Danny Hoch: Fast Paced, Sardonic; NOIR CITY: Star Joan Leslie at The Castro

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on January 18, 2008

Danny Hoch in his strongest gritty storytelling yet, is on the Berkeley Theatre Stage in his fantastic “Taking Over.” Hoch is probably the World’s best storyteller. His fast-paced delivery is all the more gripping because it happens to be truer than fiction. With powerful sardonic and succinct delivery, we meet the following people:

Robert – a grad student a young boasting freestyle kinda rapper. How to save the World and find true love in 15 minutes.

Then there is El Dispacher (in English – A Taxi Dispatcher). No one is spared in this #$&% (The F. Word) mind blowing multi-level language of conversation as the Dispatcher talks to the Cabs circling the City. Hoch speaks at least five different languages in this revealing skit, and he is Hilariously Brilliant.

Why does he speak so many languages? Because the drivers all speak different languages. The Dispatcher calls the drivers, Stupid, dumb Asses, and M.F-ers. One driver doesn’t want to pick up a passenger because they have been drinking. “It’s against my religion says the Cabbie to the Dispatcher. “What the F%$? Listen to me you dumb ass. Forget your religion – its money. This is Capitalism.” The lines, of course are much funnier when Hoch delivers them. Believe me – this is the hippest, high-octane fun you’ll have in years. This skit was absolutely my favorite.

Also ‘RIGHT ON’ is Kaitlin – a street vendor who sells trinkets and t-shirts on the streets. Koch puts on some hippie-looking garb and actually becomes this reinvention of a love child of the 7 0’s. What an outstanding performance. It’s like riding a roller coaster with Koch in control.

There are many more insanely funny People to meet. There is Francque – a real estate agent, Marion – a social worker, Kiko – an ex-con, Stuart – developer, Launch Missiles Critical – a rapper and Danny – the performer revealing his true self to the audience.

As one of the characters says when talking about gentrification of the old Neighborhood. He zeros in a posh, trendy restaurant where a hamburger joint used to be. “Look at the menu. Grilled marinated Squid and Fig Salad. Who the f—k eats that shit.”

That’s what I’ve always wondered.

David Hoch burns a hole in the stage. It’s that hot!

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! – (Highest Rating) – trademarked

WINNER! Danny Hoch – recipient of the Lee Hartgrave FAME award for Best actor in a one-man show – 2008.

Studio Photo: Joan Leslie


Some of the finest Film Noir films will return to the City. There will be an opening night tribute to Joan Leslie who will be there in person. Sultry actress Leslie made many films in the 40’s and beyond. At the Opening night there will be two films shown – “Repeat Performance” and “The Hard Way”. In the studio poster of ‘Repeat’ they show Leslie holding a gun with this warning – “Time stopped in its tracks when she pulled the trigger!”

Throughout this glittering glimpse back into the heyday of film making (Jan. 25 thru Feb. 3) we get to see an exceptional array of film rarities that is not available in any home entertainment format. Plus, they are shown on a big screen as they were intended. The Czar of Noir, Eddie Muller will of course be back as your chaperone through the sinister, sexy, and sin-drenched streets of Noir city.

“The Hard Way” stars Ida Lupino, Dennis Morgan, Joan Leslie, Jack Carson and Faye Emerson. Now if that isn’t a dream cast, I don’t know what it. They are all great movie stars that had very long careers. In this film Ida Lupino pins her hopes on her little sister (Joan Leslie) to get the hell out of a sooty steel town. Leslie leaves her Mr. Average husband and follows the smell
Of greasepaint. Lupino pushes sis along the way to stardom. Sis makes it big and is the hit of Broadway – but she soon gets sick of her big sis telling her what to do. Then…tinsel turns to dust. Flashbacks in the film involve and ermine wrap, and of course some tough talking New York cops. Hard Way was a strong role for Lupino and rivals her outstanding acting in “Road House.” Joan Leslie is stunning.

Leslie was born Joan Brodel. When her big break came about — Warner Brothers changed her name to Joan Leslie for a film with Humphrey Bogart. Joan is 5.5” tall. Her favorite leading man she has said was James Cagney. When she started to have problems with the Studio she went free-lance as other stars like Irene Manning did in those days. That apparently was a big mistake. Many of the stars found that there were few offers in a world where the big boys were controlling everything. She did work – but never again achieved the fame that she had on the big screen. In the 80’s she appeared on a “Murder She Wrote” segment. It’ll be great to see her again in the movies and on the Castro stage.

More info: www.noircity.com/noircity.html.

Carrie Fisher. Photo Michael Lamont

THEATER BRIEF: World Famous Tony Taccone will stage the hilarious show by Carrie Fisher, the best-selling author and Hollywood star.

The show is called “Wishful Drinking” Fisher has remarked the she is really looking forward to doing multiple shows at Berkeley Rep. – “I was essentially raised in my mother’s nightclub act, so it’s very natural for me to do what most people find unnatural – which in this case would be getting on stage and telling stories.” Fisher is know for her great wit, as has been shown in her books.

Fisher will be on the Berkeley stage from Feb. 8. Through March 30.

FIND IT HERE. Wanna know how old Carrie Fisher — Joan Leslie and other stars are? Just click this: www.web.mac.com/buzzmixer.

The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.

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Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

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