Just in time for Halloween, Fake Radio’s got your definitive “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast re-enactment and “Carrie, the Killer Musical Experience” is in town for a limited run.
But locally, the first-ever Cuban Art Space West exhibition starts this Saturday, Oct. 17 during the annual Open House at Santa Monica Art Studios at the airport. Featuring 50 to 60 mixed media works, the Cuban Arts Space of New York curates this show, which remains on view through November 21, highlighting established and lesser-known artists from the island.
Among the featured artists is Adrian Rumbaut from Cienfuegos, cofounder of an artists’ collective called El Grupo Punto in Cuba, and Dagoberto Driggs Dumois, who’s from a historically sugar-producing region and uses pieces of abandoned sugar mills and railroad ties from the sugar transport trains in his work.
Programming will include public talks and documentary and feature films such as “The Man of Two Havanas” with an appearance by filmmaker Vivien Weisman, and “Unfinished Spaces” with co-director Alysa Nahmias.
Find all information here http://www.cubanartnews.org/news/popping-up-in-los-angeles-cuban-art-space-west/4725.
Bloody prom day
Although related to the Stephen King book and movie, “Carrie, the Killer Musical Experience” takes a different tack. The main characters are the same, the performers are high-energy, it begins and ends with blood, and there are plenty of special effects to go around.
The majestic, ornate former movie palace, Los Angeles Theatre on South Broadway, which opened with the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights,” is the grand setting for this singular event, the first time it’s been used for a theatrical musical production. Performances run through Nov. 22.
The grand columns, chandeliers, decorated ceilings and walls make for a glamorous entryway to the prom, which becomes the focal point of this musical. All the kids pick on Carrie White, the weird kid (nicknamed Scary White and played by Emily Lopez), whose mother (Misty Cotton) is a religious fanatic. Carrie’s delayed physical development erupts in public, humiliating her and showcasing the first portent of her telekinetic powers.
Sue (Kayla Parker) is the only character who feels guilty for joining the crowd in mercilessly teasing Carrie, but by asking her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom, she hopes to make up for her behavior. Instead, she accidentally sets in motion the tragic events that follow.
Chris (Valerie Rose Curiel), the super snotty mean girl, is going to get back at Sue, who was her best friend until she began sympathizing with Carrie, and she concocts the plot that will completely undo Carrie and lead to the destruction of everyone at the school.
I’ve not read the book or seen the movie, so I asked my plus one to explain the difference. She told me that the movie focused on the mundane aspects of high school life and that the prom wasn’t the central focus as it is here. In the film, Carrie was the strange girl and not very sympathetic. She also mentioned that Stephen King, in an interview, says he never quite understood Sue’s motives – was she really trying to help Carrie or was her kindness intentionally designed to up-end the norm and provoke massive mayhem?
In any event, don’t look for subtleties here, just kick back and let the kids sing and dance their way through the end of their puberty … and their lives. You’ll sit in bleachers looking down on the gym floor, unless you’re among the “senior class,” i.e., ticketholders in chairs in the movable sections on the floor, which get pushed into and pulled back from the stage action throughout the performance.
The costumes, music, singing and dancing are all solid, the special effects are amusing, but don’t be looking for an enlightening theater experience or great character development. It’s just entertainment. Unless, of course, you hated high school … it might remind you of cruel cliques, mean girls and social rejection. Just try not to take it out on anyone else.
Find out more at www.experiencecarrie.com.
Rebooting old-time radio
Fake Radio reinvents old-time radio, the medium that millennials seem to know nothing about (everything’s streaming now, isn’t it?) but one that holds a special place in my heart, having spent my entire professional life in it.
Orson Welles scared the living heck out of America when his Mercury Radio Theatre Troupe fooled listeners into believing there was an actual Martian invasion unfolding in New Jersey. Fake Radio, now in its 11th year, is reenacting the original live 1938 radio production at the Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood.
Adapted from the H.G. Wells novel, the broadcast featured a faux news bulletin format, panicking some listeners, supposedly leading to outraged calls demanding that the FCC to regulate the use of false news as a dramatic tool. Much of this has proven to be an exaggeration, as the audience itself was quite small and it was the media that whipped up the frenzy in the days that followed.
Regardless, this particular radio re-enactment features artistic director/actor/improvisationalist David Koff onstage and directing, plus a troupe of regulars with some surprise celebrity guests, whose past ranks have included George Wendt, Jeff Garlin, Laraine Newman, Fred Willard, Maria Bamford and others.
You’ll be transported to a live taping of an old-time radio show, watching actors read from scripts in front of vintage microphones, with sound effects, music cues, plus commercials and when it’s called for, improvisation.
Come on out; details are here http://www.fakeradio.net.
Sarah A. Spitz spent her career as a producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica and produced freelance arts reports for NPR. She has also written features and reviews for various publications.