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November 30, 2012

DEFENDER OF THE TRUTH, THE AMERICAN WAY, AND THE RIGHT TO GOSSIP


Courtesy Photo


Defender of the truth, the American way, and the right to gossip


THE REALLY FAMOUS DO NOT DIE – They just make other arrangements: For instance, you can attend a Cyril Magnin cheap matinee at A.C.T. for a Christmas Carol. Ooops – they don’t call it the Magnin matinee anymore – it’s just a “Matinee”. How quickly they forget.

SOME WRITERS LIVE ON COFFEE – OTHERS GO OUT! Celeb watching has never been better, than at the Posh Rrazz Room. Everybody who is anybody shows up to have a buffo time. Attitudes are dropped outside the door. Color the place FUN! Especially Sharon McNight in a xmas treat.

FEEL LIKE SEEING A CLASSIC ROMANTIC COMEDY? Well – “Bell, Book and Candle” is just perfect Holiday Entertainment. You will be bewitched, bothered and bewildered. Hey, what do you expect when you fall in love with a witch. She really has some good Witchy things about her, but when she falls in love she might lose her magical powers forever. Remember – The movie version starred Kim Novak and James Stewart. It won a Golden Globe in 1959. I promise that you won’t be bewildered – you’ll just be gassed at the stage play at the San Francisco Playhouse (450 Post Street) above the Farallon Restaurant. Sounds like another Smash hit to me.

NUDE IS GOOD! Well, that’s not exactly true. S.F. wants them to at least put on a fig leaf. The nudies hanging out on Castro Benches (and elsewhere) notice that they are being photographed from the waist down. This really is a “Full Monty” treat. What will Diane “F” think? “Some like it Not!”

On Dec. 10th is another wonderful “Help is on the way” at the Marines Memorial Theater. The program will feature stars from “Book of Mormon” and “The Lion King”. There will be Stars Galore and music to send you on a Baz Lehrmann evening. He has the power to haunt us forever. No, it won’t be there – but I can imagine that he will be.

FUNNY, SEXY, ENGROSSING! Who Dat? Oh, that would be Sharon McNight. She almost knocks us out of the chairs at the Rrazz Room. And what can she do this Xmas? Well, lets see – Oh, I know – How about hanging some Balls. She has plenty of them. Ha, Ha. No, that was not Santa. Oh, and by the way – electrical devices (self pleasuring) are strictly prohibited during the performance. You know – it’s a Xmas show.

If I were to predict – I would say that the best shows in town are -- These movies:  “Lincoln”, “Anna Karenina” (Intoxicating Love story) - and “A Royal Affair” (vibrant and hypnotic! - Best bets on the stage are “Bell, Book and Candle” (Sf Playhouse) – “Sharon McKnight at the Rrazz” – Theatre Rhino is presenting a new John Fisher play at ‘Thick House’. The show is “Slugs and Kicks” – It’s being called “Vibrant and Uplifting!” I’ll be checking it out on Dec. 2nd.

AN ACTRESS is planning to quit show Biz to end world hunger! And how will she do this? Drag her refrigerator around the world? We know who it is, but we won’t tell.

Celebs wanna know – will the Golden Gate Theatre ever open again? And then there is this person of Market Street said:  “Light up the Damn Sign (Golden Gate Sign). It would help that corner come to life again. What’s a couple of bucks to the high and mighty?” – (Request by angered reader that prefers to remain anonymous.) You know – like Shakespeare.

THE SWACKAT is a new clothing look for men. The Turtle Neck is back…so are the Cargo Pants. Oh, and don’t forget The Shacket. It’s a sport coat that looks like a Jacket. And for real new old treat – take a look at the new rage: “Denim Shirt”.

Virgo guys are really stuck on themselves. They are perfectionists and very detail-oriented. Virgo also means that they have big hands, big feet and – well, two out of three ain’t bad!” Ooops…Too much info. We were hoping for three out of three!

It’s Phone Buzz Time. Start the Sexting.  

