POD PEOPLE ON THE AIR

     The medium known as the internet has greatly grown from the days when it consisted of a smattering of static pages found on the ‘net that consisted of simple pictures/images and a lot of text. In many cases, it was nearly all text, as people used these places to visit on cyberspace to read about a topic or subject that stated about an issue of matter. Some of these topics were of some importance (news, etc.), while many, if not all, addressed about something or another that might have been just amusing; perhaps not earthshaking, but mildly entertaining nevertheless!
     Over time, other forms of media were added to wither these once still web pages full of written copy ot such that expressed audio and visual aspects, mostly related to the web page’s subject matter. Many of these sties to visit only consisted of moving imagery (YouTube, etc.) while some just offers sounds.
     Of course, much of these sounds offered that were not stand alone music (another element of topic as that is), consisted of radio broadcasts and related programming. One can hear an over the air radio station live, even though the station may be thousands of miles away where one couldn’t use an antenna to capture the station’s signal. Other places offered time delay programming, recorded earlier on the same day, week, month, or year. A few consisted of recordings of programs transcribed a few days before, or even decades after the act.
      Part of the internet’s popularity was made by self creation of content where anyone can post a few web pages consisting of their written word over topics the writer feels is worth writing about. These web loggers, or “bloggers”, wrote about subjects and concerns to the best of their ability. Granted, they were not always perfect, let alone correct, but they did it anyway with the notion that somebody out there would take the time to read the thing, let along know it’s even there!
     As technology became easier to do, these internet pioneers went a few steps further by having their written topics being talked about. Not by written text, but through radio-type shows where the person serving as “host”, would take a mic and speak as if they were doing a radio show, except the show would not be heard on the radio in a traditional sense, but through their website pages as a sound.
     These radio shows not on the radio were eventually given a name in the same way a person writing on the web were dubbed “bloggers” and their sites were called “blogs”. These audio shows were called “podcasts”, taking the name “pod” from Apple’s device-the “iPods that changed how people hear their music. These podcasts were intended to be heard through a downloadable file that contained sounds to be loaded on a “iPod”, or using the generic term, a MP3 listening device. (The term “MP3” described how the sounds were reproduced through a specific computer file that reproduced audio sounds.)
     When these audio devices became rather popular, many others started their own podcasts that were easy to create–easy within reason for what they were. The podcasts themselves sounded like a radio talk program, consisting of a host or group of hosts, speaking upon a subject or matter that was of interest to the host(s).
     The quality of these podcasts varied. A number of them sounded rather simple, and perhaps amateur in nature. The person speaking rambled on for a while, not necessarily getting upon any focus on what (s)he was speaking about! The sound quality also varied. Some podcasts sounded as if they were performed in a small room, perhaps in a closet or garage.
     However, a number of these podcasts gave a sound as if one was tuning in on a professional radio station. The host or hosts knew about the subject matter. At given times, they would feature guests in the same tradition to a radio interview broadcast. These are the kind of podcasts that would have many listeners ranging from the thousands to millions! Many podcasts hosts were even offered “real” radio gigs doing the same thing they did one their own. This time, they are on the air on the radio–if not full streaming on the ‘net!
     There have been web sites and related articles that the author(s) of the article recommend some of the better and continuing podcasts. As with anything found on the ‘net, the topics and personal tastes will differ. If one is into politics, there are no shortages on podcasts that are on politics, be it local, national, or worldwide. If one stands left, right, or center political wise, there is a podcast for that political fan. Ditto for sports, yet another favorite topic for these type of programs. Movies and related entertainment aspects are another topic to pick by. And the list continues!
     This writer can’t necessarily recommend a specific podcast to tune in on, as there are too many to pick. As to this writer’s recommendation in what to hear? Yours truly will let you the reader pick make that choice as that is what search engines are for! To find these podcasts, log on, type in “(Subject) podcasts”, and take it from there. However, if you do find a specific podcast or series of podcasts you find something worth commenting about, drop us a line here at Accessibly Live Off-Line. We will perhaps dedicate a future article reporting on these podcasts based upon your recommendations. When you do pick out a program or two that  we should know about, please provide a link to where we can hear the show itself. This way, we will know just what you are writing about! (See the last page of this issue on how to contact us!!)
     In the meantime, we’ll do the writing, and you will be doing the podcast reporting. Until then, happy listening!
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                                            NEWS AND REVIEWS
     SWARM CELL, Gabriel Rivas Gomez’s surrealistic drama about a team of drifting women whose aimless work holds more importance than their own well being, makes its world premier at The Greenway Court Theatre located in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles.
     Taking place at a nameless sanctuary set within the not too distant future, a group of women who would be otherwise homeless, exist inside a cold and sterile facility. Tomasina (Maritxell Carrero) is an alien of the political nation that she lives, and is in her early stages of carrying a soon-to-be born child. K.C. (Raquel McPeek) is deaf and mute. They are assigned work in a warehouse setting, engaged for long hours earning a petty wage. They seem to have this kind of work with the barring of little to no self choosing. They come to believe that the job they do, packing boxes all the day long, holds more importance than holding a life that they may flourish. Their way of existence is akin to living inside a beehive. They, along with others inside this domicile, are the worker bees whose only purpose is working for the queen bee. Their only way out is to leave the hive, but cannot since being inside holds for their only chance of survival. The question that’s unasked calls if they either remain worker bees, or if they can overcome the queen bee.
     This theater piece by playwright Gabriel Rivas Gomez with added contributions by students at Fairfax High School, uses its inspiration from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, placing its format to a futuristic setting where citizens of a lower persuasion are dismissed to a barren industrialized universe where those within its subjacent caliber are reduced to toil far beneath their entity. The scenic placement as seen on stage as designed by Victoria Petrovich illustrates this expressive form of illusion. The stage setting itself, as well as the costume design also created by Victoria Petrovich, suggests that those that exist inside are either prisoners living inside a lockup, or are patients dispatched to a mental institution where they will remain for their beacon days. The set itself consist of drab gray walls aligns with harsh florescent lighting. Added to this are a trio of two word phrases of “encouragement” embedded on its walls that blend to its si-fi-esque macrocosm. The ensemble cast performing that also include Bianca LeMaire, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Caro Zeller, Tania Camargo, Cheryl Ann Gotsleg, along with Sheresade Poblet, add to the stark reality to this production, performing with a leader (one) and its followers (The others). Each cast member form an ensemble team that appends to the drama this show portrays.
     In addition to the sets and costumes, John Zalewski’s sound design enhances the theme described of a vacant industrialized world the caricatures inhere, showing that every aspect will be flat and constant, in spite of the reality that this will not leave the only choice for its characters.
     Directed by Robert Castro, SWARM CELL is a presentation that is allegiant to its message set within its eighty minute running time. The bees present may hold a painful sting, but with such a sting, there will also be the present of honey; A feed that is sweet, sticky, and will never go sour, no matter what the future consequences call for.

     SWARM CELL, presented by the Greenway Arts Alliance, performs at the Greenway Court Theatre, 544 North Fairfax, one block south of Melrose Avenue adjacent to Fairfax High School, Los Angeles, until February 28th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 655-7679, or via online at http://www.GreenwayCourtTheatre.org/Swarm-Cell
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