CABLE TV AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

Once upon a time, say, thirty or so years ago, cable television, or as it was known in industry speak, CATV, was toted as television’s second coming. It was a method where people (or actually, regular TV watchers), would have more choices in their television viewing. For the first time since TV came to be in the late 1940’s, folks would have the opportunity to have access to some 30+ channels to see programs for all tastes, from movies, sporting events, news and information, kid’s shows, and other types of entertainment that the “big three” (i.e. the over the air TV networks), couldn’t or didn’t provide.

Unlike getting access to those “big three”, that is collectively, ABC, CBS, and NBC, having a cable TV subscription became available for a fee, while the over the air networks were free. Many of the local cable companies that were wiring communities toted their services where one can get thirty to forty channels of various CATV networks for a monthly charge, usually around $15.00 to $25.00 per month, depending on the number of channels offered and the company providing such services. Of course, those monthly fees were just for “basic” service. If one wanted to receive those pay TV channels, such as Home Box Office aka HBO, Showtimes, The Movie Channel, or other sources, one would have to pay an extra $12.00 to $15.00 per month. Unlike basic service channels made available, such as The Arts & Entertainment Network (“A&E”), the USA Network, WTBS, ESPN, and a host of others, the pay services would offer recent movies (released at late as one year prior), and a few original programing choices that was uncut and uncensored. Now one can see those recent movies with all of the violence, cussing, and nudity intact! One could see original programs that also featured the said cussing and violence. Of course, all of these pay services offered family friendly programs as well. HBO has a contract with The Jim Henson Company to provide hour long titles that featured The Muppet characters. Showtime would also provide shows suitable for all ages, and all of the pay channels offered movies (their “bread and butter” programming) that were aimed for kids. And unlike basic service, there were no commercial interruptions, meaning that an original hour long show ran 58 minutes, thirty seconds, and movies ran their original lengths.

But that was back in the 1980’s when television was limited to standard analog signals running at 525 lines (NTSC standard). Stereo sound was its latest improvement, and VCRs were all the rage. And at the time, TV’s most profound advancement since its beginnings were color transmissions. SInce those thirty or so years, TV has grown in leaps or bounds. Cable TV is still around, but takes upon a different meaning. Many of those CATV companies around back then have either been bought out, merged, or pulled out of the business altogether. The choice of channels have increased from 35 to 200 plus. The amount for a subscription skyrocketed to $70.00 a month. (Never mind the fact that new subscribers can receive so much for less that $50.00 a month. It’s only good for one year where the regular fee kicks in starting at year two!) And although the pay channels are still available for an additional fee, original programming is promptly featured, while movies, the one time “bread and butter”, is now programmed as an afterthought.

However, the number of cable (or even satellite) subscribers has fallen through the recent years. There are many reasons given why people no longer want their CATV and/or satellite services is the cost factor. Paying $50.00 and up per month for receiving channels that are never watched no longer serves as practical, since a good number of CATV subscribers tend to tune in about eight to ten channels on a regular basis.

What is also killing CATV is what’s known as “streaming”, where one receives moving imagery content through an internet based connection. Instead of limited themselves on viewing through a traditional TV device, one can watch contend through any electronic gadget that sports a video screen, be it a laptop, an electronic pad, or even a phone. Granted, one will receive the maximum audio/video quality through a traditional TV, but it’s still quite possible to catch whatever one wants wherever the viewer is located, assuming that a wifi connection exists. Perhaps the two major advantages of streaming is the fact that one can view content whenever the viewer feel like it, and its monthly service is a whole lot cheaper, less than $10.00 per month in many cases.
But all is not lost for the once mighty CATV channels, as they too, offer streaming services of much of their content, from movies or original shows. And a lot of this content is also uncut and uncensored, too! Yep, there is also lots of family friendly material as well! So go ahead and bring the kids along!

This year (2017) will make the 70th anniversary of the slow-yet-steady start of regular TV programming on a wider scale. Next year will note the 70th year of standard programming available on a regular basis seven days a week! Viewers have come a long way since those early days when Milton Berle became TV’s first real star, and rooftops started to post those TV antennas. Uncle Miltie is long gone, but those TV aerials still can be used to receive those HiDef signals. It’s not wifi, but still works!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood is David Lindsay-Abaire’s RABBIT HOLE, a melodrama about a couple coping over the recent loss of their child due to circumstance, and the people that maneuver within their lives.

