Lost Girls – A Powerful Film Proves Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

by Peter Foldy

On October 28th this year, 18 days ago, the FBI rescued 82 children from a ring of sex traffickers in Columbus, Ohio. Stories like this, while not uncommon in the news, seem to quickly slip from public consciousness. There is a pervading opinion that this is not something that happens in the United States. While we all agree that human trafficking is appalling, we do not see it as a problem13 year old kidnapped girl Beth (Tori Griffith)(1) in our suburbs. After all, it’s 2016.

Many think this is a problem in South Asia, Thailand or the Philippines, where sex tourism is a major industry. We may know that is a problem in certain disreputable massage parlors in Amsterdam or the bars in Belarus. JULIA VERDIN’S haunting film, LOST GIRLS, paints a bleak picture of underage sex slaves here in the United States and reminds us that human trafficking is also an American problem.

In Verdin’s film we meet a young girl, “Marisol,” who is lured from her home in a quiet California suburb and tricked into befriending her eventual captors. She is put in a cage, given drugs to numb her, and then sold to countless men, some old enough to be her father or grandfather.

How could this happen in a first world Trafficking recruiters Kara (Bar Paly) and Greg (Will Brandt)(1)country and a major city like LA? It’s mainly about the money. Human trafficking is a lucrative business. As Verdin states, “these criminals can sell a gram of coke, or heroin, or a gun once, they can sell a young girl thousands and thousands of times.”

According to statistics, sex trafficking is most prevalent in California, Texas and Florida. It has become “society’s most pervasive crisis” according to UNICEF. By 2020 they expect sex trafficking to overtake drugs and weapons in magnitude.

“Lost Girls” could not have come at a better time. “The recruiters are getting more aggressive, now sending people into schools and targeting malls and places whereKara (Bar Paly) having an insight of her past kids hang out” Verdin tells us. “I think people have this perception that it is a third world problem and it’s really not. London, New York and LA are three of the larger cities where this goes on. What’s changed in sex trafficking business is that they are not just going after kids who have run away from home. Kids are  also being targeted in their own homes or online.”

“When filming a story that deals with sexual abuse,” says Verdin, “it’s vital to balance voyeurism and subtlety. A filmmaker must avoid making prostitution titillating; she must avoid contributing to the already enormous feat of teen girls and girlish qualities in adult women. It’s the filmmaker’s duty to look the issue in the eyes. She must3544696(1) not gloss over the issue and try to make sexual abuse family-friendly.”

In “Lost Girls” Verdin balances the subject delicately and deftly, making scenes that would normally border on gratuitous, nuanced. She understands the need to open a serious conversation about this issue without exploiting it, a pitfall many films have teetered on the brink of.

Instead, Julia Verdin delivers a film that’s 23.50 minutes of tension, tossing every scene at us, unblinking and moving along right before we put our hands over our eyes.

We need more films like this to remind us of important issues such as this to spread awareness and prompt action

“Lost Girls” is currently playing the film festival circuit and can next be seen at The Culver City Film Festival Dec 3rd-9th.

Review: Hedwig And the Angry Inch Keeps It Fresh At The Pantages

by Peter Foldy

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is an innovative, powerful and wickedly humorous musical that will stay with you long after the final curtain.

The show actually began its life as a racy, sexually charged cabaret act. Created by STEPHEN TRASK and JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, it first morphed into a 1998 off-Broadway hit and thenDarren-Criss-Hedwig-and-the-Angry-Inch a 2001 film before finally hitting the bright lights of Broadway in 2014. As the show’s legend grew, ultimately rising to cult status, it’s stars also received well deserved acclaim. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, who played “Hedwig” on Broadway won a Tony, as did LENA HALL, here in Los Angeles reprising her role as “Yitzhak,” Hedwig’s back-up singer husband.

Though it’s been twenty years since it’s inception, this welcome First National Tour still packs a punch and manages to keep it fresh for new audiences. As we are drawn into Hedwig’s heart-breaking story,  the nature of the play allows for saucy, cutting-edge, ad libbed banter from it’s star, here brilliantly played by the energetic and talented, DARREN CRISS.

Hedwig, we learn, is an East German rock singer who suffered a botched sex-change operation that left her down there with only an inch of flesh. In Los Angeles to perform a one-night-only concert at the Pantages, she reveals that 1434618341137.cachedshe was recently involved with “Tommy Gnosis,” a now famous rock star with whom she co-wrote many of the songs that helped fuel his career. Hedwig was in fact the “mysterious blond” who distracted Tommy while he was driving his car, causing him to crash into a school bus. That accident and it’s subsequent notoriety made Tommy a star, leaving Hedwig to live her sad life as an “internationally ignored song stylist.”

By coincidence Tommy is also in town, headlining the Hollywood Bowl, and when Hedwig opens the backstage door, she can hear him talking to his adoring fans, never once acknowledging Hedwig’s contributions.

Throughout the show we also meet the aforementioned “Yitzhak,” a doting waif of a man whom Hedwig treats with disdain. Though Yitzhak also craves the spotlight, Hedwig does all she can to prevent her husband from showing off his talents.

Joining the pair on stagehedwig-rebecca-naomi-jones-3794 is Hedwig’s fictional band, The Angry Inch, comprised of musicians JUSTIN CRAIG (guitars, keyboards), MATT DUNCAN (bass, guitars, keyboards), TIM MISLOCK (guitar) and PETER YANOWITZ (drums), the same quartet who played the Broadway run and who are really not a fictional band at all.

In between banter, Hedwig and the Angry Inch roll through an array of great songs, many of them a nod to glam rock, grunge and metal rock. There are also ballads like, “Wicked Little Town” and “Wig In A Box” that are also standouts.

But the real stand out here is Darren Criss. His performance as Hedwig electrifies as it breaks your heart. Criss is charming and likeable, seemingly inhabited by Hedwig’s persona in this 90 minute physically demanding role.82321-11 He speaks to all those with a dream not fully realized, making L.A. a perfect venue for this story. Criss’ job is not made any easier by the array of over-sized wigs and platform heels his character prances around in, but the physically fit actor makes it seem flawless.

Lena Halls surprises as “Yitzhak” once her powerful singing abilities are finally revealed, and in a clever twist, Hall becomes Hedwig by the end of the show, allowing Criss to reveal his muscular body and the fact that he is not a “slip of a girly boy” at all.

The set by JULIAN CROUCH is compact. A car crash scene with moving parts that seems a good fit for this car crash of a story.

MICHAEL MAYER’S direction keeps the show moving at a pace while some ingenious screen projections from BENJAMIN PEARCY during the beautiful ballad, “The Origin of Love,” make us feel as if we are watching Hedwig in an animated fish bowl, his thoughts coming to life in front of our eyes.18386_show_landscape_large_02

Tickets for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH are on sale now and are available for purchase at www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-982-2787, and at the Hollywood Pantages Box Office (6233 Hollywood Boulevard). Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets by visiting www.PantagesGroups.com or by calling 866-755-3075.

Darren Criss will NOT appear as “Hedwig” in the following performances: Sunday, November 6th at 6:30pm; Sunday, November 13th at 6:30pm; Sunday, November 20th at 6:30pm & Friday, November 25th at 8:00pm.





Glass House Distribution – Generating Buzz at the American Film Market

November 2, 2016

GLASS HOUSE DISTRIBUTION, a new sales company has been generating buzz at the 2016 AMERICAN FILM MARKET for one important reason. They deliver to both filmmakers and buyers exactly what they advertise. A straight-forward approach, transparency, fairness, and hard work on the films they are selling.

The companyIMG_3374 was created as a partnership between well known indie film producer/actor/writer (and author of the book BANKROLL, the gold standard book on film financing), TOM MALLOY, and BRYAN GLASS, a wall street broker-dealer with a keen eye and a strong interest in films.

“When I was approached by Bryan to start this company, I stated my goal was to not do what distribution companies had been doing to me as a filmmaker for years,” says Malloy. “Glass House has producer-friendly contracts, numbers we have to hit, or rights revert back to the filmmaker, pic5and transparent spending. The name Glass House was taken from Bryan’s surname, but it ended up serving another purpose. You can look inside and see everything that’s going on.”

The company was launched at last year’s AFM, Malloy’s eleventh consecutive market, but the first time he was an exhibitor. He brought in MICHELLE ALEXANDRIA, formerly in acquisitions for several companies, and the pair hit the ground running.

“Our approach positions Glass House to become to be the number one trusted and transparent “go-to” distribution company of choice for the independent film community,” states Bryan Glass. “If last year is any indication, 2016 will be ever strongerIMG_3388 for us.

“Glass House has recently added film producer, ROBERT DEEGE, to the company’s roster. With credits that include Soul Surfer and the Emily Dickinson biopic, A Quiet Passion, Deege’s expertise is an important asset for Glass House.

“What attracted me to Glass House is the immediate focus on well-crafted movies,” says Deege. “I’m excited to help develop the company’s reputation for quality.”

Glass House brings several high profile indies to this year’s AFM. Stand is an intense thriller that stars LUKE ALBRIGHT. Turnabout, another thriller that isIMG_3372 racking up festivals and acclaim with PETER GREENE, and the award-winning, Warren, starring ALEX BEH, JEAN SMART and JOHN HEARD, a dramedy that RogerEbert.com says “recalls the Graduate.”

With so much in play, Glass House Distribution is sure to climb the ranks of the top sales and distribution companies who are offering their films to the world market.


“It’s Time” Is A Poignant Celebration Of Love And Life

Review by: Peter Foldy

The Beatles said it best. “All You Need is Love.” Paul Linke reaffirms that notion in his heartfelt, nostalgic solo performance currently running at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica. Linke’s current piece, IT’S TIME, bookends his Ace Award Nominated HBO Showcase entitled “Time Flies When You’re Alive.”

This time Linke shares a remarkable journey that saw him love deeply and then grieve desperately before finding a new love again, I_T_Paul_Linke2a love that has sustained him and his family for over twenty five years.

Best recognized for his role as “Artie Grossman” on the NBC-TV series CHiPs as well as for his co-starring roles in “Parenthood” and “K-PAX,” Linke’s story starts out in the 1960s. He introduces us to his younger self, a horny pot smoking college kid who has no clue where his journey is headed. Nor does he care. His main focus are girls and seeing the Doors at the Whisky Au Go Go. By chance he finds himself in a college acting workshop where at his audition he proceeds to embarrass himself with an impromptu improvised sex act on a plant. Not a great start, but, hey, it’s the 60s.  Fortunately, the people running the workshop see something in this free spirited wild child–a potential of talent–which gets him into class and ultimately sparks his interest in pursuing a life as an actor.

Having finally discovered his calling, Linke also manages to fall in love. It’s a deep, committedI_T_Paul Linke4 love that brings him much happiness and produces three beautiful children. But as most of us know, life sometimes has other plans. Linke’s wife is diagnosed with breast cancer and before long he finds himself a single dad with not a clue as to how to move forward.

Linke shares his deep debilitating grief while humorously revealing his attempts at dating and parenting. It’s a time of  pain and desperation but somehow Linke carries on.

Eventually, through an unexpected introduction, he meets a beautiful actress called Christine and he is instantly smitten. His nerves however get the better of him and he makes an obnoxious first impression. The opportunity almost implodes but the actress gives him another chance and gradually a deep, caring relationship is formed and a broken family slowly becomes whole again.

Expertly directed by I_T_Paul Linke8EDWARD EDWARDS, Linke’s story is brought to life through a series of projected photographs that ably connects the audience to Linke’s loved ones.

This is a beautiful journey. One that is honestly and openly shared. It is hard not to shed a tear, nor to feel empathy during Linke’s 70 minute performance. He celebrates the magnitude of life, the power of love and applauds the contributions of those around him who helped turn his life around. And isn’t that something we can all relate to? Seeing “It’s Time,” may compel you say thank you, or I love you to those who matter the most in your life.

When: IT’S TIME runs at 8pm on Fridays, 5pm Saturdays, and 2pm on Sundays through December 4, 2016 (no performances November 25 – 27).

Where: Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405.

How Much: Tickets are $25 ($20 for students, seniors, and guild members) and can be purchased in advance by calling (310) 397-3244 or online at www.ruskingrouptheatre.com Ample free parking available.



“Last Days Of Summer” Seeking First Place This Winter

Los Angeles: October 27, 2016

Festival circuit darling,  “LAST DAYS OF SUMMER” produced by British born OLIVER RIDGE, is going for another win at the upcoming Whistler Film Festival. Having taken the grand prize for best feature at the Rhode Island Film Festival, the acclaimed drama starring WILLIAM FICHTNER next goes into competition at the prestigious Canadian event, which starts Nov. 30th.

Getting great buzzOliverRidgepic (1) ahead of an anticipated theatrical release next year, the film offers the kind of role we’ve never seen before from Fichtner, best known for “ARMAGEDDON” and “PRISON BREAK” and currently starring in CBS sitcom “MOM.” In Last Days of Summer” he  plays a suburban husband whose quiet life is turned upside down when he becomes obsessed with the beautiful young woman who moves in next door.

“It was an honor to work with such a talented and dedicated actor and make art with him” said producer Ridge, whose Last Days team also included director AARON HARVEY.

Ridge made his directorial debut recently and managed to pull of a coup by being able to recruit Academy Award nominee ERIC ROBERTS to star in Ridge’s “BLUEBIRD,” a poetic short film based on one of the works of the late Charles Bukowski.

We caught up with Oliver Ridge to to talk about his experiences in Hollywood.

Hollywood Revealed: How hard has the transition beenlastdaysofsummerposter (1) for you, moving from the UK to L.A? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Ridge: Driving was pretty scary! Away from that I think media has united us recently in western culture, but certainly when you’re moving five thousand miles away from home, it can be daunting. There are so many people in Los Angeles, but I think the biggest challenge was finding like minded people who I could drink whiskey with and talk movies.

Hollywood Revealed: How did you transition from producing to directing?

Ridge: I loved producing Last Days of Summer, but it certainly made me impatient to be in creative control again. I think that desire made my pre-production for Bluebird even more detailed and thorough, so that helped smooth the transition.

Hollywood Revealed: What kind of genres interest you as a producer/director?

Ridge: Can I say all oliverstepsof them? Because they all do. I want my films to have a universal feel and tone that you can see, but I also want them all to have an emotional weight. I like exploring the darker emotions, because I want my audience to feel something. But specific genres? My next film is a revenge thriller, but I’ve also just finished writing a science fiction film and have plans for a western. So I am all over the place!

Hollywood Revealed: Who are some of the directors you look up to? Who has been your biggest influence?

Ridge: David Fincher and Denis Villeneuve are two of my all time favorites, but Nicolas Winding Refn has certainly had the biggest influence on me.

Hollywood Revealed: Thanks for chatting with us, Oliver.

Ridge: It was a pleasure.


“All About The Afterglow” Announced As Next Feature for Jonny Walls and David Foy Bauer

Los Angeles: October 23, 2016

Writer/Director JONNY WALLS and Producer/Actor DAVID FOY BAUER have teamed up on an up-coming independent feature film, entitled “ALL ABOUT THE AFTERGLOW.” The film deals with two soon-to-be stepbrothers as they road trip up the California Coastline to their parent’s wedding. Along the way they encounterIndigogVideo_02.00_04_27_03.Still004 eccentric characters and various roadblocks that cause them to rethink the trip, their parent’s union as well as their own lives.

Afterglow will be Walls and Bauer’s second collaboration after working on Cineline Production’s 2015 comedy feature, “Couch Survivor.” That film has been picked up for world-wide release by Glass House Distribution.

Joining Walls again as Director of Photography will be IndigogVideo_02.00_04_52_15.Still005MARK FARNEY, another “Couch Survivor” alumni. Other cast announcements include NATHAN CHAMPION, MELISSA LAWLOR, NICCO ANNAN, SIGFRIED TIEBER and ANGIE LISTER.

“All About the Afterglow” begins shooting October 30, 2016 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.

“Other People’s Money” Presents Both Sides of the Moral Question – Director Oliver Muirhead Lets Audiences Decide on the Answer

InterACT Theatre Company will stage the award-winning, provocative comedy, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, at the Pico Playhouse, beginning October 21st.

Dealing with hostile takeovers and the inner workings of corporate America, the play was written by Jerry Sterner who got the idea for the story while working the night-shift for the New York Transit Authority where he managed to write seven plays during the nearly six years he spent working in the booth.

Director, Oliver Muirhead has taken on the controversy that comes with perennial conversations Oliver Muirhead CAPabout corporate takeovers. He is working with two casts to tell this compelling story. The questions are analogous to those presented during every financial crisis since Capitalism began, but Muirhead’s challenge is to stay true to the characters and to both sides of the story that Sterner set out to tell.

Unlike the terms of Blockbuster going at Hollywood Entertainment or Comcast buying Dreamworks Animation, when New England Wire and Cable is threatened by “Larry the Liquidator,” audiences can inspect the moral aspects of the deal so that they are able to take home both sides of the questions being raised. Written in the late 1980’s, this piece rings just as true today. Oliver Muirhead offers a directors perspective on juggling all of those elements.

HR: What was it about this script that sucked you into wanting to direct it? Are you still glad that you took on this job?

Oliver: It’s a great story and a fascinating message, but it was the lives of the characters that made me want to direct the play. The story involves the fate of a whole town and it presents the debate of whether or not it is right to try to hold back change. This electoral season forces us to see how the evolution of the American economy has createdHarner Minault Heins Adler winners and losers, and this play brilliantly asks how we feel about that.

Am I still glad I took on the job? That’s a cruel question for any director to answer one week before opening. But yes, and that’s because working with such talented actors is always a pleasure.

HR: Do you think that good directing comes from good instincts, or is it something that you can learn?

Oliver: Like most jobs, even good directing comes from good instincts…and then you realize how much you have to learn. I guess it’s like the term “practicing medicine,” you’d hope your doctor would have it down by now. But there’s always stuff to learn.

HR: What are your biggest challenges in directing this piece?

Oliver: Too many talented cast members: they get other gigs, they have teaching jobs, and some even have real lives! The scheduling of rehearsals in L.A.‘s intimate theatre scene has always been a huge challenge. AllRob Adler and Robyn Cohen credit goes to Daniel James Clark, our producer, for juggling the actor’s times and conflicts to keep it working in the most efficient way so that we can keep moving forward.

HR: How do you think audiences will relate to the story, and what will stay with them from the experience of having seen this play?

Oliver: It’s what’s happening in the economy right now. The play was written in the 1980’s but the message is even more topical today. The populist rebellions in the U.S and around the world are protests from the victims of progress. Can we stop progress? Should we try to mitigate the damage that comes with economic change? Capitalism is like fire: it warms us but it can badly burn us as well.

HR: Your film credits, like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and 2 Broke Girls show that you have a sense of humor. Do you think that humor is one of your strengths as a director?

Oliver: A sense of humor is essential in life, and not just in directing. Without a sense of humor I’d be strapped in a straitjacket or washing downPeterMcDonald JohnTowey AmandaCarlin the Prozac with a tumbler of Jack.

HR: What’s your biggest weakness as a director?

Oliver: Weakness? That’s a sly question. Well, following on from your last question I’d say sometimes I take things a bit too seriously. Lest we forget, it’s a play…we should be playing, and having fun so that we can better entertain people. A play is not a lesson or a lecture. You can go to school for that. Remember, theatre is cheaper and only takes a couple of hours. Another weakness of mine, “I’m a lousy mind reader.” That’s a quote from OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY. If only I could read minds…

HR: Anything else that you want readers to know about you, this play…or anything?

Oliver: Well, I hope that readers will come and see the play twice…it’s double cast. They will have a wonderfully different experience both times. Other than that, vote. This show is running at the perfect time to make us all think about the important choices we get to weigh in on. Men and women died for our right to vote. Exercise it. Exercise is good for all of us, right? Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.

Other People’s Money opens at 8pm on Friday, October 21st and runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 3pm through November 20, 2016.

The Pico Playhouse is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Tickets are $32 (Senior & Students $27).

For more information and reservations: 818-765-8732 or online http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2588643

Moral Imperative At Theatre 40

Play review by: Peter Foldy

A moral imperative is a strongly-felt principle that compels a person to act. It is when something must happen because it’s the right thing to do.

Using this definition it might have been correct to eliminate Adolph Hitler before he ignited World War II. Or to have disposed of Charlie Manson before he and his minions went on their murderous rampage. While I suspect moral imperatives are seldom murder related, SAMUEL WARREN JOSEPH’S riveting new play, MORAL IMPERATIVE, tackles a dilemma that does ultimately lead to someone’s demise.

Joseph’s M_I_0109 copy 2 story concerns “Seth” (MARTIN THOMPSON) a self righteous professor and Provost who has waited patiently to be appointed president of Briarton University, his Alma Mater. Seth’s world is shattered when his most hated rival, Oscar (DAVID HUNT STAFFORD) is unexpectedly bestowed that prestigious position.

When Oscar’s modus operandi becomes clear it drives Seth to the edge of desperation. Oscar, we discover, intends to eliminate tenure for the professorial staff, start a school hockey team, and perhaps most offensive, start a hotel management school.

Already disgusted with the dumbing down of America, Seth seethes with anger as he commiserates with his close friend and colleague, “Robert” (KEN KAMLET). As they discuss various options, German philosopher, Immanuel Kant’s name is mentioned and Seth suggests that perhaps it is their moral imperative to wipe Oscar from the face of the earth. It takes some convincing but a plot is hatched and eventually executed, but not without complications.

Seth finally realizes his dream and becomes University president, delivering a touching eulogy at Oscar’s funeral. His partner in crime however slowly begins to unravel.

Soon a Colombo like detective, (BRANDEE STEGER) pits Robert and Seth against each other in order to confirm her suspicions that Oscar didn’t die of natural causes. Here the play takes some brilliant Hitchcockian turns as it spirals toward it’s poignant conclusion.

Director, HOWARD STORM,M_I_0236 copy 2 expertly guides his talented cast through this twisted thriller. One and all deliver stellar performances.

Martin Thompson as “Seth” capably hides his desperation as a pompous man with little left to lose. SUSAN DAMANTE as his wife, “Mary” is powerful as a woman who recognizes the truth but tries to ignore it for as long as possible. Ken Kamlet as the volatile Robert is compelling. It is painful to watch him unravel and crumble.

The set design by JEFF G RACK is detailed and exceptional. At times I felt like I was watching a wide screen movie.

If you’re fan of intelligent theater, Moral Imperative is the play to see.

WHERE: Theatre 40, in the Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. The venue is on the campus of Beverly Hills High School and there is free parking.

WHEN: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 2:00, Mon. at 8:00


HOW: Reservations may be made by calling (310) 364-0535 or online at www.theatre40.org.




Siamese Sex Show Will Leave You Smiling–And Maybe Scratching Your Head

Review by Peter Foldy

Who cares if the story line of the SIAMESE SEX SHOW by JOHN PAPAGEORGE, now playing at the Lounge Theatre on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood make little sense. It’s a light-hearted romp with great costumes and talented singers and dancers performing radio worthy pop tunes that are going to entertain and have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face.

Okay, you really want SSS_0159 copyto know what the show is about?

Let me try and explain it if I can.

We’re in the future. A mysterious military, industrial, entertainment complex called Monocorp has fabricated a global epidemic claiming that sex will lead to certain death. By controlling our most basic human need Monocorp stands to profit. Why you ask? Because they have created a “safe” sex product called the Love Light that is guaranteed to increase their power and wealth. Or something.

This somehow brings the world to the brink of an apocalypse and it will now take four fallen pop stars to overcome their pop star differences and band together in order to stop Monocorp’s evil agenda.

Are you following me?

If not it really doesn’t matter, because here’s SSS_0078 copythe thing. The Siamese Sex Show is a hoot. Director, KIFF SCHOLL, calls it “a living comic book that satirizes pop music, technology, and of course sex,” and while the story line may be a yawn to some, the show is a joy ride with cutting edge music and some stand out performances.

The entire cast gives it their all. Some are worthy of special mention.

EDDIE GUTIERREZ as “George O Thornhill” delivers a Broadway worthy turn as a nerdy Clark Kent type who ultimately betrays Monocorp. A strong singer and dancer Mr. Gutierrez presence here centers the craziness whenever he’s on stage.

ERIN RYE is hilarious as a sex robot with a “Doctor Evil” like tic, placing her little finger in the corner of her mouthSSS_0362 copy before speaking. Her joyful exuberance in this role is contagious.

RICCARDO BERDINI is at ease as “Mr. Hadji,” an Italian magician who also happens to be a great singer, while JILLIAN EASTON is an alluring love interest.

JANELLE DOTTE, MIKI HOLMES, ALYSSA NOTO and DAYNA ALICE AUSTIN, the four beautiful ladies the play calls “The Board” are excellent in their song and dance routines.

Other impressive cast members include ISAAC CRUZ, SEAN LEON, CLOIE WYATT TAYLOR and KEITH E. WRIGHT.

Kudos to APRIL THOMAS’ choreography, MICHAEL MULLEN’S costume design, SHEILA DORN’S wig and makeup design, DAVID OFFNER’S sets, YEE EUN NAM’S production design as well as the effective lighting by KELLEY FINN.

Produced by RACQUEL LEHRMAN and Associate Produced by VICTORIA WATSON of Theatre Planners, Book, Music and Lyrics by JOHN PAPAGEORGE, Rap Lyrics by rap lyrics by KOOL KEITH, MISTAH FAB ans J DIGGS, Siamese Sex Show is presented by El Greco Production.

Performances through Nov. 13:
Fridays October 14, 21, 28, November 4, 11 at 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays October 15, 22, 29 November 5, 12 at 8:00 p.m.
Sundays October 9, 16, 23, 30 November 6, 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Lounge Theatre
6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA  90038

$30 general admission

(323) 960-7738 or http://www.plays411.com/siamese

Check out the music for the Siamese Sex Show here: http://www.siamesesexshow.com/music1.html

Hero Of The Underworld – Film Review

Review by: Peter Foldy

A gritty character study, HERO OF THE UNDERWORLD,  slowly draws you in and doesn’t let go as it exposes the lives of several down on their luck characters living and working in New York City.

“Dylan” (TOM MALLOY)  is the likeable, quick thinking overnight manager at a chic, upscale downtown hotel. Clearly heTom Malloy in Hero of the Underworld - 2 should by now have advanced higher on the ladder of success, both at his job and with life in general, but Dylan struggles with demons that won’t let go. He is a heroin addict whose girl friend hung herself  in his apartment and Dylan is burdened by the guilt. Abandoned by his his family and struggling to hold on to his job, Dylan is a pained and desperate man.

When a young woman, “Holly” ( NICOLE FOX) is badly beaten at the hotel, Dylan takes it upon himself to find her and save her from the drug underworld that he is quite familiar with. This leads to a bout of regret and self examinationNicole Fox in Hero of the Underworld as Dylan tries to overcome his demons, somehow convincing himself that Holly can help save him.

Ably directed by JOHN VINCENT, the film crackles with nervous energy and cutting edge humor. It also portrays a revealing look behind the scenes of hotel management–how they handle double bookings, who gets preferential treatment and why.

As you might imagine, money always talks.

Though lacking in some production values due to it’s budgetary restrictions, there are strong quality moments and stand out performances in this otherwise well made indie.

DAVID JOSH LAWRENCENicole Fox and Tom Malloy in Hero of the Underworld - 2 is likeable as the caustic hotel clerk, “Jarrod.”

LISA VARGA is convincing as an ill-fated call girl working to support her 9 year old daughter.

QUINTON AARON, lead in the film, “The Blind Side” (opposite Sandra Bullock) brings some star power as the drug dealer, “Tino,” as does the always impressive, CATHERINE MARY STEWART, playing a woman who has been moved out of her hotel room without her permission.

But this is Tom Malloy’s vehicle. Giving a believable, heart-felt performance as the wounded “Dylan,” he hits all the right notes. Malloy carries the film and helps elevate “Hero of the Underworld” to the top of this year’s indie releases.  Raw and emotional, “Hero of the Underworld” is a winner.

Available through Gravitas Ventures on November 14, 2016 to outlets everywhere.




Center Theatre Group Mourns The Loss of Founding Director, Gordon Davidson

October 3, 2016

Center Theatre Group Founding Artistic Director, Gordon Davidson, passed away Sunday, October 2, 2016.

“Gordon Davidson was one of the most renowned and respected artistic directors in regional theatre, in large part because he was one of the original founders of the entire concept,” said Center Theatre Group Artistic Director, Michael Ritchie. “He led Center Theatre Group for 38 years and produced one of the broadest arrays of plays, particularly new plays, of any theatre in the country.

Gordon Davidson. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Gordon Davidson. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Without his prolific vision for Center Theatre Group 50 years ago, the theatrical landscape in Los Angeles, and the country, would be very different. He remains one of theatre’s great leaders and I was proud to call him a mentor, friend, and colleague.”

From 1967 to 2005 Gordon Davidson was the Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center of Los Angeles. In addition to his role at the Taper, Davidson was the Producing Director of the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre for 15 years, and the Artistic Director of the inaugural season (2004-2005) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. In addition to redefining theatre in Southern California, he was one of the founders of the regional theatre movement and had a permanent impact on theatre throughout the country and the world.

Gordon guided hundreds of productions to the Taper stage while overseeing numerous special projects sponsored by the Taper. This work and his direction of many of the Taper plays were acclaimed both in Los Angeles and New York, garnering the Taper a Tony Award for theatrical excellence in 1977.

Plans for a memorial event will be announced in the coming days.

2016 Emmy Award Winners: The Full List

Emmy Nominations-The Latest

On the network side, FX and HBO tied for bragging rights with six Emmys apiece, followed by Netflix with three and NBC, PBS and Amazon with two apiece.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Outstanding Drama Series
Game Of Thrones • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; 360
Television and Startling Television

Outstanding Comedy Series
Veep • HBO • HBO Entertainment

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Orphan Black • BBC America • Temple Street Productions in association with BBC America and Bell
Media’s SPACE
Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel, M.K., Krystal

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Mr. Robot • USA • USA Network in association with Universal Cable Productions and Anonymous
Rami Malek as Elliot

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Bloodline • Netflix • Sony Pictures Television in association with KZK Productions for Netflix
Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Game Of Thrones • Battle Of The Bastards • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with
Bighead, Littlehead; 360 Television and Startling Television
Miguel Sapochnik, Directed by

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey • PBS • A Carnival Films/MASTERPIECE co-production in association with
Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Game Of Thrones • Battle Of The Bastards • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with
Bighead, Littlehead; 360 Television and Startling Television
David Benioff, Written by
D.B. Weiss, Written by

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Key & Peele • Comedy Central • Cindylou, Monkeypaw Productions, Martel & Roberts Productions,
Principato-Young Entertainment, Central Productions

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Grease: Live • FOX • Paramount Television
Thomas Kail, Directed by
Alex Rudzinski, Live Television Direction by

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Sixteen String
Jack Productions and Avalon Television

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Patton Oswalt: Talking For Clapping • Netflix • Generate
Patton Oswalt, Written by

Outstanding Limited Series
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story • FX Networks • Fox 21 Television Studios, FX

Outstanding Television Movie
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood Films for BBC One in
co-production with MASTERPIECE

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series Or Movie
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story • FX Networks • Fox 21 Television Studios, FX
Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story • FX Networks • Fox 21 Television Studios, FX
Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series Or Movie
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story • FX Networks • Fox 21 Television Studios, FX
Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special
The Night Manager • AMC • Ink Factory
Susanne Bier, Directed by

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie
American Crime • ABC • ABC Studios
Regina King as Terri Lacroix

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story • Marcia, Marcia, Marcia • FX Networks • Fox 21
Television Studios, FX Productions
D.V. DeVincentis, Written by

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
The Voice • NBC • MGM Television, Talpa Media USA, Inc. and Warner Horizon Television
John De Mol, Executive Producer
Mark Burnett, Executive Producer
Audrey Morrissey, Executive Producer
Jay Bienstock, Executive Producer
Lee Metzger, Executive Producer
Chad Hines, Executive Producer
Kyra Thompson, Co-Executive Producer
Amanda Zucker, Co-Executive Producer
Mike Yurchuk, Co-Executive Producer
Anthea Bhargava, Supervising Producer
Keith Dinielli, Supervising Producer
May Johnson, Supervising Producer
Clyde Lieberman, Supervising Producer
Teddy Valenti, Supervising Producer
Ashley Baumann-Sylvester, Senior Producer
Kyley Tucker, Senior Producer
Carson Daly, Producer
Barton Kimball, Producer
Michelle McNulty, Producer
Brittany Martin Porter, Producer

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Transparent • Amazon • Amazon Studios
Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Veep • HBO • HBO Entertainment
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Transparent • Man On The Land • Amazon • Amazon Studios
Jill Soloway, Directed by

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway
Kate McKinnon as Various characters

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Master Of None • Parents • Netflix • Universal Television, Oh Brudder Productions, Alan Yang
Productions, Fremulon Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment
Aziz Ansari, Written by
Alan Yang, Written by

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Baskets • FX Networks • FX Productions
Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets

Finding Your Stride In Hollywood Is Like Dating An Alien


You just have to put yourself out there. In order to find “the one,” it can turn into a search far and wide…perhaps to other worlds. Sounds like the perfect analogy for the artists’ journey.

Neil McGowan’s new play, “My Girlfriend is An Alien! by Keith DeFacto,” is having its world premiere in Venice, California at the award winning Pacific Resident Theatre. The company’s main stage seasons are touted for their exquisite productions of the lesser-produced classics by some of the world’s best writers. Currently, Tennessee Williams’ “The Eccentricities of a Nightingale” (Critics’ Choice – LA Times; Ovation Recommended) has just extended through September 25th. But, at the other end of the same block, on their second stage, it’s a whole different world…with aliens.

Director Guillermo Cienfuegos explained, “at first glance, perhaps you see a spoof on B Science Fiction movies. Looking deeper, you’ll discover a play about a guy who’s putting on a play to get a girl to fall in love with him – and it’s not going well. This play is about the struggle of the creative process, and being brave enough to put yourself out there, and to riskImage 1 being judged. Will this guy give up and run away when things get scary, or will he take a chance and risk it all, not knowing what the outcome will be?”

Isn’t that exactly what it’s like sometimes in this town when you’re working in the business and trying to crack the code? But, this is a comedy. We caught up with writer Neil McGowan and director Guillermo Cienfuegos and got some fun and insightful perspectives on the journey of life, love, and the business of using your creative mind in Hollywood.

HR: Neil, are you into aliens or is your play a metaphor for something else? How did this piece come about and why did you choose Guillermo Cienfuegos to direct it?

Neil: Actually, the alien aspect was one of the last things to appear in my process. The play is about a writer/actor having a crisis of confidence about himself, as an artist and person, in real time during a performance of his own play. I realized that I was essentially going to have to write two plays. I knew that whatever the play-within-the-play was about should mirror, on many levels, what was happening personally to Keith DeFacto, the fictitious playwright. Themes of alienation, and not fitting in, seemed to dovetail nicely with the things that DeFacto is dealing with. It also helped to strengthen the love story that happens within the play.

My first girlfriend in high school might as well have been an alien, because my understanding of women and love in general was so unsophisticated. The result was something that was simultaneously terrifying and exciting. I would imagine falling in love with an alien at any age would be pretty similar to falling in love for the first time.

I’ve had the good fortune of working with Guillermo a few times. He directed me as an actor in a series of plays written by Keith Stevenson (who plays Keith DeFacto in “My Girlfriend is an Alien…) called “The Fried Meat Trilogy.” Guillermo is especially great with new plays, which typically need a lot more than just someone to show up and tell the actors where to stand. For this play, I really needed someone to explain to me what I had written, essentially. I knew he wouldn’t give up until the two of us, and the entire cast, solved this crazy puzzle.

HR: Guillermo, when did you become aware of “My Girlfriend is an Alien…” and what was your first impression?

Guillermo: I was a big fan of Neil’s play “Lone-Anon,” produced by Rogue Machine. I’ve always considered him to be an extremely talented and funny writer and actor, so I was happy when he asked me to direct this. I was expecting it to have an inventive, complex and unusual voice, and I was not disappointed.

HR: Why are you staging it at Pacific Resident Theatre? Aren’t they known for presenting the classics?

Neil: They have a well-earned reputation for producing classic plays, but the truth is…there is no better theater in L.A. for developing a play. Their workshop space provides a safe place for any company member to produce whatever they want, for a short run, guarded from the risk of it being reviewed. ImageMany plays from their program have become fully realized productions, even moving to New York. I hope PRT starts getting the credit it deserves for the chances it has taken with new plays and for the opportunities that it has given to emerging playwrights in this city.

Guillermo: I consider Pacific Resident Theatre to be my home, so when it came to producing “My Girlfriend is an Alien…” it was really a no brainer.

HR: What is the most essential element to get right when you’re launching a new play? How about the most challenging?

Neil: It’s different for each play. For this piece, which attempts to do so much on a few different levels, the most challenging and essential element has been clarity. Making sure that within all of the humor, pathos and high-concept ideas, there is a through-line that is easily followed and understood. But most of all it really is a comedy, so it should be purely entertaining and have the audience walking out of the theater feeling better than when they walked in.

Guillermo: With a new play, the first thing to make sure of is that the characters and relationships are clear and that the story tracks. We work-shopped the play for some time to make sure of that – although Neil’s script was pretty strong to begin with. From a director’s POV, the first essential element is the casting. Particularly, with an unusual comedy like this – the actors need to be able to approach the scenes and events in the play in a totally real way while always embracing the comic anarchy. It takes a very good and very flexible cast, which I’m thrilled to have, across the board.

HR: Why do you think that comedy is important for telling this story?

Neil: It’s difficult for me to imagine writing something that doesn’t involve a fair amount of pain, and therefore it’s impossible for me to conceive of writing something that isn’t also funny. As an audience member, I respond best to the plays, movies and TV shows that are able to get that balance right.

Guillermo: I agree. I’ve never come across any material that couldn’t be deepened and improved by finding the humor in it. The main character in this case, Keith DeFacto, finds himself facing the most challenging personal and professional crises of his life, simultaneously, and it’s all happening in front of an audience. For DeFacto, these are very real and serious problems – but that’s also fertile ground for comedy. I think Neil and I have done everything we can do to tell the story of DeFacto’s struggle, while always remembering to find the funny.

HR: Your play “Lone-Anon” was made into a film, to be released next year. Do you write plays with the idea in mind to have them developed into movies?

Neil: Not at all, it’s enough of a challenge to finish a playImage 2 without trying to imagine it in some other medium at the same time. “Lone-Anon” becoming a movie was a bit of a fluke that I wasn’t expecting. Although, I do have to say that it was a lot of fun, adapting my own idea into something completely different. Since I tend to have a lack of ideas that really excite me enough to sit down and work on, I’ve begun thinking in terms of recycling old ideas and other things that I’ve written and perhaps developing them in other media.

HR: Why do you think audiences will enjoy this play?

Guillermo: It’s a very funny script, and we have a very funny cast, so unless you don’t like laughing I think you’re going to enjoy yourself.

Neil: I feel like it hits a sweet spot. It’s uniquely thought provoking, without being too “out there.” It touches on universal feelings of self-doubt and self-worth and being human and falling in love. It manages to talk about those things in ways that feel new, and have not been seen a thousand times before. Most of all, it is just fun and filled with joy. There’s an alien, and people in funny costumes, and some of the best actors in Los Angeles.

HR: What else are you both working on now?

Guillermo: I have another play opening this month at Rogue Machine Theatre. It’s the West Coast premiere of a racially charged cat and mouse thriller called “Dutch Masters” by Greg Keller. Slightly different fare than “My girlfriend is an Alien by Keith DeFacto.” I’ve been directing them both at the same time – one during the day and one at night – for the past couple of months. It’s been a lot of fun jumping back and forth from these two very different universes.

Neil: “Loners” (the movie version of Lone-Anon) is very nearly done with post-production. We’re looking forward to the film festivals in 2017. I have another completed play I’d like to workshop at some point, but I’d really love to dive into writing something new. Whether it’s a play or movie or whatever…but I need a good idea first.

The award winning cast includes Dan Cole, Brenda Davidson, Rick Garrison, Ron Geren, Brian Letscher, Sophie Pollono, Michael Prichard, Keith Stevenson, Elspeth Weingarten, and Carole Weyers.

“My Girlfriend Is An Alien! by Keith DeFacto,” written by Neil McGowan, runs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm (added performances on Thursdays for September 1, 8, 15, and 29) through October 2, 2016 (No performance on Saturday, Sept. 10th).

Pacific Resident Theatre is located at 703 Venice Blvd. in Venice, CA 90291.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at http://www.pacificresidenttheatre.com or by calling (310) 822-8392.

BAFTA Award Winner, “Marty Goes To Hollywood” to Premier at Marina Del Rey Film Festival

August 7, 2016

MARTY GOES TO HOLLWOOD is a documentary about a Scottish actor, Marty Docherty, who landed a role as Tom Hank’s brother in the feature film, ‘Cloud Atlas.” Unable to afford a trip to the Hollywood premier, his friends team up to help him raise the money and decide to make a documentary about the process. Arriving in California days before the screening, the lads learn that Warner Bros. will not allow Marty to walk the red carpet. In the face of adversity they set out to defy the big studio and crash the premier, finding tremendous support and forging a life-long friendship in the process.

The film will screen at the 2016 Marina Del Rey Film Festival on August 13 at 3pm.

Hollywood Revealed: Hi, Marty.

Marty Docherty: Hello.

HR: I guess we should go back to the beginning. How did you land the role in “Cloud Atlas?”

MD: I auditioned for the part of ‘Eddie Hoggins’ in Glasgow. I thought I was maybe at the wrong audition as all the guys there were much older than me and much bigger (though that isn’t hard as I stand 5 feet 7 inches).Image I was off book for the casting and I thought it went really well. Two weeks later my agent called to say that they loved my tape and that Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski’s wanted to see me in London for a recall. I was pretty nervous but my thoughts were just keep doing what you’ve already done and you have a chance. The recall went very well and the part of Eddie Hoggins was mine. One week later it was confirmed that I was in a huge movie when they called to say that my costume fitting would be in Berlin!

HR: How was the idea for the documentary conceived?

MD: It came about when I returned back to Glasgow from filming. I met my very good friend, Ian Bustard for a pint at our favorite pub of the time, The Griffin Bar. Ian was asking me how the shoot had gone and I was regailing him with tales of Andy and Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving. It had been such an amazing time for me as “Cloud Atlas” was my first feature film and my first experience marty-docherty-488390471of something so large. Ian thought I was buzzing with the excitement of it all. He then said that I must go to the premiere in L.A. I of course said I’d love to go (and was sure I’d be invited) but there was no way I could afford it. He then said ‘why don’t we make a documentary about you raising the money to go?’ I thought that was a great idea, so Ian called Martyn Robertson, a friend, producer and film maker with his own company, Urbancroft Films. Martyn said it was the best idea he’d heard in seven years. So the concept of Marty Goes to Hollywood was born.

HR: What were your initial thoughts about actually going to Hollywood?

MD: It was a combination of nervousness and excitement. Having never been to the USA I was unsure of what to expect. I wanted to make sure that I make the best of any opportunities that came my way. Before we went we had no idea of what was going to happen so the feelings were more of excitement, of opportunity and possibility. The one thing I did know of L.A. was that there was a business there and thus opportunity. That’s the thing about being an actor… you just never know.

HR: Were you surprised when your home town got behind your plans to go to the premier?

MD: Yes, I was quite surprised at the support we got in Glasgow. The nature of people here is that of community, of wanting to help people if they can, of wanting to see one of they’re own doing well. I’m sure some people thought Radio‘who cares. It’s just some actor who wants to go to Hollywood.’  However the story started to get arms and legs and all of a sudden we were on the radio and in newspapers. Even the Lord Provost of Glasgow got involved, and we got good luck messages from Alex Salmond, Scotland first minister and the leader of the Scottish Labor Party. Glasgow is full of generous people and the bottom line is I wouldn’t have made it to Hollywood without them. Glasgow is by far the best city in the World – apart from L.A.

HR: How were you received by the British community once you arrived in L.A.?

MD: The reception we got from Brits in  L.A. was amazing. They seemed to take our story to heart and backed us all the way. We had been invited to meet them for breakfast at Cecconis, an amazing restaurant, on the Saturday morning and Tuesday morning. Craig Young and Eileen Lee, who run Brits in L.A. couldn’t do enough for us. Craig contacted his manager and arranged a meeting for me. By the time Tuesday  came round we needed help more than ever and I was absolutely bowled over with the support. Again, like so many people on this project, they helped when they didn’t need to. The best parts of human nature Melrosenever ceases to amaze me.

HR: What was the biggest misconception you had about L.A?

MD: I guess I thought it would be smaller and was amazed at the scale of the city. I also thought everyone would be a hippy, doing hot yoga, but when I got there I loved it! What’s not to like? I thought it was a very healthy city full of very beautiful people. Our days were pretty busy it was hard to appreciate certain things. I was impressed by the Roosevelt hotel! What a place!

