AMERICA’S BASEMENT

There is a website called Quora.com, were folks can ask questions on various topics, and perhaps somebody out in cyberspace land will take the time to answer that question. The form of questions vary and deal with topics ranging from cooking (“What’s the best way to boil noodles?”) to history (“Did the James Gang attempt to rob a back in the wild west only to come out empty handed”?) to true crime. (What was the most difficult murder case that was ever solved”?)

One post that covers none of the above topics was Why is Florida called “America’s Basement?”. That is a phrase that this writer never heard of, but many of Quora’s readers and subscribers have. And one reader even went through the notion to present a rather complete answer as posted below: 

…Two things happen in basements. Either you store stuff you aren’t particularly interested in keeping up with your nicer things, or it’s where you go to have the type of fun you don’t have in certain company.

Both are very relatable to Florida. Between old people and their less than stellar offspring, Florida has become a hot spot for our cast offs. The existence of adult only subdivisions and trailer parks has created an ideal place for sex offenders to reside as well. There are very few places that are far enough away from schools or playgrounds for these people to go. Florida has an abundance of opportunities to live in relative peace.

Florida has Disney, beaches and a wide variety of opportunities for recreation. I can remember my friends basement up north. It was the home to the “rumpus room.” We would watch videos, mostly Disney. His dad had an awesome model railroad down there.

Florida is also strip club central. Las Vegas is a virtual Puritan colony compared to Tampa. I would wager that there are more strippers in Florida than people in Las Vegas. When we got older, my friend’s basement went from home of innocent good times to a den of iniquity. We watched dirty movies (his dad also had a prodigious collection stashed among the hills of of his tiny railroad kingdom.) We brought girls down there in hopes that they were of low moral turpitude. We rarely got past second base, but beggars can’t be choosers.

If you’ve ever watched That 70s Show, know that the basement was where the friends explored the philosophy of life, assisted by the devil’s spinach. Guess where the point of entry for a great deal of our drugs is? If you said Florida, you’d be right. Getting high in the basement is synonymous with adolescence and early adulthood.

So there you go, the Sunshine state, more like your basement than your actual basement.

Side Note: Basements have always been a novelty to me. I grew up Florida near the coast. Not a lot of people have them in Florida, and out near the coast they’re nearly non-existent. Those who had them either had the kind that were built into a hill (also far and few between) or eventually owned an indoor swimming pool come the next hurricane. So the idea that Florida is America’s basement holds a certain level of irony…

So there you have it!  However, if you the readers wish to comment upon the post, let us know by sending us an email message. (Contact details are posted and the end of this newsletter). We’ll compile the replies we receive and post it in a future issue. 

“See” you in the “basement”!

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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents its fourth play of their 2022-23 season with Katie Forgette’s INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP, a comical “memoire” of the life and times of an almost middle working class Irish Catholic family, and their feeble attempt to live their lives in the most progressive way they can while living under an invisible drape of guilt.

The year is 1973, the moment of so-called change in domestic society. The place is the O’Shey residence located somewhere in the middle of America, or perhaps in the northeast section of the country, or somewhere in between the two. Ivy Khan plays Linda O’Shey, the narrator of this story. She’s a nineteen year old child of an adult age. She lives with her mother Josephine a.k.a. “Jo” (Allison Blanchard), who does everything in this homestead from cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, and keeping the household in a method of order. She’s married to her husband Mike (Patrick Skelton) the real breadwinner of the house who works twelve hour days seven days a week as the provider he’s expected to be. (Both Jo and Mike grew up during the Great Depression where everything was saved and used up no matter what it was!) Along with the immediate family is Jo’s sister Theresa a.k.a. “Terri” (Milda Dacys) who is a bit more progressive than her sibling, but not by much. Living upstairs as a permanent invalid is Mike’s mother (and Linda’s grandmother) Grandmother O’Shea (Theresa O’Shea) who’s never seen but is heard when she wants help and assistance in just about everything. And Linda has her kid sister Becky (Danika Hughey) who’s current hobby is playing with her dolls (at age thirteen) and has an obsession with old movies she watches on TV’s Late Late Show. Her favorite is old Humphrey Bogart pictures that’s mostly in the film noir category. Linda tells the audience on how they live their lives that are far removed from the early 21st century where what went on was limited to their home, the neighborhood, and their local Catholic church they belonged to as social media was yet to be invented. The situations Linda tells about are mini family tragedies, ranging from her mother asking Linda to explain to Becky the details on “the birds and the bees” including the story of menstruation and how to make babies. Linda even gets into trouble when Becky as “Sam Spade” uses a hidden tape recorder to record Linda’s sex tape lessons, only to “accidentally” play the recordings to Father Lovett, the priest at church. One element leads to another where this family becomes dysfunctional, long before such dysfunctional families became trendy, if not used as a status symbol in later post-modern life!

This play written by Katie Forgette could pass off as a story that could be based on the playwright’s own life and times growing up in a family stuck between remittance of the 1930’s where children were seen but not heard, the 1950’s where one must be perfect and as WASPish as possible, and the 1970’s where among other things, Women’s Lib was either a blessing, a curse, or a cruel joke depending on what or who wanted to believe in or trust! The humor falls being just a bit snarky and cocky with good nature. But its protagonist Linda sees it as that, even admitting to note as just what the hell everyone was thinking when looking at all of these episodes occurring from back in the day.

The cast of performers play their roles with these rules as suggested. Alison Blanchard as mother Jo is humble and living as the ever pleasing mother and wife, though she knew that she could have been a contender. Milda Dacys as Aunt Terri is the voice or reason, yet knows when to stay out of the way of her sister and family when necessary. Patrick Skelton plays out a number of roles from Mike the father, Father Lovett, as well as Mrs. Henkenback, a nosey neighbor that gets into the family’s life more than she should. Danika Hughey as kid sister Becky is more of a tomboy, even though she still keeps her troll tolls if not donning a 1940’s era trench coat and fedora imitating Bogie. Theresa O’Shey as Grandmother is only heard through a muffled voice, but is never seen and perhaps just as well. And Ivy Khan as Linda is the lead who knows that everything that occurred some fifty years before is a past that should stay in the past rather than another period time ready for a reboot.

With such period plays comes the period dressings. Michele Young’s costuming with  Judi Lewin’s hair, wig, and makeup design also harks toward that era that is post 1960’s with hints of hippy-era mood and flavor. And Theater 40’s residence set designer Jeff G. Rack dresses the set of the O’Shay home that looks and feels like the middle class life of the time.

Directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP is a stage comedy that recalls a moment where living as a Catholic family was a struggle between pushing for pain while pulling for pleasure, as well as when family members had to live under the unwritten rules that placed them to where they stand. It’s a comedy production that also has charm and heart. Call this nostalgia that did happen, or perhaps not. Then again, times do charge for its better or for its worse. But never mind the worst as this theater piece is at its best!

INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP, 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 February 19th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.   

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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SOUTHERN GIRLS, a drama by Sheri Bailey & Dura Temple about six women living in the same small town in Alabama that grow up and mature over a thirty year period, performs at the Hudson Backstage Theater in Hollywood.

The six girls consist of Naomi Hurdle (Ash Saunders), Ruth Hurdle (Jessica Sade Ward), Katie Spokely (Dolly Granger), June-Adele Taylor (Maria Jimena Gastelum), Wanda Sue Johnson (Swisyzinna), and Charlotte Cecil Martin (Arianna Evangelia). These half dozen live within the same community in a small town in Alabama, not too far from the larger city of Montgomery. The story begins in the early 1950s where the town was divided between the white community and the “negro” section of town. Three of these girls are white, two are black, while one is a mix of both, the reason for her being lighter skinned. From their girlhood, they know where they stand in their status class. But over the years, the situation of race becomes profound as they experience it one way or another. These issues establish their friendships, while other factors strain their meaning toward each other. Over time, a few will leave their community while a the rest will remain. It’s a story that crosses the notion of what was going on in the nation as a whole, and the personal “nation” that exists as part of their own shape of being.

This play written by playwrights Sheri Bailey & Dura Temple, take a hard look of the perception between living as a white person and an African American individual as expressed by the writing team that is both of the black (Bailey) and white (Temple) race, giving their dialogue a sense of honesty and truth, from their youthful innocence to their peak of maturity. The six performers that appear in this play show that honesty as their portrayals beginning as kids to being grown up women existing in their midlives.

The stage set shows simplicity through the complex set of episodes as depicted in this production. Mylette Nora’s costuming displays the maturity that the characters go through, and Fritz Davis’ production design assists within the elements that are taking place in their town and outside places through the eras of time for their better and through their worse.

Directed by Zadia Ife, SOUTHERN GIRLS is more than a sense of American “southern living”, but an example of where there were as two methods of living in the American south. A divide that in many ways, still exist in the present era. But through all of what is told on stage, there is a presence of hope and progression to make it a reality. And as a phrase notes, there is a change that’s gonna come, and it will arrive soon.

SOUTHERN GIRLS, presented by All the Way West Productions, and performs at the Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., (one block west of Wilcox), Hollywood, until February 26th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. 

For online ticket orders and for more details, visit http://www.Onstage411.com/SouthernGirls

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2023 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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AND THE WINNER IS…?

This is a line that was created and as inspired by many of those media-esque awards programs and presentations that is now part of the early calendar year landscape. The awards season were kicked off by the Golden Globe Awards that was held this year on January 10th–a Tuesday since its previous day slot of Sunday was taken over by Sunday Night Football, and after not taking place last year due to NBC’s non interest of coverage due to some backstage going ons at the The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that organizes the said awards, and continues through the next few weeks concluding toward the biggest awards show of them all, the Academy Awards on Sunday, March 12th. Here, every group from those that only exists to pass off awards to the trade guilds that recognize their peers involved in the media they work within will present citations for the best in their industry.

