THE OLD MILL STREAM

A colleague of yours truly named Mike, recently told me about a purchase he plans to make.

“I’m getting another TV set to place in my living room!” he tells me with a tone in his voice that sounds like a bragging fest.

“What’s wrong with your old set?” I ask him, recalling his c. 2009 Sony 60” high def device that appeared to be operating fine, or at least is was looking OK to me the last time I was it in operation.

“There’s nothing wrong with it, except this new one I’m getting can be hooked up to an internet source.” says Mike, still waxing poetic over this new soon to be obtained device.

“You’re old one can’t be connected to a cable source?” I asked him, knowing that he holds a cable subscription consisting of some 200+ channels where he and his spouse Barbara only watches a handful of these channels.

“Sure it can!” he adds. “But this new one has wifi, as well as can stream channels via the ‘net as many as five at a time!”

“OK!” I say, not knowing what else to add. “You’re going to watch five streaming channels at once!”

“I could, but at least I can get this kind of add-on so I can watch movies via Netflix and stuff!”

After acknowledging a few “uh-huhs” to this news, Mike continues to brag about other features this set will have. I don’t necessarily recall what those features are, but it won’t have 3-D.

“There’s nothing worth watching on 3-D!” he says. “Besides, you still have to wear glasses!”

Mike also says he plans to get this set up and running in time for Thanksgiving as he plans to have his family over for the holiday. He feels he needs this set since there’s gonna be football to watch, as well as stuff for Mike’s nieces and nephews to scan–perhaps another viewing of Frozen or some other kid friendly program.

It appears that people are using their television machines as devices featuring content that can be viewed through new media sources, such as through streaming via a ‘net based connection. The amount of channels available competes with traditional outlets as cable and satellite fed sources tend to churn out, and can cost a whole lot less to boot.

When pay networks as HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, and a host of others started to make it mark on a wide scale in the early 1980’s. the cost for these services ranged from $10.00 to $15.00 dollars per month per channel. This was on top of the regular service that CATV companies were charging their customers. On average, standard cable services cost around $12.50 per month, offering somewhere between twenty and thirty channels, including the channels that showed rolling text graphics with a rundown on what’s on the other content based channels while playing for its soundtrack, a local radio outlet tuned to the “beautiful music” station on FM, if not hosting a channel consisting of color bars with “reserved for future use” supered over those multi colored bars.

But that was thirty plus years ago when TV set screens were no bigger than 21” across playing a tinny sounding mono soundtrack. Not only the selection made available via cable improved, so did the TV sets. Over those years, TV sets got a bit “smarter”. Stereo TV units first came around 1985 or so that were also “cable ready”, meaning that one didn’t need the clunky set top box to flip from one channel to the next. Then the sizes got bigger in size. By the time the new millennium took hold, TV set sizes were as big as 48”. Of course, the sets themselves weighed around 200 pounds, but as long as one didn’t have the move the set around, then weight didn’t seem to matter much!

In today’s media world, TV is viewed on anything that isn’t necessarily a traditional set. Laptops, pad devices, and those ever loving smart phones add to the mix where video content can be looked at whenever the viewer has the desire to gawk at it. Younger viewers of course, tend to stay away from so-called traditional sets since smaller devices can be taken to places far from a homestead. However, one element one can’t get with a mobile device is the big screen experience. With sets going beyond 80”, along with a booming sound system that rivals the kind found in movie houses, the notion to view one’s favorite programming with the sense of “being there” creates the time to watch worth its moments. And if one is going to binge watch–viewing one episode of some title after another, then using that bigger than life screen makes all of the difference!

It’s isn’t necessarily known to this writer on the kind of set Mike hopes to have in place once the family clan comes shuffling in on November 27th, but rest assured that it’s not only going to be a big sized device, but will be able to do anything and everything with the exception of washing the dishes after the big time meal. Then again, there are some dishwashers out there than can be controlled through a smart phone app. As they used to say on TV, stay tuned!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     Theatre Palisades in Pacific Palisades winds down their 2014 season with THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, a music romp where a quartet of friends in high school perform as their vocal group at their prom, as well as within their reunion a decade later.

The scene opens at the 1958 Springfield High School senior prom. Four “bestie” friends, consisting of Betty Jean (Kana Kionuma), Missy (Amanda Leigh Kraft), Suzy (Lauren Gaw), and Cindy Lou (Michelle Zelina), have been asked by their favorite teacher Mr. Lee to perform as the prom’s entertainment as “The Marvelous Wonderettes”, their vocal group that musically achieves in the same notion akin to The McGuier Sisters, The Chordettes, and many of the other female vocal groups that dotted the hit parade. Dressed in their full skirted “party” dresses, they sing, dance (or actually, gesture in sync), while carrying on through their show with some innocent bickering as noted on stage. (After all, they are high school girls!) Then the scene shifts to their ten year reunion in ‘68. The fashions have changed-they no longer don the frilled party dresses of yesteryear, but now wear bright patterned trim line outfits while they sing the tunes of that period–the 1960’s! The songs, as well as Betty Jean, et. al., shows their innocence, but not as much as it once did. Now the girls turned women have experienced an adult live, taking some of its ups as well as the downs. In spite of these changes, they sing the tunes that speak for the times in addition with keeping upon the high aura, as experienced at their humble alma mater.