HR: Are you surprised at all the positive reaction “Marty Goes to Hollywood” has received?

MD: Very surprised. First off I was amazed at the finished product and the great job Ian, Martyn, Chris Kinghorn, the cameraman, Thom Clark, the editor and Scott Twynholm, our music composer did. It must have been hard for those guys finding the best 53 minutes out of over 100 hours of footage.

The bottom line is that people liked our story and what we were trying to accomplish. Nothing we did was set up. That gave an honesty to us and our journey that peopleImage 3 responded to. Our story also became a bit of ‘David vs Goliath,’ and who doesn’t want to root for the underdog? The support and goodwill that came our way seemed to shine through in the film and all the people I met from the business, actors, producers in the main, loved it and loved it for different reasons. The film covers a lot of topics about being an actor and life in general and if anything it’s a film about friendship. I think that’s why people have been so positive about it. This film has been an amazing journey. Memories and friendships forged forever. The most incredible part of an 18 year acting career .

HR: Did you ever dream the the documentary would air on the BBC?

MD: I never really thought the BBC would be interested in our film. I’m not sure they would have had we not been nominated for a Scottish BAFTA New Talent Award, then subsequently winning it. I saw three or four rough cuts of the movie before I actually saw the finished version. Each time it improved as is normal with the grading process, the music etc . The final cut is an excellent film, worthy of a BAFTA nomination, if I do say so myself. Still to get in on the BBC at Christmas was just the icing on the cake. The BAFTA and the TV screening was a testament and a small reward to all those who had contributed their expertise for very little money. bafta4It was also a chance to bring the movie to a wider audience. All of which made me feel very proud and much taller than I actually am. My family and friends were particularly delighted as they had heard so much but hadn’t seen anything. In the week leading up to the TV screening the BBC advertised it about 10 times a day and we couldn’t believe it. A chat in a pub 3 years earlier had led to this?! If someone had said that to me 2 years earlier , I would have said they were a candidate for a lunatic asylum.

HR: Where did you watch it and what was that like?

MD: We went back to the Griffin bar were it had all began. Friends and family joined us. There were around 60 people there. What a buzz ! It was also a bit surreal as the TV announcer said ‘ Now on BBC2 , one man has a dream in ‘Marty Goes To Hollywood’. I thought, that’s me!!! It was like it wasn’t really happening. I looked around at a lot of those people who helped in some way and I was more interested in their reactions. People were laughing. Some were crying. I had a small moment to myself to reflect and thought how brilliant it was that we had a dream, we achieved it, we won a BAFTA 12434706_1843664495779074_1770093464_nand now we were on the BBC. I felt humbled by it all. Dreams really can come true.

HR: You’re probably more of a celebrity now for being in the documentary than for being in “Cloud Atlas.”

MD: That’s possible ! On the night of the screening I got in a taxi to go home. As I climbed in the taxi driver said, ‘Hi Marty how you’? I’d never met the man before in my life! He then said, ‘You were on the telly tonight, eh?’ Incredulously I said ‘Eh , that’s right aye ‘. I’d been on a radio program two weeks before to promote the documentary. The driver then said, ‘I really enjoyed you on the radio a couple of weeks ago’. I was pretty stunned. I guess taxi drivers know everything in Glasgow. My profile has definitely been raised by the documentary. A lot of times people pass me in street and say, ‘Awrite Marty’ (awrite is Glasgow slang for all right ). Other times people in a bar or a cafe will say, ‘ I know you. Where have we met before?’ The truth is we’ve never met but people recognize your face and think they know you. I quite enjoy it. Glasgow people are not backward at coming forward. They won’t be shy at telling you they know you. Certainly for a few months I’ve basked in the glory of my new found minor celebrity status.

HR: What are you working on now?

MD: Right now I’m doing a short film, a modern dayMGTH BAFTA FLYER (Hollywood) adaptation of Tam O ‘ Shanter, a very famous poem by Rabbie Burns with a visual arts company. I had my first day green screen filming last week. I’m very excited about it as they have a distributor in place on the strength of their  previous work. I’ve just finished playing a lawyer in 6 episodes of “River City,” the Scottish soap opera. I’m about to play a part in “Outlander” and I’m currently writing a one man show with the resident writer at the Citizens Theatre which we plan to put on in the Autumn. Exciting times!

HR: Any plans to come back to Hollywood?

MD: At the moment no. Not because I don’t want to. I would have loved to stayed on but the price of getting a work Visa there was just a bit much. However I would love to come back. I can see myself running down to muscle beach at 7am, going over my casting for that day in glorious sunshine. That’s in my dream of course, but as we’ve already proved, dreams really can come true.

HR: Thanks for chatting with us, Marty, and congratulations on all your success.

MD: Thank you.


The Marina Del Rey Film Festival
3pm August 13, 2016

Cinemark 18XD
Howard Hughes Promenade
6081 Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Link to the movie trailer: https://vimeo.com/149141219
Buy tickets: HERE






Review by Mark Salcido

It’s been about 11 years since we’ve had JASON BOURNE grace our movie screens with enough espionage and action to give any fan of the spy genre a big o’stiffy. The studios tried out Jeremy Renner to continue the franchise and we all know how that turned out. Now Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon have returned to the action fold that made them both household names in hopes to bring the legacy of Jason Bourne back to the glory days it once was.

Was it worth it? Let’s talk about that.

As the film opens we discover xjason-bourne-1068x601.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bnRz7Rs5HTBourne back in hiding and trying to find meaning in his life. He’s getting up there in years and looks worn down after the events of the ‘Ultimatum’. He may be done with that mess, but it’s not done with him. The film introduces the current topic of world-wide mass surveillance. Think Snowden, folks. This is not much a spoiler and not much of a plot. It gets quickly left behind as the film focuses more on Bourne and his father issues. It’s a nice personal touch to the character but felt somwhat forced as there was no hint of it in the previous films.

Within the first 20 minutes, of “Jason Bourne” you see where the surveillance plot is going and will probably guess where it will end up. 10 minutes after that, you already know who the villains are to the point where you wonder if the writers even tried to put any mystery behind it.  I will have to add, there is a death in the film that I didn’t seem coming but it had me question if it was even necessary. It follows the same kind of path that was in the ‘Identity’, ‘Supremacy’, and ‘Ultimatum’ but it doesn’t add anything new to the franchise. But hey, I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The acting in “Jason Bourne” is what you expect from the stellar cast and Matt Damon still manages to bring some of the emotional level that was also evident in ‘Supremacy’.

The new players like Tommy Leee Jones and jason_bourne_2016_8k-1280x720Alicia Vikander do a serviceable job though Vikander’s character feels like she was trying too hard be a tough CIA Agent. Her face reveals a look that feels soulless, even when she goes for that connection with Jason Bourne, like Joan Allen’s character did in the last films.

The action of the film is it’s only saving grace. Greengrass hasn’t lost a step when it comes to really good action scenes that feel genuine and with little CGI effect. The first action sequence reminds us how bad ass Bourne is and continues to escalate as the film goes on, but not to a ridiculous level. Yet, Greengrass can’t seem to stop it with the shaky cam. It’s not to a nauseating degree, as he’s done in some of his previous film but it can be bothersome. You hope at some point the director will  put the camera on sticks show us the awesome coordination of the fighting.

The final car scene shot in Las Vegas is spectacular and leaves you with a visceral rush that makes the 2 hour experience ultimately worthwhile.

I love the Bourne films…exceptjason-bourne-2016-movie-review-21-1500x844 ‘Legacy’. I can watch the first three all day on repeat because they had a level of mystery and action that mixed well. When I heard that Damon and Greengrass were coming back for another installment, I was all in. After watching ‘Jason Bourne’ I’m not so sure they should continue. By the end,”Jason Bourne” had enough set ups to warrant a few more sequels, but this installment doesn’t leave you wanting more.

With the dismantling of Treadstone and Black-Briar,‘ Ultimatum’ ended in a way that could’ve seen Jason ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. But with the inclusion of a new operation known as Iron Hand, you kind have to wonder, is there even a purpose in what Bourne is doing? Or is the franchise being kept alive for the big score that this movie will surely reap with this current wide release.



“Beautiful-The Carol King Musical” Is Some Kind Of Wonderful

Reviewed on June 24, 2016

by Peter Foldy

One of the most successful female songwriter’s of all time, Carol King, has written dozens of memorable pop hits, a number of them becoming classics that still pack a punch in the new millennium.

The two time Tony Award winning play, Beautiful-the Carol King Musical that opened at the Hollywood’s Pantages Theater last week is is a joyousa - Carnegie Hall exploration of the music star’s life told through some of her best loved material. The show is a feel good flashback to King’s early years to observe the songwriter’s rise to greatness. It is an inspiring story about talent, determination and a picture perfect love that ultimately turns sour.

A vibrant ABBY MUELLER portrays Carol King. With a powerful singing voice and impressive piano skills, Miss Mueller, (whose sister originated the role on Broadway), is both likeable and relatable.

As the play unfolds, King meets the handsome Gerry Goffin (LIAM TOBIN) while at Queens College in New York. Having already sold one song to music publisher, Don Kirshner, (CURT BOURIL) she is in need of a good lyricist. Goffin is a playwright who dabbles in lyrics. Before long the young couple are not only writing partners but also the parents of a baby girl. Carol is only 17 at the time. Regardless, they marry m The Shirellesand after what seems like a relatively short struggle, break through with “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” a song that becomes the first number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 by a black female singing group, The Shirelles.

Goffin and King give up their day jobs and go on to pen a string of other classic hit songs such as “Chains” (covered by the Beatles), “The Loco-Motion,” recorded by their babysitter, Little Eva, “Take Good Care of My Baby” for Bobby Vee, “Up on the Roof” for the Drifters, “I’m into Something Good” for Herman’s Hermits, “One Fine Day” for The Chiffons, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for the Monkees and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin. Songs that sound as vibrant today as they did in the early 60s.

With a book by DOUG McGRATH, “Beautiful” shows us a time when talent prevailed, and when an opportunity presented itself, as it did for Goffin and King, careers f Queens Collegewere made and sustained. The production has a warm and fuzzy vibe, much like watching a Turner Classic on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It’s the perfect musical with a parade of pop hits that not only make you smile, but may also put a tear in your eye. Music is emotion and there is a considerable amount of that here. That said, “Beautiful” doesn’t let you dwell on as as it. There is too much fun to be had.

Balancing Goffin and King’s journey is that of songwriting competitors, and King’s best friends, Cynthia Weil and her writing partner, Barry Mann. This young musical duo were no slouches either. They went on to write songs such as the classic, “On Broadway” and “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” for the Righteous Brothers, tunes we get to hear performed in this production.

BECKYi Barry and Cynthia GULSVIG  portrays Weil with BEN FANKHAUSER as Barry Mann. They are both highly talented performers who deserve a share of the credit for “Beautiful’s” charm. Fankhauser in particular is a standout. He almost steals the show with his dry sense of humor, impressive singing voice and powerful stage presence.

LIAM TOBIN is a strong presence as the womanizing Gerry Goffin and SUZANNE GRODNER as King’s meddling mother brings some additional humor.

There are also some other great performances by the talented ensemble cast. Particularly impressive on Friday night was JOHN MICHAEL DIAS as Neil Sedaka who later returns in various incarnations, almost stopping the show with his turn as one half of the Righteous brothers on “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.”

Director, MARC BRUNI keeps the play moving at a clip. There is hardly a dull moment. This show fires on all 8 cylinders during its 2:45 running time.

A highly effective scenic design by DEREK McLANE provides for great transitions asj Four Friends well as some slick costume changes between numbers.

After her breakup with Goffin, a liberated Carol King went on to an illustrious solo career, writing  other soulful hits such as “You’ve Got a Friend” and the play’s title song, “Beautiful.” Her 1971 solo album, “Tapestry” held the No.1 spot for 15 consecutive weeks, remaining on the charts for nearly six years. It has sold well over 25 million copies worldwide and won four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year.

Hers is a story worth telling, and definitely worth experiencing in what is a crowd pleasing, toe-tapping lavish jukebox musical.

Beautiful – The Carol King The Musical” runs through July 17, 2016

Where: Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA

When: 8:00 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays, 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 pm Sundays.

Tickets: $29 and up.

Info: http://www.HollywoodPantages.com

Call: 1 800 982 2787

Photos by: Joan Marcus



Cruelty Prevails In Rogue Machine’s New Production, “Bull”

Review by Peter Foldy

“How can people be so heartless, how can people be so cruel? Easy to be hard, Easy to be cold.”

Those are the lyrics to a brilliant song from the 60s rock musical, HAIR. that kept running through my brain after seeing Mike Bartlett’s disturbing play, BULL, currently making it’s West Coast Premiere at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles.

A Rogue Machine production, opening in the Hollywood Fringe Festival and running beyond, BULL is a great example of something that is becoming quite common in the new millennium, especially on the internet. Haters who skewer people for no particular reason other than the fact they exist. Or perhaps because they hold an opinion that the hater doesn’t agree with. As we’ve come to learn, there’s a lot of hate out there and it rears it’s ugly head in many shapes and forms, some subtle and others deadly, like the brutal massacre in Orlando this past weekend.

The haters in BULLLesley Fera Kevin Daniels are of the more subtle variety. Isobel (Lesley Fera) and Tony (Kevin Daniels) are a couple of ambitious corporate types who, along with co-worker Thomas, (Joshua Britton) are waiting to meet with their boss, Carter (Alex Whittington) to learn which one of them may lose their job due to corporate downsizing.

It is clear from the get go that Thomas is being set up as the fall guy here. He is an affable guy, a young man who tries hard but seems not to fit in.

It all starts out playfully.

“You have something in your hair,” Isabel tells Thomas. “Hmm. Is that the suit you’re going to wear” she asks. Little jabs and barbs to unnerve him. Thomas tries to deflect her insults but once their co-worker Tony shows up the jabs turn downright ugly and just when you think it can’t get any worse, (surely Thomas will turn the tables on these two creeps), boss man Carter arrives and he too quickly joins the wolf pack.

As the humiliation escalates we learn that Isabel has even more up her sleeve. She has dirt on Thomas. She knows of his lonely existence, about his failed relationship and she uses that informationFeraDanielsBitton BULL 1 for maximum effect. This nasty piece of work will settle for nothing short of total decimation.

As the story unfolds we keep hoping for redemption. That Thomas will walk away from the ugliness with some dignity but, as in life, bad things happen to good people.

The question is why? What do these two aggressive Alphas want from Thomas? Is this about the survival of the fittest, or is writer, Mike Bartlett questioning our complacency?  To ask how many times we’ve turned our back on bullying. Are we victims or are we perpetrators? Like Bartlett’s previous work, COCK, this play is sharp, smart, uncomfortable and thought provoking.

The material of course wouldn’t work without an exceptional cast and the actors here shine. Lesley Fera is deliciously nasty, Joshua Britton is pathetically convincing, Kevin Daniels is perfectly manipulative while Alex Whittington is without question the boss with his head up his ass. Not sure who’s a Brit and who isn’t in among the actors but there were no slip ups. The English accents elevated the material, kept it dry in that wry British way, making it even more effective.

Director, Jennifer Pollono has the play moving at a clip. It clocks in at a mere 50 minutes. But what an intense 50 minutes. BULL is a full throttle assault that made me want to see more.


The MET Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles. Street parking or lot at the Medical Center about a block and a half East of the theater (past the freeway) for $6.


Thursday, June 16, 8:30pm
Tuesday, June 21, 8:30pm
Thursday, June 23, 8:30pm
Saturday, June 25, 5:00pm
Sunday, June 26, 7:00pm

Tickets: $20 at http://roguemachinetheatre.com


(“Easy To Be Hard” Lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni)

Rogue Machine Presents Plays New To Los Angeles


John Perrin Flynn is well aware that, beyond satisfying our need to be entertained, finding new writing talent and plays are an essential part of creating our historical footprint, one that defines current culture. Flynn is the Founding Artistic Director of Rogue Machine, one of the top theatre companies in Los Angeles.

John Perrin Flynn

John Perrin Flynn

What is important to us now, and who are we today? Answering those questions, in part, can come from experiencing current entertainment whether it comes from books, television programming, films, or theatre. Flynn thinks Los Angeles is rich with talent that identifies how we are thinking, evolving, or failing, and he wants what you see on stage at Rogue Machine to reflect that. For the audience to ask questions. Winning “Best Production” for three Seasons (Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards), Rogue Machine is known for the unique plays they present and the high quality of their productions, some of which continue on to great success in regional theaters across the country and in New York.

This year brings more success to the company, and their season has barely begun. We asked John Perrin Flynn some questions about the company and how these wonderful productions come about.

HR: You have established a 2 for 2 winning record this season for producing the plays “Pocatello” and “Honky,” having just opened. What makes you chose to produce a particular work? What was it about “Honky” that got your attention?

Flynn: Theatre is a public service. Theatre can’t support itself. So, I think there is an implicit agreement between a theatre and the community that supports it. Our responsibility as artists is to show ourselves as we are – not to judge but to question. I look for plays that tackle subjects important to who we are now, to how we live now. I think plays should be entertaining but also challenging. We could no longer afford to stay on Pico Boulevard because the owner of the building kept raising our rent. We were lucky in that Paul Koslo, who runs the Met, had a vacancy and reached out to me when he heard that we were in trouble. It’s a wonderful theatre. When I knew for certain that we were moving I sat in The Met theatre by myself and thought about the move and about how important our first production there would be. I had already read Sam Hunter’s “Pocatello” and was intending to produce it in 2017. I had a sense that it would fit the theatre very well and that we could cast it with a number of well-known Rogue Machine actors. I thought our production of “Pocatello” would speak to who we are and what we do, so that would be a great way to kick off Rogue Machine in a new location.

Burl Moseley and Bruce Nozick

Burl Moseley and Bruce Nozick

Greg Kalleres’s “Honky” was on the bill for 2016. Our literary manager, Tim Cummings, had found it in an obscure anthology of plays. He loved it and sent it on to me – I also loved it. “Honky” is a very funny play but it also makes you think, and it makes you feel just a tad uncomfortable. I asked Gregg Daniel to direct a reading – he fell in love with the play as well. After that, our main challenge was scheduling.

HR: What’s coming up for the rest of the year? Why did you decide to participate in the Hollywood Fringe Festival?

Flynn: We had originally wanted to do a season of plays that examine the question of race in America, but when we had to move we had to scuttle some of our plans because the move threw off our entire schedule. We have two great pieces that we will do sometime in the near future that both have directors attached. The first is a piece called “Dutch Masters” by Greg Keller, which in some ways is a follow-up piece to “Dutchman.” Guillermo Cienfuegos, who directed Pinter’s “The Homecoming” and a glorious “Henry IV” for Pacific Resident Theatre is attached to direct. The other is a play from England called “Hang” by Debbie Tucker Green. It was done at the Royal Court and I think that we may stage the American premiere. Elina de Santos, who is our co-artistic director, will be directing it.

We decided to participate in the Hollywood Fringe Festival because The Met is a Fringe venue and because I was impressed last year with how much of an event the Fringe has become. There’s great energy there and we wanted to be a part of it.

Tasha Ames and James Liebman

Tasha Ames and James Liebman

HR: Can you talk about the two plays that you have in Fringe, and why those plays?

FLYNN: “Smoke” by Kim Davies is not for the fainthearted. If we were still on Pico Boulevard we would’ve produced it as a late-night show. It seems like the perfect fit for Fringe. It’s funny, dark – very dark – and rude, in a sophisticated way. It’s a tour de force for the actors and the director and we have assembled a great team. Lisa James is directing and Patrick Stafford, who was in last year’s production of “Cock” (winning the Lead Performer award from LADCC), stars along with Emily James (no relation). Emily was just seen in “Stage Kiss” at The Geffen. “Bull” is Mike Bartlett’s follow-up to “Cock.” It’s not the same people or the same story but it’s the same technique – a play performed without props or specific set – and every bit as much of a fight. Jen Pollono is directing the fabulous cast – including Kevin Daniels (One Night in Miami…), Josh Bitton (Dirty Filthy Love Story and Lost Girls), Lesley Fera, and Alex Whittington.

HR: Rogue Machine presents plays that are new to Los Angeles. Why is that an important part of your company’s mission?

FLYNN: Again, this has to do with how we see what a theatre should be in a community. There are many wonderful classics but they get done all too often. There are some wonderful plays that are new that were not getting done in Los Angeles and we wanted to bring them here – we thought it was important that LA Theatre goers were exposed to these plays and playwrights. We also do world premieres. Some of the very best actors in the world live here and are passionate about their art. They perform as volunteers in the 99 seat theatre community because they want to make art. There are wonderful directors and amazing designers here as well. This is simply just a great place for playwrights to work.

This community has become a laboratory, a generator. We can afford to take the risks that larger theaters cannot, and we have been very successful. Two of John Pollono’s plays, “Small Engine Repair” and “Lost Girls” have had subsequent productions Off-Broadway in New York. “One Night in Miami… by Kemp Powers, has had two major American regional theatre productions and will be opening at the Donmar Warehouse in London in October. Henry Murray’s “Treefall” has been produced six times since its world premiere here in 2010.

Matthew Hancock

Matthew Hancock

HR: Do you have a development program that allows writers to grow their new work within your company?

FLYNN: Yes. We have a number of ways that we work with writers.  Part of our mission is to help writers whether we are particularly interested in producing that particular play or not. This gets tricky; it’s a judgment call. We have to like the writer well enough or the writer has to be or have been associated with us.

Our most successful work with writers comes from intensive workshops with full casts. These are often, but not always, shows we may produce. We sit around a table reading and discussing. The playwright gets to work with truly exceptional actors and discuss the play with them. She/he writes and re-writes until we reach a point where the work has progressed as much as this process can offer and then we’ll do a public reading.

HR: How’s your outlook on theater in Los Angeles?

FLYNN: The productions I see in the small venues here in town are often staggeringly good. There’s a lot of world-class work being done here. There are five or six theaters whose work is consistently extraordinary. There are problems. A lot of Los Angeles is not aware of how great some of the theatre here is. There are people who live here who love theatre and don’t know that there’s great theatre happening here. Intimate theatre is intimate. It is like no other theatre experience you will ever have. You sit sometimes as close as 3 feet away from some of the best actors in the world. It’s immersive, sometimes unsettling and often thrilling. There is a couple that comes to Rogue Machine who fly in from Florida to go to theatre here. They see plays at 5 or 6 intimate theatres when they are here. They used to go to New York but it’s cheaper here and they say it’s better. We need to work together to get the word out. Theatre this good deserves an audience.

Theatre is dependent upon charitable donations. Most of the unearned income that keeps theaters alive comes from private donors, and even the larger theaters get most of their support from private donors. Right now there is not a great deal of awareness in the giving community that these theaters exist, that they’re doing great work, and that they are generating new work that is going all over the world. Rogue Machine and its colleagues are struggling to survive. Hopefully the continued great work everyone is doing will help, but great work alone is not enough – we must find a way for us all to work together to create a greater community awareness of the treasure that we have here in Los Angeles, the gem that intimate theatre can be.

Currently, Rogue Machine’s production of “Honky,” by Greg Kalleres, is receiving rave reviews at The Met, and a Critics’ Pick from the LA Times.

The cast includes Tasha Ames, Ron Bottitta, Matthew Hancock, Christian Henley, James Liebman, Burl Moseley, Bruce Nozick, and Inger Tudor, with Rebecca Larsen as an alternate.

HONKY runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3pm through June 12, 2016. ROGUE MACHINE is located at The Met, 1089 N Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets are $34.99. Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com



“The End Times” Extended at the Skylight Theatre

Reviewed by: Peter Foldy

Before you pass judgement on people who are sucked into cult like religions such as Scientology, do yourself a favor and check out the powerful new play, “The End Times” by talented first-time playwright, Jesse Mu-En Shao.

Now extended at the Skylight Theatre, The End Times” is based on Mu-En Shao’s personal experiences and his ultimate escape from the clutches of a religion that for a time controlled his life.

Christian T. Chan (Joe Spano in video projection)

Christian T. Chan (Joe Spano in video projection)

His play deals with Tim (Christian T. Chan), a young, loyal follower of the Lord’s Restoration, a dogmatic religion that keeps it’s flock in a vacuum while promising them eternal salvation.

Tim is a true believer, the church the only family he knows, but when his childhood friend, Evan (Matt Pascua), is cast out for “living in his mind,” Tim’s life slowly unravels as he begins to question the foundations of his faith.

Christian T. Chan and Nick Cimiluca (Mariah Robinson and Alexander Pimentel in background)

Christian T. Chan and Nick Cimiluca (Mariah Robinson and Alexander Pimentel in background)

Skillfully directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera “The End Times” is a compelling 90 minutes of thought provoking theater with a talented young cast that shine in their respective roles.

Christian T. Chan’s anguish as the ugly truth becomes apparent, and Matt Pascua’s metamorphosis from a boy living the “church life” to becoming a beer guzzling, f-bomb dropping teenager feels painfully real.

Nick Cimiluca is suitable creepy as the deceptive and manipulative church counselor, “Jaime” while Alexander Pimentel is solid in the role of “Seth,” whose ultimate betrayal lights the spark for “Tim’s” undoing.

Matt Pascua and Christian T. Chan

Matt Pascua and Christian T. Chan

Mariah Robinson is believable as “Ruthanne,” the girl whose attention Tim so badly wants, while Joe Spano as “Nelson,” ( appearing only on video), ably reveals the grip this cult like church has over it’s blindly naive followers.

“The End Times” now plays through May 29, 2016.

Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://skylighttix.com

Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027.



Is Hollywood More Vulnerable to “The End Times?”

April 3, 2016

It’s subtle at first, innocent, even rational. Guidance, during a difficult time, we all need it. Maybe there is a promise of salvation, or just something to hang onto that will get us to a better place. Or unstick us in our careers.

Ever wonder if you could be taken in by a cult?  When we see stories like HBO’s “Going Clear,” with recognizable stars joining Scientology, or hear about Jim Jones and the murder-suicide in his Peoples Temple where over 900 followers perished, most of them by downing cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, we instantly think, ‘no way, not me.’  But there is a window into all of our minds and souls.  It’s called faith; a vulnerable place with just enough space between you and the divine for the manipulative to slither in.

THE END TIMES draws from the true experience of Jesse Mu-en Shao, playwright and former member of group that still practices today. In this world premiere play, he calls the group, The Lord’s Restoration; a cult that he says was founded in Los Angeles with controversy somewhat similar to groups like Scientology and Berg’s Kabbalah Center. Shao slips us in a side door of this religious group to witness the spiritual intoxication of his main character Tim; born and raised within this religious community,

 Jesse Mu-En Shao

Jesse Mu-En Shao

and a devout follower of Witness Lee’s ministry. When his best friend is cast out of the church for ‘living in his mind,’ Tim’s life slowly unravels as he begins to question the foundations of his faith.

Tim’s manipulation seems so obvious at first but the subtle and insidious influences from the leaders and caring followers within, make it quite plausible that rational and intelligent people could be easily ushered into a mindless loop of spiritual addiction to the church. As an ex-Jonestown member recalls, “vulnerable people feeling disenfranchised, for whatever reason, find comfort within these communities,” and as long as they conform there will be rewards. Try to get free; and there will be consequences. Stay with them; and you are instructed to avoid your own thoughts. It’s a rabbit hole that takes your free will and from there, truth fades.

On the outside, many of these groups seem to be an easily recognizable con. But, witnessing the inner workings through The End Times might make you question just how easily you, or someone you know, could slip down that rabbit hole too. Playwright Jesse Shao shares his perspective on it:

This cultish theme seems ripe for Hollywood, with controversial groups here like Scientology and Kabbalah. Was that a consideration when planning to have the world premiere of “The End Times” open in Los Angeles? 

Given that Scientology and Kabbalah exist here, it’s certainly appropriate, but not intended. However, it is a bit ironic considering that the introduction of this religious group in the United States began here in Los Angeles. Skylight Theatre produced last year’s hit “Disconnection” written by ex-Scientologist Alan Barton, so it’s clear that they have an interest in raising these questions about cults and audiences are eager to hear these stories. Disconnection had an extended run, and played to full houses.

What did you want to say with this piece?

Jesse: The journey to identify and to leave a cult is already filled with trial, to stay away and grow into your own life is another. The process of this play has allowed me to adequately define

 Christian T. Chan and Mariah Robinson

Christian T. Chan and Mariah Robinson

my own experience with this religious group, I call it the Lord’s Restoration for the play, which I grew up in. It is a cult. Being able to say that has been critical to my own healing. I hope this piece speaks to others who have been raised in religious extremism, so perhaps they can use the play as a tool to better define their own experiences.

Why is it important to produce this play now? 

Jesse: The story needs to be told. Since I was in high school I don’t recall a public voice that has spoken out against this group, that wasn’t silenced by them. In the last few years they’ve patched up their image, and indicated that previous statements contesting their practices had been recanted. The public voice that seeks to expose, must come back. Practitioners of any faith deserve the truth. Those who tried to reform the movement from the inside, and were isolated and pushed out for trying to reveal truth, need vindication.

Jon Lawrence Rivera (Director): It’s important to give some insight into the worlds that we are unfamiliar with. I was drawn to it because it’s a play about people that scare me. About a system that scares me.

What’s your relationship with the two producing partners, Skylight Theatre Company and Playwright’s Arena?

Jesse: I knew the Artistic Director of Playwright’s Arena, Jon Rivera, from USC as he directed many shows for playwrights in the MFA program. It wasn’t until he came to see my thesis reading for, The End Times that we really began to communicate. After the Hothouse Reading with Pasadena Playhouse, Jon expressed interest in directing it. He plugged me into Skylight and the rest is an ongoing journey of discovery.

Now that you’re in rehearsals, can you share your experience on the advantages, and disadvantages, of working on a new play as it unfolds with the director, and the cast every day?

Jesse: I think that there are only advantages, I’ve yet to find any disadvantages. Previously, I spent a year writing The End Times and another year developing it with a different group of wonderful artists, this experience works as an advantage to the production. Those who helped me develop the play in it’s early stages, Nancy Keystone, Wyatt Fenner, James Ryan, Christopher Rivas,

Matt Pascua and Christian T. Chan

Matt Pascua and Christian T. Chan

Virginia Vale and Timothy Jo – they helped me get the world that I was trying to build off the ground. This built a life into the play. They became very close to the text, and we developed something that became unique to our collaboration. Bringing in a new set of eyes to that picture and being with them day to day really lets me understand what parts of that collaboration hold up on the writing end of the spectrum.  I can only say that with each rehearsal I grow more excited with what comes out of the room.

From Jon Lawrence Rivera (Director): Playwrights’ Arena and Skylight Theatre Company only do new works. So the process is the same for all work. Both companies are committed to helping the playwright tell their stories in the most theatrical and clear way possible.

Has your own belief system wavered, or grown stronger, through the process of developing this play? 

Jesse: I’ve gained more courage. The inevitability of it being performed means that I can no longer be timid about the implications of what that means. This play and what I’m talking about is now in the public eye, it’s something the Lord’s Restoration could hear about. Honestly, that terrifies me, but excites me at the same time. I have to stand by my work and my beliefs.

From Jon Lawrence Rivera (Director): It reinforced my belief that there is something wrong with any structured religion.

Does it matter if your audiences are devoutly religious or atheists? Do you have any hopes about what the audience experience might be? 

From Jon Lawrence Rivera (Director): It’s a play for everybody. It’s like watching a political play. Everyone comes to it with his or her own bias. Hopefully they come out of it with a slightly better understanding of what a young person goes through when they start questioning their beliefs.

Jesse: I used to hope for atheists because I wanted to see if they could relate and understand the world that I had portrayed. But, as I began to hear the responses from audience members who came from devout religious experiences, I was really intrigued by the parallels and connections we shared. I think more than anything, I hope to have plenty of audience members who have shared a similar experience, and hopefully they find some comfort from the work.

As far as the audience experience from the show? I hope they understand the love and comfort that is within some of the communities like this. It’s an important reason why people stay and why the rigidity and suffocation from that culture is overlooked.

The End Times opens on Saturday, April 16th and runs at 8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays, 3:00pm on Sundays through May 15, 2016. Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027. Tickets are $15 – $34. Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at http://skylighttix.com



The 10 Worst Movies of 2015

April 1, 2016

Rolling Stone magazine conducted a poll and among their readers and came up with the 10 Worst Movies of 2015.

We agree with all on the list with the exception of “13 Hours.”

See what you think.

Check out the rolling stone article HERE.

Pocatello – A Play Review

by Peter Foldy

Rogue Machine’s production of Samuel D. Hunter’s play, POCATELLO currently playing at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles deals with dysfunctionality and the corporatization of America. Set in a nation-wide Italian restaurant on the brink of closing down, the play brings together a group of characters who struggle with the changing landscape of their hometown and the shifting and fragile relationships they endure with their families and co-workers. They find it hard to communicate with each other and some have not been able to let go of the demons of the past that continues to haunt them.

Mark L. Taylor, Justin Okin, Eden Brolin, Melissa Paladino, Tracie Lockwood, and Trevor Peterson

Mark L. Taylor, Justin Okin, Eden Brolin, Melissa Paladino, Tracie Lockwood, and Trevor Peterson

At the center of the play is Eddie, the restaurant manager (Matthew Elkins) who juggles two secrets. His sexuality and the fact that the business is on the brink of going under. His crotchety mother, Doris, (Anne Gee Byrd) a woman unable to show affection, does everything in her power to put Eddie down in front of his bother, Nick (Rob Nagel) Nick’s pretty wife, Kelly (Rebecca Larsen) as well as Eddie’s employees.

We also meet a waiter named Troy (Justin Okin) who struggles to make ends meet while trying to deter his alcoholic wife, Tammy (Tracie Lockwood) from drinking again. He also has to cope with his senile father (Mark L. Taylor) and his cryptic wild child of a daughter named Becky (Eden Brolin).

Mathhew Elkins and Anne Gee Byrd

Matthew Elkins and Anne Gee Byrd

Also working at the restaurant is the crack addicted and otherwise unemployable waiter, Max (Trevor Peterson) and his occasional sex buddy, Isabelle (at this performance played by Melissa Paladino). 

As the eatery approaches it’s demise, so does the connection between the characters. Nick and Kelly leave Pocotello promising never to return. Tammy slips and drifts back into drinking again while her daughter, Becky realizes she must escape Pocatello as soon as she is able.

Tracie Lockwood, Eden Brolin, and Justin Okin

Tracie Lockwood, Eden Brolin, and Justin Okin

John Perrin Flynn’s direction moves the characters on Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s beautifully designed set like pawns on a chessboard. Each and every cast member in Pocotello shines. They are highly committed and believable in their respective roles. With such great actors portraying these lost souls one would think that Mr. Hunter’s script would help us care about their problems just a little more, but sadly his characters find it a struggle to articulate them. I wanted to know why Troy and Tammy’s marriage is failing. Is it just the booze? Why does Nick seem to hate his brother, Eddie so much? Is it because he is gay? What happened between these people?

While sometimes less is more, in this case more would have been a blessing. What we end up with is a mash up of explosive outbursts, family psychodrama and nostalgic monologues about days gone by.

At the end of the day only the kind-hearted Eddie manages to find some redemption, leaving us with a glimmer of hope that Eddie and mom have taken a small step toward normalizing their fragile relationship in a town where nothing is normal anymore.

Pocotello ends up feeling much like a turbulent Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Love them or hate them you may one day look back with nostalgia at the event, perhaps even grateful for having been there.

POCATELLO runs at 8:30pm on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 3pm on Sundays through April 10, 2016. ROGUE MACHINE is located at The Met, 1089 N. Oxford Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Tickets are $34.99.

Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Photos by John Perrin Flynn


Photo L.A. Celebrates 25 Years of Cutting Edge Photography

Los Angeles, CA Jan. 22, 2016

The 25th annual international photographic art exposition PHOTO LA. opened today and will run through Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 at The Reef on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

The celebration kicked off Friday night with their annual Gala which was attended by a estimated 3000 people who danced to salsa, blues and EDM music as guests studied images by Harry Benson, Karchi Pearlman, film director/photographer, Larry Clark and Paul McCartney’s personal photographer, MJ Kim among hundred of others.

"Jack Black, New York, NY, 2000," by Martin Schoeller. More than 80 exhibitors have gathered at the LA Mart for Photo L.A. (Martin Schoeller)

“Jack Black, New York, NY, 2000,” by Martin Schoeller.

As the city’s longest-running art fair, (they are celebrating their silver anniversary this year), photo l.a. brings together leading galleries, museums, universities, and nonprofit organizations for an unparalleled showcase of photographic art from around the world, from 19th Century masterpieces to contemporary, cutting-edge photography-based work.

The honoree for this year’s photo l.a. is Los Angeles artist James Welling, and the exposition will include an installation celebrating his distinguished career and groundbreaking work.

As in previous years, photo l.a. will also include a diverse range of programming, including roundtable discussions, educational workshops, docent tours, and curated installations that foster an ongoing dialogue about the changing landscape of photography and its role in the art world at large. Programming highlights include: “The Instagram Effect: How Instagram is Changing the Way We See Photography”; “Robert Mapplethorpe: Beyond Good and Evil”; and “Artists Take Issue: Perspectives and Practices in Activist Photography.” Programs and docent tours feature many of the most respected experts and artists in the field of photography, including Weston Naef, Curator Emeritus, J. Paul Getty Museum; Ivan Shaw, executive photography director at Vogue; and photographers James Welling, Jay Mark Johnson, Jim McHugh, and Zoe Crosher.

“After 25 years, our mission remains the same, to unite and support the international community of enthusiasts, collectors, and artists who share our love of photography,” says Claudia James Bartlett, director of photo l.a. “We believe that this is what makes photo l.a. such a unique experience for our participants and guests alike.”

General admission to photo l.a. is $20 in advance; $25 at the door. A three-day pass is available for $35 online; $40 at the door. Programs are ticketed separately.

Tickets can be purchased online at: www.photola.com.

The 2016 photo l.a. exposition, and programs will take place on the second floor of The Reef, located in the historic LA Mart building at 1933 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

The Reef Mart offers affordable onsite parking, and is also accessible by Metro.

Another Suprise Filled Golden Globe Awards

Beverly Hills, CA: January 11, 2016

The 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards were awarded last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hosted by a hilarious Ricky Gervais, the evening was an f-bomb laced opening to awards season. Presenters included Helen Mirren, Kevin Hart and even gervais1Mel Gibson, who looked like hell and received a lambasting from Gervais.

Gervais was in top form providing most of the laughs last night.

Among the top winners at the awards were Kate Winslet as Best Supporting Actress for Steve Jobs, to Matt Damon who earned his second Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his role in the Ridley Scott-directed The Martian. “It’s been 18 years that I’ve doing this… I know how lucky I am,” Damon reflected.

The night belonged to The Revenant, which took home three awards including a Best Director nod for Alejandro González Iñárritu and a Best Actor prize for DiCaprio. ”I think people want to see this typeGettyImages-504392970 of cinema,” said DiCaprio of the rugged 19th Century Western, which has emerged as a favorite for next month’s Oscars.

Here’s a full list of last night’s winners:

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero

Best Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Wolf Hall

Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle

Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama

Jon HammMad Men 

Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama

Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical

Mozart in the Jungle

Best Television Series, Drama

Mr. Robot

Best Animated Film

Inside Out

Best Original Score

The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song in Motion Picture

Writings On the Wall,” Spectre

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture

Steve Jobs

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language

Son of Saul

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon, The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence,  Joy

Best Director, Motion Picture

Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Brie Larson, Room

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Drama

The Revenant

Marietta Melrose And The Road To Success

Hollywood, CA: December 23, 2015

Born in Bulgaria, MARIETTA MELROSE was certain from a young age that acting  was her first and foremost passion. After taking summer courses at top UK drama schools such as RADA and LAMDA, Marietta was accepted at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she trained for 3 years, graduating with a BA in Acting in 2015. She is a talented and a driven actress who not only auditions for rolesImage X but is also capable of creating her own work by producing various projects, everything from from Fringe Theater to a Web Series in which she has also taken a starring role. We caught up with Ms. Melrose during her recent visit to Hollywood and sat down for a chat.

Hollywood Revealed: When and how did you decide to be an actress?

Marietta Melrose: There wasn’t one particular moment when I consciously decided to be an actress. I’ve been involved with the arts since kindergarten. I was a very sociable, opened kid, generally in a good mood and ready to make people laugh. When I was about five or six, I was a bit of a show off, often taking the microphone from local bands and performers, and sometimes upstaging them. Everyone likes a kid with stage presence, and I was told I had some. I soon enrolled in a music school in Bulgaria where I learned discipline and hard work.

HR: Who and what were your first influences?

MM: One of the Top Bulgarian singers of all times- Lili Ivanova, was my first influence. Her stage presence, voice and emotional engagement when singing were a trigger for me to want me to pursue a life in the arts. When I was young Jackie Chan was quite popular in Bulgaria and he has always made me laugh. His comedy timing and the way he made acting seem easy also influenced me toward a a career in the entertainment industry.

Currently my influences are legendary actors such as Meryl Streep, Marion Cottillard and Cate Blanchett.

HR: How did you start your journey?

MM: I used to be in an Arts School where I did drama as an extracurricular activity. However, it was only once a week. I still remember it was every Wednesday, end of the day. The teacher was a famous Bulgarian Image 5actor- Vencislav Kissiov who had his own acting studio, that people could only attend with an invitation. I was invited and  had the luxury of rehearsing and performing in a real functioning theater. At the age of ten I had the honor of playing, Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.” From that point forward I started being involved in numerous theater and TV shows.

HR: What other parts did you do back home?

MM: I enrolled in another acting studio lead by Petar Vurbanov and I feel that it was a turning point in my career. The studio was well known for preparing students to get into the National Academy for Stage and Film- Natfiz. I always had a feeling that I would study abroad. I have felt that my country is somehow too small and limited to satisfy my desires. I believe that actors needs to be in one of the big centers in order to be noticed- New York, LA or London. Going back to your question, the part that I am best known for is “Aglaya” in the stage adaptation of the novel written by Dostoevski “Idiot” which was later turned into TV series. The process was transformative and the team was incredible.

I have to say that I had the best time being taught by Petar  Vurbanov. I was one of his favorite students and that is all I needed in order to soar, someone who believed in me. I became determined to audition for top drama schools in London and also Juilliard.

HR: How did the auditions go?

MM: t was the most challenging and stressful year in my life but also the most rewarding. I was still in high school so I had to study for exams and at the same time fly to UK and NewImage 2 York a couple of times. The first audition I had was at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where I felt I very comfortable and connected with the atmosphere of the school. It was a whole day of audition with a group warm up and some improvisation exercises. I felt that this was the place for me to be.

The Tony award nominated director Wilson Milam auditioned me and seemed to really like me. He told me I will get a recall for the next round on the  same day. Officially I was meant to be notified in 3 weeks time. I had callbacks at Guildhall and Juilliard and got accepted at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

During my training I got the chance to work with wonderful professionals who are famous in the British theater. People such as John Wright, Catherine Alexander and Sinead Rushe. Drama School is great for teaching you discipline, collaboration and respect for the process. I cannot stand actors who act like divas and think it is all about them.

HR: You have performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival twice in a roll; can you tell us more about your experience?

MM: Yes, The Fringe Festival has been the best learning curve for me. I was used to the British way of the ritualistic pre-show preparation and warm ups. I confess, there was pressure in getting used to the quick get in and get no time to focus in the space we were performing in.

The first time I did the Festival was in 2014 with a newly written play called “We Were Kings”. The director, Jordan Image 5Blackwood, who now works with the amazing theater company DV8, was so easy to work with. He was always ready to explore, change and amend, always istening to the actors’ concerns. I was the only female in the team and I felt that the dynamic was very interesting. The work was focused and precise, we had ownership of the show and the actors had fun! We got 5-star reviews, a London transfer and also we got nominated for the NSDF Award. I was thrilled.

On the back of “We Were Kings” I got two other jobs, another project at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also a devised play in London.

The artistic director of Red Belly Black Theater Company, Kate Goodfellow, an incredible actress, saw my performance in “We Were Kings” and invited me to be part of her new show which was meant to be “devised, physical and using vertical beds”. That is all I knew when I agreed to be on board. We were meeting up every week sharing poetry, moments from our past relationships and slowly finding our way through it. We were structuring the show for a year so it was a long process of physical circus type training, writing and devising. The directors Vicki Baron and Elizabeth Williams were passionate and patient.

Thanks to a couple of investors and theImage 3 producing skills of Kate we had the luxury of a publicist, Chloe Nelkin, who was looking after the production. Companies such as Theatre Re and Gecko came to see the show and we got some really good feedback. I got some agent interest and also a producer showed interest from America. I got a London agent thanks to the Fringe production and also connections all over the world.

A couple of months later after the Fringe Festival I went to LA and met with a few top producers who were interested in the way I write and improvise. They wanted to discuss ideas about how to get seen and noticed in Hollywood. I sent them I couple of pilot ideas and now I am in discussions about having my comedy TV series produced and when it sets up I will be playing one of the leads.

