Arts and Music

SURVIVING ON THE EDGE: A LOCAL MUSIC COMPANY AND COMMUNITY NONPROFIT FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson

 

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo:  Dr. Leonard Thompson, CEO and Michelle Thompson, Sr. Vice President, M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records

 

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- In this first of a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III, CEO of M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records and Communications Director of the NAACP San Diego, Dr. Horvath and ECM discuss COVID-19’s impact upon his business and the mission of the NAACP. 

 

M.A.N.D.A.T.E’s acronym means “Making A Necessary Difference at the End.”


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EL CAJON POLICE OFFICER DIVERTS GRAFFITI ARTISTS TO CREATE PUBLIC ART

By Miriam Raftery

Photos courtesy of Officer Murphy and El Cajon Police

June 19, 2020 (El Cajon) – When El Cajon Police Officer Michael Murphy found three youths spray-painting “peace” and “BLM”, he created a teaching moment.  “I explained to them that by doing that, their message gets lost and destroys another person’s property. So I decided instead of arresting them we would work together to fix the damage and work on an area where they can post their message,” he posted on Facebook.

So he arranged to meet up with them, get plywood and find a place for them to express their views and creativity in a positive way - as well as having them lend a hand to clean up the defaced property. The result is a work of art showing talent and the power of working together for creative solutions to conflicts.


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MOVIE THEATERS AND MORE CAN REOPEN

Image Credit: Shutterstock

June 13, 2020 (San Diego) – The latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions are rolling out. Since yesterday, June 12th, indoor movie theaters can reopen and film production of TVs and movies can resume. Also allowed to reopen, with limitations, are gyms, bars and wineries, swimming pools, hotels and other rental properties for travelers, and major tourist attractions such as zoos, aquariums, galleries and museums.


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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: ARTISTS BRING BEAUTY BACK TO LA MESA AFTER RIOTS

 

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

 

June 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Artists from Art Beat San Diego have been volunteering this week to paint colorful murals in downtown La Mesa, beautifying plywood used to board of broken windows and protect undamaged businesses at the La Mesa Springs shopping center and along La Mesa Boulevard.

The action comes after the May 30 rioting, which led to vandalism of dozens of downtown businesses, looting of many, spot fires in several stores and burning down of three buidings (Chase Bank, Union Bank, and a historic building that housed the Randal Lamb engineering firm).


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BILL TO EXEMPT MANY WRITERS, VIDEOGRAPHERS AND MUSICIANS FROM AB 5 SET FOR HEARING MAY 20 IN SACRAMENTO

By Miriam Raftery

Update: This bill passed the Labor and Employment committee 7-0 and next heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

May 18, 2020 (San Diego) – A bill to provide relief for many freelance writers, videographers and musicians negatively impacted by California’s sweeping new labor law, Assembly Bill 5, has been introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D- San Diego).  Assembly Bill 2257, a measure to exempt many in these occupations from requirements of AB 5, is slated for hearing May 20 in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.  Letters can be send to committee members at https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates/.


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SANTEE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER REOPENS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT

May 15, 2020 (Santee) – Eager for entertainment?  It's showtime in Santee--with social distancing.

The Santee Drive-In movie theatre is set to reopen tonight. Theatre 1 will show Trolls World Tour starting at 8:30 p.m. and Onward at 10:10 p.m.; both are rated PG. Theatre 2 will show The Invisible Man at 8:30 p.m. and The Hunt at 9:45 p.m.; both are rated R.

Bring your own FM radio to listen; tune in to 89.3 FM for Theatre 1  or 89.7 FM for Theatre 2 . Loaner radios are available for a $20 deposit refundable on return.

The theatre accepts cash only. You’ll need to bring your own popcorn or other refreshments, since the snack bar will be closed, and follow these new rules:


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NATIONAL COMEDY THEATRE RELEASES CAST VIDEO "ALL TOGETHER NOW"

Source:  NCT

May 11, 2020 (San Diego) - The National Comedy Theatre, San Diego’s professional improv comedy club and longest running show, has just released a cast video with a positive message.


