Thomas Hampton Reviews LEIRIS/PICASSO: WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE HOME OF MICHEL LEIRIS A READING OF THE PLAY ‘DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL’ BY THE PAINTER PABLO PICASSO

June 27, 2010

“This is the most retarded piece of rubbish I have ever been a part of.”

Photo Credit:  Michael Lamont

Brimmer Street Theatre Company, a local troupe consisting of Emerson graduates, has focused its attention on a little known meeting between Pablo Picasso and leading French existentialists in Vichy France.  They gathered in secret, past curfew, to stage a reading of a new play Picasso had written, DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL.

In an attempt to pump some life in to Picasso’s dreadful play- and it is truly horrible- writer and director David Jette has composed a classic farce around the events of this evening.  Resistance fighters, Sartre, Picasso, Leiris, Camus, de Beauvoir, the ladies in their lives, and even an SS officer slam doors, swap partners, berate each other physically and emotionally; all under the watchful gaze of a six foot tall bronze swastika, our reminder of the ever present occupational forces of the Third Reich.

LEIRIS/PICASSO:  WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE HOME OF MICHEL LEIRIS A READING OF THE PLAY ‘DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL’ BY THE PAINTER PABLO PICASSO wants desperately to escape the black hole of the source material, as well the gravity of it’s own title, but is never able to take off.  And like passengers on a commercial airliner stalled on the tarmac for hours, the audience is left completely in the dark, asking one question over and over; “Why?”

Why are the costumes in no way accurate for the period?  Why is there no fire in the belly of the show?  Why are the actors having such a good time while the audience suffers?  Why do Picasso and the SS officer have accents, but the Frenchies do not?  Why am I thinking about any of this while I should be engrossed in this show?

Brimmer Street’s stated mission is, “…to develop original theatre artists whose work challenges established forms and expectations…”  Yet LEIRIS/PICASSO challenges no established forms, and the only expectations it challenges are those of it’s audience to experience a fresh evening of entertainment.  Merely throwing artists, trust fund babes, resistance fighters, and a Nazi into the ‘farce machine’ does not cut it.

The audience slogging through LEIRIS/PICASSO is bored into submission.  Yet there was so much action to put on stage, which all occurred off of it:  resistance fighters stealing a larger than life swastika from the Eiffel Tower, Picasso’s mistress de-robing, arousing, and teasing her scene partner, “hidden” homosexual lust, the gourmet preparations of a pigeon in the kitchen.

At some point in its development, someone should have pulled the plug.  It is very possible that LEIRIS/PICASSO reads very well.  Like Cirque’s insistent fall on its own BANANA SHPEEL, were the decision makers too emotionally invested in the success of the show, blinding them to its mediocrity?

Each performer on stage tore in to their roles, showing the marks of a fine tuned ensemble comfortable with each other after years of work.  Lets hope that Brimmer Street harnesses its talents in the cause of a more vibrant experience moving forward.  They are most certainly capable of it.

Thematic content includes:  Love, Adultery, Sex, Violence, Self Destruction, Highbrow, Lowbrow, Humor.

LIERS/PICASSO
6/12 to 7/24 $24
Th,F,Sa 8pm
Purchase tickets
Map of Bootleg
Visit the Brimmer Street Theatre Company web site
Visit Bootleg’s web site

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Production stills from LEIRIS/PICASSO Brimmer Street Theatre Company at Bootleg

June 26, 2010










Photo Credit:  Michael Lamont

LEIRIS/PICASSO:  WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE HOME OF MICHEL LEIRIS, A READING OF THE PLAY ‘DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL’ BY THE PAINTER PABLO PICASSO

LEIRIS/PICASSO twists the true story of an underground meeting between Picasso and French existentialists in to a sex farce, complete with slamming doors, trysts, Nazis, and more words in the play’s complete title than you can shake a stick at.

LIERS/PICASSO
6/12 to 7/24 $24
Th,F,Sa 8pm
Purchase tickets
Map of Bootleg
Visit the Brimmer Street Theatre Company web site
Visit Bootleg’s web site

Thomas Hampton Reviews FORBIDDEN ZONE it’s extended! THROUGH JULY 10!

June 21, 2010

“I don’t like that new girl; she’s too pretty and she smells funny.”  Princess

Little d democracy is a beautiful thing.  Sometimes, theater can feel incredibly like democracy in action.  Messy.  Necessary.  Empowering.  Inclusive.  Repulsive and impressive, with fleeting moments of emotional engagement and stagecraft wizardry.

FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6th DIMENSION (FZ6D) takes a great leap forward from what could be considered in some ways its theatrical progenitors- the late night Chicago shock theater of CANNIBAL CHEERLEADERS ON CRACK, KILLER JOE, and CO-ED PRISON SLUTS, et al… in both production values and intellectual curiosity.  Spun together from Richard Elfman’s distillation of Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo’s theatrical, cabaret roots in to the 1982 film “Forbidden Zone,” FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6th DIMENSION keeps an eerie, otherworldly hold on its audience.  What is a dream?  What is reality?  In the 6th Dimension, does it matter?

Marz Richards IS your trusting and good willed MC, Uncle Satan; giving you, and the people of Venice, California, exactly what you always wanted, but never asked for.  He just can’t help himself.  Other standouts are Jaime Andrews as the Ex-Queen biding her time in the pit writing a screenplay, and Bryan Krasner as our Jewish, near-deaf, wrestling Gramps.

But picking stand-outs in a show like FZ6D is unfair.  Each performer, as well as the live on-stage band, shines in one vignette or another; just as Tifanie McQueen’s set’s quick changes and Andrew Bentler and Ben Rock’s animation have their own star turns.  The cabaret genesis of the original source material is difficult to overcome, and why should anyone bother?  The charm and success of the show does not lie in traditional narrative structure or cohesive plotting.

Where the show consistently comes alive is in the full cast production numbers.  With an ensemble as large (if not larger) than many touring musical productions, the effect of the dancing in Sacred Fools’ 99 and under black box is absolutely stunning, mind altering, and completely transportive in to the world so carefully crafted.

FZ6D benefits tremendously from its’ Sacred Fools location.  The audience gathers on the Heliotrope sidewalk before and after the show, just North of the 101.  The concessioner hawking beer and wine is kitty corner from the active reality of LA’s Bicycle Kitchen, LACC, and perhaps most relevant for our discussion here, the haunting ghost of Mondo Video A Go Go.  The audience is together inhabiting a living, breathing piece of Los Angeles, away from the hot mess of “Hollywood Glamour” in both tenor and atmosphere.

I hope all of the patrons leave asking themselves if the Devil is calling all of the shots; wondering if they, like the denizens of Venice and the 6th Dimension, are aware of their controlling overlord?  And who is the devil that pulls our strings and offers up our deepest desires?  Is it divine spark, evil, or mere convenience that drives our attempts to find pleasure; even in what seems the most egregious of circumstances?

Thematic content includes:  Love, Adultery, Sex, Violence, Rape, Self Destruction, Drug Use, Nudity, Puppets, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Lowbrow, Humor.

FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6TH DIMENSION
Remaining shows: June 24th-July 10th, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 8pm $25
map of Sacred Fools
Purchase tickets
Visit the event’s web page

Thomas Hampton Reviews FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6th DIMENSION -Sacred Fools

June 17, 2010


“I don’t like that new girl; she’s too pretty and she smells funny.”  Princess

Little d democracy is a beautiful thing.  Sometimes, theater can feel incredibly like democracy in action.  Messy.  Necessary.  Empowering.  Inclusive.  Repulsive and impressive, with fleeting moments of emotional engagement and stagecraft wizardry.

FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6th DIMENSION (FZ6D) takes a great leap forward from what could be considered in some ways its theatrical progenitors- the late night Chicago shock theater of CANNIBAL CHEERLEADERS ON CRACK, KILLER JOE, and CO-ED PRISON SLUTS, et al… in both production values and intellectual curiosity.  Spun together from Richard Elfman’s distillation of Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo’s theatrical, cabaret roots in to the 1982 film “Forbidden Zone,” FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6th DIMENSION keeps an eerie, otherworldly hold on its audience.  What is a dream?  What is reality?  In the 6th Dimension, does it matter?

Marz Richards IS your trusting and good willed MC, Uncle Satan; giving you, and the people of Venice, California, exactly what you always wanted, but never asked for.  He just can’t help himself.  Other standouts are Jaime Andrews as the Ex-Queen biding her time in the pit writing a screenplay, and Bryan Krasner as our Jewish, near-deaf, wrestling Gramps.

But picking stand-outs in a show like FZ6D is unfair.  Each performer, as well as the live on-stage band, shines in one vignette or another; just as Tifanie McQueen’s set’s quick changes and Andrew Bentler and Ben Rock’s animation have their own star turns.  The cabaret genesis of the original source material is difficult to overcome, and why should anyone bother?  The charm and success of the show does not lie in traditional narrative structure or cohesive plotting.

