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  • Palm Springs' Millennial Councilwoman Stared Down Biphobia — In the LGBT Community - Advocate.comPalm Springs' Millennial Councilwoman Stared Down Biphobia — In the LGBT Community - Advocate.com

    Advocate.comPalm Springs' Millennial Councilwoman Stared Down Biphobia — In the LGBT CommunityAdvocate.comThe desert city of Palm Springs, Calif., about a 90-minute drive east of Los Angeles, is more than just an oasis packed with hotels and restaurants. Amid its impressive collection of mid-century homes and world-class amoeba-shaped swimming pools is a ...

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  • Nearly two dozen ficus trees stolen from Palm Springs home - KESQNearly two dozen ficus trees stolen from Palm Springs home - KESQ

    KESQNearly two dozen ficus trees stolen from Palm Springs homeKESQI thought Palm Springs was different. I didn't think that happened here but obviously, it does," Verdell said. The mild weather here in the valley has many residents revamping their yards. We reached out to Macias Nursery in Thousand Palms, they say ...

    Google News / 11 h. 21 min. ago
  • Palm Springs collision closes roadway - KESQPalm Springs collision closes roadway - KESQ

    KESQPalm Springs collision closes roadwayKESQPALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A two-vehicle collision in Palm Springs closed part of the roadway near El Cielo and Ramon Roads Sunday night. photo. According to the Palm Springs Police Department's on-duty watch commander, the call came in at 6:54 p.m. Two ...

    Google News / 1 d. 8 h. 47 min. ago

    By Jack Lyons Theatre and Movie Critic Powerful emotions drive behavior in most of us.  The larger the issue or the event, the greater the emotional response.  If the event is life altering the more erratic and unpredictable the behavior and the outcome will be. Cinema is a potent vehicle for exploring emotion-rich stories and moments. The mobility of the camera along with its unique implementation of the close-up lens – that misses nothing – is what draws gifted directors and cinematographers to the medium of cinema as a method of telling intimate and compelling stories. The German film industry over the last five or ten years has shown strong evidence of returning to its glory days of the 1930’s. The 2007 Best Foreign Film Academy Award for Germany’s outstanding film “The Lives of Others” catapulted the German film industry back into Oscar competition mode. Thanks to a string the solid foreign language films hits: “Two Lives” (2013), “Labyrinth of Lies” (2015), “Toni Erdman” (2016), Germany has become a perennial contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Once again, its industry is competing for another win with the emotion-packed thriller “In the Fade”, starring Diane Kruger. Kruger won as Best Actress at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival last year. “In the Fade”, co-written by Hark Bohm and directed by journeyman filmmaker Fatih Akin, is told in a series of flashbacks and is divided into three sections or sequences: The Family, The Justice system, and The Sea, or the Grecian sequences. Ms. Kruger as Katja, a grief-stricken young mother learns that while she was away from the office her husband and her six-year-old son Rocco (Rafael Sanana) have been killed in a bomb explosion outside her Kurdish husband Nuri’s (Numan Acar) storefront business in the Turkish section of Hamburg. The authorities are investigating it as a terrorist attack, Katja, however, views it as murder. In a flashback sequence, she volunteers her feelings to the police, because earlier, she saw a young German girl on a bicycle park her new bike near the building who didn’t chain it to the stand.  Katja also noticed a package near the bike’s saddle as she watched the girl walk away. The police reject her claim that a growing ‘neo-nazi/white supremacist group of thugs in the neighborhood are behind the attack.  Katja and her attorney (Denis Moschitto) protest that there are no Turkish or Kurdish terrorists or anyone from the Turkish community involved.  Based on Katja’s testimony and eyewitness account, two suspects – the young German girl on the bike and her husband both of whom are white supremacists – are arrested and placed on trial for the bombing murders. What looks like a slam-dunk for the prosecution, becomes an acquittal for the defense due to insufficient evidence.  Katja is beside herself and ends up attacking the pair in the courtroom.  Americans not familiar with Germany’s judicial procedures will probably feel confused and/or frustrated by the Judge’s ruling and the trial’s outcome as well.  The ruling, however, sets in motion Katja’s unbridled thirst for revenge. It’s at this point that writer/director Akin, sort of shoots himself in the foot. There is a clear shift in the tone of the story and its execution in the sequence labeled “The Sea”.  The film now begins to drift into predictability; losing its edge and footing in what began as a promising thriller about the return of right-wing extremists groups now plaguing many European countries today. Fortunately, for the audience, no shift in the tone of the film can negate the terrific performance of Ms. Kruger.  She’s a hypnotic on-screen presence reminiscent of the great Marlene Dietrich. And, her scenes of grief, despair, and rage, are achingly poignant. It’s an award-winning star turn, and she is this year’s winner of the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a foreign language film. Keep an eye out for this beautiful English speaking German actress in future American and British films. “In the Fade” goes into select theatres in January 2018. The post POWERFUL GERMAN THRILLER BRINGS INTO SHARP FOCUS THE DYNAMICS OF LOSS AND REVENGE appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 1 d. 14 h. 20 min. ago more
  • Palm Springs Film Fest: 'Felicite' Named Best Foreign-Language Film - Hollywood ReporterPalm Springs Film Fest: 'Felicite' Named Best Foreign-Language Film - Hollywood Reporter

    SFGatePalm Springs Film Fest: 'Felicite' Named Best Foreign-Language FilmHollywood ReporterActing prizes went to Nakhane Toure for 'The Wound' and Daniela Vega for 'A Fantastic Woman.' Alain Gomis' Felicite, the story of a single mom and nightclub singer in Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, received the ...Palm Springs Film Festival Winners Include 'Finding Your Feet,' 'Skid Row Marathon'SFGate'Félicité,' 'The Charmer' Among Palm Springs Film Festival WinnersVarietyFélicité Garners Palm Springs AccoladesPalm Springs LifeThe Desert Sun -KESQ -Just Jaredall 21 news articles »

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  • Why Palm Springs is the perfect winter getawayWhy Palm Springs is the perfect winter getaway

    If, like me, you feel you have a lot in common with cold-blooded reptiles when it comes to the long British winter, then you will no doubt already be dreaming of sunnier climes. No need to start Googling 'where the hell is hot this time of year HELP', 'cos I've found your next destination - it's only bloody Palm Springs! The small, LGBT-friendly city nestled in the heart of California's Coachella Valley has been a Hollywood celeb bolthole for decades - loads of classic Hollywood stars used to live or holiday in here as it was the perfect getaway from nearby Los Angeles .

    Palm Springs News / 2 d. 2 h. 43 min. ago more
  • Palm Springs International Film Festival Opening Night Gala - The Desert SunPalm Springs International Film Festival Opening Night Gala - The Desert Sun

    The Desert SunPalm Springs International Film Festival Opening Night GalaThe Desert SunThe 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Opening Night Gala presented Director Steven Spielberg's riveting, knuckle-biting account of the Pentagon Papers starring Academy Award winning actors Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. A sold ...

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  • Our Voice: Palm Springs Police response to video 'setup' mostly OK - The Desert SunOur Voice: Palm Springs Police response to video 'setup' mostly OK - The Desert Sun

    The Desert SunOur Voice: Palm Springs Police response to video 'setup' mostly OKThe Desert SunMembers of the Palm Springs Police Department were put to an unfair “test” recently. We're happy to report that these three officers, outside of a relatively harmless stumble, and the department as a whole passed this ambush perpetrated partly under ...