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LIVE NATION STREAMS CONCERTS BY ARTISTS AT HOME DAILY DURING PANDEMIC, OFFERS GENEROUS OPTIONS FOR CANCELLED EVENTS

Concert cancelled?  You can get a refund – or a 150% credit, plus give tickets to healthcare workers
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
May 1, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Live Nation’s concert venues remain shut down around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Magnolia performing arts center in El Cajon, House of Blues in San Diego and others.  But their site proclaims, “Just because we’re keeping our distance doesn’t mean the music has to stop. Join us daily for live streams from around the globe – follow artists live form their homes as they share music, stories and more.”
 
 
If you had tickets to any upcoming shows, here’s what you need to know.  

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SAN DIEGO FUND LAUNCHES TO HELP ARTS AND CULTURE NONPROFITS AND ARTISTS IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS

By Miriam Raftery

April 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Arts and cultural organizations across our region have been forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis. That’s eliminated major revenue sources for everything from small community theater groups to large organizations such as art museums, the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera. Many artists have been laid off and are struggling to make ends meet.

Yesterday, the San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge Fund launched with $1.25 million in aid to help arts and culture nonprofits and creative individuals across San Diego County. Grant guidelines and applications will be available in late April at sandiegoracc.org. Donations are sought to increase the fund. You can donate at sandiegoracc.org/challenge.


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JAMUL MUSICIANS HOST LIVE ONLINE CONCERTS EACH SATURDAY NIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

April 11, 2020 (Jamul, CA)  -- Kymm Civetta and her husband, Andy, owners of NRG productions in Jamul, have provided bands and musical entertainment for celebrities including Jay Leno and Larry King, major charities and corporate events.  Now they are hosting free concerts online each Saturday night at 7 p.m. “out of the goodness of our hearts, to get everybody feeling connected, because there’s so much isolation and everybody’s feeling pretty sad,” she told ECM. 

You can view the concerts live tonight and every Saturday on Kymm Civettta's Facebook page  as well as on the NRG Productions Facebook page and YouTube channel at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Their first concert last weekend drew over 2,000 viewers.  Kymm says viewers called her to say how much they appreciated the musical entertainment.  “It’s become a very cool thing,” she says.


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COALITION OF ARTS FUNDERS LAUNCHES EMERGENCY ARTIST RELIEF FUND

East County News Service

Photo: Creative Commons via S.A.

April 16, 2020 — A coalition of national arts grantmakers, consisting of Academy of American PoetsArtadiaCreative CapitalFoundation for Contemporary ArtsMAP FundNational YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists, announces the launch of Artist Relief, which will provide rapid, unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to assist artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19; serve as an informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, designed by Research Partner Americans for the Arts, to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward. 

Grant applications opened April 8 at artistrelief.org. The first round of funding closes April 23; several future rounds are also planned.

An unprecedented national, multidisciplinary partnership between seven arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations, Artist Relief is an ambitious effort to support the country’s individual artists in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


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FAMOUS MUSICIANS SHARE EASTER AND PASSOVER CONCERTS ONLINE

By Miriam Raftery

April 8, 2020 (San Diego) -- “The world might be dark at the moment, but several performers with disabilities are bringing light and joy to millions around the world,” says Jennifer Lazlo Mizrahi with RespectAbility, an organization advocating for people with disabilities.

Now two of the world’s most famous musicians, violinist Itzhak Perlman and opera singer Andrea Bocelli, who each triumphed over their own disabilities, will be offering free concerts online to ceelbrate Passover and Easter.


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A SCOURGE REVISITED: 1952 POLIO EPIDEMIC IN THE GROVE AND A GREAT ARTIST

The Way We Were: A look back at Lemon Grove 68 years ago. History is repeating itself as it often does.

 

By Helen Ofield (photo, left), Board member and Historian, Lemon Grove Historical Society

 

April 7, 2020 (Lemon Grove) –  First, a Couple of Songs

 

The hills are alive with the sound of spraying

the germs that will live for a thousand years;

The hills fill our lungs with corona virus and

We yearn to spray every germ that we fear(s).

