“REAL” ENTERTAINMENT

Not too long ago, a marketing study was conducted that focused upon how entertainment was fundamental to one’s health and happiness, as well as being key in shaping one’s identity. 

This report, called Truth About Entertainment, took a survey based on some 6000 replies from those residing in the USA, as well as in Asian nations as Japan and China that asked upon their views on what entertains them through media (television, movies, etc.), music through recordings and/or through musical artists, as well as books and sporting events. Through these mediums, the report targeted on how a person seeks an identity through their entertainment values, as well as how such amusement plays a key role through their personal health, be it as physical and/or emotional, and the pleasure they obtain.

Some of the results found within this study shows that nearly three quarters (74%) served as an influence to the person they presently are, while 60% noted that this same interest influenced their choice of a domestic partner. Also, some 66% of Americans would want to preserve live entertainment vs. some related source that was delivered through electronic means, such as a video based streaming service. And the more they are using a “canned” form of entertainment, they more they desire some exposure of live entertainment. 80% of Chinese agree on this notion while American stated this fact at 75%. (Folks at Japan only agreed to this notice at 57%.) However, more than half of all groups could not recall the last time they experience some form of live entertainment! But whatever the case, 80% of the Chinese and Americans did agree that “without entertainment in my life, I wouldn’t be me!” (This level runs at 70% in Japan.)

Some of these facts as noted above came from a filing conducted by the advertising agency McCann as a commissioned study by MGM Resorts International, one of the largest (if not the largest) conglomerates that operate casinos. And McCann is the agency that works with MGM Resorts to advertise their facilities that functions wherever gambling is allowed.

There is some truth connected between the notion on how the choice of entertainment and one’s personal identity and well being holds true through their personal connections.

First, being a “fan” of some kind of musical group, TV series, or feature film picks ring true to one’s personal standing. It’s a moment where a selection of a form of media- based amusement places a stand in one’s life, especially if that same person is within a group or gathering of said followers. To present a basic idea to this fact, this writer usually attends the annual Turner Classic Film Festival that takes place every spring in Hollywood. (This year, the TCM Film Fest occurs from April 26th through the 29th. Details can be found at http://filmfestival.tcm.com/). Throughout the fest, I have encountered score of folks that holds this passion to see feature films from not so long ago on the big screen with a group of others who just adore movies of this type. Some attend with the sense of amusement, while others are present as their be-all-to-end-all journey. (Many folks take their spring break vacations from where they came from to travel to good ol’ Hollywood, USA just to only watch movies!) The same goes for fans of comic-based entertainment to travel to many of the “comic cons” (the generic term for a “comic book convention”) that takes place in locations throughout the country. Some attend the regional fests, while others use San Diego as their mecca to hit the San Diego ComicCon, perhaps the biggest one of them all! This writer never had the opportunity to attend any of the SDCC events, but the media always reports upon not only of the activities that took place, but on the people that attend! Many don costumes of characters found in comic book series, graphic novels, manga titles, and so on. (These folks are in “costume play”, or ‘cosplay” for short.) Their identity is refined as they attend these events in either through a simple method, or going out in full force. (More details on the San Diego Comic Con can be found at https://www.comic-con.org.)

Of course, movies and comic book fodder are just two of many forms of entertainment that reflect upon who one is and where they stand within their domestic world in terms of interest, knowledge, and metal state of mind. Granted, not every person who leans toward a specific form of amusement holds their real identity within this realm, but it still exists in some from of being. On the opposite side of these points, many who was once a fan of something or another may have had their interests shift over time and tide. A person that once held an interest in the writings of an author and/or fiction genre at a younger age might have discovered that their interest in the subject matter was great at that moment, but eventually lost interest. Their identity to those works fell off the wayside. It may return one day, or it may never come back again!

In this day and age, finding one’s identity and one’s entertainment will only expand in terms of amount and access to the goods. For movie fans, one can now catch a feature on a TV device that sits within a living room or den space in one’s home, on a laptop carried anyplace that has internet access, or on a phone that sits in one’s pocket or pocketbook. (Don’t forget the traditional movie houses!) The same goes for music lovers discovering their tunes through their computer machines, smartphones, or even through the radio! The list goes on and onward.

So take a stand to who one is, where they are at, and what kind of video programs they are going to stream through their over-the-top TV-esque channel systems. As Popeye would say, “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam”! Just ask anyone who are fans of comic strips, animation, or points in between! They will lay it on ya!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at Hollywood’s Lounge Theatre is the west coast premier of Jeff Tabnick’s THE INTIMACY EFFECT, a play that takes two couples attending a dinner party only to have their event turn itself for its worst with the introduction of a stranger delivering an announcement about a future delivery of sorts.

Tim Fannon plays Matt Appel. Toni Christopher is his wife Amy. Matt’s invited his bother Doug (Robert Bella) and his spouse Merrily (Jordana Oberman) to their apartment to celebrate his birthday. Although this was meant to be a festive occasion, things begin on the wrong track. Amy’s going through the effect of a traumatic incident that occurred the day before. Matt still makes an attempt to bring the spirits up in spite of the incident. The conversations that go between this foursome speak for personal affairs and exploits that range between politics, social issues, their six individual lives, as well as the traumatic incident in question from the day beforehand where a strange woman bearing child named Jennifer (Cassidy Schiltz) showed up from out of the blue. Her arrival bares a deep secret that can change things for all, not necessarily for the better. This so-called birthday/dinner party starts off as flat, and may become a sign for the future between all.

This one act play written by Jeff Tabnick can be labeled as a dramatic downer. The characters express some form of grief, uncertainty, and a sense that things are not going very well and will only become driving toward the worst. This method of moodiness brings the best drama-wise where the four bicker with one another as well as to themselves, expressing their thoughts showing off on how they really feel. These inner thoughts are not as hidden as the bitter truths become more exposed.

This cast of characters as performed by this troupe of five players are the kind one would find in lighter TV comedies, giving a sense of familiar territory that the theater audience would expect. Play director Eric Hunicutt packs enough emotional drama that keeps the pace going (even at its depressing points) for its full seventy-five minute running time.

Michael Fitzgerald’s set design of Amy and Matt’s apartment shows a rather tight yet cozy space with enough hints of their never-seen young daughter and her personal effects such as storybooks, drawings, and photos, giving the illusion of a content young(er) family, even though Matt’s birthday commemorates the halfway point of life.

The only element of intimacy ever depicted in this play is the real lack of closeness the two couples share. It’s a stage play for the emotional ties between middle class hetrosexual couples living in today’s post-modern age.

THE INTIMACY EFFECT, presented by JTK Productions and performs at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (at El Centro Avenue, one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until May 6th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at http://TheIntimacyEffect.BrownPaperTickets.com
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Lois Robbins’ solo show L.O.V.E.R., a coming of age saga of Lois’ sex lives, makes its world premier at the Zephyr Theatre located in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles.

In her performance, Lois tells about how she discovered the joys of sex at a young age. Not with anyone human, but through household furnishings as well as the washing machine that vibrated within the spin mode, making Lois doing her own “spinning” in the right places. As she grew up, she discovered boys, later men, through academic schooling and through the many schools of life. She found the loves in her life, only to leave them behind, as well as having herself left behind. She had a career to take care of–acting of course, as well as going through her own situations both as emotional and physical. But whatever occurred, Lois survived them all, enough to tell her pubic that she became the lover (and l.o.v.e.r.) that she is.

Lois tells her mini epic that consists of a pleasant blend of comedy and drama with enough doses of tragic episodes that shows more truthful emotion than being another stage of personal depression. She also displays enough honesty that makes her own self character appealing. (She fully admits that she “played with herself” with the assistance of couch arms and the family Maytag!) Through her sixty minute presentation, she thrusts herself (pun?) from childhood, adolescence, college age student, young adult, wife and mother, and to her level of existence where her fellow “girlfriends” admit they have/had it all when it comes to good ol’ sex! She also confesses that a little creative license was added for flavor. Then again, she has enough stories to tell, even if some of those tales are “fish stories”!

