Review of Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Chance Theater, Anaheim


Stellar production, problematic play at the Chance Theater

Review of Counting Crows, July 21, 2013

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The Counting Crows at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa MEsa

Who knew “The Sting” could work on stage?

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Review of two Mark Ravenhill plays at Stages Theatre

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Review of “The Balcony” at Stages Theatre

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Here is the link to this week’s review in OC Weekly of Jean Genet’s play, “The Balcony.”



Sly, Orwell, Patton and even a little dose of Walter White…

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Mike Wiles, a friend of mine who has done stellar work on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” posted something on Facebook this morning that, as things often do, sparked a weird series of thoughts in my head.

It’s a link to the song, “Somebody’s Watching You,” by the groundbreaking 1960s band Sly and the Family Stone.

Now, most people familiar with the song realize that, lyrically, it smells like the combination of long hair, unwashed bodies, patchouli (which Patton Oswalt equates with the aroma of a hobo fucking a pile of dirt) and reefer of the counter culture: ladies with mustaches, the silver of your spoon tarnishing and your Sunday School lessons meaning nothing. Just a groovy, power to the people, let’s all love one another kind of deal. (unfortunately, Sly kind of turned out on the flip side of the hippie dream

But others, looking at the song title alone, will undoubtedly agree: someone is watching you. All the time. It’s Big Brother, with all of its chilling Orwellian, dystopian overtones (although as Neil Postman eloquently argued 30 years ago, we’re far closer to a drug-addled Huxlyean world than Orwells’). It’s the Police State. Your government, being something separate from you, being something that is your enemy, as opposed to an extension of yourself and your common citizens, is watching you. Intently.

If you’re in the latter camp,if you really fear that Big Brother is truly watching you, I have one question:

What are you doing that’s so motherfucking important?

I mean, really, if you’re doing something that you don’t want the government to see, it must be fucking awesome! Are you building a time machine in your garage? Are you feeding Kimba caviar and pate? Are you thisclose to cracking the code to the Philosopher’s Stone?

Yes, i know you believe passionately in privacy and being left alone and all that bedrock foundation of the U.S. Constitution stuff that really is important–when it’s not being appropriated by extremist nutjobs who sense a gun-grab in every sneeze from Lady Liberty’s nose–and i agree that government surveillance of citizens and out-of-control law enforcement agencies that fail to serve and protect (HELLO FULLERTON!!!) are serious issues that need to be addressed, but only in rational, reasoned daylight, not the dark halls and shadowy corridors that the paranoid conspiracy fringers spin their webs in.

But, really, if you are doing something so secretive, so sexy, so underground, so mysterious, that you don’t want the government to see what you’re doing, all i ask of this: be a real American and make money out of it. Upload some videos to
YouTube, start your own on-line subscription service. Whatever. Just get some kicks out of your peculiar obsession before the whole shithouse goes in flames.

Me? I’ll be sitting in my living room with the windows wide open just grooving to Sly…

a motherfucking review

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Happy Birthday to a great Dick

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So, it’s Richard Nixon’s 100th birthday today.


I’ve long been fascinated by the guy. He resigned on my birthday, Aug. 8, 1974. I was just a wee lad then, but I remember mocking the guy with the long face on the TV and my mom scolding me. ON MY BIRTHDAY! Years later, my mom said it was a strong possibility we were related, quite distantly, to the Nixon family. The movie “All the President’s Men” was a major reason why i aspired to become a journalist. And I’ve read a great deal about him and have even written some things. My assessment: one of the smartest, and most insecure men to ever sit in the Oval Office. He accomplished great things, but also was a major force in establishing the imperial presidency, and was a deeply flawed man.

Here are some things I’ve written about him over the years…

A cover story in 1999 in OC Weekly in which I tried to find physical reminders of Nixon’s legacy in OC and Whittier…

A story for KCET’s website in which I tried to do a similar thing at his presidential library and museum…

A review of a play at South Coast Repertory in 1998 about Nixon’s first run for Congress…

A review of the theatrical version of “Frost Nixon” last year at the Maverick theater…

Review of Little Women: The Musical, Chance Theater

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Review of How to Write a New Book for the Bible, South Coast Repertory

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