TAGGED WITH BITTER LEMONS

4869333

BETTER THAN OKAY

I laughed pretty much continuously throughout the unimpressively titled Raised by Gays and Turned Out OK!, which surprised me since the narrative I’ve constructed for myself says I don’t like women’s identity issue monologues. For my sins, I was assigned two to review last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. This would be a much easier review to write if I hadn’t, if I could just rehash the Politics of Identity Is Stifling American Discourse rants I’ve been spieling for years. Now...
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The Promise of Happiness

The opening minutes of Murder Blood Bear Story offer a scary tableau: a vital young woman cringes on her knees, making a spiritual obeisance to a potential catastrophe she hopes will save her from despair. There is no bear, not represented onstage except as a projection between the persuasion of an actor and the faith of her audience. But it’s there.This is a play, more than most solo theater pieces one can see at the Hollywood Fringe or elsewhere; it’s a crafted and affecting artistic exploration, ...
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Bitter Lemons' Critics Panel Lineup Set for June 20th at the Fringe [UPDATED]

Okay here’s who we have so far for the Annual Bitter Lemons Critics Panel at the Fringe and it’s an elite and illustrious bunch:Bill RadenFrances Baum NicholsonBob VeriniJason RohrerAnthony ByrnesJulio MartinezThere might be one other mystery guest as well, stay tuned.Though I’m wondering now if Uncle Steven might blackball this event too, considering that it’s being sponsored by a company that has the audacity to pay its critics directly and do it publicly and transparently.Gu...
6994100

The Life and Death Nell

When that famously good-looking man Terence Stamp was offered the role of a drag queen in the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, he became enamored with the idea of “becoming” a beautiful woman. After the makeup artists did their work, he looked in the mirror and was devastated. He asked if that was the best they could do, and this, they ruefully admitted, was that. Stamp’s disappointment was such that he briefly gave up the job. One can’t blame him; a man just isn...
9469358

Sad

I can’t say what was in Robert Caisley’s mind, but his 2011 play Happy (now playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival) strikes me as the sort of thing a writer writes after seeing an Edward Albee play and getting the impression that a terrible party is a sure-fire premise. Two couples gather for dinner, one of them only a month together; the new girlfriend’s a doozy: sexually provocative, maybe crazy, and half the age of her boyfriend, whose staid, married friends are taken aback. It&...
2486908

The Own-Way Faction

Darian Dauchan has one foot in the Hollywood Fringe Festival: he brought two performances of his one-man show Black Sheep, and there’s only one left before he’s done here. It’s tonight at 9:45 at the Complex; you can probably make it after your 8 o’clock show. It’s good enough that I am going to offer some patter for the barker Dauchan needs to hire, or portray, marching up and down Santa Monica Boulevard wearing a sandwich board tomorrow:“Black outsider identity monologues! Get y...
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Chops Embargo

When young Georgian Donna Thomas lost her college fund in her parents’ divorce, she had to get a job at Steak and Ale. There she met a rich customer who gave her a VCR for a birthday present. This was in the 1980s, when a VCR was a big ticket item, so she broke up with her boyfriend and went off on an around-the-world fling with the mysterious businessman. They fell madly in love. They got engaged. He had a crazy ex-wife, but that seemed surmountable. He paid for the twelve thousand dollar engagement ring with...
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A Fun, Uneasy Course

“From tonight, and for the rest of your life, whenever you hear the word ‘good,’ I want you to ask yourself, ‘Good for whom?’ And then check your wallet, because someone’s hand is reaching for it. The moralist is a thief, but he doesn’t have the guts to take your money openly like I do. He is a coward who tries to seduce you to rob yourself on his behalf.” – Jaguar BennettJaguar Bennett has come to town with a one-hour seminar – actually a comic monologue &...
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A Few Things You May Not Know about Steven Leigh Morris

On Monday, grand old man of LA theater critics Steven Leigh Morris published a screed in the LA Weekly damning Bitter Lemons, one of the websites for which I write criticism. Steven Leigh Morris had some harsh words for our policy, known as the Bitter Lemons Imperative, of charging productions to review their work. It may be that Steven Leigh Morris found last week’s equivocal LA Times article insufficiently condemnatory, or it may be that Steven Leigh Morris is actually so incensed that he has to do his ...
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Sense and Sensationalism

This response to a recent LA Weekly editorial by Steven Leigh Morris was sent to Bitter Lemons by a reader who has no pony in the race. She doesn’t live in Los Angeles, nor does she see any LA theater. She just likes a good argument, and dislikes a bad arguer. We asked her whether it would be alright for us to publish her notes, and she said she thought it would be a good idea. So here they are, with a headline for which she shouldn’t be blamed because Jason made it up:Sense and SensationalismbySusan Tan...