Although Lois is the star of her own show, there are other visual notions to make note of. Pete Hickok’s scenic stage design consists of a post-modern retro-esque club chair set on stage right, a lucite and chrome upright bar on stage left, and a set of three panels hanging along the rear of the performing area that are rectangular in shape. These panels are used to project moving imagery (as designed by Nick Santiago) that depicts Lois’ phases in life as physical points and emotional milestones. Kate Bergh’s costuming shows Lois dressed in a beige colored smooth fitting outfit that is stylish for a middle aged person as herself.

Recall the fact that Lois has been around the block a number of times. That is what makes this show very humorous, dramatic, and even somber as she has traveled a great journey. Sonia Sebastian directs this program that gives Lois the talent and respect she desires. She may have had her flings for came for the good or otherwise, but she wound up as the L.O.V.E.R. she desired to be. Then again, there is always the ol’ Kenmore washing those duds in suds on “full load”!

L.O.V.E.R., written and performed by Lois Robbins and presented by Theatre Planners, performs at The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue (between Gardner and Vista Streets), Los Angeles, until May 12th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. For reservations or for more information, call (323) 960-5770, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Lover
Visit the show via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LoverPlay

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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!

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The above noted headline is perhaps one of many oft-quoted quotes that came from the pen (or whatever was used to jot down these words way back when) of William Shakespeare, one of the greatest playwrights within the English speaking world to compose plays. His plays were so great that somewhere in this world right this very minute, some theater company is presenting one of his works or some form of variation of his pieces. This is an impressive track record because not only that his creations hold plenty of drama and comedy, but all of his works are in the public domain! As it’s been stated many a time before (not from Willie however), that dead men collect no royalties!

But this article isn’t about The Bard, playwrights, or even about the theater as a whole. It’s about how people receive their names and the source(es) responsible for the naming rights. Generally speaking (or writing in this case), it’s about how parents and/or caretakers name their kids that are born into their domestic family-style domains.

Even since people were first known as something to be referred by, people were given labels as a method of identity-a label that would separate person “A” from person “B”. Depending on where in the world they existed as well as what culture they were extracted from, folks obtain names that would be kept for life, either as intended or otherwise. This form of naming would consist of a first name, perhaps a middle name or series of “middle names”, and a last name or surname that would identify the family, tribe, group, or other body that assisted in where the person came from–physically or through placement. That first name can give some form of ID that would distinguish the person’s gender. The same can also go for the middle name. The last name, or final label, gives the source of the family, troupe, or sect to the person in question. Middle names can also be used for lineage as well!

Not to get too far off the topic that this writer desires to discuss within this article, we are going to stick to the current domestic society where this news service originates–the USA, since most of our readers hail from this area in addition to the writer. So let’s proceed.

Not too long ago, a notice appeared within the pages of a church bulletin. This church, located in another part of the nation that is outside of the confines of Los Angeles, gave notice of a birth. The notice read…

Bugh Thomas Ray was born on February 12th. Bugh is the son of Ben and Emily
Ray, the grandson of Cindy Ray, and the brother of Julia, Jack, and Anna.
Congratulations!!

First and foremost, we give our wholesome congrads to Ben and Emily for the birth to their son. However, one element remains. How does one pronounce the name of the kid? Is it “bug”, “burgh”, or perhaps something else?

This writer is not aware of the people stated within the birth notice, so yours truly falls into a neutral stance. The real question to this situation is one that could present some thought. Why did Ben and Emily name their child “Bugh”? Is this name extracted from some source that is part of a family legacy? Is the name one of those monikers of old that have since fallen out of popularity over the many centuries and is seeking a revival? Is this label part of another title that holds some other significance? Or are these parents just trying to become hip and trendy in naming their kid?

The method of names over the years has its tendencies of becoming popular at one moment, only to have its popularity fade over time and tide. This can be due to a number of reasons based upon the parents/caregivers, how the family’s legacy was built, or perhaps whatever the popular fads were of the era.

The Social Security Administration, that government agency that dishes out those nine digit numbers that every citizen has that until recently, had minimum value to those outside of the person’s realm, ranks the most used names in terms of male and female as assigned within a given decade. This ranking is perhaps the most accurate measure of who was named what and how common that name was used within that stretch of the period.

To give an example, in the 1950’s, perhaps the most popular and sought over decade of the 20th century, the top five names given to newly born boys and girls were of this order: (Boys): James, Michael, Robert, John, and David. (Girls): Mary, Linda, Patricia, Susan, and Deborah. Two decades later in the 1970’s, the names that were in the hit parade were Michael, Christopher, Jason, David and James for the boys, and Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Michelle, and Kimberly for the girls.

It’s not too surprising that this same writer known of a number people who correspond with these names and the decade that they were born in. Although some names didn’t necessarily make the top five, the names ranked by the SSA do jive with the other names that were popular at that moment.

And if anyone is interested to know what are the current top five names in this decade (the ‘10s), those names are Jacob, Noah, Mason, William, and Liam for the boys, and Emma, Sophia, Olivia, Isabella, and Ava for the girls. Keep in mind that this only covers the years 2010 through 2016. Granted that only three more years need to be tallied. (’17 through ’19). But it’s not too likely that this ranking order would be modified by the time the 20’s come roaring in again!

And for the record, the name “Bugh” didn’t list anywhere within the survey of 200. Interestingly enough, some unique names were listed, including (but not limited to), such monikers as Ryker, Hayden, Gage, Ximena, Tanner, Jace, Maddox, Londyn, and Brooklynn–with two “n”s! We will let you the reader guess the proper sex that this names are connected with! ‘Nuff said!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

PLAY ON!, Rick Abbot’s comedy about a theatre troupe attempting to stage a murder mystery play, opens as the second show for Theatre Palisades’ 2018 calendar season.

Within the realms of a community theater, a new murder mystery entitled A Murder Most Foul, written by community theater member Phyllis Montague (Cindy Pearl) is set to perform. It’s a few days before the opening, and the production is attempting to get under way. The AMMF cast consists of Henry Benish (Michael Bernstein), playing the role of “Lord Dudley”, Polly Benish (Marina Tidwell), playing “Lady Margaret”, Marla “Smitty” Smith (Keely O’Sullivan, alternating with Bella Dixon), appears as “Doris the Maid”, Saul Watson (Richard Conolly), as “Dr. Rex Forbes”, Billy Carewe (Robert Watson), as “Stephen Sellers”, and Violet Imbry (Lauren Chapman) as “Diana Lassiter”. Geraldine “Gerry” Dunbar (Catherine Rahm) is set to direct this stage program, but there are other notions to deal with. The stage manager Aggie Manvall (Ria Parody Erlich) attempts to get things correct, and Louise Pearly (Sue Hardie) who controls the technical aspects, is somewhat getting the sound effects to work on cue. When things go wrong in this production (including the playwright making last minute revisions at a near moment’s notice), they somehow do succeed while applying upon the usual comical antics!

This production presented by Theatre Palisades, programs a ‘play-within-a-play’ play that shows how a theater company tries their best (or lesser best) to get a show going. Although their program is a murder mystery, it’s a rather talky one! But that isn’t the issue here. Rick Abbot, who penned this stage comedy, makes the same effort in keeping this show going akin to its characters and their situations. With the efforts of the set of actors and behind the scene folks as played by a selection of actors, it creates this Theatre Palisades show as an endeavor that is rather amusing. Sherry Coon, the “real” director here, brings the cast afloat toward their comical efforts. With the aid of a set of “real” tech people with Susan Stangl on audio design, Sherman Wayne’s stage design, and June Lissandrello’s costuming (featuring “English Murder Mystery”-style outfits for the actors playing actors), one has a pleasant comedy about theater at its nearly-as finest, but never gets there! However, the theater brood do rise to the occasion!

