Before we begin on this week’s topic, this writer usually tries to write upon a seasonal topic since we are smack dab in the middle of the so-called “holiday” season, a time to make merry and spend like the dickens–not to be confused by Charles Dickens who perhaps wrote the most famous story of the season that’s been milked to death since it’s not only timeless, but it’s also in the public domain, meaning that the long late Mr. Dickens (or his estate anyway), receives no royalties. But that’s besides the point!
In recent weeks, there has been flack going on stating that many of the “news” posts found on various Facebook entries has been declared as misleading, fabricated, and downright fake! This notion came to light around the time of the election were people who had entries on Facebook posted links to what was news about the election and the candidates that make it what is was, or what it was supposed to be based upon personal tastes.
For starters, posting so-called “news” on Facebook, or anywhere else for that matter, isn’t necessarily considered as fact. What resembles news isn’t necessarily “news” per se, but just somebody’s personal opinion over matters that is deemed important to the poster. Many people using social media take this source as a sounding board, a place to express their personal perspectives on elements that the writer feels somebody should know about it. It doesn’t matter who reads it, assuming that anyone would read it! Just as long as its out there. To quote a source attributed to nobody in particular who was commenting on posts placed on Twitter, (s)he called those 140 character tweets as “graffiti with punctuation”.
So-called “news” found on the net that isn’t necessarily fact is far from being new. To be precise, anything that was created as text on any form of internet based connections was the place to launch (or relaunch) bits of information that could be true, might be true, and as something that someone heard from somebody else that might be correct but wasn’t too sure about it! Many of the “urban legions”–those stories and details that’s comes and goes depending on how interesting the topic ranges, were hatched from electronic bulletin boards in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s. Chat rooms that spring up in the middle 90’s enhanced those so-called facts. As time progressed and when the ‘net began to flower, more misinformation became mixed in with the legit stuff. Before long, anything that came to light in terms of details over something or another began to blur. Before long, one has a runaway train of sorts that became a place to find out what was going on, and what could be going on.
Of course, there are many places in cyberspace land to find real news. Just about all traditional news sources, the ones that’s been around since the print days, are the places to find the real info. When it comes to sources that never existed as print, or ones that were created by individuals, those places for news can become questionable. Many of the bloggers out there and/or those that create podcasts tend to create stats that can be considered news, or elements that are just somebody’s personal ideals.
As noted before, the recent election and all of its aftermath created a flood of figures that some folks bought as real news. Because of all of the heat that was coming and going, these same folks logged on somewhere to pass these notes to all of their “followers”, “friends”, and anyone else that needed to know, or thought they needed to know. Thus, the explosion of the passing of real news verses the fake variety came to light just because it could be thanks to all of that social media that’s now part of the domestic landscape.
However, we will give you the readers out there a few basic guidelines on how to separate the fact from the fiction. We will call this the art of threes. If you hear about something or another on one source, try to find two other sources that report on the same topic. If the facts line up, then the news is real. If you can’t find another place that expresses the same details but speaks about the topic in question, proceed with caution. If the source is the only place to report on the story, then take it as somebody’s personal opinion or just somebody’s rant!
So there you have it! Now you know what’s the real stuff and what ain’t! And we won’t be offended if you take this article as something to keep in mind, or just another load of bulls#it! You won’t offend us!
Continuing its run as a guest production at the Odyssey Theatre is Jovanka Bach’s DEVIL’S SALT, a period piece set in the very early days of colonial America.
Within the King James Colony of Plymouth Bay, Hannah Mulwray (Katharina Magdalena) is facing trial by the leader of the community Hooker Wainwright (Tom Groenwald). The crime in question is practicing witchcraft. Hannah acting as a midwife, gave birth to a boy born stillborn. The child’s body was buried in a wooded area. When the child’s body was not found in its casket, it was assumed that Hannah was involved in witchery; a practice that was against the morals of the community as set by the religious beliefs of Hooker and his team of leaders. However, there is a notion of sexual obsession involved as set by Hooker and the other community principals. Hannah as a midwife, is faced with being a more superior woman than what was expected by its populace. This form of her knowledge poses as a threat to the political leaders, as well as to the community itself, making her more guilty to the act of witchcraft, a mysterious practice known but far from being understood.
