifty something years and includes influences from around the world, including the West Indies, India, South Asia, Africa, Latin America and more.

He has helped to reshape the definition and scope of blues music. He's released over twenty five studio albums plus live albums and complications and has worked with artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder, Van Morrision, Sammy Hagar, Wynton Marsalis, Eric Clapton and more. This is one show you do not want to miss.

To buy tickets go to CanyonClub.net or call 818-879-5016.

And now for some daytime fun. If you love jewelry, gemstones, textiles, and handcrafted beads, the place to be this weekend is the PASADENA BEAD AND DESIGN SHOW and I will be there on Sunday.

The show is open to the public. You can shop and buy direct from artisans and trades people at excellent prices - beads, art clothing, jewelry, gemstones, textiles and the largest selection of handcrafted beads, art jewelry and gems.

Many products offered for the first time-and by the artisans themselves, including an array of designer accessories such as felted hats, art wear, hand-dyed silks, hand tooled leather and eco-dyed and up cycled clothing.

The exhibitors, who are carefully chosen by invitation, include both traditional and contemporary artisans, high quality merchants and wholesale suppliers.

The show is being held at the Hilton Pasadena Hotel located at 168 South Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena CA 91101. It runs January 18-20, 2019 from 10am-6pm Friday-Sunday.

For more information and to buy tickets go to BeadAndDesign.com or call 1-888-747-1123.

There are also 150 workshops offered daily 8am to 9pm. Admission at the door is $10.00. Advanced tickets are $8.00.

Now after all this shopping and since you are in Pasadena you might one to try one of my favorite restaurants TRUE FOOD KITCHEN a relaxed, eco-chic chain serving health conscious fare, including vegan options, plus cocktails. The resturant is located at 168 West Colorado Blvd in Pasadena.

The renowned physician and doctor of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil founded True Food Kitchen with the simple belief that food should make you feel better, not worse. From day one, Weil and his team championed his vision to bring this new way of eating to each one of his kitchens located throughout the United States.

Don't get scared away by the word 'healthy'. Trust me I've eaten here several times and the food is absolutely delicious. To check out the menu go to Places.SinglePlatform.com. To read more about the restaurant go to TrueFoodKitchen.com.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend make it a fun one. I know I will.

Audio Interview: Corinne Shor stars in ‘I AM SOPHIE' at Pacific Resident Theatre

"I Am Sophie." is an exploration of identity in which YOU become the confidante to Sophie Carter, formerly known as Kate Carter. Sophie is a changed woman returning to the United States after living in France. She comes home to take care of her sick father and when she arrives, her loved ones meet Sophie for the first time. What follows is an existential adventure. With humor and an aching heart, Sophie has us all wondering – “Am I who I think I am?”*
Enjoy this interview about “I AM SOPHIE” staring Corinne Shor at the Pacific Resident Theatre, running until Jan 27th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website

Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar - November 12 through November 18, 2018

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

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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information. 
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information. Calendar 
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information. Calendar 
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information.
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information.
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information.
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information.
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Visit their Better Lemons Registered Calendar Page for ticket and show information.

Director Michael Peretzian on Anthony Minghella, Changing Careers & Helming CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE/HANG UP

Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella's early radio plays CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE and HANG UP will receive their West Coast premiere at the Pacific Resident Theatre beginning July 15, 2017. Friend and former talent agent of Anthony Minghella, Michael Peretzian will be directing this edition. We jumped at the chance to delve into Michael's thoughts on forsaking his long and lucrative career that initiated his unique friendship with the prolific writer/director Anthony Minghella.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview!
Both CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE and HANG UP were written by Anthony Minghella as radio plays in the late 1980's. What year did he first ask you to direct CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE as a main stage production?
Actually, we never talked about it.  Anthony unexpectedly and sadly died at the age of 54 on March 18, 2008.  He was more than my client, he was one of my dearest friends. I miss him very much, so for me, doing these plays brings him back for a moment and I can hear his voice again. 
You were Anthony Minghella's theatrical agent at CAA. He must have known of your legit background studying at UCLA and teaching at the Pasadena Playhouse. What was his reaction to the non-agent side of you?
Anthony knew that I was moonlighting as a director while I was an agent, so when I decided to let go of my career as an agent to go back to directing plays, at my good-bye party thrown at CAA, he gave me a gift - a carry-on bag that was loaded with anthologies of plays written by Pinter, Brecht and Ibsen, to name a few. His agent (in the U.K.) Judy Daish and his widow Carolyn Choa were thrilled that I did these readings, so I think Anthony would be pleased, too, if only to keep his legacy alive.
Do you remember what notes he gave you on directing his play?
Never did that happen. His notes are from the anthology of his plays published as Anthony Minghella: Plays 2 by Methuen in 1997, and serve as my guiding notes from him.
Any major tweaks to your directing approach since the first time directing CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE and this current one?

