The above title is a play on words (so to speak) on the current retails shopping season as well as the title to an instrumental composed and recorded by bandleader David Rose called “Holiday For Strings”, a song that made the hit parade in the 1940’s. But this article isn’t going to focus on long forgotten musical hits. It’s all about the big shopping season that is already going in full tilt.
Just about everyone that is an avid reader to this newsletter knows that yours truly has expressed that the season calling itself “The Holidays” speaks for all of the days of importance that falls within the final six weeks of the calendar year where gifts are exchanged. Many of the holidays are for real. (Christmas, Chanukah, etc.) Others are real, but not necessarily observed. (Boxing Day, the first Tuesday of the month calling itself “#GivingTuesday”, etc.) And the rest are just days were created by the retail industry for the purpose of selling more goods before December 31st comes rolling around for the sake of bookkeeping purposes.
This year, Thanksgiving Day in the USA falls on the earliest day that this holiday can fall on–November 22nd–once meant that there would be more shopping days for the Christmas season back when the term “Christmas” was used more freely.
Thanks to that good ol’ thing called the Internet, one can do all of one’s shopping with the an internet connection, a click of the mouse, along with an active credit card account at bay. And plenty of folks are doing that by going shopping for the holiday season by making their personal battle plan of what to get, where to get it, and for who it’s going for. And statistics show that folks have been planning as early as late summer; A time where the season may be hot and muggy, but serves as an open opportunity to beat the rush of shoppers that would be otherwise crowding into the malls and other places where goods are sold and exchanged.
Which brings up the notion that physical retail, those “brick and mortar” places that’s been part of the retail industry since the retail industry began, is very well alive and living! It’s been proven that people still like to head into stores where they can see the goods, touch the goods, and grab the goods in person right then and there. No waiting for the items to arrive, even with “free shipping” options, since the only shipping involved is performed by the buyer of the stuff. And many of these retails are being very completive when it comes to getting merchandise at their stores verses getting those same goods through cyberspace land.
A recent report released by the marketing research and consulting firm Catalyst noted that retailers from both platforms (physical and cyberspace based) are aware of what the other is doing in order to lure their customers into their sight for the seasonal shopping frenzy. Their report notes that 96% consumers have visited Amazon within the last year, while 78% also visited the Walmart website to research or to make a purchase. 85% of browsing and purchasing activity occurs with retailers that isn’t Amazon, while 25% of US based brands say they have an advertising strategy for retailers far beyond the Amazon portals. 20% of consumers do go to Amazon first when they know what they are looking for, while 46% of consumers begin their search with a standard search engine i.e. Google. When a consumer doesn’t know what they are looking for, 62% of purchase search journeys start with a search engine visit.
So what will become of “Black Friday”, that traditional (for the 21st century anyway) day after Thanksgiving where retailers open their doors at dawn (or Thanksgiving night) offering great deals on items that may not necessarily be sold as “holiday gifts”, but are made available just to get people through their doors in order to grab the deal of the week? It will still be around, but it won’t be the shopping frenzy as it once was just a few scant years before. Many of these physical retailers, as well as the ones that only exist in cyberspace, will be offering deals around the time the post-Thanksgiving holiday comes to view. Which will lead toward Black Friday’s cousin “Cyber Monday” where many shoppers will be hitting the web sites the Monday after Turkey day, usually when these shoppers are back at their work stations where an internet connection is readily available.
So as the Thanksgiving weekend slowly approaches, it’s time to get ready for the big noise from Winnetka (or Walmart, Target, and good ol’ Amazon, among many others) and shop like one means it! After all, this time of the season comes but once a year, so why not milk it to death? The retailers will indeed thank you, and so will your gift receivers–even if that gift is addressed as “From Me-To Me”!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
William Inge’s BUS STOP, a play about a set of travelers that become held up at a roadside diner during a March snowstorm and the situations they all hold on to, makes its appearance as the third production of the 2018-19 season presented by Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills.
The setting is a standard roadside diner located in a small eastern nameless Kansas community. A bus on a Kansas City-Wichita route is forced to stop due to a late winter blizzard. The place is run by Grace Hoylard (Michele Schultz), who serves as head waitress. Her assistant waitress Elma Duckworth (Mani Yarosh) is still in her teens, working her way through high school. Elma is very familiar with this bus as it passes by a number of times a week. The local sheriff Will Masters (Shwarn Savage) a regular patron, informs Grace that the bus and its passengers will take refuge at the diner until the storm blows over. The bus passengers consists of Cherie (Kaitlin Huwe), a night club singer, Bo (Nico Boles) a rodeo rider and cowboy of sorts along with his guitar playing cowpoke companion Virgil Blessings (Gary Ballard), Dr. Gerald Lyman (Jack Sundmacher) a college professor who has a habit of hitting the sauce more than hitting the books, and the bus driver Carl (David Datz). While keeping out of the winter storm, another storm gathers in the diner that isn’t weather related! Bo has the desire to marry Cherie, although she claims that Bo abducted her from a Kansas City club she was performing at. Dr. Lyman attempts to woo the young and rather naive Elma, who finds the college professor amusing due to his vast knowledge in literature. Grace is intrigued by bus driver Carl, even to have a fling or two with this man, although he never says if he is even married in the first place! Sheriff Will tries to keep things in order. All of these elements progress throughout the night until the roads are clear and everyone heads out to where they are going.
