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References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot @ Art/Works Theatre

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Actors Ruben Ortiz and Carolina Phipps

Full disclosure: my expectations for shows that are put up on “theater row” in Hollywood are low. For every one good play on that stretch of Santa Monica between Highland and Vine, there are ten painful renditions of “Proof,” five embarrassing actor showcases, and at least three productions by students taking classes in the Complex.

So when I saw that my scheduled Friday evening out to see Jose Rivera’s "References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot" was at the Art/Works Theatre on Santa Monica and Wilcox, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach that said, there goes two hours of my life, spent wincing in bad-acting agony.

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But Rivera was mentored by none other than the reigning deity of Latin American surrealism: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Based on that alone, I was game to give it a try – if a play is going to go down as a magnificent mess, it may as well incorporate the personification of some inanimate objects, and maybe even a little anthropomorphism for good measure.

“References” centers around Gabriela (Carolina Phipps), a beautiful Latina who everyone -- from celestial bodies to wild animals to prepubescent boys -- wants to fuck. But Gabriela has spent the past year living alone in the desert and waiting for her husband to return home from war, and she’s become fixated on gazing up at the universe, courtesy of the Barstow night sky. Attempts to get in her pants seem to fall on deaf ears and unfeeling nerves.