Archive for February, 2010

AN ACT OF REPARATION, Press Photos

February 24, 2010


See and download the full gallery on posterous

photo by Angel Duran

Peter Gallagher, a producer of AN ACT OF REPARATION, has shared these Press Photos from the production.

AN ACT OF REPARATION is the true story of Austrian farmer and father of 4, Franz Jagerstatter.  It dramatizes the terrible choice he faced between conscience, family, and Hitler’s Army in Nazi Germany.

Thematic content includes: true story, courage, faith, World War II, German Reich, determination, conscience, Franz Jagerstatter, native of Austria, take a stand, family, heroism, fortitude, Hitler, Odyssey 

AN ACT OF REPARATION runs from 2/18 to 3/7
Th,F,S at 8pm, Sn at 2pm, $20
($15 for Seniors 60+ and students with ID)
Map of the Odysey Theatere
Purchase Tickets

Contact the G. K. Chesterton Theatre Company

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AN ACT OF REPARATION presented by G. K. Chesterton Theatre Company

February 24, 2010

*UCG- This is User Generated Content submitted by the Producer.

AN ACT OF REPARATION is the true story of Austrian farmer and father of 4, Franz Jagerstatter.  It dramatizes the terrible choice he faced between conscience, family, and Hitler’s Army in Nazi Germany.

Thematic content includes: true story, courage, faith, World War II, German Reich, determination, conscience, Franz Jagerstatter, native of Austria, take a stand, family, heroism, fortitude, Hitler, Odyssey 

AN ACT OF REPARATION runs from 2/18 to 3/7
Th,F,S at 8pm, Sn at 2pm, $20
($15 for Seniors 60+ and students with ID)
Map of the Odysey Theatere
Purchase Tickets

Contact the G. K. Chesterton Theatre Company

Thomas Hampton Reviews CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND Love March, Valentine’s Day 2010

February 19, 2010

Hopefully some of you were lucky enough to be there.

A wondrous marching band appeared out of nowhere, dance-marching and singing roller coaster of love through the aisles of the grocery store at the corner of Hollywood and Virgil.

We at Thomas Hampton Reviews cannot be sure, but we believe that the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND may not be a “professional” outfit.  But what they lack in refinement and instrument selection they make up for in sheer force of will.

Their goal was to shower the public with love on Valentine’s Day, and they did so in a spirited Los Feliz march from the grocery store, up Hollywood, then North on Vermont, East to Hillhurst, and South to Sunset (and El Chavo.)

The band forgoes the idea of a strict uniform.  While each band member starts with the same outfit, a closer inspection reveals individual quirks.  Some of the jackets are now sleeveless, and new additions of fringe and extra epaulets were seen adorning the uniforms.  One of the band members was wearing her sleeves on her legs.  The band leader with the silver scepter had on short shorts, and twirled his scepter as a baton.  Striped pants and skirts have replaced some of the uniform “band pants,” and a few fancy spats were on display.

The band weaved its way through the tight sidewalks in front of cafe tables, the crowded interiors of dive bars, and restaurants, and the cozy warmth of a laundromat.  All the while, witnesses grinned, stared mouth agape, or stopped all activity to stand and stare, taking in the ingenious craziness that is the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND.

The band embraces individuality, while reveling in the communal wonder of fun performance art.  It is so refreshing to see a troupe made up of professional and amateur performers, dancers, musicians, and the like, perform in an accessible fashion.  For both the participants and the audience, little more is asked of one than to show up, and imbue their performance with good spirits.

In a stark contrast to the capitalist agenda that has swallowed Valentine’s Day and Halloween (not to mention the great Christmas…) the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND offers up its love to all, for FREE!  Serendipitous joy is too rare in this city of strip malls and time stuck in the car, but this flash mob style performance troop is determined to strike joy in the hearts of man, one march at a time.  And who can blame them?