Where the show consistently comes alive is in the full cast production numbers.  With an ensemble as large (if not larger) than many touring musical productions, the effect of the dancing in Sacred Fools’ 99 and under black box is absolutely stunning, mind altering, and completely transportive in to the world so carefully crafted.

FZ6D benefits tremendously from its’ Sacred Fools location.  The audience gathers on the Heliotrope sidewalk before and after the show, just North of the 101.  The concessioner hawking beer and wine is kitty corner from the active reality of LA’s Bicycle Kitchen, LACC, and perhaps most relevant for our discussion here, the haunting ghost of Mondo Video A Go Go.  The audience is together inhabiting a living, breathing piece of Los Angeles, away from the hot mess of “Hollywood Glamour” in both tenor and atmosphere.

I hope all of the patrons leave asking themselves if the Devil is calling all of the shots; wondering if they, like the denizens of Venice and the 6th Dimension, are aware of their controlling overlord?  And who is the devil that pulls our strings and offers up our deepest desires?  Is it divine spark, evil, or mere convenience that drives our attempts to find pleasure; even in what seems the most egregious of circumstances?

Thematic content includes:  Love, Adultery, Sex, Violence, Rape, Self Destruction, Drug Use, Nudity, Puppets, Singing, Live Music, Dance/ Movement, Lowbrow, Humor.

FORBIDDEN ZONE: LIVE IN THE 6TH DIMENSION
runs 5/21 to 6/26 $25
NOW EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 10
Th F Sa 8pm
Special Sn performances 6/13 and 6/20 7pm
map of Sacred Fools
Purchase tickets
Visit the event’s web page

MY PENIS- In and Out of Trouble -Antonio Sacre at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

June 16, 2010


Two time Best In Fringe Festival winner (NY International Fringe Festival) Antonio Sacre brings MY PENIS- In and Out of Trouble, to the inaugural Hollywood Fringe.

Directed by Paul Stein, MY PENIS explores sex and sexuality in humorous and unexpected ways.  Sacre’s show has sold out at all Fringe Festivals where presented, and the Hollywood Fringe should be no different.

Surprising in his manner, Sacre is self-effacing, with his humor coming from his bedrock honesty about situations each person has faced. Join him on a journey that is raw in his willingness to revisit each painful and wonderful moment.

Thomas Hampton Reviews highly recommends Antonio Sacre’s work.  While we have not seen this newest production, we know it will live up to the impeccable standards of all of his previous work.

Thematic content includes:  Redemption, Love, Sex, Violence, Self Destruction, Highbrow, Lowbrow, Humor.

MY PENIS- In and Out of Trouble $10
Adults only!
Th 6/17 10pm
M 6/21 4pm
Th 6/24 2:30pm
F 6/25 5:30pm
Sn 6/27 8:30pm
Purchase tickets
Map of Theatre Asylum
Visit Antonio Sacre’s web site

Special Developmental Performance of SONGS & DANCES OF IMAGINARY LANDS 6/14

June 10, 2010

A special developmental performance of Overtone Industries’ SONGS & DANCES OF IMAGINARY LANDS has been announced for Monday, June 14 at 8pm, at The Actors’ Gang in Culver City.  This performance is not the full site-specific opera with full production values, but an intimate taste of the show featuring a selection of songs from the production.


photo credit: Michael B. Harrington

Musical Director David O and pianist Brent Crayon will be performing live at this special performance, and audience members will participatein a feedback session with Director O-Lan Jones and Costume and Scenic Designer Snezana Petrovic.

The full production of SONGS & DANCES OF IMAGINARY LANDS is scheduled to open on July 8, 2010.

A Special developmental Performance of: SONGS & DANCES OF IMAGINARY LANDS
6/14 8pm $10
Map of The Actors’ Gang
Purchase tickets
Visit Overtone Industries’ web page

LEIRIS/PICASSO a new farce from the Brimmer Street Theatre Company opens at Bootleg 6/12

June 10, 2010

Enduring hunger, the Nazis, and each other, the greatest thinkers of the 20th century risk their lives to find that the master has written a play so unwatchable that even they cannot stomach the pretension.


The Brimmer Street Theatre Company in association with Bootleg Theater presents the World Premiere of LEIRIS/PICASSO:  WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE HOME OF MICHEL LEIRIS, A READING OF THE PLAY ‘DESIRE CAUGHT BY THE TAIL’ BY THE PAINTER PABLO PICASSO.  Saturday, June 12th, includes a reception catered by the Gastrobus Roadside Bistro.