Of course, movies seem to take the spotlight right now since television is an ongoing group (and the Emmy Awards won’t be taking place until September), and recorded music’s Grammy Awards stand as their own entity. So movies lie front and center right now.

The movie industry itself is still struggling to confirm with the results of the Pandemic, now approaching it’s third anniversary where theater had to shut down in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Many of these movie theaters did eventually open as before, while others were shut down for good. But seeing the results of such titles as Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as well as other features making bank at the box office, folks, especially those of a younger demographic, are flocking back to the real movie houses to see a movie in a physical place that can’t necessarily be duplicated in a home setting. Of course, one has to pay for the privilege with admission, the cost of popcorn and related snacks, and the notion of getting to the movie house via transportation. But for these folks, the effort is worth the time and money to do so.

That is great for the movie theaters. However, the movies that tend to become mentioned within these award programs tend to be more of the “art” movie variety, a dramatic film that has complex plots, characters that show their depth, and are very intriguing for what they are. They are usually based upon actual characters and/or events, rather that movies that are follow up to previous movies featuring the same cast and characters, a medium that is an Intellectual property (IP) that’s based upon a physical product and/or a service, or something else that is already familiar or “pre-sold” to the public at large.

However, when it comes to the movies that tend to be nominated for various awards, let alone winning a few, these are movies that are good and even great for what they are. However, when it comes to titles that are entertaining and even money making is another factor as it stands.

First, let’s look at the award winning movies. Many titles that may get an award for something or another are based upon actual people and/or events. These people/events tend to fall within the tragic side of things. They have conflict toward their issues, and do not necessarily mean that they will experience a so-called “happy ending”. They may die from their result or fall into some realm of ruin. This is where the drama comes in. They may struggle within their own terms, and they may experience joy and success later on that isn’t depicted or noted within the feature. That notion is either left for a sequel that may be created or not, or it’s left to the viewer’s imagination or assumption.

This writer has been stating on and off of why the movie industry exists and why people will pay to go to the movies. Here is the simple “log line” to answer these factors… 

Movies are created to make money. The movie industry is a business. The goal of a business is to be profitable i.e. make money. If a movie studio creates some product that people will want to see, then it will be profitable and thus, make money. It doesn’t have to be a so-called “good” movie, but if people are willing to pay for the privilege of seeing this title, give the theater attendees just what they want! Movie attendees will be entertained, and movie studios will make money. Everyone’s pleased and happy. The end!

Those same movie attendees go to the movies for escapism. They want to “travel” into a world that may or may not exist to see characters that may exist or not to perform in various places and doing things that reflect toward their caricature and where they are located, real or otherwise. And what better was to “escape” is to view a movie that holds these characteristics, especially in a big dark room shared by strangers that react to what is going on the big screen.

Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, assuming that they are even called “rules”. But this gives the basic idea to what movies are made and why people go to the movies that’ve been going on for over one hundred years.

So this writer will see and even participate in what movies get their awards. Granted, they may not be big money makers or even be entertaining for what they are. But that is not up to yours truly. I am just a micro speck in this wacky industry called Hollywood. I cherish this industry as much as I may despise it. Then again, I have lots of love/hate relationships with a lot of things. Some are dull and boring while others are important. But I am not the only one top speak out about this industry. So I will turn my podium over toward those others that have bigger and louder voices as myself. And you won’t have to go far to find ‘em either. Social media is packed with them. Visit your favorite portal and check ‘em out.

PS..Thanks for stopping by here. I’m honored to be worth your time. And say “hi” to everyone else for me! It will save me the trouble of doing it myself!!

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse kicks off their annual Solo Shows Festival, consisting of four solo performances that comprises four real life characters that speak upon themselves and what they went through to where they stood in their lives, either in the long run or just for that particular moment.

The first of the four starts off with BILLIE! BACKSTAGE WITH LADY DAY, where the performance focuses upon legionary blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday.

Synthia L. Hardy portrays Billie. The opening scene takes place backstage at an unnamed cabaret club. She’s scheduled to speak to a reporter that wants some insight into her life and career. She barely remembered her appointment to talk to this reporter. But just as she is, she speaks to this journalist. In reality, she addresses the audience in her own flamboyant style. The only one in the room is her piano man (Lanny Hartley, alternating with Woody Woods) who’s seated in front of an old upright piano, ready to play a song where Billie sets the mood.

She speaks about her life growing up in Philadelphia where she faced being assaulted as a ten year old, and later sent to a “reform school”. She was later arrested at the age of thirteen accused for prostitution as well for narcotic use and abuse. What made things rather uneasy for her was the fact that she was “colored”, bringing her to an even lower status. But Billie knew the challenges she faced, and it was her jazz and blues vocalizations that made her what she became to be. She was full of talent as well as patience, never giving up even if the odds were not in her favor.

The second act consists of Billie at her finest. With a quartet of musicians backing her up consisting of Bobby Wilkerson on drums, David “D Wake” Wakefield (alternating with Mark Allen Felton) on sax, Michael Saucier on bass, along with Hartley/Woods on piano, Billie presents a number of tunes both as well known standards as well as some new “old” discoveries that not only brings her style up front and center, but proves that this lady can indeed sing the blues!

Synthia L. Hardy created this showcase that tells a bit of Billie and where she arrived musically. Her ability to play Billie is done with style and grace, even if Billie herself can become a bit rough around the edges. Under the stage direction of Bryan Rasmussen, this program is one part solo performance, and other part concert that services as a fine bookend to what Billie was in her lifetime and how others of her ilk used her abilities to bring the legacy of blues and jazz music up toward the musical standards of here and now.

Billie Holiday was a performer that became great when she was active in her time, and became greater long after her career (and life) was long completed. It’s always grand to see such performers as Synthia L. Hardy to show how music, especially in such genres as blues and jazz, never goes out of style. These types of harmonic sounds recall both the good and not-so-good things as part of a life as Billie experienced. After all, that is what makes the reason to live and to live with reason. And having a bit of soul in one’s musical step always helps in its long run!

BILLIE! BACKSTAGE WITH LADY DAY, presented by and performs at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until January 22nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. 

For ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or online at  http://SierreMadrePlayhouse.org

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Burbank’s Victory Theatre opens their 2023 season with the west coast premier of Warren Leight’s HOME FRONT, a drama about a triangle of three people that stood in different landscapes within their lives and how it all meshed together not by choice, but through circumstance that domestic society found as acceptable.

The opening scene takes place on August 15th, 1945 when the Japanese declared a surrender with the USA declaring the official end of World War II. Thousands of folks crowded places such as New York City’s Times Square to street celebrate the end of the long war. Within this celebration starts a meeting with Annie Overton (Austin Highsmith Garces), a young woman who recently became a war widow, and James Aureluis Walker (C.J. Lindsey), a Naval Lieutenant. They meet in a “cute meet” fashion and later have their sights among each other, However, they hold a difference. She’s white and he’s “colored”. Before long, they become a romantic couple and eventually rent out a small yet humble basement apartment. While getting the place in order, Annie meets one of her neighbors within the unit, Edward Glimmer (Jonathan Slaven). He, too, did his duty in the war as a medic. His difference is the fact that he is of the “homosexual” persuasion. He and Anne eventually become friends as fast as she fell for James. But things unravel from there when Annie conceives a child from James, and James himself becomes in a bind with the Navy that’s not of his making in spite of being an officer. It’s a story on how differences occurred during a time where because of America’s victory in a worldwide conflict, things should become for the better to and for all. Instead, it was deemed to fall further behind due to what society labeled as the so-called right thing to exist.

This play written by Warren Leight uses actual instances that occurred during WWII, including the James Walker’s character as part of the “Golden 13”, a baker’s dozen of Negro enlisted men who trained to become Naval officers within a shorter time span (eight weeks) instead of the sixteen weeks the Navy would give to those that were white. (It had something to do with an attempt to prove that Negros would not be suitable to serve as officers, but succeeded with high scores upon their training and testing.) As to the performances by the three cast members, C.J. Lindsey as James Walker presents himself as a strong lead. Austin Highsmith Garces as Annie Overton is the young woman, (or “girl” as she would be called during these wartime and post-war eras) who sees James as a war hero (even if he never saw actual combat), and didn’t consider race as an issue. Jonathan Slaven as Edward Glimmer has a lot of character within his style, but never shows his persuasion to be buried deep in a “closet”. In fact, he becomes the voice of reason to Annie, even willing to assist James in his Naval concerns. 

Besides the performances of this talented trio, there is the stage set as designed by Even Bartoletti that consists of a basement apartment that is sparse in decor with brick walls and industrial light fixtures (after all, it is a basement apartment), yet shows its coziness enough to make it as an ideal starter dwelling. 

Directed by one of the Victory Theater’s artistic director’s Maria Gobetti, this play presents the notion that war is hell not only on the battlefields, but on the home front as well. Long after this war is replaced by other conflicts the nation would become involved with, the attitudes of race and persuasion would change over time, but its changes would be slow where other may believe that the said changes never became completed. Yet as a play, this production holds its drama as solid with periods of light comedy added to the mix that blends itself out. The aggressive conflicts may have come to its ends, but the issues that set its pace still lingers. Perhaps that armistice was signed long ago. Then again, maybe not. But as theater, this play is recommended.

HOME FRONT, presented by and performs at The Victory Theatre, 3326 West Victory Blvd. (off Hollywood Way), Burbank, until February 12th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For tickets and for further information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at  http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org

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The 28th annual Critics Choice Awards ceremony was held on Sunday, January 15th from the The Fairmount Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. The CW Network aired the program live.

Chelsea Handler served as the masters of ceremonies where awards were presented by the choosing of Critics Choice Association, presenting the best in television programming and feature films. 

