It doesn’t seem that way, but it’s true!
This issue marks our twentieth year of publishing. And we do use the term “publishing” since we started off as an actual print medium source, making a rather feeble attempt to get away from electronic journalism.
For those that don’t appear to be in the know about us or what we have been doing, this year as well as this issue marks the two decade point of our humble beginnings to capture us on getting our word out through the means of actual writing: the so-called art of jotting down our reviews and opinions of what’s going on and about by having somebody read the stuff, rather than somebody (such as us) dictating it to you!
To further explain (again) on how we got our start, this writer wanted to revive the TV series, Accessibly Live, a one time local talk and somewhat variety show that previously aired in Minneapolis, or actually Columbia Hights, a bedroom community located north of the city, and later in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis that until the last year and a half was just another bedroom community in St. Louis county that was indeed racially mixed–but that was about it!
Anyway, yours truly serving as the producer, director, host, and co-creator of the series (Joel Kudensen was its other creator and founder, although he was no longer involved in the series), was itching to get the program started up again, but this time in Los Angeles–the second biggest TV market in the nation, one step behind New York, and one step ahead of Chicago. It would be the same show as it has been done for its previous six seasons; A show that was hosted by this writer (“me”) appealing on camera while inviting viewers to call in to answer a question of the week, and to answer a set of trivia questions for token prizes. In addition to the viewer interaction, there would be movie reviews and the occasional in-studio guest. And as the name of the show suggests, it would be presented live, each and every week.
However, there would be a few hurdles to jump across. For starters, the public access landscape that existed in the Los Angeles market at the time (early 1990’s) was well saturated. Cable TV came around these parts in the 1970’s, and public access shortly followed. There were a lot of people out here to use their TV shows to showcase themselves since many producers were linked to starving actors and related performers hoping to use their show as exposure to land them their “big break”. Although I (now getting out of third person reference), was pleased to have some on-camera presence, I wasn’t looking for any acting jobs per se, although it somebody from a start up TV network became interested in my services, I would indeed jump on the opportunity. As for now, I was just interested in getting the show back on its feet.
I did a few pilot programs to shop to the many cable TV franchises that existed at the time, such as Century Cable, Valley Cable, Cablevision, United Artists Cable, and a few other companies whose names are now long forgotten. Alas, I couldn’t negotiate a deal with any one of them as I would have wanted the show to become. Thus, after a few attempts of getting the program on the air, Accessibly Live was anything but!
Around 1995 when going to cable wasn’t gonna happen, there was another rage in media going on at the time. Many budding journalists, comic book artists and writers, and others that had creative expression, was turning to self printed newsletters, taking on a magazine-type format. These independent publications were called “‘Zines”, and would be made available by mail subscription or sold (and even given away) at alternative record shops, bookstores, art galleries, and other places that catered to a rather nitch market, mostly found in such LA places as Melrose Avenue, home of scores of shops and the like that was hip, trendy, and progressive.
Although the notion of running within a crowd of hip, trendy, and rather young folks (many of these “zine writers and producers were part of the “Gen-X’ demographic-those in their 20’s and early 30’s), I myself were more interested into creating a basic newsletter format that had a few articles as well as a review or two of a movie, book title, or something of general interest. I felt that I could write something akin to a newsletter that was similar to Accessibly Live, expect it would be more text rather than audio and video seen and heard from a TV set.
Meanwhile, there was another new phase of media that was slowly creeping into the hearts and minds of the general public. A world wide web of things simply called “The internet” was getting around This was a method of communication that was unique, different, and caters to the same demographic that was reading and writing ‘zines! These same ‘zine writers could and would post their words and pictures electronically rather that using a printer (or in many cases, a photocopy machine), to get their words around to those that wanted it.
However, being a new medium, many people didn’t necessarily know what to make of of this would wide web thing. Many knew it was a great tool for getting and giving out information. Others found it an alternative to TV, radio, and print. The rest found it as just another passing fad. Indeed, one needed a computer device to see what is going on, as well as an internet connection. Companies as American Online, Compuserve, and a host of other firms offered subscription services that were charged by the month or by the hour. All one needed was the for noted computer, an electronic device called a modem to get online, and a telephone based connection as the internet “signal” came from the phone line. However, one had to use the phone line to log on. The only notion was the fact that one could not use their phone at the same time, and if anyone was making a call to somebody online, they would receive a busy signal.
But many folks didn’t see that this internet was indeed real! It was something only for geeks–the same kind of people that were considered as outcasts and spent too much time playing video games. Generally speaking, one wasn’t necessarily taken seriously if you stated that you did something found on the ‘net. Unless you were part of some big company that had an online presence, such as a magazine title or perhaps a part of the federal government, you were a semi outsider!
So with the hoping to gain a little respect in this attempt to be heard, I decided that I would concentrate my newsletter as a print source. I could offer subscripts to be sent by mail, or to be sold at places that would accept ‘zines and other alternative media titles. But for now, I just wanted to produce the first issue.
My next problem to solve was what to call this publication.
I wanted to use the name Accessibly Live as I already “owned” the title. It did state that it would be accessible, but the “live” part would no longer apply. And because I really needed the respect from the general public, I didn’t want to be lumped with those on-line geeks and others that used the internet as a minority grouping. So to prove we were just as well online as we were off, I took the name “Accessibly Live”, adding the “off-line” to it. Thus, Accessibly Live Off-Line was born, only as a title. Now I had to write the content of the first issue!
So with my trusty Apple Computer, my Mac Plus machine help me produced that first issue. I typed up the thing during the Christmas break of 1995, hacking out the same stuff I would have presented over the air. And because it would be a new publication, the best time to introduce a new newsletter was in a new year. In this case, it would be 1996. So on the first week of January of ‘96, Accessibly Live Off-Line, Vol. 1, No. 1, became a reality. It’s first headline pretty much explained what the whole thing was all about blaring out: Low Tech? Huh??
