Film & Theater

Thumbnail image for The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.23.2014 Arts

SDFP Writer Inundated with Comic-Con Related Emails

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last year I covered Comic-Con for San Diego Free Press. I wrote five articles in a series I called Adventures in Comic-Conlandia: A Nerds-eye View. You can read them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part 5. This was my first attempt at writing about something I had loved since I started attending back in 1986. Though grueling I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will cover the event again this week. I plan on being not so ambitious this year.

Sometimes Comic-Con sneaks up on you. You don’t know it is here until trolley station signs are written in Klingon or you’re standing in line for a happy hour beverage next to a Stormtrooper.

For me that wasn’t the case this year. You see, I’ve been inundated with press releases for the past month and it’s picked up even more within the last week. I’ve been sent hundreds of emails from the various media, toy and comic book companies that want to get the word out about their latest film, action figure or storyline.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

Welcome to Comic Con: Be Sure to Cover Your Ass

by Doug Porter 07.21.2014 Cartoons

By Doug Porter

The one of the largest collections of make-believe comes to San Diego this week, kicking off Wednesday night with Preview Night followed by four days of events running Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27. More than 130,000  are expected for Comic Con 2014.

What should be a dream-come-true event for fans of the genres involved has turned out to be a nightmare in recent years as an institutional malaise about dealing with harassment issues has surfaced. Last year photographs of attendee derrieres were posted online after Comic-Con as some sort of sick tribute to the misogynist mentality that’s flourished in recent events in San Diego and other cities.

A group calling itself Geeks for CONsent is fighting back this year, circulating a petition aiming at getting Comic-Con International in San Diego (SDCC) to update its harassment policy. They’re asking for a “full harassment policy,” as well as anti-harassment signs and trained volunteers to deal with complaints.  

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Thumbnail image for Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies? The Two Basic Rules That Make Them So Addictive

Why Do We Love Apocalyptic Movies? The Two Basic Rules That Make Them So Addictive

by Source 07.19.2014 Culture

Mass annihilation is depressing, sure. But stories about it force us to imagine large-scale rebirth—and what kind of people we want to become.

By Christopher Zumski Finke / Yes!

There is a moment in the film Snowpiercer when the leader of a revolutionary uprising, Curtis, comes face to face with the man he must overthrow, Wilford. Great consequences hang in the balance of this meeting: Human extinction is possible; so is maintaining, in the name of survival, an unjust social structure dependent on slavery and violence.

After two violent but breathtaking hours of fever-pitch cinema, the two men quietly stand across a wooden table in front of a droning silver engine discussing the future of life on Earth. The frozen remains of an uninhabitable planet pass by through the windows.

I cannot get enough of the end of the world. Stories about the collapse of civilization and order—apocalyptic stories—endlessly seduce me. And I am not alone.

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Thumbnail image for The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

The Orphan of Zhao: “Who wants to be another man’s equal? … To be powerful, one must be feared”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.18.2014 Culture

The story of loyalty, family and revenge at the La Jolla Playhouse

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The latest piece currently on stage at the La Jolla Playhouse Mandell Weiss Theatre is a co-production of The Orphan of Zhao, the first Chinese play to be translated in the West. This adaptation by James Fenton is directed by Carey Perloff in conjunction with the San Francisco based American Conservatory Theater.

I am always amazed by the La Jolla Playhouse. This effort to bring different and diverse works to the stage is something not just to admire — it is something to also be grateful for.

“Staging an ancient Chinese epic for a contemporary American audience is like building a bridge between distant but entwined cultures,” shared Carey Perloff in his Director’s note.

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Thumbnail image for Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

Film Critic Kim Jong-un Gives The Interview a Bad Review

by Junco Canché 07.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for The National American Theatre Conference in Tijuana: The Challenge of “Crossing Borders”

The National American Theatre Conference in Tijuana: The Challenge of “Crossing Borders”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 07.05.2014 Culture

Tijuana and San Diego unite the border through theater

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

On Wednesday June 18th, more than one hundred people from different cities all over the United States crossed the border to Tijuana to discuss one thing: Theater. It was truly a historic moment. It had been years since the city of Tijuana had such a happening due to its violent chapters (which have since passed) and the bad and very widespread publicity that accompanied that time. People from San Diego just stopped crossing the border.