All of us at Thomas Hampton look forward to more of the wonderful whimsy that this group is sure to drum up.   And you should keep your eyes peeled as well.

Thematic content includes:  Bring Kids, Love, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Humor

CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND meets sporadically
Visit the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND FBook page
Contact the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND

CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND photos of Love March

February 19, 2010

We were lucky enough to catch the CRAZYDANKS Love March on Valentines Day in Los Feliz.  Here are some photos and video of the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND, in action (and in inaction…)






See and download the full gallery on posterous

Thematic content includes:  Bring Kids, Love, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Humor

CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND meets sporadically
Visit the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND FBook page
Contact the CRAZYDANKS MARCHING BAND

Thomas Hampton Reviews STAGE DOOR -Open Fist Theatre

February 19, 2010

Waiting for the show to open, the set of the "girls club" at the heart of STAGE DOOR spread across your eyes, five footlights conspicuously peek out at the edge of the stage.  A sly wink at the audience?  Perhaps, as well as a reminder that the girls, or "young actresses" who reside here while pursuing work on stage, and even while working their shows, are somehow driven to perform constantly for each other all of the time.  And why not?  If these girls are not going to book satisfying work on stage- at least they can play the parts of their own choosing for each other.

If you don't know, STAGE DOOR follows the lives of a group of young actresses who live together in a "girls club-" a sort of hostel for young actresses in depression era New York.  We get to see all types; the talented, the hacks, the girls on the run, and even the old "young" actress who still carefully presents herself as the beauty she always will be (in her head.)

And how timely for this revival of STAGE DOOR.  Our theater community again (or perhaps still, or perpetually,) finds itself gasping for air whilst in the death grip of the emerging monster that is the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry.  In the world of STAGE DOOR, media giants attempt to use untalented stars to headline Broadway shows.  Carnival like productions with a circus feel seem necessary to bring in the crowds (3-D corollary, perhaps?)  In NYC, present day, the producers are even getting rid of the stars!  Spider Man the Musical, anyone?

And outside of the theater, the economic downturn we are slumming through has a great resemblance to the one these girls are dealing with as well.  That crisis eventually led to changes in social policy that brought us Social Security, Medicare, Welfare… yet these are the very social safety nets that seem to set the tea party kettles a-boil.

All of the girls of STAGE DOOR were lucky to have each other.  The hostel like set up of the club affords each of these ladies a de facto family of peers, who share similar dreams and talents, regardless of their own personalities and moral predilections.  They had a safe place to grab dinner before running out the door for their evening call time.  Friends' gowns in the closets to grab for that spur of the moment night on the town, or glamorous photo op.
 
Women of the theater, even after decades of Women's Liberation, face the same questions today that their forerunners did.  Do I give up on my dreams of living life as an actress to marry and raise a family?  Can I find satisfaction in the domesticity, or am I setting myself up for failure as a housewife as well?  Do I use the "moniker" of actor to get out of my parents grip, and hide my less than moral predilections to run around with a married man?  Do I trudge through the demoralizing work of an actor when the star attraction of my show is an elephant?  Can I ever afford not to have roommates?  And most important… do I continue to pursue work on the stage when the film industry comes calling?

Thematic content includes:  Redemption, Love, Adultery, Self Destruction, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Humor.

STAGE DOOR runs from 1/22 to 3/13
F,S at 8pm Sn at 2pm $20-$25
Map of the Open Fist Theatre
Purchase Tickets
Visit Open Fist's Website

STAGE DOOR, more Press Photos

February 19, 2010

Our friends at the Open Fist provided us with more Press Photos.





See and download the full gallery on posterous

PHOTO CREDIT: Kelsey Edwards

STAGE DOOR runs from 1/22 to 3/13.

F,S at 8pm Sn at 2pm $20-$25.

Map of The Open Fist Theatre

Purchase Tickets

Visit Open Fist’s Website

 

Thomas Hampton Reviews WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM -The Blank Theatre Company

February 12, 2010

“Daddy just takes some getting used to.”

