Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Four Presenters Named For Upcoming Oscars

(l-r) Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King and Mahershala Ali

Mahershala AliOlivia ColmanRegina King and Rami Malek, last year's Oscar-winning actors, have been named as some of this year’s presenters.  The announcement was made by show producers.
“We love the tradition of having the previous year’s Oscar-winning actors on stage to celebrate the achievements of their peers and are thrilled to welcome back these four great talents,” said Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain in a statement.
Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) won the Oscar for lead actor last year; Colman (The Favourite), lead actress; King (If Beale Street Could Talk), supporting actress; and Ali (Green Book), supporting actor.
The Oscars is set to air live Sunday, Feb. 9, on ABC.
Additional presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

courtesy of deadline.com

Stanley Clarke's Master Class At The Broad Stage

Stanley Clarke

By Darlene Donloe

Stanley Clarke simply seduced the audience at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

The Grammy winning bass virtuoso, dressed head to toe in black and donning dark black shades and his Stanley Clarke Band were nothing short of amazing Saturday night as he brought the funk - wowing a sold-out crowd with his rapid-fingers flying up and down the board.

Accompanied by a band of all-star musicians including Sadar Nader on tablas, Cameron Graves on keyboards, 19-year-old Jeremiah Collier on drums and Beka Gochiashvili also on keys, Clarke delivered a solid hour and 40-minute set that started off with the upbeat Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.  The four-time Grammy Award-winner who is considered a “living legend,” spent time with the audience on Last Train To Sanity, Chick Corea’s No Mystery and the beautiful, but haunting Sofia, a song he admittedly wrote “a long time ago”.

In a dimly lit theater, it was still easy to see  heads bobbing as they grooved to the trailblazer’s jazz fusion.

About an hour into the show, Clarke introduced the renowned Lyris Quartet who performed a lovely rendition of Ravel’s String Quartet 4th Movement.  Alyssa Park (violin), Shalini Vijayan (violin), Luke Maurer (viola) and Timothy Loo (cello) also accompanied Clarke on several other songs.

If you’re a music enthusiast and you’ve never seen Clarke in person, you are truly missing out. Watching the recording artist (40 albums), composer, conductor, performer, 65 film scores composer, arranger, and producer do what no other bass player is able to do on the electric and the upright bass is better than eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. For anyone who is a student of music, watching Clarke do his thing in person should be a requirement for graduation.

No one does it better than Clarke who gives a  master class every time he performs. A musical innovator Clarke, who is known for his dexterous runs manipulates the bass in such a way that he leaves his fans in awe.

Clarke’s tour band is tight and impressive. Nader is a wonder on the tabla and Collier a star on the drums. Both keyboardists, Graves, and Gochiashvili are worthy opponents. They’re all young. He’s known for giving young musicians a chance – probably because they are the only ones who can keep up with his musical pace.

Clarke, who easily alternates between electric and upright bass, has been entertaining audiences for 40 years. It’s clear he still has a passion and zeal for his music and for performing in front of an audience.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Stanley Clarke Band and Lyris Quartet get an E (excellent).

