Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Los Angeles Weekly LOVES Carrie: The Musical At the 1931 Los Angeles Theater in DTLA

photo by Niedle





Carrie: The Musical Is a Bloody Feminist Revenge Tale, but Surprisingly Sweet

 By Katie Buenneke Thursday, October 15, 2015
Carrie White was a gentle, nice girl — before she killed everyone at the prom.
It’s been more than 40 years since Stephen King’s novel Carrie was released, so the statute of limitations on spoilers has expired. Carrie’s story has worked its way into our culture’s collective knowledge: The sheltered teen hits puberty and discovers that she’s telekinetic. Her classmates bully her, and her fundamentalist mother is awful to her, and when Carrie is doused with pig’s blood right after being named prom queen, she lashes out, slaughtering all of her classmates.
The story is inherently melodramatic, and it stands to reason that a musical version would be a campy mess.
Happily, that’s not the case with director Brady Schwind’s production, which emphasizes Carrie’s innocence and good intentions. Much of the show’s success is due to the heartbreaking and understated performance of Emily Lopez, who plays the title character. Indeed, the cast as a whole is quite good, with particularly nice performances from Kayla Parker as Sue (Carrie’s only sympathetic classmate) and Valerie Rose Curiel as Chris, the school’s most heinous bully.
Schwind’s storytelling is immersive; sections of the audience seated on mobile bleachers are wheeled around as the story unfolds, and the stage thrusts out, so the audience is always close to the action. The production, which transferred from Orange County’s La Mirada Theatre, has taken over the Los Angeles Theatre, a gorgeous 1931 movie palace.
Emily Lopez as Carrie photo Jason Niedle

There’s nothing half-assed about this production. There’s a sense of great artistry and commitment behind everything, including Lee Martino’s kinetic choreography, the aerial sequences by Paul Rubin and Carrie’s telekinesis by Jim Steinmeyer. The production value is high but doesn’t distract from the strong performances that ground the show.
Carrie doesn’t have a great track record as a musical — the original Broadway production was a notorious and expensive flop, closing after three performances after it opened in 1988, and the off-Broadway revival/revisal a few years back that tried to fix the original wasn’t well-received. But this production (a second “revisal,” further altered the 2012 off-Broadway version) seems to have finally hit the nail on the head, bringing Carrie the notoriety she deserves. 
 Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, downtown; through Nov. 22. (888) 596-1027,
And the Los Angeles Theatre is right between The Last Bookstore - just off 5th & Broadway at 5th & Spring - and the just re-opened Clifton's Cafeteria practically right across the street - just before 7th on Broadway.
AND - here is a link to the Los Angeles Times rave review of Carrie!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Video of Girls in a Car Being Swept Away by El Nino Flood of Mud & Water

This ABC news site has several El Nino flood videos (which require you take a 5 second survey) and the first one has some girls in a standard passenger car that is suddenly swept away by flood waters on SR58 near Tehachapi.  But be sure and see the videos in the post before this one since...

....  the post before this has two very dramatic videos of a truck being swept away.  And if you are wondering why they got caught in this - and if you have never been in one of these thunderstorms in the desert - this quote will give you an idea how fast this can happen.  The last time I hit one, by the time I had finished braking after the first rain started - it was raining so hard I could not see more than three or four feet in front of me.

Big-rig driver Jared Patterson, who stayed overnight with his vehicle, said the roadway turned dangerous within 45 seconds after traffic came to halt amid the storm. Then the embankment next to the highway collapsed, he said.

Two INCREDIBLE Videos of the El Nino Nightmare of Water & Mud North of LA Last Week

Here are two videos - I hope - from the facebook page of trucker Jose Antonio Vargas when he got caught in the aftermath of an El Nino caused thunderstorm in the Tehachapi Pass area north of Los Angeles. And if you are wondering why he and everyone got caught in this - and if you have never been in one of these thunderstorms in the desert - this quote will give you an idea how fast this can happen.

Big-rig driver Jared Patterson, who stayed overnight with his vehicle, said the roadway turned dangerous within 45 seconds after traffic came to halt amid the storm. Then the embankment next to the highway collapsed, he said.

Here is one video.

And the last time I ran into one of these storms out on the desert, by the time I had finished braking the second the first rain started - it was raining so hard I could not see more than three or four feet in front of me.

Here is another  one video

And I have another video I am trying to find of a car being carried away - taken from inside the car.  It should be in the post after this one.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Deadly Yellow-Bellied Sea Snakes/Serpents Invade Oxnard!

