It’s Halloween season so here’s a gloriously bizarre performance piece for you. Read the back story, then enjoy.
L.A. songwriter, Rob Cantor, wrote the song in 2011 “inspired by nothing but the sheer silliness of imagining Shia LaBeouf, face and clothes smeared with half-dried blood, terrorizing helpless victims in a dark wood.” Cantor chose LaBeouf as his serial killer cannibal because, “his name, when whispered really intensely, just made me giggle.”
Cantor, a freelance musician and guitarist for the indie rock band Tally Hall, originally hoped Funny or Die would use the song in a video featuring the actual LaBeouf – that gig never materialized.
The song just sat in his hard drive for a year, then he posted it to his online portfolio where a fan of the band discovered it, tweeted about it and it just caught fire.
That was 2012. It went viral, became a crudely cut, but fun YouTube animated video:
Then THIS happened just this week. Cantor and LaBeouf must have collaborated to make this epic stage performance piece. Just watch. Your jaw will drop. WAY better than anything Funny or Die would dream up.
I hope more Cantor/LaBeouf collaborations will be made in the future.
Just hearing the music transports me to an elegant state of mind. My yoga pants magically transform into a beaded gown, my crocs become lovely silk slippers and my ponytail mystically twirls into a chignon. Glory be! The new season of Downton Abbey is close at hand!
Downton Abbey returns to ITV Sunday 21st September at 9pm for a brand new series featuring a host of familiar faces as well as introducing guest stars Richard E Grant and Anna Chancellor. Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Rob James-Collier, Brendan Coyle, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Lily James, Sophie Mcshera and Tom Cullen will all return in series 5.
I really must have my riding boots polished and find my pearls.
Have you ever wanted to go spend the year abroad to soak up all the amazing theater throughout London? Me, too! Alas, reality won’t let me run off to London
Hey, nonny nonny, don’t fret. There’s a brilliant alternative afoot. Join me in experiencing some of the best London stage productions by signing up for the National Theatre Live package at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Buy a package of at least three performances to save 10% on tickets plus reduced service charge. Huzzah for great London theatre and the ability to see if from lovely Irvine (can I get another “Huzzah!” for not having to go through a TSA pat down and 10 hours of a kid kicking the back of your airline seat?)
The National Theatre Live is a successful initiative that takes performances from the National’s stages in London to cinemas and performing arts centers worldwide. Since its first season, which began in June 2009 with the acclaimed production of Phédre starring Helen Mirren, over half a million people have now experienced the National’s acclaimed work on movie screens around the world.
Shot in high definition, you can experience the best of British theatre up close and personal, shown in high definition on the Barclay’s giant screen. You’ll always have the best view in the house!
October 31, 2014: Frankenstein
The award-winning production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek: Into Darkness, BBC’s Sherlock) as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting, CBS’s Elementary) as Dr. Frankenstein.
November 13,2014: Skylight
A beautifully acted play starring Carey Mulligan (Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great Gatsby) and Bill Nighy (Love Actually, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) as two former lovers who attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship.
January 8, 2015: JOHN
Extraordinary and touching, JOHN authentically depicts the real-life story of a man struggling to survive. JOHN contains adult themes, strong language and nudity. Suitable for 18yrs+.
February 15, 2015: Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life in a thrilling new stage adaptation. Suitable for 10 years +
Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California’s most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 756-seat Cheng Hall, renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics.
The partners created Irvine Barclay Theatre to showcase top quality artists, to provide a superior facility for local and regional arts groups, and to enhance UCI’s educational mission, particularly the programs generated by its School of the Arts. The theatre building is named for Mr. Richard Barclay, an area philanthropist, who provided the leading gift for the theatre’s construction. The theatre auditorium is named for Dr. George and Arlene Cheng, also area philanthropists.
Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the “Once” touring company. They play Irish and Czech musicians who make music together. Photo – Joan Marcus
Once, now on stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a sweet and mellow musical that reminds me of a special past relationship that could’ve been magical, but was never meant to be. I wanted to fall in love, for my heart to swoon and fall head over heels with Once, but I just didn’t fall – slowly or otherwise.
Once did win the hearts of Broadway in 2012, winning eight Tony Awards after winning the 2007 Oscar for Best Original Song. Maybe it’s not you, Once. It’s me.
The quiet melancholy rhythm of Falling Slowly, Once’s cornerstone song, which won the hearts of Broadway, seeps into most of the 16 songs, leaving me immersed in a bland world of romantical woe. Each song is fine, but together in a full length musical is just too much heart wrenching for one evening. And don’t get me started about the modern dance sequences with artsy hand movements to offset the plaintive chords of soulful strings. Nope.
What I did love about this story is the emphasis on the complex beauty of a relationship, focusing on encouragement, listening, understanding and truly seeing what makes a person flourish, without delving into the physical natures of romance. The storyline was soft and sad. Quiet and poignant. Beautifully performed by the entire cast. They were all exceptional.
Many may disagree, but Once deserves to be experienced in a smaller venue, as the intimacy of Once is lost in a large hall. Sitting in row P allowed me to see the wide view silhouette of the show’s big picture, but heartfelt expressions are lost for everyone who sits past the 7th row. There’s a reason why it takes place in a pub. It’s an intimate setting perfect for a Dublin romance. I’d love to see it in a smaller black box theater.
The story tracks the short, bittersweet relationship between two Dublin musicians. A struggling singer-songwriter, the dejected Guy (impressively portrayed by Alex Nee) is about to pack in his guitar when he meets Girl (Dani de Waal with a perky performance and hard to understand accent), a Czech immigrant who happens to play the piano. I could make out Waal’s dialogue fine, but I heard several comments about her being hard to understand.
Loved the Irish pub set and lighting with dark wood, etched glass doors and shimmering mirrors. It actually functions more or less as a real pub, selling drinks starting about a half hour before each performance while the ensemble jams center stage. All the cast members play their own instruments, melding actors and orchestra onstage for a truly innovative performance.
Some of the cast members from “Once” at Segerstrom Hall. Photo – Joan Marcus
Falling Slowly is the cornerstone piece of the musical has long been one of my favorite songs, always causing me to pause what I’m doing and just let the song wash over me. This performance holds true to the plaintive and soul wrenching beauty. It’s lovely and I want to love the whole show. Maybe it’s just not love at first sight.
ONCE, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is now performing at Segerstrom Hall through August 31st.
Segerstrom Hall is located at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, California. For more information, please visit their website at SCFTA.org or call (714) 556-2787.
Comedian James McNair lost his life early this morning in a limo crash. His best friend, actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan, is in critical condition after the limo bus both were riding in was rear ended by a Wal-Mart big rig.
McNair, who leaves behind a son, daughter and siblings, was well-known in his home town of Peekskill, more so for his devotion to the community and its people than his comedy.
He worked four to five jobs — from being a caseworker at a homeless shelter to doling out food at a Salvation Army pantry. He also volunteered at his church and frequently held fundraisers to help others.
Disney’s Million Dollar Arm is being pitched as an American biographical sports drama based on a true story and delivers a funny, heartwarming story audiences are enjoying.
In a last ditch effort to save his career as a sports agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin) he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India – the boys, who have never left their rural villages – are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball – JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell) – learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
I’m not a big sports fan, but the trailer’s human element piqued my interest. Being an IT guy, many of my coworkers are from India so it made perfect sense to take a young Indian coworker to the advance screening.What unique way to experience the film by seeing it with someone who could truly relate to the cultural aspects of young Indian men experiencing American culture for the first time.
