First let me show you a gift my friend Chris gave me the first day I published my book Bring a Bag of Ice. I love the brutal honesty of all my friends.
Summer in Los Angeles is ridiculously rocked with entertainment, and I’m pooped. Let’s start with the Hollywood Bowl, which I attended twice last week. First a classical show of movie scores from composers of The Americas, conducted by our amazing Gustavo Dudamel. You can get seats for classical nights for less than the price of a movie, and last Thursday we spent a beautiful night under the stars listening to the scores of Battlestar Galactica, Angels in America, Beasts of the Southern Wild and more.
We returned to the Bowl on Saturday night for an all-star production of Hair, which was fantastic. The cast was lead by Kristin Bell, Hunter Parish of Weeds, and a couple of the Glee girls. The standouts were Amber Riley, the fierce black girl that sings “White Boys,” and the very sexy Benjamin Walker as Berger. We are in a severe drought in California, so it was perfect when the Hair tribe actually conjured rain for the second act of the show. Some of the audience was less than thrilled, but we brought wigs, so our heads stayed dry as the hippies let the sunshine in.
While I’m on live theater, lets go downtown to talk about the shows at The Center Theater Group. Last night we saw Buyer and Cellar, which is a hysterical one man show starring Michael Urie. The Ugly Betty star plays a struggling actor working in Barbra Streisand’s private underground Malibu mall. The play is fiction but the combination of strange truth and great writing make for a very, very funny night.
The complete opposite of good theater is happening next door at The Ahmanson. I love musicals and I’m a huge Queen fan, so we went to see London’s long running production of We Will Rock You. This is one of the worst jacked-up jukebox shows I’ve ever seen, and I can’t warn you enough to avoid this tour at all costs. It is like terrible children’s theater for adults, yet I literally couldn’t figure out what was supposed to be happening through most of it. Apparently people would get into situations with space villains, I couldn’t tell you what or why, and to get out of the predicaments somebody would yell, “We’re gonna rock!” and that would solve the problem. Repeatedly. It is worse than the similarly named Rock of Ages but in space and combined with the annoyance of Cats. Imagine the hell.
If bad theater isn’t your thing, we also caught a horrible art show. We saw the Mike Kelley show at MOCA downtown before it closed and found that it was a huge amount of work, none of which I liked. I suppose he’s “good” because art critics say he is and half of my friends loved it. I felt it was the work of a lazy hoarder. Much of the show looked like he raided a thrift store and then scattered things about the room, which I do in my garage but don’t charge people to enter. He must have been a charming man…to get people to buy into this bullshit.
We have also been checking out some summer movies to avoid the Hollywood heat. We saw the ape movie, which is good, but I preferred the last James Franco movie to the current Keri Russell one. We also saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which is also a very good blockbuster. For something a little more unique I recommend Snowpiercer, starring Tilda Swinton in one of my favorite performances of the year. This movie is totally bizarre, not for everyone, but wonderfully visionary. I would describe it as a post-apocalyptic dark comedy action adventure with amazing sets and costumes, but it’s really just a crazy train ride. We also went to a premiere screening of The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, which opens tomorrow. It’s a feel-good, food-porn, rom-com and I loved it. Two big thumbs up, but make sure you don’t go hungry or it will be a torture film.
I read in the news today that a special education teacher in Oklahoma showed up to her first day of school drunk and without pants. Doesn’t that make you feel better? You are probably not wasted and naked at work, and it’s unlikely your kids are being educated in Oklahoma.