Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"The Search For General Tso" Special Los Angeles Engagement

I'm looking forward to the special Los Angeles screenings of director/writer Ian Cheney's "The Search for General Tso" which plays January 2nd thru January 8th at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood.  The Sundance Selects documentary produced by Jennifer Lee & Amanda Murray is a USA/Taiwan/China production running 71 minutes in English.  I'm curious to find out who was General Tso & why we are eating his chicken & I'm told that this feature documentary explores the origins & ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of the iconic & spicy chicken dish.  Following Sunday's screening at 5:10 pm there will be a special Q&A with producer Jennifer Lee moderated by food blogger Zach Brooks (Midtown Lunch) & KCRW's Evan Kleiman (Good Food) which includes General Tso chicken  served in the  courtyard - sounds tantalizing...  Tickets are only $15 for this special event.  According to EFilm Critic "If all you've ever done is eaten the chicken, you'll learn about immigration, community, cuisine & Oing Dynasty history."  Visit www.arenascreen.com for show times & to find out what else is screening at the Arena.  HH

Monday, December 15, 2014

Karen Sharpe Kramer Honored @ Long Beach's Filmmakers' Gallery

Karen Sharpe Kramer & Kat Kramer

The Filmmakers' Gallery in Long Beach honors Karen Sharpe Kamer

Filmmakers' Gallery owners Paul Belsito (left) & Steven Roche (right) book end Karen Sharpe Kamer & Kat Kramer on the red carpet

We had a great time on Sunday in Long Beach at the The Filmmakers' Gallery's warm tribute to actress/producer/philanthropist Karen Sharpe Kramer.  The event was hosted by the gallery's owners Paul Belsito & Steven Roche who are good friends with Karen & her daughter Katharine "Kat" Kramer.  Guests enjoyed nibbles in the cozy screening room while watching 2 episodes of the iconic series "I Dream of Jeannie" which Karen starred in as Melissa, Major Nelson's lovely fiancee.  Next on the screening schedule was her film "The Disorderly Orderly" which she starred in with Jerry Lewis.   Karen won a Golden Globe 1952 for Best Newcomer in John Wayne's "The High & the Mighty".   The gallery is located at 2238 East Broadway -  for more visit www.filmmakersgallery.com   HH

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hell Cab..... Almost, Maine... Bob's Holiday Office Party...

I really enjoyed this very entertaining quick running one act 70 minute show currently at the Elephant Stages on Santa Monica Boulevard.  Hell Cab is back by popular demand for the holidays and well directed by David Fofi.   The production written by Will Kern originates from Chicago where it's been one of the longest running shows in the city's history.  The premise is simple & well executed... a collection of colorful scenes from a day in the life of a nice well meaning Chicago cabbie at Christmas time and according to production notes 85% true.  The other 15% are based on stories he heard.  Hell Cab is a wild funny & touching ride with excellent acting from the terrific cast of 25 plus performers, many playing multiple characters.  The scenerios range from bickering siblings, bible thumpers, druggies, pyschos, amorous lesbians,  obnoxious NY tourists, a pregnant woman on the verge of giving birth, a rape victim, a selfish conceited businessman on the make, an emotionally abused woman realizing her boyfriend isn't worth her time anymore & many more interesting tales.  Visit www.plays411.net/hellcab for more information and to book your ride...  HH


Almost, Maine is a very satisfying, sweet & charming new production now playing at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard.   The very appealing play written by John Cariani is all about the many facets of love experienced on a cold wintery nite by the residents of a small American town that almost doesn't exist.  The series of 9 mini plays  features a stellar cast & is well directed by Martin Papazian who also performs in one of the heartwarming stories called Her Heart.  According to the program notes Almost, Maine is a town that's so far north it's almost not in the United Sates - it's almost in Canada.  And it almost doesn't exist becaue its residents never got around to geting organized so it's just Almost.  With that in mind the plot feature some pretty quirky stories, characters & situations that touch the heart & soul.  I enjoyed my visit to the magical town of Almost, Maine & I think you will too.   For more information visit www.plays411.comalmostmaine & www.almostmainela.com  Photos by Dan Warner Photography & Christopher Amitrano...   HH

