Not too long ago, we received an e-mail from one of our readers that made an inquiry regarding a suggestion on a topic to write about.
You write about all things radio, TV, movies, and the like. Why don’t you write more stories about your personal life through these mediums? You don’t have to write about something cute or anything like that. Just write a story from your life!..
Although we do write about the above sources that Phil has mentioned, we have at times written about personal tales that this writer experienced over time and tide. (The most recent example appeared in Vol. 21-No. 15). Many of the tales yours truly tends to spin out are based on fact with a bit of creative license thrown in to make the story more entertaining for what it is. (These sagas come from my own experience, and I can do whatever I damn well please with ‘em!) After all, when one takes a good hard look, one’s life is rather boring and dull. The so-called reality shows seen all over the TV landscape are called such because they don’t necessarily follow a script where the performers on camera speak dialogue that is verbalized word-for-word, but they do follow some kind of continuity. Otherwise, the shows would not make much sense and they would be hard to follow.
But while we are on the subject of tales from the “dark side” so to speak, this writer (“me”) will make some kind of attempt to tell (or retell) an episode ripped from the pages from the story of my life and times. This won’t be anything as to a formal announcement from a diary a la One Man’s Family where we dictate from Book IX, Chapters XV through XVII. (If nobody understood that previous reference, then don’t worry about it!) However, we will note that the following story is based upon fact. Some of the names, places, dates, and other details have been changed due to fuzzy memories. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…!
Twenty five years ago around this time of year (middle April to be exact, but still twenty five years ago), I was able to attend a conference conducted by a group called Alpha Epsilon Rho, a professional collegiate fraternal organization for those involved in the study of electronic media. Unlike the so-called standard fraternities found on college campuses where such frats are “animal house” dumps, AERho is a group for undergrad students who desires to become in the TV and radio biz, either in front of the camera, behind the mic, or perhaps from behind the scenes. Every year, AERho hosts a national convention meeting at a hotel or conference center where many of its student members from around the nation meet to participate in media workshops, hear speakers from the industry talk about what’s going on, as well as participating in ever loving networking sessions that’s all part of the business.
Back then, I was a member of an AERho chapter at the school I was attending. At one semi weekly meeting held in a dumpy classroom found within the basement of the communications building, the president of the school chapter made an announcement for the upcoming national convention that was going to be held in the spring at the Sheridan Universal City hotel in Universal City, California. There was a scholarship program made available for those who desired to attend, but couldn’t pay the registration fees. This scholarship would cover the entire expense to attend the convention minus lodging and transportation.
Taking this as an opportunity, I went ahead and applied for the scholarship, filling in a number of pages within its application as well as supplying some other documentation now long forgotten, and sent the entire package mailing it to the AERho headquarters to some PO Box. (Remember folks. This was in the early 1990’s, long before that pesky thing called the “internet” was ever made available!)
After months of waiting, I was eventually awarded the scholarship. Now I was able to attend the conference that was to take place nearly 2000 miles away. The only thing to do was to figure how to get there!
To make a long story shorter, I was able to finagle a cheap flight from a local travel agency to Los Angeles via TWA. (Remember the era this took place folks!) They even arranged a place for me to stay as well as renting a car. The agency i worked with treated me rather well. Sadly, I have since long forgotten the agency’s name, or if they are even still in business!
This would not be my first time in Los Angeles, I was in the city a year before for a job interview with an up and coming cable TV channel (That epic was retold in detail in Vol. 20, Nos. 8 and 9.), as well as through a vacation trip some six years beforehand. However, unlike those trips where my time was either limited, or became I was on “vacation”, this time I was more free to do what I wanted in terms of finding out what’s going on in this burg.
But long before my trip was to take place, I through I would take advantage in contacting a few companies and some of the people I knew of who was based in LA, asking if I can stop in to say hello, take a look at some of their facilities, and perhaps kiss up to them for a job. So I tuned toward my old Smith-Corona electronic typewriter, and hacked out a few letters informing the person I was writing to that I was going to be in town around that time and if I can come in for personal greetings. I would call them before then to confirm if my request would be OK. SInce the convention was some two months away, this would give enough time for the letters to arrive, not giving any impression that was was just showing up at a moment’s notice.