There’s obviously a sports aspect to the film but it’s not just about baseball.It’s about how we can get our priorities screwed up placing the desire to make money over how we treat people, how we can be short-sighted in thinking we can ignore the human element of a business transaction and still be successful.The message, certainly not a new one, is worth the reminder.In any business, relationships with the people with whom we do business should hold equal importance.Business success can follow easily when we place people before profit, which is a solid philosophy to live and work by, no matter who you are or where you’re from.
Waiting for the movie to begin I learned my Indian movie buddy’s not a sports fan, doesn’t like cricket and isn’t familiar with baseball.Would he enjoy an American sports drama centered on baseball?The portions I found amusing he did, too.He even laughed a bit heartier.I asked him about how the film depicted life in India and he assured me it was spot on.His take on the movie: a bit too emotional for his liking, but he thought that his parents would enjoy the movie.The bottom line, I enjoyed it. Both of us agree: if you like a movie with laughs, love and friendship then Million Dollar Arm pitches up a swing and a hit.
Some Orange County galas are stuffy black tie affairs, but the 4th Annual Red Dot Auction benefiting theChuck Jones Center for Creativity will be the most animated OC event this spring. The Red Dot Auction will be held Friday, May 9th, from 7 to 10pm at the Center located at South Coast Collection (SoCo), 3321 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa. Admission is $25.00 per person and open to the public. RSVP by May 2nd and receive 5 free raffle tickets when you sign in at the front desk the evening of the event. To buy your tickets online, go to ChuckJonesCenter.org or call 949-660-7791 x 20107.
Check out some of my favorite pieces up for auction.
Click on the pic for online bidding
Here’s the cool part. All of the contributing animation artists have signed their artwork on the reverse. Bidders won’t know who the artist is when bidding, they’ll only have their heart to follow. Trust me, I’ve been to these auctions and it gets pretty animated during the bidding. Lots of rubbing elbows with artists (Disney, Warner Bros and more) while noshing on hors d’oeuvres and sipping cocktails. There’ll be lots of laughter and an invigorating creative energy will fill the center as all the paintings are bid upon. Bid wisely and you could walk home with a signed piece of art by a famous animator!
Click on the pic for online bidding.
“We wanted to create a fun, engaging silent auction, and to further the suspense of not knowing which work belongs to which artist, each artist received an identical 12″ square stretched canvas upon which to create their work of art,” noted Wayne Todd, President of the Council for Creativity, the volunteer arm of the Center.
Click on the pic for online bidding.
“The artists who are participating come from all levels of notoriety, skill, and accomplishment, from students to emerging to established artists; we reached out around the world hoping to capture the imagination and appreciation of these artists. We are thankful that they were willing to help us achieve our goal of promoting creativity by providing a nurturing environment where it may grow and blossom,” said Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Center.
Participating artists include Rob Minkoff, director of such critically acclaimed films as “The Lion King” and “Stuart Little”; Nick Park, Oscar-winning co-founder of Aardman Studios of “Wallace and Gromit” renown; “Dora the Explorer” producer and director, Jeff DeGrandis; Kelly Asbury, director of the box-office-giant animated film, “Gnomeo and Juliet”; Eric Goldberg, longtime Disney animator and director; James C. Mulligan, Disney artist, actor and popular man about town. It’s definitely worth way more than $25 bucks to rub elbows with all the talent lined up.
Click the pic for online bidding.
The Center, dedicated to inspiring creativity in all people, particularly in children, was founded in 1999 by animation legend and four-time Academy Award recipient, Chuck Jones.
The Center’s vision is a world where creativity is known and experienced in all disciplines. We are dedicated to reinvigorating the creative spirit and we are doing it through art classes, exhibitions, lectures, and film festivals, all of which spring from the material in the Chuck Jones archive. Jones was a determined saver and his writings, art, and other ephemera from a nine-decade life, along with his philosophy of guiding and nurturing instruction form the basis of our programs.
Click on the pic for online bidding!
