Friday, November 29, 2013

"¡Ser!" Kicky & Charming at LATC - review by M.R. Hunter

Karen Anzoategui's kicky solo piece about a childhood shuttled between Los Angeles and Buenos Aires is a journey well worth taking largely due to such a charming and joyful guide. Brimming with oodles of personality, Anzoategui infuses her zeal for soccer while providing social commentary on being (the Spanish definition for the verb ser) an Other-Other-Other as a queer Latina caught in two cultures and a divided home while reappropriating labels in both Americas.

Set to live music by the outstanding vocals of CAVA and saucy numbers provided by Walter Miranda in collaboration with Louie Pérez of Los Lobos, Shaunte Palmer and Clinton Cameron, this one-woman show captivates and sizzles...

Free Skating Showcase with Snoopy and World Champs at Downtown on Ice TUESDAY DEC. 3RD

Snoopy has a new skating partner. The world famous beagle and his friends are teaming up with World Champion and two time Olympian Tai Babilonia for a special FREE holiday ice skating showcase of "It's Christmas, Snoopy!," direct from Knott's Berry Farm. 500 kids from local non-profit groups will skate for free immediately following the showcase presentation.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013                        
4:00pm performance                  
4:20pm Youths skate for free

Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square (open now through January 20, 2014)
532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

For more holiday events and activites visit the Eye Spy LA HOLIDAY GUIDE.

82nd Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefiting Marine Toys For Tots SUNDAY DEC 1ST

Sunday's parade kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with a star-studded concert prior to the start of the parade at 6:00 p.m.

Buzz Aldrin is this year's Grand Marshal.

The pre-parade concert will feature performances by Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Ray Cyrus, William Shatner, Kenny Loggins, Daughtery, Goo Goo Dolls, Richie Sambora, The McLain Sisters, Ace Young and Diane DeGarmo, Olate Dogs and Glee Club Australia, hailing from the Australian Institute for Performing Arts.

Curbside parade view is FREE and ticketed Grandstand seating is also available.

For the latest updates, please call the 24/7 Parade Hotline toll free at 1-866-PARADE1 (866-727-2331) and visit the parade's official website at   

The 82nd Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefits Marine Toys For Tots.  

Associated Television International is producing a nationally televised two-hour special which will air on the Hallmark Channel at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11th, and on Friday, December 20th on both the Hallmark Movie Channel at 5:00 p.m. and locally in the Southland on KTLA Channel 5 The CW from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Find more things to do in Hollywood this weekend.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

YMCA LA is Giving Away A 2014 Kia at the LA Auto Show

Car culture is a part of LA and even if you aren't in the market for a new one, it can be lots of fun to look.  The Los Angeles Auto Show runs through this long holiday weekend at the LA Convention Center.  One more reason to go - the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles has partnered with Kia Motors to give away a two-year lease on a 2014 Kia Soul at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  

For the first time, the Y is directly reaching out to car enthusiasts by giving away free YMCA 7-day Membership Passes and various prizes.  In between checking out the newest Kia models, guests can learn about their LA County neighborhood YMCA branches and the Y's unique programs and services while playing trivia games, visiting the kid's craft corner and entering to win a 2014 Kia Soul.    
Now through Sunday, December 1, 2013

Friday, November 29: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 9:00am – 8:00pm

Los Angeles Convention Center, Aftermarket Hall (Lower Level of Kentia/South Hall 1201 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015
There are more things to do and places to go in Downtown L.A. this weekend:
on the Eye Spy LA Downtown LA calendar.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgivukkah Celebration at L.A. LIVE Tomorrow

Break out the Menorah and the pumpkin pie because this Wednesday Thanksgiving Eve and Hanukkah are colliding in an event that could only be known as Thanksgivukkah.
To commemorate the first time that Thanksgiving Eve has coincided with the first day of Hanukkah since 1888, the Salvation Army's fifth annual Feast of Sharing Holiday Dinner will have a dual meaning and purpose when it takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The celebration also marks the first event in AEG's Season of Giving, the company's annual initiative designed to raise funds and generate awareness for non-profit organizations that serve youth and families residing in low income households in Los Angeles County.
A lighting ceremony will take place at approximately 7 p.m. outside of STAPLES Center's Figueroa St. entry.