Much of the drama takes place at the home of Becca and Howie Corbett. (Jordana Oberman and Michael Yurchak), located in a well-to-do bedroom community in New York State. They also had a young son who had perished from an accidental death. Although Becca and Howie had accepted the fact that their son is gone, their relationship they once had begins to falter. And in spite of the fact that they are surrounded by supportive people such as Becca’s sibling Izzy (Toni Christopher), as well as her mother Nat (Darcy Shean), it’s just not enough to keep emotions in line. But one person returns back to the fold. Jason (Rocky Collins), an adolescent who will soon embark into adulthood and beyond, was the person responsible in the family’s tragic event. He seeks for honest forgiveness from the couple, but receives more that his desire. This is a bittersweet tale of acceptance, loss, recovery, and the notion of the realism of substance.

The play, winner of the the coveted Pulitzer Prize for 2007, is a stage work that presents an even blend of humor and temperateness without relying upon one or the other. Within this specific stage product, the cast of five players perform their roles down to a point where one may actually know of an genuine person in so-called “real life” that is depicted on stage. Eric Hunicutt directs this production as intense drama that isn’t too heavy, but effortful enough. The creative work of Lilly Bartenstein scenic and lighting design of the Corbett home: A comfortable homestead fit for the postmodern era. along with Serena Duffin costuming adds to the realism depicted.

Although the theme of this piece deals in tragic affairs, RABBIT HOLE isn’t a “downer” play per se, but has a story line that speaks for emotional high and low points with the theory that one can rise to the occasion, not matter what that occasion may be.

RABBIT HOLE, presented by JTK Productions, and performs at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block east of Vine Street at El Centro), Hollywood, until May 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For reservations and information, call (917) 407-3346, or online at http://www.plays411.com/RabbitHole
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents for a limited run, Barbara Minkus starring in I’M NOT FAMOUS, a performance with music where Barbara tells her life story on how she became (almost) famous.

Barbara emotes her yarn for her humble beginnings in Chicago where she was first exposed in performing songs in front of her family as well as at her elementary school. Inspired from catching the stage shows at the Chicago Theatre on State Street, she embarked on a rather long clime to stardom. She did over time eventually make it out to Broadway, and well as heading toward “the other coast” i.e. “Hollywood” a.k.a. Los Angeles to appear in a few gigs both both on stage as well as on Television. But in spite of gaining some kind of stardom, she became inspired to lead another life that had nothing to do with show biz. Through her narrative, she has an opportunity to sing a few songs that enhances her saga from one chapter to the next.

This show is far different that a standard solo show where one tells their life story (or a part of their life story) within a ninety minute or so running time. As described above, this showcase features some tunes lifted from Barbara’s personal soundtrack of her life. Many of the songs performed are from the “standards” variety as this is Barbara’s forte. WIth Ron Barnett on the keyboards, she is as her best singing as she is emoting. Within this ninety minute timeframe, she shifts the tale between her professional life to her personal side, from meeting the man that would become her spouse, the desire of starting a family, as well as creating a real “day job”. Although she does touch upon a few darker sides of her life, most of the performance places an emphasis on her brighter moments as she had more of the latter than the former!

Susan Morgenstern directs this program that is funny, charming, witty, with just a touch of sadness added for good measure. There are a few visuals projected within the stage backdrop as provided by visual projectionist and set designer James Cooper. These images just illustrate some of the stories that Barbara tells her audience that make this showpiece a source with the information that gives all the important facts about a person that isn’t famous!
In spite of what the title of this presentation may suggest, Barbara is indeed famous in her own right! Granted, she may not be a household name per se, but this writer knew of her from many years before when yours truly would be seated in front of a Zenith tuning in every Friday night (chomping down a bag of Jay’s potato chips) as well as the next morning while downing a bowl of Froot Loops and/or Lucky Charms. (Tuning in on the same TV network!) I didn’t necessarily know her name, but I knew her look! And for somebody of her vintage (21+), she still has what it takes, having a sense of real talent than let’s say, somebody “famous” through self performed antics uploaded on YouTube. (That’s for another story, and for another stage show playing somewhere performed by somebody else that’s “famous”!)

