Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 09:25 pm

Bright Star (Ahmanson Theatre)I have a wide ranging taste in music (as anyone who has listened to the 41,583 songs on my iPod on shuffle knows), but one of my longest lasting musical loves has been folk music, which branches very quickly into its kissing-cousins: Bluegrass and Celtic. So when I learned that Steve Martin (FB) — of King Tut fame — was not only an accomplished Bluegrass musician but was working on a musical with Edie Brickell (FB) — another accomplished musician — I was intrigued. I got the cast album of the musical (Bright Star), and fell in love with the music. So I was very pleased when a tour was announced, and the show became part of the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) season. We saw it last night, and even through a headache, we fell in love with the show.

The story of Bright Star is a hard one to describe, especially because going into too much detail might derail the second act. Suffice it to say that the story explores the interconnection between two families in North Carolina: the Murphy family and the Cane Family. It focuses on two relationships. The first is the relationship between Alice Murphy, the daughter of a local preacher, and Jimmy Ray Dobbs, the son of the Mayor. The second is the relationship between Billy Cane, who has just returned from WWII, and Margo Crawford, who has been waiting for him. The time frame varies from the time of Billy’s return and shortly thereafter, to times in the past when Alice was Billy’s age.

I had had an inkling of the story from the cast album before going in, but I still found it wonderfully touching. The pacing of it unfolded well, giving us time to get to know the characters and their motivations, which made what happened in the second act much more effective.

The music of the show is squarely in the bluegrass and folk realm, with twinges of country and gospel. It is a genre that is underrepresented on Broadway — the only other musicals with scores of this style are The Robber Bridegroom and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge. I loved it, and I strongly recommend listening to it. We were lucky enough to have the key voice on the album, Carmen Cusack (FB), playing the same role in Los Angeles.

The staging of the show, as conceived by director Walter Bobbie (FB) and choreographer Josh Rhodes (FB), was beautiful. The band was primarily in a wooden house on the stage that the characters kept moving around and turning around. The ensemble remained in fluid motion around and behind the characters, transforming scenes as needed. I found it magical and charming (but then, I liked Amalie as well for similar reasons). This was one of those shows with what I would call a representative set — small stage pieces that represent a place — as opposed to some of the hyper-realistic sets you might see in another show. It worked, and it worked well.

The casting was spectacular. As noted before, the lead character of Alice Murphy was played by the originator of the role, Carmen Cusack (FB). It was no surprise, therefore, that the role fit her like a glove, and she was able to be playful and quirky and to truly inhabit the character. She also had a wonderful voice for the part. As I’m typing this up, I’m listening to the album she recorded at 54 Below, and it is just a marvelous voice.

Playing opposite her as her love interest Jimmy Ray Dobbs was Patrick Cummings (FB). Cummings had great chemistry with Cusack, especially in the scene where we see the relationship between the two while he is working on the icebox. Not a great surprise – he had also been with the cast for a while and was the understudy for Jimmy Ray on Broadway. He also had a wonderful voice for bluegrass.

Leading the other key relationship as Billy Cane was A. J. Shively (FB), who was also in the Broadway cast in that role. Lovely singing voice, great playfulness and earnestness. I particularly liked him in the “Another Round” number and in his interactions in both the bookstore and at the literary publisher.

Billy’s love interest, Margo Crawford, was played by Maddie Shea Baldwin (FB). Her role was smaller, but she shone in it, providing a lovely light and lightness in her scenes. She had a lovely singing voice.

In terms of recognizable supporting characters, there were two primary sets. The first set were what were essentially comic relief characters in Ashford at the publishing company: Daryl Ames [Jeff Blumenkrantz (FB)] and Lucy Grant [Kaitlyn Davidson (FB)]. Both played their roles perfectly. Blumenkrantz is a master of comedy; this was demonstrated the last time we saw him in Murder for Two.  He captured the sardonic nature of his character quite well. Davidson was a good foil: good looks, good delivery, wonderful movement, and great expressions. Both were just fun to watch.

The other set of supporting characters were the parents of the leads: Stephen Lee Anderson as Daddy Murphy; Allison Briner-Dardenne (FB) as Mama Murphy; David Atkinson (FB) as Daddy Cane; and Jeff Austin (FB) as Mayor Josiah Dobbs. All brought the requisite characterization and authority to their roles; many had played them on Broadway. Anderson, Briner-Dardenne, and Austin had particular nice voices for this music. I’ll note we’ve seen Atkinson many times before, being subscribers to  Actors Co-op (FB).

Rounding out the cast in smaller and ensemble roles were: Devin Archer (FB) [also: u/s for Jimmy]; Audrey Cardwell  [also: Edna, u/s Alice]; Max Chernin (FB) [also: Max, u/s Daryl]; Robin de Lano (FB) [also: County Clerk, u/s Mama Murphy]; David Kirk Grant (FB) [also: Dr. Norquist, u/s Mayor Dobbs]; Kevin McMahon (FB) [also: Stanford Adams, u/s Daddy Cane]; Alessa Neeck (FB) [also: Florence, u/s Margo and Lucy]; and Michael Starr (FB) [also: u/s BIlly]. Swings were Kelly Baker (FB); Richard Gatta (FB) [also: Fight and Dance Captain]; Donna Louden (FB) [also: u/s Alice]; and Robert Pieranunzi (FB) [also: Asst. Dance Captain.] This group should be noted for their beautiful and fluid movement, in addition to the characters they portrayed. They seemed to be having quite a bit of joy and fun with their roles.

Music was provided by a wonderful on-stage bluegrass band: I would have gone just to hear a two hour concert of these wonderful musicians. The band was under the musical direction of Anthony De Angelis (FB) – conductor, piano. The other members — onstage and in the pit — were: Jason Yarcho (FB) – Assoc conductor, accordion, autoharp; George Guthrie (FB) – banjo, acoustic guitar; Eric Davis (FB) – acoustic guitar, electric guitar; Wayne Fugate (FB) – Mandolin, acoustic guitar; Martha McDonnell (FB) – violin / fiddle; Skip Ward (FB) – bass; Joe Mowatt (FB) – drums / percussion; David Gold (FB) – viola / violin; and David Mergen (FB) – cello. Peter Asher (FB) was the music supervisor; Rob Berman (FB) was the supervising Music Director and did the vocal arrangements; and  Seymour Red Press as the Music Coordinator. Orchestrations were by August Eriskmoen (FB).

