NINETEEN YEARS AND COUNTING!

Taking the above headline from one of the many reality programs that tend to litter the video landscape, this year marks yet another landmark for this newsletter. We are one step ahead from turning into an “adult” while we are one year shy of being two decades worth of years in age!

When it comes to noted anniversary years, those numbers tend to fall upon digits that are either even numbered (20th, 30th, etc.) or are in counts of five. (25th, 35th, etc.) However, “19”, though an impressive number for what it is, doesn’t really have that ranking to make itself noteworthy.

But this article won’t just celebrate that we are just one step away from being twenty, although we are rather quite surprised that we have existed for all of this time! The oft told tale (for us anyway) noting that when we began way back in the middle 1990’s, we thought that we would become just another alternative to news reporting that wasn’t necessarily “hard news” that focused on such topics as politics, commerce, or on bit of details that may be interesting or informative to the area we cover but rather meaningless to anyone outside of the perimeter. We wanted to be a source of news that catered to mass media of the time, as well as giving one’s opinion of what was going on. (This writer’s opinion anyway!)

But there are more notations to this life and times than just patting ourselves on the back and saying “Whew! We made it through another year!”, giving the suggestion that we are on the verge of dying and we somehow survived to still be around to tell our humble stories. This is a new year and an amusing one at that, as we the public are now halfway through the second (and counting) decade of the 21st century. This is also the year where some “number games” will no longer work, such as the fact that on December 13th of last year, that will be the final time where such number combinations as 12-13-14 will be in sync. (OK, that sounds like a stupid number trick, but it’s always slow in January!!)

While looking forward, it’s always tempting to look back toward the year we just left behind. 2014 for many will be remembered as a year of good, bad, and ugly! There has been a lot of the trio of for noted emotions that went around those twelve months. The press (as well as the internet, ‘natch) have posted their laundry lists of the best/worst of the year, ranging from most profound news stories (foreign or domestic), the top and bottom  songs//TV shows/books/people/events of the year, and other lists too long or too numerous to mention. (That is why Google exists, folks!) And many of those lists are either based upon facts or other people’s opinions. However, anyone with a bit of tech savvy can post their own lists of the year for those to read and wonder upon or to just ignore. That’s what makes a new year great!

And the retailers are now reporting robust sales reports that shoppers pumped into the economy from the previous Holiday shopping season. (All holidays in December of course!) Thanks to a better economic times, cheap gasoline, an upbeat consumer confidence, as well as through the many folks willing to drop money to grab a bargain thanks to the help of their phones and tablets finding them the best deals around, it was the best Holiday season since 2007–the last year right before the recession took its toll!

So 2014 is now swept under the rug! The Christmas decorations have since been put away, shoved back in their worn boxes to be stashed into the neatherlands called the basement, the attic, or garage. The Christmas trees folks previously decked their halls with are now sitting along curbsides and dumpsters ready to start a new life as a landfill. And those empty champaign bottles are now sitting in the same trash heaps as those spent once merry Christmas trees. It’s now the time to wipe the slate clean and start anew all over again!

But fear not folks! There will a lot going down within the next few weeks, everything from Robert E. Lee’s birthday–the same day as Martin Luther King day and the first holiday of the year (January 19th), as well as Super Bowl 49 (you do the roman numbers yourself), taking place at the University of Phoenix Stadium in the forenamed Arizona city on February 1st. (NBC has the TV rights this year!) And don’t forget those January white sales as well where the “white” in “white sale” refers to linens, towels, bed sheets, and what’s called white appliances-washers, dryers, and refrigerators! The big screen TV sets you didn’t (or couldn’t) nab during Black Friday will go on sale right before “the big game”! So grab a few while you can!

That’s your shopping tip of the week! Enjoy!

———————————————————————————————————————————-NEWS AND REVIEWS

     The Glendale Center Theatre in Glendale kicks off their 2015 season of plays and musicals with Len Ludwig’s time tested classic LEND ME A TENOR, a comical farce of a struggling opera company that hires a famous tenor to star in the company’s fundraiser, only to have their plans spin into a near sour note!