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

Janelle Monáe was awarded as part of the #SeeHer movement where females are presented in movies and TV shows in a positive and progressive light, and Jeff Bridges received a Lifetime Achievement Awards as awarded to Bridges by John Goodman.

Better Call Saul won Best Dramatic Television Program, Abbot Elementary was awarded Best Comedy Television Program, and Everything Everywhere All At Once was awarded for Best Feature Film. 

The Critics Choice Association consists of members who work as professional journalists that write and review films and TV shows in publications that exist through multimedia outlets. (Disclaimer: This writer is a member of the CCA.)

For a complete listing of all titles nominated and its associated winning categories, visit http://www.CriticsChoice.com

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those of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

TECH FROM BACK IN THE DAY

This week, the CES (Consumers Electronic Show) in Las Vegas had its run in full capacity for the first time since 2020. This is the convention where just about anything and everything  in high tech was on display in Sin City’s biggest trade show in terms of size and attendance.

On occasion, we have been covering various news about what’s been going on in terms of gadgets, trends, and various forms of bits and bytes (pun intended) since we have been churching out this new service. And instead of letting you readers know what’s new, we thought we would reach into our vast archives to give you insights of what came and went. And one of these things was something called “Mosquito Ringtones” that were meant for kids’ cellphones.

To give you an idea of what we were writing about, here’s the original article with the headline Mosquito Ringtones for Kids Only that appeared within the annals of ALOL back in Vol. 12-No. 2-Week of January 8th, 2007…

Ask any parent who has kids aged ten or older if their youngins’ have or want their own cell phone. A good sized number of them will answer a whole hearty “yes” to this fact. It’s no surprise that one of the most common devices anyone from “tweeners” and up possesses is a device that can take pictures, send messages via text, play MP3 sound files and oh yes…send and receive phone calls!

One of the many aftermarket elements of a phone (read: something that is part of the phone device but was obtained after the phone was purchased) is a custom ringtone. Sure, every phone will have some built-in sound programmed within a phone that will give off some kind of sound that’s outside of the standard “rrriiinnnggg” that such phones tend to give off. Usually, custom ring tones consist of the first few seconds of some popular tune–usually some hip-hop number or some other song that is favored by the under 21 crowd, though custom ringtones are mostly favored by this youth demographic, many older folks- that is, adults-use custom ringtones of songs that are of their interest and tastes. 

One of the more annoying elements of somebody’s cell phone ringing is the fact that the phone will make noise in an unwanted time and place, such as during a movie in a theater, while class is in session, or when one is in conversation with another and then somebody’s phone goes off! (Note: a conversation is usually considered an annoying time for a phone to go off, but since many are so used to having their phones ring whenever they ring, sometimes this is no longer labeled as uncouth!) Yes, there is such a device on a phone where one can place their phone to “vibrate”, making a soft buzzing sound while vibrating like a …well…vibrator! The user of the phone can feel the phone “ringing” while not making a loud sound for all to hear. Alas, many of these phone users do not bother placing their phone on vibrate when they should, or they simply “forget” to do such! So when their phone rings, it makes a noise or plays the first twenty seconds of some tune that was downloaded from somewhere!

There is a solution to this problem, especially for you folks under the age of 30!! One can download something called “Mosquito Ringtones”. Available on the ‘net (of course), these special ringtones are selected high pitched “beep tones”  that are “..ultrasonic ringtones that  ADULTS CAN’T HEAR!!!!” (A direct quote from Mosquito Ringtone’s home web page!) And according to the same website, a Mosquito Ring tone is “..a tone outside the audible range of hearing of most people over 30. This means that you can get phone calls and receive text messages in class or school without teachers hearing it…”

Well, the so-called “silent” ringtones consist of an assortment of high pitched tones that range from a 8khz tone that “everyone” can hear, to 10khz (age 60 and younger), 12khz (50 and younger), 14.1khz (49 and younger), 14.9khz (39 and younger), 15.8khz (30 and younger), and an assortment of tones in the 16.7khz, 17.7khz, 18.8khz, 19.8khz, 21.1khz, and  22.4khz sound spectrum for those up to 24 years old.

To see if such tones really work, this writer who is “north of 35” tested some of these sounds judging if one can hear the tones. It was more like a hearing test as some tones were louder than others. Some of the tones, such as the 22.4khz and 21.1khz, could not be heard, (ditto for the 16.7khz, 17.7hkz, 18.8khz, and 19.8khz tones). For the 30+ tones, the 15.8khz tone was barely heard. The same story applies for the 14.9htz and 14.1 khz tones. However, the remaining three tones designed for the 49 and up bunch was heard. Of course, the “everybody” tone was the loudest.

Now this writer cannot judge from this web site if such tones really work as intended. The best way to find out if such tones actually work is to check out the web site for one’s self at http://www.freemosquitoringtones.org. Again, no guarantees if these ringtones will work are given or implied. This “hearing test” is for entertainment and informational purposes only.

The best solution to the annoying cell phone ring situation is to place the phone on vibrate or even on silent at all times! OK…maybe you can’t hear that Fall Out Boy tune that’s programmed when your best buddy calls, or that rap jam when your main squeeze gives you a call! (Perhaps for the 15th time that day? That hour??) But at least only you, the cell phone owner, will know if somebody’s calling you! Besides, does one really want to use a cell phone ring that sounds like the soundtrack of a TV test pattern? Then again, it’s your cell phone!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2023 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

A CLEAN SLATE AGAIN!

As this message is being published, it’s January 1st, the first day of a new year. It’s the moment where one looks back at the previous year now placed in the history books to say (or heave) a solemn statement with a hearty “Goodby and Good Riddance!”

Perhaps so. The past year had plenty of its ups and downs. Most media outlets tend to stick to the negative side of things. Yes, there were a lot of those, too many to mention here. However, there was a lot of good that did take place. Some of that good made the ranks of social media. But a lot of good occurred within individuals that didn’t necessarily get around to post it through the usual outlets, but were for the good nevertheless.

What were some of those elements that occurred in ’22 that were upbeat, positive, and most importantly, for the better? Well, people reached their life milestone moments within their lives, such as graduating from an educational institution, getting married, getting divorced (yes, some people see an end of a domestic marriage as an upbeat moment), reaching a birthday with an age that ends with a zero (although this can be a negative, but that is besides that point), finally getting out of a debt, and the list is endless.

Granted, one won’t find a headline stating that Jane Q. Public finally paid off her long standing credit card debts (although this writer as seen such “news” on various posts found on Facebook), but this really leans toward how a specific year will go done in a person’s history as “The year that_______!”

But 2022 is last year’s news. Now it’s 2023, a year that ends with an odd number. That means if one is counting how many years past, one has to count differently. It’s understood that this doesn’t mean much to anyone, but as an archivist, this writer has to count the year differently than I did the last year. For instance, 1973 will be fifty years(!) since that year was read on all calendars. That year had its moments. But that was fifty years ago, a time that folks can remember as it was like last year (plus forty-nine), while others have no memories of that time since they were either too young, or have yet to see the light of day! But this writer digresses!!

Whatever the case, all we have to state around here is that it’s the start of our 28th year, and we will do what we have been placing here for the past 27 seasons, offering our best in news and reviews, just as we were presenting back in the early days of the ‘net! Granted, we may not be as famous as those so-called influencers out there in metaland, but fame was never our intention. We do what we do because of the intention of having honor and respect in terms of reporting on the media. Perhaps that will be our new year’s resolution for ’23. Then again, new year’s resolutions tend to be announced on January 1st only to be broken by February 1st. So maybe we better watch what we say, or write in this case!

Until then, enjoy this year while you can. It’s the only one to work with!

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those of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

WORD(S) OF THE YEAR..FOR NOW!!

As this year winds down yet has to be completely finished, there has been a number of notes that would sum of what 2022 was all about, either locally, nationally, or world-wide.

One of these note is a word or phrase of the year, based upon a so-called word or phrase that is in English, and used within a North American base. 

In this case, the folks who publish Oxford Dictionaries based in London, England, have summed up the word that could fall into the annals as the word of 2022.

What accounting to Oxford is that word? It’s “Goblin Mode”, as defined as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”

That word, based upon a public vote of some 340,000 that picked that word as the word to ponder upon, winning 93% of the vote.

It supposedly first made its appearance through social media–Twitter in this case back in 2009. It gained popularity this year through a sense of uncertainty from recovering from the pandemic, among other reasons.

Then again, Oxford Dictionaries’ biggest competitor Merriam-Webster based in the USA, chose for their word of the year “gaslighting” as a “psychological manipulation intended to make a person question the validity of their own thoughts”.

That word “gaslighting” didn’t originate from a local utility such as People’s Gas (in Chicago at least), or SoCalGas that supplies natural gas in the Los Angeles region where this writer hangs his hat, but from a c.1938 stage play written by British playwright Patrick Hamilton about a dark tale of a marriage based on deceit and trickery, and a husband committed to driving his wife insane in order to steal from her. (Based upon a description found on Wikipedia) It was made into a feature film released in 1944 directed by George Cukor and starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, and Angela Lansbury in her film debut. MGM released this title, so that would mean that it’s a feature one would see on TCM. (Check your local listings on when this will be screened!) It’s also a period film, taking place in the latter years of the 19th century when gaslights were once used to light city streets before electricity came around to replace gas lamps. And the story on how electricity became the norm can be seen in Young Thomas Edison starring Mickey Rooney and released by MGM. It’s also part of TCM’s roster of feature films!

It appeared that both words were placed as words of the year based upon the state of how the public at large was feeling. Granted, there was a lot of anxiety going, ranging from the state of the economy, or mass shootings, the political landscape, the war in the Ukraine, to having one’s favorite media program series leave the video landscape. It was the year of mental health (good and bad), fear of the known and unknown, and not realizing what would happen next, if there was anything that should or should not happen!