Yes. We are doing them as an enhanced play reading - not as a radio broadcast, as though the actors are British actors doing these readings in the 1980's during the time of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. So the stage directions are not read by an actor on stage this time. The concept is closer to LOVE LETTERS, or VAGINA MONOLOGUES, but with the sound cues heard as they would have been heard in a broadcast, without a Foley technician. In other words, without a set per se, but with sound  being used primarily to set the location for each scene as indicated in the script.
You directed a staged reading of HANG UP for Pacific Resident Theatre in June of last year. What circumstances or factors inspired the pairing up of HANG UP with CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE for this current production?
All of these characters live in the time of Margaret Thatcher's government and her alignment with the "free market" philosophy of Ronald Reagan and each character in a way is a product of those times.
You brought back the entire cast from the June 2016 workshop production for this present one. Would you say it's more efficient/easier/advantageous/fun to work with creative talents you have experience with?

Yes, definitely, there is a shorthand that we have in our work which is a great advantage. But, what is interesting in our approach to the material now is how we have grown and discovered subtle undercurrents which were always there, but not as completely realized as we are finding them to be this time around.
As one who's been an active creative in the Los Angeles theatre community, do you believe actors in LA have a unique situation when it comes to performing in Equity-Waiver plays, different from theatres in other cities? A main reason, besides the experience and exercising their acting chops, is the hope that they will be seen by someone who will book them for a film or TV role.

In the Los Angeles Equity-Waiver theatre community, there exists a host of opportunities for actors, especially to tone and exercise their craft between chances to earn an income in television and film -  a unique asset not found as much in other major cities such as New York and Chicago. Certainly, actors in Off-Broadway can earn $600/week or more working in a production between plays, but other career opportunities with more potential income are rare, and Chicago actors primarily seem to enjoy working in the theatre exclusively. But in Los Angeles, while waiting to be cast in a pilot, there are many ways you can keep creatively fit until that break comes your way if you are lucky. 
I haven't had the chance to ask this question from any of my past interviewees: but did you as an agent at both William Morris and CAA ever go to Equity-Waiver productions to scout talent? Or did you know of any talent agents who did?
Not many agents do this, but yes, I did go to Equity-Waiver plays which is where I discovered and became the first agent for several LA artists. At a small theater downtown, called the Night House, I saw John Steppling's THE SHAPER. I attended Jon Robin Baitz' MIZLANSKY/ZILINSKY at a small theater on Melrose, Damon Intrabartolo and Kristin Hanggi's production of bare at the Hudson Theatres in Theatre Row, to name a few.
Any particular plays you would love to direct?
Yes, it has been done here already, but yes, I hope I can one day direct Stephen Karam's SONS OF THE PROPHET somewhere, as well as Will Eno's REALISTIC JONESES.
Any projects in the near future you can share with us?
On August 6,  I will be directing a reading of a new play DEATH HOUSE by a young playwright, Jason Karasev as part of The Road's Summer Playwrights Festival 8. And next year, I am to direct the world premiere of a wonderful new play BEDLAM by Zayd Dohrn at the Rogue Machine.
Do you recall any specific audience reaction you were not expecting in the original CIGARETTES & CHOCOLATE you directed?

Well, most audiences were taken by the skill of the actors in the original version which is why I insisted we only do this with them. We had more laughs than I expected then, and the new version adds a more human quality which we hope to make the experience even richer than the original version.
What Pacific Resident Theatre audience responses would you be thrilled with after the cast's curtain call?

It would be a recognition of Minghella's gifts as a writer, and their amazement how what affected him then to write these characters is so familiar in amazing and disturbing ways today. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We are in the end all humans, all leading messy lives who, as Minghella would say, are nevertheless capable of love and healing.
Thank you again, Sir! I look forward to re-experiencing Anthony Minghella's voice via your directorial vision.
For ticket availability and show schedule through September 10, 2017; log onto www.pacificresidenttheatre.com