FEELING THE EARTH MOVE

In the category of “Real Stories from Life”, this humble writer will present an actual tale taken from somebody’s own personal domain. Although the story we are about to present is true, no names were changed become there is really nobody to protect. In fact, all names mentioned within this article are not only true and accurate, but are being stated because of genuine accuracy. Read on…

A good friend of this writer named Kurt got married to his long time sweetheart Karen in early 1994. They were living in Chicago at the time, and spent their honeymoon at a ski resort just north of London, Ontario where they spend their weekend on the slopes. They didn’t spend much time there, only being gone between Friday through Sunday, but once they were going to come back, they were going to get their apartment in order.

Kurt had a brother who lived at the time in Northridge, California, a community that was part of Los Angeles proper located in the San Fernando Valley. Kurt’s brother, whose name won’t be mentioned due to his insistence, lived in an apartment unit located off Nordoff Street, not too far away from a shopping center and other businesses. Kurt’s brother called the happy honeymooners while they were at their resort on his cellular phone he had for the job he held at the time. Kurt and Karen accepted his congrads as the newlywed couple since he wasn’t able to attend their wedding held a few days beforehand. All were pleased to hear from the brother with his many good wishes.

On that Monday upon their return, Kurt was tuned in to the local all-news radio station, WBBM as he tends to do each morning. Around 6:30 AM (CST), the station broke off of their usual reports of time, temp, and traffic to report that there was a massive earthquake that hit the Los Angeles region. There were the early reports that the earthquake was intense in strength. As the local news reports were stating to trickle in, the station was able to get in contact with the station’s Los Angeles affiliate, KNX, presenting on-the-spot coverage. As the hours passed and reports of the devastation were stated to come in, there was a blurb that the earthquake’s epicenter was centered in the community of Northridge–the same community that Kurt’s sibling lived!

Of course, attempting to call anyone in that area was fruitless. All phone lines were either jammed or down. Anyone who tried to make a call to any number in the 818 area code received a recording that all circuits were busy. Although Kurt constantly tried to call his brother to check in on his status, all attempts failed.

Around 8:00 AM (CST), Kurt’s phone rang. It was his brother calling on his newfangled cell phone. For some reason or another, he was able to get through to Kurt. He did report that he was able to get out of his apartment unit safely. He was stating on the street with other folks from the unit, all huddled together. He was stating that most, if not all people who lived in the building was able to escape safely. Of course, it occurred around 4:30 AM local time where many folks were sound asleep. Many of these people were in their bathrobes, or were able to put on whatever clothing they could find. One person was even wearing an ugly looking Christmas sweater he received as a gag gift as his company office party. Kurt was able to get as much news he could from his brother. However, the phone Kurt’s sibling was using wasn’t fully charged, and within twenty or so minutes, the batteries died and the phone’s connection were cut off.

Kurt and Karen tried to keep abreast over the news stories that were coming in through the radio and the major TV networks. They couldn’t watch any coverage via CNN since the unit they rented out didn’t have cable TV installed yet as that was scheduled by the CATV company for the next week!

This little episode could be billed on how the modern technology at the time became a godsend. Kurt’s brother was able to use his portable phone device while landlines were totally down, and would remain down for weeks afterward. And that other communication device called “the internet” wasn’t available on a large scale. So the only forms and means of getting news and details out was whatever phone lines one could find (if any), or through radio, television, and print, although print was the slowest means of news.

Of course, that was some twenty five years ago, and a lot has changed since that third week of January of 1994. In today’s post modern world, the details on getting specific news out for anything of that scale, or even details on trivial events, can take place within seconds. If is quite possible to stream video from one’s newfangled smartphone to a number of social media platforms. Still imagery can also be send as events occur. Although a number of these forms of aspects involve events of importance such as the recent wildfires that broke out in California last November, anyone can bring out details or any event as they happen. Folks are also using this method to stream family events, such as Kurt and Karen’s wedding (and honeymoon) if they married twenty five years after the fact!

And with more technology that’s coming in droves, there may be a time were said communication can arrive via a number of smart devices found in a home, a vehicle, or wherever one can be. The possibilities are endless!

Today, Kurt and Karen are now living in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, but not in Northridge! They have two kids. One will graduate high school this spring while the other is in the first year of grad school at California State University located in (where else?) Northridge! Kurt’s brother’s apartment unit was “yellow tagged”, meaning that the building suffered minor damage but was still inhibitable. Kurt’s bro eventually moved to another place in Los Angeles proper. He met a woman who was an “illegal” alien from El Salvador. They had a child, and eventually separated. And twenty five years later, the above story now falls as a nostalgic memory. Granted, it wasn’t anything of a festive nature, but does fall into the category of the so-called eight million stories in the naked city. This tale was indeed one of ‘em!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents for its seventeenth season, the return engagement of Katherine Bates’ THE MANOR, a play that speaks of a rise and tragic fall involving a very dignified family living in one of the nation’s prestigious communities.

The story begins in the roaring 20’s, where liquor flowed if one will find it, jazz music was all the rage, and fortunes were climbing at sky high paces. The MacAlister family that made its capital gains in mineral mining as headed by Charles MacAlister (Darby Hinton), is celebrating the wedding between his son and heir Sean (Eric Keitel) and the blushing bride Abby (Annalee Scott). As the two are joined in marriage, Charles meets up with his friend based in Washington DC, Senator Alfred Winston (Daniel Leslie) on a business opportunity. It appears that in the US territory of Hawaii, the Navy desires to build a naval base station within the location known as Pearl Harbor. Alfred asks Charles for a $100,000 loan to finance this development. In return for the requested amount, Alfred would receive exclusive rights to mine a valued mineral deposit that Charles operates. This well intended exchange opens in what later becomes a scandal developing into government bribery, business corruption, and an overall disgrace to this wealthy family estate leading up toward dire consequences. This aftermath not only involves Charles, but to the others within this domain set high among their “quaint” 50+ room estate overlooking the bedroom community village called Beverly Hills.

This original play written by Katherine Bates was inspired upon the actual family of Edward Doheny, who made his fortune in oil production. He was involved with tactics that later lead to a bribery misconduct known as the “Teapot Dome Scandal” that followed upon the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly in the early part of the 20th century. What makes this play rather unique, outside of the fact that the plot is inspired by actual events that involves greed, corruption, family disgrace, and even death, but the settings takes place at Greystone Mansion, a 46,000 Sq. Ft. building and estate once owned by the Donehy family. Many of the play’s backdrops are founded in what did occur within the mansion when Edward “Ned” Doheny, son of Edward Sr., took his own life with a pistol. (The reasons leading up to this death vary, but it was indeed billed as a murder-suicide!) The play itself offers plenty of drama as depicted by the cast members that also include Carol Potter as Marion MacAlister, Kira Brannlund as Henrietta Haversham Pugh, Melanie MacQueen as Cora Wilson, Martin Thompson as family attorney Frank Parsons, Esq. with Daniel Lench as James the butler, Katherine Henryk as Ursula the housekeeper, and Ester Richman as Ellie, the mute maid.

As to how this play is set up. It takes place within a handful of rooms in the mansion where the audience is broken up into three groups. After the first scene is performed, each group is lead by one of the domestic staff into another nearby room where a second scene is presented. Then the groups, rotating to other rooms, witness yet another unfolding scene. These scenes performed for the selected audience groups are presented in a different order, but not out of context as each scene keeps its continuity in check. The background of the mansion itself serves as the backdrop giving this production an authentic feel. Each room offers limited stage furnishings as the original furniture and other decor has long been removed. David Hunt Stafford & Jackie Petras provides the set design that is part of the play, rather then to the actual building where this showpiece is housed.

THE MANOR has been part of Theatre 40’s repertory since 2002, offering limited run performances at the location where many of the inspired stage settings developed. If one attends this performance, one will see just a small glimpse of a humble home built when elegance, even at an excess, was at its peak. They don’t build places like these anymore, and it’s just as well! Along with viewing the homestead and the grounds, one will witness a great play that’s fully loaded with all the drama that such a stage work firmly allows.

