Monday, February 24, 2014

Phil sees THE PORNOGRAPHER'S DAUGHTER at the Z Space-February 16, 2014

Last Sunday night I had the opportunity of attending a live stage production of a play that sounded very interesting to me. Every now and then I like to take a break for seeing movies and watching some terrific plays. However, the subject of this particular production has its roots in the San Francisco porno scene and, more specifically, to the most infamous filmmaking duos of all time. The show I saw was THE PORNOGRAPHER'S DAUGHTER: THE TRUE TALE OF GROWING UP WITH THE MITCHELL BROTHERS, which was playing over at the Z Spot up in San Francisco. And to make the event even more special, the Sunday night show was the last show here before moving on to Los Angeles!

The show was written and performed by Liberty Bradford Mitchell, the daughter of the late pornographer Artie Mitchell. Along with his older brother Jim, they became known as the Mitchell Brothers, who first became popular with their series of pornographic loops they use to make. However the brothers made history (and changed history) with their full length debut BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, the film that put the west coast on the XXX map.

Liberty's show consisted of her father's and Jim's childhood days growing up, how Artie met her mom, the breakthrough smash of BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, and all the drama that was having Artie Mitchell as your father, but also having Jim Mitchell as your uncle.

Liberty's performance was exquisite, heartfelt, funny, sad, and tragic. Dealing with these accounts first hand, I sat there knowing only the history of the Mitchel Brothers from what I read in books and in films. But Liberty had the distinct advantage of growing up a Mitchell, and to have her tell us, in her own words, the good, the bad, and the ugly that transpired was nothing short of amazing! I can't imagine how difficult it must have been growing up in this environment, especially since at the time that the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre was being raided on a weekly basis and Artie and Jim were constantly being hauled away to jail. But the true travesty of them all has to be the events that transpired on February 27, 1991, when Jim shot and killed Artie. To see Liberty tell us about what happened that day sent shivers up and down my spine. Loss, grief, and anger filled her eyes, her voice, her body.

Liberty Bradford Mitchell & Myself.
Helping Liberty to bring her story to life was director Michael T. Weis, who's famous for portraying the character Jared on NBC’s television The Pretender. Also contributing to the show was Liberty's house band The Fluffers, which is one of the best band names of all time! And the Z Space was the perfect venue to hold this production. It was small and quaint, but intimate and wonderful.

THE PORNOGRAPHER'S DAUGHTER is a slice of local history that we were only told half of. Thanks to Liberty Bradford Mitchell, she comes forward and tells us the complete story about San Francisco's Mitchell Brothers, the sexual revolution, and how it has changed her life. This was a fantastic play that I encourage you all to see. Whether you are a fan of the Mitchell Brothers or not, Liberty's story is an inspiring one. 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

THE PORNOGRAPHER'S DAUGHTER: THE TRUE TALE OF GROWING UP WITH THE MITCHELL BROTHERS just wrapped up its run in San Francisco, but it will be heading down to the LA area. To learn more about the show, Liberty Bradford Mitchell, and where it will be playing at, visit the official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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