NAKED IN THE CLOUDS

Among all of the crisis that’s been going on as reported through the media is the tragic element that photos of so-called celebrities donned in various shades of undress have been circulated around social media outlets because some source had apparently “hacked” into a digital file where the said photos were stored. The files in question were stored in a digital “cloud” storage area where anyone with a electronic device that holds internet access can file away images only accessible with a password or pass code where the digital elements would be safe and secure–or that’s how it works in theory.

To give a brief explanation of what a “cloud” is, this is a method where a user can store or back up digital files created or kept by the user, be it word processing documents, JPEG-type photos, moving image files, audio sources, or anything that holds some kind of media,  are kept through en external source where the goods can be accessed by any ‘net connected device to retrieve no matter where the user is physically located, just as long as there is a connection to the ‘net readily available. Some cloud sources are made available for free. Others charge a subscription for storage. The free sources have limited storage capacity and may not necessarily be as secure as they could be. The fee based storage sources have unlimited storage space and may be more secure. However, anyone who has the desire to hack into anything can do so.

A good number of these cloud uses keep forms and other stuff that is important to the user but mildly amusing to anyone else. Maintaining 5,000 digital pictures on one’s domestic life might be charming to view by an outsider, but can get dull rather fast. (One selfie picture looks like other selfie pictures!) Ditto for keeping a word processing file of a manuscript of somebody’s version of the “Great American Novel”. To the writer, it’s indeed the great American novel. To anyone else, it’s bulls#it!

And when it comes to pictures, a good number of those that’s stored are rather harmless. However, there are a few bold people that will capture images that are deemed questionable and perhaps “not fit for the entire family”! Those same images can be categorized as “home brewed porn”, either softcore (pin up variety) or hardcore. (Good ol’ X-rated entertainment!)

This form of consumer created media is far from being something new. Ever since Polaroid created its cameras where one can take pictures that develop right before one’s eyes surpassing a photo processing center, folks have captured porn for their own personal amusement. When video cameras became mainstream in the 1980’s, a lot of folks moved from still imagery to the moving image variety, setting up a camera posted on a tripod to videotape themselves having a field day doing anything and everything. Again, most of what was created was intended for one audience–mostly just for the people appearing in the production. Circulation to these candid videos started to form as the 80’s progressed. There was a monthly newspaper called “Video Xcitment” that were filled with classified ads posted by nameless people that offered to trade or barter their home made stuff to anyone that might be interested to view ‘em. (The ads published requested to send a letter to “Boxholder” addressed to a PO box located somewhere for initial correspondence).

Fast forward many years where in the latter part of the 90’s, a videotape featuring a well known musician was leaked and/or stolen from its source, only to become circulated through home video collectors. This so-called “leak” didn’t necessarily hurt the reputation of the subjects in question. In fact, it only enhanced the person’s name and career.

As the ‘net grew bigger, more “leakage” of so-called “scandalous” material from “celebrities” became available. Those parties didn’t seem to react in any way once news of the leakage became apparent. The only result was to bring more attention to the celebrity in question. What made this scandal different was the fact that this exposure was labeled as an “accident”, thus creating a demand for the product. If the celebrity in question released the photos and/or videos as intentional, the demand to see the material may rise, only to later fall due to general boredom.

However, there are ways to protect one’s self so none of anything that should not be accessed through others are kept to one’s self.

First, DO NOT use any digital storage cloud services that’s ‘net accessible! Nobody can hack into anything if there is nothing to hack into. Stay off the ‘net and one will be fine! Second, if one insists of creating questionable material as still/moving images or otherwise, keep all goods on an external hard drive or on a flash drive device. Back it up on another hard drive/flash drive if desired, and place an external label on the drive itself to identify it with something that says nothing of its actual content. Call it “fishing trip”, or “file no. 22-B” or something like that, and place it somewhere around the house or office in semi plain view. Don’t keep it totally hidden (keeping it hidden can arouse suspicion), but store it in some place where it’s seen as more junk cluttered around. This way, if somebody may gain access to the external hard drive, only to see “fishing trip” on it, the chances that somebody is going to check if pictures of a fishing trip on really on it would be nearly nil. Unless or course, somebody is desperate in viewing JPEG images of a dull fishing trip!

As smart phones will allow one to capture more still and moving images, the source to create home made porn will continue. However, the caution to do so will aline with the standard warning that’s been used for generations: “Be good! And if you can’t be good, be careful!”

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Macha Theatre in West Hollywood presents the return of Odalys Nanin’s GARBO’S CUBAN LOVER, a saga of old Hollywood that speaks about a named starlet who has a romantic affair with a person of Cuban descent that was kept secret far from her public.

