SEASONAL GREETINGS!

As September progresses into October, this week calls as the “real” end of Summer. Although most folks observed the Labor Day weekend as the point where those lazy-hazy-crazy days came to its close, Summer is now officially over and Fall in now in full gear. Since the month of August, retail outlets were pushing the fall-related items, mostly in the form of orange and brown colored something or anothers with visions of pumpkins all aglow. Now that October is just around the corner, another time of year comes to mind. It’s the season to make merry, as well as make money. We don’t have to inform you readers what time of year this writer is referring to. You can already guess. But here’s a little hit. It’s colors are red and green, with a heavy emphasis on the green!

Have you already guessed without scrambling to Google via your phone devices? If you haven’t found the answer. Her it is. It was the season that is known as “Christmas”. For the rest of those that want to please everyone, it’s been referred to as “The Holidays”. It’s the time of year that traditional ran between the day after Thanksgiving, and continued through January 2nd. It is the time were things become frantic, joyful, sad and somber, and perhaps profitable. For many people, those previous last six or so weeks of the year is the only time for anything to matter.

And why not? The Holidays covers any and every significant holiday that comes around between late November through the day after New Year’s Day. Some of the holidays are rather known for what they are (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.), others are known but tend to be celebrated by a select few (Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, etc.), while others are only created in order to push a product, service, or idea. (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, College Bowl Watching Time, etc.)

When it comes to the entire notion of these six weeks, The Holidays (the term we are going to use to cover every day of these final half-dozen weeks of the calendar year) are being prepared much earlier than in pervious eras. Since late August, The Hallmark Channel has been plugging their schedule of season TV movies, informing their viewers, a demographic that consists of middle aged women, to take advantage of these feature length programs that features a story where anything can happen because of the Christmas spirit, especially when it comes to family, romance, or a selection that involves something culled from the two subjects in question.

To give one an idea of what we are “speaking” about, those folks from Kansas City (not to be confused with “Those Characters from Cleveland” as that name belongs to Hallmark’s biggest rival, American Greeting that owns such favorites as The Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and other characters that already do their Christmas antics every season), will be premiering not one or two, but twenty-two (count ‘em) world premiers that are all Christmas theme based titles that are of feature-film length. (Around 120 minutes, including commercial breaks and promotional plugs.) Granted, these features may not necessarily win any awards or show any significant merit. They are only there for entertainment purposes, the reason why television programming as a whole exists in the first place. They also show a placement to sell products for the holiday season, perhaps another reason why such programming exists.

Which comes to another point. Over the last few years, advertisements that appear in media, be it traditional television or through social media aspects, focus upon the events falling in December has referred the singular “Christmas”, falling this year on Tuesday, December 25th, as “The Holidays”. Even though there are other holidays to keep in mind, Christmas holds the biggest placement. Not necessarily limited to being known of by name, but through symbolism. Such symbolism can be something as but not necessarily limited to, decorated trees, holly and mistletoe, red and green coloring, and good ol’ Santa Clause ho-ho-ho! There won’t be anything wrong with the use of this now accepted name, although a number of people and groups may show a bit of concern. However, it’s still a little early to see what’s going to happen for now. It’s just a wait-and-see attitude!
As they would say, “Stay tuned”!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents as their second entry to their 2018-19 season, Eric Ulloa’s 26 PEBBLES, a melodrama about a group of townsfolk who react and speak upon a tragedy that occurred in their humble community

The town itself is Newton, Connecticut where in December of 2012, a lone gunman carrying a powerful firearm entered an elementary school and began shooting at random where 20 children and six staff members were killed. The play open about six or so months after the event. A series of local citizens and other people speak about what had occurred, the reaction to this episode, and what the future may bring. The characters themselves ranges from community citizens, parents of those at the school, clergy, and others based nearby and of longer distance that show concern and curiosity toward the collection of events, give out their feelings. These feelings are not within the notion of broad opinions on what should be disallowed or pointing their fingers to who and/or what was at fault. They express themselves with many of the same human emotions that are of and for the good, from the psyche of hope, bonding, family spirit, and perhaps the most important aspect of all, love.

This single act play was compiled by playwright Eric Ulloa based upon interviews and notations he collection from the local citizens of Newtown and nearby Sandy Hook, Connecticut where they express themselves of how their lives and emotions were shaped by what occurred. A team of six performers, consisting of as noted by their alphabetical order, Roslyn Cohn, Jean Kauffman, Jennifer Laks, Joe Lorenzo, Michele Schultz, and George Villas, play the various of characters where they speak upon the aspects of how their town became the center of attention. The play doesn’t form a linear pattern of dialogue per se, but consists of shorter monologues that keeps its continuity toward the before, during, and after the facts. It avoids taking sides of why it did occur and the notions behind it all. It takes heart to mention the list of victims while the gunman’s name is never disclosed! Its real emphasis is to stay emotionally strong and to recall that love is the real grace saving.

Along with the performing troupe is the people who made this production a visual treat. Theatre 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack creates a stage space that consists of a pair of tall vertical panels on each stage side with an equally tall vertical panel displaying a facade of blackboard surface material at center stage. Furnishings consists of a stock of brightly colored blocks that service as a virtual set that move along with the townsfolk when stating their verbal pieces. Gabrieal Griego creates the projection of still and moving imagery illustrating the humble town these citizens call home. And Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski provides the sound design and original music score that sets the moods.

A debate may bring the conviction if 26 PEBBLES holds a happy ending? It actually does, but not in the traditional sense. It content comes from the strong belief of compassion and hope that one will arise, and to know that the settlement of love will conquer all. As to the aspect of “never again”, that has still yet to be proven. Whatever the case, this play will make one think, and perhaps think twice. This showcase is indeed highly recommended.

26 PEBBLES, 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 October 14th. Showtimes are Monday, 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 Road Theatre of North Hollywood presents the world premier of Julie Marie Myatt’s THE RESCUED, a play about a group of beings living within a commune setting going through the many personalities these individuals have while dwelling within their physical boundaries.

The individuals consist of old-timers Jason and Harold (Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall), tough guy Buster (Leandro Cano), sexy Candice (Meeghan Holaway), energetic Darrell (Rahul Rai), and the isolated Lola (Kacie Rogers). They all live in the back yard of a home somewhere in suburbia. Jason and Herold spend most of their moments together binding time as they are the elder ones. Buster holds the appearance of being rather mean, although his bark is worse than his bite. Candice is one that possesses a romantic streak and will slither up to Harold’s seat as her type tends to do. Darrell is always on the go, collecting data of his surroundings keeping track to how many trees, bushes, and other objects are in the back yard setting. Lola is kept inside of a closet, not knowing why she is there but just lives with the fact. These souls are all human in spirit. However, they are not people in the physical sense, but are domestic animals as the males are dogs while the females are cats.

This new work by playwright Julie Marie Myatt is a study of how animals, or in this case, pets that are sheltered because of various circumstances, can become human in many senses. Their domain is a person’s home located in the ‘burbs that take care of these animals because no other source would be available. Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall as Jason and Harold are the “old dogs” that will live there until they die. Leandro Cano as Buster can be a pitbull breed that resembles a ferocious dog, but has a genteel streak. Rahul Rai as Darrell is a fun loving “weenier dog” whose purpose is to keep everything in check, including his fellow petmates. And Meeghan Holaway and Kacie Rogers as Candice and Lola are any kind of domestic cat that lives with these dogs, although Lola is just closeted.

The play itself holds a blend of mellow comedy and light drama in the same method as a mixed breed of dog and/or cat. (No purebreds in this bunch!) The performers appearing on stage holds many of the same traits as somebody’s pet may have, making this show appearing to all dog and cat lovers aside.

The set itself as designed by Sarah B. Brown is a back yard where a tall brown picket fence serves as the backdrop, while the old dogs are mostly seated in a pair of overstuffed lounge chairs. There is a box or two that could be a dog/cat house with nearby plush toys to play with. There is so much going on within this one-act play, there isn’t much toy playing! It’s just the dogs and cats getting along, or at least for most of the time!

Oh yes! There are some musical interludes performed within this play, consisting of some of the pets singing tunes that express themselves within their isolated scenes, using a transcribed music score that is either the original music source, a karaoke track, or in the case of two musical numbers, performed on an acoustic guitar. However, this isn’t a musical per se, just a play with pre-existing popular songs created within the last fifty or so years.

Directed by Marya Mazor, THE RESCUED gives a human face to animals that deserve to live a life in a loving and caring homestead. They seem to achieve that goal, just as long as the people in their world will allow them to coexist.

THE RESCUED, presented by The Road Theatre and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until November 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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Theatre West will present To Dad with Love, A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen featuring Kiki Ebsen who will speak about her father, dancer and entertainer Christian Rudolph “Buddy” Ebsen.

Ebsen, who began in vaudeville in the 1920’s teaming up with his sister Vilma Ebsen as a dance act, appeared on various theater circuits on Broadway and in-between. The two later headed out west where they appeared in a number of musical pictures for Metro-Goldwin-Meyer. When his sibling retired, Ebsen on went as a solo act featured in such films as Broadway Melody of 1936 (and -1938,) Banjo On My Knee, Captain January (opposite Shirley Temple), as well as an “almost” role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. When MGM wanted to give him an exclusive contract where the studio would “own” him, he turned it down. This lead to a fade away from features. However, it was television that made him a star, from playing opposite Fess Parker as sidekick George Russell in The Ballad of Davy Crockett for Walt Disney in the 1950’s, portraying Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies for Paul Henning in the 1960’s, and as private eye Barbany Jones in the 1970’s.

Kiki will also sing a number of tunes extracted from the musicals Epson appeared in, backed up by jazz band trio. Of course, there will be illustrated clips from his movies and TV shows that will highlight the long career of Ebsen that stretched well into the 1990’s! And Kiki was there to see much of her dad’s vast video walk of life!

This event will take place for one weekend only, Friday, October 12th, Saturday, October 13th, and Sunday, October 14th. Showtimes are 8:00 PM on October 12th and 13th, and at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 14th.

Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent). For tickets or for more information, call the Theatre Box office at (323) 851-4839, or online at http://www.TheatreWest.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!

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I GOTS TO KNOW!

The above headline isn’t a typo! And sorry for those selected few–and you know who you are–that claim that this newsletter is full of typos, misspellings, and other printed nonconformities that you folks love to pick upon! At least we will give you credit to you for actually read this thing!

Anyway, the above headline is a quote from one of this writer’s selected favorite movies, the 1971 Warner Bros. release of Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood as the title police detective in San Francisco who’s out to get a serial killer that’s stalking the city, using his own method in getting his man in spite of what his superiors say! It’s a movie that took the lead to how many of the cop-based features would eventually be created in the many years to follow–for its better or for its worse!

Perhaps the most famous scene in this feature takes place in its first third. While having a cup of coffee in a local diner, Harry C. springs into action by shooting a suspect attempting to get away in a vehicle. He whips out his .357 Magnum to shoot the escaping vehicle. The car collides with a fire plug, flipping the car on its side. Then Harry makes an easy spring to where the driver of the car is spread out on the sidewalk along a side of a building. Harry stands right over in front of the suspect, pointing his weapon at the suspect to show him how powerful his gun is that’s ready to blow the suspect away! However, among the confusion, Harry couldn’t keep track if he shot six shots or five since his “tool” can only hold six bullets. So as he points his piece to the man that’s showing an expression of fear while still sprawled on the sidewalk, Harry asks the man if he feels lucky. Harry’s ready, willing, and able to blow this man away right then and there. If he pulls the trigger, will the gun go off, or will the device just give a “click” to the hammer?

