If you aren’t familiar with The UMPO Series at Rockwell Table and Stage in Los Feliz you are missing out!
It merges movies and musical theater by revisiting popular films and retooling them for live audiences. This is all done with top-notch casts (Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur is among those who have starred in and directed shows).
I’ve seen, and loved, the parodies of Hocus Pocus, The Breakfast Club, and Home Alone and am still kicking myself for missing The Devil Wears Prada.
Anyway, when I heard they were doing The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Jurassic Park I was skeptical. How would they do it? Dinosaurs?
Should not have worried with Kate Pazakis creating a fantastically entertaining evening suited perfectly for the venue. This is dinner theater and the action not only takes place on the stage but also all around you.
As you can see in my photos, the T-Rex and other dinosaurs are hilariously portrayed by actors with deadpan faces holding up what look like giant stick puppet versions of the prehistoric creatures.
The cast is first-rate with my favorite being Michael Thomas Grant as “Goldblum.” The actor channels the movie’s original star Jeff Goldblum hilariously and his performance includes shameless plugs for the one-man show that the actual Jeff Goldblum frequently performs at Rockwell.
Was also enchanted by leading lady Lesley McKinnell who does a lot of the heavy lifting in this production as Ellie. She has terrific chemistry who several of her scene partners but, in particular, Grant as Goldblum.
On opening night last week, the cast also included Dedrick Bonner as Dr. Arnold, Owain Rhys Davies as Hammond, and E.K. Dagenfield in the roles of Newman, Gennaro and Muldoon.
The show is directed by Nathan Moore, choreographed by Mallory Butcher with Joey Guthman the lighting designer, Julia Pinhey the sound designer, Gregory Nabours the musical director and Chadd McMillan the production manager, production designer and stage manager.
The show runs through April 28 and I highly recommend you check it out. There’s a two-item minimum so buy a few drinks or order something off the menu – the sweet potato fries are outstanding!
You also never know who you are going to run into in the audience. Cast members from the original movies have been known to show up and the night we went Lance Bass was at the next table.
With the endless barrage of frustrating and horrible news coming out of our nation’s capitol, this is a ray of sunshine.
It involves Billie Jean King, one of my greatest heroes and role models.
Congressmember Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) on Tuesday joined with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14) to introduce the Billie Jean King Congressional Gold Medal Act in the House of Representatives to award King the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her vast achievements and contributions to athletics, women’s rights, the LGBT community and American culture, according to Lowenthal’s office.
“Billie Jean redefined the very role of women in both sports and American culture,” Lowenthal said. “The word ‘icon’ is simply too small to capture the enormous impact she has had on not just tennis, not just on the United States, but on the world. She is a pioneer in athletics, a trailblazer in the fight for equality, a role model for women and the LGBT community, and an inspiration to every American. She has not only earned this honor– she deserves it for the ground she has broken and the paths that she has set.”
King, a native of Long Beach, won 39 singles, doubles and mixed-doubles tennis championships at the grand slam tournaments in tennis during her more than 30-plus-year tennis career, including a record 20 at Wimbledon. She is also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the nonprofit Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, home of the U.S. Open Grand Slam tennis tournament, is named in her honor.
“Time and time again, Billie Jean King has broken barriers,” Crowley said. “Among the numerous accolades she has earned over the course of her career, the Congressional Gold Medal would formally recognize King’s leadership in the fight for equality and her achievements in making professional sports more accessible to all Americans, regardless of their gender or identity.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is an award the U.S. Congress bestows to recognize an individual’s immense contributions to American culture. Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which King was awarded in 2009, the Congressional Gold Medal ranks as one the highest civilian awards in the country.
“I am so proud to be an American, and it would be an amazing honor to receive the Congressional Gold Medal,” King said. “I fully appreciate the importance and the significance of this honor and to be considered is a privilege.”
USTA President and Chairman Katrina Adams said King is one of tennis’s all-time greatest champions who has used her platform of popularity to champion myriad important causes for the betterment of society as a whole.
