The 'Brisk Festival' at The Broadwater is Underway

The Brisk Theatre Festival is underway at The Broadwater, featuring short plays, in English and in Spanish, up to 10 minutes in length and running through August 11, 2019, with eight programs consisting of six to seven plays each, several of which were created by Hollywood Fringe Festival veteran producers and other participants.

The festival opened on July 11, 2019, and two of the eight programs have been presented with six programs remaining, with several of the shows created by Hollywood Fringe Festival veteran producers and participants.

There were 350 plays submitted for consideration and of those selected for performance, 34 are in English and 20 are in Spanish. Most of the productions are produced by local theatre companies in Los Angeles, but there are also artists heralding from Mexico, Florida, and Australia in this first edition of the festival.

The best plays are to be chosen by a jury of professionals including casting directors, producers, directors, actors, writers, managers, and agents. Those chosen go on to compete in a finals weekend on Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11, 2019. The best play in English and the best play in Spanish are to receive an award of $500 each.

The festival was founded by Christian Rodrigo, a Spanish producer, director, and member of The Actors Gang. Rodrigo and Mexican producer and actor Ramon Valdez will be taking the Brisk Theatre Festival to Mexico, Barcelona, and Madrid later this year and in 2020, partnering with Full Emotion, a production company that has been producing films, television, and theater for more than 12-years.

Here is a list of the remaining performances:

From Salvador Casados' "Shakespeare Love" at the 2019 Brisk Festival, at The Broadwater, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of The Brisk Festival.

The Orange Program, with shows in English. from July 18 - 21, 2018:

"Interventions," written by Greg Lam, and directed by Hollywood Fringe veteran Megan Frances who brought "Hott Line" (2016) to Fringe, tells of a couple on a hike who find that their "special plans" are interrupted by a succession of Time Travelers.

"Grown," written and directed by Soda Persi, features Corey Lynn Howe and Adam Briggs–all Fringe veterans and of Theatre Unleashed–who together bring to Brisk a piece about the nuances of love.

"People Will Talk," directed by Todd Felderstein, and written by Scott Mullen–who brought his play "Piñata" (2017) to Fringe–, is about a surprising connection between two people, challenged by life's obstacles, who meet one night on the ledge of a 12-story office building. A story of "life, the art of listening, and everyday miracles."

Additional shows are "Anything For My Mother," "Noir Man," and "Evidences of a Contemporary Love."

The Yellow Program, with shows in English, from July 18 - 21, 2018:

"Recess," written by Cara Emily Krantz, and directed by Roe Moore who co-produced "Buzz'd Out! LIVE" at last year's Hollywood Fringe, is a tale of two children on a playground who imagine what life would be like as adults, perhaps even together.

"Jill Takes A Leap," directed by Frida De Lackner and written by Mullen, also features multi-Fringe show veteran Asia Lynn Pitts from "Mouthy Bitch" (2016), "Blackballed: The Rise and Fall of Negro League Baseball," (2018) and this year's "Olivia Wilde Does Not Survive the Apocalypse," and is about a woman trying to figure out if she's living her best life.

Additional shows are "You me. Me you," "A Streetcar Derailed," "The Heart to Heart," and "Vote for Me."

The Green Program, with shows in English, from July 25 - 28, 2018:

"To The Roof," written by Cynthia Faith Arsenault, also directed by Frances, and is about elevator riders who become more than passing strangers.

"Captive Audience," written and directed by Raymond-Kym Suttle and hot off his Fringe show this year "Yes. No. Maybe" with actress Dee Dee Stevens, together along with actor Kevin Alain bring to Brisk a piece on how "being a stand-up comedian can bring out the worst in some people. So, be careful who you captivate."

"The Landing," written and directed by Fringe veteran Prakriti Maduro, who brought "Frida Kahlo: Viva La Vida" from Venezuela to the Hollywood Fringe in 2019, brings to Brisk her show "The Landing." brings a story about a woman who appears in the middle of an empty plane, midair, and the sudden arrival of her husband.

"RIP I.N.C.," written and directed by Harim Sanchez–a Sacred Fools member and a four-show Fringe veteran who brought his show "Pagliaccis" to the Hollywood Fringe in 2017--, "follows a world where grim reapers are just cubicle workers sent out to harvest souls, and it's not as 'grim' as one would make it out to be."

Additional shows are "The Gringos are Coming," "Creeper Sunrise," and "Dog Barks, Bodybuilder Slaps."

From Ken Levine's "The Hookup," a finalist at the 2019 Brisk Festival, at The Broadwater, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of The Brisk Festival.

The Brown Program, with shows in Spanish, from July 25 - 28, 2018:

Shows are "Pastel de Naranja," "El Asunto del Chocolate,"  "La Razon," "Somos Super Fans," "La Gran Familia," and "Cuatro."

