ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO TWEET

     In the continuing saga of how one receives their news in everyday life, a recent survey poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, in cahoots with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, states that eight per cent of domestic adults receive their news from the likes of Twitter–that ever loving social media site where one can send messages running around 140 characters.
     Taking a poll asking 5000 American adults 18 years and up, divided between 736 Twitter uses and 3,260 Facebook followers on how they obtain their news, a bit over half (52%) of those stated that they “ever” get news from Twitter. This method of obtaining said news is in alliance with the 30% receiving their news from Facebook. (In this case, “news” is considered as information about events and issues that involve more than just friends or family.)
     It’s no surprise that most of these adults that use Twitter and/or Facebook as their leading news source are those in their 20’s (“Millenniums”) and are well educated, holding a college degree, and make a decent annual salary. (40k and up.)
     The report goes on to note that the news received and sent out holds three common attributes. Much of what is posted centers on passing news along with “breaking” news, the sentiments of the type of news shift considerably over time, and how the conversations do not necessarily aline with public opinion, regardless of how passionate “tweeters” tend to be about the subject matter.
    And thanks to smartphones, along with laptops and electronic pads, most of those polled (85%) receives such news using a portable device, so they can always be in touch wherever they may rome.
     As to what news is followed, tweeted, and/or friended on, it depends upon the mood to the story and what is behind it. The research tracked on and dissected the Twitter conversations surrounding ten major news events that took place between May 2011 and October 2013. Although most of the news that was reported via tweets were on the negative and tragic side (The Connecticut school shootings, the Zimmerman case, etc.), a few were more in the upbeat mode, such as the tweets received and sent on the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Whatever the event had been, many still use this source to know what is going on in the nation, the world, and how such events effect those that do tweet about it.
     For those that wish to read the results in details visit the link below: http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/04/twitter-news-consumers-young-mobile-and-educated/
     As the ‘net becomes more of a way of life rather than a ever-so-often supplement or even a vague novelty, many turn to cyberspace to discover what’s going down outside of one’s personal time and space. And leave it up to those for noted smartphones where one can find apps to receive such notifications faster than ever, it appears that there is no excuse to not realize on what’s going on anytime and anywhere!
     Since social media in all forms are user composed based rather than provider controlled, the ebb and flow of such events reported and received can range wildly. As the study notes, much of what is tweeted, etc. can range from important issues to those that serve little to no purpose. Those that are user generated in the trivial aspect tend to be connected with sports and entertainment. Indeed, they may be important to an extent, but they don’t necessarily become earth shattering. However, one’s news of the moment is another’s nonsense.
     As time progresses, there will be other means to never become  “left out” when it comes to what’s going on. As phones become smarter, tablets become smaller and lighter, and laptops morph into devices that can do as much as possible and then some, it won’t be long when that breaking news story becomes “broken” faster then it can “shatter”. Don’t be too surprised when news happens, it will be reported while it takes place! Perhaps one day, the news will become news slightly before it even occurs! (Don’t laugh folks–such events did make the rounds before it even happened as reported by eager “Twitters” and “Facers”.) Then again, the only news that matters to some is in the form as when the dog will be fed, when the checks arrive in the mail, and it it will be sunny and bright or cloudy and cold! Again, it might not be breaking news per se, but better to be overly informed than not knowing what’s going down!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Winding down Theatre Palisades’  2013 season of shows is Larry Shue’s modern classic comedy THE FOREIGNER, a farce about the titled stranger visiting a resort in the rural south with his friend while getting into some of the intimate going ons taking place within this rustic haven.
