Back in the not-so-long ago days of the previous decade (the “aughts”), the hazy, crazy, and perhaps lazy days of the internet was taking hold from being a novelty to a way of life. People were now able to do things as send e-mails back and forth, pay their utility bills online, shop for nearly anything from shoes, ships, and ceiling wax (thanks to the rise of Amazon of course), as well as to know about people using social media. In those so-called early days, MySpace.com was the get-go place to do all of that social gathering nonsense, from telling a bit about one’s self through bios and other tales, stating what one likes to ready, watch, or play with (video games, that is), as well as finding others who might share one’s interest. This was the way to become cyber friends, leading to the possibility of becoming “real” friends either through mutual bonds, or even as “hook-up” pals!
Facebook.com, the new(er) kid on the block, did take a while to get its foot in the door. Originally created for those attending school (college mostly), one could only register if one used an e-mail address that ended in “.edu”. This limited a lot of folks that wanted to become a face(book) in the crowd since many folks didn’t have such an address accessible. They were getting their e-mails through their internet service providers such as American Online, Prodigy, CompuServe, as well as local and regional service providers. Then again, MySpace that didn’t have such a restriction, so anyone with a valid email address could join. This was the case for the other rising social media platforms that took nearly anybody as well–real of otherwise.
Facebook eventually changed their methods, allowing the masses to clime on board with or without an “.edu” email address. And indeed they did! Before long, Facebook became the number one place to go for letting anyone and everyone know that you are out there in the cold cruel world. You could do the same stuff as the other social media platforms, as well as using Facebook to find long lost friends, relatives, and others one once associated with that once wound up on a personal “whatever became of…?” list.
So what happend to the other social media platforms? Many of them would up changing their methods by reforming their place on the web. Others simply went out of business by going off the air. Their data they kept on you either wound up on some massive hard drive stored somewhere in the world, or was erased!
And what became of MySpace? News, Incorporated, the name of the parent company of Fox Media, bought the company for a massive amount of money. They were grabbing this portal to make their presence on the web by using it as (among other notions), a cross platform for promoting feature films, as well as TV programs airing on the Fox Network. When Facebook moved way forward, News, Inc. wound up selling the company at a fire sale price. Today, MySpace is using the ideas of promoting indy music bands (its original intention), as well as news about other media based elements. The social media stuff has since taken a backseat since their are other ways to express one’s self online.
In today’s virtual world, Facebook is still the get-go place for social media. However, it’s not the same Facebook as this writer once knew. Back around 2010 or so, we conducted an experiment by creating a number of fake entries. We created a roster of characters (both as male and female), writing up some backgrounds notes on our folks making them as real as they could get. We even had them post pictures from what they were doing, although all of the pictures we used came from various sources from stock photo libraries to this writer’s personal collection.
This experiment was created not only to discover how others would react to these invisible people, but to discover how much personal information we can obtain from these same folks without ever asking for anything. We were not going to prompt anyone with requesting details about themselves. We were going to wait and see what they were willing to note about themselves on their own terms.
Interestingly enough, we were about to find bits and pieces about some personal details, such as birthdays (day, month, and year), address for these folks, and other notions that could be used by others for questionable purposes.
That was a few years ago. Since then, the concerns of privacy changed the attitude that once made Facebook fun and amusing. Many people are now hesitant of listing the community they exist in, as well as placing any of their personal interests and events. A number of these folks used to write original commentary about the events of their lives that had this news service (‘us”) write a weekly column called Tiffi’s Friends Say… that consisted a line or two extracted from the many “friends” of one of our creations, Tiffi Purewhite. Although a few folks still do post these one or two-line commentary notes, others are just using their Facebook presence by posting (or reposting) information that were extracted from news outlets, media sources, or with the cast of authors, promoting their latest book. It’s just turning into another place for reading ads!
If one hasn’t been following the news of late (and it’s rather difficult to avoid since media seems to be everywhere), Facebook is being accused of taking advantage of this data they collected from others on their site and using it to influence elements such as the Brexit movement, the outcome from the 2016 presidential election, another other elements. There is even a boycott of Facebook with yet another campaign (sporting the ever lovin’ hashtag a.k.a. “#”) going around to leave Facebook for good! These elements became a far cry from when this place on the ‘net was the location to tell anyone about your hour/day/week, as well as posting pictures of your vacation/wedding/bat mitzvah/book signing, and other life milestone one may encounter.