     I”M NOT FAMOUS-A MUSICAL JOURNEY WITH BARBARA MINKUS is presented by and performed at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (off Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until May 28th. Showtimes are Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or online at
http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/Im-Not-Famous.html
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE SELLING OF YOURSELF VIA FACEBOOK

Facebook, as everyone knows (or should know) is one of the the be-all-to-end-all places in cyberspace that is part of what social media is all about. For the past ten or so years, millions of folks have posted their place on the site where they let anyone within their “friend’s” realms about anything and almost everything about what they do, what they think, and how everything is all up to snuff.

Although elements may vary, it appears that these folks, ranging in age stretching from “Gen Y’s” through the Baby Boomers generation, take the time to express the elements about their life, showing off pictures of their family, the events that attend, the assignments they do, and anything else they feel that others should know about. Never mind the fact that these expressions may be of little to no interest by the others that make up their “friends”. They just perform these things just because they can!
However, one will note that many of these posts about their lives tend to fall into a sense of bragging. Many of these folks give the illusion that their lives are bright and rosy. The work they do are their “dream jobs”, their families are perfect, their pets are oh-so-cute (if not being passed off as a family member), and other bits and pieces that would become a work of a public relations team, making sure that whatever aspects they spin, it must be upbeat and ideal.

Although there is nothing wrong with anyone that “toots their horn” about themselves (after all, that is what having an ego is all about), posting all of this goodness from others can backfire. Some of those that are obsessed with this social media entry may take some of these post seriously, perhaps too seriously! Many studies has found that spending too much time on Facebook (perhaps an hour or more per session), has brought a sense of depression to those that keep on reading all of these people’s post with their reports of joy, happiness, and the elements that “everything is going my way”!
People that continue to read these posts, as well as glancing at their video uplinks, can receive the notion that all is well with these “friends” (when in reality, they are perfect strangers), that may ask themselves, “What have I done with my life?”.

As much as people may believe, Facebook never makes any agreement that anything  people post on their sites that are of a personal nature are deemed to be true and accurate. Anybody can state anything about themselves and/or about those around them whenever they are actually true or not. A person for instance who claims they are a writer can say they just signed a zillion dollar contract with a big deal publishing company on their next romantic novel. (Many of these writers tend to be women, just to let everyone know!) Or somebody can post pictures of a recent vacation that they and/or the family went on where everyone in the pictures are having the time of their lives. However, how would anyone know that these events are real? Perhaps the “writer”  didn’t get a high dollar contract. Perhaps this writer is attempting to write that novel, hoping to sell it to anyone that’s willing to buy it. Maybe that writer doesn’t even exist! How would anyone know these facts? And would anyone really care??

This writer (“me”), has stated many times about the people we created that’s alive and living on Facebook. A few we have forgotten about while two in particular are indeed “alive and living”. Although they do have an active profile going, they are anything but real! They don’t exist!! But one person who as of this writing has 5000 friends–the maximum about of people one can have as friends. But out of these 5000, how many are aware that this person is a fake? A few may know, but for the most part, they don’t care! And then again, how many of the 5000 are real? And so it goes!

So go ahead. Let everyone in your gang know about everything you want them to know about! Just keep things in an upbeat matter. Don’t let anyone know that your life is just as crappy as the next person’s. It will just spoil the continuity of things, and will turn attitudes on its face(book)! It’s just part of the personal PR that everyone wants and needs–assuming that anyone would really give a crap!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS  

At the Zephyr on Melrose theatre located in the heart of the Fairfax district is James McLure’s LONE STAR, a comical tale of two siblings that talk about some of the things in life for better of for worse.
Taking place not too many years ago, Roy (Christopher Jordan) and his younger brother Ray (Christopher Parker) meet behind Angel’s Bar in Maynard, Texas-a place only famous for passing the day and nights away drinking, playing the jukebox loaded with Wayland, Willie, and Hank, shooting pool, and shooting s#it. Roy, a vet that did a duty in ‘Nam, doesn’t have much going for himself with the exception of a beer in hand (“Lone Star”) and his pink ’59 Thunderbird. Ray and Roy talks about the basic in life–or their lives anyway–that has meaning, such as being in Maynard all of their lives. Not much is going on outside of discussing drinking, Roy’s war stories and his car, and the woman they both once knew. The only one that seems to have his life together is Cletus (Brian Foyster). He’s a clean cut Baptist and works at the local appliance store. He does admire Roy as he’s the man that Cletus isn’t. Things just never get any better (or worse) in the Lone Star state.
This one act play is very comical that expresses how being in a small town where drinking in dive road houses is not just a hobby, but an “art”! The three characters that appear in this production are just as backwater Texas as they could get. David Fofi, one of the founders of the Elephant Theatre Company, a long established theater company that made its mark along Hollywood’s theatre row aka Santa Monica Blvd., directs this program that is highly entertaining, although its very short for a one act as its running time is somewhere around 70 minutes!