Rounding out the production and creative credits: As I noted earlier, the scenic design of Eugene Lee, with scenic design supervision by Edward Pierce (FB), worked very well to create the scene and the mood. This was supported quite well by the costume design of Jane Greenwood, the lighting design of Japhy Weideman, the sound design of Nevin Steinberg, and the hair and wig design of Tom Watson. Everything seemed suitably North Carolina and of the period; the moving set pieces worked well, and the lighting and sound worked to establish mood well.  Additional production credits: Lee Wilkins (FB) – Associate Choreographer; Howard Cherpakov, CSA– Original New York Casting; Calleri Casting (FB) – Additional New York Casting; Michael Donovan, CSA– Los Angeles Casting; Anjee Nero (FB) – Production Stage Manager; David Van Zyll De Jong – Company Manager; Larry Morley – Touring Technical Supervisor; Kirsten Parker  and Susie Walsh – Stage Managers.

Bright Star continues at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) through November 19, 2017. Tickets should be available through the Ahmanson Website. Discount tickets may be available through Goldstar.

***

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at 5 Star Theatricals (FB) [the company formerly known as Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB)], the Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Chromolume Theatre(FB) in the West Adams district, and a mini-subscription at the Saroya [the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)] (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:

The drought has ended, and the last three months of 2017 are busy busy busy. A little later today, I’m going to see a thriller penned by the fellow through whom we get our Saroya (VPAC) subscriptions, Schaeffer Nelson (FB) — Mice at the Ensemble Studio Theatre LA (FB) in Atwater Village. The weekend before Halloween brings This Land at Company of Angels (FB) in Boyle Heights

Looking into November, we start with the Nottingham Festival (FB) in Simi Valley, followed by The Man Who Came to Dinner at Actors Co-op (FB). The following weekend brings a Day Out with Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB), as well as The Kingston Trio (FB) at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks (FB). The third weekend will bring Edges at the CSUN Theatre Department (FB) on Friday, the Tumbleweed Festival (FB) on Saturday, and Spamilton at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (FB) on Sunday. Thanksgiving Weekend will bring Something Rotten at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) and hopefully Levi (a new Sherman Brothers musical – join the Indiegogo here) at LA Community College Camino Theatre (FB). November concludes with the Anat Cohen Tentet at the Saroya (the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)) (FB).

December starts with ACSAC 2017 in Orlando FL. As soon as we return, we’ve got Pacific Overtures at Chromolume Theatre (FB) and the Colburn Orchestra at the Saroya (the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)) (FB). The weekend encompassing Chanukah sees us back at the Saroya  (FB) for the Klezmatics. We also hope to squeeze in a performance of A Christmas Story at the Canyon Theatre Guild (FB). Of course there will also be the obligatory Christmas Day movie.

Right now, early 2018 is pretty open, with only a few weekends taken by shows at the Pantages and Actors Co-Op. But that will likely fill up as Chromolume announces their dates, and announcements are received on interesting shows. Currently, we’re booking all the way out in mid to late 2018!

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-LemonsMusicals in LA@ This StageFootlights, as well as productions I see on GoldstarLA Stage TixPlays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as A Southern Story | "Bright Star" @ The Ahmanson Theatre by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 06:11 pm

By now, many of you have figured out the some of the story behind my post the other day: the Board at our congregation dismissed our Senior Rabbi for some reason; the other Rabbi resigned shortly thereafter. Whatever reason the board had, I’m sure, may come out over time — at this point, it doesn’t matter. There are “town halls” today and next Sunday to discuss the situation. I’m not attending today; nor do I plan to attend next week. I wanted to explain why, and where I stand on this issue.

First and foremost, although I can speculate on a reason, at this point it is none of my concern. The Congregation elects a Board and expects that Board to work in the interest of the Congregation. The current Board has had a thankless task: there were some significant budget shortfalls going in, and a large group of members didn’t renew. It was clear that what we were doing was not attracting new members from the community. In this environment, it was time for review of the Rabbi’s performance and consideration of a new contract. The Board obviously did that, received some information, debated things vigorously, and came to the conclusion that resulted in the situation we are now in. For legal reasons — in particular, to protect the employee — they cannot disclose any more publicly. Think about it: If you were let go, would you want your employer disclosing the reasons for doing so to the world?

Any Rabbi has supporters and detractors. At the Town Hall, those who support the Rabbi will try to convince the Board to change their decision. At this point, that will not happen and should not happen. Here’s why: Even if the Board made a mistake (and I do not know whether it did or didn’t), any damage and divisiveness has been done. The split has already occurred. If the Rabbi came back, those who saw or experienced what problems occurred will now be on the short end, and that wouldn’t be good for a congregation’s future. It is an unrealistic expectation.

The followers of the Rabbi — if the Rabbi wants — may try to form a new congregation. That is their prerogative, and I wish them luck. In this era where many congregations are having trouble, it will be difficult. But this is often how new congregations form. In fact, it is how the current congregation started: one of its forerunners was a split from another congregation.

I won’t be going with them. Most of the folks who I have noted commenting in favor of the Rabbi are folks that haven’t been active on the Boards over the years. The Board members and Past Presidents have mostly been silent; presumably, they are supporting the current Board. During my stint as President of the Mens Club, I’ve gotten to know these people very well: I know they will work hard for the congregation’s survival.

I view this as an opportunity that has been given to us.  The situation is what it is and not of my making; whether I agree or disagree (and I’m not saying publicly), I can only move forward. Forward means remaking the congregation into something that works, for what we have been doing is no longer working. The face of Judaism — and especially Reform Judaism — is changing. I heard somewhere that the reason our parents (and my generation) joined congregations was continuity: giving Judaism for their children.

