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LA Art Party Newsletter

LAArtParty is an arts and entertainment website. Established in 2010, it is an online go-to guide for what's happening in and beyond the LA area - this includes dining, travel and more.

Founded by journalist, and "Blues Mama" Kathy Leonardo (a longtime performer), the campy site has an unusual slant which will keep you entertained. Leonardo has been writing for the past 15 years about various subjects for the Huffington Post, THRIVE GLOBAL, LA Weekly, etc.

Each month the LAArtParty staff, led by Kathy Leonardo decides which events will be featured. Posted at noon on the Thursday prior to the last week of the month, LAArtParty.com features the Top Ten Art Parties, plus other fun events each month. VIP subscribers find out ONE week prior to the public and receive discounts and invites to VIP parties throughout the year.

See Contact Page to find out how to become a VIP subscriber so you don't miss any more great ART Parties!! See Contact/Rates Page to find out how submit and promote your own events!

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Art for Clare Foundation Benefit at Bergamot Station...a Huge Success!

SSun 6.2 ArtForClareLogounday, June 2nd, was a sunny, celebratory day at Bergamot Staion in Santa Monica. The CLARE Foundation held its seventh annual ART for CLARE benefit offering food, beverages, and a silent auction featuring art, services, gift baskets and more. The CLARE Foundation is a nonprofit organization providing compassionate treatment and recovery services for alcoholism and substance abuse.

or a mere $25, guests were tempted by delicious food from some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles while browsing original art by both emerging and renowned artists. This year's event was co-chaired by actress and best-selling author Meredith Baxter and Linde Caughey, the event will bring together more than 60 prominent local artists.

The foo
ClareFDN Crowdd was out of this world! Provided by a host of famed restaurants including Kate Mantilini, Lemonade, El Cholo and Road Side Eats, it was a gourmand's delight providing something for every palate.

The pulled pork sandwich from Road Side Eats just melted in your mouth and was accompanied by a fresh watermelon and edamame salad. Kate Mantilini put a new spin on grilled cheese, pairing it with prosciutto. Moving on to dessert... one of my favorites was the red velvet cake squares with cream cheese icing from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Moving on, the next table featured the most amazing cookies and baked goods from The Bread is Red.

In the beverage department....one could enjoy fruity 'mocktails,'  by Jim Peter and specialty lemonades from none other than Lemonade on Abbot Kinney Blvd. My favorite was the rosemary infused watermelon....yum. Alden Marin, an artist who donated a piece for the silent auction, supplied the wine. Marin has created an exclusive line for Whole Foods with his own art on the label.

ClareFdn TheodoreSvenningsen BarbaraBlatttist Theodore Svenningsen sold all five of his pieces at the auction. There was even a bidding frenzy at the end, with Meredith Baxter gracefully backing down so that another artist named Barbara Blatt could take home the prize.

See image: Theodore Svenningsen and Barbara Blatt

latt also had a piece in the auction and explained, "I recently started doing more drawing, and I was so inpired by Theodore's work, I just had to have it." There is nothing that makes me smile more than watching artists support other artists.

ClareFDN BethBlattSee image of Beth Blatt with her treasure as well as her own bead sculpture that she donated to the auction.

Proceeds of the event will go to benefit the CLARE Foundation's mission of providing effective and compassionate treatment, recovery, and prevention services to individuals, families, and the LA community.

For more information, call (310) 314-6200 or see their website at http://www.clarefoundation.org 

2013 Venice Art Walk & Auctions Joins Forces With Google and Steps into the Future!

This past Sunday (May 19th) marked the 34th annual Venice Art Walk & Auctions....and the 2nd time for the silent auction to be held at Google LA. There were new studios, new artists, and of course some longtime favorites. Google added a fresh, updated perspective attracting many younger art collectors.

Each may19 VAWyear, the annual art walk brings thousands of community members together to celebrate Venice Family Clinic. Artists open their studios, and over 350 artists donate their work to ensure that neighbors in need have access to health care. Venice Art Walk & Auctions is the largest silent art auction in the area raising over $600,000 annually.

