Many marketers tend to sell their goods, services, and ideas to selected demographic groups that are more apt to spend for the goods and services that’s spoken for. Out of all of the nitch clans that exist in this domestic society are the ones called “tweeners”. This is the age group that falls roughly between the age of eight and goes up to fourteen. These are the types that are no longer “kids”, but are not “teens” quite yet. Thus, they are between those groups that are starting to get to know what’s around them.
     Of course, the biggest element within these kids lives are technology. This age group cannot remember life without the internet, cell phones, video game devices, and other forms of media they these adults of tomorrow are quite savvy with, at times more apt to use than with the adults that surround them.
     On the other side of the coin, this is the group that see a different life than their generation  before. They have lived through a diverse culture where families may be blended, held by a single adult person, or have parents that consist of two moms or dads. They may live in an age of fear with the notion of something terrible or tragic to occur isn’t too far removed. They are rather social as well, both virtual and in reality. And they do strive to do some good in and for their world, Thanks to social media, it’s a lot easier to become involved or to find others to join them on their positive crusades.
     But this article isn’t about selling to those that see their future ahead of them more than their past drifting behind. This write up speaks on when yours truly was of that age and how we just got by within our rather protected and happy-go-lucky lives.
     Although tweeners of today hold a vast range of ages, this writer’s times will speak for the so-called middle school or junior high school era, a time where between the ages of twelve through fourteen (give or take a year of so), we know were were no longer kids with “kids stuff”, yet we were too young for teen-type antics. We knew that high school and all of the shenanigans that go with it all was going to be in our mists, but for the moment, we were just a bunch of kids that took everything one step at a time.
     Now here comes the coming of age section of this article, were this writer (“me”) will tell about some of those little episodes that occurred around my times attending school, and the gang that came along with it all.
     For starters, I attended an elementary school that ranged from first grade to the eighth. Our school had a vast amount of ages attending. However, these kids tended to stick to those that were closest to their age. We did have eight year olds attending, but the elder kids didn’t do much with them, unless as eight graders, we terrorized these kids as soft core bullies at the time where school bullies were part of every day school life rather than something that is written or posted in various forms of media–or at least not to the extend as it’s done in this era! (On a side note: Yours truly was for a brief time, part of the eight grade “bully” gang, pushing some of the younger kids down the hall nearly throwing them like bowling balls done an alleyway! However, I found that rather tiring and wasn’t as fun as I expected it to be. So I quit!)
     In our eighth grade class, we had around 35 of so in our group. Many of these kids stuck to their own gender and formed and belonged in a selection of small unofficial cliques. Many of these groups blended with one another, usually on a focus of a particular interest. There was a group that was interested in World War II. There was one interested in popular music. Another one had a big movie following, and so on. These groups would form depending on who was in the group at the moment. For instance, three people had an interest in “A” and belonged to group “A. In that same group, one person had an interest in “B”, and also belonged to group “B”. In group “B”, one person had an interest in “A”, and “C”, but not “B”. Thus, that person belonged to group “A” and “C”, and so on. If this membership roster doesn’t make sense, then don’t worry about it!
     Anyway, there was one group that had an interest of attempting to get away with performing a prank of some kind. Most of these pranks were of the harmless juvenile type, such as calling strangers on the phone asking them if their icebox was running, or playing survey taker asking them embarrassing questions. We would also play a prank where we would take wet wadded up lumps of toilet paper and threw these wet lumps on the bathroom ceiling to see how long they would stick. (A few wads were placed there on the first day of school in September and remained there until the end of the school season in late May!) All in all, our real goal was to see how much stuff we would get away with as final year students in school, collecting points on how much  we can brag to one another on the  stuff we got away with! Although we did know there would be a bit of harm pulling these pranks, but as long as we didn’t get caught in the process, then it was deeded as “OK”.
     Of course, there were a few gags that we did get busted for. But a good part of what we did we came out scot free where we did our bit to boast about it among our group when we met after school as a local donut shop that sold their morning donuts for half off after 3:00 PM.
     The members of this gang were always called by their nicknames. Using our real names were not as fun. Besides, having yourself labeled as something else was rather cool. So for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use the nicknames rather then the given names. Besides, I can’t necessarily remember their real names to begin with!
     Our unofficial leader was “Red”, named for the color of much of the clothing he would wear. There was “Snagman”, a guy that was also part of the AV club (A real “official” group that the school created–not by us!!)  Snag got his name because he always got tangled up in the extension cords used to plug in slide projectors, 16mm film projectors, and TV monitors. There was “Potter” who I later learned was a forth generation descendant of Potter Palmer, a 19th century business tycoon based in Chicago that among other things, operated the Palmer House Hotel–a place that’s still in operation today! (Potter I later learned was cut from the family estate many years before, so if he had any of the estate’s fortunes, he never spoke about it!) And there was me, known as “Rich”. (Why I didn’t get a nickname I’ll never know!)