Harry, sill in a rather calm mode since its assumed that he’s done this method of getting the bad guys at bay beforehand, asks “Do you feel lucky, punk?”, only to then walk away! The suspect, again still sprawled on the sidewalk leading on the side of a building, calls out the the departing Harry, “Hey man! I gots to know!”

Harry, hearing the man’s plea, turns around, points the gun to the man and pulls the trigger. The gun goes “click”, only to have Harry give this cocky grin as if to say “Sucker!!”

This reply from the “lucky punk” was kept inside of my head for the many seasons since yours truly saw this feature in a local neighborhood “scratch” theater all those years before. From that time, whenever I wanted to obtain an answer or reply to a burning question or inquiry, I would always say “I gots to know”, either within my head or to those that could supply me with the answer I was seeking. Yes, I was totally aware that my answer wasn’t correct English, as its reply would be “I’ve got to know”, or as I would say “I gotta know!” (The reason for the “gots” was the fact that the suspect in the feature was black, and was speaking in what was then referred to as “getto talk”, meaning that the suspect came from the mean streets of the Bay area such as to the “getto” communities that existed back in the early 1970’s!)

The term “gots” rather than “got” was more of a unique or colorful (no pun intended) way to use that line when I had to know of an answer or result in anything that I desired a reply to. As I progressed in and through life from my elementary school days when I was of that age when I saw the movie, toward my later times as a so-called young adult, to the current demographic where I stand, that single line always played within my head and/or my speech when an answer was needed by me. Sometimes I would ask the source to give me an answer based on the importance to the inquiry saying “I gots to know”! At other times, that line would repeat through my head over and over again until I receive a reply, or when I gave up on the idea that an answer would arrive much later than desired, if at all! Whatever came first!

In today’s domestic life, one can ask many questions that makes up part of that same domestic life this reporter is writing about. The questions can range between inquiries created just for the moment (“When will the pizza be delivered?” “Who won the ball game?”), questions that can change the results of elements through finance (“When will I receive my tax refund?” Will I receive a tax refund?”), to queries that can be of just for the peace of mind. (“Will I get the job?” “Will the person I sent a message to ever reply?”) The list is endless!

These question of life (so to speak) are part of the anxiety that people have within their personal domains. Some will speak about it openly and freely. Others will keep those little secrets to themselves that would be part of those skeletons hiding out inside of their closets just taking up valuable space when one can otherwise store that clothing collection that they usually ware, or outfits that they just might put on again one day as soon as the opportunity arrises! These awaiting opportunities just add to the anxiety that builds up if the owner of the clothes collection will lose weight, be invited to that formal gathering, or when the hit fashion trends of 1979 will make a comeback and its good enough to be considered as “retro”!

Not so long ago, The Atlantic magazine through its presence on the web, published an article on the anxiety that people face every day. It noted upon an article that appeared in New York magazine (the “city” magazine covering New York city and its boroughs) about the dangers of climate change–assuming it’s speaking on the subject on a worldwide scale rather limited to a seventy-five mile radius of Manhattan. And thanks to communications methods that’s been around since the turn of the 21st century, that buildup only went from bad to worse. The article reported that folks reported upon these dangers to those through their Twitter accounts, Facebook friends roster, blog posts, text message portals, e-mail mailing lists, and so on and so forth. Some people were indeed scared. Others felt concerned, only to just become more aware of the subject on hand. The rest couldn’t give a crap! Although events or occurrences that one can’t control, let along change, can bring caution, one can only handle matters based upon what they are worth.

Another article from The Atlantic recently posed the question of anxiety to its readers, encouraging those same readers to send on their take of what makes them anxious and how they handle it. Many of the anxious replies made up a part of daily living. One person noted upon a play-by-play description on how the reader makes an important phone call. The person stated that they start off their call by spending time rehearsing what they are going to say to the person on the other end. After the rehearsal, they might dial the number. If somebody answers, they may modify their lines, or state those same lines verbatim. If an answering device takes the call, they may leave a message, or simply hang up without saying a word. Sometimes the person picks a specific day and time of day to make this call. (“Thursday afternoon at 3:17 PM!”) And the cycle continues.

The reasons behind all of this anxiety ranges vastly. Some are concerned on what’s going to happen next. Others might worry if the results they may receive may not be of their desire. The rest just worry because if you don’t show any concern, then what’s the whole point of the issue? After all, even if you don’t get that job, that doesn’t mean you will never get a job from that source! It may not be now, but it can be at a later time.
As yours truly is writing this article, I am experiencing a bit of concern in receiving a pair of replies from two separate people regarding to an activity that I am planning. These events that I am making are based upon the good and well beings toward the other parties. As far as I am aware, both of these sources do understand the reasons behind these inquires as they are based on their personal benefits. I’m even hoping that I can even merge these events as both sources were informed about the others involved. (“The more the merrier!”) Of course, they are not obligated to sense a positive reaction toward these suggestions, although the reasons behind their refusals may not necessarily be known to me.

That notion of receiving a flat “no thanks” just adds more anxiety toward my side of the issue. It even reminds me about a lyric in a song that’s part of the 1960’s-era rock band The Animals’ hit portfolio where its chorus goes “I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good. Oh, Lord! Please Don’t Make Me Feel Misunderstood”.

In spite of this all, much of the anxiety people face every hour of their day can be changed while others cannot. Some are vasty important while other are important for the moment. The rest don’t seem to really exist. Although what I am facing at the moment of this writing might have resulted in a positive answer by the time this issue “hits the streets!” This means that my anxiety was just all for naught. If the results were not to my linking, I would let the others know about it, not giving blame to what has happened. Their reply could have been based on a reason never made known to me, and perhaps it was just as well! Whatever the case, I will still play out that line heard in a flick featuring one of my two favorite “movie cops”, Harry Callahan. The other favorite one is Popeye Doyle from The French Connection, another movie I also saw in a theater that same year! And never mind the fact that I was way too young to see an “R” rated movie without anyone that wasn’t my parent or adult guardian! As long as I paid my 75 cent admission, the box office lady didn’t seem to care! The theater didn’t even seem to care that I was carrying a grocery bag full of popcorn, soda pop, and other goodies I dragged from home to wolf down on! Those movie going antics were just showing off I cheap I was for not paying for popcorn, etc. with money I didn’t have. Another reason to raise the bar of anxiety!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its run at Hollywood’s Lounge Theater is David Margulies’ TIME STANDS STILL, a drama about a couple that stands between what they do within the world of journalism, and how they challenge themselves as a domestic pair.

Nicole Pacent and Jamie Zwick play Sarah Goodwin and James Dodd. The two work within the same field, journalism, where James writes freelance articles covering various subjects, from fluff pieces to hard news. Sarah is a photo journalist who has covered the various wars going on within the middle east region. The scene opens where Jamie has just returned back from a war front, barley surviving a roadside blast that nearly killer her. She returns injured and scarred. James attempts to get her back physically and emotionally. Although they do share the same small apartment in Brooklyn, they are living as an unmarried couple. James’ editor for the print journal he writes for is Richard Ehrlich (Paul Urcioli). He is presently involved with Mandy Bloom (Kelly Fischer), a woman that isn’t connected in the journalistic field, but is young enough to be Richard’s daughter! Sarah, knowing that her life was at stake when she accepted her assignment covering the current conflicts, holds the desire to get back in the action, although James is pleased enough to stay where they are while continuing to write his pieces. This leads into a consequence of either leading a life of domestic bliss, or to serve within the duty of informing the public on the real conflicts found within the world just for the sake of reporting the news.

This play as staged at The Lounge Theatre, is presented within a very tight portrayal. Nicole Pacent as Sarah is a hearty woman that desires to keep on doing what she loves taking candid yet intense photographs, even if this passion may cost her own life. Jamie Zwick as James respects his partner, but would rather keep it safe and content. Paul Urcioli as Richard regards these two as he has known them for some time. Kelly Fischer as Mandy is first presented as a young and perky soul that has first yet to mature, although time and later circumstances presents her in a real adult life. These portrayal of their characters make this play rather dramatic with emotion, showing that the sides of work and domestic happiness runs a thin line. Playwright Donald Margulies has written other plays that focus upon people that compete toward these challenges, and this work leans toward these related principles. Joel Zwick, known for among other works, directing the productions of actor/writer/musician Hershey Felder, recently seen in Hershey Felder: Beethoven (See review-Vol. 23, No. 31) directs this show that focuses itself toward intense melodrama rather than classical music.

Special note goes toward Chris Winfield’s set design that shows the small yet humble apartment that Sarah and James share consisting of a kitchenette at the rear of the stage, and a big and somewhat comfy couch stage front and center as its centerpiece where a good part of the dramatic actions unfolds.

TIME STANDS STILL receives its title from what occurs when a camera shutter button is pressed; A visual illustration created being in view of a scene that stands still. This play stands itself as one that is loaded with drama and emotion, just short of a happy ending–or at least short of a traditional content conclusion.

TIME STANDS STILL, presented by and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (at El Centro-one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until September 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Tickets can be obtained online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents the Jeff Gould comedy THE MARRIAGE ZONE, a surreal comic play about a middle aged couple who meets up with two other couples in different stages of their lives that refects as their own!

Cal (Dane Bowman, alternating with Matt Harrison) and Beth (Rene Ashton, alternating with Monica Young) are a couple that’s been together for some twenty or so years, raising a fifteen year old son Ryan (Kody Fields, alternating with Tanner Fontana). They are moving up in their world. So for their progression, they have their house up for sale. A knock on their door brings some interested buyers to the home, Mike (Alex Hyde-White, alternating with Michael Dempsey) and Liz (Jacee Jule, alternating with Dawn Joyal). This pair is some twenty years younger, and are in the process of starting out in their lives as the two recently became engaged. As Mike and Liz are looking over the home, another knock on the door occurs as Ellie (Britt Rose, alternating with Leslie Stratton) and Skip (Cameron Tagge, alternating with Ben Bergstrom) enter. They are twenty years older that Cal and Beth. But a certain element is discovered as these two couples hold a connection between Beth and Cal. Does Mike and Liz portray themselves as what Beth and Cal were to each other a generation or two before? And is Ellie and Skip represent a version that’s twenty years into the future? How can Beth and Cal handle the fact that their lives have flashed before their eyes? Is this a message warning them of the things that were and is? Does Ellie and Skip hold the key to what is about to take place? Or are these other folks are really interested in the house currently on the real estate market?

This one-act play, written and directed by Jeff Gould, is chock full of fast paced wit. The barbs and one-line gags holds its comic appeal where a simple situation takes upon many ironic twists without losing any of its humor. For its eighty minute or so running time, one will become highly amused over the marriage challenges that are addressed speaking upon the notions that the marriages starts off on its good foot, leading to a number of stubbed toes along the way, and finally setting its pace on either having the marriage stand on its own two feet or to have its feet stepped on, if not being tripped over!

This show features a rotating cast roster that vary during each performance. Please check with the staff management on who is going to appear in the performance and when! However, it doesn’t really matter on who will be present on stage as THE MARRIAGE ZONE is very witty and funny to say the least! It’s also very honest as well as being linked as a married couple (man and woman in this case) does has its moments! Maybe not to the same moments as depicted on stage, but it can get pretty close!

THE MARRIAGE ZONE, performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth Street (at Wilshire), Santa Monica, until November 17th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/3591184
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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!

OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID

The previous weekend from when this edition was first “published” (note: we are no longer a print news source, thus the reason why the word published is in quotes), was the Labor Day weekend, a holiday where its focus is on, well…labor! This is the day where those involved in some kind of occupation is saluted. Granted, not every kind of work is recognized, but at least there is a holiday for something not really noted for its cause. Many know of this day as the end of the summer season, the time where kids (and adults) go back to school–or at least “to school”, and it was the time where one would drop a dime or two for Jerry’s kids!

But the focus here is labor, work, occupation, or doing something for pay or even a lack thereof. Many folks in this domestic society do something for exchange for something that holds monetary value. The job can be anything from a person that rakes leaves, answer phones, serves up coffee drinks, to something high power such as being a CEO of some big-deal Fortune 500 corporation that nearly everyone has ever heard of!

A lot of people work in different settings and environments as well. For many years, a working person would start the work week (a Monday mostly) rising early, getting themselves gussied up, grabbing a quick breakfast of a bagel, a granola-base or some kind of candy-esque food bar, a cup of coffee (and possibly a combination of all three), and drive themselves to their work enveriment. They also may take the bus or train (subway and/or commuter train), and head over toward a downtown-type region to spend the next eight or so hours toiling away at a desktop, at a machine, or dealing with some kind of group of people in order to flesh out their skills and assignments for that duration of a day–usually between the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Then they would get into their transportation vehicles, only to head back home to take care of their personal business. This went on for five days a week up to that Friday. Then the weekend would arrive for those folks to do their own things around the house and/or around the neighborhood.

In this day and age, the old standard Monday-through-Friday-Nine AM-to-Five PM workday and week is still around, but not as profound as it used to be. Many folks work at home for longer hours and perhaps for more days. People work on the weekends as they would during the week. And thanks to what’s been referred to as the “gig economy”, people take upon various assessments coming in from various sources on a non-linear basis. They may be on a project that lasts for weeks at a time, or they may have an assignment that’s only for that afternoon. Others will even encounter a dry spell where no work will come in for days, weeks, months, or at all! And some will face chronic unemployment where no matter how skilled they are (or what their resume and/or Linkenin profile may state), they can’t find any company or source that would be convinced that they can do the work as projected and prescribed. There are many reasons behind this absence of work, from lack of specific skills the company expects from all applicants, (even if the skills they expect from those that apply even exists), to those that are too old in age for the company’s liking. Yep, it’s illegal to sort by age, yet it’s hard to prove!

But are people that do hold some kind of job are pleased in what they earn? The folks at Gallup, the company that takes opinions to find out the real truth in things, recently conducted a poll asking how satisfied people were with what they perceived as their jobs, from how engaged in what they do, to what they received as earnings.

Two separate polls were conducted with these inquiries. The first poll that deals with pay scales, stated that four out of ten workers in the USA feel that they are underpaid in what they do. This is the same rate that underpaid workers stated when Gallup last asked that question some eight years before, around the time when the “great recession” was going at full tilt, a period when anyone that was employed by anyone was glad to have any form of a salaried job.

And though this four out of ten feel they should be receiving more pay, half of those replied (50%) admitted they were paid a proper wage scale! A lowly 5% stated they were getting too much salary in what they did, although the poll didn’t indicate in what type or work they did that paid more money than it should!

At the same time, some 34% of those polled stated they were engaged in their work. This is another term that they love their jobs and look forward in being involved in something their desire to do while getting paid in the process. This 34% is the highest number that Gallup collected from those employed since they started to ask this question around the turn of the 21st century, even tying the highest number of engaged workers as reported in March of 2016.

And if job hopping is the key here, some 65% noted that this current time is the best time to find a high quality job, compared to the 10% that noted this in August of 2010 when the recession was still hanging around.

If the notion that money may by happiness, those that feel they are underpaid aren’t necessarily unpleased in their work. 85% admitted in the poll that they are pleased in their work, even if they felt that have more value in what they do. Those who understand they are paid the right amount are more likely to be satisfied with what they earn (98%) and with what they do for a job (97%).

So what’s the reason for this underpayment. Slow growth in salary levels can be the cause. In recent years, annual growth has come in around 2-3% per year. Before the recession hit, that growth came around 4% per year. Also, the rising costs in benefits, a lack of workers with the skills needed for better paying jobs, and the fall of labor union power played a role. Whatever the case, if one wanted to find some other job that was much better, one can possibly find something else some other place.

Of course, the above facts do not necessarily reflect upon everyone who has the ability to work. Thanks to the internet, many people has found work created by and for themselves, from doing work as an independent contractor, selling goods online via Esty, Craigslist, and the grandaddy of ‘em all, eBay, as well as other matters and sources that break far beyond the “9-to-5” routine, even though that routine isn’t as vast as it once was.

The notion of underpaid for work is far from new. Many sitcoms of yore airing on public media that featured a character or characters that were of the “blue collar” variety usually spoke of salary or the lack thereof, from Chester A. Riley to Ralph Kramden to Archie Bunker to Dan Conner. They may not have been the best well-off folks on their block, but they always had been on the brink of possibly getting a bigger paycheck. (To compare this fact, in a 1955 episode of The Honeymooners, Ralph Kramden stated that he was earning $63.00 per week. In 2018 dollars, that comes to around $592.40, not counting deductions for taxes, union dues, and perhaps entering into the payroll savings plan to invest of US Savings Bonds!!)

So even though that 40% stated they are earning less than they should, the majority noted they are getting the right amount. Only time and tide will predict of those “making that paper” will get more into their pockets for the blood, sweat, and tears they put out each week. It’s only a paycheck away!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks hosts the world premier of MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY, the self titled show that features Ray spinning out of this world tales that involve The Red Planet, along with the perils and truths that lies beneath.

Charles Mount portrays Ray. He begins to speak towards his audience about Mars, perhaps the real destination that lies within the final frontier of space. With his workspace nearby, he gives the brief backstory of his fascination of a supernatural sphere that is just as real as humans would allow. The show intertwines itself with a quartet of short stories that deal with Mars. It opens with Albert Beck and Leonard Craig (Paul Gunning and Joe Seely) part of a Mars expedition team that seeks for the Blue Bottle of Mars that hides a mysterious content. (Is it bourbon inside, or is it something else?) There is a young couple, Bob and Carrie Prentis (Michael Pert and Melissa Lugo), other members of the same expedition that attempts to make their settlement as to a garden from the planet to where they came from-Earth. This phases to a place of worship on Earth where a man of the cloth, Father Niven (Eric Keitel) shapes an alien from this planet into the form of Christ. This leads back to the Red Planet where Emil Barton (Don Moss), the last surviving team member of a martian exhibition, only has electronic transcriptions of his younger self to keep him company. Can he live with his own being as a spy young man, or will he go insane with his own likeness? These, and perhaps other thoughts and theories comes from the mind of Ray, because he has seen it all!

This play, conceived and adapted by Charles Mount and Jeff G. Rack, takes its premise from four short tales written by Ray Bradbury: The Strawberry Window, The Blue Bottle, The Messiah, and Night Call, Collect. Each one of these tales are blended into a showcase that feature the character Ray as performed by Charles Mount, narrating there mini epics in the same tradition that Rod Serling introduced each saga on the TV series The Twilight Zone. Although Ray created each episode, he never gets in its way. This form of presentation makes this theatre piece an almost-yet-but-not-quite one man show. The ensemble cast that appear that also include Tor Brown, John T. Cogan, Richard Mooney, and Robert Paterno, illustrate the tales that Ray spins out, always keeping with its loop, but knowing when to step back to let his performing team, as well as his imagination, run wild.

Along with the ensemble cast, there is a lot of visuals seen within its stage set worth its noting, from Jeff Rack’s production set design and stage direction, to Gabriel Griego’s visual projection design depicting still and moving images of Mars, Earthly hallowed spaces and its surroundings, along with an original musical score composed by Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski. These, among many other elements too numerous to mention in this review, all make up the worlds that Ray created, foretold, and reshaped for all of its fans now and fans of tomorrow to be taken by.

MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY is a loving tribute to a writer that created tales to astonish, to amaze, to thrill, to live and love, as well as to take warning and heed. Ray himself was one of a kind who kept on creating. A stroke that changed the way he verbal communicated, and limiting himself to being confined to a wheelchair did not stop him as he continued to create these tales until he passed in 2012. This show is proof that he knows the future, because he’s been there!

MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY, presented by Arcane Theatreworks and the Whitefire Theatre, performs at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks, until November 2nd. Showtimes are Friday nights at 8:00 PM. Special Saturday performance takes place on November 10th at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.WhitefireTheatre.com
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The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents D.L. Coburn’s THE GIN GAME, a melodrama about two people living in a senior community home that bonds and conflicts with one another over games of gin.

Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James are featured as Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, a pair of senior citizens that are living off their sunset years in a well worn yet comfortable home for the aged. Weller was a one time business owner that had his success when he was at his prime. Failing health confined him to this community walking with a cane and keeping busy with a card game to set his mind and spirit amused. Forsia’s family had placed her there with the notion of perhaps keeping her there for good. Weller invites this new member of the home for a friendly card game of gin, where she catches on with the game’s strategy. Weller’s first impressed over her playing, only to take her luck into a new meaning. But it’s far beyond of two aged souls in just binding their time over cards. The pair realizes that their states of being are not coming to its end, but are to open another chapter into their long and listed lives.

This play written by D. L. Coburn was the first of many other plays created by this playwright winning the Pulitzer Prize for this work. The play was first created during an era when being aged could mean spending their final years socked away in a “senior home”, usually arranged by their adult children that tend to know what’s best for their folks–or so it seemed. The play itself has all of the charm and grace that depict the pair of characters as friendly and warn, yet appear to hide their sadness fully conscious that they have lived out their lives, and awaiting for their time to eventually die. Alan Blumenfeld as Weller shows off his feistiness, enough to cuss in front of a lady without batting an eye. Katherine James as Fonsia Dorsey is a somewhat timid person who is aware that her family didn’t give her the respect that she would have preferred. However, she does open up to her new found friend, in spite of his senior-level aggressiveness. In short, they become as a pair of folks that may be up in their years, but still retains to their hearts of gold.

What makes this show very appearing that it contains a bit of everything sans the overabundance that comes with a one-size-fits-all attitude. It’s amusing, it’s witty, it’s sober, and even holds just a hint of romance. Christian Lebano directs this show that is tight with emotion, and is loose with its charm and personality.

Special note goes towards Tesshi Nakagawa’s set design of the “day room” of the senior home, a place where one can sit, read magazines, play board games, as well as a friendly game of cards, a place where it could be your grandfather’s (or grandmother’s) senior home for the aged. Elizabeth Nankin designs the costuming where the two characters don clothing that is suitable for “old folks” and not much else. Cate Caplin provides the choreography that shows the dancing ability of Weller and Fonsia, still keeping in pace to their dancing moves.

It’s been a little over forty years since THE GIN GAME was first staged at a “storefront” theater in Hollywood now long closed. Since then, it’s played on Broadway, with two separate revivals appearing on The Great White Way. Back then, being “old” was just that–being old and gray, showing a sign that the end of a life was near, if it hasn’t already arrived! In today’s landscape, notations as “70 is the new 50” has been the norm of late as grandparents are becoming as hip as their grandkids, communicating through social media and other high tech aspects. Thus, this play didn’t age at all. In fact, it got better with time! Experiencing this production at the intimate The Sierre Madre Playhouse just adds to its endearing allure.

