This here new service occasionally reviews feature films that play in theaters; those auditorium type places where patrons can view movies on the big screen in a darken room loaded for a group of people (mostly strangers) that laugh, cry, scream, and otherwise react to whatever is going on as depicted in the film. This way to see a feature is ideally the best method to enjoy a picture the way it was intended.
Most movie theaters usually showcase mainstream films, new releases that cater to the widest selection of attendees. Just about all of these type of movie houses are multiplexes that hold separate auditoriums ranging in number from two up to 30 screens and more! Many of these same theaters are imbedded in an enclosed shopping center or as an “anchor” to a larger sized strip mall that contains a vast selection of open front stores that sit facing a parking lot or complex. There are a few free standing movie houses still around that may hold a few screens, but these places tend to be older locations that at one time held a single screen but were later divided up (mostly in the 1980’s) to cater to a larger selection of patrons.
Beyond the mainstream houses are the specialty locations that cater to a more selected demographic. There are the “art” theaters that show independent films, foreign titles, or other features that are outside of the mainstream. A number of movie house companies, such as Landmark, Laemmle, and Sundance operates a number of these show houses (again, mostly as multiplexes) that screen such features. These movie theaters offer lounge areas, restaurants, and even well stocked bars where instead of grabbing the standard concession fair of popcorn and a sugary soda, one can get fancy appetizers and even alcohol! (Mostly as beer and wine rather than hard liquor.) Its demographic tend to be millenniums-those born when multiplexes were expanding and single screen theaters were closing, Gen Xers -those born from 1965 through ‘79, the last great era of unique movie houses, as well as a few Baby Boomers that are more upscale and discriminating. And rounding out the genre of movies theaters are the revival houses; theaters that show nothing but older titles. These theaters lean toward the same demographic as the art house crowd, and a selection of these revival places tend to feature an occasional recent art or independent movie within its mix of older flicks. Most of these places are located in bigger urban areas such as New York, Chicago, and of course, Los Angeles where a chuck of the older prints can be accessed through the local depositories of film such as the UCLA TV and Film archive, the Motion Picture Academy’s film collection, as well as through the studios themselves that are getting to understand the value and appeal of these vast libraries. For details on many of these theater houses both currently in existence as well as those long gone, visit the Cinema Treasures web site at http://CinemaTreasures.org where one can get the latest details of movie houses that are opening, closing, being restored, or becoming another victim to the wrecking ball!
On that website, one can find the former locations of another kind of movie house that for the most part, no longer exist: The adult theater. This was the kind of movie house that showed films that were not fit for the entire family–that is, porn! These theaters that were at one time older legit places, were usually located in downtown areas or in rather seedy neighborhoods. Their peak in abundance were in the 1970’s and 80’s when the adult film market exploded (pun intended?) thanks to the financial success of the 1972 release Deep Throat, followed by two other titles, The Devil In Miss Jones (also 1972) along with Behind The Green Door (1973), that starred Marilyn Chambers, perhaps the first porn “star” that later appeared in non-adult mainstream “B” titles.
Thanks to the rise of home video, the porno theater, as these types of places were called, slowly became extinct. (Interestingly enough, the first pre recorded videotapes that were ever made available were of the porn genre where a mail order distributor based in Chicago were selling porn videotapes recorded in the Beta I format in 1976 for $99.95 each–plus shipping and handling fees!)
Although the porn theaters are long gone, the movement of titles still exist, thanks to the continuation of home video (now limited to DVDs), as well as through the good ol’ internet! (While on the subject of firsts, some of the earliest web sites that were created in the early 1990’s were of this genre, including the infamous WhiteHouse.com, where for many years, unsuspecting visitors that were looking for that stately dwelling in Washington, DC where the king of the USA hangs out, were instead offered to view pictures that didn’t feature the President!!)
However, it seems that this kind of viewing has moved from gawking at still and rather static shots to seeing streaming videos of porn in nearly any (and all?) subjects that exist in the porn world, assuming that it was of a legal nature. Now one can view such on their desktop (at home one suspects), on a laptop, and according to the website PornHub.com, one of many sites that host streaming video footage, their mobile devices! In fact, according to a recent report, most of the traffic that PornHub received in the 2013 calendar year were viewed and even downloaded on smart phones, where one can take a peek of what was once limited to a cheesy movie house located in a crappy part of town full of folks hidden behind raincoats and other form of clothing to hide their presence. Now one can view such material on the smaller screen wherever and whenever they desire! (To view the complete stats on this form of traffic, visit the site http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-2013-year-in-review/ for the breakdown report.)