In November 2012 when the idea came about to organize a leg of the National American Theatre conference in Tijuana, it seemed to me that people were talking in a dead language. I was familiar with the mission of the Theatre Communications Group. It just was not as clear to me whether its reach could extend to the city of Tijuana and the rich cultural activity there.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.26.2014 Desde la Logan

The second of a two-part interview with the influential teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I recently sat down with playwright and actor Herbert Siguenza for an interview about his work. This is Part II of the two-part interview.

In Part I we talked about his new play El Henry, a joint production between the La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Rep, and his next play Stealing Heaven about Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman.

In Part II we discuss the 30th anniversary of Culture Clash, him being a political writer, non-Chicano perceptions of his and Culture Clash’s work, his legacy as a teatrista and what he would say to aspiring Latina/o playwrights.

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Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.25.2014 Desde la Logan

The first of a two-part interview with the influential Culture Clash teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I’ve had the honor to work within the Chicano arts and culture community for over fifteen years as a publisher, curator, writer, organizer, volunteer and patron. I’ve met many wonderful and talented artists throughout this time.

One of them, Herbert Siguenza, gave me a call the other day and said he and his three year-old daughter Belen were across the street from my apartment to get a paleta from Tocumbo Ice Cream. He wanted to know if my son Dino and I were available to join them. Never wanting to miss out on a good conversation Dino and I decided to go meet up with them.

When we arrived Belen was splashing about in the Mercado del Barrio fountain and Dino quickly joined her. After the children got soaked we walked over to Tocumbo’s.

Since I had been meaning to interview Herbert regarding his new play El Henry I decided on the spot to interview him right outside the ice cream parlor. I opened my Voice Memos app on my iPhone and starting asking questions. This is the first of two parts. Minor editing was done to help the the piece flow.

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Thumbnail image for Get Out the Leather Jackets and the Bandanas: “El Henry” Is Coming to Town

Get Out the Leather Jackets and the Bandanas: “El Henry” Is Coming to Town

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 06.11.2014 Culture

El Henry will premiere Saturday June 14th…Shakespeare with a Latino twist.

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

The Without Walls (WoW) Festival is site specific theater held at different venues throughout San Diego. The La Jolla Playhouse showcased this program in October of last year to great critical acclaim. “While the central idea of Without Walls is about exploring new theatrical forms by moving beyond the traditional four walls of a theater, we’ve found over the past several years that WoW is just as much about collaboration,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley.

The latest WoW production is El Henry, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, written by and starring Culture Clash’s Herbert Siguenza. Siguenza describes his artistic approach, saying “The original play is about the king and queen of England, my adaptation is about California in the future, the year 2045. I imagined that by that time, California will be in its majority Latino. So, all the characters in this play are Chicano and Latino.”

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Thumbnail image for Is There Something Fundamentally Wrong With Societal Expectations of Intimacy and Love?

Is There Something Fundamentally Wrong With Societal Expectations of Intimacy and Love?

by Source 05.30.2014 Culture

By Doctor RJ for Daily Kos

Human relationships sometimes don’t make a lot of sense. But there’s nothing that says they have to be “fair.” All of us have dreams and desires for the lives we would like to experience and who we think we might want to experience those lives with. Society has a way of making value judgments about a person if they’re a virgin in their 20s or unmarried in their 30s. But the whims of the fates don’t always give us what we want or who we want. Most people don’t go on a shooting spree when they get turned down. However, some do.

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Thumbnail image for Classic Children’s Stories Transformed through Electroluminescent Puppetry

Classic Children’s Stories Transformed through Electroluminescent Puppetry

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 05.14.2014 Culture

Moving sculpture and dance update stories of humanity’s universal struggles

By Alejandra Enciso-Guzmán

California, get your kids ready for a unique opportunity when two timeless tales come to the stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. On May 17 and 18 Lightwire Theater (New Orleans based) will bring its unique method of storytelling through its signature electroluminescent puppetry. The beloved characters in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling and Aesop’s fable The Tortoise and the Hare are transformed by the cutting edge technology.

