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Bruising for Besos

In Spanish besos means kisses, but getting them in Yolanda Villamontes' family should come with combat pay. With a philandering father who alternately abuses and romances her emotionally fragile mother, Yolanda (writer-performer Adelina Anthony) develops a distorted view of love, which clouds her relationships, most especially with her mom. Now as an adult on a sojourn from L.A. to visit her sick mother in San Antonio, Yolanda is marooned by a busted radiator on a Texas highway and flashes back to memories of her hardscrabble childhood, her budding attraction to women, and the struggle for her and her mother to accept one another. Anthony's solo performance chronicles a tale of dysfunction with uproarious humor and heartfelt gravity, deftly balancing both and delivering a riveting work. Under Rose Marcario's sturdy direction, Anthony effortlessly embodies a host of characters, from Yolanda's strutting father and precocious siblings to her sexually confused high school peer, from a fiery Puerto Rican lover to a mother aching from a love-hate relationship. Designer Robert Selander's set, centered on a Ford Mustang grill and car hood made of bleached bones, and John Pedrone's evocative lighting design, combine well with Anthony's journey of self-discovery. The Davidson/Valenti Theatre at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through April 19. (323) 860-7300.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 19, 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 20. Continues through April 19, 2009

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