Special attention goes to Christopher Jordan’s scenic design that consists of a faded and very run down back of a rural road house bar loaded with rusted auto parts, a beat- up car seat serving as a comfy couch, along with long spent longneck bottles of Lone Star scattered about–the only brand of beer that matters!

LONE STAR is very witty on laughs and very short on running time. That’s no blame for this production as that was how the play was penned. But life itself is too short to worry about things as such. Just enjoy while taking a swig of brew while The Man in Black is thumping on the jukebox!

LONE STAR, presented by the Elephant Theatre Company, and performs at the Zephyr on Melrose, 7456 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, until May 7th. SHowtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For tickets, order online at http://www.plays411.com/LoneStar
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The Glendale Centre Theatre reprises Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, a play that banters upon upper class Victorian life, and the notion of two acquaintances being engaged to the same woman–among other follies!
Daniel Deyoung portrays John Worthing, a man that lives in a county estate outside of London. While in the city, he uses the moniker of Ernest. He’s in love with the coquettish Gwendolyn Fairfax (Meghan Lewis). Miss Farifax has a cousin named Algernon Moncrieff (Grayson Wittebarger) who also goes by the alias name of Earnest. Algernon a.k.a. Earnest heads off to Jack’s country home and falls toward romance with his ward Cecily Cardew (Zoe Farmingdale). Things become quite complicated with these two suitors calling themselves Earnest and their attempt to woo the named ladies that leads up to a climatic conclusion showing how important it is to be…Earnest!

There has been many accounts and notations stated about this play by the master Wilde (ironically, his final work), that has been expressed by many a theater connoisseur to become perhaps one of the greatest comedies ever written in English that didn’t come from the pen of The Bard! And after 100+ years from its first appearance, it appears to be just as timeless than ever before! The play itself is very well intact with its ever present wit. In fact, it’s very talky (i.e. use of dialogue than stage action) adding plenty of the for mentioned witticism that is part of its humor factor!

Zoe Bright, who appears in this production as Lady Bracknell, directs this piece with its cast of players that holds as much charm and appeal as the play itself. That said cast features, as listed in their order or appearance, Anthony Papastrat as Lane/Merriman, Dynell Leigh as Miss Prism, Tom Allen as the Rev. Chasuble, and Martin Sottile as Merriman the butler.

Angela Manke of Glendale Costumes provides the period costuming that is just as appealing as the performers that don such outfits, making their fashion statements well know to the era it caters to.

One forgets how such an ageless piece this play presents itself to be, no matter how many times one is exposed to it. After a century plus, it just gets better with time! And this community theater company located in a growing section of Glendale is indeed the place to see it for another opportunity!

   THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, presented presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until May 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Thursday, April 20th at 8:00 PM, and on Sunday, April 23rd and 30th at 3:00 PM.
    For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

IS EVERYBODY HAPPY AT WORK?

The New York Times recently presented a news story about Thomas Painter, a hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He is in charge of the Airborne Snow Observatory, mapping out snow caps in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. He flies an instrument-bearing airplane that checks out the snow falls that cover those areas. If he’s not flying over the mountains, he’s on the ground using various devices that measure out how much snow fall is over those peaks. He works some eighty hours a week doing what he does. When asked how he manages to work those long hours pinpointing how much snow is present to keep the water drought in line, he just stated, “It’s so much fun!”

In last week’s issue (Vol. 22-No. 14), yours truly made a few notes on one’s happiness levels. Among the many comments made over how one can be happy within their personal domains, one form of happiness is based on what one does for a living, or at least as an occupation. Many folks do a job of some sort based on need and/or through circumstance. Others will perform a task for the same reasons, but get themselves engaged in a job that they find as a pleasure, a joy to do, or even “fun”! Working some eighty hours a week on one job may seem like a lot. But if one is enjoying every minute of it, that amount of time is just a drop in the bucket!