    Lighting of the 9 ft. (outdoor) Menorah at  Figueroa Street and 12th Street (7 p.m. 
      This holiday collision was not possible prior to President Abraham Lincoln establishing Thanksgiving in 1863 and will not overlap again for another 77,798 years (although Hanukkah will fall on actual Thanksgiving day in 2070 and 2165)! Encompassing the traditions of people from various backgrounds, this event will truly bring the spirit of the season to the people of Los Angeles.

      Friday, November 22, 2013

      Playwriting Pointers: Live! From the Last Night of My Life by M.R. Hunter

      As a theater critic, I see a lot of promising productions crash and burn primarily from the hubris of the script. It all starts and ends with the play. There are variables in this truism but I've rarely seen a lousy script shine due to an outstanding cast and/or director. Hopefully, it can be made better than what is writ on the page but even so, one ends up feeling sorry for talents wasted. Conversely, a strong script can suffer from a weak cast and/or director but as in the case of Pacific Resident Theatre's "A View From the Bridge" the late Arthur Miller held up, unfortunately the production did not. Miller's words, his play still resonates and I believe it is this reason alone why PRT enjoyed an extended run. This is rare but not unheard of, but worse than either of the aforementioned polarities is a weak script + weak acting = weak results. Period. End of.

      More astonishing is the same reasons for why a play fails each and every time I see it happen. Rarely is it truly a matter of taste but rather a neglect of common sense. Is it arrogance? Are playwrights intent on "breaking the rules" to prove they are so talented they don't need to abide with good rules of thumb? If this is the case, I'd like to break some thumbs. Instead, I'm going to offer Ten Playwriting Pointers using Wayne Rawley's play as an example of what NOT to do.

      Eyestrology - By Cici Psy-Chic

      Sagittarius 11/22/13-12/22/13

      Happy birthday to these celebrity November Sagittarians: Scarlett Johansson (11/22), Robin Rene Roberts (11/23), Katherine Heigl (11/24), Christina Applegate (11/25), Tina Turner (11/26), Jaleel White (11/27), Karen Gillan (11/28), Howie Mandel (11/29), Ben Stiller (11/30)

      Celebrity December Sagittarians: Bette Midler (12/1), Lucy Liu (12/2), Amanda Seyfried (12/3), Marisa Tomei (12/4), Little Richard (12/5), JoBeth Williams (12/6), Larry Bird (12/7), Nicki Minaj (12/8), Simon Helberg (12/9), Raven Symone (12/10), Nikki Sixx (12/11), Bob Barker (12/12), Jamie Foxx (12/13), Vanessa Hudgens (12/14), Adam Brody (12/15), Benjamin Bratt (12/16), Milla Jovovich (12/17), Steven Spielberg (12/18), Alyssa Milano (12/19), Jonah Hill (12/20), Samuel L. Jackson (12/21), Jordin Sparks (12/22), Eddie Vedder (12/23)

      With the holidays right around the corner, most signs will be feeling very sociable and animated. This is a good time to reconnect with old friends or distant family. We may experience the usual stress that comes with gatherings and get-togethers but we should try to roll with the season. Instead of doing the same ole routine, shake up the traditional by doing something new or going somewhere different. We'll be rushing around but leave enough time to reach your destination. Let's keep a cool head and be patient in the midst of the holiday rush and not act like turkeys.

      Get the full scope for Sagittarius and all the signs...

      Die Laughing - "Play Dead" resurrected at the Geffen - review by Mark Share

      What do you get when you cross a mentalist act with a horror show and throw in some laughs and nudity? I can't say exactly what genre Play Dead fits in, but it's a wickedly wild ninety minutes, and you'll get your spine tingled, funny bone tickled, and stomach turned.

      Monday, November 11, 2013

      Veterans Find an Outlet to the Arts with USVAA

      Veteran's Day comes once a year but there is much more we can do as a country for our veterans all the other days out of the year. Keith Jeffreys is making a difference by spearheading the non-profit arts organization United States Veterans Artist Alliance (USVAA). His primary goal is to assist veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life by giving them an outlet to pursue the arts.

      A veteran himself, Jeffreys saw a rising number of soldiers who were interested in pursuing the arts but lacked the resources or connections to further their goals. In 2004, Jeffreys set out to create a non-profit arts organization supported by fellow veterans on his advisory board which now includes Rogue Machine's artistic director John Perrin Flynn, John Densmore and Ron Kovic (author of Born on the Fourth of July). Located in Culver City at the AMVETS Post II Building, USVAA continues to expand with a recently new chapter in San Francisco.