THE MANOR, presented by Theatre 40 in association with the city of Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Department, performs at the Greystone Mansion located within Greystone Park, 905 Loma Vista Drive (north of Sunset Blvd. off Mountain Drive), Beverly Hills, until January 27th. Showtimes are January 17th, 18th, and 25th at 6:00 PM, at 1:00 PM on January 19th, and 27th, and at 2:00 PM January 16th, 23rd, and 24th. For further information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 364-3606, or via the website http://www.Theatre40.org
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The 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards ceremony was held on January 13th from the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California, and was aired on the CW Network.

Taye Diggs served as the master of ceremonies where awards were presented by the choosing of The Broadcast Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, presenting the best in television programming and feature films.

Among the many awards that were presented, ranging from Best Ensemble Cast (feature films), Best Actor/Actress in a Comedy/Drama (ilm/television), Best Supporting Actor/Actress in Feature/TV, Best Action Feature, etc., two special awards were presented.

Claire Foy was awarded as part of the #SeeHer movement where females are presented in movies and TV shows in a positive and progressive light, and Chuck Lorre was awarded the Creative Achievement Award for his work in the production of such TV series as (among others), Roseanne, Cybill, Grace Under Fire, Two and a Half Men, and his current work, The Kominsky Method.

The Best Picture Award was presented to the feature film Roma.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association consist of members who work as professional journalists that write and review films and TV shows in publications that exist through multimedia outlets. (Disclaimer: This writer is a member of the BFCA.)

For a complete listing of all titles nominated and its associated winning categories, visit http://www.CriticsChoice.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 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!

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THE CHANGES ARE A-TIMIN’!

As the Christmas/holiday decorations are already socked away for the next eleven months in boxes and related storage containers, the Christmas trees are stuffed in trash and recycle bins (or sitting along street curbs) ready for pickup, and the January white sales are going on in full tilt at retail outlets in-store and online, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and start anew.

This starting anew always serves as a bittersweet act where one may look behind themselves to see all of the events and notions that went on within the past twelve months, while looking forward to the good and perhaps not-so-good times that may or may not happen. Although one can’t predict to what will take place, at least one can plan to arrange for an event to appear, or at least appear in a way that might just make some kind of sense to it all!

And that is what this here newsletter has in mind. Although our company fiscal year is now in its second half, the newsletter itself runs under the calendar year. And since we are speaking for the newsletter, it’s about time that this writer lays a few ideas around that we, the editorial staff, would like to get around doing, or “talking” about doing.

We have been churning out this newsletter for some twenty-three years. Granted, being 23 isn’t that spectacular. Usually anniversaries are commemorated when something is ten years old, or twenty, twenty-five years, and so on. It will be our silver anniversary come 2021–should we live that long! But recalling the day one was born is looking back. We are going to look forward.

First, we will still continue to place news and reviews of community theater based within the Los Angeles region. We dwell in a media town. Los Angeles, or to be specific, “Hollywood”, is the movie making capitol in the world! Any civilized spot on the globe that can house a moving picture theater runs American movies. Many places that has access to television signals and/or higher speed internet access programs television shows–many of such coming from the USA by way of Hollywood. And theater is a distant cousin to movies and TV. What brings these mediums together is the talent behind it all, mostly in the form of writers, directions, costumers, and of course, actors! And local theater can keep these people in the limelight to make way for movies and/or TV. Sure, stage theater may not reach a vast audience as a TV show or feature film could, but these folks are ready and willing to hone their crafts while hoping to become “discovered”. And out of all of the columns appearing in each edition of ALOL, the theater reviews are the most read–number one! So those theater reviews won’t ever go away, or at least not through our making.

Movie reviews still holds its mark here, although the luster has faded within the last few years. Since the internet as we know it began some twenty five or so years ago, movies became one of many topics discussed on the ol’ world wide web. One of the oldest domains that exist in cyberspace land–the Internet Movie Data Base a.k.a.. http://www.IMDB.com, began as a “bulletin board” around 1990 where early computer users could post information about their favorite movies. Since then, many places on the ‘net offered movie news and reviews. However, we will continue to post our reviews of feature films. It may not be as often as a review of a stage play, but they will still be coming around!

One element we may cut back on is our opening column. Over audits we have conducted, we asked a selected number of our subscribers on what columns you tend to read and articles you pass over. The opening column are the ones that tends to be less read. There wasn’t any specific reason to why folks are going directly to “page two”. We can just guess that there is too much to read from other sources out there, both real or otherwise! The amount of other journalists who range from staff reporters to solo bloggers post articles on a more timely basis–daily, hourly, even as events occur. As much as we would like to be on-the-spot so to speak, we are just limited to letting one know what’s going on every seven days. So there may (and we do mean may) be an issue where we won’t hold an opening column. We will just get into the news and reviews. But as things occur, everything is subject to change without notice. At least you were warned for what it’s worth.

But as the news arrises to what we are going to do in 2019, we will let all of you know. We won’t keep you on hold. If we have breaking news, we are going to bust it through these pages! If there won’t be anything to report that fits within our scope, then so be it! After all, no news is good news. We don’t believe in ghosts, so we won’t go around donning a white sheet over ourselves to do our share of ghosting! We will be serving as a friendly ghost looking for a friend!

So as we haul the wrapping paper in the trash and/or recycle bins while making sure that the gifts we got had store receipts with them so we can exchange those gifts for something we really want, it’s all hope for a great “end-of-the-teens” decade. Can you dig it?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre opens their 2019 season of comedy plays and musicals with Ruth Hale’s A BUNDLE OF TROUBLE, a story about a father’s unplanned “visit” with his daughter as dictated through his separated spouse.

Randy Marquis is Jeff Baker. He’s a semi-employed inventor who’s working on some sure fire creation for a large company that involves some kind of concoction sporting a rather pungent odor that involves mixing this concoction in his bathtub inside of his San Francisco apartment. His spouse Annette (Megan Blakeley), who separated from Jeff a few years beforehand, holds a more solid career. In fact, she is on assignment for a company based task that requires a trip to South America. Since she will be gone for eight weeks, she leaves their adolescent daughter Abby (Isabella Ponce) in Jeff’s care. His fatherly skills isn’t so up to par as he doesn’t keep house (he’s a mess) and can’t cook as he lives on sardines and bowls of corn flakes and Coke poured in the bowl of cereal! Adding to Jeff’s confusion is his landlady Mrs. Applby (Jackie Sanders), her slightly ditzy adult daughter Lu Ann (Erica Farnsworth), Jeff’s business partner and closest friend Ivan Hall (John David Wallis) who is there to get his buddy out of his domestic jams, Preston Conway (Brett Gustafson) Annette’s fiancé (never mind the fact that Jeff and Anette never officially divorced), Merced Mason (Faith Streng) who is part of the local Child Welfare department keeping her eye on Jeff’s parenting skills, Abby’s adolescent friend Everett Comstock (Van Brunelle) who is growing to be a future wiseass, and Molly the Dog. (Billed as “Bubba Brunelle”.) All of these characters, along with Jeff attempting to invent a “next big thing”, leads toward his personal bundle of trouble.

This play, written by Ruth Hale, the great grandparent of the family that currently operates the Glendale Centre Theatre, is a breezy comedy that holds a hearty slice of cuteness and charm that doesn’t rely upon heavy sided sight gags, lame jokes, or anything connected to post-modern sitcom-esquee humor. (James Castle Stevens, who also directs this showpiece, adapted this play for this staging.) The ensemble cast do work well with one another in a fittingly meaning stage setting. With the grace of the fellow cast members, Randy Marquis as Jeff is the real star of this program. He can neatly play out his role as the dad that does stumble and fall on occasion, but still keeps a golden heart and soul!

The current season of plays and musicals at the GCT will be offering a total of nine shows throughout the year. Following this show will be the Jim Stowell-Jessica Zuehlke, and Drew Jansen musical comedy Church Basement Ladies opening on February 8th, Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic The Pirate of Penzance on March 15th, the world premier musical Rex & Bob’s Excellent Misadventure on April 27th, Dan Goggin’s Nunsence on May 17th, the Nancy Frick comedy Four Weddings and an Elvis on June 28th, the Terrence McNally-Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical Ragtime on August 3rd, the stage version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir on September 20th, the world premier of Dracula The Musical on October 19th, and rounding out the season is the annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on November 22nd.

