POP NOSTALGIA FOR MILLENNIALS

The demographic that marketers, contemporary anthropologists, as well as those that sort domestic society by its age groups call “Millennials”, roughly those born from 1980 through 1996 (i.e. those of adult age), tend to be the type have been called ‘born wired’, not knowing life before the internet, hold fuzzy memories of a cell phone free world, and are accustom to obtain information at a moment’s notice. They also have been hit the hardest in terms of earning income power thanks to the aftermath of the great recession, while holding positive feelings to look forward into their lives. Their childhoods of the 1980’s and 1990’s consist of their past days, and one would assume that those younger folks will tend to keep it that way.

According to recent findings filed by MediaPost, an online news service that reports on technology and media based marketing, it appears that they do hold a fondness of their past in terms of popular culture, recalling their days when they first embraced such cable TV networks as The Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and other media sources that catered to a younger pre-adult audience.

About 1000 Millennials ages 14-32 were asked upon their habits when it came to the culture around them such as movies (both theatrical and through home video), television (cable and broadcast), print (comics, ‘zines, etc.), and popular music (radio airplay and CDs.) And the findings were rather surprising for what they were.

The report told that  88% said they enjoy viewing movies and TV shows that were released when they were kids. In the previous month, 58% have viewed a vintage TV show they watched as a kid. And that content existed in more of a “primitive” form. The TV shows in question may not have been available in high definition at the time but may be seen in high def now, as well as viewed on a 1:33:1 ratio video screen size (a size used since the 1950’s), long before media accommodated pictures that were 1:85:1–the size of a standard feature film.

The report also noted that those in their 20’s and early 30’s noticed that their so-called “kiddie fair” has more appeal to what’s being churned out in the early-middle 2010’s. The replies were grouped into three basic reasons on why the stuff consumed by this demographic was better back in the “good ol’ days”.

The first notation of replies was the fact that media was more original. Cable TV channels such as Nickelodeon entered the animation sector in 1992 with the release of “Nicktoons” that featured such titles as Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocco’s Modern Life, Doug, and others that were not based from other sources, but where presented as new and fresh titles. MTV, already phasing out their music video programming blocks, hosted other shows ranging from Beavis and Butthead to The Real Life-the first reality show of the modern reality show era. Ditto for the features released that were about so-called “teen life”, in spite of the fact that a helping of creative license was added in to make it more appealing. (Filmmaker Charlie Lyne created a documentary about this genre entitled Beyond Clueless that documented domestically released teen flicks from the 1980’s and up with an emphasis of those released in the 1990’s and 2000’s.)

They also reported the content consumed was more wholesome. Although this reply may be tied to a sense of childhood innocence that many experienced in comparing to what these folks are living through nowadays, it was a time where one didn’t cuss on TV. (To describe upon getting mean on someone, a character would state they would “kick butt” rather than to “kick ass”, although the former is still used today that the latter.) And teen moves never get beyond a “PG” or “PG-13” rating level, making it more reachable to a bigger audience.

And the third reply was the fact that media released in the 1990’s was a lot better! In the report, some 73% noted that they believe that kids of the current era (2010’s) should watch the same movies/ TV shows they, the 20’s and early 30’s, watched when they were growing up. This reply is based upon how in the last fifteen or so years, that same product has been regenerated too soon where “reboots” would take place within a ten year or less span. (Sony Picture’s take on Spider Man could be used as a prime example!)

This reflection to a time from not so long ago supports itself due to the truth that these notions from another period is far more accessible to see and hear than ever before. Thanks to the ‘net and specifically portals such as YouTube, one can gain access to nearly anything that one desires to consume from any era. What is made available has been placed through authorized sources (those that have the right to place it), as well as those that are taking the anishitive to do it on their own, in spite of the reality that they legally can’t! (They post video content because it can be done!) However, it’s there for the taking nevertheless!

When yours truly was in his 20’s, I held the desire to see and hear what I grew up in the decades before, but had little to no access to it. All what i could have done was to either read about it in reference books, find printed content from the era that speaks about it, or talk about the subjects in hand with others that held the same interest. If I did have access such as attending a screening of an older movie in a theater setting, or perhaps getting the content on videotape through private parties, I would embrace it to its fullest. Much of what is held in my private archive of television related material was first obtained in the 1980’s when I traded stuff through other collectors swapping VHS videotapes of second and third generation copies through the mail. Some of what I received was only “fair” in terms of video and audio quality, but it was either receiving it that way or not at all! I did have a contact where I swapped stuff on 3/4” U-matic videotapes, but that was the exception rather than the rule.