But the youth of today aren’t looking for that. They are looking for a community that cares and listens to one another. They are looking for authenticity — real Judaism, not the cruft that has accumulated over the years. I believe they are looking for what Reform Judaism should be: understanding all of Judaism, and then picking community and individual practices that add meaning based in Jewish values. For some, that’s worship. For some, that’s study. For some, that’s social action. But it all needs to be in an accessible language and with accessible means.

The unfortunate situation of the last week provides the opportunity for our congregation to be a phoenix of myth: born out of the fire of conflict into something newer and better. We have a Board and a collection of congregants that are likely to be willing to work. Now it is time to rebuild and move forward.

 

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Changes and Opportunities by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 05:00 pm

As I read Facebook this breezy Saturday morning, I kept running into posts from my conservative friends that so, so, so made me want to respond. But were I to respond on their forums, I know what would happen: arguments, with no changing of minds. So instead, they become essay prompts on my forum:

 📖🖋️📖 Prompt #1: Privilege 📖🖋️📖

One friend of mine shared the following, ostensibly from “American News”:

“PRIVILEGE is what Stupid People call the CONSEQUENCE of other people WORKING HARDER and MAKING BETTER CHOICES than them” — Kurt Schlichter.

If you’re not familiar with Schlichter, he is a conservative columnist recruited by Breitbart, which says quite a bit.

So where do I start with this statement? First, I’ll note the “Stupid” part. There are so many of these memes that bully and call people names, and the folks posting them think it is funny. It’s a mindset that is just wrong in this day and age, but bullying is often perceived to be the answer if you can’t make a real argument and convince people with facts. In fact, following this post, this person posted another meme that said, “If you need an answer, just find yourself a drink, sit back, and post the wrong answer on Facebook. Some asshole will correct you.”. Well, I’m just that asshole — and remember that without your asshole, you’d be even fuller of shit.

But I digress. Let’s get to this assertion that privilege is really just people working harder and making better choices? Is that true?

I did a quick search to find some examples of White Privilege and Male Privilege (as those are the usual privileges of concern). Let’s see if this statement is true.

The following is from “Everyday Feminism”: 10 Examples of White Privilege:

  1. I Have the Privilege of (Generally) Having a Positive Relationship with the Police. So, white people being treated differently than black people by law enforcement. Walking through an affluent neighborhood: the scruffy black guy gets harassed more than the white guy. The whole “driving while black”. The whole issue of who goes to jail more, and who gets guns drawn at them more, and who get longer sentences. Is this just that the white folks worked harder and made better choices? Nah. Not when there are instances of well educated black people being hassled, and poor white folks being ignored. Working harder and making choices doesn’t help.
  2. I Have the Privilege of Being Favored by School Authorities. Here minority students are more likely to get suspended for offenses that for white students get a warning. Islamic students bringing in science projects that are viewed as terrorism; the same project from white folks getting a pass. Is that “working harder and making better choices”. Things being equal? Nope.
  3. I Have the Privilege of Attending Segregated Schools of Affluence. This is a lot of economic privilege, which could be viewed as parents making better choices — or growing up in an environment where white folks get better jobs and higher paying jobs. But certainly white segregated schools have greater resources than black segregated school. That’s not the product of the students working harder or making better choices.
  4. I Have the Privilege of Learning about My Race in School. History courses in America typically teach the White Christian view of history. Except for perhaps one week, the contributions of minorities are not discussed. How is what we teach an example of working harder and making better choices?
  5. I Have the Privilege of Finding Children’s Books that Overwhelmingly Represent My Race. Take a look at school books and much of popular literature. What is the color of the people in the stories? Look at our media, and the complexion of broadcast TV? How is this an example of working harder and making better choices?
  6. I Have the Privilege of Soaking in Media Blatantly Biased Toward My Race. I addressed this in the last item, but our media is predominately white. There is nothing about working harder and making better choices here. Even if you were to somehow argue that for news anchors, it doesn’t explain why scripted drama doesn’t reflect the complexion of the country. Further, think about this: look at the crime drama you see. What is the typical complexion of the criminal, and what is the complexion of law enforcement? Working harder and making better choices?
  7. I Have the Privilege of Escaping Violent Stereotypes Associated with My Race. Simple question: What makes you more nervous? A black guy with a visible gun or a white guy with a visible gun? How is your reaction “working harder and making better choices”? Same thing for the middle eastern guy buying the fertilizer and nails at the hardware store, vs. the white guy buying the same.
  8. I Have the Privilege of Playing the Colorblind Card, Wiping the Slate Clean of Centuries of Racism. This is attempting to ignore racism by not seeing color. In fact, the statement we’re examining is an attempt to be colorblind — to argue the issue isn’t racism, but something else. How is the ability to attempt to do that “working harder and making better choices”?
  9. I Have the Privilege of Being Insulated from the Daily Toll of Racism. Every day, minorities suffer little indignities: the nervous look, the lower pay, and so forth. How is that “working harder and making better choices”?
  10. I Have the Privilege of Living Ignorant of the Dire State of Racism Today. As a white person, you can easily go through your life not worrying about being hassled by law enforcement, confident that you can get in a door for an interview, that you’ll have the ability to get a loan and go to a college of your choice. All this because you’re the majority skin color, not because you work harder or make better choices.

When we look at male privilege, we can easily see differences. How does “working harder and make better choices” influence the fact that it costs more to dry-clean a woman’s shirt than a man’s shirt. That a woman doing the same job with the same education gets paid less. That opinions from a woman of equal training and knowledge to a man get discounted?

Privilege is not the result of working harder and making better choices. Privilege is having an easier life for no reason other than your pigment or gender.

 📖🖋️📖 Prompt #2: Racism 📖🖋️📖 

In the last day or two, I saw two statements that invoked the same reaction. Both were in response to pictures of the congresswoman who had been with the war widow when the President called. One shared a quote from @RealJamesWoods that said: “When #Democrats start wheeling out clowns dressed as saloon hookers, they are trying desperately to swerve away from the news.” The other said “How anyone takes seriously a person wearing a plastic cowboy hat is beyond me…”

As Steve Martin once said, “Excuuuuse me.”

