Annakarinaland

Annakarinaland
Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou

2012-07-27

'Dis/Connected' opens at New Conservatory Theatre Center


'Dis/Connected' opens at New Conservatory Theatre Center


Joseph Wienberg, Tess Greenham, and Forrest Nolan, actors in Dis/Connected
Joseph Wienberg, Tess Greenham, and Forrest Nolan, actors in Dis/Connected
©Moira Sullivan 2012

Dis/Connected

Rating:
Star
Star
Star
Star
Star
The exciting Teen Summer Stock opened July 26 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco with a four day run of 'Dis/Connected' through July 29. Written by Bennett Fisher and directed by Jessica Holt, the play is an innovative exposé on bullying at school and through social media on the Internet. The ensemble actors are excellent and work well as an engaging team of storytellers with a smart script and direction. 'Dis/Connected' appeals to both teenagers and parents and deals with the phenomena of texting and social media that has preoccupied young people ever since cell phones with mobile networking became affordable in the 90’s. The opening lines of the play address how elderly people look back on their past whereas young people try to put it behind, especially memories about being picked on and bullied at school. 
The teens wind up having to go get an online education when their school is closed. This is a disturbingly grim reality today for some students due to educational cutbacks. The school administrators - Supervisors Nelson and Wilson, (Alia Anaya and Rachelle Highbrou), a modern Tweedledum and Tweedledee, engage in double speak on all aspects of the increasingly deteriorating situation of their school and morale of the students. Their exchange reveals the stark reality of school boards who are able to justify cutbacks through deceptive language.
Top Hat (Tess Greenham) royally bullies the ill named Snot (Rebecca Huges) aided by her gang - Rabbit (Regina Leon), Tiptoes (Zoe Zapata) and Mumbles (Casey Alter). Top Hat has her eye on Buzzy (Joseph Weinberg) who becomes more and more intrigued by how Snot turns her life around in front of her peers and begins to become empowered. Since she has suffered as a social outcast for years, she decides to hit back with real potency by demonstrating through a self-designed app how students can randomly become unpopular on the Internet through rumors and hearsay. Top Hat is the first to lose her reputation in this way, though Rabbit and Tiptoes who have followed the leader are given a chance to change ways and atone for bullying Snot. Meanwhile, DD (Forest Nolan) confers with Buzzy about the relationship that seems to be budding between him and Snot that is moving him away from Top Hat and her bullying. He also expresses his own feelings towards Buzzy in the painful process of coming out.
'Dis/Connected' addresses the homophobia, sexism and racism that lies dormant among unconscious and insecure teens. Insensitive social exchange can cause scars for a lifetime. However, in this play the real threat is social media, cell phones and the Internet, which increasingly replace human contact. This group of actors successfully and evocatively bring these messages home and awaken many of the thoughts that everyone is thinking today about how far will it go as cyberspace and smart phones continue to take over meaningful social engagement. There is also the problem of malicious commentary in social media. The recent expulsion of a Greek athlete by her country from the 2012 Summer Olympics for a racist tweet is an example of the power of inappropriate usage.
An abridged version of play is part of the YouthAware Educational Theatre touring repertory slated for K-12 schools for 2013-2014.

2012-07-09

Love, or Whatever

Frameline premiere of Love, or Whatever: Gio Messale (producer), Rosser Goodman, Tyler Poelle
Joel Rush as Pete and Tyler Poelle as Corey in "Love, or Whatever"
There were over 200 films at the Frameline36 Film festival in San Francisco that ran June 16-24, the largest LGBT film festival in the world. It has been called the Cannes Film Festival by veteran German filmmaker Monika Treut, and as LA director Rosser Goodman puts it "the grandmother of LGBT film festivals". Rosser loves Frameline and says that all of her films have been launched at the festival such as Holding Trevor, which had its premiere in 2007. 
Rosser's new feature premiered at Frameline on June 20,  Love, or Whatever (USA 2012), a comedy about Corey, a therapist whose lover decides he is bisexual and falls in love with a woman (Jenica Bergere). Corey's lesbian sister Kelsey (Jennifer Elise Cox) moves in when his lover Jon (David Wilson Page) moves out, and he falls in love with Pete, the pizza man. Pete happens to be the handsome Joel Rush, whose character provokes Corey to see beyond the physical into the real person.  
Goodman and leading actor Tyler Poelle who plays Corey sat down at Frameline to talk about their film minutes before they went out on stage to greet 700 spectators who had bought tickets to the sold out screening at the Castro Theater. Poelle comes from the Bay Area and revealed it was “a thrill to be at the festival and with the community he grew up in”.   
Of the film, Poelle says that ”love is complicated and is a universal theme”.  His character is pivotal in showing  interconnections with other players in the story line. As a therapist who tries to see into his clients and support them in their quest for love, the world stands upside down for a moment when his ex boyfriend falls in love with one of his clients, unbeknownst to him, or her. 
“Anyone who watches (Love, or Whatever) will be able to relate to it", says Poelle, “because of the feelings, and what Rosser captures so well is what it feels like to be hurt, what it feels like to fall in love again, what it’s like to start dating again when you think you kind of have your life on lock down”.
Love, or Whatever has something for nearly everyone in the LGBT spectrum.  As Goodman explains , “in developing the script, we wanted to be as inclusive as possible, so we have a bisexual story line, a gay male story line, and there is a lesbian sister. The only thing we don’t have this time is a story representing the trans culture. And, we’ll definitively do that in the next one.”  “The film has a good crossover appeal”, she adds.
Working with Goodman are co-writers Cait Brennan, actress in films such as Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and Dennis Bush, whose plays have received numerous awards at theatre festivals.