As media grows and expands, people will still consume audio and video elements, no matter what platform is used from legacy places such as movie theaters, to using one’s smart phone or pad device. And the longing for the good old days will never cease. It will always seem that everything was a lot better then than it is now–but not necessarily everything was better then comparing it to now! Try telling that fact to somebody where if they wanted to make a phone call outside of the home, they must use a pay phone or some other hard line device. Ditto for taking photographs using a film camera, only to wait until the roll was finished and to process the roll for developing. And if one wanted to send off the photos to somebody, one had to do it through the mail that can take up to a week’s time. Modern times for a modern life.

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     Sean Abley’s dark comedy BITCHES, a put-on of small town antics involving local cheerleaders, bickering moms, sweet revenge, and daytime trash TV while not necessarily in that order, performs at West Hollywood’s Acting Artists Theatre.

Sindee Sandstone (Drew Droege) a senior at Susan B. Anthony High School located in the suburban bedroom community of Tubbville, Illinois, thinks she’s a sure bet in being the head cheerleader and all round queen of the high school dance. But newcomer and sophomore Angelatina Vindechi (Matt Valle) grabs that coveted position leaving Sindee with an alternative spot of the squad. Sindee doesn’t get mad over this placement–she gets even! She constrains fellow cheerleader Carmelle (Michael Vaccaro) into bumping off Angelatina for keeps! Meanwhile, local TV talk show host Paula DeMarcato (Ralph Cole, Jr.) gets wind of the ever present scandal and stoops upon the hamlet of Tubbville to cover the story of this dilemma for all of daytime TV to see. Will Sindee become head cheerleader and retain her status of queen bee? Will her overbearing mom Charlene (Sam Pancake) assist her daughter while the other ladies within her garden clique look on, in addition to the rest of the cheerleading clan whose mean spirit serves them right? And will Paula DeMarcato blow the lid off of everything for her TV audience where a murder plot might be its final outcome?

As one may suspect, this play written and directed by Sean Abley is created with tongue squarely planted upon cheek. In other words, it’s a quirky, campy, and downright comical play that takes a small episode of suburban style domestic life, and turn it on to its face! Although the entire cast of characters are of the female specious, all of the roles are portrayed by men, and all of these same men are not to take these roles in any serious matter. That’s what brings the comedy into this piece as it’s a spoof of trivial matters that become blown into and out of proportion. The cast of male figures play the women (and girls) emphasizing some of the female qualities these type of suburban gals tend to sport, from excessive whining and pouting, to bickering on how life just seems what it is, and all points in-between! The cast of twelve performers that also feature (listed in their alphabetical order), Jim Blanchette, Tom Colby, Brad Griffith, Tim Hearl, James Jaeger, and Jason Looney, emote in high animated tones. When they are good, they are bad. When they’re bad, they are as bitchy as one can get! And in this case, being a “bitch” isn’t something chapfallen; It’s just funnier!

As to the behind the scenes stuff, production designer Brandon Clark gives a simple stage setting, consisting of four wooden squares that are used as furnishings as well as a garden set (These girl’s moms are into gardening!), all placed within a black stage backdrop–the same color to the comical hues this stage piece presents. And a special note to Ralph H. Cole MD (assumed not to be in the stage theater business) in providing a unique prop that is featured in this play, although it only has a minor and brief appearance!

BITCHES is funny, campy, and bitchy to the max! It goes to show that being part of a cheerleader team in high school hods its moments to suburban teens and the overbearing moms that raise ‘em. That’s in the line of truth in so-called “real life”, even in these post modern days. As to the prime act of murder? Sadly, that also shows a bit of reality as well. However, this is a theater play, and a funny one at that!

     BITCHES, presented by The Magnum Players, and performs at the Acting Artists Theatre, 7313 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, until November 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. Special Sunday performance on November 2nd at 5:00 PM. No performance on Halloween night October 31st. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or online http://BitchesPlay.BrownPaperTickets.com

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Continuing its run at the Chromolume Theatre at The Attic is the modern classic YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, a musical based upon Charles Schultz’ beloved Peanuts comic strip.

