Dark Lady of Hollywood – is a merry mash-up o Shakespeare and the TV biz.
It’s going to be a merry mash-up of Shakespeare and the TV Biz in the NoHo Arts District. Sunday, June 8, meet author and former L.A. Times arts writer Diane Haithman for her Dark Lady of Hollywood book launch and the staged reading with live actors. The historic Lankershim Arts Center venue couldn’t be more appropriate. It too is a mash-up, an arts mash-up. A former DWP building, the Lankershim Arts Center was transformed into a multi-use arts center that houses the award-winning Road Theatre Company, the Art Directors Guild’s Gallery 800 and a variety of arts programing and events. So mark your calendars, because it’s sure to be a ye olde verily awesome time in the NoHo Arts District on Sunday.
WHEN: Sunday, June 8, 2014 from 3-5 p.m.
WHERE: Gallery 800 at Lankershim Arts Center – 5108 Lankershim Blvd, NoHo Arts District 91601
What is Dark Lady of Hollywood about?
This is my first novel, published by a relatively new independent fiction publisher, Harvard Square Editions. It’s the story of a TV comedy executive in his 30s who has become very complacent in his job and his privileged position in the entertainment industry — until he becomes ill with cancer. During his lengthy treatment, he stumbles upon his long-ignored college copy of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He is drawn into a emotionally complex world that is the polar opposite of the world of network sitcoms. In reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets, he discovers the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, a mysterious character who appears in some of the sonnets and is thought to be the real-life love and Muse of the Bard. In his own grief, confusion and loneliness, Ken decides he needs to find his own Dark Lady – in Hollywood.
What’s your background?
I am an arts and entertainment journalist, so my own life has been split between theater and the arts and Hollywood. I covered the TV business as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times for a number of years before moving over to the arts beat. And now I frequently write about television for the Deadline Hollywood website and other publications. This is my world.
Why did you decide to write this book in particular?
I remember having a conversation with a network TV executive when I was on the beat. He had just been forced out of a high-level position. He was very blunt about how he ended up in the job — he said: “I was a white male in the right place at the right time.” He was very aware of his entitlement in this world. I began to wonder what might happen to such a person if he suddenly found himself without the perks, so to speak. Without giving away too much of the story, becoming an outsider allows him an unexpected bond with the woman who becomes his “Dark Lady,” who is something of an outsider herself.
What plans do you have for the book?
Well, I’m happy that I’ve gotten some great reviews and that a supplier to libraries has ordered dozens of copies of the book — I think the Shakespeare angle and the insider’s view of the entertainment business has made the book attractive to libraries as a way into learning more about Shakespeare, particularly for young adult readers. My hope is to continue to connect with readers who might be looking for something that digs deeper than the average Hollywood novel. It’s a contemporary comic novel, but has elements of Shakespearean tragedy. In October, I’ll be part of another local reading through Book’d in Burbank, at the Banshee Theatre.
Tell us about the upcoming book signing?
Because the book mashes up Hollywood and Shakespeare, I wanted to do something that fuses both. So for the location, I picked Gallery 800 at the Lankershim Arts Center, which is not only right in the middle of “Valleywood” and a stone’s throw from major studios, but it’s also run by the Art Directors Guild, so there’s that extra bit of Hollywood flavor. And I am happy that several professional actors have volunteered to be part of a staged reading of an excerpt from the book, so we’ll get a feeling of theater, too.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I don’t think you have to like Hollywood, or Shakespeare, to like this book.
Get the Dark Lady of Hollywood: AMAZON>>
Dark Lady of Hollywood
• THE PLAYERS •
MICHAEL YURCHAK (Ken) is an award-winning actor, voice talent and teaching artist. He is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and part of the teaching faculty at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio, CTG and Shakespeare Center LA. Michael has recorded over 50 audiobooks as well as dozens of commercials, video games, promos and animated characters. Top film and television credits include Modern Family, Mad Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Legend of Korra, Naruto, Babymakers, Beerfest, and Watching the Detectives. Stage credits include Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, R & J, Death of a Salesman, and Country Girl.
PAULA WESTON SOLANO (Ophelia) actor/writer/solo performer/teaching artist, has performed in numerous theater productions and has appeared in independent feature films and episodic television. Some recent roles include: Titania in Southern California Shakespeare Center’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the very juicy Karate Instructor on Pretty Little Liars. She is part time faculty at Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Theater and New Dance, is an associate member of Cornerstone Theater Company and a member of SAG/AFRTRA and Equity. Honored to be inhabiting Diane’s debut novel!
JILL HOLDEN (Jazzmin, Office Assistant) has been an actress for over forty years. She has appeared in hundreds of plays all over the country and on numerous TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Desperate Housewives and Seinfeld. Her latest cinematic adventure, Muffin Top is slated for a 2014 release. She is currently a full time theatre teacher in LAUSD. Jill is thrilled to play the ultimate bitch for her friend Diane.
CHARLES DEGELMAN (Narrator, Voices) is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. He is cofounder of Indecent Exposure Theater Company and teaches screenwriting and communication studies at California State University, Los Angeles. His latest novel, Gates of Eden is published by Harvard Square Editions and won a Silver Medal for historical fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Degelman’s new novel A Bowl Full of Nails will be published in October.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, or anything and everything about the NoHo Arts Community, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com.