Friday, January 17, 2020

27th Annual LAWTF Set For March 26-29, 2020

    The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF) marks 27 years of producing well over 500 extraordinary multicultural and multidisciplinary solo performers from around the globe.
    The longest-running Annual Solo Festival for women in Los Angeles, LAWTF will take place March 26 - March 29, 2020, at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
The overall theme of the Festival will be 2020 Vision!
The Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony will take place on March 26, 2020, at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by Hattie Winston  (Becker) and Starletta DuPois (The Notebook) and directed by Denise Dowse (Ray). The event will honor five women of exceptional achievement and contribution to the world of theatre The honorees will be announced in a separate release.  There will be live performances in addition to the awards presentation. Theme: Empowered Women. Performers include:
Jacquelyn Brown-Benefield. Rise Up and I Am Enough. These two uplifting songs celebrate personal empowerment.
Juli Kim in Abandon. In this dance piece, the woman abandons both beauty and docility in favor of inner strength and power.
Sunjoo Yeo in Quando me’n vo, from La Boheme. In this Puccini soprano aria, Musetta uplifts herself by acknowledging her attributes.
Friday, March 27 at 8:00 p.m. Theme- Boxed In, Set Free.
Heather Dowling in Fertile. Explores the expectation and ultimate resolve of procreation.
Dagmar Stanec in Loose Underwear. From exorcisms to orgasms, the daughter of a New Age Holocaust survivor is compelled to “cha-cha” away the wounds of her ancestors.
Ashley Wilkerson in Freckle in My Eye. The poignant, shocking and sometimes humorous story of Shesee Jones, a young woman living on Texas’ Death Row.
Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. Theme- Truth to Power.
Cynthia Lee in Lost Chinatowns. A dance-theatre work that explores the destruction, lost vibrancy and historic erasure of Chinatowns in Santa Cruz, CA from 1860-1955.
Miriam Reed in Susan B. Anthony Says A Word. A young Susan B. Anthony discovers why women MUST have the vote.
Raissa Simpson in Codelining. Through dance, Codelining explores a dialogic process that builds bridges between communities, especially African Americans, which have often been set against each other in San Francisco’s affordable rent crisis.
Saturday, March 28 at 8 p.m. Theme- Unbound.
Corina Calderon in From Lapdance to Sundance. This show recounts the upbringing and journey of Corina Calderon from working as a stripper in Austin, Texas to being cast as the lead in a feature film that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and all the challenges she experienced along the way.
Crystal Bush in Chrissy Meth. Somehow, from the depths of drug addiction, Chrissy Meth finds hope, and through spirituality and yoga begins to put the pieces of her life back together.
Jannica Olin in (Im) Perfekt. A solo show that takes a look at identity, beauty, and labels, and how you sometimes need to (literally) lose a part of yourself in order to discover who you truly are.
Sharon Nyree Williams in Dare to Claim the Sky. Based on her self-published anthology of the same name, Dare to Claim the Sky is an honest and unfiltered spoken word journey of one woman that addresses family, religion, depression and being Black in this society.
Sunday, March 29 at 3 p.m. Theme- Balancing Acts.
Lynne Jassem in Tapping My Way to the Nuthouse. One child dancer's story of mental pain and ultimate mental health is told through the lenses of multi-media, tap dance, mime, music, and humor.
    Petal Walker in Forgetting, Not Forgotten. Petal’s life is abruptly interrupted when her mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in this story of triumph in a shattered world.
April Wish in My Name is Mommy. April Wade Wish moves back and forth through time, exploring the pressures and the promises of parenthood.
Sunday, March 29 at 7 p.m.- Theme: Secrets.
Vanessa Boss in Uprooted. Buckle your seat belts as the creatures of Vanessa’s inner world take you on the flight of her life amidst disturbances that trigger violent weather on a journey that ultimately safely lands on Vanessa’s strength.
Dee Freeman in The Poison Gun.  Dee, a naïve 6-year-old Black girl from rural Louisiana becomes a key witness in a murder investigation as she fights to keep a secret from a racist cop who has his own agenda for finding out the truth.
Pamela Najera in Too Old, Too Asian, Too Short. Through storytelling, dance, and multimedia, Pamela recounts growing up in a family with secrets and lies and connects the dots of a life that land her a career as a production dancer and magician’s assistant on a cruise ship!
Founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is an annual event unique among Los Angeles cultural institutions and should not be missed as LAWTF celebrates its 27th Anniversary.
The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is a non-profit organization. The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival organization is supported this year in part by the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles; City of West Hollywood;  Los Angeles County Arts Commission; City National Bank;  KPFK 90.7; and Adilah Barnes Productions.
Admission to the Gala is $50 or two tickets for $90 (includes reception and Champagne). For the other programs, ticket prices this year include general admission single show tickets at $25 in advance or $30 at the door. A VIP all-access pass for the entire weekend is available for $150. Reservations: (818) 760-0408 or go to http://www.lawtf.org To join and follow LAWTF on Facebook and Twitter, click on their links at http://www.lawtf.org

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Two Good Men Play 'Bad Boys For Life'

(l-r) Will Smith and Martin Lawrence

By Darlene Donloe

They ride together they die together, Bad Boys for Life.