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  • Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs compound, once listed for $35 million, to be auctioned - Los Angeles TimesSuzanne Somers' Palm Springs compound, once listed for $35 million, to be auctioned - Los Angeles Times

    Los Angeles TimesSuzanne Somers' Palm Springs compound, once listed for $35 million, to be auctionedLos Angeles TimesFinding no takers for her Palm Springs oasis, which has been on and off the market since 2008, Suzanne Somers is trying othiser means to squeeze interest into the 73-plus-acre property. The actress — and face of the Thigh Master exercise machine ...and more »

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  • Hiker Roger Dannen, missing since Wednesday, found alive - The Desert SunHiker Roger Dannen, missing since Wednesday, found alive - The Desert Sun

    The Desert SunHiker Roger Dannen, missing since Wednesday, found aliveThe Desert SunA hiker who'd been missing since Wednesday is "in good spirits" after being found late Friday, officials said. Roger Dannen of Oregon went missing while hiking the Indian Canyons Trail in Palm Springs. At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Palm Springs Police ...and more »

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  • Indio hoops pulls off stunner, takes down DVL unbeaten Palm Springs by a point - The Desert SunIndio hoops pulls off stunner, takes down DVL unbeaten Palm Springs by a point - The Desert Sun

    The Desert SunIndio hoops pulls off stunner, takes down DVL unbeaten Palm Springs by a pointThe Desert SunThe phrase "Didn't see that one coming" was popular on social media Thursday night when the Desert Valley League boys' basketball scores came in. Indio, which was 8-10 on the season and had lost five of its last seven games, took on DVL heavyweight ...

    Google News / 3 d. 20 h. 2 min. ago more

    Jack Lyons Theatre and Film Critic One night, every year, the third largest film festival in North America honors the crème de la crème of the creative arts community with awards and tributes for their work in movies during 2017. On January 2nd, Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) officially launched its 29th Annual Film Festival and Gala. More than 2400 guests, attended, along with stars, celebrities, industry professionals, screenwriters, producers, directors, and actors to rub elbows at the Palm Springs Convention Center, as they accepted their Awards for their artistic accomplishments during 2017. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images ) Two nights later, on January 4th, 1200 festival ticket patrons along with dignitaries and celebrities, were treated to the Festival’s Opening Night Film “The Post”, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks as The Washington Post’s executive editor Ben Bradlee, and Meryl Streep, as publisher/owner of The Washington Post, Katherine Graham, respectively. By way of background, Daniel Ellsberg was a Rand Corporation military analyst and a whistleblower with a conscience.  He sent the New York Times almost 4000 pages of secret government messages and private communications involving the Viet Nam war and the US government’s on-going role in that enormously unpopular and misunderstood war hoping, for full disclosure to the American people from the Nixon administration. Ellsberg felt that the people had the right and the need to know what their government had been doing for almost 30 years in South East Asia.  He felt that the people should have input in deciding on what their government should do concerning Viet Nam, or “Nam,” as the soldiers who fought and died serving the war’s ‘raison d’etre’ called it. Whatever it was called, it was a ‘dirty war’ with plenty of blame to go around on all sides. Actually, there is no such thing ever as a ‘clean war.’  Ellsberg also had mixed emotions about revealing the on-going government lies being fed to the public over the years.  In the end: truth won over obfuscation.  Years later, the American public learned even more new facts from the excellent 2017 Ken Burns documentary series “The Viet Nam War.” On a sidebar note: Ellsberg was the subject of the 2010 PSIFF documentary film called “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.”  It went on to win the festival’s Best Documentary Award in 2010. I interviewed him and spent a couple of hours with him.  During the time I spent in conversation with him, I failed to find any horns, a long tail, or a pitchfork that had been publically attributed to him by his detractors. Before the movie screening began, there was a scheduled discussion the creative-team panel of screenwriters, Josh Singer and Liz Hannah and the producers Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger that was to be moderated by PSIFF Artistic Director, Michael Lerman.  As Lerman introduced each member as they came on stage.  He suddenly hesitated and then, with perfect theatrical timing, introduced Streep to the audience which gasped, then exploded in applause and then Hanks walked on stage, and the applause sound level grew even louder. When Spielberg was introduced, the auditorium walls were literally pulsating to standing ovations. The appearances by Streep, Hanks, and Spielberg were not previously announced.  This is a show business crowd that knows how to keep a secret for maximum effect. The audience was most interested in the comments of Streep, Hanks, and Spielberg, including the repartee and anecdotes that often occurred in the making of the film. Spielberg had worked with Hanks on several projects, but never with Streep. Also, it’s hard to imagine, that two of America’s finest and beloved actors had never acted together. It merely took one of America’s great film directors put that issue to rest. Following the panel discussion, the lights dimmed and the taut Academy Award contender film “The Post” began.  Set against the backdrop of the turbulent 60’s and 70’s during the LBJ and Nixon administrations, Spielberg’s movie of the same period is an entertaining, richly-textured, intense film that boasts a  stellar cast that is solidly acted on all levels. Where the Academy Award-winning film “All the President’s Men”, focused on New York Times reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who broke the story, Spielberg and his screenwriters Josh Singer and Liz Hannah chose to tell their story from the point of view of The Washington Post Publisher Katherine Graham (Streep) and her feisty, fearless newsman/journalist, Executive Editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks). Ultimately, the dilemma of to publish or not to publish is left up to Graham who must make the agonizing decision of releasing the stolen files and the story of the “Pentagon Papers” written by her senior staff of journalists and department managers or to kill the story.  It’s a huge risk. The Post, if challenged by government lawyers, lose their case, the newspaper could end up in bankruptcy, and worse; she and the senior staff could go to prison for publishing secret government information. It’s always challenging to the filmmaker and the cast when rebooting an iconic story and a film like “All the President’s Men.” The audience is constantly comparing the impact of what they are seeing on the screen now with what they remember from 40 years ago; many of whom weren’t even born.  But, Spielberg is a master of engaging his audience right from the get-go. To insure he retains them, he sprinkles his narrative storyline with interesting visual elements, chronicling the steps necessary that a newspaper must go through in order to print the most explosive of news stories in politically savvy Washington, D.C. Remember, there was no internet back in the 60’s and 70’s.  No quick digital access.  Men ran the newspaper business and the Media.  Katherine Graham was an anomaly; a woman who found herself owning a newspaper in a man’s world without any background or experience, yet she succeeded in making The Washington Post a world-class newspaper over the years along with her fearless, legendary, Executive Editor Ben Bradlee at the helm. In the movie, the core issue of a newspapers right to inform and the public’s need to know rests in the First Amendment Right. It’s a case of a free press, versus the government’s pressure to suppress that constitutionally protected right. The movie “The Post,” is especially relevant now in light of the Trump administration’s continuing war with today’s media with the insistence of charges of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts.’ The film opens in select theatres nationwide beginning January 12th. The Palm Springs International Film Festival screens its 180 movies at five different venues through January 15, 2018. The post 29TH ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHED appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 5 d. 11 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Simply Barbra Starring Steven Brinberg Comes to the Purple RoomSimply Barbra Starring Steven Brinberg Comes to the Purple Room

    Barbra Streisand plays an intimate club in Palm Springs......in the guise of world renowned impressionist Steven Brinberg as SIMPLY BARBRA on Friday, January 26th at 8:00 pm at the Purple Room, 1900 E, Palm Canyon Drive , Palm, CA; dinner at 6:30 pm. Doug Peck is the Musical Director with a special guest Ronen Bay .

