MAGAZINES ARE INDEED STILL ALIVE AND LIVING!

A few years back, there was an advertising campaign arranged by a trade group that promoted the power of print magazines. The ad campaign appeared in many magazine titles whose publishers were members of this trade group. It went on to note that although receiving content from a magazine through electronic means can be performed, one can’t beat the notion of reading something one can hold in their hands that isn’t plugged in.

Within the last twenty or so years, the text media landscape that made a very drastic change, be it magazines or newspapers. Back in the middle 1990’s, the latest medium called the internet was starting to get its act together. Many magazine titles began to make a presence on the world wide web, providing some selected content that appeared in the current issue, with an opportunity to subscribe to the publication where one can receive the full selection of information appearing in the current issue.

Over time and tide, the web began to rise up from being something that was a novelty, to change into a way of life. Many other magazine titles arranged dedicated web sites that offer related content that one could find in their issues. Meanwhile, new titles started to arrive that were web only. Those particular titles featured articles and related content that were presented magazine style, but offered nothing in print. Some charged for their service, while others offered it for free with advertising covering its expenses.

On the other hand, many titles that once existed in print ceased their paper copies going to web only. Again, they were the same publication, except for the fact they were not in print. Unlike their print version where a paid subscription was offered, these new-old web magazines were offered for free with the ads covering the costs.

Today, just about any and every magazine worth its salt is available to view and read on the net from a desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet–whatever electronic device that can be accessed via a web link.

In spite of the fact that anything web connected can access one’s magazine of chose, there is one element available to get the news the reader wants, and for something to glance at while waiting for something or another.

Print magazines, the same medium that’s been around since the days of the printing press, is still alive and living!

This obvious observation was experienced by this writer not too long ago, when yours truly played chafferer for a day, taking a colleague to a dermatologist clinic for an appointment this person arranged.

This person who we can call “Olif” had a bad foot due to his diabetes setting in. This foot held within a cast, doesn’t allow this person to drive a vehicle over longer distances. So as a good associate, yours truly played driver for Olif, taking him to his clinic located in a rather bland looking post modern building complex that held other businesses. Some were medical based while others performed some other kind of offering.

The waiting room area was very large, and very comfortable. It offered a water cooer and a coffee maker that made one cup of java at a time, using one of those coffee pods. A flat screen TV set was mounded on the wall in the corner of the waiting area, playing short medical related informercial pieces connected to the clinic’s service. The volume was down, so all one could see were the visuals with no sound. That was OK since nobody appeared to be watching at the time.

Of course, right in the middle of all of the rather plush seats were a coffee table type platform with a stack of magazines all spread out, ready to be grabbed and shuffled through. What made me amused over this pile was the fact that among the selection were a few titles I was amused to see.

For some reason, TV Guild, the long withstanding publication that’s been around since 1952 that covered TV programming since them, was found within that pile. Since I haven’t looked at a recent issue for a while, I took the liberty of grabbing it to see how this publication that has changed ownership a number of times in recent years, covers television and its many applications.

For one thing, its editorial offices are based in New York, finally escaping its presence in Radnor, PA–assuming that their editorial offices were ever located there. Second, it’s a biweekly, covering a two week span from Monday through Sunday. It’s a lot larger in size, now fitting the 8”x11” dimensions. Each issue no longer carries listings for regional or local channels, meaning that its schedule listing, posted in grid form, limits itself for standard network and cable TV/satellite channels. And although entertainment programming has been standard fare for TV since its beginnings, most, if not all, of the articles appearing focus upon such programming. Back when TV Guide was a weekly in a digest sized format, there were occasion articles that covered TV sports, news reporting, as well as trends in TV and its related factors. But those articles only appeared so often. However, much of what was seen in TV Guide could have appeared in People, Us, or those other celebrity focused titles.

However, one note came across. What was TV Guide doing in a doctor’s waiting room? I could understand about the presence of something like Time, Sports Illustrated, People, and perhaps other selections from the Time-Warner magazine stable. But why TV Guide?

Whatever the reason, these selection of magazines found spread about on the waiting room table top proves that print magazines are indeed alive and living, and will be around for a while. How long will be settled among its readers, publishers, and whatever technology becomes yet another part of the way of life.

Oh, yes! For the record, Olif will return to the clinic for a follow up, and it’s not known if I will be taking him back to that same clinic. If I do, another pile of magazines will be waiting for me to read to pass the time away, as well as to analyze for yet another article. Stay tuned!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     Performing at Theatre/Theatre in Los Angeles is the world premier of NAT TURNER: FOLLOWING FAITH, Paula Neiman’s historical drama of Nat Turner, a leader of a slave revolt where he and a group of other slaves fought back for their freedom and their rights.

