BLACK WHAT AND CYBER WHO??

For the past number of years, people kicked offed their holiday season by going through the post modern traditional methods of shopping for the period, either grabbing gifts for somebody else, or goods for themselves. Stores and related retail outlets, ready to take advantage of those buyers that tend to perform their heaviest shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas (December 25th), host door busing sale periods that’s been called “Black Friday”. Taking the accounting term “black” meaning a profit margin earned, these sales occurred the day after Thanksgiving (the “Friday” part) where retailers would open at some early morning hour (6:00 AM or so), to offer rock bottom prices on selected goods that are only offered while supplies last. And usually, those on demand items are only offered in a very limited amount.
The goods in question tended to revolve around electronics such as flat screen TVs, computer devices, and the like, or some other form of good that usually costs more than one would want to pay. Practical goods or traditional gift items were rarely offered if at all, since there would be little demand or incentive to have people fight just because clothing (unless its designer label lines) sold at a lower rate would make folks come in at such a godly hour. And interestingly enough, those for noted electronic machines are usually purchased not as a gift per se, but as a good for the purchaser to be used as an common everyday item.
Cyber Monday, the extended version of “Black Friday”, speaks for the day where folks usually returning back to their office based jobs, would go online after the long weekend to scout the online retailers and related sources to find the same kind of bargains those so-called “brick and mortar” places offered. Unlike fighting crowds at a retail store at 6:00 AM, folks would be able to shop online without the usual skullduggery that goes on at real stores with real people!
Over the last few years, retails, both for real and in virtual cyberspace, offered their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals a lot earlier in the year. Some places started their shopping season around Columbus Day, hoping that folks flushed with spending cash would take advantage of the deals being offered far from the start of the traditional year.
The reason for this is explained in many methods. Perhaps the most obvious one is the fact that if an outlet offers something “hot” a few days or weeks before, then one will attempt to beat the crowds to buy it right then and then. Before long, other retails also catered to those early birds offering with the same deals they would have placed on the table that day after Thanksgiving and/or the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend.
Now you have a period where Black Friday and Cyber Monday isn’t as important as it used to be. With shoppers more aware than ever thanks to hand held electronic gadgets that sport video screens, one can get the scoop on all of the bargains long before one sets foot into a store and/or shop online. And unless the selection of deals is vast and assorted, one won’t necessarily look for a deal in a big screen TV set since the set purchased as a past Black Friday offering is still holding court in one’s home. Unless that set is to be replaced, then one is oft to buy. Then again, the deals offer and the reasons behind the purchases made will vary. So there goes your proof!
Whatever the case and whatever the method, the shopping season is going at full tilt. Because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, and Hanukkah week runs from December 24th (Christmas Eve) through January 1st (New Year’s Day), this planning gives retails a way to set face accordingly. And since the final week of the year is the slowest, it’s a great way to offer more deals and bargains that week so the retailers may place those purchases on their 2016 accounting books. That will keep them in the black while sporting the red, green, blue, and white!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Appearing at the Zephyr Theatre located in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles is the world premier of John R. Lacey’s GARDEL’S TANGO, a play with songs about a person who devised the modern version of a method dance that’s been noted to be the most romantic and perhaps the most erotic: The tango!
The story focuses upon Carlos Gardel, as portrayed by Anibel Silveyra. Gardel was a musical vocalist that would create melodic pieces that were fit for a style of dance from Argentina that was beginning to make its presence around the early years of the 20th century. Although Gardel was born in France and migrating to Buenos Aires at a young age, he fit in right away to the country’s culture. As an adult, he would set himself in the places where the tango was performed. Within this form of settings, he had many women at his disposal. One woman Isabel del Valle (Mantha Balourdou) became a romantic parter of his. But outside of his womanizing, there were others that assisted him to enhance the popularity of the tango. One person was an early musical parter known as The Maestro (Richard Lewis Warren), who became a mentor of his. Using his unique style, Gardel introduced this form of dance that later took the world by storm that continued long after Gardel’s career had concluded.
This play written and and directed by John R. Lacey, tells the story of Carlos Gardel who may not necessarily be a household name per se, but is the one responsible for creating the love affair of the tango, a dance that holds more style and grace than any other form of movement. The storyline is more of a deeper drama than a traditional biographical tale that starts at a root beginning and finishes the story with an obvious conclusion. This saga unfolds with Carlos singing the romantic ballads that augment this form of dance. These form of vocalizing throughout labels this play as a “play with songs” rather that a full fledged musical of sorts. Anibel Silveyra as Gardel sings his ballads in a rich vocal tone. Many of his vocal numbers are performed in an acapella style. Although the for noted musical tones are just as important toward this method of singing, one has the moment to hear Silveyra sing those expressive ballads that are intense yet never overshadows the storyline where traditional musicals tend to contain.
The cast of performers that appear in this program also include Saratoga Ballantine, Hildy Brooks, Agustin Coppola, and Hollie Sokol. Daniel Keough provides the set design, and Alicia Savio provides the tango choreography that fits right in as a part of the mood and ambiance toward this form of dance.
The tango is a variety of expressive dance that is seen as something very moody and holds extensive sex appeal. This play not only shows the tango in its peak form, but also expresses the saga of the person that introduces this dance to the world. Very few, if any other, types of ethnic dances contain this element of appeal, and this stage showcase discloses this saga in its keen fashion.

