BLACK FRIDAY IS HERE!

When the label “Black Friday” comes around in today’s lexicon, the term usually refers to the day after Thanksgiving, where physical retail stores and outlets will kick off the traditional “holiday” shopping season to offer deep priced bargains in order to lure those same shoppers to make their purchases keeping these retailers “in the black”. That is, giving these stores a high profit margin in the final six weeks of the calendar year.

What made the Black Friday shopping weekend a big deal was the fact that stores would open around dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving where those shoppers would camp at the front doors to wait in line just so they can take advantage of a good or item that was being sold at a rather low price. Usually electronics were the draws to get the folks in. Some outlets offered designer clothing, while others offered some other piece of merchandise that was in high enough in demand that was worth the all-night wait.

Within the last few years, the online market cut into the Black Friday sales. So did stores offering Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day, where the stores would be open in the late afternoon. Then some stores offered Black Friday deals the Friday before Thanksgiving–one week sooner! Then some on-line retailers offered deals in October. So did the physical retail outlets. Before long, that day after Thanksgiving sale moment lost a lot of its luster. The only ones that really benefited were the shoppers as they no longer had to wait in line in front of a store at the early morning hours smack dab in the middle of a holiday weekend just so they can get a big screen TV set for a lower price!

So why is this news letter giving a report of holiday shopping antics some two or so months before the big day? It’s because that retail outlets, both physical and on-line, are starting to offer deals through their stores just for the holiday shopping season on Columbus Day in the USA and on Thanksgiving Day in Canada! (Both fall on October 8th of this year!) Never mind that the holiday season, better known as the period where there are a number of seasonal holidays that fall within the month of December where tradition shows that gifts are usually exchanged.

For the record, this news service has identified those holidays too many times. But in case one needs to be told, the holidays in question are Christmas-December 25th, Hanukkah-December 2nd through the 10th, Kwanzaa-December 26th through January 1st, Boxing day-December 26th, and other holidays, both real and imagined, that fall between November 25th to January 1st.

But getting back to the seasonal shopping for a bit. It appears that this season is going to be rather robust. With the economy going in full tilt, people will be out spending their loot in order to grab the goods they desire for others, as well as for themselves. A recent report created by The Harris Poll on behalf of advertising exchange firm OpenX state these facts clean and plain.

Among the many numbers in its notes, some 75% of those polled between August 30th and September 6th stated that the current economy will improve within the next year. This would mean that folks will be spending more on gifts, etc. than the previous season. This holds true to the Millennial group-those born in the 1980’s and 1990’s. where 41% plan to spend more than the previous year.

And it appears that gift giving will be a lot easier that other years. According to the report, gift cards will become the most desired gift to give to someone at 68%. Apparel some in at a close second at 63%. And toys will be the third biggest choice at 47%.

Although this will be the first season where Toys-R-Us, the one time biggest toy retailer of them all, will no longer be present, parents, grandparents, and others where kids are present within their domain, will be getting toys for their little ones. As for those for noted Millennials? They will be spending more on their furry kids–mainly, pets! Roughly $90.00 to $100.00 will be spent on those non-humans. That’s a lot for getting something for fido or fluffy, assuming that fido and/or fluffy appreciate a something or another!

So when will these potential shoppers plan their spending sprees? According to the poll, they are planning for it right now! 38% of those polled stated they plan between October through the Thanksgiving weekend. 31% started their plans in September or sooner. However, some 6% wait until the last minute to start their shopping!

In spite of this planning and spending, does the traditional Black Friday period really matter? It’s a mixed bag! While 60% admitted that the Black Friday rituals are overwhelming, 73% stated that it’s not. And 59% will skip Black Friday all together. But leave it to those Millennials (again) to save the day, as 30% of those in this demographic stated that they will shop on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend that for this year, falls on November 26th–the earliest that Cyber Monday can ever fall on.

For the rest of you that desire to view the report on your own time, it’s available via http://www.openx.com/2018holidayresearch

So whatever one purchases what for who or when, it’s going to be a very red and green and blue and white holiday season! That’s what makes the retail world go round!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sacred Fools Theatre, is association with Burglars of Hamm, opens their 2018-19 season with Lars Mattsun’s RESA FANTASTISKT MYSTISK, a recently discovered play written by this Swedish playwright who created a play of note that holds a number of hidden meanings, metaphors, and other messages that made this composer of stage plays a name unto himself.

The concept of this play features the protagonist Phillip (Tim Kopacz), a struggling artist that embarks onto a fantastical and somewhat surreal journey to reclaim his right to be a painter. His journey takes him toward situations that reflect upon the meaning and times that were common and discovered during the era this stage piece was first created sometime between 1898 and 1903. Here, the audience can witness the struggles between his existence and those encountered that speak for the meaning of the color red, the relation of his sexual domain, the concept of woman’s presence (not necessarily related to the sexual thing), his “Fruit Period”, and other related concepts that Lars Mattsun and his other plays written in the late 19th century-early 20th century reflect upon. His creative works were compared along such contemporaries as Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg in terms to strong meaning with stronger characters.

