Downtown-Independent

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So I went to The Rebellion Story Premier in Los Angeles.

So last Friday (December 6th) I made the sacred pilgrimage to Los Angeles to catch the Rebellion Story and it was seriously the best trip ever.  The theater is located in this district known as Little Tokyo and it’s the coolest place on planet on earth! I have sooooooo many stories from that day (i’ll post them on my personal blog) but long story short, the movie premier kicked BUTT!

Everyone was so friendly and interactive and you could hear people laughing, crying, ‘awww'ing during the screening. And I saw a really cute Homura cosplayer in the audience and I found their picture on some blog :3 And I got a free autograph board with my babies on it (that was sweeeeeeeet). And I couldn’t a afford the blu-rays but I did get a Madoka Pin that I wore the entire day and I took it to the Japanese Grocery Store and this employee stopped me and told me how much she loved Homura and we had a really nice 20 minute talk about Madoka and cosplay (she gave me free bread too! Madoka fans are soooo kind).

Oh, and  the movie was amazing but I will keep my trap shut for spoilers. Y'all should go watch it though (bring tissues and eye drops). And before the night was over I went to sit down with all my free bread and then I had a dinner that would make Kyoko jealous :3 And that was my trip.

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Independence Day in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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In a career now spanning twenty years, not many music artists have done more to expand the horizons of the artform of music video than Radiohead.

Now, the established British music video screening event, BUG is delighted to bring to Downtown Independent a very special show focusing on Radiohead, one of the greatest rock bands, and greatest innovators in music video and audio-visual arts.


This unique show will see the band’s amazing music video output celebrated on the big screen – their greatest videos, their collaborations with directors such as such as Jonathan Glazer, Grant Gee, Shynola, Garth Jennings – and BUG’s very own host Adam Buxton – and also rareties, some never before seen on a big screen, or indeed any screen. 
 
Don’t miss a very special night of extraordinary sound and vision from BUG and Radiohead – the champions of the artform of music video. 

Tickets are $15 and available here.

Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway: An Audience Member’s Guide To New York City Theatre and Its Many Distinctions

5/21/15

By the Theasy.com Editorial Staff

New York City theatre is identified as Broadway, Off Broadway or Off Off Broadway (also called independent theatre). Do these categories matter for the average audience member? Not really. In some ways these distinctions tell you what you can anticipate from a production, but there are many shows that break expectations, for better or worse. Still, it’s helpful to know the difference between these types of shows.

The first thing to know is that the terms Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off Off Broadway are necessary distinctions for the artists, not the audiences. They’re actually defined by unions, based largely on the number of seats in the theatre, and are used for contracts. For example, the professional stage actors’ union, Actors’ Equity Association (also known as “Equity” or AEA), needs to know what kind of contract a show falls under because that designates how much an actor or stage manager gets paid, along with other professional allowances received. A Broadway contract pays way more than an Off Broadway contract, and both are like winning the lottery compared to an Off Off Broadway contract, which is under a totally separate agreement that has more to do with exposure and opportunity than paying the rent. The important thing to know is that when producers label a show, they are really just defining the contract that is currently in place.


What does it mean to be a Broadway show? (Hint: it does not mean that the theatre is literally on the street called Broadway).

There are 40 Broadway theatres and they are located in Midtown Manhattan, or what is also known as the “Theatre District” or “Times Square” by tourists, and as “that place I try to avoid whenever possible” by locals. Those theatres are large in scale, with anywhere from 597 seats (the Helen Hayes) to 1,900 seats (the Gershwin). The important thing to know about Broadway shows is that they are primarily commercial ventures, meaning the people who put money in are expecting to get a return on their investment.* It’s expensive to produce a Broadway show (at least a few million dollars, often much more) and, partly because union contracts limit shows to eight performances a week, Broadway shows often need to run for awhile to make back their money.

Broadway tickets usually cost in the $100-$150 range. You can often get discounts when tickets aren’t selling out; conversely, when a show is selling very well you may only be able to find tickets for outrageously expensive prices (a relatively new phenomenon, the so-called “premium seats”).

