HELL IN A HAND BASKET

Not too long ago, I was with an associate driving him around town to take care of his number of errands. This person, who I’ll call “Olif” (I changed his name to protect myself from possible lawsuits), presently has a bad foot due to an advanced case of diabetes. He can’t drive himself around, so as a courtesy to him as I knew Olif for some time, I sometimes play taxi driver for him.

During our misadventures going from one unremarkable place to another, Olif tends to engage conversation with me. Sometimes he asks me advice upon getting himself published–he is currently writing a book discussing a physics entry, a topic that this writer knows nothing about, or perhaps something in the news.

One question he asked, or actually, a series of questions, dealt with the conflicts going on in North Korea. He was rather concerned over North Korea’s collection of arsenal, mostly in the form of H-bombs.

Among the many inquires he made to me, he asked be about what if that nation let loose a series of bombs toward Los Angeles. He asked “If a bomb went off in Los Angeles, would my homeowners insurance cover the damage, or would FEMA take care of it?” He also went on over other inquiries that, when finding them in another perspective, would sound like a series of skit ideas performing on Saturday Night Live.

He also went on upon other concerns within this nation, drifting back and forth over the current political regime. Finally, he make a general statement on the shape of things.

“Do you think that the world is finally going to hell in a hand basket?”, he asked me, right before he went upon another semi-topical subject.

I really didn’t know if Olif was serious with his questions, or was he just trying to be funny. Granted, his various errands he wanted to me do for him wasn’t anything remarkable. If fact, it was rather boring and dull! Perhaps he was asking me these questions and stating his concerns just to break the monotony over this nearly forgettable afternoon.

However, the statement he did inquire about that spoke upon–the world going to hell in a hand basket, was the one that had some form of meaning, especially of what’s been going on within the previous weeks.

When anything happens, be it for the good or for the not so good, the news of such can travel as fast as the elements will allow. If the news is good and it’s of importance, such details can make a decent flow. When the news is more of a tragic nature, it tends to move much faster with every little detail reported within seconds of occurrence. And thanks to social media, just about anyone with some tech knowledge, as well as an ever lovin‘ cellphone, can send text messages and capture still and/or moving imagery (i.e. digital photos and videos) ready to be uplinked via any platform that accepts such elements. (Twitter, YouTube, etc.)

In the case of tragic events from the big ones to the trivial occurrences, such information can be sent by anyone and accessed by anyone! And since the notion of news that uses the oft quoted yet unwritten law of “If It Bleeds It Leads” sneers, the bad stuff rises above the good details, no matter how important or trivial the tragic facts may appear.

Since the days when technology became accessible and somewhat affordable, people held the tendency of capturing each and every moment of their lives for all to see. Even when such imagery isn’t available online per se, people can record just about anything and everything they want. There has been countless details on, let’s say, a new birth taking place. Many of those not only make an attempt to capture the actual birth through moving imagery, but will forward the images to those that are within the birther’s domain. And if they want to upload the pictures and/or video somewhere, so be it!

But getting back to the tragic events. When something does occur, such as the episode that took place is Las Vegas recently, imagery of what went on was being uploaded within minutes of the episode with a few pieces of moving imagery going online as live! And these images were not performed by any professional news media. They were created by John and Jane Q. Public with their every present phones in hand, always ready, willing, and able to capture the moment for all to see!

When the recent natural disasters from fires, floods, earthquakes, and unsettled weather patterns occurred, there were news reports coming in at a breakneck pace, mostly from those that were in the area when everything happened. And since all of this bad news were coming in by the second, one may think that society is letting loose and thus, going to hell in a hand basket!

There have been tragic events going on in this nation and the rest of the world since the beginning of time. Depending on the occurrence, the news and information of such episodes traveled in a slower pace. If the tragic episode was localized, such as a house on fire, one would not know about that house fire if they were not in the neighborhood where the fire took place. Thus, such bad news would be shielded. In today’s world, people will report on a house fire to anyone with a electronic device with a screen and an internet connection no matter where they are! (This writer has seen such local tragic events from communities yours truly will never visit, let along knew they existed beforehand!)

So to answer’s Olif’s question if the world is indeed going to hell in an hand basket or any for of carrying device, the answer is “not necessarily”! In spite of all of the bad news, there are many people who do care for one another! There are more of these forms of good souls than the ones that are harmful! However, texts, tweets, and YouTube videos of people of the good are not as amusing as material as, perhaps somebody getting shot! Yes, this sounds a bit macabre, but this is how it appears to be-take it for what it’s worth!

And for those that want to know if your home owners insurance covers h-bomb blasts? See your policy if such “events of a human nature” (or related wording) are indeed covered–assuming that the bomb doesn’t blow up the insurance company to smithereens!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at Hollywood’s Stella Adler Theatre is the world premier of DAUGHTERS OF THE KUSH, George W. Corbin’s play that takes place at a legacy Black sorority set within a smaller college in the Midwest that takes as a new pledge, a white woman that would become its first “non-Negro” member.

