Buyer & Cellar

Scott Gryder in ‘Buyer & Cellar.’ (Photo: Heather Mall)

“Directed by Jeff Award-winning actor Donterrio Johnson (Judas Iscariot in Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar)Buyer & Cellar taps into our culture’s self-hating obsession with the one percent, creating a preposterous setup that still somehow rings plausibly true.

Set in a basement curio shop, it’s here we find Alex More, (Mr. Gryder), an underemployed L.A. actor who’s taken an unusual job. He’s been hired to manage the pre-fabricated mall in the nether regions of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu estate, running the frozen yogurt machine and dusting the dolls, among other mundane tasks. The mall’s only customer is Babs herself, in need of periodic “normalcy.” And the single employee in Ms. Streisand’s land of make-believe is Alex.

The work’s title muses on the multiple meanings of ‘buyer/buying’ and ‘cellar/selling.’ For in two senses, Alex and Barbra are engaging in transactions with one another. By creditably creating a pedestrian experience for the lonely rich woman who has everything, Alex is selling Barbra more than her own goods, even as he willfully purchases the fantasy of theirs as a sustainable friendship of equals. In the cellar, Barbra Streisand walks through the souvenirs of her storied career with Alex and indulges safe opportunity to be vulnerable. The dynamic is complex and intriguing.”

Read the full review on The Broadway Blog.

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Acknowledging Climate Change is Political, But the Media Shouldn’t Play Along

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“With more than 18 months to go before the 2020 American Presidential election, it’s never too soon to bemoan the media’s failure to learn lessons from its compromised 2016 campaign coverage. False equivalence is alive and well on the Internet and television airwaves. President Trump and his den of incompetents, thieves and hooligans flog Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and her hotly contested remarks (we don’t need to repeat them here), cynically splicing 9/11 news coverage with her words to gin up the ignorant, misogynist, white supremacist base. Propaganda at its most rudimentary and apparently effective.

Meanwhile, the current Leader of the Free World lets his racist flag fly unabashed, creating white nationalist policies stemming from personal hatred, and we’re all supposed to pretend this is normal.  The mainstream media acts as a full co-conspirator in this national gas lighting…

Another hot bed of derelict media both siderism can be found on the topic of climate change. The Green New Deal championed by the far left is “unaffordable” and it seems, more impractical than the rapid destruction of the planet and the life found upon it.  SMH, you silly, hippie kids today.

But the President claims that wind turbines cause cancer and deregulates the fossil fuel industry with abandon, and the media asks, Will President Donald Trump’s new climate change panel give him good advice?

In a word, no.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

White Male Candidates (Of Course) Takeover 2020 Democratic Conversation

“When experienced female candidates like Warren, Harris and Gillibrand offer themselves to voters as credible national leaders, almost immediately comes the ‘likeability’ crisis. Women, as they do in most other areas of public and civil life, fare better in the abstract – and maddeningly the gender of the judge seems to make little difference. Our nation’s political misogyny is so entrenched, it can make one incongruously resentful.

I like Mayor Pete and Beto O’Rourke. Not however, when their zeitgeist presence serves to marginalize female candidates more than worthy of public and private attention. We still have more than enough time to cut the crap and learn from our 2016 mistakes, America.

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Afterglow

(l to r) Jacob Barnes, Jesse Montoya and Rich Holton in ‘Afterglow.’ ( Photo: Heather Mall)

“Mr. Gelman’s 2017 Off-Broadway hit delivers a rather common romantic cautionary tale, arising from a sexually titillating setup. Polyamory (having intimate relationships with more than one partner) underpins a plot revolving around appetites, emotional maturity and the complexities of modern fidelity. The playwright, however, inverts the typical trajectory of a three-way, love-gone-wrong story, starting with what might normally be the end game.

As the curtain lifts, married lovers and expectant parents Alex (Jacob Barnes) and Josh (Rich Holton) are comfortable with their open relationship. Weekend trick Darius (Jesse James Montoya) is just another fling… until he isn’t. The three characters enjoy mutual pleasure and an unspoken understanding that the intimacy ends when the evening does. But the rapacious Josh decides he wants more.

It’s easy to view Josh, a successful stage actor and primary source of financial support for all three men, as an entitled child deferring adulthood. Yet I suspect that in the hands of a more nuanced performer, he’d be more complex than flopping hair and whiny pleading for unearned empathy. The character’s crisis of commitment and responsibility is 10 years ahead of schedule, yet Mr. Holton’s interpretation looks backward. I found myself hoping that Alex and Darius would fall in love and leave Josh behind. Mr. Holton’s rendering of the lead — chiseled glutes aside — is simply too grating to yield any level of devotion and forgiveness.”

Read the full review on the Broadway Blog.