JOAN OF ART: My Favorite Theater Company, About John Wick 3, and Pacific Visions

Friday evening I'll be at one of my favorite LA theaters...The Road Theatre Company in North Hollywood. Every single play I've seen at this company totally rocked. They are always at their best.

So I naturally can't wait to see their new production which opens Friday May 17th at 8pm entitled AT THE TABLE, written by Michael Perlman and directed by Judith Moreland. The play has been called by its creators as a 'Big Chill' for the millennial generations. If you haven't seen it, you're missing an iconic film.

AT THE TABLE is about six ethnically and sexually diverse friends who head out of the city on their annual weekend retreat. With no social media, no cell phones, no internet allowed at all, this leaves them with one thing to do...look up from their screens and talk to each other. Remember talking?

When the liquor starts flowing and the tongues loosen, no conversation is uneventful and no topic is off limits. In the end, these so called liberal friends realize they're not as enlightened or diverse as they thought.

If you see this play, be sure to leave your review on their show page her on Better Lemons so they can qualify for a LemonMeter rating!

The Road Theatre is located at 5108 Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. The play runs Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. until July 7th. For more information and to purchase tickets go to RoadTheatre.org or call 818-761-8838.

And now for something completely different. JOHN WICK 3...Parabellum. First I must say that I absolutely loved the first JOHN WICK as well as the second one. Yes, both films were violent but the story penetrated through all the brilliantly staged sword fights, knife fights, hand to hand combat scenes to old fashioned gun fights which are anything but old fashion.

In the first film we meet Keanu Reeves who nailed the part of the assassin who miraculously retires after marrying the love of his life. Her sudden death leaves him in deep mourning.

When a sadistic mobster and his thugs steal John's prized car and kill the puppy that was a last gift from his wife, he unleashes the remorseless killing machine within and seeks vengeance. The world created by the writer Derek Kolstad and directed Chad Taheiski was just so creative and so extremely original that you didn't mind the excessive violence and the same goes for the second film.

This brings us to John Wick 3...Parabellum which opens where the second film leaves off. John has to get out of New York City fast. And I mean FAST. Wick has been deemed 'Excommunicated' by the High Table and all of his rights and privileges are stripped away and there's an open contract on him starting at $14 million dollars. So basically every single person in New York City and all around the globe are trying to kill the dude.

BTW, The film is 133 minutes long and 110 minutes is violence to the extreme. I'm talking about sadistic, savage violence. At first it was applauded BY THE AUDIENCE at the press screening I attended. Then the audience started to laugh and then silence. I don't know what they were feeling but personally I was bored by the overly long fight scenes.

Yes the cast is great. Ian McShane's part as the proprietor of the assassins home away from home, the Continental Hotel, an establishment designated as a safe ground for those in the killing trade.

The film also stars Halle Berry, who is upstaged by her two incredible dogs, and Ava Kate Dillon (Billions), who plays The Adjudicator who arrives in New York City to make sure her minions get the job done.

The film has received great reviews but it just didn't do for me. Love to know what you think. It opens in theatres November 14th.

Now after all this excitement I recommend spending the day at the Aquarium of the Pacific. It houses an art gallery that transports you under the ocean, a state of the art theatre with multi sensory effects and a culmination gallery with interactive game tables, and live animal exhibits including the first and only public aquarium exhibit with the controversial delta smelt fish.

Aquarium of the Pacific / PR Use of Scouts - Photography by Tom Bonner - Job ID 6417

As the new focal point of the Aquarium, Pacific Visions provides a platform to integrate the arts and sciences and offers visitors innovative ways to explore their impact on our ocean planet while allowing them to explore sustainable solutions. The topics of how we produce and consume food energy and water as well as ways to make more sustainable choices are highlighted.

All 29,000 square feet and two stories, it is the Aquarium's first major expansion and the result of more than a decade of planning and development using the latest technology and methods of storytelling that combine art, science, and interactivity. Pacific Visions is an example of the aquarium of the future. Pacific Visions opens to the public on Friday May 24th. I'm writing about it now to give you plenty of time to prepare for a visit.This is a great event for the whole family.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way Long Beach CA 90802. For more information and tickets go to AquariumofPacific.org/pacificvisions.

Whatever you plan to do this weekend people, make it a fun one!


Audio Interview: The cast of “Friends With Guns” at The Road on Magnolia

You think you know your friends, your neighbors, your spouse, but what happens when you suddenly find out they have a garage full of guns?* Enjoy this interview with the cast of “Friends With Guns” at The Road on Magnolia, playing through May 5th. 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 on the Better Lemons Calendar – February 25 - March 3, 2019

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

Attack of the Second Bananas

“Who killed beloved stage stars Ruby Moss and Andrea Hammond? Find out as the LAPD detective on the case pieces together the clues. Attack of the Second Bananas is a comedy noir about the ultimate price of fame. Running time is 90 minutes with no intermission. WORLD PREMIERE.”