    Palm Springs News / 5 d. 12 h. 40 min. ago
  • Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs retreat to hit the auction block this ... - Los Angeles TimesSuzanne Somers' Palm Springs retreat to hit the auction block this ... - Los Angeles Times

    Los Angeles TimesSuzanne Somers' Palm Springs retreat to hit the auction block this ...Los Angeles TimesThe Palm Springs compound of "Three's Company" actress Suzanne Somers will go up for auction on January 31.Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs Compound to Be Auctioned — No Reserve!NBC Southern CaliforniaWant to Own Actress Suzanne Somers' Palm Springs Estate?Times of San Diegoall 4 news articles »

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  • ELECTRICITY, the Hit LGBT Play, Returns to Palm SpringsELECTRICITY, the Hit LGBT Play, Returns to Palm Springs

    ELECTRICITY, the hit LGBT comedy/drama starring stars TERRY RAY & MEL ENGLAND is set to return to Palm Springs January 10-11 & February 7-8 & 27-28, 2018 This very unique immersive theater experience playing inside an actual motel room at INNdulge Resort, 601 S. Grenfall Rd., Palm Springs, CA . ELECTRICITY is being presented in what's called Immersive Theater.

    Palm Springs News / 11 d. 1 h. 1 min. ago more
  • Recreational marijuana sales bring long lines to a West Hollywood dispensaryRecreational marijuana sales bring long lines to a West Hollywood dispensary

    A customer sniffs cannabis at the MedMen dispensary on the first day of recreational marijuana sales in West Hollywood. On the first day of recreational marijuana sales in West Hollywood, the mood was celebratory and the line was long.

    Palm Springs News / 13 d. 13 h. 12 min. ago
  • Recreational pot sales roll out in California, with celebratory 'blunts' and some anxietyRecreational pot sales roll out in California, with celebratory 'blunts' and some anxiety

    Customers at 420 Central, a marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana, on New Year's Eve. Companies began selling pot in a relatively small number of businesses Monday, with more expected to join in the coming days and weeks.

    Palm Springs News / 14 d. 19 h. 6 min. ago
  • Buying pot on New Year's Day? Santa Ana is L.A.'s closest optionBuying pot on New Year's Day? Santa Ana is L.A.'s closest option

    MedMen, a marijuana shop in Santa Ana, is one of several retailers licensed to begin recreational cannabis sales on New Year's Day. MedMen, a marijuana shop in Santa Ana, is one of several retailers licensed to begin recreational cannabis sales on New Year's Day.

    Palm Springs News / 15 d. 13 h. 17 min. ago
  • California is State Park Overwhelmed By CrowdsCalifornia is State Park Overwhelmed By Crowds

    The weather is so balmy and people are in such a mood to head outdoors that Joshua Tree National Park is overwhelmed with crowds. And, according to The Sun , officials are actually trying to discourage people from visiting the popular high desert park near Palm Springs this weekend - or to come early and plan ahead, if they do.

    Palm Springs News / 16 d. 22 h. 39 min. ago
  • Christmas OasisChristmas Oasis

    If you drive from Palm Springs north along Ramon Road across the Coachella Valley... ...you will eventually reach the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserv e. The magical spot has an underground spring surrounded by ancient California Fan Palms... ...with beautifully maintained bridges and hiking trails... ...winding their way through the trees.

    Palm Springs News / 20 d. 12 h. 22 min. ago
  • Beyond glitz of Palm Springs is a winter oasisBeyond glitz of Palm Springs is a winter oasis

    Five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, a former Hollywood hangout where the ghosts of Dinah Shore and Bob Hope still stroll, five friends and I on a winter getaway filled our water bottles and smeared on sunblock at the trading post-themed Indian Canyons visitor center. Our timing was perfect.

    Palm Springs News / 22 d. 2 h. 58 min. ago
  • The Massive Thomas Fire Has Been Devastating for California's FarmersThe Massive Thomas Fire Has Been Devastating for California's Farmers

    California's gigantic and dangerous Thomas Fire has burned an incredible amount of pure acreage, while immediately endangering the homes and lives of many folks from Santa Barbara down past Ventura and Santa Paula. But as the LA Times points out , the fire's effects on the agricultural industry could be much worse still.

    Palm Springs News / 25 d. 19 h. 14 min. ago
  • On the Road: Life's journey to another desert Updated atOn the Road: Life's journey to another desert Updated at

    Last week's column featured California's two desert national parks, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Both feature a mild winter climate and evocative topography; this week we'll cover nearby Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the other-worldly adjoining Salton Sea.

    Palm Springs News / 26 d. 11 h. 30 min. ago
  • Racist Trees to Be Removed in Palm SpringsRacist Trees to Be Removed in Palm Springs

    Racist trees will not be tolerated by the bureauweenies running Palm Springs, California, who righteously proclaim that as soon as they find the money to do it, they will remove a row of tamarisk trees that serve as a barrier between the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course and a historically black neighborhood: Many longtime residents of the neighborhood previously told the Desert Sun they believed the trees were planted for racist reasons in the 1960s, and remained a lasting remnant of the history of segregation in the city.