LEIRIS/PICASSO twists the true story of an underground meeting between Picasso and French existentialists in to a sex farce, complete with slamming doors, trysts, Nazis, and more words in the play’s complete title than you can shake a stick at.

The Gastrobus will also be serving up their extraordinary snacks, sandwiches, and sweets every Thursday night of the run, from their family owned-and-operated restaurant on wheels!  Theater patrons will be able to pick up a nosh pre-show and during intermission on June 17, 24 and July 1, 8, 15, 22.

LIERS/PICASSO
6/12 to 7/24 $24
Th,F,Sa 8pm
Purchase tickets
Map of Bootleg
Visit the Brimmer Street Theatre Company web site
Visit Bootleg’s web site

PERMISSIBLE UNION a one act opera FREE! 6/18

June 9, 2010


PERMISSIBLE UNION is Ken Roht’s response to Prop 8.  This one act opera features Ken, Christine Zirbel, Clay Wilcox, and was composed by Curtis Heard.

It is being performed as a part of LA’s Grand Performances, an annual outdoor series of free performances at California Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles.

PERMISSIBLE UNION
a one act opera
6/18 8:30pm FREE!
Map of California Plaza
Visit the Grand Performances web site
Visit Orphean Circus, Ken Roht’s website

The Falcon Theatre presents the World Premiere of CHiPS the MUSICAL, presented by the Troubadour Theater Company

June 9, 2010

The Falcon Theatre, with the Troubadour Theater Company, invites you to take a journey down the 405 Freeway circa 1970; when highways were for hopping and surface streets were for sissies.

Ponch and John are still wearing their well-starched uniforms, packin’ the heat, and looking fine enough to cause a fender-bender while battling criminals of the worst kind:  female eco-terrorists sporting roller skates and short shorts!  The boys on bikes are back… and this time, they’re singing!

CHiPS the MUSICAL
6/25 to 7/25 $26-$46
Th,F,Sa 8pm  Sa,Sn 4pm
NOTE no shows 7/4 & 7/22
Map of the Falcon Theatre
Purchase tickets online or by phone: 818-955-8101
Visit the event’s web page
Contact the Falcon Theatre

Thomas Hampton Reviews BORN TO BE ALIVE at the Davidson/ Valentini Theatre

June 9, 2010

“Being a teenager is fucked up enough- but throw in some midgetry and its a real hayride…”

 


We tend to steer clear of the one person memoir, but the opportunity to see Selene Luna’s first solo show produced in a stand alone theater was enough of a draw to get us on board.  Focused primarily on her personal acceptance of her unique stature and abilities, as well as her family’s migration North from Tijuana and adjustment to Los Angeles, Selene Luna’s BORN TO BE ALIVE presents a melange of memoir with her burlesque and stand up work.

I am certain that all types will find the joy and fun of the performance intoxicating; but this production, directed by Derick LaSalla from a script by Ms. Luna and John Stapleton, is aimed at the hearts of anyone who ever found themselves to be seen or labeled as an outsider.  We all witness Luna’s persona take shape and transcend her own outsider status through the empowerment of performance; leaving behind her imagined future in Tijuana as a “Donkey show headliner,” or, “Write your name on a grain of rice” tradesman.

And for any die hard “Luna”tics out there, this show delivers the goods.  Multiple costume changes, dance numbers, set pieces, and embarrassing personal tales seem tailor made to satisfy the curiosity and desire of ardent supporters who see her as a model for their own acceptance of who they are, regardless of how they fit in to a culturally conventional mold; and their triumphs over segments of society who see them as less than worthy of love.

Net proceeds from BORN TO BE ALIVE go directly to the Jeff Griffith Youth Center for homeless gay youth, a cause Selene feels very strongly about.  This program provides homeless LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender) kids with welcoming, safe shelter, free hot meals, fresh clothes, warm showers, and assistance with GED completion, job placement, and the acquisition of stable housing.

We can only hope that the youth assisted by the monies raised by BORN TO BE ALIVE will blossom in to complete, loving, talented humans like Selene.  If they get a chance to see her show, the odds are good.

Thematic content includes:  Comedy, Dance, Love, Sex, Nudity, Highbrow, Lowbrow, Humor, Puppets.

BORN TO BE ALIVE
F, Sa at 8pm Sn at 7pm $20
May 28, 29, 30 and
June 4, 11, 12, 13, 18, 20, 25, 26, 27
map of the Davidson / Valentini Theatre
FREE PARKING
Purchase tickets online or by phone 323-860-7300
Visit the event’s web page
Follow Selene Luna on Twitter