Now this writer won’t go into pondering about all of the negative stuff that’s been floating around. What yours truly will do at this point is to write about all of the good that has taken place since January 1st, and will continue into the next year, long after this year of ’22 is set for the history books.

Although fear will always be around in one way or another, we are pleased to note that joy and happiness won’t go away either! That being said, we will end this article on a high note to note that we are glad that things will turn up brighter, and will wish everyone out there a great holiday season, and a toast to the new year of 2023. 

And speaking of gas, the prices for petroleum have been dropping over the last few weeks. And maybe soon, the price of an electric vehicle will become more reasonable. However, the cost for having a 2000 mile extension cord can run up a bit. But that’s a whole other topic as it stands! (Where are those “lol’s one is suppose to place here, hmmm…?)

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BABYLON (Paramount) is an ensemble piece that takes place in Hollywood, USA in the adolescent era of movie making and with those involved.

The movie opens in 1926. Jack Conrad (Brad Pitt) is a rising film star appearing in swashbuckling action films. He has it all from his good looks to his robust acting. Manny Torres plays Diego Calva as a behind the scene man that also is rising toward the top in being an executive at his studio, Kinoscope Pictures. Lukas Haas plays George Munn, a film director that sits behind the camera calling the shots for its cast of actors. Jovan Adepo plays Sidney Palmer, a “negro” trumpet player that starts out in performing the “mood music” on set in the making of silent films so the actors can flow with the scenes. Margot Robbie is Nellie LaRoy, a wannabe starlet that desires to become the next “It” girl. Li Jun Li plays Lady Fay Zhu, a Chinese “Dragon Lady”-type that is silky, sexy, and is ideal for roles that the studio gives her as long as her roles are silky and sexy. And Jean Smart portrays Elinor St. John, a journalist that writes for the movie fan magazines such as Photoplay, Modern Screen, and others that jots down notes reporting on how Hollywood is soaking itself in booze, drugs, and overall decadence.

In the middle 20’s, the movie industry was going through changes. Studio executives were starting to treat this business as a business while the roarin’ 20’s were indeed roarin’, especially with all of the running wild. The movie itself opens at a wild party at a Hollywood mansion located in the isolated area of Bel-Air. This is where the characters gather along with others engaging in wild drinking, doping, and free-for-all sex! These movie types are going through their professional ups and downs. But one major change takes place in the business: The idea that movies can have soundtracks to them, having the actors talk and recite lines with musical are now the next big hit! But as time goes on, Jack and company are entering a new era. They succeed in glory and they fail very hard, enough where’s there is scandal and even death added to the mix. It’s just another part of working hard and playing hard in Tinseltown.

This feature, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is a tribute to the Old Hollywood that may have existed or not. It shows how the 1920’s were indeed the period where flappers flapped and the men called the shots. It portrays that era into a post-modern stance to it, such as rampant use of sex and drugs. Instead of “rock-n-roll”, the music was hot jazz, especially when performed by the negro bands. The above noted cast fit their bills as described to a “T”! They become absorbed into what they do and surrond themselves by. They exceed into excess, while attemping to figure what it’s all about!

There are a lot of visuals to look at in this feature thanks to Florencia Martin’s Production Design, Art Direction by Ace Eure, Anthony Parrillo, Jason Perrine, and Eric Sundahl, and Set Decoration by Anthony Carlino. And there’s Justin Hurwitz’s haunting music score that features slow balleds and jazzy numbers loaded with percussion. We also can’t forget Linus Sandgren’s cinematography and Mary Zophres’s costuming. Many of these same background people are part of Chazelle’s repertory company as they worked on his other features from Whiplash to La La Land, the latter title that’s a movie about movies that take place in the named city, but leans more toward a subdued level of mood.

Getting back to this feature, it again plays as a tribute to the Hollywood of old, even portraying scenes remenesent in other movies that hold the same stance,. One example of such is when Kinoscope Pictures were attempting to make a “soundie” with Nellie LaRoy, they had trouble with how the mic was placed in the movie scene, giving a nod to a scene in the MGM classic Singin’ In The Rain. In fact, not only that song appears on the soundtrack, so does the SITR movie itself! (Although this writer is trying to avoid “spoiler alerts”, the Diego Calva charactor takes in a screening of that feature as it appears in a movie theater in downtown Los Angeles, long after his career had ended while his own studio left him behind in the celluloid dust!)

Unlike the Hollywood films of yore, this title has a lot of graphic details depicted from sex to violence, including people getting shot and even barfing(!!) There is also a lot of post-modern cussing as well, where people say “What the F*ck?” than “What The Hell?” or something to that effect. Those audio and visuals are present for todays (early 2020’s) audience, rather than for those that churned out the pictures back in the day and the movie audiences that saw them for entertainment and escapism, long before that device called “television” changed all of that!

Oh yes! Also in the cast is Tobey Maguire as James McKay, a man of means what holds financial power, and lives the homosexual lifestyle through his rather alternative interests. His role is a minor one, but his appearance brings itself toward the attention that this film presents.

BABYLON is a big movie in its own way. It’s not an epic production in the Cicil B. DeMille form of making movies. But it shows that the movie industry is one that lots of folks take an interest in trhough its gramor and pain. And it’s moral shows that if one pulls open the streams of tinsel found draping good ol’ Tinseltown, one would only find more tinsel, just like it is in this present day and age. Perhaps the booze and drugs no longer flow freely as it used to, but using the “F” word is alive and kicking! We’re f-ing ready for our close up Mr. DeMille!

BABYLON is rated “R” by the MPA for the for noted scenes of graphic violence, sexual scenes, and cussing! Now playing in select theaters. 

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I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (Sony/Tri-Star) is a biographal, or “bio” film of vocalist Whitney Houston, who led the charts in popular music from the 1990’s to her untimely death in 2012.

Naomi Ackie portrays the singer from her humble roots in Orange, New Jersey. She did come from a musical family as her mother Cissy Houston (Tamara Tunie) was a vocalist, performing at a local nightclub. She was also Whitney’s vocal teacher as they were both involved in the church choir. One evening, music producer Chive Davis (Stanley Tucci) comes in to catch a show that was to feature the mother and daughter as a duet. Sure enough, Cissy’s voice gives out, forcing Whitney to start the session as a solo. Clive becomes impressed with her voice and talent, and eventually signs her into a recording contract. Whitney’s father John (Clark Peters) becomes her manager and the one that handles all the finances. Whitney also wanted her close friend Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams) to become her companion. However, rumors existed that Robyn’s friendship may be more of an intimate nature as such relationships were rather taboo even in the 1980’s. As Whitney’s career takes off, she becomes close with fellow R&B performer Bobby Brown (Ashton Sanders), where they later marry and become parents with a girl. But with the success within her career, Whitney goes through a phase of substance abuse, leading toward her rise, fall, and possible comeback of this performer, leading toward her tragic demise.

This feature is yet another bio film of a musical talent that gives up toward their rise to fame, only to show that they do hold tragic episodes within their lives that will eventually kill them, though not necessarily directly by their vices. This feature with screenplay written by Anthony McCarten, holds a few cliches that are part of the movie tales based upon a life of an actual entertainer, but still holds to the drama that showcases their rise and fall. Of course, there are scenes with Whitney singing in some of her more profound concerts, most notabily her performance at the 1994 American Music Awards to her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner staring off the Super Bowl. Kasi Lemmons directs this film as one part drama, second part concert feature, and third part rags-to-riches tale.

Although what caused Whitney’s death isn’t depicted, it does suggest a hint toward its start, or its “beginning of the end”. (That last sentence isn’t a spoiler alert per se as Whitney fans already know how she ended her life!) And with that, the depictions of substance use are presented as illusions to her use of such substances. You won’t see her character snort coke or something like that, but one will see her setting up her paraphernalia getting ready for a toke or two (or three!)

For those that may not be familiar with the life and times of Whitney Houston, this feature may give a little insight on how popular and adored she was to her fans. Then again with bio films, there is a bit of creative license added to make this title more entertaining. (After all, it’s a piece of fiction based on fact, not a documentary!) What makes this movie just what it is is the presence of Naomi Ackie as Whitney and character actor Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis. Tucci is a screen player that tends to always play the second lead rather than a top bill. That element is just as well as Tucci is great as the “second banana”. 

This title will be one of many that will be part of the “Gimmie an Oscar” selections that tends to come around at the end of the calendar year. It not be another comic book superhero vehicle, or another sequel/remake/reboot/intellectual property (“IP”) movie that racks in the big bucks, or should rake in those big bucks. Nevertheless, this movie is somewhat original for what it is. It’s for the fans of this vocalist, as well as those that appreciate a movie that tells it how it was–to a point!

This movie is rated “PG-13” for minor cussing and suggestions of drug usage. Now playing in the usual slew of multiplexes nationwide.

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On December 14th, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.

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

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

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

Films Selected for the 2022 National Film Registry
(Listed in its chronological order of creation and/or release)

(D) Mardi Gras Carnival (1898)

(#) Cab Calloway Home Movies (1948-1951)

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Charade (1963)       

(#) Scorpio Rising (1963)

(#) Behind Every Good Man (1967)

(D) Titicut Follies (1967)

(D) Mingus (1968) 

(D) Manzanar (1971)

(D) Betty Tells Her Story (1972)

Super Fly (1972)

(D) Attica (1974)

Carrie (1976)

(D) Union Maids (1976)

(D) Word is Out: Stories of Our Lives (1977)

Bush Mama (1979)

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982)

(#) Itam Hakim, Hopiit (1984)

Hairspray (1988)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

(D) Tongues Untied (1989)

When Harry Met Sally (1989) 

House Party (1990)

Iron Man (2008)

Pariah (2011)     

For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2023 selection, visit the LOC’s National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film

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This will be the final edition of Accessibly Live Off-Line for the 2022 calendar year. We’ll be taking a week off, but will return the week of January 2nd, 2023 with Vol. 28-No. 1

On behalf of the staff and management of AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com, we wish everyone out there the best for the season and for the new year.