HR: How does the acting scene in LA compare to Bulgaria?

MM: There is no place for comparison. Hollywood is the center of the film industry. There is no Image 4other place, which is so opened to accepting and encouraging new talent. Of course Bulgaria is trying to find its way and attract more American productions thanks to out great locations and much cheaper prices. Even though there is not enough money in the arts, Bulgarian artists are making progress in creating their own work and having an impact on the world stage.

HR: What was the best day and the worst day in your acting career?

MM: Fortunately, I have been blessed and lucky to have had good days and in my work I am trying to hold on to them and the positive memories.

The best day I would say is when I got accepted at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and got to the final round at Juilliard. It was all on the same day and I was the happiest person in the world.

The worst day was when I received my very first end of year assessments at Drama school. I felt I had worked so hard and I was devastated that my final results was not good enough.

HR: You were in LA for 3 weeks, can you tell us about your success there?

MM: Thanks to some successful meetings I got recommended by a producer and introduced to a personal manager. It seems like my writing skills and creative ideas for collaborative projects will be my way into acting which is a very exciting possibility for me as an artist. Because of my TV series meetings, I signed with Stefan Jacobs, who is a manager and a producer as well. Stefan has worked with many A list stars including Luke Evans, Kevin Spacey, Vanessa Redgrave, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ethan Hawke.

Two days after I got signed he sent me a script for a film called Image“The Wonder Girls”. The director and writer of the script is Anthony Meindl who is a top acting coach in Hollywood and is also a director. It turned out that Anthony was already familiar with my work as he had seen productions of mine in London at the Embassy Theatre.

After I read the script I knew that I would do anything to be involved with this production. I loved the story-line, I cried about 5 times while reading it. If good actors jump on board there are some Oscar winning parts here. I managed to convince Stefan that Bulgaria would be a great location to shoot the film so he invited me to be the local producer for the film and potentially have some time on screen too. We also made plans to produce my comedy TV show together. I couldn’t have hoped for a better way to end 2015. It is one thing to be established in Europe and a whole different game to break in to Hollywood. I am thrilled to see what 2016 has in store for me and I am sure it will be another busy year involving hard work and a wide spectrum of emotions. I am ready to meet the demands of Hollywood and develop my full potential.

HR: What do you think has helped you achieve everything you have so far?

MM: As an actress I am extremely hard working and I am always willing to put in the hours and devote my full attention and commitment. I believe to succeed in the industry nowadays also involves being able to put on the business hat as well. I feel it is extremely important. I try and use my acting skills in differentiating when I am Marietta the actress, Marietta the producer or Marietta the artist. Of course finding the balance is not an easy task. However I enjoy being on the production side of film making, finding investors, looking for locations and negotiating for discounts. I feel a much more empowered actress and when I am auditioning I am full of joy and confidence as I know they are only looking for solutions that hopefully I can provide.

HR: What advise do you have to other young actors who share a similar dream as you do?

MM: Don’t play it safe. Always be fearless. Most of the time it is down to luck and not talent. So don’t beat yourself up about all the things that are not under your control. Stay focused on what you can do and how you can improve. Your life is your art. Be positive and follow your instincts.

HR: Those are great words to live by. Thanks for talking with us.

MM: Thank you.

Check out Marietta’s website HERE

Portraits by:Laura Burke

Production Photos by: Mihaela Bodlovic.



A Very Die Hard Christmas Is An Unexpected Holiday Treat

Review by Peter Foldy

You don’t have to be a fan of the 1988 action film Die Hard starring Bruce Willis to enjoy Theatre Unleashed’s current stage production making it’s West Coast premier, A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS by Josh Carson. Many have proclaimed Die Hard to be a Christmas film and if you agree and happened to love the original Die Hard as much as I did, then you are guaranteed to laugh your ass off during Image 2this good-natured spoof complete with songs, puppets, automatic weapons and bloodshed. This production is a raucous, raunchy, rambunctious salute to the original movie, as well as virtually every other Christmas film ever made.

Incase you’ve forgotten, the story concerns John McClane, an off-duty cop home to see his young daughter for the holidays who reluctantly finds himself having to hide in an L.A. highrise after a team of German terrorists seize the building and take hostages that include McClane’s ex wife. Alone, tired and pissed off, McClane fights hard to save the day, ultimately covered in blood, his bare feet cut by shards of glass. But save the day he does, his battle cry “Yippee Ki-Yay, Motherfuckers” to be uttered again in the subsequent, and less that spectacular sequels that followed.

Feeling much like a Second City improv, A Very Die Hard Christmas doesn’t shy away from racy language, sexual innuendo, and definitely not a shortage of blood. The body count is high here.

Now you might think that strange for aImage 5 musical comedy but it all seems to work thanks in part to Josh Carson’s clever script, Gregory Crafts direction as well as a highly talented cast that include a committed Wade Wilson as “John McClane” who faces off against David Foy Bauer’s nasty villain, “Hans Gruber.”

Other “bad guys” include, Sean Fitzgerald as “Schnell,”  Adam Meredith as “Douche” and Bradley Upton as “Karl,” the three bumbling terrorists who don’t seem to know the meaning of schnell.

Rest of the cast include Liesl Jackson as John’s estranged wife and Margaret Glaccum as “Ginny.” Additional terrorists are brought to life by sock puppets, with a fun cameo opportunity for an audience member each night as building owner,  “Mr. Takagi.”

Since it’s a Christmas musical, the show is filled with holiday favorites including “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” and “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.” The cast warble their way through these and other tunes and while most of these performers are non singers, it’s the energy and the intention that pays off and makes the musical component fun and Image 4worthwhile.

Cast standouts include David Foy Bauer who rises above the clutter with a solid performance. He is one actor that can sing as made clear in the parody duet, “Buddy, You’ll Die Outside.” Foy Bauer is both funny and menacing in his role.

Also hilarious is Adam Meredith as “Argyle,” McClane driver whose comic timing and delivery had the audience howling. Margaret Glaccum shines as the pregnant “Ginny,” her expressive face worthy of a role in TV sitcom.

As the story unfolds in an unfinished office building, Tamazine Fritz’s set design is nothing more than dry-wall. Not impressive but it works and made stronger by Gregory Craft’s lighting design. Ann Hurd is credited as Scenic Painter.

Aaron Lyon’s sound design and Mark Bell’s special effects deserve kudos for the multiple gunshots and a half-dozen or so karaoke tracks. Brandie June’s costumes recreate the movie’s original wardrobe styles as well as the era.

Though clocking in at a slightly long 2 hours, including a 10 minute intermission, A Very Die Hard Christmas is an impressive parody and a welcome addition to the growing list of Christmas musicals.  Lets all say, Yippee Ki-Yay.

Running Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m. through December 19.

The Belfry Stage
Upstairs at the Crown
11031 Camarillo St.
North Hollywood, CA 91602

TICKET PRICES: General Admission: $20
*PWYW if you donate $5 at the box office for Camp Del Corazon

For further information, please call: (818) 849-4039
Or check out their website www.theatreunleashed.org

2015 Screen Actor’s Guild Nominations Annouced

Hollywood, CA: December 9, 2015

“Trumbo,” a film about the Hollywood blacklist, received three SAG nominations at today’s announcement ceremony.  Bryan Cranston got a nod for best actor, Helen Mirren for supporting actress and the entire cast of “Trumbo” were rewarded with an additional best ensemble nomination. Mirren also received a best actress nom for “Woman in Gold.”

Cranston willTrumboBar640 compete with Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Revenant,” Johnny Depp for “Black Mass,” Michael Fassbender for “Steve Jobs” and Eddie Redmayne for “The Danish Girl.” Redmayne won the trophy this year for “The Theory of Everything.”

“Trumbo” will face the ensembles for “Beasts of No Nation,” “Straight Outta Compton” “The Big Short” and “Spotlight.”

Two other high-profile movies opening on Christmas — Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and Will Smith’s “Concussion” — were shut out along with Fox’s box office hit “The Martian.”

Best actress nominations went to Mirren for “Trumbo,” 000b4a44-630Rooney Mara for “Carol,” Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight,” Alicia Vikander for “The Danish Girl” and Kate Winslet for “Steve Jobs.”

Christian Bale received a supporting actor nod for “The Big Short” and will face Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation,” Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies,” Michael Shannon for “99 Homes” and Jacob Tremblay for “Room.”

In TV voting, SAG’s nominating committee largely opted for repeat nominees. with nods for  “The Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family” and “Orange Is the New Black” (the 2015 victor) and HBO’s “Veep.”

“Mad Men” landed a drama ensemble nomination along with a nod for star Jon Hamm after being left out last year. eddie-redmayne-getty-mainThe rest of the nominees in the category matched last year’s with PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

The winners of the 22nd SAG Awards will be announced Jan. 30 in ceremonies at the Shrine Auditorium with live broadcasts on TNT and TBS.

Here’s a full list of the nominations:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street)
JOHNNY DEPP / James “Whitey” Bulger – “BLACK MASS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / Hugh Glass – “THE REVENANT” (20th Century Fox)
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Steve Jobs – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures)
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Carol Aird – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company)
HELEN MIRREN / Maria Altmann – “WOMAN IN GOLD” (The Weinstein Company)
SAOIRSE RONAN / Eilis – “BROOKLYN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
SARAH SILVERMAN / Laney Brooks – “I SMILE BACK” (Broad Green Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry – “THE BIG SHORT” (Paramount Pictures)
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant – “BEASTS OF NO NATION” (Netflix)
MARK RYLANCE / Abel Rudolph – “BRIDGE OF SPIES” (DreamWorks)
MICHAEL SHANNON / Rick Carver – “99 HOMES” (Broad Green Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
ROONEY MARA / Therese Belivet – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company)
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer – “SPOTLIGHT” (Open Road Films)
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street)
ALICIA VIKANDER / Gerda Wegener – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features)
KATE WINSLET / Joanna Hoffman – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant

THE BIG SHORT (Paramount Pictures)
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry
RYAN GOSLING / Jared Vennett
MELISSA LEO / Georgia Hale
JOHN MAGARO / Charlie Geller
BRAD PITT / Ben Rickert
RAFE SPALL / Danny Moses
JEREMY STRONG / Vinny Peters
MARISA TOMEI / Cynthia Baum
FINN WITTROCK / Jamie Shipley

SPOTLIGHT (Open Road Films)
BILLY CRUDUP / Eric MacLeish
BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES / Matty Carroll
MICHAEL KEATON / Walter “Robby” Robinson
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer
MARK RUFFALO / Michael Rezendes
JOHN SLATTERY / Ben Bradlee, Jr.
STANLEY TUCCI / Mitchell Garabedian

PAUL GIAMATTI / Jerry Heller

TRUMBO (Bleecker Street)
LOUIS C.K. / Arlen Hird
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo
ELLE FANNING / Niki Trumbo
DIANE LANE / Cleo Trumbo
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Edward G. Robinson
ALAN TUDYK / Ian McLellan Hunter


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
IDRIS ELBA / DCI John Luther – “LUTHER” (BBC America)
BEN KINGSLEY / Grand Vizier Ay – “TUT” (Spike)
RAY LIOTTA / Lorca/Tom Mitchell – “TEXAS RISING” (History)
MARK RYLANCE / Thomas Cromwell – “WOLF HALL” (Masterpiece/PBS)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
JON HAMM / Don Draper – “MAD MEN” (AMC)
RAMI MALEK / Elliot – “MR. ROBOT” (USA Network)
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (Masterpiece/PBS)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
LOUIS C.K. / Louie – “LOUIE” (FX Networks)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)
JEFFREY TAMBOR / Maura Pfefferman – “TRANSPARENT” (Amazon)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
HUGH BONNEVILLE / Robert, Earl of Grantham
LAURA CARMICHAEL / Lady Edith Crawley
JIM CARTER / Mr. Carson
TOM CULLEN / Anthony Gillingham
MICHELLE DOCKERY / Lady Mary Crawley
KEVIN DOYLE / Mr. Molesley
LILY JAMES / Lady Rose
ALLEN LEECH / Tom Branson
ELIZABETH McGOVERN / Cora, Countess of Grantham
LESLEY NICOL / Mrs. Patmore
JULIAN OVENDEN / Charles Blake
DAVID ROBB / Dr. Clarkson
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
PENELOPE WILTON / Isobel Crawley

ALFIE ALLEN / Theon Greyjoy
IAN BEATTIE / Ser Meryn Trant
JOHN BRADLEY / Samwell Tarly
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
BEN CROMPTON / Dolorous Edd
LIAM CUNNINGHAM / Ser Davos Seaworth
STEPHEN DILLANE / Stannis Baratheon
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
TARA FITZGERALD / Selyse Baratheon
BRIAN FORTUNE / Othell Yarwyck
JOEL FRY / Hizdahr Zo Loraq
AIDAN GILLEN / Littlefinger Petyr Baelish
IAIN GLEN / Ser Jorah Mormont
LENA HEADEY / Cersei Lannister
MICHIEL HUISMAN / Daario Naharis
DANIEL PORTMAN / Podrick Payne
IWAN RHEON / Ramsay Snow
OWEN TEALE / Ser Alliser Thorne
TOM WLASCHIHA / Jaqen H’ghar

HOMELAND (Showtime)
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison
NINA HOSS / Astrid
MARK IVANIR / Ivan Krupin
MIRANDA OTTO / Allison Carr
MANDY PATINKIN / Saul Berenson

DEREK CECIL / Seth Grayson
NATHAN DARROW / Edward Meechum
MICHAEL KELLY / Doug Stamper
MOLLY PARKER / Jackie Sharp
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood

SOLA BAMIS / Shirley
JAY R. FERGUSON / Stan Rizzo
BRUCE GREENWOOD / Richard Burghoff
JON HAMM / Don Draper
JANUARY JONES / Betty Francis
KEVIN RAHM / Ted Chaough
JOHN SLATTERY / Roger Sterling
RICH SOMMER / Harry Crane
AARON STATON / Ken Cosgrove

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler
JOHNNY GALECKI / Leonard Hofstadter
SIMON HELBERG / Howard Wolowitz
KUNAL NAYYAR / Rajesh Koothrappali
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper
MELISSA RAUCH / Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz

KEY & PEELE (Comedy Central)
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY / Various Characters
JORDAN PEELE / Various Characters

JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy
AUBREY ANDERSON EMMONS / Lily Tucker-Pritchett
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell Pritchett
NOLAN GOULD / Luke Dunphy
SARAH HYLAND / Haley Dunphy
ED O’NEILL / Jay Pritchett
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny Delgado
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
ARIEL WINTER / Alex Dunphy

UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
MIKE BIRBIGLIA / Danny Pearson
DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
LAVERNE COX / Sophia Burset
JACKIE CRUZ / Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales
LEA DELARIA / Carrie “Big Boo” Black
BETH FOWLER / Sister Jane Ingalls
ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano
DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos
VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson
SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza
TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett
KATE MULGREW / Galina “Red” Reznikov
EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor
MATT PETERS / Joel Luschek
LORI PETTY / Lolly Whitehill
DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara Diaz
RUBY ROSE / Stella Carlin
NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo
YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello
SAMIRA WILEY / Poussey Washington

JAY DUPLASS / Josh Pfefferman
KATHRYN HAHN / Raquel Fein
GABY HOFFMANN / Ali Pfefferman
CHERRY JONES / Leslie Mackinaw
AMY LANDECKER / Sarah Pfefferman
JUDITH LIGHT / Shelly Pfefferman
HARI NEF / Gittel/Gerson
EMILY ROBINSON / Rose Boymelgreen
JEFFREY TAMBOR / Maura Pfefferman

DIEDRICH BADER / Bill Ericsson
ANNA CHLUMSKY / Amy Brookheimer
GARY COLE / Kent Davidson
KEVIN DUNN / Ben Cafferty
TONY HALE / Gary Walsh
MATT WALSH / Mike McLintock


Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“EVEREST” (Universal Pictures)
“FURIOUS 7” (Universal Pictures)
“JURASSIC WORLD” (Universal Pictures)
“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“HOMELAND” (Showtime)


52nd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award

Need To Know – A Play Review

By Peter Foldy

NEED TO KNOW is a play you need to see. Sharp, edgy dialogue, compelling performances and a story that bubbles with humor but gradually turns dark and menacing are just some of the welcome ingredients of this Rogue Machine World Premier by playwright, Jonathan Caren.

The story deals with a likable young couple, Lilly and Steven (Corryn Cummins and Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) who move back to New York from L.A. and soon encounter a dorky and somewhat creepy neighbor, Mark, (Tim Cummings) who lives in the apartment next door.

Corryn Cummins & Lucas Near-Verbrugghe

Corryn Cummins & Lucas Near-Verbrugghe

After inviting him in for a quick hello, they discover that Mark, like Lilly, is a novelist with a book about to be published.

Once Mark leaves, Lilly and Steven instantly hit google, finding out as much as they can about the man. As they mock his book concept, his mannerisms and his unbearable halitosis, they hear a noise from Mark’s apartment.

Are the walls really that thin? Did Mark just overhear what they were saying about him?

The proximity soon causes Steven and Lilly to tone down their conversations and become self conscious in their own apartment, even to the point of thinking twice about where they make love.

Before long there is a Facebook stalk-off, with both the couple and their neighbor compiling as much info about the other as available on line. Mark’s sharp mind allows him to accurately analyze his finding and pretty soon he has a credible concept of what Steven and Lilly are all about. It really isn’t that hard. It’s all there on line.

Mark uses what he knows to stir the pot and create tension in an already fragile relationship leading to a final confrontation that hint at dire consequences.

Corryn Cummins, Tim Cummings & Lucas Near-Verbrugghe

Corryn Cummins, Tim Cummings & Lucas Near-Verbruggheconfrontation with Steven that hint at dire consequences.

The smart script by Caren keeps the surprises coming. He also asks an important question. Can someone’s life story be accurately pieced together by following their Facebook timeline?  The answer would seem to be yes. Most of us are quick to share every aspect of our existence, manipulating our story to suit our needs, not thinking that this could be used against us.

Just how much do people really need to know? And how often are we wrong about other people, misreading something innocent on line as something more?

Performances in Need to Know are outstanding. Tim Cummings gives a brilliant, nuanced turn as Mark, finding a nice balance here. Is his character a sad, lonely stalker with bad breath, or is there a kinder gentler soul lurking inside?

Lucas Near-Verbrugghe is excellent as Steven, the temperamental yet likable yuppie with a dark back story.  Corryn Cummins as Lilly is spot on as the perfect buffer between these two men whose intensity toward each helps fuel the play.

Tim Cummings & Lucas Near-Verbrugghe

Tim Cummings & Lucas Near-Verbrugghe

Director, Bart DeLorenzo balances the tension with humor and ably guides his cast toward the surprising conclusion.

There is an impressive scenic design by Stephanie Kerley-Schwartz. She takes a tiny theater space and creates an environment that’s real and highly compliments the production.

Kudos also to Chu-Hsuan Chang’s lighting design and John Zalewski for sound.

Though there were no credits given, the music cues between scenes, and the underscore during the play also worked well to lift the tension and create emotion as needed.

 Need to Know is a fast paced, highly entertaining piece of theater. It runs Saturdays at 5pm, Sundays at 7pm and Mondays at 8pm.

 Where: Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles 90019, (855) 585-518

Tickets: $34.99 for Saturday performances, $29.99 for Sundays and Mondays. www.roguemachinetheatre.com

Scheduled to End: December 13, 2015

Photos by: John Perrin Flynn




John Lennon Show “Just Imagine” Returns to NoHo Arts District

October 22, 2015

“Just Imagine” the extraordinary rock ‘n’ roll celebration of the life & music of John Lennon returns to El Portal Theater in North Hollywood for three shows only, November, 7th at 3 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday, November 8 at 3 pm only.


Starring look-&-sing-alike artist Tim Piper w/ award nominated Musical Director Greg Piper on Bass, Jim Laspesa on Drums, Jerry Strull on Guitar & Las Vegas Rock N Roll Hall of Famer Morley Bartnof on Keyboards!

Piper – who’s made a career of characterizing Lennon onstage and on television – is a ringer for this preeminent Beatle, not only in appearance, but vocally as well. With numbers such as “Revolution,” “Help,” and “Twist & Shout,” Piper captures Lennon’s primal and rhythmic screams and screeches. In renditions of “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Beautiful Boy,” we get a glimpse of Lennon as the soul-touching composer and singer.

Piper has portrayed John Lennon in the CBS Production, “The Linda McCartney Story, ‘E! Channels’s; ‘John Lennon Story,’ ‘Beatles Wives,’ and most recently as the singing voice of John Lennon for the NBC Movie of the Week, “In His Life- The John Lennon Story”.

For anyone who is a fan of the Beatles and their music, “Just Imagine” is a must see.  The show is family friendly show and a psychedelic must see!

El Portal Main Stage Theater
5269 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Tickets On Sale Now: http://www.elportaltheatre.com/justimagine.html


Finding Your Authentic Image

October 22, 2015

An Interview with Ella Turenne about her new show LOVE, LOCS, and LIBERATION in Atwater Village Theatre complex

Image is everything in Hollywood. Especially for young women, trying to break into the business, it is essential to present a strong persona, one that will enhance your level of talent and credits. Seasoned celebrities are constantly working on creating and maintaining their image, but how often is it authentic?Image 1

Ella Turenne is a writer, performer, activist, and educator. She doesn’t think that we see enough of people’s true identity, and she has set out to encourage people to find and present their authentic image.” She tells us that “being a champion for freedom, justice, and expression, has helped me come to understand how important it is to find your own authenticity. It’s a struggle that everybody has, particularly young black women, usually around beauty and identity.” She has written, and is performing in, a show that faces these image challenges head on.

Ella’s journey was triggered by her own experiences while growing up in the United States, struggling to balance this current culture with her family’s traditions from her Haitian culture. As an adolescent, it seemed imperative to keep up with trends but after numerous attempts to do so she discovered that finding her own distinct and authentic identity brought the most success in her life. This is a lesson she hopes to impart on a whole new generation, especially young black women who feel they must live up to a specific image that is presented in social or traditional media, or by Hollywood’s TV and film industry. SheImage has created a show that tells the story of her own journey, what it took to find her own authentic image, and she tells it through the voices of twenty-one different characters. Ella’s story is centered on beauty and image, defined through her hair styles along the decades. She connects the history of “locs” to politics, identity and culture, illustrating why hair is an intimate and essential part of Black life. Whatever the concern about fitting in, Ella champions the idea of expressing your authentic self. Something Hollywood could take a lesson from.

Hollywood Revealed: When did you first feel compelled to write this show?

Ella: There was a documentary on HBO, years ago, called “The Black List.” Black celebrities were asked to tell their stories. Later, when they requested submission, I sent a story about my hair. It was one of the five pieces that they selected. So, when I got to tell my story in the documentary, it crystalized my thoughts about self-image and it encouraged me to write more stories.

Additionally, I remember seeing Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair,” which made a big impression. But, I thought it was still telling the story from a man’s perspective and also it was feeding into the Hollywood image of what Black women “should be.” Black women are complex and I wanted to show that. Somebody else is always telling our story it seems, in Hollywood, not us. I feltImage 2 this was my chance to provide, not just one image but, the complexity of images we as women hold.

Hollywood Revealed: Celebrities construct their images in a way that will help “sell them” in the business. You’re a strong advocate for finding your “authentic self,” but do you believe that by doing so it will always serve one for the best?

Ella: I do – and I know this because I struggled with it as an actress when I was thinking about getting dreadlocks. I was concerned if I did, I wouldn’t be able to work as an actress. And after going back and forth for a couple of years my best friend said, “either do it or stop talking about it!” Tough love. I did and found that I was not less of an actress because of it. People want to see compelling people on the stage and on the screen. Looks are a part of it, but it should not limit you. Look at actresses like Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis who’ve proven you can be your authentic self and still play a variety of characters. And by the way…being your authentic self doesn’t mean you can’t decide to change your look! It’s our prerogative to do that.

Hollywood Revealed: Do you think it is more difficult for minority women to find their authentic selves? Why?

Ella: I think women of color have examples all around them of what authenticity is. They see it in their neighborhoods, families, in history. And they also create it for themselves. That’s not the difficult part. The difficult part is that those identities are not celebrated enough. And the irony of that is, many people want to copy the authenticity of women of color while at the same time dismissing it. That sends very confusing messages.

Hollywood Revealed: Your show, about self-image, focuses on your own story through your hair, and talks about the history that many black women have in relation their own hair and beauty issues. Why is it an important story to tell?

Ella: This story is about hair…but it is also about the struggles we all face, particularly as women. And these struggles sometimes manifest themselves in our hairstyles. I wanted to explore that – the pain AND the joy. I want to reveal our complexity and also get us talking about how we feel about these issues. It’s an important story to tell because affirming our experiences, our history, and our beauty is always necessary in a world that tries to tell it for us.

Love, Locs, and Liberation continues October 22, 22, 27, 28, and 29 with performances at 7:30pm at The Speakeasy, located in the Atwater Village Theatre complex 3269 Casitas Ave. LA, CA 90039. Tickets: $20 at http://lovelocsliberation.com

Members of Actors’ Equity File Lawsuit Against Their Union

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 17, 2015) — Actors and other members of the Los Angeles theatrical community filed a lawsuit today against Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers. The lawsuit challenges the Union’s decision to eliminate its 25-year-old waiver of jurisdiction over small 99-seat theaters, a program popularly known as Equity Waiver. Plaintiffs claim that the Union’s decision to end Equity Waiver will unfairly destroy small theater in Los Angeles and deprive thousands of actors of opportunities to collaborate on creative theatrical projects.

The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles federal court. The plaintiffs are Los Angeles-based members of Equity, together with other theatrical artists and theater operators who had entered into a litigation Settlement Agreement with the Union in 1989 that established a system for regulating future changes to the Equity Waiver program.

The lawsuit allegesEquityLogo.jpg.644x600_q100 that the stage actors’ union violated this Settlement Agreement by improperly interfering with the democratic and due process procedures established in the Agreement to prevent any unilateral Union decision to eliminate the world of intimate theater. The lawsuit complains that Equity’s new rules, including a prohibition on volunteer acting at small theaters and a new wage compensation obligation on these theaters, will force theaters to close, reduce their production runs, or to hire non-union volunteer actors in place of Union actors.

The plaintiffs announced that they would not serve the Complaint on the Union immediately, in the hope that the Union would respond to their request to meet and confer about a mutually acceptable resolution of the small theater controversy.

“Although we have now filed the complaint, we have not yet served it on the Union,” stated Steven Kaplan, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “We have asked the Union to take this opportunity to avoid the time, expense and acrimony of litigation, and sit down with its members to discuss a mutually advantageous resolution.”

Michael A Sheppard

Michael A Sheppard

Gary Grossman, a member of Equity and one of the plaintiffs in the 1989 litigation, stated that “This lawsuit became necessary because Equity refused to comply with the preliminary procedural protections built into our 1989 Settlement Agreement. These procedural protections were designed to ensure that, before substantial changes were made to the 99-Seat Theater Plan, meaningful discussions would take place within the small theater community.”

Actor Michael A. Shepperd, also a plaintiff, said, “Our members voted to reject the Union’s actions by a 2-1 margin in one of the largest election turnouts in the organization’s history. We are terribly disappointed that our Union rejected the principle of democracy on which it was founded, and foisted on Union members new rules that will harm all actors in the long run.”

Karen Kondazian

Karen Kondazian

Actress Karen Kondazian, another plaintiff, explained that “the majority of Los Angeles artists who work in small theaters want Equity to put a moratorium on these new plans in order for local members’ voices to be adequately and fairly heard, and for the Union to work together with a task force of local theater artists to develop a comprehensive plan that will adequately address the needs of the Los Angeles theater community. But our leadership turned a deaf ear to our concerns.”

Actor French Stewart, another plaintiff, lamented that “we would hate to see either the death of intimate theater or the world of small theater go non-union. Equity’s decision was short-sighted and likely will contribute to an erosion of unionized acting in Los Angeles.”

Plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Steven J. Kaplan and Martha Doty of Alston & Bird.

16th Anual Polish Film Festival To Open October 13th, 2015

Los Angeles: October 9, 2015

Founder and Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz announced in West Los Angeles today that the 16th Annual Polish Film Festival, celebrating the greatest achievements of Polish filmmakers, will open in L.A. on October 13th and run through October, 22nd, 2015.

Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz

Festival Director, Vladek Juszkiewicz

“With Pawel Pawlikowski’s film, IDA winning last year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, this year’s festival promises another wonderful selection of over sixty five features, short films, animation and documentaries,” said Mr. Juszkiewicz,  “many of the North American, international or world premieres.”

The event kicks off with THE CITIZEN (Obywatel) by Jerzy Stuhr on October 13, 2015 with a star-studded gala during which both Polish and American film makers will walk the red carpet at Hollywood’s legendary Egyptian Theater. Angelinos may enjoy  subsequent  screenings at the Laemmle’s NoHo 7 and Royal Theaters as well as the  CSUN Armer Theatre.

“We’re trying to accommodate film lovers from both sides of this hill,” stated Mr. Juszkiewicz at today’s press conference. “The festival will also be presenting sixteen films by female directors this year.”

Polish filmmakers expected attend the festival include: Lukasz Simlat (actor), Aleksander Gruz (composer), Andrzej Cichocki (director), Joanna Jasinska-Koronkiewicz (director), Adam Bobik (actor), Tomasz Kot (actor), Image 4Lukasz Palkowski (director), Pawel Lucewicz (composer), Paul Bieda (composer), Tomasz Blachnicki (director), Anna Prochniak (actress), Jan Komasa (director), Magdalena Lazarkiewicz (director), Marian Dziedziel (actor) and Jacek Bromski (director).

The highlights of the program are: ANATOMY OF EVIL (Anatomia zla) by Jacek Bromski, BODY (Cialo) by Malgorzata Szumowska,  GODS (Bogowie) by Lukasz Palkowski, WARSAW 44 (Miasto 44) by Jan Komasa,  CARTE BLANCHE by Jacek Lusinski, THE SHADOW FOREST (Las cieni) by Andrzej Cichocki, IT’S QUITE TRUE! (To pewna wiadomosc!) by Joanna Jasinska-Koronkiewicz, CALL ME MARIANNA (Mow mi Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska and KARSKI by Magdalena Lazarkiewicz.

Screenings of film made abroad by Polish filmmakers, with Polish talent, or with Polish subjects will include: JOURNEY TO ROME by Tomasz Mielnik, ONCE MY MOTHER by Sophia Turkiewicz, AGAINST NIGHT by Stefan Kubicki,  IT HAPPENED AGAIN by Wojciech Fry-Lewis, MESSIAH by Mark Grabianowski, SHADOWS by Paul Kowalski  and THE VIGILANTE by Matthew K. Firpo.

At the Gala Opening on October 13th, the following awards are to be presented.

Adam Bratcher Music Debut Award to: Aleksander Gruz for WARSAW BY NIGHT, by Natalia Koryncka-Gruz.

The Pola Negri Award will be presented to Andy Garcia for his collaboration with Polish filmmakers: Oscar winning

Actor, Andy Garcia

Actor, Andy Garcia

composer  Jan A. P. Kaczmarek and production designer and producer Waldemar Kalinowski.

Piotr Lazarkiewicz Award for Young Talent will be presented to two young, talented Polish actors, Anna Prochniak and Adam Bobik.

Jury members for the Polish Film Festival this year include Priscilla Barnes, Bruce Locke, James Mathers, Jennifer Taylor, Ben Berkowitz, Susana Casares, Erik Friedl, Tchavdar Georgiev, Jacek Kropinski, Mike Libonati, Tom Mclean, Stephan Szpak-Fleet, Vazrik Der-Sahakian, Rachel O’Meara, James Ulmer and Bijan Tehrani. They will present awards for Best Feature, Best Animation, Best Documentary and Best Short film.

The full film program for the Festival can be found on the website: http://www.polishfilmla.org

For further information, contact: Vladek Juszkiewicz




Celebrity Verdict – Twenty Years Later

An Interview with David McMillan, writer of WATCHING O.J. – a World Premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA – Opening October 3rd.

A double murder case, it unfolded like a Hollywood movie. It was October 3, 1995. Everybody remembers where they were on that day, when the verdict was announced. In the wide cross-section of L.A.’s diverse population, tensions ran high as people awaited, and watched.

Twenty years to the day, David McMillan’s new play returns to the scene with a passionate, multi-racial perspective on that crucial moment. As the play’s characters patronize their local cleaners and neighboring businesses, a volatile discussion about race and social class bubbles to the surface, one that is more relevant now than ever.

Playwright, David McMillan

Playwright, David McMillan

David McMillan is a Los Angeles playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker. His writing credits include Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” the upcoming Fox show “Lucifer,” and a new pilot that he’s developing with producer Will Packer for NBC. David has received several awards for his work, including USC’s top prize for screenwriting.  Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA presents the World Premiere of “Watching O.J.” which is opening exactly 20 years to the day of the criminal trial verdict.

Hollywood Revealed: Why did the O.J. Simpson double murder trial have such a lasting impression on you?

David: As black teenager, growing up in Inglewood, I was fascinated by how people were watching the trial, through their own distinct racial, cultural, and historical lens. It wasn’t so much the events as it was everybody’s perception of the events. Even now, “the facts” of the case are often beside the point — what’s illuminating is how we look at those facts.

 Kareem Ferguson (as Jamal) and Robert Gossett (as Oz)

Kareem Ferguson (as Jamal) and Robert Gossett (as Oz)

Hollywood Revealed: Is your new play fictional or sort of a recap of your experience at the time?

David: The locale and characters are fictional, however they’re very much based on people I know, and some of my own experiences. I vividly remember the trial, the emotions it stirred, the conversations it provoked. So while it’s not “autobiographical,” the play is very much a creative snapshot of my memories of that time. That said, people who know me will say that they can see a few of my family members in some of the characters (glimpses of my mom and dad in particular). I won’t try to deny it — some influences you just can’t escape.

Hollywood Revealed: Will you talk about the process of getting this play started, and if it is a common way that you work.

Angela Bullock (as Cordia) and Lisa Renee Pitts (as Kim)

Angela Bullock (as Cordia) and Lisa Renee Pitts (as Kim)

David: Honestly, every project starts out differently. Sometimes it’s a character, sometime it’s a situation/set-up, and sometimes it’s an idea. For “Watching O.J.” it was really the idea that first inspired me. I liked the idea of using the O.J. trial as a dramatic backdrop/catalyst for exploring racial tensions in America. I didn’t have any of the characters at that point — I discovered those later (or maybe I should say, they discovered me). It’s a messy process — and to be honest, I wish it were less messy. I wish I could just come up with a premise, outline it from beginning to end, write it, and then voila — the play is finished. But I’ve come to learn that creativity, and writing a play in particular, is a lot more complicated than that. You write, you re-write, you get feedback, you re-think, and then you write and write and re-write some more. And eventually, if you’re lucky, the world gets to see it.

Hollywood Revealed: Exactly 20 years from the announcement of the criminal trial verdict, your play opens. Was that the plan from the start?

David: Wish I could say yes, but it’s really more like a confluence of happy accidents. The script was ready, and we were able to assemble an extraordinary cast that was available, and Keith Szarabajka, the director, was between television projects. So it worked out great, beyond what anyone could have hoped for.

Lisa Renee Pitts (as Kim), Angela Bullock (as Cordia), Tony Pasqualini (as Harold), and Kelly Wolf (as Sheila)

Lisa Renee Pitts (as Kim), Angela Bullock (as Cordia), Tony Pasqualini (as Harold), and Kelly Wolf (as Sheila)

Watching O.J. opens on Saturday, October 3rd and runs at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 2pm Sundays, through November 8, 2015. Post show talk backs are scheduled throughout the run with special guests. Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA is located in the Atwater Village Theatre complex 3269 Casitas Ave. LA, CA 90039. Tickets: $19.95 at 818-858-0440 or watchingoj.brownpapertickets.com  

The cast includes Lisa Renee Pitts (Straight Outta Compton – as Dre’s mom), Robert Gossett (Broadway Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, and The Last Minstrel Show. Currently in the TNT’s Major Crimes as Chief Taylor reprising the role he created in The Closer), Angela Bullock, Kareem Ferguson, Robert Gossett, Tony Pasqualini, Tarah Pollock, Eve Sigall, Roy Vongtama, and Kelly Wolf.

Photos by:Hope Burleigh

2015 Emmy Award Winners

Los Angeles: September 21, 2015

The Emmy Awards were presented last night in mostly boring televised presentation on Fox. Filled with in-jokes and close ups of flavor of the month TV performers the one good thing was that Modern Family didn’t win again this year as it does most years.

Ray Donovan, Emmy Nominations-The Latestwhich does happen to be one of the best shows on TV was also sadly ignored.

Viola Davis became the first non-white actress to claim top drama series acting honors, Jon Hamm finally won for “Mad Men,” and “Game of Thrones” overcame voters’ anti-fantasy resistance to win the most trophies ever in a season.

Here’s a full list of nominees and winners (winners in bold).

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul • AMC
Downton Abbey • PBS
***Game of Thrones • HBO
Homeland • Showtime
House of Cards • Netflix
Mad Men • AMC
Orange Is the New Black • Netflix

Outstanding Comedy Series

Louie • FX
Modern Family • ABC
Parks and Recreation • NBC
Silicon Valley • HBO
Transparent • Amazon
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt • Netflix
***Veep • HBO

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes, Homeland • Showtime
***Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder • ABC
Taraji P. Henson, Empire • Fox
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black • BBC America
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men • AMC
Robin Wright, House of Cards • Netflix

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline • Netflix
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom • HBO
***Jon Hamm, Mad Men • AMC
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul • AMC
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan • Showtime
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards • Netflix

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul • AMC
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline • Netflix
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey • PBS
***Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones • HBO 
Michael Kelly, House of Cards • Netflix
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife • CBS

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado” • HBO
***David Nutter, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy” • HBO
Jeremy Podeswa, Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” • HBO
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, “From A to B and Back Again” • Showtime
Steven Soderbergh, The Knick, “Method and Madness” • Cinemax

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey • PBS
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones • HBO
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones • HBO
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men • AMC
***Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black • Netflix
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife • CBS

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Joshua Brand, The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” • FX
Gordon Smith, Better Call Saul, “Five-O” • AMC
***David Benioff and David Weiss, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy” • HBO
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Lost Horizon” • AMC
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Person to Person” • AMC

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Colbert Report • Comedy Central
***The Daily Show with Jon Stewart • Comedy Central 
Jimmy Kimmel Live! • ABC
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver • HBO
Late Show with David Letterman • CBS
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon • NBC

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

The Colbert Report • Comedy Central
***The Daily Show with Jon Stewart • Comedy Central 
Inside Amy Schumer • Comedy Central
Key & Peele • Comedy Central
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver • HBO

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series

The Colbert Report • Comedy Central
***The Daily Show with Jon Stewart  Comedy Central
Inside Amy Schumer • Comedy Central
Late Show with David Letterman • CBS
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon • NBC

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Drunk History • Comedy Central
***Inside Amy Schumer • Comedy Central
Key & Peele • Comedy Central
Portlandia • IFC
Saturday Night Live • NBC

Outstanding Limited Series

American Crime • ABC
American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
The Honorable Woman • SundanceTV
***Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Wolf Hall • PBS

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie

Timothy Hutton, American Crime • ABC
Ricky Gervais, Derek Special • Netflix
Adrien Brody, Houdini • History
David Oyelowo, Nightingale • HBO
***Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall • PBS

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Felicity Huffman, American Crime • ABC
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Queen Latifah, Bessie • HBO
***Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Emma Thompson, Mrs. Lovett • PBS
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman • SundanceTV

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Richard Cabral, American Crime • ABC
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Michael Kenneth Williams, Bessie • HBO
***Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall • PBS

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

Ryan Murphy, American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Monsters Among Us” • FX
Dee Rees, Bessie • HBO
Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman • SundanceTV
Uli Edel, Houdini • History
Tom Shankland, The Missing • Starz
***Lisa Cholodenko, Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Peter Kosminsky, Wolf Hall • PBS

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

***Regina King, American Crime • ABC
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show • FX
Mo’Nique, Bessie • HBO
Joe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge • HBO

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

John Ridley, American Crime, “Episode One” • ABC
Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois and Horton Foote, Bessie • HBO
Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, Hello Ladies: The Movie • HBO
Hugo Blick, The Honorable Woman • SundanceTV
***Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge • HBO
Peter Straughan, Wolf Hall • PBS

Outstanding Reality Show Competition

The Amazing Race • CBS
Dancing with the Stars • ABC
Project Runway •
So You Think You Can Dance • ABC
Top Chef • Bravo
***The Voice • NBC

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie • Netflix
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer • Comedy Central
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie • Showtime
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation • NBC
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback • HBO
***Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep • HBO

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish • ABC
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes • Showtime
Don Cheadle, House of Lies • Showtime
Louis C.K., Louie • FX
William H. Macy, Shameless • Showtime
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth • Fox
***Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent • Amazon

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, The Last Man on Earth, “Pilot” • Fox
Louis C.K., Louie, “Sleepover” • FX
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley, “Sand Hill Shuffle” • HBO
***Jill Soloway, Transparent, “Best New Girl”  • Amazon
Armando Iannucci, Veep, “Testimony” • HBO

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine • Fox
Adam Driver, Girls • HBO
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele • Comedy Central
Ty Burrell, Modern Family • ABC
Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt • Netflix
***Tony Hale, Veep • HBO

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes, “Episode 409” • Showtime
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson” • Fox
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley, “Two Days of the Condor” • HBO
Jill Soloway, Transparent, “Pilot” • Amazon
***Armando Iannucci, Simon Blackwell, and Tony Roche, Veep, “Election Night” • HBO

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Niecy Nash, Getting On • HBO
Julie Bowen, Modern Family • ABC
***Allison Janney, Mom • CBS
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live • NBC
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory • CBS
Gaby Hoffman, Transparent • Amazon
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt • Netflix
Anna Chlumsky, Veep • HBO

‘Pro99’ Actors’ Equity Members Send Open Letter to AEA President Kate Shindle

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 27, 2015)

Members of the “Pro99” movement of Actors’ Equity Association have issued an open letter to AEA’s newly elected president, Kate Shindle, in response to her victory and to her inaugural address as president of the national union for actors and stage managers.

The open letter is signed by over 400 Equity members (listed below), including such notable names as Ed Asner, Francis Fisher, Sally Kirkland and Alfred Molina.

AEA President Kate Shindle

AEA President Kate Shindle

The “Pro99” movement formed in late 2014 in opposition to AEA’s rollout of a new plan that will effectively force “intimate theaters” in Los Angeles to pay Equity actors minimum wage, go “non-union” or even close – despite an overwhelming vote against the plan by 66% of the Los Angeles membership on an advisory referendum. “Pro99” members around the nation, who take their name from the current AEA “99 Seat Plan” that allows members to volunteer in smaller venues, oppose AEA’s new promulgated plan. They are requesting that Equity leadership put a moratorium on the plan until local members’ voices can be heard, and that the union work with its members to develop an alternative plan that will more realistically address the needs of the Los Angeles theater community.

The Letter reads:

Dear President Shindle,

We, the undersigned members of AEA who support the Pro99 movement, both in the L.A. area and around the nation, congratulate you on your win, and wish you a successful term as President of our beloved union. We were satisfied that our passionate campaigning helped to elect you, and appreciated that during your campaign you came to Los Angeles to meet with us and express your interest in the 99- Seat debacle that has galvanized our Los Angeles Theatre Community.

In your “Inaugural Column” in the July/August 2015 edition of Equity News you wrote: “Everyone has a different definition of what’s cool; to me, the coolest thing Equity can do is to encourage its members to be passionate, vocal activists and ambassadors. Because that will not only make our industry more successful, it will also make our union stronger.”

We couldn’t agree more. We are also encouraged and grateful that you mention our cause in your column, especially since we do not feel we have always been fairly represented in Equity News and emails — that is, when we’ve been represented at all. Thank you for your willingness to both meet with us and publicly discuss what absolutely continues to be a crisis in our union. As you noted, we do have much to celebrate about intimate theatre in L.A. — almost thirty years of rich and creative work under the guidelines endorsed by our own union.

However, we’re concerned about your mention of a recent Fringe Festival production that was produced under the proposed “New 99-Seat Theatre Agreement.” Though you present it as something to perhaps celebrate, we wish to be clear that that Agreement is precisely what an overwhelming majority of local AEA members voted against in the advisory referendum (66%: a landslide). As you can imagine, LA members don’t consider this an event to celebrate. We think it is, in fact, the problem, and not the solution. Worse, we think the way the new agreement was promulgated by the union is even more problematic for the democratic process. We have found the actions and messaging of the leadership of our union troubling, and the fact that the leadership ignored the will of its own membership is deeply disturbing. Worst of all, we firmly believe this new plan will effectively destroy our vibrant theatrical community.