“She is a pioneer in the truest sense, a tireless crusader for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and social justice,” Adams said. “She has devoted her life to leveling the playing field for all, and for that reason, the USTA wholeheartedly supports awarding this legendary champion and courageous crusader the Congressional Gold Medal.”
The legislation is endorsed by the American Association of University Women, Association of Title IX Administrators, Human Rights Campaign, Girls Inc., National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Youth Sports, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation, and United States Tennis Association.
Spanish figure skater Javier Fernandez landed second place at the Winter Olympics last night for a nearly flawless performance that earned a 107.58 score. He was behind only Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, who was awarded a 111.68. Friday’s free skate competition will determine medals for the competitors. The 26 year old is a two-time World champion (2015, 2016), a six-time consecutive European champion (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), and an eight-time Spanish national champion.
Whether or not Adam Rippon wins another medal in these Winter Olympics, he is one of the biggest breakout stars of the Games. He’s won a bronze in the team competition and was briefly atop the leaderboard with a total score of 87.95 in the individual competition after his short program. Adam, 28, collapsed onto his back on the ice with joy after skating to Let Me Think About It. He told reporters after he was “so happy with what I was able to do” The first openly gay man on Team USA also said: “I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to skate well today. I’ve definitely got a lot of attention over the past week and a half, so I wanted to show all of those people who have shown me love, they have their hands full.”
Broke my thumb yesterday in practice. It won't stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence's hand so… Silver linings! Will be giving my teammates (and literally everyone else) an enthusiastic "thumbs up!" of encouragement the rest of the trip. pic.twitter.com/XylPPGAq9P
The Emmy winner was officially fired today from the Amazon series Transparent following an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made by by transgender actresses Van Barnes and Trace Lysette.
Series creator Jill Soloway said in a statement today: “I have great respect and admiration for Van Barnes and Trace Lysette, whose courage in speaking out about their experience on Transparent is an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires. We are grateful to the many trans people who have supported our vision for Transparent since its inception and remain heartbroken about the pain and mistrust their experience has generated in our community. We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family.”
Tambor said in his own statement: “I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me. I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway’s unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates. In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon. Therefore, I can only surmise that the investigation against me was deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set. As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself. I also deeply regret that this ground-breaking show, which changed so many lives, is now in jeopardy. That, to me, is the biggest heartbreak.”
Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who became the first openly gay male extreme sports athlete two years ago, spoke to Don Dahler of CBS News.
Here’s what Gus had to say about Donald Trump and Mike Pence: “When we have people elected into office that believe in conversion therapy and are trying to strip trans rights in the military and do these things that are directly attacking the LGBT community, I have no patience. I am so proud to be from the U.S. and to be from a country where you are able to voice your political opinions and stand up for what you believe in and I think that when you have a platform you have to use it especially if you feel very strongly about something.”
Openly gay Canadian figure skater Eric Radford has announced that he is retiring from competition after he and partner Meagan Duhamel skated a nearly flawless free skate in the individual competition of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to earn the bronze medal.
The pair earlier this week won a gold medal in the team event with Canada. This made Radford the first openly gay male athlete to win an Olympic gold medal, and now he is the first openly gay athlete to win multiple Olympic medals.
“We saved the best for last,” Radford said after winning bronze. “It’s the sweetest [ending] it could possibly be right now, I don’t think that there’s any better way.”
He later wrote on Instagram: “I couldn’t ask for more in my career. It’s been fun dreaming my wildest dreams and having so many of them come true. Thank you everybody for all of your support.”
This gorgeous guy with sexy lips is Dutch soccer pro Robin van Persie.
The 34-year-old star soccer striker plays for Turkish Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe. He had played for Manchester United from 2012-15 and was named captain of the Dutch national team in 2013. He previously played for Arsenal from 2004 to 2012, scoring 96 goals in 194 appearances.
He and wife Bouchra van Persie are the parents of a son and daughter.