See you in ’23!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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 TOP _________ OF THE YEAR

Around this time of year, many of those that write about the media are already compiling their list of the best of the medium they write for. Be it movies, television/video programs, recordings, and even live performances such as theater productions and concerts, they seem to hold the idea of what was the best for its medium, and those that take advantage of such mediums should also agree with the critics that hack out these lists.

Looking at the calendar that hangs on the wall received from a real estate agent based in the great Midwest, there are less than thirty days remaining of 2022. Although there are some sources that won’t necessarily put out content between now and December 31st, the ones that remain have yet to present what’s coming up for audiences to experience, as well as giving them a chance to either love what they are experiencing, or to hate it to pieces.

This writer a.k.a. “me”, know of what’s out there. Some elements are known better than others. I don’t know much about music recording and the artists and musicians that create this stuff, but I know that it’s out there. To give an idea on that fact, I know little to nothing about Taylor Swift. I’m sure she holds talent. After all, if she was just a hack guitar player, I really don’t think that people would clammer on getting tickets to her future tour. But I digress!

I don’t attend as many theater shows as I once did. (A long story to that reasoning!) So I don’t see enough shows to warrant a list of the best of the year. Besides, since live shows are that–live shows, you only have the memory of knowing how good that presentation was to another show that appeared somewhere else. There may be good parts of one show, and better parts of another. But sometimes you can compare to to, especially if you can look back on the performance. There’s photos (stills) of each play, etc as reference. But unless you compare publicity photos, then you can make up a list–maybe!

So this writer is down to what this same writer has the most knowledge–feature films and television/video programs. These two mediums are stage bedfellows to one another. The reason? In recent years, movies that were meant to be seen in a traditional movie house resemble many of the video programs available through legacy outlets (cable and even over the air channels) and those as streaming sources. The video programs that we will be calling “television” even though one can view them on a computer based device and/or one’s phone, looks like feature films. The only difference? Movies hold a limited running time ranging from 50 minutes (the minimum running time for a title to be classified as a “full length movie” rather than a “short subject”,) to 100, 200, or even 300 minutes. However, the ideal running time for a movie is around 100 to 120 minutes. Anything longer is considered as an “epic”, but must end eventually. Television programs could have a running time as long as the storyline and its characters can support a baseline to its content. Seasons could have four, six, or eight episodes. And if the show holds enough interest and popularity, it could run for multiple seasons.And since TV programs of late hold a continuity of each episode, they could be strung together to make it a long long episode. Or in this case, one long feature! (One would have to subtract the opening and closing titles to give these links a seamless appearance!) One can watch, let’s say, The Sopranos, a series that ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007 end to end, and it would all make sense! One may be there for hours, perhaps even days, and if a viewer was really into that series, they may even want more! That was the major fault for the Warner Bros. release of The Many Saints of Newark i.e. The Tony Soprano Story. If David Chase, the creator of the series, may convince the programming department of HBO, they could turn that lone feature title into a series. After all, HBO Max (or is it HBO+?) is one of the more popular (if not pricey) streaming services around. And if they want eyeballs looking at their content, they may up the ante (so to speak), in grabbing more subscribers! Tony and the rest of his goons and goombas have a lot more to dish out! More bada to the bing!

But getting back to that list of the best of the year. This writer has been asked (“nagged?) by publicity folks working for the studios or TV content providers to compile a list for this publication, hoping that I may add one of their properties on that coveted list. I don’t give them any promises since I don’t compile a list because it would be unfair to those content providers that churn out stuff I haven’t had a chance to see. I only have so many hours in a day to watch something that they love and adore. No offense to those content providers and the people that push their properties to folks like myself. I just watch anything and everything. After all, I own 500+ videotapes that I have yet to view. And many of these tapes have been around for up to fifty years(!). That’s right gang! I may own videotapes even older than you!

So are those bigwigs that hack out articles about movies, TV shows, music records and the folks that hack out their junk, I say, “Way to go”! You can compile those lists of the best of the medium that came to light from January 1st through December 31st and let everyone know in cyberspace land on why you should appreciate their through on why it’s the best. It may be their best, but to you, it may be “OK” or it may be s#it! You can soak up the content for sure. But the only person you should follow on the best of the year is you! If you want to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 317 times, then hot damn! If you want to binge on Squid Games until you say “No more pleez!”, then go for it! As for me, I’ll just say (or write), “That’s nice, as long as you don’t fight!”

Oh yes. I will be reporting on a list. That’s the list that the Library of Congress releases as the twenty-five titles that will make the film’s registry for 2022. For yours truly, that is the only list that matters.

PS…every year, I always suggest that three movies be added to the list, but I never see them even considered. All I will state is that these three titles were released within one year of each other (one just celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022), and they are NOT suitable for the kiddies!! When the time arrives when the LOC finally considers these features as historical, I’ll be here to let you know! Stay tuned!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

“HOLIDAY” PROGRAMING HAS RUN ITS COURSE..?

As you may be aware, those movies and TV programs once called “Christmas” programs, now being labeled as “Holiday” programs, have been airing through all of the media portals since the Labor Day weekend. (No kidding!) 

Some viewers expressed through social media that many of them have overstayed their welcome. That is, those titles have been airing on TV just too many times, almost to the point that they became rather stale.

This theory is far from being new. In fact, we reported some ten years ago, long before streaming media became a practical method of getting one’s television programming content, that some Christmas/Holiday movies and TV shows were being run to death.

The article that we reported on this fact under the title You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out…Again first appeared in Vol. 17-No. 51-Week of December 10th, 2012. Some of the elements within this article still ring true to this very day. See if you can “price and compare” to what we were writing about…

Vanity Fair magazine in conjunction with CBS News conducts opinion poll questions on various topics, usually taking subjects that involve subjects from domestic life to pop culture. As reported in VF’s December, 2012 issue, one of the questions asked by some 1100 adults via phone calls nationwide involved the burning topic: “What holiday movie is the most overplayed on television?” 

According to the poll, the top six titles that the poll revealed are (with the percentage number as replied):

1-A Christmas Story (23%)

2-Elf (14%)

3-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (13%)

4-A Charlie Brown Christmas (13%)

5-It’s A Wonderful Life (12%)

6-Miracle on 34th Street (9%)

OK…let’s perform a breakdown on these half dozen titles on why (or how) are these classics became overplayed.

Starting off on the first selection. A Christmas Story, a 1983 MGM release that stars Peter Billingsley as ten year old Ralph whose Christmas wish is to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for the season while living in Cleveland, Ohio c.1940. Based on a short story written by humorist and one-time WOR late night radio personality Jean Shepherd, it’s a charming tale of a kid’s desire to get a BB gun in spite of his mother’s warning that “it will shoot your eye out”, and his dad’s obsession with a prize that he won; a table lamp consisting of a woman’s leg in a stocking. This film, recently added to the Library of Congress’ film registry, is noted as “overplayed” since The Turner Network (a.k.a. TNT) who owns the rights to this film, hosts a 24 hour marathon where on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it’s run consistently back to back. Thus, its overplaying is lumped into a 24 to 36 hour run. Outside of that, it’s only aired so often.

Number 2 in the selection. Elf, 2003 New Line Pictures release, features comic Will Ferrell playing one of Santa’s elves who discovers that he’s actually human, setting off from the North Poll to New York City to seek his long lost father. Although this title doesn’t have the charm charm as A Christmas Story, it’s still an amusing title for a post 2000 creation. As to its overplaying on TV? This selection may fall into that category as a handful of TV outlets tend to run this title for what it is. Perhaps its “modern” setting (rather than from a movie made in the 1940’s or 50’s) is the reason for its overplaying.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation coming in at number 3 can also be lumped for the same reasons as Elf. Released by Warner Bros. in 1989, Chevy Chase stars as the head of the Griswold family (first appearing in National Lampoon’s Vacation a few years before) who makes an attempt to spend a Christmas with his family, in spite of the fact that he’s a bungling disaster prone idiot. This movie holds plenty of slapstick and is amusing, but far from memorable. This title, along with Elf, holds on to the same reason for its overplaying as local TV stations and a few cable/satellite outlets post this feature on their December TV schedule.

Number 4-A Charlie Brown Christmas, should not belong to this group since it’s not a “movie”. It’s a 1965 TV special that first aired on CBS and its long time sponsor was the Coca-Cola Company, is a cartoon that features the Peanuts gang where CB (with the help of Linus) seeks the true meaning of Christmas. The story line, based on a series of daily and Sunday strips that first appeared in newspapers in December of 1962, had been aired each Christmas since ‘65, and made its first appearance via home video in the middle 1980’s. It’s “overplaying” has been spread out for fifty years. Nevertheless, it’s not a movie, but a 26 minute short. 

It’s a Wonderful Life is the only film in this list that (at one time anyway) holds the distinction of being overplayed. First making an appearance in 1946 and released by Frank Capra’s Liberty Pictures (and distributed by RKO) stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey of Berford Falls, USA who makes a wish that he was never born and discovers that things would become a lot worse without his presence! Another title registered by the Library of Congress, this movie is perhaps the most beloved Christmas film ever released. However, it became discovered (and overplayed) when in 1974, this title did not get its copyright renewed. (At the time, copyrights lasted 28 years, and had to be renewed in its 28th year to extend its legal protection for another 28 years.) Because of this legal goof, TV stations starting in 1975 ran this movie without paying for any TV rights. Because of this overplaying, TV viewers discovered its charm and appeal. This overplaying lasted throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and well into the 90’s. (Not counting the flood of videotape releases by various companies in the 80’s.) However, Republic Pictures, a descendant to the original “B” movie company active in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, hired an army of lawyers to find some loophole to renew some form of legal protection. It seems that the music score was the element found to remove its public domain status. Today, NBC holds the exclusive TV rights to this title, and only aires it occasionally, usually on times where the rating would be low(er).