Theatre Palisades is one of these charming community theaters within the region that presents their plays and musical with charm, appeal, and grace. It’s one of these little gems that showcases live stage programs found within a cozy community setting. And in this day and age of existing in an overly wired world, it’s always a treat to experience entertainment the classic way–live and in person! It’s a concept that still works well with a real audience that reacts in-person to what’s seen and depicted on an intimate stage!

PLAY ON!, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until May 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 454-1970, or via online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com

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Skypilot Theatre presents Craig Jesson’s MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, a drama about three siblings that gather for their father’s funeral, and their mother who betrayed them all many years before, performs at the the Hollywood Theatre of Arts in Hollywood.

A trio of sisters consisting of Heather (Kelsey Risher), Ashley a.k.a. “Ash” (Laura Walker), and Grey (Serena Anis) meet to attend the wake and funeral of their father David (Morry Schorr). Although these siblings have already established their lives on their own, they do make an effort to rebond with one another. Joining this troupe is their mother Maggie (Michelle Begley). Maggie was the former spouse of David, and was the one who started the divorce process, taking off and leaving the kids to David’s care. She also arrives with her current partner Ernesto (Gerry Del Sol), who hails from Latin America and is involved in a number of business deals. In this trying time, Maggie also attempts to rebond with the family she long left behind. But through time and tide, they begin to understand of their late father’s life from the times he experienced while in the military service back in the 1960’s, to getting involved with possible business deals with her ex-wife’s husband. It’s the type of family ties that were undone a generation ago with a vague change of being retied.

This new play by Craig Jessen takes the elements of families broken and adds plenty of established twists between each character. The dialogue is sharp, upfront, and never holds back. The six players add to this effort as seen throughout this performance. James Carey directs this piece that has enough humor to where the drama never becomes too heavy, and is far from anything that’s sappy!

Director Carry also designs the stage set that only consists of a few pieces of furnishings (mostly as a series of floating tables and chairs) minus any backdrop. This method of less-is-more theater works quite well to such a stage piece and the performances that go along with it.

Skypilot Theatre chooses their plays by selecting playwrights that work and are based within the Los Angeles region, giving an opportunity for those involved within the theater structure to showcase their talents. Granted, L.A. may not necessarily be associated with theater in the same sense as New York, but the quality and aptitude for the stage scene is indeed present. This play is a prime example of that noted stage flair!

MIDNIGHT REQUISITION, presented by Skypilot Theater, and performs at the Arena Stage, Hollywood’s Theater of Arts, 1625 North Las Palmas Avenue, (off Hollywood Blvd., adjacent to the Egyptian Theater), Hollywood, until April 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Tickets can be obtained through Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/3368581. Visit Skypilot Theatre online at http://www.SkypilotTheatre.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!

I WILL DO WHAT SIMON SAYS!

When this writer was a youthful youth, I was obsessed with the biggest form of media that was available to the public at large: television. As that kid, I would sit in front of the TV set in the house that possessed the biggest screen. In this case, it was a Zenith black and white set that had a 21” sized screen. Although the Zenith brand was the first to offer their “Space Command” remote control device, the set we had only had a dial on its front where one can tune to channels two through thirteen by hand with an optional method to get those UHF channels (Channels 14-83) via a seperate tuner.

Anyway, one program I used to watch was the cartoon show Underdog. This cartoon created by Treadwell Covington, Chester “Chet” Stover, and W. Watts “Buck” Biggers, three “Mad Men” that created the series on behalf of their client General Mills to sell breakfast cereal, featured a dog who was a humble and lovable character named “Shoe Shine Boy”. He was really in secret, a superhero named “Underdog” that would take on the city’s villain, a mad scientist named Simon Bar Sinister that spoke in a voice that sounded like Lionel Barrymore, but was indeed a rather sinister “mad scientist” type.

One of Simon Bar Sinister’s plots was to take over the city by having its citizens under his spell. He created a method when anyone stepping into a phone booth would suddenly be in his control. The helpless victims would have their eyes in a spinning spiral pattern, have an Edison-type light bulb affixed on top of their heads all lit up, and would speak in a monotone voice staying “I Will Do What Simon Says!”.

Watching that episode way back when somewhat scared me, beliving that the evil SBS (along with his comical sidekick Cad) would take over all of the phone booths around town to possess people to follow his orders with evil intentions. Although what I was watching was a cartoon show that spent its commercial time selling Cheerios (that wasn’t sugar coated) or Frostios (that was sugar coated and had sported on each box a likeness of Chumley the Walrus from Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales), I could not figure out what was real or what was just a TV show. In spite of the fact that Underdog, along with the assistance of TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebread, would foil SBS at his own game where all would end well until the next episode airing the next week, I still was scared if something like this takeover would really occur in my own community.

This little scenario from a era long passed leads up to how things are in today’s post-modern world upon where cellphone are literally taking possession over its users. These little handy-dandy devices that thanks to having this gadgets as “smart”, can do more than imaged, from shopping for goods and services, to assist the user to get the items through a physical store or through an online portal, keeping in contact with people, places, and things, telling the user what to do, how to do it, when to do it, when not to do it, and countless other actions both real and imaged. Oh yes! These devices can also send phone messages and receive them, too!

Although this technology is great and wonderful for what it stands for, a number of questions remain. Is this source for information on hand (literally) serves as something that is for its good or for its bad?

The notion of cell phones taking over its users has been written, discussed, posted, texted, tweeted, and otherwise been brought to the attention of anybody and everybody for some time. It seems that anyone over the age of five–the same age yours truly was when I first tuned in to Underdog–has used a cell phone for whatever reason. Kids as young as eight have possession to cell phone devices that are more powerful then the one this same former five year old has in his hand or pocket, doing anything but making a phone call! The new marketing demographic called “Gen Z” that consists of people born from 1997 through 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2008 (depending on who you ask), has been called the “wired generation” that can’t recall a time when there was never a cell phone is sight, let alone knowing that once upon a time cell phones didn’t exist. They have been pushing the functions that make a phone device worth its salt thanks to various applications (“apps”) that were made famous through the “Millenniums” demographic (born between 1981 through 1996–give or take) in order to make their phones worth using.

Even though cell phones and its usage goes back some thirty or so years, it didn’t catch on right away for many reasons. First, it was the cost of the devices. The phones themselves that could only send or receive calls, were pricey, selling for hundreds of dollars. The phone service was rather expensive as well selling its usage by the minute rather than by the month. And phone signals were rather dicey, too. Those same signals would be coming in poor or would drop entirely, depending on where the user physically was. Generally, cell phones and its usage was only used for people that had to be in contact no matter where they went. These same folks were mostly high power processionals that used them for business purposes, such as doctors, lawyers, movie studio moguls, and so on.

Back around the turn of the 21st century, the folks at the Gallop Poll did a study on cell phones and its impact to domestic society at the time. The study, conducted in the Spring of 2000, asked “Do you currently own a cellular phone, or not? In no, do you intend to get a cellular phone for your own use within the next couple of years, within the next five years, at some point in the future or never?”

The results? Some 60% that has a cell phone at the time was aged between 30 through 49, and 58% of those with a phone was aged between 50 through 64. Those that were aged 18 through 29 consisted of 41%. Those 65 and up were the lowest amount of cell phone owners at 29% Generally, some fifty present of those 18 plus were cell phone owners.

