This is the week that begins the final six weeks of the calendar year. It also kicks off the most anticipated shopping periods for the entire season, where it appeals to anyone who has a few dollars in their pocket or back account that possesses the burning desire to take those same dollars and to spend it on the parade of bargains of the many goods that tend to be out there.

The last few issues of this very news service spoke upon the period called “Black Friday” where folks are expected to head on over to the malls in order to grab the goods sold at reduced prices. Since this particular edition has been released a few days before that supposedly Friday of black, it’s rather obvious that the shopping frenzy has already begun where both the retailers and shoppers are out fighting within their battle plans to take on this annual ritual that makes the season joyful and bright(er)!

Of course, Thanksgiving, the traditional day where people take a bit of time to give thanks to what they have and who they are, has shifted over time and space. The holiday itself has been around within the USA for generations. In the first part of the 20th century, the day itself was shifted back and forth finally setting on the fourth Thursday in November. For many years after (the day of the fourth Thursday for Thanksgiving was settled c. 1940) Thanksgiving was the period to give some kind of thanks as well as having the meal to end all meals, with turkey and all of the trimmings being served.

Then became the other notions. The hell of traveling to the destination of where one’s Thanksgiving will take place started to become a factor. There would be folks traveling by car, and there was also the flying method where local TV newscasts would make their annual reports on the Wednesday before turkey day showing video images of long lines at the local airport with additional “b-roll” footage of people being crammed into planes overloaded as they are as part of the newscast, and the other antics that for some, makes the holiday almost not with its time.

As to shopping, that became a monster as that stood. However, as the reports trickle in, it’s going to be a brighter holiday for those same retailers. Marketing firm Nielsen is predicting a near 2% increase in holiday spending in the USA, both in store and online. In store shopping has the advantage of grabbing the goods immediately, while online buying makes it a lot easier to grab the same goods, since making a cyber purchase doesn’t require to visit a store on Thanksgiving day–or night since some stores such as Macy’s and a few other won’t upon until 6:00 PM after the sun has set, or camping all night in front of other retailers to grab the latest gadget for a fraction of what it would sell for at another day and time. (Electronics will be the most anticipated good that folks will purchase for themselves, while gift cards will become the most popular item as a present to others, so states the Neilson report.)

But what does all of these antics have to do with being thankful for what people have or where they stand within their own personal domains? Actually, shopping doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with being thankful, unless one counts being thankful for the ability of spending more on goods as gifts for all of the holidays that tend to fall within the months of December.

This writer isn’t necessarily stating that one must give thanks for anything worth being thankful for since many people have their own opinions and notions on what they desire to do within their own lives. However, it doesn’t take much effort (or is shouldn’t anyway) to stop and smell those virtual roses! Over the last few years, life became a little tough for some people with the state of economic downturn this nation experienced. Over time and tide, there has been some improvements seen and experienced. Some of those same improvements have been savored where consumer confidence has risen. In Nielsen’s report, the global consumer confidence index climbed to 98 in the fourth quarter of this year with a dramatic jump in people’s expectations about job prospects.

In spite of economic times good or otherwise, one at least should take the time to give thanks for who and what they are. In this hyper active society, the spirit of thanks makes all of the difference! (Check those Facebook posts to prove this fact!) Of course, there is an app for a thanks function that one can access while shopping away grabbing that cherished and coveted I-didn’’t-know-that-I-needed-this-item-until-it-went-on-sale piece of merchandise!

That’s what the holiday is all about. Then again, maybe not!



    Theatre 40 presents Terence Rattigan’s FLARE PATH, a melodrama that involves a love triangle set within the early days of World War II, and makes its Los Angeles area premier.