Of course, movies as a whole regardless of genre, is best enjoyed and appreciated seen in its original habitat: a movie theater! Then again, there are its drawbacks, such as people in these darkened rooms spending too much time on their phones talking, texting, or otherwise doing anything but watching the screen as the feature plays. If a movie house can offer a space where one can sit in the auditorium setting spending time of their phone while nothing is shown on the screen, perhaps this may bring new insights for these theaters! Then again, maybe not!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Actors Co-op presents Lee Blessing’s GOING TO ST. IVES, a drama between an encounter of an English eye surgeon and the mother of an African autocrat who faces a challenge far from a standard house call, opens at the Crossley Theatre in Hollywood.
Nan McNamara plays Dr. Cora Gage, a prestige eye surgeon based within the village of St. Ives, England, not too far off from Cambridge. She is providing medical treatment to May N’Kame (Inger Tudor) the mother of a dictator ruling a third world empire within the continent of Africa. Cora is married to an American and once had a son who died a tragic death just two years beforehand. May, a woman educated at a renown British school, knows more about Cora, including much of her darker past. But there is a catch to this meeting. Cora knows of some doctors who, while serving their practice for humanity reasons, were imprisoned in May’s nation by the local political party. Cora asks May to arrange the freedom of these doctors. May, in return, requests that Cora arranges to provide some toxic antidote to kill her son, the same son who is ruling this nation with his iron fist. It’s a chilling encounter between two mothers, one whose son was killed through a senseless shooting, and a second “mom” who wants her son face a comparable death–this time intentional! Will Cora beacon to May’s request to stop a political tyrant? And if May’s solicit succeeds, what will become of her fate? Will she be recognized as a hero to her nation, or as an accessory towards a national upheaval?
This two character play written by playwright Lee Blessing touches upon the aspect of a woman whose life was shattered through the death of her offspring, and the mother who wishes that her son be stuffed out for the sake of humanity. The two characters portrayed, as performed by Nan Mc Namara as Cora and Inger Tudor as May, can be passed off as a pair of middle aged women that are passive, but far from just a couple of aging “BFFs”. May, whose son is evil, doesn’t hold a hint of this indication. Cora, through shaken up through the loss of her sole offspring, may hold a deep passion to seek revenge using May as a distant scapegoat. As to the two performers appearing in this production, Nan Mc Namara and Inger Tudor interact toward one another that clenches a bond to their setting. One holds a cool yet slightly agitated notion, while the other a tempered passion. These two opposites do attract through Linda Kerns’ tight stage direction. Their performances hold the production together offering more that a multi character play of similar ilk could grasp.
As to the stage setting, Mark Hunderson & Tim Farmer’s set design (through Sets To Go) shows off two distinctive placings; Cora’s cozy English homestead that’s depicted within the first act, and May’s slightly spartan dwelling in her African nation as seen in the latter half. These duo sets fit in quite nicely to the actual theater space that the Crossley Theatre provides. The theater itself is located within the sprawling and traditional campus setting of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, located within the realms of what this little part of L.A. is well known for.
GOING TO ST. IVES is a two character stage work that shines throughout. The 18th century era riddle that asks how many is going to this township may be well known, but this play stands out well into the current 21st century. It’s a production that is close from its opening line to its hindmost resolution, and is not to be missed!
GOING TO ST. IVES, presented by Actors Co-op, performs at the Crossley Theatre, located on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1760 North Gower Street (South of Franklin Avenue and north of Hollywood Blvd.), Hollywood, until March 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM, with an additional Saturday afternoon performance on March 15th. All matinee performance will host a post performance discussion moderated by a number of noted expects. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or via online at http://www.ActorsCo-op.org
The Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale presents ME AND MY GIRL, the chipper and dashing musical about a humble man of basic means who inherits a hoidy toidy lifestyle.