See image: Flyer designed by John Van Hammersveld.

The Venice Art Walk & Auctions was created to help raise funds for the Venice Family Clinic back in 1979. The clinic was founded by Phillip Rossman, MD, and co-founder Mayer B. Davidson, MD, in 1970 to offer residents in need a low cost health option. At the time, the clinic was struggling financially as it lived side by side with crack dealers and gangs. Now the gentrification of Venice, which many see as a direct response to Google has created a safer, more resilient Venice. Last year, Google agreed to sponsor and host the silent auction and reception.

VAW-Review-googlechessLocal Joseph Hanson has attended several art walks in previous years and explained that one of the reasons he wanted to attend once more was to see the inside of Google. "What a great space...to see the artwork in such a cleaner, more cutting-edge environment put a completely different view on the work."

This was the first year Google would host the Family Fun Day, and kids and dogs were encouraged and allowed to enter the silent auction area as well as the Google Garden. Also since Google hosted the reception last year, a bar serving alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, as well as food was a welcome addition. Something that was not possible at the old venue (Westminster School) and was proposed by the VAW staff. Sales from the alcoholic beverages, etc., helped to raise even more funds. Another local, Jude Edwards pointed out, "Well worth the price since you know it's going to a great cause."

Longtime resident Linda Levitz has been coming to the Venice Art Walk since her son was in elementary school - he’s now twenty-nine. A self-proclaimed hippie, Levitz loved the ambiance and relaxed setting of the Westminster School, but she was impressed with the new space. "Google was great…It was packed and I noticed many more young bidders than in previous years," said Levitz.

The Venice Family clinic has welcomed Google's sponsorship. Here's what the VAW team had to say, "We're stepping into a new era technologically, with the Google team overseeing our registration and silent auction checkout to create a better experience for our guests. We've created a new studio tour experience for our long-time supporters. Our Google-hosted silent auction is growing by leaps and bounds, with more than 350 local artists."

ArtiVAW AndyMosesst Andy Moses has been donating his work to the silent auction for 10 years. "I donated a painting that I just finished," said Moses. "It is representative of my recent topographically based work, but I have pushed the paint process in some new directions where there is an incredible illusion of texture, but it's all an illusion."

Laney Kapgan, Venice Family Clinic Director of Development, navigated many challenges this year and helped to create a successful event. "We are so grateful and honored to have talented artists support Venice Family Clinic by opening their studios for Venice Art Walk, and we're always looking for ways to offer new, exciting experiences to our guests."

This year new artists from haleARTS S P A C E, Michael Hale and Marc Hemeon were invited to donate work for the auction. Kapgan explained, "By highlighting different legendary and up-and-coming artists each year, we can continue to build support for the many talented artists in our community.

Michael Hale, owner of haleARTS S P A C E in Santa Monica attended the event. "It was a wonderful event, cited Hale. "I was so thrilled to be part of it - from all of us at haleARTS pitching local artists that were accepted - to being a participating artist myself."

Hale took advantage of the slient auction as well. "There were some amazing works - we actually bid on three works and won the auction on one - a  gorgeous piece from a local artist. Ce la vie on the other two we were outbid on. That's the name of the game with auctions," laughed Hale.

Artist VAW-REVIEW-PaulChikovPaul Chilkov opened his home and studio on the walk this year. He talks about his art...."I see my work as interacting with the environment it is in, particularly with the wind sculpture which is constantly responding to ambient conditions, making the invisible, visible as I like to say. Kinetic sculpture is also constantly reshaping itself into ever-changing rearrangements, so the work is never exactly the same from moment to moment."

