This was another one of those weeks when I couldn’t get out, but thankfully my inbox is bursting at the seams with upcoming events worth sharing.

I saw this film at an advance screening and it finally opens on Friday, Sept. 9 at ArcLight Hollywood and the Landmark in West L.A.

A documentary that will simultaneously engage and enrage you, “Author: The JT Leroy Story” reveals the person behind either one of the greatest literary hoaxes ever or one of the longest running performance art acts ever created.

Laura Albert, a 40-year old punk rocker and telephone sex worker, posed as a drug addicted boy, with a sordid history, who worked as a prostitute and had AIDs. “He” had been calling a San Francisco crisis hotline (identifying himself as “Terminator”) for 3 years with these stories. Encouraged by the helpline therapist to write his experiences as a means of healing, Albert created the character JT Leroy and writing in JT’s voice, became a literary sensation.

Not only did Albert as JT get writing assignments from prestigious magazines, she became part of the glitterati culture, attending rock shows, fashion events, film festivals and more dressed as the sexually ambiguous and mysterious JT. Trying to understand how she kept this ruse up for more than a decade drove director Jeff Feuerzeig to make this movie.
It’s worth your time. Watch the trailer here:

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/authorthejtleroystory/

AT THE BROAD STAGE

Monologist Mike Daisey came into fame with a documentary story on public radio’s “This American Life” about going to China to uncover Apple’s alleged exploitation of factory workers. Its authenticity was later questioned as certain facts turned out to be unsubstantiated or flat out lies. Daisey turned that experience into a copyright-free, globally-produced stage play called “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”

Now he’s coming to The Broad Stage in Santa Monica with his one-man show, “The Trump Card” in which he takes on the self-mythologizing Presidential candidate, uncovering what makes Donald tick and how he invented himself as a new American archetype – the rich man famous exclusively for being rich. Of course, it’s also an examination of the corrupted state of the American Dream.

Following a sold-out run in New York, Daisey performs the show one night only, Thursday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. Details and tickets at: http://www.thebroadstage.com.

DIAVOLO

Also at the Broad, the gravity-defying dance company Diavolo returns by popular demand. Famed for their style of “architecture in motion” they reprise a company favorite and debut a new full-length work.

“Trajectoire,” created in 1999, is described as a struggle to find the performers’ balance on a voyage of destiny and destination, celebrating the transcendence of the human soul against all odds. The new work, “Passengers” takes place on and around a giant morphing staircase with multiple doors, passageways and shifting surfaces, reckoning the tenuous balance between driving and being driven.

There are four performances, Sept. 23 – 25, and the Sunday matinee offers family discounts – buy one ticket and get the second for kids up to 17 at half price. Again, visit http://www.thebroadstage.com for details.

DREAM ORCHESTRA

And beginning Sept. 17, the Dream Orchestra under the baton of conductor Daniel Suk takes up residence at The Broad Stage for its fifth year, with seven concerts in their “Symphonic Season” running through June 2017. The opening concert features guest artist, the 15-year-old piano phenom Ray Ushikubo, who will perform Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The program includes Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2. More here: www.dreamorchestra.org.

AT THE BRAID

For the past seven years, a handful of women with Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) have been collecting personal stories from more than 175 women rabbis across the globe to discover, preserve and communicate the changes in Jewish life that have taken place since the first American woman rabbi was ordained in 1972.

Now some of these stories are being told in in a fully-cast stage play called “Stories From the Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed!” about the pioneering women who broke down traditional barriers to become rabbis.

Ronda Spinak, artistic director of JWT says,  “Many powerful stories of being counted, determination, and issues of prayer, ritual and motherhood are explored on stage in this funny, poignant, insightful play that chronicles the true stories of some of L.A.’s most beloved women rabbis—including Sharon Brous, Denise Eger, Laura Geller and Naomi Levy. In their own words, these courageous, groundbreakers describe the obstacles that they had to overcome to break the ‘stained-glass’ ceiling.”

The production takes place Thursday, September 8 – Sunday, September 18 at the Braid Performance Center and Art Space, featuring post-show talk-backs with some of the featured rabbis. Visit www.jewishwomenstheatre.org for specific dates and times. The Braid is located at 2912 Colorado Ave., Suite 102. Tickets are $40 and include a dessert buffet.

THE DANCER WHO WALKED AWAY

On Friday, Sept. 9, Laemmle’s Monica Film Center will begin screening “Dancer,” an immersive personal portrait of Sergei Polunin, the Ukrainian bad boy of ballet, who became the youngest principal dancer ever at the British Royal Ballet. Described as the James Dean of ballet, he was explosive, brilliant, a powerful virtuoso who took the dance world by storm.

But at the tender age of 25, at the peak of his success, he walked away from the dance world. The documentary follows his career, his life, his choices and his challenges.

View the trailer here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDWEAywygU0. Sergei Polunin will be doing a Q&A in person at select screenings in Santa Monica and Pasadena. For details and tickets visit: https://www.laemmle.com/.

By Sarah A. Spitz

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 print and online publications. Contact her at culturewatch@www.smdp.com