     Perhaps the biggest stunt we were going to plan was to attempt to call a bomb scare at our school. After watching our load of action/adventure films in the local neighborhood movie houses that showed double features consisting of an “A” title along with a “B” movie, as well as watching those cop shows on TV, we through it would be neat to have the school evacuated while the cops would be rushing in riot squad style! We would witness all of the action and adventure right from our classroom window that overlooked the playground and the alleyway that ran behind out school building.
     So Red thought of the plan where somebody would call the school office to report of a bomb seen. We would do this on a Monday morning since it would extend our weekend a bit, and would give us a bit of excitement on a rather dull morning where everyone (or at least our group), would be free from being overly glassy eyed!
     As one could expect, we never when through our plot. About the Thursday before, we heard on the news that somebody else on for a bomb threat on another school somewhere. We found out that the FBI became involved on that investigation. We became so scarred over this notion, that we totally scraped the idea! If was good for us that we never discussed this plot with anyone outside of our group. We just shut down that plan, and quickly moved on to other things that would be a whole lot safer and easier to do!
     When it was coming toward the end of the school year, we planned to keep our gang going, meeting for the summer, and continuing to stick together in our teen years–perhaps even remaining through our so-called young adult stages. However, that was never to be. After we graduated, we all went our separate ways going to different schools, being with other kids, and taking upon new interests. Since we were a “boys club”, we would perhaps find other things to do with other people, including hanging around with that mysterious species called “girls”. We were finding them more attractive than ever and were a whole lot fun to do things with. Besides, they were not interested in calling strangers on the phone asking if they had colored stains on their underwear!
     It’s assumed that kids of today still take the time of discovering what they can do and what they can’t. Unlike our group that didn’t circulate outside of our school, in this age the world is upon their doorstep! Social media runs farther and wider than what we could have imagined in our day. But no matter how many things change, those same notions remain the same. They just have different labels, different functions, and different outcomes. As Red would say. “We’ll keep on doing it until somebody says no!” That’s just another part of life for a tweener!
                                         NEWS AND REVIEWS
     The Glendale Centre Theatre presents the comical thriller/whodunit by Robert Thomas and Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, a tale that speaks for a missing person, a mistaken identity, and alibis that holds more clues that truths!
      Brian Middleton is Daniel Corbin. He’s spending his honeymoon with his new spouse Elizabeth at a remote cable owned by his boss located in the Catskill mountains of New York state. An ad executive for an agency whose main client is Porsche, Daniel’s entitled to have access to one of their sports cars, taking one along for their trip. Shortly upon their arrival, Elizabeth disappears, and Daniel reports her missing to police inspector Levine (Richard Large). However, Elizabeth (JC Wendel) shows up! But it’s not Daniel’s spouse. It’s somebody Daniel doesn’t even know! But this Elizabeth seems to know a lot about Daniel. Even the priest from the local church, the good Father Kelleher (Don Woodruff) insists that it’s the genuine Elizabeth! But who is this person? Where is the real Elizabeth? Is Daniel, the overworked and newly married man, imagining things? Or perhaps there is a scheme involved since Daniel holds a rather large insurance policy worth a good amount of money! And is Father Kelleher and Inspector Levine involved in this plot–assuming there is a plot in the first place?
     This is a classic example of a play that mixes mystery, thrills, along with a healthy dose of comedy, adding the right blends or all forms of genres while evenly balances all three–or four if one accounts for a murder that takes place(!) The cast that appears in this production is also a fusion of regular faces, along with some returning faces that hasn’t graced the GCT states for a while, that are all honored to have returned. Richard Large and Don Woodruff are part of the theater’s rosters of rep players appearing in many past performances at this same theater, and are always a pleasure to see them perform once again. As to the rest of the cast, Brian Middleton as Daniel performs in a rather flexible fashion. He’s just as comic as he is series. JC Wendel as Elizabeth performs in a rather “straight” method, a manner that is quite amusing to see. (In the middle 1990’s, she was a regular cast member of the sitcom Dave’s World, a series that used its premise on the persona of real life newspaper columnist Dave Barry.) Tim Dietlein, artistic director for the Glendale Centre Theater, directs this show that moves within a swift yet controlled pace that never lets itself down until its final moments.
