RADIO SHACK GETS THE SHAFT AGAIN!

About a year or so ago (Vol. 19-No. 14), this news service reported that Radio Shack, the retailer that at one time was the cutting edge place to be when it came to getting electronics along with the parts and accessories to go along with ‘em, was in deep trouble. These outlets were not creating as many sales at it once did, due to the fact that those same electronics were made available in other places, both as an in person purchase and one made online. After a whole hearty attempt to presented creative and cleaver ad campaigns, from the company’s “We Want The 80’s Back” spot that aired on last year’s Super Bowl telecast, as well as another spot that ran during the “Holiday” season featuring musical satirist Weird Al Yankovic’s giving a rendition of “Toyland”, (both TV spots can be found online via YouTube), the Ft. Worth, Texas based company is on the verge of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as well as discussing a deal with cell phone carrier Sprint to sell leases on some of its outlets.

There are a lot of angles that this company is doing in order to protect itself, and those details can be found via The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg’s Business Week, and a host of other news outlets that report upon the business world. But these aspects strike a cord among this writer, as yours truly used to make so many trips to the shack, it seems that I could have lived there!

Not so many years ago (i.e. the 1980’s), I was involved in video production, both for a Local Origination/Public Access facility connected to a local cable company, as well as a few projects produced independently. I was always in need of audio and video cables, as well as attachments to fit those same cables into electronic devices. (1/4” audio cable to mini cable input, RCA video cable into BNC connection, etc.)  And if I needed a adaptor for many of the cables and inputs that these devices needed, I’d head over to the local Radio Shack to grab ‘em. I would also be a member of their Battery Club, where I could get a free Radio Shack battery during each visit. (I usually stocked up on AA as well as 9 volt–the batteries I needed to power up hand held and wireless mics I used!)  Many times, I would either misplace the cables I used and/or the adaptors that came along with them, so it back to the RS to grab another cable and/or adaptor–of course, not without leaving the store with yet another battery! (Although it was only one battery per card per visit, I stockpiled a dozen or so cards, using a different card during each visit!) Soon, I would reap an entire collection of audio and video cables of different sizes and functions, as well as just about every attachment made available so these cables can fit into any input that a video and/or audio device would use. (Many of these cables and adaptors that I purchased and repurchased are still used by this writer to this very day!)

And it just wasn’t cables I use to grab. It was many other accessories as well, from devices to record phone calls with that connected the input attached from a phone receiver to an audio recorder, to splice tape for 1/4” reel-to-reel audio tape, to video/audio head cleaner, cotton swabs to clean those heads, and countless other knickknacks that I needed at the time; Many of these same devices have since been long forgotten about!

But that was back then. Since that time, I have moved for excessive video programming to other factors. Although I still manage a collection of audio and videotapes, those cables and attachments purchased back in the day are still doing their duty, making sure that my work in such aspects are done to its turn.

However, I still could use 1/4” audio splice tape. And this need made me go back to the original source to perhaps find a spool so I can repair some tapes I have where the original spices lost its stickiness power, or the fact that the tapes are brittle and thus, break!

So upon a visit to a RS located within the bowels of a nearby shopping mall, I at first tried to find a reel of the splice tape at the store myself, once affixed within a blister package that would be hanging on a peg board along with other blister packs of audio based notions. Sadly, I could not find this tape, so I went over to the front counter to ask the person standing behind a showcase displaying smart phones to where I can find the splice tape.

I said (give or take on the verbiage), “Where can I find quarter inch audio splice tape?”

The salesperson, a man who looked like he was in his early 30’s–born around the time that I once “lived” at a RS, didn’t at first knew what I was asking. So I asked again, saying the same thing I did just just seconds before.

He looked a bit confused. “What are you looking for?” he asked.

“Quarter inch audio splice tape. To use to splice open reel audio tape.” I said, hoping I made more sense to this man.

He obviously didn’t know just what I was referring to, giving me a rather puzzled look upon his face. I can’t recall what he said in response, but he did try to lead me to an isle in the store to possibly find what I was seeking.

However, there was some kind of communication breakdown, as I was lead to a place that consisted of cell phone accessories. Either I went to the wrong isle, or the sales person thought I was asking for something else.

So I went up to the salesperson again, telling the man that the tape was not found there, if anything that came closely remote to what I was searching for. He just told me to go back to that area of the store, and maybe I’ll find this mystery tape!