This showpiece, written and conceived by Roger Bean, is a tribute to the songs of both the 1950’s and 60’s, as well as the notion that “BFFs” can remain such set to a musical soundtrack. The four players featured in this show, Kana Kionuma, Amanda Leigh Kraft, Lauren Gaw, and Michelle Zelina perform very well within their ensemble, as each one focuses upon their character and personality–both musically and with comic overtones. As to the music itself, such songs as Mr. Sandman, Sugartime, Lollipop, and many others are covered from this era. In act two where the reunion take place, the songs get a bit earthy. Said tunes as Rescue Me, Respect, Son of a Preacher Man, and other added pieces are heard and performed that keep this presentation at its lively pace. Lewis Hauser directs this presentation that never lets down, even when the foursome are bantering between musical interludes.

Outside of the songs and the four that sing and act within, what also make this Theatre Palisades presentation enjoyable is what is actually seen on stage. June Lissandrello’s costuming highlights the era, from the fluffy prom dresses in various shades of pink and blue, to the stylized 60’s era outfits, showing that these girls are indeed grown up! Sherman Wayne’s set design consists of a performance floorboard setting, first as a 50’s prom layout (complete with mirror ball), to a ten year reunion place complete with a tinsel lined curtain as its background. (Wayne also created the lighting design as well!) And Brian Murphy’s musical direction carries on the intervals that these girls/woman harmonize to. (The orchestra, set behind the curtain, consists of Murphy on keyboards, with Ian Dahlberg on flute and sax, and John Harvey on percussion.)

Also featured among the cast (unbilled) is one of the executive producers of this TP show as “Mr. Lee”. Not to give too much away, this writer won’t mention his name. However, this same writer notes that he holds an acting career that brought him performing on both the little and big screen, playing such characters as Carey Mahoney, Jack Bonner, Michael Kellam, and many more! (More details can be found in addition to the identity of this person, on IMDB.com; Cross check the character names!)

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES is a treat to those that show fondness to the eras it speaks for, or for those that actually lived through those times. No matter if one was “Born Too Late” or was born a bit earlier, it proves that the songs get better while best friends can remain such set to those musical tunes from not so long ago.

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until December 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information, call (310) 454-1970, or visit online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com

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I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED, Joyce Carol Oates’ stage piece that speaks upon a spectrum of the emotions of woman living in a domestic lifestyle, currently performs at North Hollywood’s T.U. Studios.

This stage work consists of ten separate monologues where ten women that come from different backgrounds and settings verbalize about themselves where a common bond exists; maladjustment, uncontent, and/or some aspects that isn’t proper or reformed. Generally speaking, a life that shows physical and emotional pain and suffering, as much of this grieving originates from a source that isn’t necessarily of their making. Among the situations that are mentioned by these woman range from a high school teacher that attempted to have an affair with a student of hers; a woman whose act of self starvation becomes a spiritual appeal; a woman seeing her marriage coming to an end due to her spouse’s job loss; a woman of financial means that donates to charities holds a secret desire to use her firearm on them; a woman who marries an imprisoned serial killer; an exotic dancer who is beaten to death and vocalizes upon it after the fact, and other situations that shows a minimal sense of faith and assurance, but keeps upon its glimmer of hope, and most notably, love.

Calling this performance a “play” doesn’t describe this showpiece in any accurate sense. Unlike in a traditional play, a number of characters hold conversation within situations they come in and out of. This production consists of self contained monologues that focuses upon these good natured women that are turned away from ideal situations, some as planed and others as victims of circumstances. The characters themselves are not referred by as surnames of related monikers, but as the conditions and points they arrive from. (“Pregnant”, “The Orange” “Show Motion”, etc.) In this presentation, the scene where the dialogue physically takes place resembles a dark maroon toned “party”, where these woman gather, standing along tables placed upon the side wings of the stage as they hover over the selection of “finger foods” placed on these table tops that are never seen or even consumed! Jeffrey Casciano’s set concept suggests that this isn’t a festive occasion, but rather as an invisible holding pattern where these unnamed characters never cross paths with one another because of social status, well beings, and in a few cases, falling upon an unreversable demise. A rotating cast of performers give these voices a life among themselves, as they speak as and for these women of both proper means and lack thereof.

