PARTY “DOWN”!

     This is usually the time of the month when places of business that employ ten or more people hosts their annual “holiday party”. Formally known as a “Christmas Party” thanks to the grouping of all December based holidays into one setting, as well as being ‘politically correct’, these type of wing dings usually range to big time blowouts, such as a celebration occurring inside of a restaurant, hotel, or a meeting hall, or as a smaller more intimate affair, such as using a space inside of the place of business, or even inside of a private home. This is where fellow employees, along with friends, spouses, domestic partners, and even other folks can kick back to take part in some eating, drinking, and overall schmoozing.
For many, this type of happening would become the only event that matters within the work place, where for only a single time of the year, one’s best behavior at the place of employment can step back a bit–within reason, of course! Depending on the party’s location as well as the company in question, the celebration can be presented in the form of a lavish spread, a selection of finger foods, or even a potluck where folks are invited to bring their own dishes showing off how creative they can be in the kitchen. As for the drinking, it’s about the same notion; An open bar, a pay-as-you-go method, BYOB, or just serving drinks without alcohol.
For many years, these parties were usually budged with the company’s coffers. When the economy took a deep hit, the holiday party was the first element that was eliminated within the company’s schedule–that is, unless the employees weren’t laid off first! For those that did stay, their only reward for the year was the fact that they kept their job. This keeping of one’s place within the company wasn’t meant to be a reward, but it usually turned out that way!
As economic times slowly recovered, some of the end of year parties returned, but in a much smaller scale. A few did bounce back to the same levels are previous. The rest had their parties permanently out of the roster, never to return!
However, it’s been some five years when the economy was down during the month of December, and there has been some improvements witnessed within some industries. Nevertheless, the holiday party was something that kept worker moral into a higher range for what it was!
Thanks to social media, as well as the ever present opportunities to capture these clambakes through still photographic images as well as through moving imagery, a number of folk have been posting pictures, etc. at these events online via various web based outlets. Most are placed within the realms of acceptable taste. A few, however, can be of questionable status.
There has been a number of cases where employees and staff have been seen at such events where their general well being falls to the wayside, such as appearing to be intoxicated, or overall not becoming their best. The higher ups within the company tends not to know about such pictures or images. But when they do, it give the offending subjects a rather hard time with upper management. (This article won’t necessarily give examples on these matters, but if you the reader insist upon getting such case histories, just visit your friendly neighborhood search engine and type in “holiday party photos”–or something to that effect, and read all about ‘em for yourself!)
For you folks that work for a company that will be hosting such a party or event, we wish you all a great time. Just keep the drinking to a minimum, be nice to the higher management present, and overall enjoy yourself. For the rest that won’t be having such a celebration…well, that’s the way it goes! Not everyone can have an office party! Then again, many people employed in something don’t necessarily have an office to go to, either because one works at home, is employed in an occupation that doesn’t have a physical work place, or isn’t working at all! Those factors are for another topic to discuss. But this is still December, and the season for festive activity won’t end until New Year’s Day. Whatever the case, be careful, and be real!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Pico Playhouse presents the 18th annual production of the comedy BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY, a tale of an office Xmas party set within a small midwestern town.
The plot, for what it is, sees Bob Finhead (Rob Elk) a respectable insurance man setting up shop in the town of Neuterburg, Iowa (Pop. 382). Elwin Bewee (Michael Halpin) who left this berg many years before to become a self made tycoon (for small town Iowa standards) has returned to give Bob a proposal to sell his business to him. Elwin insists that his business site would become a community center but he has other plans. This offer takes place right before Bob hosts his Christmas time bash. Those attending are some of the local local folks, each one sporting a small town back story, that includes local sheriff Joe Walker (Joe Keyes) who still drinks while he keeps up with attending his AA meetings; the mayor Roy Mincer (David Bauman) and his wife Margie (Andrea Hutchman, alternatively performed by Liz Davies) who Bob is having a little fling with; Marty (Mark Fite, alternatively performed by Cody Chappel), the local dope head and is wary of UFO abductions; twin sisters Carol and Brandy (Colleen Wainwright) where Carol is a minister’s wife and slightly emotionally disturbed, while Brandy is a “seasoned” party girl hitting upon sheriff Joe (a married man), and the ever loving and robust Johnson sisters La Voris and La Donna (Linda Miller, alternatively played by Melissa Denton, and Johanna McKay, alternatively performed by Maile Flanagan). The party, as small time bashes seem to do, gets a bit out of hand as each character shows off their best (or worst) in what this town has to offer, if anything at all!
This one act play, conceived and written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, has been playing in many of L.A.’s smaller theaters since the middle 1990’s first as an improvised show, later as a full fledged showpiece as presented today. The show itself has changed a bit over the years, mostly from using topical references as well as some character changes, but remains the same as what it is–a rip roarin’ laff riot! There are lots of visual site gags depicted where the party turns into a free for all, and the verbal humor tends to fall slightly off the “PC” radar at times!! These little elements make this show a so-called “holiday classic”. The cast of players knows their stuff, at times creating comical gags on the fly while keeping to the tune of things–as if anyone would notice! As to the sets, Gary Gridinger’s design of Bob’s office is loaded with tired looking office furnishings all decked out with tacky Christmas decorations that seem to be slapped on without anything in order–although the lights do look pretty!
Directed by Justin Tanner, BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY is one of the area’s “go-to” plays to see for the season. It may not have the warmth or charm as “A Christmas Carol”, but it’s not supposed to be warm and charming–it’s too funny for that! And as they say in the heartland of America, “you betcha!!”
PS…if one can’t get enough of this kind of show, a summer time follow up is in the works called Bob’s Summer Bash, coming in 2014. Watch this space for more details. (Summertime one assumes!!)

BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY, performs at the Pico Playhouse, 10508 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, until December 22nd. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/467753.
     Visit Bob on the web at http://www.BobsOfficeParty.com, and “like” ‘em on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/BobsOfficeParty
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Phil Olson’s MOM’S GIFT, a comedy-drama about one woman’s “forced” attempt to bond with her father on his birthday, and her mother attempting to redeem her daughter from afar, makes its world premier at North Hollywood’s Lonnie Chapman Theatre.
Kat Swenson (Gina Yates) a thirthysomething single woman, pays a visit to her family home located in a bedroom community of Hennipin County, Minnesota for her dad’s birthday celebration. It’s the first time she’s been home since her mom’s tragic death nearly a year before from an auto accident. Kat, a rather profound water engineer, isn’t too pleased for this visit since her relationship with her father was on shakey ground. (She’s actually there to complete the terms of a court ordered anger management class she has to take!) Upon meeting her dad (Chris Winfield), her younger sister Brittany (Trisha Hershberger), as well as Trish (Lisa McGee-Mann) her mom’s former caretaker and now a friend of dads, Kat meets another unexpected visitor; her late mom! (Julia Silverman). Mom has retuned from the great beyond to visit Kat and her alone. (As with those who have departed, Kat is the only one that can see or hear her mom!) Mom asks her elder daughter to complete one goal for her in order to “earn her wings”. But Kat fees distressed over the loss of her mother in addition to meeting her dad, her sis (who unlike Kat, acts a bit immature for her age) Trish, who might be more than just a friend towards her dad, as well as an old family friend Kevin (Cyrus Alexander) who grew up together in the neighborhood and who she once had a crush on. Kat realizes, through the aid of her mom in spirit, that she discovers more behind how her surviving family exists, as well as a number of deep secrets that reside within this modest household.
This new play by playwright Phil Olson, creator of the “Don’t Hug Me” series of comedies, composes a play that is charming, bittersweet (more sweet than bitter), and most of all, is rather comical in terms of one liners and plot situations. Unlike the DHM plays that feature appealing yet dumb characters from the Minnesota back country, this stage piece is more down to earth (no pun intended) in terms of personalities that are more real and alluring in their own right. The cast of players portrayed as seen on stage fit their roles that are very likable. Gina Yates as Kat appears to be the in middle of her life having it together professional wise, but not as her own person. Chris Winfield as Dad is the rock of the family that tries not to “roll” as he moves forward with his life. Trish Hershberger as Brittany is the “dumb blond” brunette who is happy-go-lucky and isn’t as stupid as she appears! Trish, played by Lisa McGee-Mann, desires to keep dad at bay, but not necessarily as a “mom”. Cyrus Alexander as Kevin first appears as the resident “slacker”, but isn’t as “skakee”(?) as he would seem, but likable enough. And there is Mom, as performed by Julia Silverman. She really cares for her elder daughter, and wishes the best for her, while Kat wishes that her spirit would stay within this household–the same one she departed from months before. Sherry Netherland directs this play that is captivating, witty, and most of all, tells a story that speaks about a bounding between mother and daughter, even though this bonding is far from the ordinary.
Also featured in the cast is the off stage voice of Mrs. Norquist as “herself”.
MOM’S GIFT is a gift that expresses how a so-called dysfunctional family can function again, thanks to a little bit o’ heaven aided with mom’s personal touch!