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

   



  

November 28, 2012

LINCOLN - "ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR"


Daniel Day Lewis is Lincoln. Courtesy photo


Daily Tattler 

HEADLINERS: “The Submission” – “Lincoln” – “Superior Donuts” – “Another Way Home” 

New Conservatory Theater
The Submission

This pulse pounding play brings out thrilling storytelling, and bravura performances. The story is all about backstage hi-jinks on the Broadway stage. Danny (Eric Kerr) has just finished a play. He is overwhelmed by his play. Will it work? He’s a flighty gay playwright. Why is he so tense? Well, here is the reason. He wrote the play using a female as the author of his play. Danny submits his play, using the pen name of Sheleeha G’ntamobi. Yes it’s catchy, but not easy to say. Sheleeha is African American and Danny is a neurotic young playwright. Everything seems to be working between the two, until the female begins to make changes to the script without Danny’s permission. He says: “F—ck it – she starts to reuse the words in the play!”

Here’s the deal. This play within a play is very explosive. More than explosive – it’s leading the play to the edge of the cliff. There is a lot going on between Danny and his boyfriend and Emilie as they sort out themes of racism and identity. Then, there is the friend (Chris) who likes Danny, but is more interested in the black actress. He agrees to not agree about many issues in the play, and off the stage.

The story is profoundly intense – and erotic. I didn’t just sit through this show – I was on the edge of the seat. There is no doubt about it – “The Submission” (the play) is spectacularly compelling and smart.

My only letdown is at the very end. After all the energy in the play – it deflates in the final scene. I think it needs a stronger ending. But I still recommend that you see it. The Actors are great!

They take us on a fascinating journey. Here they are:  Sam Jackson (Emilie), Eric Kerr (Danny), Alex Kirschner (Pete) and Chris Morrell (Trevor).

DIRECTED BY: BEN RANDLE. “Superb!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE

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

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

DANIEL DAY LEWIS IS LINCOLN
(Courtesy Photo at top of Column) 

This movie is probably one of the most impressive movies that you will see about politics. Thanks to Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), Sally Field (Mary Todd Lincoln), David Strathairn, Hal Holbroook, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Stuhlbarg. Take down the confederate flags for these guys.
Daniel Day Lewis is mesmerizing. Never does he overplay in this role. Everyone is glued to his face as he talks to fascinated individuals who cherish every word. I dare you to look away.

However there is two and a half hours of talk from Lincoln and other characters who give their vision of what the USA should be. This is a political movie that should be introduced to High Schools and College kids. The political keenness will reel them in with Lincoln’s brilliant words. It’s a History lesson for the ages.

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!!
(Highest Rating) – trademarked-

Now playing at Theaters around the world
“A Triumph in every Word!”

SUPERIOR DONUTS – YUMMIE
TRACY LETTS IS TRULY A GREAT WRITER and as smarts and clever as usual. This time around, no one gets killed, but he does remind us that our lives are mixed with several variables.  Tracy Lett's story is not as talky, but it sure is colorful. As usual, the casting and the performers are humorous on one hand and on the other it is really heart Wrenching. The story is about a rundown Coffee shop in its last days. Sure a few people still stop by – but that brand new Coffee Shop (Starbucks) down the street looks even better to coffee patrons. And that’s why the business at Superior Donuts is running out of patrons.

This is a very simple play with down to earth language. There is a constant homeless lady – who seems to not ever pay for a cup of Coffee and Donuts. There is a female cop that drops by to make sure that everything is all right. She is sweet on the owner. He wants to sell the tiny coffee place – and the lady cop wants to hug him. It’s as simple as that.

There is a young man who really needs a job. He gets it at Superior Donuts – but the hippie like owner wants to put limits on the kid. The boy wants to spice up the place a little. You know, just to make it more enticing. Well, the owner (who is quite sexy himself) agrees to let the boy move a few things around. You might think that the play will drag you down into the gutter – but no – there is comedy, and there is also sadness.
A strong fight starts in the Donut shop. Yeh – it is pretty amazing that no one really gets hurt. This all happens near the end.

