The AARP, an organization that caters to those that are aged “50 and better”, has posted a number of articles about suggesting to their their members, or those within the group’s demographic, to experience a number of activities that they may have always wanted to do but never got around to it. These activities has been categorized as one’s “Bucket List”, a roster of events one must take part of before they “kick the bucket”. (i.e. die).
Over time and tide, some people that enter a stage in their life feel that they are getting slowly yet steadily reaching toward their grave. This usually occurs when somebody enters a new “decade” of life. (Reaching the age of 40, 50, and so on.) This method known as a “midlife crisis” tends to be more vocal in men, or so it seems as they tend to showcase it more than women. At least it’s presented in more dramatic means.
This form of episode in one’s life creates a sense of illusion that these folks entering a mature age can see it as a good notion or not. If it’s good, they leave things as they stand. If not, they sense that they must create that list of things to do and witness those elements before they croak. In various sitcoms and in feature films, the midlife crisis is portrayed with the person (again, usually a man) entering into a frantic state where they feel they have to drive that fancy sports car, dump the wife (these midlife crisis men are always married), for somebody much younger and hotter, and/or embark into a journey that rivals any action/adventure film of late, such as fighting alligators along the Amazon River, to parachute from an aircraft flying 10,000 feet above an African jungle, or to do some kind of stunt that people decades younger would never take part in, let alone even consider!
As exciting as it may sound, those bucket list folks never even get around in performing such feats of adventure or excitement. And according to a study created by Stanford University’s School of Medicine recently published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, shows that there is a pattern in common themes that make up these lists of things to do and take part of before they call it quits for good.
Based upon polling some 3,056 American adults of age, some 78.5% did note that they wanted to travel to some exotic destination, such as Australia, China, or to tour Europe far different that a traditional tourist. (They would like to travel by bike than by tour bus). The same amount of responses wanted to accomplish a personal goal, such as writing a novel, completing a college degree, or competing in a sports related event.
From this point, these is where the so-called “real life” events start to kick in. 51% noted that they wanted to reach a specific milestone in their lives, such as experiencing an anniversary, a birthday, a wedding event, becoming a parent/grandparent, or some other element that is more domestic and realistic.
Nearly a quarter of replies were of a financial nature, such as paying off long term debts from a mortgage, credit card bills, and so on. 16% just wanted to spend more time with friends and family.
So how did those action/adventure antics come in? That ranked in last at 16.7%. It does take some form of bravery to shake off a midlife crisis by learning how to drive a NASCAR-type auto, or to go hang gliding over the White Cliffs of Dover.
Of course, not every person creates a bucket list of this caliber. Some people just want to get their own lives in order that others may tend to do without giving it much thought that has nothing to do with a stage in life. A few folks that are over the age of 55 just want to work in some kind of job that appreciates them for who they are and what they can do. People that are in their 20’s holds this same quest, but not treating it as a “bucket list” activity.
The AARP as a whole does perform a service that is for the good to those that cater to their needs. Their musings that they publish articles on through their website or by way of their publications inform their readers in doing something they have never done before exists as encouragement. It’s a far cry to the notes that once appeared in their magazine that was once called “Modern Maturity”, where it featured cute short stories, poetry stanzas, and such “news” on where to set sail on a cruse ship. Of course, those that AARP cater to in this day and age are the ever lovin’ Baby Boomers that discovered television, rock and roll, and learned to speak their minds to issues on what’s right and not let a government body dictate. They may be up and years, but they do make an effort to live with the times as long as the times and the powers that be allow such! They will continue to fill that to-do list through their own devices.
The rabbit didn’t kick the bucket quite yet! And that’s not all, folks!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is BLUES IN THE NIGHT, a cabert-esque program featuring a selection of tunes that speak for the rhythm and the blues for a trio of women that call of love lost, found, and never were.
