Please Don’t Ask About Beckett ‘Plainly’ Resonates

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Becket_2[1]Wendy Graf has a peculiar talent. She writes ‘plain’.

To suggest plain writing is a talent might sound peculiar, to say the least. Where lots of other playwrights work diligently for depth, style, nuance, grandeur, humor, shock or creative word play, Graf’s work hovers somewhere just above surface on many accounts. Which is not to say, that Graf doesn’t strive for those qualities in her writing. But to listen to her script line by line, one might say, ‘not so out of the ordinary’ or ‘normal’ or just ‘plain’.

In Graf’s ‘plain’ however, lies a simplicity that seems to resonate an unmistakable empathy. One only has to look around the room, during a performance at the rest of the audience to witness the phenomenon. People connecting with elementary experiences. Hence why a normal review will only tell half a story.

Ordinary people often do or say or bear extraordinary things. Graf’s plays capitalize on that, leaving the door open for creativity by others in the physical crafting or interpretation, as it often happens with her plays. In this case with direction, staging, costume and mostly the actors who catapult this very quotidian story to a higher calling.

Graf’s latest ‘memory play’, Please Don’t Ask About Beckett, currently being presented by Electric Footlights and making its world premiere at Sacred Fools Black Box Theater is pretty patent. The characters are incredibly recognizable, within an environment more than plausible, inside a story so “now” that it’s almost not worth telling. Except it is.

‘Can parents love a child too much?’ is the question that gets asked over and over.

In Please Don’t Ask About Beckett narrated by Emily (Rachel Seiferth), the twin sister of Beckett (Hunter Garner) the audience encounters a family facing probably the greatest obstacles in the repertoire of relationships. For all that parents Rob (Rob Nagle) and Grace (Deborah Puette) or sibling Emily can do to care for or encourage or protect or save their child/brother Beckett, who cannot get his life together, there is a breathtaking irreconcilable finality about a person and a circumstance that cannot change.

Actor Rob Nagle is exceptional. Nagle has developed a very subtle and highly nuance character in Rob. Deborah Puette showcases one of her stronger performances as Grace. Hunter Garner embodies a free-spirited, charismatic Beckett, underlined by depression and self-criticism. Rachel Seiferth as Emily, is buoyantly expressive as a child growing into a young woman trying desperately to reconcile her love for her brother and wanting to emerge from his shadow.

There are emotionally challenging moments in this play but, they are unfortunately not always realized. Director Kiff Scholl has made a unique and well-decided choice to showcase this piece in the round. Ultimately, however, there are too many instances where actors are turned inward or so far out of peripheral view that one has to struggle to know where characters are. Consequently, Scholl’s use of the space doesn’t always achieve the kind of impact he is seeking.

Gorgeous 1970s costuming by Wendell C. Carmichael as is the set, sound and lighting design respectively by Evan A. Bartoletti, Cricket S. Myers and Kelley Finn.

Now Playing at Sacred Fools Black Box Theater
Presented by Electric Footlights
Written by Wendy Graf
Directed by Kiff Scholl
For more information visit the listing.

L.A. Latina Girl Rock Arrives In San Francisco

gia on the move musicThe East Los Angeles female quartet Stars At Night will be taking their dirty, energetic, punk-psychedlia rock to promote (in a commercial) the San Francisco Latino Film Festival @SFLatinFilm in September.

These fierce Latin-Angelinas headed by lead singer and keyboardist Irene Quiles, drummer Joana Rubio, bass player Elizabeth Banuelos and guitarist Seleste Diaz, are also set to launch an eardrum pounding, celestial thundering new single, Searching, later this year.

Since their formation in 2010 Stars At Night have become a tour de force in LA’s underground scene, with influences that range from Black Sabbath to Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

stars at night

 

San Pedro International Film Festival Celebrates 5th Year

gia on the move films moviesThe San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFFest) celebrates its 5th anniversary presenting one of the South Bay’s largest film festivals from October 6-16, 2016 in San Pedro’s Historic Waterfront District.

The festival will spotlight expanded multimedia programming including art, music and the latest technology innovations in virtual reality.

gia on the move film festivals

October 15 Dark Progressivism: On Rupture and Rebellion reveals the creative and social forces behind some of the most important artists today like Saber, Cryptik, Defer, Big Sleeps, Gajin Fujita, Prime, Patrick Martinez, Chaz Bojórquez,  and Chuey Quintanar.

The festival kicks off October 6th during San Pedro’s First Thursday Artwalk with an art exhibition in conjunction with the documentary Dark Progressivism, directed by Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre.  The film covers LA’s history of murals, tagging and street art born during the urban upheaval of the 80s and 90s. The film screens October 15 as part of an evening of programming presented with the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District in the historic Warner Grand Theatre.*

gia on the move film festivals

October 15 Playing Lecouna, a performance-based tribute to legendary Cuban pianist Ernesto Lecuona.