    Palm Springs News / 26 d. 18 h. 34 min. ago more

    By Jack Lyons Theatre and Movie Critic Every year for the last twenty-eight years, the third largest film festival in North America is held in the desert paradise we call Palm Springs.  The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) presents a glorious infusion of the world’ finest movies over the eleven days of the festival.  PSIFF puts on this great movie event that draws Stars, Celebrities, Directors, Producers, Writers, and Filmmakers, from across the globe. Loyal film fans eager to catch glimpses, or perhaps, take a selfie of movie stars and celebrities as they walk the Red Carpet on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, to a Gala black-tie dinner and Film Awards event held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, will again, be hosted by television star Mary Hart. The Gala is expecting to serve more than 2000 celebrities and guests. Harold Matzner Festival Chairman Harold Matzner announced the following 2017 Festival Honorees who will receive Film Festival Awards at the Gala are: Jessica Chastain who receives the Chairman’s Award for her performance in “Molly’s Game”;  Saoirse Ronan receives The Desert Palm Award for her film role in “Lady Bird”;  the Rising Star Award goes to Gal Gadot for her “Wonder Woman” portrayal; the Breakthrough Award honoree is Mary J. Blige for her work in the film “Mudbound”; Allison Janney receives the Spotlight Award for her powerful portrayal in the film“I, Tonya”; The Career Achievement Award this year is being presented to Holly Hunter; The Vanguard Award is an ensemble effort honor, and it goes to the film “The Shape of Water”, directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Beginning Thursday, January 4th, the festival will screen the riveting opening night film “The Post”, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and directed by Steven Spielberg.  The thrilling drama centers around Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of The Washington Post newspaper and her forceful and committed editor Ben Bradlee played by Tom Hanks during the Watergate scandals of the 1970’s.  “The Post” is an eerie reminder of how often history repeats itself.  Forty-Five years after Watergate, our country is now grappling with similar political scandals that are consuming the current administration and its war with the media. On Friday, January 5th, the festival begins screenings of more than 180 films from 77 countries including 39 premiers: 4 world, 12 North American and 23 U.S.A. films. This year the festival is focusing on films from Argentina, under a program category called “Cine Latino” that has 25 films in competition. The festival is rich in various panels, Q &A sessions, at many premieres. Jessica Chastain There are also topics covering categories as diverse as: Talking Pictures, Books to Screens, Films from Modern Masters, True Stories and more in panel discussions and Q & A with film industry professionals over the 11-day festival. Such prestigious films as “Darkest Hour, starring gala honoree Gary Oldman, as Winston Churchill, and gala honoree Sam Rockwell stars in the in gritty drama “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri”, and “I, Tonya”, features Allison Janney, as an abusive, alcoholic mother.  All are Oscar-nominated for their performances and will attend the screenings of their films, with discussions to follow. There is no doubt about it. The films programmed for the 29th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival are a movie junkie’s dream delight. “I couldn’t be happier with the selection of films this year,” said Artistic Director Michael Lerman.  “In a program that includes all of the shortlisted Foreign Language Oscar nominees, a stellar New Voices New Visions selection, and an embarrassment of riches from Argentina that demanded to be highlighted, and an incredible list of attending talent, there’s plenty to be excited about.  I’m so proud of our team for putting it all together.” That’s good news for the more than 135,000 expected attendees from all over the country who also can’t wait for the 29th Festival to begin either.  A friendly tip: Remember to bring a sweater or a jacket, and/or a scarf. When the sun goes down, the desert can become chilly.  It will be January after all. Festival ticket make great stocking stuffer gifts for the holidays. Gary Oldman For tickets and Pass information, call 760-778-8979, or go online to www.psfilmfest.org. The post PALM SPRINGS 29TH ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL TICKETS A GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 26 d. 20 h. 34 min. ago more
  • Next 25 ArticlesNext 25 Articles

    It is a season for giving and, according to law enforcement officials in Washington County, Ore., taking as well. Two weeks ago, its Sheriff's Office ran a sting operation to catch porch pirates, thieves who swipe packages from Amazon and other companies from doorsteps.

    Palm Springs News / 26 d. 21 h. ago
  • Row of trees separating black neighborhood, golf course to come downRow of trees separating black neighborhood, golf course to come down

    Longtime residents of the area believed the tamarisk trees were planted for racist reasons in the 1960s, which they say depressed property values. A row of tall tamarisk trees separates the Crossley Tract neighborhood of Palm Springs, Calif., from the city-owned Tahquitz Creek Golf Course on the other side.