It’s a tuneful saga with a minimal plot, featuring five of named characters that became part of Charlie Brown’s small yet mighty world; the blanket toting Linus (Richie Ferris), his elder fuss budget sibling Lucy (Dorothy Dillingham Blue), the piano playing Schroeder (John Deveraux), younger sister Sally (Kristin Towers-Rowles), faithful dog Snoopy (Matt Steele), and of course, Charlie Brown himself (Holland Noel), who tries to keep his sprit in gear in spite of some of the joys and sorrows he lives within his five year old self. Each of the gang stars in little episodes that make Peanuts just what it is: a state where kids live like kids but think like adults living in a kids world, with Lucy being the crab with a heart, Linus as the “baby” of the bunch that shows more intelligence that he’s credited for, Schroeder with his hero worship for Ludwig Van Beethoven, Sally for looking up to her older brother even with his complex woes of flimsy attempts of getting a kite in the air, managing a baseball team that might actually win a game, and his fragile effort of getting the Little Red Haired Girl to notice him, even if it’s just for the moment! And there is Snoopy who may be a dog, but dwells in his whole wide universe, from playing the World War I flying ace to prevailing as Charlie Brown’s best pal!

This charming musical with book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner with additional dialogue by Michael Mayer and additional music/lyrics by Andrew Lipps, was first presented as an off-Broadway show c.1967, and was later revised in the late 1990’s in time to commemorate the strip’s 50th anniversary. (This production playing at The Attic is the recent updated version.) All of the cast members that’s showcased as seen at The Attic are just as animated as the strip itself. Each performer keeps the spirit of the strip alive while latching on to its innocence with a comical twist. Cate Cole directs this production with those same guidelines firmly attached.

Adding to the theatricals in this showpiece is Samantha Whidby’s choreography and Jeff Bonhiver’s musical direction, featuring Bonhiver on keyboards and Tyler Smith on percussion. These elements, in addition to Erik Austin’s scenic design of some of the places and things that composes an ideal Peanuts world (brick wall, “toy” piano, doghouse, Psychiatric booth, etc.), as well as Shon LeBlanc and Melissa Pritchett’s costuming, creates an intimate and ever attractive musical that kids of all ages will enjoy for the first time or for the first time again!

It’s been some fifty four years since Peanuts first made its mark in the funnies section of the newspaper, and it’s been nearly fifteen years since the last original strip was printed in the Sunday comics. (Today, it’s still featured but in “rerun” mode!) Its longevity proves that when one discovers a good thing, it will last for nearly forever! That’s what makes such a musical as this production shows itself off while keeping up through the annals of time. It has soul, wit, charisma, and most of all, it has Good ol’ Charlie Brown, the “spokesman” for all of us living in our life and times! It’s a musical that’s still needed now more than ever! Good Grief indeed!

     YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, presented by the Sustaining Sound Theatre Company in association with the Chromolume Theatre, performs at the Attic Theatre, 5429 West Washington Blvd. (off Hauser Blvd.), Los Angeles, until November 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (818) 427-2307, or online at http://www.CrTheatre.com/CharlieBrown.html

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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…

(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

I could do without all of this back pain. UGH!! Sitting in the chiropractor’s office waiting my turn. Tim should probably trade me in for a newer model!

-Jan

So, I planned on making Pumpkin-Cranberry bread for Stephanie, who’s coming to my house tomorrow. But I’ve been to two grocery stores and no cranberries. Not fresh, not even frozen! Come on, it’s October!!

-Kathy

If my last name were Pie, I’d name my kids apple and peach. What last names do you think are cool?

-Jeanette

Sara went to the doctor this morning about 8:30 so I was on Dylan Duty (tough job for a Grammy, you know!). Took him to school, and then had time to get my hair cut, and walk for nearly 2 hours. Picked Dylan up again, played with him for awhile and then it was rest time. I did some cleaning and put some chicken in the freezer for Sar. Spent about 2 hours with Dylan playing and watching “Fireman Sam” and “The Pirates Who Did Nothing”. Made him a good dinner which he ate well. Played again and then bath and put him in bed with the story of Joseph, and a book about Monkey’s. I learned some things, too. :>) About 8:15 Jer called to say Luke was here. Dear Jane came over to be here while I went to the hospital. So precious! It’s been a wonderful day in so many ways.

-Rachel

I just hit a hundred twitter followers. Is that good?

-Lisa

As of October 6th, Tiffi has 2,308 Facebook “friends” and counting!

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WRITE TO US!!

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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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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