Movie buff heading to Palm Springs for a little rest and relaxation? Check out “For The Record”, a unique live concert series at the Ace Hotel that musically celebrates the work of prolific directors like Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, and John Hughes.

A lovely dessert oasis, Ace Hotel Palm Springs boasts a super-chill vibe along with pet-friendly amenities and eco-friendly design. Relax by the pool while noshing on an organic meal from King’s Highway—the exclusive artisanal in-hotel restaurant—or sip a specialty cocktail from the Amigo Room as you’re soaking up the sun.

Break out your best Uma Thurman/John Travolta dance moves and groove along to familiar songs sung and performed by professional film, television, and Broadway talent. Conceived and directed by Shane Scheel and Christopher Lloyd Bratten, “For The Record” takes audience members on a magical ride through some of their favorite flicks.

Can’t imagine a trip to Palm Springs without a Swedish massage or botanical facial? Book a room at the Ace Hotel and score 15% off the room rate, two tickets to the exciting show and $25 off any Feel Good Spa treatment. The 24-hour gym includes wellness classes like yoga and water aerobics. Don’t miss “For The Record”, a show described by the Los Angeles Times as “searingly visceral… the movies sing!”

Via 10Best.

Hollywood Does Broadway

I was at a dinner party at an impeccable mansion in Beverly Hills when one of the guests started talking about Wicked. Then he said the gayest thing I have ever heard. ‘I’ve seen Wicked 20 times.’ And when I told him that he laughed, and I instantly realised he was super special gay. Chris Diamond is so super special in fact he puts on what is undoubtedly the best night out in Los Angeles.

It’s called Show At Barre Presents: For The Record. It’s at Vermont Kitchen & Bar. One half serves delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere (in fact the kitchen serves at the Elton John Oscar party every year). The other half is a cocktail bar that features Show At Barre Presents: For The Record. And it’s the most wonderful melding of Broadway and Hollywood. The shows consist of a musical version of the directors’ most known films. They work with the soundtrack from the original movie. Each show features the work of a different auteur. When it was Baz Luhrmann he turned up to the show, as did Tarantino.

It’s an intimate, cosy, dark bar which comes to life when a cast runs through it, and performs on a small stage in front and on the bar itself and among the audience. I saw For The Record: Coen Brothers – musical version of the Coen Brothers’ finest works: O Brother Where Art Thou, Fargo, True Grit, Hudsucker Proxy, and The Big Lebowski.

They act out the most memorable scenes and fit them around the songs from the soundtrack They give you delicious Coen libations, Burn After Drinking – tequila, sweet and sour lime juice and jalapenos. Or The Hudsucker – Absolut Orange, St. Germain, Triple Sec and Alizé. I had a Blueberry Lemon Drop, which was potent and sweet, like the show itself.

The performers were mostly Broadway veterans, amazing voices and great panache.

Future shows include For The Record: Martin Scorsese, followed by Paul Thomas Anderson. There’s also a Cameron Crowe show featuring Jerry Maguire, Elizabethtown, Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky. The Scorsese even features Casino, The Departed, Goodfellas and Raging Bull.

The shows have become so popular with lines around the block they are expanding into a new 200-seat showroom. There is something amazing though about having the Frances McDormand pregnant cop from Fargo poking her baby bump a few inches from your face. Magnificent.

Show At Barre Presents For The Record is at Vermont Kitchen & Bar, 1714 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Tel: (323) 661-6163

Via Beauty & the Dirt.

For the Record: Review of a Coen Brothers Musical

One of the charges often leveled at Dudeism is that the concept of a religion based on a movie is necessarily ludicrous. Well, that’s just like, their opinion man. An opinion, mind you, which is based on the ludicrous idea that the more traditional something is, the more profound it must be.

Surely this is an idea that has been under attack for the last 100 years. Culture evolves and reinterprets itself constantly. And it is in this reinterpreting that culture is, er, cultivated– not via a fascist allegiance to static forms. What is that, some kind of yogurt? It increases the chances of conception.

That’s the way the whole durn human comedy perpetuates itself: Religious scholarship in the 20th century showed that virtually everything in Judeo-Christianity originated from the Zoroastrians and the Egyptians. And after that, the philosophical Postmodern movement helped show how pretty much everything else we held dear was also built on filched content and borrowed assumptions. Aitz chaim he, Dude. The tree of life is a burning bush.

