“HOLIDAY” ANTICS

It’s no surprise that the ever loving ”holiday” season is going in full tilt, a movement that’s actually been into effect since late Halloween!

By now, just about any ad found on all forms of existing media has been tying themselves to this season that consists of many holidays from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other events that fall within the month of December that emphasis celebrations, gift giving, and related festivities. It’s also the time where everything goes into a complete dizzy for many, an aspect that is welcomed by some and dreaded by others.

There are the ones that welcome the events of the month. They are the folks that are involved in getting gifts, giving gifts, creating dishes that make the season just what it is, throwing parties, attending parties and well, you the the idea!

The people that dread the season are the ones that feel that they are obligated to create the goodies, host the gatherings, and so on. Such stress isn’t as new as one suspects. It’s been around in domestic society for generations. The only reason why it appears to be more precise is the fact that the word on such stress is much easier to pass around, especially to those that are outside of people’s circles. Social media is nearly plastered with notices on how the season is just as great and wonderful as how it’s a total wreck!

Perhaps why such times are within this state is the oft given fact that the season is suppose to be as perfect as a Christmas cookie or a Hanukkah latke! Much of the media usually painted a picture where everyone is depicted as happy with everything that goes around. If one turned toward television over the years, many of these TV programs, some remembered while other long forgotten, didn’t portray stress or other form of strife, or not within anything that would qualify as such as depicted is so-called “real life”.

However, that was at a time where if anyone was encountering such stress, it was usually kept to themselves. Many folks did make attempts to overdo the season by attempting to show some form of happiness when in reality, they were not! It was rather taboo to show some from of non-contentness, especially during the Christmas, et. al season. Again, the only way to see what the season was all about was through media, mostly in the form of television.

But television as a whole was considered escapism that showcased a fantasy world that was believable in some ways and means. It was a world where people spoke in witty terms, held some kind of knowledge that one’s “next door neighbor” didn’t necessarily possess, and in many ways, had their situations solved by the time the end credits rolled.

But this writer doesn’t want to emphasis how “bad” the season is. Yes, there seems to be a lot going on, and there are lots to do and witness. However, these moments are indeed for the moment. Once January hits, everything will come back to its so-called normal and perhaps relaxed state.

The best and perhaps only way to deal with all of this fal-de-ral is to use the advice that is simple and to the point. It’s the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice season—Get over it!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) takes place in an alternative period that resembles 1962. Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman that lives in a rather large yet dreary apartment that sits above a movie theatre. Her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) is a graphic artist that lives in the same type of unit as Elisa dwells–big in size but just as old and rickety. Elisa works as a cleaning woman in a government based research center that works on top-secret projects. Elisa’s friend at work is Zelda Fuller (Octavia Spencer), another cleaning lady for the company. All three of these characters hold a common bond: they all sport a sense of isolation. Giles lives with a number of cats, and can’t seem to get any of his commercial artwork sold. Zelda is married, but is a “negro” woman that faces the challenges of working in a white man’s world. Elisa lives alone, and can’t speak due to her being raised in an orphanage and had her speaking abilities altered as a young child. Her life changes drastically when she discovers by accident, the company’s top-secret project. They had found a “gil-man” that came from a remote location near the Amazon that can be used to live in the ocean to perhaps spy on the Russians. But there is something that fascinates Elisa to this gil-man. This fascination gets to the attention of Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) who is in charge of the top-secret project. He wants to keep this project within his control, far from the Russians who might just have a spy disguised as a company scientist working within the place-Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg). What is appealing to Elisa of this gil-man? What are the real plans for the government to employ this beast from the underwater? What do the Russians want from this creature? And will Giles find the true happiness he seeks from his own life?

This movie, written (with Vanessa Taylor) and directed by Guillermo Del Toro, is a feature that takes upon many shapes. First, it’s a period film that takes place in a time that resembles a stereotypical 1962, where modernism was everywhere, fashions of the time were all the rage, yet men were superior, woman worked “woman’s jobs”, and heaven help you if you were not white! Although the times were real, those times as presented in the film were not. That what makes this movie a vehicle that holds comic potential, but isn’t a “comedy” in the traditional sense. In fact, sometimes the movie viewer wants to laugh, but doesn’t quite know what to laugh at! It’s also eye candy too! There are plenty to visuals to look at from vintage furnishings, cars of the period, as well as snippets of old movies from the 20th Century Fox film library. (Those clips are seen on Giles’ TV set, as well as the films playing at the movie house Elisa and Giles lives above!) Nigel Churcher’s art direction along with Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin’s set decorations keep the period it represents well alive within its own perspective.

As far as the elements that give the reasons to see this movie as entertainment value, they do exist. However, because of the basic scope that this title holds, it may not be for all tastes as it leans toward a surrealist viewpoint. Although superhero movies do the same thing, those epics are created for other reasons as those same titles are for a mass audience. This movie is more toward older adults that watch movies for not over the top visuals, but for story and character. This is same kind of demographic that participate in voting for industry based awards usually presented at the beginning of the calendar year for films usually released after November 1st. And this title fits right in to those guidelines!

As hinted, THE SHAPE OF WATER isn’t for everybody. Then again, so are those superhero movies! But those make money because everyone wants to see ‘em in a theatre. This movie may do well on the small(er) screen!
PS..Doug Jones plays the gil-man (billed as “Amphibian Man” in the end credits) that resembles the Creature From the Black Lagoon. This time, using better special effects!

This movie is rated “R” for violence, cussing, and nudity. Now playing in selected theaters.
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The Angel City Chorale held their annual Holiday seasoned concert over the previous weekend (December 2nd-3rd) entitled A New Home for the Holidays, taking place at their new home, the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, located in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.

Sue Fink, lead conductor for the ACC, proceeded to musically usher a group of both male and female voices, backed by an intimate full orchestra to present a selection of musical numbers that rang true to the festive season.

The selection performed consisted of a blend of traditional songs (Gloria in Excelsis, O Holy Night, etc.) contemporary numbers, (Do You Here What I Hear?, a melody of Winter Wonderland and Let It Snow) as well as a original piece entitled Hanukkah Lullaby, composed by Sue Fink and Denny Wynbrandt as arranged by Sue Fink and orchestrated by Nita Sinaga. The concert audience also had an opportunity to participate in a few sing-a-longs. Although the songs selected to sing-a-long to were more of the familiar type, the lyrics were provided within the pages of the concert program.

Perhaps the must unique aspect of this concert was its new physical location. The Immanuel Presbyterian Church is one of those massive cathedral-esque churches that were built in the first half of the 20th century (Immanuel Church was completed in 1929) that were grand lavish places a church could be within an urban setting. Not only a facility such as this gives the concert a sense of spirituality, but also provides near perfect acoustics as churches from this era did not utilized electronic sound systems. Compared to ACC’s previous location (another church facility located farther west on Wilshire Blvd.), this new place offers a bigger capacity, better seating, and more parking space!

ACC’s next concert will take place on June 2nd and 3rd of ’18, entitled One World Many Voices II that celebrates global diversity through music. More details on that event will be posted through ACC’s website and social media outlets found online at https://angelcitychorale.org, via Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AngelCityChorale, YouTube www.youtube.com/user/AngelCityChorale, Twitter https://twitter.com/AngelCityChoral and SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/angelcitychorale
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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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