Wow...  that was the wildest craziest holiday party/play I've ever witnessed!  Now in its 19th season Bob's Holiday Office Party directed with pizzazz by Craig Anton recently opened to an enthustiastic packed house of fans at the Pico Playhouse Theater at 10508 W. Pico.  I think the picture above is worth a thousand words & indicates that this funny raunchfest is not for prudes or the faint of heart.  This wild & crazy crowd pleaser was written & created by its two stars Joe Keyes & Rob Elk who play best pals Sheriff Joe Walker & insurance agent Bob Finhead & is a crazy ride from start to finish.  The characters are great & eccentric & the performers are top notch.  For more information about the craziest holiday party in town visit www.bobsofficeparty.com  Photo by Roger Nygard...  HH 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Singer Roger Neal Debuts Excellent "Behind The Christmas Lights"... & A Very Enjoyable "Almost, Maine" @ The Hudson Theatre

Congratulations to talented 18 year old vocalist Roger Neal on his great new single "Behind The Christmas Lights"! Roger is an excellent singer & the upbeat catchy pop song is terrific & just in time for the holidays!  "Behind The Christmas Lights" was written & produced by Elaine Macaluso & music producer Brian Blake.  The very cool video for the single can be seen online @ www.youtube.com/therealrogerneal & the song can be purchased on iTunes.  10% of the profits will go to charity.  ""Behind the Christmas Lights" is an original new holiday song that speaks to the true meaning of the holidays beyond presents & lights"  says tunesmith Elaine Macaluso & adds "The song is all about family & the spirit of Christmas."  Music Producer Brian Blake says "Roger Neal has a great ear in the studio and was great to work with - for someone who is new he handles himself in a recording session like a pro."  Good luck Mr. Neal - the song is great! HH
Recording artist Roger Neal appears on Gary Garver's show Controlled Chaos on 1150 a.m. radio to promote his single "Behind the Christmas Lights".

Info about "Almost, Maine" soon! HH

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jackie Coogan Centennial.... So You Want To Be A Vampire

Keith Coogan, Claudia Wells & Corey Feldman

Keith Coogan, Harrison Held & Erin Murphy
 It was fun mingling with the guests at the reception to celebrate the centennial of late screen star Jackie Coogan.  The event hosted by grandson Keith Coogan was held last nite followed by a screening of the Chaplin classic silent film "The Kid" at the Arena Theater in Hollywood.  "The Kid" was Chaplin's first full length film and was the biggest hit of 1921.  It was especially nice to see my old pals Jill Adams & Kip Adams with their kids in attendance. 

Jackie Coogan & Charlie Chaplin in The Kid

Cheryl Gelling & Erin Murphy

Hollywood's dark side comes alive in Eclectic Company Theatre's hip goth  production of "So You Want To Be A Vampire" now playing at 5312 Laurel Canyon in North Hollywood.  After a string of bad relationships a nice, pretty, somewhat gullible redheaded young lady named Brenda (Erin Treanor) has given up on mortal men and becomes fixated on Fino (Edward Alvarado) a cool bad ass vampire she's been tracking on the internet.  The talented cast also includes Joven Calloway as Joe the bodygard, Andrew Collie as goth hipster Kevin , Olivia Gadson as Georgette (Brenda's best friend) & Thi Nguyen as goth princess & Fino associate Alexandra.  This very enjoyable intriguing one act modern fable has a lot of bite & was written by Marni L.B. Troop & is well directed by Natasha Troop.  Cool music helps to flesh out the storyline.  For more information visit www.eclecticcompanytheatre.org

Friday, November 14, 2014

WGA's Behind The Screen 2014 Winter Edition... The Vortex... Women.... The Italian In Me... L.A. Auto Show...