Of course, this should come as no surprise to anyone under 20 years old, that is to say, babysat by the Internet. The implicit “replay culture” of the ‘Net has disassembled and reinterpreted content in ways that both honor old ideas and provide new ways of thinking about things. And while this is especially evident in music via sampling and remixes, it has also long been crucial to the works of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and our beloved Coen Brothers. What is The Big Lebowski, after all, but a two-hour mash-up of the whole durn human comedy?

Certainly all forms of art have been subject to remixes and mashups and mulitlayered parodies. But theater? Well, Dude, we just don’t know. The average person doesn’t get to watch much theater these days. Luckily for this author, the other night he got to experience  a particularly far out piece of mashed up musical theater which really tied the room together, in the every sense of the word. And it was unlike anything he’d ever seen before.

For the Record is a production currently hosted at a small bar/restaurant in Los Angeles which takes a totally novel approach: Take live performances of songs from the soundtracks of all of a particular director’s films and weave them together with riffs on scenes from the films, into what amounts to a retrospective of an entire body of work. Uni-verses, if you will.

The effect is not unlike being transported into one of the dream sequences from The Big Lebowski, especially since the actor-singers interact so exuberantly with the audience as they dance and sing and act their way around the bar, and oftentimes upon the bar itself (hold your oat sodas close to your chest as they mambo along the marble).

Starting with songs from O Brother, Where Art Thou, then meandering through Fargo, True Grit, Miller’s Crossing, Intolerable Cruelty, A Serious Man, The Hudsucker Proxy, it finally arrives at the moment we’d all been waiting for: The Big Lebowski. Already nominated by one of our Dudespaper writers as a candidate for a musical, it indeed turned out to be a fucking far out experience.

One of the best things about the show is that the producers made sure not to hew too closely to the original script, reinventing certain scenes and choosing unusual characters to perform certain songs (knockout Jackie Seiden’s rendition of Elvis Costello’s “My Mood Swings” as Bunny Lebowski was particularly noteworthy) or performing songs in a totally different style (An R&B version of “The Man in Me” sung by Rogelio Douglas Jr. provided everyone in the room, oh, what a wonderful feeling).

A hilarious highlight was Ginnifer King’s delightfully demented version of Tammy, set against a backdrop of Marty the Landlord’s dance cycle. Of course Anderson Davis’ Dude and Jason Paige’s Walter were also fantastic – though their talent shone more brightly in numbers from other Coen movies, along with Steve Mazurek, who appeared as both the Stranger and Donny. The three were especially good as the trio in the O Brother Where Art Thou portion of the show. Milena Govich’s Maude was also stunning, though it was her wildly sexy turn in Hudsucker Proxy’s Habanera that blew back the collective hair of the audience. Finally, Danielle Truitt performed the most outrageously laughworthy number of the night, Fargo’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” as a totally inebriated Dion Warwick-hits-rock-bottom type character.

It’s a bit hard to convey just how disarmingly different this approach to theater seems to be. Part rock concert, part dinner theater, part psychedelic dream sequence and all fun as hell. Moreover, ingenious producers Shane Scheel and Christopher Lloyd Bratten have also performed the same treatment on the oeuvres of Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrmann and John Hughes. Next up? Paul Thomas Anderson. But since the Coen Brothers show is only playing for a few more weeks, you’ll have to hurry to get tickets. Every night sells out, so don’t take er too easy, Dude.

For more information or to get tickets, click here.

For a few off the cuff videos of the performance visit this video album. Be aware that my poor camera skills and random shooting is not representative of the whole. The best parts were too good to watch through a video camera.


Via The Dudespaper.

Palm Springs: A night at Ace Hotel with Baz Luhrmann (sort of)

Ginifer King performs in "For the Record: Baz Luhrmann" at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs next week. (Ace Hotel Palm Springs / March 22, 2012)

Director Baz Luhrmann’s movies come to life in “For the Record,” a live cabaret-type show that’s a fusion of film, music and theater. Ace Hotel in Palm Springs will host this production next week and offers a special hotel rate for those who stay overnight.

The deal: The For the Record package takes 15% off room prices and includes two tickets to the show and a $25 spa credit. Use the promo code “Record” when making a reservation online or by phone.