As a disclaimer, we do maintain our presence on Facebook at facebook.com/AccessiblyLiveOffLine, as well as through other social media outlets. As to our fake characters, we had since forgotten about a number of these folks, but we still on occasion maintain two; Sherry Dunhurst of Calgary, Alberta, and the for noted Tiffi Purewhyte of Harrisburg, Illinois. (Look ‘em up!) As of this writing, Sherry received the maximum number of friends on her account at 5000. Tiffi has nearly 3000 friends, so you still request friendship or can just visit her to say “hi”. Just don’t expect to hear anything from her–or not right away anyway!
We don’t expect Facebook to ever get back to where they once were when we first discovered them. The ‘net, just like all media, has changed over time for the better or otherwise. Then again, there will be something else going down that will become the next big thing. Just check your social media portals to get the latest scoop. And don’t forget to use the hashtag!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Actors Co-op Theater Company of Hollywood closes out their 2017-18 season with VIOLET, a musical tale of a young woman who travels a distant journey seeking a physical healing, and the pair of military men she befriends along the way
The story begins in the Great Smokey Mountain region of western North Carolina where Violet (Claire Adams), a young woman who was born and raised in this region, suffered a hideous accent accident with an ax by having her face cut leaving a massive scar across her forehead and nose. That mishap occurred with when she was thirteen years old. It’s now September, 1964, and as a woman in her middle 20’s, she hears about a TV evangelist who preaches the power of healing. Desperate for getting her face the way it should be, she travels via Greyhound bus to Tulsa, Oklahoma where the preacher’s congregation is based to get herself healed. Along the way, she meets a pair of solders traveling to Ft. Smith, Arkansas: Monty (Morgan West) who is white, and Flick (Jahmaul Bakare), a negro. Flick, passing through an area where segregation fully remains although integration is (supposedly) the law, is aware of the suppression. But through her journey, Violet still pictures flashbacks between her younger self (played by Lily Zager), and her recently deceased father (John Allsop) from her misfortune and the keeping of her long deceased mother’s spirituality alive, still latching on to her catechism book kept from those years before. It’s the setting between a woman who clasps enough faith to become normal once more, and the two fighting men that hold their affection to this lass, regardless of her facial nonconformity.
This show piece with musical score by Jeanine Tesori and book/lyrics by Brian Crawley, takes its plot from the Doris Betts short story The Ugliest Pilgrim, and creates a tuneful saga with the title character that has kept her belief of becoming attractive, along with her self discovery through the aid of her father and the notions he taught her as a girl–such as how to draw cards playing poker in order to teach her ‘rithmetic so she won’t be shortchanged from grocery shopping! Her discovery continues by meeting the pair of Army men and how one of these GI’s Flick, as played by Jahmaul Bakare, encounters a “separate-yet-equal” attitude with others.
The ensemble of performers in this production keeps the pace moving throughout the performance. Its lead player Claire Adams as the elder Violet is very vibrant and is loaded with spark and energy through her vocalization and stage movement. Her “alter ego” character, the young Violet as portrayed by Lily Zager, matches her ability to keep the pace up in equal mode. Her two costars Morgan West and Jahmaul Bakare as Monty and Flick, have the voices that surpasses in what they can perform in this very robust and tight show.
And speaking of “tight”, the stage presentation is set within an intimate performance space, adding to the intimacy of this musical enhancing the “less is more” modus of theater. Julie Hall’s choreography fits in to the performance space allowed, and Richard Israel’s stage direction adds to the flavor. Nicholas Acciani’s set design shows a limited stage set that is minimized with a performance area only showing the seats of the bus Violet travels on along with a few furnishings that notes where the scenes are taking place. Hidden in the back is where its six piece orchestra resides, featuring Ellie Bunker on Violin, Thomas Lovasz on cello, Dominic White on guitar, Manuel Mendoza on bass, Jorge Zuniga on percussion. Taylor Stephenson performs on piano and provides the musical direction.
And adding to the above noted ensemble of cast members are Lori Berg, Benai Boyd, Patrick Cheek, Matthew Podeyn, Emuna Rajkumar, Kevin Shewey, and Lauren Thompson. These players appear in various roles that become part of Violet’s journey of finding the hope and salvation she strongly desires.
VIOLET is a musical whose score harks folk and gospel rhythms, along with contemporary tunes. It’s a solid show and of one that is fresh and original–perhaps a show that its audience can experience for the first time. That impression is refreshing as that stands!
