Going grocery shopping is about as amusing as performing other domestic household-type chores such as doing the laundry, paying bills, and perhaps taking out the garbage. But people go grocery shopping all of the time, or at least somebody within the homestead makes that every once in a while trek to the local market to obtain previsions.
Unlike the other above noted chores with the sometimes exception of laundry (assuming that one doesn’t have access to their own washer and/or dryer), food shopping is always performed outside of the home dwelling. One can get their grub through mail order, but that never really worked out as it was once imaged. (Some of the retail web sites that went bust during the dot com bubble bust of the early 2000s involved online grocery shopping!) So many supermarkets has gone high on the hog by making a trip to the market a bit more pleasant, if not plain tolerable.
These kind of “supermarket wars” started longer that one may realize. Although the term “supermarket” has been around since the early 20th century, it wasn’t until the 1930’s when the Piggly Wiggly outlets, mostly located in the southern part of the US, first offered self service markets where one can pick the canned goods and other items off shelves, rather than have the grocer get the goods for you. In the 1950’s and 60’s, the modern sized supermarkets came to view that offered more shopping carts, wider isles, and offered premiums ranging from contests to offering a multi volume set of cookbooks and/or encyclopedias one volume at a time for some low price–usually less than a dollar each. This way, one can get the entire run of the “world of cooking” (or some other title to that effect) at 59 cents per hardback issue. Of course, there would be something like fifteen to twenty volumes, so if one wanted the entire set, one had to get them all! (Total price? At 59 cents each c.1967 dollars let’s say–well, you do the math!!)
In the 1970’s, the first late night markets first made their mark, so those who worked the second or third shifts can still grab their previsions. Some stored opened until midnight, later taking this witching hour closing to a twenty four hour mode, meaning one can get their quart of milk at 2:00 AM, even donning their bath robes while in the process! (Shades of “The Big Lebowski” anyone?)
From the 1980’s on to today, markets became the one stop place to not only grab one’s cans of creamed corn and boxes of cat food, but one can get fresh flowers, a cup of Starbucks coffee, a full cooked meal (thanks to a deli that’s similar to a take out joint), and of course, to bone up on the tabloids that still holds high appeal even in the digital age!
From the dozens of local, regional, and national chains of markets, what are the ones people state that they love, and the ones that they despise? According to a study reported by Market Force Information, some 6,600 consumers were asked to rank their  supermarkets of chose in terms of such categories as price, convenience, quality of meat and produce items, courteous staff, and the variety of items offered. The contenders range from big box places (Cosco, Sam’s Club, etc.) to outlets with possess a neighborhood-market vibe. (Trader Joe’s, etc.)
According to those 6600+ shoppers, Trader Joe’s was noted to be the best loved place to shop. These outlets are about two thirds the size of a so-called “standard supermarket. (About the same size as a market from the 1950’s). If offers their own line of groceries that create a uniqueness to them, with a dash of suave without being stuffy, and even holds on to a bit of humor! Many of the hand written signs one would find posted at these places teeter toward cute and comical statements, using lines ranging from one liners to puns! Pollers stated that TJs offers a friendly atmosphere, wide merchandise selection, and a fast checkout. Whole Foods came in second place, with its nutritional information made accessible, as well as offering natural and/or organic foodstuffs. However, such qualities can get a little pricey. (There’s the running gag that Whole Foods should be called “Whole Paycheck”!) And what store is on the bottom of the list? Walmart! Known for it’s “live better” way of doing business, many of their outlets, usually embedded inside an existing store, isn’t as vast as a traditional supermarket. It only serves as a one stop place where one can grab a can of corn, a pair of sneakers, along with a DVD and perhaps a pair of eye glasses all under the same roof.
Supermarket shopping can be an experience both good and bad. If the markets themselves push the good and eliminate the bad, then hauling one’s self to one of these food retailers can be a quick and painless way to bring home the bacon–so to speak! And the option of paper vs. plastic? In many places (Los Angeles for one), plastic bags were banned since the first of this year. One can get a paper bag to stuff the groceries, sometimes free, sometimes ten cents each, or one can haul their own bags. This is what the stores call “going green”. This is what shoppers call another inconvenience! So much for the cat food!
GOD ONLY KNOWS, Hugh Whitemore’s mystery thriller about a pair of couples vacationing in Italy who encounter a feeling man that may hold a key document that could change the entire notion upon the world’s largest faith, makes its American premier as presented by Theater 40 in Beverly Hills.
The setting is a quant villa located in an isolated part of the wine country of Tuscany. Two British couples, Charles (Chet Grissom), his spouse Eleanor (Pippa Hinchley), as well as Kate (Wendy Radford), and Vin (David Hunt Stafford) are taking a well deserved holiday in this setting. As they bring another day to a close, they hear a car crash along the only road that runs nearby. They discover its driver, Humphrey Biddulph (Ron Bottitta), is just slightly hurt; his injury is limited to a small cut on his forehead. It appears that Humphrey was in some kind of a hurry, still dressed in pajamas and wearing a sports jacket slightly big for his size. Humphrey tells this clan that he’s a historical researcher for the Vatican in Rome, where he calls to the four about an ancient document that he retrieved from a mysterious source. This parchment, written in the early days of the Christianity movement, states that the resurrection of Jesus didn’t occur as documented, but was a rigged ploy to satisfy the ruling party of the time. He claims that this document is genuine as composed, but fears that this single clue may turn the Catholic church, as well as the other ruling bodies of Christianity, into a frenzy. What’s worse, he feels that a secret society that exists within the Vatican–an order that governs what the church decides what should be set within proper condition, is out to get him by ways of assassination. The questions here remains. Is this man that knows more about the structure of Christianity that a theologies scholar would, truly latches to a keystone element that may drive the world’s largest faith into a tailspin, or is he playing a con to these couples who is actually running away for some other devious group out to get him for other evil purposes?
This play’s league of setting is unique than described in the traditional sense, Unlike a mystery/thriller where a murder is committed and a search for “whodunit” is brought forth with plenty of plot twists covered, the thrills exposed in this work is based upon some kind of proof that some others don’t want proven. The mystery detailed here is if this man is real or just a crank! The piece itself is rather talky where Humphrey, as performed by Ron Bottitta, spends a great deal of explaining these inner secrets of what goes on within the Holy See, as well as presenting monologues of what can be labeled as a crash course in theologic notions; Nothing really theatrical per se, but brings a load of facts that would make an interesting program as seen on History. (Formally known as The History Channel.) The body of the four players holds on to their roles as amusing, but Bottitta is the real star here, portraying a man that was just doing his job and now has to pay his life for it! David McClendon directs this piece that does contain those plot twists and turns akin to a standard “whodunit”, although nobody is murdered. (That previous fact isn’t really a spoiler alert, so rest assured!)
On the technical side of things, a special note goes to Jeff G. Rack’s set design of the back court of the villa, decked out in a Italian Mediterranean facade with a touch of its many vines that shows off the place as choice wine country indeed!
Of course, this writer won’t detail upon who (or what) is behind this cat-and-mouse scenario since as the title suggests, its only known to God. (For now anyway!) And with theater, it’s also open to open discussion afterward, so take notes!

