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March 27, 2014

RUDOLF BAUER (artist)-WAS ARRESTED BY NAZI'S





Louise (Susi Damilano and Hilla (Stacy Ross) and Bauer (Ron Guttman) 







 
SENSATIONAL BAUER PLAY AT SF PLAYHOUSE - THRILLING ACTING...
SHEER BRILLIANCE!

STUNNING - LIFE AFFIRMING!


BAUER ARRIVED IN NEW YORK CITY 

HE EMIGRATED TO THE UNITED STATES JULY 1939

Then he became somewhat of the man who really wasn't there. He became perplexed. His life is trying to do many things. Bauer is no longer in the mood, so to speak. His wife is trying to be kind to her husband -- but he seems to not have the energy. 

However, winning is not always necessary. Is there a chance that Bauer will go back to his irrational painting? His paintings are stunning -- but Bauer is older now -- and just doesn't seem to have the sizzle. It's not unusual for people to slide away from those that you once loved. And now he has two women in his life. Remember - a heart needs one thing.  

But he has other things on his mind right now. This brilliant new play at the SF Playhouse has brought down the house. And why not - Bauer was a huge abstract artist.  He was thrown into jail by the German Gestapo. The Guggenheim family bribed the officials to let Bauer go.  

The play imagines a reunion for Bauer (Ronald Guttman) & Hilla Rebay (Stacy Ross). For quite a while, Bauer's work was basically unseen for decades. It was shown finally at the Guggenheim. 

Although Louise Bauer(Susi Damilano) and Stacy Ross (Hilla Rebay) got together, it was rough and tumble. Ross expected an unpleasant arrival at Bauer's home. The Tension between both of the women was not exactly pleasant. 
Bauer seems to know who he loves the best - but doesn't seem to let it go. Of course, he is older now -- and he refuses to ever paint again. Down deep he really would love to do that -but it's now just a dream. 

This true story is a work of substantial Technique. Scores are forgotten, and at last - his one work of Art suddenly appears again on the wall. Bauer leaves an air of nightmares on the world stage. It's part thriller and part love story.  

Strange things may lead to magical moments of the year, and dark and unforgettable. Twisted?...yes! Rebellion is on the way in a new era -- but new ways will twist the world - and it will surely untwist you. 

POWERFUL ACTING
The Sensation of the year! 

Now Playing at the SF Playhouse on Post Street 

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne***** (highest rating) 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he also contributed many Entertainment segments on PBS KQED 7- years)))







   







March 24, 2014

HIGH TIMES TODAY! CARYL CHURCHILL'S 'TOP GIRLS'

SHE'S A TOUGH ONE
Photo by Jay Yamada

TOP GIRLS BY 
Caryl Churchill 

'HIGH TIMES' TODAY - DIRECTED BY LAURA LUNDY-PAINE

By Lee Hartgrave (short take) 

Oh my Gosh. I should have known better. I have to admit that I never liked Churchill's stories. For one thing she has the actors talking over each other. Yep, she's a feminist all right, and I could say that her plays were dramatically boring. And I will say it. 

A friend that sat next to me whispered to me: "This is God Awful". Well there was no escape. We were trapped. It was all about women getting jobs. The babble was enough to hypnotize anyone. Talk, talk, talk over and over again. I think Caryl thinks that she was Margaret Thatcher. You know (Butch)! 

Maybe the play might be better as a book. Some people will somehow fall in love with lots and lots of words. A play you set aside and pick up later might be interesting - but to have to sit and listen for three hours or more is way too much. 

O.K - lets get to the best part. Thank God for the Great acting. Even though the talking over each other is annoying - the talent was fantastic. And I will tell you who they are below. 

NOW PLAYING AT THE CUSTOM MADE THEATRE....

THE FANTASTIC ACTORS ARE: Cary Cronholm Rose, Cat Luedtke, Mimu Tsujimura, Katie Robbins, Monica Capuccini, Carina Lastimosa Salazar and Megan Putnam. Supreme Actors for the Ages. How they managed I'll never know. If it wasn't for the talent on the stage I would have left. 

RATING FOR THE PLAY: ** (Two Stars) 

RATING FOR THE ACTORS****(Four Stars) 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook - and he also produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED -7 years))) 



March 18, 2014

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL -Lee Hartgrave


Courtesy Photo 





THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
HAS YOU ON THE EDGE - A SHEER 
CLASSIC 

If you think that this movie is not Great Film, then you don't understand charming, colorful lovers and despair. Believe me - this is one of the greatest movies to hit the screen.

Wes Anderson is probably one of the greatest film makers ever. He has brought gorgeous movements to the screen. Anderson keeps us in the seat. 