But there are a few folks that don’t see their job is fun! What they do for a paycheck (assuming that these working stiffs are getting some scratch), may be routine, dull, or downright boring! The Gallup Polls generally asks the status on work and employment. As of this writing, Gallup reports that 33.04% of those asked noted that they are engaged in their jobs, while 45.2% said that there are good jobs available. That must be true, since the Economic Confidence Index stands are +4. Compare that level to what is was some nine years ago around this season when it was at -47 and eventually falling further! And during at that time, people became somewhat pleased in their work. Not so much in what they did, but being happy that they still has their jobs!
But those so-called “good old days” are dead and gone. The job market and everything that goes along with it is coming in on a roll! Many employers are having a tough time looking for workers! And those workers are not having the same trouble in finding that work, although they may be a few that are taking a bit longer than others seeking for those jobs!

But getting back to the notion of enjoying one’s employment. This reporter is pleased to note that I’m having better moments in what I do for work. As some of you readers may know, I deal in the preservation of both still and moving imagery. One assignment I have partaken in is to digitize a huge collection of television programs recored off the air on videotape back in the 1970’s, a few years before the VCR craze hit the general public. These recordings will eventually be transferred to a well respected media archive based in New York where they will become accessible to anyone who has the desire to view them for the first time, of the first time in years! (That is what preservation is all about–making everything accessible!) Since digitizing moving imagery has to be done in real time (i.e. an hour-long program will take a minimum of one hour to complete), imagine performing that assignment 2000+ times over! It’s enough work to keep me busy for weeks, perhaps for months! With everything that has to be done, the question remains. Will it bother me in performing everything for all of those days, weeks, and months? Maybe even working seven days a week, especially for the scratch that I will get to complete that task? That answer is simply the same as Mr. Painter’s comment on checking snow cap levels on northern California mountain tops. “It’s so much fun!”

I would be pleased to continue writing here, but it’s time to end this column to get to my other job. Now I’m going to digitize selected episodes of The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. (c.1974-77). So as the late Tom would say “Gooood night everybody!”
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is the west coast premier of Simon McBurney’s THE ENCOUNTER, a solo performance that tells the true tale of Loren McIntyre, a photographer on assignment for National Geographic magazine who stumbles upon a hidden tribe deep within the jungles of Brazil that changes his purpose of being within that region.

In this performance, Simon starts out in a humble mode, telling the audience how he will present his spin of this remarkable tale. He first notes upon his five year old daughter Noma back in his home town in London, then carries that same audience to the time in 1969 when Loren arrives to a deep remote part of South America to take photographs of the native tribes that reside in that part of the world. As he arrives by plane using the local river to guild him in, Loren, armed with his camping supplies along with a Minolta camera and film stock, is set to take the photo images that really matter for its NatGeo subscribers. But Loren meets up with the natives, only to become part of their existence through circumstances that blend between natural and those set up within his mind. Simon expresses these matters using not only his actions and words, but through sound!

This element of sound is what makes up the bulk of the true meanings of this performance. Taking advantage of advanced audio technology, Simon speaks using various mics placed throughout within what is nearly a barren stage. Within the center of the stage, a head shaped figure is set on a stand. This “head” is really a surround mic device that captures such sounds as if one would hear those noises through natural acoustics. To hear those sound naturally by the audience, each theatre seat is equipped with a headphone. This advanced audio system developed by Sennheiser, is what can be referred to as “3D audio”, where one hears these sounds is a 360 degree method. What the audience really hears is Simon, speaking as narrator (his unfiltered voice), and Loren (a deep sounding electronically altered spoken vocal), along with sound effects, atmospheric music cues, and various voices that mimic much of what Loren encountered among these tribes and what he discovered within the hidden jungles of Brazil.

Simon creates a high energy concept in telling the episodes that started to be a remote photo shoot to a mind alternating “acid-esque trip” that few (if any) will ever experience. Simon, using his words, sounds, and actions, takes inspiration to the book title The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, who was able to transcribe much of Loren’s memoir of this journey. Simon himself never had any opportunity to meet Loren in person, but his perception of this man and this remarkable encounter (thus, the title of this performance) stands out through his interpretation by way of articulated patterns and audio effects.

Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin provides the audio effects for this single act show, engineered by Samantha Broomfield, Laura Hammond, and Amir Sherhan. This team of audio managers creates the real backbone to what would normally stand as a solo show featuring a single performer attempting to take somebody’s words to make it as their own, without the standard autobiographical hash-out! In fact, this showcase can be seen and heard as an illustrated radio performance. It’s quite possible to even close one’s eyes to really “see” the saga of a working journalist from the western world to a space that time and civilization nearly forgot!

Simon not only performs this show, he also directs. And these directions lasts a near two hours running time. This means it’s Simon all the way! And after those 120 minutes (give or take) pass, one can be convinced that through the audio, the audience member was really there with Lorne and his movements nestled in the deep brush forests and jungles–A far cry to what would eventually wind up (or not) within the pages of a magazine that would otherwise remain on home book shelves for generations. That is, until somebody finally gets around to tossing those magazines in the recycle bin!

THE ENCOUNTER, presented by Complicite, and performs at the Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Bram Goldsmith Theatre, 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, until April 16th. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with matinees on Saturday and Sundays at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 746-4000, or via online at http://www.TheWallis.org/Encounter
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Broads’ Word Ensemble presents the west coast premier of Barbara Kahn’s THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN, a play about one of the better known actresses of the 19th century and the people that she loved, both onstage and off.
The year is 1858. The place is St. Louis, Missouri. The actress is Charlotte Cushman (Dawn Alden), a celebrated thespian of her time. She lives with her spouse, a noted sculptor, in Rome. She’s presently in St. Louis on one of her “farewell” tours in a production of Romero & Juliet where he performs as Romero–a notion when females would perform in male roles. Her right hand woman, Sallie Mercer (Sonja Inge) is a “colored” free and refined woman from Philadelphia. Cushman becomes involved at the same time with hardy frontier gal Jane Partridge (Lacy Altwine), who believes that she has marginalized the affections of Marie Louise Yvette L’Amour (Chantal Thuy) the daughter of St. Louis’ leading citizen, who has developed an emotional crush on her; and her Juliet, who can’t really separate Cushman’s onstage Romeo from her offstage character.

This play focus upon a leading actress of her era whose personal choice was something that was never acknowledged. Although Charlotte Cushman was respected as an actress, her inner feelings toward women as a lifestyle was a matter the was closed and never openly spoken upon. However, it did exist. Perhaps this is why Cushman became “forgotten” over time. The play itself as written by playwright Barbara Kuhn has its plot point and dialogue that goes along with it set within a rather tight fashion. It never fully emphases how the characters feel toward one another, but the actions and illusions are ever present. The cast of performers that also include Maikiko James and Tara Donovan, play their roles in a well developed technique. Kate Motzenbacker directs this program that moves rather well on the theatre’s intimate stage set. Danielle Ozymandias’ costuming is of the period that features a cross between a “southern” look with a bit of the pioneer feel to it all. (St. Louis was considered as the “gateway to the west”, as well as not being too far removed from American southern culture.)

THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN perfectly describes the well known actress it speaks about that faded from view over the generations. In today’s era, what is fully respected is the sense of acting on stage, and the lifestyle a selected number of people take to choose for themselves.

  THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN, presented by Broads’ Word Ensemble, and performs at the Dorie Theatre at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox),
Hollywood, until April 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. Additional performances take place Monday, April 17th, and Thursday, April 27th at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evening, April 23rd at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, visit online at http://BroadsWordEnsemble.com/ or
 http://LadyGentPlay.bpt.me/
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions.
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IS EVERYBODY STILL HAPPY?

