MUSIC IS WORSE THAN EVER?

The above headline speaks for the results of a recent poll presented by CBS News via its 60 Minutes program, and Vanity Fair magazine on on how those polled appreciate and consume their music.
The poll, carried on February 5-9, 2014 conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions  of Media, PA. asked 1,017 adults nationwide via telephone (cell and landline) on their musical tastes. And here are some of the results.
Nearly half (49%) of those replied use the radio (standard over the air broadcast) to listen to music. 17% use a digital music service (XM Radio, etc.) 15% receive tunes from a small electronic device (iPod, smartphone, etc.) 9% from a CD, 6% from a computer machine, and a paltry 1% from a turntable. (i.e. records). Millenniums, that ever lovin’ under 35 demographic, receives most of their music from digital players that radio. (24% comes from the radio!)
Among the other questions asked; what musical genre has already reached its peak, i.e. what kind of music won’t necessarily progress or even get better. Half (50%) stated that rap/hip-hop has gotten as far as its going to get. 20% stated country has reached its peak, followed by rock (10%) pop (9%), and R&B (7%). Note, the poll doesn’t specify what music is considered “rock” or ‘pop” However, its assumed that rock consists of a band playing instruments, while pop is a vocalist (or group of vocalists) singing lyrics backed by a band or orchestra who doesn’t necessarily take the front billing.
As to what language sung is best for music? English to picked from 64% of its polled, nearly two thirds. Spanish comes next at 13%, followed by Italian (10%), French (6%), and German (1%). Interestingly enough, Portuguese received 1% of the vote.
And to when music was at its worst within the last forty years? (Since 1970). The 2010s a.k.a. “today’s music” appears to be at its worst with 42% of those polled, followed by the 2000s (15%), the 1980s (14%), the 90’s (13%), and the 70’s (12%).
For a complete rundown on this poll, one can read the results for one’s self at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-vanity-fair-music/
This writer has its own personal opinions on these findings, and the views and expressions from this point forward are the author’s. (Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, we’ll proceed!) First, although the poll attempted to ask as many people from a wide and vast stretch of demographics, it really didn’t state how many were of a selected age, and that is where music has its own generation gap. As noted above for instance, those under 35 do use their iPad, etc. more than other groups. Another poll taken by marketing firm PipperJaffray asking the post millenniums crowd (those born after 1995) on how they receive their music, 35% use their MP3 player, while 21% use over the air radio. CDs got 7%, and streaming service Pandora got 26%. 11% stated than other steaming services were used. No report on anyone using a turntable!
As for the other questions asked, rap and hip-hop, a musical genre that’s been around on a large scale since the 1980’s, has morphed itself from being “party music” to a platform that speaks upon social issues with a sense of bitterness, anger, despair, and other topics of importance, real or otherwise. Not counting the recording artist or artists (many hip-hop recording exist with guest stars attached!), most of rap and hip-hop that was created since the middle 1990’s sound very much the same, considering that little changed on how one can speak in rhythmic rhyming tones over a music bed that can be an original score or a blend of electronically mashed up samples of previously released music pieces.
And to what decade has the worst in music? Each decade in the 20th century had its form of popular recorded music. Starting in the 1920’s, it was early jazz. The 1930’s had its swing, and the 1940’s had the big bands. The fifties had its crooners and rock ‘n roll. The 1960’s saw its rock progress into the 1970’s–that have its birth and death to disco! The 1980’s had its new wave, heavy metal, and technopop. The 1990’s had grunge and alternative, and gave its birth to the “diva” vocalist. Since the turn of the 21st century, music started to lose its focus. Perhaps that is why the so-called “music of today” doesn’t hold the same appeal. Is there good music being created today? Indeed, but one would have to find it. And since this is an era where anyone with a bit of savvy know how as well as a decent internet connection can find any form of music known to the human race! And when it comes to the older and perhaps most obscure tunes, it may be a bit of a challenge, but it can be done as it has for this writer! F’instance, this party (“me”) had been seeking a specific song recorded in the early 1980’s by a vocalist backed by a studio band. The music itself was a blend of rap and R&B. (It received most of its airplay from “black” or “urban” stations across the USA!) It was moderately successful according to the Billboard charts. After reaching its peak, it disappeared, never to be heard from again. For years, yours truly was searching high and low for this recording, knowing everything about it from its record label to when the tune was at its peak of popularity. But nothing came up for finding the physical recording, searching high and low at music swap meets, garage and estate sales, junk stores, and even garbage cans!