The setting is Southampton, Virginia in the summer of 1831. Within the southern part of the US, slave labor and ownership was on its high peak. A massive score of “colored” people, some taken from their homeland in Africa while others native born, were toiling on farms and plantations for non existent wages while being treated as lowly animals. One of these men was Nat Turner (Tamue Massaquoi). Unlike his fellow brethren who was uneducated and illiterate, Turner held intelligence and leadership skills that would rival the write population he lived within. He fought back among the community that slaved him and others of his race. He gathered a group of other black men, fellow slaves, and set off a rebellion that was violent and furious. He felt that massive aggression was the method to fight back. Among the brutal killings and other forms of human violation, he was eventually caught for his deeds and was sentenced to death by hanging.

This play tells his saga, one of America’s annals of the slave labor movement that was perhaps the most darkest and macabre episode of them all, as a flashback. It opens with Turner at his trial where he would be sentenced and executed within a two hour period. (Justice in those early days was swift and to the point!) The narration that brings this story to life is told by another abolitionist named Gabriel Prosser, as played by Asante Jones. He was noted to be Turner’s possible inspiration to set his rebellion in motion. Although Tuner never had any personal encounter with Prosser (he died the same year that Turner was born), the two lead the way to fight for slave freedom at the cost of many lives that did include woman and children.

Although this play holds a backdrop in brutal violence, much of the intensity is presented as suggestion and addressed more as drama. The audience witnesses Turner as an anti hero. Although he did create aggressive attempts for the good of his people, he did have others killed within the aftermath, both as white townspeople and as fellow slaves. As to the named character, Tamue Massaquo’s portrayal of Turner shows him as a fierce and strong leader. He isn’t necessarily a “leading man” type, but he could pass for one if his role didn’t promote brutality. As to the others in the cast, it does boast a huge ensemble of players, ranging from his fellow slaves present to fight for the cause, to the townsfolk of Southampton who fought back through either counter attack or through the local justice system.

The cast of players appearing in this stage work adjunct to Tamue Massaquoi and Asante Jones, consists of as listed in their alphabetical order, Glenn Bond II, Sara Davenport, Dennis Delsing, Darius L. Dudley, Justin Greenberg, Jennifer Lieberman, Tarnue Massaquoi, Sade Moore, Baadia Ouba, Jaimyon Parker, Dennis Pearson, Darrell Philip, Phrederic Semaj, Hunter C. Smith, Dominique Washington, and Terry Woodberry.

In addition to the performances seen within this show, Vali Tisoaga’s set design is minimal. Just a few furnishing are set within a backdrop that is more of cloth type drapery, smattered by a few tree branches that suggest the rural community that Southampton, Virginia had been during this era. And noting of the depicted time period, Mauva Gacitua’s costuming harks of early 19th century rural America. The black slaves were more in rag-esque outfits, while the non slaves (whites) were the better dressed. These people donned “workingman’s” outfits; the same folks that ran the community, in spite of the fact that the slaves did the real work!

Directed by Dan Martin, NAT TURNER: FOLLOWING FAITH is a play that is indeed part of the history of this nation that shows off a time where force appeared to become the only answer. It may not have been the ideal chose, but this was a period in step when full fledged forceful offense and conflict had been the progressive measure. And to note, this function of aggression continues through these modern times. The overall method might be executed in another manner, but the ideas behind it all still remains. It’s a case where history does indeed repeat itself for the good or otherwise!

  NAT TURNER: FOLLOWING FAITH, presented by Art of Wordz in association with Rouge Machine Theatre, performs at Theatre/Theatre, 5041 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, until December 6th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (213) 529-5153, or via online at http://www.BuyTickets.at/NatTurner

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Theatre West will be presenting WestFest, consisting of a sequence of original short plays performed as part of this theater group’s development of new works created from rising writers, directors, and performers showcasing their theater based skills and talents.

For four weekends throughout November, WestFest will spotlight a series of one act plays, ranging from two to five each weekend that focus upon comedy, drama, and all points in between! Each weekend will provide a new and unique collection of works that are to be featured for the first time and possibly for their only appearance, as short stage play anthologies are rather hard to come by!  However, anyone who has experienced such groupings will be in for a once in a lifetime(!) theater treat!

All performance of WestFest take place at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles. (Universal City adjacent). The series runs on November 6th-8th, 13th-15th, 20th-22nd, and November 27th-29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.

For more information including the list of short plays presented each week, visit Theatre West’s web site at http://www.theatrewest.org, or call (323) 851-7977.

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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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