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 Weekend of Superheroes, Art, Comedy and Amazing Sea Creatures

If rain has been keeping you in the house, once again the sun will be shinning this weekend and I have some fun suggestions on what to do.

First on my list is a film that I saw the other night and it's one that many of you have been waiting for...

Captain Marvel starring the wonderful Brie Larson as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character, Carol Danvers. The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay.

Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Jude Law and Annette Bening round out the cast. Oh and an awesome kitty named Goose who is right up there with my favorite characters.

Set in 1995, the story follows Danvers as she becomes Captain Marvel after the Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien worlds. The story borrows elements from Roy Thomas's 1971 'Kree-Skrull War' comic book storyline. Instead of giving anymore of the plot away, I'll just say 'Captain Marvel is everything you'd expect a super-hero to be. It has action, thrills, surprises and lots of humor. I promise, you will not be disappointed. The film opens Friday, March 8th at many theatres around town.

Another kind of art is happening this Friday evening and this event is in Pasadena.

ArtNight Pasadena returns on March 8 for a free evening of art, music and entertainment. 20 of Pasadena's most prominent arts and cultural institutions will open their doors to showcase their artwork. Munchies from some of Los Angeles' favorite food trucks will also be available for purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to help support future ArtNights.

Last fall, 16,000 people gathered in excitement of ArtNight and this year expects the same. ArtNight takes place from 6 to 10 p.m.

The list of participating sites / institutions for 2019 includes Armory Center for the Arts, The Gamble House, Norton Simon Museum, the Pasadena History Museum, and more than a dozen others plus shuttle bus routes can be found by going to ArtNight Pasadena.org. I was there last year and I absolutely loved it. Great people watching as well.

As I've mentioned in my previous columns, one of my most favorite things to do involves laughter and no one does it better than THE GROUNDLINGS.

Their new show GROUNDLINGS 7 GROUNDLINGS, ATTORNEYS AT LAW is now in session representing laughter, fun and good times. The Groundlings are going to have you laughing all night with their always original and hilarious sketch and improv acts.

Director Deanna Oliver leads the Groundlings troupe which includes Matt Cook, H. Michael Croner, Josh Duvendeck, Ryan Gaul, Patty Guggenheim, Kris Kennedy, Emily Pendergast and Greg Worswick.

The show runs every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm and 10pm until April 20th 2019.. Tickets are $20.00. The Groundlings Theatre is located at 7307 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit Groundlings.com or call (323) 934-4747.

On Sunday I will be in Dana Point commuting with some of natures most exquisite sea creatures. The Whale. Now if I could only convince the creators of this event to let me jump into the ocean and swim with these extraordinary beings.

The Festival of Whales, which began last weekend, runs March 9th and 10th so you don't have much time to drive on down to Dana Point to visit this must-see event.

The festival has been going on for 48 years and besides whale watching it includes food, games and fun for the entire family.

Expert captains and certified naturalists narrate each excursion detailing the whales' movements through their national immigration path. As the originator of Whate Watching in Orange County, Dana Wharf is exclusively endorsed by world renowned marine life artist Wyland. Every trip is a new and different adventure, all showcasing the beauty of the Pacific and of course the Whales.

Excursions depart every hour on the hour from 8am to 4pm during the Festival weekends and every trip is approximately two hours.

Prices: Adults $45, Senior and Military $35. Children 3-12 years $29. Children under 7 always free.

To purchase tickets call 888-224-0603 or go to DanaWharf.com.

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