Noel Coward's The Vortex which first premiered on the London stage in 1924 gets a mod 1960s reboot in this sizzling hot new production now playing at The Matrix Theatre on Melrose.  Says director  Gene Franklin Smith... "Coward never wrote another play quite like The Vortex again.  He created a juicy role for himself, including drug abuse, repressed homosexuality & Oedipal jealousy, knowing full well it would make him a star.  The Vortex doesn't sit on the same high Pantheon as Private Lives or Blithe Spirit, but it is far more contemporary than Coward's other works, and you would swear it was written today & not 90 years ago."   The award winning cast is terrific & stars Shannon Holt as famous self involved stage actress Florence, Craig Robert Young as her confused son Nicky, Victoria Hoffman as her best pal Helen, Daniel Jimenez as her not so secret lover Tom, Skye LaFontaine as Bunty (Nick's recent fiancee), John Mawson as Florence's downtrodden husband David & Cameron Mitchell Jr as her other very colorful pal Pawnie.  The Vortex plays til December 14 & is well worth watching - very funny, sometimes shocking & very poignant with great acting, great writing plus very cool sets/lighting design/costumes/ hair & makeup & choreography.  For more information visit www.plays411.com/vortex or call 323 960 7735

I was fortunate to catch the last performance of the hit play Women at Theatre Asylum on Santa Monica Boulevard.  The buzz was right...  another great show on the Los Angeles stage with a dynamite cast! Jo March thinks she is the voice of her generation... or at least, a voice, of a generation.  Women is a hilarious fast moving 50 minute mash up of Mary Alcott's clasic Little Women & HBO's hot hit Girls.  The cast features Lauren Flans as Jo, Erika Rankin as Meg, Bridgette Valdez as Beth, Jacquie Walters as Amy, Chris Farah as Marmee, Clayton Farris as Laurie, Joseph Patrick O'Malley as Mr. Brooke,Ben Moroski as Professor Bhaer & JB Waterman as Mr. Lawrence/Clovis/Carl.  I thoroughly enjoyed this production written by Chiara Atik & directed by Stephanie Ward.  For more information visit www.womentheshow.com & see it next time it plays!

Another great WGA event!  Detailz soon... HH

The Italian In Me is a spicy & colorful one woman show starring & written by talented Italian-Canadian actress Dina Morrone ("Moose on the Loose") which details her exploits & sexploits in Italy where she persued acting at the beginnng of her career.   The show, which had a limited run at at the beautiful Marilyn Monroe Theatre located on Santa Monica Boulevard at the Lee Strassberg Institute,  is a hilarious crowd pleaser - many times I overheard the Italian women in the audience laughing & exclaiming "yes... that's what it's like, yes that's what it's like" as the dynamic & feisty Ms. Morrone shared her adventures and misadventures in the Italian film & television industry.  Her recollections about her meeting with Italian director Federico Fellini was my favorite part of the show followed by basking in the holy light of the Pope, plus her stories about her beloved Italian grandmother Nona & all the Italian saints she prays to - there's a saint for just about every predicament in life -  plus her toothless priest character was very funny also.  The show also features great music, lighting & sexy silhouette costume changes.  HH

Paul Newman's race car now owned by Adam Corolla

Amazing Vintage Cars... Los Angeles Auto Show...  Press Day 2

Photo Credits:  Billy Bennight, Michael Jones, Harrison Held, Bob Delgadillo & The McCarthy Studios

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dick Cavett Honored... Kat Kramer Headlines PAWS 30th Anniversary Celebration... The 39 Steps... Serial Killer Barbie & More...

TV legend Dick Cavett was honored recently by Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters when he received the prestigious Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City.  It was great to meet Mr. Cavett who was very nice & very funny & his lovely  wife Martha Rogers Cavett.  Joining the festivites well hosted by radio personality Chuck Street were friends Peter Marshall, Chuck & Mary McCann, Rick & Julie Dees and over three hundred fans & well wishers.  The Cavetts are New York based but Martha shared they will be back in February when Dick does a play at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills.  I'm looking forward to that & also to reading his latest book "Brief Encounters" which I hear is really great!

