A friend of a friend of this writer recently purchased a new car. It was the third car this person bought within the last ten years. He recently replaced his 2013 Toyota Camry with a 2018 edition of the same make and model. This new car features a lot of the incentives that a car build in the USA (in spite of a Japanese origin) can muster out, such as a big deal sound system and offers cell phone connection so this person can drive and talk to somebody on the phone at the same time. Although the car may have been new(er), much of what’s on and in the car is pretty much of the same–even the color, is the same–a silver/gray shade.

What was the reason to replace the five year old vehicle? This person became a bit tired with the car. Besides, he also claims that he got a deal from the dealership that was too good to pass up, although he didn’t necessarily explain what the deal was and why it was too good to pass up.

First and foremost, this writer gives a big tip of the hat to this person on grabbing a set of new wheels. Second, since new car buyer ship is up, he’s doing his part in enhancing to jump start the auto industry when back around the start of this decade, it was once in rather dire straights.

But it appears that auto ownership is on an upswing, at least in this region. A recent report that was compiled from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles that folks within the Southern California region are grabbing more cars. According to the report, from 2000 and 2015, private vehicle ownership dramatically increased among households in the SoCal region, from 1.7 to 2.4 vehicles per household.

This is all good for what it is. However, folks that drive around town and those that take the notorious freeways that dot the city landscape, note that traffic has gotten anything but better, let alone tolerable! It seems that commutes to and from where people go to are getting longer and longer. Rush hour traffic on a weekday tends to run as early as 6:00 AM and continues through post-7:00 PM. This being stuck in traffic becomes rather stressful to those behind the wheel. Although they do attempt to make their commuter drive a bit easier, raging from getting a big deal audio system where they can crank up their favorite sounds, to having a wireless phone setup where they can gab on their phones while keeping their hands on the wheel, they tend to bind their time while moving along at a snail’s pace.

Gas prices also play a part to the love of driving. As with anything, these prices can go up as fast as they can come down. When prices are low, folks will drive longer and farther. When they rise, they still will drive, but won’t be as to feel free to do so as much as they would desire. Many folks don’t really have a choice when it comes to driving as where they tend to go, either by personal option or through circumstance. But again, it’s either drive to get there, or don’t drive and don’t arrive!

But what about public transportation? Why aren’t people using an alternative method by taking a bus and/or light rail? According to that same report as filed by the Institute of Transportation Studies, public transportation ridership is down. Between 2012 to 2016, California lost 62.2 million annual transit rides, and the six-county Southern California Association of Governments region (the area this report set its focus), lost 72 million annual rides.

The report also notes that some three quarters of residences in the region never or rarely take public transportation. Some twenty percent take it occasionally, and less than three present use such transportation on a regular basis.

And what are these reasons? It varies, from not using such transportation because it doesn’t take the rider to where they want to go, from the choice of using alternative ride sharing methods, to judging that it just isn’t safe! Whatever the case, if one can swing it, they would rather drive on their own to get from to and fro that waiting for a bus to arrive!

Nevertheless, this humble writer’s friend of a friend is very pleased with his new car. Perhaps in a few years, he’s get yet another new car to replace his older one, and start the entire process all over again. Maybe he’s pick a flashy color for his new buggy this time around. Maybe something like poppy red??

The Little Victory Theatre in Burbank presents the world premier of Wendy Graf’s UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS, a romantic comedy that takes two people to an exotic trip to the Orient, only to discover that they are running away from something, resulting with unexpected results.

Brea Bee and Marshall McCabe are featured as Jane and Alex. They meet at an airport terminal awaiting for a plane to fly them to Myanmar, located within the far reaches of Asia. Their meeting is accidental of course with Alex first engaging in small talk with Jane. Although she doesn’t want to say much at first, she’s their solely to take a vacation of sorts to a part of the world few others would know about, and hoping to get “off the grid” with wired technology. Alex claims he is there as part of a TV documentary team working on a story about the “unemployed elephants” of Myanmar, where these pachyderms once had jobs moving heavy timber-a gig what was cut short due to the new government banning exports of such goods. Once they arrive at their destination, they meet again by accident(?) From that point, they learn more about one another-never knowing their names at first-only to encounter that their reasonings for being there is far different than what they had first admitted.

This one act comedy by Wendy Graf, created by the playwright based upon an actual trip she embarked upon to Myanmar some three years before, is full of quick yet witty dialogue, plenty of plot twists toward their personal identities, notations of the local claimant (both through local politics as well as the weather), yet coming to conclusions that really set their places in gear. And of course, they do find love! (Note: this fact isn’t a addressed as a spoiler alert. If it was, this show wouldn’t be called a romantic comedy!) This play could be labeled as a very tight production in terms of cast size (two), its stage setting (intimate), and much of the banter between Alex and Jane. (Short lines spoken with as little as one or two words per barb!) Maria Gobetti, who also produced this production with Tom Ormeny and Katie Witkowski, directs this stage work as a charming romcom without the annoying and obnoxious elements that said romcoms tend to contain! It’s also laced with high-tech references as well. But since this play takes place in the 2010’s, these elements are to be well expected!

UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS is a play that “works” to full employment! Although no actual elephants appear in this piece (let alone not being harmed in this production), it’s very delightful, sparkling, and lighthearted! And if there is such a thing as a “date play”, this would be an ideal choice to have one’s date along to see this show. It might even get one in the mood for some other “elephant sized” fun! But that’s for another episode as that stands!

UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS, presented by the Victory Theatre’s Barebones theatre, and performs at The Little Victory Theatre, 3324 West Victory Blvd. (one block west of Hollywood Way), Burbank, until April 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (818) 841-5422, or online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org

“Like” The Victory Theatre Center via Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/VictoryTheatreCenter and “tweet” along with TVTC via Twitter at @VictoryTheatre
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 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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