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Light's Out: Nat “King” Cole

“In this electrifying exploration into the soul of an American icon, Tony and Olivier Award nominee Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor imagine Nat “King” Cole as he faces the final Christmastime broadcast of his groundbreaking variety show and weighs the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” Cole's hit songs, such as “Nature Boy,” “It's a Good Day” and “Smile,” underscore this boldly original homage to the renowned performer who struggled to break through America's color barrier in the early days of television. A feast for the eyes, ears and soul, the musical incorporates lively choreography by Broadway veteran Edgar Godineaux and dazzling tap dance steeped in politics and pizzazz created by renowned hoofer Jared Grimes.”

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1=0

“An unemployed, divorced theoretical physicist has an online relationship with a man claiming to be a Syrian refugee. When the relationship goes offline, it paradoxically becomes less real.”

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FRIENDS WITH GUNS

“You think you know your friends, your neighbors, your spouse, but what happens when you suddenly find out they have a garage full of guns? This new dark comedy explores the complicated issue of gun proliferation when two young liberal couples are forced to confront their assumptions about who should own a gun and why. The time of easy answers regarding this issue is long gone. In the wake of current events, we are all forced to reexamine our strongly held beliefs about gun ownership. Friends With Guns explores the question of what we can compartmentalize…and what we can't. It examines what happens when guns enter the conversation. It pulls the curtain back on liberals with guns. It asks what happens when suddenly one person in a marriage does a 180 on the gun issue. And it does all of this through a female lens.”

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The Journey of the Little Prince

“A sensory experience that follows the Little Prince in his interplanetary journey that will leave audiences inspired to explore their inner child for we all have one deep inside.”

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Blue for Mister Charlie

“A sensation in its New York premiere at the Actor's Studio, this searing drama by one of America's leading writers retains all its power to this day. Richard, a black man who is a former junkie returns to his parochial southern town and infuriates the denizens with his incendiary talk and actions. When he is killed by a poor, illiterate, white man, the murder, the eulogy, the trial, and the acquittal are presented in an abstract dramatic form of time, fury, and passion.”

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Portrait of a Soul - workshop performance

“Featuring Corryn Cummins, James Hal Hardy and Maxi Witrak, PORTRAIT OF A SOUL is the story of a young woman whose life is shadowed by sexual assault experienced in her teenage years. The encounter with her abuser, a now famous artist, gives her a chance to confront him face to face, and she'll find unexpected closure from the unusual relationship they develop.
A new way of making theatre that'll catapult the audience into a world of art, mental illness and broken relationships, while offering a chance to meet other creative souls.”

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Disaster! The Musical

“Earthquakes, tidal waves, infernos and the unforgettable songs of the ‘70s take center stage in Broadway's side-splitting homage to classic disaster films. Disaster! is a new musical straight from Broadway, featuring some of the most unforgettable songs of the ‘70s. “Knock on Wood,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” Sky High,” “Mocking Bird” and “Hot Stuff” in a “hilarious tribute to the era of bell-bottoms, platform shoes and the hustle. With larger-than-life characters, snappy dialogue and some of the most recognizable songs of the ‘70s, Disaster! will have you dancing in your seat and rolling in the aisles.”

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Nine

“Nine is the story of a celebrated film director Guido Contini and his attempts to come up with a plot for his next film as he is pursued by hordes of beautiful women, all clamoring to be loved by him and him alone. Flashbacks reveal the substance of his life which will become the material for his next film: a musical version of the Casanova story. Based on Italian director Federico Felini's comic masterpiece of biographical filmmaking, 8 1/2. Maury Yeston's sultry and enchanting musical follows the life of this world famous film director as he prepares his latest picture and balances the numerous women in his life. Contino is also, after recent box office failures, drifting towards a nervous breakdown, from which he is held back only by the support of his wife, Luisa.  As his sanity disintegrates, he drifts into nostalgic reverie, eventually focusing on the formative sexual encounter of his life, which occurred at the age of nine.”

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In the Penal Colony

“An explorer visits an island where blind conformity has no rational connection between crime and punishment. Kafka's ingenious metaphor about man's inhumanity to man is heightened by Glass' hypnotic score. Witness the internal conflict of the innocent bystander; to act or to do nothing.”

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Life Beyond Prison

“Experiences of formerly incarcerated persons. The Rising Scholars Justice Lab comprises individuals who are now pursuing academic degrees. They will discuss the trauma of being in jail, their personal trust issues, and having a criminal record. The California Innocence Project takes on cases of wrongful incarceration. The event also includes performances by artists affiliated with LBO.”

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Guilty Until Proven Innocent

“Mr. Tyler was the youngest person ever convicted of the death penalty and was incarcerated in Angola prison for 41 years before having his sentence overturned and being released in 2016.”