"Nothing happens unless first a dream" was the motto of the late Pat Derby, founder of internationally acclaimed PAWS... the "Performing Animal Welfare Society" with Ed Stewart.  Sadly we lost Pat to cancer last spring but her loving legacy lives on as friends, family, colleages, loved ones and fellow animal lovers from around the world celebrated PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala recently at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank. The event was well hosted by the classy duo of KFBK Radio's celebrity news anchor Kitty O'Neal & KVIE Public Television's "Rob on the Road" host Rob Stewart & featured wonderful moving performances by headliner & animal advocate Kat Kamer, Le Petit Cirque Entertainers & high spirited auctioneers Kevin & Sean McCourt.  It was a beautiful nite & lucky guests took part in a silent auction then enjoyed a delicious gourmet vegeterian buffet created by chefs Roberto Gerometta & MJ Espiritu Gerometta.  Kat's pal Lily Tomlin was unable to be present but sent in video greetings from her film location.  It was Lily that connected Kat to PAWS & suggested she sing "Bless the Beasts & Children" with a children's choir.  That evening Kat performed beautifully singing "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" (which was Pat's theme song) plus "Pure Imagination" followed by a tribute to Pat with "Talk to the Animals".  She also sang a fun salute to Lily with "When You Wish Upon A Star" & the upbeat "You Gotta Be You",  a parody of "I've Got To Be Me".  Great work Kat... your voice was in fine form!  Pat Derby wrote an important book all about elephants & captive wildlife & her protection of them in 1973 called "The Lady & Her Tiger".  She loved elephants best & PAWS is the finest animal sanctuary in the world.  Ms. Derby also created Circus Paws, the animal free children's circus show where Kat debuted "Bless the Beasts & the Children" with Le Petit Cirque.  For more information about PAWS please visit www.pawsweb.org

A few years ago Lily Tomlin hosted the 3rd installment of Kat Kramer's Films That Change The World featuring the excellent documentary Elephants & Man: A Litany of Tragedy.  Following that Lily won an Emmy for Best Voice Narration for An Apology to Elephants which she executive produced with Jane Wagner who also wrote it.  PAWS was featured in both films.  Kat would like to host a special screening of An Apology to Elephants for kids & families in association with her film series.

I saw a great production of "The 39 Steps" at the Malibu Playhouse directed by Ron West & well written & uniquely adapted from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller by Patrick Barlow.  The cast was terrific featuring Derek Manson, Dieterich Gray, Mike Funt & Emily Goss playing multitudes & multitudes of roles, more than 130 I was told which was extremely impressive.  The story,  a thriller/comedy whodunit features double crossing secret agents, death defying chases & devastatingly beautiful women (all played by the lovely Ms. Goss) takes place in various locations in England & Scotland in the summer of 1935...  a fun trip abroad & to the past.   It runs til November 23 & is well worth the trip to Malibu!  For more information visit www.malibuplayhouse.org

"Serial Killer Barbie" is a colorful new high energy musical comedy now playing at the NoHo Arts Center.  The stellar cast of singer/actor/dancers features Kelley Dorney, Alex Robert Holmes, Katy Jacoby, Kacey Coppola, Marti Maley, Cy Creamer, Nicole Fabbri, Jillian Fonancier, Christopher Kelly, Bradley Estrin, Grace Nakane & child actresses Audrey Bluestone & Devon Hadsell.  The talented cast of young adults portray students from first grade to highschool grads so be prepared for lots & lots of fun silly shenanigans as awkward young Barbie (Kelley Dorney) tries to fit in with the cool kids at school and against her better judgement turns on earnest best pal Bruce (Alex Robert Holmes).  Directed by Ronnie Marmo, book & lyrics by Colette Freedman with music & additional lyrics by Nickella Moschetti & choreography by Anne-Marie Osgood.  For more information visit www.theatre68.com .

 A really fun nite at the Hollywood Arts Council's annual "Spirits of Old Hollywood" soiree held recently at the American Legion in Hollywood.  HH