See image: Paul Chilkov at his studo

One of Chilkov's sculptures is featured in the Google Garden. He is a longtime Venetian and he has particpated in the annual art walk for the last twenty five years. "I am a fan of the event with all its ups and downs," said Chilkov. "The move to Google was a great idea, as the drab halls of Wallgrove Elementary were not exactly the best place to view art and the sculpture garden there could be easily missed. Since my work requires an outdoor space with wind, the Google space is perfect and the flow of traffic through the 'galleries' to the outdoor area makes sure that no one will miss the sculpture garden." 

VAW 200w Farina beinLAmxArtist MX Farina also opened up his studio (East of Lincoln) this year and donated work to the silent auction. Farina has been participating in the annual event for over ten years. "It's a great cause in this day and age where our health care system has its complex challenges," said Farina. "The Venice Family Clinic Art Walk started over thirty years ago and and really paved the way to buy affordable art work and visit studios while raising much needed funds. With all its rich history in art, I wish Venice could secure a public-run exhibition space and show off all the unique talent this area has produced. There is nowhere in this world like our Venice beach of America!"

See image: MX Farina  Aerosol paint on paper 12 by 15 inches

Sheridan Rawlins, Engineering Manager, Google Chrome and Community Affairs Lead, Google LA was very iinvolved in this year's event. Rawlins talked about his early interactions with Venice, "Eclectic may be cliché, but pretty much sums it up. I used to visit my brother-in-law several times a year before we moved here, and I remember him having his fortune told on the boardwalk in Venice that he would marry his current girlfriend of one month as long as she didn't meet the parents for four months. Well, he's happily married with my nephew on the way!"

Google is anything but a typical corporate entity. It has revealed itself to be a viable and supportive part of the community in Venice. When asked what the best thing about working for Google is, Rawlins replied, "...Flexibility in how you make an impact. Everyone is allowed and expected to choose, within reason, where they can best make a difference. This is both a luxury and a challenge that I haven't found anywhere else."

GVAW-Review-Googleoogle appears to be in alignment with the "Venice" spirit and unconventional outlook on life, but there will always be different points of view... old school versus new school. There are those that will always long for the old days. "I do miss hanging (my art) in the Westminster school...that was a great venue," recalled Larry Bell, a longtime participant and one of the star artists that was honored along with John Van Hammersveld in this year's walk.

Artist Laddie John Dill who has been involved with the Venice Art Walk from the start has had a studio since 1968. He has seen many changes in Venice. "People moved to Venice for the eccentricity," said Dill, "which doesn't really exist anymore. In a sense, the boardwalk has gone back to the "carny" feeling, which it originally had."

Dill put it simply, "Google is here...let's work with it."

Rockwell: Table and Stage...NYC's "Broadway" Comes to Los Feliz, Los Angeles!!!

Rockwell: Table & Stage has been a staple of Los Feliz since 1944 when it was originally Rockwell logoopened as Sarno's Bakery. Sold to new owners in 2000 and named Vermont Restaurant, this restaurant underwent another transformation when a theatre group came into the picture and began performing a series called "For the Record," a revue-style show that pays tribute to the soundtracks and scenes of famous film directors. The Vermont soon expanded, due to ticket demands, transforming into the current Rockwell: Table & Stage.

The theatre group remained, now packing the 180 seater bar and restaurant every weekend. The food (and drink) is really good and very original. It's like a Broadway show in the middle of Los Feliz! Incredibly talented singer/dancer/actors...actually most of them were originally in NY on Broadway but moved here for the allure of TV and film careers. The "For the Record" show I saw was of Gary and Penny Marshall, featuring music from such films as "Beaches", "Big", "A League of Their Own" and "Pretty Woman." It's the closing night of this 7th in the series, with the next one, started April 18th, an homage to the Cohen Brothers, which should last a month. There's an air of excitement in the room!

Rockwell 1We got seated at 7:00 pm, looking around the room. This is quite the funky retro space, with a stage that has a walkway, with a big keyboard painted on it. There is a bar and restaurant in the back, and this showroom in the front is spacious. Big stage, professional lighting and sound, a grand piano, bass and drums set up. There's a nice size bar, 4 -tops near the stage, premier "booths" against the wall. There's even a couch in the middle of one side of the room.

