AS THE SHOPPING CONTINUES

     Now that “Black Friday” has come and gone, now it’s the moment when “Cyber Monday” makes its mark, the week where folks spending for the holidays (i.e. Christmas, et. al.) are seated at their work terminals going online to supposedly do what they did at their physical stores: shop for gifts for those on their list.
     Of course, the ever present giant of all on line trade, Amazon, had teemed up with the US Postal Service to offer deliveries of goods on Sunday, a day where UPS and FED-FX are normally shut down. This Sunday deliver is only set for deliveries to the big coastal cities: New York and Los Angeles, and will spread to other communities within the next few periods.
     This Sunday delivery is good for many reasons. It will allow those last minute shoppers a bit more time to have their goods delivered to those on their list a bit faster–assuming that the receiver holds an address in the New York/Los Angeles areas, and the notion that it will beat all other on-line retailers in getting the goods in a more timely manner. This may be a blow to those that insist they do their shopping via cyberspace and holds the desire to get their goods one day sooner. There won’t be any more “hurry up and wait” as the waiting game shrank an additional 24 hours.
     However, getting a gift through a physical store (the term “brick and mortal” has become a cliché, so this writer won’t use that illustration to describe a retail outlet that isn’t by way of a website or through an “app”), is just as fast and easy! Unless an item is out of stock, one can obtain the good(s) right then and there! No delivery required! One walks into a store, sees the item, pays for it, and takes it home-or wherever the final destination to where the merchandise belongs. Of course, one must physically go to the said retail outlet to obtain the item in question. For some, that might be a bit taxing, as getting off to a mall may be a challenge to itself!
     And speaking of physical stores, many of those, especially retail outlets that are part of a big conglomerate, has their shopping hours extended. The malls, decked out as early as Halloween. are blasting their canned holiday music, have a whole mess of red and green lights sported about, and place their Santas awaiting for the kids to ask ol’ St. Nick on what they desire, from traditional playthings to toys more suited for adults. (Smartphones, electronic tablets, video game setups, etc.) In short, the malls, as well as other retailers, have been trying hard to lure those back into the stores and to get off their web based gadgets in order to spend for the season.
     And so far, retailers across the board are watching closely as how people will use their spending habits in spite on how economic concerns take their toll. The forecast that retailers set themselves for this season is “partly cloudy”. It’s not gloomy, but it’s not sunny either! Of course, much of the shopping takes place during the last full weekend before December 25th. And since Christmas day falls on a Wednesday this year–an ideal time since Wednesday a.k.a. “hump day” is the day of the week that’s between the previous weekend and the next weekend. Just as long as retailers can get as many full weekends as they can, that’s still OK. However, the seasonal shopping spree that used to start right after Thanksgiving began as early as October, so it’s extended season has been going around for quite a while.
     More news on the buying frenzy will be reported here right up to the last few moments. Stay tuned!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     The Glendale Centre Theatre presents their annual production of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a tale about an old grumpy skinflint who realizes about the magic of the season thanks to the aid of a trio of spirits from the past, present, and those shadows yet to come.
     You already know the plot, but for those that seek a brief reminder, here it is. In 1840’s London, accountant Ebenezer Scrooge (Daniel Roebuck) doesn’t care much for the Christmas season. He finds all of the mirth and merriment that’s around him as “humbug”. He would rather ignore the holiday than to embrace it. On Christmas eve, after his sole employee Bob Cratchit (Kelly Flynn) begs him to have Christmas Day off, Scrooge is visited by a group of spirits, known as the ghost of Christmas Past (Brenda Dietlein), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Tim Dietlein, who also directs this show), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This set of specters, the first two rather friendly and warming, show Scrooge a few faint episodes of his life set for the Christmas season, where he embraced the joy that once existed. The third spirit, resembling a grim reaper, gives him a glimpse of what may happen if the old man doesn’t charge his state of heart and attitude.
     This GCT production, now in its 47th year, is always a delight to see. The costuming by Angela Wood of Glendale Costumes sets the tone to the story and era-a specialty stage trait for this theater as they have always presented period pieces that speak for the period. Brenda Dietlein adapted the Dickens tale for the stage, a theatre-in-the-round space where every seat is a “good” place to view. It boasts a huge ensemble cast (35 players) that perform the various characters that are part of the Dickens repertory. (Space doesn’t allow this reviewer to list ‘em all, but each one places their own personal mark to this time tested tale!)
      This production presented in 2013 feature character actor Daniel Roebuck in the lead, walking upon the footsteps of long time GCT rep player Mario Di Gregorio whose characterization of Ebenezer was brought to life in previous seasons. (Mr. Gregorio passed on last July). Daniel Roebuck, whose film and TV bio includes such titles as Matlock, Nash Bridges, Star Trek: The Next Generation and many others, is an ideal Scrooge. His presentation of this man will indeed delight those that seek a quality production that is suited for all, keeping up with the theme of this playhouse of presenting family friendly plays and musicals.
     In addition to the players seen on stage, Nathan J. Milisavljevich provides the set and sound design, Paul Reid serves as lighting designer and stage manager, and Steven Applegate, a GCT regular known for his transcribed musical direction and arrangements, is on helm for a few musical intrudes, forming this show as a mini musical. These little intervals set the moods within the scenes depicted, rather than songs added that can break up the action as some other musical shows tend to suffer with.
     There are a lot of Christmas Carols out there as stage works, either presented as straight dramas, full blown musicals, and even as parodies. (And all are good for what they are!) Nevertheless, leave it to the GCT to present a holiday tradition that will carry long after Scrooge’s ghosts make their annual appearance. Place that in your cup of tom and jerry and savor the experience.