We love our union. We have, from the beginning, offered to work with Council and staff to find a solution that will not only address our concerns, but also make our union stronger and respectful of local members’ needs. We welcome turning a new page with your support and willingness to listen to us articulate the realities of our community in order to resolve this crisis.

In solidarity,
Members of AEA
#PRO99 movement

Photo by:Joe Marzullo

HollyShorts 2015 Continues To Shine

Monday, August 17, 2015

The 11th edition of the HollyShorts Film Festival continues this week at the TLC Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Actors, Kate Cobb and Kevin Bigley walk the red carpet on opening night.

Actors, Kate Cobb and Kevin Bigley walk the red carpet on opening night.

HollyShorts kicked off the event with a star-studded opening night this past Thursday, August 13th, with screenings of short films starring Rose McGowan, Jason Patric, Sharon Lawrence, Rose McIver, Beth Grant, Robert Forster, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Lawson, Portia Doubleday and Carly Chaikin.

Due to this years large attendance the films showed simultaneously on two screens.

Among the standouts on opening night were Chris Ekstein’s “The Weight of Blood and Stone” and “Dissonance” by Bryan Cox.

Eli Roth’s preview of “The Green Inferno” provided the appropriate jumps in what seems to be an exciting thriller due for release this September.

Aussie actor Harry Hains sports his "Lawrence of Arabia" look at HollyShorts.

Aussie actor Harry Hains sports his “Lawrence of Arabia” look at HollyShorts.

The opening night energy was evident in the lobby of the Chinese as filmmakers, celebrities and their guests mingled before and after the showings.

A large crowd showed up later to party at the OHM Nightclub with the festival providing an open bar and music from DJ Amani Experience.

Among the film programs coming up this week are Documentary Shorts, today at noon. Sci Fi Fantasty Films tonight at 7:30. Women In Film on 8/18 at 2:30pm, Coming of Age on 8/19 at 2:30pm and Films That Inspire The World  on 8/21 at 7:30 pm.

Upcoming HollyShorts Seminars include, “Music Videos:The Experimental Sandbox” and “Forging a future for Female Filmakers.”

Sutaja Day works the carpet at HollyShorts 2015.

Sutaja Day works the carpet at HollyShorts 2015.

HollyShorts is the largest annual gathering of short form movies in Los Angeles with over 400 pieces of short form content being showcased in competition.

If you’re interested in short films, this is the Hollywood festival that is not to be missed.

For a full schedule of remaining events visit:http://www.hollyshorts.com

Photos © Nicholas Scarpinato


The HollyShorts Award winners were announced and presented last night in front of a standing room only crowd at OHM nightclub in Hollywood.

Here is a list of winners:

The Grand Jury Award Presented by Company 3 went to Moon Molson for his short THE BRAVEST, THE BOLDEST.

Best Director went to Annie Silverstein for SKUNK.

Best Animation went to THE OCEANMAKER by Lucas Martell

Best VFX went to DISSONANCE by Till Nowak

Best Film Shot in LA presented by FilmLA went to TOM IN AMERICA by Flavio Alves

The Louisiana Film Prize a $10,000 prize for Best Screenplay went to THE IMPORTANCE OF SEX EDUCATION by L. Elizabeth Powers

The Evil Slave $10,000 Best Screenplay Award went to LUNCHBOX BRIGADE by Kyle Thiele

You Tube Icon Freddie Wong To Be Honored By Hollyshorts 2015

Hollywood, CA: August 10, 2015

YouTube icon Freddie Wong, the filmmaker behind the online phenomenon web series Video Game High School, will be honored with the 2015 HollyShorts Trailblazer Award at next Thursday’s HollyShorts Film Festival’s opening night celebration.

The event takes place on August 13 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater.

Wong will be honored with the Award for his outstanding accomplishments as a filmmaker freddie_wongand YouTube pioneer. Wong and RocketJump’s videos have amassed more than 7.5 million subscribers on YouTube with over 1 billion views of their content. Season 3 of their Video Game High School web series drew over 85 million views. RocketJump is in the process of creating a long-form series for Hulu with Lionsgate.

Wong joins an impressive star-studded evening at HollyShorts opening night, which will feature short movies starring Rose McGowan, Jason Patric, Sharon Lawrence, Rose McIver, Beth Grant, Robert Forster, Jennifer Morrison, Josh Lawson, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin, and many more. HollyShorts is the largest annual gathering of short form movies in Los Angeles with over 15,000 anticipated attendees for the week-long event (August 13-22) and over 400HollyShorts logo 2012 (2) pieces of short form content being showcased in competition. Actress Victoria Summer will be presenting the Award to Wong on Thursday.

Freddie Wong is the co-founder of digital entertainment company RocketJump. He co-created the award-winning web series Video Game High School (VGHS) that aired its third and final season, breaking crowdfunding records for a web series by raising $900K last year. RocketJump has entered into a content partnership deal with Lionsgate and signed a deal to bring RocketJump’s next series to Hulu.

Commented Daniel Sol, co-founder, HollyShorts: “Freddie Wong exemplifies a HollyShorts Trailblazer, what he’s been able to accomplish with VGHS and his shorts is just astounding. Numbers don’t lie, with over 1 billion global views on YouTube, Freddie and RocketJump are this generation’s new storytellers and we are proud to honor them at HollyShorts, this will be an epic night to remember.”

HollyShorts past honorees include The Russo Brothers, David Lynch, Eli Roth, Joe Carnahan, Paul Haggis, Matthew Modine, Bill Plympton among others.

Two Steps Forward For Indie Film

By Peter Foldy

Had the pleasure to see a very cool, low key indie thriller last night called “Two Step” written and directed by first time feature director, Alex R. Johnson.  The story deals with James, (Skyy Moore) a young college drop out who has a couple of very bad days after he becomes a victim of a home invasion robbery.

As the film opens, Jamestwostepjamesdotbarnice arrives at his grandmother’s house, his only living relative, to find her dying of a  stroke. Before long he learns that Granny has left him eighty five thousand dollars and her house. James is suddenly flush with cash.

He makes friends with a kindly neighbor, a former ballet dancer called Dot (Beth Broderick) who becomes something of a mother figure and his only friend in  town.

Meanwhile a psychotic low life criminal called Webb ( James Landry Hebert) has just gotten out of jail and is very quickly back to his old ways.  Webb is working a scam where he calls elderly people and pretends to be their troubled grandson who needs a loan. Most of the time the scam backfires, but once in a while it doesn’t.

Webb discovers that he has been dumped by his girlfriend, Amy (Ashley Rae Spillers) a girl who he had beaten up.  Amy  is now Two_Step_credit_Photo_Courtesy_of_quotTwo_Stepquotshacked up with Webb’s former employer Duane (Jason Douglas) and Webb is pissed. He owes Duane a large amount of cash and is quickly given an ultimatum. Pay up and get out of town or have your ass kicked by one of Duane’s heavies.

As Webb continues his calls to the elderly in order to find money he and James randomly connect.

It is a tense wait for the two to meet up in person and when they do the outcome is bloody and violent. Webb soon figures out that James has an inheritance and knows he has hit the jackpot. Now how to get a hold of the cash. James only has a $900 a day ATM limit.

More suspense and violence are in store till James and Webb’s destinies  collide for the last time and the third act sees the rampage come to an end. It’s a relief when it does. Johnson makes you care for these characters,images especially the innocent James.

“Two Step” is a finely crafted character driven thrill ride that keeps the tension on a low boil. That’s not to say the film doesn’t also have it’s “boo” moments that will have you jumping out of your seat.

The entire cast, all Texas locals, are excellent here, right down the the under fives. The film perfectly captures the tonality of suburban Austin, Texas where it was shot.

“Two Step” is also an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers. Made on a low budget it has garnered great reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times.  It’s success shows that determination and a “no is not an option” attitude will get things done.  It’s a film made for art’s sake and writer/director Alex Johnson’s win here is also a win for indie crime and thriller fans everywhere.

“Two Step” opens Friday, August 7th at the Arena Theater in Los Angeles with VOD to follow in September.  With beautifully stylized cinematography by Andy Lilien this is well worth seeing on the big screen.

Production: La Chima Films
Cast: Beth Broderick, James Landry Hébert, Skyy Moore, Jason Douglas, Ashley Rae Spillers
Director/screenwriter: Alex R. Johnson
Producers: Alex R. Johnson, Paul Biedrzycki, Pat Cassidy, Charles Mulford
Director of photography: Andy Lilien
Production designer: Claire M. White
Editor: Benjamin Moses Smith
Costume designer: Rachel Marie Jones
Composer: Andrew Kenny
Casting: Beth Sepko

Where: The Arena Cinema 1625 N Las Palmas Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028  (93 minutes)  Not Rated.

Showtimes, Friday, August 7th. 7:30 pm SOLD OUT.

Saturday, August 8, 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm

Sunday, August 9, 4:30 pm, 7:55 pm

Monday, August 10, 9:30 pm

Tuesday, August 11, 8:00 pm

Wednesday, August 12, 6 pm

Thursday, August 13, 9:30 pm


Luka’s Room At The Rogue Machine Theatre: A Review

August 4, 2015


Review by: Peter Foldy

All Luka wants is be a normal college kid–but in Rob Mersola’s excellent new play, LUKA’S ROOM, directed by Joshua Bitton, that is not quite how things work out.

After his father runs out of money due in part to a nasty divorce, 19 year old Luka is forced to transfer from Arizona State to a Valley College and move in with his eccentric Grandma Franca, a lady in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Luka is surprised to find that his recently paroled Image 1Uncle Nick, a sleaze bag who went to jail for credit card and identity theft, is also sharing the house.

Movie star handsome yet somewhat naive, Luka is a horny young lad who has yet to fully find his footing with members of the opposite sex. When one of his uncle’s acquaintances, a free spirited young blond called Angie, comes on to him, Luka is surprised to find that this little hottie is willing to jump into bed with him. But that’s exactly what happens. What Luka doesn’t realize is that this is not some random hook up. There is greed and manipulation in the air and as this sordid, dysfunctional tale unfolds, our young college student is taken for a wild ride that will more than likely change him forever.

As the weeks pass, Luka finds that his winning streak with women is unstoppable. His conquests seem way too easy. Before long he starts to think that making love with someone you care about, (in his case, Angie), trumps his many one night stands.

It would be unfair to reveal more than that because the twists in Mersola’s play are what make “Luka’s Room” so much fun. The clues are there, but do yourself a favor and don’t look too hard. Just enjoy the surprise when it comes.

Mersola manages to push the envelope with this family dramedy as he exploresImage 2 not only Luka’s situation but also touches on our current state of openness.

If you think about it, we know more about our friends than any other generation in history. We have seen photos of their wives, girlfriends, kids,  pets and appendix scars. We are told about their fun times as well as their losses and humiliations. And many of us are just as willing to share our private moments too. In this Twitter, Facebook, Instagram world, our lives have become an open book–and this is the playing field on which we find ourselves in “Luka’s Room.”

Nick Marini is excellent as “Luka.” He is given a lot to work with here. A solid arc that sees him change from an innocent college boy to being hardened in more ways than one.  As the center piece of the production Marini handles his role with charm and confidence. He is a likeable young actor who should have a great future ahead of him.

Alex Fernandez as “Uncle Nick” is loud and brash as a low level yet imaginative petty criminal who seizes an opportunity no matter who gets hurt in the process. Fernandez is the source of a lot of the humor in the play and his energy helps keep the piece moving. I only wish he wouldn’t slam every door on stage with such force.  Image It rattled the set each and every time it happened.  It’s a small complaint but I had to say it.

Joanna Lipari as the confused F-bomb dropping “Grandma Franca” lands a few big punchlines throughout the play. It’s no easy feat keeping a pace with Alex Fernandez and Nick Marini’s banter, but Ms. Lipari goes the distance here, even giving us one jaw dropping scene that had the opening night audience howling.

Sarah Scott as “Angie” finds a nice balance between her character’s hyper-sexuality and delicate vulnerability. She has an exhilarating sense of abandon during her naughty little strip-tease performance and like Luka, she is given a satisfying arc where, in some small fashion, “Angie” is able to come to terms with herself.

The set by John Iacovelli is exceptionally detailed as is the intricate video design by Nicholas Santiago. Kudos also to Leigh Allen for Lighting Design and to Michele Young for her costumes.

“Luka’s Room” is a compelling production that takes an episodic approach to a timely subject. With it’s talented cast who deliver spot-on performances, it is edgy theater that definitely should not be missed.

Where: Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., LA, CA 90019

When: 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 3pm on Sundays through September 20, 2015
(No Performance on Saturday, August 22nd)

Tickets: $30 – $35.

Reservations: 855-585-5185 or at www.roguemachinetheatre.com

(Photos by: John Perrin Flynn)




This Girlfriend is Touching and Innovative

Play Review by:Peter Foldy

July 30, 2015

Set in homophobic Nebraska in the early 1990s, the rock musical, GIRLFRIEND gives us a glimpse into the lives of two teenage boys – one a social outcast, the other the quintessential jock as they explore a relationship in the months between high school graduation and the end of summer.

With a bookPhoto 10 by Todd Almond and music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet, “Girfriend” has a refreshing innocence to it that is complimented by the upbeat and infectious melodies that first appeared on Mr. Sweet’s 1991 pop album, also titled,”Girlfriend.”

The story deals with “Will” (played by Ryder Bach) a young gay high school graduate who is happy to have survived the bullying and torment of being relatively open about his sexuality.  Will is stunned when on the last day of classes, one of the most popular kids in school, “Mike” (Curtis Hansen), hands him a mix tape of some of Mike’s favorite pop songs.

Will and Mike seem worlds apart.  Mike is handsome, a star of the school’s baseball team and soon to be on his way to med school, mainly to please his domineering father.  He is friends with all the jocks and says he has a girlfriend so why is he is suddenly seeking a friendship with quirky, introverted Will?  But a friendship does develop, Photo 12slowly at first in an awkward and mostly non verbal way.  The boys frequent a drive in and sit as far from each other as possible, afraid of a glance or an accidental bump of an arm.  They keep  conversation to a minimum, but the uncomfortable silence speak volumes about what each of them are thinking and feeling.  It’s as if you can almost read their minds.   And when they burst into one of Matthew Sweet’s pop classics, (after all this is a musical) it’s the sound of A.M. radio all over again.  Catchy melodies that set the mood for teen romance and instantly put a smile on your face.

Unlike kids of today who might hop in the sack after exchanging a couple of text messages, Mike and Will are innocent and tread slowly, after all this is middle America in the early 90s.  Mike is also understandably protective of his image and reputation.  Nebraska is not ready for a jock to have Photo 15feelings for a member of his own sex.  But Mike ultimately defies conventions and expectations and by the time the walls come down and Will and Mike’s friendship does turn into a relationship, it is the end of summer and the inevitable is on the horizon.  Mike has to go college and leave Will behind.

Curtis Hansen is the perfect “Mike.” With his Tom Cruise smile and all-American looks, he lets us feel the contradiction and his internal struggle as he comes to terms with an attraction that he can no longer deny.  Hansen carries a lot of the vocal duties in “Girlfriend” and does justice to Matthew Sweet’s pop anthems.

Ryder Bach, who originated the role of “Will” in a 2010 production of this show at the Berkley Rep is also excellent as the high school kid who falls in lovePhoto 07 knowing that it could all end badly.  His delivery is spot on and the source of many of the laughs in the play.

The economical set and realistic costumes by David Zinn compliment the purity and simplicity of the story and the relationship that is unfolding before us.

An energized all-female band led by Julie Wolf provides strong instrumental backing and tight harmonies as they rock out from the back of the stage in an area that has been designed to feel like a teenager’s basement.

Directed by Les Waters, “Girlfriend” ably captures the powerful emotions that most of us have felt as teenagers when we navigated new and uncharted romantic waters.  Those feelings seem even more poignant when the attractions are forbidden and frowned upon. That concept was not lost on the mostly middle aged audience at last Wednesday night’s performance.  Though one might have expected them to perhaps be judgmental, their reaction was positive and enthusiastic–and with good reason.  “Girlfriend” is fresh, touching and innovative.  It ends it’s run on August 9th.  Don’t miss it.

Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City

When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 8:30 p.m. Thursdays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Ends Aug. 9.

Tickets: $25 to $59 (ticket prices subject to change)

Info: (213) 628-2772, www.centertheatregroup.org

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes, with no intermission

Photos by Craig Schwartz



Zulu Time Examines The Strains of War

Review by: Gordon Maniskas

The 1960’s were an era fraught with dramatic social change, ceaseless war, and young soldiers struggling to shoulder the burdens of an entire country. “Zulu Time” explores life on an aircraft carrier preparing to head off to Vietnam as the Navy Men on board grapple with rapidly changing racial dynamics. A talented ensemble cast breathes life into the poetic dialogue of playwright Chuck Faerber, as they confront societal issues that continue to plague America to this day.

The first act takes place off the coast of California as race riots break out on the mainland. While theyZ_T_0034 copy 2 watch the skies fill with the smoke of burning buildings, the Navy Men each deal with the racial tension in their own ways: African-American soldiers worry about the safety of their families, while most Caucasians are contemptuous of the minorities’ violent protests. When Ronnie, an African-American seaman (played by Christopher T. Wood) overhears racist slurs hurled by Page Boy, a pilot (played by David Ghilardi), he demands an apology, threatening to keep Page Boy grounded until he gets one. But, as Ronnie soon finds out, complaints of racism are of no concern to the ship’s commander. Though Wood’s natural, empathetic performance and Ghilardi’s surprisingly complex portrayal of a hardened racist are both effectively executed, the first act drags somewhat at times. Much of the action revolves around Ronnie’s stubborn demand for an apology – Z_T_0186 copy 2a noble goal, but not quite enough at times to propel the dramatic momentum through to the second act… Where everything is ramped up a notch.

The second Act deals with the carrier’s arrival in Vietnam. Now in the midst of a war zone, the characters have all been changed by bloodshed… one way or another. The piece truly takes off here, as the racial tensions are tested even further by the strain of war. An unlikely friendship forms between two Engineers, one Black and the other a closeted homosexual (played by Acquah Dansoh and Tony Grosz respectively), and they find themselves pitted against the closed-minded soldiers who are supposed to be their comrades. The second act is rife with conflict and intensity, and is gripping through the final, tragic moments.

The cast shines in this ensemble piece, some actors portraying multiple roles with nimble dexterity. Scott Keiji Takeda shines particularly brightly in the role of Yamato, a Japanese-American Navy Captain trying to shield Ronnie from the racist bureaucracy on the carrier. Centered, intense, and charming, his presence on the stage is magnetic. Takeda admirably wears the mantle of the moral center of the play, and his moments in the spotlight keep the audienceZ_T_0034 copy 2 in rapt attention. Also of note is Byron Hays as the ghostly “Mate of the Deck” who, bedecked in a sparkling white uniform, serves as the 4th-wall breaking narrator. The mastery delivery of his many soliloquy is always delightful, and adds a satisfying change of pace throughout. Trevor Larson as the ace pilot “Lone Star” radiates a youthful charisma and playfulness artfully balanced by moments of honest sensitivity. And, John Marzilli as Admiral Potter is an explosion of bombastic “Full Metal Jacket” military man. Gravelly voice, hard eyes, and a ferocious temper, he’s the man you love to hate… and watch.

But, the real star of the piece is the dialogue by Chuck Faerber. With colorful Navy jargon, florid prose rooted in honest Human emotion, and multiple poems recited throughout, the monologues and dialogue are written with consistent beauty. Complex characters in complex situations feeling complex emotions, and all presented simply enough to keep the audience along for the ride. The play has the feeling of a long-form poem at times, butZ_T_0050 copy 2 without ever being ostentatious.

Hats off to director Richard Kuhlman and set designer Gary Lee Reed for navigating the small performance space with such effectiveness. A single rolling walkway and a few platforms are choreographed to gracefully create a multitude of different settings. Several quasi-balletic sequences, lit by lighting designer Donny Jackson, provide whimsical, dream-like moments to balance to stark, exposed brightness of the other scenes. And, Gina Davidson’s costumes do a fantastic job differentiating between the varying Navy positions, substantially aiding the audience in understanding the complex hierarchy on the ship.

“Zulu Time” is a timely production, shining a light on the social injustices of the 60s and reflecting on how things may have (or may not have) changed since then. The cast’s strong performances of the richly crafted script makes this show well worth seeing.

WHEN: Runs July 11th through August 9th

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm


Hudson Theatre

6539 Santa Monica Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90038



(323) 960-7740

General Admission: $25


Rock Musical “Girlfriend” Starts Rehearsals At Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre

Los Angeles: July 2, 2015

Rehearsals have started for “Girlfriend” at the Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre. Featuring a book by Todd Almond and music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet, the rock musical about first love will begin previews on July 12 with the opening slated for July 19. Performances will continue through August 9.

Reprising their roles from the 2013 Actors Theatre of Louisville production of “Girlfriend” are Ryder Bach (Randy Newman’s photo 3“Harps and Angels” at the Mark Taper Forum) and Curt Hansen (“Parade” at the Taper and “Next to Normal” at the Ahmanson). The director is Les Waters, who directed the Actors Theatre production, as well as the world premiere production at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The scenic and costume designs for “Girlfriend” are by David Zinn, lighting design is by Ben Stanton and sound design is by Jake Rodriguez. The music direction is by Julie Wolf and choreography is by Joe Goode. Wolf also conducts the band, which is comprised of Vivi Rama on bass, Janet Robin on lead guitar, Jyn Yates on drums and Wolf on keyboard and guitar. The production stage manager is Paul Mills Holmes.

Set in Nebraska in the 1990s, two teenage boys – one a social outcast, the other the quintessential jock – explore a relationship during a summer of self-discovery between high school graduation and the rest of their lives.

“Girlfriend” will play at the Center Theatre Group/Kirk Douglas Theatre, July 12 through August 9, 2015.

For tickets and information, please visit CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772.
Contact: CTGMedia@CenterTheatreGroup.org / (213) 972-7376

Photo by Alan Simons

Love and Loss In “The Cellar” Now Playing At The Hollywood Fringe Festival

Review by:Peter Foldy

June 15, 2015

Sometimes you see a couple and you just know that they are perfect together.  Even if they’re having problems sustaining a relationship, one can feel the love that bubbles below the surface.  That was my initial reaction as I watched “The Cellar,” a compelling two-hander currently on stage at the Flight Theatre in Hollywood  as part of the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Jay Seals as “Troy”slide_Complex_front and writer Kimberley Cooper as “Helena” portray the couple who, after attending a friend’s party, find themselves trapped in his wine cellar.  Soon the pain of their recent breakup leads to a raw and no-holds-barred exploration of just what went wrong.  Each of them hold grudges and as the wine begins to flow, insults fly, secrets are revealed and the balance of power firmly put to the test.  Vino verite indeed.

With her first stageplay, Australian actress, Kimberley Cooper shows strong writing  potential with this fast paced, cutting-edge production. Though the twist and turns in “The Cellar” are ones that have been explored in numerous films and plays, Cooper still makes the revelationsIMG_5188 feel fresh as she gives us a voyeuristic look at this couple unraveling.  Her dialogue rolls off her tongue and finds a fine balance between heart wrenching pain and self deprecating humor.  She is brash and confident, both as a writer and as an actress, her brazen, no bullshit attitude coming across as likeable as her Aussie accent.

Jay Seals as her ex brings on the charm and is also easy to like.  He’s like one of your buddies and you want this couple to get back together,  despite Seals’ betrayal of Cooper’s character.  But “Helena” also has some revelations up her sleeve and we soon learn the she too had her hand in a deceit, one with perhaps even greater consequences.  Though it may be too late for them to turn back the clock, the familiarity that exists between them is still there, a comfort level that only people who truly know and like each other can convey.  It is a fine accomplishment from both these actors that they can bring that comfort level to life.

Director, Jonathan Roumie keeps the piece fluid, letting his actors work the stage as the story comes to a boil.  Clocking in at a mere 35 minutes, ‘The Cellar” is a solid piece of theater that deserves kudos for it compelling dialogue and realistic performances.  Go see it while you can!

Where: The Fringe Theatre, 6472 Santa Monica Blvd. L.A. CA 90038 (2nd Floor)

When: Saturday June 20th at 4:15 pm, Sunday, June 21st at 6:15 pm and Friday June 26th at 10:30 pm.

Tickets: $10

Stage Manager: Roger Mathey, Original Score: Nick Kenworthy-Browne



Poltergeist (2015) – A Review

by Mark Salcido


‘Poltergeist’ is the 2015 remake of the 1982 classic. It’s directed by Gil Kenan of ‘Monster House’ and ‘City of Ember’ fame. It stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris and Jane Adams. It tells the story of a family who moves into a house where a poltergeist has taken resident.

Now of course in this remake frenzy world we live, there will be some comparison to the original which is considered a horror classic. But I promise to judge as bestMV5BMjIzNTI1ODgwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDYwODA1NTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ as I can solely on its acting, visual and story. Before I continue let it be known that I have no problem with remakes. I loved Zack Snyder’s take on ‘Dawn of the Dead’. ‘The Crazies’ was serviceable. ‘3:10 to Yuma’ was definitely a good one. Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’, for god sake. Those are good ones. ‘Poltergeist’ is not one of those.

Alright let’s get to the biscuit. Let’s start with the story. It’s simple but adds nothing to justify a remake. Normally you might get a deeper story to go with the reasoning the presence of a ghost, or why the killer is on that killing spree, or just something to make you go “hhmm, so that’s why the victims are victims.”  Now, I know not everything needs a back story, but come on; give me a justification for my ticket purchase. That being said, I only saw this film because it was uncle and niece night and horror is usually a shared interest of ours.

The acting: yyyeah about that. It’s there, people act in it because it isn’t exactly a documentary. The folks try to make what they have, work, but it wasn’t enough. I will give it to my man Sam Rockwell. Always enjoy seeing him anything. I’ll go and see him read out loud the names out of phonebook because he’ll bring his Sam Rockwell touch to it.

There is one scene in the film that I almost cringe of the thought of it. (Spoilers) When Jared Harris informs the family what they got themselves into, he and Rockwell go back in forward in a, I guess was suppose to be an emotional moment. I mean, you see Rockwell poltergeist2015turning on the “water works” to let the audience know that he is suffering on the inside the most at the possibility his daughter might be lost on the “other side”.  That scene just fell flat. Even the famous “They moved the headstones but didn’t move the bodies” landed on a thud.  Am I cold hearted?  No. I just think it didn’t work. I would like to mention Kennedi Clements as she takes over the role of ‘Madison’ who went by ‘Carol’ played Heather O’Rourke. Clements had some big shoes to fill, although she doesn’t steal the role, you can tell she’s got a future in acting.

The scare: Oh boy. It follows the same formula of a typical jump-scare flick that’s been the go to for most horror movies of the past decade. A loud bang here, a surprise grabbed from an unseen entity there, just a lack of creativity to frighten. The budget was naturally bigger than its predecessors and we live in the fantastical world of CGI but I just couldn’t find anything scary. The director went as far as to give us a tour of what was on the “other side”.  I’ll give it a plus for helping us picture what Madison was witnessed to, but I’ll still give it a negative because it gave us little to the imagination. Even the famous “face melting” scene was done too quickly of a throwaway. I’ll admit the original doesn’t deserve high marks in effects, but I still remember it to this day.

So, I would say that this one is a definite skip. I get the urgency for the cash grab in the market of horror but if you want your film to continue to be talked about for more than a day, you got to bring something that’s going to stick with you. I even caught myself laughing in the last 15 minutes as everything was drawing to a conclusion. Now excuse as I dust off the original and pop that bad boy into the VCR.


Green Day’s “American Idiot” Rocks the Met

Review by:Peter Foldy

June 9, 2015

An energetic and talented cast brings Green Day’s classic rock musical, AMERICAN IDIOT to the MET Theatre in Los Angeles.

The story of disenfranchised youth living in suburbia who must choose between following their dreams or accepting a life of mediocrity is a passionate, Image 7bawdy and a highly octane charged two hours of theater that has already enjoyed a healthy run on Broadway, with a Tony nomination for Best Musical and a GrammyAward for Best Musical show album. Beyond it’s Broadway run “American Idiot” has seen two national tours criss-cross the United States and beyond.

While DOMA’s production isn’t Broadway, it is a well crafted presentation from director Marco Gomez, with an elaborate set, colorful costumes and a stand-out five piece rock band on stage led by Keyboard Player/Musical Director/Conductor, Chris Raymond who along with David Abrams (Guitar) Andy Moresi (Guitar II) Graham Chapman (Bass) and Logan Shrewsbury (Drums) provided the Image 4powerful, driving back-beat for the show.

This production certainly raises the bar for musical theater in L.A.  The vocals in “American Idiot” are spot on, the dance numbers impressive, particularly considering the size of the venue.  An enthusiastic cast delivers heart felt performances that certainly touched the sold-out audience at the Met Theatre last Saturday night.

That’s not to say the show wasn’t without some minor problems.  A couple of missed lighting cues and a microphone that was cutting in an out were just a few of the minor glitches, but they were ones that are easy to forgive.  That’s because this musical speaks to it’s audience with haunting melodies that are hard to erase from your mind.  I swear I was singing Image 1“21 Guns,” one of the many stand out numbers, in my dreams after seeing the show.

Jess Ford, Chris Kerrigan and Wesley Moran are convincing as the three leads who end up on separate life paths.  Ford in particular gave it his all, a large portion of the play resting squarely on his shoulders.  Other cast stand-outs include Andrew Diego as the campy St. Jimmy, Jackee Bianchi as Heather and Renee Cohen  as Whatsername;

The ensemble, many of them former DOMA members, also includes Alex Allen, Sandra Diana Cantu, Tony Cellucci, Kevin Corsini, Blair Grotbeck, Lilian Manansala, Angeline Mirenda, Johnny Ortiz, Nohely Quiroz, Michael Restaino, Brittany Rodin, Marni Stone, Dekontee Tucrkile, Lauren Tyni, Ty West, Anthony D. Willis and Everjohn Image 3Feliciano whose beautiful voice and perfect harmonies were a treat to listen to.

Kudos must also go to set designer John Iacovelli, lighting and projection designer Jean-Yves Tessier, sound designer Julie Ferrin and costume designer Michael Mullen.

DOMA’s production of “American Idiot” does this show justice.  Slick, well paced and poignant, this is one rock musical that’s not to be missed.

“American Idiot” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from June 5 through July 26 (dark July 4).

Tickets range from $30–$34.99; seniors and students with ID pay only $20.

The MET Theatre is located at 1089 N. Oxford Ave., Los Angeles CA 90029.

For reservations, call (323) 802-9181 or go to www.domatheatre.com.

(Content Warning: American Idiot contains adult content and strong language. For mature audiences.)



Mad Max Fury Road – A Review

By Mark Salcido

‘Oh what a day, what a lovely day’

Feel the rumbling underneath of your feet from the roar of the engines. Feel that exhaust explode with power. See the roads race by as bodies are thrown through the skies. Your heart is pounding. Your ears are buzzing. Your eyes are wide and your jaw is dropped. You my friend have entered the world of Mad Max Fury Road. Welcome.

Mad Max Fury Road is director’s George Miller’s fourth installment of Max Rockatansky (aka “Mad Max”) as he travels the roads of Image 6a dystopian future. It stars Tom Hardy in the title role (originally played by Mel Gibson), Charlize Theron as “Imperator Furiosa,” and Nicholas Hoult as “Nux.”

As the story goes, Max finds himself captured by tyrannical cult leader “Immortan Joe,” (played by Hugh Keays-Bryne) “War Boys” and taken to the Citadel. There, Max is used as a universal blood donor and his first recipient is War Boy Nux (Hoult). Meanwhile, Immortan Joe rallies his War Boys and Furiosa (Theron) as she takes the wheel of a “War Rig” (AKA big and bad ass muthafuckin heavily-armoured truck with A LOT of horse power).

As the group heads to Gas Town, Furiosa purposely drives off route into the Wasteland. Only to reveal that she took Immortan Joe’s five prize breeders and are on their way to a place far away from the tyrant. And so the chase begins. Nux joins pursuit with Max strapped to the hood of his car pumping his high octane blood into Nux’s dying body. If you think that is nuts, sit back, it’s only the first 15 minutes of the film.

Before we get into the selling point of the film, which is the action, let’s talk about the plot. It’s thin but in a good way. The Mad Max films haven’t been known to have really deep driven dialogues but what is said is indeed memorable and can some ways, actually have a point. That Image 8being said, I will bring up the underlying message this movie that some people have claimed it’s making, feminism. No need to sugar coat it, we are adults after all.  There is indeed somewhat of a feminist statement made but not in the “hairy armpit feminazi” manner people seem to picture. The statement that Furiosa, Toast the Knowing, The Splendid Angharad, Capable, The Dag and Cheedo the Fragile (those are the breeders) is that they are not property. Some critics have gone far as to say it’s much more than that but that may be because this is not Max’s story, it’s Furiosa’s.   Max just happens to be dropped into the situation.

Hardy does a great job as Max but Theron’s Furiosa easily steals the show. Her character is an amazing bad ass that I would go as to say (and I’m sure I’m the first to mention this) that she belongs up there with the great action heroines Image 2such as Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley and Foxy Brown. There’s even a scene where Furiosa goes toe to toe with Max and is able to hold her own.

Nuts doesn’t even begin to describe the action set pieces this film does. What makes these action scenes stand on top of all the other action films in the past decade is that most of it is practical. Now I say most because the portion that is CGI are some of the bodies being thrown around and an amazing scene where a sand storm is in play.

Speaking of sand storm, that scene played from the trailer is the only big action set piece. But don’t, worry it continues to go even crazier.  One particular action scene that I admire the most was set through a canyon as Max and Furiosa battle a gang of bikers. As the music ramps up, Max hands Furiosa a weapon, which he was keeping her away from. When that happens, no words are exchanged, only a look. A silent agreement, an understanding between the two, that their need for each other to survive is evident. And so the dance begins.

Max picks off one biker here (BAM!). Furiosa picks off another Image 7one there (BOOM!). The sequence for defense is laid out and it is seamlessly beautiful. I didn’t think it was possible to have a second viewing of the same film and still keep my heart racing as it did the first time.

The Bad.

I can usually pick out “the bad” from a film. Plot holes, horrible scenes, atrocious acting with god awful dialogue that makes you want to pull your teeth out, but I’m really finding it hard with this film. And I’ve seen the movie twice in theaters plus six times in my head.

So if you want some adrenaline in your diet with a side of pulse pounding action to wet your car crash whistle, this is the film for you my friend. I like to think that George Miller took a step outside of the G and PG rated movie building, saw the state of car action films these days and said, “Alright boys, let me show you how it’s done.” It took him 30 years to get this bad boy off ground; I only hope that it doesn’t take nearly as long for the next one. Because Mr. Miller, the world is going mad and we need more Max in it.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A Review

by Mark Salcido

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Avengers: Age of Ultron is 2015 comic book superhero film in a long and still growing line of movies from the juggernaut Marvel Studios. Joss Whedon returns to direct and do what he does best. It also brings back Robert Downey, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Cobie Smulders and Samual L. Jackson. Joining this incredibly large cast isImage 5 Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle and James Spader. Holy shit that’s one hell of a large cast and I didn’t even name “everybody”.

The story involves Tony Stark creating a program that was meant to protect the earth and keep world peace. Keeping up with the classic Frankenstein trope, Stark’s creation Ultron (voiced and MOCAP by James Spader) takes that idea and flips it on his head. How to keep world peace? Get rid of the problem; humans. And with that, we have our plot and villain in attendance.

The summer blockbuster season has started and Age of Ultron kicked the door wide open. From the start, the film gives you a strong reminder why the audience eagerly awaited this sequel. Where the pervious movie kinda started slow but not quite thrilling enough, this one puts the viewersImage 4 in the middle of a battle between The Avengers and what’s left of H.Y.D.R.A. Whedon took from what was called, “Working Together” scene from the ‘Battle of New York’ in The Avengers and throws it right back in your face. Oh but wait, that’s not even the best action scene.

Now, you might think, “Oh this movie will just have cool action scenes, funny one liners and hero posing non-stop”. Well my lack of open minded friend, I’m happy to say that you are wrong. Once the action slows down, the pacing doesn’t suffer. There are few character development scenes that get pretty deep and hold your interest. In the previous Avengers film, there was a hint of a romance between Bruce Banner and Black Widow that gets explored in this sequel and not crammed down your throat. I would say it helps the audience sympathize more for the characters. Also in the previous film, there was a lack of Hawkeye/Clint Barton in the mix. Where Clark Gregg character (Agent Coulson) was the heart andImage 2 push the Avengers needed to keep going, Jeremy Renner’s character and (gasp) family takes up the mantle and does it well.

As the story progresses, Ultron needs to create a body strong enough to withstand the punishment the Avengers can dish out. Enter The Vision played by Paul Bettany. Arguably the Hulk was the one who stole the show the first go around, The Vision can hold the title for this film. He’s introduced later on but his introduction leaves a mark on you as he proves himself “worthy” to be a member of the Avengers (wink wink Thor’s hammer).

Let’s talk about the elephant in the internet room. When 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past was released, fans and critics applaud Bryan Singer’s take on Quicksilver played by Evan Peters…that’s cute. Whedon’s crack at Quicksilver (Johnson) and the visual Image 4effects surpasses Singer’s. And more importantly, the character isn’t wasted or confined to a small portion of the film. You actually feel something for this character. But, I do wish there was another scene or two of Johnson’s Quicksilver and his sister Scarlett Witch played by Olsen. I think the brother and sister dynamic between the two could’ve added more to the depth of the film from the other side of coin.

James Spader as Ultron fitted right into the movie. His craft of bringing the character alive would easily make him the best villain Marvel has produced. Now, put the torches and pitchforks down. Loki was fun as well, but Spader’s Ultron fits more into the modern world of Avengers. Think of Ultron as an evil robotic version of Stark and you got yourself some entertainment.

The Effects are well put together and fits in like a glove. With a big budget backing up this film; it better be. The battleImage 2 scene between Hulk and Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster is flawless. It was given the right amount of action, mixed with bit of comedy all in a well timed length that didn’t make it seem tedious.  There is a little bit of disjointness when some of the action really picks up in a scene or two. It teeters on that Transformers edge of “What the hell is going on”. But I’ll forgive it and chalk it up to the not so stellar record of a 3d viewing.

By the time this review is released, more than likely, the movie will hit two-hundred million dollars for its U.S opening weekend. So if you want to give your hard earn money and be entertained for close to 2 ½ hours, I suggest you head to your local theater and give it a viewing. And if you think you’re too good for this movie, well my friend, you don’t enjoy life and all things that come with it.

An Evening Of Classic Broadway Returns To Rockwell Table And Stage

April 14, 2015

By popular demand, Fraser Entertainment Group’s critically-acclaimed ongoing series AN EVENING OF CLASSIC BROADWAY returns to Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz on Wednesday, April 22 at 8pm.  It’s a great way to celebrate Broadway Your Way on Earth Day enjoying songs from classic musicals performed by a cast of singers from Broadway, television and film.

This upcoming presentation of AN EVENING OF CLASSIC BROADWAY marks the seventh installment of the successful concert series, produced by Dianne Fraser. Musical Director, Brad Ellis is pleased to announce the cast featuring singers from Broadway, television

Musical Director, Brad Ellis

Musical Director, Brad Ellis

and film: Will Collyer, Louise Marie Cornillez, Savannah Leigh, Kelly Lester, Alex Newell, Joanne O’Brien and Jeffrey Polk.

Rockwell Table & Stage is located at 1714 N. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles 90027.  Doors open at 6:30pm with the show beginning at 8pm. Tickets are $10, $15 or $20 plus a 2-item food minimum.  Valet and street parking available.  For tickets and additional information: http://rockwell-la.inticketing.com/events/496559/an-evening-of-classic-broadway/

The series Musical Director Brad Ellis is regarded as one of the most respected and sought after composers, arrangers, and musical directors in the musical theatre community.  He has enjoyed a newfound fame as the on-camera pianist on the hit television series GLEE. Lately, he has been traveling the world as Musical Director for Matthew Morrison’s solo show.

In addition to his role on Glee, Mr. Ellis can be seen coaching in the “Special Features” of the DVD Release of Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. Long before Glee, Mr. Ellis was renowned for his clever and instantly recognizable arrangements for such shows as Forbidden Broadway, Forbidden Hollywood, Whoop-Dee-Doo, and the Christmas edition of Forever Plaid known as Plaid Tidings. He has arranged and orchestrated for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Philadelphia Symphony and the CD “Unexpected Dreams – Songs from The Stars” featuring members of the LA Phil to benefit Music Cares which supports music programs in

Producer, Dianne Fraser

Producer, Dianne Fraser

the LA schools. In concert, and on CD, Mr. Ellis has worked with Billy Joel, Angela Lansbury, Kristin Chenoweth, Scarlett Johansson, Patti LuPone, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Ariana Grande, and Jeremy Irons to name a few.

Other shows presented by Fraser Entertainment Group include Starr Quality, Actors Fund Benefit and Tribute to Rick Starr, and Gifts of Love: the Words and Music of Stephen Schwartz, both at the Catalina Jazz Club, as well as the 4-night, 4-venue Actors Fund benefit concert event, CABARET IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN LOS ANGELES directed by David Galligan, which returns for a second engagement this fall. Learn more about Fraser Entertainment Group at www.fraserentertainmentgroup.com

It’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day enjoying songs from classic Broadway musicals performed by a cast of singers from Broadway, television and film.

Rockwell Table and Stage is located at 1714 N. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles 90027.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Doors open at 6:30pm with the show beginning at 8pm.
Valet and street parking available.

Tickets are $10, $15 or $20 plus a 2-item food minimum. For tickets and additional information: http://rockwell-la.inticketing.com/events/496559/an-evening-of-classic-broadway/

From TV To Indie Films, Michael Grant Is Doing It All

by Peter Hughes

Young actor, MICHAEL GRANT  pulls his black Mini Cooper into a parking spot at the same time I am trying to find a place to park myself in a dark garage below a Beverly Hills cafe.

“Hey, Michael,” I call out, never having met the man in person, but having recently seen his acting chops in the fine, new, currently unreleased drama, “Fair Haven,” he looks much like he did in the movie.

We shake hands and head 10659095_520949571370766_6154814187858732891_oupstairs to order breakfast, finding ourselves relegated to an outside table where not even the hot, high octane coffee I am sipping keeps me warm on this unusually brisk morning in March.

My early rapport with Michael also seems just a little bit on the cool side.  He is soft spoken and seemingly introverted, but as we play the get to know you game his sweet side begins to seep through and it doesn’t take long to warm up to this kid.

His backstory is not all that unusual. The son of a doctor in Tennessee, he and his sister Stephanie, along with their mom, Anna, made the move to California five years ago, initially to launch Stephanie into the world of acting.  A classically trained pianist and lifelong musician, then 14-year-old Michael also decided that, since he was in Hollywood,  he too might give acting a try.  He soon landed an agent and his early auditions quickly gave him the confidence that he was looking for.

“It was when I came very close to landing a lead on a Disney show called, “Kickin’ It” that I 10456086_478567745608949_7788342373032352340_nrealized I can do this,” he explains.  Now, five years and many acting workshops later, Michael is on an upward trajectory with strong supporting roles in the features, “Where Hope Grows” in which he plays a cruel bully, and “Still Life,” an indie film dealing with high school kids figuring out their future.  “Where Hope Grows” recently premiered at the Dallas Film Festival and has since been picked up for theatrical distribution by Roadside Attractions.

Perhaps his most valuable credit to date has been as a series regular on seasons 4 and 5 of “The Secret Life of The American Teenager” a show that has not only given him some financial stability, but has also brought him some fans.  He has since guest starred on various other TV shows,  slowly building an impressive resume for a young actor who has only just turned 19.

But the purpose of our meeting today is to talk about “Fair Haven,” a film where Michael gets to do the heavy lifting.  He plays the role of “James,” a musically prodigy who has been sent by his father to ex-gay-conversion therapy where they try to scare the gay out of him and return him to his family full of Jesus.  Stopping in to see his father on his way to study at the prestigious music academy, Berklee, the character discovers that his old man has spent his college fund, virtually trapping the boy in the narrow-minded confines of his small town.  James goes to work for his dad on the farm and begins the charade of dating girls.  Along the way he runs into his best friend and one time boyfriend, “Charlie,” well portrayed 10387167_487170941415296_5077640384864648015_oanother young actor, Josh Green.

So what was it about this project that appealed to him, I ask?

“The story by the film’s director Kerstin Karlhuber and the script by Jack Bryant was so well written that it immediately spoke to me.  After reading it I put myself on tape. I read some scenes and played the piano and sent it off to the casting director.  As luck would have it I landed the role and soon found myself in the town of Victor, New York making this movie.

And how was the shoot?  “Short and fast paced.  I was in most of the scenes.  I had very little down time and when I did I kept mostly to myself.  This was my first lead and I knew the responsibility I was a carrying but truthfully, by the end of the film I was emotionally drained.  I remember calling my sister from my hotel room and telling her I don’t know if I can muster the energy for my remaining scenes, I was that exhausted, but somehow I did and we got it done.”