These two performances follow Lightwire Theater’s recent breakout success on America’s Got Talent where they received accolades from the judges and audiences. The production at the Segerstrom Center promises stunning imagery, compelling choreography and stirring music. As I mentioned in the piece regarding Alvin Ailey Dance Company, these types of performances are not around every day; it is indeed a great opportunity to have fun with the family and see new forms of artistic expression.

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Thumbnail image for A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

A Look at a “Dangerous Friendship”

by Ernie McCray 05.06.2014 Books & Poetry

By Ernie McCray

A couple of years ago at a showing of “Sing Your Song,” a documentary that highlights Harry Belafonte’s role in pursuits for human and civil rights, I met Ben Kamin, a scholar who has written much about the social struggles of those times. I just finished reading, with delight, his latest book, “Dangerous Friendship.”

The book puts the spotlight on Stanley Levison, a little known figure in the civil rights movement, who fully dedicated his life to helping Martin Luther King.

Regarding this man, Clarence Jones, another prominent aide to Martin, says “I am extremely upset, and I get angry, 24/7, and have been for many years about the glaring omission of the name and history of Stanley Levison in the civil rights chronicle.”

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Thumbnail image for California Premier of “Water by the Spoonful” at The Old Globe

California Premier of “Water by the Spoonful” at The Old Globe

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 05.06.2014 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Over the course of eight years, playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote three plays inspired by the experiences of her cousin, Elliot Ruiz. Each play stands alone, but taken together, the plays follow the history of a family. Each uses a different kind of music–Bach, Coltrane, and Puerto Rican folk music–to trace the coming of age of a bright but haunted young Puerto Rican man.

The first play Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue takes place in 2003-2004, when Elliot is 18 and 19 years old. The piece became a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

The second one, Water by the Spoonful which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Drama is set in 2009, six years after Elliot first left for Iraq. In this play the former marine is back in the United States working at Subway and trying to kick-start his acting career. In the final play The Happiest Song Plays Last, Elliot has returned to the Middle East – this time as a consultant on a film about the Iraq War.

The Old Globe ‘went to the middle’ and presented the California premiere of Water by the Spoonful.

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Thumbnail image for “RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

“RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 04.10.2014 Culture

“Stop the heart and think… How fine are we?”

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

San Diego Repertory Theatre is staging its final production of its thirty-eighth season with RED by John Logan. It is a wonderful and –colorful- end to an eclectic and very well rounded season.

RED is a play with two actors and no intermission. John Vickery plays Mark Rothko, short for Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Jason Maddy is Ken, Rothko’s young assistant, aspiring painter and apprentice. San Diego Free Press had the opportunity to chat with the actors about their roles in RED.

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Thumbnail image for The Wild Widows Return to Old Town Part 2: Cygnet Theatre

The Wild Widows Return to Old Town Part 2: Cygnet Theatre

by Judi Curry 04.08.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

Following our breakfast at O’Hungry’s, Irene and I left Ro and went up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands. Irene made the comment that the only good thing about our husbands passing was that we met each other. When it is our time to leave this earth, Irene and I will be only a few rows apart and will be able to still converse with each other.

Following our visit to the cemetery, we went back to Old Town to the Cygnet Theatre to see the play Spring Awakening. Ro was the House Manager on this particular day and could not watch the play with us but will see it at a later time.

Spring Awakening is a winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It is based on a play that was originally written in 1891, but it is so contemporary it could have been written in our time.

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Thumbnail image for A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

A Review of “Cesar Chavez” the Film: Sí, Se Puede

by Source 04.04.2014 Activism

By Byron Morton/ OBRag

Cesar Chavez shows the political evolution and the struggles of the man behind the movement during the 1960s to organize the farm workers in California. Through the United Farm Workers (UFW) Chavez (played by Michael Peña) brings bargaining rights and dignity for the impoverished farm workers. The UFW motto during this time was “Sí, se puede” or yes, it is possible.