GOD ONLY KNOWS, presented by Theater 40, and performs in the Reuben Corova Theater located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until April 20th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at
Theatre West presents Robert E. Sherwood’s THE PETRIFIED FOREST, a drama about a group of lonely souls placed in the middle of the Arizona desert that unexpectedly have a rift with the underworld.
The time is the middle 1930’s, and the Great Depression is taking its toll. The setting is a shabby roadside cafe and filling station located somewhere along the Mother Road. The joint is run by the Maple family, consisting of Jason Maple (Joe Massi), daughter Gabrielle Maple (Leona Britton) and Gramp Maple (Jack Kutcher), the grandfather. Gabrielle, better known as “Gabby” is the head waitress, or to be precise, the only waitress. Father Jack serves as the manager, although much of the gritty work is done by Boze Hertzlinger. (John Druska). He was a football star in his college days. The sportswriters compared his playing to Red Grange, as Boze still carries the press clipping of those comments to prove this fact! While Boze had his dreams playing on the gridiron, Gabby has her ambition of becoming an artist, living and working in Paris. But Gay Paree is a long world away, so Gabby’s dream is just that–a dream! Things begin to turn when a well dressed yet dusty man enters the diner named Alan Squire (John DeMita). Alan is a writer, poet, is keen on scholarly literature, and unlike his fellow travelers of his ilk, he’s a lonely drifter, heading toward Los Angeles using the power of his thumb to get around. Although Alan is on his own now long separated from his wife, this stranger might be the way for Gabby to escape the desert life and to live her dream of becoming the artistic maven she long desires in addition to finding her love interest. Meanwhile, the notorious gangster Duke Mantee (Geogre Tovar) and his mob are on the lam! The press reports that they were involved in a shootout in Oklahoma, and are fleeing west. By fate, Dunk and his boys arrive at the joint to grab a bite to eat and to hide out until the heat’s off. It’s a matter of time and destiny until these clans settle out among emotional and physical escape, in addition to consequence and bullets.
This is a stage work that holds an even blend of melodrama, action and suspense, with a touch of comic relief rolled into one fantastic detail. The play itself was written and first presented in the era it speaks of–the 1930’s! Every element the play makes reference to, from hard economic times, crime on the loose, the rise of fascism and the left vs. right political movement, as well as to where colored folks stood in society, were some of the issues that were taking place in the present time. Some eighty years later, those elements that today’s audiences know of the 30’s ring true. In other words, this play got better with age, nearly creating its world where the more things changed, the more they remained the same in the early 21st century. (Some ideals are modified, but the flavor still lingers!) As to this production, the main leads, most notably Leona Britton as Gabby and John Demita as Alan, bring this production to life. Their roles speak of the era it represents as two lost mortals looking for a better life in spite of the odds. John Druska as Boze is a jock that could have been a contender playing football in a time where baseball and prizefighting held more fan support. Jack Kutcher as Gramp is the classic old geezer type that could talk up a storm and would make an ideal comic sidekick to a B-western star. And George Tovar as Duke is the gangster that could have stepped out from a old Warner Bros. feature, or seen on a wanted poster tacked on a post office bulletin board! These key players, as well as a robust cast ensemble that consist of (as listed in their order of appearance), Frank Gangarossa, Anita Noble, Donald Moore, Alan Schack, Jeanine Anderson, Avila Collin Kahey, David Mingrino, Damien Burke, Roger Payano, Roger Kent Cruz, Philip Sokoloff, and Ernest McDaniel, sway this production into one fine stage function. Laura James directs this play that is very bold to state the least. It is just as melodramatic as it is action packed!
And speaking of stage settings, Jeff G. Rack’s set design of the roadside cafe shows off the detail of the period; Well worn, dry, but neat and orderly for what it is. It’s an oasis in the middle of nowhere that offers a bit of charm and hope to those that pass by it, be it for pleasure (travelers on vacation), or for survival! (Drifters looking for better opportunities somewhere else!)
THE PETRIFIED FOREST is a play that was rather bold hearted in its time. Many generations later, that heartiness hasn’t become retired, it just better than ever! Some elements during that decade has since changed for the better (no more tommy gun toting gangsters fleeing from G-Men), while other indications still linger. (Economic hard times.) Whatever the reasons and causes, this is a play and Theatre West production that still knocks ‘em dead and is highly recommended!