In the Pink Program, with shows in English, from August 1 - 4, 2019:

"Fandango,"  written by Karissa Montaner, and directed by Guy Picot who brought "Cookie and the Monster" (2015), "Disasteroid!" (2018), and "Earth to Karen" this year to Fringe tells of "two estranged sisters, forced to unite and discuss the fate of their deceased father's Tapas restaurant, become heels deep in one hell of a flamenco reckoning!"

Additional shows are "Performance Review," "Dead Man's Curve," "The Next Ivan Sharanski," "Spoiler," "Doctor's Orders," and "The Silent Woman."

In the Red Program, with shows in Spanish, from August 1 - 4, 2019:

"A Dos Tumbas de Ti," written by Nancho Novo and directed by Marcel Rasquin, also features Maduro, along with Karla Solarte, about two sisters wake up in their own funeral, having died on the same night but in different accidents. They discover the bizarre circumstances of their untimely death and unveil a secret that might take them straight to the grave for a second time."

Additional shows are "Sexoral," "After Life Vacation," "Crash ¿Quien Tiene La Culpa?" "La Taza que me Mira desde la Meza," and "Mrs. Fox' Zoo."

The Brisk International Theatre Festival is underway at The Broadwater, 1078 Lillian Way, Hollywood, 90038. Tickets for program blocks are $15 - $22. For showtimes visit their website.

Lemon Butter: Best of L.A.'s Theatre Adjacent Restaurants and Bars - February Edition

UPDATED: 2-16-20*

*Custom map added; some restaurants have closed.

Lemon Butter is a bi-weekly column featuring choice restaurants, lounges, Happy Hours, and other spots where hospitality is offered, that are convenient to theatre venues throughout Los Angeles. For distances and times given traffic and parking are not factored in. Where available, contact all hospitality venues for valet or parking information and/or reservations.

Café Gratitude

Walking distance to the Stephanie Feury Theatre,  Thymele Arts, and Studio/Stage Theatre is vegan restaurant Café Gratitude in Larchmont Village.

Their fresh, healthy menu includes salads like the "Fantastic", a Torta Española Chopped Salad with a chickpea frittata, roasted red pepper, escabeche, cashew mozzarella, sun-dried tomato pesto, and toasted almonds, an assortment of Bowls such as the "Humble," an Indian Curry Bowl with red lentil dal, spinach, roasted garnet yams, coconut mint chutney, spicy tomato jam, and brown rice or quinoa, or entrees like the "Elated," with Mole Abuelita Enchiladas made with mole tempeh, corn, black beans, roasted tomatillo sauce, cashew queso fresco, avocado, coleslaw, and escabeche.

Café Gratitude - 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004 - (323) 580-6383
Distance to Stephanie Feury Theatre  - 364 feet (1 min. walk.)
Distance to Studio/Stage Theatre- 1.1 miles via Melrose (3 min. drive)
Distance to Thymele Arts - 1.4 miles (3 min. drive)

KASS Restaurant + Wine Bar

* Restaurant and bar are now permanently closed.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu - The Tortellini with ricotta cheese and green asparagus coulis at a Media Tasting, KASS Wine Bar + Restaurant, Los Angeles, California, January 29, 2019.

Debuting just this month and now open is KASS Wine Bar + Restaurant by Michelin starred Chef Christophe Émé.  KASS' 40-seat dining room and wine bar on La Brea is just off of Wilshire's Miracle Mile, close to Theatre Row, and conveniently close to the newly remodeled Lyric Theatre. A beautiful, intimate spot for quick bar bites featuring an assortment of French cheeses and charcuterie with a glass of wine before the show, a relaxing glass after on the patio, or an anytime leisurely lunch or dinner.

Émé, of Iron Chef America, serves a rotating menu based on market fresh produce with openers such as the salad of Baby Beets with black lentils and aged Comté cheese, a Farro Risotto with celery root, kale, and Morel mushrooms, or the grilled octopus with baby fennel, Yukon potato, and red bell pepper coulis. Some suggested entrees are a Farro Risotto with celery and morel mushrooms, Tagliatelle pasta with Braised organic Beeler pork ragù, Tortellini with ricotta cheese and green asparagus coulis,  a "Chicken Cooked in Clay" served with wild mushroom sauce and green asparagus, or an Oxtail Parmentier—a smooth-layed French cottage pie of potatoes, bone marrow and Burgundy truffles.  Some appetizers and openers, such as the Beet Salad, Ceviche or Kusshi oysters, and chilled desserts like the Chocolate Tart accompanied by chocolate sorbet, may be served on the restaurants unique and visually stunning chill plate—a water-filled concave envelope of glass.