The United Nations recently released their sixth annual World Happiness Report that measures how 155 world nations find their peoples being in the said element of content.
The measure of happiness as rated are based upon six different factors: Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust of regional government and/or business, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity toward commercial charities and from those through personal contact.
As far as what nations made the top-ten, Norway ranked in at number one with a score of 7.537. (Each element of the six factors are rated as a “10” as the highest score, and “0” as its lowest.) Denmark comes in second place with a score of 7.522. Number three, Iceland (7.504) Four, Switzerland (7.494). Five, Finland (7.469). Six, Netherlands (7.377), Seven, Canada (7.316), Eight, New Zealand (7.314), Nine, Australia (7.284), and Sweden rounds out the top ten at 7.284.
What nations hit the bottom ten? 146-Yemen (3.593), 147-South Sudan (3.591), 148. -Liberia (3.533), 149.-Guinea (3.507), 150-Togo (3.495), 151-Rwanda (3.471), 152- Syria (3.462), 153-Tanzania (3.349), 154-Burundi (2.905) and at 155-Central African Republic (2.693).
Oh yes! The good ol’ USA came in at number fourteen with a score of 6.993! That’s not too bad for what that is. Of course, it can be better! After all, what do those other nations have that the USA doesn’t? More happiness, that’s for sure!
Just about everyone living in the fourteenth happiest country in the world has their own personal ranking of what makes them happy. And those “happy points” can and do vary! For instance, this writer knows of a couple who enjoys wine and camping. (Not necessarily at the same moment!) They have a modest collection of wines, bottled up and kept on a wine rack or stored away in a special refrigerator that cools the wine at around 54 degrees. It’s much warmer that what a standard ice box can do, and much cooler that keeping the bottles at room temperature. They aren’t necessarily wine experts per se, but they know what type of wine is better than the other! They even read the labels just to make sure!
As to their version of camping. Although they do have a collection of camping gear that consists of tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and those forms of camping props, they use this stuff on occasion. They real piece of equipment is a camper that consists of a smaller camper housing made by none other than Winnebago that is affixed on a Ford truck bed. The camper is the smallest of the Winnebago line. In fact, it’s called a “Mini Winnie”! But this couple, both in their latter 50’s and are empty nester parents, use their truck to go weekend “camping” along the beaches between Los Angeles proper and Santa Barbara. They don’t necessarily do anything on the beaches, but they find hanging out on a beach taking along a bit of their home with them as a be-all-to-end-all!
Now some of you may find these hobbies of theirs rather amusing. Others might find it dull and boring. However, this “boomer” aged couple enjoy these things. Are they happy when they camp on the beach in a Mini Winnie, or tasting exotic wines from various parts of northern California?  One would suppose so!
Now granted, what makes one happy would make another one rather miserable! This writer doesn’t care much for wine! (Sorry folks!) And camping along a beach in a large RV (even if it’s a “Mini-Winnie”), might be amusing for the moment, but would be rather boring after a while! But this writer isn’t the only one on a happiness measure. Many others do things that they enjoy that some might feel otherwise!
One notion of happiness are the many jobs that people partake in. Some do a job for the money. Others do a task became they have a limited choice! (Taking care of another person falls into this kind of occupational aspect!) And there are a few folks that have their “dream jobs”. This is a kind of work that they totally love. Never mind the fact that these “dream jobs” may draw little salary, if anything at all! Just as long as they love doing these assignments each day, week, month, or year, then they have their happy place!
This writer won’t ramble into details on how happiness works or not! (That’s what search engine discoveries are all about!)  Nevertheless, happiness is a state of being based upon how it’s treated. If one enjoys digging a ditch all day long, or taking a sip of some off-brand white wine of some sort, or driving a Mini-Winnie to the beaches of Lompoc, then that’s what happiness is! You get what you pay for!
This same writer is aware that some of these answers are being presented as somewhat of a cop out! But this writer finds that those same statements are to an extent, a sense of being happy! Get the picture?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Victory Theatre Center’s Bare Bones presents the world premier of Lawrence Thelen’s PIE IN THE SHY, a dramity about a mother-daughter relationship and the baking of a pie to celebrate a birthday.
Taking place in the kitchen of a double-wide “manufactured home” located in Abilene, Texas, eighty-five year old Margaret a.k.a Mama (K Callan) decides to bake an apple pie to celebrate her daughter Dory (Laurie O’Brian) turning sixty-five. Mama gets started in baking the pie at 4:10 AM. Now that she got her daughter out of bed, Mama teaches her about her own method of baking the perfect apple pie. But her pre-dawn cooking lesson moves into different territories. As the crust is prepared, the “dry goods” are mixed, and the apples are peeled and sliced in a most delicate way, Mama and her mature child talk about a lot of issues. Many of these tales go back a number of years, (even decades), from Mama’s relationships with the men in her life, about Dory’s semi broken family, and other points of interest (to Mama anyway), that are reviled, perhaps for the first time! This mother-daughter bonding is set while the pie bakes. And how does the pie come out? The same way that Dory and Mama come out to each other, and maybe not as tasty!
This single act play by playwright Lawrence Thelen in a charming, perhaps bittersweet, perspective on how an eighty plus feisty woman gives her daughter a new look on life, even if that life is viewed on a virtual rear view mirror, rather than a gracious
vision through a front portal picture window. K Callan as Mama and Laurie O’Brian as Dory bring on their charm and grace through heady doses of Texas-style humor and pathos. They bicker as much as they bond, all revolving around a classic apple pie. One can really relate to these woman that might have seen their better times behind them, but still hold on to that glimmer of hope usually found in those romantic novels that cater to the character’s demographic. Marie Gobetti, co-artistic director of The Victory Theatre, directs this stage work as yet another example of a slice of life drama (no pun intended) that is served just as hot and hearty as an…well..apple pie!
And speaking of staging, Even Bartoletti designs a stage set that is simple and practical, consisting of a cramped kitchen decked out of furnishings one can find in any of those discount furniture places that tend to cater to a working class group. What makes the set more interesting is the c.1948 O’Keefe & Merritt stove that actually fuctions where it bakes a real apple pie as these two gals bond ‘n bicker, giving the theatre a pleasant aroma!
With its appropriate title, PIE IN THE SKY is a play that sets the pace when it comes to how food can be a way to bring people together. It’s also a way to bring the humor out on its surface, even if that surface has the expected skeletons neatly stashed away in the hall closet.