Ralph Fiennes is so pompous that he almost explodes. Formal dining is certainly right here at "The Grand". Lush drapes hug the windows. Pull up a fabulous chair and look like a snob. Hey look - someone is trying to make out with you. 

It is so Downton Abbey. Just like the 'Grand'. Of course - everyone that stays there is beyond being 'recent renovation'. The scenes are not just marvelously grandiose proportions -- they are sensational. Of course you don't do all the work -- that is for the 'help' -- they bring the soup to you. Grand it is! 

The bright colors of the building send you on a sentimental journey. And guess what? - someone steals a famous painting. Oh, by the way, you can flaunt fashion-they loved Purple in those times. Yes, they do wear extravagant 100 carats of polished elegant gold finished rings. The colors are breathtaking. Feel free to flaunt. I do. 

The Cast is the best I have seen in years - and the come back is sensational. They are: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel and Jude Law. All of them are shockingly perfect. But then, I'm just a baggage handler (just kidding). 

Everything you see is way over the top in this quirky and thrilling movie. You'll be excited with the chilling plot of deceit and sneakiness. Oh - and to cheer you up - there is a Russian that does a dance. Was it Putin? Could be. Ha, Ha...Nope! He's too busy in another town. 

There is Greed, there is great fun and terrific creativity. Being wacky is what I like - there is enough room for everyone. You can book them right now. Ralph Fiennes whimsical comedy is amazingly perfect. Lets put it this way - The Grand Budapest Hotel - will make you hot. Try it!

HERE IS THE WHIMSICAL AND THRILLING CAST: 

Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jess Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori. WOW! - what a show!  

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne*****

NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook - and he also produced a long running Arts Segment on PBS KQED - 7-years))) 









March 10, 2014

CRYSTAL SPRINGS - COMPLETELY GRIPPING






Jenna (Siobhan FitzGerald and Mia (Susan Shay)
Photo by David Allen 
HEADLINERS........

'CRYSTAL SPRINGS' 

'LOVE AND DEMONS' 








"CRYSTAL SPRINGS" SURE IS MAKING A SPLASH AT THE EUREKA THEATRE - prior to a British production directed by Anna Jordan - a successful London Director

The play is based on actual events. It's an all too familiar story of cyber bullying. The play kinda borrowed from Harold Pinter's "Betrayal". The story is told in reverse. So there might be some confusion. The climax comes early and keeps the audience on the edge of the seat - but  landing is soft. 

The all female cast does excellent work in bringing the varied characters to life. All give effective performances, but you will have to keep attention to the compassionate detail. 

Crystal Springs brings to the San Francisco Stage stories that evoke many intense moments. Kathy Rucker a local playwright shows great promise. This is an Hour worth seeing.

HERE ARE THE 'POWERHOUSE' ACTORS: Sally Clawson, Siobhan Fitzgerald, Marissa Keltie, Heather Rolbinson, Monica Ammerman, Amy Prosser, Susan Shay, and Lisa-Marie Newton. Stage manager - Marie Shell. 

Kathy Rucker, Playwright
Anna Jordan, Director 

A WORLD PREMIERE  Plays through March 23, 2014 

Rating: Three Glasses of Champagne***(stars)

LOVE AND DEMONS 
ON FILM FEATURING LOCAL 
CAST AND MUSICIANS 

La La Hoop De Doo -- A local San Francisco film Comedy features Local Cast and Musicians. JP Allen's new dark film. Yes...it's a comedy that puts everyone on the screen headed on a collision course. 

The filming is done in spectacular locations in and about Mount Tamalpais and San Francisco. I never knew that both locations were that stunning. Geez, I even thought that there was Fresh Blue Musk rafting around the Theater. But a women in front of me spilled all of her popcorn on the floor. Women do get jittery don't they? Hey, it's just musk. 

The outstanding performances and music (even singing) is really and truly compassionate. Its O.K. - It's just heavy breathing.  Oh sure, there was a little sniffing of something that made them overwhelmed in the sex department. This movie knows how to "Rouse and Break Hearts". I think you get the drift. 

Ooops -- there are a couple of Demons that weave temptation, violence and some out of bounds drugs. O.K. - throw in a collision course. I think this movie is absolutely the funniest comedy in a long time.  And lots of it goes along beaches and trees and a lot of breathless fun. This sure as hell is a fascinating script. You know how hot and bothered you can get. 

JP Allen's "Love and Demons" will be on the Opera Plaza on Van Ness for a one week run. Opening night (4/14).