This play leaves you emotionally emotionally satisfied. You can’t be half a mean person all your life. And I think that Tracy Letts knows that. So to compensate – there is plenty of humor in this quirky, inspiring play. I dare you to resist just one donut with a Glaze on it. They ARE Superior!

THE ACTORS ARE TERRIFIC! Here they are: Don Wood, Chris Marsol, Dave Sikula, Shane Rhoades, Vicki Siegel, Ariane Owens, Emmanuel Lee, Shane Fahy and Rob Dario.
ALL TOGHETHER NOW – GRAB THOSE OSCARS!
Now Playing at the Custom Made Theatre
Rating: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

ANOTHER WAY HOME – MAGIC THEATER

Finding your way home is not always easy. The play is 80 minutes long with no intermission. I for one like intermissions. It’s not good for your arteries. But, I did manage to move my legs now and then to keep the circulation going.

This is a story about a wayward son. It all takes place in a summer sleep over camp. The son Joseph (prefers Joey is at Camp Kickapoo. Well, Joey is a very difficult young man. He is in depression, has anxiety disorder. Yes, the young 17-year-old boy is a handful.  Joey is one of those boys that don’t like to be bear hugged at Camp or anywhere. He’s basically angry about everything.

A 20-year-old camp counselor takes a liking to Joey. You may want to feel sorry for Joey, and I suppose that I would also – but could not put up with him. The drama does end on a somewhat happy ending – at least Joey seems to be much better. Or maybe it was just a way to end the story. I was relieved when it was over. I didn’t care much for the talking at the audience thing. Seen it before in other plays and never fell in love with that gimmick.

Good acting by everyone. THEY ARE: Mark Pinter – Kim Martin-Cotton- Daniel Petzoid – Jeremy Kahn – and Riley Krull

Now playing at the Magic Theatre 

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked- 




 






November 12, 2012

ELECTRIFYING! - "THE SUBMISSION"


A Confrontation takes place. Courtesy Photo Lois Tema

DAILY TATTLER

By Lee Hartgrave 

Jeff Talbot has come up with a hot button Drama (directed by Ben Randle) at the New Conservatory Theatre.


This pulse pounding play brings out thrilling storytelling, and bravura performances. The story is all about backstage hi-jinks on the Broadway stage. Danny (Eric Kerr) has just finished a play. He is overwhelmed by his play. Will it work? He’s a flighty gay playwright. Why is he so tense? Well, here is the reason. He wrote the play using a female as the author of his play. Danny submits his play, using the pen name of Sheleeha G’ntamobi. Yes it’s catchy, but not easy to say. Sheleeha is African American and Danny is a neurotic young playwright. Everything seems to be working between the two, until the female begins to make changes to the script without Danny’s permission. He says: “F—ck it – she starts to reuse the words in the play!”

Here’s the deal. This play within a play is very explosive. More than explosive – it’s leading the play to the edge of the cliff. There is a lot going on between Danny and his boyfriend and Emilie as they sort out themes of racism and identity. Then, there is the friend (Chris) who likes Danny, but is more interested in the black actress. He agrees to not agree about many issues in the play, and off the stage.

This play is profoundly intense – and erotic. I didn’t just sit through this show – I was on the edge of the seat. There is no doubt about it – “The Submission” (the play) is spectacularly compelling and smart.

My only letdown is at the very end. After all the energy in the play – it deflates in the final scene. I think it needs a stronger ending. But I still recommend this play. The Actors are great! They take us on a fascinating journey. Here they are:  Sam Jackson (Emilie), Eric Kerr (Danny), Alex Kirschner (Pete) and Chris Morrell (Trevor).

DIRECTED BY: BEN RANDLE. “Superb!”

