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August 30, 2012

RIGHTS OF PASSAGE - IMPRESSIVE!


Hate reaches fever pitch in Serbia. Pictured: Christopher Morrell. Photo: Lois tema



SHORT TAKES

RIGHTS OF PASSAGE – A WORLD PREMIERE


The play is glorious to look at. You will be pleased and enchanted with the visuals. The traditional storytelling includes puppets, masks and wonderful bright colors everywhere that take you to different cultures. Deeper into the story is about Gay people in each country as they struggle to be able to love one another without getting killed.  For instance, there is a young Gay Man that tries to balance his gayness with Sharia law. Not an easy task. Yes, we may all want love, but it is doubtful that we will find love everywhere. Some nations are just stuck in their space and that’s the way it will probably be forever. Trying to find equal rights around the world is like looking for pennies on Mars. Like one Boy says on stage: “Loss is Love – Love is Lost!” Bullies don’t recognize Love between the sexes. It’s not even that easy in the United States let alone the whole world. Hate is everywhere.

Ed Decker and Robert Leone worked on this play for many years. And they bring to the stage a new enlightenment. The Director by Arturo Catricala opens our eyes to for hundreds of amazing things to see. 

THE STARS OF THE PLAY: RJ Castaneda, Dazie Rustin Grego, Randall Nakano, Desiree Rogers, Michaela Greeley, Christopher Morrell, Anthony Rollins-Mullens and Jomar Tagatac.VIVID ACTING! TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY!

NOW PLAYING AT NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE 

RATING: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! –trademarked-

QUICKIES 

HA - HA! THE JOKE IS ON US. The first few minutes of "Chinglish" - are somewhat funny, but as the time passes by -- you realize that the play revolves around one variation on one joke. As a result, the characters get lost in translation. It's kinda like watching a sitcom on TV. And that is not my cup of tea. The ending makes no sense in this two dimensional play. Sorry, this one is a waste.

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(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS - KQED))) 

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August 28, 2012

ROBOT & FRANK -- A MASTERPIECE








SHORT TAKES

ROBOT & FRANK – STARS FRANK LANGELLA, JAMES MARSDEN, LIV TYLER AND SUSAN SARANDON

ROBOT & FRANK – opened in San Francisco 2012 at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center, Sundance Kabuki in SF, Landmark’s Albany Twin in Albany, CineArts in Pleasant Hill, Camera 7 in Campbell, Santana Row in San Jose, Palo Alto Square in Palo Alto, Regency in San Rafael. Also opens on August 31st at Santa Cruz, and in Santa Rosa.

This feature film debut of commercial director Jake Schreier was an instant favorite at the Sundance Film Festival and it also screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Here’s the deal: Frank (Frank Langella) is a retired cat burglar. He has two grown kids who are concerned about his well-being. His kids want to place him in a nursing home, but Frank’s son decides on a different option. And the son buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot that is programmed to help Frank get around physically and mentally. But, you’re in for a surprise. Frank is not a dumb minded as you might think and the Robot tries to outfox the retired Frank.

The movie is hilarious and the robot and Frank try to outwit each other. It’s like me trying to figure out how to make a 4-G phone work. By the way Frank does not want the Robot around, and he finds sneaky ways to outwit everyone. He still knows how to steal Jewels.

This movie has tremendous style and the right cast. Its kind of science fiction mixed up with human beings. The Robot is extremely clever. There are plot twists that will surprise the hell out of you. The wonderful Stars are: Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon. “ONE OF THE BEST FILMS THIS YEAR!”

RATING: Four Boxes of Popcorn!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook. He also produced and hosted a long-running Arts-segment on PBS KQED))) 

August 23, 2012

BARBARA COOK AT RRAZZ ROOM - SUBLIME!"









Barbara Cook – Lush and Deeply Romantic!




“Let’s Fall in Love” is the title of her sizzling sexy irresistible special concert event at the Rrazz Room. Cook has survived the stage, concerts and cabaret – and that’s why she is a legend in the entertainment world. Heck, she even did a solo concert at the Metropolitan Opera. Yes, I would say that she is like a Chameleon – she can do everything!