Having seen a rough cut of this film, I can say that Michael’s portrayal MG (1)of “James” is poignant and vulnerable, a trait that he was now allowing me a glimpse of as our outdoor breakfast chat continued.

We switch gears to talk about his life in L.A.  How does he spend his time?

“I study.  Watch a lot of classic movies.  My parents recently gave me a boxed set of films from the 50s and 60s.  I loved them, especially enjoy foreign films.  Truffaut, Godard, Andrei Tarkovski.  Brilliant directors.”  What about hobbies or pastimes?  “Basketball.  I’m a big NBA fan.”

So what is it about acting that made him put his classical music training on the backburner for now?  “Acting is a craft of the heart,” he tells me.  “It’s my chance for real artistic expression.   Although the television work I’ve done is important, I hope to be able to continue my current momentum as an actor in indie films.  I think features give me a chance to be a part of perhaps more meaningful stories. I’ve definitely grown as a person doing these last three films.  On “Still Life” in particular I made some amazing friends.  People I hope to know for a long time to come.”

So whose career would he likeFairHaven_Poster_03 to emulate?  Which directors would he love to work with?  “Terrence Malick for sure.  I loved “The Tree of Life.”  Wish I could have been in that one.   Chris Nolan, David Fincher, those are probably some other favorites that come to mind.  As far as actors, I really admire Ryan Gosling’s work and the way he has managed his career.  Andrew Garfield is another actor I admire and reaching back a few years, Timothy Hutton who was so brilliant as a high school kid in Robert Redford’s “Ordinary People.”

With the temperature dropping we pay our bill and stand in the parking lot to warm up in the sunshine as we say our goodbyes.  I’ve enjoyed this interview.  Michael’s turned out to be a cool guy who is setting the foundations for a long lasting acting and music career.

I climb in my car and follow him out of the garage.  He zips away in his little Mini Cooper, perhaps to continue chasing the dream.

From where I’m sitting I’m willing to bet he finds it.

Visit Michael Grant’s Facebook page HERE.

Learn more about FAIR HAVEN on Facebook.

Principal Singer at London’s Windmill Theater During WW II Relocates From Hollywood to Heaven


Alan von Kalckreuth

As the bombs rained down on London during the terrifying nights of the Battle of Britain a young singer came on stage and transported the mostly military servicemen attending the Windmill Theater to a more enchanting world.  The singer, PATRICIA MORNE was young, beautiful and sang with a voice that later secured her a contract with the BBC.

“I never took it off!” Miss Morne declaredImage 3 as she later recalled those remarkable days.  She was referring to the unique exemption the Windmill Theater had secured from the British Censor Board that allowed nude girls to pose as “set design”.  “I didn’t have to,” she said proudly.  Vivian Van Damm, the theater director, had given her three weeks when she applied for a job as a singer.  “I was there for three years,” she revealed proudly.  “Cecil Madden from the BBC came to a show, he saw me and booked me for the BBC.”  From then on the BBC would state in their program, “Presenting Patricia Morne, by Kind Permission of the Windmill Theater.”

Van Damm loved the high-browed plug.

Reading through her fan mail it was clear that the young soldiers who caught a Windmill Theater show before they returned to duty were there for Miss Morne’s grace and beautiful singing voice as much as for the racy stage props.   The film, “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” released in 2005, tells the story of the Windmill Theater during that time, the theater that refused to be subdued by Hitler’s rain of bombs in his relentless attempt to conquer Britain.

“At the Windmill we used to say “We’re Never Closed,” explained Miss Morne in one of her last interviews.  “As well as five shows a day, six days a week, the cast would spend their day-off at military bases entertaining the troops.”

Miss Morne got her start in show business when she was nine years old; sheImage 1 took her music sheet and followed her older sister Pearl to a talent show.  Pearl had told her to stay at home as she was too young to enter the show.  Miss Morne took no notice of her big sister, climbed up on the stage after giving the pianist the sheet music to “Ma, He’s Making Eyes at ME”…. and won first prize and earned her fist dollar as a performing star.

A few years later Miss Morne auditioned for a chorus line position with Cecil B Cochran’s showgirls in a 1932, Noel Coward revue.  Buddy Bradley was brought over from America to choreograph Cochran’s shows.  “He taught us the “Snake-Hips” Miss Morne recalled.  “We girls giggled at the moves.”  Cochran’s girls and Bradley’s exotic dance moves lit up the London stage and Cochran’s revues became the talk of the town.   After several successful shows with Cochran Miss Morne asked him why he had hired her and why he kept her in the shows, “technically, you’re not so good… but you LOOK good!” he told her.

On one occasion during a photo-op Miss Morne found herself standing behind Buddy Bradley, “I couldn’t help reaching out and touching his hair,’ she admitted later.  Buddy Bradley was happy to let the curious British dancing girl fiddle with his wiry hair.  Later when the cast gave her a spaniel for her birthday she named it Buddy.

As war loomed in Europe Miss Morne found herself “Hippodrome Out,” the inside term used by performers between gig.  Her younger sister, Irene, was a showgirl at a theater on Windmill Lane, the Windmill Theater.  Irene suggested she go and see if there was a job to be had.  After telling Van Damm that she wouldn’t take it off she was hired “provisionally” as the lead singer.  Three years later she was still there, now performing five shows a day.

After the war MissImage Morne continued in theater and met her husband the song and dance performer turned producer, Tommy Tomson of the Tomson Twins.  Tommy was casting a show at the West End, “He asked me out for tea,” explained Miss Morne fully aware that the casting-couch interpretation would quickly spring to mind.   Tommy’s true feelings for the glamorous singer however became obvious when he asked Miss Morne to elope with him.  She did.  They got married at Caxton Hall in Westminster.  After the civil ceremony a nervous Miss Morne phoned her mother.  “Bring him home for lunch, dear,” was all her mother said.  Tommy worked his charm on Miss Morne’s show business family and was a part of the family until his death in Hollywood in 1971.

Tommy had picked the right girl, and according to Miss Morne, he also knew when the girl wasn’t right.   Some time later Tommy was casting a West End show; one of the young lady’s auditioning was Sahara Churchill, daughter of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill.   Sahara was not the caliber of performer Tommy was looking for and he passed on her.  “Do you know who’s daughter that is,” asked aImage 2 stunned production assistant.  “I don’t care whose daughter she is, she’s not in my show.”

The Tomson Twins had been a stage phenomenon in the Twenties and had established nightclubs in Paris and New York.  To promote an upcoming show in their New York club in 1921 Tommy flew a bi-plane over the city and dropped tickets to the show.  His novel approach to marketing got him additional attention in the New York Times.  Tommy was a World War I fighter pilot with the RAF, the Royal Air Force.  He was shot down and severely injured – a bullet passing through his back a fraction of an inch from his spin.  The injury kept him in bed, lying on his front for many months, but it did not stop him getting back on the boards and hoofing it up with his twin Jack.

In the late forties Miss Morne performed on stage in theater and revue appearing with top acts and performers including Benny Hill.  One revue was a Royal Command Performance attended by the Queen of England.  “The night before the performance the producer called us all on stage and told us to give it our best when her Majesty was in the audience, and when he had finished he turned to Benny and said… ‘and Benny, keep it clean!’”

Benny kept it clean and after the show Miss Morne was presented to the Queen.  “I had to go down the stage steps.  I was wearing a long ball gown and I was terrified I was going to trip and fall flat on my face in front of the Queen of England!”  Miss Image 4Morne recalled.  She made it down in one piece and bobbed elegantly to the Queen.  “Very nice, my Dear,” said the Queen.  “Thank you Ma’am,” Miss Morne replied, not quite sure if the Queen was referring to her performance on the stage or her skill in negotiating the steps in a ball gown without toppling over.

In 1952 Miss Morne and Tommy moved to Hollywood.  They continued their careers in show business, Tommy producing theater and Miss Morne acting and modeling.  Miss Morne was a member of the BACC and BAFTA-LA.  After Tommy passed away Miss Morne came upon an employment agency in Beverly Hills that needed an executive administrator.  The lady owner hired her sight unseen after a phone call.   “With a voice like that you got the job,” her new boss declared.

Some years later the owner married a wealthy man and gave Miss Morne the business.  “I was very good at placing the right people in the right job,” Miss Morne recalled.  Her years in show business gave her the knack of casting the right person for the role, and as Tommy might have said, “NOT casting the wrong person”.  Miss Morne passed away peacefully in Los Angeles in February, three days after the Oscars.

For more information contact: Tel: 213 446 4448


“Kingsman: Secret Service” Is 2015’s First Great Action Film

Review by: Mark Salcido

Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Yes, this movie came out almost two weeks ago but give me a break; I do have a life outside of this website.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service “is the latest film from director Matthew Vaughn and second collaboration with comic book writer Mark Millar. It stars Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Michael Caine, 9859_kingsman_recruitsoMark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sofia Boutella. Based off the comic from Icon Comics written by Mark Millar, it tells the story of Gary ‘Eggsy’ Urwin (played by Egerton) who’s recruited by Harry Hart/Galahad (played by Firth) into the secret spy world to battle terrorism of all types wherever they may lie and save the day, in the most stylish fashion.

Now the formal shit is done, let’s really talk about the movie. This one is fun, fun, fun. Fuck proper grammar because that’s how good this movie is. It’s not a deep thinker or dumb down explosion fest. It’s a stylish action spy film that deserves your smile and hard earned money. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The movie starts off by letting you know how cool kingsmanx01everything is going to be in almost every scene but doesn’t stick its pretentious nose at you. When Eggsy is picked from the slums of England because of his family history, he, along with a few other candidates, are molded and trained into proper gentlemen spies by Merlin (played by Strong), while Galahad and other fellow Kingsmen investigate the disappearance of Professor Arnold (played by Mark Hamill…yes, you read that right). This leads to a trail to tech billionaire Valentine (Jackson) and his bad muthafuckin’ ass henchwoman, Gazelle (Boutella). Now, doesn’t that just scream nefarious plans for world dominating?

You can tell that everyone involved with this movie had a blast making it. There is plenty of drykingsman 1 British humor that mixed well with American. You’ve probably heard that this movie is a blend of Vaughn’s early film Kick-Ass and James Bond, spot on. Kingsman takes the spy genre and brings it to a real world yet still comical place. The movie even pokes fun at itself by mentioning how it follows the tropes of a hip spy film.

The direction of Matthew Vaughn is so damn good. There are a few shaky cam-esq scenes that begin a little jarring but are quickly forgiven when it really brings you into the action. It’s been reported that Vaughn passed on X-Men: Days of Future Past to make this film and thank god he did. I don’t think anyone could’ve fit as director better than him for this type of story. No shot SamJacksonis wasted and Vaughn makes sure everyone hits their comedic mark.

The action is awesome. There is a great scene when Colin Firth’s character goes full Jason Bourne/Bryan Mills and takes out a room full of people to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ and with the flair of, you guessed it, Kick-Ass. I caught myself having the hugest grin because it was just that cool. This being a spy film, of course you’ll get your fill of handy dandy spy gadgets; even making a few cracks at some classic Bond tools.

This movie is a fun spy/action ride that I think you will want to go back again and again. It won’t win for the most thought provoking concerns on our society, but will do its job as this year’s first great action film. All in all, enjoy this film. Trust me, I am a trained professional.

Dick Cavett Re-Lives History in “Hellman v McCarthy” At Theatre 40

Review by: Peter Foldy

The play, “Hellman v McCarthy” at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills tells the story of two old battle axes who also happen to be literary lionesses, as they battle it out in the court of public opinion, dragging the legendary talk show host, Dick Cavett and the PBS television network into the fight.

Mr. Cavett portrays a younger incarnation of himself in this fine production directed by Howard Storm and writtenImage 2 by Brian Richard Mori.

The circumstances leading up to this senior citizen cat fight are based on real facts.  In 1979, celebrated writer, Mary McCarthy (“Memories of a Catholic Girlhood,” “The Group”) was a guest on the “The Dick Cavett Show.”  During the interview the outspoken Ms. McCarthy slammed writers, John Steinbeck and Peal Buck before moving on the a more hated literary competitor, Lillian Hellman, author of the hit Broadway plays “The Little Foxes” and “The Children’s Hour” as well as the memoir “Pentimento: A Book of Portraits.”  Ms. McCarthy told Mr. Cavett that Hellman was an overrated as well as a dishonest writer, continuing to say that “every word she writes is a lie, Imageincluding ‘and’ and ‘the’.”

Hellman and her male nurse happened to catch the broadcast and aghast, Ms. Hellman filed a libel suit the next day, not only against Ms. McCarthy but also against Dick Cavett and PBS.

It is a fact that Hellman was criticized for inaccuracies in a particular chapter of her book, “Pentimento,” a story that was ultimately turned into the Academy Award winning film, “Julia” starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave.

It would seem that these two colorful women had a history of dislike for each other that likely started Image 4in the 1930s when Hellman became a communist sympathizer and McCarthy followed a more liberal path.  Professional jealousy and even a tryst with each other’s gentlemen friends didn’t help matters any.

After a  watching each participant give depositions and vent to their respective attorneys as well as directly to Mr. Cavett himself, the audience finally gets to witness the much awaited face to face confrontation between Hellman and McCarthy.

The playwright does a great job of showing us just how it might have gone down, because this event never happened and, as Mr. Cavett explains, might only be imagined.  And imagined it is.  Full of slurs, innuendo and bawdy language, the clash is vericious.  For the audience it’s fun being a fly on the wall.

In real life the conflict between Hellman and McCarthy was never resolved, the lawsuit was never settled because Ms. Hellman passed away.  One can almost be certain that had she not died, it almost certainly would havImage 1e gone to the courts.  Neither Hellman nor McCarthy were willing to concede an inch.  The case was finally dismissed in 1984 and this battle of the wills makes for wonderful drama that has been well brought to life by Mr. Mori.

Cavett playing Cavett is s great piece of casting.  He is charming and relaxed as himself, opening the show as he would on television with a playful monologue.   He introduces  his TV guest, McCarthy and recreates a portion of their interview, setting the nasty wheels in motion.

Marcia Rodd, recreates the role of Mary McCarthy, having originated the role off-Broadway in 2014 in a production that also starred Mr. Cavett.  Ms. Rodd is superbly dry and feisty as Mary McCarthy and ably delivers the writer’s point of view.

Flora Plumb is most compelling as the foulImage 6 mouthed, Lillian Hellman.  She delivers a balanced portrait and she makes the audience both hate and feel empathy for her .  Hellman refuses to back down, not only from the pending lawsuit but also from the mean spirited cranky old woman she has grown into.

M. Rowan Meyer is strong and believable “Ryan,” Hellman’s nurse, a fan boy who puts up with the Hellman’s meanness long after many would have walked away.  In a powerful emotional encounter with Hellman his character turns confrontational when finally pushed too far.  It is a touching moment from Mr. Meyer who also originated this role off-Broadway.

Martin Thompson and John Combs are a fine addition to this cast, but it is Dick Cavett who helps balance the story, moving us between actual facts and a dash of fiction, in a sense breaking the fourth wall by his very presence in this compelling play that should not be missed.

Hellman v. McCarthy
Theatre 40 in the Reuben Cordova Theatre
241 S. Moreno Drive in Beverly Hills
on the campus of Beverly Hills High School
For tickets, call (310) 364-3606 or visit www.theatre40.org
Ends on Feb 28, 2015
Tickets for one subsequent performance at The Saban Theatre on March 1, 2015 available at Ticketmaster –






“Birdman” Director, Alejandro Inarritu, Wins Top Prize At Directors Guild Awards

-1Century City, CA:  February 8, 2015

After taking top honors from the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and the producing guilds, “Birdman,” a film about a washed-up Hollywood actor played by Michael Keaton has won the top prize at the Directors Guild Awards in Century City last night.

Alejandro Inarritu, the writer-director of “Birdman,” was honored at Saturday’s ceremony with the prize for outstanding directional achievement for a feature film.  Many had expected Richard Linklater, director of the film, “Boyhood,” to win the top prize at last night’s award and this win by Inarritu just may give “Birdman” an edge at the up-coming  Academy Awards.  59 of the 66 previous DGA winners have gonebanner-birdman-film_page_np on to win the directing Oscar.

The Director’s Guild dispenses awards to directors in TV and movie categories in what’s customarily a final calling for the film that goes on to win the best director trophy and possibly best picture at the Oscars.

Other winners Saturday included Jill Soloway for the TV comedy “Transparent” and Laura Poitras for the documentary “Citizenfour.”

Totalitarian “Disconnection” Rules at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

Review by Peter Foldy

Launching their 2015 season after a successful, award winning year in 2014, the Skylight Theatre Company has opened with a thought-provoking drama by Allen Barton called DISCONNECTION.  Based in part on the playwright’s own personal experiences with Scientology, the play is a powerful indictment of contemporary religious intrusion into personal lives and is a production that should not be missed.

As the story unfolds,Diconnection-Poster “Landon” (Jay Huguley)  is a successful lawyer who is depressed after the death of his wife four years earlier, a death he is responsible for.  He visits “Michel” (Dennis Nollette), an elderly piano teacher, thinking that by sharpening his music skills he may be able to find some peace of mind.  Both men are members of a powerful Church that pays no taxes and uses fear, threats of violence and an implied moral authority to restrict freedom of speech, and even more damagingly, forces it’s members to disassociate with friends and family who are deemed to be “suppressive.”

Landon’s daughter, “Tess” (Carter Scott) also a church member, has not been allowed to see or speak to her father since the deadly accident.  Tess has become a high ranking staff member who reports directly to the Church’s young and volatile “Chairman,” (Everette Wallin).  When Tess and her husband, “Nick,” (Luke Cook) another high up staff member in the organization discover that Tess is pregnant, she informs Nick that she is leaving the Church.  Children it seems are a distraction and are not allowed amongst the staff.

Tess’ husband soon reveals himself to be more loyal to the Chairman than he is to his pregnant wife.  He tries to convince Tess to have an abortion but she refused and before long faces the wrath of the Chairman as he rants and threatens to end her marriage to Nick and destroy Tess in the process.

We also meet “Oldman” (Robert L. Hughes) the DIS_0972founder of this dogmatic religion that uses a mix of science fiction, among other things, as it’s basis in fact.  Now in hiding and reflecting back on his life, Oldman is particularly unhappy about the fact that his Church is now in the hands of a mere ‘boy’ as Oldman refers to the Chairman.  His original intentions, he tells us, were well meaning, but his vision took a wrong turn and Oldman now feels guilt and some regret over the wrongs he has committed along the way.

Director, Joel Polis ably guides his highly talented cast.  Carter Scott, making her first professional theater appearance is exceptional as “Tess.”   It is hard not to identify with her plight. Luke Cook is perfect as her  weasly, brainwashed, robotic husband, “Nick,” who uses his real Australian accent in this production.  Whether intended or not, it subtly indicates the international reach of the Church of which “Nick” is a devoted member.

Robert L. Hughes finds a nice balance between dictator and prophet with his monologue as “Oldman” and EveretteDIS_0721 Wallin as “Chairman” is frightening in the role of the violent, crazy as a fox ‘boy’ now in firm control of the movement.

Jay Huguley as “Landon” and Dennis Nollette as “Michel” are also impressive in their respective roles.

Jeff McLaughlin’s set and lighting design and Peter Bayne’s sound design were effective in bringing the production to life.

It should also be mentioned that all the piano playing in the piece were performed (and pre-recorded) by playwright, Allen Barton.

Barton needs to be commended for so ably telling this disturbing and pertinent story.  In this current age where dogma has taken a hold of many impressionable minds, it is important to get a glimpse at the inner workings of organizations such as the Church in order to learn about their their fear based modus operandi, not to mention the life-long damage they inflict on individuals who dare to defy them.

As a final statement to the audience, Carter Scott’s “Tess” reminds us not to be smug and believe that only stupid people fall prey to ill conceived groups and religions.  In a moment of weakness, she tell us, we are all susceptible.

Where: Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robinson Blvd. Beverly Hills

When: 8:30 pm Fridays, 8:00 pm Saturdays and 7:00 pm on Sundays.

Closing: March 1, 2015.  (No performance Feb 1, or March 1).

For reservations call: 213-761-7061, or book online  HERE

Photos by Ed Krieger


Henry Jaglom’s Train To Zakopané Is A Ride Worth Taking

Review by Peter Foldy

The setting is Poland, 1928.  The play opens on an over-crowded train to Warsaw.

A handsome, sophisticated young Russian emigre called, Semyon Sapir (Mike Falkow) is invited to share a compartment with a man of the cloth, Father Alexandrov (Stephen Howard).  Also on the train is a retired actress,  Mme. Nadia Selmeczy (Cathy Arden) and an attractive army nurse, Katia Wampuzyk (Tanna Frederick) who is on her way to join her regiment.  The conversation soon turns political and the subject of those pesky Jews quickly becomes a topic.  Katia does not hide her deeply rooted antisemitism and Semyon, who we know to be Jewish, chooses not reveal that he is “one of those people” that Katia claims to be able to “smell a kilometer away.”

Tanna Frederick and Mike Falkow in "Train To Zakopané"

Tanna Frederick and Mike Falkow in “Train To Zakopané”

Despite her hatred of his race, Semyon feels a strange attraction for the young nurse and when the train stops at the beautiful ski resort town of Zakopané, a town where Katia grew up, he convinces her to disembark in order to spend a few days together before she has to continue her journey.  We are not sure what Semyon’s true intentions are.  Is it love at first sight, a sexual attraction, or perhaps the desire to teach the pretty young anti-semite a cruel lesson.

After a couple of beautiful, romantic days together, Semyon deflowers the virginal nurse and now he is even more torn whether to admit the truth about his religion.  But soon a more devastating secret is revealed and Semyon realizes that even before they ever met, Katia had indirectly impacted his life.  Again a hatred of Jews lies at the heart of the problem, and the conclusion of the play is both tragic and bitter sweet.  Adding to the impact, at least for this reviewer,  is the fact that the audience is left with the knowledge that in just over twelve years from when this story takes place, the Jews of Poland will be sent to extermination camps, wiping out almost three million citizens.  It is certainly a sobering realization, though not everyone who sees this play will make that connection.

Written by playwright/film director/actor, Henry Jaglom and ably directed by Gary Imhoff, Train to Zakopané” is an ambitious production.  The play is based on a true story told to Jaglom by his father who had a very similar experience as a young man in Poland.

Mike Falkow is well cast as “Semyon Sapir,” the suave, intelligent traveler who sets out to seduce a stranger on a train.  His polite manner and dashing good looks make him at first hard to figure and for the young nurse, even harder to resist.

Tanna Frederick comes across as somewhat annoying in the role of the naive, opinionated Katia, but as her story unfolds and her weaknesses revealed, I was able to see her character’s point of view.  Katia only knows what she knows, and happily believes those harmful stereo types that are reinforced as fact in certain European countries where it seems that  antisemitism is taken in with mother’s milk.  It was in the 1920s a fabric of their daily lives, and as history has proved, not just at the beginning of the 20th Century,  but sadly to this very day.

Stephen Howard  as “Father Alexandrov” and Cathy Arden as  “Mme. Nadia Selmeczy” are both excellent as fellow passengers who don’t challenge Katia’s virulent opinions and who are stunned when the young nurse gets off the train with a man she has just met.

One bump in the road for “Train To ” is the language.  It is thick and mannered and old world polite, but at the same time probably not inaccurate, because that is how most middle class and upper class Poles spoke in the 1920s.

Some of the delivery and mannerism, particularly from Ms. Frederick come across as as “acting” and may seem slightly over the top, but not unexpected from a character with deep insecurities who is trying to impress.  As the performance moved forward, Ms. Frederick grew more grounded and easier to relate to.

Certainly, by the time we meet Jeff Elan as “Dr. Nahum Gruenbaum” and Kelly DeSarla as Katia’s old friend, “Marousia Petronko,” (both grounded and convincing) in the second act,  the intentions are clearer, though certain story points are unnecessarily repeated.

Scenic design by Chris Stone is impressive, if perhaps overly ambitious, requiring lengthy set changes.  Costumes by Shayna Frederick are glamorous and appropriate for the ladies and less so for the gentlemen.  Dr. Grienbaum’s modern day suit and sweater especially made him look out of place.

Great music choices by the production certainly help to set the atmosphere and allow the audience relate to the era.

“Train To Zakopané – A True Story Of Hate And Love” feels in many ways like a grand motion picture from the 1940s.  It’s a sweeping story of a once in a lifetime romance and also a history lesson that, even in this day and age, may not has been fully absorbed.

Despite it’s minor flaws, “Train To Zakaponé” is a charming and important production that deserves to be seen.

Edgemar Center for the Arts, Main Stage, 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica 90405. Thursday – Saturday 7:30 pm, Sunday 5 pm

(310)392-7327 or The Edgemar Center for the Arts

Tickets: $34.99

Parking in building garage $6 flat rate.

Ends: March 29, 2015




2014 BAFTA Award Nominees Announced

London: January 9, 2015

The Brits have spoken.  BAFTA in London has announced the contenders for the 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards.  “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,”Birdman_poster “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” received the most nominations for Best Film.

The EE British Academy Film Awards will take place on Feb. 8 in London.

Here is a full list of the nominations:

BIRDMAN Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole
BOYHOOD Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson
THE IMITATION GAME Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten

’71 Yann Demange, Angus Lamont, Robin Gutch, Gregory Burke
THE IMITATION GAME Morten Tyldum, Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman, Graham Moore
PADDINGTON Paul King, David Heyman
PRIDE Matthew Warchus, David Livingstone, Stephen Beresford
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING James Marsh, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten
UNDER THE SKIN Jonathan Glazer, James Wilson, Nick Wechsler, Walter Campbellboyhood-poster

ELAINE CONSTANTINE (Writer/Director) Northern Soul
GREGORY BURKE (Writer), YANN DEMANGE (Director) ’71
HONG KHAOU (Writer/Director) Lilting
PAUL KATIS (Director/Producer), ANDREW DE LOTBINIÈRE (Producer) Kajaki: The True Story

IDA Pawel Pawlikowski, Eric Abraham, Piotr Dzieciol, Ewa Puszczynska
LEVIATHAN Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alexander Rodnyansky, Sergey Melkumov
THE LUNCHBOX Ritesh Batra, Arun Rangachari, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga
TRASH Stephen Daldry, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Kris Thykier
TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd

20 FEET FROM STARDOM Morgan Neville, Caitrin Rogers, Gil Friesen
20,000 DAYS ON EARTH Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard
FINDING VIVIAN MAIER John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
VIRUNGA Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegaracover326x326

BIG HERO 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams
THE BOXTROLLS Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable
THE LEGO MOVIE Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

BIRDMAN Alejandro G. Iñárritu
BOYHOOD Richard Linklater
WHIPLASH Damien Chazelle

BIRDMAN Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo
BOYHOOD Richard Linklater
WHIPLASH Damien Chazelle

GONE GIRL Gillian Flynn

EDDIE REDMAYNE The Theory of Everything
RALPH FIENNES The Grand Budapest Hotel

FELICITY JONES The Theory of Everything

J.K. SIMMONS Whiplash

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY The Imitation Game
RENE RUSSO Nightcrawler

BIRDMAN Antonio Sanchez

BIRDMAN Emmanuel Lubezki
IDA Lukasz Zal, Ryzsard Lenczewski
INTERSTELLAR Hoyte van Hoytema
MR. TURNER Dick Pope

Due to a tie in voting in this category, there are six nominations
BIRDMAN Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
THE IMITATION GAME William Goldenberg

BIG EYES Rick Heinrichs, Shane Vieau
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
THE IMITATION GAME Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana MacDonald
INTERSTELLAR Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
MR. TURNER Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

THE IMITATION GAME Sammy Sheldon Differ
INTO THE WOODS Colleen Atwood
MR. TURNER Jacqueline Durran

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White
INTO THE WOODS  Peter Swords King, J. Roy Helland
MR. TURNER Christine Blundell, Lesa Warrener

AMERICAN SNIPER Walt Martin, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
BIRDMAN Thomas Varga, Martin Hernández, Aaron Glascock, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Wayne Lemmer, Christopher Scarabosio, Pawel Wdowczak
THE IMITATION GAME John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Stuart Hilliker, Martin Jensen
WHIPLASH Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Erik Winquist, Daniel Barrett
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner, Nicolas Aithadi
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
INTERSTELLAR Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

THE BIGGER PICTURE Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka
MONKEY LOVE EXPERIMENTS Ainslie Henderson, Cam Fraser, Will Anderson
MY DAD Marcus Armitage

BOOGALOO AND GRAHAM Brian J. Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
EMOTIONAL FUSEBOX Michael Berliner, Rachel Tunnard
THE KÁRMÁN LINE Campbell Beaton, Dawn King, Tiernan Hanby, Oscar Sharp
SLAP Islay Bell-Webb, Michelangelo Fano, Nick Rowland
THREE BROTHERS Aleem Khan, Matthieu de Braconier, Stephanie Paeplow

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)



Actors Go Rogue For 2015 Nude Calender

Los Angeles, CA:  January 6, 2015

Trust the Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles, producers of edgy, provocative plays such as Mike Bartlett’s award winning, “Cock” and the world premier of L.R. Gordon’s “Uploaded”Image 2 to come up with a sexy way to raise money for their up-coming 2015 season.   They’ve gone rogue and have just released a new calender featuring nude photos of cast members from Rogue Machine’s various productions.  And it isn’t just cheese and beefcake.  Testing the notion that brains and brawn sells, the Bard Laid Bare Calendar features notable death and battle scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest plays as portrayed by associates of this innovative theater company.

It seems most of the actors had no qualms about stripping for the camera.

“I’m not a huge fan of taking my clothes off for strangers. In fact, this is a first,” stated Justin Okin who portrays Brutus from Julius Caesar.  “I did this because Rogue Machine has shown me time and time

again that diving off the edgeImage 1 without knowing what is on the other side is truly the most ambitious and rewarding way to tell stories.”

And Burt Grinstead who recreated Hamlet for the photo shoot say he agreed to get naked because, in his words, “what better way to make it in Hollywood than to show a little skin.”

No doubt Grinstead isn’t the first to come up with that concept.

Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go to support the Rogue Machine Theatre, primarily to purchase new light and sound equipment.

Participants of "The Bard Laid Bare" Calendar from Rogue Machine

Participants of “The Bard Laid Bare” Calendar from Rogue Machine

Considering the fine quality of Rogue Machine’s productions the selling price of $20.00 is more than a worthwhile investment.

You can order your copy of the Bard Laid Bare Calendar HERE or pick one up at the theater which is located at: 5041 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019

Calendar Photos by: Jeff Lorch



Our Picks For The Top Ten Films of 2014

Here are our picks for the Top Ten Movies of 2014.

1. Boyhood:  The story of a young boy growing up before our very eyes, Richard Linkletter’s groundbreaking cinematic masterpiece was shot for a couple of weeks a year in a schedule that spanned twelve year.  We first meet Mason (in a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane) when he is seven and follow him through the trials and tribulations of childhood, parental divorce, teenage angst and finally college life.  Strong performances all around but particularly from Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents make this film an exceptional, experimental stand out.


2. Nightcrawler:  Jake Gylenhall has never been better in this thriller from first time director, Dan Gilroy.  Gylenhall plays a creepy sociopath determined to make a name for himself in the gritty world of Los Angeles street journalism with deadly results.  This is a must-see.


3. Ida: It’s 1962 and a young apprentice nun (first time actress, Agata Trzebuchowska) is about to take her vows at convent in Poland when she discovers that she is Jewish and a holocaust survivor.  The naive, innocent girl and her hardened aunt who is her only living relative, set out to find the graves of the girl’s parents.  By the end of the journey, she has a major decision to make.  Shot in glorious black and white and brilliantly directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, this a compelling film where every frame is like a photograph you would be happy to hang on your wall.


4. Whiplash: Writer/Director’s Damien Chazelle’s real life experiences at the music conservatory inspired this well crafted face off between a determined and talented drum student and the college professor who is determined to bust his balls. Both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are excellent in their roles and this film takes you on a fun ride that ends in face off that is both loud and satisfying.


5. The Imitation Game: The story of Alan Turing who in the early 1940s led a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers in cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine. The film follows this genius, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who under nail-biting pressure helped shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives, only to be jailed a few years later for the criminal offense of homosexuality, at that time a crime in the UK.


6. Birdman:  A cinematic roller coaster about a Hollywood superhero (Michael Keaton) trying to get respect on Broadway. Keaton gives the performance of his career in this whirling comedy in which the laughs promise to hurt.


7. Selma: A compelling and well told film about  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s 1965 campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery organized by Dr. King culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.


8. The Theory of Everything: Eddie Redmayne shows true star power in his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s greatest living minds, who falls in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking receives an earth-shattering diagnosis at age 21 years  yet manges to embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time. Directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh, the film is poignant and thought provoking.


9.  A Most Violent Year: Oscar Isaac totally dominates the screen in this drama that follows the lives of an immigrant (Isaac) and his wife, Jessica Chastain as they attempt to capitalize on the American Dream, while the violence, decay, and corruption of the day threatens to destroy all they have accomplished.  The film’s slow reveal works beautifullyA Most Violent Year will go on to be a classic.


10. The Grand Budapest Hotel: Wes Anderson’s film recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.


21st SAG Award Nominees Announced

Hollywood, CA:December 10, 2014

Eva Longoria and Ansel Elgort announced the nominees for the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on TBS and TNT.  The film, “Birdman” got the most nominations with four nods, while “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” landed three apiece. Those three, plus “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Boyhood” are finalists in the movie ensemble category.

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in "Birdman"

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in “Birdman”

Predictably, “Modern Family” grabbed four nominations, and “Homeland,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards” and “Boardwalk Empire” each received three.

Here is the complete list of nominations:

Theatrical Motion Pictures

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
STEVE CARELL / John du Pont – “FOXCATCHER” (Sony Pictures Classics)
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH / Alan Turing – “THE IMITATION GAME” (The Weinstein Company)
JAKE GYLLENHAAL / Louis Bloom – “NIGHTCRAWLER” (Open Road Films)
MICHAEL KEATON / Riggan – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Stephen Hawking – “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JENNIFER ANISTON / Claire Bennett – “CAKE” (Cinelou Films)
JULIANNE MOORE / Alice Howland-Jones – “STILL ALICE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
ROSAMUND PIKE / Amy Dunne – “GONE GIRL” (20th Century Fox)
REESE WITHERSPOON / Cheryl Strayed – “WILD” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ROBERT DUVALL / Joseph Palmer – “THE JUDGE” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
ETHAN HAWKE / Mason, Sr. – “BOYHOOD” (IFC Films)
EDWARD NORTON / Mike – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MARK RUFFALO / Dave Schultz – “FOXCATCHER” (Sony Pictures Classics)
J.K. SIMMONS / Fletcher – “WHIPLASH” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY / Joan Clarke – “THE IMITATION GAME” (The Weinstein Company)
EMMA STONE / Sam – “BIRDMAN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / The Witch – “INTO THE WOODS” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
NAOMI WATTS / Daka – “ST. VINCENT” (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
BIRDMAN (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
AMY RYAN / Sylvia

ETHAN HAWKE / Mason, Sr.

F. MURRAY ABRAHAM / Mr. Moustafa
JUDE LAW / Young Writer
LÉA SEYDOUX / Clotilde

THE IMITATION GAME (The Weinstein Company)
MATTHEW BEARD / Peter Hilton
CHARLES DANCE / Commander Denniston
MATTHEW GOODE / Hugh Alexander
ALLEN LEECH / John Cairncross
MARK STRONG / Stewart Menzies

CHARLIE COX / Jonathan Hellyer Jones
SIMON McBURNEY / Frank Hawking
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Stephen Hawking
DAVID THEWLIS / Dennis Sciama
EMILY WATSON / Beryl Wilde

Television Programs

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ADRIEN BRODY / Harry Houdini  – “HOUDINI” (History)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
ELLEN BURSTYN / Olivia Foxworth – “FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC” (Lifetime)
CICELY TYSON / Carrie Watts – “THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (6 nominees)
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
TATIANA MASLANY / Sarah/Coxima/Alison/Rachel/ – “ORPHAN BLACK” (BBC America)
Helena/Tony/Jennifer and Various Others
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (PBS)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
LOUIS C.K. / Louie – “LOUIE” (FX)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson
PAUL CALDERON / Arquimedes
NOLAN LYONS / Enoch Thompson (young)
KELLY MACDONALD / Margaret Thompson
BORIS McGIVER / Sheriff Smith Johnson
VINCENT PIAZZA / Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
PAUL SPARKS / Mickey Doyle
SHEA WHIGHAM / Eli Thompson
ANATOL YUSEF / Meyer Lansky
MICHAEL ZEGEN / Benny Siegel

HUGH BONNEVILLE / Robert, Earl of Grantham
LAURA CARMICHAEL / Lady Edith Crawley
JIM CARTER / Mr. Carson
MICHELLE DOCKERY / Lady Mary Crawley
KEVIN DOYLE /  Mr. Molesley
LILY JAMES / Lady Rose
ALLEN LEECH / Tom Branson
ELIZABETH McGOVERN / Cora, Countess of Grantham
LESLEY NICOL / Mrs. Patmore
DAVID ROBB / Dr. Clarkson
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
ED SPELEERS / Jimmy Kent
PENELOPE WILTON / Isobel Crawley

JOHN BRADLEY / Samwell Tarly
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
BEN CROMPTON / Dolorous Edd
CHARLES DANCE / Tywin Lannister
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
NATALIE DORMER / Margaery Tyrell
IAIN GLEN / Ser Jorah Mormont
LENA HEADEY / Cersei Lannister
RORY McCANN / Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
IAN McELHINNEY / Ser Barristan Selmy
PEDRO PASCAL / Oberyn Martell
DANIEL PORTMAN / Podrick Payne

HOMELAND (Showtime)
NUMAN ACAR / Hassan Haqqani
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison
NIMRAT KAUR / Tasneem Qureishi
TRACY LETTS / Sen. Andrew Lockhart
MARK MOSES / Dennis Boyd
MICHAEL O’KEEFE / John Redmond
MANDY PATINKIN / Saul Berenson
LAILA ROBINS / Martha Boyd

JAYNE ATKINSON / Catherine Durant
DEREK CECIL / Seth Grayson
NATHAN DARROW / Edward Meechum
MICHEL GILL / President Walker
JOANNA GOING / Tricia Walker
SAKINA JAFFREY / Linda Vasquez
MICHAEL KELLY / Doug Stamper
MOZHAN MARNÃ’ / Ayla Sayyad
GERALD McRANEY / Raymond Tusk
MOLLY PARKER / Jackie Sharp
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler
JOHNNY GALECKI / Leonard Hofstadter
SIMON HELBERG / Howard Wolowitz
KUNAL NAYYAR / Rajesh Koothrappali
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper
MELISSA RAUCH / Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz 

DIRK BLOCKER / Hitchcock
TERRY CREWS / Sgt. Terry Jeffords
MELISSA FUMERO / Det. Amy Santiago
JOE LO TRUGLIO / Det. Charles Boyle
ANDY SAMBERG / Det. Jake Peralta

AUBREY ANDERSON EMMONS / Lily Tucker-Pritchett
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell Pritchett
NOLAN GOULD / Luke Dunphy
SARAH HYLAND / Haley Dunphy
ED O’NEILL / Jay Pritchett
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny Delgado
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
ARIEL WINTER / Alex Dunphy

UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
JASON BIGGS / Larry Bloom
DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
LAVERNE COX / Sophia Burset
LEA DELARIA / Carrie “Big Boo” Black
BETH FOWLER / Sister Ingalls
ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano
DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos
MICHAEL J. HARNEY / Ofc. Sam Healy
VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson
JULIE LAKE / Angie Rice
LAUREN LAPKUS / Susan Fischer
SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza
NATASHA LYONNE / Nicky Nichols
TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett
MATT McGORRY / Ofc. John Bennett
KATE MULGREW /  Galina “Red” Reznikov
EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor
DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara Diaz
ALYSIA REINER / Natalie “Fig” Figueroa
NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo
YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello
LORRAINE TOUSSAINT / Yvonne “Vee” Parker
LIN TUCCI / Anita DeMarco
SAMIRA WILEY / Poussey Washington

ANNA CHLUMSKY / Amy Brookheimer
GARY COLE / Kent Davidson
KEVIN DUNN / Ben Cafferty
TONY HALE / Gary Walsh
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / Vice President Selina Meyer
MATT WALSH / Mike McLintock

SAG Awards for Stunt Ensembles

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“FURY” (Columbia Pictures)
“GET ON UP” (Universal Pictures)
“UNBROKEN” (Universal Pictures)
“X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST” (20th Century Fox)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series (6 nominees)
“HOMELAND” (Showtime)

Screen Actors Guild 51st Annual Life Achievement Award

The SAG Awards will air live on Sunday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

Thought Provoking “Dog Sees God” Opens at the Santa Monica Playhouse

Reviewed by Peter Foldy

High school angst.   We’ve all experienced it.  Those years when all we want to do is fit in and be accepted.  Whether you go through high school by flying below the radar or above it, that rite of passage will surely influence how you see yourself, and maybe even determine where you’re headed in life.  In high school what people think of you matters and the Santa Monica Playhouse’s production of Bert V Royal’s “DOG SEES GOD: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” attempts to show us just how much.

An homage to Charles M. Schulz’s beloved comic strip, “Peanuts,” “Dog Sees God” introduces us to Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the old gang, now re-imagined as high school kids.  Bawdy, pot smoking, promiscuous, foul mouthed drug taking high school kids, this is not your father’s “Peanuts.”  Far from it.

The cast of "Dog Sees God" at the Santa Monica Playhouse

The cast of “Dog Sees God” at the Santa Monica Playhouse

The story here concerns, Charlie Brown, (now called CB), a confused teenager with an occasional mean streak who starts out by asking esoteric questions about life and death and soon decides to put his popularity at risk by coming to the defense of “Beethoven,” (think Schroeder) a young man presumed to be gay after his father is arrested for molesting him.  Beethoven and CB used to be best pals but CB has stood by for way too long and watched as the homophobic “Pigpen” and his friends physically abuse the young musician.

Beethoven is actually not sure which side of the fence he falls, straight or gay, but an unexpected and violent confrontation with CB suddenly turns sexual and Beethoven goes along for the ride.

Troy Doherty (l.), Johnny James Fiore

Troy Doherty (l.), Johnny James Fiore

The next day he is more confused than ever but the encounter has suddenly made things clearer for CB, and he has no regrets.

As word of the tryst spreads like wildfire throughout the high school, everyone chips in with thoughts and opinions.  Some see it as an excuse to get stoned and promiscuous, while others see it as a motive for humiliation and revenge.

As the situation unravels and the play reaches a deadly conclusion, “Dog Sees God” points fingers at everyone.  Not just the culprits behind the foreseeable violence but those who stand by and do nothing to stop it.  It is an appropriate and timely message in this age of bullying, cyber and otherwise, when teenage suicide is on the rise, especially among gay kids with no one to turn to.

Bert Royal’s tale makes one realize that the old adage, “it will get better” is not always the case.  Sometimes it doesn’t, and while “Dog Sees God” raises valid questions, real, off-stage answers are probably harder to find.

Johnny James Fiore (l.), Natasha Capp

Johnny James Fiore (l.), Natasha Capp

While Royal’s writing is strong, his dialogue sharp, this production suffers from several below par, over the top performances.   Maria Capps’ direction tries to hold the piece together but a lack of sets and production design doesn’t exactly help her cause.  Frankly, if it wasn’t for the spicy language and pertinent subject matter, this staging of “Dog Sees God” at times come across as a high school production.

Despite that the show does have it’s shining stars.

Johnny Fiore is solid and likeable as “CB.”  He reaches deep as he tries to navigates the troubled waters his character has fallen into.   Fiore is clearly a strong presence here.

Troy Doherty shows us a sympathetic and likeable “Beethoven.”  The character’s angst is played with maturity and Doherty is the voice of reason in “Dog Sees God.”  A talented piano play, (and a musician with a new EP just released) Doherty helps to ground this story.

Lindsey Beckwith (l.), Ashley Stauffer.

Lindsey Beckwith (l.), Ashley Stauffer.

Other standouts include David Michael as a the homophobic Pigpen, a young man with clearly something to hide.  Lindsey Beckwith as “Marcy” and Ashley Stauffer as “Tricia” portray ditzy high school airheads as if they’ve been there and done that.

The audience, myself included, also enjoyed the relaxed and humorous approach of David Wunderlich as “Van,” the young stoner who’ll smoke anything that might get him high.  Though not given a lot to do here, Wunderlich was a breath of fresh air whenever he appeared on stage, a confident twinkle in his eyes.

“Dog Sees God” is a thought provoking and well intentioned production that still holds relevance–perhaps even more so then when it was first performed in 2004.