This play written by playwright William Inge and first presented in 1955, has been deemed to be part of an American classic in terms of theater, and still serves as a staple in regional and community theater houses. In this Theater 40 production, the setting keeps to its 1950’s-era period thanks to Jeff G. Rack’s set design of the diner itself, along with Michele Young’s costume design. The cast that appear in this program under the stage direction of Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, present themselves as a band of misfit people that winds up at a place that could be considered as a “drive-by” location where one would only stop for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie and not much more. Here, there is more than just coffee and pie being served as the cast of characters play out their roles to their very utmost.
This is one of those stage pieces composed by William Inge that fit within the annals of theater that have been studied for its character development many times over–the same procedure that plays by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and a host of other similar writers that are taken as academic masterpieces. In spite of its intellectual structure this play may contain, BUS STOP still holds up to its entertainment value. Granted, it’s part of the 1950’s-era vista, and rightly so. Those times may seem innocent in today’s landscape, but were far from anything as being safe and secure. No matter though! Theatre 40 continues to provide an eclectic variety of stage plays as presented through the facilities of artistic director David Hunt Stafford. With the selection of plays as performed by this theatre troupe, it’s always a treat to see a time-tested classic. BUS STOP is one of those plays that will leave the driving to “us”!
BUS STOP, 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 December 16th. Showtimes are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. No performances on Thursday and Friday, November 22nd and 23rd,
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
A pair of rarely presented one act plays are currently performing at North Hollywood’s T.U. Studios.
The first selection, Bertolt Brecht’s THE JEWISH WIFE, takes place in Berlin in the late 1930’s. Judith (Sandrine Sahakian) who is of the Jewish preseason, plans to leave town to head to Amsterdam. She spends time on the phone telling those that she knows that she is leaving. Her husband Fritz (Jody Bardin) a non-jew, discovers that her departure is not for pleasure, but for escape.
The second play, Jean-Paul Sartre’s THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE, takes place in a small southern town sometime in the 1940’s. Lizzie McCay (Maude Bonanni) has just arrived in town to pursue her trade. Her first customer is Fred Clarke (David Abramsky), the son of Senator Austin Clarke (Aramazd Stepanian). While on the train, Lizzie was attached by two “colored” men. Two white men killed one of the colored men, while the other escaped. Senator Clarke, who has political power in the town, insists that she sign a statement that was contrary to the fact. In this community, anyone that is colored doesn’t matter as a human, as a lynch mob is seeking the second negro Tyler Matins (Theodore Martinez), ready to take justice into their own hands.
These pair of plays were written within the periods where local politics and racism were running as an uneven pair. The first play was written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht (and translated by Martin Esslin) in 1937, when political strife was heating up in Deutschland. The second play was written by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Lionel Abner) in 1946 when the southern part of the USA was segregated. What makes these plays interesting is the fact that they mirror the friction that is still in existence to this very day! It shows how a person who is of a specific element is challenged by an authority that insists that they are correct within their own methods. Each piece speaks for the discords that was in place then. Once can compare how things have changed since–or not!
THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE also features in its cast, Rock ‘n Rod Long, Garen Petossian, Jody Bardin, and Norayr Ayvazian.
Both plays are directed by Aramazd Stepanian that showcases the mood to the places and time period each piece reflects. Granted, both do not hold a so-called “happy ending”, and doesn’t promise one. It could be the case of “what goes around comes around”. Even with the taking away of any political sides, both remain as a pair of stage works that are indeed informative as quality theater.
THE JEWISH WIFE and THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE, presented by CAPS-ATC Productions, and performs at the T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street, at the intersection of Lankershim Blvd. and Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood, until December 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. No performances November 23rd, 24th, and 25th.
Tickets can be obtained at the door, or on-line at http://www.ItsMySeat.com/CAPS
Angel City Chorale will present SILVER & GOLD: THE BEST OF OUR 25 YEARS, a seasonal celebration that will mark ACC’s Silver Anniversary of existence.
Founded and lead by Sue Fink serving as artistic director, this concert will feature a selection of cherished songs that speak for the festive occasions that fall within the month of December. The diverse playlist will offer musical offerings ranging from classical, traditional, contemporary pop(ular), rhythm & blues, gospel, and for Hanukkah, the season of lights, an original piece entitled One, composed and lead by Sue Fink.
The chorale consists of an ensemble of 150+ voices that as just as diverse as to what the season speaks for. Male and female voices blend with those that are from all faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles. Along with the voices is a full orchestral company that will provide the musical interludes that make this chorale group a time-tested audience favorite, both as an in-person experience as well as through their appearance on the NBC series America’s Got Talent earlier this year.
SILVER & GOLD: THE BEST OF OUR 25 YEARS, will once again perform at the acoustically perfect Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles (Koreatown) 90010 for two performance: Saturday, December 1st, and Sunday, December 2nd. Both performances take place at 7:00 PM.
UPDATE: A third presentation of this concert will be offered on Wednesday, December 12th at The Novo at LA Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd, downtown Los Angeles, at 7:30 PM.
For tickets and for more information on all concerts, as well as for the Angel City Chorale, visit ACC’s presence on the web at https://angelcitychorale.org
On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we wish each and everyone one of our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.
We’ll see you for our next edition coming in the next week!
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