Culver City Observer -

Actors' Gang To Present Variety Of Entertainment


October 7, 2009

The Actors’ Gang will branch out from plays to a variey of entertainment in the next three months known as The WTF?! Festival.

"The name of this festival came to me after a recent board meeting where I was told that due to the economic downswing and recent reduction in donations that we can no longer afford to produce theater," explains Actors' Gang Artistic Director, Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins. "I was told it would be less expensive to do nothing."

The WTF?! Festival was Robbins answer to the board.

"We're not very good at doing nothing. We have 70 members and we are fired up to go into production on a major piece in January, so in the spirit of rebellion and our history of survival we are going to produce three plays, host great artists and authors, screen free documentaries, have open forums for Veterans, have live music nights with great songwriters, present poetry and dance, screen ridiculously funny movies, host talkbacks with directors and try to raise enough money to survive this crap economy.

“We are offering a wide variety of events that will fire up new audiences, help them to discover The Gang, and support our community outreach."

To that end, the WTF?! Festival is composed of a singer/songwriter series, film talkback series, and a theater and dance series, each curated by Robbins and featuring members and friends of The Actors' Gang. All proceeds will benefit The Gang's many outreach programs, such as theater residencies in public schools; a free Summer-in-the Park family theater series; free holiday shows for families; a theater in prisons program focused on rehabilitation through the arts; and pay-what-you-can nights for Actors' Gang productions on the main stage.

Musicians set to perform acoustic sets at The Gang's intimate, 99-seat performance venue for the WTF?! Festival include Jackson Browne, Tenacious D, Serj Tankian of System of a Down, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine with Shooter Jennings, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, HuDost, and X's John Doe with Jill Sobule.

The Film Talkback Series will feature screenings of George Carlin: Jammin' in NY (1992), followed by a reading of his soon-to-be released memoir by his daughter, Kelly Carlin McCall; the provocative and outrageously hilarious The Aristocrats (2005), followed by a talkback with director Paul Provenza and members of the cast; Sir! No Sir! (2005), the award-winning doc that tells the long suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam, followed by talkback with director David Zeiger; William Kuntsler: Disturbing the Universe (Sundance Film Festival, 2009), followed by a talkback with director Emily Kuntsler; and Iraq war documentary The Ground Truth (2006), followed by a talkback with director Patricia Foulkrod.

On Tuesdays in November PEN CENTER USA and The Gang host intimate conversations with celebrated authors like Gore Vidal and LA Times Book Editor David Ule. PEN AMERICAN CENTER presents the reading of prize winning work from their Prison Writing Program by members of the cast of The Shawshank Redemption. The Gang will also present Teen Poetry Slam, an evening of poetry that matters performed by Los Angeles' award-winning teen poetry troupe, the Get Lit! Players.

The Theater and Dance series opens with performances of the previously announced solo shows The Need to Know: A Veteran's Journey from Fear to Freedom, written and performed by April Fitzsimmons, and Death and Giggles from Cirque du Soleil performer Daisuke Tsuji. Upcoming are Donna Jo Thorndale's Johnny Cash tribute with live cooking and live music, All Cake, No File; and a performance of Mental Head Circus, the intoxicating creation of vaudeville circus from Terry Beeman Dance Company and Hoopdawgz.

The WTF?! Festival will close on December 19 with Vox Femina, a choral group that will perform and then lead the audience on a caroling expedition throughout Culver City.

In addition, WTF?! Saturday nights will feature "The After Gang," an outdoor lounge offering audiences a unique opportunity to hang out before and after the show, have a drink or three, enjoy a few laughs, and meet and mingle with the artists/musicians.

The Actors' Gang is located in the Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd. (near the intersection of Culver and Venice Blvds.) in Culver City. Two hours free parking is available throughout downtown Culver City; the Ince Parking Lot (corner of Culver and Ince) is directly across the street from the theater. In addition, several restaurants (Italian, French, Thai, Japanese, and more) are only a few blocks' walk from The Actors' Gang and offer a variety of dining options before and after the theater. The Ivy Substation is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.

The WTF?! Festival takes place Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m; "Late Start Fridays" at 9 and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8.

For details, ticket prices and a complete schedule, call The Actors' Gang Box Office at (310) 838-GANG (310-838-4264) or go to


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