This play is making its world premier at The Odyssey Theatre by the late playwright Jovanka Bach. (Bach passed on in early 2006.) The play itself is laden with a conflict that speaks for the time where religion and politics placed itself as a priority to its leaders as the sole set of rule. The drama found in this production is rather layered where Hannha’s character as portrayed by Katharina Magdalena is more of a woman of courage than someone evil and Tom Groenwald as Hooker is more fit as an underclass rather that the peer of the realm. Although the story line is set in the later 17th century, the method of dialogue spoken is more 20th century. That is acceptable as this form of spoken word is not only easy to understand for the theatre audience, but the dialogue moves the drama into a robust hight.
Besides the performances of the ensemble cast that features Robert Brettenaugh, Dana Kell Jr, Joseph Harris, Mona Lee Wylde, Erin Hammond, Lynn Wanlass, Alexander Wells, Susan Ziegler, Gillian Brasher, Phil Donlon, Tanya Starcevich, and John Landis, there are the visual aspects that make this production work. Jaret Sacrey’s set design is rather straightforward, consisting of a backdrop of a set of allied narrow and barren oversized twigs that could be trees, augmented with sets that can resemble physical structures or rooms. The backdrops serves as simple settings that doesn’t draw attention it itself, never getting within the way of the unfolding drama as witnessed on stage. Michaelyn Whitlock’s costume design hark of the period as well, ranging from colonial peasant to French inspired royalty.
Directed by John Stark, DEVIL’S SALT speaks upon of what was forming in a new settled land where its citizens sparked an equal of hope, hard work, beliefs of good, and the sense of the fear of the unknown where the practices of witchcraft enhanced this notion. The period may not have been remarkable, but this play does hold these truths.

DEVIL’S SALT, presented by John Stark Productions and performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 Sepulveda Blvd. (North of Olympic Blvd. and south of Santa Monica Blvd.) West Los Angeles, until December 18th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, log on to Additional information can also be found at
The 2017 movie award season kicks off early this year as the Broadcast Film Critics Association presented its 22nd annual Critics Choice Awards ceremony on December 11th, presented from The Baker Hanger facilities at the Santa Monica airport.
Silicon Valley star T.J. Miller serving as host, gave off a lively performance as the MC showing off his comic flair.
Among the many awards presented in both feature film and television programs, some of the highlighted categories awarded were Ryan Reynolds as Entertainer of the Year as presented by Entertainment Weekly magazine, and Viola Davis being awarded as the first recipient in the #SeeHer Award, a citation given to a woman serving as a performer that accurately portrays a female character in the media.
The most nominated film of the evening, The Lionsgate release La La Land took home eight awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay  for Damien Chazelle, Best Cinematography for Linus Sandgren, Best Production Design for David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, Best Editing for Tom Cross, Best Song, and Best Score for Justin Hurwitz.
As to on-screen performances, Casey Affleck won Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea (Amazon Studios) while Natalie Portman was awarded Best Actress for Jackie. (Fox Searchlight). Best Supporting Actor was awarded to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight (A24), and Best Supporting Actress was presented to Viola Davis for Fences. (Paramount).
For television, FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson won four awards; Best Movie Made for Television or Limited Series, Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series (Sarah Paulson) Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series (Courtney B. Vance), and Sterling K. Brown for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series. Silicon Valley (HBO) won for Best Comedy Series while Game of Thrones (HBO) won for Best Drama Series.
For a complete list of all nominees and winners in all categories, visit
(Side disclaimer: This writer is a member of the BFCA.)
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