To make a longer episode much shorter, I didn’t find what I was looking for. I just had the assumption that the item that RS once carried was no longer in existence.

Of course, I could have purchased the splice tape online, but I didn’t. Just because I needed the tape right then and there, rather to have to wait for the item to arrive at my doorstep with yours truly paying for the shipping and handling costs, there would be a delay in getting a rather tedious task completed.

In short, needing something right away in order to get the job completed is why Radio Shack was a godsend to me. If I were at a remote location shooting some footage where I needed to record audio from a hand held mic attached to the VTR rather than using the mic attached to the camera that always produced tinny sound, I can leave my remote location, find a nearby RS outlet, grab the accessory I needed, and within an hour’s time, I would be able to complete my assignment as such last minute RS trips occurred too many times that I could remember.

So as RS enters a new phase, a phase that will be determined through a bankruptcy court, a second company through a buyout, or a combination of both, it will just showcase how a retailer once on top of their game couldn’t shift gears in time in order to stay ahead of the times.

PS…those batteries I used to stockpile also served its purpose, even though their staying power wasn’t as long as an alkaline battery, or even using an electronic device to recharge ‘em–something that RS once profoundly offered!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     The Glendale Centre Theatre presents as their first musical showpiece for the 2015 season, the Richard Adler & Jerry Ross musical DAMN YANKEES, a tale about a baseball fan’s deal with a scout from “down below” who becomes transformed as a hero of the playing diamond.

The story opens at the homestead of Joe and Meg Boyd. (Lisa Dyson and Carse Parker). It’s the early part of the baseball season, and Joe roots for his home team, the Washington Senators. Although the team is in last place, Joe wishes that his Senators could find a long-ball hitter who could save the team and beat the evergreen Yankees, going as far to even sell his soul for his wish. Within seconds, he meets Mr. Applegate (Danny Michaels), that not only grants his wish but turns Joe, a middle aged man who has seen his better years long past, into a much younger self-Joe Hardy (Michael Liles). Applegate immediately arranges a meeting with the team’s manager Benny Van Buren (Richard Malmos), and before long, Joe, now known as “Shoeless Joe” from Hannibal, Mo. (Missouri), is the star player! However, nobody knows a thing about his past, and ace journalist Gloria Thorpe (Rachel McLaughlan) is set out to discover more about this mysterious hitter. However, Joe misses his old home life and the wife he nearly abandoned. Applegate, wanting to keep Joe under his mists, whips out his secret weapon, the ever sexy Lola (Kai Chubb) who attempts to use her charm and seductive power to keep Joe on the team and to have him under Applegate’s control! Will the once last place Senators beat the Yankees out from the pennant race? Will Applegate get Joe under his clasp and to have him for all eternal damnation? Will Joe ever get back to his home and wife he left long behind? And will Lola get what she wants as a musical number suggests?

This ever classic musical as penned by George Abbott & Douglas Wallop (based on Wallop’s novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant).is still as fresh and delightful as it was first presented some sixty years before! (There was a revised and “updated” version released in the middle 1990’s, but what is seen on the Glendale Centre Theatre stage is the genuine piece!) Many of the GCT’s rep players appear in this production, such as Lisa Dyson as Meg, Richard Malmos as Benny, Danny Michaels as Applegate, Paul Reid as Bryan, and many other faces! In fact, this show boasts a rather large ensemble and as always, there are too many names to mention in such a small review space! But all appearing made this presentation a true joy to experience again! Of course, the musical selections, now standard stage classics, are heard and sung by the for noted ensemble cast set within its robust fashion, including “Whatever Lola Wants”, ”Two Lost Souls” as well as the signature tune “You’ve Gotta Have Heart”–among the many others featured! Orlando Alexander, another GCT rep theater member, once again provides the stage direction and choreography that never lets the fast pacing of this show drag. Steve Applegate provides the transcribed musical direction, and Angela Manke provides the costuming that really reflect the era that this show harkens!

From its opening inning to its final out, this Glendale Center Theatre’s production of DAMN YANKEES is a real crowd pleaser for both fans of the game and fans of high quality regional theater! Although the real baseball season is still a few weeks off, this musical will keep one in (horsehide) stitches with its charm and charisma as the boys in blue get themselves ready to take the field come April. Until then, this show will (shall we state it this way..?) hit it out of the park! And why not, as this is the best stage musical about the national pastime ever presented!