This Theatrical Premiere stars: - Director/actor JP Allen, actors Chris Pflekuger, Lucia Frangione, Amica Skulstad Brown, and Musicians Rossana Fiero, and John Dole. They will all be in attendance on opening night - March 14 thru 20-2014 - 7pm show at Opera Plaza on Van Ness Street  

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne****

LOVE IS SO DANGEROUS, DON'T YOU THINK? 
                            














"CRYSTAL SPRINGS" SURE IS MAKING A SPLASH AT THE EUREKA THEATRE - prior to a British production directed by Anna Jordan - a successful London Director

The play is based on actual events. It's an all too familiar story of cyber bullying. The play kinda borrowed from Harold Pinter's "Betrayal". The story is told in reverse. So there might be some confusion. The climax comes early and keeps the audience on the edge of the seat - but  landing is soft. 

The all female cast does excellent work in bringing the varied characters to life. All give effective performances, but you will have to keep attention to the compassionate detail. 

Crystal Springs brings to the San Francisco Stage stories that evoke many intense moments. Kathy Rucker a local playwright shows great promise. This is an Hour worth seeing.

HERE ARE THE 'POWERHOUSE' ACTORS: Sally Clawson, Siobhan Fitzgerald, Marissa Keltie, Heather Rolbinson, Monica Ammerman, Amy Prosser, Susan Shay, and Lisa-Marie Newton. Stage manager - Marie Shell. 

Kathy Rucker, Playwright
Anna Jordan, Director 

A WORLD PREMIERE  Plays through March 23, 2014 

Rating: Three Glasses of Champagne***(stars)

LOVE AND DEMONS 
ON FILM FEATURING LOCAL 
CAST AND MUSICIANS 

La La Hoop De Doo -- A local San Francisco film Comedy features Local Cast and Musicians. JP Allen's new dark film. Yes...it's a comedy that puts everyone on the screen headed on a collision course. 

The filming is done in spectacular locations in and about Mount Tamalpais and San Francisco. I never knew that both locations were that stunning. Geez, I even thought that there was Fresh Blue Musk rafting around the Theater. But a women in front of me spilled all of her popcorn on the floor. Women do get jittery don't they? Hey, it's just musk. 

The outstanding performances and music (even singing) is really and truly compassionate. Its O.K. - It's just heavy breathing.  Oh sure, there was a little sniffing of something that made them overwhelmed in the sex department. This movie knows how to "Rouse and Break Hearts". I think you get the drift. 

Ooops -- there are a couple of Demons that weave temptation, violence and some out of bounds drugs. O.K. - throw in a collision course. I think this movie is absolutely the funniest comedy in a long time.  And lots of it goes along beaches and trees and a lot of breathless fun. This sure as hell is a fascinating script. You know how hot and bothered you can get. 

JP Allen's "Love and Demons" will be on the Opera Plaza on Van Ness for a one week run. Opening night (4/14).

This Theatrical Premiere stars: - Director/actor JP Allen, actors Chris Pflekuger, Lucia Frangione, Amica Skulstad Brown, and Musicians Rossana Fiero, and John Dole. They will all be in attendance on opening night - March 14, 2014 - 7pm show.  

RATING: Four Glasses of Champagne****

LOVE IS SO DANGEROUS, DON'T YOU THINK? 
                            
Now Playing at the Eureka Theatre

RATING: Four Stars****and Four Glasses of Champagne!!!!


















March 7, 2014

MOMMIE QUEEREST IS FULL OF ENERGY


GUERRILLA REP AND DIVAfest present

MOMMIE QUEEREST -She
Certainly has a bundle of creative sparks 

Hey, if you're looking to spend an evening out with friends, having a few drinks and shouting out hilarious jokes about situations- then Mommie is better than Joan Crawford. 

Mommy Queerest is kind of like"Alice in Wonderland" -- only this young teenager (Kat) finds out that the yellow brick road is not the road that Kat had intended. What happened? Well her Ruby slippers got a little rusty when Kat found out that Mommy found out eventually that they are both lesbians. 

Kat (the stand-up comic) gives the audience the most hilarious evening of coming-out that I have ever seen and heard. The full house audience was bent over with laughter. 

Kat Evasco and John Caldon has produced dozens of new works between the two geniuses. Caldon is the co-writer and director of 'Mommy". He has expanded Kat's wildly funny solo evening evenings. Evasco is all of this: She is a Filipina lesbian, gay Christian, and a survivor -- and one hell of a talent. 

This fabulous evening of entertainment by Kat Evasco. She and Mom are braced for the night. Kat - the Lesbian daughter and her closed Lesbian Mom reclaim their sexuality. Now they have decided to celebrate sexuality. IT'S A COMING OUT EVENING! One that you won't forget. Hurry - the evening ends on March 29th at 8pm - Fridays & Saturdays at Exit Theatre. 

