WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIDS TODAY-II?

Actually, nothing is wrong with these “kids”! They are still the ones that the media loves to dote upon!
Since we last reported on this domestic sect some two issues ago (Vol. 21-No. 11 to be exact), we here at ALOL have been receiving a number of reports and related statistics on how advertisers are using their high tech skills to market their products and/or services to this group of so-called future leaders. These are the folks born post 1980 that are the dream demographic that are tech savvy, hold their unique appeal, and are the ones that are just getting their act together. Never mind the fact that it’s taking them a lot longer to become “adults” based upon what previous generations did in order to become in this state of mind. The Millenniums are the current be-all-to-end-all collection to target.
Currently, there are a lot of examples this writer can report upon to prove this fact. Many of the reports we receive tend to be mildly amusing. Some are boring yet important for what they are. While are few are actually worth their notation. One example to note are how a number of companies are creating short moving image content (i.e. videos posted via YouTube and related online outlets) that function as a “mini-movie” that holds a hidden message to the company’s product or service. These videos are not commercials per se, but can function as one if one looks closer to what the messages sports.
For example, Mercedes-Benz recently released a series of short “movies” running at five minutes each that hold a theme of “growing up” through dramatic slices of life episodes. The characters that are seen within these mini stories face situations that show how life isn’t as easy as it can be. It’s not depicted as a deep drama or crisis, but shows how life can’t be as easy as one could want.
I won’t necessarily get into too many details on these videos as its best for you the reader to see ‘em yourself at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClj0L8WZrVydk5xKOscI6-A?sub_confirmation=1. However, keep in mind that these videos, as entertaining as they are, exist for the reason to sell you a Benz! Although the 20’s/early 30’s characters are the real stars here, the question if this demographic can even afford to take upon purchase on this kind of vehicle is a whole different issue as it stands.
As this writer stated in previous articles, there is nothing wrong for advertisers going their all to sell product to the millenniums crowd. Selling to youth has been the rage for generations. In the latter 1950’s, Pepsi Cola had their For Those That Think Young campaign using a commercial jingle performed to the tune of “Making Whoopee” sung by Joanie Sommers, as well as her Pepsi follow-up Come Alive! You’re in the Pepsi Generation. (An original tune). Polaroid introduced their “Swinger” camera around 1965 that targeted the “youth” crowd, heavily advertising on such TV programs as Hullabaloo, Shindig, American Bandstand, among other titles that was tuned in by kids aged 14 and up. There are more examples of youth based marking campaigns over the years, but you generally get the idea.
Of course, over time and tide, these poster children will eventually get older and thus, won’t be as cute as they once were. This leads up to the next demographic in line, the group known as “Gen Z”, that are currently noted as those born before 2000. Most of these kids are not of adult age yet, but they are just as savvy with what’s going on as they are the ones that are the most wired. All of the high tech gadgetry most (if not all) of the local population takes for granted have always been “there” at their disposal. It’s not so much that they take their high tech upon as their own. It’s usually the parent and/or caretaker of these kids that hand them the high tech goods. This is done just because they can!
So we’ll keep you posted on more news and related stories from the field on how the Millenniums and the Gen. Ys will take the world over. They may not necessarily hold the money, power and fame as the “Baby Boomers” tend to have, but that’s OK! After all, it’s just another part of the biz!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Actor’s Co-Op presents William Mastrosimone’s CAT’S PAW, a triller that involves an electronic journalist and a domestic terrorist who demands that his issues become expressed as he leads his band of followers over their concerns in spite of their odds.
Taking place inside of what appears to be a basement warehouse located in Washington, DC, a small company of radicals calling themselves “Earth Now” has taken up their space to conduct a mission over the threat upon the lack of clean water. Victor (Sean McHugh), the leader, has taken David Darling (Vito Viscuso), an official from the EPA as a hostage. Victor wants the major newspapers to provide some news space on their platforms to report upon their issues over polluted water. Regardless of the media scoffing off over these demands, instead of offing his captive, he arranges for a car bomb to explode near a government building causing catastrophic havoc. WIth the media reporting on this wreckage, he takes upon another captive-Jessica Lyons (Deborah Marlowe), a reporter for one of the bigger electronic news outlets. Victor, along with fellow Earth First follower Cathy (Ivy Beech) wants Jessica to conduct an interview with their leader so he can tell the world what his group’s goals are and what they will do in order to gain their way. But will Jessica do what Victor and Cathy, the only known members of their army, wants from her, or will Jessica proceed so her media outlet will grab those rating points that is part of the video business. And will David, an accredited link to the EPA, bend toward their commands where they insist to go forward, no matter what it will take?
This intense drama was originally written by playwright William Mastrosimone back in the middle 1980’s when terrorists from this nation were banding together over various issues such as the threat of nuclear arms, or toward environmental issues that took upon the range of levels between realistic to trivial to nonexistent. As the years progressed, terrorism took on new meanings, new backgrounds, and new methods to express itself. In today’s world, the more that operations have changes, the more they have remained the same, even in this post-modern landscape! And this play and its production as presented by Actor’s Co-Op express these notions, making it more timely than ever before! Using this form of backdrop, one will find intense drama and action, all rolled into a one lengthily and tight one-act play. (It’s presented as a one-act play so its continuity is never lost!) Sean McHuge as Victor plays his role as someone who knows what he is doing. He’s radical in mind and spirit, and will go to all lengths for a sense to what is “good”. Deborah Marlowe as Jessica Lyons is the media face that would appear on one of those cable news outlets that tend to lean toward a positional opinion. (Jessica’s news outlet is never named, so one has to figure out where she stands upon this point of issue!) And rounding out the cast, Vito Viscuso and Ivy Beech fill into the scene that is gripping into itself as directed by Stephen Rothman.
David Potts presents a stage set that consists of a undergound-esque storeroom, consisting of heavy hardware items that resembles a makeshift workshop, an ideal place to build a device akin to a weapon of destruction. Not mass destruction per se, but destruction nevertheless!
It’s not often where one can witness a stage play that packs overpowering thrills that questions what is really the correct notion to do for a specific cause. CAT’S PAW is that showcase that manifests those conceptions. And in today’s landscape, those terrorists still remain, just as long there is a media element to capture them at their game!

     CAT’S PAW, presented by Actor’s Co-Op, and performs at the Crossley Theatre, located on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1760 North Gower Street, Hollywood, until April 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Special Saturday matinees takes place on April 1st and 8th at 2:30 PM. No performances over Easter weekend-April 14th-16th.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or online at http://www.ActorsCo-Op.org
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A FACEBOOK IN THE CROWD