    Palm Springs News / 27 d. 22 h. 55 min. ago

    Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic The Center Theatre Group brings another winning Broadway musical to Los Angeles with the bright, clever and energetic “Something Rotten”, now on stage at The Ahmanson Theatre. The Bard goes musical in this fresh, witty, and highly entertaining production from, the creative and inventive pens of brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. The Kirkpatrick brothers, although you may have not heard much about them until now, are journeyman show biz behind-the-scene professionals in the world of musical theatre, recording industry, and TV and film. Wayne the oldest by three years has been a successful composer/songwriter for many of the top recording stars and entertainers like: Bonnie Raitt, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Joe Cocker and Trisha Yearwood and many others. Karey, is a neophyte to the world of the theatre. He has no credits. But, he’s been a successful TV screenwriter and filmmaker-director for years.  Both were born in Baton Rouge, LA, and worked in separate fields of show business.  One night, the creative spark of why don’t we write something together, set Wayne and Karey on a mission to write a musical play revolving around Shakespeare, the man, and make him a character in their musical.  Four years later “Something Rotten” finally opened on Broadway hitting the Jackpot; a smash Broadway hit, along with eight Tony nominations. Unfortunately, their terrific musical comedy opened in the same season as “Hamilton” (2015) that almost ran the table of Tony Awards that year – nabbing eleven.  Mel Brooks’ production “The Producers”, still holds the record for Tony wins with twelve. The story, of “Something Rotten”, in short, is set in 1590’s England where playwright brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, sensationally played by Rob McClure and Josh Grisetti, respectfully, are desperate to write a hit play to pay their rent, keep food on the table, and pay back their theatre investors.  But they’re stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rock-star known as Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, a self-indulgent, preening (Adam Pascal). When the local soothsayer Nostradamus (Blake Hammond) meets Nick he predicts that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting all at the same time in a single production, sending our intrepid playwrights into a writing frenzy in their effort to become the world’s first musical producers. However, with the adrenaline rush and the excitement of their opening night draws near, the brothers Bottom realize that space on  ‘top dog mountain top’ is very small indeed, and the effort to get there has many of “This above all, to thine own self be true” moments. I would suggest one listen carefully to the lyrics, as well as to the many dialogue references to other Broadway productions and movies, that are slyly slipped into the narrative by some of the characters. Me thinks, the show has the flavor and whimsy of a Mel Brooks production (which, after all, isn’t that bad).  Composer/lyricist Wayne and co-songwriter/lyricist Karey have written 14 original songs and musical numbers that are just flat-out dazzling and they’re choreographed and directed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw. The high-octane opening number “Welcome to the Renaissance” sets the tone for what follows. Songs like “I Hate Shakespeare” sung by Rob McClure, and Josh Grisetti along with the Troupe are clever and funny. One of the best numbers in the production is the show-stopping “Musical”. The audience applause lasted almost 45 seconds.  I know, I timed it. That’s an eternity when performers are on stage waiting for the audience to settle back into their seats. But I guarantee you no performer would have it any other way.  Other musical number favorites are: “Will Power”, by Shakespeare and the ensemble, “To Thine Own Self”, performed by Nigel, Nick, Shakespeare, Shylock, Nostradamus, and the Troupe, along with the eponymous title of the production “Something Rotten”, performed as a rousing anthem by the entire company. With a large cast show (twenty-seven performers) it’s difficult to list everyone, however, there are always standouts and “Something Rotten” is no exception.  Solid support comes from: Maggie Lakis as Bea, the on stage wife of Nick (and the off stage real wife of Nick), Autumn Hurlbert as Portia, Jeff Brooks as Shylock, and Scott Cote as Brother Jeremiah. Blake Hammond’s Nostradamus portrayal is a comic delight.  With his impeccable timing, it’s hard to keep one’s eyes off him when he’s on stage. In the technical department led by Nicholaw, the creative team boasts three time Toni Award-winning Set designer Scott Pask, Tony Award winner Gregg Barnes who floods the stage with his colorful costumes of the period, Tony Award winner Jeff Croiter, skillfully designs his lights to maximize the total technical effects of this impressive, deliriously, entertainingly production. The sound designed by Peter Hylenski completes the technical team.  Brian P. Kennedy is the Music Director and Conducts the Orchestrations by Larry Hochman. It wasn’t easy in 1590’s England to become top dog in show business, such as it was, and it’s definitely no walk in the park either to become top dog in the 21st century.  But what the real-life Kirkpatrick brothers bring to the Ahmanson Theatre in “Something Rotten”, is a deliriously crowd-pleasing, gut-busting, hilarious, singing, dancing (tap too), musical comedy production. It also has the good fortune to be directed by two-time Tony-winning director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw, that is sure to entertain even the fussiest of theatre-goers. “Something Rotten” performs in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre and runs through December 31, 2017. Photos: Jeremy Daniel The post A MUSICAL ABOUT SHAKESPEARE HE WOULD BE PROUD TO HAVE WRITTEN appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 41 d. 19 h. 12 min. ago more
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    Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic Most older theatre mavens and fans of a certain age will probably remember playwright George Kelly, and his 1936 satire/spoof “The Torch-Bearers”, a play about amateurs producing and performing in what we now call ‘community theatre’. Fifty-six years later, British playwright Michael Frayn struck gold with his hilarious and highly entertaining farce “Noises Off”. The “play-within-a-play format also set in the world of theatre went on to become a huge hit, and the gold standard in comedy/farce in London’s West End, and on Broadway. Now, arguably, the wildest and wackiest comedy/farce of them all is, once again, about ‘the world of theatre’ arriving in America in 2016 following a two-year run in London’s West End, where it won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards. “The Play That Goes Wrong”, is written by three talented British playwright/actors: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, who are members of the London-based, Mischief Theatre Company. The current production now wowing New York audiences at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, features an all-American cast determined to solve “The Murder at Haversham Manor” is set in England on a dark and stormy night (is there any other kind night for A British mystery farce?), and once again this play also just happens to be a-play-within-a-play format. The whodunit mystery presented by the faux “Cornley University Drama Society” is now the comedy hit of the 2017 Broadway season. Inventively directed by Mark Bell, this classic-style British farce must have auditioned every American actor in New York City who could muster a veddy British accent, and also understands the wild and frenetic farce genre that is so prevalent in many British comedies. Peter Sellers, Scottish actor Alastar Sim, Monty Python’s John Cleese, were all masters of the genre.  It should be noted that director Bell hit the jackpot with his American cast as well. The two-level set designed by Nigel Hook is a deceptive and harmless looking creature that a first glance has all the visual trappings of an Agatha Christie play.  A large Manor House drawing room, large fireplace, tapestries, the family Coat of Arms, along with the obligatory painting of the family patriarch over the fireplace. In reality, the set becomes another ‘character’ in the production, which in itself alone, is worth the price of admission. Once the onstage slap-stick mayhem begins, the laughs are infectious and nonstop.  “The Play That Goes Wrong” unfolds in a series of comedy scenes performed by the ‘amateur actors’ of the ‘University’s Drama Society’, as they struggle do their best to ‘remain in character’ despite loads of unexpected physical comedy sight gags, along with uncooperative props; sticky doors that won’t open, pictures that fall from the walls, and a host of miscues, and delayed entrances the whole ball of wax! It’s right out of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton playbooks. And it’s hilarious. The story, such as it is, follows the earnest but bumbling British police Detective Chris Bean (Mark Evans) in the ‘Play’ who’s desperately trying to solve the murder of Jonathan (Jonathan Fielding), as a corpse whose movements belies the designation ‘corpse’. The relatives and friends of Jonathan try to help detective Bean solve this dastardly deed, but to no avail.  Instead, the group of clumsy but well-intentioned relatives: Akron Watson as Trevor, Preston Truman Boyd as Robert, Harrison Unger as Dennis, Amelia McClain as Sandra, Alex Mandell as Max, and Ashley Bryant as Annie, are priceless in their attempts to ‘normalize’ the on-stage zaniness. As a side note:  I had the good fortune at ATCA’s annual luncheon with Broadway actors at Sardis famous NYC restaurant two days later, to find myself being seated next to actor Ashley Bryant, who plays Annie. I politely leaned over and asked her if during the run have any of the cast sustained any injuries as a result of all the physical comedy taking place on stage?  Ms. Bryant replied, “Not any serious injuries like broken bones, but we’ve all had our bruises, and a few aches and pains from doing a physical show like ‘Play’ eight performances a week for almost six months.  But it’s labor of love for actors.”    The production is just too funny and entertaining to spoil the experience for those who want to see it.  So, no spoiler alerts from me. In the technical department the award-winning set design by Nigel Hook is a work of mechanical miracles that allow the actors to perform in his topsy-turvy world of Haversham Manor, without missing a beat. The lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, neatly compliment the costumes by Robert Surace.  Sound design by Andrew Johnson, and original music by Rob Falconer, complete the creative team. “The Play That Goes Wrong” is the perfect gift for Anglophiles and theatre-goers over the Holidays. It performs at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway and performs as an open-ended run.  However, I wouldn’t wait.  I would buy my tickets right now if you’re planning on being in New York over the Holidays. Photos by Jeremy Daniel. The post HILARIOUS COMEDY FARCE “THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG” WOWS NYC AUDIENCES appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 46 d. 11 h. 38 min. ago more

