SEASONAL GREETINGS!

As September progresses into October, this week calls as the “real” end of Summer. Although most folks observed the Labor Day weekend as the point where those lazy-hazy-crazy days came to its close, Summer is now officially over and Fall in now in full gear. Since the month of August, retail outlets were pushing the fall-related items, mostly in the form of orange and brown colored something or anothers with visions of pumpkins all aglow. Now that October is just around the corner, another time of year comes to mind. It’s the season to make merry, as well as make money. We don’t have to inform you readers what time of year this writer is referring to. You can already guess. But here’s a little hit. It’s colors are red and green, with a heavy emphasis on the green!

Have you already guessed without scrambling to Google via your phone devices? If you haven’t found the answer. Her it is. It was the season that is known as “Christmas”. For the rest of those that want to please everyone, it’s been referred to as “The Holidays”. It’s the time of year that traditional ran between the day after Thanksgiving, and continued through January 2nd. It is the time were things become frantic, joyful, sad and somber, and perhaps profitable. For many people, those previous last six or so weeks of the year is the only time for anything to matter.

And why not? The Holidays covers any and every significant holiday that comes around between late November through the day after New Year’s Day. Some of the holidays are rather known for what they are (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.), others are known but tend to be celebrated by a select few (Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, etc.), while others are only created in order to push a product, service, or idea. (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, College Bowl Watching Time, etc.)

When it comes to the entire notion of these six weeks, The Holidays (the term we are going to use to cover every day of these final half-dozen weeks of the calendar year) are being prepared much earlier than in pervious eras. Since late August, The Hallmark Channel has been plugging their schedule of season TV movies, informing their viewers, a demographic that consists of middle aged women, to take advantage of these feature length programs that features a story where anything can happen because of the Christmas spirit, especially when it comes to family, romance, or a selection that involves something culled from the two subjects in question.

To give one an idea of what we are “speaking” about, those folks from Kansas City (not to be confused with “Those Characters from Cleveland” as that name belongs to Hallmark’s biggest rival, American Greeting that owns such favorites as The Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and other characters that already do their Christmas antics every season), will be premiering not one or two, but twenty-two (count ‘em) world premiers that are all Christmas theme based titles that are of feature-film length. (Around 120 minutes, including commercial breaks and promotional plugs.) Granted, these features may not necessarily win any awards or show any significant merit. They are only there for entertainment purposes, the reason why television programming as a whole exists in the first place. They also show a placement to sell products for the holiday season, perhaps another reason why such programming exists.

Which comes to another point. Over the last few years, advertisements that appear in media, be it traditional television or through social media aspects, focus upon the events falling in December has referred the singular “Christmas”, falling this year on Tuesday, December 25th, as “The Holidays”. Even though there are other holidays to keep in mind, Christmas holds the biggest placement. Not necessarily limited to being known of by name, but through symbolism. Such symbolism can be something as but not necessarily limited to, decorated trees, holly and mistletoe, red and green coloring, and good ol’ Santa Clause ho-ho-ho! There won’t be anything wrong with the use of this now accepted name, although a number of people and groups may show a bit of concern. However, it’s still a little early to see what’s going to happen for now. It’s just a wait-and-see attitude!
As they would say, “Stay tuned”!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents as their second entry to their 2018-19 season, Eric Ulloa’s 26 PEBBLES, a melodrama about a group of townsfolk who react and speak upon a tragedy that occurred in their humble community

The town itself is Newton, Connecticut where in December of 2012, a lone gunman carrying a powerful firearm entered an elementary school and began shooting at random where 20 children and six staff members were killed. The play open about six or so months after the event. A series of local citizens and other people speak about what had occurred, the reaction to this episode, and what the future may bring. The characters themselves ranges from community citizens, parents of those at the school, clergy, and others based nearby and of longer distance that show concern and curiosity toward the collection of events, give out their feelings. These feelings are not within the notion of broad opinions on what should be disallowed or pointing their fingers to who and/or what was at fault. They express themselves with many of the same human emotions that are of and for the good, from the psyche of hope, bonding, family spirit, and perhaps the most important aspect of all, love.

This single act play was compiled by playwright Eric Ulloa based upon interviews and notations he collection from the local citizens of Newtown and nearby Sandy Hook, Connecticut where they express themselves of how their lives and emotions were shaped by what occurred. A team of six performers, consisting of as noted by their alphabetical order, Roslyn Cohn, Jean Kauffman, Jennifer Laks, Joe Lorenzo, Michele Schultz, and George Villas, play the various of characters where they speak upon the aspects of how their town became the center of attention. The play doesn’t form a linear pattern of dialogue per se, but consists of shorter monologues that keeps its continuity toward the before, during, and after the facts. It avoids taking sides of why it did occur and the notions behind it all. It takes heart to mention the list of victims while the gunman’s name is never disclosed! Its real emphasis is to stay emotionally strong and to recall that love is the real grace saving.