Facebook, perhaps the grandest player in the social media world, have been going through a lot in recent times. They have been accused by those that are involved in such things that this site reports fake news stories–the kind of info they should take account for. The have also been sided to hold more alliance with sources that are only for the good of those in power. They have also been noted to breach privacy rulings by taking so-called personal information by those that are listed on the site, only to sell that info for big time profits–usually at the expense of those that use, misuse, and abuse their presence. And it’s the place to go for many to keep up with one another on a regular basis for days at a time, or even for every waking hour!!
For the thirteen years that Facebook, a place in cyberspace for those connected to a school or university to keep up with one another by telling everything about themselves and the antics they are up to, has grown into a heaving giant. They could be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but come out more as a 10,000 ton King Kong causing havoc by running loose in Manhattan!
Yours truly discovered this place for those to know about somebody or another around the time the site lifted the restriction where in order to become part of the “family”, one had to register with an e-mail address that ended with “edu”. Now it was no longer restricted to those in a school or any kind, but accessible to all! In those early days, it was somewhat fun to see who was on line, and to get to know some personal information that many posted about themselves. It was kind of becoming a peeping tom, except one wasn’t peeking through a window or obtaining such details on somebody for evil purposes. One would even see pictures of themselves, either as a solo or with their friends. And you can become “friends” with them by asking for “friendship”. Once a friendship was accepted, you could see more details about this person to exchange with. Granted, doing all of this information exchange wasn’t important by any means. It was just part of one of the bigger time wasters that was available on the good ol’ ‘net!
However, Facebook wasn’t the only place to get connected with others one didn’t know. MySpace was the real leader. That was the place to post your details and all of the stuff you wanted others to know about. You can give out long winded info on your personal tastes in movies, books, music, TV, or anything else that was worth sharing about. Before long, you would have a whole load of pen pals found in cyberspace, keeping in contact about anything your really wanted to know about.
Of course, just as any form of media takes hold upon, the ways everything operates changes over time and tide. MySpace saw their competitor Facebook take the lead in the social media race. Before long, Facebook was the place to go to when you wanted to be known out there, while MySpace, along with the other social media sites that tried to jump on the social media bandwagon, saw their numbers dwindle into a few where some wound up to close up shop or to change their brand and style.
One of the more noted elements I ever did through Facebook was to place a number of listings of people that didn’t exist! I would create a profile of a person using a made up name, posting a stock photo found either on the net or through my personal archive of photographic images of people, and spin a story about this invisible person. I would even post more archival photos in their album pages, making up stories about the people in these pix. Once all of these details were completed, then I would find others through random searches asking these folks if I could become their “friend”. A few weren’t interested, but many did accept my friendship request. Before long, these fake-o people we churned out became somebody with many friends!
An article that was posted by an outside source reported that many of the comments posted by those through their Facebook pages would be commentary noted as annoying or obnoxious if that same person spoke their lines to somebody face to face. One of our fake profiles, a middle aged woman named “Tiffi Purewhite” would obtain these comments from her “friends”, receiving these lines on a daily (hourly?) basis. So we thought it would be fun to repost some of their “words of wisdom” in an article we called “Tiffi’s Friends Say..” that appeared in Accessibly Live Off-Line from 2011 through 2014. It was to show to our ALOL readers how annoying these people can really get.
In today’s Facebook world, people are still posting commentary that can be billed an obnoxious, but a number of these same people aren’t get as personal as they once did. Many of these folks are posting (or reposting) links from media companies, (ads really), or from causes they believe in. And if these people aren’t doing this, big time companies and groups are doing the same thing for the sake of advertising and/or selling something–be it a product or service. It’s within the same scope of reading a magazine where ninety percent of the content is advertising, while ten percent is a lot of dribble. In other words, the so-called intimacy one could find through Facebook has long faded to black.
As to those fake profiles we created those not too many years ago? A few are still around, or at least the ones we still remember. The others have been forgotten about. Since we don’t remember a lot of the people we created, we can’t say if they are still up and running. However, if there hasn’t been any activity for these people, granted the Facebook folks most likely deleted their images. After all, who is going to miss them anyway?
And if anyone desires to view some of these people that aren’t, please visit and perhaps say “hi” to Tiffi, (she “lives” in Murphysburo, Illinois) or to Sherry Dunhurst from Calgary, Alberta. You can become “friends” with Tiffi, while Sherry has already exceeded the maximum number of friends one can have through her site. (5000)
PS…Yes, we as “Accessibly Live Off-Line” is also present as well! We are sure you already knew that! (Did you…?)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre 40 presents its fifth entry in their 2016-17 season of plays with the world premier performance of APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE, a dramity by Gary Goldstein about a trio of sisters who meet after a number of years absence, attempting to get their recently departed mother’s estate in order, only to discover a long hidden secret.
Gathering at the modest home of their late mother are three sisters from the family. April (Jennifer Lee Laks), the eldest. May (Jennifer Taub), the middle child, and June (Meredith Thomas), the baby of the bunch. These sisters were only born a year apart, and lived in the same household until they left the nest for college and for family life. April recently ended her marriage after that relationship fell on its wayside. May’s marriage is very well intact, while June also ended her relationship with another woman as she lives within a different lifestyle. Now in their middle 40’s, these siblings are finalizing the closing off of the home they lived in for generations. Although the many years have passed, they are somewhat the same as they were as kids, in spite of the pecking order with April as the unofficial leader of the pack, May as the forever middle child, while June is far from being the baby. This reunion of theirs is rather bittersweet as they recall some of the lighter and darker moments of their domestic clan. While gathering some knickknacks that holds sentimental value and nothing much else, a series of letters are found, neatly bundled together as part of some kind of keepsake. Yes, they appear to be love letters that were addressed to their mom from back in the day, but they don’t appear to be written by their dad! It is at that moment where the sisters thought they knew about their family only to discover that their knowledge was rather incomplete.
This new play created by Gary Goldstein holds a high sense of humor with an awareness of mystery. Not a “whodunnit” kind of mystery, but an element that is more of a mystique, adding to the notion upon how family members can change of the decades while remaining the same since their so-called glory days. The three actresses that are featured in this production, Jennifer Lee Laks, Jennifer Taub, and Meredith Thomas play their parts as a near accurate perception of siblings of the “Gen-x” generation. They see their better years in a virtual real view mirror, but they still keep their eyes ahead of themselves, far different as their parents did while living at the same age. Those aspects are what makes this play very appealing. It depicts a slice of life that is more realistic, rather than played out as a series of one-line jokes found in post-modern domestic sitcoms depicting dysfunctional family members. Terri Hanauer directs this stage piece that shows off that the sisters that can bond together, giving each one the understanding of a family.
The set design by Theatre 40 rep set decorator Jeff G. Rack shows the rather spacious living room setting of the family home that has furnishings that are of decent shape, along with a collection of wall art, books, and the for noted tchotchkes that are not as hideous as one might find in a real home that’s been lived in for nearly fifty years!
APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE is an ideal play to take part of as a basic study on how family members can still get along, no matter how mom and/or dad never lived to what a “perfect” family could have been. There were the good times, the not so good times, and the events that were never seen or known about until long after the fact. That’s part of domestic life between being ideal and being “F-ed up!

APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until April 16th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.com
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Continuing its run at Theatre 68 is a duo of plays written by John Patrick Shanley: PANIC, making its world premier, and DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Two stories about love and relationships that present themselves in a rather different light.
The first play, Poison has Kelly (Kelsey Flynn) seeking aid from an old gypsy (Katie Zeiner) asking the mystic to get her boyfriend Kenny (Nicola Tombacco) back. She prescribes a bottle what appears to be an energy drink, but is really poison that would kill his soul. Taking her advice (as well as paying a hight amount for the stuff), Kelly serves Kenny a drink. It’s support to kill him off–but does it?
The second and main entry Danny And The Deep Blue Sea, strays Renee Marino and J. Bailey Burcham as Roberta and Danny, two down-and-outs who meet at a dive bar somewhere in the Bronx. They drink. They talk. She brings him home. They discuss a life together. They find their reality.
These pair of plays written by one of the most respected American playwrights in contemporary times, creates deep sagas where the action presented comes from its characters and the dialogue they speak. Those elements are seen within these two plays. Its first entry Poison, serves as the “selected short subject” since it runs around 12 minutes, and is the most comical one of the bunch. The second selection and the main feature Danny And The Deep Blue Sea, is more of the somber entry. It speaks for two lost souls that are not seeing their better times taking place, assuming that they did have a better life to begin with! It’s a character study indeed, and that is what make this stage piece, as well as the “short subject”, progress rather well. One can only focus upon its performers, the roles they depict, and what their characters speak about.
POISON, is directed by Kay Cole, and DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA is directed by Ronnie Marmo. Set design for both plays is created by Danny Cistone. Aaron Craig performs lighting design.
For those that prefer their theatre experience in a minimalist fashion, this program will fit that bill. The minimal elements is seen within its staging. Its maximal aspects are found in its dialogue and performances. It’s a big prize dressed up in an intimate package.