Odalyn Nanin is featured as Mercedes de Acosta. She came from a well off family consisting of a father from Cuba and her mother of Spanish lineage. Because of her family status, she was part of the society lifestyle. Mercedes later came to Hollywood just around the period when moving picture began to talk. She landed a few gigs in the movie business eventually to write screenplays, first at RKO and later at MGM. Because of her connections, she mingled with a few of the actresses that appeared in films, even going beyond hosting romantic flings including with among others, Marlene Dietrich. But her real passion was to meet a fellow contract player with Metro, Greta Garbo (Angela Nicholas). Their affair came in and out over time, still keeping the liaison rather low key as this form of romance would become a rather scandalous issue. But the two hold their own personality and charm, in spite of the fact that these two are of the same gender.

This play has appeared at this theater space previously, This particular presentation has been “reimagined” in contemporary Hollywood speak! That is, if offers an extended scene with more multimedia functions depicted. As to the play itself, it takes a piece of Hollywood from its golden (and pre-television) era and focuses upon two people working in the business-one in front of the bright lights and another who works on screenplays that may or may not be produced by the studio that controls them. Playwright and co-director Odalys Nanin plays the woman that became Garbo’s lover. Her looks isn’t someone that would take upon a leading role at that time, but her appeal serves as a muse to the legionary actress. Angela Nicholas as Greta Garbo strikes her pose as Garbo would holding the same charisma as seen within her movies of the era. It harks a moment when Hollywood was bigger than life while life itself was never discussed as long as the studios that controlled such dominated what when in or out, dictating their final say.

Also featured within this production is Lori Allen Thomas, Boyana Balta, Dorian Martin, Andrew Danner, Margo Allison, Mantha Balourdou, and Ernesto Mijares as the voice of Mercedes’ father. Laura Buter co-directs this stage work with Odalys Nanin showcasing a talented cast as they become part of the journey Mercedes embarks upon.

As to the behind the scenes aspects, John Toom’s set design shows an art deco landscape, posing the glamor that Hollywood had or had not, and Bonnie McMahon presents the choreography, especially when Mercedes offers to dance with Garbo, showing off her Cuban roots.

Although this portrayal as presented on stage is a work of fiction, it shows that the people in and around the business of making dreams as projected on to a big screen in glorious black & white are just as human as to those that pack the movie house all over the nation if not the world. This play is a hidden gem, just as the small yet mighty fling that may (or may not) have taken place back in the day–something that would never make the pages of Photoplay or Modern Screen.

GARBO’S CUBAN LOVER, presented by and performs at The Macha Theatre, 1107 North Kings Road (off Santa Monica Blvd.) West Hollywood, until November 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM. No performances on October 31st through November 2nd. For ticket reservations, call (323) 960-7862, or online at http://www.MachaTheatre.org

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ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Disney) features the title character, eleven year old Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbold) who lives with his family consisting of dad Ben (Steve Carell) an unemployed tech engineer, mom Kelly (Jennifer Gardner) a junior marketing executive at a book publisher, along with his three siblings; seventeen year old Anthony (Dylan Minnette), fourteen year old Emily (Kerris Dorsey) a wannabe actress, and baby Trevor (Elise and Zoey Vargas), in a rambling surburban-type homestead. Alexander will be having a birthday the next day, but all things are going wrong for him 24 hours before his big day to shine. A rival guy plans to host a party on the same day of Alex’s birthday where all his friends, along with a girl he takes a shine to, will be attending. Alex also has other minor misadventures that add insult to his injury, such as getting a wad of gum stuck to his hair, receiving a school assignment he loathes, etc. Meanwhile, everyone else in his family are experiencing better moments; mom Kelly is up for a promotion, dad Ben has an interview lined up with a video game company, sister Kelly is the lead player of a school production of Peter Pan, older bother Anthony is set to attend his junior prom with his girlfriend, etc. To comfort his state of woe, Alex celebrates his birthday on his own at home right before midnight with a cupcake with a single candle upon it. He makes a wish that his 12th birthday will be much better than his previous day while everyone else will have a day similar to his i.e. a bad one! Sure enough, he receives his wish. His rival cancels his big party so Alex now can have his, even to have his girl crush attend! Meanwhile, everyone else’s day falls into deep (and comical) disaster mode!

This feature is based upon a thirty two page picture book first published c.1972 by author Judith Viorst about Alex and his not-so-hot day. When this movie was committed by the folks at Disney, the original story was expanded by screenwriter Rob Lieber using this film’s first act as extracted from the book while creating a whole new story line for its second. Although it’s not known by this reviewer how the original tale became flushed out, one can assume that the lead character Alex lived with a family that was atypical for its time frame; The early 1970’s right when “latchkey kids” started to make the scene! As one will also suspect, Alex’s family as portrayed in this movie is a standard post modern clan where everyone dwelling within with the exception of baby Trevor is wired to the max, using their cell phones as their lifeline to the world while living in a post modern homestead in an unnamed California neighborhood, as noted by the vehicle license plates as well as a location scene set at a California Department of Motor Vehicles facility. (It was shot on location within a “TMZ” of the Disney lot in Burbank!) And speaking of bad days, every character that encounters their not so great moments is set upon slapstick based situations. (People and things fall down, errors that could be easily corrected aren’t with a comical aftereffect, etc.) These elements occur because that is the humor level that is found as funny to “tweener” aged kids; the type of demographic this movie is aimed for. Miguel Arteta directs this title that is well suited to any form of video program one could find on The Disney Channel; A program that teeters toward fantasy (to a point) and a reality that is anything but! The episodes depicted in this film as “bad days” would actually fall somewhere between casualties of major property damage to a lot of people getting physically hurt; A depiction that isn’t comical at all if interpreted in real life. But this movie isn’t suppose to be about real life–just a Disney Channel version of real life!

