[Events][Upcoming Guest] June Performing Arts Roundup!

Shows, Plays, and Festivals, Oh My!: June Performing Arts Roundup

June is barely halfway over and I can’t fit in enough of the awesome shows I’ve seen or will be seeing.  I’ll also be doing special coverage of the National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival coming next week.  A special “Extrasode” will be here for the podcast.  And I’ll be interviewing one of the Festival performers too.  And now, here’s the breakdown of all the awesome-osity.

#1. Greg Watanabe in “Extraordinary Chambers” at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood

Extraordinary Chambers at The Geffen Playhouse Theater

Greg Watanabe in "Extraordinary Chambers" at The Geffen Playhouse Theater

This is a beautiful play about culture clashes, memory and loss.  And my friend Greg Watanabe is exquisite in it.  He plays a Cambodian man with haunting stories to tell about his past (LA Times Article on Greg).  Well-paced, tightly-focused writing and top shelf acting. I was moved to tears and laughter throughout this very intimate show.  The run goes all the way until the beginning of July so be sure to catch it.

EXTRAORDINARY CHAMBERS Online Friends/Family Discount Code (ECFF20):
∙ $20 per ticket ($18 + $2 fee)
∙ Discount available for ALL performances
∙ To redeem please visit www.geffenplayhouse.com (offer available online only) and enter promo code: ECFF20 upon checkout.

#2. Lawrence Kao from America’s Best Dance Crew Stars in “Krunk Fu Battle Battle” the Musical at East West Players in Little Tokyo

"Krunk Fu Battle Battle" the musical at East West Players

"Krunk Fu Battle Battle" the musical at East West Players

Wow.  They’ve got rapping, spoken word and musical theater singing ALL interspersed with breaking and hip hop dance-poetics?  Yes, please.  And all the lyrics are penned by Beau Sia.  Even better.  I’ve never seen something like this…where young Asian Americans can represent in a hip hop love story.  I was highly entertained…and really wanted them to krunk fu battle battle MORE.  Energetic and fun!  Their run ends June 26th so get tickets now.

#3. The National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival in Downtown Los Angeles

It’s the 3rd Annual convening of all things Asian Americans and theater!  Isn’t that exciting? If I told my little Jenny self in the 9th grade that there was such a thing, it would have blown my college-bound, political science majoring mind.  My favorite Los Angeles buddies will be featured in the conference and in shows during the festival: Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Kennedy Kabasares, Leslie Ito, D’Lo and Alison De La Cruz, and Kristina Wong and Helen Ota.  I’m also excited to meet folks like Beau Sia, Gayle Isa (another Swarthmore College alum!), and May Lee-Yang (Another “Yang” female comedian with a show “Ten Reasons I’d Be A Bad Porn Star”!).  I’ll be covering this Conference & Festival so be on the lookout for a couple of fun podcast episodes featuring folks from this event!

#4. I Heart Hamas a one-woman show with Jennifer Jajeh at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

I Heart Hamas with Jennifer Jajeh

I Heart Hamas with Jennifer Jajeh

My podcast episode #3 guest Jennifer Jajeh is STILL going strong with her one-woman show, I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. She’s been touring this for over three years and this leg of her Los Angeles run will be fun.  She talks about being a twenty-something Palestinian-American dealing with all the unsolicited questions and confusion from Americans about her identity and what it’s like trying to find where the party was at when she was living in Palestine.  I’m seeing this one next week and I’m excited to see her snappy, sassiness in this critically-acclaimed show.  Be sure to catch it before it ends June 25th.

#5.  Evolution of a Kiss with Cynthia Brinkman at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

"Evolution of a Kiss" with Cynthia Brinkman

"Evolution of a Kiss" with Cynthia Brinkman

Cynthia Brinkman has a natural comedic sensibility and confident stage-presence in this beautiful story of three generations of first kisses in her family.  It was thirty minutes well-spent. Kept me smiling well after the show. June 23rd is the last show so get your tickets now!  Her show summary describes it best:

“This triumphant solo comedy chronicles three generations of Latinas as they experience their first kiss.

“What would you do if, after years of keeping your own journal, you discovered the journals of your mother and grandmother as teenage girls? You’d compare everyone’s first kiss of course! In this hysterical and painstakingly honest comedy, we get to join three young women as they navigate the choppy waters of passion, desire, and teenage dorkiness from 1930s Mexico to modern day San Diego. Cynthia Brinkman brings these girls – and the hilarious characters that fill their worlds – to life in vivid color as we see a first kiss evolve through time and across cultural and sexual borders. Based on the first-hand accounts found in journals and oral recordings, it just goes to show that nothing is funnier than the honest truth.”

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