Finally, rounding out the list is Miracle on 34th Street, a 1947 20th Century Fox release that stars Edmund Gwenn, an elderly man who is hired to play Santa Clause for Macy’s Department Store on the titled street, who insists that he is the real St. Nick. This feature was later remade twice as a 1974 TV movie starring David Hartman and a 1994 theatrical release featuring film director turned actor Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle. The poll doesn’t state what version was the one as overplayed. However, it’s assumed that it’s a tie between the original ‘47 release and the ‘94 remake. (The original because that version has been running on TV since the 1960’s, and the ‘94 version because it’s more up-to-date!)

So there you have it! However, there are lots of Christmas theme movies to see via one’s video device, many well loved and others long forgotten if not forgettable! So as one decks the halls, shops like there is no tomorrow, and programs tunes for the season (again, well loved and overplayed), just remember that if you were not born, you would never ask Santa at Macy’s (now nationwide) to get that Red Ryder BB gun, go shopping for a scrawny tree while Santa’s elves seek for his dad, and perhaps getting a jolt stringing up Christmas lights! After all, all of this takes place but once a year!

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Theater West presents WINTER WISHES: A HOLIDAY CABARET THEATRE, a musical review program featuring seasonal songs and stories.

In this stage program, a talented group of players consisting of Luis Anduaga, Amanda Boutaud, Harleigh Ford, Stella Grimaldi, Cody Kelepolo, Mimi Kmet, Robert W. Laur, Constance Mellors, Zoe Miner, Scottie Nevil, Alyssa Rupert, and Michael Van Duzer offer a performance review that consist of a blend of seasonal favorites along with a few charming monologues peppered with humor that speak itself up for this time of year.

Backed by a quartet of musicians consisting of Bill von Ravenberg on bass, Pete Snell on guitar, Jim Varley on percussion, and Paul Cady on keyboards as well as serving as musical conductor, the mini orchestra resting off stage right gives their musical chops a go while the repertory of players perform the classic tunes of yore as well as the more contemporary favorites. And since this is a holiday program, they even include tunes for Chanukah! (The Latke Song is rather catchy!)

The stage setting itself holds a selection of seasonal lights as arranged among a darkened backdrop. Yet everyone performing through voice and music are highlighted among the electric tinsel and holly.

Overall, this show is very pleasant and operates through the time-tested rule of “less is more”. It’s more of a “show and tell” than something that’s overwhelming and elaborate. Yet it’s been staged for the holidays that won’t overload one’s senses! It’s for those that desire to experience a program that is upbeat yet mellow,and this cabaret lineup will fit that bill. It’s the ideal stage show for all ages to desire and appreciate.

WINTER WISHES: A HOLIDAY CABARET THEATRE, present by and performs at Theater West, 3333 Caluenga Blvd, Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until December 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (323) 851-7977, or online at http://TheatreWest.org

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THE SEASON IS HERE-LIKE IT OR DON’T!!

We don’t have to inform you that the season now known as “The Holidays” is already upon us! You already know!! That’s now considered as old news because that season, still known as “Christmas” , has been around as early as the Labor Day weekend!

Since that first weekend is September, a whole lot of stuff has been coming down, from the mid-term election, from the changing of the weather, to the bickering of high(er) prices for almost anything and everything. But this time of year, now already inside what one journalist called it “The Seasonal Bermuda Triangle” is going at full tilt.

There’s the usual antics that take place right now. Now that the Thanksgiving Day dishes have been washed (or at least they should have been, unless one used paper plates and plastic utensils to plop their share of turkey and all of the trimmings), it’s time to continue shopping for those gifts people are supposed to give and get. For those that have been savvy enough, many folks already did their shopping. Thanks to the virtual universe, it’s a whole lot easier to get anything they desire without venturing away from one’s domicile. Get online, pick what you desire, type in that credit card number, hit “send” or something to that effect, and before long, that delivery person will be right at one’s doorstep delivering a box, bag, envelope, or related container with that worldly possession one saw as a pixelated photo on one’s video screen. Done, done, and done!!

Some people have done their shopping already. A few are starting right now. Others won’t start until the eleventh hour. And a number of folks didn’t start or end. They conduct this activity throughout the whole year! 

One person this writer knows of starts their shopping season the day after Christmas, which this year falls on Monday, December 26th. This party heads off to the mall (the “real” version of the mall versus a virtual one) and gets the items deemed worthy enough to give as gifts. From there, the person places the goods inside of a box, labels the box as “Xmas gifts”, and places that box on a shelf inside of a garage. Throughout the year, the person places other goods inside of that same box, and adds boxes to the pile once the first (or second) box is filled up. This retrial continues through the months right up to the Thanksgiving weekend. That same person pulls out the items found in these boxes, wraps them with wrapping paper obtained at garage and estate sales for as little as five cents per roll of paper, and before long, the gifts are given to that person’s gift giving list. After all of that is said and done, then the cycle continues on December 26th. Get the idea??

Thanks to everything costing a whole lot more than what it once was priced for the previous year, some folks are being creative with their gift giving. Another person that’s a colleague of this writer will do a lot of baking this season, creating cookies and related goodies. In fact, yours truly will assist that person in spreading the cheer. I’ll take part in making some cookies from a kit I received from all sources, the U.S. Marines. For their annual Toys For Tots campaign, they provided me with a cookie recipe called “Sgt. Clause Cookies”. Now only they sent the recipe to mer, but they provided three cookie presses. One consists of a star, the second one is an image of an old fashioned train engine (part of the logo for the Toys For Tots campaign), and the third one is the Mariners logo consisting of an eagle perched upon a globe with an anchor leaning toward the right behind the globe! Along with this kit is a glass milk bottle (empty) that has on its side “Marines-Toys For Tots”. So it’s cookies and milk (you provide) courtesy of the Leathernecks. 

But only time will find out folks will be doing their things buying their goods, even though they are paying more for them. But it’s not all about shopping. It’s the moment to take part in what this season is all about. There’s enough Christmas (or “Holiday”) music to beat the band out there. And there are those Christmas movies to embrace found on all forms of media. One can take upon the beloved from It’s A Wonderful Life to A Christmas Story as well as the forgettable! (This writer would rather soak up such “classics” as Santa Claus Conquers The Martians or even The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t starring Paul (“Mr. I Magination”) Tripp!) than other seasonal titles out there!) There’s the never ending supply of Christmas themed rom-coms appearing on The Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, UpTV, etc that tend to have the same plot line presented over and over again that tend to target middle aged women. As the old line goes, give the people what they want!

We’ll continue this essay for the season again, since it makes more sense to debate about it right now rather than, let’s say, in the month of May. Then again, perhaps that would be an ideal time to rant ‘n rave! Whatever…! 

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse presents A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT, featuring Cori Cable Kidder as the title Country & Western vocalist.

In this event, Cori portrays this star that recorded a number of songs that went “crossover” to both the C&W as well as the popular (“pop”) charts during her active years from 1955 through 1963. In this production, Cori as Patsy stands in front of the mic on stage to sing a selection of her hits as well as a few Christmas themed tunes as well, making this program a Christmas theme concert with a few non seasonal tunes tossed in and vice versa. She’s backed by a four piece band consisting of Mike Flick on bass, Jim Miller on percussion, Kevin Tiernan on guitar, with Sean Paxton on the keyboards. Sean also serves as musical director.

This concert (it’s really a concert as there is no “plot” to this show per se verses a standard play) is one that would make one’s spirit bright and merry. It’s also great for those that appreciate Pasty’s musical talent as Cori’s vocal talents are dead on to its original source–not high pitched or low, but unique enough where others in the musical circles attempt to mimic her range and style.

The stage itself has a selection of holiday decor dressed as designed by Orlando de la Paz, never forgetting this time of year. It’s a pleasant program that all can appreciate. 

Patsy Cline is one of the legions whose life and career was cut short. But as long as her music lives on, so will Patsy, and this concert lives toward that point.

A PATSY CLINE HOLIDAY CONCERT, presented by and performs at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre until December 23rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Other performances take place on Wednesday and Thursday, December 21st and 22nd at 7:30 PM. 

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (626) 355-4318, or online at http://SierraMadrePlayhouse.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

BLACK EYE FRIDAY

Once upon time slightly before the turn of the 21st century, there used to be a day called “Black Friday’ ‘. This was a day created by retailers for those stores to start out the annual Christmas/Holiday shopping season with a bang. The idea of this day is to offer deep discounted bargains on selected items found within their stores to encourage their shoppers to not only buy what’s on sale, but to keep the store’s bookkeeping for the season period in the “black”. That is, making the store is making a profit rather than a loss. That loss was calling itself “in the red”. (This writer assumes that these colors were associated in creating spreadsheets with black ink used detailing a profit, and red ink signifying a loss.)

This “Black Friday” shopping period, or “BF” for short, would take place the day after Thanksgiving, the official start of the Holiday season. (Note: Although this period that usually ran between the last Friday in November through December 24th has traditional been called “Christmas”, is now known as “The Holidays” or “Holiday” because of other seasonal holidays where the exchange of gifts are part of its rituals usually fall within this time period. So this writer will call this time “The Holidays” or “Holiday”) Here, selected retail outlets, usually in the “discount department store” range, although other retailers would participate, would offer great deals in items from the store’s opening as early as 5:00 AM, and offer the goods until supplies last. There would be no rain checks or layaways. You had to get the goods right then and there, and if you missed out, that was tough beans!