You can't help feeling like the hip crowd is going to show up, any minute now! Menu items sound really unique; drinks like: "Jim Got Down On His Knees." I've ordered spicy tuna tacos (which I've had before here, and made my mouth water coming over!) and my husband ordered Pan fried Mac and Cheese with broccolini. (It came, I tasted...yum!)

It's 7:18 and the crowd is coming in. The Rolling Stones "She's a Rainbow" is playing in the background at an enjoyable volume. They sat two friendly people at our table. An Aussie actor, and his manager...we got into a fun conversation...mostly about treasure hunting, interspersed with entertainment industry conversation. It turned out that the manager also manages one of the performers in the show, who is also the choreographer.

It's 8:15, and the place has really filled up.. The house lights are down, people are eating and drinking, and there's definitely a buzz in the room! The MC comes out, very charming and fun, getting a great response from the audience! And then it starts!

High intensity, fun right from the first moment! A wonderful and high energy band backs up 7 totally incredible singers/dancers/actors! Vignettes; fast moving , into a rockin version of "Pretty Woman," the actors walking and dancing up and down the extendedstage and throughout the audience.

ThRockwell 2e first half of the show, focusing mainly on "Pretty Woman," moved through different movies, like Tom Hanks' "Big." Therefore the keyboarded stage (a memorable part of the movie)...a fun experience, watching these guys clown around, accompanied by the fabulous band.

These performers are, each one, so talented, it's really like seeing a Broadway musical, up close and personal. Sometimes solo singing, sometimes duo, many times the lead singer is flanked (albeit all over the room) by background singers. I think anyone in the room is drawn in by the well produced, exciting musical theatre. The evening is filled with recognizable songs, arranged by the pianist......and played incredibly well by the band, made up of piano, bass, guitar, and drums.

Right before the intermission they bring a ringer up who starts off singing subtly and quickly becomes a contender for "The Voice"! His singing is the kind that will rip your heart out...The talent of these people is really over the top!

I'm certainly struck by what a great experience it must be to be a member of this troupe! A total workout; singing, dancing, acting..everyone working together, joy for the performing. It's a total experience, in which the audience can experience all the emotions of the performers.

After an intermission they moved into "A League of Their Own", about a girl baseball team, very funny. And then "Beaches" was the feature of the 2nd half of the show,well written to include the time line of the whole movie. As in the first half, the troupe worked their hearts out and delivered a spectacular show! The ringer lead the finale of the show in a spectacular version of "Joy To The World", surrounded by all the singers and the band funking out!

ThRockwell 3ere are other nights of entertainment as well, at The Rockwell. At this point, after the show, a late night, 11 to 2 am, Friday hang with high energy rock/jazz band lead by Israeli transplant, pianist David Nathan. On = Wednesdays right now they're hosting actor/musician Jeff Goldblum's group, who has played around town in various hip clubs for many years.

This area of Los Feliz has developed into a hip hangout area for foodies, bookstores, movie houses, and artsy stuff. And for a very reasonable price, you can enjoy a terrific Broadway-like show, up close, in a hip environment, with good food and drink. Call the club for more information. 

Rockwell: Table and Stage, in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. Rockwell: Table & Stage. 1714 N. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027; (323) 669-1550; http://rockwell-la.com/

Event Review: Raw Artists, May 2nd!

RRawEventAW: Natural Born Artists hosted an innovative Hollywood event last Thursday May 2nd. The organization aims to provide independent artists with the tools and resources they need to "inspire and cultivate creativity."

The RAW show cohesively integrated a dance-party atmosphere with art, fashion, music, film, photography, and performance. The event showcased over 20 artists from all disciplines who displayed their work in the 10,000 square-foot creative space of Level 3 in Hollywood.

5.2 RawEvent nicoletteSpearArtists and event-goers connected over performance art, live music and an interactive gallery throughout the night. A local DJ spun new takes on popular music as the runway-show showcased featured local RAW artists. Fashion and jewelry designers were at the forefront of the show and featured collaborations with make-up artists to provide a mystical ambiance.