It is important to remember at that time in the 1960s the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 did not protect farm workers and others. The Act “is a foundational statute of US labor law which guarantees basic rights of private sector employees to organize into trade unions, engage in collective bargaining for better terms and conditions at work, and take collective action including strikes if necessary.”

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Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review: Bistro 60

Restaurant Review: Bistro 60

by Judi Curry 03.28.2014 Film & Theater

Bistro 60
5987 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
619-287-8186

Some time ago, I remember going to San Diego Desserts to talk to the owners about allowing some of my culinary arts students from San Diego Job Corps to do an internship with them. The bakery had been recommended highly by my two culinary arts chefs, and we thought it would be a wonderful experience for the students. Shortly after meeting with the owners, I left San Diego for a position at Penobscot Job Corps in Maine and do not know if our students had the intern experience there or not.

Much later, around 2008 or so, I heard that people could eat their desserts in the restaurant, and it was obvious that it was no longer just a wholesale bakery. Later on I heard that food had been added to the menu, and then wine, and beer, etc.

Recently, a friend and I purchased tickets to the Moxie theater just down the street from the bistro, and it gave me a perfect opportunity to drop in and have dinner before the opening curtain.

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Thumbnail image for Bedtime with Moxie

Bedtime with Moxie

by Judi Curry 03.25.2014 Culture

Moxie Theater
6663 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92115
www.moxietheatre.com
858-598-7620

By Judi Curry

When was the last time you were invited to wear your pajamas to a party?  When was the last time you were told to wear your pajamas out in public? When was the last time you were invited to a pillow fight – only if you were wearing your sleeping gear?

When was the last time you were told that “costumed guests will enjoy a Pillow Fight Photo Booth, Naughty Night Cap Beverages, Live Lullabies and Bedtime Stories performed by local celebrities?

And when were you told that one of those celebrities was none other than the Interim Mayor of San Diego, Todd Gloria?

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Thumbnail image for The American Dream in San Diego Rep’s DETROIT

The American Dream in San Diego Rep’s DETROIT

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 03.07.2014 Culture

San Diego Repertory Theatre presents Detroit by Lisa D’Amour as the fifth production of the company’s 38th season.

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

A young couple, Ben and Mary (played by Steve Gunderson and Lisel Gorell-Getz) are comfortably settled into their suburban lifestyle just outside a major American city. Then Sharon and Kenny, a pair of free spirits (Summer Spiro and Jeffrey Jones) suddenly move into the long-empty house next door.

Playwright Lisa D’Amour uses this setting to challenge the American cultural assumptions about status, comfort, ambition, and community. The New York Times describes how the setting– “A friendly suburban barbecue spirals into a delirious, dangerous bacchanal…”

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Thumbnail image for Sanctuary: 7th Annual Dia de la Mujer Juried Art Exhibition to Open

Sanctuary: 7th Annual Dia de la Mujer Juried Art Exhibition to Open

by Source 03.04.2014 Arts

An all woman’s art exhibition, a film screening and a very womanly celebration

By Leticia Gomez Franco 

Casa Familiar’s THE FRONT will once again present their annual ode to women, this year called Sanctuary: 7th Annual Dia de la Mujer Art Exhibition. The group art exhibition features the work of 48 female artists from both sides of the border and will be on view from March 7  to April 24.

With over 50 art pieces on view, the exhibition is a wonderful collection of work, inspired by this years theme: Sanctuary. Artists were invited to explore the idea of sanctuary in its many manifestations as it relates to them as women and builders and creators of their own spaces. With this theme the exhibition curator honors the mission of Día de la Mujer. The art exhibition allows women artists to create real representations of themselves, to counter the powerful stream of visual stimulation spat out by the media, oversaturating our world, with foreign, unrealistic versions of women. Día de la Mujer fosters a safe space for women to be real women and to celebrate that realness, in all of its diverse beauty.