Since when did we start judging the value of a person based on what they look like or what they are wearing?

Isn’t that just racism dressed up? Isn’t that just sexism? I judge Donald Trump as stupid not because of his ill fitting suits, how he looks on the golf course, his odd hair, or his ill-fitting tie. I judge him based on what he says or does.

Disagree with this congresswomen based on what she said, fine (even though her story has been verified). But don’t go down the path of discounting her because she wears a stupid hat. Hell, you’d need to write off most of Texas if you were going to do that.

 

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Essay Prompts: Weekend Edition by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 02:25 am

To Ray With Love (VPAC/Saroya)Last night saw us back at  The Soraya [the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB)] for a night of Jazz: Maceo Parker (FB)’s tribute to Ray Charles (FB) [who died in 2004], featuring the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Raelettes (Katrina Harper (FB), Karen Evans (FB), and Elaine Woodard (FB)). Alas, I had no paper and thus didn’t note down a set list. Musically, the orchestra was spectacular with a swinging sound that went well with both Parker’s voice and sax. The Raelettes joined for the latter third of the show and added some wonderful dimension and fun to the voices onstage.

The Ray Charles Orchestra, led by Steve Sigmund (FB) [Music Director], consisted of Harvey Wainapel (FB) – Alto Saxophone; Alford Jackson – Alto Saxophone; Rickey Woodard (FB) – Tenor Saxophone; Louis Van Taylor (FB) – Tenor Saxophone; Adam Schroeder (FB) – Baritone Saxophone; Chuck Parrish (FB) – Lead Trumpet; Ted Murdock (FB) – Trumpet; David Hoffman (FB) – Trumpet; Ken Scharf (FB) – Trumpet; Dan Marcus (FB) – Trombone; Ken Tussing (FB) – Trombone; Steve Baxter (FB) – Trombone; Rich Bullock (FB) – Bass Trombone; Ernest VanTrease – Keyboards; Jeff Pevar (FB) – Guitar; Nils Johnson (FB) – Bass; and Paul Kreibich (FB) – Drums.

That’s not to say the show didn’t have its problems. Here’s what I noted, from most to least annoying:

  • Parker’s manager, Natasha Maddison (FB), was an extreme distraction during the show, especially from where we were sitting in the side chairs in the Partierre Terrace. She was constantly peaking out from the wings (not visible from straight-on, but visible from the side), constantly going out in to the audience up to the sound board and back, coming out at times to talk with the music director, and most annoyingly: taking flash photographs from the wings. That’s the ultimate no-no: You do not distract from your artist’s performance.
  • Next up was all the audience members who thought they could take pictures, take video, or check the score of the Dodgers game (who are going to the World Series – yea!). There are a number of reasons not to use your cell phone during a concert — recording takes the intellectual property of the artists without compensation, for example. But a primary reason is this: Every time your screen lights up in a dark theatre, you distract everyone else in the audience and distract the artists on stage, for in a dark room, light is very visible. So YOU could be that person that ruins someone else’s evening, all to do something selfish.
  • Then there are those audience members wearing too much perfume. There are many people with allergies and sensitivities to odor. When you overuse your perfume, such that your transmit a cloud as you walk down the aisle, you could be triggering allergies and migraines in others. Again: This is not something you need to do to enjoy a concert; it is putting your pleasure over the enjoyment of others. If you must perfume, perfume very lightly.
  • This is not a Dodger game. Wait until the show is completely finished — signaled by the house lights coming on — before rushing to leave. It is discourteous to the artists to walk out early, and disturbs your fellow audience members.
  • Lastly, the program indicated there would be an intermission. There was no intermission.

An artist’s manager should know proper show etiquette.  People attending a concert should know how to behave. I shouldn’t need to be saying any of the bullets above.

***

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre (or music) critic; I am, however, a regular theatre and music audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at 5 Star Theatricals (FB) [the company formerly known as Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB)], the Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Chromolume Theatre(FB) in the West Adams district, and a mini-subscription at the Saroya [the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)] (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows:

The drought has ended, and the last three months of 2017 are busy busy busy. The third weekend in October brings Bright Star at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) on Saturday; on Sunday, I’m going to see a thriller penned by the fellow through whom we get our Saroya (VPAC) subscriptions, Schaeffer Nelson (FB) — Mice at the Ensemble Studio Theatre LA (FB) in Atwater Village. The weekend before Thanksgiving brings This Land at Company of Angels (FB) in Boyle Heights

Looking into November, we start with the Nottingham Festival (FB) in Simi Valley, followed by The Man Who Came to Dinner at Actors Co-op (FB). The following weekend brings a Day Out with Thomas at Orange Empire Railway Museum (FB), as well as The Kingston Trio (FB) at the Kavli Theatre in Thousand Oaks (FB). The third weekend will bring Edges at the CSUN Theatre Department (FB) on Friday, the Tumbleweed Festival (FB) on Saturday, and Spamilton at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (FB) on Sunday. Thanksgiving Weekend will bring Something Rotten at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) and hopefully Levi (a new Sherman Brothers musical – join the Indiegogo here) at LA Community College Camino Theatre (FB). November concludes with the Anat Cohen Tentet at the Saroya (the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)) (FB).

December starts with ACSAC 2017 in Orlando FL. As soon as we return, we’ve got Pacific Overtures at Chromolume Theatre (FB) and the Colburn Orchestra at the Saroya (the venue formerly known as the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC)) (FB). The weekend encompassing Chanukah sees us back at the Saroya  (FB) for the Klezmatics. We also hope to squeeze in a performance of A Christmas Story at the Canyon Theatre Guild (FB). Of course there will also be the obligatory Christmas Day movie.

Right now, early 2018 is pretty open, with only a few weekends taken by shows at the Pantages and Actors Co-Op. But that will likely fill up as Chromolume announces their dates, and announcements are received on interesting shows. Currently, we’re booking all the way out in mid to late 2018!

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-LemonsMusicals in LA@ This StageFootlights, as well as productions I see on GoldstarLA Stage TixPlays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.