   PIE IN THE SKY, presented by The Victory Theatre’s Bare Bones, and performs at The Victory Theatre (The Little Victory), 3324 West Victory Blvd, one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until May 21st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 841-5422, or online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCentre.org
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The Falcon Theatre closes out their regular season for the 2016-17 year with THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED), a fast paced program that tells the absolute saga of farce condensed, with a few points added for good measure!
In this show, three performers, Zehra, Marc, and Mark (Zehra Fazel, Marc Ginsberg, and Mark Jaconson respectfully), act out by way of comical sketches, their take on comedy from the early days to current times. Through fast paced and frantic pieces, this trio demonstrates how comedy was formed, taking note to some of those responsible of making audiences laugh, from asking the question on why the chicken crossed the road, to what is considered funny through satire and what could be offensive (or not), along with the real story behind mimes and their purpose of being! The “plot” that is taken within these comical bits is to explain everything by way of an ancient Chinese manuscript on the theories of comedy: Chapters one through twelve, out of its thirteen. Its last chapter is long lost, so it’s up to Zahra and the two Mar(c)(k)s to sum everything up as they search for the quest of “WWRD?”
This showcase, written by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor, and directed by Jerry Kernion, is thin on the above noted “plot”, but thick on fast paced comic action, performed vaudeville style! The players play many roles, donning multiple change of costumes and characters while keeping up the rapid stance of getting to its punchline while never letting its pacing down and out. (The drama that was never intended in this show never arrives because it’s not suppose to because it’s comedy!) Although there is some audience participation presented in selected bits, they do keep that same audience in suspense with a threat of hitting somebody in the face with a pie! (Do they perform that deed? That’s the real joke!)
To add upon the flavor of a burlesque show, Stephen Gifford’s scenic design of the stage setting resembles a facade that would have been extracted from a vaudeville theatre house when comedians would don baggy outfits and would ramble on stage, telling old(er) jokes while hitting their fellow performers with pies in their face, if not squirting them through a seltzer bottle!
This show not only winds up The Falcon Theatre’s season, but is performed as the final program under The Falcon Theatre’s name. Later this year in time to introduce the 2017-18 season, this complex will be renamed The Gerry Marshall Theatre, named after its founder, comedy writer Garry Marshall who passed away last year. This renaming will play homage to the man and his long career. For those that desire to know where the name “Falcon” came from, it’s reviled in Garry Marshall’s autobiography, Wake Me Up When It’s Funny, first published in 1995, just a few scant years before The Falcon Theatre opened for business in 1997. This name change with also celebrate the theatre’s twentieth anniversary of its presence in Toluca Lake.

   THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED), performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 955-8101, or via online at http://www.FalconTheatre.com
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WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIDS TODAY-II?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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