NOW PLAYING AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE

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

November 8, 2012

HEADLINERS -OZARD-CARUSO-CARMELINA

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 DAILY TATTLER



DATELINE HEADLINERS 
Carley Ozard - Jim Caruso - Carmelina: 42nd Street Moon 


CARLY OZARD – NOT THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

OZARD is on Top of the ‘Hit-O-Meter’. In fact, her show is so good she broke the Meter. Here’s the deal. This musical is not “All About Eve” – well not entirely. But what gets really interesting is when Carly gets on “The Streetcar Named Desire” – and literally bumps into John Waters. Oh my, but I do kid.

Not only does Ozard knock songs out of the lovely Rrazz Room, she also takes us down a surprising evening of dark and light humor. Oh, what a romp. She touches on everything – Gay love, straights, transgenders and everything in-between. Well, maybe NOT everything. OZARD was recently at the Rrazz room – and the applause was deafening. Even that little Pink Man in another paper got a twinge between his legs. And he was sitting right next to me. Naughty boy.

“Born to Be Wild” (Mars Bonfire) is sure up Ozard’s yellow brick road. Here’s a lyric: “He’s going my way. Love me for what I am – not what I try to be.”

Ozard has fun with “New York, New York – It’s a wonderful town! – Ozard: - “Who the hell cares?” To the audience – she throws this at us: “If you slept with anyone to get ahead in show business, raise your hand.” Hands went up right away.

Ozard brings out the best of John Lennon with “Nobody Told Me.” Lyric: (Nobody told me there’d be days like this). Carly ropes us in with ‘Change’ (from a New Brain –William Finn) – “all I’m asking for is Change. I don’t ask for much.”

Hey I could go on forever with this wonderful music delivered by Ozard, but I don’t want to tell you everything. But I will say that Carly Ozard gives us one of the more remarkable musical happenings on the stage today. She is diabolically fun with her sly wit. And boy her musical numbers are beautifully intricate. She has us “solidly hooked!” She ended the evening with her witty “Anyone here from the Marina?” No one answered. Ozard’s response: - “F—k you Marina.” I guess that means that she is off to Broadway. The audience is still laughing. 

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-



Tagged at the Rrazz Room. Jim Caruso and Lee Hartgrave Photo: Desmond Lee









JIM CARUSO’S CAST PARTY     

WANNA HAVE FUN? O.K? – Don’t miss Jim Caruso’s Casting Show. He recently was at the Rrazz Room and I’m sure that he will be back. In L.A. and New York Caruso’s has one of the best variety shows that I’ve ever seen. The S.F. cast is really terrific. Johnathon Poretz sang a fab “Fly Me to the Moon” and then the talented Carly Ozard took over the stage – she is just marvelous. This is just a taste of the Talent in this show. Every show features new talent always. What fun. Believe me…the Rrazz Room will book Jim Caruso again. The audience will demand it.

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

CARMELINA PRECEEDED MAMMA MIA
 What Fun this musical is. If you like the lush sounds of great Broadway melodies, then you’ll love this show. The cast at 42nd Street Moon takes the great lyrics and brings them up to Broadway standards. The show is based on “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell”. The story is very close to “Mama Mia”. Carmelina is one of those shows the captures the musical essence of the Great White Way.

Carmelina is right up there with “My Fair Lady” and “The Bakers Wife”. Do see this show at the Eureka Theatre while you still have a chance. I was amazed at the slick production – plus the set was fantastic. Believe me – you will be Solidly Hooked.

Now playing at the Eureka Theatre
Rating: Three Glasses of Champagne!!! –trademarked-

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








   








November 3, 2012

THE GREEKS INVADE A.C.T. -- RUN FROM THE THEATRE



DAILY TATTLER

By Lee Hartgrave 


ELEKTRA BOMBS AT A.C.T

Electra is an excellent play, but this A.C.T. version is completely destroyed by poor casting. Actually, it is an embarrassment. Olympia Dukakis is over the top. She can’t quite get the ebb and flow of it. She never builds to true emotion – she just kind of stands around.