This notion worked for a while. News reports would show people camping out in front of the retailer’s doors overnight just so they would be the first inside to grab the goods. Once inside the stores upon opening, crowds would grab the discounted goods however they could. Fights would sometimes break out with folks just getting hell bent on making sure that got that big screen TV set as much as 40% off, or that new fangled whatchamacallit for the incredibly low price of low prices. In spite of the mob riots, most stores came out rather well for how it stood. Folks did get their discounted goods, and retails were able to finish off their seasonal year writing their spreadsheets in that black ink.

If there is a way to complete a task, somebody is going to attempt to buck the system by making it better (or worse!!). The “hack” in this case is to offer BF sales a day earlier–Thanksgiving day! Selected outlets would open on Thursday afternoon or early evening. (Around 6:00 PM local time). This would mean that instead of camping out in front of the store overnight where the weather may be cold(er), one can enter the outlet from one’s Thanksgiving table to grab the goods. Those working at these outlets would have to work on a holiday, meaning that the retailer would have to pay time-and-a-half wages to those employees on duty. Still, folks would still be roaming in to get what’s available, even if they still carried half noshed turkey legs while in the process. 

Then something else occurred. Retails started to push BF much earlier. A week before Thanksgiving. Then right around Veteran’s Day. Then on Halloween. However, perhaps the biggest culprit of them all was another retail outlet that was nowhere in a physical sense, but everywhere, and everywhere! That “store with no store” was Amazon, and thanks to their version of BF called “Prime Day”, they can offer discounted items on selected goods to whoever desires to get them. There would be no camping out in front of a retailer for hours at a time. One could order online, have that credit card handy, and before you knew it, that item would be plopped on your doorstep within 48 hours! 

And “Prime Day” would be offered in October. To sweeten the pot, Prime Day (or “Prime Days” as it was a two-day event) would also take place in middle July, perhaps as a “sneak preview” to the event in October. Before long, folks would take upon membership in Amazon’s Prime club to not only take advantage of those Prime Day specials, but to get other incentives such as “free” shipping, getting your goods within that two day period extended no matter what day you ordered, as well as getting access to Amazon Prime, their entry to the “over the top” streaming TV service. And for you football fans out there, in 2023, they will be offering NFL football on the day after Thanksgiving, so you can get your football jones while shopping for goods you will get my cyber Monday i.e. The Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend!!

As one can expect, BF was getting a bad rap. There were tiffs going around for folks breaking out in riots just so they can get discounted items for cheap. Stores open on Thanksgiving to jump ahead of Friday wasn’t solving the problem. And stores that pushed BF well into September were making this shopping day lose its luster, assuming that there was luster to be lost to begin with.

So retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and other places announced that they would be closed on Thanksgiving Day. And they would offer BF deals online, meaning no camping out and breaking into fight modes. And among these so-called deals on can get, the question remains. What kind of deal one is getting? Is the item on sale even something worth its purchase? After all, how many big-screen TV sets one can have, unless one has the hot nut to have a TV in every room of their homestead.

If one view that cyberspace has to say on this, one suggested that grocery stores should offer BF deals on everyday items such as meats, dairy, vegetables, and so on. With inflation as it stands, getting a deal on something for everyday consumption really makes it a deal. Ditto for gasoline! Anyone that operates a vehicle could use a BF deal while at the pump. Granted, getting a tank full of gas may not be a holiday gift to somebody, but it does help with the discount.

So come this Friday, November 25th, take it easy shopping wise. You can always find a price breaker on just about anything nowadays thanks to online shopping. And retailers will offer bargains through the season and the rest of the year. Download a retailer’s app on your phone, follow them on social media, and join their mailing list so you can be informed when the next sale will take place. No camping out at a store’s doorstep and/or participating in a riot, It’s that easy if you know how to buck the system!

PS..if anyone knows a gas station that will offer a BF deal, let this writer know. That gift will wind up as something “from me, to me”! So much for pathos!

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Theater 40 of Beverly Hills present as its third production for the 2022-23 season is GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?, Todd Kreidler’s stage adaptation of the story of a young woman’s marriage announcement to her family with a man that is different than the rest based on not who is is, but what he is!

The setting is San Francisco c.1967. The city is undergoing some changes with the rise of the presence of “flower children” as well as a progressive music scene. In the Drayton household set in a well-to-do community, Joanna Drayton (Abigail Stewart) arrives at the residence of her parents, Matt and Christine (Larry Eisenberg and Diana Angelina) bringing her fiancé Dr. John Prentice (Marc Antonio Pritchett) home for dinner. He’s a well respected doctor who will be traveling to Geneva, Switzerland for a research project he’s involved with. With the credentials Dr. Prentice possesses, he would be perfect to have this man as part of the family. But there is one element that the doctor holds, and has nothing to do with his practice. He just happens to be “Negro”, something that doesn’t bode too with Christine and Matt. 

This play, adapted from the feature film of the same title and from William’s Rose’s original screenplay, speaks upon a situation that was going on during the period of the 1960’s between the fine line of blacks present in a so-called white society. The civil rights movement was in full swing and not too far removed from the period of a “whites only” dividing line. It shows what this era was dealing with where the Negro race (the term used during this period of time) were beginning to be intergraded with the rest of the “majority” population.

As to the cast of players appearing this his production. The four leads appearing are very prime to their roles that they present. Taking a note to the film itself, Larry Eisenberg and Diana Angelina hold a resemblance to Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy where Eisenberg mimics much of Tracy’s mannerisms. Marc Antonio Pretchett as Dr. John Prentice is more robust in stature than what his character appeared in the feature. (The legionary Sidney Poitier appeared in that role!) Along with the other players that appear in this stage production, Frederick Dawson and Patricia A. Lewis as John Prentice, Sr. And Mary Prentice, John Jr.’s parents, stand out on their own. And following up are Jenn Robbins as Hillary St. George, an art dealer that works with Christina, David Hunt Stafford as Monsignor Ryan, Matt’s friend and golfing buddy, and Crystal Yvonne Jackson as “Tillie” Binks, the “colored” domestic help a.k.a. maid.

Another element to note is Michael Mullen’s costuming that harks from the period of the 1960’s, Judi Lewin’s hair, wig, and markup design that complements the costuming, and Theater 40’s resident set designer Jeff G. Rack creates the Drayton residence that is ultra modern for the era from its furnishing, the fixtures and artwork that line the walls, as well as its color scheme.

This play’s focus as directed by Cate Caplin is how race relations were set domestically during the second half of the 20th century. Since that period, much of what is spoken about within this program has eased up a bit. However, its full potential is still a work in progress. Only time, as well as its full integration, will allow this transaction for completion. But for now, it’s a stage production that is crafted very well and shows that everyone can indeed get along, assuming that its acceptance is fully unabridged.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?, 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 December 18th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Wednesday, December 7th and 14th at 7:30 PM. No performances on November 24th and 25th.    

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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THE FABELMANS (Universal) stars Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy Fabelman. He lives with his family that are of the Jewish persuasion consisting of his dad Burt (Paul Dano), an electrical engineer, mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), who plays classical music on the piano for mostly her family and nobody else, and his three sisters Natalie (Alina Brace, Keeley Karsten), Reggie (Birdie Borria, Julia Butters), and Lisa (Sophia Kopera). And there’s “Uncle” Bernie Lowet (Seth Rogen), who really isn’t their uncle, but Burt’s co-worker and best friend. He’s so close to the family, Sammy’s own clan adapts him as an uncle.

Sammy’s own journey in life starts out when he’s seven years old when Burt and Mitzi take him to the movies to see the film The Greatest Show On Earth. He becomes mesmerized by what he sees on the screen. Mitzi, always doting on her kids especially Sammy, knows that he was fascinated with the movie that he saw, and gives him Burt’s 8mm movie camera to play with. From there, he makes little films with his camera to entertain his family. Things change for the family when Burt receives a job transfer to Phenix, Arizona having the group relocate. While in Arizona, Sammy continues to make movies shot on 8mm film with his boy scout troop, eventually graduating to 16mm. The family’s third (and final) relocation takes them to “Northern California”. Although Sammy, or now called Sam as he phases himself in his teen years, discovers more about his family than he ever expected. As Sam’s folks begin to head off toward one separate direction, Sam phases into another that will later involve photographing images that move at twenty-four frames a second.

This title can be called “The Steven Spielberg Story ” as this film parallels the early life of Steven S. as he witnessed what was really going on through his personal life and the family members that came with it all. Although much of what is depicted on screen is generally influenced on Steven’s early days, it’s not necessarily a factual or even true “bio” film in the traditional sense. It mostly plays out as a medium-light melodrama that depicts his mom and dad, his siblings to a lesser extent, as well as other friends and relations that make up how Steven got his growing pains while playing with his film camera creating scripts, shooting the said script, editing the exposed imagery, and winding up showing his mini movie epics to whatever audience is accessible and available. 

The feature, written by Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, never strays off into the world of stereotypical biographical-type productions that depicts the central character progressing into the life and style that the protagonist will always be known for. It mostly depicts many of the invisible skeletons that exist within Sam’s virtual closet(s). Such as a teen attending high school, he runs into a group of guys that serve as his bullies, even ragging on him because of his spiritual persuasion i.e. being a Jew. (Diversity wasn’t practiced by teenagers in the early-middle 1960’s!) And the movie concludes with Sam meeting with a well known film director of “oaters” that gives him some hard advice. Whatever he did with that device made him well known and respected within the annals of moviedom.