     Craig Stevens is S/Sgt. “Froggy” Lesueur, a British demolition expert for the Royal Army whose work takes him to a nearby American army base in southern Georgia. Staying at a fishing lodge, he brings along with him his friend Charlie Baker (Alan Curelop), a somewhat shy and rather hesitant man who doesn’t care to engage conversation with strangers. To make Charlie at ease in this resort, Froggy has a plan to pass off his pal as an alien from some strange country where English is considered exotic tongue. The idea is if Froggy introduces Charlie to everyone within the lodge stating that he cannot understand or speak English, nobody will ever try to vocalize with him. Found within the same resort is Betty Meeks (Martha Hunter) the proprietor, Rev. David Marshall Lee (Nick Thompson), his fiancée Catherine Simms (Cody Metzger), Owen Musser (Rodney K. Carrington), and the “houseboy” Ellard Simms (David Narloch) who isn’t too bright, but does care about the place he lives. Things start to go array at the lodge. Rev. Lee, being a man of the cloth, is up to some no good with Owen, who belongs to a “secret society” that hold an agenda of its own, Catherine discovers that she is with child (the good reverend is the father), as well as other notions that Charlie overhears about. Of course, everyone at the lodge takes Froggy’s word that this stranger can’t understand all of the talk that’s going around. This notion of a stranger babbling out nonsense–his only communication to use since he can’t “speak” English–brings out plenty of comical capers as this visitor isn’t suppose to know what’s occurring, but knows more than imaged!
     This audience pleasing comedy has it all, with slapstick actions about while taking hold to the time tested premise of a mistaken identity and a “fish out of water’ saga, mashing up these two features into one comical caricature. It is not only humorous, but it also blushes with some good natured innocence as well. Alan Curelop as Charlie tends to play his character as a milquetoast that is loved by all that he meets, although he would rather be left alone. Craig Stevens as Froggy is the hearty Brit that loves his job blowing things up, as well as becoming an outgoing soul–a total opposite of Charlie! Nick Thompson as Rev. Lee is a two face character that doesn’t necessarily practice what he preaches. Cody Metzger as Catherine also shows her innocence (never mind the fact that she’s pregnant with the good reverend’s child) yet isn’t aware that her boyfriend, along with Owen–a backwoods yahoo, is behind a scheme to take advantage of Betty’s lodge. And David Narloch as Ellard is indeed the dimmest bulb of the bunch. What he lacks in smartness is made up for his kindness and his willingness to “help” Charlie learn and understand English.
     Taking all of these plot points in motion, that is why this comedy is always a treat to experience. Tony Torrisi directs this piece that never lets down. It may not be a wild and wooly “laff riot” as one might expect, but there is enough in this show that hold true to this axiom. Even the director asks within his notes if this play is a drama, a comedy, a farce or a fantasy. It’s really a little of each step, though it’s light on the drama (same for the fantasy part), but heavy of the comedy and the farce–each component nicely rolled into one big motif.
     Also to note is Sherman Wayne’s set design of the lodge setting, loaded with rustic wood beams and other touches that calls for the outdoor life as just a step away.
     No matter how many occasions one may have seen THE FOREIGNER–be it for the umpteenth time or as a maiden voyage, it’s sure to please one and all. And experiening it within the intimate confines of this stage will do the trick. And as Charlie would say while not speaking English, Klaatu barada nikto!