Another thing to note about Broadway shows is that they often have star-studded casts. Because producers need to sell tickets, Broadway shows often hire celebrities to help draw attention. This doesn’t always mean that the actor is the most talented or appropriate for the role, but it does ensure that the audience gets a special “only in New York” experience.

And finally, only Broadway productions are eligible for the Tony Awards. There are other awards that are given out to Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway productions, but because the Tony Awards are broadcast on network television, they function as a kind of “theatre ambassador” for the city, helping to inform people around the country about what’s playing on Broadway. But there’s a lot more great theatre to be found in New York City…

*Note: Six Broadway theatres are owned by non-profit theatre companies, so the productions in these houses are often (but not always) non-profit productions, which operate under a different contract. This doesn’t mean these shows don’t or can’t make money. But it does mean that when a theatre company has a hit show, the company can use the money to fund other, less profitable, productions.


The vast world Off Broadway…

Off Broadway encompasses many of the big and fancy non-profit theatres in town (The Public, Atlantic, Roundabout, and the like). Some Off Broadway shows are commercial (anything playing at New World Stages, for example) but many are produced by the non-profits, meaning these theatre companies are financially supported by grants and donations. They usually have networks of members: arts patrons who enjoy their work. Since they aren’t trying to turn a profit, they can take risks that Broadway shows often can’t, and their work is often more artsy, intellectual, and daring than Broadway shows. That said, they also have to program shows that their audiences will want to see, so the risk-taking is always calculated. Off Broadway theatre companies produce very high quality work, and there is consistent overlap between actors and artists who work on Broadway and Off Broadway. There are awards specifically for Off Broadway shows – the Obies – and then others, like the Drama Desk Awards, cover both Broadway and Off Broadway shows).

Off Broadway theatres are also smaller, which means that audiences get a more intimate experience. Based on Equity guidelines, Off Broadway shows have to be in theatres that are between 100-499 seats (there are occasionally exceptions). Tickets for Off Broadway shows vary greatly in price, but they typically start at around $30, and should never be more than around $80, unless it’s a really high-profile show. And even then, not everyone pays the same price. (For example, while tickets for Hamilton at The Public reached a maddening $112, members who bought their tickets early paid only $50).

Now is a good time to note that if a production has no union actors, it doesn’t have to play by any of these rules. So it can mount the show in a 12-seat house, charge $400 per ticket, pay its actors nothing, and call the production an Off Broadway show. And that’s another reason these distinctions aren’t always super helpful in terms of understanding what a show might offer.


Off Off Broadway is under the radar, but it doesn’t have to be.

The largest and most diverse category of New York City theatre is Off Off Broadway, also known as independent theatre. Not only is it where the most theatre happens, it’s arguably where the most adventurous theatre happens. There are many independent theatre companies that produce Off Off Broadway productions, which basically means that the venue won’t have more than 99 seats, and tickets will likely be in the $15-$25 range. If there are Equity actors in the cast, these productions are produced as an “Equity Showcase,” which entails further restrictions. And there are even awards specifically for Off Off Broadway shows – the New York Innovative Theatre Awards (or IT Awards).

At Theasy, we love to champion Off Off Broadway, because there is so much incredible work that flies under the radar due to the severe constraints of producing independent theatre. Budgets are often small (Equity showcases can’t spend more than $35,000), so marketing can be difficult. And because theatre rentals are so expensive (and because Equity showcases can’t play more than 16 performances), Off Off Broadway shows often don’t run long enough to benefit from word of mouth.

Off Off Broadway definitely runs the gamut in terms of theme, tone, and quality of work. But it’s the place to go to discover incredible new plays, the actors and directors who are on the cusp of blowing up, and the most laid-back theatergoing experience in town. It’s not unusual for a show to begin Off Off Broadway and then receive subsequent productions Off Broadway or sometimes even on Broadway (Hand to God is a recent example of this upward movement). And most New York City actors have Off Off Broadway credits to their names, even if they eventually reach celebrity status. Off Off Broadway productions are often the very best deal in New York City theatre.

