TAGGED WITH JASON ROHRER

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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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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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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...
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Adam and Eve and the Meth-Lab Fire

Allegory is tough. Musicals are tough. And soft rock should burn in hell. So with The Songs of the Fall Ben Boquist is putting himself to a lot of trouble to show off a handful of musically interesting, lyrically simplistic songs that you’ll like if you liked 1990s show tunes that really wanted to be 1980s show tunes. There are complex progressions, surprising extensions, and idiosyncratic declensions (get it? The fall of the songs? No? Sorry). Unfortunately, few in this Hollywood Fringe Festival cast are read...
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The Ethics and the Ecstasy

Now that the Hollywood Fringe Festival is over, the good news: people are still buying reviews, and I’m still writing them. The bad news: all the damage I’m causing to the art of criticism.In the past couple of weeks Bitter Lemons has been taken to task by a coast-to-coast Old Boy Network for taking money from theater companies to publicly critique their work. It’s a new idea. You know how that goes.One common alarm is that money will spur “the bypassing of editorial judgment in dec...
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Bites of Life

Driving to the theater, I switched onto one of those NPR storytelling shows. A woman told about a time when she’d tried unsuccessfully to talk a man out of jumping off a cliff. The story focused on the woman’s feelings about the incident, about how the cops kept having to ask whether she was all right, whether there was anyone she could call. She called her dad. Her dad asked, “Is he dead,” and the woman said, “I don’t know, Dad.” Presently, the cops told her that the man wa...