Quite an awkward headline for a awkward subject matter upon how this writer’s perspective of television became both a friend and an enemy all rolled up in one little neat package.
As many you readers may (or may not) know, this writer (called “me” or “I” from this point forward), has a love-hate relationship with the medium called television. As with any other forms of communication, it has changed and developed since its early days going back some ninety years. (For the record, television experiments began in the 1920’s both in the USA and abroad, while the BBC in the UK began its number of meager broadcast in the middle 1930’s.) It’s biggest and perhaps most profound change occurred over the last fifteen years, when watching one’s favorite shows morphed from standard definition tube sets to bigger and higher resolution flat screen devices, from watching one’s shows no longer recorded on low res VHS tapes but on higher res hard drives housed as digital video recorders (DVR) under the brand names as TiVo (among others), to maintaining a library on DVDs to getting one’s videos streaming over the ‘net from services ranging in names from Netflix to YouTube and beyond. The term “TV is everywhere” is for real, where any electronic device that sports a video screen can and will present TV type content no matter where one travels. Having access to a WiFi connection helps as well.
This day and time may not necessarily be called the so-called “golden age of television” (that took place in the 1950’s), but it is a new age in video where much of the most talked about media comes from TV and its associated outlets. (A word to the movie industry: You have your stake in the pie here thanks to the for noted Netflix where your content continues to live through DVDs and streaming. Movies ain’t just for movie houses anymore!!)
Now that yours truly (“me”) has offered praise on how TV lives up to its standards, how do I love this from of communication as much as I hate it? For starters, I don’t “hate” television and its programming per se. Yes, there is a lot of product out there that ranges from tolerable to plain awful, but that’s been said about this medium since day one. And with any form of choice, one doesn’t have to take everything offered to them. I can spend an entire day (literally) watching just about any and ever so-called “reality” show out there that airs on cable channels that once held names as the “Arts & Entertainment Network” or “The Learning Channel” (among others), but what would be the point? Then again, I can also spend enough time to see the better ranking material that’s spread through the video landscape, both on cable, over the air broadcast (a form of transmission that still exists), or streaming to my big screen TV machine, but that wouldn’t prove anything more!
So where does my love-hate mood kick in? To be quite honest, it does while it doesn’t. First of all as the man of my means, I do a lot within the realms of television. I write about it (this article serves as a prime example), research about it (I recently did some stuff for an author who is compiling and writing a biography on television personality Tom Snyder), as well as boning up on it discovering the latest on both technology and programming. (As this issue hits the streets, yours truly is attending the National Cable TV convention and conference taking place in Los Angeles). So I do keep friendly with TV and all of its relatives. What I really don’t do is watch it as a standard consumer for passing time. It would be nice to “veg out” and tune into countless hours of my favorite TV shows, but time and tide no longer allows such. Then again, there is nothing wrong with seeing one’s favorite shows for hours at a time as binge watching is a new normal when it comes to TV at its finest. However, it’s just not my gig!
So as I make peace through my TV set while getting ready to start a war with the device, I will hold on to my I-Love-It-I-Hate-It connection. It ranks along the same method as what i first learned about the opposite sex(!); You can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t live without ‘em! There’s more to that story, but that’s for another time, and for another article!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Eclectic Company Theater’s Eclectic Voices group presents THE BIG DAY, a series on solo monologues that speak out on one of domestic society’s life milestones; The wedding day and all of the elements that are part to when a couple–be it a man, woman, or a combination of both, say “I do” in the eyes of God, family, and/or others, and have to deal with everyone connected from caterers, limo drivers, bridesmaids, and the rest of the rogue ensemble.
In this presentation, a series of nine performers (Taylor Ashbrook, Jason Britt, Paul Duffy, Questa Gleason, Sean M. Kozma, Judy Nazemetz, Chelsea Sutton, Aleshya Uthappa, and Mary Zastrow) tell single isolated stories on what occurred or what could occur before, during, and after a so-called normal wedding day. The dialogue written by Taylor Ashbrook, Mark Bate, Niki Blumberg, Jeff Folschinsky, Questa Gleason, Sean M. Kozma, Ken Patton, Chelsea Sutton, and Tyler Tanner, ranges between charmingly cute to downright funny! It isn’t quite known if the writers as well as its performers speak about episodes based upon actual circumstances. But one can bet that these anecdotes told never strays too far from the truth!
Eclectic Voices is part of a troupe of writers that get together within the ECT spaces that creates new prose that later becomes shaped into bigger ideas and concepts, from single person monologues to complete plays and scripts. Many of these freshly developed stage pieces have been presented on the ECT floorboards as new “world premier” presentations.
It’s always interesting to see such theater concepts morph from vague thoughts to full fledged stage plays. In a media based world where something that is passed as “new” is actually just an old and perhaps played out as tired rehashes of something seen oft before, it’s refreshing to witness a stage component that is novel, exciting, and always original to state the least! That blend of fresh and witty is a marriage made in heaven or its earthy equivalent!
THE BIG DAY, presented by Eclectic Voices and performs at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, until May 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 11:00 PM following the performance of The Minister’s Black Veil. For reservations and for more information, call (818) 508-3003, or via online at http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org., or http://www.EclecticVoices.org
SeaGlass Theatre presents the west coast premier of Carey Crim’s comic drama
WAKE, a narrative of one woman’s trauma with her mother, daughter, late husband, and her own self with a little help of a documentary maker, currently performs at South Pasadena’s Fremont Centre Theatre.
