LANDLINE HO!

In the category of “so what else is new?”-type news, it’s been reported that more than half (52%) of adults in the USA live in households with cell phones but no landline phone, so says a research report from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer.
According to findings from the GfK MRI’s Fall 2016 Survey data release, based on interviews with approximately 24,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, cell phone households showed an increase doubling in count within the last six years from 26% in 2010 to the 52% in 2016. As expected, those in the younger demographic has the biggest take of wireless phones. Millennials (those born after 1980) stand in as 71% cell phone only. The Gen Xers (born 1965 through 1979) tag in as second place at 55%. The ever lovin’ Baby Boomers (’46 through ’64) are only in at 40%.
The report also broke down ethnic and racial groups in terms of wireless homes. Hispanic or Latino origin of descent lead in the highest incidence of landlineless phones at 67%. Asian decent comes in next at 54%. White/Causation stands at 51%, and African Americans at 50%.
The northeast part of the nation has the least amount of homes without a land line, coming in at 39% The reason for this is many of the media companies that do business in that area offer packages with internet and TV service along with phone, making the internet and television offerings a priory while having hardwired phone service as an afterthought. (57% households in this region have package deals.) This compares to the homes in the midwest (53%) and south (57%) with cell phones and nothing else.
This bit of information, as amusing at it may read, just states the obvious where hardline phones have lost its luster within the last ten years. Granted, having a landline phone didn’t necessarily offer anything unique outside of calling plans (unlimited phone usage to anywhere in the nation or world, call waiting, etc.). But as cell phones moved from their novelty stage to being a way of life, having a phone device sitting on a desk or countertop was losing its appeal.
Many people kept their landline service because they were receiving their internet service via a phone line. At first, internet service came from a modem that would dial a dedicated phone number to connect with the internet company making that high pitched squealing noise so you would know that you were “on line”, but the service was rather slow for what it was and it would tie up your phone line. If somebody wanted to call somebody while on the ‘net, they would receive a busy signal until you “logged off”. Later, internet companies would offer service that still came from a phone line, but would keep your phone service open. Both signals would remain on the line with your traditional phone handling all the voice calls while a modem would remain on at all times with the internet. However, if your phone service was interrupted through a cut line or through a weather situation, your internet would go out too!
When cable companies offered internet service along with TV and other forms of media, folks switched from phone lines to dedicated cable. That would mean that a landline wasn’t necessary anymore, and that phone number assigned to that land line became disconnected and no longer in service!
Many of the hardline phone providers, such as AT&T and Verizon among other providers, are players in the cell phone industry. Although these telcos do offer the service to businesses who still reply upon hardline phones, many consumers shy away from landlines and thus, don’t necessary push this type of phone offerings as much as they used to as the profit margin is rather low. Many folks are not even aware that hardline service is still available. But with the lower demand, the phone companies will still provide such services only upon request.
Time will tell on the fate of the consumer landline. If it does go away totally, that won’t be for a while. But will it be missed? Some folks, especially those that can remember the times in question, reminisces about the days of the milkman making the rounds each morning, about the same time of day when the paper boy (and it was nearly always a boy) would deliver the morning paper. And if one lived in a cold climate, the coal man would come around making a delivery of coal. These elements make up part of the nostalgia that made the good old days, well…good! But as they say, memory ain’t what it used to be!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre West presents the world premier of Darryl Vinyard’s FAMILY ONLY, a darkish comedy of a family gathering to celebrate the ownership of a homestead by one of its siblings, and the complications that go with everything else!
The setting is the home of Will and Nicole (Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker), a couple pushing middle age who is on their way to make the “American Dream” come true by their purchasing a 1950‘s-era ranch house located in a “south of the boulevard” Sherman Oaks neighborhood. In order to commemorate this ownership, they decided to have a get together with other members of the family. Coming along for the backyard party along where the pool is set is father Will (Frank Gangarossa), his third wife Brenda (Sheila Shaw), Will’s half sister Andrea (Anne Leyden), and Will’s grandmother Amanda (Dianne Travis). While Will and Nicole are hosting their event with the usual selection of picnic foods, the people in attendance tend to speak up for what’s going on with their lives. Will has a great idea for an invention he wants to market and hopes that his son and daughter-in-law can invest some much needed cash for his idea. Andrea announced that her divorce has just been finalized, so far taking custody of her six year old daughter Chloe. What makes matters worse is the fact that Andrea can’t hold a job and she’s behind on her rent–enough to be evicted and eventually become homeless in just a matter of days! (She’s even hoping that Will and Nicole will take her in!) As the party progresses, moods change for the worse! Grandma Amanda, a feisty old coot, won’t even put up with what’s going on! Before long, tempers tend to go out of hand while this family proves how out of balance everyone appears to be, because they are!
This very witty comedy by Darryl Vinyard has about everything one would want to experience that speaks for a family that is just as dysfunctional as anyone can get! Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker as Will and Nicole are a hard working childless-for-the-moment couple that fought tooth and nail to grab that part of the American Dream, even if that dream needs a bit of TLC–for the house anyway! Frank Gangarossa as Will is the dad that was just as hard working and wants to do best for his kids, even though the kids won’t do the best for his needs! Sheila Shaw as Brenda is the type that has to put up with a lot, although she isn’t treated as “real” family! (She is Will’s third wife!) Anne Leyden as Andrea is a middle aged obnoxious and borderline neurotic woman that can’t seem to get her act together, holding on to the notion that everything bad happens to her and won’t take the blame for her bad luck! And Dianne Travis as Amanda is a two fisted and hard drinking woman that has been around for quite a while, and won’t let anyone forget it! These forms of personalities make this comedy a rip-roaring riot! This domestic family as depicted on stage is far from being perfect and sweet. They are just inches away for nearly killing each other as that’s how families really act! (Admit it folks! The only perfect families around were only depicted in 1950’s and 1960’s TV sitcoms where problems were created and solved within a 25 minute time slot–not counting commercial breaks!) Anden Teresa Lewis directs this “dramity” that holds a taste of sweet bitterness with an emphasis of comical hijinks without the so-called happy ending!
As to the stage sets, Jeff G. Rack creates a setting of a backyard patio area that is normally found in a typical 1500 square foot patch of homestead located in the San Fernando Valley, complete with stone wall fence, sliding glass door, and a color scheme painted in blue. This tint was a very common color found on homes built around the same era when perfect families were depicted on TV sitcoms each week!
FAMILY ONLY is a comedy that proves to domestic society that the “fun” in dysfunctional either means there is plenty of amusement to be experienced, or to describe the setting in an acronym that stands for “F-cked Up Nation” where everyone seems to live in. This play ain’t a 50’s/60’s sitcom and doesn’t try to become one! (Thank goodness!)