“Bad boys, bad boys/Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do/When they come for you?”

It’s been 17 years since the last installment of the Bad Boys franchise, but Will Smith and Martin Lawrence haven’t skipped a beat. Old school cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett still have their ears to the street.  They are back together for one last ride. The movie hits theaters Friday, Jan. 15, 2020.

It’s been 25 years since the original Bad Boys, but the chemistry is still there between Smith and Lawrence, who might be a step slower than their younger days, but whose instincts still make them the best and baddest detectives in Miami.

The third movie in the popular action franchise sparked by Michael Bay’s 1995 hit, doesn’t disappoint. It comes at you with full barrels. There are the popular and ever-present car chases, the slow-mo rise from the ground, lots of things blowing up, numerous fights and lots of bang, bang, shoot ‘em ups.

Will Smith even takes a dramatic turn in the film as he’s confronted with a life-changing reality.

The through-line of the film is how the Bad Boys are getting old. Burnett, now a grandfather, still wants to retire, while Lowrey, who is also on the other side of 50, is still trying to be the playboy, fashionista, badass cop.

In an attempt to get his partner to slow down and commit to one woman, Burnett pressures Lowrey to give it another shot with a fellow cop played by Paolo Nunez.

This film isn’t as funny as its predecessors. It takes a dramatic, very violent turn.  This film confronts mortality, religion, and family.

This time around, someone is exposing one of Lowrey’s old stories and begins killing everyone connected with an old drug case he worked on long before he teamed up with Burnett. Enter a dangerous and crazy cartel boss wife (Kate Del Castillo) that the Bad Boys have to take on and the violence is amped up even more.

To make if a fair fight, Lowrey and Burnett are joined by four younger cops who also know how to kick ass.

Alas, the finale is played out in a rundown Mexican mansion in Mexico City. It’s over the top. Even though they are far outnumbered, Lowrey and Burnett are able to pick off every last one of the bad guys.  It’s a miracle!

This may not be the Bad Boys’ last ride.  There was a hint of a potential sequel during the end credits.

Bad Boy for Life has plenty of action. It’s a great popcorn movie. The chemistry between Smith and Lawrence is worth the price of admission.

Bad Boys for Life stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Nunez, Nicky Jam, DJ Khaled, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Kate Del Castillo, Charles Melton. The film is directed by Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith.

Rated: R for strong, bloody violence, language throughout, sexual references and brief drug use. Running time: 124 minutes.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent) Bad Boys For Life gets an O (oh, yeah). Columbia Pictures.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bloodshot Opens Nationwide March 13, 2020

SYNOPSIS: Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the superhero Bloodshot by the RST corporation.  With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly.  But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too.  Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.

Bloodshot stars Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell and Guy Pearce.

The movie is directed by David S. F. Wilson, screenplay by Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer 4, story by Jeff Wadlow, based on the Valiant Comic Book, produced by Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe, Dinesh Shamdasani and Vin Diesel.  Executive Producers are Dan Mintz, Louis G. Friedman,  YU Dong, Jeffrey Chan, Rita LeBlanc, Buddy Patrick and Matthew Vaughn.                       

Monday, January 13, 2020

Russell Hornsby Stars In NBC Drama Series 'Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector'

Russell Hornsby

By Darlene Donloe

Russell Hornsby sits comfortably in the Tap Room of the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena with an attitude of gratitude surrounding his star turn in the new NBC show, Lincoln Rhyme: The Hunt for The Bone Collector, which debuted Friday night.

Hornsby, a 25-year entertainment industry veteran plays Rhyme in the series based on the novel, The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver.

Dressed casually and well-coiffed, spending time with Hornsby reveals a serious man with a serious demeanor that’s matched only by the seriousness he exudes when talking about the craft of acting.  He’s proud of his career and looks forward to doing more good work.

During a session January 11 at the Television Critic Association conference, Barry O’Brien, executive producer of the show had nothing but praise for Hornsby.

