Culture Watch

You bet your life

In 2014 I went to the massive, impossibly sprawling Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland (reporting on some of it here). To find the gems in the solo performance genre, you must sit in countless small venues and watch a lot of one-person shows. But you can count on whatever's playing at Edinburgh's Traverse Theater to be top quality. It's... Read more →

Play Time

Love in the age of religious diversity

He is a non-observant Jew, she is an ardent Catholic, and they meet cute. He sees her through the front window of an art gallery in Soho and jumps out of his Uber to meet her. He bumbles awkwardly through an introduction and she, for some inexplicable reason, is charmed. Thus begins writer/director Dan Frischman's dramedy “Sex, Faith, and... Read more →


Pier hosting STEAM innovation expo

Why open an umbrella with your hands when you can create a series of 20-plus chain reactions using science and technology skills to accomplish the same goal? That's the challenge put forth by the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, a highlight of the innovation expo taking place March 12 on the Santa Monica Pier. Students from Santa Monica High... Read more →

Culture Watch

Tempest tossed and stringed inventions

“Tempest Redux” reimagines one of Shakespeare's most beloved and complex plays, now onstage at The Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles. John Farmanesh-Bocca, who ran Shakespeare Santa Monica for 10 years (staging the Bard's classics on a municipal tennis court), is the director and choreographer of this reconstructed rendition of “The... Read more →

Play Time

A funny film about family follies

In the children's nursery song the cheese stands alone. Hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone. In the Jewish home it is the mother who often stands alone, because her children frequently see her as opinionated, pushy, stubborn, and embarrassing. As seen by those children who grow up to be comedians, however, those negative... Read more →

Culture Watch

The Ten Commandments: Take Two

As predicted, it's a laugh a minute at the Ahmanson Theatre, with the body of actor Sean Hayes taken over by God in “An Act of God.” The writer, David Javerbaum, who won 11 Emmy Awards for his work on Jon Stewart's “The Daily Show,” proves his worth as blasphemer in chief, focusing his satirical barbs on the mayhem mankind has made... Read more →

Play Time

Play Time: Big Bang in Barcelona

It all starts with a big bang. Not the astronomical one. The sexual one. An attractive middle-aged Spaniard (Carlos Leal) picks up a blonde American (Betty Gilpin) in a bar in Barcelona and invites her back to his apartment. They are already physically entangled as they enter and they proceed, in the dark, to continue their activities on a... Read more →