Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Born in Seattle, U.S.A. in 1952. Attended Whitman College, majoring in mathematics; the University of Washington in mathematics, art history and studio art; University of California, Berkeley. Studied art history with Rainer Crone, painting with Jacob Lawrence and Michael Spafford, sumi-e with George Tsutakawa, Chinese brush with Hsai Chen. Wrote on art for Vanguard, ArtExpress, High Performance, ArtWeek, Bellevue Journal-American, Seattle Voice. Seattle Arts Commission Special Task Force for media, and Special Task Force for educational Institutions in the late 70s. Taught art history, color theory, life painting, and design at Seattle Central Community College for 5 years before leaving Seattle in 1984. Current studio is in Ventura, California, north of Los Angeles.
Website URL: http://erikreel.com/
BEYOND THE 805
Moholy-Nagy at LACMA
Every so often a person is able to see the consequences of their current time so clearly, to see the lines of development play out ahead of them, it is as if they can see the future. In such a case it doesn’t seem so much as if they influence those who come after, so much as that they seem to almost live and work in the future. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy was such an artist. Working well over a half-century ago, there are few areas of our visual culture today that have not been touched or anticipated in some way by Moholy-Nagy. God knows what might have happened had he lived long enough to use a computer.
A well-worth seeing production of Agnes of God is currently playing at the Elite theatre in Oxnard. It is the first play in a season of challenging and important plays by the Elite this year. Season tickets are highly recommended.
As the play opens, we are given to believe that Agnes is a young woman who has evidently murdered her newborn child while living in a Catholic convent. She seems remarkably and a bit uncannily unhinged and it is up to a court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr Martha Livingstone, with her own Catholic demons to fight, to try and unravel the situation or even decide whether Agnes is sane enough to stand trial. Set as a murder mystery, the play completely upends that genre as it unfolds as a three-way psychological wrestling match between Dr. Livingstone, Agnes, and Agnes’s Mother Superior, who is herself not all she at first appears to be.
Photo credit:Joe Orrego
Miche Braden stars as Bessie Smith in the Rubicon Theatre Company's premiere production of "THE DEVIL'S MUSIC: THE LIFE AND BLUES OF BESSIE SMITH"
Photo Credit: Ronnie Slavin
The Rubicon Theatre Company of Ventura is currently showing the West Coast Premier of a very special project. Not really a play as such, or even what used to be called a “review”, The Devil’s Music: the Life and Blues of Bessie Smith is an extremely well-done hybrid whereby we, the audience are brought into a live speak-easy performance by Bessie Smith, the early pre-war Blues legend whose influence has shaped so much music since, from post-war small-band jazz to rock and roll.
With the wonderful cast and director of the previous installments reprising their roles, the third and last installment of the Nibroc Trilogy, Gulf View Drive, the conclusion to one of the most popular and critically acclaimed projects in Rubicon Theatre history, opened to an energetic and enthusiastic house last night. The play runs through 12 February 2017, and if you missed any of the two previous parts of the trilogy, no worries, this play stands on its own and offers up some first-rate comedy in the process.
(left) Erik Odom, Faline England, Sharon Sharth and Lily Nicksay star in Gulf View Drive, the final play of the acclaimed Nibroc Trilogy by Arlene Hutton .Performances January 25 – February 12 at Rubicon Theatre Company. Photo credit: Jeanne Tanner
Oxnard-born Henry Taylor’s current solo show takes up the first floor of the Blum & Poe space in Culver City, Los Angeles. Best known for his large, thickly-painted, emotionally-charged paintings, often modeled on photographs, but not photorealism in any sense of the word, Taylor in this exhibition also extends his engagement with installation and contextual concerns.
Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of Neil Simon’s Chapter Two offers ample evidence why Neil Simon’s plays are some of the most successful and frequently performed theatre in the world. Chapter Two is in many ways one of the best and certainly one of the most uniquely personal plays in the Neil Simon universe.
Understanding beyond all expectation. Caroline Kinsolving and Todd Weeks in Neil Simon's Chapter Two at the Ensemble Theatre Company.
Photo Credit: David Bazemore.
The Elite Theatre of Oxnard presents the world premier of Jason Furlani’s Family Trees, a rambling, good-natured comedy set in Schenectady, New York. With a set that feels just like my late aunt’s house in Schenectady; solid, heartfelt acting, and a very funny script, the play is a great choice for the holidays, full of a warmth and good-will that will have everyone leaving the theatre with a smile.
Photo Credit: Joe Orrego
Arthur Miller’s All My Sons
Big credit goes to the Elite Theatre for bringing in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, one of the great classics of post-War American theatre. The play is multi-layered, dynamic, timeless, and superbly written. A must-see for all theatre fans.
Allen Gardner and Jim Seerden. Elite Theater Co Oxnard, CA
The Santa Paula Theatre Center is currently showing an outstanding production of The Night Alive, a wonderfully written, recent  play by Conor McPherson, undoubtedly one of the best playwrights of our time. This is an excellent production of a great play, by one of our greatest playwrights. Don’t miss it.
(l) Cecil Sutton and (r)Ron Feltner in Conor McPherson’s The Night Aliveat the Santa Paula Theater Center, downtown Santa Paula, through 2 October, 2016.
Flying H Theatre company brings us Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s The Totalitarians, a dark and a bit daffy comedy about a political campaign gone awry, just in time for the current political season.
The sad thing is that it may be the last play produced by the Flying H Theatre, which announced that it would be closing its doors after The Totalitarians runs. This is a serious loss for theatre in the 805 as there is no other theatre here like it.