As the dear ol’ Holiday season is already in full swing, one of the many traditions this time of year tends to bring out is about watching plenty of seasonal programming that falls within the month of December.
Since the early days of television back when the month of December meant that it was Christmas time, along with the whole heartily mention of the ever loving “C” word, many programs were created and aired that reflected the time of the year where Christmas carols, both traditional and contemporary, were performed, as well as the many so-called TV specials that flocked upon the big three networks, in addition to some regional and local shows that were favored by the viewers that tuned in.
Most of these programs were available through over the air means, meaning that if one desired to watch these shows or any other programming for that matter, it was by way of a decent TV aerial. Then cable TV came in, and the selection increased drastically. Most of the additional programming made available via cable were reruns of older shows that once aired on those over the air channels! Soon, these cable channels, both available via coax as well as through satellite transmissions, offered more programs to watch. Never mind the fact that the shows were not necessarily addressed to all the viewer’s tastes. The idea was that more programs were made available. It was quantity at stake, not necessarily quality.
It today’s world, programming made available through internet based streaming has become the latest rave. For the first time since cable television became a way of life for many viewers, there was an option created for those that can watch what they wanted, and when they wanted for a whole lot less that paying an $80+ monthly fee payable to the satellite company or cable provider. One can go streaming through an electronic device that sports a video screen for either cheap or free, depending on the source.
Perhaps the biggest one of these bunch that streams video content to the masses is Netflix, the service that started out as a DVD rental source where for less than ten dollars a month, one can get via standard mail, all of the DVDs one can watch per billing cycle. It was a service that eventually ended the stand alone video store, first killing the independent “mom and pop” outlets, ranking up to the franchised companies that were in the process of killing the local stores themselves! It was known as such franchises as West Coast Video, Hollywood Video, and the biggest one of the bunch, Blockbuster Video, was going to become the places to rent those DVD titles (evolving from videotape sources), for the many years to come.
Today, Netflix is the one to go to thanks to their streaming service where anyone can see as much as they can get away with per month with no DVDs to fool around with! This would become broadcast TV without the broadcast!
Netflix is so confident to keeping a lock on the video world, they have even given a prediction of just went over the air TV as we know it will become no more! According to a recent article filed by The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings indicated that broadcast TV will probably come to its end by 2030, some fifteen years from now.
“It’s kind of like the horse, you know, the horse was good until we had the car” the article quoted Hastings, “ The age of broadcast TV will probably last until 2030.”
The notes also reported that Nielson, the marketing company that handles the TV ratings to measure how many viewers are tuned in on a specific program at one time, will be there to measure the number of viewers that are streaming their content. So there will be a way to track how many folks are streaming a specific title, be it a TV show or a feature film.
Of course, those fact and figures don’t seem like much to the average viewer. However, what the above statement emphases is the fact that broadcast TV will come to its end within fifteen years. Will that ever happen? Who knows!!
In the mean time, folks are still clamoring around their hugh sized TV machines, as well as any electronic device one can hold in their hand to view whatever suits them. Actually, a prediction that will forecast on when bad programming will come to its end is yet to be seen. Based upon what’s been around the vast wasteland for the last 65+ years, it looks like bad television will hang around for quite a while! So much for predictions and quality!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Pico Playhouse continues its run of the 19th annual production of the hit comedy BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY, a tale of an office Xmas party set within a small midwestern town.
The plot, for what it is, sees Bob Finhead (Rob Elk) a respectable insurance man setting up shop in the town of Neuterburg, Iowa (Pop. 382). Elwin Bewee (Nelson Ascencio, alternating with Pat O’Brien) who left this berg many years before to become a self made tycoon (for small town Iowa standards) has returned to give Bob a proposal to sell his business to him. Elwin insists that his business site would become a community center but he has other plans. This offer takes place right before Bob hosts his Christmas time bash. Those attending are some of the local local folks, each one sporting a small town back story, that includes local sheriff Joe Walker (Joe Keyes) who still drinks while he keeps up with attending his AA meetings; the mayor Roy Mincer (David Bauman, alternating with Pat Towne) and his wife Margie (Andrea Hutchman, alternatively performed by Dawn Brodey) who Bob is having a little fling with; Marty (Mark Fite, alternatively performed by Cody Chappel), the local dope fiend and is wary of UFO abductions; twin sisters Carol and Brandy (Colleen Wainwright) where Carol is a minister’s wife and slightly emotionally disturbed, while Brandy is a “seasoned” party girl hitting upon sheriff Joe (a married man), and the ever loving and robust Johnson sisters La Voris and La Donna (Johanna McKay and Maile Franagan). The party, as small time bashes seem to do, gets a bit out of hand as each character shows off their best (or worst) in what this town has to offer, if anything at all!
This one act play conceived and written by Joe Keyes and Rob Elk, has been playing in many of L.A.’s smaller theaters since the middle 1990’s first as an improvised show, later as a full fledged theater piece as presented today. The show itself has changed a bit over the years, mostly from using topical references as well as some character changes, but remains the same as what it is–a rip roarin’ laff riot! There are lots of visual site gags depicted where the party turns into a free for all, and the verbal humor tends to fall slightly off the “PC” radar at times!! These little elements make this show a so-called “holiday classic”. The cast of players knows their stuff, at times creating comical gags on the fly while keeping to the tune of things–as if anyone would notice!
As for the sets, Amanda Knehans’ design of Bob’s office is loaded with tired looking office furnishings all decked out with tacky Christmas decorations that seem to be slapped on without anything in order–although the lights still do look pretty!
Directed by Craig Anton, BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY is one of the area’s “go-to” plays to see for the season. It may not have the warmth or charm as “A Christmas Carol”, but it’s not supposed to be warm and charming–it’s too funny for that! And as they say in the heartland of America, “you betcha!!”
