Saturday was our four-show day at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB). Whew! Luckily, all but one of them were one-person shows, making the write-ups easier. The first dealt with a subject that is really out in front, something that calls and hold your attention, something that … oh well, just pretend I’ve inserted all the gratuitous jokes about large breasts. Guys like to joke about large breasts; certainly, in Western society, they are what’s in for most people*. But for those that have them, dealing with them is no fun. A hot day like Saturday means you’re swimming in boob sweat. There are back problems, knee problems, self-esteem problems, … the list goes on and on. Anyone who thinks that large breasts are a blessing doesn’t have to live with them.
(*: as you are probably dying to ask: I’ll enjoy them whatever size they are, just keep ’em natural)
That, precisely, was the subject of our first show Saturday: “30JJ or Bust: The World is My Underwire“. The artist, Joan Afton (FB), shares her experiences living with “the girls” (use whatever term you want), framing the discussion with a call to her insurance company about getting breast reduction surgery — and the angst it creates when she thinks about changing something that is so much part of her identity.
During the show, Afton explores society’s relationship and view about breasts, as well as what large chested girls have to go through to deal with the chest. From learning how to camouflage and distract attention, to finding appropriate size bras and being measured properly, and exploring both the physical and emotions damage that large size breast can create.
Now, I’m a guy, and I found the show quite enjoyable. I also found it interesting to hear and explore the reaction of the audience to the stories. I never found myself wondering when the show would be over, and found myself caught up in Afton’s story.
But I’m not the best judge. My wife was in a similar position to Afton: When we met, she was in a KK cup; she had reduction surgery many many years ago — and she’ll tell you it was the best decision she ever made. She absolutely loved this show: she said it captured the experience of every large breasted girl growing up. It captured the concerns that leads one to have surgery, and also captured the questions that go through one’s mind. She thought it was the best show we saw on Saturday.
So, if the boobs that are giving you the greatest problems in life are not your partner and your co-workers, but your large breasts; if you really want to get something off your chest… you should really see this show. It’s also great for those guys who either live with or want to live with someone with large breasts: you’ll discover that your fantasy does not trump your partner’s pain.
30JJ was directed by Deana Barone (FB), who worked with Afton to help her transform her story into what you see on stage. Evidently, they are long-time friends, and that close relationship showed in how well the story presented itself. Barone has another show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB) — MetaFam. She also hostied a workshop (well, it has just started) called Unleash Your Story, also at Fringe.
30JJ has one more performance: Saturday June 25 2016 at 11:30 PM at Asylum @ Studio C (Mainstage). Tickets are available through the Fringe website.
Attention Programmers! Take the Fringe Programming Challenge! Scheduling your shows at the Fringe can be a pain in the …. I’m trying to solve the problem for next year, so take a look at my specs for a Fringe scheduling app. Can you write it?
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Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) and the Hollywood Pantages (FB); my subscription at The Colony Theatre (FB) has gone dormant, and REP East (FB) has seemingly gone dark for 2016. Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals). I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.
Upcoming Shows: Ah, June. Wonderful June. June is the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and I’ve already written about the shows I plan to see, as well as suggestions to the Fringe regarding viewing the audience as a customer. Our Fringe/June schedule is as follows (for shows in the past, ✍ indicates writeup is in progress; ✒ indicates writeup is complete and links to the writeup):
- ✓ Sat, 6/4: Alien vs. Musical (230p) (✒) • Code 197 DWB (Driving While Blewish) (400p) (✒) • Toxic Avenger: The Musical (600p) (✒)
- ✓ Sun, 6/5: Tell Me On A Sunday (600p) (✒) • All The Best Killers are Librarians (800p) (✒)
- ✓ Sat, 6/11: Pali Hi All Year Picnic • Einstein (400p) (✒) • The Boy from Oz – the Celebration Theatre (FB) (800p) (✒)
- ✓ Sun, 6/12: Titus Andronicus Jr. (700p) (✒); and then the Tony Awards when I get home.
- ✓ Sat, 6/18: 30JJ or Bust: The World is My Underwire (1130a) (✒) • Lamprey: Weekend of Vengeance (200p) (✍) • Mark Twain Answers All Your Questions (600p) (✍) • The Old Woman (800p) (✍)
- Sun, 6/19: Sweet Love Adieu (100p) • All Aboard the Marriage Hearse (400p)
- Sat, 6/27: Squeeze My Cans (400p) • My Big Fat Blond Musical (830p)
- Sun, 6/28: Temple Israel Reunion • Hamlet (Las Vegas Style) (630p)
Whew. July brings us back to conventional theatre, with Beautiful at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) and the Western Corps Connection (FB) the first weekend, Grey Gardens at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB); the second weekend, The Little Mermaid at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB); the third weekend, Weird Al Yankovic at the Hollywood Bowl (FB) and Operaworks (FB) Opera Re-Constructed at CSUN; the fourth weekend, a mid-week Hollywood Bowl (FB) concert of Wynton Marsalis and Aaron Copeland, and … currently nothing for the weekend. As of right now, August is completely open. One weekend has a bar mitzvah, and there are a few holds for show, but nothing is booked. Late August may see us looking at shows down San Diego/Escondido for one weekend. The best of the shows available — or at least the most interesting — is Titanic from Moonlight Stages. September is similarly mostly hold dates at this point. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.