 

Our hearts want to beat like the wings of a bat,

But we don’t want to eat every dog, pig or cat;

Our hearts beat and sigh like a virus that flies

And lands on a door handle and a door mat;

 

We go to the hills whenever we’re sneezing;

We know we will hear what we’ve heard before,

Folks trying to escape from the sound of spraying

As we promise ourselves we will sing once more!


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EL CAJON ARTIST ELAINE HARVEY WINS AWARD

East County News Service
 
Painting: Award-winning "Cool Frog" by Elaine Harvey
 
April 6, 2020 (El Cajon) - Elaine Harvey, an artist and resident of El Cajon, California, won the second-place award for regular paintings in the highly competitive April Member’s exhibition, “Cheeky Monkey,” at The San Diego Watercolor Society. 
 
Award-winning juror Rikki Reinhoz said of the painting Cool Frog,  “This painting has a wonderful composition. It has a nice circular swirl to it, and in the middle the frog is just suggested, which makes the whole painting make sense. The colors and the brush strokes are what make it so exciting and inspiring.”
 
Elaine Harvey is recognized for her innovative paintings and collages done in acrylic, watercolor, and mixed media.  The winner of more than 75 awards in local and national exhibitions, she also teaches art classes and workshops, juries exhibitions and has been featured in a number of publications and on the cover and editorial page of The Artists Magazine.  She has earned the right of Signature Membership in the National Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, and the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, among others.  She has won numerous awards all around the United States. 
 

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ART PRODUCED DURING A PANDEMIC: ARTISTS GIVE BACK WITH ERASECOVID EFFORT

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

April 6, 2020 (San Diego) -- El Cerrito artist Michael Buchmiller, creative director at El Cajon-based Graphic Business Solutions, Inc., created an artist-led effort to provide economic relief for artists and musicians during the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.  The project is titled EraseCOVID, featuring works by local and well-known creative talents.

(Artwork by Michael Buchmiller)   

But EraseCOVID is not only about raising money for artists and musicians, who have also become charity partners with the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The creators also supply artworks that reflect messages, such as washing your hands or staying home, that are informational and aim toward minimizing the spread of covid19.  

Their website bills it in part as “Public Safety Art You’ll Want To Own.” 

Art patrons get pandemic artwork for their money, including some by prominent artists. 


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BEAUTIFUL AMALFI, IN BETTER TIMES

East County News Service
 
April 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove artist Jack Ofield’s painting of fabled Amalfi on the Italian Mediterranean coast recalls that ancient enclave in happier times, before the COVID-19 pandemic devastating Italy and much of the world.
 
“It was January years ago when we stayed in a tiny B & B with a view of the sea, run by a mother and daughter,” Jack and his wife, Helen, recall in an email sent to ECM and others. “While at breakfast (delicious coffee, eggs, toast, preserves), with the  windows open to let in brilliant sunshine, a local band marched across the square followed by a priest, who blessed the sardine fleet setting sail for the day's catch.”

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REZ RADIO LOL: 91.3 FM GOES ALL FUN FOR APRIL FOOL’S DAY

Source: Pala Rez Radio

March 30, 2020 (Pala) -- With the “new normal” and the gravity of current events beginning to sink in, it’s time to lighten the mood.  Towards that end, Rez Radio 91.3 will suspend all regular programming for one full day and replace it with nothing but novelty songs, stand-up comedy and other classic funny, funny bits that we call “Rez Radio LOL”.  It begins at 1 a.m. Wednesday, April 1 and continues all day and night ending with Wednesday night’s Old Time Radio Hour at midnight featuring “Fibber McGee & Molly” and “The Red Skelton Show."  As always, we’re ready to break in with any urgent news.  But this Wednesday is designed to be a much needed day off for everyone. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: HERE LIES STAND UP COMEDY (1966-2020)

 

By Darryl Littleton

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Stand Up Comedy is dead!   Official cause of death – Coronavirus with Trump complications.  After a lengthy illness due to the politically correct sanctions, and despite recent signs of resurgence (thanks to Netflix), Stand Up finally succumbed this month from the prescription of no public gatherings over 10 people.  That dose was barely enough for a club staff, much less a show.   Not a Stand Up show, anyway.   Not a real one.


