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None of the Above
Stage review by Lovelle Harris

Originally published in Sacramento News & Review on 04.22.10

Illicit drugs, a compulsive gambling addiction and the SATs: While the plot is a bit predictable, Carissa Meagher shines as Jamie, a pot-dealing teenager suffering from “poor little rich girl” syndrome. She reluctantly joins her bookish, card-counting tutor in a quest for the perfect SAT score, and that inevitably leads to romance. F, Sa 8pm; Su 2pm. Through 5/16. $12-$15. Another Square Productions at the Three Penny Theatre in the California Stage complex, 1723 25th St.; (916) 420-4517; www.anothersquareproduction.com.

My First Time
Stage review by Lovelle Harris

Originally published in Sacramento News & Review on 04.15.10

In a raucous romp down memory lane, five whip-smart performers bring to the stage stories of the awkward, lustful and even incestuous first-time sexual experiences collected on the Web site MyFirstTime.com. Delivered through a series of bright spurts of humorous (and often heartbreakingly honest) monologues, this production isn’t for the faint of heart—but it’s a must-see if you’re looking for a good time. F, Sa 8pm; Su 2pm. Through 4/25. $12-$20. The Wilkerson Theatre at the California Stage, 1725 25th St.; (916) 451-5822; www.calstage.org.

Sex by the shore
Erotic City
Josh Sides

by Lovelle Harris

Originally published in Sacramento News & Review on 11.26.09

For readers looking to beef up their IQ in the ultimate sex ed course, this account of the sexual histories and revolutions that shaped the cultural and social dynamic of modern San Francisco reads like a gritty, no-nonsense textbook. From the prostitutes that trolled the legendary Barbary Coast during the gold rush era to the bathhouses and expansion of gay bars in the ’60s and ’70s (followed by the devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s), Erotic City provides countless, uncompromising vignettes depicting those who fought on the front lines of various sexual revolutions throughout the city’s history. Brothel owner Sally Stanford had a sharp tongue and an innate ability to avoid police raids in the 1940s. In later years, marchers picketed for access to birth control and GLBT equality in the workplace. Sides explores both the political and social elements associated with the fight for sexual liberation in an unflinchingly honest fashion.

‘Community’
NBC pokes fun at community college students while skewering stereotypes in new sitcom

by Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer

Originally published in the Express on 09.28.09

Middle-aged divorcees, 20-something high school dropouts and old people trying to avoid death from boredom by keeping busy.

Sound familiar?

This are the stereotypical images painted of City College students and other community college students across the country and NBC’s new comedy “Community” brazenly pokes fun at these stereotypes without quite insulting the people they represent.

Joel McHale (E!’s “The Soup”) stars as Jeff Winger, an unscrupulous and cynical lawyer who enrolls in community college after the state bar association discovers that he’s practicing with a phony degree. With a wry grin, he explains to community college professor Duncan, played by John Oliver (“The Daily Show”), that he received his degree from Columbia, and now needs one from America.

“Community” boasts a spectacularly hilarious cast, including legendary comedian Chevy Chase.

Chase plays Pierce Hawthorn, the eccentric and oftentimes “dirty old man” who comes back to college to fight loneliness and is one of the participants in Jeff’s Spanish study group – a group Jeff forms to woo the sexy, yet scholarly Britta.

Each character in Jeff’s study group bares a stark resemblance to several classic clichés from community college: the sexy, blond coed – and object of the main character’s affection; the middle-aged eccentric man, the sassy and generously proportioned black woman, the wiry, awkward nerd, the former high school sports star and the snotty, preppy socialite. And each manages to turn his or her respective stereotype upside down by the end of the pilot episode.

As a City College student I find this comedy not only a delight to watch, with its sharp wit and snarky humor, but refreshing to see some of these classic stereotypes torn down – and on television no less.

The writing and direction is spot on, with Dan Harmon (executive producer, “Sarah Silverman Program”) and Joe and Anthony Russo, who previously worked on the hilariously intelligent “Arrested Development” sharing the director’s chair. This is a must-see program for City College students.

In a scene that sums up the writing genius of “Community,” Jeff nonchalantly tells Duncan that if he wanted to learn something he wouldn’t have come to community college.

While many of us at City College trudge through our chosen educational programs, it’s phenomenal to be able to sit back and poke fun at ourselves and the stereotypes we find ourselves being lumped into.

“Community” allows just that and I for one look forward to laughing it up on my couch every Thursday at 9:30 p.m.

Won’t you join me?

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