And Talk about “Makin' Whoopee” (Lyrics by Gus Kahn – 1928 from the show, Whoopee!) and Music by Walter Donaldson. Plus Layout: Barbara Cook - really cooks up everything special for you. She takes the old and dreary and dresses them up and compels us to hang on to every note. Cook has the amazing power to control the music. Barbara fully understands restraint. Oh yes – did I mention that the entire set for the evening was Sublime? Of course, her voice is deliciously controlled.

What is there not to love from Barbara in the Rrazz Room? All the great songs are there: Like – “I hadn’t anyone till you and “It Had To be you." And how about the mesmerizing Hoagy Carmichael song W/Lyrics by Ned Washington – “The Nearness of you?” You wanna be stunned? Well, this will do it for you.

Now Barbara Cook really knocks us out with “If I Love Again” (Music by Ben Oakland/Lyrics by P. Murray. Here’s a sample lyric from Cooks fantastic voice: “I often wonder why you came to me. If I love again – it will still be you. I’m so miserable without you – I’m glad you’re here.” O.k. – if Cook’s version of this song doesn’t knock you off of your chair – then you are “Tune Dead”!

NOW PLAYING THRU AUGUST 26 AT THE RRAZZ ROOM

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked- 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))
 

August 14, 2012

WELL DIGGERS DAUGHTER - LUSH, DRAMATIC!



POWER AND INTIMACY IN WELLDIGGERS STORY



Young Lovers get into trouble. Courtesy Photo
A FLICKER BIT

THE WELL DIGGERS DAUGHTER



This fantastic film is made for lovers. And where else could a story get a tight grip on your emotions? And those places are the real locations in Provence, Aubagne, Salon, and other dramatic locations.

All in all everyone in the film gives amazing performances. The breathtaking cinematography literally takes your breath away. This marvelous French Film brings tears and high emotions to the simple story of boy, who meets a childlike girl. The time is the early years of WW 1 takes place of course in France. That makes sense – but what amazed me was the addition of Italian songs as a backdrop. Of course, I loved the music – who wouldn’t? Also fantastic is the glorious landscapes of trees, sunshine and yes the music was beautiful. Who couldn’t fall in love with that atmosphere?

The young man seduces the young girl. He leaves her behind to go to the war. His parents are rich – her parents are not. He made her pregnant – he was not aware.

I won’t give away the ending. Did he die in a plane crash as they say – or did he come home to the girl that he left behind. There are lots of sub plots in the story. Every bit of it is intriguing. Tears welled up in my eyes – and you will most probably do the same.

This is a wonderful moving, beautiful film with great actors and good direction. The movie is utterly irresistible! You’ll fall in love with the seductive pilot. It’s not hard to see why the innocent young woman falls into his trap.  See it on a big screen – or rent a DVD. It’s a “Do Not Miss!” 

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked


 promoted
 

August 12, 2012

MARVIN HAMLISCH - A MAJOR STAR












Courtesy Photo - Marvin Hamlisch








MARVIN HAMLISCH – A MAJOR STAR

MARVIN HAMLISCH through the years has given us such wonderful music. Gee, when he wrote “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” he was just 21 years old (Lesley Gore recording). It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1965. Hamlisch wrote music and songs for Woody Allen’s films such as “Take the Money and Run” among many other treasures.

He also wrote adaptations of Scott Joplin’s ragtime much for the film “The Sting”. He worked with a favorite of his -- Johnny Mathis in live performances on occasions – and Mathis also recorded many of his classic Hamlisch song compositions in the studio.

Hamlisch went on to get awards of all kinds. He had success with the scores for “Ordinary People”, “Sophie’s Choice” and for the film version of “A Chorus Line.” He also composed the score for the 1975 Broadway musical “A Chorus Line” For that he won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

I met him a few times at the magnificent Fairmont Venetian Room. He recently appeared there last year at the “Bay Area Cabaret.” After a brief illness Hamlisch died on Aug. 6, 2012, in Los Angeles, at the age of 68. His music will endure forever. Barbara Streisand praised Hamlisch, stating that it was “his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around.”

