Thursday, March 14, 2013

Seminar at Perserverance Theatre

Boston Christopher sings in his role as writing instructor Leonard.

Theresa Rebeck's witty new comedy, Seminar moved so quickly that I didn't notice an hour and forty five minutes had passed without an intermission.   An introspective discussion on the concept of truth, the dialogue sparkles likes conversations found at only the best dinner parties.

Perseverance Theatre is known for showcasing new plays and filling the roles with Alaska's best actors. This recipe serves them well here.  Seminar opened on Broadway late in 2011, and the Alaskan cast takes these fresh ingredients and creates a rich and adventurous meal that is sure to  please the most sophisticated pallet.

Director Cynthia Croot keeps the pace fiery, pouring the saucy dialogue over suggestive action.   As a writer, the characters were familiar and relatable.  Like Croot, I found myself thinking of my own literary mentors as the play developed.  They challenged the precepts I based my world view upon, defined integrity, and offered an understanding of human frailty and passion that has served me well.

Art Rotch offers a lovely inviting set that strongly supports the suspension of disbelief that transports us from a rainy Juneau evening to a rent controlled palace in New York City.

Corin Hughes-Skandijs embodies Douglas, a pretentious, self important ass who demonstrates a competency that is commercially viable - if he is willing to embrace the lucrative lure of the shallow end of the pool. 

Enrique Bravo nails the insecurity masked by bravado of Martin, who bounces between the extremes of a young man searching to find his better self.   Those of you who remember Bravo from Bigfoot will find this role a far better illustration of the breath of emotional reach this actor has to offer.

Allison Holtkamp seduces us as Izzy, a hot-to-trot opportunist who knows how to tie the knot and fluff out the bow to make a package sexy.  Bumping into her at the State Capital where she staffs the Senate Finance Committee is a bit disarming, the extreme opposites of her real world day job and her work on stage illustrates the strength of talent of this hysterically funny actress.

Meredith Hinkley Schmidt is new to the Juneau stage, and demonstrates a lovely chemistry with Holtkamp.  Kate is the glue that holds the semi-autobiographical story line together, and Hinkley Schmidt prosecutes the evolution of the character in an authentic and compassionate manner.

Boston Christopher delivered in Leonard - a greying idealist who has grown world wise by paying his dues, taking a few in the teeth, and reaffirming the important of reflection on the road to self discovery.  It's been a couple decades since I have had the pleasure of watching Christopher work on-stage, he has lived up to the exceptional promise of his youth.

Extra credit bonus points go to stage manager Nikki Dawson, who is kind enough to pack patrons into her Subaru at the end of the night and drive them back to their hotel.

It is a crime against humanity that this production isn't touring the state.  Ready audiences could be found who would appreciate the lively and engaging wit, the relevant and meaningful themes, and the high end production values that this effort brings to life.  Seminar makes my heart recall the heyday of regional theater, when Alaska was strong and bold in her productions, and her companies recognized as the best in the nation. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teeth Whitening to Smile About

Constantly captured in photographs, I am very self conscious about my teeth not being yellow.

I have used whitening toothpaste like I own stock in the company.  Bought custom trays from the dentist and kept them filled with gel for hours.  Used Crest White Strips until my gums puckered.  They all worked to varying degrees, but the inconvenience was more significant than the return I got on the investment.

COR was a gawd send.  Three applications of product that went on as quickly as a coat of nail polish followed by a minute of UV light and **ding** white teeth.  No mess, no hassle, no smell, no nasty taste in my mouth, no swallowing bleach.  Painless, simple, and best of all, yellow teeth to as white as my teeth get in under 15 minutes.

Friday, December 07, 2012


I'm calling bullshit on this one.  Director/writer Shelagh Carter's compassionate feature is easily one of the top three shown at this year's Anchorage International Film Festival - yet it isn't cued for competition.

I understand that everyone appreciates something different in film, but audiences should be able to rely that the films that are in competition are those that would be considered amongst the finest by the general population - and that simply isn't the case this year.

Bluntly, Shelagh Carter was robbed, and audiences will be also if they shy away thinking that this film isn't all that it is.  Insightful, thought provoking, heart wrenching - the subtext of this film is "Mommy has issues" and the performances by Kristen Harris and Kassidy Love Brown are outstanding.

Official Billing:  On the brink of puberty in 1962 suburban Winnipeg, Sarah Matthews is increasingly challenged and confused by her mother's instability and sexual power. While her father refuses to acknowledge that the family is fracturing under the stress of his wife's mental illness, Sarah uses her creativity, inner strength, and a new friend to discover her own identity. With courage, Sarah bears witness and demands truth from the adults around her, demonstrating love's capacity to endure.

 Passionflower trailer
Dorene Lorenz Interview with Shelagh Carter

10:30 PM     Sat, Dec 08 Alaska Experience Theater
3:00 PM     Sun, Dec 09 Alaska Experience Theater

Watson in LA

Director/screenwriter/producer/cinematographers Javier Bueno endearing mostly autobiographical short.  An obsessive fan finds out that his celebrity crush, Emma Watson is living in his town of Los Angeles.

 5:00 PM     Fri, Dec 07 AK Experience Theater
11:00 AM     Sat, Dec 08

The Truth Behind Our Vanishing Glaciers

I found Carl Weber's short painful to watch.  Wince.  He is a very naughty boy.

"An interesting take on what is really causing glaciers to recede."
2:05 PM     Sat, Dec 08 Wilda Marston Theater at Loussac Library
8:15 PM     Sat, Dec 08  Alaska Experience Theater

11:00 AM     Sun, Dec 09  Alaska Experience Theater

Monday, December 03, 2012

Alaska Tier 2 Zombie

Director/producer Carl Weber's fantastical story about a secret group of paramilitary “hunters” faced with a mission to take down Alaska's zombie population.

Not for the faint hearted.

5:30 PM     Tue, Dec 04 Alaska Experience Theater

Go Ganges!

Any time you get Seward homeboy Josh Thomas and National Geographic's J.J. Kelley together on a little trip you know you need to buckle up for a laugh-outloud adventure film.

The dynamic duo certainly know how to tickle the Alaskan funny bone on their third feature, Go Ganges!

The official word: Set in a stunning background of colorful landscapes, the film captures the danger, joy and significance of the mighty Ganges River. J.J. Kelley and Josh Thomas, creators of the award winning “Paddle to Seattle”, decide to travel the 1500 mile length of the Ganges from its source to the sea.

They employ several different means of transport (including rickshaw and a scooter) along the way. The filmmakers provide colorful testimony to the stress the river endures, and convey both the beauty and horror of this sacred river.

What they don't tell you:  it is difficult to determine what is more shocking - what they find on the river banks or in the bathrooms.  A must-see film for anyone needing a little light show in the darkest month of the year.

8:00 PM     Mon, Dec 03  Beartooth Theater Pub
4:00 PM     Sat, Dec 08  Alaska Experience Theater