About two week before my trip, I did indeed followed up to these folks, making my calls after 5:00 PM. This was due to the fact that I was in the central time zone, and any long distant phone calls were cheaper to make between 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM. When I would phone from 5:00 PM onward, it would only be 3:00 PM pacific time in Los Angeles. I was rather surprised that the people I called would still be in their offices well after 6:00 PM (PST), so I would be on the phone well after 8:00 PM where it was already dark outside!
A few contacts either could not see me or never returned my call. However, a good number of them were pleased to meet up with me. So I had to plan just how to get to where they were based on where I would be. This meant grabbing an LA street map from the AAA that would show me the various streets and highways that cris cross the vast region that LA had to offer.
So what happened from there? I’ll keep you readers in suspense to continue my all-but-true take in next week’s exciting episode of Tell Us About Your Life-Again! See you then!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Heather Dowling stars in UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY…, a solo show currently performing at The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks about one woman’s journey through the work force, taking upon over thirty jobs in some thirty years and lived to tell it all…barely!
In this bare bones performance, Heather unfolds the all-true saga of how she had so many jobs since she was the tender age of fourteen, she could hardly keep track! Her first gig was working for a video store in her hometown of Aurora, Colorado. From there, she worked in various shoe and clothing stores, as well in restaurants, retail shops,a startup company or two, as well as having a stint in the Navy. (The real U.S. Navy!) In spite of all of these career changes, she had her dream job in order to become…an actress! However, a high school guidance councilor told her otherwise not to hit the stage, but to become a journalist! (She had an internship at her hometown newspaper, giving her the qualifications of writing news stories as a career.) Over time and tide, she met many a boyfriend along the way. Some of her beaus were for real, while a few were for the moment. But eventually she did find the man of her dreams. But there were some of her low periods to deal with, from losing her father and stepdad to cancer, as well as Heather getting a form of MS that could have taken her life. But with a lot of high sprit, Heather did gain her dream job by performing a solo show that tells about all of the jobs she had!
This one woman show written and performed by Heather Dowling, is very comical. The jobs she held were mostly dull and routine. But the laughs that bring the presentation to light is the characters she plays that fall upon the many phases in her life that range from coworkers to boyfriends and back again! Jessica Lynn Johnson directs Heather through her many work junkets, proving that one can’t keep a good woman down in spite of the fact that she nearly did it all, as well as being a surviver to the illness that nearly took her in!
Heather Dowling holds a whole lot of spunk that give her plenty of joy. Perhaps that is why this show with its seventy or so minute running time, moves in its brisk pace. And why is the show called UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY…? After holding on to 30+ gigs, she actually has a period of not working! However, since she is working in this presentation, her unemployment status has been placed on hold…for now!
UNEMPLOYED. FINALLY, presented by Jasminelou Productions and performs at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, until June 10th. Showtimes are Friday nights at 8:00 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or online at
SHINE DARKLY, ILLYRIA, Megan Brown’s fantasy play that foretells upon an odyssey between the populace of a remote island and a figure that is looked upon by a queen of this community that is given a sign of things to come, performs as a world premier at Hollywood’s McCadden Place Theatre.
The island itself is called Illyria. Olivia (Mercedes Manning) is part of this congregation where the others that inhibit within are free sprits, engaging in multiple intimate pleasures. They take credence to a figure that is The Moon (Alana Marie Cheuvront). She is seen upon as a shining hope to those that look upon her. The method that The Moon can be communicated with is through a crude device: a communication vehicle that resembles a phone consisting of a soup can with a string attached. Olivia receives a message from this goddess from the heavens about an ecological shortcoming created through human neglect. Olivia can change things for the better if she takes heed in this warning. But alas, doesn’t proceed. This paradise of free form dynamism can continues for its inhabitants, or it can experience its own demise.
This fantasy play takes its basic plotting from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and creates a world that blends a domain that cross through a Carnivale-esque atmosphere full of wonder, holding upon traces of erotica, magic, as well as the mysteries these emotions carry. This setting it speaks for takes the theatre audience into a world that exists more in mind, rather than a physical place.
The place itself is full of fantastic beings that completes this sprit of awe and admiration. Many of those appear to be rather ragtag–thanks to Allison Dillard’s costuming that is as fit to a player in a surreal circus and as simple to a thrift shop outfit that keep these fantasies enhanced. Along with the costumes, Ray Salas’ sound design uses musical mixes that merge classic early 20th century jazz riffs with post modern beats that hark legacy vs. contemporary while staying in the delusional world as depicted. Jessica DiBattista’s choreography incorporates the amazement this production presents to itself as well. Jeanine Ringer’s set design takes upon the minimal approach by using blue color tones that illustrates the Moon’s shine akin toward its setting.