THE GIN GAME, presented by and performed at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until October 6th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at http://www.SierraMadrePlayhouse.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!

THE “NEW” TV SEASON

The Labor Day weekend commemorates a lot of different milestones to a lot of different people connected to these milestones. That first weekend in September was the time where school-aged kids, as well as adults returning back to a classroom, would be starting off school, if not already attending. Labor Day also noted the unofficial end of Summer, a time of year where one would be partaking their summertime antics. And for those living in the electronic media age, Labor Day was the time where the three national TV networks residing in the USA would be starting out their new season with a lineup of new shows catering to many tastes.

Although summertime was considered a slow time for TV watching, much of what was offered and scheduled between Memorial Day (May 30th-later as the last weekend in May) through Labor Day consisted of reruns of shows that’s been around since the previous season, or summer replacements–“filler” shows that were amusing for what they were, but served as placemarks for programs that were either off for the summer (“on vacation” so to speak) or were there to fill up a time slot until the fall season where a brand new show would be seen on its day and time slot.

The networks, usually starting in August and continuing through September, started to advertise their new lineup for the fall, bombarding the viewer with promo spots and extensive ad campaigns loaded with catchy slogans and jingles with the notion that this season (the one starting in September) will be the “biggest and best” season since the TV network in question went on their air! Perhaps noting that the new season would become the “best ever” seemed to be a little bit exaggerated, but people still awaited to see what the hubbub was going to be all about!

TV Guide, perhaps the “bible” of reporting upon the American (and at times the global) television scene, also participated in this rush of new programming. The issue that was released for the first week of September (Saturday through Friday) was the annual “Fall Preview” issue, chock full of articles and notes on what ABC, CBS, NBC, and to a lesser extent, PBS, was going to present to its viewers. Everything and anything one wanted to know about the new year was going to be crammed in those compact pages, all available at fifteen cents a pop! Inflation would increase this “price of admission” later to twenty cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, a dollar, and so on! However, if one was going to subscribe to TV Guide only to pick one issue for its subscription, the Fall Preview edition would be the pick.

Of course, this writer is speaking for an era when TV was available over the air for the whopping price of free! Beginning in the latter part of the 1970’s, cable TV slowly started to make its mark into the TV landscape. Ditto for the big clunky electronic device called the video cassette recorder, or “VCR” for short. As the 1980’s progressed, cable and VCR penetration moved from being a novelty to a way of life. There was now more programs to watch. Some of the shows were great, some mildly amusing, while others were not worth their time. The ol’ VCR would assist those to “time shift” their programming to view those shows at a more convenient hour and day. That is, assuming somebody remembered to record the program in the first place!

But as the ol’ song wails, “The times are a changing”. In today’s post-modern TV landscape, the new fall season isn’t what it used to be. Yes, the over the air networks, as well as a few cable dedicated outlets, are planning a new fall season introducing new programs. but the hype is long absent. Thanks to streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube Red (or whatever its called now), and perhaps the two-ton ape in the joint, Netflix, new programs are being presented all year round, The other channels that also have streaming services, such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, and a host of others, are taking the advice of the streaming services when if a series was ready to be released, it give the viewers a chance to watch the series right there and then, no matter what the calendar says. And considering that it’s very likely that the entire run is going to be offered all at once, viewing won’t stop unless the viewer wants to the series to end. Never mind the fact that the viewer may spend ten hours of bingeing in one sitting. Just as long as they enjoy the show, why fight it?

So as September means back to school, cooler weather, and watching football–if not “playing” the game thanks to one’s fantasy league, or perhaps participating in an office pool of some sort, the new fall TV season is beginning to progress. And when one does tune in, make sure you watch where you are going! It’s no fun to be run over by an SUV while crossing the street against traffic as you stare into your phone turning in to episode 36 of Game of Thrones. If this happened, the ER room may not have streaming services available on their walled mounted TV devices. However, some hospitals through their closed circuit network, offers such selections. But that’s for another issue, and for another accident!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre Palisades presents BARK! THE MUSICAL, the self titled musical about the life and times of six dogs living their day!

This half-dozen collection of curs consists of Boo (Elena Coleman), Chanel (Julie Hinton), Golde (Marina Tidwell), King (Greg Abbott), Rocks (Ben Fuglini), and Sam (Peter Miller). These dogs first meet when are are boarded at a local doggie day care center. Each of these pups hold different personalities and come from different backgrounds. Boo’s a Cocker Spaniel that is looking for his own voice. Chanel is an elegant Poodle of pedigree stock that holds two obedience school degrees and loves hearing the Metropolitan Opera radio concerts, if not singing along to an aria. King’s a Labrador Retriever and is still faithful to his master who is away at school, hoping to perhaps being together again. Golde is a Bulldog that’s keeps its comical traits to its advantage. Rocks is an energetic Jack Russell Terrier that wants to be loved and desired, while Sam is a lowly mutt of the Pit Bull variety that’s mostly tough in heart and spirit. But as dogs tend to be, they all get along especially when they later meet at the neighborhood dog run. It’s another moment in the lives of (wo)man’s best friends!

As one can figure out in the above description, there isn’t much of a plot of this musical as written by Mark Winkler & Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (book), with music by David Troy Francis, and lyrics by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Robert Schrock, and Mark Winkler with additional lyrics by Jonathan Heath & Danny Lake. It’s just a charming, breezy, and fun showcase that is just as easy as a dog’s life! The six band of players are very upbeat when it comes to playing the dog characters as they “speak” to each other upon how they fit within their dog world. With their presence on stage, the ensemble cast perform in a method that’s enough to make you want to take ‘em all home! The music score itself ranges from bright and carefree to elegant to moody to “street”! Gary Nesteruk provides the live musical direction performing on keyboards, with Dan Radlauer alternating with Dave Keif on bass, with Tom Zygmont on percussion.

As to what’s seen on stage, long time set designer for Theater Palisades Sherman Wayne, provides a simple setting that shows a dog house, a love seat of a couch, a picket fence at the rear of the stage, and a tree on stage right. The tree and picket fence doubles in the second act as its part of the dog park. Heide Dotson’s costuming shows the dog side of what the human cast can portray, while Susan Stangl directs this show that pleases all–human or otherwise!

Sometimes one desires to see a musical stage show that is light, mild, and airy. That is what BARK! THE MUSICAL is all about. It’s within the same nature of a chewed out slipper, or an old couch with a dent in its seat that Fido prefers to take a long doggie nap on. It may not be a show that’s elegant or unique, but it’s tasty and rather comfortable! It’s also enough to make one want to pet the pup of choice! Take this show out for a nice long walk! It won’t bite!

BARK! THE MUSICAL, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until October 7th. 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

Theatre Palisades can also be found and followed through social media via Facebook and Twitter as “Theatre Palisades”.
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The Glendale Center Theater presents Ted Swindley’s ALWAYS PATSY CLIEN, a musical tale about how an energetic fan had the opportunity to come close to her favorite musical star, and the bonding she created.

The story’s focus is around Louise (Ann Myers), a woman that recently divorced her husband, and wound up living a simple life in Houston. By chance, she discovered an up and coming star in the Country & Western music scene, Patsy Cline (Cori Cable Kidder). Her style of vocals attracted Louise to this performer. When she hears about a local appearance that Pasty would make, Louise, along with her boyfriend and her boss, arrived at the concert hall a bit early. There she meets Patsy in person and develops a bond that morphed later into a friendship that lasted for years afterword right up to Pasty’s tragic demise in an airplane crash.

This jukebox musical is a tribute to one of Country & Western’s leading artists that had a unique voice, but never played a musical instrument to place her fame. This stage show itself is very lively, holds plenty of humor and charm, and features a selection of tunes culled from Patsy’s greatest hits collection, as well as other songs she covered over the years! (Back In Baby’s Arms, Walkin’ After Midnight , I Go To Pieces, among many others!) The selection that Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy sings are within the same vocal patters as to her character. She emotes those deep voice models that sounds rich, but never high strung or “twangy” as many of the other female C&W singers possessed during that era. Ann Myers as Louise is the animated one. Sporting a blond nearly kept hairdo and speaking in a voice that is just as twangy, she has the dynamo and drawing power that keeps this show moving in its swift yet easy pace.

Unlike the other musicals that the GCT has produced over its many years of operation, this is the first musical that this writer is aware of that features a live music score. That musical creation is provided by a four piece band on its own bandstand that’s set off to the side of the performance area, consisting of Sean Paxton (as “Joe Bob”) on keyboards, Kevin Tiernan (as “Billy Bob”), on guitar, Mike Flick (“Ray Bob”) on bass, and Jim Miller (“Bob Bob”) on percussion. Longtime GCT ensemble crew member Steven Applegate’s provided the live musical direction, along with Angela Manke’s period costuming. Murat Montero provides the set design that consists of the bandstand, a kitchen area in front to represent Louisa’s humble home, with a “bar” area towards the rear that shows the concert hall setting where Patsy performed and where Louisa created her bond.

Robert Marra provides the stage direction and choreography that makes a show to please those that appreciates the style of Patsy Cline, as well for those that are discovering her music for the first time some fifty plus years after her passing. It’s been long stated that the good die young. This may have been the case for Patsy that placed her for her musical legacy. But for now, this stage musical holds all of the appeal and humor that is part of the GCT’s theater showcase realm.

ALWAYS PATSY CLINE, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until October 6th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with a Sunday afternoon performance taking place on September 9th at 3:00 PM. 

For more details and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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The Los Angeles Woman’s Theatre Festival presents Hot Off The Press, an special stage presentation that features a selection of excerpts of new works and monologues as created by woman playwrights that showcase their creative talents.

The program will be featuring four new stage pieces. Three will be performed by its writers. The ensemble will consist of Heather Dowling’s Fertile: An Exploration of the Expectations of Procreation, a tale about Jenny, a middle 30’s married woman who discovers that becoming a mother may not be as simple as the “birds and the bees” would lead you to believe; Pam Levin’s The Untraditional Present, described as a painful lesson about reading the instructions; Juliette Jeffers’ Kasturba, performed by Aishveryaa Nidhi, is the story of the woman behind Mahatma Gandhi, and Amy Witry’s Once Upon a Kidney, a self described tale of a journey of love, life and donating her kidney.

Along with this quartet of stage pieces, folk musician Sarah Rose Reynolds will provide musical interludes that blends a harmony of soulful folk sounds. This is a stage program that is a balanced mix of comedy, drama, and all points in between.

Hot Off The Press will be presented for one show only on Sunday, Spetmeber 16th at 7:00 PM at the Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks. Street parking is available along Ventura Blvd.
For tickets and for more information call (818) 760-0408 and via online at http://www.lawtf.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!

YOU, THE PEOPLE SPEAK! LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It’s been about a year since we printed some of your letters and notices of late. Now, here they are…

You tend to write a lot about television. Didn’t you once claim that you hated TV? You don’t watch anything on cable or streaming, and you said you would never pay for TV. If so, then why do you comment on TV as it is…?
-Hamilton

Let’s answer the above comment with a few revisions attached.

First of all, yes, I don’t watch TV as mush as I used to. There are the reasons, mostly noting that I don’t care much for what’s on the video screens today. And yes, because of the rise of cable/satellite TV subscriptions over the past few years, paying nearly $100.00 to only watch a handful of channels out of 100+, I don’t feel it’s worth my time and money! Although steaming is a whole lot cheaper ($10.00 per month or less), I still can’t devote of the time, although that method of TV viewing is the place to be.

