What begins as an intrusive subway encounter quickly deepens into a riveting, all-too-relevant microcosm of intractable racial tensions in Rogue Machine's superb West Coast premiere of "Dutch Masters" at the Met Theatre. Playwright Greg Keller set this taut, suspenseful two-hander in 1992, amid the unmet promises and polarizing racial violence that ended the one-term administration of New York Mayor David Dinkins. Just how little the socio-economic divide has changed in the decades since is apparent in the tense meeting between two kids in their late teens: Eric (Corey Dorris), a loud, pushy, self-styled black gangsta, and Steve (Josh Zuckerman), a sheltered white boy from the Bronx who tries in vain to ignore and then deflect Eric's posturing, taunts and unexpected overture of friendship. Keller's play is actually more classically constructed than its edgy, slang-infused opening might suggest. Eric's world is not as alien as he first leads Steve to believe, but the ingeniously plotted twists revealing their deeper connection pose challenges that could easily strain credibility in a less accomplished staging.
If the political and social landscape looks strange at the moment, remember that it's often a playwright who shows us how current events have evolved from deeper histories. This week some of L.A.'s smallest theaters take on some of the country's biggest issues -- racism, homophobia, the collapse of public education. And just in case you prefer horror of the supernatural variety, there's a spooky Halloween immersive experience too. The essentials: This musical, which premiered last spring off-Broadway, whisks its protagonist from the present day to a 1970s gay bar in New Orleans, where he gets to know a clientele of hustlers, drag queens and down-on-their-luck torch singers. Juxtaposing two eras allows playwright Max Vernon to compare and contrast -- as well as revel in -- gay culture, then and now.
The New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force has been investigating an incident after police said a black man made an anti-white remark and splashed an unidentified liquid in a 13-year-old girl's face, causing her eyes to burn during an attack in Queens, reports said Wednesday. The 13-year-old who was attacked was quick enough and managed to snap a cell phone photo of her attacker. The police have released that picture to the public Wednesday hoping someone will recognize him and inform them as soon as possible. The victim told the police she had just stepped off the Q10 bus on Lefferts Boulevard and 101st Avenue in Richmond Hill when the suspect approached her from behind at around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. When the girl turned around, he hurled racial remarks and then tossed the liquid into her face, police said.
When I was a boy, I went to shows--plays, concerts, recitations--with my older sister Bonnie. This was in Brooklyn, in the early nineteen-seventies. The venue we liked best was the East, in Crown Heights, which had been established, in part, in response to the Black Arts Movement, which was itself founded in reaction to the death of Malcolm X. In those days, anti-honky fever was high, and, just as I flinched when I encountered racial slurs in books or on TV, I backed away from the militancy of the plays I saw at the East and elsewhere. Watching those spectacles, I wondered why, if whiteness was supposed to be rendered powerless on a black-owned stage, it was still dictating the action.
The proposed sign for Kid Rock's new honky tonk in Nashville didn't sit well with some. A proposed sign for Kid Rock's new bar in Nashville caused a bit of controversy by local officials who deemed it inappropriate. The singer's Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock and Roll Bar and Steakhouse on Lower Broadway opened recently and the sign's design didn't sit well with everyone. A mock-up of the image was hung in the business' window, which features a guitar that also looks like a woman's backside with a donkey in the middle, serving as a cheeky play on the bar's name. A mock-up of the image features a guitar that also looks like a woman's backside with a donkey in the middle, serving as a cheeky play on the bar's name.