POISON and DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, presented by Panic! Productions, performs at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, until April 2nd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more details, call (323) 652-7222, or online at http://www.plays411.com/danny
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Making its world premier at the Write Act Repertory theatre in North Hollywood is Michael Antin’s musical LILI MARLENE, that tells about a love story taking place in a nation that is undergoing new changes of its leading political party.
Germany, early 1930’s. The nation is weathering out its recent economic breakdown, and a new ruling political group is shifting toward an alternative command. In the office of the State Department in Berlin, Count Hans Wilhelm van Keeister Graff (Tavis L. Baker) is the one that issues out passports for its citizens to travel aboard. He takes a visit to one of the nearby cabarets that features lively musical reviews performed by (among others) scantly clad showgirls. Its leading performer Rosie Penn (Amy Londyn) performs many of the beloved tunes, including “Lili Marlene”, a classic number she learned from a previous cabaret headliner; Marlene Dietrich. He attempts upon a friendship with Rosie. Among this relationship, The Count realizes that political times are undergoing into a different turn as the Third Reich is growing in leadership. He understands that German citizens of the Jewish persuasion has been deemed to become “enemies of the state” and thus, must flee the nation for their lives. WIth the power of issuing passports to those under siege that are as noted, such as educators, artists, writers, and those involved in scientific and cultural aspects, he arranges for his family as well as Rosie to flee. The Count and Rosie’s love affair is established, but must take upon what’s safe for them, even if they must depart from the country they once took pride within.
This new musical by Machael Antin (book and music) with dramaturge by Jim Blanchette, is a lively and charming stage work that speaks for a love story under troubled times. The musical selection consists of eighteen songs as well as the title tune–all neatly fit in just one single act! This show is also presented in an intimate theatre space, giving this production a bigger theatrical stance. Generally speaking, it’s a big show in a small package! (And that’s actually a good notion to boot!) It’s a musical that has plenty of promise since its set plotting takes upon a part of history that stands within a darker side, although this show never really dwells upon those blacker moments, giving it a more confident attitude to it all.
David Kammenir presents the musical direction performing on the keyboards. Ava Soltani-Wiltse provides the costume design, and Tim Secrest is on lighting and the Audio/visual elements depicted in this program.
Also featured in the cast are (listed in their alphabetical order) Aubrie Alexander, Jessa Campbell, Anna Dawahare, Darren Mangler, LeAnna Sharp, Darcy Silveira, Justin Selig, and Judd Yort.
The is the latest work by Michael Antin, a former tax attorney now playwright. His last musical play, Pillars of New York also performed at this same theatre space. (See review: Vol. 21-No. 4) Although that production was about people set against a tragic episode, this one holds a similar patter, but presented within a different light. It’s not necessarily known to this writer if it would be a spoiler alert if to state that a happy ending is present. Since this is a love story, that element constitutes an upbeat conclusion!

LILI MARLENE presented by Write Act Repertory, and performs at The Write Act Rep at The Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove Street located one block northeast of the intersection of Camarillo, Lankershim, and Vineland, North Hollywood, until April 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com.
“Like” the Write Act Rep on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WriteActRepertory
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BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Disney) tells the tale of a once hansom prince (Dan Stevens) living within his French kingdom. At a royal ball, an old woman came into the castle to seek warmth. The prince, angry that some old woman disrupted his ball, ordered her to go. But the old woman was a spirit of some kind that placed a spell upon this prince, turning him into a hideous creature known as The Beast. His servants living in the castle were also turned into household objects. His head servants Lumière (Ewan McGregor) and Cogsworth (Ian McKellen) were turned into a candelabra and a table clock. Other royal aids such as Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald) changed into a wardrobe, Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci) turned into a harpsichord, Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) into a ornate feather duster. And Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and her son Chip (Nathan Mack) became a teapot and cup. What would break this spell? If an enchanted rose under a bell jar loses all of its pedals before another would love the beast, they would all remain within their state forever!
Meanwhile dwelling at a nearby village is Belle (Emma Watson) who lives with her artist father Marice (Kevin Kline). Belle is a young lass what always takes the time to read books. Also found in the village is Gaston (Luke Evans) and his sidekick Lefou (Josh Gad). Gaston is a self centered braggart whose sole desire is to marry Belle. But Belle has no interest with Gaston–a man who won’t take a “no” from her. But a fateful event occurs when Marice, attempting to deliver an art piece he made becomes lost in the woods, stumbling upon the spell driven castle. While trying to take a rose for Belle from the castle’s garden, he meets the angry Beast who imprisons him. Belle, seeking her missing father, finds the castle and her father–along with the Beast. Belle would be the one to possibly break the spell the castle is set in. But will this beauty really fall for The Beast, saving everyone from their fate?
This “reemerging” of the 1991 animated feature (also released by Disney) of the same name can’t really be called a full “live action” feature in the traditional sense. All of its special effects are animated, but not as a 2D cartoon. Generally speaking, its somewhat of a CGI orgy! And what an orgy it is! All of the songs composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that appeared in the original feature are present (including a few number with music by Menkin and lyrics by Tim Rice) making this film a full blown musical! This title holds all of the charm and grace the original release holds and then some! It’s a real family-friendly pick for all ages to see. There are a few intense moments in this release that teeter upon violent scenes, but all of that violence doesn’t involve any bloodshed. That lack of graphic depictions gives this movie a safer “PG” rating!
The cast of players that appear in this flick are quite appealing, including The Beast himself! The story itself is from the 18th century-era tale La Belle et la Bête, that was later reshaped through Linda Woolverton’s screenplay for the animated cartoon. The “live action” version’s screenplay by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos doesn’t stray too far from its original source. But unlike other so-called family features of late, there isn’t any cocky humor embedded in! This lack of snideness makes this new version just as timeless as it’s intended to become!
Directed by Bill Condon, this feature is indeed a “beauty” to experience, and is far from being a “beast”! The adults will enjoy it (including those that grew up with the cartoon version), as so with the kids, especially the girls! The boys might enjoy it as well perhaps! However, Disney, now running off with Marvel Comics under its belt, has a lot of super hero-type flicks up their sleeve that will become the cash cows as they have wound up to be. So the boys will have their movies, and the girls will have theirs as well!
PS…There has been rumors going round that this features hints a bit of a “gay-esque” scene. If you look very hard, you will spot it, even if that scene lasts only for a few seconds! But remember, this is a “PG” feature because for its few intense violent scenes and nothing more! ‘Nuff said!
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is now playing at multiplexes (including a few IMAX theaters) nationwide.
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WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIDS TODAY?