BOB’S HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY, performs at the Pico Playhouse, 10508 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, until December 21st. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations, visit online at http://www.plays411.com/bobs14. Note: Other shows may be added. Visit the website for updated information.
INHERENT VICE (Warner Bros.) stars Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, a hippie-ish private eye based in Los Angeles c.1970, living in an apartment off the Pacific Ocean full of beach bums and others that live the freewheeling lifestyle that SoCal has to offer. The story begins when Doc’s former wife Shasta Fay Hepworth (Kathernne Waterson) arrives from out of the blue to inform her ex about a big time land developer named Mickey Wolfmann (Eric Roberts), who dons a hippie attitude and just so happens to be her new boyfriend, is discovered missing. He’s been taking land and developing it into apartment complexes, creating an urban sprawl. There’s also a boat called the “Golden Fang”, a schooner that might be a transport vessel for heroin and other related drugs. Who is behind this mystery boat and the cartel hind it, and what about a plot to toss the missing Wolfmasnn into an insane asylum? There are others involved in this tangled caper. There’s Lt. Det. Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen (Josh Borlin) who moonlights as a part time actor and loves Doc as much as he hates him; Sanucho Smilax, Esq (Benicio Del Toro), Doc’s attorney who has a hand on maritime law can do something on this mystery ship heading toward San Pedro; Penny Kimball (Reese Witherspoon) the deputy DA in LA who Doc has an occasional fling with; Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) a sax player that faked his own death for reasons only known to himself and is currently hiding with a band living in a backwoods house deep in Topanga Canyon; Hope Harlingen (Jena Malone) Coy’s spouse who hired Doc to find her “dead” husband; Jade (Hong Chau) who runs a massage parlor that Doc unearths a few clues from; Tariq Khalil (Michael Kenneth Williams) an ex-con and a member of the Black Guerilla Family who asks Doc to find this man that serves as the Wolfmann’s bodyguard; Crocker Fenway (Martin Donovan) another attorney that reps the people behind The Golden Fang; Japonica Fenway (Sasha Pieterse) Crocker’s daughter that Doc once “rescued” from some unnamed episode during her days as a hippy freak; Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd (Martin Short) a dentist by trade that has connections to The Golden Fang; and Sortilege (Joanna Newson) another hippy type that has limited physic powers that gets Doc out of his jams, and serves as the feature’s narrator. These rogue characters make up Doc’s world as he solves these clues while trudging within the L.A. that he knows, knows of, and just discovered.
This feature, the seventh and latest from Paul Thomas Anderson who wrote the screenplay based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name as well as directs, contains many of the traits this filmmaker has used in the past: a series of interesting and somewhat offbeat characters (review the laundry list of the cast of characters in the above paragraph for the lowdown), surreal settings and outcomes, and too many plot twists one could shake a stick at! (Or perhaps smoke a joint with!) Although it does offers the for noted offbeat persuasions that makes this film amusing, there are too many lulls experienced within the action that takes place. When the said brushes progress, it’s presentations are loaded with humor that is funny strange than funny comical, making this film totally entertaining and unique. When the plot shows down, it’s performed where the said characters are reduced to “taking heads”, presented in a way that’s much slower than a soap opera i.e. boring!! And there are also a lot of extreme close ups of heads doing the talking, making this feature more suitable to view on a smaller video screen (TV, smartphone, electronic pad, etc.) than in a traditional moving picture house.
Because this is a period film, there are lots of “eye candy” to see throughout. Mark Bridges’s costuming shows the era it speaks for, featuring outfits that were commonplace in the late 1960’s and considered as “retro” in today’s speak. Adding David Crank’s production design with Amy Well’s set decoration, one has a film loaded with furnishings that range from trendy for early 21st century standards, to pieces that looked good way back when but are “tacky” for a post modern era. However, movies are watched for its plot, characters portrayal and its development, along with action sequences rather than how the sets were decorated and what the characters wore–unless one watches period films just for the set decoration and costuming!
For the output that P.T.A. has presented within the past fifteen or so years, INHERENT VICE is absorbing but lacks punch! For a film as this one, it could have been better! In other words, P.T.A. kinda “blew it”! Nevertheless, if one lights up some wacky weed, perhaps this title will be more fun to watch. Then again, any of the Hobbit films (also released through Warner Bros.) will play out better under some kind of state of intoxication, but that’s beside the point!
PS…this film is the type of movie that resembles to exist because it’s begging to win a slew of awards that movies tend to win around this time of the year. This writer just throught that one would like to know this fact, or has anyone guessed this idea already?
This feature is rated “R”, for drug use, nudity, sexual content, graphic violence, and overall cussing. Now playing in selected theaters in locations where Academy voting members tend to hang their hats i.e. New York and Los Angeles! Opening nationwide on January 9th, 2015.
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I just found a Lhasa Apso my in laws would love. Then I had to wipe the screen off from spitting my coffee on it when I saw the price. $1875! For a dog? Hell no!
Roberta told me that the editor of the newspaper loved my art work for the Christmas spread! Cool!
in case you dont have andrew on your friends list he and nicole are giving me a granddaughter yay
Going to my brother and sister in law’s Julie Christmas party. I need to find a gift that says “I love you. Merry Christmas and btw, nobody likes you.” Lol
Grrrrr!!!! That freakin’ slick Christmas wrapping paper must’ve been invented by a sick sadistic elf! Tape won’t stick to it. Bows won’t stick to it. But when you finally manage to cut the indestructible crap, it suctions itself to your clothes and won’t let go!!! AHHHHHHH!!! Next year: GIFT CARDS!!!
As of December 15th, Tiffi as 2,510 “friends” and counting
WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)
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!