This here writer has a passive associate (fancy speak for a “casual friend”-somebody I don’t know very well) who for many years held a season’s ticket package for one of the two major league baseball teams that exist in the Los Angeles region. He would normally head on over to the team’s ball park to attend a selection of games that his season’s ticket package allowed. For as many times that he could, he brought himself to sit within the designated area of the park in order to spend a number of hours rooting for the home team, or to assume that he was cheering for the home town heroes!
This year however, he decided not to renew his season’s pass package. He thought that after all of his many years of being devoted to his team, he finds that going to the game isn’t worth the hassle and expense just watching a group of overpaid players donning their pinstripe uniforms to throw, hit, and catch a few balls for a two to three hour duration. He thought it would be just as well to watch the games worth his personal time on his oversized high def TV set, or perhaps partake in visiting a number of local sports bars in to do the same, this time with a crowd in attendance.
This person wasn’t the same big fan of his team as he once was. Perhaps this was due to a number of changes ranging from a loss of personal interest to the fact that the team itself ain’t what they used to be in terms of hanging on within their league. Besides, so he claims, he saves a small fortune on not attending a game in person, considering the fact that he had to trek on over to the ball park to fight traffic and crowds. What’s worse, with the exception of bringing a radio along in order to hear the play-by-play, it seems that the wifi connections are weak to non existent, meaning that he couldn’t get the stats on the team and players right at his fingertips. After all, what fun is it when you can’t get updates right when you need them?
Being loyal to one’s favorite sports team isn’t as simple was it once was, although it’s a lot easier. In today’s post modern world, any sports fan worth their salt can gain access to just about any and every game played by the major league of their choosing, be it any of the “big four”-baseball, basketball, football, or hockey-as well as the lesser leagues (soccer, arena football, auto racing, etc.) as viewed on traditional TV in addition to any electronic device that totes a video screen. Outside of the game itself, one can get access to any and every sort of stat made available, from how the players rank, the league’s findings, and the latest news on who’s getting injured, traded, fired, arrested, etc.
Of course, nothing beats watching a game live in person while at the sports arena. There’s the drama of the game and the atmosphere the place allows. However, as our causal friend noted, with the coast and hassle of getting and being there, the time, money, and effort isn’t worth it all.
Sports fanship has been doing quite well over the recent times. Football, perhaps the USA’s number one sport, boasts a hugh viewership every season. It’s annual Super Bowl match beats and break records in terms of most watched single event on TV. Baseball, coming a close second, may not have the same number of viewers each week, but the fellowship in terms of fandom is quite strong. Basketball also holds a true following, especially in the college level. And hockey has its devoted fans spanning from the frozen north to the sunny south.
Most of the major sports arenas are making attempts to gear up to the 21st century. The new park that will be the home of the San Francisco 49ers will offer full wifi within the park, as well as other virtual offerings. (It’s based in Santa Claira, right in the heart of the high tech capitol of the nation, if not the world!) And other ball fields are doing the same, or will shortly. This way, fans can not only watch the games live, but also are able to watch the games on a second or third screen. Call this notion having one’s hot dog and eating it too!
So as our casual friend catches a game on a video device, perhaps he will miss out on the notion that he could be there when that hit was made, that catch was conducted, or when that touchdown, home run, winning goal, or when the ball went into the hoop was made, bringing the win to the team that made it responsible. Then again, he can always tweet about it or post it on his “friend”’s “walls” to anyone who just might care. So much for the roar of the crowd!
Continuing its run at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village is the world premier production of THE MINISTER’S BLACK VEIL, a drama about a Churchman who dons the title garment over his face and the townspeople that take concern.
The setting is a small village within the Massachusetts colony of the early 18th century. As the local villagers arrive at church to attend services conducted by Reverend Hooper (Lucas Dixon) they discover that the parson is wearing a dark colored veil over his face. At fist, it was assumed that he was wearing this piece of clothing to bind with the death of a villager whose services he was conducting. But Reverend Hooper still dons this veil, even within a wedding ceremony that he leads. The community was showing concern to this action, as the Reverend was concealing his face, not even showing his eyes. In spite of attempts to have the town folks request that the Reverend show his face, he continues to cast this virtual shadow, even toward his fiancee Elizabeth Bradford. (Heather Taylor) What is the reason to this man’s deed? Is Reverend Hooper hiding something, perhaps an existence that may be against his faith? And what will his congregation do to conflict this notion?
This humble yet powerful play adapted by Timothy Sprague from Nathaniel Hawthorn’s story, shows the settlement of the early puritan community that was the scene of the witch hunts that took place around that period as the same society took upon the dwelling within a new uncharted land while holding on to their faith in God; A notion that kept them alive in spirit. As to this production, the presentation as seen is rather simple, consisting to limited sets as designed by Ryan Siebrasse that takes the story of the title character leading his flock down their chosen path. It also holds a rather large cast that consists of the townspeople that feature (as listed in their alphabetical order), Thomas Ashworth, Edward Alvarado, Michelle Danyn, Nicolas D. Frantela, Jane Kim, Daniel Marmion, Jacquelyn Poplar, Tyler Tanner, Aleshya Uthappa, Marty Yu, with Sam Kahn, alternating with Ben Neumann, and Lana Schwartz alternating with Vera Wheatley, all performing under the stage direction of Laura Lee Bahr.
THE MINISTER’S BLACK VEIL is a period drama that speaks for the era of the Puritan community that was part of the nation that eventually became the United States. It’s also a change to the type of stage pieces as normally presented by this theater company, usually in the frame of quirky comedies and alternative dramas. And this show is a pleasing change to that mix as it’s a piece of historical drama written by one of the masters of 19th century literature. If one never read any of this author’s work, this play sets itself as a basic introduction to what is in store.

