Fringe Fringe Fringe. Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe. Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe Fringe. 375 shows! Ben Hill! Matt Quinn! Blah blah blah blah. For the last week I've been in a secret bunker far far away from anything remotely resembling a Fringe show, trying to decompress. Yes, I set out as a young man on June … Continue reading THE FRINGE IS OVER! AND ... NO IT'S NOT
Writer: Stephen Fife
So I was standing on line for the Men's room with longtime LA theater critic Don Shirley, and I asked him: "How many Fringe shows did you see?" He gave me an incredulous look and said, "None." I asked why not? "Because it's all so evanescent." All theater is evanescent, I said. "But it's just … Continue reading FRINGE BINGE 2: HERE'S TO EVANESCENCE!
Like a hard-core drunk coming off a massive bender, I am still whoozy and wobbly from the three weeks of Fringe. Did I really see 50-odd shows - some odder than others? Did I really turn around that time in Serial Killers to find the couple sitting behind me suddenly naked, as they vaulted past me, … Continue reading FRINGE BINGE 1: GOING IT ALONE (Seven One-Person Shows)
THE PRIDE by Alexi Kaye Campbell at the Wallis Annenberg In his review of the New York production, Ben Brantley called The Pride "sentimental," and he may not be wrong. The play dramatizes two separate love triangles, 50 years apart. In 1958, Sylvia is a childless illustrator of children's books who introduces her dapper husband … Continue reading HIPSTER TIPS: TWO GREAT PRODUCTIONS WORTH CATCHING (BUT HURRY!)
HIPSTER LAMENT CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne at the Geffen For the last two-plus years, I've been hearing what has seemed like a non-stop hymn of praise for the two-hander play Constellations by Nick Payne, which had its Broadway debut in January 2015 with Jake Gylenhaal and Ruth Wilson in the roles of the starry-eyed lovers … Continue reading THERE'S A FESTIVAL GOING ON RIGHT NOW (AND IT'S NOT THE FRINGE)
I am posting this photo of these two girls, one of whom happens to be my daughter at age five or so (on the right), because it is the purest expression I know of the beauty of human beings, and after seeing Chimpskin and then Slashed! in the Fringe, I needed something to remind me … Continue reading EPIPHANIES AT THE FRINGE, PART IV: GETTING READY FOR FRINGE BINGE!!!
HIPSTER TIP AT THE FRINGE EASY TARGETS at Sacred Fools is simply the most fun you can have at the Hollywood Fringe, and one of the most fun evenings you will ever have at the theater. There's an A evening (Male Actors) and a B evening (Female Actors); I've only seen the A, and it's such … Continue reading EPIPHANIES AT THE FRINGE, PART III: LIFE AND DEATH, MAGIC AND MUSIC
For those scoring at home, here's a list of 5 plays I've seen at Fringe, that I'm going to talk about here. (I'm going to discuss several others in Part III - so many shows, so little time!!!) The Motherfucker with the Hat, Two Motherfuckers on a Ledge, A Vegas Kind of Love, Blackbird, The Interference. … Continue reading EPIPHANY EPIPHANY EPIPHANY AT THE FRINGE, PART II: A BUNCH OF MOTHERF*CKING PLAYS
"Epiphany epiphany epiphany," Ellyn Daniels chants at one point during her stand-up Fringe show, Emotional Terrorism. The context is this: Ellyn has just run into an old high school friend from Florida here in Hollywood, and she is crashing at the friend's house after a party. The friend has to go out to an acting … Continue reading EPIPHANY EPIPHANY EPIPHANY AT THE FRINGE, PART I: FOUR SOLO SHOWS
On a recent Thursday, a few days before the 2017 Fringe shows began previewing, I squeezed my Hipster self into a jam-packed Cellar 43 on Cahuenga. This was a party in the series of parties that marks the Fringe season, but it was my first experience of this year's Hollywood Fringers, and a lively group it … Continue reading THIS JAM-PACKED CRAZY WEEK, PART II: THE FRINGE APOCALYPSE!!!
Sometimes there's just too much happening. Too much to write about in a week in this surprising city, which appears to be so predictable and obvious – 80 degrees and sunny, ho hum – but has so many places that few people seem to see. Are the places hidden? No. But people drive by every … Continue reading THIS JAM-PACKED CRAZY WEEK, PART I: THINGS TO FIND TIME FOR (Non-Fringe)
This Thursday June 1st, the curtain will rise on Program A of Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA's Second Annual One Act Festival at their 50-seat performance space at the Atwater Village Theatre, with Programs B & C still to follow. Meanwhile, back in New York City, the 36th Annual one act Marathon of the original Ensemble Studio … Continue reading ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE-LA: FINDING ITS WAY OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Those of you who read my column regularly - and yes, I mean you, Sandra Zeitzew, and you, Mary Tierney, and you, guy I went to high school with, who has hated me ever since I didn't return your wave "hello" in 8th grade (I didn't see you!) - oh, and you, person of taste, … Continue reading HIPSTER END-OF-SPRING TIPS AND LAMENT
This is from the graduation ceremony a few days ago at the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles. The song was written by a few girls from the Archer class of 2017 - Annie Rose Schindel, Meg Elizabeth Anne Smith, Sophie Simone Smyth. Thanks to them for their talent and big-hearts. One of the … Continue reading A Short Video in honor of Manchester's Girls
This past Monday evening, STAGE RAW held its Third Annual Awards ceremony at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown LA. There were many memorable moments (of course) , but the one that stays with me involved the actress Kate Morgan Chadwick, who received the award for "Leading Female Performance" for her work in … Continue reading The 2017 STAGE RAW AWARDS: Smiling through the Sh*t-Storm
BACK TO THE USSR Do you get it yet, my fellow Americans? Do you get it yet? First, the FBI Chief is fired in the middle of an investigation of the White House, then the so-called President meets with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and American press is barred from coverage!!! That … Continue reading A LEISURELY STROLL THROUGH HEAVEN AND HELL
It's happening, folks. Whether you want it to or not - and why wouldn't you want it to? - SPRING is exploding all over Los Angeles, and not just any spring either. The snowy plovers are back in LA (at Dockweiler Beach) for the first time in 70 years, the brodiaea filofilia is blooming out … Continue reading CAN'T STOP THE BEAT, CAN'T STOP THE BEAT
Well, here we are - on the verge of a new chapter for Better-Lemons.com, and certainly something different for me. I've been writing since I was 15 - that's a while ago, folks - and I've been a journalist in many venues - New York Times, Village Voice, New Republic, so many others - but … Continue reading INTRO TO BETTER-LEMONS NEW EDITOR, STEVE FIFE
At some point in the 1988 film Punchline, starring Sally Field and Tom Hanks as aspiring stand-up comics, Field asks Hanks: "How do you know if something is really funny?" Hanks (as the Jewish comic Steven Gold) tells her something to the effect of: "Either it's wet or it's dry. If it's wet" (funny) "then you can tell right … Continue reading FIRST RULE OF COMEDY -- BE FUNNY. NOT SO EASY, FOLKS
The brah hitting the pipe in this striking photo is a 40 year old Arizona cannabis activist named Billy Hayes, who - according to Phoenix New Times magazine - "opposes the monopolistic practices and tight restrictions in the marijuana industry." To demonstrate his opposition, this Billy Hayes purposely committed a number of legal violations and then fought … Continue reading BURNING THE MIDNIGHT (EXPRESS) OIL WITH BILLY HAYES - a 4/20 Story