The audience was mesmerized by boredom. Yep, this Greek Tragedy was the audience. I felt sorry for the famed Rene Augesen as she crawls around on the stage. I won’t bore you about The Greek King, who sacrifices his youngest daughter to the gods.

Yes, a little bunch of people stood up to applaud the actors. Probably relatives. Dukakis doesn’t do a hell of a lot, except to enter from the aisle. Her Arm flaying, is way too much. It’s kind of laughable.

Augesen groveled around on the floor too much. She’s a really great actor, but it did not come across this time. The set was a messy city slum lot that is surrounded by a metal chain-link fence. But wait – that’s not enough – on top of the fence is  barbed wire. And there is junk all over the stage floor.

Best in my opinion, is Caroline Lagerfelt as (Clytemnestra) – as the best actor in the play. She conveys bone-chilling treachery. But, of course, that is what will be her undoing.

In the audience, some actors found the play to be a bad choice.

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

RATING: TWO GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!! -trademarked- 

November 1, 2012

BETTY BUCKLEY -- STERLING PLEASURE! HELP IS ON THE WAY AT MARINES MEMORIAL


DAILY TATTLER 

by Lee Hartgrave


COURTESY PHOTO
BETTY BUCKLEY
Tony Award Actress and singer

Buckley made her Broadway debut in 1969 in the musical 1776 - many called her “The Voice of Broadway.” Her rendition of the song “Memory” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’ made her a huge, huge star.

She played a very touching role of a country singer in Bruce Beresford’s ‘Tender Mercies, in which she sang the song “Over You”. And Buckley will star in the London revival of Jerry Herman’s favorite musical ‘Dear World’ and she will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.

Buckley at San Francisco’s Premiere Niteclub (The Razz Room) really captured the audience. Yes, her voice in some instances is not as strong in some cases. But that happens to all of us – and the audience couldn’t get enough of her.

Buckley’s show is called “Ah Men! The Boys of Broadway.” She has turned the usual ‘Men’s’ songs, into her songs. This is some of them: “Jet Song” form West Side Story” – Maria is always sung by a guy – but not this time. Everything was running smoothly except for this, when Buckley starts to sing “I Won’t Dance” (usually sung by Fred Astaire) – someone in back of me took a flash picture of Buckley. She stopped the song, and demanded that they take the camera away from the person. Well that got settled until later – a Cell Phone rang and rang. That of course did not bode well for Buckley. But she smiled.

The popular “Hey There” hit the spot with these lyrics: “Hey There" (Pajama Game) – better forget him – you with your nose in the air – does it all go through one ear and out the other?”

“Corner of the Sky” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin) – is one of the greats of all time. Buckley brought fresh intimate and sophisticated intonations to the song. And who could wish for more with Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls.) Buckley takes “More I cannot Wish You” and gives the song a new feel and tone. The show is a skillful compelling treat!

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-
Now playing – thru Nov. 4, 2012 at the Rrazz Room.

Here is the brilliant band: Christian Jacob – Piano, Alan Hall –Drums, Peter Barshay – Bass.

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


HELP IS ON THE WAY AT MARINES MEMORIAL

MARY WILSON was recently at the Fairmont Hotel in a fabulous evening. That was a one-time event at the Fairmont – and he was a wonderful trilling evening. But here is more good news. Wilson is going to be part of THE RICHMOND HELP IS ON THE WAY THE THE HOLIDAYS X1. The Star-studded AIDS Benefit Concert & Gala will be on Monday Dec. 10, 2012. The show will feature The Casts of “Book Of Mormon” and disney’s “The Lion King” – including performers…Mary Wilson (a Supreme), Bruce Vilanch (top notch comic), Tim Hockenberry, Spencer Day, Paula West and Connie Champagne. The Perky, dazzling show will be at The Marines Memorial Theatre –609 Sutter St., SF. Tix - 415-273-1620. Cast party follows with premium tickets.
www.helpisontheway.org