FEATURES / HIGHLIGHTS

2013 Summer Entertainment Preview
Christopher Cappiello, Dan Loughry, Michelle McCarthy, Paul V.
4/26/2013

MAY


 

IRON MAN 3, May 3
The official start of summer occurs when Marvel releases yet another in its ongoing summertime tent-poles. The good news here is that episode three’s directed by action specialist Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), stars—once again—the always entertaining Robert Downey, Jr., and features Iron Man’s most notorious villain from the comics, the Mandarin, played by the redoubtable Ben Kingsley.

FLASHDANCE, May 7
The 1983 hit film defined a generation, and now the stage adaptation makes its Orange County premiere at Segerstrom Hall, through May 19. Expect to hear the film’s hit songs, all of which became Top 10 hits on the radio around the world. And in addition to the hits you know, 16 brand-new songs have been written for the stage. You won’t want to miss Alex Owens, a welder by day and dancer by night, as she learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel her dreams.

THE GREAT GATSBY, May 10
What a project—the classic 1925 Fitzgerald novel directed by the visually hyperactive Baz Luhrmann, in 3-D no less, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. It’s a period piece with modern music by Jay-Z, Florence and the Machine and The xx. Prepare yourself for a visually spectacular telling of Roaring ‘20s hedonism, because if any modern-day director is able to bring the decadent parties of Jay Gatsby to life, it’s Luhrmann.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS, May 17 
No one anticipated the first Star Trek to be as rousing a reboot as it turned out to be, so expectations are high for Star Trek Into Darkness. In its favor: the return of director J.J. Abrams, the beautiful Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and the now out and always fantastic Zachary Quinto as Dr. Spock. And what about our new favorite ginger, Benedict Cumberbatch, as the up-to-now-nameless bad guy? We’ll be the first in line to find out if he’s playing a wrathful Khan.

DAFT PUNK: RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES, May 20
This is probably one of the most anticipated new discs—ever! The buzz over the French duo’s latest is huge, as it’s been revealed that two legends are working on it—electro pioneer Giorgio Moroder and Chic’s Nile Rogers. By the time you read this, lead single “Get Lucky” will already be the ubiquitous jam of Summer 2013.

AMERICAN SAVAGE, May 28
Dan Savage’s new book—subtitled Insights, Slights and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love and Politics—is an important one. The It Gets Better founder shares his insight on topics such as health care, gun control and the ever-pressing issue of marriage equality. 

 

JUNE

 

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, June 1-30
Shakespeare’s romantic romp in the magical forest is a popular play this summer, with several top companies putting it in their repertoire. First out of the gate is the always-engaging New American Theatre, with a production directed by Jack Stehlin at the Odyssey Theatre. Tony nominee Alfred Molina provides dramaturgy, and the company’s deep bench provides a crack cast. newamericantheatre.com

MISTRESSES, June 3
Based on the original British series, this summertime soap opera stars Alyssa Milano and follows a group of four lifelong female friends who are dealing with dramas of the heart. The translation? You can expect a lot of soap opera-style sex. The show’s tagline says it all: “Four friends. Four hearts. Thirteen weeks of seduction.”

JOYLAND, June 4
The Godfather of Horror, Stephen King, returns with Joyland, the story of college student Devin Jones, who lands a job in the summer of 1973 at a North Carolina amusement park. As if working as a carny wasn’t bad enough, he has to deal with the aftermath of a murder, a dying child and how it will affect his life forever.

INTERIOR THERAPY WITH JEFF LEWIS SEASON 2, June 6
We met Jeff Lewis and his full-figured lips on the reality show Flipping Out. This spin-off shows the perfectionist and his trusty assistant, Jenni, as they not only renovate their clients’ homes, but move in with them—allowing us to witness their complex relationships through it all.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: ...LIKE CLOCKWORK, June 10
The pounding, alt-rockers’ new Trent Reznor-produced effort features inclusions with Dave Grohl on drums as well as tracks featuring Mark Lanegan and their old pal and bandmate, bassist Nick Oliveri. And don’t forget Jake Shears and Elton John, who called Josh Homme saying, “You need an ‘actual queen’ on the record!”

ALISON MOYET: THE MINUTES, June 10
The big, bold voice of Yazoo returns on her eighth studio album. It’s a mix of torch-song vocals set to quirky electronics, produced and co-written by Guy Sigsworth (Seal, Britney Spears), such as the lovely “When I Was Your Girl” and the smoldering “Horizon Flame.”

BRITISH ELECTRONIC FOUNDATION: DARK, June 10
This stunning collection features all cover tunes from some of Britain’s most iconic artists (Andy Bell, Kim Wilde, Glenn Gregory), and must-hear updates of Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog” featuring Boy George, and Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside feeling some Delfonics soul.

