~ Save the Date ~

    Highways Performance Space & Moon Mile Run Present
    The World Premiere of Michael Kearns’
    Bang Bang
    A Theatrical Event That Peers Through the Dark Lens
    Of America’s Obsession with Sex & Violence
    In Santa Monica, CA
    Friday, April 10 – Saturday, April 25, 2015

    Friday, April 10 – Opening Night
    Saturday, April 25 – Closing Night
    • 6 performances total; Friday & Saturday nights
    • Curtain is at 8:30pm

    Highways Performance Space
    At the 18th Street Arts Center
    1651 18th Street Santa Monica, CA 90404

    Highways Performance Space and Moon Mile Run present the world premiere of Bang Bang, the newest addition to Michael Kearns’ arsenal of theatrical work that examines societal “headline” contentions with uncompromising passion. Inspired by the myriad responses to gun violence in America – from Sandy Hook to Ferguson – Bang Bang, directed by Mark Bringelson, weaves a battered, shredded tapestry of characters who face the consequences of what happens when the trigger is pulled.

    Peter, one of the play’s main characters, is a documentary filmmaker and his film-in-progress (titled Bang, Bang), reveals the heartbroken lives of the viscerally wounded. The documentary that is being filmed becomes the play: a collage of confessionals and testimonies, intimacies of sexual rage and arias of palpable loss.

    A man loses his black son in a white cop shooting; a woman loses her husband and daughter in a random school shooting; an elderly man plans to off his wife, who is in the throes of Alzheimer’s; a prostitute murders her boyfriend-pimp; a gay therapist morphs into a meth-addicted serial killer; a cop relives his experience of removing children from a schoolroom that was “a sea of blood.”

    But Peter’s film shoot is interrupted by Padric, a charismatic Irish con-man who steals not only hearts, but stories…

    Bang Bang is both a departure and a familiar undertaking for Kearns. His motifs – addiction, sexuality, familial unrest, HIV/AIDS, Hollywood – are extant in this endeavor. Bang Bang was initially workshopped last year at Skylight Theatre Company, as part of its INKubator Play Reading Series.

    Bang Bang’s director Mark Bringelson believes, “It is one of the most fearless new plays I have ever tackled! The story-telling in this play creates a devastating, compelling tension on several levels. These are engaging people dealing with uncertainty, lies, love, and the most horrific life-and-death events. The gun culture, insane violence, sex gone wild as a weapon, media fame, and the HIV virus are all uniquely and intricately woven together to form the most human and, perhaps, humane landscape.”

    General admission tickets are $20 in advance ($15 for students, Highways members, and seniors) and can be purchased here. Reservations may also be made by calling 310-315-1459. Additional information is available at www.highwaysperformance.org.

    Michael Kearns, Playwright
    Michael Kearns is a successful American actor, activist, writer, director, teacher, producer, and father. He is known for, among other things, being the first openly gay actor and the first openly HIV positive actor in Hollywood. For decades, Kearns has been active in the Los Angeles art and politics communities, while also maintaining a mainstream film and television career as well as a prolific career in the theatre. His activism is deeply integrated into his theatre works. The volume of work he has created is marked by an uncompromising desire to make statements while making art.

    Long before coming out of the closet was considered a career move in the entertainment industry, Kearns was the first Hollywood actor on record to come out in the mid-1970s, amidst a shocking amount of homophobia. He subsequently made television history in 1991, announcing on Entertainment Tonight that he was HIV positive. Then, in 1992, as an openly HIV-impacted actor, he guested on a segment of ABC TV’s Life Goes On, playing a character with the virus. He also played Cleve Jones in the HBO adaptation of Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On, appeared in A Mother’s Prayer, It’s My Party, and had a recurring role on Beverly Hills, 90210: a variety of shows that depicted HIV/AIDS. Prior television and film credits include Cheers, Murder, She Wrote, The Waltons, Knots Landing, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, The Fall Guy, Kentucky Fried Movie, and Brian De Palma’s Body Double. Most recently, he starred in the 2015 short docudrama Stonewall Nation, which explores gay male culture in the 20th Century.

    His produced plays and solo pieces include The Truth Is Bad Enough, intimacies, more intimacies, Rock, Attachments, and Tell-Tale Kisses. The highly lauded intimacies projects, in which Kearns portrays a dozen culturally diverse people with HIV/AIDS, were both produced in more than a dozen cities in the U.S., England, and Australia.

