The Last Dance: Prom Night in America

prom night

Walter Brasch: Our children, who are still a part of the extended “Me First Generation,” are spending on a social event that, for some, may be a prelude to a $35,000 wedding in a year or two.

Sports Without Money?

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Steve Hochstadt: Without money and coaches promoting seriousness, the players are able to indulge a sense of fun. The play is hard, but silliness is everywhere else, beginning with team names

Roxie Watson Band Honors Bluegrass Legend Hazel Dickens

Sonia Tetlow

Georgianne Nienaber: Two days after Dickens’ death on April 22, the Atlanta-based, five-piece Roxie Watson band took the stage in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and offered a second-set tribute of an original song dedicated to coal miners, the poor, the dispossessed, and the working women that Dickens so passionately championed.

Defying Racial Stereotypes

MIRAL

David Love: Given the paucity of positive images of Arabs out there, no single film can be all things to all people. And no film by itself can articulate the full breadth of the occupation or the Mideast conflict. But this is a good start.

From Holocaust Survivors to Hollywood Thriver

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Ed Rampell: Producer’s rep Page Ostrow represents independent feature films that are entertaining and films of conscience, including the first documentary about what led to Egypt’s historic revolution.

Anton Chekhov: A Man for Our Times

Anton Chekhov

Walter Moss: All this interest in Chekhov is nothing new. One could argue that no other writer had more influence than he on modern drama and short fiction, and some would go much further.

What Happened to Our Money? Oliver Stone Returns to Wall Street

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Robert Brent Toplin: More than any other current Hollywood director, Robert Stone has dramatized American political, social, and economic history of the past fifty years.

Hitler-arious: The Leftist Was a Tramp

Kirstin Scott and Rob McClure in La Jolla Playhouse's world-premiere production of Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin

like many other productions at the fabled Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, the stellar Limelight is Broadway bound for glory.

Getting Stoned with De Niro

De Niro and Jovovich

Ed Rampell: Will moviegoers feel they’d rather not feel so all alone, and that everybody must get Stone-d?

“Voices” — What a Sizzling Saga

voices_flyer

Ed Rampell: Voices: A Legacy to Remember does have a memorable story combined with snazzy costumes, great foot stomping choreography and finger snapping music, from traditional Negro Spirituals to Gospel to Jazz,

Barry Munday: Sex Has Lost the Sexual Revolution

barry munday

Ed Rampell: Writer/director Chris D’Arienzo’s Barry Munday is a droll sex comedy minus sex with a gifted ensemble cast that’s extremely enjoyable to watch.

Il Postino: Going Postal

il postino

Ed Rampell: Going postal: A rare work of art with working class heroes who are Communists, luminously, imaginatively brought to life onstage by a creative collective of talents worthy of Neruda’s poetry.

Mozart’s Sublime Class Struggle, Cross-Dressing Romp Triumphs at L.A. Opera.

Figaro

Ed Rampell: Every once in a while there’s an uplifting work of art that makes one feel glad to be alive. L.A. Opera’s exuberant production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 1786 The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), conducted by none other than Placido Domingo himself, is one of those rare artistic experiences that enable audiences to walk on air and be grateful to be living, if only so they can experience such a rapturous, joyous vision and affirmation of life.

“La Razón Blindada”–Theatre of Confinement and Liberation

razon blindata

Diane Lefer: For those unfamiliar with contemporary experimental theatre from Latin America, Vargas’ work is a fine introduction with its stylized performances, heightened language, philosophical concerns, and its exploration of the dynamics of power.

Wall Street: Oliver Stone’s Das Kapital-ist

oliver stone

Ed Rampell: Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a bold, visually stunning movie and the best critique of the capitalist system and its 2008 financial meltdown since Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story.

Break The Whip — A Spicy Theatrical Gumbo

Break the Whip

Ed Rampell: Break the Whip. A theatrical people’s history of the United States according to Tim Robbins and the Actors’ Gang.