THE MINISTER’S BLACK VEIL, presented by and performs at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, until May 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM, except for Sunday, April 27th where a 2:00 PM matinee will replace the early evening performance. For reservations and for more information, call (818) 508-3003, or via online at http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org
Tony Monaco stars in THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS, a solo show currently performing at The Little Victory Theater in Burbank that takes inspiration to a person that is written within the scriptures.
The program opens with a performance of song and dance man George Spelvin on a theater stage whose career is falling apart due to his excessive drinking. Form that point, the scene shifts some centuries before to where Saul speaks. Saul, who was also was known as Paul (later Saint Paul) was an apostle who became a prophet of the teachings of Christ in the early period. Although he appears to be as two separate people, Saul/Paul is actually the same being. He speaks about what was taking place within the Roman era world, and as Paul, makes his commentary upon becoming a teacher and follower of Christ that was making ground to the world, both the known world and the sect that is noted as to the rise of Christianity.
This show is a single showcase of Tony Monaco, as he composed the book, music and lyrics to this work. The musical score that is presented are mostly slow paced ballads. (Singling Biblical characters tend to fall within a range of either deep dramatic theater or humorous camp! In this show, it’s more to the former than the latter!) Those ballads as sung fit to the basic themes of this stage address. Although the singing quality is just standard, Monaco’s non musical take of Saul/Paul is what brings this theater piece to its height. Donning period consumes (robes) as designed by Kimberly Overton, he speaks with a sense of reverence, yet he brings his characters to life that do believe upon what is vocalized about. He doesn’t necessarily preach per se, but he shows that he, along with the many other followers that will come and go through time and tide, knows what to accept within many of those that desire to discover what’s right, proper, and true.
As to the technical aspects of things, Richard Zemaitis’ set design is rather simple. A stone wall facade is seen within its backdrop, along with visual depictions of the illustrated settings within the times of Saul/Paul as designed by Ian McBryde, projected onto a screen positioned stage right. Dana McElwain provided the transcribed music orchestrations, and Joshua Finkel is at helm with the choreography, staging, and additional direction, based on the original direction and choreography by the performer.
Mr. Monaco’s previous career stretches back many years. Performing under the name of Tommy Morton, he has appeared in a number of shows on Broadway (Make Mine Manhattan, High Button Shoes, Pal Joey, among others) as well as a few big screen musicals. (Main Street to Broadway for MGM, The Stars Are Singing for Paramount, etc.) This show is more personal to Mr. Monaco as it was based upon what he experienced many years before as a singer and stage dancer that was falling down but never out.
Even though this show holds a lot of spiritual inspirations, it’s not preachy and defiantly not religious, but it’s not a slice of fast paced show biz antics, either! It’s just a humble trip down the title road where one can become inspired to possibly follow.

   THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS, performs at the Little Victory Theater, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., (one block east of Hollywood Way), Burbank. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinee at 2:00 PM. For tickets, call (800) 838-3006, or order online at http://www.TheRoadtoDamascus.net.
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
31-mile bike ride, a round of disc golf. Missed my sports buddy, but I think I’ve earned my supper at Pizza by the Pound.

Wallace is awesome. We may not have a dryer but at least we have power.

A funny about the Robin from hell. This morning Martin was down in his office–AKA the Man Cave–and wondered what the weird clicking noise was. He thought one of his old monitors was giving up on him. When he looked over at the basement window, he discovered the robin had followed him downstairs, and was pecking at the plastic bubble over the window. LOL! The robin is in love with Marty!!!!

Hi from Bangor! Zach’s team won their game today, and he got a shut out!

Watched Captain America with the boys and Chloe
As of April 21st, Tiffi has 2,011 Facebook “friends” and counting!
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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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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