     THE FOREIGNER, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until December 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information, call (310) 454-1970, or visit online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
     Theater Palisades has also announced  their 2014 season of plays, along with a musical! Visit the web site for more details.
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     ASPIRIN AND ELEPHANTS, Jerry Mayer’s comedy about a family bonding while on vacation upon a cruse ship, performs at the Santa Monica Playhouse’s Other Space theater.
     The Frank family, consisting of husband Steven a.k.a. “Junior” (Kip Gilman), wife Honey (Wendy Michaels), adult daughters Stephanie (Amanda Maddox) and Liz (Ryan Driscoll), along with their spouses Scott (Todd Cattell) and Arnie (Michael Marinaccio) are out on a family getaway aboard a Norwegian cruse ship sailing along the fjords of Scandinavia. It’s Honey and Junior’s anniversary, and the kids and sons-in-law are out to congratulate this pair celebrating their many years of martial bliss. Junior (not so much a “junior” as his name suggests), runs a rather successful business that has taken a bit of toll for the man. He suffers from a heart condition and is overly concerned that this trip will make his heart fail, although the purpose of this vacation is for him to relax while he pops aspirin to keep his ticker function as normal as possible. His two kids (and well as the pair of sons-in-law), love their ol’ man. (Ditto for Honey!) But as families tend to do, conflict arises from the notion of one’s spouse is more successful that the husband, to Junior’s thinking of selling off the business, to attempting the take advantage of all the cruse ship’s activities. (Not counting the never ending supply of buffets!) It’s a tale of a family bonding while the glue that binds is slowing coming apart!
     This play has the distinction of being a theater work that one can call very Neil Simon-esk; A stage piece that has a mild yet cute plot, peppered with plenty of witty one liners! Some of these one-liners are within the range of a sitcom; Not a tired sitcom, but a funny one to boot! Playwright Jerry Mayer cut his comical writing teeth a generation ago, first creating gags for comedians of the era including some “Fang” jokes for Phyllis Diller, later graduating into penning scripts for some of the biggest sitcoms to air during domestic television’s “silver age”. (All In The Family, The Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H, The Facts of Life, among many others!) This expertise in plotting diverting schemes with proper and humorous banter shows highly within this production. The cast of six players hold up to an edge that is ten per cent serious and sober and ninety per cent farcical–heavy of the funny part! The women in this play leans toward the (slightly) serious side the things while the men folk are the comic foils–although it could be just an illusion! Among this six, Kipp Gilman as Junior stands out to be the center of things. His verbiage delivery and emoting repartee never lets down. Junior doesn’t find his heart condition as a major threat, but something that’s as annoying as a buzzing fly about! One can either swat it and be done with it, or to tolerate the buzzing! That concept, by the way, is a good thing since this play is indeed a riot! This so-called “riot” of course is found in the dialogue rather than visual slapstick or using too many pratfalls and subplots. Chris DeCarlo, associate artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse, is on helm with stage direction, leading each character fall within its high notes, morphing within its lower ebbs, finally leading up to that happy ending that most (not all) sitcoms pack themselves up with right to its finish–until the next episode comes around airing on the same time and channel through its TV season!
      Also appearing, or to specifically note, as a voice is George Coe as the ship’s Norwegian Captain, Haak Nordenkjell.
     This play first made its appearance nearly twenty five years before at the SM Playhouse. And after a quarter century later, the jokes still ring true making this play timeless. According to the playwright, only a few elements were updated for the new(er) millennium, such as the usage of mobile electronic gadgetry. However, the gags remain! It’s also based (to an extent) upon actual events, including the tale of the infamous lineup of the school jerseys; a plot point that has to be heard for one’s self to appreciate!
     ASPIRIN AND ELEPHANTS isn’t about over the counter drugs nor about circus animals. It’s a play that is about a warm, touching, and dysfunctional family that’s sailing upon one of the seven seas, although it would be just as amusing if it was set upon dry land. The play also has heart–a strong and health heart–not a ticker that’s ready to go boom! (That’s only found within the nitro pills!) For those that belong to a slightly oft kilter clan, or is part of a group that respects one another (or not), then this is the play to experience!

     ASPIRIN AND ELEPHANTS, presented by The Santa Monica Playhouse, and performs at the SM Playhouse’s Other Space Theatre, 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until January 26th, 2014. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For tickets and for further information, call (310) 394-9779, or online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
My awesome husband is ready to run his first FULL MARATHON!!!! Cheer him on!!!!
-Elizabeth

Blah, I feel like turtle guts. did you share this with me?
-Erica

I got a text from Jenn that asked me about the diagnosis on my hip. She said “I mean the one you got from the doctor. Not the one you made up yourself.” I might have known her for too long.
-Jennifer

Robert just passed his driving test! Look out. For real.
-Shannan

I am officially the mother of a teenager. *sniff* HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET KARALYNN JEAN ABRI PHILLIPS!!!!!!
-Krista

I am looking forward to relaxing and Christmas shopping with my beautiful daughter, Stefanie and my precious granddaughter Selah! Look out Mall…..here we come!
-Becky
As of November 11th, Tiffi has 1,868 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2013 Linear Cycle Productions.
All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!  

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