     A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 1:00 PM. Additional Sunday performances begins at 5:00 PM.  
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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     The Angel City Chorale, a Los Angeles based chorale company, will be presenting their 20th annual holiday concert and sing-a-long entitled Joyful, Joyful, presenting a selection of songs for the holiday season.
     The 160-member Angel City Chorale will perform an exceptional blend of musical number that celebrates both the Christmas and Chanukah seasons within the realms of traditional favorites as well as original themes that cover this circle’s diverse range of styles from classical to contemporary, combining popular, world/folk, and gospel.
     This event will take place on Saturday, December 7th, and Sunday December 8th, and the Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, located right next door to the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre. Each performance begins at 7:00 PM.
     For more details on Joyful, Joyful, and for ticket information, call (310) 943-9231, or via online at http://www.angelcitychorale.org, or via their presence on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/436714093100889
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     INSIDE LLEWIN DAVIS (CBS Films) features Oscar Isaac as the titled character; a folk singer attempting to make a comeback that he never had!
     It’s the middle winter of 1961, and hootenanny style folk singing has become the rage. In Greenwich Village, New York, what is considered the “ground zero” for the folk singing lifestyle, Llewin is making the rounds with his guitar and his load of songs, both traditional and a few he has penned. He’s working hand over foot, performing on the open stage at the Gaslight Cafe for whatever he can get. (His pay is based upon the ‘pass the hat’ method.) He did cut an album, first as a duo (his partner later committed suicide for a reason never specified), later going as a solo with an album entitled “Inside Llewyn Davis” for a small time folk record label. But folks records as they are aren’t big money makers and thus, his residual pay is nearly non existent! Llewin is so down and out, he lives on people’s couches and wherever he can crash for the night. He can go back to his real job as a merchant marine, but folk singing is in his blood. As the attempts to get himself together, he runs into situations. One of the people he crashes with, Jean Berkey (Carey Mulligan) is pregnant with his child, and wants Llewin to front the money for an abortion. However, he has an opportunity to hitch a ride to Chicago to meet Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) who operates the Gate of Horn club. In spite of his meeting, Llewyn, just like other guitar thumping folk singers out there, he has yet to find his nitch and may strike his cord–or not.
     Leave it to siblings Joel & Ethan Cohn to write and direct yet another flick that takes a look upon life in a rather strange and unique way. This feature is full of Cohn-isms: odd looking and acting characters, quirky dialogue, and twists and turns that never come out the same way twice–or if it does, one won’t notice! The movie itself captures the down and gritty folk singing lifestyle that did exist when popular music was divided between rock ‘n roll (for the “youngsters”) and jazz for “adults”! Bruno Delbonnel’s photography give each and every seen a sepia tone. The colors are not vibrant, but rather faded, resembling what a magazine would look like after leaving it on an urban widow sill for three weeks! As to the cast, Oscar Isaac as Llewin is clean yet a bit scruffy, although he could appear a bit more down and out looking. The rest of the cast, featuring Justin Timberlake as fellow folk singer Jim, Garrett Hedlund as Johnny Five, and Cohn Bros. rep player John Goodman as Roland Turner, a fat man who comes to Chicago with Llewin for the ride, are all treats to see; each one adding their own color to this feature, in spite of this film to be shot is limited color plates!
     And adding to the look of each set is Deborah Jensen’s art direction, full of cluttered rooms, messy and nearly unkempt Village apartments, as well as scenes of public places long gone! (Including an interior scene of a Fred Harvey restaurant along a stretch of the Illinois Toll road!) These settings presents this movie its period look in a near perfect manner! (The even got the period license plates correct!!)
     And there is the music where Oscar et. al, sings a number of folks songs, both traditional and even one original piece that makes this movie not a musical per se, but a feature with music, and folks singing at that! (Living folk and blues legion T. Bone Burnett produced the songs heard within this title!)
     It’s rather obvious that the Cohns are aiming toward yet another “gimmie an Oscar” picture, as they have a number of these kind of features already under their belt. Will INSIDE LLEWIN DAVIS snag a few awards fobbed off come January and February of ‘14? It’s rather likely it will, although its glory somewhat defeats the purpose of a movie depicting entertainers barely surviving in life! It just places them into the glamor of the music biz. But this is Hollywood, not Greenwich Village!
     This movie is rated “R” for cussing and mild depictions of drug use. Opens on December 6th at selected theaters.
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
My heart is broken this morning. My kitten, Lajni, died.
-Jean

I am so thankful my children are being relatively quiet today. Thank goodness.
-Nocole

feet and legs are cramping…woke up to spring out of bed! Now I’m soaking in epsom salts to take in magnesium. Groggy bath sitter. Waiting for toe wrinkles. And cold water.
-Lorrie

Wow, I am so disappointed. Was listening to a wonderful story. Then the hero got killed off near the end. What??? Double checked on Amazon and it shows that is what happened. Stopped listening. ACK!!! Something like 9 hours into it. sigh….
-Carie

blah! My pants are too tight … I’m bout to pop this button and walk around like that!
-Rachael
As of December 2nd, Tiffi has 1,936 Fabebook “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!

-30-
        

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