When asked if they were going to get a phone in the near future, 41% of those 18 through 29 entertained the idea of grabbing one of these devices. Those 30 through 64 were in the 20% through 22% range. (They already had a cell phone, thus the lower numbers!) Those 65 and over consisted of 19% of possible future owners. (A quarter of all adults noted about the idea of future ownership.)

Here’s the interesting part of this report! When asked if they will never get a phone, 18% of the 18 through 29 demographic said “no”! 17% of those 30 through 49 gave their nix, and 21% of the 50 through 64 age bracket consisted it as a thumbs down. Half of those 65 and over appeared to be happy with phones only as land lines. (23% collectedly stated “no” to ownership!)

That was then! As of this month, some 5% of Americans over the age of five does not own a cell phone at all, mostly through choice or circumstance. And 54% of those asked in another Gallop Poll (conducted in 2015) noted upon answering the statement, “I can’t imagine my life without my smartphone”, 54% agreed to this fact! It would be interesting to discover what people would say in today’s age! As with anything that’s connected with high tech, any device that is two years and older becomes “out of date”!Those snazzy iPhone 5s and 6s that was hot s#it in 2015 has since been replaced with something newer, faster, and shinier!

It’s been many decades when yours truly would tune in to Underdog every week. The old 21” has been replaced by newer TV sets three times over. Frostios has long disappeared from the grocery shelves although Cheerios is still around, and I don’t watch TV anymore! But as a dumb five year old, I was within the same stance to today’s five year olds when it comes to the gadgets they have access to. I never knew that there was life before television, as well as the fact that I would later become obsessed with TV–the same method to people’s obsessions with their cell phones! So what goes around, comes around!

And I never need to fear because Underdog is here! (Right?)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Art Shulman’s WHOOPSIE-DOOPSIE, a mini comic saga of a young man’s decision on what he should do when the love of his life announces the results of their loving making, performs for a limited run at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood.

This is the tale of Billy and Joannie (Mima Rad and Camille Aragon). Billy’s just a lad still of high school age. Joannie is his number one. She tells Billy that she’s pregnant. Billy was careful by using a condom. But he wasn’t careful enough! The questions he asks himself is what to do next. Should Joannie keep the child, or to dispose of it? She suggests to abort their results. He must choose to either keep the child or to dispose of it. As his mind races in all different directions, he visions the people around him (real or imaged) giving their side of the saga on what may happen or not. But as he imagines, his confusion grows for the best or for the worst. Will Billy become a father figure for the rest of his life? Will Joannie give birth to the child? Will the unborn child remain unborn? This is Billy’s real “whoopsie-doopsie” from his “making whoopie”!

This one act play written by Art Shulman (who also directs) is very funny, witty, and quirky. It shows the Billy character dreaming up these scenarios from the process on receiving the news to the end results of possibly keeping the child, icing the kid, and what those around this couple respond that brings the issue in a clear yet out-of-focus manner–to Billy anyway! An ensemble of performers project these characters as seen through the mind of Billy, reminding him that if you can’t be good, be careful! The players that appear in this production (Jesseal Amelia, Ellen Bienenfeld, Mary Alice Farina, Warren Hall, and Casey Hunter) present their roles in a comical cartoon-esque fashion, making this show even funnier.

The entire production itself is performed with a black backdrop i.e. no real sets. With only using a few props (designed by Charissa Clark), it brings the audience closer to Billy’s world magnifying the outcomes from his little fling. Steve Shaw provided the sound design that uses bits and pieces of music beds, along with a few cartoon sound effects for better measure that add to the comedy.

Granted, a decision of what to do with an unplanned pregnancy is far from anything funny if it occurs in so-called “real life”. But since this topic has been utilized before in various sitcoms (some memorable, others long forgotten), then the comedy license has been long granted. For an hour’s time, WHOOPSIE-DOOPSIE is just as fun as a roll in the hay! (Well..almost!) Perhaps the moral of this story is if one is going to engage in going upstairs to look at some etchings, make sure you visit your friendly neighborhood drug store beforehand and get something besides an ice cream cone! Otherwise, there will be a bun in the oven for sure!

WHOOPSIE-DOOPSIE, performs at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd. (one half block north of Camarillo Street at Vineland Avenue), North Hollywood, until April 22nd. Showtimes are Monday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 202-4120, or via online at http://www.ZombieJoes.tix.com
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The Sacred Fools Theatre Company rounds out their 21st season of theater with the world premier of Kenley Smith’s AKUMA-SHIN, a tale about the destruction of one of the world’s great communities, and the aftermath that resulted from this tragic episode.

Set in a parallel world, the city of Tokyo in 1956 faced its biggest challenge since the dropping of the A-bomb nearly a decade before. A giant mysterious fire breathing beast from unknown sources devastated this city, wiping it off the map. This impact of its devastation would last for generations. Some twenty years later c.1976, this chapter of human history was being discussed on a talk program airing on PBS hosted by news correspondent Nancy Dickerson (Stasha Surdyke). Her guests for that video session are William F. Buckley, Jr. (David Wilcox), Truman Capote (Amir Levi) Norman Mailer (Paul Parducci), Dr. Joyce Brothers (Libby Baker), and Mason Burr (Tony DeCarlo). Mason, a news correspondent, was in Tokyo when the kaiju (Japanese for “monster”) made its presence during that faithful time. He, along with fellow Americans George Serizawa (Ruben Uy), and Billy Childers (Eddie Goines), tried to control the beast with their warnings to the world through radio transmission. Mason and Billy were the only survivors. Each one present in the talk program mused on what occurred and how this episode changed how elements as such were taken into perspective. But how much of this change is yet to be reckoned. Then again, would such a tragic exploit arrive again, and how will this moment of conquest face humanity as its known if such knowledge even exists?

This single-act stage piece takes upon familiar bits of popular culture, personalities from another era, as well as a few individuals from history (placed in different perspectives) that were shaped from that moment of devastation, and brings such an interlude in face, only to curtail to what may happen next. The production is told in a semi-linear pattern that first brings on what brought Tokyo to its demise (although how this kaiju would up in the Land of the Rising Sun was never really explained) to the round table discussion of personalties that have minimal stance with one another in the style of a David Susskind-esque TV talk program, in addition to the reaction of the natives once existing within the megapolis. All of these elements as projected show that this play has just as many comical scenes then serious moments. A tragic adventure with death and destruction is usually played out as serious matter. Then again, how can one take on the fact of a giant lizard shattering a dense city with a real sober attitude?

In addition to the above noted cast, Victor S. Chi, Adam Burch, and Corinne Choony, appear, in addition to the voice of Kazumi Zatkin as a Tokyo Emergency Announcer.

Joe Jordan provides the set design, Jennifer Christina DeRosa provides the costuming (including some period fashions from the 1970’s), along with original music score by Michael Teoli, Curt Bonnem’s video graphics and Emily Bolka’s video animation that illustrates what occurred way back when.

Directed by Scott Leggett, AKUMA-SHIN is told with a number of suggested meanings and metaphors that speak for domestic society that exist in today’s post-modern era. It may not be within the same sense to what may one find contained in a Japanese monster movie that was once the fodder of second run movie houses and drive-ins from not so long ago, let alone watching talk programs airing on public television. However, one must take heed to what didn’t really happen as depicted on stage. It may occur in another form. What that form may be is still yet to be experienced for the better or otherwise!

AKUMA-SHIN, presented by the Sacred Fools Theatre Company, and performs on the main stage of The Broadwater theater, 1076 Lillian Way (off Santa Monica Blvd., one block west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until April 28th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, visit the website at http://www.SacredFools.com
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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!

WHAT IS A HOLIDAY?

Actually, the headline should read “What day is considered as a holiday?”, meaning what day on a calendar is judged to be a so-called day of recognition where it’s treated outside as a “standard” day.