For the record, the “real” Washington Senators moved to Arlington, Texas in the early 1970’s and is now known as the Texas Rangers, while the current team residing in DC, the Washington Nationals, play just as well as the Senators did back in the day! Again, the first pitch occurs just six or so weeks away, so who knows…?

  DAMN YANKEES presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until March 28th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with a Sunday afternoon performance on February 22nd 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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The Santa Monica Playhouse in Santa Monica presents LOVE IN THE KEY OF C# OR Bb (see sharp of be flat, get it?), a musical review about humankind’s strongest emotion that is most understood yet least assumed.

In this review, a suite of six performers consisting of Nicole Cleveland, Katy Erin Corbell, Molly Gilman, Merri Jamison, Evelyn Rudie, and Melissa Ryan, speak and sing about the emotion that’s known as “love”. The plot for what it is, seeks the time tested question of “what is love”? Through brief skits and monologues, the ensemble attempts to answer this quest that takes this form of sentiment on what the passion is all about. It harks about love beginning at adolescence and progresses toward maturity, from being close to somebody and being apart, from starting a romance to breaking one off. It doesn’t matter if love is understood or not. Just as one can have it or keep it is what really matters, let alone conducting the ability to answer a question that doesn’t have a solution to begin with!

This review with book by Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo (who also directs) and score by Evelyn Rudie and Matthew Wrather, consists of melodies that have been extracted from other musical shows that previously performed at the Santa Monica Playhouse within the last forty or so years. (Many of these same musicals made their world premiers in this theater!) This show is somewhat akin to a Steven Sondheim review showcase that takes songs from other productions and weaves them into a plot of some kind. Unlike those Sondheim pieces where one has to figure out the theme based upon the musical selections, this production has the dialogue that speaks for itself, enhancing the emotional topic in query. When the cast play out various unnamed characters harking about love in its various shapes and forms, they emote both humor and sorrow in different methods that bring out the answer of what love is and what it ain’t. The result is a very charming and rather upbeat production that touches upon every single aspect on what makes people tick.

The cast themselves are just as charming as the topic in question. Although Evelyn Rudie appears as the “Grandmother”, she isn’t necessarily the lead cast member. Each player appearing holds their own ground supporting one another as they emote about love while singing about it with the same passion and heart. Cynde Moore provides the choreography while Ashley Hayes furnishes the consume design that changes from one selected scenario to the next.

In this post modern world, the importance of love matters more than ever. In recent years, the art of love and marriage (and its equivalent) has spread across the two genders, either as opposites or as the same. The package is secondary but the content is primary, and that content is what it’s all about! Does this musical answer the question of “what is love?” Yes it does, and no it doesn’t! But this isn’t a quiz show! It’s a fine single act showcase that appeals to those that possess a special someone as well as those that are “flying solo”. If you can get it, then you’ve got it! (Get it? Got it? Good!)

LOVE IN THE KEY OF C# OR Bb (see sharp of be flat, get it?), presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (off Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica, until March 29th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 x 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com

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The Tenth Annual Final Draft Awards, a presentation that honors recognition for the best in screenplay writing within the mediums of television and feature films as presented by Final Draft, a film that creates software programs for writing scripts for desktops/laptops as well as for electronic pads and smart phones devices, was presented on February 12th at the Paramount Theater located on the Paramount Pictures lot.

Hosted by the team of Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant, creators of the series Reno 911 and writers of the book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit, the ceremony presented awards to Chuck Lorre & Bill Prady for Best Television comedy for The Big Bang Theory, Nic Pizzolatto for Best Television Drama for True Detective, Gillian Flynn won for Best Adapted Feature Screenplay for Gone Girl, and Best Original Screenplay went to Akejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Special awards were presented for Final Draft’s Big Break Screenwriting Contest, a competition where budding screenwriters may submit original entries for works for episodic television and full length feature films went to Chad Rhiness of Brooklyn NY for the coming of age comedy 13.1, and Christopher Iannacone of Reseda, California was awarded for writing for television for his spec script for the series The Blacklist  entitled William Henry Booker (No. 58).

The 2014 Final Draft Hall of Fame Inductees was presented to the writing team of Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski who penned such features as (among other titles), Problem Child (I & 2) Screwed, 1408, Ed Wood, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Man On The Moon, and Big Eyes.

For more details on Final Draft software, as well as how to enter the the Big Break Screening Contest for the 2015 cycle, visit http://www.FinalDraft.com

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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!

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