Visit theasy.com for reviews and information about what’s currently playing. Follow this blog for articles and interviews with our favorite artists.
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And if you want more information about Actors’ Equity Associate and the policies we’ve discussed, visit their helpful website at www.actorsequity.org.

Regular Show: The Movie will premiere this Friday at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles and will be showing for one week only (that I know of). So if you live in Los Angeles and want to see the movie on the big screen, you can see it from August 14th through the 20th.

My name is on the poster, so it proves I worked on this movie! So did a lot of other talented people! In fact, I only had a hand in about 2 minutes of this movie! So really, I barely did anything and everyone else did a lot and they’re better in every way than me and they should be rewarded for all the hard work they did by people going to see it.

If you live in Los Angeles, come on down and check it out. I’ll probably be there like every night cause it’s crazy that I worked on a thing that’s in a theater.

http://downtownindependent.ning.com/events/regular-show

Channel 101 started as a series of short film “challenges” between the two creators, but developed into a monthly film festival at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. Creators would pitch ‘pilots’ for shows, the audience would vote on the best ones, and the winners would get posted … on the INTERNET. W-woo?

Despite having the worst possible prize, Channel 101 became the launching pad for comedy groups such as The Lonely Island. Who went on to create like, 9 of the first 12 viral videos in existence, as well as some objectively legitimate masterpieces.

Also, Derrick Comedy, whose member, Donald Glover went on to star in Community, create the FX show Atlanta, launch a rap career as “Childish Gambino,” and taunt us with the best potential Spider-Man casting that will never be.

Ellie Kemper, from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and The Office made an appearance. Tim & Eric were there, before they were eternally joined by ampersand. Also Human Giant, which was the first major appearance of Aziz Ansari, who’d go on to star in Parks and Recreation and Master of None.

It was even the birthplace of a little show called Rick and Morty.

This single, pre-YouTube internet comedy festival wound up launching the careers of countless talents who, one decade earlier, would’ve been lucky to even be invited to the massive fight over the one available NBC primetime slot (which would’ve ultimately gone to John Larroquette, anyway.)

5 Random Places That Produced An Eerily High Number Of Stars

Last Screening of Danny Boyle's Frankenstein

Tonight will be my ninth time watching this production of Frankenstein with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve Seen Benedict as The Creature four times and Jonny five times. I love that the last screening I get to watch will be my preferred version with Jonny as The Creature. It is the version that I connect with the most and I believe it’s the best version of the two. 

All I ask is for the theater not to fangirl every time Benedict is on screen. We get that you “heart” Benedict but let the rest of us that enjoy this piece of work do just that. Hope you all enjoy this last showing. 

Sundance NEXT FEST this weekend at Ace Hotel Downtown LA!

Fueled by the renegade spirit of independent artists, Sundance NEXT FEST is a new breed of festival experience celebrating the intersection of music and film.  NEXT FEST is happening throughout the weekend, with the Los Angeles premieres of six new films, each marked by unfettered creativity and paired with either a special music performance that embodies a shared artistic sensibility, or a conversation that brings together filmmakers with those who inspired them.

Check out the full line-up of films and panels here.



Inni is Sigur Rós’s second live film following 2007′s hugely-celebrated Heima. Whereas that film positioned the enigmatic group in the context of their Icelandic homeland, providing geographical, social and historical perspectives on their otherworldly music, with uplifting results, Inni focusses purely on the band’s performance, which is artfully and intimately captured by French Canadian director Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir). Interweaving archive material from the band’s first ten years with the sometimes gossamer light, sometimes punishingly intense, concert footage, Inni is persuasive account of one of the most celebrated and influential rock bands of recent years.

Just pre-ordered the 3LP/DVD set and screening tickets for Sunday at the LA downtown independent. Showtimes and Trailer here.