Now Playing:
Sunday Dec 7th at 2:30 & 7:30pm
Friday Dec 12th at 2pm
Saturday Dec 13th at 1pm
Friday Dec 19, Saturday Dec 20 and Sunday Dec 21 at 2 & 7:30pm

Santa Monica Playhouse
1211 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401

General Admission $20

Students with promo code 007 $15

Reserve ONLINE at: https://www.plays411.com/dogseesgod14





Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees Announced

Alejandro G. Inarritu’s feature, “Birdman,” scored six nominations when the Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations were announced this morning.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, and Ava DuVernay’s Selma, were close behind with five nomination a piece. 

A complete list of nominees can be found below.


(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy

Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey

Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak


Damien Chazelle

Ava DuVernay

Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater

David Zellner Kumiko
The Treasure Hunter


Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Big Eyes

J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year

Dan Gilroy

Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias
Love is Strange

(Award given to the director and producer)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones


Desiree Akhavan
Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo
Little Accidents

Justin Lader
The One I Love

Anja Marquardt
She’s Lost Control

Justin Simien
Dear White People

Read more Oscars: Where Are All the Best Actress Contenders?

Given to the best feature made for under $500,000.  Award given to the writer, director and producer.  Executive Producers are not awarded.

Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers:  Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori

Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin


Marion Cotillard
The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi Kumiko
The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore
Still Alice

Jenny Slate
Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton
Only Lovers Left Alive


André Benjamin
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal

Michael Keaton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow
Love is Strange

David Oyelowo


Patricia Arquette

Jessica Chastain
A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo

Andrea Suarez Paz
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Riz Ahmed

Ethan Hawke

Alfred Molina
Love is Strange

Edward Norton
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons

Read more Governors Awards: Top Contenders Celebrate Legends at Dress Rehearsal for Oscars


Darius Khondji
The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter
It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young


Sandra Adair

Tom Cross

John Gilroy

Ron Patane
A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard
The Guest

(Award given to the director and producer)

20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier

Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

(Award given to the director)

Force Majeure (Sweden)
Director: Ruben Östlund

Ida (Poland)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Leviathan (Russia)
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Mommy (Canada)
Director: Xavier Dolan

Norte, the End of History (Philippines)
Director: Lav Diaz

Under the Skin (United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

Read more Oscars: 44 Movies Vying for Best Picture, From Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ to Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Wild’

(Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon


Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
Director: Chris Eska

The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition.  The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

The Spirit Awards ceremony is set to take place at 2 p.m. PT on February 21, 2015, the day before the Oscars, on the beach in Santa Monica. The show will air live on IFC. 

“Uploaded” Is the New Religion at The Rogue Machine Theatre

Review by Peter Foldy

Can a slacker, a young drug dealer and a free thinking hippie girl find happiness by starting a new religion in the middle of the desert?  That’s the question L.R. Gordon’s new play attempts to answer at the Rogue Machine Theatre’s Off-The-Clock World Premier presentation, “UPLOADED.”

When his dad finally cuts him off financially, Daniel (Jeff Lorch)  a 30 something layabout, goes on an angry, cocaine fueled, kinetic rant about the world and everyone in it.  As Daniel’s friend and local drug dealer, SamQuastOdomLorch (Eric Odom) continues to help him get him wasted on a new concoction Sam calls “the screwdriver” (half cocaine, half adderall), Daniel has an epiphany.  He suddenly comes to the realization that what he really needs to do is become a prophet.  To start a new religion.  And why not?  In this world of instant fame, (no talent or experience required), Daniel is a worthy candidate.  At least in his mind.

For reasons unknown, Sam initially plays along  as Daniel fleshes out the kinks of this new religion that he is now calling “Uploading.”   Basing his “brilliant” idea on something we all have, DNA, Daniel convinces Sam to accompany him to the desert where Daniel can begin preaching his genius.

At a sleazy Grand Canyon motel a couple of days later Sam is surprised when Daniel returns with his first believer, a beautiful young woman, Anikka (Suzanne Quast).  Tattooed and open minded, she tells the lads that her wealthy father loves to invest in schemes and just might be willing to finance a new one.

This is music to Daniel’s ears.  HeOdomQuast HiRes and Anikka quickly become lovers and get right to work on making a baby together.  But that doesn’t keep Anikka from also flirting with Sam, letting him catch a glimpse of her naked.  Before long, Sam wants what Daniel is getting.  To do that he has to prove to Anikka that he can make a commitment–that he is willing to go along with the program.

This impromptu love triangle ultimately leads to a violent finale, one that may inadvertently see Daniel’s “Uploading” concept take a small step forward.

Actor, Jeff Lorch brings his Daniel close to the top, if not quite over it as the the new prophet in training.  Eric Odom is initially monotone and merely reactive as Sam, his purpose and intention not quite clear, but it is ultimately Sam’s character that has the biggest arc in the play, and by the end of this twisted story, Odom ably steps it up a notch from his earlier scenes.

It is Suzanne Quast as Anikka,LorchQuast-4 however, who manages to ground the show and raise the stakes in “Uploaded.”  She is the prize worth fighting for.  Sexy, comfortable and always in control, Quast is the center-piece of the production.

Clocking in at 75 minutes, “Uploaded” moves at a clip with Mark L. Taylor’s fast paced direction.

Performed on the set of a different play that runs at the Rogue Machine, the creatives makes good use of what is available–but it is also the imaginative image slide projections designed by Nick Santiago, as well Stephen “DJ Baba Earl” Nichols excellent sound design that further help to set the appropriate mood.

This high energy, satirical glimpse into Generation Y’s narcissistic pursuit of easy-come fame is a compelling piece of theater.  “Uploaded” is well worth the price of admission.

“Uploaded” plays at the Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.

10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Ends Nov. 22.

Reservations: (855) 585-5185 or roguemachinetheatre.com/wordpress/show-info/uploaded/.

Photo Credit: John Flynn




2014 American Film Market Wraps in Santa Monica

Wednesday 12th November – The 2014 American Film Market (AFM®) wrapped its 35th edition today after 7,946 attendees visited the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica for the eight day market.

The AFM again was host to a truly global market, with 1,670 buyers coming from over 70 different countries.  Overall exhibitor attendance was up 1% from last year with 2,825 executives from exhibiting companies from over 40 countries, with the largest number of exhibitors coming from the IMG_4489United Kingdom, France and Japan, after the USA.

Overall industry attendees, the non-buyers and sellers that include Attorneys, Bankers, Festivals, Film Commissions, Filmmakers, Financiers, Post Production Facilities, Producers, Studio Facilities, and Writers finished at 2,624, up 1% from last year’s numbers.

The AFM also hosts a large segment of independent writers, producers, directors and wannabes of all ages.  Many of the faces haunting the lobby of the Loews Hotel have been attending the event for decades while many are just starting out.

Spotted at the AFM wasIMG_4271 this young man, Alexander Saffaie and his mother, producer, Michelle Alexandria. “With the film business being so youth oriented these days, you can’t wait to get in the game,” she explained with a smile as she and her baby, Alexander hurried to another power meeting.

This year’s AFM screened 432 films with 352 Market Premieres, 85 World Premieres and a total of 654 screenings across the AFM Campus in Santa Monica.

The popular five-day AFM Conference Series showcasing sessions on Financing, Pitching, Production, Marketing and Distribution featured global industry leaders including: Brett Ratner (producer), Cassian Elwes (Independent Producer), Tobin Ambrust (Exclusive), Mark Damon (Foresight Unlimited), Mark Gill (Millennium), Rena Ronson (UTA), Emanuel Nunez (Paradigm), Russell Schwartz (Relativity), John Sloss (Cinetic), and Nicolas Gonda (Tugg). The AFM IMG_4492Conference Series, which launched four years ago, hosted international audiences of more than 700 daily.

The 2014 Roundtables and Conversations featured notable industry elites including Wei Han (Bliss Media), filmmaker and comedian Adam Carolla, Meyer Schwarzstein (Brainstorm Media), Caroline Stern (Kaleidoscope Film Distribution), and many more.

Re-Animator:The Musical is Laugh Out Loud Hillarious

Review by Gordon Maniskas

Wickedly clever writing, a brilliantly funny cast, and a director that knows how to milk a joke combine to make RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL a gut-bustingly hysterical piece of theater.

I found myself at the Steve Allen Theatre knowing very little about Re-Animator. I imagined I was going to be sitting down for some sort of silly, campy Frankenstein spoof. But, what awaited me inside was an entirely different RTM2014-0518sort of spectacle…

Everyone in the first three rows of the audience were wearing lab coats. And some had goggles on. “Are they part of the show?” I wondered. It was only after they announced that the first three rows were the designated “Splash Zone”, and a friendly usher offered me some black-and-orange pom poms (which I accepted enthusiastically), that I understood what was happening. I wasn’t seeing a musical. I was seeing a CULT musical.

The lights dimmed, the overture played, and within moments a zombie was spraying blood all over the audience with eyes dangling out of their sockets, all the while clapping and doing a jaunty dance.

I was sold.

Now, at first blush, this could seem rather cheap or gimmicky. But, Re-Animator is filled to the brim with such gags and jokes, somewhat like a comedic sausage. RTM2014-0415And outlandish, dirty, or zombified as they may be, they are all delivered with a wit and abandon that make the show a constant delight.

A tremendous tip of the hat to Stuart Gordon, who directed the play and also co-wrote the book with Dennis Paoli and William J. Norris, for developing a show that hits so many dark, irreverent places in such a charming and light-hearted way.

Re-Animator: The Musical follows the dark mission of Herbert West, a genius medical student who developed “Re-Animator”, a glowing green serum that can bring the dead back to life… as Zombies! But Herbert believes the whole “zombie” thing to be due to the corpses not being “fresh enough”, or because he got the dosage wrong. What ensues during his quest for immortality is a tale of love, murder, and hilarity.

Graham Skipper’s portrayal of West is magnetic. You just want him to keep coming on stage! The man is a narcissistic egomaniac with a messiah complex – I mean West, of course. He will do anything to perfect Re-Animator and free the world from “Death”. Skipper controls the stage with a manic, wide-eyed intensity balanced by the tantrums and poutiness of a spoiled child. A simmering energy fills his every movement and quip, and infuses his moments on stage with presence and humor. And beyond that, onlyRTM2014-0430 someone with impeccable comedic timing like Skipper could make the line “I thought I rented a private room” a laugh riot.

Dr. Carl Hill, played by Jesse Merlin, is Herbert West’s archenemy – a lecherous professor with an eye for the dean’s daughter. First off, Merlin’s operatic vocal quality and bone-dry performance compliment the comedic lyricism of the score beautifully. While delivering a macabre, perverted toast to the dean’s daughter, Merlin’s flair for nuance peppers the purposefully dirge-like song with subtle body language that kept the room bubbling with laughter.  And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he does nearly half of the show decapitated! That’s right, Dr. Hill gets his head cut off. But, due to “Re-Animator”, comes back to life, with his bloody head in his hands… and still singing.

Dan Cain, played by Darren Ritchie, is a dashing, hopefulRTM2014-1169 medical student engaged to the dean’s beautiful daughter, Megan Halsey, played by Jessica Howell. These characters serve the critical purpose of acting as a counterweight to the off-the-wall antics of the rest of the cast. But, both actors certainly bring their comic chops to the table and shine themselves. Ritchie’s light tenor and earnest performance make him a likable, strong, and (even more importantly) funny romantic lead. Howell with her ability to be simultaneously smoldering and girlishly innocent make her a very empathetic heroine. She brings an energy to the stage that is bright and engaging.

In many ways, Re-Animator is really an operetta in disguise. The piece is almost entirely sung, with the dialogue coming in mere smatterings between numbers. But, this only serves to make Mark Nutter’s score that much more impressive. The lyrics are sharp and clever with a musicality that is true Broadway, all of it wrapped in a twisted story of undead mayhem. But, even more impressive, is the insightful nature ofRTM2014-0005 some of the music, most notable captured when Dan and Megan sing about their future wedding. She wants a lavish, planned affair, and he wants to be spontaneous. And, as the show moves on, they reprise the number, but with their opinions reversed. What was once a battle-of-the-sexes joke number transforms into one that delicately reveals the hearts of the characters, and how their relationship has transformed so completely.

There is one section of the show, however, that falls a little flat compared to the rest of the piece. Mace, the security guard at the morgue, played by Marlon Grace, is a lazy wage slave eager to do anything but work. He sings a soulful up-tempo number about how much he loves his simple job, and this number is reprised several times. The musical phrases are long and open, seemingly intended for some mild vocal pyrotechnics, but none ever make an appearance. And the jokes, though amusing, don’t land quite as hard as those throughout the rest of the piece. There is a sharpness lacking here, whereas everything else in the show is so crisp, balls-to-the-walls, and specific. It just doesn’t hitRTM2014-1110 as hard.

The ensemble consisting of Brian Gillespie, Cynthia Carle, and Liesel Hanson is very strong, and every person has their shining moments. Their undying commitment to the seriousness of this ridiculous story, the unique character choices they make, and their cohesiveness as a semi-Greek Chorus keep the laughs rolling and the momentum moving. Ken Hudson Campbell’s depiction of Dean Halsey is warm and likable, like a teddy bear. That is until he turns into a zombie. Then it gets a bit more… colorful.

The set, imagined by Laura Fine Hawkes, consists of a steel door mounted on metallic bars – cold, utilitarian, and mysterious. The lights designed by Jeff Ravitz shine through slits in the set, setting the mood with an eerie ambience. The overall effect creates a play area that is versatile and simple.

Joe Kucharski’s costume design for Re-Animator is simply outstanding. Zombies in various forms of decay appear throughout the show, with entrails dangling and blood squirting. Often the actors would wear masks or prosthetic makeup to depict hideous wounds. But, the pièce de résistance is a life-size dancing zombie cat that swings its exposed intestine around like a cane… all for just 10 seconds of stage time! So much detail was put into that costume for such a brief appearance! For them to commit so completely to such a little sight gag is yet another example of the spirit of theatre-craft that makes this show works so well.

And the blood. So much blood. Props to Tony Doublin, John Naulin, and John Beuchler who designed the special effects. Little magic tricks are interspersed throughout the show, particularly with the transforming of a dead person into a zombie. They are done so cleverly that every potentially awkward transition is achieved in a smooth, graceful manner instead. And, of course, they made an intestine that blasts blood into the audience while Herbert West sings a twisted spoof of “My Way.”

There was so much about Re-Animator that reminded me of the experience of going to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The diehard fans clearly knew all the lyrics – often laughing before the joke even arrived. People snapped pencils on cue with actors onstage. And, I waved my pom poms with the rest of the crowd during a random school fight song. The only difference is that, unlike at Rocky Horror, the audience at Re-Animator was glued to every word of the show – not calling back to the performers onstage. But the passion and enthusiasm in the room was simply undeniable.  People love this show.

If you have a sense of humor and want to have an off-beat, laugh-out-loud theater-going experience, then you need to go see Re-Animator: The Musical. It’s one you’ll remember.

Re-Animator: The Musical

Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Re-Animator”


Steve Allen Theatre

4773 Hollywood Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90027

Reservations: (800) 595-4849  or  www.trepanyhouse.org

Performances: October 17 – November 2, 2014.  Friday – Sunday at 8pm


Fest For Beatles Fans 2014 Invades Airport Marriott

by Peter Foldy

Los Angeles: October 11, 2014

Just like often retold bible stories, the brilliant career of the BEATLES continues to be celebrated and deservedly grow to legendary status throughout the world.  Fifty two years after the release of their first single, “Love Me Do” on October 5, 1962, the Fab Four are famous and successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Early on in their careers,IMG_4435 the Beatles themselves predicted maybe a five year run.  Ringo talked of opening hairstyling saloons when he thought his Magical Mystery Tour would come to an end.  And in-fact the Fabs only stayed together as a group for something like a dozen years if you count the Quarrymen period, but in those twelve years they changed the world and it is fair to say that the impact they made on their audience is immeasurable.

It’s no surprise then that the FEST FOR BEATLES FANS 2014, currently underway at the LAX Airport Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles is finding a devoted audience who have been showing up to bask in the Beatle mystique.  Celebrating 40 years of the Fest, the promoters have gathered an impressive collection of Beatle memorabilia, all avail available for purchase at the Airport Marriott.  Cups, mugs, luggage, poster and photographs, all with a Beatles theme.  And then there are the books.

Bob Eubanks and Chris Carter

Bob Eubanks and Chris Carter

Just when you thought you have seen every book on the Beatles ever written, this festival brings you even more.  And some seem fascinating.

“Liddypool’ by David Bedford (www.liddypool.com) promises unprecedented research into Liverpool, the city where the Beatles grew up.  Complete with eight hundred images, exclusive interviews with people who knew them personally as well as a foreword by fired Beatles drummer, Pete Best, “Liddypool” promises to separate fact from fiction.  Skimming the pages it certainly seems like a fascinating read.

On the lighter literary side comes “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac” by Dee Elias.  (www.ConfessionsofaBeatlesManiac.com)   A true story of a fan who broke all the rules to meet the Beatles.  When I met Ms. Elias this afternoon at the Fest, she shared stories of how she actually met the Fabs and also proudly showed me a single sock enshrined in a glass frame that the author stole BANDfrom singer, Billy J. Kramer’s room while he was sleeping some fifty years earlier.  She was about to return the sock to Mr. Kramer momentarily, him being probably unaware that it had gone missing.  Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around to witness the momentous event.

Another seemingly interesting literary work is “The Beatle Who Vanished” by Jim Berkenstadt.  (www.TheBeatleWhoVanished.com)  It is the first historical account of Jimmie Nicol, the mostly unknown drummer who replaced Ringo Starr on tour for thirteen days in 1964.  Berkenstadt promises to solve the mystery of what happened to the man who become a footnote in Beatle history.  Riddled with betrayal, drugs, divorce, bankruptcy and an eventual disappearance, many have wondered whether Jimmie Nicol is dead or alive.  Berkenstadt’s book has the answer.

But it isn’t just memorabilia you will find at The Fest for IMG_4434Beatle Fans.  As we have now come to understand, the Fab Four had a Midas touch and anyone who every had anything to do with the group is also still in demand by the public at large.

The promoters have gathered a fine collection of “Beatle people.”  Some of the special guests include PETER ASHER of Peter & Gordon fame, the aforementioned BILLY J. KRAMER, DENNY LAINE, (a member of Paul McCartney’s “Wings,”) JACK OLIVER, former President of Apple Records, BOB EUBANKS who presented the Beatles live in concert at the Hollywood Bowl and later at Dodger Stadium, Beatle fan club president and former Beatles secretary, FREDA KELLY, and JOHN KOSH, art director of Apple records and the man who designed Abbey Road album cover.

CHRIS CARTER, hostLA_poster_FEST of KLOS’ “Breakfast With The Beatles” radio show conducts the interviews and Mr. Carter will be broadcasting his program live from The Fest on Sunday morning, October 12!

There are live bands, movie screenings, and a great environment that brings a feeling of comforting nostalgia.

As the Fab Four once told us, all you need is love, and if it’s the Beatles you care about, The Fest for Beatle Fans, 2014 is definitely the place to be.

Closing 11pm, Sunday October 12, 2014.

LAX Airport Marriott
5855 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90045

Tickets on sale at the event.





Fest For The Beatles Opens Today At LAX Marriot Hotel

October 10, 2014

THE FEST FOR BEATLES FANS (www.thefest.com) hits Los Angeles Friday-Sunday October 10-12, when more than 5,000 Beatles fans from over 20 states, Canada, and other countries around the globe come together with West Coast Beatles fans to celebrate 50 years of the Fab Four’s legendary music and iconic influence.

Photo by:John Rowlands

Photo by:John Rowlands

Friends old and new gather in the beautiful LAX Marriott for 16 ballrooms of nonstop live music, concerts, interviews, panel discussions, photo exhibits, contests, art, yoga and meditation, films, author presentations, a giant Beatles marketplace, and Beatles jams into the wee hours!

Major special guests recall their memories shared with the Fab Four, and musical guests sing their own hits and favorite Beatles songs. LIVERPOOL, the world’s finest Beatles tribute band, performs in concert each night. Friday night, the dance floor opens up to kick off this incredible weekend with the Sixties Dance Party, where prizes for winners in both the general 60s and look-alike categories will be awarded. Saturday and Sunday nights, the three + hour rock concert will feature LIVERPOOL and all the musical guests, culminating in a thrilling All-Star jam.

Headliners include: PETER ASHER of Peter & Gordon, BILLY J. KRAMER, DENNY LAINE, former member of Paul McCartney’s “Wings,” and BOB EUBANKS who presented the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.

Over 20 guest artists LA_poster_FESTand authors will speak, show presentations, and participate in lively and enlightening discussions about The Beatles. CHRIS CARTER, whose British Invasion show on SiriusXM is heard every Sunday on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, SiriusXM channel 21, will emcee. Chris will also be hosting his Breakfast With The Beatles show live from The Fest on Sunday morning, October 12!

Other speakers include, JACK OLIVER, former President of Apple Records, who will discuss the transformative years 1969-1971. ANGIE MCCARTNEY is showing up to talk about her new book as will former Beatles secretary, FREDA KELLY, who will be on hand to introduce her celebrated and not to be missed film, ‘GOOD OL’ FREDA.’

The festival opens today and runs through October 12th.

Sounds like a lot of fun.

Check it out at:

LAX Airport Marriott
5855 West Century Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90045
P: (310) 641-5700



“Cock” – A Review

by Peter Foldy

An impressive cast and a talented director bring the provocative, award winning playCock” to life at the Rogue Machine Theatre on Pico Blvd in Los Angeles.

Written by Mike Bartlett, “Cock” tells the story of a young man named John who has been living with his male lover, “M” for the past seven years.  Their relationship is passionate and comfortable, though “M” often belittles John and they ultimately break up, though neither expects the separation to be permanent.

The Cast of "Cock"

The Cast of “Cock”

During their time apart, John meets a young woman named “W” and much to his surprise, they become lovers.  The fact that he is able to perform sexually and even enjoy this new relationship with “W” puzzles but pleases John and before long he realizes that what he has with his new female companion is perhaps more gratifying than his life with “M.”

“W” also falls hard for John and the couple soon starts planning a life together, despite the fact that John is not entirely sure this is what he really wants.  Though he has enjoyed his flirtation with heterosexuality, he seems to be missing “M” and their life together.

“M” feels great pain at having lost John and invites him and “W” to dinner, surprising them with the fact that “M’s” devoted father, “F” will also be joining them.  “F” is a traditionalist who initially had trouble accepting his son’s sexuality. In his day men were put in prison for being homosexual but he has had to come to terms with “M’s” lifestyle, and now “F” wants only one thing.  For his son to be happy.  He has shown up at the dinner with a low-keyed determination to keep John and “M” together.

Rebecca Mozo and Patrick Stafford in "Cock"

Rebecca Mozo and Patrick Stafford in “Cock”

There are no sets or props used in “Cock.”  The production utilizes only a small, circular stage where the action unfolds.  The audience sits looking down at the performers, much as they would at a boxing match—or a cockfight. This tight environment creates considerable intimacy.  The actors pose, prance and spar, circling each other as they face off, the words, all delivered with a UK accent, roll out of their mouths like kicks to the groin or stabs to the heart.

As the often humorous dialogue drives the action forward, the emotional stakes keep mounting.  At times “W” seems to have the upper hand, calling “M” and “F” out on their hypocrisy, all the while John’s confusion growing deeper.

The question is can we blame John?  Does a successful sexual encounter with the opposite sex make a person one thing or another?  Does one really need to choose a lifestyle based on that encounter?  Should anyone even care?   The characters in “Cock” certainly do, and for ninety minutes on opening night, so did the audience.

Only a highly talented group of actors could deliver the play’s potent message, and the cast at the Rogue Machine is all of that and more.  They manage to bring heart and pathos to this psychodrama, making the audience relate to their struggle–perhaps even find a connection with at least one or more of these characters.

Patrick Stafford as “John” is both fragile and vulnerable as he navigates the emotional minefield he is forced to cross. Through John’s surprising discovery Mr. Stafford let’s us witness his second coming of age and the angst that accompanies it.

Mathew Elkins, (also a producer of the play), as “M” is quirky and manipulative as the jilted lover.  Elkins finds a strong balance between being somewhat campy and being the adult in his relationship with the younger John.  His strong ability to deliver comedy is a source of considerable laughter in the piece.

Rebecca Mozo is powerful as “W,” perhaps the most grounded of the characters.  Mozo transitions nicely from the young woman who, like John, is also experimenting, to a woman in love, determined to keep her man.

George Itzin shows up in the latter part of the play and brings an understated performance as “F.”  Though he does have a dog in this fight, Itzin is the chosen arbitrator of the conflict and manages gives “F” the ability of underhanded manipulation, making that his weapon of choice.

Cameron Watson’s fine direction drives the piece at a clip while maintaining its clarity.  The ninety minutes fly by and you almost wish you could see what happens after the curtain goes down.

Technical credits are impressive.  Jared A Sayeg’s creative lighting design is a useful tool in telling this story.  Stephen Gifford’s scenic design is bold and well compliments the set up.  Kudos also to Kate Bergh’s costume design and Christopher Moscatiello’s sound.

As the promo material states, “Cock” has no intermission, no retreat and no surrender.  It’s a play that is well worth checking out.


Rogue Machine Theatre

5041 W. Pico Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90019

 Reservations: 855 585 5185

 Opened: September 13, 2014

Schedule: 5 pm Saturdays, 7 pm Sundays and 8 pm Mondays

(No performance on 10/20, 11/2)

Closes November 3, 2014



Photo Credit: John Flynn

Lauren Bacall Dead at 89

Hollywood, CA:  August 12, 2014

Legendary actress, Lauren Bacall has died after suffering a stroke today.

Ms. Bacall was only 19 years old when she starred with the Humphrey Bogart in the 1944 movie “To Have and Have Not,” director Howardlauren-bacall-family-guy-300 Hawks’ film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway‘s novel. She would go on to marry her much older co-star and they began one of Hollywood’s most famed personal and professional partnerships.

Bacall and Bogart married in 1945 and were together until his death in 1957.

In 2009, she was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Academy Honorary Award, “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked her No. 20 on its list of the 25 actresses on the AFI’s “100 Years … 100 Stars.”

Lauren Bacall is survived by three children.

Her performance in the film, “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

Actor, Robin Williams Dead at 63

Hollywood, CA: August 11, 2014

Academy Award Winning actor, Robin William has died at the age of 63.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division made the following announcement:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications
received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious
and not breathingRobin-Williams-robin-williams-32089710-2798-2756 inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s
Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection
District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at
12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as
Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.

An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently
underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office.
Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was
last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00
pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1
call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office
Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a
comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.
A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent
toxicology testing to be conducted.

Frozen Lives Begin to Thaw In Paternus

Theater Review: by Peter Foldy

What if you’ve never been able to say the things you needed to say to someone you love.  Not till it’s too late.  And then you realize that you might even have to make the ultimate sacrifice for that person, but that act of selfless courage may or may not be enough to save their life. Darrell-Larson-and-Timothy-Walker-in-PATERNUS-at-Rogue-Machine-Theatre. That is the basic premise of Daphne Malfitano’s new play, “Paternus,” making its world premier at the Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles.

Darrel Larson as “Steve” and Timothy Walker as his son, “Stephen” portrays a father and son embarking on a four hour drive to visit family when they are blindsided by an intense snowstorm that that finds them trapped in their RV and potentially dooms them with little hope of survival.

The story launches with it’s climactic high point and gradually unfolds in a series of flashbacks, each character peeling back the layers of what we discover to be a strained relationship.  And yet there is love and caring on both sides.  Steve is a tough dad, a military man who has seen the brutality of war.  His son, Stephen a typical teenager who resents having to accompany his father on this unexpected journey.  Both men soon struggle to come to terms with the need toPaternicus_Flynn do whatever it takes to survive.  For the father it is a chance to vindicate his part in this unrealized relationship.

After giving away the ending in the first few moments, writer, Malfitano, takes us to somewhat familiar territory as the father and son recap their past differences.  How to make this compelling is the challenge that Malfitano faces.  Fortunately her talented cast rise to the occasion.  An empathetic Timothy Walker is excellent as a boy struggling with his brutal reality.  One senses his innocence, his desire to survive as we gradually discover his character’s inner voice.

Darrell Larson grounds the play with his strong performance.  His character makes a choice to open his heart, his love for his son no longer buried under the macho façade that has kept these two from any meaningful communication.

Ably directed by Mark St. Amant, the play has a cinematic feel, the production employing black & white film clips of the location in which the action takes place.  Produced on the set of another production that runs at the theater, the out of kilter set design, or lack of one, is not hard to get over.  Brendan Han’s original score and sound design most certainly compliments the piece.

Running at a brisk 45 minutes, “Paternus” is intense and thought provoking.  A well performed two hander that is certainly worth a look.

Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 Pico Blvd. (near La Brea Friday and Saturday at 10:30 pm (added performance July 31 at 8:00pm).

Scheduled to end August 9, 2013

For tickets call (855) 589-5185, or visit www.RogueMachineTheatre.com

Photos by John Flynn


Let The Audience Decide?

by Alan von Kalckreuth

The Bel Aire Country Club hosted the Social TV Summit, an executive conference focused on social media and its impact on television viewing.  The summit attempts to put multi-screen viewer engagement firmly in the digital landscape and identify the monetary opportunitiesBelAireCC that cross platform engagement has and will have.

WILL KEENAN, President of Endemol Beyond an international conglomerate of production companies forging new ground in audience participation through tablets and smart phones was the keynote speaker.  “Things are changing,” Keenan announced to the surprisingly well dressed attendees –it is the Be Aire Club after all.  “Social on-line must embrace live stream platforms,” he explained.  There is money to be made he assured the hopeful.  “At Endemol we build verticals around our talent,” hekid-on-smart-phone explained.  “Audiences on-line equal iTunes, tee-shirts, merchandise as well as ad revenue… YouTube celebrities are millionaires!”  And future members of the prestigious Bel Aire club possibly.

Curiously it turns out that the Bel Aire Country Club has a restriction on phone and other electronic devices being used in the general areas of the club… “for privacy reasons” I was told.  “So if the YT celebs did join the club they would have to check their Twitter and Facebook accounts out in their car in the parking lot.

ROBERT MILLS, VP of Alternative Series at ABC and one of the elves behind “Rising Star,” shared with the audience the success the show has had using the app download.  “We’ve get_smart_shoe_phonehad several million downloads of the app,” he revealed.  “The audiences are the producers, voting with the app… the app works brilliantly…” Mills enthusiasm was not diminished by some less than ideal ratings.  “It works, now what is the next step,” he teased his listeners.  “A one-on-one bases, we would like to see more audience participation in song selection,” his eyes were dreamy!  The image of a live audience yelling ideas and directions to the director and crew of a television show being taped flashed through my mind.

How “social” is all this audience participation really?  Mills felt it was, “we put their Facebook page up on the screen.”

Hollywood’s Silicon Beach

by Alan von Kalckreuth

Hollywood: June 30, 2014

Silicon Beach Fest just wrapped down by the pier in Santa Monica.  It’s the way the world should be, brilliant ideas, movie glamor and the pacific winds cooling the hopeful under the shade of palm trees.

The SBF is in its third year and was well attended making it clear to business developers, theSiliconBeach City of Los Angeles, the movie studios and the keen observer that technology is moving fast and smartphone users, tablet users and traditional computer users are fertile ground certain to provide bountiful harvests for shrewd seeders.

The impact digital technology is having on consumer behavior is obvious, the less obvious matter however is how do you deliver content and information and make money doing it.

Does Hollywood have a role to play in this new eco-system? According to Daniel Ornstein, Warner Brothers’ Home Entertainment front man, all the studios are primed with digital divisions and these divisions “spend a lot of time and energy not looking at the obvious ways of doing things, but in innovative ways”.  He gave the example of dealing with DVD distribution and returns as a drain on funds that disappear as soon as you introduce downloads.  And it is start-ups and outside sources that fuel this “reinventing” of delivery, access and marketing of WB content he declared.

“We work with accelerators with more than just money and advice,” he explained, but didn’t elaborate.  Instead he revealed one of the significant benefits to the WB, “Soft benefits –our “spend” time with people who think completely different than our people.”

Maria Pacheco, DreamWorks Animation, Sr. Director Marketing (Mobile) told the techies in attendance, “At Dream Works there are six of us and sometimes we get a little crazy, we are charged with internal education.”  This theme of the studio juggernauts lumbering through the new digital ecosystem wishing they could navigate the unpredictable landscape as nimbly as skateboards is one of the primary reasons that start-ups should reassure their parents, their “investor” uncles and their angel investors that they are in with a chance –not only do they ride skateboard, but they are not hampered by mega-systems that react with sloth-like slowness.

“We’re finally getting everyone on the same page,” Pacheco stated with a triumphant exhaling.  She cited their success with How to Fly Your Dragon, but revealed that it took al their muscle to get behind that one app.

Ornstein suggests start–up get shrewd about navigating the studio system, “Find the right department to approach,” he advises, “not the highest caliber person on LinkIn.”  Pacheco adds, “Have a strong 15 second elevator pitch”.  She explains that she gets hundreds of calls and e-mails every day, “if they don’t catch me in the first couple of seconds I’m on to the next.”

The possibility of techies finding traditional money to pursue their app dreams was slapped down… gently… by Steve Shapiro, City National Bank, Senior Vice President – Entertainment Division.  “We are looking for a person who has done well in a previous company and puts their name on the line (read: has the money to back the loan and signs it away along with children, all personal water crafts and expensive jewelry), or if a studio is backing them a purchase order, same as film financing.”  Shapiro did apologize for being dressed like a banker not a skateboarder, but made no apologies for being a banker.  “How are you going to pay us back?” was pretty much his embossed reverse side of his business card.

Shapiro did suggest a traditional model that he believes translates to techie start-ups, “Packaging, get a celebrity behind it –we’ll get involved based on the strength of the celebrity.”  Most of the attendees quickly scrolled through their iPhones and sighed.




Three Movies to See This Weekend

May 16, 2014

Here are our movie recommendations for the weekend of May 17, 2014.


Yes, it may sound like another cheezy video game movie, but this Godzilla actually has heart.  The story is compelling, the action non stop.Spanish_Godzilla_2014_Poster  Don’t listen to the haters who tell you there is not enough of the G monster.  He is there when you need him, and he does save the world.  The cast in Godzilla is strong,  especially young Aaron Taylor-Johnson and veteran actor Bryan Cranston.  If you are looking for a fun ride with huge special effects, this is the one to see.


Writer, Thomas McCarthy has crafted a well written Disney film that touches the emotions and delivers a sweet, well told true story in the process.  Directed by Craig Gillespie and starring John Hamm as a down on his luck sports agent who comes up with the brilliant idea of recruiting Indian cricket players Million+Dollar+Arm+Film+Posterand grooming them to be baseball stars.  After holding a nation wide contest in India he returns to the US with two wet behind the ears kids who have barely been out of their village, let alone to L.A.  Will they ultimately deliver?  Check out this congenial film to find out.  Be prepared to laugh and maybe shed a few tears in the process.

3.  IDA

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski comes this new Polish language film set in 1962 about a young apprentice nun (played by stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska in her very first role), who is about to take her vows.  Before she does however, her Mother Superior insists that Ida visits her aunt Wanda, (Agata Kulesza) who lives in the city.  Ida soon learns that she is in fact Jewish and a holocaust survivor.  Ida and her aunt, a hard drinking, chain smoking judge who has sent people to the gallows, set out to find the grave-site of Ida’s ida-posterparents, and in the process discovers the truth as to how Ida’s parents died.  Ida experiences life and love, ultimately coming to terms with what she really wants out of life.  Not at all predictable, Ida is a beautifully made film about a deep and disturbing subject.  It has some of the most visual and compelling black & white images from cinematographers Ryszard Lenczewsi and Lukasz Zalwe have seen on film in recent times.  Hopefully the Academy will remember this one come award season.



A New Idiot Comes To The Pantages

Reviewed May 13, 2014

By Peter Foldy

A highly talented young cast burst onto the stage of the Pantages Theater last night as the National Tour of AMERICAN IDIOT invaded L.A.

Starring Jared Nepute as Johnny, Dan Tracy as Tunny, Casey O’Farrell as Will, Olivia Puckett as Whatsername, Taylor Jones as Extraordinary Girl, Mariah Macfarlane as Heather tn-500_idiot09and Carson Higgins as St. Jimmy, the show opens with the blockbuster title track “American Idiot” from Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum album.  Within seconds you are hooked into the infectious energy that is sustained throughout the entire performance.

The story, told partly through a series of cards and letters that are read out loud on stage, concerns three boyhood friends, two of whom escape the restraints of suburbia and head for the city to search for meaning in a shell-shocked, post 9-11 world.

Johnny soon discovers drugs that ultimately give him the confidence to embark on a sexual relationship with a girl he calls, “Whatshername.”  His guide and mentor for his volatile journey is an id like character, “St. Jimmy,” who points Johnny toward the dark side, leading ultimately to heroin addiction.

Johnny’s buddy, 10AmericanIdiotNationalTheaTunny, also grows disaffected with city life but finds solace by joining the military.

The other member of the trio, Will, stays at home, living vicariously through the letters he receives from his pals.  He and and his girlfriend are soon the parents of a child and Will’s frustration grows as he feels stifled by his surroundings.

As pedestrian as this story may sound, this show is anything but.  It takes off like a rocket and never stops.  With strong vocals, great music and choreography that might best resemble an aerobic class on speed, the stage is filled with light, sound and movement.  Even the live band on stage is brought into the action and are treated as characters in the play.

The cast is impressive.

Jared Nepute as Johnny is an edgy lovable actor whose charm and energy guides the show.  His journey from punk rocker to heroin addict andtn-500_idiot07 back again is a well told in Nepute’s meaningful and powerful performance.

A solid Olivia Puckett as Whatsername manages to temporarily tame the beast in Johnny, giving him momentary solace and ultimately a relationship to remember for the rest of his life.

All-American, Dan Tracy who makes his touring debut in American Idiot, is touching as Tunny, delivering an arc to his character that is perhaps the most potent and emotional in the production.

Casey O’Farrell as Will is clearly a strong talent who dominate the stage when ever his portion of the story is brought to the foreground, but it is Carson Higgins as St. Jimmy who practically steals the night.  He is a bawdy, ballsy, high octane young rocker who struts and poses to the delight of the audience.

Other cast members, Alex Boniello, tn-500_idiot06Liam Fennecken, Sean Garner, Francesca Granell, Antwaun Holley, Andrew Humann, Alison Morooney, Johnny Newcomb, Michael Pilato, Eric Presnall, Turner Rouse, Jr., Josephine Spada and Chelsea Turbin display an impressive kinetic energy, each of them playing various characters throughout the play, but also function expertly as a unit.  Every one of them shines.

AMERICAN IDIOT’S show stopping numbers include, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “21 Guns,” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,”which brought on the second standing ovation of the night.

The imaginative set by Christine Jones is a maze of windows and doors, graffiti and flat screen televisions, playing cryptic images and messages that are woven into the fabric of the story.  It is most innovative.

Missing from last night’s performance were the high flying sequences that had been a highlight of previous productions.   Nevertheless, AMERICAN IDIOT is a heart pumping joy ride, it’s message potent and meaningful.  This Idiot will rock you and perhaps manage to put a tear in your eye.  It is not to be missed.

The remaining performances for AMERICAN IDIOT are today, Wednesday, May 14 through Friday, May 16,  at 8pm, Saturday, May 17 at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday, May 18 at 1pm & 6:30pm at the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Blvd.


Justin Bieber Accused of Attempted Robbery

Los Angeles, CA: May 14, 2014

The Los Angeles County Police Department is investigating pop singer, Justin Bieber in connection with an alleged attempted robbery. The Los Angeles Times reports that Bieber tried to take a phone from a woman at a San FernandoJustin-Bieber Valley miniature golf course Monday because he thought she was taking his picture.

So far police have not interviewed or charged the trouble young pop star.

According to the website, TMZ:

The woman says Justin and his crew got into an altercation with some guys at the batting cage when J.B. noticed she was going for her cellphone to take pictures. She says Justin demanded to see her phone so he could erase any photos. She says she refused to fork over the phone so he then went into her purse and grabbed it.

The woman says she began wrestling with Bieber, trying to get her phone back. She says he ripped it out of her hands but couldn’t accomplish his mission because the phone was locked.

She says Justin gave her the phone back and demanded that she unlock it to see if she took photos. She obliged and showed Justin she had taken none. She says she told Justin she and her 13-year-old daughter just wanted to say hi, and Justin screamed, “”You’re humiliating yourself in front of your daughter. Why don’t you just get out of here.” Her daughter started crying.



“Searching For Sugar Man” Director Found Dead

Los Angeles: May 13, 2014


The director of the Oscar winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man” has been found dead.  was 36.

Police spokeswoman Pia Glenvik told the Associated Press malik-bendjelloul_foto_linus-hallseniusthat Bendjelloul died in Stockholm late Tuesday, but wouldn’t specify the cause of death.

“Searching for Sugar Man,” about the life and career of American singer Sixto Rodriguez, won 2013 docu Oscar as well as awards from Bafta, the IDA, the PGA and the DGA.

Born in Sweden, Bendjelloul appeared on TV as a child and then studied journalism and media production. He produced music documentaries for Swedish television and worked as a TV reporter before leaving to travel in Africa and South America.

He filmed the story partly on an iPhone, and the film was accepted as opening night film at Sundance before it was even finished.

“I was backpacking around Africa and South America looking for stories with a camera. I found six stories and this was one of the six. I thought it was the best story I’d ever heard,” he told the Independent newspaper in 2012.


Bendjelloul’s brother, Johar Bendjelloul told a Swedish newspaper on Tuesday that his brother committed suicide.

In an interview with the Aftonbladet, the elder Bendjelloul brother said that Malik, who won an Oscar in 2013 for his film, had “struggled with depression.”

“It seems so unbelievable,” he said. “I saw him two weeks ago in London. He was so full of life, hope and optimism and happiness, and looking forward to the future and future collaborations. We were talking about working together and talking about specific ideas, so the idea that he is no longer is just too hard to process.”


Artists and Musicians to the FCC: We Demand Real Net Neutrality

May 13, 2014

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, dozens of artists, musicians and other members of the creative community delivered a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urging the agency to abandon its pay-for-prioritization proposal and stand up for real Net Neutrality. Wheeler’s proposal — which will be considered during a May 15 FCC meeting — reportedly allows Internet service providers to charge extra fees to content companies for preferential treatment.

“The open Internet’s impact on the creative community cannot be overstated,” reads the letter, which was signed by Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly, Eddie Vedder, Neko Case, Roger Waters, Michael Stipe,ruffalo Erin McKeown, Joe Perry, Tom Morello, OK Go, Fugazi and Fred Armisen, among others. “The Internet has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences. It has eliminated the barriers of geography and taken collaborations to new levels. And it has allowed people — not corporations — to seek out the film, music and art that moves them.”

Signers of the letter urge Chairman Wheeler to scrap his proposed rules and instead “restore the principle of online nondiscrimination by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service.”

“Net Neutrality is the best thing going for our democracy today,” said actor Mark Ruffalo. “The folks who want to get rid of it are the worst thing going for our democracy today.”

“Maybe the term Net Neutrality is unfamiliar to most folks, but the concept it describes is one that everyone can and should care about: that the Internet shouldn’t be divided into fast lanes for the wealthy and slow lanes for everyone else,” said singer-songwriter Erin McKeown. “I am proud to stand with my fellow artists and citizens in support of an open Internet for everyone.”

“The people ARE the Internet.  Do not let the stock markets dictate our access to information,” said Brendan Canty of Fugazi. “Our government needs to hear from us on all fronts:  Free speech is not a commodity, it’s a right.”

The letter was coordinated by the Future of Music Coalition and Free Press, two nonprofit organizations with a long history of supporting accessible and open platforms for creativity and entrepreneurship.

“This is the crucial moment for artists and everyone else who uses the Internet,” said Casey Rae, VP of policy and education for the Future of Music Coalition. “We’ve seen time and again that musicians and other creators will go to bat for an open and accessible Internet. But what we’re seeing here is unprecedented. Net Neutrality has become the rallying cry for anyone who believes that creative expression and entrepreneurship must be preserved online. It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal or conservative, superstar or starry-eyed — we’re all banging the drum for nothing less than our right to use our voices in the way that we see fit.”

“2014 is going to be a make-or-break year for the Internet,” said Candace Clement, Free Press field director. “Stopping the FCC’s pay-for-prioritization proposal today is about making sure that artists can continue to create and innovate without fear of online discrimination. The FCC must protect real Net Neutrality for the sake of all Internet users, in particular for communities like this one.”

Stevie Nicks to be Honored as BMI Icon at the 62nd Annual BMI Pop Awards

Hollywood, CA:  March 31, 2014

BMI, (Broadcast Music Inc.) the global leader in music rights management, will bestow the BMI Icon Award to Stevie Nicks at its 62nd Annual BMI Pop Awards, slated for Tuesday, May 13, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. The invitation-only ceremony will also recognize the songwriters 291221and publishers of the past year’s most-performed pop songs in the United States. The BMI Pop Song, Songwriter and Publisher of the Year will be named during the ceremony. The evening will also include an all-star musical tribute to Nicks.