However, I do try to view some programming, but only when the need calls for such. So to answer your heated question, I don’t “hate” TV, although I do find a lot of it disappointing. I don’t care to pay for the privilege to obtain programming, and I comment about TV because that is what I write about–media in general, not necessarily “TV” per se.

Thanks for asking!

..I’ve been reading your blog (sic) since 2000. I find what you write about is interesting. When will you start making videos and/or podcasts to go with what you write about…?
-Janet Bloome

This question is based upon a few others received in the past that asked us to supply video and/or audio material in connection to our website.

First, we’ll address video material. First of all, video content has been more commonplace in terms of web based design. It’s quite possible thanks to Facebook Live, among other applications, to post moving imagery content as it occurs, either for fun or for “breaking news” purposes. And posting bits and pieces of content has been the way that many of the “blogs” out there in cyberspace land tend to use in cahoots to what they are writing about. Granted, we are always looking for methods to make our pages more interesting. This is true for those that have limited attention spans, or to those that feel the need to have moving imagery elements at one’s fingertips. As of this writing, we are working with a local webmaster that may assist us in getting these applications out.

As for the audio side of things, especially programs known as “podcasts”. It’s a whole lot easier to create a podcast (or a series of) that almost anyone that holds a sense of knowledge of tech can build and create. All it would take is a microphone, a pair of headphones, perhaps an audio mixing device, and a method to capture the sounds being spoken or transmitted. In order to conduct a podcast, which in reality is a radio program that isn’t aired on the “radio”, one must have content. Most of the podcasts out there usually consists of a person taking about something or another. Sometimes other people are joining in, either as a one-on-one type interview show, or as a group of people speaking along at the same time, perhaps as a comedy team a la Bob Elliot and Ray Goulding, or as a morning zoo/rude awaking/morning sickness-esque program that was at its peak in the 1980’s. Yes, yours truly can present an audio show where I would “read” the editorial section, as well as reading reviews that we create. However, that type of program may be amusing, but defeats the purpose to what were are all about.

As with the video side of posting, we will keep these notions to consider as they do hold promise. As for now, we’ll let you know when we are ready to become visual and/or vocal. As they used to say on the air, stay tuned!

Lastly, we wanted to end these string of comments with this entry written by one of the local publicists that create publicity for many of the regional theater shows that perform in the Los Angeles area. We won’t revile the name of the person who supplied this reply (they know who they are anyway), but we felt that this letter should be made aware by our readers.

This reply was based upon an inquiry we made beforehand to why we are not able to review the theater shows as presented by this publicist. So this person writes….

…I have tried to be professional and polite when you email – it is not in my nature to be mean-spirited – but you are so persistent, that I am just going to be frank with you.

The reason that I don’t add you to my press distribution lists or offer you press comps is that, to be absolutely blunt about it, your reviews are so poorly written and so full of grammatical errors and typos, that they are useless to me.  I am embarrassed to show them to my clients and unable to even a pull a quote from them, never mind link to them.

We all make mistakes when we write, especially if we are putting out a lot of content, and I spend a good portion of my time sending corrections to reviewers – but your reviews go beyond sending a simple correction.

Perhaps you need to spend more time proofreading, or you might want to consider hiring a copy editor.

I would be glad to offer press comps in exchange for a thoughtful, well-written review.
I’m sorry that I had to say this to you – I know it sounds pretty awful.  But there you have it….
(Name withheld)

OK, you well respected yet rather cautious publicity person! Let’s take some time to answer some of the points you addressed in your letter!

First of all, you claim that the reviews published within this newsletter has been poorly written. Can you provide us with some examples of this so-called “poor writing”? If you can send us a tear sheet or two (hell, send us a dozen if you have ‘em) that shows this method of writing, then we can understand your point! Proof speaks louder than words. Let’s read something!

Second, when you comment about this form of wiring, it’s assumed that you expect to receive glowing reviews of shows that you can present to your clients. That’s also understandable. Although this writer has seen only a handful of live theater shows that were indeed “bad”, the saving grace to these shows that they are presented to its audience as “live”. All of the actors are speaking right then and there. The lighting and sets are changed and manipulated as the action take place. Much of the technical aspects are controlled by a “(wo)man in the booth” flicking switches and pulling on knobs on cue based upon the notes penciled in along the margins of the script of the play placed in front of the engineer as a guide. The only time the engineer is ever acknowledged outside of the blurbs written within the program–assuming that anybody actually reads these acknowledgments–is at the end of the play where the actors taking their bow under audience applause, gestures with arms extended with open palms toward the said person in the booth. And if anything goes wrong in a play (which occasional does), the actors, thinking on their feet, will make do with that error, only to bounce back and continue on with their show as if nothing happened that wasn’t in the script or to what the director expected!

These little episodes make a play worth seeing. Granted, some shows are done rather poor. That is usually due to the script used (a badly written script), or how the show is executed as conducted by professionals or by amateur theater enthusiasts that gathered together to declare, “Hey, Gang! Let’s put on a show in the barn!”, without the assistance of Mickey Rooney or Judy Garland for guidance. (Maybe Donald O’Connor and Peggy Ryan??) But I will note that if a show is indeed bad, I will make some comment about it with the notion that I will do such without being mean spirited. I won’t write “This show sucks! Avoid at all costs!”, because the live elements will save the program as it is! (Movies and the occasional TV show review however, won’t fall into those guidelines because they are not presented as “live”! There are no “live” saving graces to fall back upon!)

Yes, we will admit that at times, we get some of the actor’s and/or crew names wrong, usually due to unique spelling! (Smith? Smyth? Smithe? Stein? Stine? Styne?) You get the idea!

Lastly, if you suggest that I do use a copy editor, please recommend a few editors that I can take advantage of. If you yourself are indeed a copy editor noting this fact to perhaps drum up business, send me your rate card! We would be interested in speaking with you!
What was written above won’t be the last you will hear from us, dear publicity person! As they would say to actors attempting to nab a role during theater auditions, we’ll keep in touch!!

So that’s some of your comments and feedback. If you would like to place your two-cents in, we would be honored to hear from you. Just refer to the last page of this edition to contact us. We’ll be awaiting!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre West presents the world premier of Benjamin Scuglia’s THE MAN WHO SAVED EVERYTHING, a drama about a middle aged man who attempts to keep the memory of his long deceased parents alive only to spiral into holding on to everything they ever possessed!

David Mingrino is Barry. As a young adult, he dropped out of college when his parents fell ill, returning home to take care of them. When they passed away, he become so affixed to them, he started to keep every piece of something they had within their home as a memory. This collecting became more intense over time. Before long, he started to hole himself inside of their modest home, keeping every bit of anything that was part of their lives. The goods he was clinging has little to no value to anyone but Barry. He continued to keep every piece of whatever ranging from ragged pieces of clothing, cheap knickknacks, to calendars from years long forgotten all stored away in boxes piled high and crammed into every place manageable. Two people from Barry’s life are the only ones that still call upon him. Those two are his best friend from college, Chuck (James J. Cox), and niece Darla (Ashley Victoria Robinson). The two try to inform him that a real estate developer has purchased the entire neighborhood of homes to build a large development, including the home that Barry lives now long depleted and run down. But Barry refuses to not only leave, but to let go with anything inside of the house! But Barry isn’t alone as the two spirits of his father (Alan Schack) and mother (Julia Silverman, alternating with Suzanne Collins) remain. Barry’s obsession with his long deceased parents, as well as everything they possessed, are now part of his psyche. Along with the ghosts of his parents are the unseen inner demons that control his amplified state of collecting.

This single act play by Benjamin Scuglia is a piece that can be called a bittersweet look on one man’s obsession with keeping items far beyond as a hobby of collecting items that may hold value such as coins or comic books. Instead, it’s a feat of what’s known as “hoarding”, recognized as the state of keeping an excessive collection and retention of things (or even animals) when they interfere with day-to-day functions that’s part of a domesticated lifestyle. In this play, David Mingrino as Barry is a man who adored his parents and continued to do so long after they died. His intentions for keeping the memory of his parents are for the good, but only within his mind! Chuck, his college chum as played by James J. Cox, along with family member Darla as portrayed by Ashley Victoria Robinson, remains as the only two that haven’t died (yet) or had abandon him because of his emotional obsessions. The way Barry is depicted isn’t about a man who is mentally ill, but as a man that wanted to still love the parents that raised him, even when those parents have been long departed. It’s a play that pictures a person that could never let go, although what he is obsesses over had let him go when their lives long ended.
Michael Van Duzer directs this show that has emotional heart along with a sobering method of a sense of want from a man that wanted everything yet had nothing “real” to show of it outside of piles upon piles of things that can be called everything from “junk” to “garbage”!

And speaking of things overly kept, Even A. Bartoletti’s set design depicts a older bungalow of a home loaded to the gills with run down furnishings along with piles of boxes and storage bins full of items that hold no value to anyone expect the person keeping it all! It’s a busy set for a man too obsessed to maintain it all!

Also appearing in this production are Ivy Miguel and Loida Navas as “The Collectables”, a pair of silent and invisible characters that are part of Barry’s inner demons that gives him the desire to keep anything and everything that represents his parents, no matter what those things may be.

Although there are some episodes in this play that can be labeled as comedy relief, THE MAN WHO SAVED EVERYTHING is really a drama that focuses itself upon a rather unspoken part of a mental illness. (Yes folks, the state of hoarding is recognized as a emotional nonconformity far from just a subject of a recent reality TV series that exists as entertainment!)

In spite of this form of emotional thinking, the play itself is entertaining and even carries a message. If one is going to keep a massive amount of goods, do so for a reason. Otherwise, it’s enough to create a massive amount of clutter for somebody else to either keep or dispose of. This play is highly recommended due to its scope and originality.

THE MAN WHO SAVED EVERYTHING, presented by and performs at Theater West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until September 23rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. Special “talkbacks” where the cast and crew gather upon the stage to discuss the play with a Q&A session, takes place after each Sunday performance.
For more information and for ticket reservations, call (323) 851-7977, or online at http://www.TheatreWest.org

Visit their social media presence via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheManWhoSavedEverything
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Performing at The Lounge Theater in Hollywood is the Steven Sater/Duncan Sheik musical SPRING AWAKENING, a tale about adolescence youth uncovering their inner and outer turmoil of sexuality and related disorientation, in reaction to what the elders experience.

Taking place in the latter years of 19th century Germany, the story focuses upon a selection of youth, those that have reached puberty but not encountered full adulthood.
Wendla (Asha Noel Iyer) strives with making sense of her blossoming sexuality. Her mother won’t teach her the basics on how sex functions due to her awkwardness of detailing the facts to her. Melchior (Andrew Gleckler) becomes the focus of interest and the two find some form of attraction, leading up to her pregnancy with no idea on the how conception actually works, let along exists. Because of this unplanned pregnancy, not even being told nor aware of Wendla’s fate, Melchior is sent to a reform school by his parents. This leads up for the young lass to dispose of the unborn child through a botched abortion, causing her to die. More situations spiral out of control. Classmates Hanschen (Anthony Cloyd) and Ernst (Michael Waller) encounter a same sex relationship, and another young woman Martha (Laila Drew), tolerates an abusive father. These hard facts of life among the youth of the community are enhanced by the adults taking blame not upon themselves, but toward the ignorance of the youth.

