Tightly rolled with archival images chronicling 50 years of U.S. government anti-pot crusading, “Grass” is one heck of a good trip. The latest feature from seasoned Toronto documaker Ron Mann is a frequently funny, openly partisan look at the war on drugs. Pic’s potent kick comes from Mann’s savvy use of humor, great clips and good music.
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What would happen if Doogie Howser had to work with Stephen King? Never thought about it? You will now, thanks to this intermittently amusing new comedy blessed with what may turn out to be a deceptively challenging timeslot. How can “Stark Raving Mad” miss, launching as it does in the “Must See TV” equivalent of paradise (between “Frasier” and “ER” on Thursday nights at 9:30)?
For a while, it looked as if opening night at the third annual Latin Jazz Festival would play to large patches of empty seats. Indeed, many were filled only when those with cheap tickets were allowed to come down into the seating area in California Plaza’s stunning outdoor Watercourt. Perhaps it was the unfamiliar location deep in downtown L.A. that kept attendance down, or the overcast weather. It couldn’t have been the strong and diverse lineup.
There’s a big difference between a simple work and a simplistic one. About the midpoint of his first play “Visiting Mr. Green,” writer Jeff Baron loses sight of the distinction. It’s a shame, because what begins as an appealing, if unambitious, comedy, abruptly disintegrates into a contrived and treacly issue drama.
Los Angeles journalist and public relations agent Joe Bleeden died Sept. 11 of a lung ailment at his Hollywood home. He was 73. Born in Chicago in 1926, Bleeden served in the Navy during World War II and then went UCLA. He first worked as a journalist for the L.A. City News Service and later… Read more »
Broadway costume and set designer Stanley M. Simmons died Sept. 4 in Los Angeles of heart failure. He was 71. Simmons was first recognized for his original costume designs in Tennessee Williams’ “Garden District” and “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel.” Other plays with his signature apparel include “Waiting For Godot,” “Elizabeth the Queen”… Read more »
Ron Abbott, a legit stage manager who formed the TV production company Erizoe Prods., died April 3 of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 57. His death was only recently reported. As a Broadway stage manager, he worked on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning “That Championship Season,” “Otherwise Engaged,” “Eubie” and “All Over… Read more »
Vincent Wasilewski, head of the National Assn. of Broadcasters for 17 years, died Sept. 9 of heart failure at Washington Hospital Center. He was 76. Wasilewski joined the NAB in 1949 and served as chief counsel and executive vice president before becoming president in 1965, a post he held until 1982. During his term, he… Read more »
David Karp, a novelist, screenwriter and television writer, died Sept. 11 of bladder cancer in Pittsfield, Mass. He was 77. Karp is perhaps best remembered as one of a group of writers, which included Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote and Rod Serling, whose careers flourished during the “golden age” of TV in the 1950s. Until the… Read more »
Film sales and finance company Pandora has named Shebnem Askin senior VP of worldwide sales.