 

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Hit The Road, Nat | "To Ray, With Love" @ Saroya/VPAC by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Friday, October 20th, 2017 03:06 pm

What makes a congregation? Is it the people in the community, and their relationships to one another? Is it the leader of the community, and his or her relationship to the people in the community?

Here’s why I’m asking. As background: Our congregation has had a bad fiscal year. Budget spreadsheet errors and other factors led to a greater than expected deficit (hint, Mr. President, budgets with large deficits are not a good idea, but I digress). At the same time the process was continuing of finally getting  the people side of the house in order: ensuring contracts were reviewed regularly, and getting processes in place for regular employee performance reviews and assessments. Two years ago as this process was gearing up the Cantor’s contract came up for review, and the decision was made by the board not to renew it. That upset some in the congregation (although the Cantor herself bounced back and found a job at another congregation in the area — together with our Cantor Emerita, I might add).

Yesterday, we received a letter from the President of our congregation. In it, it said: “… the Board of Trustees of [the congregation] has decided we need a new voice from the Bima and will begin the process to select a new Senior Rabbi effective immediately. Rabbi [name]’s contributions to [the congregation] over these many years have helped to make our congregation what it is today and his work will be honored and appreciated long into our future. We will be honoring Rabbi [name]’s service to the congregation at a later date and more information will be available as soon as possible.” (I’m intentionally keeping the congregation and rabbi’s name out of it, to focus the discussion on the broader question).

I wasn’t the the Board for this decision (although I was two years ago when then Cantor’s contract and performance were reviewed). I do know that the Rabbi’s contract was up for renewal this year and that the performance review process was now in place, and that if one is not renewing a contract, it must be announced by November to allow the timing of the search processes to work.  I am well aware that the Board cannot legally state the reasons behind their decision: this is covered by labor law and is there to protect the privacy of the employee.  For those who understand Judaism, it is also covered by Jewish law on gossip. Much as the Congregation would want to hear those reasons, disclosing them would start the rumor and innuendo, and that would be completely inappropriate.

Of course, I have my thoughts as to some of the factors. They are my opinion, of course, and don’t relate to the question. I may put my thoughts as comments on the blog post, so you’ll have to go read them there.

After the announcement yesterday, the Rabbi posted (on FB) his personal email address for those that wished to contact him. That prompted a series of “how could this happen”, combined with the inevitables: (•) I’ll go with you where ever you end up; (•) I’m resigning my membership immediately; (•) after all these years of service, the board was destroying the congregation; (•) you’re the only reason, and I mean the only reason I go to [congregation];  (•) if this board thinks they can come in and wreck the institution overnight, well that’s what they’ll get; … and so forth.

Now I’ve been with many congregations — some of which seemed to change Rabbis every few years. I’ve seen people want to leave when a Rabbi left, and I’ve even explored creating a new congregation around a Rabbi when they left (it didn’t happen). I’ve come to realize that a congregation is not its leader — it is the people that make up the congregation and the relationships between those people. It is the friendships that form between families, the caring about one another. I care about Joe and Bob and Frank and Dave and Bill and Mike and Ron and … and their families, and hopefully, they return that care (those are representative names). If the only relationship that holds a congregation together is the one between a family and the clergy, then the congregation is weak indeed.

Yet in the responses I’ve seen on the Rabbi, that appears to be what is on the mind of a number of members. Saying “If the Rabbi goes, then I go” says to me that you have formed no close relationships with others in the congregation — that your view of the congregation is only what services you get and who gives them to you, not the other members. In many ways, that fits with the names I see: most are folks who haven’t been regularly and heavily involved; folks who may have a relationship with the Rabbi through the school or specific activities, but haven’t formed that larger bond with the congregation.

Hence, my opening question: What makes a congregation? Is it the relationships that form within and between the members — the community and family that is created? Is it the leader, such that when a leader leaves, everything falls apart because they were the only glue? I opine that it should be the former: that if a congregation is strong and has done its job right, then the community cares for each other and will move on. It will grieve for the transition of the leader, but the survival of the community is more important than one individual. The congregation exists to serve the community and keep the community alive, not to employ one person, no matter how good that person may be. It is the community that makes Judaism, not a specific charismatic leader.

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as What Makes a Congregation? by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 02:45 pm

Riding into work on the vanpool this morning, my mind started musing on transformative technologies — specifically, the beam. Just think about it for a bit. What transformed a simple small room residence into a castle was the ability to have large roofed congregating areas — great rooms. What made the Great Room possible was the beam: a single long span strong enough to support a roof without the need for pillars in the way. But what did it take to get us the simple beam?

In the days when all we had was wood, we might be lucky to find a single tree that was large enough to give us the beam, but we then had to mill it to make it be what we wanted. That milling required small metal devices: axes, saws, sawmills. This is why the ages of metals were so important: they gave us the ability to mill wood (and cook, and so many things).

Suppose we couldn’t find a single tree long enough. We might combine multiple smaller pieces to make a beam. That required two more transformative technologies: glue and the nail. We don’t often think about glue and adhesives, but they are what make it possible to create long beams by gluing together multiple small beams. These are then strengthened by nailing them together (and later, screws and bands). Nails and screws are a key technology: they allow us to fastened in a strong manner. Just think about the difference in strength between a peg and a bolt or nail.

There are other technologies that the beam leads us to. Consider beams made out of metal. That requires, at minimum, foundries and forges to make long long pieces of metal: longer than can be worked by a single individual alone. There’s also cement, which can combine with natural objects to give us concrete. Concrete allows us to move from whatever natural rock we can find into shaping rock into the image we want. In some ways, brick is less transformative, because brick requires mortar for longer pieces, and mortar can fail.

Now, when we look at today’s world, what is the key overlooked technology? Looking at the last 300 years, what invention completely transformed society? My answer is the same as was given in the classic movie The Graduateplastics.