Visit the theater’s website for more details on all of these forthcoming shows.

A BUNDLE OF TROUBLE, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until February 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM, with Thursday night performances at 7:30 PM starting on January 17th.
For more information, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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FOREVER BROOKLYN, the story of a nice Jewish kid from New York’s most famous borough and his dream of becoming a stand up comic while facing the challenges of his family, his neighborhood, and the local goodfellows that keep things in order, makes its west coast premier at The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.\

Danny DiTorrice appears as Melvin Kaplokis. He’s an adolescent kid living in Brooklyn, USA, the only place in New York that really matters! We first find him in the middle 1950’s, where life is rather simple, or it just seems to be. He lives with his mother and dad who runs a record shop, and a pair of younger and older sisters. Melvin’s big dream is to become a stand up comedian, telling jokes while singing parody versions of songs taken from the hit parade. He can entertain his family as well as his aunt and uncle, but there is more to being a comic than to his own clan. He can move on to performing in those resorts located upstate in what’s known as the “Borscht Belt”, an area where folks, especially those of the Jewish persuasion, head off each summer to beat the heat of the city. Melvin even picked out his own stage name–Mel King! But getting to fame can be a tough task. His father and elder sister discourage him, while his mother and younger sis give their blessings. He also must face the goombas that run the neighborhood. Melvin is even hired by one of the mobsters to deliver packages in exchange for giving ”protection” for his dad’s record shop. But fate has it when Melvin-Mel in this case, is given his big break. A local radio DJ that plays that new music called “rock ‘n’ roll” hooks him up with a talent agent that arranges a spot on The Tonight Show! It appears that Mel is on his way to comedy fame! Will Mel hit it off telling jokes that will make ‘em laugh? Will his mother encourage him enough to have her say “My Son, the comedian”? Will the local paisanos that keep the neighborhood in check keep Mel at their side or do they have their own plans? And will this boychik ever find a nice Jewish girl to settle down with?

This solo show, written and directed by Mark Wesley Curran (who for the record, isn’t from Brooklyn and isn’t Jewish), is a loving tribute to life in one of American’s favorite communities when it was a working class area full of people from different ethnicities and places of origin that worked and lived together is some form of harmonious state.

Danny DiTorrice as Melvin Kaplokis holds enough personality where he is friendly and upbeat enough that you would want to take him home to meet the family. In other words, he’s a nice young man only a mother could love, and so will the audience! Not only he can act and perhaps tell a good one-liner with a little corn added for good measure, but he can sing–sort of! Throughout the performance, he singes a few comical versions of songs of the era, along with a few traditional musical numbers. It’s not rock ‘n roll, but it ain’t Sinatra either! It’s just Mel attempting to hit the big time!

Although Danny DiTorrice is the only one gracing the stage, there is more to see while he’s on the floorboards. Allison Cromwell’s set design is rather simple, just consisting of a large living room chair, an upright floor lamp, a small round table with a pair of legacy phones placed on the tabletop, and a super heterodyne radio receiver. These objects depicts the family homestead and other places found through his life. These things are just enough to show that Melvin’s world is a lot bigger than it seems, and rightly so.

Today, Brooklyn is one of the hottest and perhaps most trendy places to live in New York outside of Manhattan. Many of the old-country Jews have since moved away to the outer regions of suburbia or have died. Stand up comics are now turing to social media to get themselves discovered. The local pro ball team that sold itself to “Hollywood” years ago has yet to return. And thanks to air conditioning and cheap(er) airfare, running off to the Catskills for the summer has taken a different stance. But Brooklyn still remains where it is, and will be present for generations to come. FOREVER BROOKLYN is a show for those that were there, or for those that wish they were! And as the local mobsters could say, bada-bing!

FOREVER BROOKLYN, presented by the West Coast Performing Arts Presenters, performs at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks, until February 9th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more details, call (800) 838-3006, or online at
http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/Event/3613939
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 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!

Theatre 68 of North Hollywood present the world premier of HOLIDAY PROBLEMS ANONYMOUS, an anthology consisting of short skits that deal with the said problems that come around toward the end of the year where holidays and the difficulties associated with tend to collide.

The scene opens with a group of people seated on folding chairs arranged in a semi circle a la twelve-step program, present to tell (and confess) on the events that occur this time of year. This scene sets up the other skits that follow, from a woman whose promotion within a department store falls in jeopardy thanks to a last minute replacement Santa; a snow person (compared to a snow man) fed up over global warming, takes the case to civil court; a group of people attending their seasonal office party each receives rather unusual gifts not as expected; a man making out his new year’s resolutions imagines how those resolutions could play out; a person at a store check-out line faces the notion of being political correct to the season with another shopper; a man joins his girlfriend’s family gathering noting how everyone is nutty while on the brink of proposing to her, and a special letter addressed to Santa!

An ensemble cast of players consisting of Jason Kyle, Vikram Bhoyrul, Ed Drer, LeLyn Love, Alexis de Lucia, Bryan Navarro, Heidi Appe, Chad Steers, Caroline Dingwall, Edgar Mota, Wade O Alden, Brandon Ficara, Valentina Tammaro, Edwin Scheibner, Anthony Marc Slade, and Ryan Lancaster, play the various parts proving that the season itself isn’t all merry and bright as it could be, because it’s not!

Jason Kyle created the skits as well as directed this program. As with anthologies, each skit differs in its comical value. The fifth act called Resolutions, is perhaps the most serious one of them all! But the season, either calling it “Christmas”, or “The Holidays” if one desires to lean toward that for noted political correctness, is something more prone to laugh at. And this show provides those laughs with its seasonal twist!

There isn’t much left in the local theater scene that still caters to Christmas, etc. as many of those other shows have already completed their runs, so HOLIDAY PROBLEMS ANONYMOUS is the final one to catch! Merry Christmas/Holidays to all, and to all…g‘night!

HOLIDAY PROBLEMS ANONYMOUS, presented by and performs at Theatre 68, 5112 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, until January 5th, ’19. Showtimes are Friday and Saturdays nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday afternoons, December 23rd and 30th at 4:00 PM, and Thursday, January 3rd at 8:00 PM. For tickets and for more information, visit
http://www.Theatre68.com
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HOLIDAY FAMILY REPORT

If those of you out there still receives mail physically sent to an address, it will be assumed that you may receive those greeting cards associated for this time of year. We are referring to those cards known as “Christmas Cards”.

It’s been a proven fact that these kind of greeting cards usually purchased and delived and associated with events that take placed in the month of December have been refereed to as “Holiday Cards”. Granted, there are a number of holidays that fall in December. However, the only holiday that holds the tradition where one would exchange greeting cards is “Christmas”. There have been greeting cards available on the market connected with Chanukah as well as Kwanzaa. However, those cards only exist so those that are associated with those holidays can exchange cards, as well as having the greeting card companies make a buck in the process! So this article will focus upon the holiday known as Christmas.

One element that has been part of the Christmas Card exchange ritual was a special letter enclosed with the cards. These letters are generally known as a “What-I/We-Did-The-Previous-Year” letter. This was a letter that highlighted what a person and/or family did from the last time a Christmas card was sent to the current Christmas season, noting the antics those those within the family domain. These events ranged from where somebody in the family went on a vacation, who was involved in a life changing event (birth, graduation, wedding, death, etc.), as well as other news and information that the created of the letter deemed as important or noteworthy.

The letter itself may also focus upon other people and events that the receiver of the letter may or may not know of. And how the letter was written may be in the form of a friendly letter that at times rambles on, while a few read as if they were taken as a newspaper article. A few of these notes may even hold some writing errors. However, it was not so much on how the letter was written, but the news and information that was contained.

