Perhaps the above headline is a bit too rash. It should read “Live TV Isn’t As Live As It Once Was” so something to that effect. However, that same headline is a bit too long, and it’s still not totally accurate. Let us explain, shall we?
This article speaks toward the notion of watching television “live” without the aid of a DVR, a streaming service, a downloaded torrent app, or even a VCR. (Yep, although the good ol’ video cassette recorder isn’t as in vogue as it once was, some of those machines from not so long ago are still being used by folks out there in TV land!)
In this day and age where moving imagery can be consumed by any electronic device that sports a screen, watching television when it originally airs can be bypassed through various methods, from one’s phone, electronic pad, laptop, or any related method. Of course, watching a video element after the fact only makes sense through selection options. Scripted programs fall into the category of bring taking advantage of when it’s connivence for the viewer, but when it comes to timely matter from a standard newscast (especially when the newscast has a “breaking news” event), a sporting event (think Super Bowl Fifty One aka “ SB LI”), or even an awards show, watching live as it occurs makes a whole lot of sense. Then again, depending on what the program is all about, many of those folks are checking in through social media to place their two cents worth. Granted, much of this “two cents worth” has that kind of equal value, unless those tweeting away are backed by a well known name that has a million followers–give or take a few!
In this every changing world of ours (whatever that line means), people now have that the upper hand when it comes to viewing video content when the same viewer feels it’s the proper moment to do such. It’s not like back in the “good old days” when if one wanted to take advantage of watching a program of some kind, they had to park themselves in front of the television device at a certain day and time to look at the program for their own personal amusement. That was the basic method of becoming a TV viewer for one’s desired programming. That is, until the video cassette recorder was first made available to the public at large beginning in the late 1970’s. The VCRs available in the latter 1970’s were somewhat pricy for what they were. RCA’s VBT-200, known as the first VHS machine to be placed on the market in October of 1977, has a “suggested retail price” or about $1200.00. Blank 60 minute cassette tapes retailed for around $10.00, while two hour tapes came around $14.00 each! It wasn’t until the 1980’s when those handy machines dropped in price making those devices available to all, and brought the phrase “time shifting” into the TV watching vernacular.
Moving the calendar up some twenty five plus years later, the VCR faded toward the digital video recorder (DVR) in the middle 2000’s. The DVR was a device that was similar to the VCR of days before. Unlike the VCR that used physical videotape to record the programming desired, the DVR did the same thing, but to capture the imagery as a digital file imbedded onto a hard drive. Again, it did the same thing as a VHS tape did, but offered a cleaner high defination picture that even looked “live”, but wasn’t!
In today’s TV imaging, folks can now view content without necessarily capturing it on a hard drive, let along using a videotape, for later viewing. Streaming video, the art of watching imagery that comes from a source internet connected, is the way to go, or at least based on Nielsen’s third-quarter (2016) Total Audience Report. This report stated that live TV viewing actually slowed down during this period as the number of households with TV devices adding more streaming services, dropping down to around four hours and six minutes per day using a so-called “traditional” TV device. This can compare to an increase of using an app on a smartphone to view the same content. That came to an increase of two hours, ten minutes a day. (It was around one hour, fourteen minutes a day a year before!)
But rest assure folks, live TV is far from being deceased! It’s just not as common as it used to be. But with the Super Bowl coming around, as well as all of the entertainment based awards shows that feature the usual set of stars and related performers appearing on camera, folks will still tune in for all of the antics as they nearly occur. And if you can’t watch, there are the social media folks that will take the reins to present the play-by-play! Sometimes they do a better job in reporting what’s going down–whatever that means!
The West Coast Jewish Theatre presents the world premier production of Steven G. Simon & Howard Teichman’s FUGU, a story based upon true facts on a settlement of refugee Jews from Lithuanian emigrating to Japan during the early days of World War II.
The place is Kobe, a city located in the center portion of the nation. A colonization of some 6000 people of the Jewish persuasion had been established through an arrangement from Japanese diplomat Chiune Sigher, offering the refugees a safe distance from the Nazis that took over their former country. The Japanese minister of foreign affairs Colonel Nohiro Yasue (Ryan Moriarty) holds the notion to make terms with the USA by not getting into war, as he believes that President Roosevelt is of the Jewish persuasion and thus, tries to form an understanding between the US and Japan. He selects Dr. Avram Kaufman (Warren Davis) to become a delegate with the US in terms of factors of discussion of the Jewish sect between politics in Washington, finance through the traders at Wall Street, and through the movie studios in Hollywood. This diplomatic plan is called “Fugu”, named after the puffer fish that is a delicacy but is very toxic when incorrectly prepared. As an attempt to make this plan become in effect, there are other issues of concern that being to take note. There is Colonel Josef Messenger (David Preston), a German officer that is making check of the alliance made through the Nazi party and its allies, as with Japan, that the Jews not flee Japan, even as protected refugees. Adding to this political strife is Yasue chief aide Setsuzo Kotsuji (Scott Keiji Tacked) who is forming a friendly alliance with Sarah Kaufman (Rosie Moss), Dr. Avram Kaufman’s daughter. This alliance turns into a romance that is considered to be one as crossing lines of culture. The clouds of a world war are darkening as time progresses as many involved will feel some form of political and personal strife that places the lives of the Jewish population at stake.
This production tells a story in world history that isn’t well known. Howard Thiamin, artistic direction of the West Coast Jewish Theatre, first heard about these historical episodes while attending a Seder, meeting with a fellow attendee whose relatives fled to Japan to escape the Nazi suppression. This small encounter grew into an idea of a play. Joining forces with co-writer Steven G. Simon, the pair eventually developed a play that speaks upon a time in history where a country set for participation of world battle would assist a group of exiled peoples from an allied nation, allowing that populace to settle as a safe harbor. This play takes upon those historical moments and brings them all into this dramatic program that is as informative as it is entertaining. Although this theatre piece is a drama, there are some lighter episodes expressed that holds some comical tones, but never stays away from its dramatic and sobering moments. The cast of performers in the program speak out among themselves as they present their characters involved into a practice of keeping one’s faith and traditions through a backdrop of love and war! Along with the previous noted performers, Kaz Matura, Matt Gottlieb, Peter Altschuler, and Marcel Licera are also featured under the Howard Teichman’s stage direction.
In addition to the players that are seen on stage, the set decoration created by Kurtis Bedford combines customary Japanese motifs with traditional placement of Jewish artifacts. This establishes a sense of community for the refugees to stay as long as they are accepted in a colony far different than whence they came
FUGU is a very well written and well researched historical stage drama. It’s unique as it unfolds an episode during an era where many lives would be at stake while a force of world superpowers attempt to overcome through their dominate goals. Yes, there is a bit of dramatic license that is added to expand the story, but those bits of creation never seems to ever get into the way of what this play is all about–along with the fact that this production is highly recommended to see, and to possibly teach a respected lesson though its outcome!