If one looks up the word “holiday” in any dictionary, the meaning can read as a day of observance, a period of time (usually as a single “day”) to commemorate an event, a specific person, or perhaps a seasonal period that is created through nature of through human spirit. In the USA, there is the day called “Presidents Day” (third Monday in February) that is presently the time to commemorate the presidents that once ruled the nation. (One can also include the current king of the land, but we won’t get political here!) It originally was a period to commemorate the birthdays of two of the most beloved former presidents, George Washington (originally on February 22nd), and Abraham Lincoln on February 12th. Before the time when congress approved the three-day weekend rule where selected holidays would be observed on the closest Monday to when the day once fell, the holiday would be noted on the actual day, no matter what day of the week it would fall on. So when Washington’s Birthday fell on February 22nd in 1970 (the final year before the new three day rule went into effect), it fell on a Sunday. Since Sunday is always a “holiday”, many schools and government offices used the next day, February 23rd to take the time off. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, but was a holiday in the state of Illinois. So on the 12th, city halls was closed, the department of motor vehicles didn’t do any business, and the state government in Springfield was shut done. However, banks were open and the mail was delivered. But this is all besides the point!

As of this week, the next date of observance is Easter, that this year falls on April 1st. Easter always falls on a Sunday so the three-day weekend rule doesn’t apply. Since Easter is the day that can be seen as the time to celebrate the Spring season that is where the bunnies, chicks, and even lambs can take their part, or as a time that is noted within the Christian based faiths. (That Easter backstory has been noted before through fiction novels, epic feature films, as well as stage musicals!) However, it still falls on a Sunday where every Sunday is suppose to be a holiday! To make up for this loss, many people as well as businesses take Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, as their day to be away. Again, there isn’t necessarily any religious meaning observed to back his day. Many folks see this day as “It’s Friday! Good!!”

But Easter itself doesn’t fall on the same day as it’s considered as a floating holiday. The day is commemorated based upon the March Equinox (March 20th, sometimes March 21st) as noted on the Gregorian calendar, the calendar that is mostly used worldwide to mark the days, weeks, and months. Easter thus falls on the first Sunday after the full moon after March 20th, usually between March 22nd and April 25th. These dates are not to be confused with the Easter celebration period as dictated through the Julian calendar as observed by the Orthodox Christian church. Easter would usually fall on the next Sunday. But again, this is all besides the point.

However for many, another “holiday” falls at this same time this year. The Monday after Easter, April 2nd, is the start of Baseball season, the time to head on over to the ol’ ball game to see the boys in blue (or whatever color your favorite team wares) play nine innings (give or take) of hitting, running, and catching! That’s a holiday worth recalling. And on May 1st, it’s the start of fishing season in some communities. However, every day can be a holiday if one really wanted it to be! Just don’t expect for Hallmark/American Greeting cards to create a card recalling that day to send out to those on your mailing list, assuming that people still send greeting cards through the mail!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

North Hollywood’s Crown City Theatre presents Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP, a mystery “whodunnit” where a group of people staying in a remote country homestead isolated by a heavy snowfall discover that there is a person within their midst may be set for murder!

The backdrop takes place during the winter season at Monkswell Manor, a courtly dwelling converted as a guesthouse run by the Ralstons, Mollie and Giles. (Meagan Cochran and Bobby Slaski) Mollie hears by way of a report on the wireless (radio) about the murder of Maureen Lyon took place nearby, and the police manhunt for a suspect wearing an overcoat seen near the scene of the murder. Meanwhile, four expected guests are to arrive at their guesthouse for a stay, consisting of Christopher Wren (Hans Obma), Mrs Boyle and Major Metcalf (Mouchette van Helsdingen and Nicholas Cleland), and Miss Casewell (Annie Lieberman). A fifth person arrives, Mr. Paravicini. (Michael Mullen). He enters the place claiming that his car ran into a snow ditch and is unable to travel further. He isn’t know by the Ralstons, but is allowed to stay. During that evening, a heavy snowfall occurs trapping everyone inside. Another visitor arrives by skis, Detective Sergeant Trotter (Travis L. Barker), He’s investigating the Lyon murder, but visits based upon the address of Monkswell Manor found written in a notebook discovered near the murder scene. Det. Trotter interviews everyone with a notion that clues may be found. Before long, the phone line is cut. Then the five residents becomes rather restless. Is it because of their entrapment due to the weather? Or perhaps one of these five committed the crime? Did some other person do it? If so, where is the suspect?

This play considered to be a modern classic and one of many of Agatha Christie’s “greatest hits”, is a stage piece that just gets better throughout the ages. Every character represented hold their own personality and charm, even if that character and charm possess itself with evil intentions. Within this production as presented by the Crown City Theatre company, the ensemble cast works very well with one another under the stage direction of Sonny Lira. They supply their performance methods to a theater work where murder and mystery rings true. The stage setting as designed by Joanne Lamb shows a guesthouse as an elementary styled home that keeps its personal wear and tear throughout with a sense of coziness. And since this is a period piece (it takes place in the early 1950’s), Michael Mullin’s costuming of the cast expresses a British postwar-era style that consists of a blend of fashion from the previous three decades that somehow catches up toward the “modern” times.

What makes this play a real treat to experience is not only what takes place on stage, but within the theater space itself. Crown City Theatre is located within the inner courtyard area of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. The theater space itself isn’t anything fancy or elaborate, but far from existing as barren or hollow. This method of theater is actually a good notion since productions that come from such stages are better to take part in that what a large and ornamental place usually churns out. (And no offense given or implied to those show places!) Whatever the case, one will see quality theater as presented by The Crown City Theatre. It’s always worth the journey to this spot that makes up part of the Arts District of North Hollywood.

THE MOUSETRAP, presented by and performs at The Crown City Theatre, 1031 Camarillo Street, one block west of the intersection of Lankershim and Vineland Avenues, North Hollywood, until April 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 605-5685, or via online at http://www.CrownCityTheatre.com
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The Road Theatre Company presents the world premier of THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, Jami Brandli’s comic drama about a middle class family attempting to spend their Christmas season with a number of unanticipated details, along with an unexpected visitor within their midst.

The setting is placed within the Keen residence of Ft. Lee, New Jersey. It’s Christmas Eve, 2011. The war in Iraq is still progressing. So is the stateside battle on the one percent. The Keens consists of Larry (David Gianopoulos), the breadwinner of the family working for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, faithful wife Barbara (Meeghan Holaway), and teenaged daughter Samantha. (Kaitlin Huwe). There was another daughter, Dana (Kara Hume), who enlisted as a healthcare enlistee for the military assigned to Iraq. However, she won’t be present in any physical sense as she became a war casualty. The Keens will be hosting Christmas dinner with two others they know; Pastor Bill Towers (Chet Grissom), who serves as the leader of their community Christian church, and his spouse Shirley (Stepanie Erb), who serves as the pastor’s wife. Samantha is the radical one of the bunch. She’s setting up a protest through her social media contacts against the Iraq war (along with the Occupy Wall Street movement) with a traffic shutdown along the George Washington Bridge. Pastor Bill is present to perhaps conform the Keens over the loss of their eldest daughter. Larry states he may be on standby with snow removal duties through his job, while Barbara (“Babs”) attempts to prepare a Christmas dinner in spite of the circumstances. But this holiday gathering is anything but peaceful as there is a lot of tension felt within the family clan. To make things even more complex, an unexpected visitor arrives. A young person named Nasser shows up at their doorstep. (Erica Mathlin) Nasser’s a refugee from Iraq that worked as a translator for Dana’s military sector. But what is Nasser’s real intentions? Does this mysterious refugee hold a key to what really happened with Dana? Will Samantha, or “S” as she calls herself, go forward with the protest set on Christmas eve? Is Larry and Babs’ marriage on the line? And will Pastor Bill do his Christian duties in giving comfort and joy to the family on the night of all nights? It’s just another Christmas with another dysfunctional family within the suburban bedroom communities of New Jersey, just across the river from The Big Apple.