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TONIGHT ON TV: ELTON JOHN AND OTHER STARS PERFORM IN “FOR AMERICA” CONCERT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Elton John in concert in San Diego

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Viewers around the world can tune in on their TVs tonight (Sunday 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Fox) to watch “Living Room Concert For America.” The free concert, organized by Elton, will feature music superstars and will encourage viewers/listeners to donate to benefit Feeding America and First Responder Cihldren’s Foundation.

The musicians will be performing in their own living rooms, since large gatherings such as concerts in arenas or stadiums are banned.  Participating musicians including Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and Billie Joe Armstrong as well as Elton John and many other performers.

Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, Ken Jeong, Ryan Seacrest, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone will also be special guests during the “Living Room Concert.”


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BORED AT HOME? FREE CLASSES ONLINE IN WRITING, ART, SCIENCE AND MUSIC

Some of history’s greatest works were created during past epidemics

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Playwright William Shakespeare and physicist Isaac Newton are among those inspired to creative endeavors while in quarantine (public domain images via Wikipedia)

March 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Creativity can blossom out of hardship. As you’re hunkered down at home due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consider this: during historic epidemic eras, some of the world’s most famous writers, artists and scientists drew inspiration for their greatest works. We've provided a few of their stories, along with some links to free online classes in writing, art, science and music to spark your own creative impulses.


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GONZALEZ-FLETCHER ADDS $20 MILLION TO BUDGET TO PARTIALLY OFFSET AB 5 IMPACTS ON NONPROFIT ARTS GROUPS, BUT FALLS FAR SHORT OF HELP NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Musicians, artists and nonprofit arts groups are among the hardest hit by AB 5, the new law authored by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring that many freelancers be reclassified as employees – a prohibitively costly mandate for many small nonprofits. Now Gonzalez-Fletcher is offering some help, though it amounts to a Bandaid approach to the wounds inflicted on the arts and music industries by the new law.
 
Last month, Gonzalez-Fletcher  along with Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) asked for $20 million to be added to the state budget for the California Arts Council to help small community nonprofit arts groups comply with AB 5, but only in the first year. But there is no guarantee of funding for applicants, nor any help to meet ongoing enormous costs of complying in future years--such as paying unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and other annual costs for all employees, as well as added payroll deduction and accounting costs. 
 
Moreover, the measure only helps nonprofits able to win grants and show good-faith effort to comply with AB 5. Even then, the measure offers no help to meet ongoing high costs, nor does it offer any assistance to for-profit companies nor to individual artists or musicians losing work due to the new law.

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GLADLY COFFEE IN SPRING VALLEY SHOWCASES WOMEN MUSICIANS SUNDAY MARCH 8

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Spring Valley) – In honor of international women’s day, Gladly Coffee in Spring Valley (formerly Butler’s) presents “Center Stage,”  an all-female musical showcase this Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m.

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FREE ART WORKSHOPS IN BORREGO SPRINGS FOR ALL AGES

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 6, 2020 (Borrego Springs) – Candlewood Arts Festival Gallery is hosting free art workshops for all ages each Sunday in March from 1 to 5 p.m. Aspiring artists are invited to make new projects with different artists each week:
 
Drop in anytime and stay as long as you wish at Candlewood Arts Festival Gallery, 587 Palm Canyon Drive, #125, at the mall in Borrego Springs.
 
For more information, visit www.CandlewoodArtsFestival.org 

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THE HOLLOW REVIEW - AGATHA CHRISTIE MYSTERY

By Kathy Carpenter
 
Photos: Lamplighters Community Theatre
 
March 5, 2020 - (La Mesa) - Lamplighters Community Theatre presents "The Hollow." Everyone loves a good mystery and Agatha Christie's are some of the best. The house was full which proves my point. Why don't they do more mysteries? 
 
When I think Agatha Christie I don't think of humor, but I had not heard of "The Hollow.”  It was quite funny, peppered with one-liners. Since this play is lesser known, it kept me guessing to the end. The play has  everything a good whodunit needs: humor, a plot that keeps you guessing, and a cast of great characters.