Stay tuned for an interview with Rosser Goodman and Tyler Poelle 10pm on the July 18th show of Movie Magazine International. 

 

(Review published in San Francisco - Examiner.com, July 10, 2012.)

2012-07-04

Joan Jett in Marin: 'Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)'


Joan Jett in Marin: 'Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)'


Joan Jett and The Blackhearts concert at Marin County Fair

Rating:
Star
Star
Star
Star
Star
Joan Jett was back in the Bay Area at the Marin County Fair on July 2 with her group "The Blackhearts. The queen of rock took fans, old and new, to spiritual dimensions with some of her greatest hits. The rocker was a nominee to be inducted in the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with “Guns ‘N Roses” and “Beastie Boys”. She’s also back on the list for 2013. 

Joan Jett and Kristen Stewart - The Runaways
Sundance
Joan Jett at Marin County Fair
©Moira Sullivan 2012

Jett's accomplishments are phenomenal. She started her own record company, "Blackheart Records" in the 80’s. The company and Joan Jettwas paid tribute in the summer film "Rock of Ages".
Jett also produced the feature The Runaways (2010) starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.
The rocker says that she likes performing for all age crowds and clubs and prefers to be among the people instead of huge arenas. Marin is a perfect spot and she will be at the California State Fair in Sacramento later this month.
The Joan Jett sound is mesmerizing. Her raspy, deep, soulful voice set to electric guitars, keyboard and drums took the crowd over the edge deep into the soul and intoxicated Marin for over an hour. Jett is timeless and clearly appeals to veterans as well as newbie’s as young as five years old seen ‘‘rock ‘n” and “roll ‘n”. She says the songs she writes are true to her feelings.
The concert began with two hits Jett wrote - “Bad Reputation” followed by “Cherry Bomb". Joan, a woman of few words, presented her band from New York City. After that “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) lead Jett devotees in a ritual that kept going until the FOUR extra songs at the end. Ms Jett performed alongside her excellent band with outstanding backups, both vocal and musical –including keyboardist Kenny Laguna.
“Hey, Don’t you guys wanna sing? “, asked Joan midway through the concert. “Yeah”, the crowd shouted and joined in a public reverence to the tiny woman that is one of the greatest rockers of them all. Joan mentioned her origins with a “little band she started in LA called ‘The Runaways’”. Modest, gum chewing, sociable, coy, powerful – “Activity Grrl” – Revolution! The woman who put the riot grrl movement on the road. This is Joan Jett.
Other songs included “I Love Playing with Fire, “Love as Pain”, “Backlash”, and  “I Hate Myself for Loving You” - torch songs set to rock that are potent and highly inflammable. “Reality Mentality” is one of Jett’s political overtures that she introduced in Marin as "a critique of society". Another ballad for sexual freedom performed was "Androgynous".
For encores there was "ACDC" and of course “I Love Rock 'n Roll” Needless to say Joan Jett got her audience to love it even more.
It was a Monday, but everyone showed up, and Tuesday turned out to be a good day for everyone who was there. Up front and personal in the fair pavilion were Joan’s staunchest supporters, women and girls with a dream who have followed her through the years and have transmitted her music to recent converts.
Jett wore black, her favorite stage color - a sleeveless patterned body suit. She sported tattoos, a modern shag and well-trained arms. During the set she played two guitars – white and black.
We think of you every night and day; we hate ourselves for loving you Joan Jett. Welcome back to Northern California for the California State Fair in Sacramento on July 27.

2012-06-18

Kim Novak: San Francisco's Cinematic Icon


Kim Novak: San Francisco's Cinematic Icon


Kim Novak visited many historic spots in San Francisco in Vertigo. Grey suit designed by Edith Head.
Kim Novak visited many historic spots in San Francisco in Vertigo. Grey suit designed by Edith Head.
Alfred Hitchcock/Paramount

2012-06-15

Soko at Bottom of the Hill


Soko at Bottom of the Hill