I’ll be there, bidding on art, laughing, mingling and getting very animated. Go buy your tickets now and I’ll see you there. BEEP! BEEP!
Looking for a movie that fits into the mood of Holy Week? Try The Way on Netflix.
Created by Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, along with co-producer David Alexanian, The Way is a lovely story about people, their individual quests and how they intertwine as they make their way on the Santiago de Compostela, home of the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the city’s cathedral, as destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century.
Sheen sees a great takeaway in the film for American families.
“People are beginning to focus on, well, what is really important,” he says. “Families are starting to come together, starting to eat together. They’re not on the run all the time. There’s nowhere to run now. They’re forced to relate to one another; and they’re finding value in things that they’d overlooked because of this mass media and the hustle and bustle and anxiety of modern life. It’s taken its toll. And maybe there’s something going on, spiritually, that we had not anticipated. God works in very, very mysterious ways. Maybe something’s going on that is going to cause a rising in people that is going to be grace-filled for all of us.”
“In the old days, those cathedrals were built so that they could be seen from many, many miles away. The pilgrims would see them, and it would inspire them to keep going because it was like an image of Heaven,” Sheen says. “They would stay for long periods once they got there. So it’s not just a passing thing; it was life-changing.”
“Each step is a prayer when you’re out there. You generally start out with a lot of stuff because you want to be prepared for whatever happens. As you go, you begin to have confidence and you begin to realize you over packed, and you begin to disperse all the stuff,” Sheen says. “The real pilgrimage begins on the inside, and you begin to let go of all the things you’ve been holding on to in the dungeon of your heart. You begin to let that one go that you couldn’t forgive. You begin to stop being judgmental, and envious, and angry, and selfish, and resentful, and all the dark parts of our spirit begin to be released.”
Destinations keep us determined to persevere, but it’s what we learn on the journey that matters. God has His own way to help us learn as we traverse this life.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts celebrates the return of Mamma Mia!, the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA, returning to Segerstrom Hall in Orange County, April 8 – 13, 2014.
ESW welcomes Jana Gonzalez to our writing team. Here’s her take on Mamma Mia:
“Grow Back Down”
That was the advice Donna’s best friends, Tanya and Rosie gave her when Donna said she had changed and grown up. “You’ve grown up? Well, grow back down!”
Growing back down is just what this 20+ years married couple was able to do on our rare date night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. All the way back to 1999, to a small Greek island we traveled for a wedding, a wedding with three potential fathers of the bride.
The story of Donna’s past catching up to her on the eve of her daughter’s wedding was presented lightheartedly with unique and new production numbers from what we’ve seen in past productions. From the snorkel and flipper wearing chorus line of the groom’s friends to the outrageous and flirty way Rosie wanted someone to take a chance on her, this production was entertaining throughout. The simple, yet effective setting highlighted the cast and their phenomenal voices.
We felt every emotion of each character as they were displayed through the songs of ABBA, music through which the entire audience could relate. And who couldn’t relate to singing Dancing Queen with our hairbrushes and hairdryers as microphones?!
Even with a few distractions with the spot lighting not keeping up with the characters, this production of Mama Mia kept our knees bouncing with the music, kept us chuckling at the hijinks and awkward circumstances between the main characters and and let us get another look at the then cool and now cringe worthy fashion of Donna’s 1970’s rock band!
Growing back down…it’s not a bad thing to do from time to time.
Single tickets, which start at $29, are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, April 12 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.
Watch this young couple’s time-lapse progression going from pregnancy to baby, accompanied by daddy-to-be, Tom Fletcher’s self-composed song. With over 3 million views in a few days, they are the newest internet sweethearts enjoying their time in the internet spotlight. And yes, their baby Buzz Michelangelo is adorable. Welcome to the world little guy. Your parents are pretty cool.
Brilliant use of internet and You Tube as a medium for showcasing talent, while simultaneously being used as a family journal. Great job, kids, and enjoy parenthood!