This original play by Jami Brandli starts out as a post-modern sitcom complete with family members that are stereotypical, consisting of a dad that insists that he know best, a mom that serves as a housewife baking cookies and volunteering at the church, a teenager that makes good only for her own reasons, along with a “man of the cloth” that lives up to his Christian purpose, and his wife that serves as his wife. As the family spends their Christmas with tension and stress, the shift changes when the mysterious stranger arrives. Not as an angel with a miracle, but a person with a “gift”–or perhaps as a gift!

Yes, there are the kind of laughs expressed that are of the snarky variety, but overall, there is a peaceful conclusion to everything! But don’t expect this so-called “happy ending” akin to any one of those Christmas/”Holiday” TV movies that air on The Hallmark Channel! Ann Hearn directs this production that is bittersweet in scope, with more on the “bitter” than on the “sweet”, but in a good way!

Pete Hickcoke provides the set design seen on stage that consists of the Keen family household, all loaded with enough Christmas decorations to make the season joyful and bright, even though the family isn’t as joyful and bright as they could be!

The title of this play comes from the biblical verse that states about a rich man’s way to heaven is the same as a camel passing through the eye of a needle. (Look it up yourself!) It’s also a stage work that plays better outside of the actual Christmas season since it’s more of a downer than one that’s festive. No matter, through! It’s still amusing in its own right. So are dysfunctional domestic families as seen in the post-modern world of entertainment!

THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, presented by The Road Theatre Company, and performs at The Road Theatre space (upstairs), located within the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, until May 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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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!

REPLACED BY A ROBOT?

As high tech gets higher by the second (literally), stuff like robots, artificial intelligence, and related matters that was at one time limited to science fiction tales, is now becoming part of the domestic landscape.

With the popularity of devices that one can “speak” to and “speaks” back to fulfill your wishes and demands (within reason of course), to driverless vehicles or machines that can service as your butler or maid, these gadgets are becoming more real each and every time. It’s even been stated that within a number of years, robots will live and work with humans. And when (or if) these robots become smarter and faster that what a human being can present, these robots will slowly yet steadily take the place of those that live, breathe, and demand a paycheck for services rendered.

With robots being built and programmed to work longer, faster, and perhaps cheaper that a real person, will they actually take over somebody’s professional job as these robots do the same work? Will a company ever hire a robot? Will anyone want to work with a robot?

Recently, The Gallop Poll conduced a study asking those on their opinions upon working with robots. and if their jobs will be replaced by a machine that can do all of the work much faster, longer, and of course, cheaper! Even though such replacement is a threat, most of those polled were not very concerned.

According to the poll, some 23% of those asked were concerned that a machine would take over their place in the work force. And if one was working in a so-called “white collar” job that at least held a college degree, the worry was far less. Some 15% of those with a sheepskin stated they were concerned and 19% of those in a professional position held the same fears.

If robots would take over in the workforce, it would be within position that deals with construction and manufacturing. Those assignments tend to be positions that take specific skills and strengths to perform the tasks on hand. This type of work can even be dangerous as accidents can be reduced through machine power vs. human force. A robot can be on an assembly line working 24/7/365 if the need calls. In construction assignments, machines that can lift and maintain heavy objects can do the work far beyond what a person can maintain. Not only can these machines do the work, but with a lot of safety issues connected to it all!

However, robots and related devices are not just limited to factory work or through heavy construction. Many retail outlets have over the years installed self-service checkout places where one can do their shopping, and instead of moseying up to a person standing behind a register, one can go to a self-serve register to pay for their goods using a credit card or perhaps cash. A voice (usually female) “speaks” to the person checking out stating the items they bought, the total amount requested, and even may add something like “thank you” or “thanks for shopping at (name of store)”. This way, this AI machine has a bit of human inside of her or him(?).

Some places where robots can perform the same job will never pan out, no matter how one can even try! Jobs within the fields of arts, entertainment and sports, and community and social services will never be taken over by machines. The Gallop report notes that 15% of those asked state that machines will replace humans on those type of tasks! After all, what fun would it be to attend a sporting event where it’s machines vs. machines? And although many actors do their jobs as “wooden”, that doesn’t mean that a feature film or television program starring robots will be entertaining! Then again, many of those same movies and/or TV shows are loaded with enough special effects where any real acting depicted will only to placed and seen as a side note!

In spite of all of this robotics that appear to be taking over, it will be a long time (if at all) when robots and other related machines will become dominate in the work force. After all, there are many jobs that has to be done by a person rather than a robot. And people would rather be served by a person rather than a machine that replies to your needs, even when that response if asked yet never heard!

So as it’s been stated beforehand, stay tuned!! (This is a recording! *BEEP!*)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the Los Angeles premier of John Morogiello’s ENGAGING SHAW, a love story of sorts between a well-to-do Irish heiress and a well known playwright where the two take part in a game playing hard-to-get.

Jennifer Lynn Davis is Charlotte Payne-Townshend. She comes from a background where she lives a rather comfortable lifestyle. Grinnell Morris is George Bernard Shaw, a writer of plays. Although he is well respected both in his native country and beyond, his finances are much meager. He is presently writing another stage piece while being active in politics as a Fabian Socialist. He is staying in the cottage of Beatrice and Sidney Webb (Susan Priver and Warren Davis), good friends and founder of the political group Shaw subscribes to. He is keeping busy with his writings as he awaits for a theatre company to actually produce one of his works. Beatrice and Sidney invites Charlotte into their home to possibly have her become a benefactor to their political causes that promotes socialism. Once Charlottes encounters Shaw, she becomes quite impressed in this man, even calling him Bernie. Shaw, on the other hand, had a number of encounters of women within his background, even with a few ladies married and spoken for! He feels that he holds a superiority toward women, using the phrase superman–a term that would be used as the title of a future piece he would pen, “Men and Supermen”. However, Bernie doesn’t seem to care much for sex, perhaps suggesting that he doesn’t even want to “do it”! But the more Bernie talks about his domestic stand toward the opposite sex if not speaking for socialism, Charlotte’s desire becomes emotional stronger if not closer. It’s a classic example of the chase between a man and a woman or a woman and a man, set within the backdrop of Victorian-era England.

This play composed by playwright John Morogiello, whose writings last graced the Theatre 40 stage with The Consul, The Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart in 2016 (See review-Vol. 21-No. 47), is very witty and complete with sharp banter, especially with the verbs and such as spoken by Shaw. His character as portrayed by Grinnell Morris, shows himself as a man that knows where he stands, but delivers his methods in a way that is fit for the era of Victorian England. His delivery of being firm and to the point would be considered as aggressive at that time. Jennifer Lynn Davis as Charlotte Payne-Townshend also shows her place in society that is far from being “hoity-toity”. She isn’t stuck up per se, but she’s enough to keep following her Bernie with the notion that she would perhaps marry him. (She proposes!) Beatrice and Sidney Webb as played by Susan Priver and Warren Davis, appear as the supporting players that fields themselves as emotional support to Charlotte (via Beatrice) and Shaw. (Sidney and Shaw think politically alike!) But the real stars here are Charlotte and Shaw, as she attempts to get her man while Bernie attempts to get his man (himself), while awaiting to see his plays hit the floorboards.

Since this production is a period piece (1897 England), there is a lot of visuals to note along with the performance. Michele Young provides the period costumes, while Jeff G. Rack creates the sets that is just as charming and appealing as an English tea with biscuits (“cookies”) on the side.