     Also appearing in the cast is Ed Thomas as Sidney, a delicatessen operator, Michael Shauhnessy as Everett Parker, Jr., Daniel’s boss, and Amanda Baily as “The Redhead”.
     For those that enjoy a classic mystery peppered with a dose of comedy, then CATCH ME IF YOU CAN will do that trick! It’s been noted that this reviewer isn’t suppose to revile upon how this mystery comedy ends itself out! That is for yours truly to know, and for you to find out!

     CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until May 7th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. An additional performance will be presented on Sunday, April 17th at 3:00 PM.
     For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at
     The Los Angeles Theatre Centre presents the world premier of THE DIG, a saga of an archaeologist who through the aid of a pair of Israeli colleagues, discovers a tomb to be of someone of importance as noted within the pages of the Old Testament.
     Stacie Chaiken portrays the persona of Sally Jenkins. As a young adult prodigy, she is accepted into an ivy league school within the studies of archaeology, even participating in a dig in Israel for a week’s time. Years later, she becomes an expect in such digs, holding a specialty of extracting DNA samples from minute fragments of bones and other remains of what’s left of human tissue. While grieving through the recent death of her mother (recent being less than a half hour after the fact), she receives a rather curious call from an official from Israel Antiquities, the government agency in charge of diggings and burial sites found in their nation, regarding a find located within an occupancy in the town of Jaffa. This region serves as a generational settlement to both Arabs and Jews, along with the strife these tribes have expressed toward one another. It appears that hidden in a cave located near an isolated monastery is a tomb with a well preserved corpse. From the information she receives from two local associates, Rashid and David, and based upon an ancient inscription found written on a small medallion type stone, this may be the tomb to the offspring of one of the more noted figures mentioned in the Old Testament. It’s up to Sally to use her DNA research and wizardry to discover the real truth behind this mystery that’s been covered up for thousands of years.
     This solo performance, written and performed by Stacie Chaiken, takes on the idea for this presentation based upon the eventual digging excursions that were (and are) occurring within this section of the Middle East. Using actual facts on this form of DNA research, an element rather new in this field, she spins an anecdote that blends elements of mystery, suspense, along with the art of human curiosity of civilizations long dead and nearly forgotten. (They become not forgotten due to these discoveries!) Unlike other one person shows where the speaker plays themselves telling humorous story remedies about what they did in their life, this presentation unfolds a narration that is a cross blend of The Da Vinci Code, an archaeology lecture, and a documentary programmed on “H”-formally known as The History Channel. Although there are some humorous moments told within this tale, most of what’s presented in downright serious, yet informative and entertaining. Stacie Chaiken herself created the premise to this story in the early 2000’s when she was commissioned by a couple who had seen one of Stacie’s plays to create a new work while based in Israel, in spite of the turmoil that has been going on for years in that nation. She eventually formed this rather well researched piece that describes via laymen’s terms, the art of using tested DNA technology to identify remains of those from civilizations long lost. Stacie as Sally depicts her part as one very convincing, enough to believe that Stacie/Sally can label those dust particles covered up through layers of humus and related dirt! Pamela Berlin directs this show that features the title character speaking to its audience in the same presence as depicted on those for noted H Channel documentaries.
      Along with Stacie’s stage presence, Yael Pardess’ set design consists of some curved gray stone pilings that blend to the actual theater space used, along with some archaeological dig artifacts one would have to take notice–from the frosted sheets of plastic to floodlights fixtures used as light sources found within deep dark crevices. Dmitry Kmelnitsky provides the video projection used occasionally when Stacie as Sally makes a specific point come across.
     The full title to this show is The Dig: Death+Genesis+The Double Helix. Again, the show is just as informative as it is entertaining. Describing this stage piece wouldn’t necessarily use the screaming “Ripped from the headlines of National Geographic!” line, but is sure comes pretty close!
    PS…The play’s “running gag” is a found gecko that eventually serves as Sally’s pet and personal good luck charm. The charm suffices its purpose as she never became a victim to a terrorist attack! (That notion is not connected to any spoiler alert!)

     THE DIG, presented by the Latino Theatre Company, and performs at the Los Angeles Theatre Centre, 514 Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles, until May 1st. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. Special Monday night performance takes place on April 18th at 7:30 PM. No performances on April 14th, 22nd, and 23rd.
    For information and ticket reservations, call (866) 811-4111, or via online at
     REVISION: In the review posted as The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake appearing in the previous issue (Vol. 21-No. 14), the correct title of this show is THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF TOLUCA LAKE-THE MUSICAL, and its costume designer is David Kay Mickelsen.
     Thanks to our eagle eyes out there to note these corrections!
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