Tuesday, March 15, 2016


 With her sleek bob haircut, a flower placed just so, vintage dresses, and customized ukulele, Janet Klein is a musical archaeologist hiding in a Gibson girl's body. In case you missed her last gig, she’s now appearing in Hollywood once a month with a band of first-class musicians. With her rich contralto voice, she performs spirited and naughty tunes from 1910 -1930 in an authentic style that captures the light luminous music of a bygone era.

Klein blends hot jazz and corny vaudeville in this undeniably entertaining concert that will leave you charmed and smiling! When she plays the ukulele, she makes it clear that this oft-ridiculed cousin of the guitar is actually a delightful and underutilized musical instrument.

Film historian Jerry Beck opens the show with a number of vintage 16mm short films showing  1929 Vaudeville Performers Dorothy Maughan and Walter Fehl; a 1934 sing-a-long to the bouncing ball with Les Reis and Artie Dunn, and a rare 1939 Vincent Lopez & His Orchestra clip with youthful songstress Betty Hutton. Klein is enthusiastically accompanied by Chris Dawson (piano), Corey Gemme (Cornet & T-Bone), Marquis Howell (Bass & DJ), Dan Levinson (Sax & Clarinet) and John Reynolds (Guitar & Banjo). Special guests are Dutch Newman’s Rhythm Boys that include Cary Farnsworth and Douglas Roegiers with Bob Mitchell on piano.
At The Steve Allen Theatre in CFI building, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. (2 blocks west of Vermont). Info: 323-666-4268 or TIX at 800-595-4849 or www.trepanyhouse.org. First Thursday every month at 8 pm. Lots of free parking.

Also covered in the April issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY

Saturday, March 12, 2016


 You will be enchanted by this tale of one man’s battle against the futility of an ordinary life. In Gary McNair’s poignant story the marvelous Maury Sterling creates a number of finely delineated characters. 

Sterling is a young man (you’ve seen him on Homeland) with an uncanny ability to transform before your eyes. A one-man play can be peopled vividly when you have an actor who transforms and Sterling is masterly at changing personas.
This is the tale of a granddad, an eye-twinkling Scot, who was addicted to gambling and, while ecstatic when he wins, is mischievously delighted when he loses. This Gambler goes for the impossible and, when he battles against his own death from incurable cancer wonders - what are the odds and are they beatable? 

Yet the wisdom of McNair’s play is that never losing hope means you are having a winning streak. Go see this play as it clearly states what life is worth and that it’s only fear of taking chances that holds us back from living.
With just a bare stage, a chair and old sports footage, we are taken to the Scottish Highlands through our imagination and the actors dynamic. Director Paul Linke allows the poetic beauty of the play to shine through with the utmost simplicity aided by lighting by Mike Reilly, sound by Chip Bolcik, and costume by Sarah Figoten.

At Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, through April 29.
 Tickets at (310) 397-3244 or www.ruskingrouptheatre.com.  Ample free parking. Photos by Ed Krieger.

Also reviewed in the April issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.