HOLLYWOOD FRINGE FESTIVAL, June 13-30
Taking over venues throughout Hollywood, this growing festival includes a mind-blowing range of theater offerings, from reworked classics by top-notch stage actors to dance, sketch comedy and a dizzying array of solo performers. Most shows are about an hour, so stroll through the online listings and take a chance on some exciting summer entertainment. hollywoodfringe.org

MAN OF STEEL, June 14
It’s sad about Superman. A big franchise in the ‘70s/’80s, it died a quick death when Bryan Singer attempted to reboot it in 2006 with Superman Returns (and just as quickly vanishes). But here he is again—the squarest and most old-fashioned of superheroes—getting yet another makeover by Zack Snyder (300) with the help of up-and-comer Henry Cavill (grrr), Russell Crowe (not singing, we hope) and Amy Adams in her pluckiest role to date, Lois Lane. Expect lots of flying and very tight spandex. 

REVOLVER, June 14-July 21
Fresh from scoring four LA Weekly Theatre Awards, the Celebration Theatre continues its roll with the world premiere of Chris Phillips’ Revolver after developing the piece in workshop productions. Set in West Hollywood, the drama uses six pairs of men to examine the violence we are capable of and the boundaries of our ability to forgive. celebrationtheatre.com

TRUE BLOOD SEASON 6, June 16
Season 5 in a nutshell: Tara and Pam finally hook up; Eric shish-kebabs Russell Edgington; Sookie tries to convert Bad Bill back into Good Bill, but it’s too late; Bill drinks Lilith’s blood and transforms into “Billith.” It’s just another day in the supernatural swamp of Bon Temps. Was Bill just using Sookie the whole time? Will Tara and Pam move in together immediately? Tune in to find out.

SIGUR ROS: KVEIKUR, June 17
Iceland’s most unique and hard-to-pronounce “post-rock” trio drops its seventh disc, a heady and pensive mélange of folk, classical and dream-pop. The band describes it as a darker, heavier and “more aggressive” sound, which is showcased on the cryptic first single, “Brennisteinn.”

KELLY ROWLAND: TALK A GOOD GAME, June 17
The ex-Destiny’s Child diva returns to her R&B roots on her fourth release, which features collaborations with Rodney Jerkins, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, T-Pain, hitmaker Diane Warren and more—and one track featuring both Beyoncé and Michelle Williams entitled “You Changed.”

LOVE SONGS: A MUSICAL, June 21-July 21
Feel like a new, old-fashioned musical? The Chromolume Theatre Company gives us a summer staging of composer Steven Cagan’s contemporary tuner about three couples on a wedding weekend. Promising hummable tunes and a happily-ever-after ending, this world premiere at the intimate Attic Theatre sounds like perfect summer fare. Local favorite Kay Cole directs. crtheatre.com

UNDER THE DOME, June 24
The quiet life of a small town is turned on its head when a giant transparent barrier appears—and its residents are trapped within. No one can get in, no one can get out. Where did it come from, and how do they get rid of it? Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this thriller stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris and Natalie Martinez.

THE HEAT, June 28
This one could be as stupid as Identity Thief or as sublime as Bridesmaids, and we don’t much care either way, as it stars Melissa McCarthy, who can steamroll her way through the best and worst screenplays unscathed and still come out hysterical. We’re hoping director Paul Feig wrestles up his Bridesmaids magic, that Sandra Bullock is a great foil to her latest co-star and that this cop buddy movie is a new genre classic. 

I’M SO EXCITED, June 28
Unless we’re missing something, this will be the gayest film of the summer. Directed by cinema’s greatest bad boy, Pedro Almodóvar, in a return to his screwball roots, I’m So Excited gets downright Buñuelian. A plane is stuck in an endless holding pattern while its passengers become less and less civilized. We’re most looking forward to the impromptu performance of the title song and a lesson in fellatio by the flight attendants.

DEXTER SEASON 8, June 30
Where in the holy hell do Dexter and Debra Morgan go from here? Last season’s finale no doubt caused its share of audible gasps. Without giving too much away, the writers have a tough road ahead to get our favorite serial killer of killers out of his latest bind. Season 8, rumored to be the show’s last, is going to be a doozy of maximum bloodied proportions.

 

JULY

 

ALUNAGEORGE: BODY MUSIC, July 1
This upstart, chart-topping British duo release their first official disc, featuring the sugar-sweet vocals of Aluna Francis, set to the minimalistic, polyrhythmic beats of partner George Reid. It will cover disparate, futuristic pop influences ranging from Aaliyah to Bjork to PJ Harvey.

EMPIRE OF THE SUN: ICE ON THE DUNE, July 1
This sci-fi loving, costume-wearing Aussie duo took five years to follow up on its beloved debut, but it was worth the wait. Folkie, electro magic await you on the glistening and life-affirming first single, “Alive,” and deeper cuts, like the mind-altering title track.