FAMILY ONLY, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until March 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. A special talkback session with the cast and crew will take place after the Sunday, February 19th performance.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 851-7977, or via online at http://www.TheaterWest.org
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The Falcon Theatre presents the world premier of FOR PIANO AND HARPO, written and starring Dan Castellaneta that is about the life and times (or ups and downs) of pianist Oscar Levant.
Dan Castellaneta plays Oscar, who started in his career as a classical pianist. Originally from Pittsburgh, he came to New York City to continue his study in piano. He eventually became part of the Broadway music scene hobnobbing with some of the influential folks in New York, and eventually became part of the Algonquin Round Table. But with such hobnobbing, Oscar himself was never on any sane level. Addicted to various forms of pills, he finds himself at the Psych Ward at Mr. Sini Hospital. While in the ward, his personal story moves from various points in his life, from his rocky marriage with his spouse June, to his friendship with Arthur “Harpo” Marx, and his existence under the shadow of George Gershwin, a personality that he could have been just as good as! Oscar’s emotional journey finds himself into a trip of his lifetime that takes a lifetime to complete, if he will ever complete it!
This is a tale that is about one of the greatest pianist known within the music circles that is also the most forgotten. Told in a nonlinear fashion, the story opens on Jack Parr’s post-Tonight Show talk program, then moves to the hospital psych ward from a few years before, then shifts to the interior of Harpo’s rented home during the time he was working with his two brothers, and in all points in between! Dan performs as Oscar in the various points in his life as he deals with his phobias, fears, relapses, and recoveries. He is seen as his own anti hero, both as the good guy and the not-too-well villain that deserved more credit that he could have had.
This show features a well refined supporting cast that perform in multiple roles. JD Cullum appears as Harpo both as the stage Harpo and as “Arthur”, Deb Lacusta is featured as June Gale a.k.a. June Levant, the second wife of Oscar’s that lived through his rises and falls. Gail Matthius, Phil Proctor, and Jonathan Stark also co-star in a variety of roles. (Stark, by the way, plays Jack Parr to an uncanny “T”!) Stefan Novinski directs this production that moves between comedy and drama, keeping the laugh factor in humorous gear while the drama portion sets itself into a stance that never becomes too heavy nor too light.
And since this is a tale about a musician, there are musical interludes heard. As visual backstage performers, musical director David O plays the piano parts for Dan’s role as Oscar (Dan himself never plays a piano, let alone touches one), and Jillian Risigari-Gai performs on the harp. JD Cullum as Harpo is just as silent on the instrument his character is almost named for!
FOR PIANO AND HARPO is rather amusing for what the show is, focusing itself on a personality in the Classical Music/Broadway/Hollywood scene that has since been left as an afterthought. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of his death, and perhaps this presentation will pay its well deserved respect to a man of the keyboards that had as many rises as he did failures. There won’t be another personality as great as Oscar Levant was in his prime because musical tastes has since changed–for the better or for the otherwise!

     FOR PIANO AND HARPO, presented by A Laugh Then Think Production, and performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until March 5th. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 955-8101, or via online at http://www.FalconTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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