Thursday, April 26, 2007

Events tonight

I'm not sure I'm ready to go out there alone, but for those of you who are or who have queer friends to accompany you, there are two great events tonight you should check out. Both are in the same area, so technically you could even go to both tonight.

unholy trinity :: the event
reads from her new novel
<i>Like Son</i>
raquel gutierrez + claudia rodriguez
reading new + solo work off the page
Thursday, April 26, 2007
7pm @ IMIX Bookstore
5052 Eagle Rock Blvd. L.A. 90041

Afterwards, head on over to Butchin'LA at Mr. T's Bowl. I don't know anything about this month's performers, but the crowd alone makes the evening worth it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Hey all. I try not to talk to much about my personal life here, but I thought I should explain my long neglect of any loyal blog readers I may have out there. Oddly enough, I was dating someone, briefly. It was great -- she was great. I was giddy and happy and cute, and spending all of my time thinking about the girl and not going to shows or writing about them nearly as much. But it turns out she fell for someone else. No big deal, not a betrayal in any way, just a disappointment. But it's good to be reminded every once in a while that I can feel so much for someone, even though sometimes you get your ass kicked, and I did. It showed me that when things go right, dating can be a truly wonderful experience. But hopefully now I'll be back to current theatrical events and performance anaylsis and this blog will quit languishing from neglect. Thanks for hanging in there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where I'll be tonight and you should, too

I'm super excited that the new reincarnation of Sister Spit, Sister Spit Next Generation is on the road and rolling into LA tonight. And that they'll actually be in LA and not somewhere wacky that I have to drive forever in traffic to get to, such as Claremont or Santa Barbara or San Diego (although their tour does stop all those places). I'm super excited to see Michelle Tea perform. She's an amazing reader, writer, and performer. Eileen Myles is also super-cool and Ali Liebegott is totally hot. Along with these fabulous literary performance powerhouses are some people who I know nothing about, but look forward to discovering. It's a great mix of famous and emerging and I love the opportunity to learn about new voices as much as I'm excited and starstruck for the ones I know. I really hope there's a good showing to prove that LA isn't lame. Cheers to those at the EagleLA and the organizers of Shotgun for providing the space.

Also upcoming and interesting: Cornerstone Theater Company presents Beyond the Beyond: The Gay Futureworld! It's a collaboration between gay youth and gay seniors which will be presented April 12-22 at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. It's some sort of wacky sci-fi gay play with puppets, which sounds like a winner to me! If i didn't already have tix for something on Friday, I would totally go to their reception, which includes a post-show party with Will Wright's "Moonbot."

An Unbelievably Boring Play about ADD

Distracted. Mark Taper Forum. 4/10/07.

I hated this play. Actively. It was a preachy play that held absolutely no interest for me. By the end of the play I disagreed with every position and hated every character. The play was slow and redundant with very little character arc or plot arc. It felt like once again a play for old people, which held very little interest to my queer, non-reproducing self. All it served to do was convince me that I never wanted to have kids.

The tragedy is that this play was actually in many ways well-done by many talented people, and yet it was still so boring and infuriating that I considered both leaving mid-scene and throwing things at the main character. There was absolutely no justification for this to be a full two-hour play. Nothing actually happened except a lot of whining.

The people involved in this distracted disaster of a play, however, were extremely talented. Rita Wilson is a beautiful and compelling actress. Why in hell did her character have to be named "Mama"? Why didn't she have a job and a life of her own instead of spending the whole time running around to doctors fussing about her kid? Ray Porter as Dad was also an extremely talented actor but not a particularly compelling character. The several supporting doctor and teacher characters played by Bronson Pinchot and Stephanie Barry were also well done and demonstrate impressive acting skill and range. Unfortunately, that's not nearly enough to liven up this infuriating play.

Even though Lisa Loomer, who is actually a quite talented playwright, disappointed me severely with this piece, her heart is clearly in the right place. Her skill with dialogue is impressive and I'm happy to see a play by a female playwright with a female lead, even if I hated her. She's dealing with issues of family and motherhood that don't get enough time onstage. While I would very much have liked this to be a better play, preferably including a few less priveledged and self-involved characters, I'm mostly glad that it got produced. Better this than more David Mamet, certainly. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I'm disappointed that the Taper seems to be doing plays exclusively intended for middle-aged rich white parents. Thus far, nothing I've seen there this season would appeal to anyone else. Boring.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Nearly Perfect Modern Fairy Tale

Sleeping Beauty Wakes. Kirk Douglas Theater. 4/6/07.

Sleeping Beauty Wakes is a new musical created though collaboration between Deaf West Theatre and New York based musical trio GrooveLily. When that was all I knew about it, I had assumed it wasn't a show for me. I'm not deaf and I knew nothing about GrooveLily. Boy was I wrong.

It's a truly magical production, with all the simplicity and beauty that a fairy tale should have; its modern setting doesn't overwhelm or overburden the basic story. The music is beautiful and haunting, featuring striking harmonies between electric violin, drums, and keyboard that nonetheless showcase the human voices and the words and the story as a musical must. Even better, the musical itself had a feminist sensibility through which it reconciled itself to its female lead sleeping through much of the story: "aren't we all waiting for one great kiss?"

Everyone involved in this production was extremely talented, despite a confusing array of actors singing other parts. The lead actress, Alexandria Wailes acts and signs the role of Sleeping Beauty delightfully, but the character is voiced by the multi-talented electric violinist and co-writer/composer Valerie Vigoda. Together, the two of them create a lovely and complex character that manages to be spunky and compelling despite a great deal of sleeping. Similarly, her romantic lead is played by Russell Harvard with voice by keyboardist Brendan Milburn. Although other people sometimes also provide voices for both lead characters. Prominent local talents Kevin Earley and Erika Amato play many of the voices and supporting characters, changing their voices to switch between several roles, while also signing and acting. Amato's singing as the Evil Fairy was particularly powerful.

While it may be difficult to figure out who's singing for which character when, the story itself and its talented performers are so compelling that you don't notice anything but the story and the beautiful performances that create it. I applaud writer/composers Brendan Milburn, Rachel Sheinkin and Valerie Vigoda for their excellent show and all the actors for brilliant performances. I highly encourage you to go see this show.