The Cleveland Grand Opera Company as part of their annual fundraising campaign sets off to present a performance of Verdi’s “Othello” with Italian opera master Tito Merelli (John McCool Bowers) as its lead. The company’s director Henry Saunders (Richard Large) along with his assistant Max (Michael Peral), are making sure that anything goes right on schedule, keeping their star settled in his hotel suite. But things begin to unravel when Tito appears to be arriving rather late, if not being missing! The tenor is currently having a spat with his wife Maria (Melissa Virgo) since Tito, being the great opera singer that he is, constantly flirts with many of his “groupies” that attempt to call to his attention! Meanwhile, Henry’s daughter Maggie (Thandi Tolmay) who is Max’s sweetheart, also flirts with the grand tenor that doesn’t bond too well with Maria. Adding more complicated issues is the opera company’s chairwoman Julia (Dynell Leigh) who is not only trying to keep Henry in line, but also wishes to seduce Tito! The same attention grabbing applies from budding opera singer Diana (Teena Pugliese), and even the hotel’s bellhop (Todd Andrews Ball) who makes every effort to provide an on the spot audition to the grand master with his vocal knacks. Will the Cleveland Opera Company pull off their fundraising show to a success? Will Tito’s “followers” get the attention they they are looking for? And is the grand master of the opera stage really dead? (The show still must go on!) If it’s not one episode, then it’s another as this laughable parody shows itself off from one comical installment into the next!

This is one of those plays that’s been making the many theater rounds that just get better with each performance. The cast of eight as lead by GCT rep player Richard Large prevail in terms of presenting comedy and satire with each and every move they partake in. The players not only provide the verbal laughs that this show contains, but also gives the cast an ideal and frantic physical workout under the direction of James Castle Stevens. In addition, there are the standard traits found in such stage farces, from the ever present running in and out of doorways (four doorways at least), as well as the mistaken situations

that are present. (Unlike other similar stage farces, nobody is seen as scantily clad!) Angela Wood of Glendale Costumes (the official clothing outfit provider of the GCT) dispenses the costume design that the cast wears, providing much of the stage visuals. The show’s

program doesn’t identify the set designer; However, GCT artistic director and coproducer Tim Dietlein has been in charge with such art direction in the recent past.

This show itself is choice as viewed within the GCT’s in-the-round setting. The theater itself is one of the few live performance houses in the LA area (if not the only performance theater house) that has its stage space in a 360 degree circular angle where the front and

rear of the footlights (so to speak) is found wherever an audience member is seated. This means that no matter where one seats themselves in their place, there is always a great look of the action found within the show.

LEND ME A TENOR is just as fun to view for the first time, or as a first time in a while! There’s always enough theater entertainment to please all as the GCT has been presenting for its many years of existence. 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary that this theater has established itself at its present location situated in downtown Glendale. Only a handful of community theaters in Los Angeles proper can boast being at a sole location for generations! 2015 also marks 68 years since it was first established as a local theater company. At the rate this troupe is progressing, the Glendale Centre Theatre will be showcasing its many stage flares for the many years ahead!

    LEND ME A TENOR, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until February 7th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, and Sunday afternoon performances on January 11th and 18th at 3:00 PM.

     For reservations or information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com

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On December 17th of ‘14, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.

Under the guise of the National Film Preservation Act, the LOC chooses twenty five titles that are  “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least ten years old at the time of creation or public release. Any motion picture can be chosen as long as it meets those guidelines, and do not necessarily have to be commercial productions. (Amateur and home movies can be selected.)

Each year, the LOC selects the titles are suggested by the LOC’s film preservation staff, moving image scholars, as well as the general public.

Listed below are the twenty five titles along with its year of release/creation. A “#” in front of the title indicates that it is a non-feature length film. (Short subject, amateur film, etc.)