It’s the start of the 1963 fall semester at Plains University in Iowa. Among the many sororities that exist on campus is Lambda Kappa Nu, a long established Black institution where its sisters (members) are called “Daughters of the Kush”, named for a sect once located in ancient Egypt. Its pledge chair is Claira (Vanoy Burroughs, alternating with Charlotte Williams) who, along with her associate “sisters” Rhonda (Charlotte Evelyn Williams, alternating with Alisa Murray) and Brenda (Dee Dee Stephens), decides upon just who can become a chosen “daughter”. One woman who desires to become a member is Kathy (Hanna Mae Sturges). Unlike past pledges, called “Kandies” that must go through the rituals that the sorority dictates, Kathy is rather unique. She is of the Jewish persuasion, and she’s white. She was adapted by Black parents, and her adoptive mother was once a member of this group. But there is more than the expected liturgicals that make up sorority life. There are the conflicts between the blending of the races as the era faced, as well as the consequences that resulted.

This is a play that deals with some of the trails and tribulations that were occurring during the period in domestic society on the attempts to integrate of the various races, especially those that were Causation (White) and those that were Negro (Black), set within a collage campus. The production focuses upon how an outsider makes an effort to become part of a group whose ethic origins had been suppressed unfairly. Playwright George W. Corbin, himself a member of a historical Black fraternity in his collegiate years, created a work that are toward these points. The director of this production Veronica Thompson, also comes from sorority background. These two blend their collegiate experience in expressing its noteworthy elements where its cast members brings these same expressions on to the performing stage.

Also featured in the production are Mack Miles, Paris Nocole, Brandon Raines, and Conor Sheehan.

DAUGHTERS OF THE KUSH is far from being another play that takes a look upon “greek life” on a college campus. It’s focus set itself upon a stand where being with one’s own kind can be both a blessing and a curse. Integration in its traditional sense would take generations to eventually fall into place. There has been the progression as well as setbacks. But college life differs from so-called “real life”. That difference does hold its own long after pledges become accepted and acknowledged.

DAUGHTERS OF THE KUSH, performs at The Stella Adler Theatre, 6773 Hollywood Blvd. (at Highland), Hollywood, until October 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (213) 908-5032, or via online at https://corbinkush.eventbrite.com
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Returning to the Santa Monica Playhouse is Jerry Meyer’s comedy A LOVE AFFAIR, a tale of the life of a domestic married couple that looks at the ups and downs found within their times, through careers, sex, and all points in between!

The couple in question are Jimmy and Alice Diamond, seen within a nearly forty year time span. The tale opens with the elder Jimmy and Alice (Chris DeCarlo and Evelyn Rudie) packing their goods as they downsize their home. Jimmy became a successful writer of sitcoms, while Alice became a homemaker. The story shifts between the current Alice and Jimmy to their younger selves. Jacob Cooper and Andrea Adnoff play the younger Diamonds as they are first seen on their honeymoon in Acapulco in the early 1950’s. Their lives are later experienced between the past and present as Jimmy starts out as a struggling writer, hoping to make it in the “biz”, as Alice become involved in supporting politicians running for higher office. Throughout the decades, Jimmy and Alice encounter the successes and failures in their lives. Some are good while others fall short, even running very close to disaster, both financial and emotional. In spite of it all, there is one bond they they hold on to within the four decades of their togetherness, and that bond is themselves.

This stage work by Jerry Meyer is a semi-autobiographical tale that mirrors much of the playwright’s own life, with a bit of creative license added for comedy relief. The writing is witty and sharp, much akin to material found in a sitcom. No surprise here, as Jerry has penned many real sitcoms that graced the TV landscape for many decades. (Many of the sitcoms that Jimmy Diamond wrote for appear as thinly disguised titles to actual TV programs that Jerry Meyer created!)

The play’s production values also speaks for the quality of this piece as well! Eric Jon’s lighting set design and video imagery easily morphs between the life and times of Jimmy and Alice from its 1950’s origins to the early 1990’s–the period that this play was first created and presented. Adding to the production aspects are Steve Mayer’s (son of the playwright) musical interludes that are heard between shifts of scenes.

In addition to the cast of four, Rachel Galpher appears in various characters that become part of Jimmy and Alice’s life throughout the junctures and eras they both share.

Directed by Chris Decarlo, A LOVE AFFAIR is a classic tale of a couple that still sets themselves through the good times and the not-so-good periods of their lives. The catch phrase of this program is “Till debt to us part”, meaning it dose speak for many married couples that hold their own personal trails and tribulations. It doesn’t matter what a Mr. and Mrs. (or “Ms.” if one desires) goes through in life as the moral of this story is that love conquers all, even if that love can be written in a script that performs in a 24 minute time span–not counting for the commercial breaks!

A LOVE AFFAIR, presented and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until November 19th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:30 PM. For more information or for ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/A-Love-Affair.html
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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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