Category Archives: Entertainment

In Search Of Something New

I’ve been working on a tight deadline that’s going to keep me busy all weekend, and while plowing through it I found a Stanley Kubrick film fest on some cable channel. Three truly outstanding films that I’ve seen a gazillion times and they can just be background, comfort food for my soul while my brain is occupied elsewhere.

“2001”

“A Clockwork Orange”

“Full Metal Jacket”

This obviously isn’t new to anyone who’s been reading this site for nearly ten years. I started by titling this post as “Kubrick” and WordPress gave it a filename of “kubrick-3” which means this would be the fourth time that I used that exact same title…

It would be great to be watching something new. I’ve got a “to be watched” list of movies and streaming series that could keep me busy for years. I’ve got a “to be read” pile of books that could tip over and cause a 9.3 earthquake. But any of that, while intellectually stimulating, would require me to pay attention. And my attention needs to be focused. I don’t get to attack that “to be read” pile until I get past a couple of deadlines.

I hate making Chuck Wendig wait. (Read “Wanderers,” it’s outstanding. And once I get done with my re-read of that, I get to start the sequel, “Wayward,” which I am hearing amazing things about.)

Onward.

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Christmas Lights 2022 – Music Center

The place is fabulous pretty much all the time, but the holidays are special.

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Final Play Of 2022

At the Ahmanson for our “extra” play of the season, “Ain’t Too Proud.” The season is six plays, each in town for 5-6 weeks, but there are a couple others that sneak in for just a couple of weeks.

As the panographic photo shows (as always, click on it to see it full-sized), the Music Center is resplendent for the holidays. The Mark Taper Forum’s on the left (with the Ahmanson behind it) and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is on the right (with the Disney Concert Hall behind it).

A big Christmas tree and City Hall off in the distance are in the middle. We also have the fountains and lights working in the middle, but with the temperature at 54° and dropping, no one’s dancing in the fountain. Go figure!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and not stressing too much over the holiday prepar… HOLY CRAP, WE HAVEN’T SENT OUT THE CHRISTMAS CARDS YET!!! 🤯

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Review – “2:22 A Ghost Story”

A lot of what we see at the Ahmanson and Pantages here in LA are musicals and wildly popular plays. “Hamilton.” “Wicked.” “1776.” “Oklahoma!” “Evan Hanson.”

If you get a chance, I would recommend that you go see “2:22 A Ghost Story.”

It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it a lot. It’s not a musical, it’s not a classic, it’s not perfect. It’s a ghost story. (It’s right there in the title.)

The run at the Ahmanson is the first US presentation after runs at several theaters in London, where it’s won awards and been very popular. The staging in interesting, as is the story.

And beyond that I’ll be quiet since, as the writer says in his notes in the program, all ghost stories are also mysteries.

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Music Center For The Holidays

It’s time to start the next season of plays at the Ahmamson Theatre in Los Angeles. The Music Center is all gussied up for the holidays.

That’s the side of the Mark Taper Forum on the left with the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion off in the distance on the other side of the Plaza where the Christmas tree is.

Tonight we’re seeing “2:22 A Ghost Story.” I don’t think there will be a lot of singing or dancing…

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Finishing The Ahmanson Season

The regular Ahmanson Theater season is six plays with a seventh “extra” which we added, plus the Taper production from last Saturday. The first play of this season (“A Christmas Carol”) was wiped out by COVID last December, so tonight will be our seventh of the year.

Not to worry that we’ll get bored, we’ve already gotten our subscription for next year, with the first play in December.

Tonight, LA City Hall is lit up in…pink? Purple? Lavender? Still no clue as to the whys for any given night’s color.

The big question of the night, of course, is if the Astros-Mariners game will be done while we’re at the play, or if we’ll come out at 23:00 to find it still 0-0 in the top of the 37th!

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Something New At The Music Center

At least, new for me!

After close to a dozen plays over the last couple of years at the Ahmanson Theater, plus some concerts at the Disney Concert Hall next door, I’m going to my first play at the Mark Taper Forum.

“The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe” is in a revival here, of course made famous originally by Lily Tomlin. She won the Tony Award for it in 1986. I’m looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, LA City Hall is lit up in bright red tonight while the full moon and Jupiter are rising in the west (to the left). Quite the sight!

A quick Google search doesn’t tell me why it’s lit that way tonight. I suspect it’s not in support of my beloved Kansas City Chiefs – but we’re going to go with that until someone comes up with a better (i.e., a real answer!

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NC Headphones Vs The Laugh Track

If there’s a special place in Hell, I hope it’s reserved for whoever invented the TV sitcom laugh track. It’s specially designed to cut right through all of the background noise that might be around you as you watch, very subtle, almost unnoticeable, ever present.

Until you have it pointed out to you.

Until you’re listening to it from a TV down the hall and trying to think and you can hear none of the “jokes,” none of the dialog, just a mush that sounds a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher – except for the laugh track, slicing through reality like a prop from a horror movie (what was that spinning ball with the blades that popped out?) headed straight for your ears like a cruise missile.

And then, once you’re aware, sort of like Rowdy Roddy Piper in “They Live,” you’ll never watch a sitcom in peace again. Whether you’re out of bubble gum or not.

Consider this – have you EVER seen a movie with a laugh track? Think of movies you find hilarious. “Animal House” maybe. “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.” Is there any kind of laugh track to make sure you know which bits are supposed to be funny?

It’s a war now.

Then I discovered Noise Cancelling Headphones.

There just might be a God.

Not only do you get tunes, but the laugh track goes away. It’s blissful. If it’s a war, this is the nuclear option.

The good ones are not cheap, but they’re worth every penny. The Apple iPods are in the $100 range and work okay, if you can keep them in your ears. (I can’t.) The top of the line Bose headphones are about $550, but worth every cent.

Wearing them all night might not be the most comfortable thing when it’s warm and muggy, but take them off for a second, listen to the cackling demon chorus hooting at something that’s not very funny to begin with, and you’ll be surprised how fast you can put them back on and be perfectly happy with the choice.

Thank you for listening to my TED Talk!

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Play #5 For This Season

And the Ahmanson already has banners up for next year’s season. “2:22,” which is some kind of supernatural thriller. “Ain’t Too Proud,” which will have great music. “1776,” which is currently on Broadway and one of my all-time favorites.

Tonight we have drizzle, and the legal vax & mask requirements have been relaxed (idiot politicians!) but we’ll be masked up anyway. It’s a policy that got us through two plane trips, Worldcon, lots of sightseeing and restaurants in Chicago, and still with negative COVID test results.

Are any of you getting out to do anything fun this weekend? Tell me in the comments!

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The Sandman

Watch it. Now. Immediately. Then watch it again.

Unless you’ve been in a coma, you’ve probably heard of a new Netflix series, “The Sandman,” which is based on Neil Gaiman’s classic graphic novels of the same name.

Watch it.

We finished the first season tonight, it’s utterly spectacular.

Once you’ve watched it, watch it again. You’ll be catching yourself saying, “Wait, was that…? Is she the same person as…?” It ties together SOOOOO well, the casting is perfect, it’s so incredibly well acted, the visuals are so astonishing – amazing work all around.

No spoilers, just trust me. And if you can make it through Episode Six with dry eyes, we probably can’t be friends.

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