THE LONE RANGER, July 3
Directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp as Tonto, this take on iconic hero The Lone Ranger could become Depp’s next franchise in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean. (Could be a great thing like the original or a horrible thing like all the Pirates sequels). Still, Depp is usually a hoot to watch, Hammer is a super straight man and who knows what kind of crazy Helena Bonham Carter is going to bring.

AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, Summer 2013
Tyra is making it work once again with a new cast of hopeful runway models, but this time she’s mixing it up a bit. Joining the eight female contestants will be eight male models also vying for the title of “America’s Next Top Model.” All living under the same roof, the 16 contestants reveal some of the similarities and differences opposite sexes face when pursuing a career in modeling. 

TROUBLE IN CHIOZZA, July 6-28
Since 2007, the Classical Theatre Lab has partnered with West Hollywood to present free Shakespeare in the city’s parks every summer. This year the troupe switches gears and stages Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni’s sidesplitting 18th-century farce about sexual shenanigans in a small town near Venice. Author, scholar, musician and all-around polymath Louis Fantasia directs the production at King’s Road Park. classicaltheatrelab.org

MAPS: VICISSITUDE, July 8
Maps is one guy—Northampton, England’s James Chapman—but the dreamy, fabulous soundscapes he creates can certainly fill the room. His sophomore disc will feature hedonistic, shoegazing charmers like “I Heard Them Say.” Fans of M83 will find an allegiance here.

NCAA FOOTBALL ‘14, July 9 (Xbox 360, PS3)
If you’re one of those football junkies who counts the days from the end of the Super Bowl till the first kickoff in the fall, here’s a good way to get your fix in the interim. The 14th incarnation of NCAA Football will include enhanced crowd audio, smoother play and a quicker and cleaner game overall. Popular stadium anthems such as The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Kernkraft 400’s “Zombie Nation” will be featured.  

PACIFIC RIM, July 12
Helmed by über-fanboy Guillermo del Toro, this mid-summer sci-fi extravaganza could be a game-changer for both the genre and the director. Then again, one perusal of the synopsis—”When an alien attack threatens the Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.”—and we could be in camp town. Still, del Toro delivered the visionary Pan’s Labyrinth, so we’re in his corner on this one. 

VISAGE: HEARTS & KNIVES, July 15
New Romantics, rejoice! It took them 29 years to follow up their last release, but the queertastic Steve Strange and company erases the time on this analog-only delight. Listen for appearances from original members Midge Ure (Ultravox) and Rusty Egan. Lead single “Shameless Fashion” is quintessential 1981!

THE WOLVERINE, July 26
The strapping Jackman returns—mutton-chop sideburns in tow—for the latest chapter in the saga of that misunderstood mutant Wolverine. Directod by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma), The Wolverine takes place mainly in Japan and sees the singing-acting-dancing-jazz hands Jackman get his samurai on.  No musical numbers are planned, but wouldn’t that be something? 

CHICAGO, July 26-28
It’s become a Hollywood Bowl tradition to present a star-studded, modestly staged production of a major musical for a few nights every summer. This year’s entry is Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, staged by Brooke Shields. The 1996 Broadway revival is still going strong, attracting such varied cast members as Usher, Christie Brinkley and Ms. Shields herself. No word yet on Bowl casting, but expect some big names … and all that jazz. hollywoodbowl.com

 

AUGUST

 

THEATRICUM BOTANICUM, Through Sept. 28
Will Geer—best known as Grandpa Walton to generations of TV viewers—started this bucolic al fresco theater in Topanga Canyon, and his family continues to present high-quality productions throughout the summer. While they open in June, there’s nothing like an August evening under the stars with the Bard’s language. Bring a pillow to sit on and layers for the cool canyon air. This year’s rotating rep includes The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. theatricum.com

LADY GAGA: ARTPOP, Summer 2013
Word on the street is that Gaga's fourth disc will sound “refreshing” while still “pushing the envelope.” She’ll be working with the same producers from Born This Way (RedOne, DJ White Shadow) along with newcomers Zedd and Madeon. Kendrick Lamarr and Azaelia Banks are rumored as collaborators.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW, Aug. 2
After months of mindless (or even mindful) entertainment, it’s time to get ready for the fall onslaught of “adult films” with this Sundance favorite. The Spectacular Now was a big wow in Utah, starring Golden Globe nominee Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), relative newcomer Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole, 21 and Over) and written by (500) Days of Summer’s Scott Neustadter. 

INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE, Through Sept. 1 
In the past decade, this talented troupe has gone from small outdoor productions at Barnsdall Park to massive summer-evening crowds in the natural amphitheater near Griffith Park’s Old Zoo. And in the spirit of Joseph Papp, the shows are still free. This season’s repertoire includes Macbeth, As You Like It and Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. Bring a blanket or low-back lawn chair, a picnic (without alcohol) and a sweater. iscla.org

ELYSIUM, Aug. 9
District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s long-awaited follow-up to his commercial and Oscar-nominated breakthrough, Elysium stars a buffed-up Matt Damon and a post-out Jodie Foster in this sci-fi tale of the haves and the have-nots. Blomkamp’s District 9 flirted with class differences; Elysuim takes it to the next level, where, in 2154, the wealthy live in a man-made space station while the poor are left behind on the ruins of Earth. Damon is the (liberal) hero, Foster the anti-immigration official stumping for the status quo.

LOVELACE, Aug. 9
A biopic about the porn star of Deep Throat, Lovelace stars the dewy Amanda Seyfried as the title character, with Adam Brody as Harry Reems, the well-endowed co-star who tickles her, uh, fancy, on the way to infamy. Directed by the talented documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk), Lovelace also features turns by Sharon Stone, Chris Noth and the ubiquitous James Franco. 

BREAKING BAD SEASON 5, Aug. 11 (AMC)
The final eight episodes of this tremendously popular drama are finally within reach. We’ll get to see how it all shakes out for Walter White, the high school chemistry teacher turned ruthless underworld drug kingpin, and his partner in crime, Jesse Pinkman. Walt’s marriage is in shambles, his DEA agent brother-in-law is starting to become suspicious and Jesse ends up quitting on him. How will the tale of the “Blue Sky” mastermind end? 

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN, Aug. 13-Sept. 22
Last year, rising playwright Gina Gionfriddo’s scathingly funny drama about three generations of women hashing out the ways in which women’s lives have changed since the Nixon years won wide acclaim in its off-Broadway debut. Director Peter DuBois and actress Amy Brenneman reprise their work in this West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse. Aug.13-Sept. 22, geffenplayhouse.com

DISNEY INFINITY, August 18 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, Wii and 3DS)
The worlds of Disney’s favorite heroes collide in this game, with characters from The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars and more. You can choose to play within preset playsets or customize your own worlds using recognizable set designs from the Disney/Pixar stable, such as the flying home from Up and Jack Skellington’s arch from The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

 

SEPTEMBER

 

S.H.I.E.L.D., Summer 2013 (ABC)
After stints in Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Thor, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) bought the farm in The Avengers. But in S.H.I.E.L.D., Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) resurrects this character for the small screen. Coulson heads up S.H.I.E.L.D., a worldwide law enforcement organization, and forms a group of agents ready to tackle the most challenging of classified cases.

THE SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE, Sept. 4-29
Before we knew what performance art was, there was Lily Tomlin. With her collaborator and life partner Jane Wagner, Tomlin created myriad iconic characters and combined many of them in this groundbreaking solo piece. Independent of Tomlin, Ventura’s terrific Rubicon Theatre stages the piece with artistic director Karyl Lynn Burns playing all the parts. rubicontheatre.org

R II, Sept. 5-Oct. 13
Theatre at Boston Court’s co-artistic director Jessica Kubzansky is one of our most inventive and intelligent talents. At the end of a summer filled with Southland Shakespeare festivals, she distills the Bard’s sprawling and poetic Richard II down to three actors and a wrenching story about an ineffective monarch who squanders his treasure and is deposed. It’s likely to be one of the season’s most original theater events. bostoncourt.com

INSIDIOUS 2, Sept. 6
It’s easy to start a horror franchise—there’s Saw, Hostel, your damn Freddy, Jason and Leatherface. But a good one? That’s a trickier proposition. James Wan, the director of the first Saw, hit pay-dirt with Insidious, and he’s back again to take the story of the haunted Lambert family to new heights (or new depths). If Patrick Wilson gets shirtless at least once, Wan will already have a winner.

RUSH, Sept. 20
It’s directed by Ron Howard, stars Thor hunk Chris Hemsworth and is based on the true story of Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda, who nearly lost his life in a racing accident before returning mere weeks later to challenge his biggest rival. Could be Oscar-bait. Could also be unmitigated, inspirational garbage. Either way, there’s that side o’ beef to consider, who’ll be sporting insane ‘70s duds.

WALK OF SHAME, Sept. 20
It’s insane to think this is Elizabeth Banks’ first starring role. She’s one of our finest comediennes who’s also a damn smart actress, so here’s hoping this comedy—about a reporter stranded after a one-night stand in Downtown L.A. without I.D., money, phone, etc.—will be her Bridesmaids. But if not, there’s always the second installment of The Hunger Games with her kooky-scary Effie Trinket (out Nov. 22).


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