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DANCING WITH THE STARS LIVE TOUR COMING TO SYCUAN ON MARCH 26

Tickets are now on sale

 

Source Sycuan

 

February 21, 2019 (El Cajon) -- America’s favorite dance show is going back on tour this winter with “Dancing with the Stars – Live Tour 2020.” The longest tour to date will be dancing through Sycuan Casino Resort on March 26 at 8 p.m. The all-new production will feature fan-favorite professional dancers wowing audiences with every type of dance style as seen on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars.


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LATINO FILM FESTIVAL MARCH 12-22 SHOWCASES CINEMA, ARTS AND CULTURE

East County News Service

February 19, 2020 (San Diego) – The 27th annual San Diego Latino Film Festival will take place March 12-22 at two locations, AMC Fashion Valley 18 (7037 Friars Rd) and Digital Gym Cinema (2921 El Cajon Blvd.) The 11-day festival will present over 160 films from Latin America, the U.S., and Spain, showcases Latino cinema, arts and culture.

The even also features opening and closing night parties, the 5th annual Sabor Latino food, beer and wine festival on March 14, Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers and actors from around the world, free student screenings, and more.


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FREAKY FRIDAY REVIEW - JUST ONE DAY

By Kathy Carpenter
 
February 15, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- Remember the saying be careful what you wish for? Freaky Friday is a possible result from the quote. Over-the-top-family-fun. Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side.
 
In Freaky Friday a daughter wants just one day of peace—a hassle-free day from her mom. Her mom wants just one day together with her family under her expectations. When they argue over an hour glass, their lives are changed for a day. But not what they wished for. They are transformed into each other: the daughter now in the mom’s body, the mom is in the daughter's body. Since neither can live their lives looking like the other, they are forced to exchange places. The mom goes to school. The daughter takes on the day before the wedding preparations for a perfectionist mom planning her own wedding.

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SAN DIEGO HARP SOCIETY TO PERFORM FREE CONCERT AT MISSION TRAILS CHURCH, MARCH 8TH

East County News Service
 
February 14, 2020 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Harp Society will perform a free concert at the Mission Trails Church, 4880 Zion Avenue, San Diego,  CA 92120.   The concert will be from  3  - 4 p.m.   The church is located up Zion Avenue from the Kaiser Hospital.  There is plenty of free parking.  The church can accommodate 150 people.
 
Then San Diego Harp Society is a local chapter of the American Harp Society.   Harp students playing this year will be  Gigi Accomozzo, Emma MInami, Isabella McCormick, Lauren Colt, Sophie Dimmick, Anna Reynolds and Megan Apostol.
 
Every year the Society presents a recital of their advanced students.  This year there will be 7 young ladies, between the age of 13 and 17 playing tunes from the harp repertoire.   The Society has been with us for six years, the first five when we were at Mission Trails Regional Park.  In January 2019 the concerts moved to a new venue, Mission Trails Church. 

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WYNONNA AND THE BIG NOISE LIVE AT THE MAGNOLIA FEB. 8

East County News Service
 
Photo source: Magnolia Center
 
February 6, 2020 (El Cajon)—Wynonna Judd and her band, The Big Noise, will be live in concert at the Magnolia in downtown El Cajon on February 8th.
 
Judd has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. As half of the mother daughter duo “The Judds”, she was once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Cline." This iconic performer has received over 60 industry awards, with countless charting singles, including 20 No.1 hits such as “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not me,” and “Grandpa, (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days).”

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NUTS THEATRE REVIEW - COURTROOM DRAMA

By Kathy Carpenter
Photo Credit: Daren Scott
 
Photo: Pete Zanko - Andrea Acuna - Steve Murdoch in "Nuts" at PowPAC
 
January 29, 2020 - (Poway) - PowPAC presents "Nuts", written by Tom Topor and Directed by Brent A. Stringfield. Do you love to watch all those courtroom shows we have on television today? For me this was just like watching one of those, but live. Although, Stringfield says those shows don't communicate the truth and honesty of a piece like this. On television we often have some theatrics and flourish by either the defense attorney or the prosecution. With "Nuts", we rely on the acting before us.
 
“Nuts” is a compelling story of a woman trying to prove she is capable of standing trial for murder. Set in courtroom and in New York City's famed Bellevue Hospital in 1979. Have progressed through time? Not really the same story could be told today in my opinion.

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