When we think of hydrocarbons, we generally think of oil and gas and how they changed transportation and make large scale electricity possible. But now think about the role of plastics in your everyday life, and just try to imagine a world without them. Insulation on wires. Cases for computers. Uses in circuit boards. Medical uses, from syringes to pill bottles to gloves to sterile enclosures. Think of how much plastic goes into a car. Think of how much you use everyday — and how much you throw away, from sandwich bags to trash bags. Think about the use for leftovers, for piping, even in the clothes and buttons we wear.

When we worry about the impact of the cost of oil and the fact that it is a limited, non-renewable resource, think about where much of our plastic comes from. A small percentage is recycled, and a small percentage comes from renewable oil — corn, soy, etc. But the bulk? Petrochemicals.

When you look around your world, what little technologies do you realize are critical to life and society?

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Transformative Technologies by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left. You can sign in with your LJ, DW, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 01:57 am

The recent flurry of “#MeToo” postings, and the responses thereto, have been quite interesting. But there’s another interesting aspect that hasn’t been explored: How they came about. Specifically, the flurry was started in reaction to an opinion piece by Mayim Bialik where something she hadn’t intended to mean was taken as offense. That aspect — taking offense — is what I’d like to discuss.

As we become more and more aware of marginalized groups, cultural approbation, sexual assault and harrassment, micro-aggression, and similar things, the more and more we see them. What was once considered innocent is now seen as offensive. A classic example from a few years ago is the winter song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. It is a date-rate anthem? Does it need to be written with consent in mind? Or is it just a product of its times, with a nice melody? This is true for many many songs and movies. For example, just today I saw an article in the University of Wisconsin paper reconsidering the harrassment and abuse present in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

I think it is all well and good that we are sensitive to these cultural artifacts. They serve as reminders of the culture we are moving from, and like any folk music, will adapt in meaning over time. There are loads of folk songs that would be so culturally insensitive today.

My question is, however, how do we respond when presented with one of these? I found a really interesting article yesterday about how someone who is culturally sensitive is still finding that they hesitate when speaking up in various forums …. because they are afraid of being misinterpreted and becoming the start of a pileup. They self-censor potentially valuable content because of fear of harassment. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Callout culture. The quest for purity. Privilege theory taken to extremes. I’ve observed some of these questionable patterns in my activist communities over the past several years.

As an activist, I stand with others against white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism. I am queer, trans, Chinese American, middle class, and able-bodied.

Holding these identities scattered across the spectrum of privilege, I have done my best to find my place in the movement, while educating myself on social justice issues to the best of my ability. But after witnessing countless people be ruthlessly torn apart in community for their mistakes and missteps, I started to fear my own comrades.

Sound familiar?

Is all harassment equal? Is being ruthlessly torn apart justified in the face of a misstatement or an honest mistake (I’m not talking about trolls here)? I know that I have some friends that are strong advocates of social justice, and there are many times I would like to speak up on their posts. Yet I hesitate, because I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong and end up creating pain — especially for me. It is almost the same feeling I have regarding commenting on far right conservative friends — it’s just not worth the effort.

So, I guess the debate is: When can one be too pure? When is it better just to let the small offenses slide, working on the adage “Never ascribe to malice what you can to stupidity?”

P.S.: It’s not only men that lie to get what they want. Studies show that dogs lie too.

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Offensive Balance by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 12:23 am

A meme is going around Facebook highlighting a draft HHS Standard that supposedly defines life as beginning at conception. As Snopes notes: “Conservatives and pro-life organizations have welcomed the change as a much-needed corrective to Obama-era policies, but women’s health and pro-choice advocates see it as a harbinger of future federal efforts to restrict access to medical services such as contraceptives and abortion.” As an example, Snopes quotes the document’s second paragraph: “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of 61 activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.

I was thinking about this proposed definition this morning. In many ways, it struck me as lip-service to the notion of life beginning at conception, just as the whole abortion debate is lip-service concern about life (for, after all, if there was real concern about life, then that concern would continue after the child is born — ensuring health care and minimal living standards).

Just like we know that a concert isn’t over until the instruments stay off the stage and the house lights come up, “life begins at conception” won’t be the real until there is elimination of the birthday. After all, why celebrate the day you were born if that isn’t when your life began. Being born becomes just another milestone, like starting kindergarten or going to college. Get rid of the birthday entirely. Put the date of conception on the drivers license. All those age based limits — those are based on birthday, not conception day. You should be able to vote at 18¾. Drink at 21¾. Collect social security at 65¾.

But as long as our society remains centered around the birthday, the whole notion of “life begins at conception” is bullshit. In society, life begins when you are born or able to live independently from your parent’s body. Earlier than that, and you are theirs to do with. You are, pure and simple, a body part. You are like a fingernail, or a finger, or excess belly fat. It sounds crass, but that’s what it is. If you are unable to get a government ID card or a social security number, are you alive?

 

I’m not saying this all to be silly. There is a reason that the Supreme Court decided as they did in Rowe v. Wade. If the foetus cannot live independently, the mother must have the right to treat it as any other part of their body. Once it can live outside their body, it can apply for a social security number and get a birthdate. Conception date is not a birthday.

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Essay Prompt: How Old are You? by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link to the left you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 06:12 pm

As I have been reading Facebook the last few days, I’ve been seeing the flurry of “MeToo” posts from far far too many of my friends. As a hetero cis man, I’ve been trying to figure out what is the proper response. At one point, I wanted to write a post about how I never understood how men could behave that way. I don’t get why men are punitive in divorces towards their partners. I don’t get why men would force themselves on someone who is unwilling. I certainly would never behave that way (or at least I thought). Then I saw a friend who had a different take on the situation, acknowledging our role in the process. Then I saw a third friend with an interesting take on how to fix the problem. Then last night, I began to wonder how this fit into my earlier discussions on Culture Wars, and how the universe of entitled “traditional” males would receive all of this. The result: This essay prompt, asking the question #NowWhat?

The impact of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse revelations, Mayim Bialik’s opinion piece in the NY Times, and the #MeToo response thereto has demonstrated that sexual abuse and harassment is far too prevalent in society today. As men, the question is: How do we respond? Saying “I hear you” is insufficient, as is believing that it is all those “other” men that have caused the problem. The way to move forward is to start by acknowledging our culpability as men in society, and establishing a new path forward. We also need to figure out how to address the inevitable push back that will come from the Culture Wars.