    FUGU, presented by the West Coast Jewish Theatre and performs at the Pico Playhouse, 10508 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, until March 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 821-2449, or via online at
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) announced their nominations for the 89th annual Academy Awards on January 24th.
The following titles and names received the nomination for the following categories:

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Emma Stone – La La Land

Best Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Picture
Arrival (Paramount)
Fences (Paramount)
Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)
Hell or High Water (CBS Films)
Hidden Figures (Fox)
La La Land (Lionsgate)
Lion (The Weinstein Company)
Manchester by the Sea (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)
Moonlight (A24)

Jimmy Kimmel will host the awards ceremony, taking place on Sunday, February 26th at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center-Hollywood, and airs on ABC.
For a complete listing of nominations, visit the official AMPAS web site at
On January 23rd, The Golden Raspberry Foundation (RAZZIES) announced their list of nomination for the worst in feature films released in the previous calendar year.
The following titles and names has been selected for the worst in the following categories:
Worst Actor
Ben Affleck-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Gerard Butler-Gods of Egypt & London Has Fallen
Henry Cavill-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Robert de Niro-Dirty Grandpa
Dinesh D’Souza [as Himself]-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Ben Stiller-Zoolander No. 2

Worst Actress
Megan Fox-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Tyler Perry-BOO! A Medea Halloween
Julia Roberts-Mother’s Day
Becky Turner [as Hillary Clinton]-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Naomi Watts-Divergent Series: Allegiant & Shut-In
Shailene Woodley-Divergent Series: Allegiant

Worst Director
Dinesh D’Souza and Bruce Schooley-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Roland Emmerich-Independence Day: Resurgence
Tyler Perry-BOO! A Medea Halloween
Alex Proyas-Gods of Egypt
Zack Snyder-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Ben Stiller-Zoolander  No. 2

Worst Picture
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros.)
Dirty Grandpa (Lionsgate)
Gods of Egypt (Summit Entertainment)
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
(Pure Flix Entertainment)
Independence Day: Resurgence (Fox)
Zoolander No. 2 (Paramount)

The Razzie Awards will take place on Saturday, February 25th at a location to be announced.
For a complete listing of nominations and other details, visit the official Razzies web site at
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