And if one was lucky, one may even find a photo of the family and/or person in question so the receiver will have somewhat of an idea of what the person and/or family looks like! This way, one can be tied over with the family/person until the next Christmas where the latest news can be relayed. That is, assuming that the sender will compose another letter with all of the news that fits onto a page! (Both sides usually!)

These letter were very common to create and receive for many years. However, these letters started to fade off into the distance sometime in the early 21st century, when folks that are savvy enough just stopped composing the letters, or even stopped mailing traditional Christmas cards!

And what was the reason for this change of notification? Yep! You guessed it! Blame it on social media!

Ever since some of the giants of social media moved from novelty stage to a way of life, folks that had the desire to post anything and everything about themselves for most of the world to see and consume. Facebook, the grandaddy of all of the existing sites, became the be-all-to-end-all place to post notices, pictures, moving imagery, and anything one could get away with to let those know what is going on with themselves, no matter if the person wanted to know these facts or not! It was the place to report each and every activity on the ol’ world wide web. Folks can post news on a weekly basis, a daily basis, even an hourly basis! Some people give live reports are they are happening!! And they are not limited to giving the news that are of importance (birthday parties, trips abroad, etc.), but even trivial events that isn’t worth the time to report upon! One can tweet “I’m at the local supermarket getting a can a creamed corn!”, or posted a live video stream of the same person getting that same can of creamed corn at the supermarket!

Generally speaking, by the time one received a card by the family and/or person, everyone already knows of what went on, so way bother writing a recap? Just post the news via a podcast, a video uploaded via YouTube, or illustrated pictures via Instagram! Just as one have access to an electronic device and an internet connection, one is ready for action!

Sadly, those printed letters that were enclosed inside of a Christmas card became a document of a history of a family from a specific year or time period. That letter can serve as a written detailed diary that can be kept for as long as the letter exists! Social media, as wonderful as it may be, doesn’t necessarily save everything one can post on them. Unless the poster keeps all of the text, photos, video, or other notions on a hard drive and/or a cloud service, all of the news that was of importance can be gone forever! So anything that was posted on their Facebook account from 2010 may not still be available. And if one was using MySpace when that was the place to become part of, all of that stuff is totally gone! The MySpace of 2018 isn’t the MySpace of 2006! However, if one wrote a letter that same year, the letter is there to be read or read over. The nostalgia will prevail!

So if one ever does receive a printed “What-We-Did-The-Previous-Year” note, by all means keep it! In twenty or so years, one can find out what that family did back in those days. That is, if anyone outside of the family really cares!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at Hollywood’s Theatre of N.O.T.E. is the world premier of Andrew Osborne’s SPECIAL, a comical tale that looks behind the scenes of how “the worst variety show in the galaxy” ever came to light.

The “special” in this case, was called The Star Wars Holiday Special , a television program that took the premise of the characters and persona that was part of the biggest movie ever to come down the pike in the late 1970’s. When Star Wars was released in the late spring of 1977, it became a monster hit! A year later, its creator George Lucas was encouraged to sit in place a TV special that celebrated the notions of Star Wars. Through a series of meetings between media producers, dealing with a flamboyant director, using comedy writers to put something together (including a writer that would later team up with the creators of the film Airplane, and a writer that once served as a music critic for a Chicago newspaper) along with the original cast of Star Wars (Fisher, Hamill, and Ford), it would be a special program that could not miss! And it would air close to Christmastime, giving this special that “holiday” spin. The holiday would not be called “Christmas”, but an event called “Life Day” as celebrated by the Wookie family. It would even air on CBS during the “family hour”, before 10:00 PM-9:00 PM Central and Mountain time where it could be viewed by and for all ages. What could go wrong…right?

This comical play written by Andrew Osborne was extracted through various reports, news articles, personal notes, recollections by those that were there and a few that was reported long after the fact, with placing a healthy dosage of creative license, generates a fast paced play telling upon how a popular movie wasn’t suited for the small screen, or not quite yet! An ensemble of performers consisting of Paris Benjamin, Alex Elliot-Funk, Lance Guest, Jennifer Hugus, Rich Lehmann, Marty Yu, and Kerr Seth Lordygan who also serves as this show’s producer, director, and “special guest star”, play various roles. Those roles ranges from Star Wars creator George Lucas, writers Pat Proft and Bruce Vilanch, directors David Acomba and Steve Binder, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Harvey Korman(!), as well as fanboys, network executives, and actors in hot airless Wookie costumes. They make up what became a TV special that was not well received! The network CBS never aired the program again, while Lucas himself wanted to destroy any copies that may have been recorded off-the-air by those that had access to a Beta and/or VHS formatted video cassette recorder, as well as the broadcast master tape.

Although the comedy is well paced and the premise of the plotting is interesting and amusing, one would have to view the originally source (The TV special) to have all what’s seen on stage to make some sense. Underground recordings of this special has been floating around for decades as made available through comic book and/or SciFi conventions and gatherings, as well as through internet portals as YouTube. But once the TV special is seen, then the ideas expressed in this show keeps its comedy in high gear.

And for the record, the special itself is rather amusing for what TV programs of the late 1970’s could muster up. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either! Then again, CBS preempted Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk in its time slot. Watching episodes of those programs in today’s media landscape could be seen as “cheesy”. And the program following The Star Wars Holiday Special that night? A long forgotten drama/comedy program called Flying High that focused upon the misadventures of three Los Angeles based stewardesses working for a domestic airline. So much for TV’s “golden age”!

SPECIAL, presented by Ol‘ Bait Shop Productions, performs at Theatre of N.O.T.E,
1517 North Cahuenga Blvd. (Off Sunset Blvd.), Hollywood, until January 13th, ’19. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 5:00 PM. Special New Year’s Eve show on December 31st at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or online at https://SpecialThePlay.com/tickets
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MARY POPPINS RETURNS (Disney) stars Emily Blunt as the titled character who makes a return back to the Banks household while the family is going through a bit of distress.

The story takes place c.1930s, some twenty-five or so years after the previous time this nanny-for-hire had visited the London based Banks homestead. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is now in his 30’s, still living in the home he grew up in. Now a widower, he is the father of three children: Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson). Michael’s sibling Jane (Emily Mortimer) is unmarried and works as a supporter for the cause of labor and worker’s rights. Michel is a struggling artist, yet his other job is working as a teller in the bank his father was part of. Money was rather tight in his household, so he took out a loan with the bank against the value of his home. Now a bit behind with the payments, the bank summons a pair of solicitors, Gooding (Jeremy Swift) and Frey (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) demanding the payment in full, or they repossess the home. Just when things begin to become bleak, Mary Poppins makes a comeback, sailing from the skies through her umbrella, after many years. She becomes aware of Michael’s dilemma, so she assist by not only being a nanny of his three kids, but finds a way where Michael can help himself of saving the home from repossession. All of the is seen through the watchful sprit of a local gas lamp lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) that is just as bright and cheerful as the lamps he lights each evening and puts out in the dawn throughout the streets of London.

This long awaited sequel to one of the Walt Disney Company’s “crown jewels” is a very charming and pleasing musical. Its concept is one to a movie musical released during the 1960’s and 1970’s at a time when film musicals, although not as common as they once were, were something akin to a movie “epic”–not so much as epic in scope (no large scale battle scenes with a cast of thousands), but of a feature that was grand due to is overall set-up with lavish sets and backdrops, and song and dance numbers with plenty of high stepping choreography all synced to a rich and plush sounding musical score. In today’s movie landscape, such musical have been created in limited numbers (if at all) thanks to the public’s ever changing tastes in movies and the way they are consumed. This title breaks those barriers with a piece that is simple in idea, yet complex with playing itself as a 60’s and 70’s-esque motion picture! Emily Blunt plays Mary Poppins with the elegance and finesse where she can be the nanny of choice, yet keeps her “magic” to herself only when needed–the way that a magical nanny should perform! Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the adult Banks children are charming as well They are far from being cute, although the Banks kids as played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson have their own appeal minus being sappy or overly sweet. Lin-Manuel Miranda as gas lamp lighter Jack serves as Mary’s confident, the same method as Burt the Chimney Sweep did a generation before. (Bert’s name is mentioned as a vague reference to the first movie–more about that in a few later paragraphs!)