The setting is sometime in the 1930’s set within a cheap hotel found on Chicago’s south side. Three “colored” women that don’t call themselves with names dwell at this place. Yvette Cason is ‘The Lady From The Road’. Bryce Charles is ‘The Girl With The Date’, and Paulette Ivory is ‘The Woman Of The World’. They speak for their memories about living in a time where they have seen their love lives come and go. Their men did them good while a few done them wrong. Chester Gregory is called ‘The Man in the Saloon’, but serves as that man who was there on their good side and on their bad. But among this form of lying and loving, with cheating and faithfulness, each one sings about these times with that spark of jumpin’ and jivin’, along with a good dose of the blues to make it all work out in the end!
This program is yet another “jukebox musical” that takes a selection of jazz and R&B numbers from the 1920’s and 30’s, and blends them into a performance that give new life to these tunes (many well known with a few nearly long forgotten) that could fit within today’s landscape. The songs themselves, first made famous by such artists as Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Bessie Smith, and a host of others, is presented in a style that is sparked with smooth and heavy jazz tones from the period where the music was heard and played in smoke filled rooms sparked from filterless cigarettes (or perhaps from tokeing on “wacky weed”), with heavy applications of cheap(er) booze to soak up the joint!
Although the plot of this show isn’t much to speak of, what makes this presentation appealing are the solid cast of four up-front performers. The three women, Yvette Cason, Bryce Charles, and Paulette Ivory, give their heart and soul into this work as they can belt out these tunes with the same effort and emotion that the songwriters had in mind. (Tunes made popular before the rock ‘n roll era stood out for the songs themselves, rather than for the artists that made ‘em famous!) Chester Gregory stands out as a man the represents the dude that was a lover, a player, and the one that did ‘em right and/or wrong! Backing up this group of performers/vocalists is the jazz band that plays out these same song numbers! Lanny Hartley conducts the band in addition to performing on keyboards, with Kevin O’Neal on bass, Randall Wills and Louis Van Taylor on reeds, Lance Lee on percussion, and Ferando Pullum on the horn. Chapman Robers provides the vocal arrangements and musical direction, with orchestration and additional vocal arrangements by Sy Johnson.
As to the visual elements seen on stage, Dana Rebecca Woods provides the costuming that represents the type of outfits donned by those from the R&B period of the 1930‘s. John Lacovelli’s scenic design shows the portions of the rooms these gals lived in at the hotel, complete that a facade consisting of a bland and well worn wall affixed with a hanging sign of the name of the hotel (called “Hotel”) with two street lamps in front. The jazz band performs in the rear of the darken stage area with a sign overhead that reads “Jazz”.
Sheldon Epps, long associated as the artistic director for The Pasadena Playhouse, conceived and directed this program that fits the title to this show. The blues that is called for isn’t anything that’s sad or depressing! In fact, it’s the total opposite! It’s moody, it’s lively, and it rings true to its namesake! Granted, it’s still a jukebox musical. But the rhythm and blues heard throughout comes from a jukebox that could be found in a jive juke joint that plays those records spinning at 78 RPM at a nickel a play–or six plays for a quarter! And that is a play that’s worth its nickel and spin. Sho’ ‘nuff!
BLUES IN THE NIGHT, performs at the Lovelace Studio Theatre within the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts complex, 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd. (between North Canon Drive and North Crescent Drive), Beverly Hills, until May 27th. Showtimes are Tuesday through Sunday nights at 8:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. No evening show on Sunday, May 27th.
For ticket information, call (310) 746-4000, or via online at http://www.TheWallis.org/Blues
The Morgan-Wixson Theatre of Santa Monica presents Marc Camoletti’s comic farce BOEING BOEING, a tale of a single man’s effort of juggling a trio of stewardesses for his romantic intentions, and the friend of his that gets mixed up with all of the camaraderie.