At 8’o’clock in the evening (August 8), the lights of 40 Broadway theatres were dimmed for one minute in tribute to Hamlisch. So Sad – and much too soon. It won’t seem like “Old Times anymore!”

A TRIBUTE TO ONE OF THE GREATS! 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS - KQED))) 


http://leehartgraveforallevents.blogspot.com/





 



August 6, 2012

WAR HORSE - A TENDER LOVE STORY




 Pictured: Joey and Topthorn 
Photo by: Brinkhoff/MoGENBURG


 
WAR HORSE IS A TIMELESS LOVE STORY

WAR HORSE (the Stage Play) is truly an epic family show. This marvelous play -- is based on the fantastic novel by Michael Morpurgo. His awesome wonderful story about a young man and his Horse Joey will never leave your mind. 

First I saw the movie, which was magnificent. Now comes along the live version that Stars Joey the Horse. Of course, on the stage you would not expect live horses to be trotting along, but it only takes a few minutes to fall in love with the story. Just look into those big eyes on Joey – and you will be hooked. The Handspring Puppet Company captures the mystery and love between a Boy and his Horse magnificently.

Let me say this. There are no dumb animals. They know more than you think. It’s the Wars that are futile. I don’t really relish the sight of gorgeous Animals and sword-brandishing soldiers charging into the fray of great blasts of machine gun fire. War is a mess – and it should be abolished. I repeat – it’s the humans that are dumb, not the animals.

The lifelike puppets come to life right before your eyes. And when their eyes meet yours. You never forget the connection. And it is the love between a 16-year-old Boy Albert, who gives one of the most moving performances ever seen on the stage. Albert joins the Army to find his ‘Joey’ among the cruelty of war. When the Horses are overworked they just shoot them to put the poor animals to death. Don’t make a mistake about it. The Horse knows what you are about. Just look into those eyes – that tells you what they know.

The show sweeps you away. It’s an absolutely electrifying masterpiece. The breathtaking action sequences will keep you on the edge of your seat.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked- 

NOW ON STAGE AT THE CURRAN THEATRE THRU SEPT. 9TH

 RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!!(highest rating) - trademarked- 

                   Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he Hosted and
produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED////////////


*promoted


August 2, 2012

the EDUCATION of a RAKE -- SEX AND POLITICS



Dangerous carrying on! Courtesy Photo

  the EDUCATION of a RAKE

 a new play about SEX and POLITICS


No need to play Hide and Seek – everything about Sex and Politics will dazzle your eyes and engage your brain in this excellent story written by Williams Bivins. Love, Hate, Conniving, romance, trickery and political intrigue, should be enough to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The provocative Ensemble – Sally Dana, Gabrielle Patacsil and Erick Reid Perform visual miracles. The above named actors play dual roles that are so surprisingly haunting.  You’ll see. Every gesture is an erotic urgency.

Not only is this play brilliantly written, but also Jan Zvaifler superbly directs it. The story will haunt you long after it ends.

The Education of a Rake started out as a modern adaptation of Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale, a proto-feminist story about a knight who, as a result of a sexual indiscretion, must go on a journey to discover what women want.” And when you see this Bivins play, you will Grasp what goes on in this hide and seek tale. Bivins says: “Don’t worry – there are still sexual indiscretions aplenty.”

Central Works is now playing at the Berkeley City Club – thru August 26 @ 2315 Durant Avenue. “It’s a Masterpiece!”

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

NITELIFE – AMAZING LINEUP AT HERBST THEATRE ONE NIGHT ONLY

The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation has been telling you all about the amazing lineup of performers in tonight's “Help is on the Was Xvlll – but you haven’t heard about the amazing parties before and after for those who purchase the party level tickets. We’re grateful to all the sponsor which include – Ketel On Vodka, Don Julio equila, Moreno Sparkling Wines, Layer Cake Wines, Graham’s Six Grapes Ports, Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission Wines and that’s just a sample,  there are Desserts that you will fall in love with. And were told that they have added a lot of hot, sexy, beautiful people. Now you’ve got the formula for an amazingly fun time. Tickets are going very fast!  

 We’ll see you there at the gorgeous Herbst Theatre – next to the Opera House.