Along with the performing troupe is the people who made this production a visual treat. Theatre 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack creates a stage space that consists of a pair of tall vertical panels on each stage side with an equally tall vertical panel displaying a facade of blackboard surface material at center stage. Furnishings consists of a stock of brightly colored blocks that service as a virtual set that move along with the townsfolk when stating their verbal pieces. Gabrieal Griego creates the projection of still and moving imagery illustrating the humble town these citizens call home. And Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski provides the sound design and original music score that sets the moods.

A debate may bring the conviction if 26 PEBBLES holds a happy ending? It actually does, but not in the traditional sense. It content comes from the strong belief of compassion and hope that one will arise, and to know that the settlement of love will conquer all. As to the aspect of “never again”, that has still yet to be proven. Whatever the case, this play will make one think, and perhaps think twice. This showcase is indeed highly recommended.

26 PEBBLES, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until October 14th. Showtimes are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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The Road Theatre of North Hollywood presents the world premier of Julie Marie Myatt’s THE RESCUED, a play about a group of beings living within a commune setting going through the many personalities these individuals have while dwelling within their physical boundaries.

The individuals consist of old-timers Jason and Harold (Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall), tough guy Buster (Leandro Cano), sexy Candice (Meeghan Holaway), energetic Darrell (Rahul Rai), and the isolated Lola (Kacie Rogers). They all live in the back yard of a home somewhere in suburbia. Jason and Herold spend most of their moments together binding time as they are the elder ones. Buster holds the appearance of being rather mean, although his bark is worse than his bite. Candice is one that possesses a romantic streak and will slither up to Harold’s seat as her type tends to do. Darrell is always on the go, collecting data of his surroundings keeping track to how many trees, bushes, and other objects are in the back yard setting. Lola is kept inside of a closet, not knowing why she is there but just lives with the fact. These souls are all human in spirit. However, they are not people in the physical sense, but are domestic animals as the males are dogs while the females are cats.

This new work by playwright Julie Marie Myatt is a study of how animals, or in this case, pets that are sheltered because of various circumstances, can become human in many senses. Their domain is a person’s home located in the ‘burbs that take care of these animals because no other source would be available. Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall as Jason and Harold are the “old dogs” that will live there until they die. Leandro Cano as Buster can be a pitbull breed that resembles a ferocious dog, but has a genteel streak. Rahul Rai as Darrell is a fun loving “weenier dog” whose purpose is to keep everything in check, including his fellow petmates. And Meeghan Holaway and Kacie Rogers as Candice and Lola are any kind of domestic cat that lives with these dogs, although Lola is just closeted.

The play itself holds a blend of mellow comedy and light drama in the same method as a mixed breed of dog and/or cat. (No purebreds in this bunch!) The performers appearing on stage holds many of the same traits as somebody’s pet may have, making this show appearing to all dog and cat lovers aside.

The set itself as designed by Sarah B. Brown is a back yard where a tall brown picket fence serves as the backdrop, while the old dogs are mostly seated in a pair of overstuffed lounge chairs. There is a box or two that could be a dog/cat house with nearby plush toys to play with. There is so much going on within this one-act play, there isn’t much toy playing! It’s just the dogs and cats getting along, or at least for most of the time!

Oh yes! There are some musical interludes performed within this play, consisting of some of the pets singing tunes that express themselves within their isolated scenes, using a transcribed music score that is either the original music source, a karaoke track, or in the case of two musical numbers, performed on an acoustic guitar. However, this isn’t a musical per se, just a play with pre-existing popular songs created within the last fifty or so years.

Directed by Marya Mazor, THE RESCUED gives a human face to animals that deserve to live a life in a loving and caring homestead. They seem to achieve that goal, just as long as the people in their world will allow them to coexist.

THE RESCUED, presented by The Road Theatre and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until November 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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Theatre West will present To Dad with Love, A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen featuring Kiki Ebsen who will speak about her father, dancer and entertainer Christian Rudolph “Buddy” Ebsen.

Ebsen, who began in vaudeville in the 1920’s teaming up with his sister Vilma Ebsen as a dance act, appeared on various theater circuits on Broadway and in-between. The two later headed out west where they appeared in a number of musical pictures for Metro-Goldwin-Meyer. When his sibling retired, Ebsen on went as a solo act featured in such films as Broadway Melody of 1936 (and -1938,) Banjo On My Knee, Captain January (opposite Shirley Temple), as well as an “almost” role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. When MGM wanted to give him an exclusive contract where the studio would “own” him, he turned it down. This lead to a fade away from features. However, it was television that made him a star, from playing opposite Fess Parker as sidekick George Russell in The Ballad of Davy Crockett for Walt Disney in the 1950’s, portraying Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies for Paul Henning in the 1960’s, and as private eye Barbany Jones in the 1970’s.

Kiki will also sing a number of tunes extracted from the musicals Epson appeared in, backed up by jazz band trio. Of course, there will be illustrated clips from his movies and TV shows that will highlight the long career of Ebsen that stretched well into the 1990’s! And Kiki was there to see much of her dad’s vast video walk of life!

This event will take place for one weekend only, Friday, October 12th, Saturday, October 13th, and Sunday, October 14th. Showtimes are 8:00 PM on October 12th and 13th, and at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 14th.

Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent). For tickets or for more information, call the Theatre Box office at (323) 851-4839, or online at http://www.TheatreWest.org
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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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