  MOM’S GIFT, presented by The Group Rep and performs at the Lonnie Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, until January 19th, ‘14. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Special “talk back” session with the cast precedes the Sunday, December 15th performance.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 763-5990, or via online at http://www.TheGroupRep.com
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SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) tells the behind the scenes saga on how a movie mogul persuaded a British writer to gain the movie rights for a story that were the favorite of the mogul’s pair of daughters.
Patricia Travers (Emma Thompson) created a series of stories about a nanny in England who took care of the kids of a rather stuffy banker in the early part of the 20th century. These tales about that nanny, Mary Poppins, became the adored readings of the daughters of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). He promised his kids that he would make a film based upon these charming tales. Instead of answering Disney’s call when first requested, Patricia said “no”, being very protected over her work. But Disney as he was, wouldn’t take her no for an answer. In 1961, twenty years after his first attempt, Walt brings Patricia from her home in London to Burbank where she meets him for the very first time in person, along with the pair of songwriters, brothers Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak) who will create a musical version, in spite of Patricia’s objection. Through countless corrections, changes, and the struggle that occurred through time and tide, Walt received what he desired, and how Patricia learned a few hard notions, some of which has been part of her deep buried past.
This feature film isn’t so much on how Walt chased a rather obscure writer to make a movie based upon her creation, but a vehicle on how writer P. L. Traveres, who held a rather difficult childhood growing up in her native Australia, and to deal with her father, Traveres Goff‘s (Colin Farrell) who had a drinking problem; a notion that she held within for year long after the fact. Told in flashback between 1900’s outback Australia and 1960’s London and southern California, the focus of this feature is how Patricia wanted to forgive her father was through her writings; the only way she could face these facts, as well as how Walt made her rather rather famous! (The Mary Poppins character was based upon an actual nanny that was hired by the family to take care of her ill father, as well as looking over her and her sister when her mother could not handle her daily duties.)
As to the feature itself, Tom Hanks as Walt utilizes much of the same mannerism that he used to perform, from hand gestures to speech patterns–including the coughing sounds he would occasionally make while carrying on to one part of his studio to another. He may not necessarily resemble Disney per se in terms of appearance, but Kate Biscoe’s team of make up artists gives Hanks an appearance that almost resembles the man himself. The screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith presents a lot of facts about the making of this feature using actual characters that did exist, such as Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) who started out as a layout artist for the studio and later wrote the actual screenplay to Mary Poppins. The only fictional character depicted is Ralph (Paul Giamatti), who became Traverses’ host and chauffeur when she stayed in Los Angeles to work on this feature.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, SAVING MR. BANKS is a charming picture for what it is. It’s ideal for Disney buffs to see an adaptation based on fact on how Marry Poppins arrived from page to screen. It’s also interesting to note that Mary Poppins would become The Walt Disney Company’s “crown jewel” for live action films–a notion that the studio would never duplicate in terms of success as Mary would receive. (Other live action musicals with animation would be created by the studio through the 1970’s and 80’s, but not with the same accomplishment that “M.P.” would hold–but that’s another story into itself!)
This feature is rated “PG-13” for depictions of smoking(!) Opens in limited runs on December 13th, with a wider release on December 20th playing at theaters nationwide.
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
If you go on a trip and want to make it home with your luggage, don’t let Dakota check your bags.
-Amy

Is it wrong to order my own Christmas presents while I’m ordering for every body else? At least I get something I like and want
-Carol

Studying for computer programming final…I figured putting on the matrix was fitting
-Bethany

I’m not sure why it’s called morning sickness because mine definitely lasts all day. So grateful for anti-nausea medicine and an amazing hubby who is so understanding!
-Kelly

Made homemade chicken pot pie for dinner!! Not 2 bad for my 1st time if I do say so myself!!
-Crissy
As of December 9th, Tiffi has 1,937 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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http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

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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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