    Among his philanthropic accomplishments was the co-creation of Southland Theater Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.), which, since 1984, has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS services and charities throughout Southern California. Additionally, he co-founded Artists Confronting AIDS and served as its Artistic Director for a decade.

    LA Weekly, PFLAG, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Chapter of the ACLU, National Coming Out Day, and the Victory Fund have all honored Kearns. He has received grants from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the Brody Foundation, and PEN Center USA West. He also received the 2002 Playwright’s Arena Award for Outstanding Contribution to Los Angeles Theater, which acknowledged three decades of work. Over the years, he has also won the Bay Area Theater Critics Award, a Drama-Logue Award, a Robby Award, Back Stage West Garland Award, Playwrights’ Arena Lifetime Achievement Award, the Robert Chesley Lifetime Achievement Award, and a S.T.A.G.E. Producers Award.

    Kearns’ writings have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Frontiers, LA Weekly, LA Parent, and the Advocate. He is also the author of six theatre books including T-Cells & Sympathy, Acting = Life, and The Drama of AIDS. Both T-Cells & Sympathy and Acting = Life were nominated for Lambda Literary Awards. His searing autobiography, The Truth is Bad Enough: What Became of the Happy Hustler?, was published in 2012.

    Kearns attended the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, Illinois, graduating in 1972. In 1992, the Mayor of St. Louis, the artist’s hometown, proclaimed November 19, 1992 as “Michael Kearns Day.” In 1993, he started proceedings that resulted in, against all odds, adopting a child in 1995 as a single HIV-positive man.

    He is currently the Education Director of Spoken Interludes, an arts organization that brings professional writers into high schools. He also serves as an Artistic Associate at Skylight Theatre and helms QueerWise, an organization that he founded of GLBT seniors who write and do spoken word performances throughout Los Angeles. He lives in Los Angeles.

    Mark Bringelson, Director
    Mark Bringelson is a multi-award-winning director who works in theatre, film, television, opera, and music videos. The Los Angeles Times has described his various directing work as “sparkling,” “fascinating,” “sexually-charged,” “sensitive and entertaining; unerringly deft and subtle, Bringelson never panders to his subject matter,” and Theatre Magazine wrote, “Bringelson uses the large stage as a canvas on which to dazzlingly paint pictures.” LA Weekly awarded him a special New Directions In Theatre Award, and the long list of World Premieres he has directed for the stage include Tom Jacobson’s Bunbury, nominated for a GLAAD Media Award as Best New Stage Production.

    Moon Mile Run
    Moon Mile Run is a new production company, formed by Bringelson, Kearns, and the multi-faceted Ryland Shelton. Its first undertaking, Bang Bang, exemplifies the founders’ goal to break artistic boundaries by telling stories that might otherwise be silenced.

    Highways Performance Space
    Under the leadership of Artistic Director Leo Garcia, Highways Performance Space is Southern California’s boldest center for new performance. Now in its 26th year, Highways continues to be an important alternative cultural center in Los Angeles that encourages fierce new artists from diverse communities to develop and present innovative works. Described by the Los Angeles Times as “a hub of experimental theater, dance, solo drama, and other multi-media performance,” Highways promotes the development of contemporary socially involved artists and art forms.

    • Michael Kearns Official Site – http://michaelkearns.net
    • Highways Performance Space – http://highwaysperformance.org
    • Highways Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/highwaysperformance
    • Highways Bang Bang Event Page – http://highwaysperformance.org/highways/event/bang-bang-a-new-play-by-michael-kearns
    • Highways Bang Bang Tickets – https://ww04.elbowspace.com/secure/20060523121621515002
    • Mark Bringelson – http://markbringelson.tumblr.com

    Lynn Tejada, Green Galactic

    “From the Seventies’ sexual revolution to the gay parenting boom of the Twenty First Century, Michael Kearns has defined nearly a half a century of American life: culturally, politically, and sexually. In many instances, he was not only at the forefront of the historical milestones, he created them.” –Gay & Lesbian Review

    Michael Kearns (photo courtesy of the artist)

    Michael Kearns
    (photo courtesy of the artist)

    Posted on February 1st, 2015 lynn-hasty No comments

    Comments are closed.