But there’s more to this feature than the players that speak the lines and act them out. Rick Carter’s production design along with Karen O’Hara’s sets show off the eras that this film depicts. (1952 through 1965.) Janisz Kaminski, Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer, is back with making sure that the images photographed are to Steven’s linking. (Steven Spielberg also directed this film in case you didn’t know!!) And another cronies of S.S., John Williams, also scored the music even though there are other period music numbers that’s scattered throughout the movie’s soundtrack, from period rock ‘n roll to music scores from other films released around the time Sam desired to squint through an eyepiece of a film camera to capture the imagery best to his liking.

Two more players that appear in this film to make note of. Judd Hirch is featured as Sam’s Uncle Boris. (A “real” uncle than an adapted one!) His character just drops in from nowhere (or so it seems) to give Sam some important advice found in life, only to leave the family right away in the same way as he arrived–by way of catching a cab! And Jeannie Berlin appears as Hadassah Fableman, Mitzi’s elderly mother who is a classic example of a Jewish mom/bubbie that is from the old county and plays it strictly old school. (Both of these characters appear too briefly to make any real impact to what this feature is really all about!) 

We can also mention a monkey named Crystal billed as “Bennie the Monkey” in the end credits. This reviewer won’t make any note of his/her appearance since this isn’t a film featuring a boy and his monkey. Besides that, the animal serves as Mitzi’s pet!

The movie itself is rather entertaining, never becoming too sweet, too sappy, and keeps the melodramatic elements appear toward its point. And since Steven’s own movies are titles that are bigger than life, this notion could become the reason why it stuck to being a theatrical release rather than a title appearing on Universal’s streaming service Peacock. Besides, playing this movie in theaters will allow it to become eligible to win major movie based awards, including a possible Oscar or two. But that award giving will be up to the voting members of those groups that fob off such awards! But as for now, this title will play in theaters first and streaming for later! (Check your local listings!)

THE FABELMANS is rated “PG-13” by the MPA for occasional cussing and mild TV style violence. Now playing in real movie houses nationwide.

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There have been movies that made their mark over the many decades since movies became a way of life within the domestic lifestyle. Some titles become fast hits. People flocked to their movie theater houses to catch a glimpse of these features making them instant classics. And there are movies that came and went, only to be discovered long after the fact. These titles were not appreciated when first released and were not necessarily artistic in any ways or means. However, they gained a following emphasizing something of value toward these films. Its circle spans from becoming unique in their own right, to being a movie that became so bad in quality, they were good in appeal!

These types of movies were called “cult movies” since they attracted a small yet devoted audience. Sometimes they are called “underground films” because they fell under the radar so to speak, only to pick up their momentum to be obliged for what they are: movies that can be campy, schlocky, unintentionally comical, and are so distinctive, other filmmakers make an attempt to copy and possibly upstage them, even through its original source wasn’t very good to begin with.

Millie De Chririco, programmer for TCM’s Underground slot to highlight these sort of features that almost became forgotten, and Quatoyiah Murry, former editorial programmer at TCM, compiled their book TCM Underground: 50 Must-See Films from the World of Classic Cult and Late-Night Cinema (Running Press) that write and compiles fifty of these titles that made them what they are: Movies that grew in stature because a dedicated audience discovered (or re-discovered) them again, enough to earn these feature titles into the annals of cult status.

In their book, the authors write and review these movies that range from comedy, drama, action/adventure, and fantasy. (The core of these movies were released in the 1960’s through the 1980‘s, yet a few 1950’s titles were added for their “artistic” value!)

In their book, Chririco and Murry divide their fifty into categories such as crime features loaded with action, and plenty of it with an emphasis of using black/ghetto culture as its origins. (Across 11th Street, Friday Foster, and even I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, a parody of “Blaxploitation” features!) There are films consisting of domestic families that are twisted, weird, and even homicidal. (Eating Raoul, Secret Ceremony, and Fleshpot On 42nd Street). Horror titles fall into cultdom rather easily since horror titles carry themselves on their own (Blackula, The Brood, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, etc.) Then there’s the youth rebellion titles featuring teenagers and young adults (under the age of 25) that start taking over the joint because they can and even succeed in the process! (Born in Flames, Little Darlings, Roller Boogie) And rounding up this collection are movies that fall into the category of so-bad-it’s-good, such as Mac And Me and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. The former title is a cross between an “E.T” rip-off and a ninety minute commercial for McDonalds, complete with an appearance of Ronald McDonald!! The latter title is based on a bubble gum card series featuring ugly kids dwelling in garbage cans that itself was a parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids line of plush dolls. There are musicals that went bad to good, such as Xanadu, a big budget film from Universal Pictures featuring Olivia Newton-John following up to her previous appearance in Grease for Paramount, and dancer Gene Kelly appearing in his final feature. And there’s the comedy Thank God It’s Friday, an ensemble piece that takes place on a “typical” night at a disco. Its song, “Last Dance” sung by Donna Summer was even good enough for voting members of the Motion Picture Academy to award an Oscar to that movie for “Best Song” that year!

Of course, there’s a lot more movies they write about in this book. And most, if not all, of these titles were nearly ignored by movie goers through their theatrical runs. They were discovered later through cable TV showings as well as home video releases, making them available for multiple runs on odd hours of the day, as well as seen on videotape to screen as long and as often as the viewer desired. Just long as they don’t forget to return the tape back to the video store it came from and didn’t forget to “be kind-rewind!

These kinds of movies have finally deserved their spotlight that the filmmakers never thought that they would wind up at. Now these movies that do exist are appreciated because they are different and very unique. After all, such cult titles as David Lynch’s Easurehead and John Water’s Pink Flamingos were worthy enough to be listed as registered films through the Library of Congress’s Film Preservation board. (Who would ever know??)

With an introduction by Patton Oswald and loaded with photos, illustrations, as well as sidebar notes that range from “OMG” to “WTF?” moments to look for in the said film, Underground is a book that would fit nicely into anyone’s book collection of movies that are deemed classic in their own right. Perhaps over the years, other titles released in the 1990’s and even into the 21st century will be cult enough to have its own tally into cultdom. A few titles are already earning that status. Just give it more exposure on the streaming sites or on DVD to find its devoted audience. Time and taste will tell!

TCM Underground is available wherever finer books ore sold, both in store and online.

Also available as an electronic “e” book.

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On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line.com, we wish each and everyone of you folks out there a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

-See you next week!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

BACK FROM THE BRINK or PICTURE PERFECT AGAIN!

A reader recently informed us that Eastman Kodak, still located in Rochester, New York, is ramping up their film industry again to develop film (pun intended) for use in still cameras.

The reader named “DogMa’sSon” sent us a link to Kodak’s Twitter account at https://twitter.com/Kodak that came with a message from Jim Continenza, Executive Chairman & CEO through his Linkedin page https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/back-from-brink-leading-kodak-comeback-jim-continenza/  with its headline Back from the Brink: Leading the KODAK Comeback informing those that Kodak is getting back on its feet with the revived interest in film for taking still pictures and well as making moving ones.

First and foremost, we congrads Kodak for weathering out the storm so to speak in never giving up on the idea that capturing pictures on film will last as long as one keeps the prints and its negatives in a safe, cool, and dry place. Those pictures will last as long as intended while digital pictures ave yet to see any longevity in their creation.

Of course, it’s rather obvious why regular folks (as well as a few “non regular people”) aren’t using film to capture their Kodak moments as they once did. Although prints still will look good, people aren’t necessarily concerned in keeping pictures as archival gems. They just want to snap a picture for the moment, taking pictures as often as they can just because they have the ability to do so.

Back in the days from not so long ago (mostly, 20th century), picture taking was used often, but only for moments where snapping a trigger from a camera really meant something on both sides of the camera device. Because with only 36 chances to take a pic with a camera, one had to be rather picky on how many pix one would use with their camera. This could be using a standard 35mm camera including those “point-and-shoot” lines of camera that were simple and rather easy to use, to a “pro” camera where one had to focus the lens as well as making sure that the exposure was done properly, using a lot of “mumbo-jumbo” techniques adjusting of all of the knobs and tiny levers that were on the camera body.

And there were the slim sized pocket cameras that used 110 sized film that were housed inside of a plastic cartridge. All one had to do was to open the door located in the back of the camera, slip the cartage inside of its measured slop, close the door, wind the film to its first exposure, and snap away! Granted, those 110 cameras didn’t give out a high quality picture as the 35mm camera did, but those pix were those taken at the moment. It was a created camera to have on one’s person just in case one wanted to take a picture right then and there–sometimes at the spur of the moment!

We don’t have to state that nowadays, everyone has a camera on their person that is disguised as a phone. And unlike the 110 camera of yore, the quality of the pictures are high-def quality. And depending on what type of phone one is capturing the moment, those pix can be used for professional purposes. Apple has stated for many a year that their ever lovin’ iPhones can put us high quality pix enough for some pix captured on an iPhone are just as “pro” as one can get. Ditto for capturing moving imagery!

Even though Kodak is raving about their film industry making its welcomed comeback, there are a few things to note. First of all, finding rolls of 35mm film are a little tough to come by. Places known for grabbing films such as Walmart, Target, and any drugstore chain no longer carries their film stock. One would have to go to a dedicated camera outlet to grab a roll, or head on over to Amazon and get it online. And when it comes to processing? Lotsa luck on that side of the tale! Target no longer offers film processing and hasn’t done so since the late aughts! Walmart used to offer film processing off site. In  return, one would get a CD with their photos as digitized JPEG films, but would not receive the negatives!. And besides, film processing as well as the film stock isn’t cheap. In this day and age, people take pix with their phones for free!

So go ahead folks. Take all of the pix you desire. Post them through your favorite social media outlets for others to see then or not! But make sure you thank Kodak for keeping the idea alive! Make that “Kodak moment” something to cherish for the many years to come! (PS..don’t forget to smile!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!