Sunday, March 30, 2008

Post-mortem

Gustavo was just fine, although I was watching him from the back, as we had seats in the terrace. Next week I'll get to see him in profile, as we'll be back in our side terrace seats. Something to look forward to. The audience went a little nuts after he conducted Symphonie Fantastique, which didn't make a whole lot of sense, but hey, I guess he's a star, so there you have it.

The real star of the evening, for my money, was this guy. As one who had just enough piano in his youth to be doubly awestruck by even the most mediocre of pianists, I was absolutely giddy watching this guy. And he's a cute little Macedonian, to boot!

I hate to say it, but Simon may just be my new Rolando. I'll wait until next week, when I get to watch Gustavo in profile, to make a definitive judgment, but for now, he's definitely ahead in the running.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm seeing

Gustavo Dudamel at the LAPhil on Saturday. JW's seen him before and he's all giddy about him. I just know him from all the pictures in the papers and on the internets, which look something like this--



or this--


or this--

and I'm afraid to say, they make me a little scared.

This one, on the other hand, has my complete confidence after Tuesday night--


Ms. Joana Carneiro conducted an exciting Green Umbrella concert on Tuesday; she's so sharp and precise at the podium I would've been happy to have been in a choir conducted by her. Or any other ensemble, for that matter, if I still played an instrument.

My favorite piece of the evening was by this woman named Gabriella Frank. It's called "New Andean Songs," and it's gorgeously dark, with two rich-voiced sopranos singing some visceral indigenous poetry.

Mark Swed does a better job writing about it than I do, so I'll leave the rest to him.
Gabriella Lena Frank's "New Andean Songs," also a Philharmonic commission (and one of the scores written in memory of Sue Knussen, the orchestra's late education director) comes from a very different geography and sensibility. A Berkeley-ite born in 1972, Frank rejoices in her mixed genes -- Peruvian, Chinese and Lithuanian. The Latin side, though, dominates in this cycle for two singers, two pianos and two percussionists.

Her texts are indigenous Peruvian poetry full of fantastical and haunting imagery: "My drum will be an egg of an ant"; "He has died . . . only his still guitar is floating in the current." And her score is rich in color and expression.

The performance was beautiful. Soprano (Toby Arnold) and mezzo-soprano (Rachel Calloway) were like a single voice entwined in the text. Pianos and percussion, combining elements of sonic fire and ice, never ceased to dazzle. Passion emerged from subtle sounds, and Carneiro conducted alert to quietness and extravagance. With each new piece, Frank becomes a more exciting and necessary voice.
You can read his whole review of the concert here.

Wow, this kinda feels like an old school FWL post! I'll just say it's in honor of a certain blog's namesake, who would've turned 82 today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I wrote a post

way back on March 11 and left it up for about 5 minutes, and took it down, because even then, something didn't feel quite right about it. It's below.
Something is happening to me.

I think I'm starting to turn on Hillary. For real. I feel lighter somehow. Like breaking out into song, or running outside and picking flowers. Is this what I've been missing? What's taken me so long?

So there, I've said it. ENOUGH, Hillary. Darlin, I love you, and I know you're not going to listen to little ol' me, but I think it's time.
This is actually a nice version about how I've been feeling about her campaign lately, so I figure I might as well post it now.

Here's the March 26 version of what I'd say to the Clintons if I could:

Hillary, YOU slink back to the Senate, and Bill, YOU go take some honorary post somewhere or something and let us get on with things. Your historical moment has passed. I don't wanna hear another peep out of either of you about invented sniper fire or your bullshit bigoted defense of homophobic DOMA or your refusing to let the Jeremiah Wright thing die. I don't care if I wrote a play about you. Let it go!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Have a quickie!

Filly Film Cult is having a fun event this weekend, if you don't have Easter plans. Or if you do have Easter plans, you can go on Saturday, like I'm going to. Or maybe you don't celebrate Easter, which should be a relief, honestly, because all that candy and food and wine with no day off after is really tiresome.

Anyway, details are below. If you go Saturday, look for me.

It’s time to pay tribute to the softer side of Hollywood’s most lucrative industry. We invited eighteen filmmakers to create what should be our most amazing experiment yet: an evening of disappointing porn. No nudity. Lots of chest hair. Tons of fun.