The Catering Doula

Karen Glasgow Doula

When my daughter told me she was planning the birth of my soon to arrive grandchild, I expected her to tell me that she was going to use a mid-wife but she told me no, she was going the conventional route. She planned to deliver in a hospital with a doctor, the way all of the women in my family have done for the past 100 years except that she was going to use — here’s the new term — a “doula”.

Waiting For Lefty: The Wait Is Over

Anthony Gruppuso and David Baer

Ed Rampell:: The wait is over, and Theatre West’s revival of Clifford Odets’ Waiting For Lefty is the most important play currently being presented in L.A., and possibly the best production of 2010.

Two Civil Rights Movies Find the Cost of Freedom

Ernie Dingo and Missy Higgins in Bran Nue Dae

Ed Rampell: The documentary Neshoba and musical Bran Nue Dae remind us of how far we’ve come – and, like Willie en route from Perth to Broome – how far we still have to go before we overcome and that Brand New Day of equality dawns.

Call to Arms to the Nation’s Creative Communities

Brent Budowsky: When the polls show the Republicans have a strong chance of gaining control of the House of Representatives, and possibly the United States Senate, what they really mean is that so many of those who believe in real and lasting change are not planning to vote.

“Ruined,” But Not Forever?

Tom Maridosian and Cherise Boothe in Ruined. Photo by Chris Bennion,

Dick Price: “Ruined,” tells the improbably uplifting story of a tawdry haven from an unimaginably cruel world where soldiers and the rebels they fight routinely rape, mutilate, and murder women for sport.

Richard Schickel’s Clint: A Retrospective

clint eastwood

Jim Cullen: Clint Eastwood is, finally, an inspiring figure in his demonstration of the value of hard work for its own sake, and the hope, whether realized or not, that it might also have value for others.

A Smeller for the Empire: Gimbling in the Wabe

border collie

Gary Corseri: My house is foreclosed on, my job is outsourced, and my wife runs away with a banker. So…,I figure there’s nothing left to do but pack up the old mini-van, head on down to New Orleans and start a new life as a singer of blues. My border collie, Woof, rides shotgun, his handsome muzzle sticking part way out the window.

A Great LA Filmfest on Endangered Species List?

Prakriti Maduro in "Habana Eva."

Ed Rampell: Film lovers and the creative community should stand and deliver to LALIFF so that it can continue to showcase unusual, offbeat Latino movies. Don’t force Olmos to make Zoot Suit II to finance it out of his own pocket. Viva LALIFF!

Topic? I Don’t Need No Stinking Topic

Viagra

Mike Price: Rubes, suckers, marks, johns, and other clubbies apparently think that tossing bottles around is the same as good bartending. Wrong. People who need juggling with their alcohol should do their drinking at the circus.

Why Elvis?

elvis presley

H. Scott Prosterman: Elvis brought color, rhythm and soul to the white music market, which was dominated at the time by Como , Dean Martin, Tennessee Ernie, Mitch Miller and the Maguire Sisters.

Civil Rights and Wrongs Onstage at Two L.A. Theatres

Carry It On! Bill Durhamm and Rowena Johnson (Photo Miriam Geer)

Ed Rampell: Art emerges out of our collective psyche to reflect our times, and it’s fascinating to see how L.A. theatre is responding to the current attack on our civil, human and constitutional rights and liberties.

Fly Away, Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

John Summers: As the armies of tolerance celebrate To Kill a Mockingbird–it’s the 50 anniversary this month—one is put in mind of a maxim by W.H. Auden: “You do not read a book,” Auden said. “A book reads you.”

Holy Wars: Putting the “Mental” into Fundamentalism

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Ed Rampell: General Sherman, who burned Atlanta to the ground, rather famously and pithily said, “War is hell.” Stephen Marshall’s new documentary about religious fanaticism, Holy Wars, turns Sherman’s quote on its head with the clever tagline, “War is Heaven.”

America’s Cheesiest Charttoppers Redux

jenny from the block

Michael Sigman: Strong candidates for Part 2 included such stomach-churning charttoppers as Barry Manilow’s I Write the Songs (no, you don’t, not even this one, which was penned by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman (no, you’re not) and Starship’s We Built This City on Rock and Roll (no, you most definitely did not).

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