Since that time, a lot of things occurred. The internet changed a lot of things for a lot of folks. It became the biggest form of electronic communication since the telegraph. Computers became affordable, more practical, and perhaps a lot more fun! Apple Computer, a company that trailed far behind from Microsoft in terms of computer compatibility and access, first introduced the iMac in 1998-perhaps the first computer that was made for an internet connection where the “i” in “iMac” stood for “internet”, and was colored in five delicious flavors! Companies were started thanks to the internet. Few floundered while other succeeded. Other companies that had nothing to do with the internet were crushed out of business or had to reinvent themselves to survive! And at the same time cellular phones become more accessible, practical, and affordable. Before long, the world wide web became wider. E-mail was no longer limited to a work space. Common folks were able to communicate by writing electronic letters and messages that were delivered much faster than regular mail, also called “snail mail” since waiting two or three days to get a letter delivered from one point to another was no longer going to cut it!
Today, we lived in a wired world. Phones became smarter, computers became faster and smaller, and the internet was no longer limited to wires and cables. It was over the air nearly everywhere. Even TVs got into the act by become bigger in screen size, flatter in dimensions, and were able to be hooked up to the ‘net to obtain more programming, made available at a moment’s whim rather than waiting one’s favorite shows to air on a certain day and time. For many, science fiction became science faction.
And guess what? Accessibly Live Off-Line is still here! Granted, we had changed as well as the other mediums did. We ceased our print service years ago. We still use direct e-mail delivery, as well as post on a dedicated web site at http://www.AccessiblyLveOffLine.com. We never got rid of the “Off-Line” part or our name, as well as our motto “Your Low-Tech News”. We still strive to do what we had intended to do some twenty years ago to provide news and reviews of some of the media that’s out there with an emphasis of regional and community theater–a beat that we first came across by accident! (That story will be reserved for a future article!) And we never realized that we would last this long, but we did!
As to our TV show? Public Access cable has since gone off on the wayside as many folks are now turning toward other mediums outside of traditional cable TV to view content. However, many of our older episodes of Accessibly Live Off-Line are now available for viewing through our channel on YouTube, including some of the Los Angeles based pilot episodes produced in the middle 1990’s. We will be posting more episodes from our vast collection over time and tide for those to view for the first time, or to view again.
So as we begin another volume and another decade’s worth of issues, we will wish ourselves a “happy birthday” of sorts knowing that thanks to a recent decision made by the copyright courts, we can sing the title song now knowing we don’t have to write a check made payable to the estates of Patty and Mildred Hill. Instead, we’ll just add another candle to the birthday cake and have a good laugh or cry–depending on our mood!
PS…And with the internet of things, we are also found on such social media outlet as Facebook, and Twitter. As to Instagram? That’s next in line. So as they used to say on TV–stay tuned!
——————————————————————————– NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Glendale Centre Theatre kicks off their 2016 season of plays and musicals with the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart comedy, YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, a time tested classic comedy about an eccentric family that binds their time through their unique hobbies, as well as dealing with the folks that parade within the family household.
The play focuses upon three families, the Vanderhof’s, Sycamores and Carmichaels of New York City, living in a rather humble yet busy Vanderhof household where the entire clan is busy with their own activities. The head of the household, Martin a.k.a. “Grandpa” (Peter Renaday) was once involved with a promising career on Wall Street, but gave it all up to live a simple life raising a pet snake. Since he wasn’t working, he also gave up paying his income taxes! His daughter Penelope “Penny” (Andrea Stadling) keeps busy writing plays that may never be produced (with dramatic subjects ranging from war to sex) on an old typewriter. Her spouse Paul (Kyle Kelley) makes fireworks in the basement. Their daughter Essie (Jennifer Strattan) is a candy maker who holds a passion to become a ballerina. Ellie’s husband Ed (Justin Radford) plays the xylophone–if not playing with his printing press! And there is Paul and Penny’s second daughter Alice (Danielle Lebens) who is the least eccentric one of them all, working in an office. She brings home her beau Tony Kirby (Josh Evans) who comes from a well off family. She is a bit concerned to introduce her unique brood to him, but Alice still adores them all in spite of the fact they are a bit different then the other families that live around the neighborhood. These folks, in addition to those others that fanfare through, each one sporting their own peerless personalities, makes life interesting within this modest abode with live within.
This play harks back to those screwball comedies that were the rage of the latter years of the 1930’s when this play was created and first presented. (The story take place during that era too!) Of course, it doesn’t present what families were really like back in that time, but that isn’t the point here. The play itself is still a wacky and charming comedy that still beckons laughs, thanks to the ensemble of players that appear in this show. George Stratten, a stage director that has worked on many other shows that appeared at the GCT, is on helm keeping things buzzing around in a madcap fashion, as the performers fleetly keep up to the frantic step this theater work demands.
Adding to the mix is George Statton’s scenic direction (with Tim Dietlein), along with Angela Manke (of Glendale Costumes) fashion design. These two stage elements add to the flavor of the era it speaks for (1930’s of course), as period stage works are the GCT’s specialty. This form of teamwork and knowledge of a specific era make such works as appealing and even nostalgic, rather than creaky, feeble, and woefully outdated.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU will be one of those classic comedies that just gets better with time and through each performance. Although the title does state what you can’t take with your person, you will indeed be taking home the laughs and good times this show presents to its audience.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until February 6th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. Additional performances will be presented on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM on January 10th and 17th.
For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
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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!