By James Haro
I guess I can’t get enough alcohol.
After spending most of Monday pouring Stella Artois and daiquiris down my gullet, I’m now writing this post in Pasadena’s own “Barney’s Beanery” for some Happy Hour action. More than anything I’m avoiding going home since California Edison decided that today was a good day to turn off all the power in my neighborhood. Not only is Barney’s air conditioned and a place I can grab a cold one, they also have free wi-fi. (Mmm, just received my Sierra Nevada and it sure tastes nice.) I also figure I should enjoy a little of what Pasadena has to offer while I’m still here. Come Thursday at 9pm I’ll be on a plane back East, first a few days in NY and then back to Philly to move into my new studio apartment! (These chicken fingers are pretty huge. Oh man! They’re also hotter than the sun. I’ll let them cool a bit.) So, here’s this month’s offerings of theatre themed/hang-over implied reflections.
Let’s open the lid again…
#LAthtr Finally, after finding time to indulge in my home town’s theatre scene, I have to say that I’m coming away from this summer satisfied, hopeful, and inspired. I dove into the issue of whether or not LA was a theater town in a previous post but without much personal experience to back it up with. However, now that I’ve been dazzled, I can say without hesitance that a few LA companies have left me impressed and hungry. Firstly there’s Boston Court. Of course I’m hired to write in this space, and I was brought on as a production intern for the summer, so I can’t speak all that objectively. However, I feel lucky as hell to have had the opportunity to arrive every day through the gates of their state of the art performing arts center located in Pasadena on Mentor Ave and converse with the people that keep that place alive and welcoming (I’ll delve more into my time at BC in another post).
Then there’s my first LA theater home, Circle X. I was able to join them in their shared Atwater Village space for the August edition of their now monthly offering, Freak Machine. The atmosphere was familiar, the space was beautiful and large, the people were warm and crass and hilarious as always. Freak Machine was really really really fun. It’s great to see who is brave enough to sign up for 5 minutes worth of stage time. If you can catch September’s on the last Monday of the month, do it. You never forget your first and Circle X will always have a special place in my heart. Another company I was lucky enough to patronize was Coeurage and their production of “Trouble With Words.” As you may know, Coeurage advertised as THE only pay what you want modeled theatre company in LA. I was more than happy to drop about $20 ($10 for ticket and $10 in drinks and tips) at the Actors Circle studio on Santa Monica. And then there was Rouge Machine, the current apple of my eye. I won’t say much since I already wrote glowingly about their production of Blackbird, but I’ll just stay that that production rivals the best productions I’ve seen in the east. Of the theatre companies in LA I have no affiliation with, Rogue Machine is at the top of my list of theaters to keep frequenting (just like Theatre Exile in Philly and SoHo Rep in NY). Thanks Los Angeles theatre! I believe in your artists, your leaders, your vision, your companies, your productions, and your rightful place in the discussion of legitimate theatre towns.
(The chicken fingers were delicious. I’ve since moved forward with what are called “Irish Nachos.”)
The Curtain Speech The recorded pre-show announcement is something I’ve only previously come across on Broadway. In LA however I sat through a few and I can’t say I minded them very much. I know there is a preference, especially for smaller companies, to inject a personal touch into the experience of going to the theatre. However, there was something settling about hearing a disembodied voice telling us what we were about to see and who the company was and ordering us to silence their devices. It’s certainly not a sinister way of going about things. It’s official, just as professional as a curtain speech filled with “um”s, awkward pleas for donations, and bad jokes or staged bits. The curtain speech is not something that should be done away with, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s strage to hear people bash the recorded pre-show announcement like its affront to them personally. I think there is a place for both.
…So the “Irish Nachos” were just nachos with the chips replaced with potato wedges. I’m not complaining but the choice was quite appropriate for a tongue in cheek monthly post with implied vomit references. Anyway, this will be the last entry for a while where I’m actually sitting in the Pacific time zone. Anyway, I hope this wasn’t too messy. I have a brand new school year to go back to in a few which leaves me pretty antsy and a bit nauseous.
Wait, one more heave…
Actually, this is just something that made me really happy and in lieu of my pending travel I thought it was right to share.
See you again soon, LA!
Alright, I’m done.
James Haro is a Los Angeles native currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia, seeking his BS in Entertainment and Arts Management, Theatre Concentration. He co-operates a blog at AngryPatrons.com and produces/co-hosts the podcasts on ANGRY PATRONS RADIO. Episode #Tres of Rant&Banter (w/ Camille Schenkkan) is NOW UP! (Click here) OR, subscribe to us on iTunes. New feature, the Starving Artist Interviews, are also available HERE.