Our Culpability

In examining the part we play as men in creating the problem, we need to realize that what most of us have been taught is flawed, and it resulted in some level of flawed behavior. One friend on Facebook posted the following:

#Ihave
I have acted as if I was entitled to my partner(s)’s attention and body.
I have pushed boundaries to get what I wanted.
I have put my wants in front of my partner(s).
I have guilted partner(s) into feeling obligated to intimacy.
I am sorry.

Reading this, as Noel Paul Stookey said in one of his Peter, Paul, & Mary comedy routines, brought me up by the short hairs. It is highly likely that most older men have behaved in this way towards their partners or potential partners at some point in their lives. After all, we’re products of the time and society we grew up, much as we hate to admit it. Much as we might have consciously tried to avoid the behavior above, we have slipped into it a few times. As we teach our children, apologizing cannot make something right. Changing the behavior can.

But behavior towards partners is not the only place we’ve likely fucked up. Some of us may have done similar behaviors towards co-workers, friends, and colleagues. From a sexist comment, a gesture, an oogle — all can come across as a form of harassment.  There are those, I’m sure, that have done even worse. After all, all those #MeToos came from somewhere.

No one can promise that they won’t slip into that behavior at times. We’re human, and we all slip up. But the first step in not doing a behavior is realizing that you do it. Then you can be increasingly aware of when you are starting to do it again … and stop before you do.

Whether you are in your 50s like me, or a young teen or twentysomething, society has learned and changed from when you were little. What might once have been acceptable is no longer. What you see in older movies, TVs, and in popular song is not the way adults should behave today, no matter how you rationalize it. We are not entitled to anything with respect to sex or intimacy; it must be given by our partners freely, with cognizance, and without coercion.

Moving Forward

Another Facebook friend shared something from one of his friends that was a succinct summary of how to move forward. It begins by recognizing that almost all your female friends have been sexually harassed or assaulted. The harassment started when they were children. The catcalling, the groping in a crowded place, the sudden rage when a man realizes that a woman won’t sleep with them. All of them. So what do we do?

  1. Stop harassing women. That includes asking strangers to smile. That includes raging at your female friends who “friend zone” you. That includes not taking no for an answer. At this point you know what’s right and what’s wrong and what’s unwanted. Stop.
  2. Stop interrupting conversations about harassment and assault. Stop pointing out that not all men are harassers. No shit. But clearly enough do that this is a problem. You aren’t contributing
  3. Stop victim blaming. Entirely. We need to move the conversation away from what the victim could have done to prevent it. Don’t ask what they were wearing, why they were traveling alone, if they fought back, why they didn’t come forward sooner. This isn’t a problem that victims need to solve.
  4. Stop injecting yourself into the discussion. Can men be harassed and assaulted? Of course, and it’s terrible and we wish it didn’t happen. And we can have that conversation, but not while we’re talking about this. Two separate problems, two different solutions. Don’t derail this conversation so that we’re addressing that this is two problems that affects some people instead one problem that affects all women. Especially if you don’t want to talk about your experience, you’re just diluting the discussion.
  5. Shut it down when you see it. Call out harassment when you see your friends do it. Maybe they’ll change, maybe they’ll stop being your friends. Either way, call that shit out. Dudes, this is where you are most powerful. Stop letting this sort of thing be ok. Public stuff like catcalling. Private stuff like ranking women. Shut it down.
  6. Fathers, uncles, older brothers: if you have young men in your lives, teach them early about respect and consent. Don’t let them joke about a cartoon “raping their childhood” or laugh about grabbing a girl’s butt. Make sure they grow up knowing this isn’t normal and it isn’t ok. Make this behavior extinct.

To recap:

  1. Shut up
  2. Stop other dudes from harassing
  3. Make sure the young men who learn from you never start harassing.

My wife also pointed me to another list of how to treat women better from The Guardian. Here are some  items from that list (adapted just a bit); I recommend you read the full list:

  • Talk to your friend who is “kind of a creep” at work. Don’t need to literally witness a man being horrible in order to believe that he’s horrible. Trust and believe women.
  • Don’t talk over women. When you see another guy talk over a woman, say: “Hey, she was saying something.”
  • If you are asked to be on a panel/team and see that it’s all men, say something. Maybe even refuse the spot! [Read this great post by Spaf on the subject]
  • Don’t call women “crazy” in a professional setting. Don’t imply that their success due to their looks. Don’t imply their success is due to anything other than their talent and hard work. [Read this great sermon on sexism and implied sexism]
  • Don’t use your “feminism” as a way to get women to trust you. Show us in your day-to-day life, not in your self-congratulatory social media.
  • Do you feel that any woman on earth owes you something? She doesn’t. Even if you’re like, “Hm, but what about basic respect?” ask yourself if you’ve shown her the same. If you do the right thing, don’t expect praise or payment or a pat on the back or even a “thank you from that woman”. Congratulations, you were baseline decent.
  • Don’t send pictures of … anything … unless she just asked for them.
  • Consent: Obtain it, and believe “no” when it is said. If a woman says no to a date, don’t ask her again. If a woman has not given an enthusiastic “yes” to sex, back the hell off.  If a woman is really drunk, she cannot consent to you and she also cannot consent to your buddy who seems to be trying something. Your buddy is your responsibility, so say something and intervene. Don’t touch women you don’t know, and honestly, ask yourself why you feel the need to touch women in general.
  • Involve women in your creative projects, then let them have equal part in them.
  • Don’t make misogynistic jokes.
  • Don’t expect women to be “nice” or “cute” and don’t get upset when they aren’t those things.
  • Don’t make assumptions about a woman’s intelligence, capabilities or desires based on how she dresses.
  • Pay women as much as you pay men.
  • If a woman tells you that you fucked up, and you feel like shit, don’t put it on that woman to make you feel better. Apologize without qualification and then go away.
  • Don’t punish women for witnessing your vulnerability.
  • Don’t get defensive when you get called out.
  • Don’t use your power to get women’s attention/company/sex/etc. Be aware of your inherent power in situations and use it to protect women, especially via talking to other men.
  • Stop thinking that because you’re also marginalized or a survivor that you cannot inflict pain or oppress women.
  • If women’s pain makes you feel pain, don’t prize your pain above hers, or make that pain her problem.
  • Don’t read a list like this and think that most of these don’t apply to you.