Directed by Melanie MacQueen, ENGAGING SHAW is indeed engaging! It’s a romantic comedy for thinking folks. And unlike so-called “romcoms” of the present times, the notion of sex is more removed since in those Victorian times, nobody desired to admit that they wanted to ever “do it”! Of course, somebody has to “do it”! Otherwise, there wouldn’t be anyone left to see any of the Shaw plays that are still gracing a stage in some theatre located somewhere in this world. But for now, it’s Shaw the “superman” that’s being chased, far slower than a speeding bullet!

ENGAGING SHAW, 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 15th. 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.org
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The Morgan-Wixson Theatre of Santa Monica presents LITTLE WOMEN, THE MUSICAL, a tuneful tale bringing the beloved characters from Louisa May Alcott’s time tested story to life featuring the four sisters that come of age during America’s Civil War.

The story tells of the March sisters of Concord, Massachusetts consisting of Jo (Alicia Reynolds-Luoma), the tomboy of the family who desires to become a published author, Amy (Amy Coles) who seeks a romantic suitor, Meg (Amanda Greig) who holds toward a practical stance, and Beth (Zoe D’Andera) how possesses a sweet and kind hearted outlook on life. These young women are under the guise of their mother Marmee (Janet Krajeski), who looks after her children as their father is away serving as a chaplain for the Union Army. Along with the March sisters are Aunt March (Raymond Zachary) their well-to-do auntie who attempts to change Jo from being a “tomboy” to more of a lady, Laurie (Christopher P. Tiernan), a boy-next-door type that first falls for Jo, only to bond with Amy, Mr. Laurence (Larry Gesling), Laurie’s grandfather, and John Brooke (Daniel Koh), a gentleman who later marries Meg. It’s a tale of the hope and dreams these “little woman” keeps, along with the notion of romance, and the spirit of growing up in a time where the USA was emerging from civil war and to enter the industrial era.

This musical with book by Allan Knee, and musical score by Jason Howland and Mindi Dickstein, is a charming piece that takes the beloved novel and brings the story and characters to life on stage that keeps true to its original book source. The players that appear in this show have their wit and grace, especially the four ladies that portray the March siblings. The musical score under the transcribed direction of Daniel Koh, is mellow, smooth, and unlike stage musicals of late, isn’t brassy nor aggressive. It’s just one musical number upon the other that gives this enduring story the boost that it all desires.

In addition to the music and cast, Tristan Griffin’s set design consists of a few pieces of furnishings among “floating” scenes that progresses the story throughout, Anne Gesling’s costuming of the period clothing the women, et. al. wear, along with Jon Sparks on wig design that grace upon what the March sisters present themselves throughout their many escapades.

Directed by Anne Gesling, LITTLE WOMEN, THE MUSICAL is a showpiece the entire family can enjoy and honor. If one has ever read the classic novel before, or perhaps never having such opportunity to read about the March clan, this musical will fit the bill. It’s not often that musicals created within the 21st century can keep the charm to its top as this production as presented on the Morgan-Wixson stage brings forth to its success.

LITTLE WOMEN, THE MUSICAL, presented by the Morgan-Wixson Theatre Guild, and performs at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, until April 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. A special talk back session where the cast and crew discuss their performing as well as taking questions from the audience, occurs after the presentations held on Friday, March 23rd, and Sunday, April 1st.

For more information as well as ticket reservations, call (310) 828-7519 or via online at http://www.Morgan-Wixson.org.
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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!

A NEW SET OF WHEELS

A friend of a friend of this writer recently purchased a new car. It was the third car this person bought within the last ten years. He recently replaced his 2013 Toyota Camry with a 2018 edition of the same make and model. This new car features a lot of the incentives that a car build in the USA (in spite of a Japanese origin) can muster out, such as a big deal sound system and offers cell phone connection so this person can drive and talk to somebody on the phone at the same time. Although the car may have been new(er), much of what’s on and in the car is pretty much of the same–even the color, is the same–a silver/gray shade.

What was the reason to replace the five year old vehicle? This person became a bit tired with the car. Besides, he also claims that he got a deal from the dealership that was too good to pass up, although he didn’t necessarily explain what the deal was and why it was too good to pass up.

First and foremost, this writer gives a big tip of the hat to this person on grabbing a set of new wheels. Second, since new car buyer ship is up, he’s doing his part in enhancing to jump start the auto industry when back around the start of this decade, it was once in rather dire straights.

But it appears that auto ownership is on an upswing, at least in this region. A recent report that was compiled from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles that folks within the Southern California region are grabbing more cars. According to the report, from 2000 and 2015, private vehicle ownership dramatically increased among households in the SoCal region, from 1.7 to 2.4 vehicles per household.

This is all good for what it is. However, folks that drive around town and those that take the notorious freeways that dot the city landscape, note that traffic has gotten anything but better, let alone tolerable! It seems that commutes to and from where people go to are getting longer and longer. Rush hour traffic on a weekday tends to run as early as 6:00 AM and continues through post-7:00 PM. This being stuck in traffic becomes rather stressful to those behind the wheel. Although they do attempt to make their commuter drive a bit easier, raging from getting a big deal audio system where they can crank up their favorite sounds, to having a wireless phone setup where they can gab on their phones while keeping their hands on the wheel, they tend to bind their time while moving along at a snail’s pace.

Gas prices also play a part to the love of driving. As with anything, these prices can go up as fast as they can come down. When prices are low, folks will drive longer and farther. When they rise, they still will drive, but won’t be as to feel free to do so as much as they would desire. Many folks don’t really have a choice when it comes to driving as where they tend to go, either by personal option or through circumstance. But again, it’s either drive to get there, or don’t drive and don’t arrive!

But what about public transportation? Why aren’t people using an alternative method by taking a bus and/or light rail? According to that same report as filed by the Institute of Transportation Studies, public transportation ridership is down. Between 2012 to 2016, California lost 62.2 million annual transit rides, and the six-county Southern California Association of Governments region (the area this report set its focus), lost 72 million annual rides.

The report also notes that some three quarters of residences in the region never or rarely take public transportation. Some twenty percent take it occasionally, and less than three present use such transportation on a regular basis.

And what are these reasons? It varies, from not using such transportation because it doesn’t take the rider to where they want to go, from the choice of using alternative ride sharing methods, to judging that it just isn’t safe! Whatever the case, if one can swing it, they would rather drive on their own to get from to and fro that waiting for a bus to arrive!

Nevertheless, this humble writer’s friend of a friend is very pleased with his new car. Perhaps in a few years, he’s get yet another new car to replace his older one, and start the entire process all over again. Maybe he’s pick a flashy color for his new buggy this time around. Maybe something like poppy red??
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Little Victory Theatre in Burbank presents the world premier of Wendy Graf’s UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS, a romantic comedy that takes two people to an exotic trip to the Orient, only to discover that they are running away from something, resulting with unexpected results.

Brea Bee and Marshall McCabe are featured as Jane and Alex. They meet at an airport terminal awaiting for a plane to fly them to Myanmar, located within the far reaches of Asia. Their meeting is accidental of course with Alex first engaging in small talk with Jane. Although she doesn’t want to say much at first, she’s their solely to take a vacation of sorts to a part of the world few others would know about, and hoping to get “off the grid” with wired technology. Alex claims he is there as part of a TV documentary team working on a story about the “unemployed elephants” of Myanmar, where these pachyderms once had jobs moving heavy timber-a gig what was cut short due to the new government banning exports of such goods. Once they arrive at their destination, they meet again by accident(?) From that point, they learn more about one another-never knowing their names at first-only to encounter that their reasonings for being there is far different than what they had first admitted.