“In this role he commands a room with his voice and eyes,” he said.

During his career Hornsby has portrayed a variety of strong, black men. He’s known for the roles Edward "Eddie" Sutton on ABC Family's Lincoln Heights, as Luke on the HBO drama In Treatment, as Detective Hank Griffin on the NBC series Grimm, and as Lyons in the movie Fences.

Russell Hornsby, Michael Imperioli, and Arielle Kebbel in
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector

I recently caught up with Hornsby to talk about his latest show and his career.

DD: Tell me about Lincoln Rhyme.  Who is he?

RH:  He’s a forensic criminalist. He’s one of the best detectives in New York’s history. He was paralyzed three years prior and he is now disabled. Police asked him to help them with some cases.

DD:  What do you like/dislike about him?

RH: I like him because he’s complicated, he has attitude, is bright and not easily fooled. I appreciate his complexity and attitude because I got a little attitude myself. I can put some of mine into his and mix it all up.

DD: Is this role a challenge for you?

RH:  It’s a beautiful challenge. I’m 25 years in this business and I’m still being challenged. It’s wonderful when the industry can still believe in your abilities. It says you have what it takes to carry a show.

DD: Is carrying a show daunting?

RH: It’s not daunting because I’m where I’m supposed to be.  I call myself an actor of the first order because I was introduced to this through August Wilson and Lynn Nottage. So when you come in at a high level you want to maintain that integrity.

DD:  This is an emotional role to play. There is a lot of violence. How do you prepare yourself to enter Lincoln and how do you come out of it?

RH: When we shot the pilot, we were in New York for five weeks. I left my family and I basically put myself in seclusion or isolation. I need isolation to prepare so I can mentally, physically and spiritually become the character. Mentally preparing for the role, I worked on the sound of silence and stillness. I need to just be still, no radio, TV, music, or phone. It’s about just thinking with your thoughts. You’re talking about a man who was paralyzed. The sound of silence had to become a friend. You can't run from that.

DD: Talk about acting, most of the time, from a bed.  Do you have to use a different skill?

RH: The biggest thing, honestly, is doing my homework and knowing the lines. I’m 45-years-old and sometimes it’s just about doing the work.  There is no dry run. You have to show up ready to go.

DD: Even that has to be challenging.

RH: Challenging? Yes!  Not having mobility is challenging. It's a challenge I welcomed and embraced. I have to focus on the words. Use the words for tone and emphasis. It becomes about a look, an elongated stare or how do you shorten a phrase. I’m up for the challenge. I’ve committed myself appropriately.

DD: I understand you read the first Bone Collector book. Did it help you in any way?

RH: It was very helpful in understanding where he is mentally. All you have to do is dive into it. That's all you can do as an actor. After 20-plus years as an actor, I know that five or 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been prepared for this role. I am now. Now I have a lot more to give. There are more texture and nuance.

DD: There are tons of things to watch on television, why should audiences watch this show?

RH: We’re talking about one of the most acclaimed novels in the world. Lincoln Rhyme, the character, is acclaimed. It’s an international hit. The character and story are interesting and compelling. The 2020 technology brings about a different phase. We can tell a broader story. People should watch the show because I’m in it. Russell Hornsby has something to offer.  I feel I do. Plus, the cast is wonderful. We are interesting to watch.

DD:  You’ve been in the business for a minute now. How has it changed over the years?

RH: The biggest thing for me is that there are a lot of young actors getting work. On its face, it’s a good thing. But it's also a detriment. Young actors are getting work too early. They are ill-prepared for the amount of success and the opportunity they are getting at a young age. Mentorship and apprenticeship are lacking. The returns are not in yet. Anybody can have a job, but not everybody can have a career. I wish they took more time to go to the theater and take time and learn. That way you have something under you.

DD: Are you encouraged or discouraged about where the industry is headed?

RH: I am here not just because of talent. I had someone there to teach me and guide me down the right path. Listen before I speak and drop me with some game. It’s encouraging because there are opportunities. Work is being done. Black people are striving. Black women are doing well. It’s never going to be what you want it to be.