     GARDEL’S TANGO, presented by IP Entertainment Productions, and performs at the  Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, until December 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 6:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (626) 381-9767, or via online at http://www.artful.ly/store/events/10033
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RULE DON’T APPLY (Fox) takes place in the latter years of the 1950’s-1958 to be exact. There has been a big casting call for a new feature film where young upcoming startles are being sought by RKO Pictures for the lead playing role. One of the many starlets that are called is Marla Marbly (Lily Collins) an actress, songwriter, and beauty queen from a small Virginia town. She comes from a strict Baptist background as well, making herself as “pure”. She arrives in Hollywood being picked up by driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich). Frank is a very ambitious yet humble soul that also comes from a strict religious background also hailing from a small town (Fresno). His employer is the head of RKO studios–millionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Both Marla and Frank know of the mystery behind the man. Frank has never met him as he is always in a sense of hiding. Even Hughes’s staff can’t seem to get him out of his shell to discuss company business, from Hughes Company senior head leader Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick), Hughes CEO Noah Dietrich (Martin Sheen) and Hughes’ secretary Nadine (Candice Bergen). As Marla is settled in a lush rented Hollywood Hills home paid for by Hughes, she and Frank takes upon a relationship. However, there is a rule within Hughes’ company that forbids that “no employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress”. Although Marla is single, Frank is “married” to his middle school aged sweetheart Sarah Bransford (Taissa Farmiga) still living in Fresno. However, Marla does have the chance to meet with Hughes himself where the two strike their own relationship that adds to the mystery behind the man, and the operations he appears to preside over.
This feature, written, directed, and starring Warren Beatty takes a look at the life of Howard Hughes through a rather fictional “Hollywood-esque” point of view. The screen play by Beatty with story by Beatty and Bo Goodman, focus upon a number of factors: The slow building relationship between Marla and Frank, the eclectic relationship between Marla and Hughes, and the conflicts between Hughes and his staff where his team is fighting off a threatened lawsuit between TWA and his Hughes aircraft company of mismanagement issues. What makes this movie appealing is the period and setting that the actions occurs; Specifically, the late 1950’s where Hollywood itself was spending its final years from being the closed studio system and RKO itself was on its last legs. (RKO as a film studio ceased operations in 1958, later selling itself off to General Tire!) But getting back to the film itself. It does boast a teeming number of character performers that add to the flavor and context this feature has to offer, The other know players include Dabney Coleman as Raymond Holiday, Steve Coogan as pilot Colonel Nigel Briggs, Megan Hilty as actress Sally, Oliver Platt as businessman Forester to name a few. As with period films, there is a lot of eye candy to see in terms of design from and of the era. Jeannine Oppewall provides the production design with Nancy Haigh’s set decoration that shows off a lot of 50’s modern era dressings that are from an time where function followed fashion. The same goes for Albert Wolsky’s costuming that ranges from formal stylish to semi “cool”. Caleb Deschanel’s cinematography is just as stunning to look at; reminding those movie watchers that this picture is a drama laded period piece, rather than another action adventure CGI overloaded shoot-em-up!
Not everything seen and heard within this film is perfect. It dose suffer a bit from “invisible juke box syndrome”, where music from the period (rock and roll mostly, but a few standards are placed for balance) is heard on the soundtrack coming form nowhere. This form of musical backdrop serves to add to the mood and flavor for the period it speaks for. It’s not annoying, but it’s a movie making method that was beaten to the ground in the 1990’s! However, it dose offer an original song: “Rules Don’t Apply”, composed by Eddie Akin (music) and lyrics by Lorraine Feather, a mellow ballad that has the sound of a musical piece from the era that’s placed within the context of the story, rather than a tune slapped at the end credits as an afterthought. This same musical number will most likely be nominated as “Best Original Song” at the upcoming Academy Awards fest, since many of its voters came to age in the same era this movie speaks about!
RULES DON”T APPLY is a film for the more “seasoned” (i.e. older) crowd that still will go to movies in theatres as they did back in the day. This element isn’t bad for what it is. In fact it’s fine! However, it’s a title that is nothing to compare akin to those summer hits where everything is either animated or is part of some kind of “tent pole” picture in order to create a money making franchise. But that’s the Hollywood now, just like what was the Hollywood then!
This movie is rated PG-13 for sexual material including brief strong language, thematic elements, and drug references. Opens on November 23rd at a number of theatres nationwide.
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Angel City Chorale presents BRING ON THE JOY, a concert set for the holiday season that offers a selection of musical numbers led by a 160 plus member choir backed by a twenty five piece orchestra.
Sue Fink, Artistic Director for the ACC, will head the ensemble on a musical journey of traditional and contemporary songs and musical pieces that cover many cultures and observances from classic spiritual to the modern era. There will be melodic selections that are well known, and a variety that are ready for new found discovery. From scores with African, Celtic, and Medieval roots, to those extracted from Gospel, R&B, and even popular standards sources with a few post modern selections tossed in will be presented that celebrate the seasonal time that speaks for joy, hope, peace, and all points in between.
The concert will take place for two shows only, Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th at 7:00 PM at Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd. in the Hancock Park district of Los Angeles. This church has been the pillar of this community for some ninety years and serves as the performing home of the ACC. With its grandiose spacing and near pitch perfect acoustics, this location is ideal to host such a concert that follow with the grandest traditions of style, grace, and overall total enjoyment for all ages.
For more information on the Angel City Chorale’s presentation of BRING ON THE JOY, as well as to order tickets (save five dollars per ticket when obtained in advance), call (310) 943-9231, or via the ACC’s website at http://www.AngelCityChorale.org
  Note: This notice also appeared in the previous issue.
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