JOAN OF ART: Coming Up a Weekend of Laughs, Sweets and Art

Joan Alperin

Writer, Registered Critic

I love to laugh but at the same time I love when I see something that not only makes me laugh but also makes me think. The Joy Wheel directed by Jason Alexander (yep that one) and written by Ian McRae definitely does both.

Life is changing for Frank and Stella (the wonderful Dann Florek and Gina Hecht) and on the day of Frank’s retirement party, this once loving and simple couple find themselves pulled in different directions as the winds of change blow through their town of Joy, Illinois. The world is not what it was. Stella is shaken but inspired by her best friend, Marge (the hysterically funny Lee Garlington) becoming a liberated, sexualized independent woman, while Frank decides to emulate his doomsday pepper carrying friend, Stew (the brilliant Maury Sterling) by building an underground bunker that once was the family swimming pool.

The play starts out as extremely funny but soon becomes dark and menacing making a very powerful ‘must see.’ theatre event. ‘The Joy Wheel‘ opened on Friday February 15th and runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays 2pm through March 24, 2019. The Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica. Tickets are $30-$35 and can be purchased in advance by calling 310-397-3244 or online at

Now there’s also another kind of comedy taking place – and that’s ‘stand up comedy at the iconic Comedy Store in Hollywood.

This Friday The ShinDig Show, will be performing including (see above) Jeff Ross, Neal Brennan, Jodi Miller, Argus Hamilton, Yakov Smirnoff, Justin Martindale, Owen Smith, Pauly Shore and Esther Povitsky. They write on their event page “Join the Party with Jimmy Shin and the top comedians in the country! The ShinDig Show is one of The Comedy Store’s best shows and we’ve cherry picked some of the funniest comedians around for this one. Don’t miss this Ultimate Comedy Party with the biggest headliners and rising talent in the same room Dave Chappelle shot his last Netflix Special! Plus the biggest star Pop-ins…Last show Bill Burr and Judd Apatow popped in for a set…” The show starts at 7:30pm and runs till 9:45pm.

The show is at the Main Room and doors open at 7:00. There’s a two drink minimum per person. The Comedy Store is located at 8433 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. To purchase tickets go to

Now after all these laughs, I think something sweet as well as artistic would be just the thing. The Chocolate and Art Show is where I’ll be this weekend. It takes place this Friday, February 22nd and Saturday, February 23rd.

This event is a celebrated gathering to showcase the talents of local artists, vendors and musicians complimented by artisan chocolatiers. With regard to art’s range of expression and subject matter everyone over the age of 21 is invited to join for a night or two of dancing, chocolate and cultural indulgence.

Chocolate and Art serves as a platform for emerging and established artists of many mediums to get to know their own art community, network, showcase their works and profit from their creativity. In support of their cause, the Chocolate and Art show benefits Artists for Trauma, a non-profit that aims to aid in recovery through artistic expression and human connection.

The show is located at the Vortex, 2341 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles. To purchase tickets go to The show starts at 7pm and goes on until 2am.

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.