Of their collection of wines—characterized as "Energetic," "Fruity," and "Muscular" for whites and "Bright," "Juicy," "Earthy," and "Plush" for reds—available by the glass are a "muscular" white Domaine Dupasquier, Roussette de Savoie, Savoie 2013,  a "pink" such as the Vinca Minor, Carignan Rosé Sonoma County 2017, a "Bright" red Domaine de Majas, VdP Côtes Catalanes Carignan Blend Roussillon 2017, or an "earthy" red 2016 Brovia, Dolcetto d'Alba 'Vignavillej.'

KASS Wine Bar + Restaurant - 320 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 - (323) 413-2299

Distance to  Lyric Theatre - 0.9 miles via La Brea (17 min. walk/2 min. drive)
Distance to Theatre Row - 2.9 miles via La Brea/Melrose (7 min. drive)

Norah/Le Fête

Nearest the Marilyn Monroe at Lee Strasberg  and a short jaunt from Theatre Row, Norah provides elegant fare such as fresh oysters, Cauliflower Croquettes, or Cast Iron Corn Bread, to start, with entrees such as the Uni Butter-poached Shrimp with smoked tomato, scallions, and cilantro on toast, a wood-grilled Whole Sea Bream with chermoula, shaved celery, grapes, and sumac, or an 8oz American Wagyu Zabuton served with crispy fingerlings and black garlic chili oil. Dishes for vegans and pasta lovers, such as the Pumpkin Cavatelli, with Brussels sprouts, miatake mushrooms, pomegranate and ricotta salata, Maltagliati with fresh tomato, summer squash, shelling beans and ricotta, or Black Truffle Potato Gnocchi with truffle conserva and shaved black truffles.

At its adjacent lounge bar of cozy candle-lit elegance, Le Fête bar director David Kupchinsky serves craft cocktails such as his "Le Daiq" of Rhum JM, Calvados, Genepy des Alpes, house triple lime cordial and lime, the "Le Spritz" of Lillet Rose, Cava, house rhubarb-sage gastrique and tonic or the "Le Frappe" of Rhum JM, housemade Matcha coconut cream, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Small Hands pineapple gum syrup over crushed ice.

Norah/Le Fête gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.

Norah/Le Fête - 8279 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046 - (323) 450-4211

Distance to  Marilyn Monroe at Lee Strasberg - 0.4/0.7 miles via Santa Monica (8 min. walk/2 min. drive)
Distance to Theatre Row - 2.2 miles via Santa Monica (4 min. drive)

Spoonfed/Bar Joe -

* Restaurant and bar are now permanently closed.

Spoonfed opened just last year in July and is adjacent to most Theatre Row venues, including The Hudson, The Blank Theatre, The Complex, Oh My Ribs! TheatreStudio C, and The Broadwater.

This new and cozy burger bistro has a spacious bar and generous patio area decorated with an updated post-modern feel. For breakfast, the spacious patio enclosed bistro-style restaurant features items such as the Blueberry & Orange Ginger Ale Cakes with orange crème fraîche, bourbon maple syrup, the Stuffed Brioche French toast with peanut butter, caramelized bananas, with seasonal berries and maple syrup, or the Mediterranean Hash with skillet-roasted sweet potatoes with pearled onions, chickpeas, Santa Barbara olives, oven-dried tomatoes, and Mediterranean Four Spice, topped with two poached eggs or without (Vegan option.) For lunch or dinner they offer the Spoonfed Burger with Gruyère & Blue Cheese, bacon balsamic caramelized onions, Heirloom tomato, pickles, butter lettuce, and aioli on a potato bun, served with crinkle cut fries and curry ketchup, the Eggplant Sandwich with grilled cold-smoked eggplant, broccoli sprouts, heirloom tomato, pickled red onions, lemon avocado mash, grilled whole grain bread, or the Fuhgettaboutit flatbread pizza with prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato sauce, arugula, and shaved parmesan, just to name a few options.

Bar Joe features craft cocktails such as their "Draft Pimm's Cup" made with Pimm's, Chartreuse, ginger, and cucumber, a "Carajillo Collins" of Grey Goose Vodka, Liquor 43, and cold brew coffee, or their spicy "It's An Old Fashioned!" of Street Pumas Scotch, maple, cacao, and cayenne. Perfect for brunching before matinee performances are a range of white and pink sparkling wines, their "Bellini" of Ugni Blanc, peach cordial, and St. Germaine, their unique take on a "Mimosa" of Cremant, orange juice, and orange oil from their signature collection of artisian oils and essences—the latter of which are also featured in their generous list of Mocktails.

Spoonfed/Bar Joe gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.

