Voyeurism Leads to Murder; Remembering Eartha Kitt; Airwaves Exchange (Hot Stuff)

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on January 9, 2009



T.I.C MEANS ‘TENANTS IN COMMON’, — and/or Trench Coats in Common. But the tenants living in this building have absolutely nothing in common. There is a daughter who hates her dad. “He’s not my real father. He Fed-exed his part of me to my mother.” Another of the tenants is a ‘flasher’ that wears a Trench Coat that is easy to open on a moments notice.

There is a mysterious bomb maker that is definitely up to something. Oh, there is a Gay Guy who has sex with his computer. Later the Gay Guy hooks up with an angry T.I.C mentally disturbed musician that writes horrible music, and sings just as badly. Right from Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane, is an overly emotional, high-strung woman that wants sex so much that she will even consider having sex with anyone that walks. Sound like the building you live in?

The dialogue goes from being hip to screwball. Comic books come to mind. The action is fast. The conversations are glib and sometimes profane. Back to the daughter, who reminds of a Starbucks worker – is really high-end ‘valley girl’ talk. She annoyed me to the point that I wished she would be the one that gets killed. Not only does this creepy brat have a computer that she uses to record every movement of the other tenants, she places little cameras all over the place so that she can take pictures of them and use them on her blog. I’m wondering – why is this little bitch so unhappy? Well, it turns out that she is unhappy because she has just lost her mother, and now she has to live with a Gay man, who is her father, even though she might have been conceived with a Turkey Baster. This hate relationship runs throughout the play. At first, it was a turn-off. I wanted to get up and slap her. But, as the play goes along and the focus leaves the little whiney turd, I then began to see the humor in the play. In fact, I laughed the hardest at the most offensive and blasphemous moments. The more outrageous it became – the more I liked it.

One of the tenants does a protest against wheat by whacking at a roll of wheat with a hatchet. Now, wouldn’t that just be the best neighbor you could have? Loved this line. When a T.I.C. was asked: “What kind of work do you do?” The answer: – “I’ve never had a job, I grew up in Marin.” The Flasher announces to all, as he stands totally nude: “Your future doesn’t have to be limp” – then with a wink he does a little gyration that shakes his limp tool. I think you get the picture. Handsome Tool by the way.

T.I.C is an artful and riveting play. It’s Neverland Ranch gone wild. You’ve just got to experience this merry romp for adults. This is “A Blast” that you’ll be telling all your friends about. The humor is absolutely astonishing. This non-stop action packed 90-minute play is faster than a high-speed train. The Encore Theater has put on “A Howl of a Triumph” with T.I.C. Yep; The Encore Theater is at the top of their game with a Top-Flight cast, great set, terrific lighting, and Directing. The Magic Theater just crackled with excitement. The Buzz after the show was enormous. Everyone was floating. No doubt about it…this was a great moment in Theater History.

Of course it took the talents of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and the Direction by Ken Prestininzi, who took this simmering stew and shined light on this new Gem. The Actors are totally amazing. Meet the electrifying cast: Arwen Anderson (Sabra), Anne Darragh (Claudia), Lance Gardner ((Shye), Michael Shipley (Dad), Liam Vincent (Terrence), Rebecca White (Kid). Wow! What an appealing cast! Here’s the deal – “I want to see this again!”

Produced by the Encore Theatre.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))

Eartha Kitt. Courtesy Photo.

By Lee Hartgrave

WAYBACK THEN: In the 80’s, I did my first interview with Eartha Kitt. She was in town for a two week run at the glamorous and sumptuous Mocombo Club in San Francisco.

We met at the Holiday Inn Bar and Restaurant on Sutter and Powell Street. Kitt came in with her little dog in her arms. The dog was so cute; it looked very much like “Toto”, Judy Garland’s little dog in The Wizard of Oz. When we sat down in a booth to order. Kitt purred — “I always drink Martini’s. So, I said, great, we’ll both have one. Well, one led to another. I could have sworn that she was making those vibrating noises like cats do. In the meantime, I wondered what happened to the little doggie. Then I felt something humping my leg underneath the table. I was sure it wasn’t Kitt. I looked under and there was the little oversexed pup wrapped around my left leg, it was the doggie that was vibrating. How did he know that I was left-handed?

Kitt looked much the same as she did when she sang ‘Monotonous’ in ‘New Faces’ on Broadway. So, it was easy to see why so many people were watching her in the Bar – how could they miss her. Kitt’s clutching, Cat like ways are a real give-a-way. Kitt told me: “Before I accepted the engagement at the club, I had to have it checked out in advance to make sure that it was the kind of place that I would want to perform in.” After –all, she did play the Whitehouse at one point. It doesn’t get any classier than that, does it? Her Career was zooming at the time, until she spoke out against the ‘War’ at a luncheon with Lady Bird Johnson. Her career almost disappeared. It was The Mocombo Club that brought her back from obscurity. She was a huge success during the run of the show, and her career blossomed again Variety picked up on it – and the bookings were coming in from around the world. Kitt was back on top.

