Showing posts from September, 2019

Pasadena Playhouse Slamdunks 'Little Shop of Horrors'

By E.M. Fredric Perennial Off-Broadway and Broadway favorite, Little Shop of Horrors —a darkly comic rock musical with music by Alan Menken and a book by Howard Ashman based on the 1960 classic cult film by legendary B-movie director Roger Corman made from a screenplay by Charles Griffith—is enjoying a national resurgence with revival productions sweeping both coasts simultaneously from Pasadena to New York City. There’s no doubt that Pasadena’s unique version—directed by Mike Donahue and starring George Salazar and MJ Rodriguez—is a certifiable hit. The current West Coast incarnation is addictive comedic fun that satiated a full-house on a recent Thursday night and had the audience screaming with appreciation for the by now familiar rock & roll, doowop and Motown-inflected musical numbers. (Pictured at left: MJ Rodriguez stands and George Salazar listens. Photo by Jenny Graham) For those who don’t know the tale, it’s a simple one. Little Shop follows meek plant store worker

La Raza Tribute: Raul Ruiz, Scholar, Advocate, Media Pioneer RIP

Raul Ruiz at an L.A. City College event | La Raza photograph collection. Courtesy of UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. By Thomas Varela Raul Ruiz, a photojournalist who documented Chicano history during the turbulent era of the 1960s and 1970s died on June 13, 2019.  He was 78-years-old.  His work as editor-writer for publications he started like Inside-Eastside, followed by Chicano Student Movement, chronicled the growth of political consciousness among a new generation of upwardly mobile Latinos. He later volunteered to take the reins of La Raza newspaper from Eliezer Risco and Ruth Robinson and began shaping it into a portal of current events. The latter publication at times printed 20,000 to 50,000 issues locally and its influence reached beyond Los Angeles.  Consequently, the accessibility of the paper inspired, to some degree, the creation of several Chicano college newspapers, like El Machete , at Los Angeles City College, El Popo at Valley College (Northridge) and

Color, Lifeforce, and Place: Landscapes of Margaret García

Waiting/Esperando, 2019, Oil on clayboard,  48”x 36” By Karen Mary Davalos Over the past four decades, Margaret García has developed her own color theory. She sees purple in flesh, sapphire blue in the trees, and aqua green in the urban pavement. While this perspective might suggest a psychedelic scene, Garcia is known for blending and combining paint to create harmonious and inviting landscapes or deeply reflective portraits. Her color theory requires an understanding of high key color radiant and how their luminous and lustrous qualities work together. The list of colors she recommends to the students of her oil painting workshop, which she teaches weekly at her studio and gallery in Highland Park, is evidence of her vision: Violet, Dioxine Purple, Alizarim Crimson, Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Yellow light, Phtalo Green, Phtalo Blue, and Ultramarine Blue. More tellingly, she finishes the list

'Witch' Scores Big at Geffen Playhouse

L-R: Vella Lovell and Ruy Iskandar in Witch at Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Marti Lyons. Photo credit: Jeff Lorch By E.M. Fredric The Geffen has scored more hits than misses during the last year, and Witch is no exception. This wonderful take on witches, devils, souls for sale and the state of the world (then and now) is written with great comedic aplomb by Jen Silverman. She feeds her actors’—in this retelling of a Jacobean drama—roles with a delectable array of the absurd yet superlatively nuanced reality set against all that’s royal. These include: Elizabeth (Maura Tierney), a banished woman who has been named a witch; Sir Arthur (Brian George), who decides to bring in a lout from the lower class but oh-so-popular with the locals Frank Thorney (Ruy Iskandar) as his second son, so that he’ll produce an heir; and Sir Arthur’s real son, Cuddy (Will Von Vogt) likes/loves/hates Frank and won’t be producing an heir anytime soon. So the stage is set for a jealous rivalry betwe

'Always Running,' Adapted From Acclaimed Luís Rodríguez Book, Takes the Stage by Storm SHOW EXTENDED!

Rufino Romero (l.) as Luís J. Rodríguez or “Chin” with Haylee Sánchez as  “Camila” in the new stage adaptation of Always Running by author Luís Rodríguez and director Hector Rodriguez at Casa 0101 Theater. Photo by Ed Krieger Review by Abel M. Salas Based on the best-selling book by Luís J. Rodríguez, the Casa 0101 world-premiere of Always Running is a subtle tour de force. Directed by Hector Rodríguez (no relation to the renowned poet, novelist, youth advocate and founder of Tia Chucha Press), the production benefits from a surprisingly effective adaption of the classic memoir, a theatrical adaptation developed collaboratively by the director and the author himself. A Carl Sandburg Literary Award winner that garnered early praise as a New York Times “Notable Book,” Always Running was originally published in 1993. The searing, achingly honest and often brutally personal account of the author’s struggle to overcome the soul-scarring wounds imprinted on his psyche as the produ

HPS Takeover at Liberman Broadcasting Worries Long-time Staff

By Abel M. Salas In a letter to Federal Communications Commission Secretary Marlene Dortch and dated August 27 th , a group of “concerned employees” at Liberman Broadcasting, Inc. (LBI) have asked the head of the FCC to exercise care and judiciousness before moving ahead with a transfer of the Spanish-language media company’s multiple broadcast licenses to HPS Investment Partners, a global financial asset management group. Under the terms of a debt restructuring arrangement approved by the Delaware U.S. Bankruptcy Court on April 17, LBI was declared Debtor in Possession and agreed to cede lender and primary lienholder HPS ownership and control of Liberman's media properties as well as 100% of all new equity generated by what was previously a privately held concern. The letter, as well as a number of supporting documents delivered anonymously to the offices of Brooklyn & Boyle appear to confirm what many in the Hispanic community had feared in the wake of news tha

For Your Consideration: Documentary on Anti-Gun Violence Mom to Screen in L.A.

Cindy Polo, moved by school shooting to seek office, is the subject of a short documentary coming to L.A. Photo: Adam Schlachter By Adam Schlachter A few years ago, I came to the realization that life had thrown me a few lemons.  After a few brushes with death, a couple of failed relationships, joblessness, depression, and catharsis, those experiences failed to yield a single drop of lemonade. Fruit juice aside, it was time to seek redemption. Then a tragedy struck a small town near my home…  Parkland. On February 14, 2018, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, murdering 17 people and injuring 17 others.  In a mid-term election year, military-style weapons were immediately thrust into the national spotlight. Upon hearing that a bus chartered by a group of social activists from Miami, where I grew up, was two hours shy of departure for Tallahassee, the state capital, I quickly showered, packed a bag, and—with just a few moments to spare—bought a