Actress Ginifer King of “Gypsy” and seven others perform songs from “Romeo and Juliet,” “Strictly Ballroom” and “Moulin Rouge.” Upcoming performances are to feature the films of Quentin Tarantino on June 13 and 14, the Coen brothers on Sept. 12 and 13, and John Hughes on Dec. 12 and 13.

When: The offer is good Wednesday and Thursday night.

Tested: I found availability for a room with two double beds for the discounted rate of $177 (instead of $209) plus tax and fees. The room comes with two tickets to the show ($20 each) plus the spa credit.

Info: Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, (760) 325-9900

Via Los Angeles Times.

Hooked on a feeling: For the Record: Tarantino in Concert celebrates the uncanny genius of the director’s soundtracks

Die-hard fans of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino know the dedication the geek autuer puts into choosing the epic soundtracks for his films.

Think of the songs you remember from classic Tarantino scenese like Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” in Pulp Fiction and everything from the 5,6,7,8’s in Kill Bill, Part 1. From classic oldies to moody sleeper tracks, Tarantino is a master at establishing mood and tone in his films through his brilliant application of just the right tracks.

A touring concert of live music, live performance and film sequences gathers these indelible musical achievements into a whirlwind production called For the Record: Tarantino in Concert. This is the fourth in a series of director-inspired soundtrack musicals by Los Angles based company, Show At Barre. (The other directorial insprations being The Coen Brothers, John Hughes and Baz Luhrmann.) Their latest soundtrack reinterpretation makes its world premiere at The Long Center during SXSW.

The show is not an official SXSW event, says Show At Barre Artistic Director Shane Scheel, but it is appropriate that the show happens during this week considering its seemless integration of music and film. More engaging than just film, more visual than just music — For the Record reimagines the two elements in a completely unexpected way.

“SXSW just celebrated its 25th year, and Tarantino has been making movies for just as long. So it’s actually a perfect blend of all the elements involved,” Scheel adds.

While the filmmaker will most likely not be in attendance, his influence and artistry will be in grand display throughout the show. Live musicians will play the famous scores from his span of movies starting with Reservoir Dogs and ending with Inglorious Basterds while performers like Death Proof‘s Tracy Thoms will provide the vocals and choreography.

“We have such an amazing talent pool in our company now,” Scheel explains. “We’ve got people who have been on American Idol and Bravo’s Platinum Hit, others who have been on TV and film. It’s a very diverse group that has come together to form this family, which is really unique in L.A. because the city can feel very isolating and competitive. We’re really proud of that.”

Fans of Tarantino’s work, (which by now is really anyone who loves classic storytelling and doesn’t mind seeing excessive violence), will thrill at seeing the creative reinterpretations of these memorable songs presented in a brand new format.

Animated scenes, choreographed numbers and original filmed footage will transform the scenes and songs you’re familiar with. “It is definitely not a Broadway revue,” clarifies Scheel. “We don’t want anyone to confuse it as that.”

Scheel and his Show At Barre co-creator Christopher Bratten are both huge Tarantino fans and actually originated the idea of the directorial dedication show with his music in mind. Years later, after producing three other such shows with Show at Barre, they’re excited to present For the Record on a larger stage and scale than ever before.

“We started doing these shows one night a week at the bar I run in East Hollywood,” recalls Scheel,” and then we grew into doing it six nights a week. So people have definitely responded; they get it. So now we’re taking it way outside of the bar to explore what its life can be outside of the club and out of L.A. It’s a difference of about 2,200 seats between the club and the Long Center.”

The million dollar question is: Has Tarantino seen the show?

“Yeah, he’s seen it and he loves it. He drank me under the table after the show,” laughs Scheel. “We talked a long time afteward about the choices we made. Some of the lesser-known tracks, he even forgot about, so that was cool. So, yes, he knows we’re doing it and he has the invitation. But I believe he’s filming in Louisiana right now.”

Louisiana isn’t too far away from Austin, so who knows…?

For the Record: Tarantino in Concert premieres at The Long Center Mar 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Long Center website.

Via Culture Map Austin.

Raising the Barre

Ginifer King in Tarantino in Concert (© Lily Lim)

Anyone who has encountered Show At Barre‘s For The Record series — which takes afamous film director’s repertoire and melds selections from the movies’ soundtracks and snippets from his films in a cohesive manner — knows something rare is being achieved.