Alison Blanchard is Molly. She works as an embalmer for her family run funeral parlor, located in a remote part of her home. She feel comfortable staying with her domain. On the contrary, she would rather stay at home! Once she leaves her house, she’s totally terrified! (Her nonconformity is agoraphobia–the fear of leaving one’s home!) A single mother due to an unusual death of her spouse Peter some three years before, Molly’s household consists of her mother Ivy (Nancy B. Berggren) and her fifteen year old home schooled daughter Samantha a.k.a. Sam (Allie Costa). Ivy keep busy assisting in teaching Sam many things in life as part of the home schooling ordeal while entreating contests offered by a magazine subscription service awarding a million dollars as the grand prize. Molly still has a few lessons to learn of her own. Her late husband Peter (Lauren McCormack) still comes around in Molly’s eyes, yet still prevents her of venturing outside–something she must learn to do. Things change when she dresses a departed person whose surviving adult son is Joe (Michael Connors), a man who creates nature documentaries. Sam and Ivy feels that he might be a perfect mach for Molly, but fate makes its twist as she learns that there is more to life than living in a world of deceased bodies and knowing there is something out there for her–assuming she could leave her house without panic!
This rather dark yet quirky comedy by playwright Carey Crim holds a lot of wit and charm. Its characters are very likable, in spite of the fact that it’s lead character Molly, as played by Alison Blanchard, takes her emotional illness rather well for what it is. (It’s more complex than to what’s portrayed on stage, but that’s besides the point!) The characters of Ivy (Nancy B. Breggren) and Sam (Allie Costa) are the types one would see in a post modern sitcom that are too smart for their beings, but not in any annoying nor obnoxious method! And the two men in Molly’s life-Peter (Lauren McCormack) and Joe (Michael Connors) play it rather straight. They both hold humor in their personas, but far from presenting themselves as wacky! Those elements make this play just what it is–an attractive theater piece that is pleasing and treats its darker subjects-emotional fear and death-not as dark per se, but “dim’! Matt Kirkwood directs this stage saga that never loses its pace, and keeps its audience intrigued right down to its finish. (Is there a happy ending to it all? Yes–but not the kind one would expect!)
As to the technical side of things, Aaron & Monika Henderson’s set design consists of three places inside of Molly’s home: A living room, the funeral parlor, and the kitchen that comprises this latter room as the center to everything. That makes the stage dressing unique and interesting since Molly herself can’t really cook, although anything can be ordered online!
WAKE is a enticing play that shows there is hope to anyone stuck in life’s many ruts-real or otherwise. It doesn’t take any complex skills, either. It’s just as simple of walking out one’s front door!
WAKE, presented by SeaGlass Theatre, and performs at the Fremont Center Theatre, 1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, until May 25th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. The Sunday, May 11th performance (Mother’s Day) includes a “high tea” in the theater’s outdoor garden space.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 533-8441, or via online at http://www.SeaGlassTheatre.org
Bailey Mason stars in HOOKED, a solo performance where she speaks about the many ups and downs within her life finally reaching the inner peace that she deserves, performs at Spiritworks Center in Burbank.
Bailey starts off her presentation at the moment where she was a stand up comic. She isn’t telling one joke after another–although she does a small bit from her routine–but she begins her tale stating that she acknowledged upon many notions. Her first real assignment–one she got paid for–was turning tricks for strange men! It wasn’t what she had in mind, but it did pay well. From there, she continues her episode from marring a man–not for love, but as a financial support, only to lose him through death. Then she falls for another woman (this time for love) then moves on to an unusual illness she obtains. It doesn’t kill her, but does make a change. There’s the issue of her own mother, finally winding down to a real turning point in her life by becoming a Practitioner (a licensed one at that) as the Spiritworks Center–the same facility where her performance takes place.
Bailey Mason grabs various episodes within her life that cover some forty years, (give or take), and crams many of those same periods into a sixty minute running time. Armed with a stool and her own persona, she carries on revealing what appears to be a “greatest hits” anthology of what did take place as she lived through it all. Her story isn’t linear as it does move from one time to another and back again. Her stage bearing is very fasted passed. Although she lives for an adrenaline rush, it shows this fact in her delivery, yet its far from hyper or frantic. She keeps her cool when she needs it, thrusting into full throttle as called for. In sprite of what went on or what’s coming next, the show is all Bailey: Her body, soul, wit, with the good times attached along with the could-be-better moments.
Mark W. Travis, noted for his creation and development of solo performances, directs her stage capability into one roller coaster ride that may be wild, but keeps things steady, tight, and stable. Jerry A. Blackburn provide the sound and lighting design. The special effects may be limited, but it doesn’t distract Bailey channeling in with her audience.
Bailey has seen more in her 40+ year life span than many other people care to even conceive. In spite of the for noted ups and downs, there is a happy ending to it all. Bailey has learned to keep her peace, and knows that death is just a name. She has her act together and holds a lot to prove this genuineness!
HOOKED, subtitled From Outcall to Answering the Call-My Journey from Hooker to Healer, written and performed by Bailey Mason, performs at Spiritworks Center, 260 N. Pass Avenue (north of the 101 Freeway and Riverside Drive), Burbank, until June 29th. Showtimes are Sunday evening at 7:00 PM. For tickets or for more information, visit http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/544798, or http://www.HookedAgain.net
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I suddenly find myself on my own with four hours until Molly is finished with her class… What shall I do in this beautiful city…
Thank you, Ronni for fixin’ me up tonight with a special iv!! I’m hoping to feel like a new woman tomorrow!! It was great to catch up with you, too!!!
Going out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary a little early. We mark 24 years on Monday!
Brisket, the perfume of Texas.
As of April 28th, Tiffi has 2,011 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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