The above headline was taken from one of the signature songs that appeared in the stage musical Bye Bye Birdie that asked the title question from an adult that didn’t understand the so-called “youth of today”.
Back when that song was first introduced to the theatre going public back in 1960, the eldest of what was known to become the “Baby Boomer” generation was fourteen years old, an age where that kid was finishing up junior high/middle school and was about to embark their high school journey, and thus, eventually becoming teenagers. This group discovered television, the joys of automobiles (either as drivers or passengers within their peers), as well as that newfangled music called “Rock ‘n Roll” that was wild, hip, had a good beat, and you can dance to it!
Adults, on the other hand, didn’t understand what was going on with this form of youth. Of course, these kids were to be been deemed the leaders of tomorrow. They would be the ones that would be on their own after high school, either taking the path toward higher education or getting into the work force. They would also marry, raise a family, purchase a house, as well as to consume a whole lot of stuff. However, they were still kids! It wasn’t until they would turn the magic age of twenty one where they can do real adult stuff, such as drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and vote in local and federal elections.
Advertisers knew that selling to the youth was the thing to do. Those sales were mostly items that teenagers would likely use such as food products (the Seven-Up Company would advertise the “7-Up Float”, a tasty drink consisting of a scoop or two of ice cream or sherbet in a malt glass full of the named soda pop), consumer products (Kodak camera were ideal for teens to take pictures for keeping lasting memories), clothing (for both the guys ‘n gals), as well as other items that those kids would spend from their allowance (dispensed from dad), or from their part time jobs.
In the latter part of the 1960’s when those early boomers started to become “real” adults taking upon real identities, they began to rebel. They started to question authority from local and national leaders. They didn’t care for war, and didn’t really want any part of it. They had their rock ‘n roll, but it was sounding far different that the songs sung by Paul Anka, Ricky Nelson, or even Elvis from a few years before. They stared to have their own counterculture that the adults really didn’t understand.
This form of “us vs. them” was called The Generation Gap, that phase where the adults were within their own lines of tastes, culture, and methods of operations comparing to what the youth was up to. Some took this generation gap seriously, while others was it for what it was worth. It become a subplot in many TV sitcoms involving multi generation families. It inspired a game show called “The Generation Gap” where MC Jack Berry would ask questions between a teem of adults (over the age of 30), and a team of kids under the age of eighteen on each other’s domestic interests and styles. Generally speaking, it was the youths vs the elders in their never ending battle of who’s right and who’s otherwise.
In today’s post modern society, that generation gap still remains but in a different method. The Millenniums, the adults aged eighteen through the early thirties, seem to be the ones in the spotlight. They have it all, being that this is the generation where they may not have discovered cyberspace, but embraced it! They have made the smartphone a way of life. Any gadget that can access the ‘net through wireless means have become their be-all-to-end-all. They either grew rich in sprit or through finances thanks to tech, or are attempting to do so. Advertisers are also shifting their focus on this demographic attempting to sell product that they can either afford or not.
But they don’t have it all good! Many of them are deep in debt due to student loans for a college education. Many of them, although of legal adult age, haven’t grown up yet! Thanks to lower paying jobs, the rising cost of housing as well as the for noted student loan debt, are still living within the same home of the family that raised them. But they do have their hopes on high, knowing that life will become better! Just as long as they can do good for themselves and the world they live in.
But unlike generations before, the older adults aren’t necessarily the real winners here. The middle aged ones from the “Generation X” sector are either doing OK, or are just getting by. This group, born between 1965 through 1979, were hit pretty hard during the Great Recession of ’08 with the loss of homes, jobs, and income. When they were at their youthful peak in the early-middle 1990’s, they were the types that were first to become doomed through notices that this generation would become the first ones to be father down the line of success as their parents were when they were their age. However, they would eventually succeed, rising to the occasion.
Now their is another generation taking form, dubbed “Gen Z”. These folks were born before the year 2000. These are the ones that can’t remember life without the internet and the gadgetry that comes with it. These are the kids/young adults that were born and raised by both the Millenniums or the Gen Xers. And those Gen Zers know where they stand since cyberspace tells them!
But as the young before the darlings of their world, the enders will see how their life and times were the ones that shaped their world and everyone else’s. Time will tell how the Gen Zers will do in comparing to The Millenniums, the Gen Xers, or even The Baby Boomers–still holding on to the power, money, and fame that made them what they are. That is, assuming that somebody a whole lot younger will take heed.
The Generation Gap really never went away. It just took another shape and form. And it’s still the subject of video sitcoms. You can see those for yourself one episode at a time, or through a streaming binge marathon! If the kids can do it, so can anyone else! That’s the real matter of kids today, or any day!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood presents the world premier of Ray Richmond’s TRANSITION, a tale based on “fact” of an intimate meeting of the minds as one passes the torch to the other in becoming the leader of the free world.
The date is the morning of November 10th, 2016. The presidential election was held just two days before, sealing the fate on who just won. At the White House, President Barack Obama (Joshua Wolf Coleman) is to have a meeting of president elect Donald J. Trump (Harry S. Murphy) where the outgoing leader of the nation is to give a few sidelines with the new king of the USA. For an hour and a half, Obama and Trump square off into what was planned to be a rather peaceful and somewhat intimate gathering. Obama presents himself as he is seen through the media. Trump, on the other hand, is Trump! As the two round off upon issues ranging from the alliance upon Russia, the wall, the fate of Obamacare, as well as how Donald J. expresses to his public in under 140 characters, these two settle the score on how this transition of power, fame, and even money, will either carry the USA on its feet or to its knees!
This one act play by Ray Richmond is very witty, biting, fast placed, as well as downright comical! The pair of players, Joshua Wolf Coleman as Obama, and Harry S. Murphy as The Donald, portray their roles down to a “T”! Obama seems to be the sensible one, while Trump is the bombastic soul who can and will be the elephant in the room. (He is a Republican after all!) This clash of personalities add to much of the humor that this production presents! Director Lee Costello keep the pacing going for its ninety minutes–the exact same time that these two really met on that faithful Thursday morning after the election!
Pete Hickok’s set design of the Oval Office is what one would expect for a set design of the Oval Office! A large presidential sized desk set in the rear center, with two upright leather-esque chairs are arranged in front side by side. These are the type of chairs one would find in such a government issued room of affairs. They may not be comfortable to sit on, but looks great in photo ops!
Rounding out the cast is Trevor Alkazian as a Presidential aide.
What makes this play amazing is not only it’s very comical and sharply written, but is was created in just under four months! It’s also the first play written by Ray Richmond. His previous works consists of writing books on television programs such as The Simpsons, Jeopardy, and on “TV moms” over the years, as well as creating TV program commentary bylines for such publications as The (Los Angeles) Daily News, The Orange County Register, and the show-biz “trades”. Of course, this is Ray’s interpretation of what really went on behind closed doors. Then again, with all of that fake news that’s been going down over the past few weeks, perhaps this is an accurate recreation. Even if it bended the truth a bit, it’s still the rip-roarin’ hoot is presents itself to be! They don’t call this making America great again for nothing! (That last line was just under the 140 characters!)

TRANSITION, presented by Theatre Planners, and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (One block east of Vine Street at El Centro), Hollywood, until April 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. No performances on March 31st, April 1st, and April 2nd.
     For for information or for ticket reservations, call (323) 960-4418, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Transition.
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STATUS SYMBOL REBOOT