The songs heard in this feature as composed by Marc Shaiman (music) and Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (lyrics) are of the same nature. The tunes are catchy, lively, and would be more suited to a stage musical geared toward a mature level rather than something taken out of a popular music style i.e.. alternative rock or hip-hop. The screenplay by David Magee with screen story by David Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca is one that keeps its genteel motives about that fits to more of a family-friendly audience. Granted, it may more be suited with adults that grew up with the original musical through cable and home video (as well as limited theatrical runs), although kids that are totally abundant with taking moving imagery as seen through a hand held electronic device, may view this feature as something new and different.

As noted, there are a few references made in this film toward the original, but those references are just brief and somewhat vague. However, it is the method that this title gives it a “wink” toward the original source. And the question remains on if there will be a third movie title? This writer can’t really say as it all depends on how well this movie does box office wise! However, one can muster up a stage musical in the works!

PS..Would it be a spoiler that this feature also stars three noteworthy cast members? If it’s a spoiler, then stop reading this review right now! If it won’t be a spoiler, then those cast members are Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin Topsy, Angelia Lansbury as a balloon lady, and Dick Van Dyke as bank president Mr. Dawes, Jr. reprising his role.

This feature is rated “PG” for some minor intense moments. Opens on December 19th at all of the usual multiplexes!
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On December 12th, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.

Under the guise of the National Film Preservation Act, the LOC chooses twenty five titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least ten years old at the time of creation or public release, and must be an American production or co-production. Any motion picture can be chosen as long as it meets those guidelines, and do not necessarily have to be a commercial production. (Amateur and home movies can be selected.)

Each year, the LOC selects the titles are suggested by the LOC’s film preservation staff, moving image scholars, as well as the general public.

Listed below are the twenty five titles along with its year of release/creation. A “#” in front of the title indicates that it is a non-feature length film. (Short subject, amateur film, etc.)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Broadcast News (1987)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Cinderella (1950)
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
#Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency (1908)
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
The Girl Without a Soul (1917)
#Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People (1984)
Hearts and Minds (1974)
Hud (1963)
The Informer (1935)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Monterey Pop (1968)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Navigator (1924)
On the Town (1949)
One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Pickup on South Street (1953)
Rebecca (1940)
The Shining (1980)
Smoke Signals (1998)
#Something Good — Negro Kiss (1898)

For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2019 selection, visit the LOC’s National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film
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The Santa Monica Playhouse will present their annual NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW, the self titled event that will celebrate the changing from the old into the new through music, song, dance, with doses of comedy.

Featured in this production are a selection of tunes and dance numbers that hold an eclectic range, from 1940’s-era jazz, country-rock favorites, Jewish patter songs, and even a romantic balled or two as presented by the Actors’ Repertory Theatre-consisting of Andrea Asnoff, Jacob Cooper, Chris DeCarlo, Tiffany Haile, Adya Mahanty, Evelyn Rudie, Elena Rust, Berkeley Sanjay, and Raeva Vasisht. A number of these performers has been seen in previous shows at the SMP, so it’s a “family reunion” of sorts that welcomes the new calendar year in high style!

And what makes a New Year’s celebration complete is all of the goodies that go along with it! Your evening includes a buffet supper, champagne/sparkling cider, and party favors that will guide everyone in attendance to slide from the old of ’18 into the new of ’19.

The SMP’s NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW will have two performances: 6:00 and 9:30 PM. The early show are for those that wish to partake the celebration a few hours before the stoke of twelve, or for those that wish to attend a second outside event. The 9:30 PM presentation will give those the moment to ring in the new year with the entire cast! And both shows are family friendly! Bring the kids of any age to partake in all of the festivities!

The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica. For more information on these shows, call (310) 394-9779 ext 1, or visit the SMP online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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This issue will be the final edition of Accessibly Live Off-Line for the 2018 calendar year. We will be taking the next two weeks off, and will return with Vol. 24-No. 1 on the week beginning January 7th, 2019.

On behalf of the staff and management of ALOL, we wish everyone a safe and progressive holiday season! See you in ’19!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 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!

CHRISTMAS ON THE TV HEARTH

One thing that this season has to offer is the mergence of media and the rituals that go along with it all that make this month unique where if it was totally missing, it would be noticed!

Over the decades, Christmas a.k.a. “The Holidays” and television have been played as strange bedfellows. Since the dawn of TV, there have been many occations where TV has played its part of how this season is depicted as something that is festive as is part of all of the merry making–or at least as an attempt to be depicted as merry.

Let’s face it! There have been many video events that have appeared on the medium called television that has become an extension of the season to many folks that falls within the same methods as traditional rituals that are part of Christmas. Folks just loved to gather around the TV machine for either a special Christmas themed episode from one of their favorite TV shows, or to view a single “special” program that spoke for the holiday season. These kind of TV specials focused upon a specific person–usually a media personality that has some professional comedy and/or musical background, that participated in skits and segments that overemphasized the season that was for the entire family to enjoy. A good number of these personalities made a second career in bringing warmth and joy for the season through video, such as Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, and many others remembered and a few long forgotten. The basic theme to these special programs ranged from joyous, bright, gay (the original definition of “gay”), sentimental, and perhaps a bit sweet and silly. However, video audiences didn’t seem to mind too much as all of these TV programs became a welcomed part of the media landscape and served as a vehicle for product sponsors to sell their goods.

These series of stand alone Christmas specials aired on the big three TV networks from the middle 1950’s and continued through the middle 1990’s. Since the 90‘s, cable TV channels has more time and space on their schedules to offer alternative Christmas themed programing that was more akin to its audience, around the same time when the fornoted media personalities were either long retired or dead. Those that did retire never found a personality to fill their shoes (so to speak) in continuing in what they did for TV audiences to be merry and jolly, sing a few songs as either as a solo artist or with the assistance of TV family members or their “special guest stars” to add toward the comedy and/or musical selections performed by the backing of a full orchestra.

One element that cable TV bright to forth was the Christmas themed TV movie, a feature length program that told a story that took placed over the Christmas season (thus the genre “Christmas themed TV movie”), that featured a character that was in some kind of domestic dilemma. The character in question would eventually find some form of salvation through another person and/or source that took advantage of what the season was all about to make things correct for the protagonist(s) with a pleasant conclusion. The stories told were simple enough to bill it as either light drama, comedy, (or both), as well as hold some form of romance added for pleasant and festive flavor.

These kind of TV features were first aired as part of The Hallmark Hall of Fame when it moved from NBC to CBS in the late 1970’s. When the network aired these programs, they were presented with a bit more drama, yet still kept their happy ending. When The Hallmark Channel became part of the cable TV medium in the 1990’s, its focus changed to something out of a romantic comedy catering to more of a female demographic–the kind of demo that purchase products made by Hallmark Cards and their many offshoots. The quality of these features were just “OK”, as the stories were again simple and sweet. The ensemble players appearing on them were either “B” or “C”-list actors, or those that became famous through daytime television i.e. soap operas. These movies fell into the category as “so-bad-they’re-good”, that resulted a holding toward a cult following.

Before long, mediums such as Lifetime started to air their own take on these TV movies. Later, other sources took advantage of the Christmas TV movie bandwagon, from Freeform, Ion, Bounce, UpTV, and countless others that brought on the seasonal sweetness to the pot.

And thanks to OTT television, one can stream their way where a viewer can partake on a binge fest of their own. Places such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crackle, and the giant of them all, Netflix, offers a vast selection of these same movies where they are available for the ever lovin’ 24/7 time period! Their lists are totally endless.

And why are these kind of feature length one-shot seasonal video programs hold toward their appeal? Perhaps they show a time, place, and characters that do not really exist in so-called “real life”. They are shadows depicting a fantasy world that could be real, but are not likely to really be found in the ways depicted. In the same tradition as a male demographic would find an action/adventure feature (especially starring comic book super hero types) as part of a fantasy world they can escape to, those that are of a female demographic can find comfort in a story that star those that look and act as themselves as they are finding the meaning of the season through joy, faith, and perhaps love. Comparing a special-effect laden action pix and a Christmas themed TV movie title may not necessarily be a fair line-up, but the ideas do exist.