For those that may not be familiar with Mattsun’s play, the director, adaptor, and choreographer of this production, Todd Merrill, will guide the audience into the real meanings expressed in this play through AV devices. Each audience member will receive a wireless audio headset. Throughout this production, Merrill will explain in detail through the sounds of his voice into what is going on, and what some of the characters present mean to the play. Serving as play-by-play and “color” announcer, Merrill details these expressions to where the audience will then begin to understand what is unfolding. His commentary is what makes the play into a new(er) meaning for all exposed.

This play was first presented as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival in cooperation with the theater troupe Burglars of Hamm and The Ghost Road Company. In this production as presented by the Sacred Fools, it took nine (yes, nine) writers to make this show just what is is; A play that is amusing and comical! The writers that “revised” Mattsun’s original concept (Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, Jon Beauregard, Joel Marshall, Todd Merrill, Katharine Noon, Victor Ortado, Laura Otis, and Selina Merrill), created a piece that is deep in words, deeper in concepts, and overall, a piece that really moves!

The ensemble cast (or “dramatis personae”) that appears in this production features Carolyn Almos as Gertrude, Scott Leggett as Barnaby, Carrie Keranen (alternating with Laura Nicole Harrison) as Mariah, Selina Merrill as Madame Sheksetenlodt, and Kita Grayson as The Mysterious Child. Albert Dayton serves as the bona fied director (based upon Matt Almos’ original direction) that makes this play a real treat to experience and to wonder.

Also to note is Barbara Lempel’s scenic design of the stage area, using her skills to create a set that is in the same authentic Swedish style of a classic Mattsunian creation.

To really appreciate the play style of Lars Mattsun, it is highly recommended that the audience attendee(s) read up on his other works that include Where the Shoe Squeezed, Song of Wonder, Day of Trees, and Whether Wind Wither You. These titles make up part of the 23 plays that have known to exist as composed by Mattsun. If you can’t find any of these plays, just use your favorite search engine on the ‘net to seek ‘em. While you’re at it, just Google your way to discover any details on playwright Lars Mattsun as well! You will be impressed in what you may find!! (Losta luck!!)

RESA FANTASTISKT MYSTISK, presented by The Sacred Fools Theatre Company and Burglars of Hamm, performs on the Broadwater Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way (off Santa Monica Blvd. and one block west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until November 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. Ticket reservation can be made by emailing the theatre box office directly at SFReservations@SacredFools.org, or through the theater company’s website at
http://www.SacredFools.org
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A STAR IS BORN (Warner Bros.) tells the tale of Jackson Maine. (Bradley Cooper). He’s a successful musician that plays just as hard as he works. He’s dependent on various chemical substances to keep himself going. He’s also losing his hearing, making his performing a bit to deal with. His manager and brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) tells him to keep off of what is driving him down, in spite of the consequences Jackson is going through. While ducking out after a concert he just performed in, he takes refuge in a nearby dive bar where a drag show is taking place. A woman-a real one- named Ally (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta a.k.a. Lady Gaga), an aspiring vocalist, is there to take on the show. Jackson and Ally spark a repertoire with one another upon their meeting. Soon, the pair encounter a few attempts in working with each other. Ally’s father Lorenzo (Andrew “Dice” Clay) who is a livery dispatcher, support his daughter in her musical career. Before long, Ally’s musical success rises up to the top, while Jackson goes into a spiral downward-both professional and physically-thanks to his overabundant work-hard-play-hard lifestyle.

This latest “reboot” of the movie classic theme about one going up in their world while the other comes down is the fourth version to this story. And out of the four, this latest version comes in as a very close second! (The 1954 release featuring Judy Garland and James Mason will never be beat as far as this reviewer is concerned!) The story with screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters based up the original story idea by William A Wellmand and Robert Carson written in the 1930’s, takes upon an image that harks a good old-fashion treatment while keeping its concepts into the notion of the post-modern life and times of now. The movie has more drama than flash (no real over-the-top special effects to speak about) while holds a number of musical interludes between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga that adds to the flavor this title possesses. Those that are fans to the other versions that Warner Bros. churned out within the last seventy five years won’t be disappointed. Not only there are the drama aspects seen in this feature, it also holds a bit of romance between the lead players.

Bradley Cooper himself directs this picture that is very appealing, and except for the for noted Garland/Mason feature version, this latest release will leave the other versions in the almost “dust”. (No offense to those that enjoyed the original 1937 film with Janet Gaynor and Fredrick March. That one was interesting, let remains in the 1930’s. And never mind the 1976 release featuring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand. That film, although amusing for what it was, was indeed a “nice try” for the time!)

This title unofficially kicks off the season where the major and very minor studios and releasing companies that handle theatrical movies will put out their “Gimmie an Oscar” pictures that will have lots of drama, plenty of character development, and will offer little to no special effects that’s worth any mention! (Ditto for explosions or gunfire!) These titles tend to appeal to those of a selected age group that still can recall when is was difficult–if not impossible–to watch films on a hand held electronic device sporting a visual screen! The younger set have their summertime movies, many of them now available via home media, to look at!

A STAR IS BORN is rated “R” for drug usage, cussing, and sexual scenes. Now playing at all of the multiplexes.
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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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