JOAN OF ART: A Mel Brooks Broadway Hit, A Superhero Returns, Ramblin Jack Elliot and A Very Big Meow Festival

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic

The Producers opening at the Celebration Theatre at the Lex on Friday June 30th is a musical adaption of Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks’s 1967 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful.

Like many of Brooks’ films the humor of the show draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis and many show business in-jokes. The show is best known for the song, Springtime for Hitler. I’ve seen this in New York and loved it.

The Celebration Theatre has produced several musicals including ‘The Color Purple‘ and they were all excellent. I’m sure this one will be as well.

The Celebration is located at 6760 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood. For tickets go to The show runs Fridays-Mondays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.

Even though my next pick doesn’t open until Tuesday July 2nd I thought it definitely should be included of my weekend list of fun things to do. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a perfect way to start the July 4th holiday. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man played by Tom Holland must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya and Samule L. Jackson round out the cast and the film has already gotten rave reviews and I for one can’t wait to see it.

Next up is one of my favorite old time performers, Ramblin Jack Elliot, an American folk singer/guitarist. At the age of 87 the dude still has it. Way back when Elliot taught himself guitar and started busking for a living. Eventually he got together with Woody Guthrie and stayed with him as both an admirer and student.

Elliott’s guitar and his mastery of Guthrie’s material had a big impact on Bob Dylan when he lived in Minneapolis. When Dylan reached New York, he was sometimes referred to as the ‘son’ of Jack Elliott, because Elliot had a way of introducing Dylan’s songs with the words: ‘Here’s a song from my son, Bob Dylan.’

For years Ramblin Jack Elliot has been an interpretative troubadour bringing old songs to new audiences in his idiosyncratic manner. I’ve seen him several times and every show was just great.

Elliot will be performing Sunday June 30th at 8pm at McCabes Guitar Shop located at 3101 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica. For tickets go to Tickets are $30.00.

Last but not least, and definitely one of my favorite events of this upcoming weekend is CatCon at the Pasadena Convention Center located at 300 East Green Street in Pasadena. Why, you ask? Because I am a crazy cat lover. The show runs Saturday, June 29th from 9am to 6pm and Sunday June 30th 10am to 5pm.

This is the biggest cat-centric pop culture catstravaganza in the world. Immersive experiences, 200 exhibitors, photo booths, celebricats like Pudge and the Dark Lord plus the biggest adoption village ever awaits you.

Top talent both feline and human includes Cats of Instagram, Aaron’s Animals, Shelly Roche of ‘Tiny Kittens’ and over 30 more plus over a dozen workshops and seminars, kitty cosplay, the Kitty Coloring Collective and Tons of giveaways and swag.

One of the best events where you get to hang out with thousands of people who love cats just as much as you do. If you’re not a ‘cat lover’ I guarantee you after spending an afternoon here you will be.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to

Whatever you decide to do this weekend people, make it a fun one.

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death.