One afternoon, this same writer made a feeble attempt to visit one of those web sites that uses file sharing for music and other forms of media. Within the website’s search engine, I typed in the name of the song and the artist. Within seconds, that exact song was found! Within just a few minutes, yours truly downloaded an MP3 audio file of a recording of that tune–both the full length version and the “radio station edit”. (The song itself runs some eight minutes!) Listening to the recording closely, one can hear some faint “clicks” and pops”, meaning that the recording was extracted from a vinyl record. However, not only that yours truly has a recording, but the source also provided the album cover art, meaning that I can add that graphic on to my iTune’s library! In short, the total time to find the song was five minutes, and the total time to download it was three minutes. (Total time was around eight minutes–the length of the song itself!) The final cost? Zero! Compare that to my search for the physical record. The time to find the record is thirty years and counting! The total cost to buy the disk should I find it? Two dollars tops, according to looking at a few record dealer’s ad posts found in Goldmine magazine. And for the record–no pun intended–it’s on a 12” single! (If anyone is interested in the title and artist of the song in question, just send a message to us via e-mail and we’ll let you know! See the final page of this edition for our contact details!)
So as the summer time season makes its official opening this week, enjoy the nice weather while attending a BBQ, beach combing, or other seasonal event while listing to one’s favorite tunes, no matter where one gets them, be it the radio, a smartphone, an iPad, or even the good lo’ turntable where one can crank it up with Mickey Katz’s Greatest Hits! (Released by Capitol Records c.1957, and is out of print!!) So there!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre West winds down their 2013-14 theater season with a pair of original comedies performing in repertory.
The first of the two is Charlie Mount’s AGAINST THE WALL, a farce about a stand up comic who faces his crass humor through the woman who he eventually desires.
Nick McDow is Jeff Zelinski, a stand up comic playing in a hole-in-the-wall comedy club called “The Wall” located within Greenwich Village. His comedy speaks about men, women, and sex, performing his routine in a rather cocky (no pun intended) method. He sometimes get a little serious in tone through his act, even starting to sound a bit argumentative, suppressing some hidden anger he holds. Alex (Lukas Bailey), Jeff’s best buddy whose friendship goes back to their high school days from not so long before, is also a stand up comic performing in the same club. Alex’s career is moving upwards, while Jeff’s career is slipping downward, because Alex’s routine is more “sitcom” friendly while Jeff’s grind isn’t! As a token favor, Alex set him up with a woman who attended one of his shows during his hostile moods. Susan (Katie Adler) works as an activist on environmental issues. She too, is hoping to take a jab in comedy. Even through Jeff has his personal issues, Susan sees a bit of spark in this man, even though the two are different in many ways. This brings to a love story of sorts where both have their examples on one hand, whole making ‘em laugh on the other!
This comedy, making its world premier on the Theatre West stage, holds plenty of genuine wit, and contains one liners that are actually laugh out loud funny! (Or “LOL” funny in post modern speak!) The entire play features gags and situations one would find in a contemporary sitcom that has that for noted wit! The cast of three players have that chemistry that makes sitcoms, or in this case, stage comedies work out well! Nick McDow as Jeff plays the comic that is the fall guy, performing his stand up routine that would fit in a comedy club anywhere. He can tell gags while handling the hecklers that fill up the joint. Katie Adler as Susan is the “straight man” of the two. Her character is charming, yet she can take her own stand as needed. Even when Jeff goes on with his rants, Susan would be there for him in the same method that characters in a 1990’s era “gang” comedy did for one another each weekly episode! Lukas Bailey as Alex is the man in the middle, the one that serves as the “glue” between poor ol’ Jeff and sweet and secure Susan. Playwright Charlie Mount, who also directs, speaks for the stand up comics out there. (He was once a budding comic back in the day!) These type of funny guys and gals might be a hit on stage, but are hit physically and emotionally while far away from the crowds, hecklers, and aren’t on stage standing in front of a brick wall with wireless mic in hand.
And speaking of brick walls, Jeff G. Rack’s set design consists of Jeff’s apartment that is rather spacious for a Greenwich Village flat (It’s theater, not reality) that has a brick wall facade that changes through clever lighting by Yancey Dunham, into the comedy club that Jeff performs his schtick.
AGAINST THE WALL gives the moral that comedy is based on emotional pain. This may be the case, but there isn’t anything painful about this play. It’s a hidden gem! Then again, its been stated that tragedy is easy while comedy is hard! (Another moral to ponder upon!)