The players that appear within this production are (as listed in alphabetical order), Akeda Abrams, Raven Bowens, Shelby Brown, Leana Chavez, Mariangelica Cuevo, Yvette De Vito, Genevieve Joy, Davia King, Abigail Kochunas, Kelly Musslewhite, Tracey Ann-Marie Nelson, Nakta Pahlevan, Kasia Pilewicz, Lauren Plaxco, Pamela Renae, Cynthia San Luis, Tejah Signori, Deidra Shanell, Samiyah Swann, Nancy Vivar, Lucy Walsh, Jade Warner, and Sabrina Won. (Check program for specific cast listing.)

Directed by Gloria Gifford, I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED is a stage drama about hurt, hate, confusion, destruction, envy, vainness, and adds generous touches of hope, salvation, reverence, and most importantly, the strong desire to love and be loved. And as the title may suggest, it has nothing to do with being naked, although there is a minimal depiction of nudity interpreted but is shown as a symbol of being “naked to the world”–these woman’s personal universes. The message spoken upon is something that one should take heed regardless of intersocial capacity, particular sentient, or gender.

I STAND BEFORE YOU NAKED, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and GGC Players, performs at the T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street (at Lankershim Blvd.) North Hollywood, until December 14th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 366-5505, or via online at http://www.Tix.com

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Currently performing at the Eclectic Company Theatre is the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley musical THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT-THE SMELL OF THE CROWD,  that features pair of characters that join up to take part in a match set within a surreal state of being and mind.

The two players are Sir (Sean Smith) and Cocky (Alec Medlock), a pair of vagabond fellows that meet to perform in a game called “The Game”. The object of this game is to beat the other in making sure that the winner must have it all; That is, being part of the “haves” rather than the “have nots”. Sir, suggesting this game, makes up the rules as they progress while he enters the contest as a “have”. Because he is the “have”, he keeps a trusty sidekick handy by his direction known as The Kid (Liam Daniels) who not only attempts to learn from the master, but to keep Cocky at bay. As Sir leads far ahead in this game, they meet a number of colorful characters as they approach the finish line, including an urchin woman Cocky falls in love with (Caitlin Gallogly), a dark skinned stranger (Marc Antonio Pritchett), and a bully! (Phil Biedron). While Sir and Cocky play this game, they are cheered on by a team of urchins known as “The Urchins” that keep the pace going. Will Cocky win this game by his luck or wit, or will Sir, who suggested this game to his opponent, prevail just because he can?

This charming musical created by the team that created many other stage musicals made for the smaller stage (as well as providing a musical songbook for Sammy Davis, Jr.) remains a treat to experience. It’s original premise was a wink to the then current (middle 1960’s) class struggle that British society was going through. (In today’s standards, it can be called “The 1% vs. The 99%”) In spite of this notion, it still keeps the comical overtones that is really accepted, even within the intimate stage space that The Eclectic Company Theatre  maintains. As to the players in this show, Sean Smith as Sir is a robust fellow that isn’t a real threat, even though he sets his game where he will win regardless. Alec Medlock as Cocky is the lovable being where he wins as he loses within the same notion as the classic comical underdogs once seen in silent features; Think Charlie Chaplain, Buster Keaton, or Stan Laurel where he most resembles on this stage. And this show features a number of songs that became standards, such as Feeling Good (recently covered by Michael Bublé), Who Can I Turn To? (a hit for Tony Bennett), and A Wonderful Day Like Today (Sammy!) What makes the vocalists stand out are Caitlin Gallogly as The Girl and Marc Antonio Pritchett as The Stranger. Although their stage appearances are rather brief, each one of these performers keep their singing voices to their high levels, nearly upstaging the two leads.

Also appearing as The Urchins are members of The Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California, a resident theater ensemble that have performed “junior” versions of shows appearing at the ECT in the past. Those kids are (listed in alphabetical order), Lola Michelle Brown, Tess Cooley, Alexa Druyanoff, Langdon Janos, Vera Wheatley, with Liam Daniels as The Kid. Bonnie Hellman, co-artistic director of the CTG of SoCal, directs this show set. Emily Cohn performs as musical director.

One note here; If anyone has ever seen this show in the past, the version depicted on The Eclectic Company Theatre stage has been “cleaned up” slightly, meaning that it’s now family friendly without losing any of its original scope and continuity. (If one never saw this show before, one will never notice anything different!) So let the greasepaint roar because the smell of this crowd is kissing sweet!

     THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT-THE SMELL OF THE CROWD, presented by The Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California and The Eclectic Company Theatre, performs at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd, (south of Chandler and north of Magnolia Blvds.), Valley Village, until November 23rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 508-3003, or via online at http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org

     Also appearing in repertory at the ECT is Marni L.B. Troop’s So You Want To Be A Vampire, performing late night Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30 PM through December 6th. (See review-Vol. 19, No. 43)

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BIG HERO 6 (Disney) takes place in San Fransokyo, a megapolis that is a blend of two world cities that fuse traditional settings with high tech. Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) is a fourteen year old who, along with his elder brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) were raised by their Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph), who supports the family operating a coffee house in one of the trendy neighborhoods. Tadashi attends San Fransokyo Tech, a prestigious school that teaches high tech elements from developing machines to perform tasks that no human can ever conduct. While on a visit to the school, Hiro discovers his sibling’s creation; an inflatable vinyl robot unit called Baymax (Scott Adsit) whose purpose is to be a personal healthcare companion, a unit that can scan bodies to treat physical ailments. Baymax isn’t really a robot nurse, but a friendly companion that’s there for its owner to keep within a proper health level. Hiro also meets some of Tadashi’s fellow students: GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), a gal that is more of a badass that a “girl”-type: Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr.) a brawny sort who is also a neat freak; Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) who has a bubbly personality than GoGo and is more “girlie”, and Fred (TJ Miller) who isn’t really a student at San Fransokyo Tech, but is more of a fanboy slacker that reads comic books and plays as the school mascot. Upon seeing what the school offers, Hiro desires to become a student, and must pass by developing some kind of tech device for entry. He meets resident professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell) who heads up the robotics program at the school that sees the potential in the boy. He also meets Alistar Krei (Alan Tudyk) who heads the biggest high tech company in town, and is the school’s famous alumni member. Ailstar also sees plans for the boy, but for profit and gain rather than for the good of society. Through a tragic episode that occurs at the school, his elder brother becomes involved in a tragic accident. Now it’s up to the young Hiro and his crew to keep his bother’s creation of Baymax alive and well, before an evil source should become a threat for the good of robotics.

This fast paced animated movie produced by Walt Disney Animation–the same studio that presented last year’s mega hit Frozen, is back with another fun filled feature. It is loaded with action packed adventure that is just as entertaining as it is amazing. It holds the standard comic episodes as one would expect in a film that is great for kids (boys mostly-more on that later in this review), as well as for the adults in the audience. Based upon a rather obscure title from the Marvel Comic Group’s universe, it’s brought to the big screen for the first time–and mostly likely not for the last! The screen story by Robert L. Baird

& Daniel Gerson and Jordan Roberts offers the for noted comic elements and action, but also offers a bit of sentiment between Hiro and Baymax, making this film a “boy and his robot” story. Don Hall & Chris Williams directs this flick with eye popping animation that differs from what one would expect from Pixar–the animation house also owned by The Walt Disney Company that generally competes with itself.

As noted before, BIG HERO 6 will cater to the boys in the audience (both young and not so young), the demographic that Disney tries the hardest to please. Frozen was a big hit for the girls that added yet another entry to the very profitable princess line of merchandise made available. And unlike Frozen, this feature isn’t a musical, although its titled song “Immortals”, is performed by the band Fall Out Boy, whose band name was inspired by the sidekick of Bart Simpson’s favorite comic book character Radioactive Man. Although this feature is in 3-D, it works rather well in 2-D, meaning one can save the notion (as well as the 3-D “surcharge” some movie houses charge) of not donning glasses to take advantage to what’s being offered on screen.

As a final footnote, will this film be up for any major awards this coming season? Chances are good that it will, just because it’s classic animation that is amusing and isn’t overly cute. (No offense!) In spite of the lack of being cutsie, looks like Disney has its Thanksgiving plans ready for the big feast box office wise!

BIG HERO 6 is rated “PG” for cartoon action and “rude humor” that isn’t the bathroom kind! Now playing at all multiplexes nationwide.

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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…

(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

Lost 30 pounds and down 1 size. After a bit more I will need to shop!! Looking forward to that!!

-Janyce

Wheelchair guy just left. He couldn’t believe the chair sounded like it does. He took a video to send to the sales rep who I royally took apart this weekend when he suggested the chair creaked because I only have one leg. Sometimes I like myself a lot.

-Katie

For the past two weeks, I’ve been looking all over our house – in every nook and cranny and room – for a book I KNOW I purchased. I just found it: it’s on my Kindle.

-Cynthia

*sniff* I’ve had a nice relaxing toddy of cough syrup. I’ve got on my sexy flannel jammies complete with knee high tube socks and I’m wearing the uber-sexy fragrance of eau-de-vicks-vapo-rub. Hubby doesn’t stand a chance. *cough* *hack* *sneeze*

-Maeve

What is that peace I’m feeling? Ah … it is the absence of political ads.

-Rebecca

As of November 10th, Tiffi has 2,450 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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