A hair and make up station was conveniently set up for partiers to go all out in glitz and glam to fit in with the runway models eccentric style. The art gallery featured painters, photographers and jewelry designers including Nicolette Spear (see image) whose surreal and imaginative pieces reflect the human condition while paying special attention to texture and geometry.

RAW events are featured in 57 countries and their once a month showcases are not to be missed!

Check it out: http://www.rawartists.org/

Event Review: Friday March 22, 2013 Gary Smulyan at The Blue Whale in L.A.

"Wiblue-whale-logonner of the 2009 and 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll for Baritone Saxophone! Winner of the 2011 Jazz Times Readers and Critics Polls for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year! Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Jazz Journalist Award for baritone saxophonist of the year. Baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan was born April 4, 1956, in Bethpage, New York. The gifted multi-instrumentalist started his music career by first learning alto saxophone during his teenage years on Long Island. Today he is critically acclaimed across-the-board and recognized as the major voice on the baritone saxophone. His playing is marked by an aggressive rhythmic sense, an intelligent and creative harmonic approach -- and
perhaps most importantly – a strong and incisive wit."

Well, I certainly am a fan! Apparently I'm not alone on this fact! He plays with the likes of Joe Lovano, Dave Holland, George Coleman, Christian McBride... the list really does go on and on!

This REVIEW-BlueWhale1evening Gary played with Darak Oles on bass and Joe LaBarbara on drums. A Tad Dameron tune started off the evening. The space of the stage at The Blue Whale physically seemed so empty... Perfect for this trio of bari sax, bass and drums. La Barbara started off the song with a solo, blending into a Latin groove.

In the front stood a short man, eyes closed, dressed in a long suit jacket, big bold tie, round black glasses... the Bari almost the same size as him. The song morphed into the changes to All The Things You Are. A very intense version, a moving tempo, changing at some forgotten point into hard swing, each player playing out full steam. What big music for a small group!

He stopped playing at what seemed like the perfect point, and dynamics came way down for Darek's solo. Joe and Gary filling in unobvious bits here and there... Then followed by a trading of fours with Joe, that was free and in the moment. Ah... the last A section slid back into a burning Latin groove.

All inREVIEW-BlueWhale3 all... the space that was created was like the second song they played...a Monk tune. Crazy, toe tapping... in the oddest way! I didn't miss a chord instrument at all. It was totally fulfilling, each singular musician with a voice...musically hanging out and communicating. This is really what jazz is supposed to be like. Just a big ole groove, having fun!

And isn't the sound of a Bari sax just so great! Played well, it's just so satisfying to the body and the soul!

After all this burning, into a warm and wonderful "Autumn in NY". The Blue Whale is the best place to hear this kind of thing... it's so intimate, it's like a living room concert. Aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, warm people appreciating the art form.

Gary is a great player. Chops do not get in the way of making the music, and he does both really well. What great great lines he plays... you really can hear all of his ideas and he has a beautiful tone as well. Of course, if you know the other two guys, you know that the same is true of them, that's why this is a great trio! And this is bebop, freebop, modern...whatever you call it, it's good!

REVIEW-Blue2WhaleJoe is such an incredibly elegant player. He is so fluid and tasteful. Easy playing, easy to watch, completely flowing. And Darek has become one of the main jazz players that plays with quality jazz musicians, around the world...which is easy to see why. He's right in the moment, his commitment is obvious, he's a melodic bassist... he also adds a driving force to the music as well.

The minute waltz (which I thought might be e break tune!)wow, was a quick jazz waltz tempo...beautiful! Great soloing, on everybody's part. It was such a surprise to hear it, not only for me, but for the crowd,as evident by the gasps and giggles that suddenly popped out!