AGAINST THE WALL, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until June 29th. Showtimes are Thursday, June 5th and 26th, Friday, June 6th and 27th, and Saturday, June 7th and 28th at 8:00 PM, with Sunday, June 8th and 29th, at 2:00 PM. For reservations and for further information, call (323) 851-7997, or via online at http://www.TheatreWest.org
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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills winds down their 2013-14 season with a pair of comedies that play in repertory.
The first of the two is Willy Russell’s modern classic EDUCATING RITA, a charming saga of a British working class woman who decides to better herself enrolling as a student of a college’s open university program, and the professor that serves as her tutor.
Taking place within the hallows of a small university in the northern part of England, Rita (Murielle Zuker), discovers that this college has an open enrollment program where one can obtain a basic education without the vast protocols of a full fledged degree. Rita herself comes from a working class background, employed as a hair dresser in a local salon. She encounters Frank (Adrian Neil), a professor of literature. He was once a poet, but over time, his concentrations deal more in hitting the sauce than hitting the books. Upon their first meeting, Rita, sporting a go-to attitude while keeping just a hint of denseness, and Frank, downing a swig from a bottle or two stashed among his bookshelves lining his office, don’t meet eye to eye. However, thanks to Rita’s ambition to learn what she can, Frank gives her a chance. Things don’t change overnight, but before too long, the student and teacher learn their lessons in more ways than they would have imagined.
This engaging play is very appealing, witty, and holds itself throughout. The two performers are just as alluring as the material itself. Murielle Zucker as Rita handles her cockney accent as well as a standard Brit. (Her bio reads that she was born in Chile and raised in the San Diego area.) Her presentation of her role is of a woman that would rather make something of herself than just to fix other people’s hair. Adrian Neil as Frank is the professor that knows his stuff, enough to teach it to other eager students as to Rita’s drive and charisma. He also speaks with a mild English accent as well! (His bio reads that he was actually born in the UK!) Robert Mackenzie directs this play that harbors a pleasant blend of humor, pathos, and keeps its pacing at an ample rate throughout.
As to some of the behind the scenes effects, Jeff G. Rack’s set design of Franks office is spacious with a dash of aging that suggests that the professor has been part of the campus for quite a while, and Michele Young’s costuming dresses Rita appropriately as she “matures” from each progressive scene, while Frank remains the same with just a slight change, giving an illusion that he’s going stagnant over Rita’s improvement.
Although this play can be dubbed as a romantic comedy, EDUCATING RITA is indeed funny, while the romance part isn’t hugs or kisses, but an intrigue that is more about the love of learning as well as the love of drink; a pair of strange bedfellows holding its connection that gives this Theatre 40 production a grade of “A”!

EDUCATING RITA, 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 June 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday, June 5th, Friday, June 6th, Saturday, May 31st, and June 21st,  Monday, June 9th, 16th, and 23rd, Tuesday, June 10th and 17th, and Wednesday, June 11th at 8:00 PM. Sunday performances take place on June 1st at 2:00 PM, and at 7:00 PM on June 15th and 22nd.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
two more weeks and counting down. I like the sound of 14 days better.
-Martha

Usually Forever Guy’s parting words in the morning are “have a wonderful day.” Today he said, “Read the manual.” If you had just purchased a new camera less than 12 hours before and it was juiced…would you go out and have a wonderful day shooting pix, or would you…geez, I can’t even type the words a second time…
-Jude

Got a strange look from the guy in front of me in line at Walgreens. I guess he’s never seen anyone buy 6 bags of Hugs and Kisses at one time. LOL
-Amy

Looked out the front window this morning and saw the cutest bunny. Opened the drapes to peek out the back yard and saw another adorable bunny! I love my neighborhood!!
-Jill

Goodnight Facebook! This girl gets to sleep in for THREE days! Whoot!
-Donna
As of May 26th, Tiffi has 2,053 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
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http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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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