      Rallying support is part of the challenge and Jeffreys is committed to getting the word out. With more awareness and outreach on the part of the arts community, USVAA is expanding its influence. There's a crucial need now for artists and established companies to work with veterans and help establish connections and networks to further the aims and provide opportunities for our returning servicemen and women.    

      There is no limit on the type of art a veteran is interested in developing. All forms are given the same consideration and thorough support through funding and collaborating with other non-profit arts organizations. The result has seen a ripple effect in just the last couple of years with an increasing number of artists and former veterans coming together as in the recent critically acclaimed production of John DiFusco's all-star veteran cast of 'Tracers' and his reflections on the 'Tracers' journey in his 'The Long Way Home.' A stage in the AMVETS building allows actors, directors, playwrights to mount pieces in its intimate space. Visual artists have also recently had their work shown professionally through a partnering with The Soldiers Project. Fine artists have enjoyed several exhibitions. Film and writing programs are available and as more veterans and artists discover USVAA, the effect is widespread and immediate.

      Benefits are immeasurable for soldiers and the arts community in general as many veterans utilize their experience, discipline and training in both the creative and the application of their interests. Although USVAA does not offer onsite psychological treatment for those struggling with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), Jeffreys can see the positive effects of veterans channeling their personal experiences into the arts, both aesthetically and therapeutically. Giving former soldiers, now turned artists, the ability to nurture, hone and apply their craft for the public validates their patriotism as well as their talents by providing an outlet to show their trade.

      There is no exclusionary restriction for those interested in becoming a part of USVAA other than being a veteran, but arts organizations, agencies and venues such as galleries are becoming more aware of the need to include our servicemen and women into the creative dialogue. For those returning home, USVAA provides a safe haven to ensure the further development of artists while recognizing the specific needs and care for veterans.

      Veteran's Day comes once a year, but USVAA is making a concerted effort recognizing veterans year round through the arts. There are those who think of artists as unsung heroes and in the case of our veterans and USVAA, they are true heroes who are lifting their voices and it is our responsibility to make sure our veterans/artists are heard.

      For more information please visit USVAA website: 

      Know a veteran interested in the arts? Contact: USVAA
      Keith Jeffreys
      Executive Director
      10858 Culver Blvd.
      Culver City, CA 90230
      (310) 559-2116


      Saturday, November 2, 2013


      Celebrate the Day of the Dead at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles today from 3pm to 11pm.  Yes there will be food trucks, alters and other activities.  There will be a full bar and entertainment too. Go Metro to the Red Line Grand Park Civic Center station.

      For other events currently going on nearby check the 
      Eye Spy LA Downtown calendar CLICK HERE


      This is one of the major landmarks in the historic core of Downtown LA.  The exterior is basic brick, but the interior is very elaborate.  Behind the building you will find Biddy Mason park, a cool oasis where you might enjoy some food you purchase at the nearby Grand Central Market. there's always something going on in downtown LA check the EyespyLA downtown calendar for what's going on now click here

      Friday, November 1, 2013

      'Falling' Rises to the Challenge at the Rogue Machine by M.R. Hunter

      Playwright Deanna Jent's West Coast premiere tackles the subject of autism with emotional verve and reveals the splintering effect it has on family dynamics. Unlike the lighter approach taken in the West Coast premiere of 'On the Spectrum' at the Fountain Theatre earlier this year, Jent's stormy drama paints a devastating but heartening portrait of daily life turned askew.

      Post-Modern Classic Evita Returns to Pantages in High-Flying Style - by Mark Share

      It's been more than 30 years since Evita won the Tony for best musical with its mash-up of Cinderella and Machiavelli. The rags-to-riches heroine marries her prince/dictator and demands of her servants, "Christian Dior me" and "Machiavelli me." The musical never makes up its mind about Eva Peron, the first wife of Argentina's fascist dictator Juan Peron. The show portrays her at different times as naïve or scheming, victor or victim, sweet or psychotic ("She'll simply take control as you [political opponents] disappear"). But all the messiness makes it a highly-entertaining diva performance, like a deranged Scarlett O'Hara.