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Los Angeles Scene
by Bill Kaiser
September 2015
It has been a busy summer in the Los Angeles area, and so much has been happening I have decided to resume my LA Scene column.


Ian MacKinnon
photo: Don Tinling  
retouch: Ian MacKinnon  


For its 30th anniversary, the City of West Hollywood hosted One City One Pride Arts Festival as well as Art AIDS WeHo. In addition to many other events during the Arts Festival was A Day Of Theatre on June 27,2015. The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (ALAP) held their Gay and Lesbian Playreading Festival with six short plays on the theme of Life at 30.

The Day continued when performance artist Yozmit incorporated the red ribbon into a custom made outfit in remembrance of those lost to AIDS. There were also readings from Hank Henderson’s “HomoCentric,” ReEvolutionary Productions’ “Recognition=Life,” “Flirty Thirty: The WeHo Queer History Project” crafted by Ian MacKinnon of Planet Queer, Apt 3F’s variety show, and Reach LA’s “The Road To Ovahness.”

The next day, ALAP presented a reading of Paul Elliot’s moving transsexual play “Stolen Moments,” followed in the evening by New Stages’ “Life in the First Gay City.”

June ended with an encore presentation of “Dear One: Love and Longing in Mid-Century Queer America” compiled and directed by Z.J. Gershick from vintage letters sent to ONE Magazine.

Celebration Theatre presented staged readings for Art AIDS WeHo with “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature Of Love” by Brad Fraser, “Lips Together, Teeth Apart” by Terrence McNally, and “Misfits And Saints: All Things Kearns,” an evening of monologues by Michael Kearns, on August 11, 2015. This was a truly amazing night. Some of Michael’s best prose was read, and he was presented with Celebration’s Chuck Rowland Pioneer Award honoring pioneers of queer theatre. Chuck was the founder of Celebration Theatre in 1982, one of the five founders of The Mattachine Society, as well as my personal theatre mentor and friend. It was a very special night with the first Rowland Award recipient, Robert Patrick, there as well as playwright Victor Bumbalo, Andy Sacher of “The Lavender Effect,” writers Stuart Timmons and Mark Thompson, activist Ann Bradley, performer Davidson Lloyd, and many more.


Michael Kearns
photo: ?  



During this summer, The Mark Taper Forum presented the first major regional theatre revival of Martin Sherman’s “Bent” since the 1980 Broadway production. It was a very moving production with poignant performances by Patrick Heusinger as Max, Andy Mientus as Rudy, and Charles Hofheimer as Horst. There was additional excitement with Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame as Greta. Bent was directed beautifully by Moises Kaufman.

Because of the significance of the revival, Martin Sherman made the trek from his longtime London home for the opening. He gave a pre-show talk explaining the idea for the play came from seeing the Gay Sweatshop production of “As Time Goes By” by Noel Greig and Drew Griffiths. One part of the play dealt with the pink triangles. This prompted Sherman to research more about the treatment of gays during the Nazi period and write Bent. Coincidentally, “As Time Goes By” was the first production of Celebration Theatre. At the same time The Taper was doing “Bent,” its associated theatre The Kirk Douglas, was doing the musical “Girlfriend” based on the 1991 Matthew Sweet album with book by Todd Almond. The two-person musical starred Ryder Bach and Curt Hansen as two teenage boys who fall in love, shortly before graduation.



Another musical which had its world premiere at the Noho Arts Center in North Hollywood was “Adam and Eve and Steve,” written by Chandler Warren, with music by Wayne Moore. This was a tongue-in-cheek variation on the creation story with great panache. Dynamic performances by The Devil, Weton Nathanson, and God, by William Knight, as well as Michael Spaziani as a naive Adam, Kelley Dorney as a determined Eve, and Jotape Lockwood as swishy Steve.

At the Kearns event, co-artistic director Michael Shepperd announced that Celebration Theatre has a new home at The Lex Theatre, which is up the street from the Village, at 6760 Lexington Avenue in Los Angeles. Their new season will include “Booty Candy” by Robert O’Hara, a fun satirical look at being black and gay, “Dream Boy” adapted by EricRosen from Jim Grimsley’s coming-of-age gothic novel, and “The Boy from Oz” based on the life of Peter Allen by Peter Allen, Nick Enright and Martin Sherman.

For further information: celebrationtheatre.com or call 323-957-1884.


Oscar Wilde
photo: unknown, graphic treatment: Demian  



The Purple Circuit will be hosting two Oscar Wilde events this fall at Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood.

For Oscar’s 161st birthday, on October 16th, we will be celebrating the 120th anniversary of two of his best plays “An Ideal Husband” and “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

We encourage everyone to carry a handbag to the event.

On November 30th, Oscar’s death day, we will be honoring his legacy with tributes and poetry. For further Wilde information, please contact The Purple Circuit at purplecir@aol.com.




Remember to see a LGBT play tonight, and when you travel!


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