It's so softcore, it's hardcore.

Dates: March 22nd & 23rd
Time: 6pm & 8pm screenings
Location: Theatre/Theater
5041 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tickets: $14

I finished

a first draft of a new full-length comedy last night. Before that I was at auditions for an evening of 10-minutes, of which my comedy, "A Little Light Role Play" is scheduled to be a part. I can never decide whether Roleplay should be one or two words, by the way. It changes all the time. I like it better as two, but maybe that's too obvious.

At one point after the auditions, I was discussing casting with the other writers and directors, all of whom I had just met that evening. They let me go first since I was the newbie to their group. When I'd said my peace, they said, "Don't feel like you have to stick around if you need to go," and I said, "Oh no, I enjoy this! It's what I do!"

It is what I do. I don't do it enough, but it's still what I do. So there. There's one thing that's valuable about theater.

Oh, and I see a lot of it too, which keeps me from getting into trouble when I'm avoiding writing. Because who knows? Without theater I might've ended up walking the streets or shooting H! Both even!

Me as a junkie streetwalker. There's a scary thought. Even if it'd make me thinner!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Everyone go see

No Child.... at the Kirk Douglas. Nilaja Sun is delightful and it's a tight and moving hour in the theater. I misted up at least twice. Since I taught in an inner-city school, she was definitely preaching to the choir. Still, even cold-hearted types like JW would be won over. I had an extra ticket for him, but he didn't want to go; he was too busy taking candy from babies somewhere.

Hah, kidding JW! We all know babies freak you out too much to get close enough to steal their candy!

Why am I picking on him so much in this post? It's not nice, is it? I guess I'm just resorting to the whole FWL recurring motif. Is it becoming a crutch? Should I name-drop JW less? I dunno. I could name-drop Ernessa instead, and how she's planning to write a blog post a day leading up to her next big event with her Filly Film Cult. Check it out here.

Actors and directors of the world...

Your city does not need another production of Closer.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I still haven't seen

August: Osage County, although I want to, and almost went on a quick weekend trip to NYC with JW just to do so. My friend Kevin went last night, and he gave me what is my favorite review of the show to date:

"Well it sure did make me want to be a chain-smoking, pill-popping, nasty, rail-thin old woman. But incest? Give me a break. I'm from Arkansas."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Angries

Steven Mikulan has a fun article at LAWeekly.com about local theater critics and their apparent attraction to the food at opening night receptions. This bit is what really got me, though:

"During the play, [name withheld] made overt faces, but then she goes to the reception and proceeds to become publicly belligerent."

The woman telling me this is a longtime Los Angeles theater publicist and producer. The person she is describing is a newspaper critic who attended the opening night of a play.

"She goes up to the playwright," the producer-publicist continues, "and in front of his cast and director, says, 'Your play is awful and you don't know how to write, but at least you're cute.' She ripped his heart out. He was devastated."

Welcome to the world of the Angries. These are critics who, fired by wine, bad moods or extreme aesthetic values, can't resist leaving a verbal foretaste of their reviews or acting out their own personal dramas.
A similar story was related to me about a playwright acquaintance of mine who got dressed down by a critic in the lobby after his opening. In fact, it may be the same story. It sounds awful familiar. Or maybe that's the best dig said critic can come up with.

Regardless, JW, you better hold me back if that ever happens to me. Seriously.

And just as a P.S., Mikulan reminds us all of the infamous Alan Brown.
Over the last two years, local theater watchers have been roiled by alarms sounded in the posts of the Big Cheap Theater message board regarding a certain "Alan Brown." Brown claimed to be a theater critic, but his real expertise apparently lay in foot fetishism — during performances, he'd take photos of actresses onstage and would go backstage and ask to take pictures of their feet....

One publicist for a small theater that had been stung several times by this shutterbug pressed for the man to show him some of his reviews, only to be met with silence. Brown was eventually run to ground through word spread on BCT. (Actually, he simply vanished.)
I warned my co-producer on Il Bidone about the foot fetishist. Who knows when he might turn up again and terrorize the 99-seaters of Los Angeles?!