A screening of Playing Lecuona follows, the stunning documentary film that explores Cuban pianist & composer Ernesto Lecuona’s influence through the lens of three of the maestro’s most well-known jazz pianist descendants:  Chucho Valdés, son of renowned bandleader and composer Bebo Valdés;  Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a Cuban from the generation after Chucho;  and the Dominican Michel Camilo.

October 8th
SPIFFest presents its first tech event with a look at Virtual Reality and its applications in cinema and entertainment, featuring a panel discussion and demo of the latest works by some of today’s top VR innovators including Oscar winning visual affects artist Kevin Mack (What Dreams May Come, 1999)

October 14
Music store Alva’s hosts a music showcase  with innovative master of styles, John Heussenstamm (Surf Punks, Deniece Williams).  Live music follows with his Blues Fusion Trio, featuring special guest jazz pianist Ron Kobayashi (Mel Tormé, Peter Frampton, Tom Scott).

 

Get Your Free Haus Dogs in Pasadena on August 26

gia on the move hot dogs

To commemorate 6 years of delicious dogs, and recent menu additions of six new draught beers, Fosselman’s premium milkshakes and soft-serve, locals and long-time fans are invited to swing by Dog Haus located at 105 N. Hill Ave in Pasadena, California for a free Haus Dog on Friday, August 26th.

Guests can stop by from 11am-10pm and enjoy from a selection of Dog Haus’ seven hot dog creations featuring signature all beef skinless dogs served up on grilled Hawaiian rolls.

Options will include favorites like:

  • Sooo Cali, with arugula, tomato, crispy onions, spicy basil aioli and avocado
  • Downtown Dog, featuring a smoked bacon wrapped dog topped with caramelized onions, pickled peppers, mayo, mustard and ketchup;
  • or the new Free Bird turkey dog, with avocado, ranch, smoked bacon and fresh tomato.

 

Here’s How to Make Sure No Kid Goes Hungry Today

Today’s Goal:
Serve one million pancakes to make an impact in the lives of hungry children across America.

gia on the move

At least one in every five children (over sixteen million) across the U.S. struggles to get the food they need to grow and thrive.

gia on the move pancakesSo today, Tuesday August 23 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., IHOP restaurants and No Kid Hungry will come together again in the fight against child hood hunger. nationwide will offer a short stack of their world-famous buttermilk pancakes for just $1 with 100% of the proceeds benefiting No Kid Hungry.

gia on the move

Participating IHOP Restaurants in the United States

This Band Will ‘Self-Destruct’ on November 18, 2016

“Strap yourselves in … INCOMING!” ~Metallica’s Lars Ulrich

gia on the move music

The 2 CD / 2 Vinyl set of the Grammy® Award winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s first studio album since 2008’s multi-platinum Death Magnetic,  Hardwired…To Self-Destruct is set to release on November 18th via Blackened Recordings and is available for pre-order at Metallica.com

TRACKLISTING
Regular Album (on CD, Vinyl and Digital formats):

Disc One
1. Hardwired
2. Atlas, Rise!
3. Now That We’re Dead
4. Moth Into Flame
5. Am I Savage?
6. Halo On Fire

Disc Two
1. Confusion
2. Dream No More
3. ManUNkind
4. Here Comes Revenge
5. Murder One
6. Spit Out The Bone
Deluxe Version (On CD & Vinyl only):

Disc One
1. Hardwired
2. Atlas, Rise!
3. Now That We’re Dead
4. Moth Into Flame
5. Am I Savage?
6. Halo On Fire

Disc Two
1. Confusion
2. Dream No More
3. ManUNkind
4. Here Comes Revenge
5. Murder One
6. Spit Out The Bone

Disc Three
1. Lords Of Summer
2. Riff Charge (Riff Origins)
3. N.W.O.B.H.M. A.T.M. (Riff Origins)
4. Tin Shot (Riff Origins)
5. Plow (Riff Origins)
6. Sawblade (Riff Origins)
7. RIP (Riff Origins)
8. Lima (Riff Origins)
9. 91 (Riff Origins)
10. MTO (Riff Origins)
11. RL72 (Riff Origins)
12. Frankenstein (Riff Origins)
13. CHI (Riff Origins)
14. X Dust (Riff Origins)

Photo Credit: Herring & Herring

Project Runway’s Nick Verreos Has a ‘Passion for Fashion’

gia on the move project runway fashionFormer Season 2 Project Runway contestant and celebrity fashion designer-turned-author, Nick Verreos is releasing his first book (with a foreword written by pop icon and Project Runway host Tim Gunn),  A Passion for Fashion: Achieving Your Fashion Dreams One Thread at a Time, on August 23, 2017.

Since his Project Runway stint, Verreos has dressed celebrities like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Heidi Klum, Carrie Underwood, and Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin. As a red carpet fashion expert and correspondent, he has reported for E! Entertainment, TV Guide, Style Network, NBC, and CNN International.

In 10 easy-to-read chapters, Verreos debunks common myths and reveals the harsh realities of the fashion industry.  He takes modern fashion professionals through the steps of finding your place and standing out from the pack from being a prospective fashion student, creating a portfolio to land a dream job, launching a new label and how to get your designs on the red carpet.