The last song of the first set burst into a burning tempo on Airegin, where once again we were allowed into the magical world where the three world- class musicians met each other, recognized one another, and played joyously together! How lucky are we?! It doesn't get much better than this, as they say! Thanks, Gary Smulyan, for stopping in L.A. on the way through, on your tour! And thanks to the Blue Whale, for always booking the best musicians the world has to offer!


Event Review: Dori Caymmi at the Jazz Bakery's Moveable Feast at the Kirk Douglas Theatre!

Cathy Segal-Garcia reviews Dori Caymmi's recent performance on  2/15/13 at the Jazz Bakery's Moveable Feast, in the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Culver City, Los Angeles.

Here I am, sitting in the Kirk Douglas Theatre, waiting for the world renowned guitarist/vocalist/composer/arranger/producer, Dori Caymmi, to come out to start the show. A beautiful theatre, slanted up seating, with a medium large stage on the floor. The newest and most intimate of Center Theatre Group's family of theatres. The 317-seat venue is located in a newly renovated historic movie theatre in Downtown Culver City. It's an aesthetic environment surely.

We2.15.13 JazzBakery1 scored a seat in the very front center, so I'm pretty excited because I love being close to
musicians. Being a singer, I like to feel up close and personal, feeling like I'm actually part of
the band. There's a stool in the center with an expectant mic, a piano and keyboard, a stool in the center back, and drums. I'm excited!

The group, a quartet, comes out after an introduction from founder Ruth Price. Actually, the co-founder, Ruth and singer/photographer Jim Britt started the Bakery in his photo studio, which was part of the Helm's Bakery group of buildings in Culver City, almost 20 years ago. I used to sing there, and attended concerts there. When Jim's lease was up, Ruth moved it across the lane to a great space that lasted until a few years ago. I worked there quite a bit; Ruth was very supportive to me and my projects. I'm a great admirer of hers. She was a subtle and swinging, knowledgeable singer in earlier days. A great teacher (I've seen her in action at my own Vocal Workshop series) and a lively and consistent worker, always recognizing great talent and art, and has accomplished rare thing...an ongoing, quality production space for Jazz!

Dori's voice is at once, beautiful and distinct... A rich baritone, with depth of emotion that makes my insides release. Add that voice to a slow bossa beat, with subtleties of the rhythms and harmonies coming through the players...it's romantic and beautiful from the very first moment!

The music is harmonically leading and surprising, which is part of what makes it so amazing to listen to! Within the same song, there are passages of different lengths, that are significantly different, but they relate and flow out of each other and into the next; like a river, running gently and endlessly, around rocks and curves, on and on.

The 2nd song showcased the pianist, Bill Cantos, singing his own keyboard solo...Wonderful! Vocally exciting, and great musical ideas... motifs repeating and developing into an exciting build and gentle drop. A slow, painfully beautiful "Corcovado" was next. How do the great Brazilian musicians create this gorgeous style, time and again?! Dori is having a love affair with the song; the notes, the way they sit in the harmony, the Portuguese lyrics....

2.15.13 JazzBakery2And yet right after, this sweetheart of a man makes a joke relating to his "depressed versions of Brazilian music", and then going into a mind blowing arrangement of "Brazil"! I have never heard or imagined a more beautiful and interesting arrangement. It took me at least 32 bars before I recognized it. The form seemed different, the chords were definitely beautiful substitutions, and even the melody, sung and played by Dori at first, seemed only slightly familiar! At a slow, sensuous groove, with all the rest, it was truly a holy experience!

Jerry Watts on electric bass is a prominent part of the music. A versatile and strong musician, in this setting, as each musician, he must hold his reigns and release at just the right times. Playing his bass like a guitar, his rhythmic choices seemed comfortable and perfect, even knowing how complex they really are!

"The Underground: From the Streets to the Stage" at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center

"The Underground: From the Streets to the Stage" fuses the explosive improvisational energy of street dance with structured modern dance choreography. The beautifully designed Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, which seats 399 people with 102 seats on the balcony level and 297 seats on the orchestra level, provided a comfortable and intimate setting to introduce this ground-breaking dance form to a theater audience.