This musical production with book and lyrics by Stephen Sater and music score by Duncan Sheik, takes upon its original source, Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring’s Awakening, and enhances the elements seen as a portrait of how the young people that dwell within a progressive European nation is getting out of control, while its adult leadership are not taking any responsibility. This was during the period when children should be “seen and not heard”. The youth are separated by gender as the boys attend a strict and tense schooling, while the girls are limited to domestic situations as they will eventually find a man to marry and to take charge. In this production as seen at The Lounge Theater, the ensemble cast does keep the themes and aura to its original period (1890’s Germany), while creating a parallel to the contemporary issues of now–early 21st century America. The ensemble cast that consists of lead players as noted above, as well as Emma Lue Delaney as Ilse, Thomas Aduue Polk as Moritz, Timothy Reese as Georg, Jui Seeley as Thea, Abigale Thomas as Anna, Michael Waller as Ernst, L.E. Woods as Otto, with Kris Robenson and Jack Stuart as the adults, perform their roles with honestly and integrity, never letting their musical theater presence fall upon the wayside.

A musical program such as this one plays very well, if not better, on a small intimate stage as to a larger and perhaps wider theater space. The smaller setting brings its character to the audience experiencing this show, rather than projecting stage movement at the crowd far seated. Travis Kendrick stage direction and choreographic movements thrusts this program as a tight production, as set to Myrona DeLaney’s transcribed musical direction of its score.

David Goldstein’s scenic design consists of posts with black colored planks placed in a low pitched criss-crossed horizontal fashion, along with a set of black chair pieces that’s interchanged frequently between the chairs and planks to depict various scenes and settings. Sera Bourgeou’s costuming is a blend of late 19th century inner and outerwear for the women, and 21st century pants and jackets for the men. (No one dons a tie!) These pieces of clothing are one of its many elements that bridges the gap between then and now.

As to this bridge between the notions of then and the aspects of now, this musical is more timely than ever! Within the last few years, youth has seen the triggers that make their lives more complicated than previously experienced, ranging from the use of violence through firearms, the elements of sexual awareness and its harrasment, and other related theories. SPRING AWAKENING is a musical that takes heed into what may be the “what if”, and to the “what can be”. Today’s youth are willing to make a difference for the good of society. They have the power right in their hands and are eager to make that change for the better. The title suggests that a “spring awakening” was needed some 125 years before, and is needed in today’s landscape.

SPRING AWAKENING, presented by Me + You Productions, and performs at The Lounge2 Theater, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (at El Centro, one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until September 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 1:00 PM. Special matinee performs on Saturday, September 9th at 1:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, visit the website http://www.SpringAwakeningForGunSafety.com.

Follow this show through social media via Facebook http://www.facebook.com/SpringAwakeningForGunSafety, and via Instagram @SpringAwakeningForGunSafety
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THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (STX Films) takes place in the City of Angeles-Los Angeles, home of Phil Philips, private eye (Bill Barretta), Phil was at one time an LAPD detective. But a botched attempt while attempting to free a hostage from a suspect with a gun killing an innocent bystander in the process, got him kicked off the force. Now he’s on his own keeping an office space located in a crappy part of town, just him and his front office secretary Bubbles. (Maya Rudolph). Phil isn’t just a private eye, he’s a “muppet”-esque puppet! In LA, puppets do exist with humans, but they are not treated equal. In fact, they are treated as a downridden minority group holding minimal respect.
Some twenty five years before, a TV series called “The Happytime Gang” was one of the hottest TV sitcoms around. Phil’s brother Larry was its lead player, along with a cast of other puppets. Phil didn’t think much of his brother who had a better career. But one day, Phil receives a client, a puppet named Jenny (Elizabeth Banks). She received an anonymous letter that hints that an unknown source is out to get the surviving cast members of The Happytime Gang. Phil takes the case since she is willing to pay for his services and he’s impressed with Jenny’s sex appeal. But a serial killer is indeed bumping off each cast member-Larry included! The LAPD assigns one of their bunch-Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy). She’s a loose cannon and despises puppets. Phil, seeking revenge on who did his brother in, takes the case as well. Connie and Phil team up as their total opposites. But as detectives, they are out to discover who is behind these murders, even if they get roughed up in the process!

This comedy is a classic example of taking a 1940’s film noir concept, adding the action and snarkyness of a 1970’s cop/detective TV series, attach a blend of puppets doing bad things, toss in the comical antics of Melissa McCarthy, and mix in with doses of puppet sex, puppet violence, and puppet drug usage. The results is a movie that is comical in sytle, a bit silly at times, but entertaining for what it is. Todd Burger’s screenplay with story by Burger and Dee Austin Robertson, contains plenty of comical characters (human and puppet), cliched dialogue (intentional no doubt), along with the for noted “puppet”-style violence and drug usage that makes this feature very amusing. It’s “violence” consists of cotton and cloth stuffing blown all over the place when a puppet is shot at, the “drugs” used are sugar-based substances such as purple colored granulates mimicking powered smack, as well as Connie downing bottles of maple syrup as it was cheap booze! These elements show off how these puppets, living in big bad L.A. get their due to the society they live in, but didn’t create!

Along with the cast is featured Leslie David Baker as Lt. Banning, Connie’s boss who watches these rouge detectives on the Happytime murder case with a cynical eye, and Joel McHale as Agent Campbell of the LAPD. As much as their roles are seen as stereotypical, this just adds to the fun that this feature contains. The puppets themselves are not total CGI types, but real “flesh” puppets that are of the “muppet” variety, rather than something out of a 1950’s-era kiddie show, or as marionettes. But the CGI kicks in where one doesn’t see anyone manipulating the puppets in question. But they are “for real”, rather than depicted as an image that only exists on a hard drive.
Brian Henson, the son of the late Jim Henson, directs this film with that same method of cockiness that this movie holds. Of course, since this movie is rated “R” for the above noted puppet-style sex, violence, drug use, as well as occasional cussing, it’s best advised to leave the kiddies at home–or at least leave them inside another theater where more family-friendly titles are showing!

Now playing at the usual mix of 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!

IT’S “MAGIC TIME”! or WHAT I DID DURING MY SUMMER VACATION (Pt. 3)

As the month of August progresses, the subject of summer vacations are still high in demand. Although this week through its next ushers the “back-to-school” line of rule as many of the school districts around the nation (Los Angels included), as well as colleges and universities running under the semester scheduling system (starting around the last week in August) begin their classes, we thought we’d present one final essay over summer vacations as experienced by yours truly over the many years.

Although the first two issues told about a trip I had taken with my family, this tale will focus on taking a trip on my own, a time where I didn’t have to rely upon my dad driving the ol’ family vehicle to a destination that they through of. This time around, I would be behind the wheel of a car driving to where I wanted to go, and to other places that would be of interest only to me. There would be no deciding by a committee on where to go, what to see, or to find out if the place of discovery would even be worth the time, space, and money. In other words, it’s “my” vacation! Not a vacation to a destination that my folks felt I should (or would) appreciate, but someplace that is designed by me, for me!

And that solo vacation did take place in August is that month would become my final opportunity to get away before I was going to start another session in school. This time around, it wasn’t elementary school, middle school, or even high school! It was going to be college. Lucky for me, the first college I would be enrolling in worked under the quarter system where the first week of classes didn’t begin in late August, but late September. So I would be free in the latter part of the month, and would be able to grab those summertime antics before I would be tied up (so-to-speak) for the next few months sitting in some classroom somewhere.

That first post-family-era vacation journey was based upon a whim that I encountered. I didn’t plan on taking this trip, let alone decided to where I wanted to go. It was set upon a day a few weeks before where I had the chance to pour over the Sunday newspaper!

The Sunday paper was the only edition that was chock full of sections to ponder over. Sure, there were the first section with the hard news, but nobody wanted to know about what was going on in the would on a Sunday! Yes, those events were important for what they were. But this was Sunday, a day where one can be lazy as to read the whole thing while in bed having a late breakfast consisting of anything one wanted to chomp on for the first meal of the day; A bowl of Froot Loops to last night’s pizza slices. As stated, it was Sunday! And on Sunday, anything that wouldn’t make sense during the rest of the week was totally fair game!

So there I was, eating a slice of pizza nice and cold after sitting in the original box for the last twenty-four hours, enough time to make that slice properly “aged” to perfection, while pondering on that morning’s edition of The Chicago Tribune. The Tribune (or “Trib” as the locals named it) was the full sized paper that was chocked full of sections for its Sunday edition, with a lot of advertising supplements. After pawing through those supplements looking for cents-off coupons for products that I actually use (let alone buy), I went to the first section of interest, the funnies! There for just a few moments, I would read on the latest antics from such strips as Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Blondie, and of course, Peanuts. Then there was the magazine section, where the Trib featured a magazine that was nearly as good as something found on a newsstand. This section didn’t waist time and space for fluff pieces found in “Parade”, “This Week” or though other sections that were syndicated to other newspapers that emphases on more shorter human interest articles, celebrity profiles, and other stuff that was amusing, but not really important.

After going through other articles in the paper, I went to the travel section that always gave reviews of places to go and things to see around town, around the country, and around the world. The story that was featured on the cover was to visit Canada, the “neighbors to the north”. Because the American dollar was getting stronger, one’s yankee buck would go father in Canada. Although I don’t necessarily recall the exchange rate at the time, I did know that a one dollar bill with a picture of George Washington on it would be worth more than a dollar bill with the likeness of Queen Elizabeth on its face. Since Lizzie was the Queen of England rather than the Queen of Canada, I never understood why her mug was on its front of the paper money. Wouldn’t the King/President/Prime Minister of Canada’s face be seen on its front? I really didn’t care. All I knew about Canada that they had a different national anthem that I would hear before a hockey game–or if the Cubs would play the Montreal Expos!

Anyway, the article gave all of the attractions going on that summer. One event was in Toronto where the Canadian National Exposition (or “CNE”) would take place in late August until Labor Day. (The American and Canadian Labor Day falls on the same day, the first Monday in September). The CNE was really a state-fair type of event, full of attractions, a carnival area full of rides, and other things to do and see that was akin to a state fair.

Since the last time I want to a state fair was a few years ago when the family, taking the ol’ ’68 Ford Country station wagon on its final vacation journey to the Michigan State Fair outside of Detroit, I though I’d take advantage of checking out the CNE on my own with a load full of American dollars that were worth more than a dollar bill with Lizzie’s face would ever put out!

So after going through that entire Sunday paper that morning, I decided that for the final week of August, I would drive on my own to Toronto to not only see the CNE, but to take a peek at other sights and sounds along the way! It was going to be my time, my journey!

So how was I going to get there? I didn’t own a car of my own at the time, so I was going to rent one. My dad was a member (thanks to the AAA), of a “VIP” club hosted by Avis where one would be able to receive additional premiums that Avis was offering at the time. One of these premiums were a family membership. Anyone in the family who had a driver’s license and was over the age of 21 could rent a car at a special rate. (I don’t recall the specific rate, but it was to an advantage!) However, my dad never used this VIP membership club. I don’t know why he had it in the fist place, although it was being paid through our AAA membership. Nevertheless, since I was on the family plan, I though that I’d take advantage!

I contacted Avis’s toll-free reservations number, and told the operator on the other end, some perky sounding woman, about my special membership. She asked me the usually questions for making a reservation, and told me to go to any of the Avis outlets in my area, or to a local AAA office, and get the car from there. Since I lived just walking distance to an AAA office, I headed out yonder!