Back in the days from not so long ago, (say, anytime in domestic society from the 1950’s well into the turn of the 21st century), anyone who wanted to prove to the world they lived in that they officially “made it” in terms of success of some sort usually as reaching a financial goal, these folks would possess something called a “status symbol”.
This object or series of objects would be something or another that was shiny, attractive, and rather pricy for what it was. It would be something also known as a luxury item, meaning that the item in question was nice to have and use, but not necessarily something that was needed to function through their domestic life. It was more of a lifestyle element than something that was necessary to get through the day or for a much longer term.
If one went to their favorite search engine and typed in “status symbol”, one would receive dozens of definitions and examples of what it means to flaunt one’s place in their neighborhood. One example as found on Reference.com states that a status symbol …tend(s) to be impractical or superfluous items, often bought for the sole purpose of belonging, or at least feeling a sense of belonging, to a higher social stratum.
Many brands out there exist for the sole purpose of showing off that a person or persons live in some kind of upper tier. For example, if one wanted to own a car that showed off their higher marks in what they do and how they live, that car was a Cadillac, or perhaps a Lincoln. (If one wanted to got back to those days of yesteryear-say, the 1960’s, one could own an Imperial, Chrysler Corporation’s entry to the luxury automobile market.) When the “Yuppy” movement was trending in the 1980’s, the chose of autos moved from owning a Caddy to a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW. And for those that don’t know (or don’t remember) what a “Yuppy” is/was, that’s an acronym for “Young Urban Professional”, a person that was usually a second tier “Baby Boomer” (born between 1956 through 1964) that came to age in the 80’s when they were in their 20’s and 30’s working in a well paid occupation. This era showed off many of the so-called status symbols that thrived for many years, such as Gucci, Rolex, Prada, the for noted Mercedes and BMW, among many others.
As those yuppies grew older in the 90’s, they started to seek homes that were bigger than what was available in many urban areas. Many of the newer homes that were being built (or rebuilt) were larger than ever (2000 square feet and up) that gave more rooms and reshaped them into size and function. These form of homes were dubbed as “McMansions”–a type of homestead that was developed and built, generally on a larger scale that was suitable for a family of five and up, but usually occupied by a family consisting as little as two people. Those two persons consisted of a domestic couple. Normally, but not necessarily, as a man and woman. (“Husband and Wife”).
But getting back to the status symbol element that’s brand centric. Things went for what they were as changes were seen through domestic society, now shifting through electronic based technology. As the internet and devices wireless came to view, many of those aspects entered the market as those of status and luxury. Using a selected type of cell phone or a computer device was part of that new movement that showed who one was important, or at least somebody that used technology as something as a professional necessity.
When the so-called Great Recession hit in the late 00’s, the object or objects that were linked to being something of status became out of vogue for the moment. Those oversized SUV’s that became a trend in the 1990’s were no longer cutting it anymore! Carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag lost its luster. And living in an oversized home wasn’t the same as it used to be. And that period of financial ruin changed the spirt and attitude for those that experienced it for the first time, or at lease for the first time in a while.
In the advertising and marking world, it’s been always the chose to target the younger crowd for goods and services. That group of youth has been labeled as “Millenniums”, those born after 1980 who came to age when technology became a way of life, rather than something of a novelty that reshaped much of how lifestyles current function. And the demographic that follows the Millenniums in terms of age and status are the “Gen Z”s, those born after the middle 90’s that are of age but not necessarily of legal adult status.
Recently, MediaPost performed a survey of those post-1980 folks about what a status symbol and the brands associated with them are all about to them. Since many of these people came to age in those great recession times, generally from 2008 through 2012, (give or take a few years), the meaning of “less-is-more” became part of the norm, with their attitudes of showing off shifted into new gears.
In MediaPost’s findings, some 81% of those polled aged 13 through 34 agree with the phrase “Showing off expensive things you have bought on social media is not cool.” However, 46% did state that they will feel successful in life when they are able to afford luxury brands and products. It may not be right now, but when the moment arrives, they will have those goods that are targeted for an upper tier.
And what are those brands that are their status symbol? According to the poll asking some 1000 people from 13 and up, they listed their top ten brands of status that they would like to own, if they don’t own it already. Those brands listed were: (in rank of order), Apple, BMW, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Michael Kros, Louis Vuitton, Lexus, Gucci, and Rolex.
Of course, as elements make their mark in terms of financial and technology progression, what shows if you’ve got it will go with its flow. And with that, having the best of its kind may be OK for what it is, assuming that anyone else is concerned over the matter. Using a great handbag may be fine and dandy, or flashing off a fancy watch may make its mark. But the question remains. Will having those goods prove a point? It all depends just what that point is. It’s a tough jab, and somebody’s going to have to do it!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Making its Los Angeles premier at North Hollywood’s Gray Studios is LOVE ALLWAYS, a comic anthology of short plays that deal in love, romance, and all points in between, written by the multitalented husband and wife team of Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.
In this program, a series of short plays are performed skit style and presented in some form of slight linear fashion. The first act has much of the action taking place in a bar/restaurant/club. The second part of the bill occurs at an exotic resort along a beachfront, moving on to a resort nestled within the Poconos mountains, then shifting on to various locations set somewhere else in this world. In spite of this moving to and fro, the topic always speaks for love and its many complications while served up in a humorous fashion. The topics range from a husband and wife getting hit upon at a party separately, two married couples at a beach resort that involves a “bromance” between the pair of husbands, a guy’s conversation with a woman on movies, the so-called intimate moments that goes on within the cabins of the Poconos resorts, and plenty more!
The plays themselves are very witty, downright comical, and even holds a touch of bizarreness that’s set in. That oddball method of humor really serves as part of the comedy, making this anthology of skits funnier than sitcom fodder!
As to the actual production, Gloria Gifford of Jamaica Moon Productions, directs these series of skits in a robust fashion. Also servicing as Executive Producer, she has for her players a rotating ensemble of talent that pull out the comedy punches while acting out the “foibles and follies” of that named human emotion that folks love to love, love to hate, hate to love, and a combination of all three!
That ensemble cast of performers is huge, Some forty(!) actors and actresses are cast in this show, but not at each presentation. (Check programs for specific cast list!) Although space doesn’t allow this writer to list each appearing performer by name, this same writer can state that every actor that holds a part fits very well into this program.
It’s a real treat to see a comedy show as LOVE ALLWAYS that holds genuine laughs! From the first opening skit to its final showcase, each installment running no longer that ten minutes (some are even shorter that ten), it’s ideal for those that prefer their comedy served up in tasty morsels. And granted, one will receive these tidbits that tastes good! They may not be in good taste per se, but just as long as one laughs (and one will), then that’s all good!

     LOVE ALLWAYS, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and the GGC Players, performs at the Gray Studios, 5250 Vinland Avenue (North of Magnolia Blvd.), North Hollywood, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 366-5505, or via online at
http://www.Tix.com
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THE MOVIES ARE ‘A CHANGING-AGAIN!