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Black Lives, the Arts, and Mattering

“Acclaimed composer Anthony Davis shares his inspiration for writing The Central Park Five, which will receive its world premiere at LBO June 15, 2019. He is joined by performers from the opera. The panel explores how music and art are used in activism and how classical music can more effectively participate in activism.”

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The Central Park Five

“World premiere opera composed by Anthony Davis. In 1980's New York, five African American and Latino teenagers were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were unjustly convicted of a Central Park crime but exonerated through DNA evidence thirteen years later. Davis' opera is a passionate story about an issue that still rocks America today.”

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Crazy Woke Asians Solo Performance Festival

“Crazy Woke Asians, the sold out comedy show presents a Solo Performance Festival at Santa Monica Playhouse. This year's festival showcases over 15 Asian American comedians, actors and writers. The shows range from touching autobiographical stories to stand-up comedy acts, from clown burlesque to magic with music, poetry, and more Thursdays through Sundays, March 14-24, 2019.
Each night will feature two or three performers, with special guest stars to round out the evening. All tickets come with a complimentary glass of wine, and there is a Festival Pass ticket available for those who want to attend several (or all!) shows. Plus, the first Friday and final Sunday of the festival will have post-show celebrations featuring food from Ish Kitchen.”

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The Wolves

“Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, these 16- and 17-year-olds navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with the ferociousness of a pack of adolescent warriors. New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley calls Sarah DeLappe's extraordinary debut play “theater that keeps you on the edge of your seat.” Co-winner of the American Playwriting Foundation's inaugural Relentless Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Yale Drama Series Prize.”

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I'm Jennifer Mother F*cking Lawrence

“Actress Jennifer Lawrence has some pretty intense fears, and she's about to tackle her first one; a spider. ”

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ROALD DAHL'S MATILDA THE MUSICAL

“Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Tony Award-winning MATILDA THE MUSICAL will dazzle audiences of all ages at the Civic Arts Plaza this spring! With inspiring and fun songs and lyrics written by Tim Minchin, this extraordinary girl will show you how a sharp mind and vivid imagination can help you change your destiny!”

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Kentwood Players Presents Sunday In The Park With George

“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and multiple Tony Awards, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, was inspired by the life of French pointillist, George Seurat. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine, the plot revolves around the creation of his masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” George, an intense and passionate artist, struggles to not only create his paintings but also to maintain a relationship with his long-time mistress, Dot. The second act connects to the first while focusing on another George, Seurat and Dot's great grandson, also struggling to find meaning in art and the need to connect to the past, present and future. A white canvas, so many possibilities.”

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STEEL MAGNOLIAS

“Actors Co-op presents Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias, directed by Cameron Watson, produced by Lauren Thompson. Set in a small town beauty salon in Louisiana, Steel Magnolias celebrates the bond of friendship between six women in the midst of life's challenges. Based on the playwright's upbringing, and later adapted into the critically acclaimed film, Steel Magnolias is a humorous, yet devastating journey of friendship, loss, and love.”

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THE SECRET OF CHIMNEYS

“The Group Rep presents a long-lost Agatha Christie play The Secret of Chimneys, directed by Jules Aaron, produced by Kathleen Delaney & Kevin Hoffman, Jr. In this mystery, a cosmopolitan adventurer on a mission discovers more than he bargained for when he arrives at an English country house and finds himself in the center of a murderous international conspiracy. This sinister plot of stolen diamonds, secret oil concessions and exiled royalty unfolds under the purview of both Scotland Yard and the French Surete. Chimneys is Christie at her best: a comedy of manners laced with murder!”

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BRUSHES: A Comedy of Hairs

“MB Artists and the Whitefire Theatre present the world premiere of BRUSHES: A Comedy of Hairs, written by Cathy Hamilton and Carol Starr Schneider, directed by Kevin Bailey. BRUSHES untangles the hysterically complicated relationship between women and their hair since time immemorial. Brushes with disaster, vanity, envy, self-doubt, sex, death – even the law – are explored in hilarious and poignant style. In a series of vignettes, the follicular follies flow from the Bad Hair Days Inn to a new salon on the block called Blow Me Now.”

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Mean Gays

“It's survival of the fiercest when Kimmy Chi (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 finalist Kim Chi), a home-schooled transfer student from South Korea, moves to an American high school ruled by drag queen girl-gang The Plastics, led by the terrifying Willam George (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 4 firebrand Willam, currently stealing scenes opposite Lady Gaga in Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born), and her ignorant band of loyal followers, Peaches “Swallows” Wieners (Peaches Christ) and stoner dingbat Laganja Smith (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6 standout Laganja Estranja, also seen in the Netflix series Dancing Queen). Will Kimmy fit in with these mean gays, or will they throw her under the school bus? Mean Gays is a hilariously irreverent live musical parody of the 2004 cult classic film Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, and Rachel McAdams.”

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