    By Jack Lyons Theatre and Movie Critic Word on the street regarding the new, intimate, insightful, and delightful musical production “The Band’s Visit”, indicates that this small and compelling musical set in Israel, may become a sleeper candidate for Best New Musical and Best Female Actor in a Musical, come Tony Award time on June 10, 2018. Opening to rave critical reviews on November 9th, “The Band’s Visit” is not your father’s familiar book musical, like “Gypsy”, or “My Fair Lady”, or even the game-changing “Hamilton”. This small, wistful, musical gem, features a scaled-down, haunting musical score and lyrics by David Yazbek, which feature only thirteen songs. But those thirteen numbers plumb one’s soul when it comes to differences and diversity in the form of a seductive, Middle Eastern-set musical that complements the libretto written by Itamar Moses. The musical is based on the 2007 Israeli screenplay and movie of the same name. As an attendee to the American Theatre Critics Association’s (ATCA) annual New York Conference, we had the rare opportunity to listen to and then ask questions of the musical’s creative team on the genesis and the chronicling of “The Band’s Visit” on its journey from creative spark, to rehearsals, to opening night on Broadway. The creative team of composer/lyricist David Yazbek, librettist Itamar Moses, director David Cromer, and producer Orin Wolf, were candid in their replies during the give and take with the critics who tossed the team a lot of creative questions concerning choices made and choices discarded down the road. The moderator was ATCA member Martha Wade Sketekee. Listening to the panel wrestle with the myriad details that have to be addressed; like constant changes and tweaks to the story, the music, the lyrics, plus the set designs, costumes, et al, it’s easy to understand why many plays and musicals never get to see the lights of a Broadway stage. Production problems, mainly dealing with budget issues along with theatres and cast availability are the main culprits. Most musicals require months of work and gestation before their Broadway opening. Last season’s blockbuster musical juggernaut “Dear Evan Hansen”, took eight years to arrive on Broadway. “The Band’s Visit” story is sparse but compelling. Eight Egyptian musicians led by Coronel Tewfiq – a winning Tony Shalhoub like you’ve never seen him before – comprise the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Band who arrive by mistake in a small town in Israel’s hot, dusty, Negev Desert. Their booking to perform was originally set for a different much larger city in Israel. It’s late at night. And there is no transportation out of the town or any hotels to stay at, so the Band settles at a cafe owned by Dina (a divorced, sensuous, Marlene Dietrich-like, Katrina Lenk) who offers them lodging for the night. Overcoming ethnic barriers, some of the Egyptian musicians find diversion and lodging with the local townspeople. The Band, however, is scheduled to depart for the correct city and their cultural-exchange performance tomorrow… but a lot can happen in just 24 hours. The power and appeal of this splendid musical lies in its structure, the insightful narrative and its understated performances of the fourteen talented cast members and it’s four gifted band musicians who bring a fresh paradigm shift in the shaping of the musical genre thanks to the personal vision of its creatively inventive director David Cromer. Rodgers and Hammerstein broke the mold of musical structure in 1943 with “Oklahoma” to be followed seventy-two years later by Lin Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton”, that introduced another paradigm shift with the game-changing ‘Rap and Hip-Hop’ as a format for future musicals.The touching performances of the cast are solid all around, with Shalhoub, shining as band leader Coronel Twefiq. It’s a poignant portrayal of a dignified man grieving the loss of his wife and young son while still trying to remain engaged in life and to those around him. Lenk is a revelation as café owner Dina. She projects the weariness of an attractive, lonely woman, seeking a respite for just one night from the boredom of life in her small town. And, she sings her life disappointments in a throaty, seductive and sultry voice that draws one closer to the on-stage action. It’s a star-turn performance. Look for her name as a Tony Award nominee come 2018 – and perhaps a win for Best Female Actor in a New Musical. A banal plot-line would have Shalhoub and Lenk end up as a one-night-stand and then move on. But Moses and Cromer, thankfully, had other ideas that worked better. The Egyptian band characters actually play their on-stage instruments, and boy do they play. Ari’el Stachel on trumpet, George Abund on violin, and Alok Tewari on clarinet, and band members Ossama Farouk, Sam Sadigursky, Harvey Valdes, and Garo Tellin, in their musical numbers stopped the show a couple of times with enthusiastic audience applause. The set designed by Scott Pask cleverly makes use of a turn-table that opens up the stage to focus on the characters in their various village settings. The lighting designed by Tyler Micoleau, and the costumes of Sarah Laux – especially the band’s powder blue, military uniforms and the contrasting, somewhat drab costumes, of the residents, are spot-on; again visually underscoring the differences of the cultures. The haunting musical score of composer Tazbek is in the capable hands of the musical team of Andrea Grody, Jamshied Sharifi, and Dean Sharenow. The deliberately slow pacing by director Cromer nicely underscores the ennui of small-town life that is so essential to the show. One cannot escape, however, the comparison of characters grappling with the oppressing ennui in Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya”. Once, one gets on the wavelength of the performers, your enjoyment of this impressive musical will be enhanced. “The Band’s Visit” performs at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, in NYC, and runs as an open-ended show. Photos by Mattew Murphey Click to view slideshow. The post INSIGHTFUL AND POIGNANT MUSICAL LAUNCHES A NEW VERSION appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 54 d. 14 h. ago more

    Jack Lyons Theatre and Film Critic Patience it is said is a virtue. If that is a truism then Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II must be a saint. Charles, Prince of Wales, has been first in line to become England’s King for sixty-five years; longer than any other heir in United Kingdom history – which goes back to the reign of William the Conqueror, in 1066. But all that changed in 2014 when British playwright Mike Bartlett penned his controversial, fantasy/fictional play “King Charles III”, which Bartlett labeled as a “future history play”. After all, Queen Elizabeth II at age 91, is still firmly ensconced on the throne. “King Charles III, is currently on-stage at the venerable 100-year-old Pasadena Playhouse as of Sunday, November 12th. Some of the Shakespeare-like quality of the text that combines verse and modern vernacular, make this intriguing production directed by Michael Michetti, a provocative evening in the theatre that is resonating with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. NY Times’ senior theatre critic Ben Brantley put his stamp of approval on the New York production going onto say “…the play is a dazzling presumptuous drama … a flat-out brilliant portrait of a monarchy in crisis.” After seven seasons of the blockbuster TV series “Masterpiece Theatre” on NPR, there are a lot of Anglophiles in America and a sizeable number of them live in Southern California. The Pasadena Playhouse production company features sixteen actors: eight principals, and eight supporting actors plus a dedicated ensemble punctuated with glorious original music composed by Peter Bayne and recorded by the Pasadena Master Chorale. The play begins with a procession of mourner/singers coming down the playhouse aisles on their way to Buckingham Palace following the funeral services of Queen Elizabeth II. The scene is one of muted pomp and circumstance. Prince Charles (Jim Abele) is now technically the King, but is yet to be crowned in ceremonies at Westminster Abbey. The story explores the events that confront the new King, and the Royal family: Duchess Camilla (Laura Gardner), Prince William (Adam Haas Hunter), Duchess Catherine (Meghan Andrews), Prince Harry (Dylan Saunders) await to see what the new king and his advisor Reiss (Mark Capri) and his Prime Minister (J. Paul Boehmer) and Parliament have planned for the country and its subjects. Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, have plans to ‘assist’ King Charles in his quest to insure that most of the old laws are observed and not modernized too much. The king’s enemies consider him to possess the brain of a Brussel sprout, and believe him to be incapable of being the monarch. His prime minister and his cabinet ministers will not support him or his ideas, instead they plan on installing Prince William as a Regent-King. Charles resists his ministers by refusing to sign the “Ascendency Act” that would transfer some powers away from the monarchy to parliament, along with restricting the freedom of the Press. His continuing refusal to sign raises the issue of a constitutional crisis under English law. All of the events unfolding in this fictional tale, has a familiar ring to it for Americans. The opening night audience seemed to get this ‘ripped from the headlines story’ right from the get-go, laughing at some of the dialogue in places where laughter wasn’t exactly the appropriate response – it felt like I was listening to nervous gallows humor. Jim Abele delivers a solid performance as the flawed, moody, misunderstood Charles. Laura Gardner’s Camilla has the right amount of pathetic, ditzy behavior along with her tossing non-sequiturs to amuse everyone – the characters as well as the audience. Adam Haas Hunter’s Prince William, at first, appears to be a bored player merely waiting for the appropriate moment to embrace the plan hatched by the Prime minister and parliament to make him Regent-King. It’s a nice, nuanced performance, and along with wife Kate, the young Royal pair begin to relish the thought of becoming King and Queen of England. There’s enough palace and parliamentary intrigue taking place in this production to satisfy all fans of such storylines. Prince Harry (Dylan Saunders), is the outlier in this Royal family. He’s independent, lives by his own rules and is harboring the thought of becoming a commoner in order live with his cockney-accented political activist girlfriend Jess (Sarah Hollis). The staging of the production by director Michetti, gets static at times with characters standing in a line. Also, the didactic approach in Act I of setting the characters in motion seemed a little unnecessary. American theatre-going audiences are pretty savvy when it comes to appreciating British history and the execution of its theatrical stage craft production excellence. The real beauty of this production lies, not only in the ensemble cast’s talent, but also in the expertise of the creative team led by director Michetti. The wide expansive playing area provided by Scenic Designer David Meyer allows Michetti, to stage scenes on more than one level. The Lighting design by Elizabeth Harper creates the mood moments required by the narrative and the text especially in the Coronation scenes. The costumes, wonderfully designed by Alex Jaeger, are visually stunning. It would take an experienced eye to determine that the ermine-robed, on stage characters, with their crowns and tiaras and jewels aren’t the real deal. Everything just sparkles with authenticity. No one does English period pieces better than the Brits. “King Charles III”, performs at the Pasadena Playhouse through December 3, 2017. The post ENGLAND’S ROYALS SCRUTINIZED AGAIN AS CHARLES IS FINALLY CROWNED appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 60 d. 19 h. ago more

    Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, (“Disgraced”) highlights in his fictional play, set in 1985, what our current President claims he is doing or going to do when it comes to draining the Washington D.C. ‘swamp’ of insider trading, manipulators and financial sharks and lobbyists who roam the halls of Wall Street and Capitol Hill. The ‘it’ is this case has a familiar ring to it.  In 2008, it was the crash of Wall Street that brought our economy to a near-paralyzing standstill. There was then as now, plenty of blame to go around. Teresa Avia Lim and Michael Siberry. Photos by T. Charles Erickson Akhtar’s play, crisply directed by Doug Hughes, is a searing indictment of financial perfidy and recklessness and its seeming disdain for the rule of law when ‘it’ comes too close to getting in the way of the art of the all-important deal.  There are many echoes of both the 1987 Michael Douglas film “Greed”, whose mantra that ‘greed is good’ along with Martin Scorsese’s 2013 take on “The Wolf of Wall Street” where sharks and corporate raiders are seen behaving badly, is chillingly still alive and well. The story, in short, revolves around a high-flying, risk-taking corporate raider Robert Merkin (Steven Pasquale in a potent performance).  Merkin is known as the King of junk bonds, and the author of the financial term “debt is an asset” concept which is always a key component in fashioning his multi-million deals.  He will do anything; sell out his partners, his life-long friends, and colleagues, even his family in his quest to become top-dog on Wall Street. These top denizens who live in the shark tank have no loyalties or scruples. They are only interested in the pursuit of money. Lots of it.  Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. If the truth be known, these players don’t really need the money.  They have plenty. It’s the adrenaline rush that comes from deals dreamed up by these driven, craven, men and women in an effort to become the top dog that obsesses them. It boggles the mind of those of us who know very little about how the world of finance works and the numbers generated.  In the words of some “it’s complicated” … who knew? The set design by John Lee Beatty is eye-catching, in that the ‘cyc’ becomes a gigantic replica of the stocks and bonds read-out board at NYSE.  The set is a series of all glass doors and a set of sliding platforms that neatly allow the cast of twenty-three talented performers to move in and out their various character locations that switch from Merkin’s office, home, and those of his team members, to his undercover/mole associates, to the offices and homes of his corporate take-over opponents. Each group having a place to discuss (for the audience) the tactics of deal-making and betrayal when it comes to one another in their quest for Wall Street domination. Joey Slotnick (center) and the company of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of JUNK. Photos by T. Charles Erickson According to playwright Akhtar, it’s not easy being a wheeler-dealer living in the pressure cooker environment that is Wall Street.  Not only is “JUNK” a hotbed of money- making, it’s also a place where sexual favors are exchanged for information and advantage, and again we’re ‘shocked to find out that gambling is going on’ at Wall Street and in broker offices. Aah, but there is always a price to be paid for the lack of honesty, decorum and marital infidelity, but no more spoiler alerts here. Akhtar’s plot is intriguing, and his dialogue for his cast of solid actors has the ring of authenticity.  In large casts, there are always standouts. “JUNK” is no exception.  Sharp, solid, performances are rendered by Ito Aghayere as Jacqueline Blount, Michael Siberry, as Leo Tresler, Miriam Silverman as Amy Merkin, Joey Slotnick as Boris Pronsky, Rick Holmes as Thomas Everson, JR. Teresa Avia Lim as Judy Chen, Matthew Rauch as Israel Peterman. Matthew Rauch and Steven Pasquale. Photos by T. Charles Erickson The creative team led by director Hughes includes mood lighting by designer Ben Stanton that allows the audiences to see the costumes designed by Catherine Zuber and the on-stage projections of 59 Productions. If you are planning to be in NYC over the Holidays, consider catching a performance of this potent production. “JUNK”, is a slick production loaded with terrific performances.  The show performs at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center, New York City, through January 7, 2018 The post WALL STREET WHEELER – DEALERS ON STAGE AT LINCOLN CENTER THEATER appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 62 d. 15 h. 40 min. ago more

    Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic The Palm Canyon Theatre of Palm Springs hit a home Friday, October 27th, on opening night, with a glittering, kaleidoscopic stage full of twenty-five actors, dancers, and singers plus eye-popping costumes, and special effects with their current musical production “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, (the musical). Anthony and 2 dancers -Photo credit: Paul Hayashi Musicals are the specialty of the Palm Canyon Theatre (PCT) where they are sensationally produced and performed. PCT is now in its twenty-first year of providing quality entertainment to the Coachella Valley, presenting thirteen productions a year that include comedies, dramas, and special events as well as their signature musicals. “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” (the musical), has a libretto written by Australian film director Stephan Elliott and writer Allan Scott.  The music and lyrics for this stage show is based on the 1994 Australian movie of the same name by Elliott and Scott.  When “Priscilla” became a stage musical in 2006, original writers Elliott and Scott teamed up again and are credited with the libretto, but the music and lyrics sung by the twenty-five cast members are the courtesy of various pop song composers and lyricists.  The sparkling production at PCT is directed by Scott Smith. Divas-Photo credit: Paul Hayashi The libretto centers around two ‘drag queens’ (the talented actor/choreographer Anthony Nannini) as Adan Whitely, and (Nicholas Sloan) as Tick Belrose, and Bernadette Bassenger, their transgender woman friend played by (Ron Coronado) decide to take their ‘drag show act’ on the road to help out their friend Tick Belrose, who is seeking to reunite with his estranged son.  It’s a heart-warming, uplifting road trip adventure into Australia’s Outback country in search for love and friendship, where all end up finding more than they ever could dream of. Tick has separated from his wife Marion (Chandra Smith) and has not seen his 12-year-old son Benji (nicely played by (Ben Van Dijk) in eight years.  Road trip adventures be they movies or stage musicals are always entertaining and are filled with twist and turns of the core story.  “Priscilla”, is a search for understanding.  For redemption, where families and friends come together to celebrate life in all its human dimensions. Bernadette, Tick-Photo credit: Paul Hayashi PCT’s lavish production of “Priscilla” is an early Christmas gift for those who enjoy colorful, toe-tapping, eye appealing, theatrical entertainment fueled by an off-stage, driving Disco-beat  orchestra, led Piano/Musical Director Steven Smith, and his talented, four-man orchestra of Dave Bronson on Guitar, Larry Holloway on Bass, John Pagels, on Drums, and Bob Scarano on Guitar who deliver the pulsating rhythmic sounds, that put the audience in the mood right from the get-go. The production features twenty-two songs and surprises that are cleverly folded into the musical numbers by director Scott Smith. The cast has lots of fun performing these moments.  My favorite moment comes with the “MacArthur Park” number. Flip Flop -Photo credit: Paul Hayashi It’s always difficult to list all of the names of large cast productions.  “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” has twenty-five members that make up this excellent ensemble cast, however, there always standouts in every show and they include: choreographer/actor/dancer Anthony Nannini who, once again, sets his professional, musical talent- bar very high indeed; Ron Coronado, Nicholas Sloan, Larry Martin as Miss Understanding, the Divas: Allegra Angelo, Sarah Hagar- Cox, Amber Mora, young Ben Van Dyjk, and Luke Rainey as Bob. All offer solid support. In the technical credits department led by director Smith, “Priscilla”, features a huge functional set designed by resident design wizard Allan Jensen that allows the 25-member cast to quickly and smoothly make their entrances and exits. And features the bus that plays a major role in the musical. The lighting design by J.W. Layne and Kay Van Zandt floods the stage with their clever designs in order to let the audience see and appreciate the more than 40 + amazing and colorful costume designs by Resident Designer Derik Shopinski and his army of assistants.  Shopinski, is also in charge of the wig designs as well (where does he get all that energy?).  The Props are the province of Gaige Griffin and staff, and this list completes the creative team.  It takes a lot of creative artists to mount a production of this size.  But the payoff is definitely worth the effort. The production “Priscilla Queen of the Desert (the musical) is being performed at the Palm Canyon Theatre, in Palm Springs and has already been extended one week and will now end its popular run on November 19, 2017.  For reservations and ticket information call the box office at 760-323-5123. They sell out quickly, so don’t wait. Photo credit: Paul Hayashi The post PALM CANYON THEATRE STAGES A GLITTERING DISCO BEAT MUSICAL appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

