The A GARDEN OF TERRIBLE BLOOMS podcast series features short pieces of the weird and surreal set in Los Angeles
Dear Mary, the latest episode of award-winning playwright/director Sharon Yablon’s A Garden of Terrible Blooms podcast series “short pieces of the weird and surreal set in Los Angeles”, is set to launch on Valentine’s Day . To date, ten episodes are available to listen to on www.terribleblooms.net.
A passion project born out of Yablon’s love of surrealism, the dark, and the darker side of Los Angeles, A Garden of Terrible Blooms offers a dreamlike, character-led tour through a vanishing city, even as they cross it. Each play is set in a different part of LA, or nearby locations where locals go to escape the city, but still find themselves haunted by it. Yablon’s characters roam back alleys, mermaid-filled Hollywood nights, the coyote outskirts, and the desert, each searching for a glimmer of connection and often redemption. Time is blurry. The feeling of history is everywhere. What better place to explore these themes than in Los Angeles, a huge city where age can seem to stand still, seasons barely change, people reinvent themselves, and no one is who they seem?
Each piece is heavily influenced by music and features original songs by various local Los Angeles musicians. Unlike other audio theaters, the music is not just transitional, but functions as an additional character.
“I see these pieces as collaborations with artists from different disciplines, something that has always been very special to me,” explains Yablon. “Music is a big part of my creative process.”
The diverse and impressive list of musicians who contributed original material includes pianist and composer Don Preston, original member of Frank Zappa’s The Mothers of Invention; rock musician David Haerle; electronic composer and avant-garde Randy Greif; classical composer Elliott Goldkind; swing musician Atom Smith; and up-and-coming musician Jack Littman, to name a few.
Likewise, the Terrible Blooms website is a collaboration, featuring original photographs taken around Los Angeles and the whimsical, fairytale paintings of Cassie Taggart.
Originally from Los Angeles, Yablon has written stories inspired by and set in Los Angeles throughout his career.
“I’ve always been fascinated by LA history,” she says. “I love how an old building is reminiscent of noir, or how a corner can be famous because one of LA’s iconic serial killers left his mark there. Beneath the veneer of city sunshine, the physical beauty of its people and the promise of fame, there is a rot.These plays are not about the stereotypical people of LA – they are about those who go unnoticed, ordinary and forgotten, and sometimes the dead.The plays combine momentary and unlikely connections between characters, which I’m particularly interested in – the mystery and magic of the connection between people, and its transience.”
In the upcoming Dear Mary, Hank Bunker and Shawna Casey play two people who live in the same neighborhood, but have never spoken. Finding themselves haunted by lost loves in a sunny town on Valentine’s Day, they seek winter and solace on a deserted beach.
Previous episodes include:
The Last Transmission, set in the skies and Griffith Park, in which a police helicopter pilot, haunted by the carnage below, veers off course, unsure of what he’ll find. With John Nielsen, Anna Khaja and Gregory Littman.
Inspired by the serial murders of the 1980s, The Grim Sleeper stars Keith Szarabajka and Gbeke Fawehinmi as a wanderer and a lost girl trying to uncover their dark past in a downtown Los Angeles alley.
Inspired by the San Diego McDonald’s massacre, Ms. Huberty stars Max Faugno as a true crime buff who seeks out the wife of a mass murderer (Jennifer Lee Weaver), hoping to learn more about the murders.
Two middle-aged bachelors (Soren Narnia and Kim Debus) try to hook up at a Hollywood bar before it closes at 1:58 a.m.
A Night With Gig Young, inspired by true events, stars Gregory Littman, Dig Wayne and Lisa Denke, which takes us back to the Hollywood of yesteryear. At the end of his career, actor Gig Young is invited to speak to a group of fans, but is instead led on a journey through the dark side of his life by a heckler.
In Around and Around, a man meets a mysterious traveler while lost in an abandoned bus station near Olvera Street. With Darrett Sanders and Michael Bonnabel.
Nothing Good Happens After Midnight, inspired by the Hillside Strangler murders of the late 70s, is set in Echo Park. During a walk in the hills, the discovery of a voodoo doll upsets the plans of a couple (Adrian Alejandro Cruz and Jacqueline Wright).
Ryan Cutrona plays an insomnia-ridden man who isn’t sure he’s alone at his Beverly Hills estate in No Casanova.
Ice Machine introduces us to two strangers (Michael Shamus Wiles and Jesse Fair) whose paths cross at a Route 66-era motel in the California desert, sparking memories.
Finally, in A German Christmas, a young German away from home (Kiff Scholl) finds himself spending Christmas Eve in Rancho Park with an older woman (Lisa Denke) whose husband has left her.
All episodes of A Garden of Terrible Blooms can be streamed or downloaded for free at www.terribleblooms.net, or wherever you get your podcasts.