For those that follow the moving picture business outside of watching Entertainment Tonight (currently in its 36th season), E! Entertainment, as well as the news on what movies made so-much box office grosses (a bit of information that at one time was only limited to pieces found in the “trades” rather than addressed to the general public), it’s been noted within recent times that movies, the staple of visual entertainment that’s been around for over one hundred years, has been going through its many growing pains ranging from content, the method of consumption, as well as those that work in movies on both sides of the camera.
Those changes tend to be from a form of various stock. As to content, as this message is written and possibly read, the industry in smack dab in the middle of awards season. Since the first of the year, many of the trade groups and other organizations have been fobbing off awards and other forms of self recognition for the art and creation of movies–that form of visual entertainment where people go to movie houses to take part of this kind of amusement. Many of the award programs are well known, such as the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Awards, and of course, the biggest one and most recognizable one of them all, the Academy Awards.
Those award programs are known because their general emphasis is to present kudos to actors and actresses. Those are the folks that appear in front of the camera where they speak, move around, wear outfits ranging from simple every day stock to lavish costuming first made popular during Hollywood’s so-called “golden” era, as well as donning makeup and hairstyles that also hark from an era when movies were movies, rather than another visual medium that can be seen on a big or little screen.
There are other awards as well for those behind the scenes. Most of these awards programs, if not all, receive little media coverage and really isn’t televised since those award ceremonies tend to cater to those either involved in that industry or have some kind of alliance to that group. Folks involved in sound engineering, hair and makeup styling, and editing film (or at least editing moving imagery), are a hard working bunch. However, they are not necessarily known to the public at large and thus, are not of “celebrity” stock. In other words, those that are up for an award that doesn’t involve acting and possibly directing, (including the groups that are eligible for an Oscar for sound mixing, costume design, etc.) are everyday “normal” folks that do their own grocery shopping and personal laundry duties! Entertainment Tonight or the news reports found on E! really don’t go out of their way to report who won for best set design for a dramatic feature film. They would rather gush over on who won for best movie comedy ensemble at the SAG Awards program.
But those involved in making movies are mostly found behind the scenes. These are the peoples that are known through what they have done in the past or those that are involved in their movie of the moment. Their names appear on the credits for those to read. And in recent times, there has been a lot of talk that those involved in the movie industry tend to come from one form of human stock. That demographic seems to fit those that are white and male. Others that are not white and male are attempting to move up within the ranks stating to those of some form of “power” that they too, can do the same form of service their white male counterparts can present. And the groups that are speaking out for themselves are those of “color” (formally known as “minorities”), and women in general of any race.
There are many trade groups that cater to the demographics that feel they are suppressed within their industry, and through these groups and organizations, many are making their mark. Some become rather successful within their own right, while others get their opportunities only to see them sputter through time to later fizzle out, or to move into another direction not necessarily intended–for the good or otherwise!
Not too long ago, a study formed through the University of Southern California’s Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative went through the listings of some 1000 top-grossing films from the past ten years to see the make up of movie directors in terms of age, gender, and race.
In general, the study found that some 80% of female directors worked on a film, only to nearly disappear from directing another title. This form of working has been called “one and done”, meaning they did one movie and that was it. A “woman of color” (i.e. not white), has it slightly worse standing at a little over 83%. To compare, almost 55% of men directed just a single feature during that time span with Asian and black male directors faring slightly worse, coming in at 60% and 62.5% respectively.
When it comes to age, it seems that those in their middle years (40’s) reign as their peak era. 22 female directors did a flick at their 40’s, while fortysomething men were on top at their game, coming in at 467! As to shelf life, men won that category. 257 titles were directed by men in their 30‘s. (For 30-ish women, that magic number was 7!) For those in their 50’s, men came in at 230. For the women? Only 8 titles were directed by women in their 50’s.
Granted, the study focused on top grossing features released within the last ten years. This doesn’t count upon any of the smaller so-called “independent” titles that tend to flood the market. Those features are more friendlier to those of that are not necessarily white and male, and at times, speak for the groups that are suppressed in terms of cast, crew, along with plot and storyline. However, a good number of these titles have limited distribution, if any at all! The only way to actually see these types of movies, let alone known of them, are to either attend a film festival of some kind, or to view them as a “video on demand” selection through one’s streaming service. And for the most part, these same titles are for its “niche” audience where that demographic will view and perhaps support that film and those involved in it. For the rest of the population that falls outside of the niceh’s scope, the interest is little or non existent! That population wants to see movies for general entertainment. Granted, it may be an action-adventure title (super hero or otherwise), an animated film that is amusing for both kids and adults (it has to be for both groups rather than for a single group), or a fantasy title that takes place in a location and/or era that doesn’t exist in reality. Heavy dramas or witty comedies are at their best when seen through a screen found on an electronic video device.
So as awards season plugs onward, the public at large will still support those in front of the camera that would be found in a “tentpole” picture that is highly amusing enough for those to plunk down the ten dollars and up to see the picture. In the meantime, more people of genders, ages, and races will be involved in the movie biz. How well they do is based on performance. As one of the oldest rules in the moving picture business dictates, you’re only as good as your last feature! So make a good movie–if you can!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Santa Monica Playhouse presents the world premier of Albert James Kallis’ A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, a comic tale of a middle aged couple whose career and marriage is tested, with a third visible person invisibly standing in their way.
Gregg Berger and Rachel Galper are Oliver and Julia Foxx. They have been married for twenty five years. Oliver started a successful business, while Julia rediscovered her love and interest in becoming a writer, a passion she placed on hold while raising two kids. Now that the kids are grown and gone, she returned to her keyboard, spinning a tale that she was inspired to write based upon real events–her own! This writing became a rather obsession to Julia, as Oliver wants to live a good life with her. He’s planning to sell his business over reasons that he did something questionable. His selling the company under this slight distress and Julia’s big time novel is creating another havoc involving their sex life. That form of sexual bedlam has Oliver encounter another person while in bed. Enter Gina (Albina Katsman), a young and rather attractive woman that can nearly pass as his daughter! However, Gina is a character from Julia’s novel. But is Gina a real person, or is something from Oliver’s imagination? There’s a lot to ponder upon between this trio within their real or imagined ménage-à-trios.
This “bedroom comedy” by playwright Albert James Kallis is an amusing piece that deals with a couple and their relationship with one another, with the third person that becomes real to all for different reasons. Much of the humor extracted from this one act play comes from the situations expressed on hand, rather than from a string of one liners and sight gags. Although the mood is very comical in nature, it’s too funny to become a drama as much of the conflict can be serious in nature, but is far from playing out as a sobered affair. Gregg Berger as Oliver is the devoted man who does best for his spouse for a quarter of a century’s time. Rachel Galper as Julia is a character that is as devoted to her spouse, but did live a rather secret and wilder life. Gina, as performed by Albina Katsman is the free spirit that is young, perhaps too young, and ready for a romp! (Is she of legal age?) That notion adds to the mystery of her existence, and perhaps arranged in this way. Chris DeCarlo, co-artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse, directs this production into one tight and mirthful stage piece.
James Cooper designs a stage set that consists of the Foxx bedroom where all of its action takes place. This single setting makes this program a real bedroom comedy.
A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR blends humor and pathos with just a bit of raciness that’s depicted in a playful manner. It even can question if such a long term relationship can last through its many years. Just as long as that “third wheel” is there for the bedroom thrill or stand as a metaphoric plot point. It all depends on how one is hot and bothered over the issue!

A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until April 30th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM.
   For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com    
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On Sunday, February 27th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 89th Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2016 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Casey Affleck won Best Actor for the feature release Manchester By The Sea. Emma Stone won Best Actress for La La Land. Damien Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land, and Moonlight won as Best Picture.
For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
http://www.Oscars.com.
The day before (February 26th), the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 37th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2016 calendar year via a presentation made available through streaming media.
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party cleaned out the award categories for Worst Actor (Dinesh D’Souza as Himself and Narrator), Worst Actress (The “Actress” who plays Hillary Clinton), Josh Dinesh D’Souza & Bruce Schooley for Worst Director(s), as well as for Worst Picture.
The third annual Razzie Redeemer Award, presented to a previous Razzie “winner” or nominee who have since been performing in better roles in better features, went to Mel Gibson for his Oscar®-nominated direction of the feature Hacksaw Ridge.
For a listing of all nominated films and people as well as its “winners’, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.com
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GREAT WEATHER FOR DUCKS!