Yes, the latest warning that the El Nino’s of El Nino’s is headed out way!


     Southern California is being invaded by dead sea snakes

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Los Angeles Times Gives Los Angeles Theatre's CARRIE - THE MUSICAL - an Over the Top Rave Review!

The audience gets into the act with Emily Lopez, center, and the ensemble in "Carrie: The Musical" at the Los Angeles Theatre.
(Jason Niedle)
The very first musical on Downtown Los Angeles' Broadway in a ling time - and the very first musical ever staged at the historic 1931 Los Angeles Theatre is not only delighting audiences, but.... is just as big a hit with the critics.  So that's all I am going to say.   Read the LA Times Review below to find out why you can not miss this musical during its limited run.

Critic's Choice

'Carrie: The Musical' returns with a fresh splash at downtown's Los Angeles Theatre

What a difference a second look makes. When “Carrie: The Musical” hit La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in the spring, I found its immersive execution spectacular, its performances impressive and the material, well …
 The production's return, billed as “The Killer Musical Experience” at the historic Los Angeles Theatre in downtown L.A., made me reconsider. Though hardly Rodgers and Hammerstein, composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and librettist Lawrence D. Cohen have a take on Stephen King’s horror classic that seems more accomplished than before.
The authors have continually reworked their property, a legendary failure on Broadway in 1988, and though the telekinetic heroine and her religious mother have the most inspired writing, the surrounding numbers and modern-lingo libretto tweaks are largely serviceable and integrated. They sustain this tale of a high school outcast who can move things mentally, which leads to catastrophe at the senior prom.

Director Brady Schwind, choreographer Lee Martino, musical director Brian P. Kennedy and the heroic designers maintain their mind-boggling standard, further elevating the content.

The fervent cast has grown into a fearless triple-threat unit, everyone displaying high-voltage singing, dancing and acting. It's centered by dulcet-voiced, wholly invested Emily Lopez as woebegone Carrie, and the astounding Misty Cotton, her feverish turn as demented Margaret a career benchmark

Kayla Parker’s sympathetic Sue and Jon Robert Hall’s sensitive Tommy find deeper insights. Ditto Valerie Rose Curiel’s vindictive Chris and Garrett Marshall’s miscreant Billy. Jenelle Lynn Randall’s Miss Gardner rocks, vocally approaching Shirley Bassey, and so on down the roster.
 The venue, the last of the grand movie palaces built on Broadway about a entury ago, somewhat alters scenic designer Stephen Gifford’s marvelous work. The prom reveal is more foreseeable, and post-disaster relics are relegated to downstairs. 
 But Gifford -- like colleagues Brian Gale (lighting and projections), Cricket S. Myers (sound) and Adriana Lambarri (costumes) -- delivers the goods, and Jim Steinmeyer thrillingly ups the illusion ante, with even more gasp-inducing sliding and flying objects and conflagration effects.
One might question Mom's Act 1 garb, more Renaissance Faire than repressed fundamentalist, and the synoptic ending, which suggests that telekinesis is contagious.
 Regardless, from first moving-bleacher gambit to climactic apocalypse, “Carrie” remains a wildly imaginative theatrical thrill ride -- as previously observed, Cirque du Soleil meets Disneyland with pig’s blood -- now with a fresh patina of Old Hollywood grandeur. See it with someone you love to scream with.
“Carrie: The Musical,” Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 24, Nov. 7, Nov. 21; 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Also 6:30 and 11 p.m. Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 14. Ends Nov. 22. $40 and up. (888) 596-1027 or Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Washington Post Exposes How LA Times Endorsed Prop 47 Has Created Growing Statewide Crime Epidemic

Kevin Zempko was sitting near James Rabenberg outside this Starbucks on April 26 when the homeless man became agitated, pulled a small knife from his pocket and started moving toward Zempko, who was able to avert the threat. After police arrested a “disoriented” Rabenberg, he was booked into jail and released three days later. Jahi Chikwendiu
While a recent Los Angeles Times story on increasing crime in Downtown Los Angeles (which since part of it is blatantly fictional, I will not link to) did mention that Prop 47 was… possibly… part of the problem - it took the investigative efforts of the Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow to uncover exactly why and how Prop 47 is becoming a statewide nightmare - and how that nightmare is guaranteed to get far worse - until it is repealed (though they simply demonstrate this by just reporting the facts as opposed to editorializing about it in the article)

Now the concept of rationalizing certain types of low level crimes and certain types of drug use and possession is a reform almost everyone agrees was long needed.  But instead of real reform - Prop 47 first removed the incentives there had been for hard core addicts to get help – a change which has already put both them and society at risk as the writer of the  Washington Post story  - Eli Saslow - shows in painful detail - in a way no one in Los Angeles has even attempted.