3 Lakes (2004)

# Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Down Argentine Way (1940)

The Dragon Painter (1919)

# Felicia (1965)

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

The Gang’s All Here (1943)

House of Wax (1953) 

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000)

Little Big Man (1970)

# Luxo Jr. (1986)

#Moon Breath Beat (1980)

Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976)

The Power and the Glory (1933)

Rio Bravo (1959)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

# Shoes (1916)

State Fair (1933)

# Unmasked (1917)

# V-E + 1 (1945)

# The Way of Peace (1947)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

    For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2015 selection, visit the LOC’s  National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film

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     BIG EYES (The Weinstein Company) stars Amy Adams as Margaret. The story begins in the latter part of the 1950’s where Margaret the artist and housewife leaves her husband (unnamed and unseen in this feature), bringing her ten year old daughter Jane (Delaney Raye) in tow. She relocates to San Francisco, getting a job painting fairy tale characters on cribs at a furniture company. While showing off her work at an artist street fair, she meets Walter Keane (Christopher Waltz), an artist himself who paints European type street scenes. Margaret’s work consists of heads of children who sport blacked doe eyes. Water woos the young, attractive, and slightly naive budding artist. Soon, they marry and set a life for themselves. Walter, a man who’s been known to schmooze with an occasional name drop here and there, connects with Hungry i club owner Enrico Banducci (Jon Pulito) to set gallery space at his establishment, eventually having his art placed near the restrooms! One type of painting grabs the attention of the people that see them as well as the media is Margaret’s doe eye children! Water take credit in creating these big eye paintings, and before long, they make it big. From write ups within the columns of Dick Nolan (Danny Huston) appearing in the San Francisco Examiner, to notice from John Canaday (Terence Stamp), art critic for The New York Times, Water receives his fame and success from these paintings, while Margaret’s performs all of the the work minus any name credit. Before long, things slowly beings to unravel as the Keanes start their battle of whose responsible for the work of this form on “pop” art.

This feature takes a story from the many chapters of 20th century American popular culture and creates a tale that focuses upon the content of “Keane vs. Keane”; a couple involved within the world of art creating a kind of success along with the fame and fortunes associate with it, only to tear themselves apart based upon business savvy winning over raw talent. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski‘s screenplay blends fact (the “based on a true story” bits) and fiction (adding some dramatic scenes and characters to make this movie more appealing story wise) in a saga that is amusing for a “small” movie as this one is. Amy Adams as Margaret holds charm within her own method. Her character is rather passive, presenting herself as a so-called typical woman of the postwar era. (She even resembles an actress from that same era whose initials are “MM”!) Christopher Waltz as Walter has most of the animated flamboyance screen time. He’s is as charming as a 1950’s/60’s man could be, even holding a bit of cockiness to himself–for the period anyway! Tim Burton, who is a movie name to himself, directs this feature that shows a nearly forgotten bit of pop culture that took off in the 1960’s (progressing well into the 1970’s), and how it went through the trials and tribulations what art could do and couldn’t (and didn’t) do! This type of art wasn’t necessarily displayed in museums, but something more as mass produced through prints sold at five and dime stores as well as through ads found on backs of comic books, mostly appealing to girls between the ages of ten through the 20’s!

And since this is a period piece that takes place during an appealing era of the middle century (1950’s/60’s), there’s a lot of art and costume direction to speak about. Rick Heinrichs, part of Burton’s rep company, provides the art direction, while Colleen Atwood,  also a member of Burton’s bunch, is the costumer. Each one of these folks show off the best of what the 1950’s and 60’s had to offer, mostly attracting to those that enjoy the “retro” look since this movie’s demographic are for those that actually recall the era, let alone lived through it all!

Although the subject of the art itself was considered as “kitsch”, this feature is far from falling into something tacky. It’s as entertaining as a made-for pay-cable feature. It’s real focus are the characters the movie portrays, the story line it follows, as well as being eye candy for the period it speaks of! (Modern furniture, classic carts, cool looking costumes, etc.) There’s no special effects used (nothing noticeable to this writer anyway), and holds a rather short running time, clocking in at around 107 minutes; an ideal length for those that don’t need two plus hours to sit through in order to be mildly amused.

Will this feature film be considered for any major awards? Perhaps, but there’s other movies out there that holds as much drama attached as well as longer running times along with more CGI effects. Those pics will grab the attention of those same voting members! Perhaps this movie will catch their big eyes!

BIG EYES is rated “PG-13” for minor cussing. Now playing at selected theaters.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2015 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!

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2015 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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