BMI Icons are selected because of their unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers. As a BMI Icon, Stevie Nicks will join elite ranks that include Paul Simon, Carole King, David Foster, John Fogerty, Kris Kristofferson, the Jacksons, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Bee Gees, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana, Dolly Parton, and others.

“Stevie Nicks is an extraordinary songwriter and pedigree artist of stunning genius and unwavering grace, on and off the stage. She has defined an era of pop and rock culture around the world with her brilliance and unforgettable magnificence,” said Barbara Cane, BMI Vice
President & General Manager, Writer/Publisher Relations, Los Angeles.

The legendary Stevie Nicks has an instantly recognizable voice that rises above all others. It is at once haunting, romantic, filled with mystery and completely unforgettable. Her spectacular talent has brought joy to her millions of fans for generations. With her incomparable songwriting ability, she has received 12 BMI million-performance citations, along with 12 BMI Pop Awards, a BMIUrban Award and a BMI Country Award for such hits as “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Leather and Lace,” “Landslide” and “Gypsy,” among others. With songs such as “Edge of Seventeen” and “Stand Back,” Nicks has earned a top spot among a pedigree of timeless pop rock icons. From thestart of her career as a solo artist with the release of her five million-selling debut, Bella Donna, up to her current critically acclaimed album, In Your Dreams, Nicks continues to bedazzle audiences around the world. As a member of the legendary Fleetwood Mac, whose Rumours album was one of the biggest selling records of all time.

Nicks’ four-decade career includes induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, multiple GRAMMY awards and numerous gold and platinum records. Collectively, these achievements add up to one of themost successful female artists in pop rock history.

The 62nd Annual BMI Pop Awards will be hosted by BMI President Del Bryant and BMI Vice President & General Manager, Writer/Publisher Relations, Los Angeles, Barbara Cane.

Buzzed, Happy and Helping Kids

By Alan von Kalckreuth

The recent gala Oscar party held at the salubrious home of Daphna Ziman to benefit the 15th Annual Oscar Viewing Party To Benefit Children Uniting Nations was an evening of fun, excitement, great food and hope – hope for the children in foster care who so often live in a twilight world where even the glimmer of distant stars –movies or celestial- seldom cast a beam.

So this year in Hollywood on Oscar night it was uplifting to see how fun, entertainment, high fashion and celebrities can swirl into a beacon of hope and promise for those who need Cun-3companionship, advocacy and love.   Children Uniting Nations is dedicated to the supporting children who are placed in foster care.  The foster system places children with caring foster parents, but all to often these children are shuffled from one home to another in the course of their childhood.  The Children Uniting Nations foundation bridges those transitions by giving the children a support group, that is as solid as rock, through counseling, mentoring friendship…  and a link to the world and energy that is the entertainment business.

The celebrities and guests at the event, who certainly had a bunch of options on how to spend Oscar Night, chose to attend the galaCun-2 over other “happening” parties and the place was buzzing, happy and moved to jive to the music of  “A” list performers, and the result was an alchemical swirl of fun, good cheer and awesome karma.

Founder and Chair, Daphne Zima: “Our mission is to create loving, tolerant, and capable world citizens. We are dedicated to help children find their way to fulfill their dreams.”


Speeding Driver Kills Two at SXSW

Austin, TX: March 13, 2014

A driver attempting to evade a drunk driving stop sped past a barricade on Red River Street and plowed into dozens of SXSW revelers, killing two and injuring 23 in a horrific scene here early Thursday morning, police said.

Red River Street is home to many popular clubs hosting South by Southwest music showcases, had beenIMG_0543 closed to motorists and was crowded with music fans waiting to get into the Mohawk nightclub.11:50 a.m.

Police Chief Art Acevedo said the man, identified by the American-Statesman (www.statesman.com) as Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen, will face two charges of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault.

Police also clarified who was killed in the incident.

One of the dead, a man from the Netherlands, was riding a bicycle near the intersection of 11th and Red River streets when struck. The other, an Austin woman on a moped, also was killed. Both were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Another man on the moped is in stable condition, Acevedo said.

Photo by:Bryan Beasley



The Highs and Lows of 2014’s Academy Award Telecast

Hollywood: March 3, 2014

One of the best Academy Award presentations of recent memory, last night’s show was not without some “what the F moments.”

Among the most jaw dropping segments started with host Ellen DeGeneres’ opening monologue where she proclaimed that “the night was going to end one of two ways. “Possibility No. 1, 12 Years a Slave wins best picture.” “Possibility No. 2, you’re all racist.”  Really, Ellen?

She carried on by takingIMG_3765 jabs at “Captain Phillips” co-star, Bakhad Abdi, actress, Jennifer Lawrence and actor, Jonah Hill.

The line however may have been crossed when she singled out Liza Minnelli who squirmed in her seat after DeGeneres proclaimed, “There is one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” she said, pointing out the actress sitting in the audience next to sister Lorna Luft.  “Good job, sir,” said DeGeneres who herself is famous for wearing men’s suits.

Jennifer Lawrence’s comment to someone in the audience, asking “why are you laughing?  What, is this funny? I’m still watching you!” seemed odd and out of place.  It may have been an inside joke but it fell flat.

Then there was once beautiful Kim Novak’s drastic face job that left the room asking WTF.

Some presenters fumbled and embarrassed themselves, most notably John Travolta who had two words to pronounce, a name, Idina Menzel and could not get that right.  He introduced  the Broadway star as Adela Dazeem.  It makes you wonder how some people get to be presentersIMG_3769 on the Academy Awards and why.  Case in point is Harrison Ford whose gruff, pissed off persona is getting to be a real bore.

Thankfully the great moments outweighed the bad.

The selfie Ellen took with a room full of stars, the pizza she had delivered to audience members and then asking the crowd to chip in made for great spontaneous television. 

Jarod Leto’s speech was powerful and moving.  Spike Jones winning for his great screenplay, “Her” was gratifying, but it was Lupita Nyong’o acceptance speech  and “12 Years a Slave” winning best picture brought the award season to a highly gratifying end.

Here is a full list of all the winners last night:

Best Supporting Actor:

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
WINNER: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Costume Design:

Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster
WINNER: Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
Michael O’Connor, The Invisible Woman
Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

WINNERS: Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club
Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, The Lone Ranger

Best Short Film (animated)

Get a Horse!
WINNER: Mr Hublot
Room on the Broom

Best Animation:

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
WINNER: Frozen
The Wind Rises

Best Visual Effects:

WINNER: Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness

Best Short:

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)
WINNER: Helium
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Best Documentary:

Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
WINNER: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Best Documentary:

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
WINNER: 20 Feet from Stardom

Best Foreign Film:

Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
WINNER: The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
Omar (Palestine)

Best Sound Mixing:

Captain Phillips
WINNER: Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

Best Sound Editing:

All Is Lost
Captain Phillips
WINNER: Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor

Best Supporting Actress:

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
WINNER: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Cinematography:

Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
WINNER: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
Roger A Deakins, Prisoners

Best Editing:

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
WINNER: Gravity
12 Years a Slave

Best Production Design:

American Hustle
WINNER: Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn, The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave

Best Original Score:

John Williams, The Book Thief
WINNER: Steven Price, Gravity
William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr Banks

Best Original Song:

Alone Yet Not Alone, Alone Yet Not Alone [disqualified]
Happy, Despicable Me 2
WINNER: Let It Go, Frozen
The Moon Song, Her
Ordinary Love, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
WINNER: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay:

Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell, American Hustle
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
WINNER: Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska

Best Director:

David O Russell, American Hustle
WINNER: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actress:

Amy Adams, American Hustle
WINNER: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Actor:

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
WINNER: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Picture:

WINNER: 12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
The Wolf of Wall Street

Sycamore Entertainment Group To Stream The Original “The Judy Garland Show”

Hollywood, Feb. 28, 2014

Sycamore Entertainment Group, Inc. a leading innovator in hybrid distribution, is pleased to announce it has acquired the exclusive USA licensing of 26 episodes of “The Judy Garland Show” to be available for the first time on streaming video.

To commemorate the 50thanniversary of the filming of “The Judy Garland Show”, Sycamore Entertainment tv022562a-cropwill stream the 26 one hour episodes of the first and only season of the original show. In these rare episodes, Judy performs solo and in once-in-a-lifetime musical duets with the likes of Barbara Streisand, Mickey Rooney, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli and many more. These episodes are the only remaining recordings of Judy Garland performing at her peak.

“It’s an honor to present these rare episodes of “The Judy Garland Show” to an audience captivated by her talents” Says Ed Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore. He goes on to say “The Judy Garland biographical book ‘Get Happy’ being developed as a feature film by The Weinstein Company starring Anne Hathaway, hopes to captivate the essence of the woman that is seen in these 26 episodes. Fans will rejoice at seeing her talents in its purest form”.

Starting March 29th, consumers can stream each one hour episode individually or as a package. Fans will be able to stream the episodes on Android, Apple IPad, IPhone, Samsung and many other devices. All of the episodes are up-converted in full HD for maximum viewing experience. “As the upcoming 86thannual Academy Awards honors the 75thanniversary of the Wizard of OZ, a new generation of fans will discover the wonderful talents of Judy Garland”, Says Sylvan.

Sycamore acquired the rights from legendary music producer Darryl Payne of Darryl Payne Films. He says “I am delighted to be working with innovators like Sycamore Entertainment in bringing this iconic talent into a digital era”.

To get more information regarding the availability of the show visit
the website at: www.Sycamoreentertainment.com/TheJudyGarlandShow

Jake Gyllenhaal’s New Film, “Enemy,” is a Psychological Thrill Ride

Review by Peter Foldy

Dark, twisted and surreal, ENEMY, starring JAKE GYLLENHAAL and directed by DENIS VILLENEUVE is a quirky, hypnotic study of two distinct personas as their lives become irrevocably intertwined.

The story deals with a disconnected history professor named Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal) who is going through life onenemy-ENEMY_OS_LARGE_rgb auto-pilot, seemingly lost in a haze of self doubt and apathy.  Bell stays in a dumpy, barely furnished apartment in a seedy party of Toronto and not even his attractive, frisky girlfriend (MELANIE LAURENT) stirs him beyond the occasional and predictable sexual liaison the two of them share.

Watching a movie on the recommendation of a colleague, Adam spots his dobbleganger, a bit player in the film who looks exactly like him.  Compelled to track down the actor, Adam learns that the man’s name is Anthony Clair and the resemblance between them is uncanny in every way, right down to an identical scar on their bodies.

Before long Anthony Clair’s beautiful and pregnant wife, (SARAH GADON) is brought into the mix and the psychodrama begins to take some strange though not totally unexpected turns as it spirals toward it’s violent and stunning conclusion.

Adapted from Nobel prize winning author,enemy-ENEMY_DAY4-0054_rgb Jose Saramago’s 2004 novel, The Double, the film examines those dark corners of the mind where fear and fantasy reside, where hope is a limited option and psychological survival is something that may come with a price.

All the performances are subtle and exceptional but it is Mr. Gyllenhaal who does the heavy lifting here in the duel roles of Bell and Clair.  He manages to find the nuances of both the characters and in the process creates sympathetic portrayals that keep the suspense slowly bubbling till it come to a full boil.

Director of Photography,  NICOLAS BOLDUC and the film’s director, Villeneuve  turns Toronto into a bleak sea of bland, sterile high rise apartments where people live less than ordinary lives, where secrets abound, waiting to rise to the surface.  With muted tones and great attention to detail the film shows us a world where anyone might be the enemy, or is the enemy living inside us all?

Currently playing on VOD through DirectTV and opening theatrically March 14, 2014, “Enemy” is a film well worth seeing.


“Her” Screenplay Wins Top Writer’s Guild Award

Hollywood: February 1, 2014

Spike Jonze’s screenplay,  “Her” won a major victory at the Writers Guild of America Awards on Saturday night, taking home the award for the best original screenplay of 2013.

By beating “Blue Jasmine,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Nebraska” and particularly “American Hustle,” Jonze’s script showed that it has the potential to be a spoiler on Oscar night. And it deprived “American Hustle” of what would have been a big win as it heads into the Oscar voting period locked in a tight race with “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.”

"Her" screenwriter, Spike Jonze

“Her” screenwriter, Spike Jonze

With the former film not nominated by the WGA and the latter film ineligible under guild rules, the “Her” win meant that none of the Oscar leaders could gain any advantage from the last of the four major guild ceremonies.

In the adapted screenplay category, Billy Ray’s win for “Captain Phillips” was a nice boost for a film that didn’t do as well in Oscar nominations as expected. But with frontrunner “12 Years a Slave” not in the running, its victory was less important as an Oscar predictor.

As usual, the two affiliated guilds, the WGA, West and the WGA, East handed out awards at separate ceremonies in different orders — and as a result, most of the major awards were announced in New York long before the categories came up in Los Angeles.

The failure of the two guilds to work out a way to coordinate their shows has long been a source of frustration in Los Angeles, where nominees frequently learn that they’ve won or lost by hearing the news from New York. On Saturday, the East Coast show had ended well before the West Coast one even got to the top film categories, with the award to Spike Jonze announced in New York nearly 90 minutes before he took the stage to accept it in L.A.

Here’s a complete list of winners.


ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY: Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions


DRAMA SERIES: Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

COMEDY SERIES: Veep, Written by Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO

NEW SERIES: House of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix

EPISODIC DRAMA: “Confessions” (Breaking Bad), Written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC

EPISODIC COMEDY: “Hogcock!” (30 Rock), Written by Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock; NBC

LONG FORM – ADAPTED: Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Written by Shawn Slovo, Based on the book by Howard Bingham and Max Wallace; HBO

SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL: “Episode 4: The Collected Sylvia” (Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective), Written by Mike Simses

ANIMATION: “A Test Before Trying” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox

COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES: The Colbert Report, Writers: Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Michael Brumm, Nate Charny, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Gabe Gronli, Dan Guterman, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Bobby Mort, Meredith Scardino, Max Werner; Comedy Central

COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS: Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas, Head Writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts; Writers: Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders; NBC

QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: Jeopardy!, Written by John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC

DAYTIME DRAMA: Days of Our Lives, Written by Lorraine Broderick, David Cherrill, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Janet Iacobuzio, David A. Levinson, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Melissa Salmons, Christopher J. Whitesell; NBC

CHILDREN’S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS: “influANTces” (A.N.T. Farm), Written by Vincent Brown; Disney Channel

DOCUMENTARY – CURRENT EVENTS: “Egypt in Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS

DOCUMENTARY – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS: (tie) “The Abolitionists” (American Experience), Written by Rob Rapley; PBS and “Silicon Valley” (American Experience), Telescript by Randall MacLowry and Michelle Ferrari; Story by Randall MacLowry; PBS

NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT: “Tragedy at Newtown” Special Edition (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Lisa Ferri and Matt Negrin; ABC

NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY: “Lethal Medicine” (60 Minutes), Written by Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados, Michael Radutzky; CBS


DOCUMENTARY: “2012 Year in Review,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED OR BREAKING REPORT: “Afternoon Drive,” Written by Bill Spadaro; CBS Radio/1010 WINS

NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE OR COMMENTARY: “Remembrances,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News


ON-AIR PROMOTION (TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA OR RADIO: “The Crazy Ones – Building a Better Comedy,” Written by Erial Tompkins; CBS

TELEVISION GRAPHIC ART AND ANIMATION: CBS News Animations: “Brain Injury,” “Pills,” “Bionic Leg,” “Midland Parade,” “Concordia Salvage;” Animation by David Rosen; CBS News

Oscar Nominations Announced

Beverly Hills, CA: January 16, 2014

The nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards were announced early this morning from Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Chris Hemsworth and AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs revealed the nominations for cinema’s biggest night. The Oscars will be held on March 2.  Let the race begin.

Here is the full list of nominations:

Best motion picture of the year
“American Hustle” Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Captain Phillips” Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
“Dallas Buyers Club” Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
“Her” Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
“Nebraska” Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
“Philomena” Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
“12 Years a Slave” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Nominees to be determined

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Amy Adams in “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”
Judi Dench in “Philomena”
Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
June Squibb in “Nebraska”

Best animated feature film of the year

“The Croods” Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
“Despicable Me 2” Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
“Ernest & Celestine” Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
“Frozen” Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
“The Wind Rises” Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

Achievement in cinematography
“The Grandmaster” Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska” Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” Roger A. Deakins

Achievement in costume design
“American Hustle” Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster” William Chang Suk Ping
“The Great Gatsby” Catherine Martin
“The Invisible Woman” Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave” Patricia Norris

Achievement in directing
“American Hustle” David O. Russell
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón
“Nebraska” Alexander Payne
“12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese

Best documentary feature
“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined

Best documentary short subject
“CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

Achievement in film editing
“American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave” Joe Walker

Best foreign language film of the year
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” Belgium
“The Great Beauty” Italy
“The Hunt” Denmark
“The Missing Picture” Cambodia
“Omar” Palestine

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling
“Dallas Buyers Club” Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“The Book Thief” John Williams
“Gravity” Steven Price
“Her” William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena” Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks” Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen”
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her”
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

Achievement in production design
“American Hustle” Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity” Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
“The Great Gatsby” Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
“Her” Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

Best animated short film
“Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
“Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
“Possessions” Shuhei Morita
“Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Best live action short film
“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
“Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
“The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

Achievement in sound editing
“All Is Lost” Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips” Oliver Tarney
“Gravity” Glenn Freemantle
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor” Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing
“Captain Phillips” Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
“Gravity” Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor” Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

Achievement in visual effects
“Gravity” Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger” Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Adapted screenplay
“Before Midnight” Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” Screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Screenplay by Terence Winter

Original screenplay
“American Hustle” Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” Written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club” Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” Written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” Written by Bob Nelson

Fast and Furious Actor, Paul Walker Reported Dead

November 30, 2013

TMZ reported today that “Fast and Furious” actor, PAUL WALKER was reported to have died after his Porsche crashed and exploded.

“Multiple sources connected to paul-walker-picture-5Paul” state that the 40-year-old star lost control of the car and slammed into a post or tree, with the car bursting into flames after the impact. They published the photo below reportedly of the explosion.

A Santa Clarita police department officer confirmed to TheWrap that officers were investigating “significant traffic collision” on Constellation Road at the Rye Canyon loop, but could not confirm a fatality.

Walker is 40, and best known for starring multiple times in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. He is part of the cast of the latest in the series “Fast and Furious 7,” which is still filming.

12 Years a Slave Leads Spirit Award Nominations

November 26, 2013

Film Independent announced their nominees for the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles today. Designed as an opportunity to recognize the niche films that are muscled out of the circuit131015184929-beale-12-years-a-slave-story-top by Hollywood headliners, the show has in recent years become increasingly Academy friendly. Though 12 Years a Slave unsurprisingly leads the pack with seven nominations, it’s nice to see a handful of wild cards getting their due.

Here’s a complete list of nominees.

Best Feature
12 Years a Slave
All is Lost
Frances Ha
Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Director
Shane Carruth, Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor, All is Lost
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Alexander Payne, Nebraska

 Best First Feature
Blue Caprice
Fruitvale Station
Una Noche

Best Male Lead
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All is Lost

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Gaby Hoffman, Crystal Fairy
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now

John Cassavetes Award
Computer Chess
Crystal Fairy
Museum Hours
Pit Stop
This Is Martin Bonner

Best Documentary Film
20 Feet From Stardom
After Tiller
Gideon’s Army
The Act of Killing
The Square

Best International Film
A Touch of Sin (China)
Blue is the Warmest Color (France)
Gloria (Chile)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)

Best Editing
Shane Carruth and David Lowery, Upstream Color
Jem Cohen and Marc Vives, Museum Hours
Jennifer Lame, Frances Ha
Cindy Lee, Una Noche
Nat Sanders, Short Term 12

Best Cinematography
Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave
Benoit Debie, Spring Breakers
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Frank G. Demarco, All is Lost
Matthias Grunsky, Computer Chess

Best First Screenplay
Lake Bell, In a World
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jill Solloway, Afternoon Delight
Mike Starrbury, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

Best Screenplay
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Spectacular Now
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12

Best Supporting Actress
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Yolanda Ross, Go For Sisters
June Squibb, Nebraska

Piaget Producers Award ($25,000 grant to emerging producer)
Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston
Jacob Jaffke
Andrea Roa and Frederick Thornton

Someone to Watch Award
My Sister’s Quinceañera, Aaron Douglas Johnston
Newlyweeds, Shaka King
The Foxy Merkins, Madeline Olnek

Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award($25,000 grant to an emerging non-fiction director)
Kalyanee Mam, A River Changes Course
Jason Osder, Let the Fire Burn
Stephanie Spray & Pacho Valez, Manakamana

Robert Altman Award
Writer/Director Jeff Nichols, Casting Director Francine Maisler, and the Cast of Mud

The Spirit Awards are set to air March 1, 2014 on IFC.


Was Brittany Murphy and Husband Poisoned?

Hollywood: November 18, 2013

TheWrap reports that a new laboratory report lends credence to what actress BRITTANY MURPHY’S father has long suspected: that she and her husband died not of natural causes, but of poisoning by someone out to kill them.

“It’s a bona fide report,Brittany-Murphy-001” the lab’s general manager, Denny Seilheimer, told TheWrap. “It was our client’s prerogative to release the report. That’s all I can tell you.”

Murphy’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, didn’t accept the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office conclusion that the “Clueless” star and husband Angelo Bertolotti died of natural causes — pneumonia and anemia — five months apart. He sued to gain access to her hair samples, and hired Seilheimer’s private lab, the Carlson Company, to look for signs of poisoning.

The lab’s report found evidence she was was poisoned — probably by “a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent.”

Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said the coroner’s sfdgsdfgsdfgsdoffice has not been in touch with Murphy’s father and had no updates.

“We have no comment on that and our report stands as of now,” he told TheWrap.

Bertolotti told TheWrap he was not immediately available to commentdid not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. Murphy died in 2009, and Monjack in 2010.

LAPD spokesman Officer Cleon Joseph said it would be up to the coroner’s office whether to take further action.

“Whatever the findings, if there was something to report, they would report it to us,” he said.

Julia Verdin and her 2 Jacks

October 17, 2013.

JULIA VERDIN is an L.A. based British producer and former actress who has a long list of feature film credits.  Her most recent project, “2 Jacks,” is a well crafted Hollywood tale with excellent performances from stars Danny Huston, Sienna Miller and Jack Huston.  The film also stars Jaqueline Bissett, Izabella Miko, Lydia Hearst, Jamie Harris, Richard Portnow and Billy Zane and was directed by Bernard Rose.

HOLLYWOOD REVEALED: Hi, Julia.  Your latest independent film, “2 JACKS” has been enjoying some great success.  Tell us how the screenplay come to you and what was the turning point in you deciding to produce it?

Julia Verdin: BERNARD ROSE, DANNY HOUSTON and I have all known each other for many years and wanted to work together so we decided to make the sort of film we would all like to go and see.  BernardjuliaVerdin15_dh1 (1) has always been a big fan of Tolstoy and Danny was keen to do a movie with his nephew JACK HOUSTON, so Bernard decided on adapting the Tolstoy short story “Two Hussar’s” and set in Hollywood, making the father and son film directors as opposed to cavalry officers. The interesting thing about Tolstoy is that many of his themes are still very relevant today.

HR: Was there any other cast already attached?

Julia: No. Just Danny and Jack to start with.  Between us all we reached out to our other actor friends  who were right for the various roles and very quickly put this great cast together. I am very fortunate to have worked with many wonderful actors over the years that I have developed great relationships with, so I was bring people like BILLY ZANE, SIENNA MILLER andJACQUELINE BISSETT to the table.

HR: What do you think the attraction was for these actors?

Julia: I  think many of them were attracted to working with Bernard as he is a wonderful and prolific director. The material also provided them with interesting challenges and the opportunity to improve which can be fun and different.  Tolstoy’s characters live and breathe like Shakespeare’s and so they are very appealing to most actors.

HR: How would you describe the shoot?

Julia: It was fun and very collaborative, i think everybody really felt a part of what they were doing.

HR: What was the biggest challengeDanny and Sienna 0697 you faced in making this film?

Julia: The challenge on any independent movie is always finding creative ways to do things with a limited budget.  We had a large cast and also a couple of big party scenes and small things such as extra casting is always important and time consuming finding the right people who will be a good fit.  We reached out to a lot of our industry friends to be in the party scenes so they would look authentic. I had to organize tango lessons for Danny and Sienna and bridge lessons for some of the other cast. I also had to find great locations, musicians and dancers so it was quite challenging and a lot to do in a short time so found myself working round the clock and calling on the generosity of friends for help.  My very talented designer friend Julia Clancey did the costume design for the film and created wonderful costumes for us.

HR: Tell us about your background?  Where are you from and how did you start your career?

Julia: I startedJack and Danny 2580 in the business as an actress in England and then moved into producing. I am passionate about film and love the creative aspect of it. I love developing material with writers and then putting all the elements together.  It’s always challenging but enormously satisfying to see it coming to life.  First and foremost you need a great compelling story and well executed script , then attaching the right  director at the helm who has a real vision for the story  and  casting it right can often make the difference as to how it comes to life and blossoms.

HR: You are also a personal manager.  Was that a natural progression?  How and why did you take on acting clients?

Julia: I started managing actors about 18 years ago, i was constantly placing friends in jobs as I have always been good at putting people together so it seemed like a natural progression. I have a wonderful roster of great actors who I really love and believe in and they are constantly working in film and TV.  I really enjoy the synergy of managing and producing.  They work very well together.

HR: “2 Jacks” recently premiered at Raindance2 Jacks poster FLAT Film Festival in London.  Where else is it going to be seen?

Julia: “2 Jacks” has been at some great film festivals including Montreal worldwide, Vancouver International, Hollywood film festival and yes, the Raindance festival In London. It is currently the opening night film at LA FEMME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL  on Friday Oct 18th in LA and  It will be coming out in Cinemas and on VOD platforms also on Friday 18th of October as well.

HR:  That’s a great end result for this exceptional little movie. What’s next for you as a producer?

Julia: I love bio pictures and have a wonderful project about the iconic French actress Sarah Bernhardt written by Cynthia Riddle, I am also producing a dysfunctional family Christmas story called Surviving Christmas written and to be directed by James Dearden for which we are in the process of assembling a wonderful cast. I will produce a female driven comedy called The Homecoming Queen goes down which will star and was brought to me by Olivia D’Abo one of my management clients.

HR: Nice.  One last question.  Please describe your perfect L.A. weekend.

Julia: My perfect LA weekend is hiking up Runyon Canyon, doing Kundalini Yoga, a lovely dinner with friends at The Chateau Marmont Hotel on Saturday followed by brunch at Soho house on Sunday, a tea party with all my film maker friends at my house in the afternoon, swopping ideas, sharing experiences and celebrating the wonderful lives we all are lucky enough to have and a good movie in the evening.

HR: Sounds like fun. Thanks for chatting, Julia.

Julia: My pleasure.

“2 Jacks” screens Friday, October 18, 2013 at:

Regal Stadium 14, LA LIVE : 1000 West Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA  90015.  Screening at 8:00 pm.

For full list of cinemas and VOD availability see: www.twojacksfilms.com


Stars Roll Out for “Kill Your Darlings” Premier in Hollywood

October 4, 2013

Daniel Radcliffe’s latest film, “Kill Your Darlings” premiered last night in Hollywood, sponsored by Blue Moon Brewing Company.

The film about the early life of Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael C. Halliconic beat poet, Allan Ginsberg (Radcliffe) also stars Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall,  and Jennifer Jason Leigh who all shined on the red carpet at the Writers Guild Theater.

Stars Aubrey Plaza, Sarah DuMontCaity Lotz, and Misty Upham were also in attendance.

Following the premiere, the cast made an appearance at a posh post party at Beverly Hills’ Caulfield’s where they enjoyed ice cold Blue Moon with the requisite orange slice.

The non-beer drinkers Sarah Dumontwere served Fleury Estate Winery’s 2009 Deuxienne Red and 2011 Fleurty Rose as well as Voli Light Vodka’s Lime Light and Coslowpolitan.

With a such a wide selection of fine alcohols, a good time was had by all, including Vincent Spano.

Interestingly, Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was shooting documentary footage in front of the bar during the party–coincidence?

Photo Credit: Todd Williamson

For more information contact: Matthew Honig




Mark Kearney’s Iced Out Luxury Suite an Affair to Remember

Los Angeles, CA (September 21st, 2013)

Stars showed up en masse for Iced Out’s Luxury Awards Suite during Emmy Week. The event, held on September 19th and 20th in a sprawling private residence in the Hollywood Hills, provided to be a wonderful time with a

Adrienne Maloof and Jacob Bush

Adrienne Maloof and Jacob Bush

diverse array of products and services—from Custom Tobacco’s Cigars to renowned plastic surgeon David A Feldmar’s botox procedures —being showcased. The star attraction, however, was the Tesla Model S – Voted “Car of the Year.”

Guest of Honor Mark Kearney is about to launch a new culinary phenomenon in at the beautiful Bahamas Baha Mar Resort in Nassau.  “The Bahamas and the Caribbean  offer a unique and undiscovered attitude t,owards local island seafood and vegetables,” says  Chef Mark. “ I can’t wait to join my love for the Pacific Rim exotic flavors  with my love for the Caribbean spices at the Baha Mar Resort!” The chef is also

Model, Cynthia Kirshner

Model, Cynthia Kirshner

working on an upcoming TV project.

Party attendees nibbled on Kerrygold cheese and luscious appetizers by  Chef Mark, whose Coconut Prawns, Maui crab cakes,Ribeye Sliders, Ahi Tuna on a Crispy Wonton, and Coconut Roquefort Terrine served on an Endive Leaf were the talk of the evening. Chef Mark’s signature Pacific Rim hors d’ouvres were accompanied by Adrienne Maloof’s exquisite Zing Vodka Martinis–Adrienne’s Favorite Raspberry Zing and The Red Sunset Cosmo. The former Beverly Hills Housewife came out in support of her liquor brand and absolutely dazzled on the red carpet. Richard Grieco of 21 Jump Street fame showed up to showcase his Gallerie Sparta art project, which

Chef Mark and Adrienne Maloof put some Zing into their lives.

Chef Mark and Adrienne Maloof put some Zing into their lives.

was created in conjunction with actress-artist Jane Seymour. Beat Ventriloquists (DJs James and Gene Bautista) kept the mood lively all through Thursday’s affair with their unique blend of old school jams and modern dance hits.

In addition to Maloof and Grieco, the guest list included actress-model Liz Fuller, Neal Mcdonough (Red 2), Breaking Bad writer producer George Mastras,  Jaclyn Betham (The Haves and Have Nots), Cody Kennedy, Tony Denison (Major Crimes),  Wes Ramsey (CSI: Miami), singer-guitarist

Actress, Liz Fuller enjoys the stylings of Gail Garrison

Actress, Liz Fuller enjoys the stylings of Gail Garrison

Laura Wilde, model Cynthia Kirchner, comedic personality Jessie Heiman, child actress Laci Kay, Stephen Glickman (Big Time Rush), comedienne Judy Tenuta, Masiela Lusha (The George Lopez Show), radio host Rolanda Watts, KIIS FM’s DJ Shy, celebrity stylist Okera Banks, and recording artist Vaja.

“We’re enormously pleased with the turnout we had this year,” says Kearney, no stranger to organizing gifting suites. “Everyone had a blast. I’m already counting the days until 2014’s suite! Special kudos definitely goes to celebrity photographer Michael Bezjian and his portrait studio.”

The event was made possible by sponsors

Omar Dorsey supports the Breast Cancer Society

Omar Dorsey supports the Breast Cancer Society

Tesla Motors, Fortress Jets, BizStar Media, Le Metier Cosmetics, Gallerie Sparta—A French International Gallerie, Dr. David A. Feldmar M.D. Board Certified Celebrity Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, Fantrac ~ Rewarding Feedback, Beat Ventriloquists, P&L Media, LLC, Adrienne Maloof’s Zing Vodka, Lovestruck Productions Inc., Mega Way Organic Nutrition, The Breast Cancer Society, Gail Garrison, Lashes M.D., Kerrygold, Carte Blanche Mobile Teeth Whitening, Custom Tobacco for Iced Out,  Daniel Decriscio, and Kathy Brown.

“We’re very fortunate and grateful to have had so many top-notch luxury brands on board with us,” said Kearney.  “They were truly the backbone of our event.”

Photo Credit: Credit :Michael Bezjian/WireImage

Woody Allen Scores with “Blue Jasmine”

JULY 25, 2013

REVIEW by Peter Foldy

Woody Allen’s latest film, BLUE JASMINE, is probably his best work in years.  The movie boasts an impressive Oscar worthy performances from it’s female star, Cate Blanchette who takes on the challenging role of “Jasmine,” a well heeled, New York socialite married to a slick wheeler-dealer named “Hal” (Alec Baldwin) who we soon find blue-jasmineout is cut from the same cloth as Wall Street sociopath, Bernie Madoff.  

Jasmine turns a blind eye to her husbands cheating ways and rarely questions his business ethics, preferring to remain silent in order to keep living the lifestyle to which she feels entitled. But all good things come to an end, and when we first meet Jasmine, it is not as the rich woman of means that she once was, but as a broken, desperate soul moving in with her working class sister, Ginger, (Sally Hawkins) a kind-hearted under-achiever who dates an emotional hot head called “Chilli” (Bobby Cannavele).  Ginger and her two noisy sons live in a cramped San Francisco apartment above a store and you can feel the claustrophobia as soon as you enter the premises.  This surely puts our Jasmine out of sorts.

We soon discover that there are some dents in the sister’s relationship.  Ginger and her ex husband, Augie (a surprisingly impressive Andrew Dice Clay) had invested their lottery winnings with Jasmine’s husband, and he lost it all, destroying Augie and Ginger’s one chance to climb out of the gutter.

Jasmine however is unrepentant as she tries to adjust to this major downshift in her life. She unhappily lands a job as receptionist at a dentist’s office, tries to destroy Ginger’s943535_581150268591833_664076823_n relationship with Chilli, all the while studying to be an interior decorator, a line of work she seems well suited for.  Mostly Jasmine creates havoc, frequently thinking back to what she once was.  It is these flashbacks that allows Blanchette to stretch her talents as both the former and current Jasmine.  We see her at her snootiest as the well-off socialite, throwing dinner parties, indulging in the luxuries that she has mistakenly takes for granted.  We also observe her in present day as she recovers from what seems to be a nervous breakdown, a broke, desperate, humiliated woman trying desperately to hold on to some dignity.

When aspiring congressman, “Dwight” finally comes along, (played by Peter Sarsgaard) Jasmine sees him as her salvation and pulls out all the stops (and all the lies) to be able to get back to the pampered lifestyle that feels entitled to.

Blue Jasmine is an intelligently crafted character study that speaks to the morality of the last decade.  All the performances are exceptional.  Baldwin is at his usual best as “Hal”, and Cannavale is convincing as the rough and tough street hood, “Chilli,” a hood who cries like a baby when his heart breaks.  Hawkins is sympathetic as “Ginger” and Skaarsgard captures wealth and ambition to a T, but it is Blanchette who does the heavy lifting in Blueblue-jasmine-03 Jasmine and her performance is sure to be remembered come award season.

Beautifully shot by Javier Aguirresarobe, the film is one of Woody Allen’s less kinetic presentations, a welcome film for grown-ups in a summer of comic book fodder, Blue Jasmine is well worth a look. We give BLUE JASMINE **** (four stars).

Opens: July 26 (Sony Pictures Classics)
Production: Perdido Productions
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tammy Blanchard, Max Casella, Alden Ehrenreich
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson
Executive producers: Leroy Schechter, Adam B. Stern
Director of photography: Javier Aguirresarobe
Production designer: Santo Loquasto
Costume designer: Suzy Benzinger
Editor: Alisa Lepselter
PG-13 rating, 98 minutes


A-List Communications Entertains Comic-Con With Two Cool Parties

San Diego: July 22, 2013

International event producer A-List Communications produced two of the leading events at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

First, eOne’s HAVEN cast, celebrity and Fan Fest on July 18th at the Sidebar, followed by the annual genre themed extravaganza,

Eric Balfour and DJ Qualls

Eric Balfour and DJ Qualls

“CON OF DARKNESS,” at the Voyer on July 19, co-hosted by Entertainment One (eOne), IFC Midnight, and MPI Dark Sky Films, Along with DreadCentral.com, The Haunted Hotel, Femme Fatales and Shocktillyoudrop.com

HAVEN featured the cast members of the  Syfy hit television series and other celebrities on the red carpet who mingling with fans and VIP’s. The event featured specialty drinks compliments of sponsor Wild Turkey bourbon.

Those showing up for the celebration included Emily Rose (Jericho, Brothers
and Sister) Lucas Bryant (Queer as Folk, MVP); Eric Balfour (24, Six Feet Under), Adam Copeland (WWE’s The Edge); Colin Ferguson (Eureka) and eOne TV’s CEO John Morayniss.

Other celebrity guests on the red carpet included:

Alex Essoe

Alex Essoe

Stephen Lundsford (Teen Wolf); The Femmes Fatales (Jacqueline Annette, Carlee Baker; Tiffany Brouwer (THE HELP), Stephanie Danielson, Kristen DeLuca Madison Dylan, Ashley Noel, and Jen Roa); Nikki Griffin; Ana Alexander; DJ Qualls and more.


Emily Rose Haven

Emily Rose Haven

featured celebrities such as cast mates Alex Essoe and Rileah Vanderbilt; Nelson Ascencio; Angelina Armani; Matt Bennett; Jonathan Daniel Brown; Cas Anvar; Megan Duffy; Kaj-Erik Eriksen; Adam Green; David Guy Levy; Sonia, Cleve and Constance Hall; Robert Hall; Kevin Kolsch; Gabriel Jarrett; Doug Jones; Derek Mears; Jim Mickle; Logan Miller; John Ratzenberger; Vigilante Diaries director Christian Sesma and the cast (Jacqueline Lord, Christine Nguyen, Paul Sloan and Jessica Uberuaga.

The series also stars Jason Mewes); Aimee Teegarden

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

(Friday Night Lights), Danielle Vasinova; Matiland Ward; Dennis Widmyer; and Saye Yabandeh.

As well as celebs, there were lifelike fantasy creatures including: a Swamp Thing, a Yeti, a goblin, zombies and various dismembered and hanging bodies and limbs.

Haven Party Photo Credits: Chrissy Kim & Todd Williamson

Con of Darkness Photo Credit: Todd Williamson


Emmy Nominations Announced

July 18, 2013

The 65th Primetime Emmy award nominations were read and revealed early Thursday morning in Los Angeles LAA2013on emmys.com

Many of the names on the list are worthy though predictable.  There were several huge snubs, one being the excellent FX drama, “The Americans” which well deserves a nod for Outstanding Drama.

Here is a partial list of nominees:

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Damian Lewis, Homeland

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton, Nashville
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End
Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra
Toby Jones, The Girl
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
TIna Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Saturday Night Live
Real Time With Bill Maher

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Behind the Candelabra
The Bible
Phil Spector
Political Animals
Top of the Lake

Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock
The Big Bang
Modern Family

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Rupert Friend, Homeland
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game Of Thrones
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Linda Cardellini, Mad Men
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Joan Cusack, Shameless

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
George Mastras, Breaking Bad • Dead Freight
Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad • Say My Name
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey • Episode 4
D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Game Of Thrones • The Rains Of Castamere
Henry Bromell, Homeland • Q&A

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad
Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland
David Fincher, House Of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
Will Forte, 30 Rock

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Molly Shannon, Enlightened
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Melissa Leo, Louie
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes
Louis C.K., Story & Teleplay by Pamela Adlon, Louie
Greg Daniels, The Office
Jack Burditt and Robert Carlock, 30 Rock
Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Paris Barclay, Glee
Louis C.K., Louie
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family
Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Scott Bakula, Behind The Candelabra
John Benjamin, The Big C: Hereafter
Peter Mullan, Top Of The Lake

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Imelda Staunton, The Girl
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Richard LaGravenese, Behind The Candelabra
Abi Morgan, The Hour
Tom Stoppard, Parade’s End
David Mamet, Phil Spector
Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, Top Of The Lake

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Steven Soderbergh, Behind The Candelabra
Julian Jarrold, The Girl
David Mamet, Phil Spector
Allison Anders, Ring of Fire
Jane Campion and Garth Davis, Top Of The Lake

The trophies will be given out Sunday, Sept. 22.

Glee Star, Cory Monteith Dead at 31

July 13, 2013

Actor, Cory Monteith was found dead today in a room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver, Canada, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Cory had checked cory-monteith-image-337573-article-ajust_930into the hotel on July 6 and was expected to check out today. When he missed his checkout time at noon, hotel staff went to his room on the 21st floor and found him dead.

There has not been an official cause of death given yet, though foul play is not suspected. It is being speculated that it could have been a drug overdose.

Cory recently went through rehab for substance addiction and successfully completed a program after a month.

Dave Stewart Photo Exhibit Opens at Morrison Hotel Gallery

Hollywood: July 13, 2013

One of the most respected and accomplished talents in the music industry, English musician, DAVE STEWART, opened a special photography exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery last night.

Among the hip Hollywood crowd that showed

Dave Steward and Morrison Hotel Gallery co-owner, Henry Diltz.

Dave Steward and Morrison Hotel Gallery co-owner, Henry Diltz.

up to check out Stewart’s work were celebs, Elliot Guild, Melissa Gilbert, Billy Bob Thornton, Jeremy Davies and record producer, Glen Ballard.

Other notables included legendary photographer and Morrison Hotel Gallery co-owner, Henry Diltz, publicist turned film producer, David Jay Lasky, filmmaker, Christy Oldham, and actress/singer,  Kat Kramer, daughter of the late film director, Stanley Kramer.

“The Dave Stewart: Jumpin’ Jack Flash & IMG_2763The Suicide Blonde” exhibition features Stewart’s iconic photographs of Damien Hirst, Demi Moore, Carla Bruni, Björk, Mick Jagger, Sinead O’Connor, Orianthi, Joss Stone and more, including new and unseen photos.

Beyond his creative work in the music industry, Stewart is also a renowned author, director, filmmaker and photographer. His career spans three decades and over 100 million album sales.

Behind the scenes, Dave has produced albums and co-written songs with Stevie Nicks, Mick Jagger, Bono, Joss Stone, Bryan Ferry, GwenIMG_2764 Stefani, Tom Petty, Damian Marley and more, earning numerous Golden Globe and Grammy Awards along the way.

Says Stewart, “I’ve always been obsessed with visual imagery since I was a child.

These portraits were mostly taken in my apartment, I don’t know how or why these shoots came together – usually it was just part of a continuing conversation or a spur of the moment thing. I’m always taking photos or filming stuff for no reason other than to document what is going on around me. It’s a kind of re-assurance to myself MickJaggerRedPantsthat these things did actually happen.”

“Dave Stewart is one creative powerhouse to watch when it comes to his photography and we are very pleased to present him in this exhibit,” says gallery co-owner and iconic photographer Timothy White.

Dave Stewart: Jumpin’ Jack Flash & The Suicide Blonde, will open to the public  Saturday, July 13th at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in the Sunset Marquis Hotel, located at 1200 Alta Loma Road in West Hollywood.

“Father’s at a Game” Earns Best of Hollywood Fringe Festival Extention

July 11, 2012

“Fathers at a Game,” an edgy new play written and produced by Trey Nichols and directed by Vesna Hocevar has received a Best of Hollywood Fringe Festival extension.

The production starring Luke Baybak, Tony Williams and Wendy Elizabeth Abraham will run for two more performances Friday July 12 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday July 13 at 6 p.m.

The play is a great example of the way trauma blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.  It’s a slow reveal but by the time the twists in the play become obvious the audience feels as stunned as the wounded souls on stage.

All the members of the cast get their chance to shine. Baybak as “Eddie” and Tony Williams as “Moe” trade energetic outbursts combined with gut wrenching realizations as the cold, hard facts knock the wind out of their sails.

It is no accident that this play has receivedFathers5( org3868) glowing notices in the mainstream press. 

The Huffington Post proclaimed, “‘Fathers at a Game.’ is a relevant, powerful story of the way imagination mollifies tragedy and pain. It’s nicely acted, well directed, and, after you see it, you won’t be able to disentangle football and war again” while The Examiner stated, “Fathers At A Game,” is an excellent example of why the Hollywood Fringe Festival is equivalent to off-off Broadway. Somehow it attracts brilliant directors (Vesna Hogefar); writers (Trey Nichols); and actors (Luke Baybak, Tony Williams, Wendy Elizabeth Abraham).

The play was co-produced by Jenny Gillett and Diana Woody and is presented by Moving Arts.

The Ruby Theatre at the Complex is located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, CA 90038. Admission is $15.

Reservations: (323) 455-4585.

Online Ticketing: www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1360

“Father’s at a Game” is suggested for audiences 17 and older. 