Doug Mattingly is Bernard. He’s an American architect living a bachelor in paradise lifestyle in Paris during the swinging 1960’s. He lives with his no-nonsense housemaid Berthe (Maria Pavone) that is quite used to his playing with a group of stewardesses that all serve as his fiancé, through he holds no real intention of marring any of them–let alone that neither one of them are even aware of the others! There’s the blond American Gloria (Chrissa Leigh Anderson) who flies with domestic airline TWA, Gabriella (Sonja Kovacevic) an Italian lass with Alitalia, and Gretchen, a German for Lufthansa. Thanks to Bernard’s careful juggling of each airline’s timetables, these gals meet with him on separate occasions. As one is scheduled to leave to take a flight, another one arrives on cue! While this is going on, Bernard receives a rather unexpected guest, an old buddy of his-Robert (Brian O’Sullivan), a humble yet slightly bumbling guy from America’s Midwest region. Robert is quite surprised of his buddy’s interesting love life, while Bernard just finds it all as part of his routine territory. That is, until each one of these women has their schedules altered thanks to the newer Boeing jets that move on a faster pace, when they arrive nearly at the same time only to complicate things!
This play was written by French playwright Marc Camolette in the early 1960’s during the hight of the “jet-set” methods of traveling by air. The play itself was later translated from the native French into English by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans that kept the same momentum as originally intended, reminiscent to the style of humanistic plays composed by another comic playwright from France, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, a.k.a. Molière. This means there is plenty of frantic action complete with slapstick, pratfalls, and healthy doses of sexual innuendo that is more titillating in nature than offensive. The Mogan-Wixson version of this production rings true to these facts where the feverish action is non-stop! This form of stage presence is just as funny as the lines spoken by the cast of five. And each character as performed fits their bill down to the letter! Doug Mattingly as Bernard is the solid free-spirit that played each woman he knows as his own, never giving second thoughts to those not with him at that moment. Brian O’Sullivan as Robert is the typical man from the Midwest (Wisconsin) that doesn’t keep this type of lifestyle to where he hails from. (It’s mostly because of the cheese(?) Maria Pavone as Berthe is the housemaid that only does her job with minimal interest to what her employer does with his own life! And the three woman that have their own stage appeals is Chrissa Leigh Anderson (Gloria) as the perky blond, Sonja Kovacevic (Gabriella) as the signorina that holds a bit of Sophia Loren in her, while Kaylee Grace King as Gretchen playing the fräulein that prefers her romance a bit on the adventurous side! These character representations may be viewed as broad stereotypes, but each one is a funny broad stereotype thanks to Branda Lock’s stage direction! Her talents directing the cast on just what to do holds high to the quality upon what’s presented on stage!
And speaking of what is seen on stage, Tristan’s Griffin’s stage set of Bernard’s bachelor pad reeks of mid-century modern touches making this place appealing to keep a balance of rather pretty gals come and go as they fly. And Diana Mann’s costuming also holds within the same spirit of the era, dressing the stewardesses with their flight outfits that match the colors of the airlines they flew for!
Of course, one has to keep in mind that this play was created at a time where such depictions were created for comedy purposes, and was rather acceptable for the period. Today’s world is rather different now where some of the actions seen would not be fitting thanks to so-called political correctness. But with no offense granted to being “PC”, this play is still funny and is a hoot to experience, especially as seen on the Morgan-Wixson stage. And along with the humor, even flying ain’t what is used to be! Yesterday’s stewardesses as known today as “flight attendances”, and are no longer exclusively female! But enjoy the comedy and flavor that the previous generation left for the current crop of theater attendees to experience! It just wants to make one have a great time and may even want one to fly once again–and never mind of living on peanuts and soda pop as one’s in-flight meal! Get ready for take-off and enjoy the flight!
BOEING BOEING, presented by the Morgan-Wixson Theatre Guild, and performs at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, until May 27th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. A special talk back session where the cast and crew discuss their performing as well as taking questions from the audience, occurs after the presentations held on Friday, May 11th, and Sunday, May 20th.
For more information as well as ticket reservations, call (310) 828-7519 or via online at http://www.Morgan-Wixson.org.
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