So as the season progresses with such items that can be consumed on any electronic device that sports a viewing screen and can get internet access, The Holidays as they are presently labeled, will still prevail, just like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and other days of the week that will all run as late as Super Bowl Sunday, although that part of the media landscape that is for another topic and for another article!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Crown City Theatre presents for its alternative production, Jeff Goode’s THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, that consists of the troupe of reindeer that speak about how Santa wasn’t very nice–but rather naughty!

Seems that Jolly ol’ St. Nick wasn’t much of a saint. In fact, the ol’ boy may have been involved with some actions that may be true–or not. Was Santa taking indecent liberties with the elves? Does Rudolf have a deep secret that we all should know about? The eight reindeer dish out on what’s going on at the North Pole. There’s Dasher (Neil Unger), the leader of the pack. If there is a scandal, he isn’t talking! Cupid (Michael Mullen) is a bit more fluid over what’s going on. He won’t hesitate to tell you that he’s gay and proud of the fact! Prancer (Michael Marchek) has gone Hollywood starring in a movie featuring his name. (Never mind the fact that the movie itself is only “ok”!) Blitzen (Kimberly Patterson) insists that “no” really means “no”! Comet (Eric Keitel) once ran around with a pack of bad reindeer. Santa saves his from a life of crime and drugs, so he’s backing up the man no matter what! Dancer (Valerie Lynn Brett) was once a dancer, but joined the reindeer team shortly after his dance studio was burned in protest of fellow reindeer dancers. Donner (Jeff Wiyzek) became part of the group in order to not speak about past event called the “Foggy Christmas” episode. Vixen (Megan Cochrane) accuses Santa over sexual harassment, and will indeed press charges!

This play by Jeff Goode was first presented some twenty years ago long when such scandals were coming to light. (Not involving reindeer through!) In today’s domestic society, talks and tales of sexual mishaps have been all over the place! This makes this series of monologues more timely than ever before! It develops through dark humor that becomes deeper as this show progresses. With a running time of just a little over an hour, “The Eight” speaks upon how it’s not all happy and gay (except for Cupid) up in the North Pole as one would assume!

The cast of eight play their roles as expected without being too “over the top”! Donning cloth antlers and a black nose, only one would know they are a set of reindeer that speaks the truth. Sonny Lira and William A. Reilly directs this show that is to the point, and of course, not for the kids! It may be The Holidays, but not everything that counts for the season is meant for the entire family–and rightly so!

THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, presented by the Crown City Theatre, and performs at the Crown City Theatre space located on the campus of St Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 11031 Camarillo St North Hollywood, until December 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday nights at 8:00 PM, Friday and Saturday nights at 11:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For tickets and for for details, call (818) 605-5685, or online at https://www.CrownCityTheatre.com

This production is running in repertory with CCT’s regular production of The Mousetrap. Visit the CCT’s website for more details on this program.
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The Zephyr Theatre presents the west coast premier of Neil Koenigsberg’s WINK, a comedy-drama of the friendship of two different people from two different backgrounds that hold a common bond.

The setting is Los Angeles-the summer of ’17. David Mingrino is Dario Villanova. He was a one time rising actor appearing in big-time features while winning awards for his craft. That was a few years before. Now he’s down to being on the “C” list. His long time agent Peter King (Adam Cardon) is offering a role in some slasher film that may bring him back into the spotlight. Dario himself has been in mourning over the recent loss of his housekeeper’s nephew as he drowned in his pool. When he isn’t working which has been often, Dario volunteers his time at a place that serves LGBTQ youth. One person he meets is a youth that is named Wink. (Andrik Ochoa). Wink is a young adolescent of mixed latinx decent that came from The Bronx, New York and lives where he can, usually inside of a cardboard box under a freeway overpass. Wink is gender neutral-not a boy or a girl–just Wink. Dario discovers that Wink is artistically talented, and loves 1950’s doo-wop music. This preference of music grants these two with a common bond. He eventually takes Wink under his wing as a friend. Manuel Ortiz (David Mingrino), a social worker at the LGBTQ youth center, sees this friendship as a bit odd, yet genuine. This form of bonding is enough for Dario to promise a major financial contribution to the center. But what is behind this friendship between a fading actor and a young person that isn’t a he nor a she? What will this do to his career? Will Wink become a whole person staying on the edge of being a male and/or a female? And how will Dario’s publicist Valerie Smith (Amy Argye) offer to the awaiting press over Dario’s personal and benefactory choice?

This play written by Neil Koenigsberg is a unique look of a friendship where backgrounds differ, yet strings of commonality keeps them together! Dario and Wink are not father-son types. They appear as a father figure and a young human. This method of a relationship gives this play a storyline that is unique and as noteworthy. The two leads, David Mingrino as Dario Villanova and Andrik Ochoa as Wink, play their roles with sincerity. Adam Cardon as Dario’s agent Peter King isn’t as stereotypical as media would portray an agent of his kind, although he really doesn’t understand his client’s choice of who to bond with! Euriamis Losada as social worker Manuel Ortiz is one that supports the community that are labeled with a string of letters that stand for something involving personalized sexual status, lifestyle, or identity. And Amy Argyle as Valerie Smith is an over-the-top publicist that knows how the Hollywood track works.

The play itself is just as dramatic as it’s comical as it’s heartwarming! It’s not sweet, nor it’s bitter. It’s expressed as a basic case study of a honest and trusting friendship. Michael Allen Angel direct this show as a story full of characters that desire to belong. Some with specific labels, and with one (Wink) who just wants to be Wink!

Special note goes to what’s seen on stage, from Pete Hickok’s set design (Just a few pieces of basic furnishings showing where the characters reside), to Katrina Pagsolingan’s projection creation that shows its backdrop through graphics and animation as cast upon the stage area’s artistically drafted back wall.

WINK is a play that treats those that fall within being LGBTQ with respect through the understanding that humans are humans. Granted, not all domestic setting may understand this fact. However, this point isn’t expressed nor emphasized in any overly fashion. It’s just an actor and a questioning youth getting together through their passion of oldies but goodies! (Ooo-WEEE-oooh!)

WINK, presented by Shanks74 Productions, and performs at The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue (east of Fairfax and west of La Brea) Los Angeles, until January 13th, ’19. Showtimes are Saturday and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Added performances take place on Fridays, December 21st, 28th, and January 11th at 8:00 PM. No performances on December 24th and 31st.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 960-1055, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Wink
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The Santa Monica Playhouse will present their annual NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW, the self titled event that will celebrate the changing from the old into the new through music, song, dance, with doses of comedy.

Featured in this production are a selection of tunes and dance numbers that hold an eclectic range, from 1940’s-era jazz, country-rock favorites, Jewish patter songs, and even a romantic balled or two as presented by the Actors’ Repertory Theatre-consisting of Andrea Asnoff, Jacob Cooper, Chris DeCarlo, Tiffany Haile, Adya Mahanty, Evelyn Rudie, Elena Rust, Berkeley Sanjay, and Raeva Vasisht. A number of these performers has been seen in previous shows at the SMP, so it’s a “family reunion” of sorts that welcomes the new calendar year in high style!

And what makes a New Year’s celebration complete is all of the goodies that go along with it! Your evening includes a buffet supper, champagne/sparkling cider, and party favors that will guide everyone in attendance to slide from the old of ’18 into the new of ’19.

The SMP’s NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW will have two performances: 6:00 and 9:30 PM. The early show are for those that wish to partake the celebration a few hours before the stoke of twelve, or for those that wish to attend a second outside event. The 9:30 PM presentation will give those the moment to ring in the new year with the entire cast! And both shows are family friendly! Bring the kids of any age to partake in all of the festivities!

The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica. For more information on these shows, call (310) 394-9779 ext 1, or visit the SMP online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.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) 2018 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!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

That above headline, far from something original, was taken from an indirect quote from a colleague of mine that give their report on their Christmas shopping.
“I’ve completed my Christmas shopping already!” says the shopper in question as that person sported a quirky grin.