Last night I got home from the gym and started watching everything I could find on YouTube and NBC.com about Adam Rippon, the openly gay figure skater who has won out hearts at the Winter Olympics.
He is not only a magnificent skater who won a bronze medal in the team competition but also just a bright light who is witty and happy and I think will help make every gay kid out there watching him feel better about themselves.
To have him skate so well and win medals for his country is one thing but to have him be so unapologetically himself in the process is the most important thing of all.
A big congratulations to Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and his husband, Olympic diver Tom Daley, who chose Valentine’s Day to announce to the world that they are going to become parents.
The couple each posted a photo on their Instagram accounts holding up an ultrasound image.
There are a lot of The Amazing Race fans who miss the duo of Christopher and Trevor but fans of their group Well-Strung know they are still around connecting on social media and with live concerts. Here is a video the duo released with their bandmates celebrating Valentine’s Day as well as the group’s sixth anniversary.
This show is lasting a lot longer than I ever dreamed and that’s a damned good thing.
Netflix announced today the renewal of its hit show Grace and Frankie for a fifth season. The series starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, will return in 2019.
In addition, RuPaul joins the cast as a guest star in season five as ‘Benjamin Le Day,’ a formidable and quick-witted adversary who faces off with Grace and Frankie.
Season 4 of Grace and Frankie premiered on January 19.
Grace and Frankie’s third season earned nine major television nominations, the most of any prior season, including Primetime Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for both Fonda and Tomlin, a Writers Guild Award nomination, an NAACP Image Award nomination, as well as a Costume Designers Guild and two Makeup and Hairstyling Awards nominations.
Andy Cohen said on his radio show this week that he thought Kim Cattrall’s Instagram message to Sarah Jessica Parker after the death of Cattrall’s brother was a fake: “You are not my friend” and “I don’t need your love and support at this tragic time.” Said Cohen: “I was like, ‘There’s no way Kim Cattrall has posted this on her Instagram.’ This is a woman who is in the middle of grieving the loss of her brother, which is tragic and sad,” Cohen, 49, said on his Radio Andy show on Monday. “She accused [Sarah Jessica Parker] of exploiting a tragedy and I’ve been getting all these tweets from people. She was doing press all last week for Divorce. And you know, guess what? When you’re doing press, you’re asked the same questions about what’s going on. So people, I’m sure, were like, ‘What do you think of what happened?’ And she simply and concisely expressed her condolences. I would not call that exploiting a tragedy. What was she supposed to do? Say something bad? I don’t understand,” Cohen continued about Parker, who spoke out about the tragedy to Extra at New York City’s Paley Center for Media on Thursday night while promoting Divorce.
The Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen host also admitted that he doesn’t “like it that people are characterizing this as a catfight. There’s only one person fighting here.” “I don’t get it,” Cohen added. “It’s a catfight of one from where I see it.”
He’s National Hockey League pro Brad Marchant who last year stepped up as a staunch LGBTI ally.
The league, of course, has never had an openly gay player but the high-profile member of the Boston Bruins has made clear it will not be a problem.
‘Guys would accept that, no question,’ the left winger told ESPN.
‘We’re a team in the [dressing] room and a family. It doesn’t matter what different beliefs guys have, or where they come from, or whatever the case may be. Guys would accept it. Again, in the room we’re a family. That’s the way it is on a hockey team, and that’s the way it will always be.
‘It’s bound to happen at some point, and when it does, it will be accepted.’
Marchand, 29, stood up against an anti-gay slur on Twitter last year by writing: ‘This derogatory statement is offensive to so many people around the world, [you’re] the kind of kid parents are ashamed of.’
Marchand said if his reaction to the slur: ‘I want to stand up for what I believe in, and I don’t think it’s right when people say things or bash people because of their sexual orientation. I have friends who are in gay relationships, and I don’t think it’s right for people to be against that.
‘Everyone is allowed to find love whatever way that is, so I felt like that was a time to say something, especially nowadays. We’re in 2017, and things are a lot different than they were 100 years ago. We’re all evolving to be equal, and that’s the way things should be.’