JOAN OF ART – BEING GRATEFUL, A Night of Magic, A Profound Film, Unique Food and a Powerful Play

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic

After a week of devastation due to the fires that have destroyed so many homes, displaced pets and destroyed food sources for our wildlife some may find it hard to feel grateful. I had to evacuate for a week and luckily Topanga Canyon where I live was spared.

Having said all this my favorite holiday is coming up this week, a time not only for sharing delicious food with family and friends, but reflecting on what I feel grateful for. At the top of the list are those amazing firefighters that are our true heroes.

It’s also a weekend full of fun events starting with A VERY MAGIC MANIA at the Santa Monica Playhouse located at 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica.

I for one love magic and I will certainly be at this. Magic Mania is created by and hosted by actor and magician extraordinaire, Albe Selznick. He is a lifetime member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and created the theatrical smash hit ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ which I’ve seen three times.

The show runs about 75 minutes and features an ever changing lineup of over 100 world famous magic and variety acts including Max Maven, Steve Valentine, Jon Armstrong, Pop Haydn, Ben Seidman, David Deeble, Dana Daniels, Bruce Gold, George Tovar, Christopher Hart and so many more great magicians.

For more information email or call 310-450-2849. The show opens on Saturday 8:00pm November 24rth. The pre-show starts at 7:30pm.

Magic Mania runs Sunday, November 25th at 3:00pm, Sunday, December 2nd at 3:00pm, Saturday, December 8th at 8:00pm, Sunday, December 9th at 3:00pm, Saturday, December 15th at 8pm, Sunday, December 16th at 3pm, Saturday, December 22nd at 8:00pm and Sunday, December 23rd at 3:00pm.

This is a great show for kids and grownups or grownups who are really big kids at heart, myself included.

Next is one of my favorite films of the year, GREEN BOOK starring Vigo Mortensen, who gives one of his best performances in his career and the wonderful Mahershala Ali ‘Green Book’ is based on a true story about a working class Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who becomes a driver for an African American classical pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a concert tour through the south in 1962.

The film directed by Peter Farrelly deals with racial discrimination and Jim Crow laws such as white-only restaurants and hotels. But it’s also the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between these two very different men.

‘Green Book’ will make you angry, will make you laugh and in the end even make you cry. I know I teared up. This is a beautiful film and definitely on my ‘must see’ list. It opens in theaters Wednesday, November 21st.

Now if you don’t feel like cooking on Thanksgiving or anytime this weekend I suggest you make a reservation at this truly fantastic and unique restaurant called THE BAZAAR by Jose Andres. I’ll be there Friday night. Jose Andres is an extraordinary culinary wizard and his restaurant offers ground breaking culinary artistry by this Michelin starred chef.

The Bazaar takes you on a wild sensory adventure born of Jose’s Spanish roots both traditional and advent-garde in a bold and playful atmosphere where anything is possible. I’ve eaten here several times and I’m always wonderfully surprised. The Bazaar is located in the SLS Hotel at 465 La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles. For reservations call 310-246-5555.

For more information and to check out the menu go to

Finally on Sunday I will be at my favorite theatre company The Rogue Machine which has just relocated to the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice CA where I will be seeing their new play FINKS. It stars French Stewart as Mickey Hobbs a New York nightclub comic. The play takes place during the McCarthy era and is based on playwright Joe Gilford’s parents.

It asks the question “what would you do.” Name names or risk your career…A question many artists had to ask themselves in the 1950’s. Considering what is going on in this country now, ‘Finks’ is a reminder about a different time that could possibly happen again.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to Finks directed by Michael Pressman opened November 10th and plays through Sunday, December 2nd.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone and whatever you choose to do this weekend have a great 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.