“How did you finish already?” I asked, although I really didn’t care too much on how this so-called expert completed this task, considering that it wasn’t very likely that I was going to be part of this person’s gift list.

“I started my shopping around September. I ordered everything on-line. I followed up with a receipt stating that everything was shopped out! Everything should arrive by the end of this week!” said the shopper, where this writer added a lot of phrases to this dialogue since I really can’t remember just what was really being stated.

I do recall that the shopper showed me everything through their phone device: The items ordered, the method of payments, the receipts for the goods purchased, as well as the notices on what was shipped when. Everything that this person did was also bought through their handy-dandy phone.

I’m not going to get into too many details on this person since the shopper in question isn’t about the focus of this story, although I will state that this person’s demographics would fall within the “millennium” age. This person of this selected age group believes that anything one can do within their life is available by having access to an internet connection and a device that can connect to that same internet connection.

The real focus here is on this person’s buying habits. This person, whose name and gender is not important for now, joined Amazon Prime about three years ago while attending a local community college. That person had to purchase a textbook. The book itself was being sold at the school’s bookstore for a certain price. However, Amazon had an offer where for a student rate, one can join their Amazon Prime group. This person did join just to grab the textbook. From there, the person started to look for other goods since there was a “free shipping” part of that deal. It was an offer that was too good to pass up. From there, just about anything this person wanted to get was done through this portal for shopping. And this recent seasonal shopping splurge was no exception!

There has been many write-ups in the media lately on how people’s shopping habits has changed over the past few years. Although shopping online is far from being new, it’s now part of a way of life where one can get goods through a click of a mouse and/or a tap on a glass screen. It’s a method to perform a task that easy, fast, and perhaps fun.

However, it’s not the only way to shop. Physical retail stores to still exist, and people are still reasonable to obtain goods in person. One can still experience the items by looking at them, touching them, and getting the goods when they want it–right now! No waiting for shipping no matter how much it may cost, be it as free or at a greatly reduced price.

And even those retail outlets can offer what they sell in both ways. One can order online, and pick up the goods right then and there sans the free shipping charge. And many stores, in order to lure customers in, are hosting events at their outlets. Places that cater to the kitchen and related in-home hospitality offers live in-store demonstrations, classes on home crafting, and other hands-on events. Not only are these classes and demonstrations informative, but gives the attendee an incentive to actually make a purchase. No matter how a video program seen via YouTube can teach a task, one can’t get the same satisfaction if taught and presented in-person!

And shopping malls have all of the “holiday” decorations up and running. (A few malls had them up as early as Columbus Day!) Seeing the bight lights, hearing the canned music piped in from hidden loudspeakers, and all of the red & green and blue & white shades promise that all of the merriment is present. One can’t see all of that on a website within the same stance.

There are other methods to get the shoppers back into the real stores to take part of the season, but you the readers can get the (snow) drift! It’s all part of what makes the December based season just what it is!

As to our shopper that got everything done. Now that all of the December antics are completed, now it’s time to that person to get going on the activities for the new year. Mostly, preparing to file tax forms that show off all of the details done (and spent) from the previous season. It may not have the same fun level that shopping has created, but when the government talks, one has to listen! So much for humor!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

No new reviews this issue, but stay tuned for more of the news, previews, and reviews you find here at Accessibly Live Off-Lne!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 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!

 

SEARS HAD EVERYTHING

Recently, the company known as Sears Holdings make another move in their retail business that was predicted by those that are involved within the measurement on how physical and cyberspace based retail is conducting the sale of good and services, with a heavy emphasis on the goods side. It filed for bankruptcy protection.

Over the past few years, Sears have been scaling down its many stores, most of them were located in shopping malls around the nation. The few free standing stores were the first ones to go as many of them closed their doors after being in their neighborhoods for decades. Its last store based in the city where it was founded, Chicago, closed after being at its same location since 1938. It was located in a Chicago neighborhood called “Five Corners”, since three major streets intersected. It was for many years the area where small and larger stores existed. Although when the shopping mall frenzy began in the 1970’s and continued through the 1990’s, that Sears store held out on its own. It was also the first first Sears outlet that had central air conditioning, something that took care of shoppers during those long hot summers that Chicago normally receives.

But Sears were very unique in their own ways. Although their store was not the first ones to offer a catalog (that was the late Montgomery-Wards that began their business in 1872, some fourteen years before Sears Roebuck began their retailing), many people awaited the grab their catalogs that were kept by folks to a point where it rival The Bible as the book to have at bay. At one time, they has a series of private brands that made Sears unique to what they were, the retailer that did “have everything” as their ads boasted for many a decade.

Up until the 1990’s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the nation in terms of goods sold and the outlets that were available. Although they did have plenty of competition in terms of department stores, including J.C. Pennys, the for noted Montgomery-Wards, as well as the many regional outlets that were part of a major city’s landmark, Sears was the get-go place for such goods as Craftsman tools, Die-Hard batteries, and the crown jewel of their portfolio, Kenmore appliances, known to be one of the best brands in the business. Many of their “white goods” such as washers/dryer units, stoves, refrigerators, etc. as well as the smaller appliances, were built to last! (This writer has held on to his Kenmore refrigerator and washer & dryer since purchased in 1996, Except for the ice maker to be replaced the previous year, none has yet to give up fail! Ditto for a built-in stove unit colored dark brown that was first dated as c.1966, but may be as old as a 1960 model!)

Walmart, the retailer that was more of a “discount department store” rather than a full fledged retail outlet, started to expand its footprint from being in rural and far suburban communities to extend to the urban city landscape in the 1990’s. Before long, folks were heading off the place home for “falling prices” with its famous (or infamous) yellow smiley face. By the turn of the 21st century, not only it becomes the biggest retailer in the nation, it later became the biggest non-government employer! (At one time, General Motors had the distinction of being the biggest employer in the USA where American autos really made a difference!)

But the all-mighty Walmart is experiencing its growing pains as well. Their main rival is not Target, a retailer that is similar to Walmart’s method of retailing, but it’s a retail outlet that mostly exists in cyberspace–Amazon. And Sears is even trying to get in connection with Amazon by offering many of its Kenmore appliances available though the Amazon portals.

But with the big holiday shopping season just about here, it’s a new change on how folks are going to get their goods for those gift-giving holidays that fall within the month of December. Last year at this time, the biggest retailer of toys, Toys-R-Us, made what would have been the final attempt to become part of the seasonal buying frenzy. They did stick it out, only to later dissolve their entire store universe months after the Christmas trees were long put away as well as the wrapping paper stuffed in trash and recycle bins.

As of this writing, Sears will still be around for this holiday season. Although physical retail outlets may be threatened by those that exist in cyberspace land, they will not totally go away! So the news of a physical retail store being “dead” is anything but!

It’s been many moons since the days when yours truly as a wee tot would be at a Sears store (with my mom, ‘natch) –a stand-alone store where I would find fake food inside of their Kenmore refrigerators, could grab a bag of freshly popped popcorn in bags that were long and narrow, and to head on over to the shoe department to grab my latest issue of March of Comics, a digest sized mini comic books published by Western Publishing Company (under the name of “Gold Key”) that had the license to offer comics feature the Looney Tunes characters (Bugs Bunny and the rest), Water Lanz (Woody Woodpecker, etc.), the Disney staple, as well as comic book versions of popular TV shows of the era. (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, The Beverly Hillbillies, and so on!)

Oh, yes! Inside of most of the Sears outlets had an office of Allstate Insurance where one can get details on home and auto insurance policies. It was indeed one-stop shopping, and my mom knew where to go to get whatever was needed in the family household! It couldn’t have been better than that!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents for the holiday season, A CHRISTMAS STORY, the beloved tale of a boy’s deep desire to wish for a cherished toy, only to discover that his wish isn’t at his command–or so it seems!