    Desert Local News / 76 d. 18 h. 50 min. ago more

    Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic Great acting is often accompanied by great writing.  The inspired playwright writes and talented actors then breathe life into the characters. Then it falls to the gifted directors to infuse their expertise and personal visions, into the process much like a symphony conductor choreographs and leads the orchestra.  When the stars in the heavens are properly aligned and the theatre gods shine down, the result is often a flawless, magical evening in the theatre. Photo credit Jim Cox In the case of CV REP Theatre’s current production of “Venus in Fur”, the gods, have, indeed, given their approval. The dramedy written by award-winning and Tony-nominated playwright David Ives, is brilliantly directed by CV REP’s founder and Artistic Director Ron Celona.  The sexy and sizzling play knocked the socks off the opening night audience thanks to the performances of its two stars Angela Sauer and Patrick Zeller.  More about them later. Playwright Ives is somewhat of a non-traditional theatre creature in that he is a screenwriter and a novelist known for his many short one-acts – he’s considered as the master of the short form – which culminated in a full-length play “All in the Timing”, and was the most produced play in America (after Shakespeare) in 1996. Actors love his work because he writes about subjects and themes that allow them to stretch beyond their traditional creative boundaries. Fellow playwrights Christopher Durang (comedy) and Sam Shepard (drama) also fall into this category. They’re quirky and brilliant as well. Ives’ play dialogue incorporates a lot of street vernacular, which at times, can be jolting but he never talks down to his audience. For my money “Venus in Fur” is his best short piece to date, and it’s a timeless play that never goes out of style or loses its relevance. It’s an actor’s play. Written for them and appreciated by them.  In this CV REP production, the audience is treated to two intelligent, high-octane, energetic performances.  This is my third “Venus in Fur” production that I’ve seen.  I reviewed the original Broadway show in New York in 2011, starring Nina Arianda and Hugh Dancy, with Arianda winning the Best Actress Tony.  San Diego Rep Company then produced an excellent production in 2013, with Caroline Kinsolving and Thomas Meeks as a formidable pair of dramatic performers.  Comparisons are odious at best, but I wouldn’t exchange this talented pair for any who have performed the play. Angela Sauer as Vanda and Patrick Zeller as Thomas, simply put area: sublime. Photo credit Jim Cox The play, is a play within a play that is set in an audition studio in the Lower Eastside of New York City in the present. Thomas (Patrick Zeller) an intelligent, intense, erudite, young playwright is getting ready to close the auditions he has been conducting all day in search of a perfect leading lady for his upcoming play that he has adapted from an obscure novel by a 19th-century author. When the play begins Thomas is on his cell phone speaking to his wife, when Vanda, a ‘theatrical force of nature’ in the form of a very-late-for-her-audition-appointment actor, breezes into the room and immediately begins to audition for Thomas.  With the apologies and pleading by all; Vanda being late, and Thomas having closed the auditions for the night, Vanda says” … as long as I’m here can’t you just conduct a short audition?”  That pleading ‘fatal line’ being crossed by one making a power bid, and the other acquiescing, sets in motion a fascinating story of the feminine mystique vs. the dominating male ego. Photo credit Jim Cox The following 95 minutes become a delicious, sexy, sizzling, verbal dance of mutual seduction that keeps the audience riveted to the onstage action and the emotions between Vanda and Thomas; two formidable individuals that are superbly played Angela Sauer and Patrick Zeller. Ms. Sauer, attacks the role of Vanda in a bravura performance of an actor who knows all of the tricks of the acting trade. She uses them as weapons trained on the ego of playwright Thomas who now warms to the idea suggested by Vanda of him playing the part of the playwright-director during the audition.  At Vanda’s urging, Thomas is now intrigued by her suggestion that he direct his own provocative and potent play.  Aaah, the lure, and the temptation proves too irresistible and Thomas willingly and eagerly succumbs; accepting the challenge of Vanda’s rules of engagement for the audition, as well as her pitch to just cast her now. Photo credit Jim Cox The on-stage chemistry between Ms. Sauer and Mr. Zeller is literally palpable. Their performances fully engage the audience who become fascinated by the push and pull of playwright Ives’ characters.  References to the origin of the title “Venus in Fur” also enliven the audiences’ fascination with the story.  But no more spoiler alerts.  One must come and see this potent production for oneself. As wonderful and mesmerizing as Sauer and Keller are, they don’t do it all by themselves.  The safe harbor created by director Celona plays a key role in the overall success of this production. Celona’s seamless direction encourages the actors to stretch their creative muscles which then takes the audience along on this intriguing and highly entertaining journey of skirting around the kinky edges of bondage and domination. The creative team led by director Celona, includes the always inventive set designs of Emmy winning scenic designer Jimmy Cuomo and the award-winning lighting designs of Moira Wilkie Whitaker.  The Costume designs of Julie Onken fit perfectly for the whirling dervish-like Ms. Sauer. Sound Designer Randy Hansen, creates soundtracks that not only require precision but also a sensitive touch from technical board operator Karen Goodwin, while Wigs, Hair, and Makeup designs by Desert Theatre League (DTL) multi-award-winner Lynda Shaeps are spot-on for Ms. Sauer and Mr.Zeller. Photo credit Jim Cox This splendid production performs at the CV REP Theatre in Rancho Mirage, CA through November 19, 2017, and runs 95 minutes without an intermission.  Don’t Miss It! Photo credit Jim Cox The post A FLAWLESS RIVETING “VENUS IN FUR” ONSTAGE AT CV REP RANCHO MIRAGE appeared first on Desert Local News -Daily News.

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