My car was going to be an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, a midsize vehicle that was right for my purposes. But the perky sounding woman on the phone somewhat screwed up my reservations. When I arrived at the Avis desk at the AAA, they didn’t find anything, although I was lucky enough to write down my reservation number. So to make things up for me, they offered me an instant upgrade of getting an Olds Delta 88 sedan at the same rate as I would get a Cutlass. It was bigger and had more features, with plenty of trunk space to boot. (More room to store souvenirs!) I agreed on this upgrade. Before long, I had at my disposal for a week’s time, a white colored maroon interior Olds 88 with unlimited miles. All I had to pay was for the gas.

Within the next day, I packed my things rather quickly. And before long, I was off. I barely had time to say good-by to mom and dad. They knew I was heading off, but they didn’t seem to have much concern. They were not “helicopter parents” as being a “HP” didn’t take hold until the 1990’s. All they wanted to know was when I was coming back. All I told them was “next week”. and nothing more! A good enough answer for them!

My route was going out of Chicago along I-94. The highway would be taking me out of the city, through northwest Indiana passing such cities as Gary,, Hammond, and a few other spots along the way. I-94 then cuts through the southern part of Michigan. Along the way, one would pass Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Jackson, Ann Arbor, and finally Detroit. Benton Harbor was the home of Maytag appliances that still used Jesse White at the “lonely Maytag repairman” in their ads, Kalamazoo, whose big claim to fame was a song about having a gal in Kamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo, as Tex Beneke and the Modernairs would vocalized in their hit song for Glenn Miller and the orchestra. Battle Creek was home of Kellogg’s cereals where billboards along the way advertised to “visit us” at their world headquarters. I made a note to perhaps visit the place on my return trip as I was anxious to head to Toronto first. I even recall one can exit at exit 100 and to follow the signs. Alas, I didn’t have that chance to see the place to where my favorite breakfast cereals came from! No Tony the Tiger, no Toucan Sam, not even Snap, Crackle, or Pop to lead the way! Perhaps next time!

Finally, I got to the Detroit city limits. When I first visited this town a few years ago for the Michigan State Fair, I found the city to be one big dump! Neighborhoods near the downtown region were nearly deserted. Plenty of building were abandon, falling apart, or totally gone! Grand River Avenue wasn’t so grand, either! In fact, it seemed that this city never recovered from the riots of ’67, and those riots occurred a number of years before. Most of the city’s “action” were found in the suburbs where it was a lot safer and (ahem) whiter! However, I wasn’t going to stay in Detroit. I was just passing through!

I had a choice to enter Canada. Either take the Ambassador Bridge, or through the tunnel that connected downtown Detroit to downtown Windsor, Ontario. I chose the former since the bridge was a lot easier to find (how can one hide an extension bridge anyway?), and offered a more scenic route.

Back in this time, it was a whole lot easier to enter Canada from the USA. First of all, one didn’t need a passport. Second, all one was asked by Canadian customs were three questions: Where are you from, where are you going, and how long are you staying? You didn’t have to even provide proof. They took you for your word! So after going over the bridge, the answers I provided to customs were, “The USA”, “Toronto”, and “For the week”! Although I was rather youthful looking, nobody arose suspicion that I was a young adult driving a late model Olds 88 sedan that was a rental car. How times have changed!

Upon entering Windsor, I looked for the next highway to travel, the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway or colloquially known as the four-oh-one. (Quote taken from the Wikipedia entry for this freeway!) That road would take me from Windsor, through a few smaller communities, finally leading to where I wanted to go–Toronto.

There were a few things I found amusing on that trip, mostly on how Canada positioned themselves.

For starters, the entire nation was under the metric system, meaning that gas was sold by the liter (just like soda pop in the USA), driving speeds were measured in kilometers, and the temperature was calculated in centigrade. It was a bit tricky to figure at first to what gas stations provided the better prices for fuel, But I knew that going to the off-brand station gave me a better value than, let’s say heading to an Esso dealership. (Many of the Dominion’s grocery stores also had gas stations near the front part of their outlets, so I usually gassed up there!) The speed limit on the 401 was 100 km. per hour, That roughly calculated at around 62 miles per hour, much faster than the USA’s 55 MPH speed limit. And if the local radio station reported that the temp was 30 degrees, it was going to be hotter than hell, so don’t bundle up!

And speaking of radio, many of the local AM stations were very much to an American station would program, playing music, presenting local news reports, as well as playing commercial spots for local businesses. One station I enjoyed listening to was CFCO-AM in Chatham, Ontario. The station offered a pleasant mix of news, music (adult contemporary), with local radio personalities to make it all happen. There were other stations found up and down the radio dial, but CFCO still sticks out in my mind.

After driving for a while, occasional stopping in a small community along the way (St. Thomas was one I recall), I reached Toronto, a huge megapolis that was as cosmopolitan as a Chicago or New York. Since I came from a huge city, I was rather comfortable in being such a town although I still found the smaller communities much more charming.

So I planned to head on over the the CNE’s location site, just off downtown near
banks of Lake Ontario. I was able to find the place rather easy since my map (from the AAA), showed me the way! I spend the entire day at the CNE, looking at all of the exhibit booths, going through the carnival midway (no ride riding for me), and just having a hugh blast. One exhibit I found amusing was an area that promoted travel to The USA i.e. “south of the border”! The slogan used at this area went something like “Warm, Near, and Friendly. That’s U.S.!” Among the many things on display that emphasised American at its finest was an actual Louisiana State Police Squad car, complete with an actual Louisiana State Trooper speaking in a creole accent! People there was admiring his uniform while he spoke in a classic “Bett’r be good, boy” accent. He somewhat remedied me of the character of Sheriff Buford T. Justice as played by Jackie Gleason in the feature Smokey and the Bandit. The squad car was a full-sized Chrysler. However, Bert Reynolds’ “bad-boy” Pontiac Firebird was nowhere to be found!

When I was not at the CNE, I did take advantage of the Toronto Subways. It was easy to get around, and unlike subway systems I knew of, they were spotless! Not even a cigarette butt to be found anywhere on its station platforms, and everyone at each station was there to await for a train! And speaking of transportation, Toronto still had its electric busses that used an overhead guy wire line, as well as actual streetcars for the 1940’s! I can understand way another modern classic feature film A Christmas Story took advantage of those streetcars as the location the feature was shot in did look like Cleveland, Ohio c.1940!!

It was a great trip I took way back on that late August week from not so long ago. And in the same tradition that I did when I went on my family excursions a few years before, my “paid” souvenir was the local edition of TV Guide! This time around, there was a full fledged Canadian edition of this magazine with ads for Canadian products, and articles about shows that aired on the CBC and CTV networks. Before that time, any edition of TV Guide made available in Canada had the same articles and ads as seen in the USA editions, even if those issues featured write-ups for shows not necessarily available to view in Canada, or for products not available either such as cigarette brands! The issue I got had on its cover a cartoon drawing of a boy and a girl as if they were marionettes with a humanized TV set playing the puppeteer. It was to note on a cover story on how TV programming can control kids in doing what it wanted those kids to follow! Parents be warned!

So the above ramblings were about my first summertime vacation as a solo. I would take other trips through my many years. Some were in other times of the year, but the August trips were the most memorable. That is why August is indeed a “magic” time for yours truly. But with such good things, they all must come to its end. Although the places I visited had come and gone over time and tide, as well as the souvenirs picked up along the way had since been lost, broken, thrown out, and maybe kept for the archives (the TV Guide back issues still remain), these memories still make up as part of the magic that the waning days of summer still bring. I can’t say if I will ever take trips or vacations such as the ones I did ever again, but things can change. It’s been said that “one can’t go home again”, but home is wherever you want it to be. It can be as a physical place, or as a state of mind. Wherever you are, you are there! All it takes is a little summertime magic!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

PIZZA MAN, Darlene Craviotto’s black comedy about two rather frustrated and depressed women who create a plan to find a man to take advantage of only to receive what wasn’t expected, performs at Hollywood’s Dorie Theatre at The Complex.

Jazz Raycole and Teri Andrez are roommates Alice and Julie. The pair are both going through funks in their lives. Julie just lost her dead-end job while Alice just ended her short(er) term relationship with a man that decided to go back to his wife! Julie started to drink heavily, down to spending their last bit of grocery money on booze. The two don’t seem to have much of a love life either! But through their frustrations, they embark on an ominous idea to find a man and to take advantage of him. Not beating him or even robbing him for his pocket change, but to rape him! They find their “victim” through Eddie (Christian Gehring), a blond hunk whose seen a lot in his life, yet reduced to delivering pizzas. They find him through calling the local pizza parlor, only for him to arrive at the apartment to make his delivery. Not only they get their pizza–the only decent food in the place, they get their man to conduct their evil deed. Accomplishing their real goal wasn’t as simple as they through it would be. However, they find more than to just getting their sexual pleasures through force.

This play is a rather twisted look on how two woman attempt to become equal (so to speak) in domestic society only to discover that there is more behind the planning of a hideous crime. The three players in this production are very amusing. Jazz Raycole and Teri Andrez as Alice and Julie perform their roles as two women that already hit their wall in life before turning thirty. Christian Gehring as Eddie is the good looking beefcake of a guy that deserves more than just being a lowly pizza man. Natalie Sutherland directs this show experienced as a blend of a stage comedy with dramatic interludes, or as a drama with comedy relief thrown in. If this program was depicted as a full fledged comedy, the pacing could use a bit more pep into its step. If this play would be viewed as more dramatic, the action would move a bit faster as well. Not as fast as to let’s say, a frantic laff-fest, but enough movement allowing the said action to unfold in a better active clip!

Although there is no set director credited, the scene where all the action take place is a rather comfortable looking flat, complete with overstuffed couch, a kitchen counter used as a makeshift bar, with a few colorful knickknacks sprinkled hither and yon that make this home appear as a decent dwelling space.

PIZZA MAN is a comic drama or a dramatic comedy. It’s also a play that is rather interesting for what it is, even if what it may stand for shows that if one desires something far fetched, one may not receive it as intended!

PIZZA MAN, performs at the Dorie Theater at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, until August 26th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. For tickets, order online via http://www.EventBrite.com.
Also visit http://www.PizzaManComplexHollywood.com, and via
http://www.Facebook.com/PizzaManComplexHollywood
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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!

IT’S “MAGIC TIME”! or WHAT I DID DURING MY SUMMER VACATION (Pt. 2)

In last week’s issue, this writer (“me”) composed an article on the “magic time” of August. I went on to note the reasons why this month has all the magic. Among those reasons came from the fact that I would take on many road trips to various places that month. These road trips first began as family based vacations and the first “real” road trip that went beyond the weekend’s time, took place not-so-many years ago when my family embarked on a road trip from Chicago (where I was living at the time) to Niagara Falls, New York, then to Washington DC. The previous issue gave some insights to how we planed for the trip, how we planed to get there, as well as an almost forgotten side story on an encounter with a bus charter company ready to sham our bunch in paying for a bus ride to the falls where we could have taken our car there with minimal problems. (We wound up going there on our own!!)

This week’s chapter begins after we completed our excursion to Niagara Falls, now ready to head on over to the Nation’s Capital where there was much more to see and do. After all, outside of the falls, there isn’t anything unique to do or see in Buffalo–or at least at that period of time!

After the falls, we were making the trek through Pennsylvania to the D.C. area, passing by (but not stopping in) Pittsburgh and various other communities throughout the state. Some of these places I barely recall, while others became long forgotten. I don’t necessarily remember the exact route we took since I wasn’t driving, and the AAA through their “Triptic” map that resembled a reporter’s notebook, made the route easy to follow through its pages. The pages consisted of a section of map with the road taken as centered. A special marking pen that was colored blue/green highlighted the road(s) to take. It was a map that was easy to follow. In fact, it was so easy, even my mom could make out the routes and places to enter/exit to dictate to my dad. He was the captain of the goodship Ford Country Squire wagon, and my mom was second in command. We kids were just the raw recruits on this journey, so we didn’t have much to do except to enjoy the ride for what it was worth.