The place is the Parker household located in Hohman, Indiana, a working class community located between steel mills to the east, and the city of big shoulders to the west. It’s Christmastime, 1940. Nine year old Ralphie Parker (Andre Mora, alternating with Sawyer Valin) is on the quest for the Christmas gift to end all Christmas gifts-a genuine carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a built-in compass and sundial endorsed by comic strip cowboy Red Ryder. Rebuffed at every turn with a similar echoing response by his mom (Andrea Stadling) stating that “You’ll shoot your eye out”, and his “old man” (Richard Van Slyke) that knows better since he’s the head of the household, Ralphie schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun come heck or high water!

This play, based upon the writings of humorist Jean Shepherd from his book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash as well as the screenplay of the feature film of the same name composed by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark with stage adaption by Phillip Grecian, is a charming nostalgic tale set during the Christmas season (when it was still known as “Christmas”) focusing upon a middle class domestic family and the little trials and tribulations that became part of one’s childhood–even if a little creative license was added for good intentions! In this stage version, Jackson Kendall plays the adult version of Ralph as he guides the audience on how his life was all about, and the material objects that would make it all happen, from the for noted carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle, to a table lamp the old man won in a newspaper contest.

The cast includes a mix of adult and youth players as part of the ensemble. Bradley Bundle, alternating with Kevin Yings, plays Ralphie’s younger sibling Randy. The neighborhood kids consists of Schwartz (Marshall Gluck, alternating with Myles Hutchinson), Flick (Jude Gomez, alternating with Lucas Lim), Helen (Kennedy Farr, alternating with Charlotte Li), Ester Jane (Zoe Cox, alternating with Jade Riley), and neighborhood bully Scut Farkas (Jax Malcolm, alternating with Griffin Sanford). The other on-stage adult player is Danon Dastugue as Miss Shields, Ralphie’s teacher.

Charles Erven is the scenic designer, dressing the stage with period pieces ranging from humble furnishings to a kitchen some twenty years behind the times, and Shon LeBlanc’s costuming is also fit from the era it speaks for.

Directed by Christian Lebano, A CHRISTMAS STORY is an appealing play that the entire family can enjoy. It will give the adults something to smile about, and it will teach the youth that Christmas (or “holiday”) gifts came from the heart. Although asking for BB guns that resemble real firearms may have fallen out of vogue in today’s landscape, it still competes with the notion of a family rising to their occasion with no batteries (or wifi) required!

A CHRISTMAS STORY, presented by and performed at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until December 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees on December 8th, 15th, and 22nd at 2:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons, December 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th at 2:30 PM.
Special performances on Wednesday and Thursday nights, December 19th and 20th at 7:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or through the SMP website at
http://www.SierraMadrePlayhouse.org
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The Glendale Centre Theatre presents its annual production of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, the beloved tale of how an old skinflint changed his heart in the outlook of the season, thanks to a trio of spirits that showed him otherwise.

Richard Malmos plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly man who runs a counting house in London. It’s Christmas, 1843, and everyone is making merry for the season except for Scrooge that won’t have any of it. He overworks his employee Bob Cratchit (Greg Hardash), and turns down anything that has to do with the season, replying with a “Bah Humbug!” On Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his deceased partner Jacob Marley (Rick Steele) warning him of a visit of other specters representing Christmas Past (Samantha Labercque), Christmas Present, (Shey Taylor) and Christmas yet to come. (Travis Dietlein) In spite of what the sprits foretold to Scrooge, he did learn his ways, as the lesson is to keep the season in one’s heart.

Every season for fifty three years, the GCT presents this tale that’s been passed through for many generations. And for this season, this production boasts a robust cast. Many of the players that appear in this program are part of this theater’s repertory company. Richard Malmos as the lead player has appeared in many other productions in the past, too many to mention! Other GCT regulars are Greg Hardash as Cratchit, Hisato Masuyama (who also serves as musical director), Kyle Kelly, Michael Dumas, and many others. As much as this writer would be honored to list every player in this show, space won’t allow. However, each performer fits to their roles down to its holly leaf.

James Betteridge adapted this stage production as well as serving as director. Steve Applegate arranged the transcribed music score. James Betteridge & Ashley Caven serves as set designers, and Angela Manke created the costumes that speak for the period.

The GCT has presented this time-tested classic for ages. Although each production may have differed through the many years, it’s always a refreshing moment to experience this show again. This reviewer has seen this presentation at the GCT starring the late Mario DiGregorio, and through the work of all of the players appearing in this show, his sprit lives on! No matter how one experiences this time of the year either as “Christmas”, “The Holidays”, or through other monikers, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a program for all ages to enjoy for its first time, or for its first time again! Tiny Tim said it best by giving it a heady God bless everyone!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday afternoons at 3:00 PM, Sunday matinees at 1:00 PM, and 5:00 PM December 16th and 23rd, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons December 4th, 5th, 11th, and 12th at 11:00 AM, and daily December 17th through the 24th (except the 23rd) at 8:00 PM.

For more details and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com. The website will also provide GCT’s full 2019 schedule of plays and musicals.
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RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Disney) features the two characters from the first release “Wreck-It Ralph”; racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) and Ralph (John C. Reilly). Both live within their arcade games as content video game characters. Vanellope is looking for something new and different from her game Sugar Rush as she knows every twist and turn of the racing track in all of the game playing levels. Ralph doesn’t want his game to change as he is always wanted to wreck his buildings so Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) can fix them. Things start taking a turn when the arcade they live in installs something called “wifi” that can connect those with an electronic device to “the internet”, something that Ralph and Vanellope isn’t too familiar with. When the steering column on the Sugar Rush game breaks off, the machine can’t be fixed as the company is no longer making the game and the cost to replace the wheel is too expensive. However, a replacement wheel is being sold on eBay for a price that the arcade manager doesn’t want to pay. Thus, the game will be turned permanently off leaving Vanellope to be gone forever, So Ralph and Vanellope decide to go to this place called the internet and to eBay to get the replacement wheel. Once in (on) the internet, they overbid on the wheel where they have to pay a high amount. In order to raise the funds, they become connected with J.P. Spamley, a character in charge of “click bate” where Ralph and Vanellope are lead to a multi-player game called “Slaughter Race” where muitle players can race among a post apocalypse city–a game that the sweet Vanellope finds as her real and true home.

This feature, also known as Wreck-It Ralph II, takes a fast paced and rather keen look on the ways of the ‘net as its related to a pair of video game caricatures that were supposedly created during the pre-internet days. (Ralph comes from the 1980’s as Vanellope is a 1990’s-esque video game star!) The concept of this feature with a screen play by Phil Johnson and Pamela Ribon, from a story by Rich Moore, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, along with Johnston and Ribon, takes a number of liberties and inside gags to the concept of the ‘net, while it holds on to a side story on how Ralph and Vanellope cherishes their friendship without getting that notion as overly sappy. (Post-modern kids would appreciate this idea!)

Among the many fast paced comical moments that is featured in this title are the characters from “Slaughter Race”. Most notability, Shank (Gal Gadot), a kick-ass racer gal that admires Vanellope’s driving skills, even adapter her as a sister figure. (Driving through a destructive city isn’t as different than racing through Candy-land). Another treat to see is an encounter through a Disney-based website where Vanellope meets all of the Disney princesses! This meeting gives the maker of the feature, The Walt Disney Company, to poke a little fun of their princess characters, even though those same princesses are a big cash cow for the company!

There are a lot more elements that make this movie as a fun vehicle. (Pun?) However, this writer doesn’t want to create any spoilers–unless the ‘net has already done so, but we will state that it doesn’t take itself very seriously and rightly so! Rich Moore and Phil Johnson’s direction makes this feature amusing and entertaining for all ages. Kids will understand it (they are more tech savvy then those of voting age), as well as those adults that made it all happen!

Unlike a Pixar Studios animated film released close to the end of the year that contains more sentiment, this movie holds more comic relief than deep emotion. That is the theme to many of the other animated features of late. If this title pans out the way it should, there may be a third entry to this franchise. Just Google the name for any updates!

This feature film is rated “PG” for some action as for “rude humor”. Now playing in all multiplexes nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 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!