REVIEW TheUndergroundPhoto Credit: Sage Gallon

The 53-minute performance, which blends eight live dance pieces featuring 8 dancers with six short video segments, was created, conceived, choreographed and directed by Marquisa "Miss Prissy" Gardner. Known as "Queen of Krump", she starred in the film Rize, which chronicles the lives of some of South Central Los Angeles's top krump dancers.

The videos, woven throughout the performance, provided an easily accessible sense of the history and momentum of street performing and include an interview with Lil' C, who added choreography to the show. It was also clearly apparent in the well rehearsed and professionally disciplined individual and ensemble performances that Miss Prissy brought forth her lifelong classical ballet, jazz, tap training along with her recent experiences having toured with Snoop Dogg, the Game, and Madonna.

Most striking to me was the collaborative, supportive, syncopated, and at times nurturing interactions and relationships among the dancers that was in contrast to the typically intense competitive "dancer versus dancer" nature of what shows up on the street.

It may be that this transformational energy is due to Missy Prissy's acknowledged being a "mother to the performers" and in fact literally so, as her solo, "Pink Matter", opened with her young daughter reaching up to hold onto a ballet barre, being carried off stage, and Miss Prissy entering to act-out a poignant inner conflict between classical dance gestures and krump moves.

Highlights of the show included "We 3 Kings" performed by Outrage, Ruin, Worm, "Me Against the Music" with Boogie Frantick doing a solo "popper" routine playing off the variant music genres coming from a boombox, "Drummer vs. Krumper" featuring Brent Pittman on drums, ensemble pieces "Pyramids", "Adrenaline" and "Guerilla Beatdown" finale which brought the audience to its feet.

Performers included Christopher "Worm" Lewis, Charles "King Charles" Parks (Chicago footworker), Christopher "Lil' C" Toler, Larry "Ruin" Combs, Deidra "Krucial" Cooper-Jenkins, Manny "Xclusive" Fernandez, Darren "Outrage" King, Ricardo "Boogie Frantick" Rodriguez Jr., Brent Pittman on drums, and rapper KO the Legend.

The Underground was produced by Jessica Koslow, who recently received her MA in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

The goal is to take the show on the road and there are plans to do performances in Los Angeles in 2013 at Mount St. Mary's College in February, Nate Holden Arts Center in April, and USC in September. For more information, visit undergroundstreetdance.com

The Shakespeare Globe Theatre's production of Hamlet at the Broad Stage

"The play's the thing." The Shakespeare Globe Theatre's production of Hamlet at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica is an engaging and highly entertaining presentation of the classic tragedy of murder, betrayal, existential angst, madness and revenge. The actors speak the Bard's poetic language with a crispness and clarity that enables the audience to easily follow the story and connect emotionally with each character.

MicThe-cast-of-Hamlet-Photo-by-Simon-Annandhael Benz leads the ensemble as Hamlet with  even other actors playing the full complement of characters -- highlighted by Peter Bray as Prince Fortinbras, Miranda Foster as Gertrude, Tom Lawrence as Horatio, Carlyss Peer as Ophelia, Matthew Romain as Laertes, Christopher Saul as Polonius, and Dickson Tyrrell as Claudius.

The openness of the tightly constructed stage set and with the house lights kept up creates a sense of intimacy that has the audience drawn into the action. In addition, the actors weave a wonderful rhythmic musicality, and at moments humor, throughout the two hour forty-five minute performance with song, accordion, violin, mandolin, and percussion that keeps the pace of the performance move briskly with an upbeat energy.

As the story line progresses, the actors make just the right amount of effort to emphasize the familiar lines that reinforce the timeless quality of the play and remind us of the those poignant human truths as -- “This above all: to thine own self be true"; “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so; “Conscience doth make cowards of us al ” and of course-- “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Directed by Dominic Dromgoole and Bill Buckhurst, Hamlet continues at the Broad Stage until November 25.