Kitt orders another Martini and says: “I admire what they are tying to do at the Mocombo Room. You know, to bring intimate Night clubs back.” To what does she attribute her good health and timeless beauty? – “I am not a worrier. I am not worried about how old I am. Anyway, I really don’t know, because I have never had a birth certificate. When I read in some newspaper or magazine my age, I have to laugh, because if I don’t know my age. How can they? Of course, I have to have a passport you know, so a friend of mine wrote a letter saying that she knew me for so many years. This helped prove my age. I got a work permit in New York when I was probably twelve years old – claiming, of course, that I was eighteen.”

ON THE OPENING. Kitt came out looking more glamorous than ever. And those eyes – they could actually burn holes in the wall. What a smouldering performance. But, she did send me a zinger. Several in the audience read my interview and bought Martini’s since she claimed they were her favorite. One even offered to buy her one. “She looked down from the stage with a disdainful look and said: “Oh no, I’m only a scotch and soda person.” I was wounded. Why did she try to sabotage me? My theory is that she really did like Martini’s, but used the “Scotch and Soda” routine in the act, because it sounded more robust and upper class. But, now that she has left us – we will never know. Over the years I interviewed Kitt three times. The last time was for a musical in San Francisco. I for one will miss her forever.

(The above is an excerpt from an Interview by Lee Hartgrave that was first published in the 80’s, in a Los Angeles magazine.)

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook section and produced a long-running Arts segment on PBS KQED)))

(TAGS: Eartha Kitt, Lee Hartgrave, Celebrities, Theater, Music, Fame, Orpheum Theatre, Music, Hollywood, Now Public, Cabaret)

Arlene Dahl. Courtesy Photo.


MOVIE STAR ARLENE DAHL will be interviewed on the Castro Stage on Sat. January 24, between screenings of two of her films – favorites that she made back-to-back in 1956: Slightly Scarlet and the rarely screened femme-fatale classic ‘Wicked as The Come.’ The theme of this years Noir City is ‘newspaper noir,’ with many of the films set in the world of newspapers, or, in some cases, publishing or radio. You can expect a lot of quick and tart dialogue. Just the kind that I like. Producer-host is Mr. Noir himself, Eddie Muller and co-programmer Anita Monga. Together they have made a special effort to have Noir City’s daily double bills reflect actual 1940’s-era theater programming. With that in mind, they have sought out rare, legitimate B films — shorter movies that were intentionally made to fill out the second half of a program. Muller told me: “I think this will probably be as close as you’re going to get to actually going to the movies in 1948.” The Noir City festival is produced under the auspices of the Film Noir foundation, a nonprofit Corporation dedicated to rescuing and restoring America’s noir heritage. All proceeds from the festival directly support the foundation’s mission of finding preserving, and restoring films.

The Festival runs at the Castro Theater Jan. 23 through Feb. 1, 2009. Muller says: “Two movies for 10 bucks. The best deal in town. San Francisco fans deserve nothing less. Also available is a Festival Passport to all the movies ($100). These films are a tribute to the legacy of America’s fourth estate, in all its flawed and fabulous glory.” Info: www.noircity.com.

HOT GOOD NEWS…The New Conservatory Theatre has extended the run of “Zanna Don’t” a gay High School musical fairy tale. Dates added – Jan 18 – February 1st. Get out your wand and get ready to click your heels together as you visit a Gay High School. Info: www.nctcsf.org.

INDIE FEST is coming Feb. 5-22, but you don’t have to wait to go the Benefit/Launch Party on Jan 23 at the Elbo room, Valencia at 17th with” Shotgun Wedding Quintet, Ex-Boyfriends (the best kind), Polio del Mar and exciting festival previews. The party is 21up; cover is $10 bucks, and all proceeds benefit the 11th SF IndieFest. CARTOON DUMP with Frank Conniff (Mystery Science theater 3000 will be at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson Street, SF, 8pm $20. Whazit that? Cartoon Dump combines sketches, songs puppets, stand-up comedy and crappy cartoons (the worst Cartoons…EVER!) — TO CREATE A UNIQUELY DISTURBING AND HILARIOUS EXPERIENCE. Buzzin likes disturbing! Info: www.cartoondump.com. P.S. The Eighth Annual SF Sketchfest features appearances by ‘The State, Tim and Eric and Martin Mull.’

SF SKETCH COMIDIANS ‘KILLING MY LOBSTER’ RETURN TO FULL LENGTH PLAY TERRITORY WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF MATT PELFREY’S COMIC HOLLYWOOD SATIRE ‘PURE SHOCK VALUE’ (PSV). THE PLAY WILL BLAST THROUGH THE DOORS OF THE EXIT THEATER FEB. 26 THROUGH MARCH 22 2009. You remember the KML group, don’t you? They are the group who brought us the absolutely and crazy “Hunter Gatherers”, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Pure Shock Value centers on three-film industry bottom-feeders on the brink of abandoning their Hollywood Ambitions. This is surreal comedic journey through the underbelly of Hollywood, far from Beverly Hills three-picture deal and multi-million dollar profits. The author Matt Pelfrey is the resident playwright at the award-winning Furious Theatre Co. in Pasadena. Here are a couple of his plays that have been produced around the world. “Honkies with Attitude”, and ‘Jerry Springer is God.’ Tix and Info: www.killmylobster.com and nightly at the door.

