Friday, August 10, 2012

Marathon '33 and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson both take you on an original ride

There are many reasons we go to the theater, one of which is to see something like we've never seen before. There are two such examples taking place now in the Washington, D.C. area: Marathon '33 by the American Century Theater through Aug. 25 at the Gunston II in South Arlington; and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at the Studio Theatre through Aug. 26.
Marathon '33 puts you in the audience for one of those incredible dance marathons of the 1930s. It was written by child and adult star June Havoc - she was the sister of the famous Gypsy Rose Lee - who experienced these firsthand.  Julie Harris played the lead on Broadway in the 1960s.  It is not a great play but it is a showcase for many talented dancers, singers and musicians of American Century.  And they get the atmosphere right - or at least it feels like they do.  Newspaper clips from the 1930s posted outside the theater help put you in the right mood. Try to catch this.

Bloody Bloody was a hit off-Broadway and then tried to move to Broadway.  You can easily detect that a small venue works much better for this musical.  You need to feel the music and see the crazy looks on the characters' faces, and at Studio's second stage, this is accomplished.  Heath Calvert and Felicia Curry carry the show on their talented shoulders. I wouldn't say anything is great, but it's all good from the driving music to the Monty Python-esque American historical figures - you'll have to see for yourself - to the "interesting" history lessons we get. Again though, this is a show like no other and clocking in at an intermission-less 90 minutes, deserves to be seen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Excellent WASTE LAND plays Thursday at Meridian Centre

This is a wonderful, uplifting film.

Meridian International Center and ITVS

for the Global Perspectives Film Series featuring WASTE LAND followed by a discussion
Thursday, July 26
6:30 PM Film Screening
Meridian International Centre
1630 Crescent Place NW
Washington DC

Garbage Art (Literally!) A Brooklyn artist travels back to his Brazillian roots and the world's largest dump to create art. Find out more here!



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Safety Not Guaranteed' Stands Out in the Summer Indie Battle

Welcome back. Let's get right into three independent films, two - Safety Not Guaranteed and Your Sister's Sister - with an unlikely leading man in Mark Duplass. The third film is Take This Waltz written and directed by Sarah Polley, whom I interviewed a couple years ago when she came out with Away With Her starring the great Julie Christie. (By the way, if you've never seen the late, great Canadian TV show Slings and Arrows, of which Polley starred in one season, please see it.) For me, Safety Not Guaranteed is the best film of these three. It's original, funny and totally stays in the world that it creates for itself. Also, Aubrey Plaza (of Parks and Recreation fame) establishes herself as someone who can carry a film. Your Sister's Sister also stays within its limits and knows when to finish. But it really doesn't reach too far. You almost get the feeling that it would have made a better play. Emily Blunt is as likeable as ever, though I think I liked her better in Salmon Fishing in Yemen. (She does dtay busy.) Take This Waltz starts out as the most sophisticated of these three films. Michelle Willliams looks like such a little thing here; hard to believe that she was so convincing as Marilyn Monroe in the underrated My Week With Marilyn. Polley sets up a very believable story here. Williams is married to the steady, nerdily funny but not exciting Seth Rogen - who really does well here in a more subdued role.  She meets the handsome neighbor across the street on a work trip setting up an interesting quandary. But Polley just doesn't know where to go with it, so she keeps on going. And going. It's still worth seeing - just a shame when good could have been great.  Nice to see three films, however, driven strongly by talented women. Your Sister's Sister was also written and directed by a woman - Lynn Shelton. Go see them and let me know what you think.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Embassy of Argentina opening tonight, a Folger lecture series, Jazz on the roof and Cape Spin

The beautiful and friendly Embassy of Argentina in Dupont Circle has an opening tonight from 6:30 to 8pm. Artist Rosana Azar was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studied art with well known Argentinian artists; she had a successful career, exhibiting widely around the country, before moving to Washington, DC area 22 years ago.


I was at the Folger Monday night for the first in a series of three free talks/small receptions to coincide with their Open City London (1500-1700) exhibit. The third one, on Monday night, July 30, looks especially good. Actors from DC’s Taffety Punk Theatre Company will present a staged reading of excerpts of The Roaring Girl, a bold, brilliant play by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker. The play was first produced in 1611 and was restaged famously in the 1980s by the Royal Shakespeare Company. You need to register to go - here's the link

Art Soiree impressed me with a huge night last week where local artists decorated the boarding around the Fountain at Washington Harbor in Georgetown with some incredible art (including our own Belen Boya). It will be up through this weekend if you get a chance to get down there. They will be also doing a series of Thursday night jazz for $10 on the rooftop at the Beacon Sky Bar. http://theartsoiree.com/.  

Our friend Josh Levin at the West End Cinema  has produced a new film called CAPE SPIN, which is opening in Washington, DC starting tonight at his theater. The film provides an excellent, funny and balanced look at the most controversial renewable energy proposal ever pursued in the United States -- the Cape Wind installation in Massachusetts. Here's a link.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

$15 tickets for First You Dream

The Kennedy Center is offering tickets at the special price of $15.00 for performances of the First You Dream on June 19-22.  I really enjoye dthis show.

Tickets are regularly as high as $90.00.
You can click here and your discount will appear automatically. If you call or stop by the Box Office for the discount, be sure to mention Offer Number "142347."








Monday, June 18, 2012

Bachelorette entertains at Studio and Constellations opens at Art Museum of the Americas

I saw Bachelorette last night at Studio Theater. It's a well-done, entertaining production that features 6 good younger actors which is nice to see.  It's not great though. The play is kind of Neil LaBute light - she goes for it a little bit - in terms of meanness - but not to the extent LaBute does.  Characters are also a bit one-dimensional which doesn't help.  It's nice to see one of the two guys there for easy sex beg off and show true concern. But one guy is wonderful and the other sleazy - kind of same for the women.  That all being said, you will not be bored over the play's fast-moving 90 minutes.

Constellations is the name of the new show at the Art Museum of the Americas and it's opening is Thursday, June 21. They have some of the nicest openings in DC, though a really hot day could work against sipping wine in their beautiful backyard.

201 18th St., NW (near Constitution Ave)
June 21 at 6 pm
Free

Friday, June 15, 2012

Open City: London - Free Talk and Reception at Folger

Free Summer Talk!
Open City: London 1500-1700
This Monday, June 18 at 7pm in the theatre!

followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibition
John Schofield on St. Paul’s Cathedral Before Christopher Wren
St. Paul’s Cathedral was built to the design of English architect Sir Christopher Wren as part of a major rebuilding program following the 1666 Great Fire of London. However, Wren’s magnificent structure is only the most recent in a succession of Anglo-Saxon and medieval cathedrals on the site. Dr. John Schofield, the Cathedral Archaeologist for St. Paul’s Cathedral, will discuss how recent archaeological and historical research is now reconstructing the pre-Wren medieval cathedral. Reserve your seat here.