TAGGED WITH THEATER CRITICISM

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The Bitter Lemons Imperative (BLI): An Alternative to the Crisis in Theater Coverage

Enough with the initiatives and the proposals and the supplemental whatevers, this is an emergency, a crisis, an imperative, hence: The Bitter Lemons Imperative (BLI).What is it?Simply put, if a producer or a theater company wants their show reviewed, they can get it reviewed, guaranteed, but it will cost them $150 per review and that review will be originally published at Bitter Lemons.Now before your heads explode, let me continue to lay it out as simply as I can and then attempt...
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The Bitter Lemons Review Brigade

Going forward, the BLI reviews will be posted in this section, for now, we once again wanted to introduce you to our talented pool of critics. If interested in getting a BLI review, either go here and  purchase a "Bitter Lemons Reviews, or just send us a line at [email protected], put BLI in the header as well as the title of your show and we’ll get the party started for you. THE BITTER LEMONS REVIEW BRIGADE (BLRB) Listed below are the 8 fearless m...
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On Observing Artists in Their Junior Year

I’m in Seattle this week.Some very nice people have made it possible for me to speak, in my capacity as a critic, to a class of university theater students on why to become professional theater practitioners. They’re lovely kids. I’ve met some of them; I’ve seen some perform; I’m going to deliver the first lecture tomorrow. I guarantee I’m more excited about it than they are.Last night I saw a junior class put up a ten-minute play festival. Watching people half my age act in stuff...
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In Villas Veritas

For years I met George Villas only at parties. He was gentle and likable with that faraway West Sider quality, a vague spirituality I read then as a kind of vacancy. He was great with kids and I always respect that in a single man, but that was about all I knew of him. I think I’d heard he was an actor, but you hear that about a lot of people. If they don’t bring it up at parties, you appreciate them even more.Then I went to see a play at Pacific Resident Theatre, an unwieldy adaptation of John Steinbeck...
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LA Times Highlights the Good, Bad and the Ugly of the Bitter Lemons Imperative

And there’s a little bit of all three here. But I was surprised to see an academic actually look at it calmly and reasonably and come to the conclusion, “Well let’s wait and see…” rather than the knee jerk reaction of the Torch and Pitchfork crowd.Here’s that snippet from the article:Joe Saltzman, a professor of journalism and communications at USC, said that words such as “appalled” and “atrocity” flashed in his mind when he first heard what Bitter Lemons ...
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Old News

In 2012, retired high-school athletics director Richard Hulse self-published a memoir about his lifelong association with a fellow named Baines: Forty Crazy Years of Friendship. After a life that included BMOC status at a San Fernando Valley high school and an unsuccessful career as an actor and writer, Baines died in a fire, prompting Hulse to reflect. The book was written in straightforward English, episodic in structure, absent the disciplinary hand of an editor. The stage version now enjoying its premiere a...
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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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New Lineup Announced for Bitter Lemons' Critics Panel at the Fringe

Either out of protest to this recent editorial, where Jason Rohrer had the audacity to apply the same standard of criticism to Steven Leigh Morris that Steven Leigh Morris applied to our Bitter Lemons Imperative, or simply out of a desire to not want to get caught in the middle of the controversy and perhaps get their hands dirty, several of the announced LA critics have decided to pull out of the event at Theatre Asylum this Saturday, June 20th at 11:30am.Those critics would be Bob Verini, Bill Raden...
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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...
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Blues for One

There’s a fair amount of booze, only two balls, and very little bluegrass in Booze, Balls and Bluegrass: A Daughter’s Journey. But there’s a lot of Laura Carson.Carson’s autobiographical one-woman show wedges into the crowded territory of single, middle-aged actors whose stalled careers coincide with their parents’ mortality. Carson leaves her temp job in Los Angeles to live with her widowed, alcoholic father in Atlanta, to regroup and to help him out in a limited capacity. He gives her...