And while the company continues to thrill Los Angeles audiences with it’s For The Record: Baz Lurhmann show, which continues it’s run at it’s home on 1714 N. Vermont Avenue through the end of the month, along with performances on March 28 and 29 at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs.

But Show at Barre has bigger plans on it’s horizons. On March 14, it will perform For The Record -Tarantino in Concert at the 2,300 seat Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, with a cast including Tracie Thoms, Annelies van der Pol, Ginifer King, Darryl Semira, and Von Smith.

Meanwhile, it’s breakout hit For The Record: John Hughes, which featured TV and Broadway star Barrett Foa, is looking for a New York City venue; and in May, the Los Angeles show will move to a much larger space at Vermont, with shows planned to salute Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tim Burton, and Cameron Crowe.

The entire enterprise began when artistic director Shane Scheel and music supervisor Christopher Lloyd Bratten, who worked together on L.A.’s Upright Cabaret, were offered a residency at Vermont. “The owners wanted to create a show that used the same artists,” says Scheel. “And we wanted to go in a different direction from what did before. We thought ‘What if we cover a great album?’ which we took to ‘What about a soundtrack?’ And then Tarantino came up because of Pulp Fiction and his other movies.”

We always want to make sure we’re paying homage to works but we don’t want to imitate or parody,” says Bratten. “A show like the Baz Luhrman one writes itself, since his movies are essentially musical. The format and artistic element is obvious. But when we decided to do the Coen Brothers, we had to ask ‘What’s the overarching theme? How do we put these disparate elements into one show?’ It was interesting to see how these pieces fit together. Part of the show’s purpose is to educate audiences of the repertoire of the artists. They know the directors, they know the songs, but they don’t always put them together.”

With the location in the heart of Hollywood, the company has gotten positive reactions from celebrities, particularly the directors they’ve honored. “Baz’s reaction was caught on tape. It can be found on YouTube telling how much he loved the show,” Scheel says. “Tarantino showed up unannounced, took pictures, and did tequilla shots with us till 4am.”

“That was the night I feel like we were making some sort of waves,” says Bratten. “These directors have great taste in music and how it informs their films. They enjoy their own material examined in a way they haven’t seen before. When you watch a film, a soundtrack supports a film. What we do, is to have the film support the soundtrack. The soundtrack becomes the main event. The film snippets are nostalgia.”

The Austin performance will be very different than the one seen in Los Angeles, says Scheel. “We’re going to enhance what we usually do with video. It will still be an immersive experience, just amplified. We’ve been given a gift and have to figure out how to paint these pictures and tell this story and turn it on its ear.”

Von Smith in Tarantino in Concert (© Joanne DeCaro)

Many of the show’s cast members are looking forward to working in a much larger venue than Vermont, although they’ve grown to love the intimacy of the 100-seat venue.

“There’s a certain mark on everyone’s body you can reveal and you have the mark of Barre — a bruise on the upper thigh,” says Davis. “They are ugly purple and green, from running into every chair of the cramped space of the bar. There’s a lot of physical comedy that you can’t do in that space if you’re crammed between two audience members. It helps open up the door of creativity. And because the response of the audience is so immediate that if it’s an off-night, it’s obvious. That’s good feedback.”

“It’s not normal to be six inches from the audience or to be dancing on a bar,” says Semira. “At first, I had to focus on my performance, because you know someone’s going to spill a drink over here or someone is getting tipsy. You have to take it in and react to it. It’s a lot of fun once you take it in. Eventually, you find a relaxation in it. It brings the audience even closer because you’re on the same team with them. They feel they’re in safe hands that a performer can handle any unpredictability and respond and keep going.”

“Those mistakes, like someone having to go to the bathroom in the middle of a song, instead of ignoring it, I take it as a gift and include it in my performance,” says King. But with each production we learn just a little more what this is and what it’s evolving into. Shane and Chris get a clearer, concise way to tie the songs together. All the fat has been cut so you’re getting an exciting non-stop experience. And then you want to go home and watch the movie.”

Click here for more information and For The Record-Baz Luhrmann tickets.

Click here for more information and For the Record-Tarantino In Concert tickets.

Via Theater Mania.