A pot-inspired burlesque show, a salon-style story, an art and song event, a benefit supporting our local Repertory company, and a pay-what-you-can contemporary classical concert are coming soon to a venue near you.

It’s high time you got yourself out to catch “Marijuana Madness,” an original burlesque show that showcases the sexy and suggestive talents of dancers and singers telling the story of the hysteria behind reefer madness.

It’s happening TONIGHT at Harvelle’s, the oldest live music venue in Santa Monica. Prepare to be transported back to 1937, when National Marijuana Prohibition was written into American law.

Marijuana Madness recounts the true story of Marijuana Prohibition and the musicians targeted by it, using burlesque to parody the ludicrous claims about the use of cannabis.

Once written into law, a decade-long mass propaganda campaign emphasized (often hilariously) how the substance affected moral decisions and encouraged debauchery.

Exposing these falsehoods (and themselves) will be Miss Dakota, world-renowned burlesque dancer who embodies the dangerous allure that anti-marijuana propagandists warned against. Meet Miss Marquez, who embraces the culture with her outlandish cannabis-themed wardrobe and the billowing clouds of smoke that envelop her signature appearances around town. And tying together the narrative is award-winning burlesque emcee, Tito Bonito (aka Cuban Missile Crisis), 2017 winner of the “most Comedic” award at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. They’ll be accompanied by the Mad Reeefers jazz band.

You need to be a member of Grassfed LA to attend, so visit https://www.grassfed.la for membership and ticket info. Harvelle’s is located at 1432 Fourth Street.



Unless you were raised strictly Catholic, nobody does guilt like us Jews. So, meet the millennials representing the next generation of Jewish theatre artists exploring the theme of guilt at The Braid, home to The Jewish Women’s Theatre and NEXT@The Braid.

“Guilty Parties” presents the writing, acting and artistic talents of comedienne Judy Carter, actors Chelsea London Lloyd, Nadege August, Nathan Bock, and Rosie Moss, who tell stories about their struggles to survive guilt.

Trained by professionals, the cohort was supported by a two-year, $150,000 Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

“Guilt is universal,” said Abbe Meryl Feder, NEXT’s producer. “As a team, we explored whether moral dilemmas today are any different from those of our parents, our grandparents. Even if the issues today are different, living with consequences of our life choices are perpetual. That’s what we wanted to delve into through art, and through a Jewish lens.”

The Gallery@The Braid offers accompanying artworks by millennials, including Santa Monica born oil painter Veronica Dimitroy: environmental activist painter Karey Kessler; mixed media artist Emily Elisa Halperin; Natalia Zofia Szaniawski and her emotional depiction of boy/girl sexuality; Daphna Shull’s “Bullshit,” inspired by Emma Gonzales, the Parkland mass shooting survivor; 18-year old Alex Treisman, who paints young women gazing into the future and wondering if their dreams are just out of reach; mixed media artist Mary Strange Blossom who has created a series about the traumas and trials; and video artist and animator Olga Guse.

Performances take place May 5—16 at The Braid, 2912 Colorado Ave. #102 in Santa Monica and in several locations throughout the Los Angeles area. For a complete listing locations, dates, and ticket pricing. Visit: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org.



Santa Monica Repertory Theatre does a whole lot with not much. You can make a measurable difference to their upcoming season of plays and staged readings by attending an intimate benefit, “Love is a Stage,” where SM Rep will reveal their 2018 Summer Reading series, performing excerpts from three of the plays, Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m.

There’ll be light bites, beer and wine, a silent auction and a raffle; proceeds will help support and expand the company’s Artistic and Educational programming. Tickets are just $50, and the benefit takes place at The Ripped Bodice in Culver City. Parking’s easy in Culver City’s public lots, or try the train! It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Expo Culver City station.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/love-is-a-stage-tickets-44692372088 Get tickets here.



Kaleidoscope is that mythical creature, a chamber orchestra with no conductor, frequently featuring compositions by living composers, and offering pay-what-you can seats.

On Sunday, April 29, at the sonically superb and architecturally exquisite First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, Kaleidscope presents a matinee concert (2 p.m.) with works by millennial composers Katherine Balch, David Hertzberg and the classic Symphony No. 5 by Dmitri Shostakovich.

Balch has a Masters Degree in Music from Yale, and is the first woman to be named Composer in Residence for the California Symphony. Commissioned by many global orchestras, her compositions create sonic environments. Kaleidoscope will perform the West Coast Premiere of her piece, “Responding to the Waves.”

David Hertzberg is an acclaimed opera and orchestral composer. Born in L.A., his scores are noted for their color and sonority. He has been likened to a 21st Century Ravel. “Spectre of the Spheres” is also a West Coast Premiere for Kaleidoscope.

Shostakovich received a 30-minute standing ovation for Symphony No. 5 when it premiered in Leningrad in 1937.

Kaleidoscope is all about sharing music with the community; find out more here: http://www.kco.la/about/.

Sarah A. Spitz is an award-winning public radio producer, now retired from KCRW, where she also produced arts stories for NPR. She writes features and reviews for various print and online publications.