But now more addicts were declining drug court, because spending a few days in jail on a misdemeanor charge was easier than 18 months of intensive rehab. Without the threat of a felony, there was little incentive to get treatment. Drug court programs had closed in Fresno and Riverside. Enrollments had dipped by more than a quarter in many places across the state. Rabenberg had been offered drug court three times and always declined, choosing instead to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

 Yes, in California - if you steal less than $950 - even if you do it 10 times a day, 365 days a year (or 366 days during leap years) - as long as they are each separate thefts - you can NEVER be arrested for any of those thefts since they are no longer crimes.  They are now JUST 'ticketable' misdemeanors no more serious than being cited for littering or jay waking or spitting.

So professional shoplifting rings all over the country – and from all over the world – will be able to come here – and steal as much as they want every day – without any fear of ever being arrested for committing a crime.  As long as each member of the ring only steals $950 per store – they will be able to hit store after store – and steal $10,000 every  day – and never once be in danger of being convicted of committing an actual crime.

And there are professional who can do that kind of business.  And even if they take it easy - and only steal enough to net… $2,000 a day.  Well – that still comes to $700,000 a year – tax free –  since there will never be any records for the IRS to find.

And so many felonies that have been made ticketable events – it’s hard to even  - keep up with them.  Here’s one in the Washington Post article I had not known about.  Underlining is mine.

But the police never called. The arrest had been for possession of drugs and brandishing a deadly weapon — now misdemeanors under Prop 47. Rabenberg was booked into jail and released three days later.
Far more surprising, though – is how this proposition made a very special effort to ‘legalize’ the stealing of guns in the state of California.  

In fact – you can now steal as many guns as you want – even 500 or a 1,000 guns a year - as long as you don’t steal more $950 worth of guns per robbery.  There’s a good chance this law will retroactively remove all your prior felonies – making it possible for you to legally buy guns again.  But you might ask - if you're a known gang member - will you still be able to steal guns like everyone else?  Well, why the hell not was the response of the writers of the proposition.

There was also the known gang member near Palm Springs who had been caught with a stolen gun valued at $625 and then reacted incredulously when the arresting officer explained that he would not be taken to jail but instead written a citation. “But I had a gun. What is wrong with this country?” the offender said, according to the police report.

 And here’s the scary part – this is not an accidental consequence.  The people who wrote and supported this had to specifically remove a section of the criminal code that made it a crime to steal any gun.    Yes, this bill’s supporters - went out of their way - to make it easier for criminals and gang members to steal and own guns and many of these organizations  are also demanding guns be taken away from law-abiding citizens.

Finally, if you care about Los Angeles or California - you absolutely have to read  the entire story - right from the start of the story:

A ‘virtual get-out-of-jail-free card’

A new California law to reduce prison crowding keeps one addict out of jail, but not out of trouble

Eli Saslow                          

They gathered outside the courthouse in November for a celebration on Election Day, dozens of people wearing fake handcuffs and carrying handwritten signs. “End mass incarceration!” read one. “Justice not jail,” read another. California voters had just approved a historic measure that would reduce punishments for more than 1 million nonviolent offenders, most of whom had been arrested on drug ­charges. “No more drug war,” people chanted that night, as the vote became official.

The new law, called Proposition 47, was intended to reduce crowding in the state’s overwhelmed prisons, save money and treat low-level criminals with more compassion, and inside the courthouse that day was one of its first tests: James Lewis Rabenberg, 36, a homeless resident of San Diego. He had been found in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine at a local park, a crime that had been considered a felony on the morning of his Nov. 4 sentencing hearing but by nightfall would be reclassified to a misdemeanor. Instead of facing more than a year in jail or in a residential drug treatment program, Rabenberg delayed his sentencing so he would be looking at the prospect of a small fine, some probation and his immediate release.
“The ideal example of a Prop 47 case,” a public defender had written in a motion to delay sentencing, because Rabenberg had no history of violence and had never been convicted of selling drugs. He had moved to California a decade earlier from Illinois, lost his job in construction, become addicted to meth, lost his house and then been caught several times with drugs. He was sick and sometimes trying to get better, and a few months earlier he had posted a message on his Facebook page. “Saving money, working, going to meetings, clean over 100 days and feeling good,” he had written. “Time for James to do James.

