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Archive for the ‘Arts and Entertainment’ Category

RETURN WITH THE BLASTERS TO THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH—RECORD STORE, THAT IS

BY PETER THOMPSON

Subject: “I don’t like music I haven’t heard before”
 
Yeah, someone really said that. We wish we had her name so we could attribute it. But instead, we held her up to ridicule by writing the quote on the infamous felt letterboard that greeted each soul who entered the hallowed grounds of Middle Earth Records in Downey.

These were the ’70s, the peak vinyl years, and Middle Earth was the place to go to feed your music addiction. Punk landed early here, finding fertile ground among the prog, rock and folk freaks who made up the staff. The Ramones made an in-store appearance here. Middle Earth was the home store of the Blasters, as well as Richard and Karen Carpenter, and bands passing through L.A. made a southeast detour to Downey just to search the imports. (And our parents thought Downey was a SAFE place to raise their kids!)

Today, 30+ years later, we’re searching out those who either drew a paycheck from Middle Earth or simply wasted away their youth and hard-earned cash on vinyl, magazines, and other “things” we sold back in the day. For more information, check out http://www.facebook.com/middleearthrecords

WHAT: A Tribute to Middle Earth Records featuring The Blasters
WHERE: The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd, LA 90026
WHEN: Saturday, June 19, 2010; doors open at 6:30
FOR MORE INFO: attheecho.com

IF YOU SEE ONLY ONE PLAY EVER AT THE INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATER, MAKE IT “A SHAYNA MAIDEL”

June 13, 2010 4 comments
 

AT THE ICT THROUGH JULY 3

BY GREGGORY MOORE

I haven’t particularly enjoyed the plays put on by the International City Theatre (ICT). Some of this is simply script selection—whoever is doing the choosing has very different taste than I—and some of it is a sense of what makes for effective theatre that is different than mine.

But I’m happy to say that the ICT’s production of A Shayna Maidel is unlike any show I’ve seen there. Barbara Lebow’s script deftly displays both emotional depth and architectural tightness, while director Shashin Desai and cast rarely miss capitalizing on either. Read more…

‘RIDING BIKES WITH THE DUTCH’ TONIGHT AT THE ART THEATRE: IS IT BETTER THAN KOBE-HATING?

June 10, 2010 9 comments

MICHAEL BAUCH & SON FILMING IN AMSTERDAM

BY DAVE WIELENGA

The timing of Michael Bauch’s documentary film, “Riding Bikes With The Dutch,” couldn’t have been better—unless you count the fact that tonight’s 7 o’clock encore screening at the Art Theatre coincides with Game 4 of NBA finals between the Lakers and Boston Celtics. I do.

But a promise is a promise, and I invited my parents to see the film—a surprisingly inspirational comparison between the cycle-centric culture of Amsterdam and the pedal-pushing movement in Long Beach—before I realized it would conflict with my Kobe-hating. Then again, they’re basketball fans, too, so maybe … naahhh—I’ve been wanting to see this flick since I missed the premiere in May. Read more…

LYSISTRATA: ANCIENT GREEK DRAMA ABOUT A GROIN SENSE OF PACIFICISM STILL HITS HOME

May 25, 2010 7 comments
 

GIRL AIN'T GIVIN' IT UP

BY GREGGORY MOORE

Let’s be honest: ancient Greek theatre is primitive. How could it not be? It’s just about when the whole art form was born. Based on that historical truth, you are welcome to slant your judgment of the aesthetics of a play like Lysistrata, but you are not obliged to. And if you don’t, the first thing you’re likely to say about it is something like: “Let’s be honest: ancient Greek theatre is primitive.”

Brandon Cutts, who has adapted and directed the Aristophanes classic for Long Beach Shakespeare Co., has modernized the text somewhat, giving we modern and (at least potentially) more-sophisticated theatergoers a better chance to enjoy the play; that was a good idea, particularly as concerns the humor. However, I think he might have done better to have gone all the way, because at times there’s almost no way to watch this production and not think: “Let’s be honest: ancient Greek theatre is primitive.”

That said (three times now, if you’ve lost count), you gotta hand it to Aristophanes: in c. 410 BCE he crafted perhaps the first feminist statement. And it’s a strong one. “You thought it was a herd of slaves you had to tackle,” Lysistrata chastises men as she implements her plan to stop war by having the women withhold sex from the men until the latter agree to cease their warmongering. Read more…

RESOLUTION READING REVIEW: ‘A GATE AT THE STAIRS,’ BY LORRIE MOORE

May 8, 2010 1 comment

BY KRISTIN CHALMERS

David Sedaris, why would you do this to me? By the time I reached the end of Lorrie Moore’s recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs (Random House), I had sunk so deeply into melancholia that I was pretty sure I would be unable to leave the house for at least the next few days. And it was David Sedaris’ fault, because I chose my book for April based on his  recommendation of Lorrie Moore’s previous book of short stories, Birds of America.

I began the book as I began the month of April: cheerful, hopeful, ready for a little spring (or at least a little spring break: a family vacation in Florida). As Moore’s protagonist, Tassie, struggles with winter in a Midwestern university town and the lonely poverty of the aimless undergraduate, I adjust my airplane seat and tray table for takeoff: we’re on our way! Moore has lots of funny, nasty things to say about race, adoption, parenting and intellectualism, all of which seem fairly innocuous as I lounge around the pool in the Orlando sunshine. Read more…

THEATRE REVIEW: ‘MEASURE FOR PLEASURE’ RIGHT ON TIME AT THE GARAGE THEATRE

DAVID GRIMM'S 'MEASURE FOR PLEASURE' IS NOW PLAYING AT GARAGE THEATRE

BY GREGGORY MOORE

They say timing is everything. It isn’t, of course—but in some plays it’s pretty damn near to it. David Grimm’s Measure for Pleasure is one of those plays. Are the words on the page funny? Clever? At times, yes. But if even the most literary scripts can be ruined in performance (as I once saw CSU Fullerton do to Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia), one like Grimm’s—almost all jokes and timing—owes half its soul to the performers. Fortunately, the Garage Theatre got rhythm. Read more…

REVIEW: CAL REP’S “OUT OF THIN AIR”–A NOT-A-PLAY ABOUT THE PLAYERS–IS PERHAPS A BIT TOO INSIDE

"IF I ONLY HAD A PLOT..."

BY GREGGORY MOORE

Be forewarned: this is not a play. I don’t mean that esoterically, like C’est ci n’est pas une pipe or something. I mean:  
this is not a play. To be sure, Cal Rep isn’t billing Out of Thin Air as a play; the press release labels it “out-of-the-box theatre unlike anything you’ve seen before” (a claim that’s overly bold, I’m afraid), but since it occupies a spot in its season and costs the same as a play, one might go unawares simply because Cal Rep is such an excellent company. In that case, you might be disappointed.
This “ensemble-based work, which evolved out of Viewpoints [acting] exercises” is, in short, an autobiographically artistic staging of scenes (actual and emotional) that shaped this crop of Long Beach State’s graduating MFA actors—particularly in terms of (what else?) why they became actors. Part of the problem: we already get it. Read more…