Photo Credit: Rich Clark



Sopranos Star, James Gandolfini Reported Dead at 51

Los Angeles, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini, star of HBO’s “The Sopranos” and most recently the feature film, “Not Fade Away” has died of a possible heart attack in Rome.  He was 51.

Gandolfini was in ItalyJames Gandolfini. photo: Barry Wetcher to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily — and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event this weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

Gandolfini shot to fame playing a hitman in the 1993 hit “True Romance” … and quickly became a Hollywood legend when he was cast as Tony Soprano in 1999.  He won 3 Emmy awards for the role during the show’s 6 season run.

Ciroc Vodka Hosts Downton Abbey Event

Los Angeles: June 13, 2013

Ciroc Vodka hosted one of the more stately and lavish events last night—in keeping with the show’s elegant hauteur—for PBS Masterpiece Theater’s hit Downton Abbey at the TelevisionAn Evening with Dowton Abbey After-Party presented by Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka Academy in North Hollywood. Cast members Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Joanne Froggatt, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, the show writer/creator Julian Fellowes and Executive Producer Gareth Neame hosted a Q&A moderated Deadline Hollywood’s Pete Hammond.  Other celebrity guests included Bewitched’s beguiling Tabitha, Erin Murphy. Ciroc spokesperson Diddy was not present at the Q&A, although An Evening with Dowton Abbey After-Party presented by Ciroc Ultra Premium VodkaFellowes said that he was impressed with the rap mogul’s recent Funny or Die parody of the PBS program.

After the presentation, the show’s cast, creator and producer kindly mingled with the voters–many of them fans as breathless as any member of the public kept them busy signing autographs and taking mobile phone photos for hours.  But Downton celebs still found time to enjoy the signature Ciroc cocktails with MurphyAn Evening with Dowton Abbey After-Party presented by Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka enjoying the Frenchside (Ciroc with simple syrup, lemon juice and mint; Frogget enjoying the Ciroc White Peach (Ciroc Peach and ginger ale); Collier the Coconut Caprioska (Ciroc Coconut with LimeAn Evening with Dowton Abbey After-Party presented by Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka and ginger syrup.  Fellowes stuck with Hint Water.   Guests mauled hors d’oeuvres from The One Group’s STK; other sponsors included Hint Water and hot and iced Ahmad London tea.

Photo Credit:Colin Young-Wolff

Love Never Dies. Laughs Never Stop.

Reviewed June 9, 2013 by Palmerston Hughes

Half way through the play “You Make Me Physically Ill: Season 01, Episode 2: Love Never Dies” the character of “Jo” (Faith Hall) walks on stage and asks, “what the fuck is going on here?”  And that’s exactly what you will be wondering as you watch this tight little one hour of insanity and sexual perversion unfold at the Elephant Theater in Los Angeles.


But logic is not what you’re there for. Expecting “Love Never Dies” to make perfect sense is like going to a strip club for a higher education, or watching porn to gain insight into the world of politics.

Okay, if you really need to know, the story goes something like this. John, the demented head of a family of misfits has invested his life savings to put on a show starring himself and his lusty daughters Jennifer, Jaclyn, and Sally. Unable to afford an actual theater John manages to book time in a local strip club where he stages his musical, a ripped off work based on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Love Never Dies.”  Jennifer’s boyfriend, Will and his buddy, Eddie, try to stop the show but are foiled by the handsome “perfect man,” Jason.

Written by award winning theater director, Roger Mathey, who just scored a home run with his recently closed revival “Trainspotting” at the same venue, “Love Never Dies” is a jaw droppingly hilarious, politically incorrect piece of absurd entertainment that will make you cringeLove Never Dies as you laugh your ass off.

As with the first “episode” of “You Make Me Physically Ill,” Mathey again manages to push the envelope, this time perhaps even further.  Episode 2 is soft-core theater through and through.  If this were a real TV show ratings would be through the roof.

The able cast consisting of Katie Aquino, Amanda Rae Castruita, Joshua Hensley, Michael Lutheran, Travis McHenry, Emily Claire Tisler, Karl Wade, Faith Hall, Heidi Kendrick and Jacob Wolber dive right in and play along with the madness, all of them committed to the high jinx in this fast paced comedy.  Even the audience gets in the act by being invited to throw play money at the young ladies as they work the pole in the strip club scenes. Take that as you will.

Complete with a soundtrack that consists of some of your favorite hit songs, “Love Never Dies” plays June 16th @ 4pm, June 20 @ 7 pm, June 24 @ 8:30 pm, June 29 @ 7pm at the Elephant Theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90038. Tickets are $10.

The show is a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

For reservations go to: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1379





Michael Jackson’s Daughter, Paris, Rushed to Hospital


Hollywood, CA: June 5, 2013

Michael Jackson’s 15-year-old daughter Paris was hospitalized early Wednesday morning,Paris Jackson according to TMZ.

Jackson’s only daughter may have been attempting suicide, the gossip site reports. Paris was taken to a hospital at 2 a.m., according to the site, after a 911 caller stated she had cut her wrists.
The teen most recently tweeted on early Wednesday: “yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away now it looks as though they’re here to stay.” 
She also wrote: “I wonder why tears are salty?”Michael Jackson had three children Prince, Paris and Blanket.Paris was recently reported to be bonding with her birth mother, Debbie Rowe, who was married to Jackson from 1996 to 1999.

Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy


May 13, 2013

Actress Angelina Jolie revealed in a New York Times op-ed article that she had a double mastectomy after discovering she carried the BRCA1 gene, which dramatically increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Jolie’s doctors estimated she had an 87 percent riskangelina_jolie1a_300x400 of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, she said.  But she cautioned, every woman’s risk is different.

Jolie’s mother died of ovarian cancer at 56-years-old.

The actress had kept the procedure a secret from the public for past several months and her revelation has come as a shock and a surprise to those hearing the news.

Click here to read the full story at NYTimes.com


For Bob Hiltermann Sign Language Is Love

April, 28, 2013

Bob Hiltermann grew up in Germany, where he was the tenth of eleven children. Spinal meningitis left him deaf at the age of four, but it was not discovered until he was 10 years old. When he was six, his family relocated across the Atlantic to Canada. Moving to a new country and adjusting to a different life with eleven children to care for, Bob’s parents never realized he was deaf, they just assumed he had learning disabilities. Besides not being able to hear, everyone was now talking in a new language. Bob wondered if he had learning issues himself when he could see others communicate so easily, and it was very hard for him. It wasn’t until a hearing test showed he was deaf at 10. Unfortunately, after all that time, his family had grown accustomed to treating him as if he were mentally challenged. It must have been extremely frustrating for Bob who is a very intelligent person.

His memories from the age of ten to seventeen were far from happy. When he was 18, a counselor suggested he go to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C.  His life changed when he was introduced to American Sign Language.

“I think that’s why it’s so important to him now to share the joy of Sign Language with others,” says director Marty Elcan, who directed and produced the popular DVD series Shut Up & Sign that stars Hiltermann.

His credits include; a year’s run on the soap “All My Children,” a guest star in “Cold Case,” several feature films that include, “Children of a Lesser God,” “The Heart is a Drum Machine” and “The Hammer.” Furthermore, he is one of four deaf entertainers featured in the well-received documentary “See What I’m Saying,” and is the drummer with the wildly popular, all-deaf rock band “Beethoven’s Nightmare,’ which performs around the world and will be in France and Russia this year.  Hiltermann co-founded “MUSIGN,” an extremely popular Signing/Mime musical troupe, Deaf West Theatre, a multi-awards theater in Los Angeles,

Hollywood Revealed: Tell us about the band and how you formed it.

Hiltermann:  Back in early 2000, I was thinking about reforming a deaf rock band after a long break since my college days. I contacted bassist, Ed Chevy and guitarist, Steve Longo and they agreed to regroup. We came up with the name, “Beethoven’s Nightmare.” This is in honor of Ludwig Von Beethoven, for his amazing classical music and his worst BeethovenNightmare-31Colornightmare, which was his deafness. We’re all deaf rockers, hence the name. We play all the original songs with the exception of one cover song, which is “Roll Over Beethoven.” Since we reformed, we’ve rocked across America and our fan base has grown dramatically.  I realize, now, that my band is truly remarkable – one of a kind – the only deaf band in the world. It’s been a great honor working with two extremely talented deaf musicians.

HR: Please explain how you can tell if your music sounds good to hearing people?

Hiltermann: We enjoy rock music because it feels right. We do intensive rehearsals with blood, sweat, and tears until the music is in sync. We tend to invite hearing friends to hear us play and give us feedback. During live concerts, we see hearing people pumping their fists, enjoying our music just as much as deaf people.Many people are astounded that deaf musicians can really play at the same professional level as their hearing counterparts.

HR: What challenges do you see your band having in the future?

Hiltermann: The biggest challenge we have is finding a manager who can help us to crossover into the major music environment. We’ve been together for 12 years since we reformed, and I would like my band to be the opening act for big name bands and show their audiences that we can rock their socks off. I would also like my band to perform on TV such as talk shows, music awards, Saturday Night Live, 20/20, CNN, etc. I just wanted to share with the world how miraculous it is that a deaf rock band can do what nobody ever thought possible. It’s like a freak show that everyone would be curious about. These are the challenges that I see my band having right now, but I’m optimistic.

HR: How do you think you are influencing other deaf students?

Hiltermann: My influence to deaf students has been mostly about positive attitude and believing in themselves no matter what anyone says.  If someone says no, move on to the next yes. They can make their dreams come true by staying focused and working hard. There’s no free ride.

HR: What would you like to see in the future for deaf people?

Hiltermann:  Since American Sign Language has become very popular (the third most common language used today), more and more hearing people are opening up and communicating with deaf people. I would like to see more accessibility, equal rights,BeethovenNightmare-2012-10-1527 and opportunities for deaf people. They can do just about anything hearing people can does, except hear.

HR: What do you do on the set when everyone else does not sign, how do you communicate?

Hiltermann: One of my skills is lip reading  I tend to understand better when I’m closer to a person, so I can see the details of the mouth movement and facial expression. Sometimes, they need to write down on paper, but usually, they hire a sign language interpreter on the set.

HR: Why do you think you’ve been so successful, is it the struggles?

Hiltermann:  Well, life is full of challenges. My struggles had shaped me into a stronger person. However, one of my on-going struggles had been being hired as an actor in films and TV. There aren’t any roles for me. I once played a hearing role with a voiceover in the movie and it was a success. Everybody thought I was hearing. It has never been done before. I would love to do that again. I believe anything is possible.

HR: I see there is a new band member, how did you find him.

Hiltermann: We’ve been looking for a rock singer who can also sign. I knew the actor and writer, Paul Raci, for many years, and he recently acted with me in the play “Cyrano.” In this play, Paul sang and signed a rock song that just blew me away to heaven. I never knew he could sing like that. Paul is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) and used to be in a heavy metal rock band before he became an actor. One day he offered to sing for the band. After discussing with Ed and Steve, it was a big YES from us. Paul just wrote an independent film, Deaf Ghost, in which he will star and feature the band. We’re very proud and honored to have Paul as a new band member.

HR: What is next for Beethoven’s Nightmare?

Hiltermann: This year we’re invited back to France to play for an audience that will be twice the size as when we performed in 2011.  After that, we will be touring in great Russia. We’re very excited and looking forward to these tours. During Memorial weekend, my band will have another intensive rehearsal and then record a new song. The song will be available on iTunes

HR:  What is next for Bob Hiltermann?

Hiltermann: I’ll be giving a motivational speech and conducting drumming workshops for deaf students at Deaf Arts Jubilee in San Diego. Next month, I’ll be hosting and acting for my 4th episode of the sign language educational series, “Shut Up and Sign.” This episode will be called, “What a Wonderful World.”

For more information please go to: http://bobhiltermann.com/  or http://beethovensnightmare.com/joomla/

For PR contact: AnnMarie@starprx.com 1-818-749-6721









Animals or People, Actor, Adam Meir Portrays Them All

Adam Meir started acting at the age of 11. He graduated with honors from the top High School for the Arts in Tel Aviv – Ironi Alef, and later served in the Israeli army for 3 years where he received an honorable discharge as a First Sergeant. He studied at Israel’s top acting school, Yoram Levinstein in Tel Aviv as well as the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. 

After graduating he was cast in projects such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Freedoms Fury”, The Oscar Nominated and Golden Globe winner “Waltz With Bashir” and has been a voice over artist in films such as Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible 4.” Adam’s abilities as a mime landed him work as an animal suit performer, perfectly portraying apes, rhinos, squirrels and many more. We caught up with him recently at Swingers Diner in Hollywood.

Hollywood Revealed: Hi Adam, How are you? 

Adam Meir: Doing well thank you.

HR: Tell us about your background and how you got to Los Angeles, becoming once of America’s leading animal actors.

AM: I was born in Hungary and raised in Israel and after my military service and spending 5 years studying acting in Israel I felt that I_MG_0754 needed bigger opportunities.  I got the chance to study in Hollywood at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After I finished my studies, like every other actor out of acting school, I tried getting an agent or a manager and land some auditions.

HR: How did that go?

AM: It was pretty slow at first but fortunately I also had a love for something that many people don’t do anymore, and that is mime and movement performances. By chance I met a teacher named Don McLeod who has been one of the most famous Gorilla actors and mimes in the country for the past 40 years and he hired me for his company. Don realized that I am the same size as he is and that I will probably fit into his Gorilla suits. After a while, every time that there was a Gorilla job and he wasn’t available Don hired me to fill in for him. Eventually I got to meet some more people from the strange world of animatronic creatures and animals and started working with them too. I soon realized that this is a really interesting niche of the industry that most people are not aware of.

HR: You speak four languages. Have you put that to good use in your career?

AM: Yes, I am also a voice over artist as Gorilla - Copywell as an actor. I have done major voice projects such as the Golden Globe winner “Waltz with Bashir” Quentin Tarantino’s “Freedom’s Fury.”  I spoke Hungarian and Russian in “Mission Impossible 4”, Arabic in “Lady Magdalene’s” and many smaller projects. I find languages and cultures fascinating and it’s definitely helpful in portraying and understanding characters.

HR: So what do you prefer? Speaking humans or silent creatures.

AM: I love both of them equally. I think that a performer’s job is more than just delivering lines. Since I was a little kid I had a dream to be diverse and to conquer different disciplines. To this day I sometimes wonder what a tree feels like in the middle of the forest, or what it would feel like to be one of the thousands of ants I see walking in a line on the pavement and what kind of memories could an ancient book could hold. So basically, at some point I decided that I will be all those things if I possibly can. Truthfully, I get just as exited when I get a call that there is a job where I have to play a dancing beer bottle as when I book a role as a mafia hitman.

HR: That’s cool. So what kind of characters are you working on right now?

AM: I am heading off to perform a Venetian Carnival Mime at the Branson, Missouri World Festival and I also just performed as a dancing Chimp in another project. On film I recently finished a role as a retired Mossad agent in “Alongside Night” starring Kevin Sorbo.  When I return from Missouri I will be filming a Game Show Host style character in a brand new, and yet untitled feature.

HR: You recently brought a a squirrel to life in a Pepto Bismo commercial. How does one prepare for that?

AM: Well,  first you need to research the right and true behavior of an actual squirrel.  When you have that done you go and meet the squirrel puppet and start playing.  These puppets usually have a remote control that handles all their movements like lips,  head,  arms,  legs,  sometimes eyes and breathing,  ears etc.  All those things have to move in sync and at once.  So you sit down with your new friend and practice.  Eventually you will have a good grasp and some muscle memory and you can work the puppet on the day.

HR: Well Adam, You are definitely one of a kind in this profession. Thank you so much for your time and good luck with all your endeavors.

AM: Thank you very much.

Contact Adam at: www.adam-meir.com

Trainspotting is Nude, Rude and Crude–but You’ll Love It

Reviewed March 10, 2013

In 2002, Roger Mathey shook up the L.A. theater scene with his daring and ballsy production of Irvine Welsh’s “Trainspotting.” The play went on to win a host of awards and was picked by the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Tonight as one of the best of the year.

Mathey has revised the04 Tommy (AJ Jones) and Mark (Justin Zachary)-1 production for 2013, and it is as gritty and in-your-face as the original.  If you are looking for nude, rude and crude, this is the play to see.  Despite that, “Trainspotting” may also break your heart as these sad lives unravel before your eyes..

The staging here is crisper than the production I had the pleasure to see back in 2002.  This version feels tighter and darker.  There is truly never a dull moment and the Elephant Theatre feels like a great venue for this show.  Where ever you sit, you can practically smell the stench of these pathetic shit stained, heroin addicted characters, and  yet, you can’t help but feel some empathy for them.

Mathey rotates the cast with a Friday/Saturday group and a different set of actors on Sundays.  Justin Zachary, who was  the lead in the 2002 production and received a “newcomer of the year” nomination is back as the lovable loser, “Mark Renton.” He is your02 Mother Superior (Travis McHenry) helps Mark (Justin Zachary) to shoot up-1 narrator and guide through this brutal world and he manages to be both wide eyed innocent and at times cold, calculating and heartless.

Zachary does a lot of the heavy lifting in this production and is the only cast member to appear all three night.

Last Sunday’s performance boasted a fine turn from AJ Jones as “Tommy” who alternates the role with David Agranov, one of the 2002 originals and now a producer of the play. Karl Wade and Francesca Manzi were in fine form as “Mrs. and Mrs. Houston” and a variety of other roles.  Katie Aquino, Travis McHenry and Sam Bangs were all  outstanding as “Gail Houston,” “Mother Superior” and “Laura McEwen” respectively.

The Scottish accents in the play are thick and often hard to follow but the meaning and the intention is never lost.  Just in-case, there is a glossary in the program to help navigate the slang.

The cigarette smoke on stage can get a little thick, especially if you are sitting close, but that discomfort (if you’re not a smoker) only helps to augment the grungy feces, urine and vomit laced environment you have just found yourself in.

“I woke up in aTrainspotting-cropped-med strange bed, in a strange room” indeed.  “Trainspotting 2013” is not to be missed.

Don’t bring the kids.

Fridays @ 8 pm: March 15, 22, 29; April 5, 12
Saturdays @ 8 pm: March 16, 23, 30; April 6, 13
Sundays @ 2 pm: March 17, 24, 31; April 7

Elephant Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
(1½ blocks west of Vine).
323-960-7785 or www.plays411.com/trainspotting

Sexual Confusion and Murder Prevails in “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love”


by Palmerston Hughes

Set in Edmonton, Canada, the award winning play “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love” by Brad Fraser follows the journey of seven lonely people in their search for meaning in the jaded, cynical world of the late 1980s. As the characters try to accept their sexuality and find worthwhile relationships, their lives are impacted by a serial killer who is stalking the city. When the identity of the killer becomes obvious, the characters realizeUHR 51 that he is as lost and confused as they are.

The main protagonist, David, a former child star, now reduced to being a waiter, seeks anonymous intimacy in his brief sexual encounters with strangers.  He ultimately begins a relationship with a 17 year old busboy, Kane, as a substitute for the man he can never have, his “straight” friend Bernie.

David’s roommate and former lover, “Candy” also appears confused and desperate in her need for love as she bounces between a male bartender and a lesbian she has met at the gym.

The character’s twisted troubles are all observed from the sidelines by David’s clairvoyant friend, an S&M prostitute named Benita. Deception, confusion, and lies permeate the dialogue as Benita tells urban legends to the audience, encapsulating the paranoia of a town caught in the shadow of a serial killer.  In this play everyone has a secret.  Everyone has something to hide.

Directed by Johnny Cole, the production that opened on March 3rd at the Chromolume Theatre in Los Angeles is a UHR 65noble attempt to give Brad Fraser’s play it’s due.  The cast work hard to convey the depravity of these lost souls as they unfold this compelling tale.

The glue that hold the piece together in this production is an excellent Tom Nyman as “David.”  He is focused and committed as his character navigates the sexual and emotional minefield he finds himself stumbling through.

Mike Hennessey is also strong as “Bernie,” David’s best friend with a soon to be revealed secret.  Sydney Davis rounds out the trio as “Candy.”   Gordon James Jr. makes a convincing debut as “Kane,” the innocent, confused 17 year old who falls under David’s spell.

The underwhelming set and lighting design is a detraction from this important piece of theater, as is the productions unwillingness to push the envelope a little.  To be daring.  Despite some other opening night flaws and stumbles, the cast is earnest and not untalented.

Though written over twenty years ago, “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love” still packs a powerful punch.  This production from the Brighter Day Theatre Company deserves to noticed.

The show runs from Friday, March 8th through March 10th, 2013. Chromolume Theatre, 5429 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016

Tickets: $20

For reservations and ticket info, call: 800 838 3006.

Online ticketing: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/348075



Razzies Dishonor “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2”


Los Angeles: February, 23, 2013

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” was picked as last year’s worst picture Saturday by the Razzies, an Academy Awards spoof that hands out prizes for Hollywood’s worst movies on the eve of the Oscars.

The finale to the blockbuster supernatural romance dominated the Razzies with seven awards, including worst actress forKristen-on-SWATH-Promo-Phootoshoot-outtakes-kristen-stewart-30727794-1000-1500 Kristen Stewart, supporting actor for Taylor Lautner, director for Bill Condon and worst screen couple for Lautner and child co-star Mackenzie Foy.

Adam Sandler was named worst actor for the raunchy comedy “That’s My Boy,” his second-straight win after 2011’s “Jack and Jill,” which swept all 10 Razzie categories a year ago. Pop singer Rihanna won worst supporting actress for the action dud “Battleship.”

“Twilight” movies had been well represented in Razzie nominations over the years but had not won any key awards there. Razzie voters joke that as with “The Lord of the Rings” finale winning best picture at the Academy Awards, they were waiting for the last “Twilight” flick on which to heap their scorn.

The “Twilight” finale also won for worst screen ensemble and worst remake, rip-off or sequel. For worst picture, it beat out “Battleship,” ”That’s My Boy,” the family flick “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” and Eddie Murphy’s comedy flop “A Thousand Words.”

Stewart’s worst-actress prize came for both “Twilight” and her fairy-tale update “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

In the five “Twilight” movies, Stewart stars as sullen teen adam_sandler_photo_2Bella Swan, who falls for ageless vampire hunk Edward Cullen (worst-actor nominee Robert Pattinson) and finds herself at the center of a love triangle with him and her childhood pal, werewolf stud Jacob Black (Lautner).

Stewart set a consistent standard of emotional stoniness throughout the “Twilight” movies, Wilson said.

“Acting should involve having an expression on your face, and she is blank, other than the morose kind of half-Goth thing her character does,” said Razzies founder John Wilson. “I didn’t realize Snow White and Bella were soul sisters, because of the very limited range of what she can do. I think it was Dorothy Parker who said about Katharine Hepburn that she runs the ‘gamut of emotions from A to B.’ Kristen Stewart is so expressionless she might as well be a brick wall.”

Sandler’s “That’s My Boy,” which also won the worst-screenplay Razzie, flopped at the box office and continues a gradual decline in receipts for the comic actor’s movies.

“He’s an enormous star who is on what I call the ‘down-alator’ of his career,” Wilson said. “He’s about to step off the same cliff Eddie Murphy stepped off about 10 years ago. Eddie Murphy has never come back, and Murphy is more talented.”

Kevin Bacon in Disguise

Los Angeles: February 5, 2013

Kevin Bacon’s main motivator for a life in show business was to seek fame.  “Show me an actor who doesn’t want to be famous and I’ll show you a liar,” he told Jane Mullkerrins of the Daily Telegraph (U.K.)  “Later, of course, you realize that there’skevin_bacon_man_eyes_hair_beard_61400_1600x1200 more to it than just the acquisition of fame, money and girls. But that is what drives them, and what initially drove me.”

And fame was certainly what he found. For more than half his life, the 54-year-old actor has been virtually unable to enter a bar or party without the DJ striking up the opening chords of Footloose, or to stroll down the street without fans tugging at his sleeve, quoting lines from the cult classic Diner. Things got so bad that a couple of years ago, he commissioned a Hollywood make-up artist to fashion him a prosthetic disguise, which he wore to the up-scale Los Angeles shopping center, The Grove – a fertile hunting-ground for celebrity-stalkers. “I just wanted to see what it would be like to try not being famous,” he shrugs, a little sheepishly.

But the sudden absence of celebrity, he soon discovered, was a double-edged sword.

“People didn’t bother me, but they also ignored me. No one was nice to me – they looked right through me, and pushed in front of me at the cash register.”  He hasn’t worn his disguise since.


Tap Dancing in the Kitchen

Los Angeles, CA (January 31, 2013)— Practice makes perfect. Just ask any professional dancer that started out as a tot in a tutu. However, a common problem arises for many tap dance students regardless of age or skill level: Where can you practice outside of a studio without wrecking your home’s flooring or even find somewhere to practice at all? Torrance, California native and third generation tap dancer Jackie Covas has come up with a solution for tap dance students everywhere. The Dance Dot!

For Jackie, tap dancingstanding has always been a family affair. “My mother and grandmother have been teaching in the South Bay for the past thirty years. When I was younger, we formed a dance act called ‘The Generations’ and even danced along side tap master Arthur Duncan.”

Covas also attended USC where she founded the non-profit organization Dance Included that offers free after school dance classes to children in public schools that lack arts funding. The organization will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. After graduating, Covas landed a fundraising position at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, but her love for performing eventually led her straight to New York City.

Soon after relocating, Covas began teaching tap dance and booking work as a dancer in a number of regional productions as well as three national tours. While on the road, she ran into a frustrating problem that many dancers face; lack of areas to practice. She began working on an idea for a portable practice surface that would be light enough for her to travel, and fashionable enough to carry around the streets of Manhattan. Covas enlisted her husband Codey Girten to help create the first Dance Dot prototype in the basement of their apartment building. Keeping her youngerSasha Jump students in mind, she explained, “We wanted to create something that was colorful and fun. Something that families could easily use in their homes and on-the-go.” The couple landed on an innovative and kid-friendly design that would allow young dancers to safely practice their moves almost anywhere at anytime.

The couple spent a lot of time testing prototypes in their apartment. It wasn’t unusual to find Girten eating breakfast while Covas was tapping away in the kitchen on a Dance Dot. She was now able to create new choreography in the carpeted living room, rehearse her favorite steps on the hardwood floors, and transform almost any space into her own personal tap dance stage. Dance Dot made it all possible.

Covas couldn’t wait to share their creation with her students and brought a prototype with her to dance class. The studio owner loved the idea and began to offer the product to the rest of her classes. “It was a great place to launch because I got to see firsthand how the product was really helping my students. I saw so much improvement because they finally had a place to practice at home, which made all the difference,” said Covas. Parents also raved about the fun design and loved pink shoesthat it protected their beautiful hardwood floors from unsightly scuff marks.

Soon after the studio launch, the product was picked up by several retail locations across the country. The couple also created an online store where they began to see significant sales, prompting them to begin professionally manufacturing with an American company. They even expanded the Dance Dot line to include the DDPro, a larger model designed for “pros in the making.” Covas explained, “So many of our friends are Broadway performers and professional tap dancers who said they wished they had a Dance Dot growing up. What surprised us was that most of them were also interested in having a Dance Dot right now!”

Currently, the Dance Dot costs $75.00 and measures 2 feet in diameter weighing in at 3.5 lbs, and the DDPro ($129.00), measures 34 inches in diameter and weighs less than 10 lbs. Each is made out of tempered Masonite, the same material that was used for old performance stages. The underside features a soft rubber backing which keeps the product in place while dancing. With no sharp edges or folding parts, the seamless dance surface is perfect for kids.

“I grew up as a dancer in southern California, and I know what it’s like to want to go after a dream. When my students learn a new step, most of them can’t wait to get home and share it with mom or dad. Parents should be able to encourage their child’s passion for dance without having to worry about the damage it may do to their floors,” says Covas. Girten agrees, “Imagine the difference we could make in the lives of so many young dancers by finally providing them with the opportunity to keep dancing!”

You can also learn more about the product by visiting the company’s web site at www.mydancedot.com

Live Reaction to the 2013 SAG Awards

Sunday, January, 27, 2013

5:00 p.m. and the show has just started.    Nicole Kidman presenting the first nomination, Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role.

Nominees: ALAN ARKIN – “ARGO”

19th+Annual+Screen+Actors+Guild+Awards+Show+HIyyhAdFE89lThe winner is: Tommy Lee Jones, who is not there to accept.  Disappointing choice for this award.  It should have gone to Arkin or Seymour Hoffman… but them’s the breaks.

5:09:  Justin Timberlake looking very conservative giving out the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.  Nominees are:



The Actor goes to Ann Hathaway who gives a sweet sincere speech.

Next up:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Winner is: Alec Baldwin, sporting a new haircut, giving a short but sweet acceptance speech.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon – “30 ROCK” (NBC)
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett – “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC)

Will it be Betty White?

No.  The winner is: Tina Fay, looking very 1940s, receiving her 5th Actor award.  “Thank you for letting me in this union,” she tells the audience.

Next is the cast of Argo, introducing their film.


Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Amazing how these same shows dominate every award show.  And the Actor goes to: The cast of Modern Family, winning for the third consecutive win.  Boring.  Surely there are some other worthy show out there?

5:42 p.m.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

The award goes to Julianne Moore for “Game Change.”

5:45 p.m.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

The winner is: Kevin Costner who also won the Golden Globe.  He is not there to receive the award.

6:05 p.m. Alec Baldwin pays tribute to Dick Van Dyke who is getting a Life Achievement Award.  He gives a sweet, funny thank you speech.  “Aren’t we lucky to have found a line of work that doesn’t require growing up,” Van Dyke said in a speech that paused to recognize co-stars like Mary Tyler Moore and to poke fun at his iffy Cockney accent in “Mary Poppins.”

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Brian Cranston wins for “Breaking Bad.”   “It’s good to be bad” he declares.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

The award goes to new mom, Clare Danes for Homeland who seems to be winning everything these days.

6:20 p.m. A sad tribute to those actors who died in the past 12 months.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
HOMELAND (Showtime)

In something of a surprise, the award goes to the cast of Downton Abbey.  “We are so not expecting this.  Shut the French windows” one of the actresses from the show exclaims.

We’re getting to the big awards asRobert De Niro introduces Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

The winner is Jennifer Lawrence who wins a SAG award for the first time.  In an emotional speech she begins by thanking MTV for earning her SAG card at the age of 14.

6:52: p.m. Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

And the Actor goes to: Daniel Day Lewis for “Lincoln” who gives a lovely, mannered speech, pointing out that it was an actor who murdered Abe Lincoln, and it’s appropriate that once in a while an actor brings him back to life again.

And the final award, presented by Jude Law:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
ARGO (Warner Bros. Pictures)
LES MISÃ?RABLES (Universal Pictures)
LINCOLN (Touchstone Pictures)

And the award goes to the well deserved “Argo.”  Ben Affleck accepts in a humble speech, thanking all actors everywhere.  And there it is.  Another SAG award show over and done with.  It was fast paced with few surprises, but enjoyable non the less.

And now on to the party.



“The Adventures of Lewis & Clark” Set to Premier January 27th

Hollywood, CA January 26th, 2013:

A Joint Venture and Chronicles Film are celebrating the release of their webseries, “The Adventures of Lewis & Clark” which is set to air online starting Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 6:00pm at www.AdventuresofLewisandClark.com  A new episode will air every Sunday for 12 weeks.

The show’s creator, lewis_and_clark_05actor, Mark Elias, best know for his work in the feature film, 16-Love, and TV shows such as CSI, Justified, Criminal Minds and upcoming on Castle was inspired by the Comedy Central TV show “Workaholics” that was originally a webseries before getting picked up.  Rather than following the normal Hollywood routine of waiting for the work to arrive at his doorstep, Elias created a show which follows Lewis and Clark, two best friends who are always looking to get rich quick, hook-up with the ladies, or just be good at anything.  The two are supported financially by Lewis’s older sister, Charese, who is relatively successful and constantly having wild affairs with men.  Somehow they all seem to balance each other out. “Having these three characters to throw into any scenario almost writes itself. You have two dreamers with their own ideas of success and the unfortunate responsible one who gets stuck in the middle. Charese is a real trooper,” says Elias.

The three main characters, Lewis (played by Mark Elias), Clark (played by Jus Riddick), and Charese (played by Charese Mongiello), also are producing  and taking turns directing.  There are 8 five minute episodes finished with 4 more to be shot after the launch party.  That will complete the first season of the show. “Sometimes it doesn’t take much to know if a project is the right one. You want your name attached to a show that is going to be a hit, something with real potential. After reading the first two episodes, I knew I wanted to be involved,” states Riddick.

The show targets the 18-36 age group with its slapstick humor and ridiculous scenarios.  The show is definitely unique and has it’s own flavor.  It is produced by actors and that puts it in a different, more free realm to play with than most TV shows.  “I believe that we have more freedom to get creative and entertain the audience than having all the rules of a network show,” says Mongiello. “I have worked on a lot of shows and this one is fun, creative, and the crew and actors just love being on set because they believe in the script and us as actors.”

After moving from Philadelphia, PA to Los Angeles, Elias joined the Beverly Hills Playhouse and began getting roles and building his resume as he gathered story and script ideas to develop as his career picked up, landing on a number of shows including Southland, Justified, and The Event while getting to the 2004 Valley Film Festival as a timid writer in Pushing Out Katherine, 2006 Milan Film Festival as a socially awkward serial killer in Cutting Room, and 2008 Sundance Film Festival as a thief in Reversion.

Riddick grew up in Atlanta, GA. Most of his youth was spent in movie theaters or renting movies. After earning a degree in political science from The University of Georgia, he moved to Los Angeles to begin his film career. He has starred in numerous indie films and loves performing improv. “Only in L.A.”, a feature which he wrote/directed has recently finished post-production. His production company, Chronicles Film, has begun pre-production for their next feature, “The Why Generation”.

Mongiello grew up in Pennsylvania and Riverside CA, She has produced, directed, starred in, and crewed on 20 plays, 40 start films, Over 30 feature films and 2 TV shows. She was taught to script supervise by one of the greats, Jim Kelly Durgin.  In Addition she wrote a commercial, starred in ten, and won a silver rooster award for acting. Upon graduating the University Of California Irvine she started a theater company called “The Rose Theater” where she produced and directed classical plays.

For information contact:

Jus Riddick     404.200.0711



Argo and Les Miz Win Best Picture at 2013 Golden Globes

January 14, 2013

It was a colorful star-studded night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills as the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards were handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

“Argo” surprised many by grabbing Best Motion Picture over “Lincoln” and Ben Affleck, who was snubbed by the Academy Awards this past Tuesday got some vindication by winning Best Director againaffleck-onstage-4_3_r536_c534 for “Argo.”

Jody Foster in a sometimes incoherent but emotional speech came out as a lesbian after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Here is the full list of the winners and nominees.


Warner Bros. Pictures, GK Films, Smokehouse Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures

The Weinstein Company, Columbia Pictures; The Weinstein Company/Sony
Pictures Releasing

Fox 2000 Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox

DreamWorks Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox; Touchstone Pictures

Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing














Blueprint Pictures/Participant Media; Fox Searchlight Pictures

Universal Pictures, A Working Title Films/Cameron Mackintosh Productions;
Universal Pictures

Indian Paintbrush; Focus Features

CBS Films; CBS Films

The Weinstein Company; The Weinstein Company














Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures; Walt Disney Pictures

Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Animation; Sony Pictures Releasing

DreamWorks Animation LLC; Paramount Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures


Les Films Du Losange, X Filme Creative Pool, Wega Film; Sony Pictures Classics

(En kongelig affære)
Zentropa Entertainment; Magnolia Pictures

(Les Intouchables)
The WeinstenCompany, Quad Productions, Gaumont, TF1 Films Production, Ten
Films, Chaocorp; The Weinstein Company

Nordisk Film Production, Recorded Picture Company

(De rouille et d’os)
Page 114, Why Not Productions; Sony Pictures Classics

































Music by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban
Lyrics by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban

Music by: Jon Bon Jovi
Lyrics by: Jon Bon Jovi

Music by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett
Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett

Music by: Adele, Paul Epworth
Lyrics by: Adele, Paul Epworth

Music by: Claude-Michel Schonberg
Lyrics by: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg


Sony Pictures Television

Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front
Productions in association with HBO Entertainment

A Carnival / Masterpiece Co-Production

Showtime, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet,
Fox 21

HBO Entertainment














Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television

Showtime, Hat Trick Productions, Crane Klarik Productions

Apatow Productions and I am Jenni Konner Productions in association with HBO

Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television

Universal Television in association with DreamWorks Television














Playtone and Everyman Pictures in association with HBO Films

A Wall to Wall, Warner Bros Entertainment GmbH, Moonlighting and BBC
Production in association with HBO Films

Thinkfactory Media in association with History

Kudos Film and Television/BBC America co-production

Berlanti Productions and Laurence Mark Productions in association with Warner
Horizon Television

























Adam Sandler, Barbara Streisand and Twilight Saga Dominate 2013 Razzie Nominations

Hollywood: January 11, 2013

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 earned a whopping eleven RAZZIE NOMINATIONS in Hollywood this week.  Stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will compete for individual Razzie Awards as Razzies_01_1651510awell as the Worst Screen Couple title.

Right behind Twilight, Adam Sandler comedy flop, That’s My Boy was lavished with eight nominations. Action flick Battleship received seven, including one for Rihanna, who faces stiff competition from Jennifer Lopez in the Worst Supporting Actress category.

Other nominees includemadea David Hasselhoff, Barbra Streisand, Tyler Perry and Vanilla Ice, who earned a Worst Supporting Actor nomination for playing himself in That’s My Boy.

The famous gold spray-painted Razzie statuettes – said to be worth $4.79 (£2.93) each – will be given out at a ceremony in LA on February 23, the night before the Oscars.

If the public had their way, many would have put the new film, Les Miserables on the Razzie list.

The Goldenbarbra_streisand_5358284 Raspberry or “Razzie” Awards were founded by Hollywood publicist John JB Wilson in 1981 and have been held every year since on “Oscars eve”. Madonna has won an impressive nine Razzies over the years, while Sylvester Stallone has received a record 30 nominations.

Full List: Oscar Nominations

January 10, 2013

The nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Award nominations were announced today in Hollywood.  There were several surprises and omissions.  The nomination of nine year old Quvenzhane Wallis for her starring role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”  and that film’s three other nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay was not expected.

Seth McFarlane

Seth McFarlane











The depressing but seemingly popular “Amour” scored both a Best Picture and a Foreign Language Film nod.

Neither Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck or Kathleen Bigelow received recognition for their respective films, “Django Unchained” “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Seth McFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees at one of the most humorous presentations in recent memory.

Here is a list of nominations:

1. Best Picture: “Amour,” `’Argo,” `’Beasts of the Southern Wild,” `’Django Unchained,” `’Les Miserables,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Lincoln,” `’Silver Linings Playbook,” `’Zero Dark Thirty.”

2. Actor: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”; Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”; Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”; Denzel Washington, “Flight.”

3. Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”; Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”; Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Naomi Watts, “The Impossible.”

4. Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, “Argo”; Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”; Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”; Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained.”

5. Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, “The Master”; Sally Field, “Lincoln”; Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”; Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”; Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook.”

6. Directing: Michael Haneke, “Amour”; Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”; Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”; David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook.”

7. Foreign Language Film: “Amour,” Austria; “Kon-Tiki,” Norway; “No,” Chile; “A Royal Affair,” Denmark; “War Witch,” Canada.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; David Magee, “Life of Pi”; Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”; David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook.”

9. Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke, “Amour”; Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”; John Gatins, “Flight”; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”; Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty.”

10. Animated Feature Film: “Brave”; “Frankenweenie”; “ParaNorman”; “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”; “Wreck-It Ralph.”

11. Production Design: “Anna Karenina,” `’The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” `’Les Miserables,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Lincoln.”

12. Cinematography: “Anna Karenina,” `’Django Unchained,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Lincoln,” `’Skyfall.”

13. Sound Mixing: “Argo,” `’Les Miserables,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Lincoln,” `’Skyfall.”

14. Sound Editing: “Argo,” `’Django Unchained,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Skyfall,” `’Zero Dark Thirty.”

15. Original Score: “Anna Karenina,” Dario Marianelli; “Argo,” Alexandre Desplat; “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna; “Lincoln,” John Williams; “Skyfall,” Thomas Newman.

16. Original Song: “Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” J. Ralph; “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted,” Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane; “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; “Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; “Suddenly” from “Les Miserables,” Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil.

17. Costume: “Anna Karenina,” `’Les Miserables,” `’Lincoln,” `’Mirror Mirror,” `’Snow White and the Huntsman.”

18. Documentary Feature: “5 Broken Cameras,” `’The Gatekeepers,” `’How to Survive a Plague,” `’The Invisible War,” `’Searching for Sugar Man.”

19. Documentary (short subject): “Inocente,” `’Kings Point,” `’Mondays at Racine,” `’Open Heart,” `’Redemption.”

20. Film Editing: “Argo,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Lincoln,” `’Silver Linings Playbook,” `’Zero Dark Thirty.”

21. Makeup and Hairstyling: “Hitchcock,” `’The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” `’Les Miserables.”

22. Animated Short Film: “Adam and Dog,” `’Fresh Guacamole,” `’Head over Heels,” `’Maggie Simpson in `The Longest Daycare,'” “Paperman.”

23. Live Action Short Film: “Asad,” `’Buzkashi Boys,” `’Curfew,” `’Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw),” `’Henry.”

24. Visual Effects: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” `’Life of Pi,” `’Marvel’s The Avengers,” `’Prometheus,” `’Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Paparazzo Killed Trying to Photograph Justin Bieber’s Ferrari

Los Angeles: January 1, 2013

A paparazzo attempting to shoot photos of Justin Bieber’s Ferrari was hit by another car and killed.  TMZ reports that one of Justin’s friends was behind the wheel of the singer’s parked vehicle.

Law enforcementJustin-Bieber_2012 sources told TMZ that Bieber’s white Ferrari was pulled over by California Highway Patrol for a routine traffic stop on Sepulveda Blvd. near the Getty Center in LA.

A photographer who was following the Ferrari at the time of the pull over attempted to snap photographs while CHP officers conducted the traffic stop.  CHP advised the photographer to move back because the situation was unsafe. justin-bieber-gets-pulled-over-by-police-in-white-ferrari-458_3

At some point the photographer was struck by an oncoming vehicle and killed.

LAPD is now on scene investigating the incident.

To date Bieber’s publicist has not offered a comment on the situation.

The identity of the victim has been withheld pending notification of his family.

More up-dates to follow.

Carol Burnett to Receive Honor of Distinction Award Presented by Betty White

January 1, 2013

Grammy nominated musical composer and director Stormy Sacks has announced plans to produce a major fundraiser called “HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD…HIGH” on January 10, 2013 at the
El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood,burnett CA. The event will honor Hollywood legend, Carol Burnett, who will be in attendance.

Ms. Burnett will be honored with the very first CAROL BURNETT HONOR OF DISTINCTION AWARD, presented by The Hollywood High School Performing Arts Center, the El Captian Theatre and “Brought To You By Madame Tussauds Hollywood.”  Betty White has been set to present the award to Carol Burnett with Charlene Tilton, Ruta Lee, Renee Taylor, Joe Bologna, Charles Fleischer, Margaret O’Brien, Shirley Jones, Marty Ingels, Dee Wallace, Judy Tenuta, Sally Kirkland and other major celebrities set to participate in the star-studded event.

An award-winning actress and best-selling author, Carol Burnett is widely recognized by the public and her peers for her work on stage and screen, most notably The Carol Burnett Show. Named in 2007 by Time magazine as one of the “100 Best Television Shows of All Time”, the show ran for 11 years and received 25 Emmy Awards. Recognized for her comedic and dramatic roles on television, film and Broadway, Burnett has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is a Kennedy Center honoree. “This is a great thrill for me. I am so proud to be a part of this effort to bring the arts to Hollywood High,” Burnett said.

The City of Los Angeles through Councilman Tom LaBonge will proclaim Jan 10th as Carol Burnett Day in Los Angeles.

Hollywood High School Performing Arts Magnet provides students with invaluable access to the highest caliber performing arts programming.  Because of major LAUSD cutbacks, funds allotted to the Performing Arts Magnet have diminished year after year. This year there is no funding for the fall and spring productions.  More than ever, there is a greater need to raise money allowing the Magnet to provide instruction and to220px-Betty_White_2010 support its annual productions.  “This incredible school has a legacy of major movie, TV and music stars who attended or graduated, going back to Fay Wray, Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Carol Burnett, Brandy Norwood, John Ritter, Lana Turner, Charlene Tilton and Laurence Fishburne, to name a few”  stated Stormy Sacks.  “My vision is to have a legacy fundraising event yearly, so that the Hollywood High Performing Arts Magnet can be the training ground that supplies the industry with the most talented individuals, both on stage and behind the scenes. We hope to raise more than $100,000 so that we can provide those skills and opportunities for our students.”
For more information and to buy tickets for this event click HERE or call 1-800-DISNEY6

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