And then things start to go down hill real  fast,,,,

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Who Says No 2nd Acts in American Lives? Ryan Kavanaugh & Investors Get Relatively's Film Business & Intermission between Ryan's Acts 1 & 2 Too Short fora Restooom Break

Ryan Kavanaugh Officially Wins Back Relativity, But TV Department to Spin Off by Late October

Matt Donnelly on October 4, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

“My passion for Relativity is the same today as it was on the day I founded it,” Kavanaugh said in a statement

Ryan Kavanaugh has officially announced the reclaiming of all of his bankrupt studio’s assets, minus its robust TV department. The CEO and Chairman says he, along with a consortium of investors, will emerge from the Chapter 11 process with only $30 million in debt.

Though it’s currently unknown how much funding Kavanaugh raised for the remaining assets, which in includes film and education units, TheWrap previously reported the investment group includes Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Investments, Elliot Management and the Toronto-based Catalyst Capital.

“My passion for Relativity is the same today as it was on the day I founded it. I want to thank our employees for their continued focus and dedication throughout the Chapter 11 process,” Kavanaugh said in a statement.
 All the rest of the story of who did what who got what - and who is totally happy - and who is totally pissed - it's  at THE WRAP.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

With the Closing of the Last Eight US Famina Stores - Seven of Which are in Downtown Los Angeles - Coming REAL SOON - Prices Are Really Dropping in Them

Another Brilliant Example of  the Flawless Photography You've Come to Expect from This Blog
But it appears that at least store may have already closed - and  the closer it gets to the Monday October 5th date or maybe it is a October 8th date - since there seems to be some confusion as to the final day of the last eight stores, the lower the prices might continue to drop since Famina will no longer a US retail presence of any kind.  No more Famina stores - and no need for them to store what they don't sell.

Here are the final eight stores in the US as listed in wikipedia:
Current locations:

Thursday, October 01, 2015

DTLA's ALMA - Winner of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant Award in 2013 - Closes on October 24th.

Elizabeth Daniels
Alma -is about to be no more. The closing date for the DTLA restaurant which won Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant Award in 2013 is set for October 24th.

Many reasons are cited in the EATER article - and there were certainly a number of forces the owners had little control over -along with lawsuits, and an ex-partner,
But one of the mains reason seems to be that customers (and possibly ex-partners) - especially at that far end of Broadway - were somewhat more interested in dining on fine food rather than contemplating the finely wrought ideas and deeply profound manifestos which under-pinned the production and preparation of each of the items found on the menu.

And, here again, is Eater's take on the life and death of Alma

The Los Angeles Review of Books Moves to Crossroads of the World

For Immediate Release: October 1, 2015
Contact: Jessica Kubinec,

The Los Angeles Review of Books Moves to Crossroads of the World

Los Angeles, CA - The Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) announced today it is moving its headquarters to the historic arts and business center Crossroads of the World, in the heart of Hollywood. LARB will officially open its new location on October 1 at 6671 Sunset Blvd., Suite 1521, Los Angeles, CA 90028. 

"We are truly excited to be moving to Crossroads of the World, the historic landmark situated in the center of Los Angeles," said Tom Lutz, Editor-in-Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books. "Crossroads of the World is the perfect home for LARB as, just like Crossroads, we are a community of artists, writers, critics, and readers who span the globe."

Crossroads of the World is recognized by both the US government and the city of Los Angeles as an architectural landmark. The complex became a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1974 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Crossroads was initially designed as an international shopping center, with buildings that represent a variety of architectural styles ­- French, Italian, Spanish, Moorish, California Mediterranean, Cape Cod/Early American, and includes a European Village and the Streamline Moderne-style "ocean liner" - all offering Angelenos in the 1930s a taste of the world when travel was prohibitively expensive.

The building is now a center for the entertainment industry, and producers, publishers, writers, film and record companies, publicists, casting agencies, costume designers - and now the Los Angeles Review of Books - all call Crossroads of the World home.

Morton La Kretz, the owner of Crossroads, added, "We are pleased to welcome the Los Angeles Review of Books to Crossroads of the World. As Los Angeles's premiere literary and cultural arts magazine, they are a perfect fit for our Crossroads community."

To request an interview or feature, please contact Jessica Kubinec,


The Los Angeles Review of Books is a nonprofit, multimedia magazine of literature and culture that combines the great American tradition of the serious book review with the evolving technologies of the web. We are a community of writers, critics, journalists, artists, filmmakers, and scholars dedicated to promoting and disseminating the best that is thought and written, with an enduring commitment to the intellectual rigor, the incisiveness, and the power of the written word.
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