In short, this flick with the very long name is best viewed on a small screen i.e. any electronic device that holds a viewing area to see moving imagery. Adults may find this feature amusing if those same “grown-ups” actually read the book when they were the age this movie shoots for, and if those same grown ups can tolerate the slapstick style pratfalls as well as the bathroom-esk comedy. But kids (boys mostly, and maybe a few girls) roughly between the ages of eight through fourteen might find this feature suitable for their speed. Otherwise, it’s nothing special, but far from being part of one’s bad day. Although this comment may be noted as a spoiler alert, everything that turns into a crisis winds up to become a happy conclusion in its end, no matter what the disaster curtailed.

(PS..one time Disney mainstay Dick Van Dyke makes a cameo appearance playing himself unbilled in the end credits, but noted by his name mentioned on the soundtrack!)

ALEXANDER, etc. is rated “PG” for the for noted bathroom humor and cartoon type violence. Now playing at multiplexes nationwide.

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MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN (Paramount) is a melodrama of three families that live in the same suburban bedroom community whose lives are affected through the aid of modern technology.

Taking place in an unnamed middle class society somewhere in the heartland of Texas, the story unfolds with three families, all with teen aged kids attending the same community high school. Don and Helen Truby (Adam Sandler and Rosemarie Dewitt) are the parents of Chris (Travis Tope). Jennifer Garner plays Patricia Beltmeyer with a daughter Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever). Jennifer Greer is Donna Clint-a single mom type, and Olivia Crocicchia is her daughter Hannah.  Dean Norris plays Kent Mooney with Ansel Elgort playing his son Tim.  Katherine Hughes and Elena Kampouris play cheerleaders Brooke Benton and Allison Doss, respectively, and Timothée Chalamet is football player Danny Vance. Throughout their lives, they are dependent on technology to communicate with each other if not for themselves. Through little episodes that play like a soap opera, the subjects these folks deal with cover such ground as video game cultivation, anorexia, infidelity, fame seeking, and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet-porn or otherwise! It’s just another time and life in small town US of A!

This feature title directed by Jason Riteman moves in a very slow and mellow pace, perhaps depicted as a satire to post modern addition to the ‘net and the apps what go with it. The characters themselves, both youth and adult, appear to be distant, lonely, and are lost within their own personal fog. Although all of these characters seem to live a very well off life (being wired to the max), they don’t appear to be happy for anything. (If this is how they show their happiness, then what does misery look like?) The basic themes show low level depression, roughly between where one is having a “bad hair day”, to holding the desire to bump one self off and capturing the images for a posting on YouTube(?) The players that appear show their efforts in minimal terms. This isn’t a bad notion per se for most of the cast. However, Adam Sandler’s role, where he speaks in soft and low patters while sporting a soft beard, is the best one he’s played in years. If he keeps up that pace, perhaps he’ll receive the “comeback” that has yet to arrive, although ten years ago, his management through he would become the next Tom Hanks through his casting in features where he played it straight and dramatic. So much for those casting ideas!

This title is one of a number of films that tries to woo those academy voting members to think about ‘em when it’s time to fob off those golden statues. This write can’t say if this trick will work, but due to the basic demographic of those voting members, (and no offense to the academy itself), they are of a certain age where phones should be attached to walls, texting is what is typed on a paper page with a typewriter, and the internet itself is an amusing thing to have and use, and that’s about it. But there are other movies to consider for voting as well! Let’s see if those voters “get” this feature!

This feature film is rated “R” for mild cussing, TV style fighting, and sexual references. Now playing at selected communities where voting members likely reside, later opening wider playing at the usual multiplexes.

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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…

(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

Extremely painful feet and leg cramps! Waiting to hear from my dr about what to do. It hurt by the groin and down the inside of my thigh this time. I’ve been taking magnesium and muscle relaxants but it’s getting worse!

-Janyce

It must be Saturday because Mr. Curtis is binge watching The Rifleman

-Melinda

I am so over this cough! Almost a month now.

-Christina

Isn’t it interesting how some people will use up five dollars worth of gas driving from store to store to save one dollar on groceries. They will spend 10 dollars if they are told it will save 50 cents in taxes.

-Terri

I’m home at last. Don’t want to drive anywhere for a long, long time.

-Mary

As of October 13th, Tiffi has 2,323 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

management. ‘Nuff said!

-30-

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