If you want yet another list, here’s something from Groknation on combatting toxic masculinity.

Culture Wars

In my essay prompt on culture wars, I discussed how the “war” has come about because society is changing in a way that many don’t want. Entitlements and privileges that some segments had in the past are disappearing; the segments are also being “forced” to accept as equal segments of the population they previously viewed as inferior. A primary segment feeling this way are the cis het males in society, particularly White cis het males. This is what led to the election of Donald Trump; this is why Donald Trump’s boorish and insulting behavior towards women was ignored by this segment. Bluntly: The way they were raised, they saw nothing wrong in the behavior. Men have power and authority over women; they should use it.

Those men among us who are enlightened see the fallacy in this attitude, but then again, we see the fallacy in many attitudes of this group.

So now ask yourself:  How will this group react to the #MeToo flood. I’m sure some will be in the “They asked for it crowd.” Others will be in the “Well, I treat my wife with respect, it was some other guy.”. Even more will be: “So what?” There will also be the minority that begin to see the problem, and then ask themselves, “Who have we elected?”

But for many, this will just be another salvo in the Culture Wars. It will be yet another attack on male privilege and power, and they will likely double-down on the behavior.

We must, in response, emphasize that society has changed. As the friend from whom I snarfed #IHave said:

The good news is that our culture’s perception of sex, consent and negotiation is changing. When I was learning about this stuff, and/or trying to figure it out for myself, the assumption was that the person interested (usually a guy) would attempt to “up the game”, by kissing, touching a bit further etc. The other person (usually a woman) was expected to decline the advance at first, and then until the initiator had sufficiently turned them on to be interested in going further.

Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of cases where one person unknowingly violates another’s consent. Even worse, there are still a lot of people, on both sides, that think that it is still the way things are, or should be, done.

I can’t do anything about things that have already been done, but we can all work to prevent things from happening in the future.

We must make clear that, just like discrimination against Blacks or Jews or other racial minorities is no longer acceptable, this abuse of power and privilege is no longer acceptable. There must be freedom from real or perceived harassment, and it is our responsibility as men to set the example to simply not do it.

P.S.: To explain the user icon: This comes from a campaign in 2006 against men who believed they needed endangered sea turtle eggs as an aphrodisiac. In reality, there is only one aphrodisiac: a freely willing partner.

P.P.S. H/T (Hat tip) to those who have posted or brought to my attention things incorporated herein: David Bell (and his friend’s friend Mitch Kocen), Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik, Larry Colon, Karen Davis, and Gene Spafford.

DW Note: This is a first attempt at trying the SNAP autoposter. Expect refinements.

===> Click Here To Comment <==This entry was originally posted on Observations Along the Road as Essay Prompt: #MeToo, #NowWhat, and Culture Wars by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

Monday, October 16th, 2017 05:30 pm
Sunday afternoon we saw the first show of the 2017-2018 5 Star Theatricals (FB) Premiere season, even though we've been subscribing at the theatre for 16 years, since the 2000 season. Perhaps I should explain. Over the summer, what was Cabrillo Music Theatre was rechristened "5 Star Theatricals"; we, however, have been subscribing since Anything Goes in the Fall of 2000 (with the exception of the 2014-2015 season). Over that time, we've seen a wide variety of shows at the theatre -- including, way back in Summer 2003, a little show called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as part of the 2002-2003 season. As part of the 2017-2018 season, 5-Star opted to revive the show at 14 years and see if they could find something fresh in it. The result was an interesting updated take on the show: some aspects worked, and some didn't, but overall it was quite enjoyable. [I'll note that 5-Star is reviving yet another show they've done before later in the season: they last did Beauty and the Beast back in 2007, 10 years ago.]

Now, this isn't our first experience with Joseph. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a late 1960’s pop cantata, 35 minutes long— it was the first published work by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. After the success of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, it was rewritten and lengthened with some novelty musical numbers — but at its heart, it is a simple pop cantata, essentially sung through.  I know, I've had the original pop cantata album for years. It tells the Biblical story of Joseph from the incident with the coat of many colors through the brothers return to Egypt through pastiches of musical styles, and is — to put it succinctly — cute. It requires some strong lead vocals, and has loads and loads of choral parts. The first time I saw the show on stage was the tour of 1982 Broadway Show when it was at the newly remodeled Pantages theatre  — in fact, I think it was one of the first shows after the remodeling. Since then, it has been lengthened a little each time it hits Broadway again. This adds material, not depth. None of this is anything to those who license it can change. The most recent time that I've seen the show was in December 2014, when it was performed by Nobel Middle School.

[Read more at http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=13427]

Sunday, October 15th, 2017 07:57 am
I just posted my review of Upright Citizens Brigade at VPAC: http://cahighways.org/wordpress/?p=13424
 
Saturday, October 14th, 2017 12:43 pm
Note: Automatic crossposting from Wordpress is still broken. I tried NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster, at a recommendation from someone, but that isn't working either. It appears that Dreamwidth's move to all https has broken the Wordpress plugins that crosspost. A syndication has been setup at [syndicated profile] cahighways_feed  -- feel free to subscribe to that, but I urge you to comment at the Wordpress site.

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Monday, October 9th, 2017 07:35 am
The LJ Cross Posting Plugin I use to post from my blog to Dreamwidth is still broken (and likely won't be updated). Until I get off my keister and find another plugin, one of my friends here was so kind as to create a syndication of the RSS feed of my blog, so you can keep up with me. Subscribe to [syndicated profile] cahighways_feed , and you can see my posts sometime after they happen. Note, however, that I may not see comments there -- you should comment on the blog directly.

Thank you for your understanding. Happy Illegal Immigration Day.

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