I was once informed by a person (whose name has been long forgotten) on the art of starting a conversation with someone, especially if that someone wasn’t anyone well know to the other party. From what I can remember, I believe this advice dispensed on me was based upon my effort to meet somebody of the opposite sex. I was around the age of what’s now known as a “tweener”. So whoever this person was (the person whose name I forgot), was giving me this advice from an adult (person “X”) to a kid (me!)
The advice I was given was something to the effect that if you are going to start a conversation with somebody, begin your spiel on the weather. It’s a safe topic, and everyone is affected with that element in some kind of fashion. It may not to something that’s exciting or anything, but it’s a subject that is ideal for the twelve year old mind to decipher.
Now I am not going to get into any story about if this advice ever worked with a girl I met at a junior high dance or anything like that (that’s a topic for another article), but the notion why yours truly brought it up is the reason behind this article you are reading! It’s a topic we are going to “talk” about–the weather!
Last Friday February 17th, the Los Angeles basin was hit by a massive rainstorm. Depending what source you get your weather news, it was the biggest storm of its kind ever to hit Los Angeles and southern California is six years, ten years, or even twenty two years! It was a storm that dumped anywhere from three to six inches of rain within a twenty four hour period.
There were the usual weather related elements that occurred during that rainstorm. Their were mud and rockslides, flooded streets and highways, downed trees, power outages, a number of heroic rescues, and even a death due to the rain. And since the state of California has been under a drought for a number of years, this rain, as well as the other rains that occurred since October 1st of last year, has either wiped out the drought stage, or impacted it to a point where the dryness isn’t as bad as it once stood.
But with the drought gone away, this means that doing domestic stuff with water won’t be much of a burden as it use to be. Many communities used to set limits on how much water can be used to keep a lawn green, or how often one can wash their car on their driveway or carport. The line “Save Water. Shower with a Friend” that had its origins from a 1960’s water ration program that New York City was going through, even made a comeback of sorts.
But with the rains will come the spring, scheduled to begin on March 20th. This is the time where winter is over (duh!), and those flowers that are supposed to bloom take their part. Then the sun will shine, the birds chirp, and those domestic types will start doing their springtime activities, such as watering their lawns without guilt, washing their cars on their driveway or carport without feeling any remorse, and jazz like that! There is also that “shower with a friend” idea, but that’s a totally different subject to ponder upon. Besides, the shower bit really isn’t limited to springtime as that can be done year round!
This is one of the many reasons why this writer never dives into the subject of the weather as the lead article. Although the topic itself is rather amusing for what it is, it becomes rather dull after a few paragraphs. However, rain–any form of rain that falls within the Los Angeles area, is somewhat interesting since that form of weather only takes place a few weeks of the year.
Around the time when I was twelve years old–the same period that person “x” was giving me advice on how to attract a girl’s attention at a junior high dance, a song that was a staple of top-40 radio was being played by the stations I used listen to, mainly WLS and WCFL, was recored by Albert Hammond entitled It Never Rains in Southern California. Albert was a British born singer-songwriter who performed “easy listening” type music. In the song in question, he tells about somebody coming to California (Hollywood really) to peruse his dreams but alas, fails to do so. (Nothing newsworthy for sure!) Anyway, in the chorus, Hammond sings: “It never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya. When it pours, man, it pours.”
I never really understood that line since yours truly wasn’t even living anywhere near Hollywood, or even California, at the time, since I though it rained all the time out in California. And besides that, I really never liked the song! When Larry Lujack played that sone on his air shift, I either didn’t pay attention to the song, or I just switched the station. But now that those “music on AM radio” times has since faded away, I only hear that song every once in a while, and when I do, it’s mostly for mild nostalgia purposes. However, now that yours truly lives in southern California, (and not too far away from Hollywood), I can somewhat relate to what Albert was singing about some forty five years before. Perhaps he was just giving me a weather report for the future. Then again, that song was a whole lot better than another tune that was being played on the radio at that same time–Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Alone Again (Naturally). That tune was just as sappy (if not downright depressing) as one could have had! If WLS played that record, I’d also switch the station to hear another record–Donny Osmond’s cover version of Puppy Love.
OK, so maybe that wasn’t the greatest era for popular music! But as a dumb twelve year old who didn’t know better, I would have had the gumption to try to talk to Lorrie Miller about the weather. Maybe she would have finally notice me! But my sad-yet-true stories on being a “tweener” aged kid is set for another topic in a future article, if not for a memoir I’ll write one of these years when I ever get around to it–assuming it’s not raining outside!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Glendale Centre Theatre presents BYE BYE BIRDIE, the musical about a small time songwriter who attempts to create a publicity stunt for his client before he heads off for military enlistment by presenting “one last kiss” to one of his adorning fans from small town America.
Robert Pieranunzi is Albert Peterson. He’s operates a music publishing company called “Almaelou” that needs a hit so he can out of debt. His company consists of himself, his secretary and part time girlfriend Rosie Alvarez (Colette Peters), and Albert’s doting mother Mae (Cindy Irwin Bullock). Although Mae’s name is part of Albert’s company, she doesn’t do much except to cater to her son of 33 years, still treating him as a much younger boy! Albert’s most promising client, Conrad Birdie (Adam Hollick) an Elvis-type, is joining the Army and thus, won’t be able to cut records as an enlisted man. So Albert and Rosie hatch a plan to have Conrad give one last kiss to one of his teenaged fans before he leaves for basic training. So they pick the president of the Conrad Birdie fan club based in Sweet Apple, Ohio, an all-American small town. When that president of that fan club, Kim MacAfee (Maryanne Burr), receives the news that Conrad is coming to town to give her that one last kiss (also the name of Birdie’s new song release), she becomes the new star in town; In spite of the fact that her father (Danny Michaels), and her boyfriend Hugo Peabody (Taylor Wesselman) thinks otherwise, since Hugo just gave Kim his pin to go steady. It shows how rock ‘n roll changed the youth of America, how Albert can get the song hit he needs, if Rosie will ever become Mrs. Albert Peterson, and if Mae will ever understand her son by being the suffering martyr she places herself to be!
This musical with book by Michael Stewart and songs by Charles Strouse on score, and Lee Adams on lyrics, was the first major stage musical that used rock ‘n roll as its theme basis. It harks a time when those teenaged kids, especially the post-war bobbysoxers, not only dug the music, but shows how those performers made it all happen (with a lot of promotion) as it really was c.1960 when this show first made its mark on the Broadway musical circuit. In this GCT production, the cast and many of its performers (including the ensemble) pull it off quite well, especially for the two leads, Robert Pieranunzi as Albert, and Colette Peters and Rosie. Robert as Albert is the comical genus that can provide he’s in charge, yet Rosie is really the mastermind to everything! Cindy Irwin Bullock as mother Mae is a classic example of a lovable yet pushy and almost obnoxious mother-type that was commonly seen in 1960s-era TV sitcoms. (After all, this show is a period piece!)
And since this program is that period piece, Angela Manke of Glendale Costumes provides all of the outfits that are of the era it speaks for, from the suits for the guys, the downy dresses for the gals, the varsity sweaters for the teen guys, and the capri plants for the teen gals! (Albert’s mom Mae even sports a mink coat–a real fashion statement for a pushy mother of the time!) Other GCT behind-the-scenes regulars also presents their talents, including Steven Applegate’s transcribed musical arrangements, and Orlando Alexander’s choreography, performed with gusto by the cast within the theatre-in-the-round’s stage setting.
Directed by Todd Nielsen, BYE BYE BIRDIE is a showpiece that is still witty, appealing, and boasts some classic hits born and bread on Broadway. (“Put On A Happy Face” and “Kids” are the two signature musical numbers!) Although it’s a bit dated in places, it remains as a pleasant period piece that shows off how things were in the “good old days” when rock ‘n roll was kids stuff where the adults didn’t or couldn’t understand! A song asks “what’s the matter with kids today?” Nothing is the matter with them. They will just eventually take over the world!

  BYE BYE BIRDIE, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until April 1st. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Thursday, February 23rd and March 2nd at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees perform on February 26th, March 5th, and March 12th at 3:00 PM.
     For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

LANDLINE HO!