Although it seemed that we were in the Keystone state for a good part of the trip (that wasn’t too difficult to understand as it extends some 400+ miles going east-west), there were a few memorable episodes to recall that made the trip amusing for what it was.

First, many of the interstates taken were turnpikes, meaning that they were toll roads. I knew of taking toll roads where if a driver was coming toward a toll booth, one would have to throw some coins down a hopper device. Then a light would change from red to green, a gate would open where one could pass through. On the turnpikes, a driver would arrive at the toll booth only to take a IBM punch card that would spit out from a slot on the left hand side with the details printed on where one got the ticket. When the driver was to make an exit or if it was the end of the line, one would drive up to the booth, place the card into a slot, and then one paid the amount of the toll based on where one received the ticket. It seems that the farther one traveled, the more one would pay. Every one of these booths was “manned” by a Pennsylvania Turnpike person, complete with uniform with a patch stating that the person wearing the shirt (it was mostly a “men-only” operation from what I recall) was an official toll taker–just in case somebody came to a fake toll booth that was plopped along the road by some evil doer that wanted to gyp drivers out of their toll money!

Another notion that I recall was there were a lot of Howard Johnson restaurants and/or motor lodges along the Turnpike. HJ was still using that bright orange color scheme that made this roadside attraction famous. Some of their restaurants and motor lodges still used their 1950’s-era neon signs that were not as orange, but mostly blue-ish in color. I recall that for the motor lodges, there was an image on the top of the sign that consisted of a lamplighter (of “long-long-ago” variety) lighting an old streetlight with an elongated lamplighter thing, where a young boy was looking up at him. It could have been taken from a scene from an Charles Dickens story with the boy saying to the lamplighter “Please, Sir. I haven’t a place to stay.” I really liked the orange-colored scheme that was part of HJ. However, I knew that by 2001, there would be no more orange colored Howard Johnson’s since the one located at the space station in the movie of the same name didn’t feature a speck of orange anywhere to see! That’s progress I guess!

We stayed in a motel somewhere outside of Pittsburgh as we checked in closer to 6:00 PM. The first thing we did once we settled in our room was the turn on the TV set–a color RCA “motel room” model, complete with the ability to hear music without a picture on channel 13. (Actually, hearing a local FM radio station that programmed “beautiful music”!) The local TV network affiliates were airing their early evening newscasts.

During this time, there was a newspaper strike going on. The two Pittsburgh dailies (The Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) were not being published due to the union workers going through a work stoppage. So one of these channels (KDKA?) featured a segment on their 6:00 PM newscast where a local news reporter read a selection of the daily comics, very much in the same way where in the 1930’s, the Mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia, read the funnies on radio because the New York dailies were going through a strike. This time around, the local station showed a panel of one of the comic strips it was showcasing (Dick Tracy) where the same newscaster read the dialogue that was coming from the characters via the “word balloons” while a camera panned from one panel to the next. At the time, Tracy was battling over a criminal who has an obsession for munching on popcorn with a popcorn popper at his disposal! (I wasn’t following the comic strip at the time, so I can’t give you details on what was going on. I was more into the “funny” funnies such as Blondie, Andy Capp, “B.C.”, and of course, Peanuts.)

After traveling what seemed to be forever on the Turnpike, we entered the state of Maryland where the freeways were free. We were going to stay somewhere on the Maryland side. Once we checked into our motel room (It wasn’t a Howard Johnson’s, but a Holiday Inn where the colors of choice were kelly green and white), we were going to plan on what we were going to do while in DC. So with AAA guide books in hand, we choose some of the places to see while in Washington. Tours through the White House weren’t available at this time for reasons never brought to my attention. So we were going to cram about two, possibly three days, of serious DC sightseeing!

So what did we see? The Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial (in reality, just a big empty building with a statue of a seated Lincoln in its middle), the Capital building where we just looked at what was under the dome–the only interesting thing to see, one of the Smithsonian museums, among other sights. But perhaps the most memorial tour we did was at the old FBI building. We were lead by some young guy that was thin as a rail and donned a smart looking suit and tie combo. (Was this guy an intern or was he a real G-Man in training?). He showed our tour group a lot of interesting things, as well as the ballistics shooting range! (I was not lucky enough to get a paper target with the black silhouette of the figure decked with bullet holes.) However, when it was a Q&A time, I did ask this G-Man if we can visit with J. Edgar Hoover. The G-Man replied “His office is on the 7th floor, and he’s too busy today!” That meant we didn’t see G-Man number one! At least I asked!

Oh yes. When we ate out, we got friend chicken from Gino’s, a local chain of chicken and burger joints that had an affiliation with many of the local Kentucky Fried Chicken places found within the Baltimore/DC area. Gino’s had a premium offered where for one dollar, one can get this toy consisting of a plastic cup with a spring activated plunger in the middle. A plastic ball fit inside of the cup. The object was the pull down on the plunger, where the ball would be shot upward, and one had to catch the ball into the cup. Then one would release the ball by way of the plunger and catch it in the cup, and so on. I had a whale of a time with this toy. On its handle was a small round sticker with the Gino’s logo on it. I played with this toy for many years after, always recalling this trip to DC where I saw what was under the dome of the Capital, and missing a chance to say “hi” to J. Edgar Hoover!

Outside of that toy device from Gino’s, what souvenirs did I get? Since I was into television at the time as my viewing started to increase, I got the local editions of TV Guide magazine. At the time, TV Guide featured on the first dozen or so pages and well as the last few pages articles and other news and were national in scope. In its middle were the local listing of stations available to the area that issue was sold. I was able to get the same national news while in the inside were different schedules for stations covering Buffalo, New York, Pittsburg, PA. and Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC. Each issue cost fifteen cents and were purchased at a local supermarket. (In Buffalo, it was at a Tops market, Kroger in the Pittsburgh region, and Pathmark in Silver Springs, MD.). And what was on the cover for these editions for the week? The entire cast of As The World Turns!

After some two weeks of heading from one place to another while seeing things that were not found in my neighborhood, we finally arrived home, tired and happy. However, my happiness was rather snubbed as I realized that within a week’s time, I would be returning back to school where for the next eight or so months, I would be cooped up in a stuffy classroom full of kids I didn’t know too well with a teacher that could either be cute and perky a la Sandy Duncan’s character in her sitcom Funny Face, or could be old, mean, and grumpy a la Miss Grundy from the Archie comics. That also meant that I could no longer stay up late on a “school night” to watch The Dick Cavett Show, The Tonight Show, or whatever old movie was playing on one of the local TV stations. But little did I know that I would be meeting up with a teacher that would become my first “adult” friend. (It’s not necessarily what you think, folks!) But those tales occurred from September onward. This is an article about August events.

With all of these things being said (or written about), that is why August is a magic time for yours truly. There were other August trips I have been on with the family, and as I got older, as a solo. Those episodes will be written about in future editions of this here newsletter. So as the announcer would say at the end of each episode of As The World Turns, “Tune in tomorrow, same time, same station, for ‘As The World Turns’. This is the CBS television network.”…
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at The Beverly Hills Playhouse is David Henry Hwang’s YELLOW FACE, a semi-autobiographal play that is about race, proper casting, and the conspiracy of a foreign entity that might have had an influence toward political fundraising.

Jeffrey Sun is playwright, David Henry Hwang. He had just made a splash on Broadway for writing the play M. Butterfly, making him the first person of Asian decent to win the coveted Tony Award for best play. He came a long way in theater from when he once worked for his banker father Henry Hwong (Alfonso Faustino) a few years before. Now the toast of The Great White Way, Henry hears about a show that’s been a hit in London with the plan to move the production to New York, the musical Miss Saigon. However, one of the leads playing a character of Asian decent was reported to be causation. This leads toward a scandal in the theater world that involved the actor’s union, an Asian-American defiance group, among others that are involved in keeping this heritage true to its origins. Henry writes another play that has Asians characters as its lead. One person cast for this part was Marcus G. Dahlman (Roman Moretti), a young man who is leading man material. His role is Chinese. Marcus is white and of Jewish decent. Although the play becomes a flop, Marcus later becomes cast in a revival of The King and I. This casting (and when Marcus Dahlman changes his identity as Asian Marcus Gee), is just the start of David’s problems. It seems that his father has been involved with receiving and depositing some high amounts of money geared toward supporting a candidate running in the presidential election. And this funding came from the Chinese government. One element leads toward another when the feds become involved. This is not the attention that Henry was looking for, far from the floodlights and floorboards that the theater world can ever muscle up!

This play written by David Henry Hwang, takes some of the facts (adding a bit of creative licence) that did occur through the 1990s leading into the early days of the 21st century, back when such scandals were uncovered through print-based newspaper pages. (That thing called “the internet” was still just a novelty back then!) At first, the play deals with the comical elements that gave to the rise of political correctness in entertainment where Hispanic characters should be played by Hispanics, Black characters should be portrayed by those with the newly minted name “African-Americans”, Indians (now known as “Native Americans”) should be depicted by…you get the idea! Its second act takes upon a sobering nature when David’s father becomes a target with the feds by becoming part of a notion where a foreign nation held influence to a major political run. These changes of mood and tempo makes this play as a comedy-drama, or “dramity” as its known in television speak!

Jeffrey Sun as David Henry Hwang (or “DHH” as his character is officially billed as), is indeed Asian. He takes upon what comes to him in stride, although he, along with his banker father Henry as played by Alfonso Faustino (Asian as well) nearly dodges a bullet! Roman Moretti (non-Asian) as Marcus G. Dahlman a.k.a. Marcus Gee, is the young guy with enough cocky attitude that could get him a meaty part in Beverly Hills 91210, 21 Jump Street, or any other series that was airing on the Fox Network! The rest of the cast appearing in this production consisting of (as listed in their alphabetical order), Dennis Nollette, John Pendergast, Lisagaye Tomlinson, and Jennifer Vo Le, play multiple roles (some Asian, others as “White”) that make up the part of David Henry Hwang’s virtural can of worms.

Rick Allen’s set is rather simple. It just consists of a number of wooden “sweetshop” -type chairs, a pair of scaffolds on center stage left/right as a visual element, along with a few hand props used as telephone devices–land lines mostly! These backdrops only serve as a place mark as most of the location settings are rendered as a virtual reality time and space point of reference. Directed by Robert Zummerman, YELLOW FACE shows off a period that ushered in the political correctness era of the 1990s and later became part of the permanent domestic domain. It also brought to the attention that foreign governing bodies can indeed play a role of how a political campaign for office can be influenced through the acquisition of large amount of funds. These elements still plays a part to the current political landscape of now. This time, the shift moved from Asia to Russia! Those antics would make interesting fodder for perhaps a future stage play (even a musical?) to perform somewhere else! Only time, tide, and the power of social media will bring that idea to stage light! Until then, this play as performing at The Beverly Hills Playhouse will tide one over to a fitting “T”! (Tea?)

YELLOW FACE, presented by the Firescape Theatre in association with The Beverly Hills Playhouse, performs at The Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 South Robinson Blvd. (south of Wilshire Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until September 26th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Tickets can be ordered online at http://www.FirescapeTheatre.com
Follow the hashtags #YellowFace, #ItsLikeWhiteOnRice
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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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!