Our Lady J was featured in The Wallis’s Sorting Room on Saturday, June 30, 2018. PHOTO CREDIT: Lawrence K. Ho
Since Our Lady J has become such a sought after television producer, writer and actor, her stage appearances have become a rarity.
Imagine the delight which beamed from the stage as Our Lady J performed the night before the premiere of the 'Mother's Day' episode of "Pose'" which she wrote.
"It's a delight to spend the apocalypse together," Ms. J exclaimed a number of times from the stage throughout her performance. If last night's experience was any indication, perhaps it's counter-intuitive but true that embracing the anti-fantasy of annihilation can enhance a good time. Perhaps it's the telling of her personal story of succeeding through harsh adversity that lends itself to an upbeat ambiance. Ms. J called herself "obsessed" with Ms. Parton. I call the vibe infectious and am nearly inclined to take up the invitation to view this self-penned episode in her living room as she live Tweets.
All this to say Ms. J was in fine fettle in the intimate nightclub setting of the Sorting Room inside the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts which was once the main post office for Beverly Hills complete with WPA era murals. Now re-purposed as the The Wallils, for short, the wooden pallets that decorate the Sorting Room were once used to process mail for the locals.
"You know a person had a strict religious upbringing when their clothing sports over a 1000 rhinestones," quipped Ms. J shimmering from head to toe including the mike. In the second grade as a 7 year old she disclosed wanting to be an evangelical preacher's wife when she grew up. This proclamation immediately flopped with her family and teachers in the Mennonite/Amish small town in Pennsylvania where she was raised. Ms. J took to intense prayer at the time to have her wish come true. Today she is living proof that prayers can come true, or as I might say positive re-frames are powerful.
It's from performance spaces like this all over the world where Our Lady presents the "Gospel of Dolly," an evening of Dolly Parton's gospel music that never mentions typical religious iconography such as talk of the Lord or Jesus, for instance. Through Our Lady J's personal story new meaning is shed on a sampling of Ms. Parton's greatest hits, as well as her lesser known spirit songs in this celebration of one of the Queen's of Country.
Sure Our Lady went through her hating period when she rejected religion only to return to it when she needed a boost of comfort after her precious grandmother died and she was on the outs with her family. It was then she fully realized it was her connection to the music of the church that she cleaved to and a vehicle to re-enter her spiritual practice. As a child practicing piano also saved her from shoveling manure, as it was one or the other.
Interesting enough the episode Ms. J wrote for "Pose," deals with a character who reunites with estranged siblings after the death of her mother. What is that advice for writers? Write what you know. Apparently this is working quite well for Ms. J.
A Staple of Our Lady J's "Gospel of Dolly Parton," 'Islands in the Stream,' without fail brings a tear to my eye every time. Video footage by Russ Turk at the Zipper Factory, NYC, 2000
There's still time to catch the Sorting Room's 2nd Summer Session at the Wallis:
For the Record: Tarantino
Thursday, July 12 – Saturday, July 14, 7 pm & 9 pm; Sunday, July 15, 5pm & 7 pm
Next year marks the 25th anniversary since the release of Quentin Tarantino’s famed Pulp Fiction and to kick off the commemorations, Los Angeles’ cherished immersive concert troupe ‘For The Record’ returns to The Sorting Room to reinvent the hit production that started it all. From Reservoir Dogs to The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s iconic style and vintage soundtracks have remained the trend-setting gold standard of retro cool. With chosen actors and shared storylines reappearing throughout his filmography, Tarantino’s dysfunctional family tree of colorful characters continues to grow. For The Record: Tarantino is a rock ‘n’ roll celebration of a cinematic universe that takes this spider web of hitmen, gangsters and assassins, and injects a quintessentially Tarantino soundtrack of vinyl classics - “Son of a Preacher Man”, “Stuck in the Middle With You”, “Bang Bang” and many more - to create a genre-defying musical tribute to an utterly original director. This latest production centers on a quintet of characters inspired by the powerful, badass women of Tarantino’s cinematic universe and like a collection of gritty, graphic novel superheroines, these women battle “the tyranny of evil men” as ‘FOX FORCE FIVE.’
The ASCAP Foundation & ASCAP Urban Department present
A Songwriters Showcase hosted by Kosine
Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 7 pm
Nine-time Grammy Award-nominated multi-platinum producer/songwriter Kosine, half of the LA-based production duo Da Internz, will be introducing emerging ASCAP songwriters, giving them the opportunity to showcase their original songs and provide a sneak peek into their craft. Be the first to hear their songs that may just be headed to the top of the charts.
A Little New Music presents
An Evening of New Musical Theatre Songs
In partnership with The ASCAP Foundation
Thursday, July 19, 2018, 7 pm
A Little New Music is the best night of new and unheard musical theater in Los Angeles. Whether a premiere from an established ASCAP composer or an undiscovered tune from a promising up-and-comer, A Little New Music will keep your finger on the pulse of the musical theater scene.
ASL Cabaret: A Celebration of American Sign Language
Friday, July 20, 2018, 7 pm
Broadway’s Josh Castille - from The Wallis and Deaf West’s Tony-nominated revival of Spring Awakening - and friends perform Show Tunes, Hip Hop, Poetry and Comedy in a one-of-a-kind cabaret in both English and ASL.
Saturday, July 21, 2018, 7 pm
The international smash-hit comedy - from NYC to London’s West End to the Sydney Opera House - where jaw-droppingly outrageous celebrity memoirs are acted out on stage by other celebrities. From Barbra to Beyoncé, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed Celebrity Autobiography is outrageous - and in their own words. Featuring: Laraine Newman, Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel, Jennifer Tilly, Fred Willard, Steven Weber and more!
Tara Fass, LMFT #35078, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California. She treats adults and couples dealing with a broad range of issues from navigating the legacy of divorce in one's life, to the quarter life crisis and conscious aging. Together we attempt to make meaning [...]