In the category of “so what else is new?”-type news, it’s been reported that more than half (52%) of adults in the USA live in households with cell phones but no landline phone, so says a research report from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer.
According to findings from the GfK MRI’s Fall 2016 Survey data release, based on interviews with approximately 24,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, cell phone households showed an increase doubling in count within the last six years from 26% in 2010 to the 52% in 2016. As expected, those in the younger demographic has the biggest take of wireless phones. Millennials (those born after 1980) stand in as 71% cell phone only. The Gen Xers (born 1965 through 1979) tag in as second place at 55%. The ever lovin’ Baby Boomers (’46 through ’64) are only in at 40%.
The report also broke down ethnic and racial groups in terms of wireless homes. Hispanic or Latino origin of descent lead in the highest incidence of landlineless phones at 67%. Asian decent comes in next at 54%. White/Causation stands at 51%, and African Americans at 50%.
The northeast part of the nation has the least amount of homes without a land line, coming in at 39% The reason for this is many of the media companies that do business in that area offer packages with internet and TV service along with phone, making the internet and television offerings a priory while having hardwired phone service as an afterthought. (57% households in this region have package deals.) This compares to the homes in the midwest (53%) and south (57%) with cell phones and nothing else.
This bit of information, as amusing at it may read, just states the obvious where hardline phones have lost its luster within the last ten years. Granted, having a landline phone didn’t necessarily offer anything unique outside of calling plans (unlimited phone usage to anywhere in the nation or world, call waiting, etc.). But as cell phones moved from their novelty stage to being a way of life, having a phone device sitting on a desk or countertop was losing its appeal.
Many people kept their landline service because they were receiving their internet service via a phone line. At first, internet service came from a modem that would dial a dedicated phone number to connect with the internet company making that high pitched squealing noise so you would know that you were “on line”, but the service was rather slow for what it was and it would tie up your phone line. If somebody wanted to call somebody while on the ‘net, they would receive a busy signal until you “logged off”. Later, internet companies would offer service that still came from a phone line, but would keep your phone service open. Both signals would remain on the line with your traditional phone handling all the voice calls while a modem would remain on at all times with the internet. However, if your phone service was interrupted through a cut line or through a weather situation, your internet would go out too!
When cable companies offered internet service along with TV and other forms of media, folks switched from phone lines to dedicated cable. That would mean that a landline wasn’t necessary anymore, and that phone number assigned to that land line became disconnected and no longer in service!
Many of the hardline phone providers, such as AT&T and Verizon among other providers, are players in the cell phone industry. Although these telcos do offer the service to businesses who still reply upon hardline phones, many consumers shy away from landlines and thus, don’t necessary push this type of phone offerings as much as they used to as the profit margin is rather low. Many folks are not even aware that hardline service is still available. But with the lower demand, the phone companies will still provide such services only upon request.
Time will tell on the fate of the consumer landline. If it does go away totally, that won’t be for a while. But will it be missed? Some folks, especially those that can remember the times in question, reminisces about the days of the milkman making the rounds each morning, about the same time of day when the paper boy (and it was nearly always a boy) would deliver the morning paper. And if one lived in a cold climate, the coal man would come around making a delivery of coal. These elements make up part of the nostalgia that made the good old days, well…good! But as they say, memory ain’t what it used to be!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre West presents the world premier of Darryl Vinyard’s FAMILY ONLY, a darkish comedy of a family gathering to celebrate the ownership of a homestead by one of its siblings, and the complications that go with everything else!
The setting is the home of Will and Nicole (Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker), a couple pushing middle age who is on their way to make the “American Dream” come true by their purchasing a 1950‘s-era ranch house located in a “south of the boulevard” Sherman Oaks neighborhood. In order to commemorate this ownership, they decided to have a get together with other members of the family. Coming along for the backyard party along where the pool is set is father Will (Frank Gangarossa), his third wife Brenda (Sheila Shaw), Will’s half sister Andrea (Anne Leyden), and Will’s grandmother Amanda (Dianne Travis). While Will and Nicole are hosting their event with the usual selection of picnic foods, the people in attendance tend to speak up for what’s going on with their lives. Will has a great idea for an invention he wants to market and hopes that his son and daughter-in-law can invest some much needed cash for his idea. Andrea announced that her divorce has just been finalized, so far taking custody of her six year old daughter Chloe. What makes matters worse is the fact that Andrea can’t hold a job and she’s behind on her rent–enough to be evicted and eventually become homeless in just a matter of days! (She’s even hoping that Will and Nicole will take her in!) As the party progresses, moods change for the worse! Grandma Amanda, a feisty old coot, won’t even put up with what’s going on! Before long, tempers tend to go out of hand while this family proves how out of balance everyone appears to be, because they are!
This very witty comedy by Darryl Vinyard has about everything one would want to experience that speaks for a family that is just as dysfunctional as anyone can get! Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker as Will and Nicole are a hard working childless-for-the-moment couple that fought tooth and nail to grab that part of the American Dream, even if that dream needs a bit of TLC–for the house anyway! Frank Gangarossa as Will is the dad that was just as hard working and wants to do best for his kids, even though the kids won’t do the best for his needs! Sheila Shaw as Brenda is the type that has to put up with a lot, although she isn’t treated as “real” family! (She is Will’s third wife!) Anne Leyden as Andrea is a middle aged obnoxious and borderline neurotic woman that can’t seem to get her act together, holding on to the notion that everything bad happens to her and won’t take the blame for her bad luck! And Dianne Travis as Amanda is a two fisted and hard drinking woman that has been around for quite a while, and won’t let anyone forget it! These forms of personalities make this comedy a rip-roaring riot! This domestic family as depicted on stage is far from being perfect and sweet. They are just inches away for nearly killing each other as that’s how families really act! (Admit it folks! The only perfect families around were only depicted in 1950’s and 1960’s TV sitcoms where problems were created and solved within a 25 minute time slot–not counting commercial breaks!) Anden Teresa Lewis directs this “dramity” that holds a taste of sweet bitterness with an emphasis of comical hijinks without the so-called happy ending!
As to the stage sets, Jeff G. Rack creates a setting of a backyard patio area that is normally found in a typical 1500 square foot patch of homestead located in the San Fernando Valley, complete with stone wall fence, sliding glass door, and a color scheme painted in blue. This tint was a very common color found on homes built around the same era when perfect families were depicted on TV sitcoms each week!
FAMILY ONLY is a comedy that proves to domestic society that the “fun” in dysfunctional either means there is plenty of amusement to be experienced, or to describe the setting in an acronym that stands for “F-cked Up Nation” where everyone seems to live in. This play ain’t a 50’s/60’s sitcom and doesn’t try to become one! (Thank goodness!)

FAMILY ONLY, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until March 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. A special talkback session with the cast and crew will take place after the Sunday, February 19th performance.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 851-7977, or via online at http://www.TheaterWest.org
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The Falcon Theatre presents the world premier of FOR PIANO AND HARPO, written and starring Dan Castellaneta that is about the life and times (or ups and downs) of pianist Oscar Levant.
Dan Castellaneta plays Oscar, who started in his career as a classical pianist. Originally from Pittsburgh, he came to New York City to continue his study in piano. He eventually became part of the Broadway music scene hobnobbing with some of the influential folks in New York, and eventually became part of the Algonquin Round Table. But with such hobnobbing, Oscar himself was never on any sane level. Addicted to various forms of pills, he finds himself at the Psych Ward at Mr. Sini Hospital. While in the ward, his personal story moves from various points in his life, from his rocky marriage with his spouse June, to his friendship with Arthur “Harpo” Marx, and his existence under the shadow of George Gershwin, a personality that he could have been just as good as! Oscar’s emotional journey finds himself into a trip of his lifetime that takes a lifetime to complete, if he will ever complete it!
This is a tale that is about one of the greatest pianist known within the music circles that is also the most forgotten. Told in a nonlinear fashion, the story opens on Jack Parr’s post-Tonight Show talk program, then moves to the hospital psych ward from a few years before, then shifts to the interior of Harpo’s rented home during the time he was working with his two brothers, and in all points in between! Dan performs as Oscar in the various points in his life as he deals with his phobias, fears, relapses, and recoveries. He is seen as his own anti hero, both as the good guy and the not-too-well villain that deserved more credit that he could have had.
This show features a well refined supporting cast that perform in multiple roles. JD Cullum appears as Harpo both as the stage Harpo and as “Arthur”, Deb Lacusta is featured as June Gale a.k.a. June Levant, the second wife of Oscar’s that lived through his rises and falls. Gail Matthius, Phil Proctor, and Jonathan Stark also co-star in a variety of roles. (Stark, by the way, plays Jack Parr to an uncanny “T”!) Stefan Novinski directs this production that moves between comedy and drama, keeping the laugh factor in humorous gear while the drama portion sets itself into a stance that never becomes too heavy nor too light.
And since this is a tale about a musician, there are musical interludes heard. As visual backstage performers, musical director David O plays the piano parts for Dan’s role as Oscar (Dan himself never plays a piano, let alone touches one), and Jillian Risigari-Gai performs on the harp. JD Cullum as Harpo is just as silent on the instrument his character is almost named for!
FOR PIANO AND HARPO is rather amusing for what the show is, focusing itself on a personality in the Classical Music/Broadway/Hollywood scene that has since been left as an afterthought. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of his death, and perhaps this presentation will pay its well deserved respect to a man of the keyboards that had as many rises as he did failures. There won’t be another personality as great as Oscar Levant was in his prime because musical tastes has since changed–for the better or for the otherwise!

     FOR PIANO AND HARPO, presented by A Laugh Then Think Production, and performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until March 5th. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 955-8101, or via online at http://www.FalconTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!