THE GLORIOUS RUBY SLIPPERS TEAM: Kat Evasco (co-writer/performer), John Caldon (co-writer/director), Julien Elstob, has designed the lighting and for many Theaters. Sound Design is by Alejandro D. Acosta, Ryan Marchand is a movement and theater artist and veteran theater producer Joan Osato is the production advisor and tour manager. 

Highest Rating: Five Glasses of Champagne*****

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook. He also produced many Theater articles to PBS KQED 7-years)))








March 5, 2014

YELLOW IS MELLOW -





HUNK IS THE NEW YELLOW

How about this? What starts out as a cozy little family turns out to be not what we would expect. During the full moon - Andrew Nance, with his Southern Drawl, gets hugs and kisses from his wife. But does he know that his wife has been cheating on him? 

There are family secrets, and I'm not talking Jewels. One is the wife of the family. She cheats on her hunky hubby (bad girl). The good-looking son is a hunk of a football player. Suddenly he becomes very sick. 

There are many problems in this household- and they have to step carefully over the rattlesnake around the house. She's a soul Nurse - she thinks. The woman (a real bitch) wants to turn everyone around in the neighborhood into what she wants. Talk about a real witch. She is what has been breaking up an entire household. 

Damon Matthews (Dayne) is the football hunk. And, no doubt about it - he really is one. Ali Haas (Gracie) is his sister. She can't stop talking. Andrew Nance (Bobby) is one of the best Actors around. He is perfect for this play. Linsay Rousseau (Timothea) is notable and scary with her witchcraft. Maurice Andre' San-Chez (Kendall) couldn't be better as the bubbly friend that moves in with the used to be perfect family. The Mother (Dan Zook) made a mistake in this cozy house. She cheated on her hubbie. Everyone in this cast is memorable. It's exciting entertainment performed by an exceptional blaze of genius theatre-going. 

The play is not all Sad -- there is some cheeky humor for the whole family. All in all, the Del Shores play is undeniably gripping. 

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne***** (highest rating) 

AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE 






March 4, 2014

NAPOLI -- ELEGANTLY PRODUCED AT A.C.T.



by Lee Hartgrave
NAPOLI LOVES TO PARTY

The Italians and their religious routes are faithfully-driven to patron saints. That's where you'll find all kinds of Teatro Festivals and Italia affairs. 

Hoards of curious people drop by for many favors. Oh yes, the Italians are so giving. Even the poor. 

However, they have many secrets to keep to themselves. The most spectacular events are in the outdoors. Italians don't miss the passion plays and events in the streets and don't forget the Pasta. They all gather to witness the phenomenon. Eating that is. 

NAPOLI at A.C.T. is a marvelous wonder. The Italian families have suffered a lot. They have been ravaged by war - especially by a World War. Now it's going to be their turn make happy. 

Even though the family has little food and very tired looking clothes, the comedia del arte bends the audience over with laughter. In the first act there is a very drab set. They have little money, but the Mother hides what she can find, so that she can give her clan some changes in life. 

ACT TWO: Things are different. At least for awhile. Suddenly the home looks like they came across a palace. Where did they get all that money? You'll have to find that out. The plot is very interesting. Stars are born -- Wow! 

Happy moments in Napoli seemingly help neighbors. Suddenly the mother has made the house look stunning and money is rolling along. The play is a 'Tad' long -- but the now high brow Italians keep their secrets. The curious want to know, where did all the money come from? The Mother arranges to get around all of the nosey people. Even the husband wonders where all the money came from. He is very, very suspicious man. 

This exhilarating and witty play will stick with your mind for weeks. All of the Italians around come to see the new refreshed home. They Drink, they Party -- and take advantage of some things in the house. People will do that - but the minutes fly by, with comic Genius.  

Enjoy "Napoli" -- this play is great fun- the patron saints are watching. Hail to the Italians. They will stir up much flurry. You can bet on it!  

THE CAPTIVATING TALENTED CAST: Marco Barricelli, Seana McKenna, Nick Gabriel, Blair Busbee, Dion Macciacito, York Walker, Mike Ryan, Anthony Fusco, Sharon Lockwood, Lisa Kitchens, Gabe Marin, Gregory Wallace, Aaron Moreland, Lateefah Holder, Danielle Frimer, Kemiyondo Coutinh, Asher Grodman, and Dillon Heape.

RATING: Five Glasses of Champagne*****
(highest rating) 

By Eduardo DeFilippo
Directed by Mark Rucker