Wise words, spoken early, in WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM, Christopher Durang’s new comedy.  All of us at Thomas Hampton Reviews were very excited about the show last year, when we read the review in the New York Times.  So a big thanks goes out to The Blank Theatre Company, for bringing us the West Coast premiere.

The “Daddy” in question is a suburban New Jersey patriarch, now retired.  He spends his days isolated from his family in his Butterfly Room, studying his, um… “butterflies.”

All the while, his wife spends her days changing her clothes to fit her moods- but only the color.  She bought the same dress through the rainbow to match the way she feels.

And our “baby” has spent the night relieving herself of the burdens of life in New York and her dead end job by drinking profusely at Hooters.  And thus, the show opens with her awakening to her morning after.  Oh, did I mention that she wakes up with her new husband… who might just be a (gasp) terrorist?

So, thank you, Mr. Durang, for once again setting up a lovely, kooky premise to play around with our ideas of self, and the realities that lay buried underneath.

Just like Dad’s Butterfly Room, which is omnipresent within the set, but only visible when the lights allow us to see through the scrim; WHY TORTURE… plays with the thin veil that separates the facade that we allow the world to see, and the lies, fear, violence, and never ending preparations for war that consume our reptilian brains.

And how better to begin a frank exploration of said lizard brain than an over consumption of drugs and alcohol at a Hooters?  Rest assured- if you think a re-examination of the torture memos, snipe hunt for WMD, and the 8 years of Bush are just so… last year- where Durang really fires the afterburners is in a show stopping third act, brought to you by the miracle of a broken, nay, demolished fourth wall, and utterly modern desire to use self-help to fix the wrongs of the world (and the people who live in it.)

There really is no escape for the audience if you have grown tired of the broken fourth wall (please see my review of THE JAMB) but in the right hands, these bent conventions allow for a character, or entire show, to open itself up to the audience in revelatory ways.

Instead of having to balance a character’s good and bad, we can take a break and focus only on the good.  Just like a mother who cannot believe that her Johnny ever could have killed a fly (let alone the girl he had been stalking…) Durang allows us to see the best of an ex dope dealer turned porn producing reverend, who lets us know that, “…making porno is a better thing to do for people than selling heroin.”  Hear, hear!

Unfortunately, it takes a “comedy” to get us inside the head of an evildoer, and understand what drives a bad actor (not performer “actor” mind you,) to act bad and perpetrate evil.  Or does it?  If I remember correctly, well baked clams and meat pies can do it too.  Anyone see Carousel as it just rode through town (is Westwood a town?)  Or Sweeny Todd at Musical Theatre West?

WHY TORTURE… wants us to take a good look in the mirror, and realize that it is our present that creates our future.  So lets be careful!

Thematic content includes:  Love, Adultery, Rape, Violence, Drug Use, Singing, Humor, Highbrow.

WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM runs from 2/6 to 3/14
Th,F,Sa at 8pm, Sn at 2pm, $22-$28
Map of the Stella Adler Theater
Purchase Tickets
The Blank Theatre Company Website

Press photos of WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM

February 5, 2010

We are heading out to tonight’s press preview of Christopher Durang’s WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM produced by The Blank Theatre Company at The Stella Adler Theater.  Check out these press photos, and check back for our review coming soon.
















See and download the full gallery on posterous

Photo Credit: Rick Baumgartner.

All Images Copyright (c) The Blank Theatre Company.  All Rights Reserved.

Thematic content includes:  Love, Adultery, Rape, Violence, Drug Use, Singing, Humor, Highbrow.

WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM runs from 2/6 to 3/14
Th,F,Sa at 8pm, Sn at 2pm, $22-$28
Map of the Stella Adler Theater
Purchase Tickets
The Blank Theatre Company Website

Thomas Hampton Reviews SQUARE DANCE with Triple Chicken Foot and Cory Marie

February 3, 2010

Hearing the term “square dance” can conjure some rather strange memories, or none at all.  A good many of you may remember being forced to square dance in school during PE.  The gym teacher would throw a record on one of those all in one “box” record players/ speakers.  There would be bowing.  Promenading.  Do si doing.  And so on.

Don’t let your childhood traumas keep you from enjoying social dancing as an adult.  Squares, contra dances, and other social dances are alive and well.  While you may assume that the majority of active dancers are “up there” in age (you would be right,) there has been a resurgence in both old time music and square dancing among a younger crowd.

Ben Guzman, a fiddler in Triple Chicken Foot, saw the burgeoning square scene in Portland first hand, before he moved back to LA.  “You will see all kinds; punks, mustachioed hipsters, kids, older people, getting sweaty together and having a great time.”

Exactly what kind of a good time is it?  The music played, “old time music,” usually consists of several string instruments- Triple Chicken Foot features a regular line up that includes a fiddle, guitar, and banjo.  The music is fun and fast- because of the dancing the tunes are all on an 8 count, which allows the band the opportunity to have a lot of fun working a groove while they get their kicks watching the dancers move about in front of them.

And everybody moves!  Even if you show up to a dance with no knowledge of square dance (or just that faded memory from way back when,) your caller is there to teach you and tell you what to do.  Cory Marie Podielski often calls with “the Foot,” and takes the time to teach everyone each dance before it gets started.  And during the dance, she is constantly calling out the moves you are about to make, so you are never confused on the dance floor.

So what is the big deal about square dance?  Well, it seems to be one of the best “audience participation” events around.  So many performance artists will have a pr blurb like, “…her performance blurs the line between the audience and performer…”  but it seems they rarely live up to that statement.  In contrast, a square dance “audience” IS a performer.  Triple Chicken Foot and Cory Marie are there to get you to dance.  There is no audience, only participants.

Even Charon Nogues, the HM157 hostess, made mention of that.  When asked how The Foot and Cory Marie were received in comparison to other “bands” that have played the venue, she replied, “Well, usually there is a lot of people standing around with their arms like this,” as she demonstrated a bored hipster staring in to space with arms crossed firmly across her chest.

So many artists talk about wanting to foment change in society.  But how many actually follow through with that claim within the confines of the performance?  Does seeing a dance piece about the isolationism of the modern city actually get you to bake cupcakes for your neighbor?  I’ll guess, “No.”  But attending a square dance actually builds community.

You spend the entire evening touching and making eye contact with friends, lovers, acquaintances, and even- gasp- strangers.  Certain dances make you swap partners and you often wind up dancing with everyone in your square.  You leave feeling more connected to your community.  You might have even gotten that cute guy’s phone number.

In fact, square dancing was originally a very formalized courtship routine.  The dances allowed for the community to socialize the young’uns with the opposite sex, and allow for chaperoned interactions for the older adolescents.  Square dances are such a “meat market” that I have heard stories of a fiddler who was sick and tired of the caller getting all of the numbers and “action”- so he started to call and fiddle at the same time.

With the “recessionary lifestyles” many of us are living, plenty of social action is putting community first.  You have your timebanks springing up around the city, and the Bicycle Kitchen (which started at the Eco Village) wants you to build a bike AND RIDE IT!  Homebrew is all the rage- and now Old Time Music and Square Dancing.  Who says you cannot have fun on the cheap- and make some friends while you are at it?  Not Thomas Hampton.

Thematic content includes:  Live Music, Dance/ Movement

Triple Chicken Foot and Cory Marie perform next at…
WIGOUT at Bordello
Th 2/4 9:30 (doors at 9pm, square dance 9:30 to 10:45, Wigout cabaret follows
$8 with Wig $10 without
MAP of Bordello
Visit Triple Chicken Foot’s Website
More local “old time music” info