It’s the fall of 1940. The British RAF is fighting the German Luftwaffe in a series of air battles during these early stages of conflict. The setting is a small hotel called The Falcon Hotel located in the town of Milchester on Britain’s east coast, not too far off from an RAF base. The hotel itself is run by Mrs. Oakes (Ann Ryerson), a prim and proper lady that has her establishment filled with a number of RAF pilots and personnel. Teddy Graham (Christian Pedersen) a bomber pilot, is meeting up with his wife Patricia (Christine Joelle), an actress, for the weekend. Coming into the hotel for an overnight stay is Peter Kyle (Shawn Savage) an American actor who has appeared in an number of feature films, but the Hollywood studios are seeing him as somewhat of a has been. Patricia meets Kyle not as a film star just staying at the hotel, but as an old romantic flame. Although currently married to Teddy, she still holds emotional feelings for Peter. It seems that she was planning to catch up with her one time lover in London, eventually leaving Teddy for good. But there are others at the hotel such as Dusty Miller (Caleb Slavens), Teddy’s tail gunner and his spouse Maudie (Annalee Scott), along with Count “Johnny” Skriczevinsky (Karl Czerwonka) a pilot of Polish decent serving with the RAF whose flying is much better than his mastering the English language, and his second wife Doris (Alison Blanchard). (Johnny’s previous wife and young son were killed by way of a Nazi strike.) The pilots are called to duty for a last moment flight operation. As the wives and others await for these pilots to return–if they do at all, it will be up to the fate of Patricia to be back with Peter in order to restart her life the way she planned, and if Teddy will indeed return from his mission where every flight operation offers no promises of safe returns.

This play was written and first produced during the start of W.W.II, making this work as a current slice of life rather than an after the fact period piece. Thus, the tension and conflict depicted of love and war is presented as something that was rather commonplace, although such love triangles didn’t necessary involve moving picture stars! Today, it’s seen as a charming and somewhat talky melodrama set within the background of a major war. The cast as seen on the Theatre 40 stage perform their roles whole heartily, speaking in light British accents. (Those that are playing Brits of course!) With such a stage play that takes place during a war, there are no air battles physically seen. Those flights are just suggested through audio and video special effects. (Ric Zimmerman provides the lighting representing the aircraft, while Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski provides the sound effects of the planes flying overhead the hotel with an amusing stereo mix effect!) The stage play itself shows the conflicts with those in battle toward their missions, as well as how it relates with the domestic side of things i.e. the “love and war” bit–an element that plays created at the time of the conflict in question can fully address with sincerity and understanding.

Bruce Gray directs the cast in this melodrama that also features John Salandria as Percy, a young lad working at the hotel as a waiter who holds an admireship toward the RAF pilots, and Anthony Ferguson as squadron leader Swanson.

In addition to the previous noted lighting and sound direction, Jeff G. Rack’s set design shows the hotel as a rustic yet comfortable place to stay even in times of war, and Michele Young’s costuming is of the period, both as military uniforms as well as the civilian gear.

The title of the play FLARE PATH is taken from the strip of lights that run along the sides of a runway for air arrivals and takeoffs in the dark. Although W.W.II is mostly remembered in today’s times by those who knew of this contest through historical outlets rather than through personal experience, this play as a period piece still holds up in terms of discord, pathos, as well as charm and spirit. This is the first time that this play has ever been presented in the Los Angeles area since its first creation over seventy years ago, and the wait was indeed worth the time passed!

  FLARE PATH, 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 December 15th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Special Sunday evening performances take place on December 7th and 14th at 7:00 PM. No performances on November 27th and 28th.

     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at


For many years, Universal Studios and The Walt Disney Company has a few things in common., Perhaps the most obvious notion these companies shared was the fact that they are in the moving picture business, the latter emphasizing animation and family friendly dominions, the former creating a movie empire that introduced such properties as a slew of horror creatures, Deanna Durbin, Abbot & Costello, and silly yet amusing comedies in the vain of Ma & Pa Kettle to Francis The Talking Mule. However, Universal was the first to open their doors to the public showing movie fans how those pictures were made. As early as 1912, the studio under the direction of Carl Laemmle, set up bleacher seats and charged admission to those willing to sit and watch actual movies being filmed right before one’s eyes. There wasn’t any stunt or thrill shows to see (that would come much later), but this offering taught the public a lesson upon the process of creating “photoplays” (an early term for “movies”). When sound came in, the public was no longer able to watch the creation of movies as before because of logistics and management. Studio access to the public would be totally gone.