THEATREWORKS will present the “Twentieth Century” that had a long ride on Broadway and has played almost continuously around the world. In the movies Gloria Swanson played the role of the Diva. Charles Bruce Milholland bases the stage play by Ben Hecht-Charles MacArthur in a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig. In this nutty comedy, Broadway and Hollywood collide in the 1930’s. Opens Jan 17th (Saturday) at 8PM. Info: www.theatreworks.org. Or 650-903-6000.
Lily Garland stars as the Silver Screen Starlet who is on the fast moving ‘Twentieth Century Train.’

PHANTOM: LOVE NEVER DIES. Well, not as long as Andrew Lloyd Webber is around it won’t. Phantom: Love Never Dies is the sequel to the long running Phantom of the Opera, and it has planned openings soon in five U.S cities, and China. Lloyd Webber says: “The one which really interests me would be china…I think to open Love Never Dies in Shanghai would be an enormous thing.” The sequel will be set around ten years after the first Phantom. The Phantom has relocated from the Paris Opera of Gaston Leroux’s original novel to Coney Island in Brooklyn, the beachside amusement walk for New Jersey and New York. Lloyd Webber told the Times: “it was the place. Even Freud went because it was so extraordinary…people who were freaks and oddities were drawn towards it because it was a place where they could be themselves.” O.K. from that I get that the Phantom did not die in the Opera House. And since there is a shortage of creepy places to live – why not Coney Island? Who will play the Phantom this time on stage? Here are some names being bantered around: Gerard Butler, who played the role in Joel Schumacher’s 2004 film adaptation, and Hugh Jackman, who is now starring in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia. Jackman — has appeared in “Sunset Boulevard, Oklahoma! And The Boy from Oz.

TENNESSEE IN THE SUMMER is a play that I saw many years ago at the Surf Theatre near Ocean Beach. ‘Tennessee’, is written by Joe Besecker, a legend playwright, who has written at least 25 plays, if not more. The play will open at the New Conservatory Theatre on Jan 22 through Mar. 1st. It’s a fascinating probe into the psyche of playwright Tennessee Williams. Besecker has put together a powerful and insightful look into the private life of Tennessee Williams. Box Office: 861-8972. Recommended.

RITA MORENO, WILSON CRUZ (Broadway – Rent-, T.V. – Noah’s Arc, and film star; SPENCER DAY, LORETTA DEVINE, TUCK & PATTI, TERESE GENECCO, TIM HOCKENBERRY, SHARON MC NIGHT, SHAWN RYAN, BURN THE FLOOR (cast members for the hit Latin Ballroom dance show.) What do all the above talents have in common? Well, here’s the scoop. They are all going to be in ‘ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE’ at the POST STREET THEATRE – ON NIGHT ONLY. Presented by the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, this ‘Help in on the Way’ show is a Valentine Benefit Concert that will Benefit 3 Bay Area AIDS Service Organizations. Mark your Calendar for a wonderful evening of singing and fun on Feb. 9 2009.You’ve got some love in you – so lets all get together and pass it around at this all-star Valentine themed benefit concert. Tix: www.helpisontheway.org.

YOU KNOW YOUR WAY TO SAN JOSE – NOW FIND YOUR WAY TO SOME GOOD THEATRE IN ROSSMORE. WARNING: Adult Language. The Ross Valley Players present, David Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s about a small-time real estate salesman trying to make a living by any means necessary by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers. Mamet got inspiration for the play on his experiences in a Chicago Real E$tate office. I injected the $ sign. Of course, even though the name ‘Ross’appears in the play, I’m sure that the realtors in Rossmore are nothing like the ones in Glengarry Glen Ross. Jan. 16 through Feb. 22. www.rossvalleyplayers.org.

‘MUD’ is the name of Maria Irene Fornes’ Obie Award-Winning play called ‘Mud’. It’s an Operatic story of human struggle and desire starring Alan Kaiser, Marilet Martinez and Garth Petal. It plays Jan. 9 through February 8. at the “Cutting Ball Theater (Exit theater) on Taylor Street. “It’s 1973 and Mae has just begun to learn how to read; things finally seem to be taking a turn for the better. As she tries to rise about her humble midwestern origins, Mae must keep the two men in her life, foster brother and former lover Lloyd, and new boyfriend Henry, from dragging her back down. Little does Mae know that the first strong decision she’s ever made about her life may be the last decision she will ever make.” Info: www.cuttingball.com

SHE’S BACK!: THE GREEN WITCH WILL BE FLYING THE SPACE OVER THE ORPHEUM THEATRE BEGINNING ON FEB. 6TH. She’s Green, you know. Witches are hard to get rid of – especially when they are this popular.




The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME HERE: leehartgraveshow@yahoo.com

PRESS STUFF: buzztatler@aol.com

Podcasts, blogs, vblogs: web.mac.com/buzzmixer/


Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

More Posts

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

Translate »