Rogue Machine Theatre continues its look back at American leftists - and the persecution of them - with Finks, which alternates onstage at Venice’s Electric Lodge with the peerless Oppenheimer. If the latter recounted the saga of the physicist who co-invented the atomic bomb and leftwing ties in the scientific community, Finks focuses on show biz radicals during the witch-hunt of the House Un-American Activities Committee/McCarthy era during the 1950s.


In Finks playwright Joe Gilford dramatizes the blacklisting of his real life parents. Jack Gilford played Hysterium in 1966’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, acted in 1985’s Cocoon was Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1973’s Save the Tiger and is here called Mickey Dobbs (the inimitable French Stewart).

Jack’s wife, stage, radio and screen actress Madeline Lee, appeared in The Goldbergs; I Remember Mama; on the Jackie Gleason and Red Buttons shows, specialized in playing babies and children and in Finks is named Natalie Meltzer (Valerie Claire Stewart).


Broward had technology in place to do better, but state law blocked its use.


Political grandstanding aside, the chaotic scenes and missteps from southern Florida’s recounts pose one question above all: Can its vote counting be more trustable?

If you are a journalist and you discover something that is clearly unethical, and possibly even illegal, and you choose to report it what happens next? Well, you could win a Pulitzer Prize or, on the other hand, you might wind up hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for six years.

Julian Assange is the founder and editor in chief of the controversial news and information site WikiLeaks. As the name implies, since 2006 the site has become famous, or perhaps notorious, for its publication of materials that have been leaked to it by government officials and other sources who consider the information to be of value to the public but unlikely to be accepted by the mainstream media, which has become increasingly corporatized and timid.

LA Opera’s bewitching Hansel and Gretel may be the most enchanting, optically opulent opera this reviewer has ever seen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. With its stellar stagecraft , stagemanship and eye- popping, jaw-dropping scenery designed by director Doug Fitch with lighting by Duane Schuler, the audience is transported into a spellbinding, haunted forest full of spirits, including a Dew Fairy (Georgia soprano Sarah Vautour), a Sandman (North Carolina mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven), plus a spooky witch (mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, who’s quite the ham).


Suffused with special effects, the overall ambiance evokes a sort of psychedelic Sesame Street with a Big Bird on acid, combined with elements from Peter Pan’s Neverland, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and the Beatles’ 1968 animated feature Yellow Submarine. The original score synthesizes Wagnerian flourishes with Germanic folk music by 19th century composer Engelbert Humperdinck (not to be confused with the 1960s Tom Jones knock-off, a British pop singer who adopted the same Germanic moniker as his stage name).


“What is seen with one eye has no depth.”

I’m thinking, as I ponder the wisdom of Ursula LeGuin, that American culture is at the end of what it can accomplish with its single-eyed vision. For all our material progress, for all our ability to dominate just about anything or anyone we encounter — this is our history, our manifest destiny — things are falling apart in every sector of society.

What’s left of the media can’t stop selling us our own desperation and anxiety. We keep piling on more of the same — more troops in Afghanistan, more surveillance cameras in our neighborhoods — but it isn’t working. Could it be that we’re not seeing the world the way we need to see it?



The American Film Institute’s annual film festival, which took place Nov. 8-15, is arguably Los Angeles’ best and most comprehensive annual fete of feature, documentary, short, animated, domestic and foreign cinema. Here are capsule reviews of some of AFI Fest 2018’s myriad productions.




Woody Allen’s films have sometimes been criticized for their dearth of Black characters, even if most of the Manhattanite’s movies have been set and shot in New York City. This despite the fact that according to the 2006-2008 U.S. Census 25.1% of NYC’s 8.5 million residents are Black - somehow the Woodman consistently managed to miss the estimated 2,086,566 Black people residing in New York City. Toronto-born writer/director Stella Meghie may not be American, but she is of African ancestry and her new rom-com, The Weekend, is a sort of all-Black Woody Allen type of comedy.


“Grieved by the loss of their lands, dissatisfied with reservation(aka, concentration camp)life, and ultimately brought to a condition of near starvation, the Dakota people appealed to US Indian agencies (involving ex-Minnesota governors Sibley and Ramsey)without success. The murder of five whites by four young Dakota Indians ignited a bloody uprising in which more than 300 whites and an unknown number of Indians were killed. In the aftermath, 38 Dakota captives were hanged in Mankato(the day after Christmas Day 1862)for ‘voluntary participation in murders and massacres,’ and the Dakota remaining in Minnesota were removed to reservations in Nebraska. Meanwhile, the Ojibwa were relegated to reservations on remnants of their former lands.



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