Fast forward some thirty plus years. By 1960, Disneyland, already in its fifth year of operation, was already proven as a big hit. Universal, now under newer management, wanted to reintroduce the studio tours again. This time, taking folks through the back lot in opposed to sitting on bleachers but by way of both walking and using a bus-type system. (It was proven that folks don’t care to walk and would rather ride!) By 1964, Universal Studios opened their doors to movie fans, now generations ahead of those from the silent era, showing them the real story on how features are created. Although Universal and Disney had their studio lots located within a five mile radius, their tourist attractions were located some sixty miles apart; Disneyland in Anaheim and Universal in Universal City. (Where else?)

Things begin to change in the 1970’s when Disney opened Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. That park too became a hit, later passing Disneyland in terms of popularity and attendance levels. And through the shifting of tourists heading off to The Sunshine State in terms of spending as well as the rise of popular culture interests, Universal got into the game for the Florida based tourist dollars while pushing its southern California presence. Before long, a rivalry began, first as friendly, then moving toward heavy completeness, each one looking over the shoulder of the opponent to see what’s new, what’s different, and how to heard those tourists to spend time and money inside of their parks.

UNIVERSAL VS. DISNEY: THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO AMERICA’S THEME PARKS’ GREATEST RIVALRY, is the latest title released by the print group that publishes the Unofficial Guide series of travel guides detailing unbiased notes and reviews of travel sites that range from metropolitan cities (Las Vegas, Washington, DC, New York City, etc.) to cruise ships and how they operate, and to amusement parks, including separate releases that focus upon Disneyland, Disney World, and Universal Studios in both Orlando and Universal City–although the latter place is called Universal Studios Hollywood, a location just five miles to the south! In this book, author Sam Gennawey details the history of how Universal got their start in the tourist attraction business. From the early days of silent pictures, and moving up to the period when movies and television dominated the entertainment world for the masses, Universal used these attractions to show to a public willing to pay admission to display how films were made, as well as entertaining them at the same time–if not plugging their hit movies and TV properties! (Disney however, emphasized the entertainment aspects and offered little to no “behind the scene” look on movie making, but they did plug their film releases!)

Unlike the Unofficial Guide series were reviews for just about anything worth noting for an attracting ranging from food, accommodations, and what to see and do as itemized down right to every nook and cranny, this release doesn’t offer such reviews and ratings. Gennawey details how Universal got to where they are, and how Disney fought back, each one winning a battle but never winning the war. The author notes the vast differences in the parks in terms of what’s there and how its executed, but to really discover the breakdown of every eatery found at the parks or what attractions are worth its time to ride and to wait in line, then one should turn to the specific editions they are meant for.

As of this writing, both Universal and Disney (at least in southern California), are gearing up for its holiday season (formally known as the “Christmas Season”), pushing whatever properties each park has to offer with a seasonal twist; Disney with Star Wars, the Marvel Comic Group’s super heroes collection, and of course, good ol’ Mickey and company. Universal has characters leased from other sources, from the Nickelodeon ‘toons, the Dr. Suess repertory, and perhaps their biggest trump card, the Harry Potter franchise. This book is great reading to discover a chapter in the domestic tourist amusement business, and how these two media giants are upping the ante to grab those folks (tourists and locals) to spend a day among the clash and clatter, if not coaxing them in buying their related merchandise.

UNIVERSAL vs. DISNEY, published by Unofficial Guides (Keen Communications), is available where better books are sold, both in store as well as online sources such as Amazon. (Link below)


Following up to the review of the play The Vortext, currently performing at The Matrix Theatre, the producers of that production are Amanda Eliasch and Vespa Collaborative. (See complete review: Vol. 19-No. 46)



(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

My computer woes continue. I’m so tired of this crap. I really wish I could just chuck my laptop in the ocean and start over with a new one. But even though this one is only 3 years old and internally effed up, I just can’t bring myself to do it.


Huge congrats to my amazing son on passing his driving test yesterday on the first try!! Love you, Myles. We’re all so very proud of you! You’re so ab-fab xox


I lost the keys to my brand new car. Looked everywhere! Guess where I finally found them? Inside the pocket of a coat – which was packed inside a taped up box – just about to be shipped back to Lands End!! In the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, thank you, sweet little baby Jesus!!


Holy insanity!


As of November 25th, Tiffi as 2,444 “friends” and counting


On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we wish each and everyone of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We’ll be back next week with more of the news and information you care about. See you then!




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