The setting is Hareford Hall, the stately homestead located in Hampshire, England. It’s been twenty years since the end of The Great War, and the Hareford family estate learns that a lost missing heir to the blood line linked to the late Viscount Hareford-the 14th in line to the Earl of Hereford, was located by the family solicitor Herbert Parchester (Dean Ricca). The estate first conceived that this missing linage is a person that is just as refined and proper as the rest of the stock. This aspect winds up to be anything but! Bill Snibson (Danny Michaels), a free spirited jack-of-all-trades gent from the Lambeth district, is the lost lost heir. Once meeting this high society dynasty consisting of Lady Jacqueline Carstone (Karen Volpe), Lord and Lady Battersby (Michael Shaughnessy and Heather Blades), Sir John Tremayne (Dale Jones), Sir Jasper Tring (John Dickey) and Duchess Maria (Dynell Leigh) Matriarch of the Hareford Family, Bill is honored to meet everyone. Since he is now a “blue blood”, he must not only stay within this clan, but marry into it as well. But Bill has his own gal, Sally Smith (Lyndie Renee), a girl of minimal means who loves her Bill just the same. Bill is willing to stay within the family (as well as getting his right share of his inherence), as long as he has Sally by his side. But there is more to what lies ahead for this bloke as the family finds out to what his true meaning reviles in keeping their linage intact.
This musical was first presented in London’s west end theater district back in 1937, nearly forty years before it was discovered in the “Colonies”. (I.e. the USA!) This musical, with music by Noel Gay and book and lyrics by Douglas Fueber and L. Arthur Rose, is a charming blend of a British music hall farce, a cinema comedy once presented by Ealing Studios, and Downton Abby with songs and laughs! Danny Michaels as Bill plays his part of a lovable and every so charming gov’ner, full of free sprit that can sing, tap dance, and spit out gags that are so corny, they’re funny! Lyndie Renee as Sally is just as charming as her Bill. She holds on to a cute persona that brings out too much charisma without being overly sweet. The players that are part of the Hereford family estate is portrayed as the standard upper crust one would find in the for noted Ealing comedies that constantly proved that such cultured society and the standard class can live with one another always confirming that money can’t buy happiness. Just as when Bill has his Sally, he had all the wealth he could ever stand!
As for this presentation, there is much more to experience within this show. Regular GCT contributor Angela Wood of Glendale Costumes provides all of the fashions that each player dons, from the stiff gowns and tuxes to the every day dresses and suits cited in their 1930’s era manner. Another GTC regular, Stephen Applegate, provides the transcribed musical direction. Tim Dietlein, co-artistic director and co-producer of this playhouse, provides the set design that shows off the various scenes depicted in a virtual reality placing. The GCT itself is a theatre-in-the-round stage setting, and with many set changes, there are no firm walls or fixed furnishings used. Such a stage reality fits within this way where the main cast and ensemble players (too many names to list for the ensemble as their are thirteen performers participating) dance and sing through each song and story arc seamlessly. Orlando Alexander directs and choreographs this show that makes this piece a real charmer indeed!
It’s been some ten plus years since the GCT last presented this musical, and its a pleasure to see its return. ME AND MY GIRL is extremely appealing, witty, and gay! (1930’s definition of happy!) It’s been said that they don’t make shows like these anymore. That might be true to some extent, but it’s never too late, or too soon, to see this production for the first time or for the first time in a while. Fire up the Bentley and head on over. If the Bentley is out of petrol, then get to the theater by doing the Lambeth walk. (Oi!)
ME AND MY GIRL, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until March 29th Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with Sunday matinee taking place on February 23rd at 3:00 PM.
For reservations or information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
My own personal footman is bringing me tea and cakes for Downton Abbey. Thank you, John, darling.
Good day at BLT, our group all had solid clean runs! Great job Brandi Brooklyn Samantha!
5 minutes till vacation begins! Wahoo, love having Tobias home with us all day, every day!!!
What in the world was THAT???? An earthquake…an explosion???
Husband just informed me that I probably lost my snowball bush and the apple tree took a hit. The rabbits ate all the bark off of them. I never thought about the rabbits being hungry. brutal winter
Hubby spoils me. I’m typing this on my new macbook. I love you, Todd!
As of February 17th, Tiffi has 2,005 Fabebook “friends” and counting!
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