This one act comedy by Wendy Graf, created by the playwright based upon an actual trip she embarked upon to Myanmar some three years before, is full of quick yet witty dialogue, plenty of plot twists toward their personal identities, notations of the local claimant (both through local politics as well as the weather), yet coming to conclusions that really set their places in gear. And of course, they do find love! (Note: this fact isn’t a addressed as a spoiler alert. If it was, this show wouldn’t be called a romantic comedy!) This play could be labeled as a very tight production in terms of cast size (two), its stage setting (intimate), and much of the banter between Alex and Jane. (Short lines spoken with as little as one or two words per barb!) Maria Gobetti, who also produced this production with Tom Ormeny and Katie Witkowski, directs this stage work as a charming romcom without the annoying and obnoxious elements that said romcoms tend to contain! It’s also laced with high-tech references as well. But since this play takes place in the 2010’s, these elements are to be well expected!

UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS is a play that “works” to full employment! Although no actual elephants appear in this piece (let alone not being harmed in this production), it’s very delightful, sparkling, and lighthearted! And if there is such a thing as a “date play”, this would be an ideal choice to have one’s date along to see this show. It might even get one in the mood for some other “elephant sized” fun! But that’s for another episode as that stands!

UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS, presented by the Victory Theatre’s Barebones theatre, and performs at The Little Victory Theatre, 3324 West Victory Blvd. (one block west of Hollywood Way), Burbank, until April 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (818) 841-5422, or online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org

“Like” The Victory Theatre Center via Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/VictoryTheatreCenter and “tweet” along with TVTC via Twitter at @VictoryTheatre
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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!

MARVEL VS. DC or THE BATTLE OF THE SUPER HEROES

Now that the major movie award season is officially swept under the rug for this year (or actually, for 2017), now it’s time to put away the good looking movies aside for home video and/or streaming, and to concentrate on the features that the movie going public at large would be willing to pay to see!

And no offense implied to those features that copped their Oscars at last Sunday’s Academy Awards presentation as those movies, as artistic as they were, are not necessarily the kind of movies that make a whole lot of money. Since people are still willing to plunk down $10.00 and up to view a feature in a theater setting, one must receive their money’s worth in terms of amusement value as those same folks can also watch movies on any electronic device that sports a video screen and in many cases for minimal cost! (Even for free!)

Over the last few years, it appears that the movies that tend to rake in the cash (thanks to those that plop down the admission price at the local multiplex box office) are those that fall under the genre of Action-Adventure with an emphasis of comic book super hero types. These are the movies that feature a lot of the self-described action pieces with plenty of special effects added for, well, action and adventure! These types of movies may not carry the same artistic qualities that a melodrama may hold, but as long as they are entertaining for what they are, that is what really matters! (Remember. movies are made to make money. People go to movies to be entertained. If you have a feature that is indeed entertaining, then it will make money! A simple case of economic logic!)

In the super hero universe, there are only three of these kind of domains where these super heroes exist. Those spots are DC, Marvel, and “everyone else”.

There is a rather difference between these three. Let’s give a brief look between these places where the super heroes do their thing in the name of justice, truth, and the “universal” way. (Although just about all of these sources were created in the USA, they also must hold an international appeal. So much for concept!)

We’ll begin with DC. This company was the first place where the age of the super heroes were born. DC Comics came around in 1935 under the name of “National Periodical Publications”. In the 30’s, most comic book titles were anthologies, consisting of various characters that had their own stories and rarely crossed over each other. Each one of these characters were based upon a theme, lifting from the sources of pulp fiction that contained plenty of action and high adventure. At the end of that decade, NPP created their two mainstays, Superman (appearing in Action Comics) in 1938, and The Batman (as this character was originally referred as), a year later in Detective Comics. Those heroes became immediate hits. Their comic lines (Action and Detective Comics) continued throughout the decades. (That is what “DC” originally stood for; “Detective Comics”, giving this company their name change from NPP to DC Comics in the 1970’s!) There were the movie tie-ins for Batman through a serial made by Columbia Pictures in the 40’s, and the Superman cartoons created by Dave and Max Fleischer around the same time. Since then, many other super hero types came and went from NPP/DC. Warner Bros. bought the company in the middle 1970’s, starting off the modern era of movie and TV tie-ins.

Marvel first made its mark in the 1940’s, but it was a different domain. The Marvel that exists today was created in the early 1960’s under the helm of comic book writer and editor Stan Lee. This is were such characters as The Fantastic Four, Spider Man, X-Men, and a host of others made the scene, including the revival of Captain America, a character that came from the original Marvel Comics born in the height of World War II. Marvel’s (or better known as Marvel Comic Group) creation’s was timed toward the start of the modern comic book collecting rage that began around 1964. It also showed a lot of creations of other super heroes throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Some are still around while others dropped out of sight.

Today, Marvel is owned by The Walt Disney Company that knows how to market a property to its maximum. Along with owning LucasFilms, these two sources made Disney a big source for making money. Mickey Mouse and company are OK for what they are, but one has to keep with the times.

Getting back to movies featuring the DC and Marvel line of heroes. What are the differences between the two, and how to they appeal to the movie going public? An automated market research tech provider called ZappiStore conducted a study that looked upon the emotional appeal of a Marvel character vs. one from DC’s universe based upon emotional engagement with the superheroes.

The study had people watch a series of movie trailers of super hero movies that featured DC and Marvel characters. Using a platform called Affectiva, appiStore was able to test the trailer viewer’s emotional engagement by using facial coding and emotion recognition as seen within these previews based upon using a web camera for the reaction to the viewer of the trailer can be later seen and documented, Affectiva was able to measure the viewer’s facial expressions of emotions at each moment. The results were then collected and displayed in a dashboard setting.

The results? DC super hero trailers has a lot of appeal toward action and special effects depicted. Marvel trailers had their heroes loaded with colorful character traits and personality. In many cases, humor was the real attraction. The Guardians of the Galaxy series, a Marvel comic line that first made its appearance in the 1970’s, not only offer plenty of characters sporting cocky attitudes, but also featured music from the era of its creation–the 1970’s! (The GOTG2’s trailer used Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 recording of “The Chain”). Deadpool also featured its main character as somebody that would be considered as a wiseass, never taking its super hero-ing in any serious matter. This compares to the trailers for DC’s The Justice League and Batman vs. Superman that showed its films to be rather darker and sobering in nature. (Remember, these are based on comics, not on drama!)

Therefore, this is perhaps why folks will flock to a Marvel feature vs. a DC title. Again, comics and the movies that bring them to life exist for the notion of pure entertainment value. And since these titles skew a younger audience (aged 30 and under), one has to have the required action, and if done correctly, a selection of comedy relief. You can have the darker issues, but the fun appeal becomes rather lost! Just have those character spit out a couple of one-liners, and enjoy the ride!

PS…this report noted that there is an “everyone else” source. Those sources are from comic sources that made its mark within the last twenty five or so years when independent comic companies became to make the scene that were alternatives to the DC/Marvel domain. A number of those characters are making some light with fresh new ideas and concepts. Will they become successful over time and tide in terms of media properties? It’s just a matter of time that they will, just as long as they can get the job done with plenty of explosions, gunfire, and jokes!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

On Sunday, March 4th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 90th Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2017 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood and once again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Gary Oldman won Best Actor for the feature release The Darkest Hour. Frances McDormand won Best Actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Guillermo del Toro won Best Director for The Shape of Water, and The Shape of Water 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 (March 3rd), the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 38th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2017 calendar year via a presentation made available through streaming media.

Tom Cruise won Worst Actor for the feature release The Mummy. Tyler Perry won Worst Actress for BOO! 2: A Medea Halloween. Anthony “Tony” Leondis won Worst Director for The Emoji Movie, and The Emoji Movie won as Worst Picture.

The special Rotten Tomatoes Award, presented to a nomonated title as a “so-bad-it’s-good” feature went to the Paramount release Baywatch.

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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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!