Spoonfed/Bar Joe - 959 Seward St, Los Angeles, CA 90038 (corner of Seward and Romaine in Hollywood) - 9323) 347-7000

Distance to  The Hudson Theatres/Hudson Guild - 0.2 miles via Seward to Santa Monica (6 min. walk/ 1 min. drive)
Distance to The Blank Theatre, The Complex, Oh My Ribs! TheatreStudio C - 0.3 miles via Santa Monica (7 min. walk/1 min. drive)
Distance to The Broadwater - 0.5 miles via Santa Monica (10 min. walk/1 min. drive)

Wood & Vine

Walking distance from The Montaban and directly across from the Pantages is Wood & Vine, nestled at street level in the landmark Taft Building at one of the most famous corners in Hollywood. The restaurant has a direct and birdseye view of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, designed with a loft view that also overlooks both the central dimly lit dining room and its spacious bar, as well as a lounge on the enclosed back patio with cozy seating around the central fire pit and conversation corner.

With plates for sharing, Chef Rick Sipovic's menu features openers such as a "Kale Caesar" with anchovy vinaigrette, shaved egg, Reggiano, and sourdough croutons, Chef Sipovic's own "Scotch Eggs" with pickled onion, beer mustard, and cornichon, or "Shrimp and Grits" with green chili cheddar grits, pan jus, and friese. For vegans, "Impossible Meatballs" served with spicy red sauce, plant-based spaghetti, and vegan mozzarella. And for dessert, "The Butterscotch" with house butterscotch, maple ice cream, and a sweet thyme crumble, Sour Cream Donut Holes dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla sauce, or a Peach Cobbler with smoked bourbon maple ice cream.

Craft cocktails are served throughout the space, such as the "Sage Advice” of Belvadere vodka, sage simple syrup, Campari, and grapefruit, "The Color Peach” with Hennesy, DiSarrono, Giffard Peche de Vigne, lemon, simple syrup and egg white, or "My Other Lover” with Mezcal, lime, simple syrup, peach bitters, sage and blueberries, or a Black Manhattan” of Larceny vodka, Amaro Averna, Angostura bitters, and black cherries.

Plates are shared family-style and a 20% service charge is included in lieu of tip. The menu can evolve, so be sure to check with the restaurant for updates.

Wood & Vine gallery photos by Monique A. LeBleu.

Wood & Vine - 6280 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (at Vine Street at The Taft Building) - (323) 334-3360
Distance to  Pantages - 425 feet (across the street (2 min. walk)
Distance to The Montalbán - 0.1 miles (3 min. walk)


A New Richard III from theatreANON
April 2019 will see the premiere of Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant, edited by David MacDowell Blue from Shakespeare's play about the last Plantagenet King (with additions from several other of Shakespeare's works). Auditions are scheduled for Saturday, January 26 starting at 11am until 3:45pm, on OMR, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd. (four blocks west of Vine), Hollywood CA 90038. Anyone wishing to try out should contact Mr. Blue at to schedule a time. An overwhelming response has filled up all the blocs for January 26, so a second bloc is available on Sunday February 3,  at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm at Studio 100, 900 East 1st Street Los Angeles, 90012. This lies just east of Little Tokyo Gold Line Station.
Actors of all ages groups, genders and ethnic types are welcome. Everyone may be considered for any role. At least two performances will involve all the understudies and the leads switching roles!
Blue, a graduate of the National Shakespeare Conservatory in NYC, has been writing a successful blog reviewing Los Angeles Theatre since 2012. His past directing credits include Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw and The Public Eye by Peter Shaffer. He also helped co-direct (with well known actor-writer-reviewer Mark Hein) his own adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla. He was recently interviewed by the New York based podcast The Stage Door at
Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant makes for a radical edit of Shakespeare's most popular play about a “bad king.” Blue cut the almost- four hour play in half, removing extraneous characters, fusing other characters together, re-arranging some events, even introducing speeches and lines from other plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Julius Caesar, and Titus Andronicus. His avowed purpose in the edit was to emphasize the story as a tragedy of a man who destroyed himself as well as all around him.
This marks the first full scale production by theatreANON, a new company aiming to bridge past and present into the future by re-imagining classics, while fostering original works which echo the classics in some way. Had they been produced today, theatreANON would have produced Eugene O'Neill's re-telling of the ancient Greek Oresteia, titled Mourning Becomes Elektra. Others works in development are a modern, politically aware tale a la the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and a (hopefully) mind-blowing version of Shakespeare's most controversial comedy.
Right now theatreANON has found a home at Oh My Ribs Theatre, on Theatre Row, next to the Complex. It stands at 6468 Santa Monica Blvd. , Hollywood CA 90038