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Thumbnail image for To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan

To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.02.2014 Desde la Logan

Video by Media Arts Center San Diego’s Teen Producer’s Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

This week’s video, To Reach My Goals – Education in Barrio Logan, documents the challenges barrio youth have in school and highlights the Barrio Logan College Institute and their work to get neighborhood kids into college.

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Thumbnail image for “The Who & The What”:  Tradition vs. Modern World at the La Jolla Playhouse

“The Who & The What”: Tradition vs. Modern World at the La Jolla Playhouse

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 02.15.2014 Culture

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

La Jolla Playhouse has opened its last production of the 2013-2014 season titled ‘The Who & The What’ by author, playwright and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar.

The play had its first developmental reading February 2013, during the Playhouse’s inaugural DNA New Work Series, which entailed a six-week period of workshop productions and readings of new plays and musicals. “Yes, that is how this project started. Gabriel Greene, Director of New Play Development at the Playhouse, is in charge of new work series. It is this terrific opportunity for work that is in a very early stage to be heard out loud” explained ‘The Who & The What’ director, Kimberly Senior.

San Diego Free Press had a chance to talk to the Chicago based freelance director, regarding this piece and how it came about, along with other projects in store for her in the near future. “The Who & The What” was in a very early stage. We got a full day of rehearsal with professional actors and had an informal reading that evening where the public was invited. With that we were able to get some really good feedback on what was working and what was not,” Senior explained.

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Thumbnail image for Point Loma High School Students Honor “Blackfish” Director and Her SeaWorld Expose

Point Loma High School Students Honor “Blackfish” Director and Her SeaWorld Expose

by Frank Gormlie 02.05.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Hundreds of Point Loma High School students honored the director of the controversial film “Blackfish” – the expose on SeaWorld’s treatment of their Orcas – on Monday, Feb. 3rd.

Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite came to the campus after some film students had produced their own film criticizing SeaWorld and addressed an assembled group of them.  She told them she wanted her documentary about the water-park’s captive killer whales to persuade SeaWorld to discontinue “using animals as entertainment.”  Cowperthwaite also told the students that they need to form their own opinions on the issue.

Her film began, she said, as a research project on the death in 2010 of Orca trainer Dawn Brancheau and Tilikum, the killer whale.

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Thumbnail image for Conservative Darling Dinesh D’Souza Indicted for Illegal Contributions in Senate Race

Conservative Darling Dinesh D’Souza Indicted for Illegal Contributions in Senate Race

by Doug Porter 01.24.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Just two years ago San Diego resident Dinesh D’Souza was sitting at the top of the conservative heap. He was a best selling author, president of Kings College, fledgling documentarian and sought after debater. Now he stands accused by federal prosecutors of making $20,000 in straw contributions in a 2012 Senate race.

According to an indictment made public on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, D’Souza around reimbursed people (believed to be his ex-wife and mistress) who he had directed to contribute $20,000 to a senate campaign, believed to be that of Wendy Long, a Republican attorney who lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in 2012. The indictment said the campaign was unaware of D’Souza’s activities, which apparently weren’t very helpful, as Long garnered just 28% of the vote..

D’Souza rose from Reaganite beginnings to become a fixture on the ‘90s speaking circuit, and became a personal favorite of UT-San Diego publisher Doug Manchester. The Daily Fishwrap ran scores of full-color ads promoting his shoddily-made documentary entitled 2016: Obama’s America.  

“Papa” Doug even helped finance the film, which set out to lead its audiences to the conclusion that the President of the United States hates this country, wants to destroy it and create a socialist state where everybody is taxed at 100%; one world under Allah.

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Thumbnail image for Interview with Playwright Caridad Svich: “In the Time of the Butterflies”

Interview with Playwright Caridad Svich: “In the Time of the Butterflies”

by Alejandra Enciso Guzmán 01.15.2014 Culture

The story of resistance against oppression continues at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

As part of its 2013-2014 season, San Diego Repertory Theatre will present In The Time of the Butterflies. This play, based on the novel by Julia Álvarez, captures part of the lives of the four Mirabal sisters. These women fought against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, a former president of the Dominican Republic. Their struggle ended with the brutal loss of their lives in 1960.

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