THE PETRIFIED FOREST, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until April 27th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. No performances on Easter Sunday, April 20th. For reservations and further information, call (323) 851-7997, or via online at
Performing at the Two Roads Theatre in Studio City is the world premier of IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE?, Jeff Gould’s comedy that asks the title question challenging an attached couple about their current sex life.
Jaret Sacrey and Rene Ashton play Roger and Sherry, a thirtysomething married pair. It’s been eight years since they both tied the knot. In spite of the fact that they have been together for all of this time, Roger begins to question on why he and his spouse isn’t as passionate toward each other as they once were. Their other married friends Zack and Beth (Joel Berti and Anne Leighton) still maintain daily make out sessions, and Joe and Mindy (Brad Lee Wind and Natalie Salins) continues their love life, even through they bicker with one another on occasion. But for Roger and Sherry, the rituals of working long hours at their jobs are taking their toll; That is, until Roger brings his boss’ secretary home, and Sherry brings an associate she works with at the same place at the same time–separate rooms of course! Upon taking other partners, accidentally or intended, the two test the oft asked inquiry that many other couples must ask if they will remain married, happy, sexually active, or perhaps all three!
This comical production written and directed by Jeff Gould has plenty of witty humor, taking a rather serious subject (sex) and giving it for all its got! The cast of six playing the three couples, in addition to performing in other minor roles, have enough charm and appeal that brings this comedy that’s one level above a standard sitcom. It’s also very short, just clocking in at around seventy or so minutes–enough to make it play as an extended TV show–not counting commercial breaks!
Of course, sex and marriage can be strange bedfellows. (Pun intended?) Whatever the answer is, this play is still funny, amusing, and as expected, racy! This isn’t for the entire family ‘natch, but that’s OK! A couple with or without kids can’t (or won’t) take a romp in the hay as much as they could or should. Then again, they still can be hot to trot! Perhaps there will be a sequel that will query this question once again! After all, there’s always room for a quickie with the one you love, even if that somebody is there just for the moment!

IS THERE SEX AFTER MARRIAGE?, performs at the Two Roads Theatre, 4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, until May 4th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 960-5770, or online at
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Just registered Nathan for music together classes!

Celebrating 42 years today with my hubby!

Making progress with today’s goal!

For all those who have been asking: I FINALLY SAW “FROZEN”! No, Arendal doesn’t look like that. Yes, I really enjoyed it. Thinking about buying the soundtrack.

Now if the dogs would just stop digging up my plants.
As of March 24th, Tiffi has 2,007 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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