The ensemble cast that appear in this program consists of as listed in their alphabetical order, Julia Aks, Robyn Buck, Jennice Butler, Jessica DiBattista, Emily L. Gibson, Sage Howard Simpson, Jeff Marras, Tyler Menjivar, Jim Senti, Jason Vande Brake, and Benny Wills.
Directed by Amanda McRaven, SHINE DARKLY, ILLYRIA is a theatre journey for the sight, sound, and mind. The moon does shine as the title suggests. With its free spirit, there is the “unless” that its speaks for that can be sited if one only allows.
SHINE DARKLY, ILLYRIA, presented by Fugitive Kind Theatre, performs at the McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 North McCadden Place (one block north of Santa Monica Blvd. at Lexington), Hollywood, until May 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM, with a Saturday matinee at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (702) 204-6179, or via online at http://www.artful.ly/fugitive-kind
Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena presents the southern California premier of Roland Schimmelpfinning’s THE GOLDEN DRAGON, a play that narrates upon a number of episodes that focuses itself upon an isolated incident at the titled Asian restaurant.
“The Golden Dragon” is a self described Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese urban eatery that offers this type of cuisine for those that desire their food fast and cheap for what it is; nothing that constitutes this place as a four star establishment! Five nameless kitchen chefs are working away in the joint’s busy kitchen, preparing their numbered menu items. One of the cooks on duty has a toothache attack. wailing from the pain. A fellow cook has an idea to pull the tooth out. From this point, the storyline shifts between other components that holds a connection to this restaurant and the ailment in question. Among these stories told speak for a pair of overseas flight attendants dining at the restaurant, a downcast old man meeting his pregnant granddaughter whose boyfriend is irritated at being a father by default, a married couple on the verge of splitting up, interjected with a telling of the Aesop classic and oft told fable of the hard working ant and the lazy grasshopper, changed here to a cricket. These mini sagas are revealed in a non linear fashion where its caricatures are portrayed crossing age, gender, ethnicity, and physical abilities as depicted.
This play written by Roland Schimmelpfinning and translated from the original German by David Tushingham, mixes a selection of themes and genres that blend drama, comedy (not the “ha ha” variety, but more of the surreal mode), with plenty of medefores added into the jagged story line that anticipates a moral that is as cut and dried to a bowl of steaming wonton soup! The stories recited within this stage work leads toward an opening whose middle and end isn’t as clear at first, but rather, all ties with one another, down to how this cook’s toothache is “cured”. (The tooth itself winds up in a place where instead of a lawsuit between the patron vs. the establishment is filed, the finder of the former body part keeps it as a token of some sort; A good luck charm perhaps!) The five cast members that appear in this program, consisting of (as listed in their alphabetical order), Susana Batres, Joseph Kamal, Justin H. Min, Theo Perkins, and Ann Colby Stocking, are a cross blend of races that are grouped as White, Black, Asain, as well as one player being “physically challenged”, using political correctness lingo! This mix enhances the blend of the world population at large, even when the person playing their role doesn’t necessarily stay as to what they really are! (A man playing the woman’s part, an Asian character portrayed by a non Asian, etc.) Michael Michetti directs this one act play set within a stage space consisting of a selection of scaffolding that resembles a construction site where some of the scaffolding itself is laced with sting lights embedded, as designed by Sara Ryung Clement. This method of imaginative scenic design uses this form of placement in a fluid manner where each story installment can change from one episode to the next without the unfolding drama (or “comedy”) taking place in the wrong location! (i.e. the ant and the cricket at the restaurant’s kitchen, the grandfather and granddaughter in the ant’s lair, and so forth!)
THE GOLDON DRAGON is a play that is quirky, dreamlike, and unlike actual Chinese food, doesn’t leave you hungry an hour after consumption. Granted, it may leave a slight aftertaste. But then again, that’s the way the fortune cookie crumbles!
THE GOLDEN DRAGON, presented by and performs at The Theatre @ Boston Court, 70 North Mentor Avenue at Boston Court, (one block north of Colorado Blvd and one block east of Lake Street), Pasadena, until June 5th. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 683-6883, or via online at http://www.BostonCourt.org
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