VIOLET, presented by Actors Co-op Theatre Company, performs at The Crossley Theater, located on the campus of Hollywood First Presbyterian Church, 1760 North Gower Street (at Carlos Street), Hollywood, until June 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Special Saturday matinees takes place on May 19th and 26th at 2:30 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or through the website. (Below) The Actors Co-Op has just announced their lineup of shows for the 2018-19 season. A complete list of titles and its performance dates can be found at the theater company’s website at http://www.ActorsCoOp.org.
Buzzworks Theatre Company presents the long awaited revival of Mae West’s SEX, the 1920’s hit comedy about a maiden of working girls that blows town for the Caribbean when things get hot for her while catering to a pair of suitors in the mists of juggling those that range from high society to low lifes, opens at Hollywood’s Hudson Mainstage Theatre.
Andrea Hutchman is Margy LaMont, a well-seasoned working gal that oversees a few other gals in the pleasure-for-hire biz in Montreal, a town where one can get legal hooch. She deals with the local hoods that come and go, if not greasing the palms of the law. Things become rather hot on the wire when an elder society matron attempts to frame her for a crime she didn’t commit. She goes on the lam to Trinidad where she meets Lt. Gregg (Wayne Widerson) an officer of the British Navy that has his own intentions for her. Then there’s Jimmy Stanton (Ryan Phillips), the son of a wealthy plantation owner who’s in town to oversee some of his dad’s spreads. Although both of them fall for the sex pot within her, Margy goes for Jimmy for what he has–not for the charm as Lt. Gregg possess, but for his loot! All it takes is her wits, along with what’s up front and a bit of her ass-ets! It’s not called “sex” for nothing!
This is the play, first presented on the stages of New York, that was written and stared Mae West, who in a short time would be signed by Famous Players (better known as Paramount Pictures) to star in a number of moving pictures that would make her one of the leading gals of comedy of the 1930’s. Even though this play was a hit, the New York City vice squad raided the theatre where West spend a little over a week in the pokey. But that was in the roarin’ 20’s where times were fast and loose, booze was ever flowing (never mind if the stuff wasn’t on the up-and-up legalwize), and the stock market was hotter that a two-dollar “sure win” bet at the track! This piece actually plays out as a genuine Mae West feature film, or at least a pre-code photoplay as there are a number of sexual innuendoes depicted that were titivating then. In today’s post-modern world, it’s somewhat campy. These elements make this show as seen very appealing as it speaks for a time where such visual entertainment vehicles can showcase such bits, while the movies had yet learn how to speak! As to the Buzzworks Theatre Company’s spin, Andrea Hutchman as Margy LaMont plays out her take of Mae West with classic forms of sex appeal. Wayne Wilderson as Lt. Gregg is the dark skinned (“colored”?) English naval officer that holds his suaveness that makes him vaguely English as in “God-Save-The-King” English! The rest of the ensemble that appear in this program feature (as listed in their alphabetical order), Peggy Brown, David Errigo, Lowam Yeas, Andrea Hutchman, Davey Johnson, Kandace Lindsay, Susan Edwards Martin, Ryan Phillips, and Carla Valentine, play multiple roles. Some of these roles last a bit while others just come and go. But that was how this play was created when frantic pacing was the standard method of comedy. Much of the comic stageworks appearing on Broadway then were just as fast such as the ones starring the five Marx Brothers as well as for the other comic teams and acts found on the vaudeville circuit!
When such period plays hosts visual aspects, they are worth a mention! Michael Flannery’s scenic design is rather minimal, but amusing, and Michael Mullen’s costuming that are all of the period it harks for!
Directed by Sirena Irwin, SEX is as fun as…you-know-what! It’s the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, and is anything far removed of a piece of cheese! There are a lot of theatre shows that could be raided by the local vice squad as too much time progressed to make this show worth such a raid. But it’s still sexy and fun! It’s also just as historical as it’s historical! And Mae West couldn’t have said it better to suggest to come up and see her sometime, and that time is now! Crank up the Model T and head on over to good ol’ Hollywood. Better still, take the Red Car! (Hot-Cha!)
SEX, presented by the Buzzworks Theatre Company, performs at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Hudson Avenue, off Wilcox Place), Hollywood, until June 17th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. Tickets can be obtained online at https://dime.io/events/buzzworks-sex, or at the Hudson Theatre boxoffice.
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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