HOLIDAY FAMILY REPORT

If those of you out there still receives mail physically sent to an address, it will be assumed that you may receive those greeting cards associated for this time of year. We are referring to those cards known as “Christmas Cards”.

It’s been a proven fact that these kind of greeting cards usually purchased and delived and associated with events that take placed in the month of December have been refereed to as “Holiday Cards”. Granted, there are a number of holidays that fall in December. However, the only holiday that holds the tradition where one would exchange greeting cards is “Christmas”. There have been greeting cards available on the market connected with Chanukah as well as Kwanzaa. However, those cards only exist so those that are associated with those holidays can exchange cards, as well as having the greeting card companies make a buck in the process! So this article will focus upon the holiday known as Christmas.

One element that has been part of the Christmas Card exchange ritual was a special letter enclosed with the cards. These letters are generally known as a “What-I/We-Did-The-Previous-Year” letter. This was a letter that highlighted what a person and/or family did from the last time a Christmas card was sent to the current Christmas season, noting the antics those those within the family domain. These events ranged from where somebody in the family went on a vacation, who was involved in a life changing event (birth, graduation, wedding, death, etc.), as well as other news and information that the created of the letter deemed as important or noteworthy.

The letter itself may also focus upon other people and events that the receiver of the letter may or may not know of. And how the letter was written may be in the form of a friendly letter that at times rambles on, while a few read as if they were taken as a newspaper article. A few of these notes may even hold some writing errors. However, it was not so much on how the letter was written, but the news and information that was contained.

And if one was lucky, one may even find a photo of the family and/or person in question so the receiver will have somewhat of an idea of what the person and/or family looks like! This way, one can be tied over with the family/person until the next Christmas where the latest news can be relayed. That is, assuming that the sender will compose another letter with all of the news that fits onto a page! (Both sides usually!)

These letter were very common to create and receive for many years. However, these letters started to fade off into the distance sometime in the early 21st century, when folks that are savvy enough just stopped composing the letters, or even stopped mailing traditional Christmas cards!

And what was the reason for this change of notification? Yep! You guessed it! Blame it on social media!

Ever since some of the giants of social media moved from novelty stage to a way of life, folks that had the desire to post anything and everything about themselves for most of the world to see and consume. Facebook, the grandaddy of all of the existing sites, became the be-all-to-end-all place to post notices, pictures, moving imagery, and anything one could get away with to let those know what is going on with themselves, no matter if the person wanted to know these facts or not! It was the place to report each and every activity on the ol’ world wide web. Folks can post news on a weekly basis, a daily basis, even an hourly basis! Some people give live reports are they are happening!! And they are not limited to giving the news that are of importance (birthday parties, trips abroad, etc.), but even trivial events that isn’t worth the time to report upon! One can tweet “I’m at the local supermarket getting a can a creamed corn!”, or posted a live video stream of the same person getting that same can of creamed corn at the supermarket!

Generally speaking, by the time one received a card by the family and/or person, everyone already knows of what went on, so way bother writing a recap? Just post the news via a podcast, a video uploaded via YouTube, or illustrated pictures via Instagram! Just as one have access to an electronic device and an internet connection, one is ready for action!

Sadly, those printed letters that were enclosed inside of a Christmas card became a document of a history of a family from a specific year or time period. That letter can serve as a written detailed diary that can be kept for as long as the letter exists! Social media, as wonderful as it may be, doesn’t necessarily save everything one can post on them. Unless the poster keeps all of the text, photos, video, or other notions on a hard drive and/or a cloud service, all of the news that was of importance can be gone forever! So anything that was posted on their Facebook account from 2010 may not still be available. And if one was using MySpace when that was the place to become part of, all of that stuff is totally gone! The MySpace of 2018 isn’t the MySpace of 2006! However, if one wrote a letter that same year, the letter is there to be read or read over. The nostalgia will prevail!

So if one ever does receive a printed “What-We-Did-The-Previous-Year” note, by all means keep it! In twenty or so years, one can find out what that family did back in those days. That is, if anyone outside of the family really cares!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at Hollywood’s Theatre of N.O.T.E. is the world premier of Andrew Osborne’s SPECIAL, a comical tale that looks behind the scenes of how “the worst variety show in the galaxy” ever came to light.

The “special” in this case, was called The Star Wars Holiday Special , a television program that took the premise of the characters and persona that was part of the biggest movie ever to come down the pike in the late 1970’s. When Star Wars was released in the late spring of 1977, it became a monster hit! A year later, its creator George Lucas was encouraged to sit in place a TV special that celebrated the notions of Star Wars. Through a series of meetings between media producers, dealing with a flamboyant director, using comedy writers to put something together (including a writer that would later team up with the creators of the film Airplane, and a writer that once served as a music critic for a Chicago newspaper) along with the original cast of Star Wars (Fisher, Hamill, and Ford), it would be a special program that could not miss! And it would air close to Christmastime, giving this special that “holiday” spin. The holiday would not be called “Christmas”, but an event called “Life Day” as celebrated by the Wookie family. It would even air on CBS during the “family hour”, before 10:00 PM-9:00 PM Central and Mountain time where it could be viewed by and for all ages. What could go wrong…right?

This comical play written by Andrew Osborne was extracted through various reports, news articles, personal notes, recollections by those that were there and a few that was reported long after the fact, with placing a healthy dosage of creative license, generates a fast paced play telling upon how a popular movie wasn’t suited for the small screen, or not quite yet! An ensemble of performers consisting of Paris Benjamin, Alex Elliot-Funk, Lance Guest, Jennifer Hugus, Rich Lehmann, Marty Yu, and Kerr Seth Lordygan who also serves as this show’s producer, director, and “special guest star”, play various roles. Those roles ranges from Star Wars creator George Lucas, writers Pat Proft and Bruce Vilanch, directors David Acomba and Steve Binder, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Harvey Korman(!), as well as fanboys, network executives, and actors in hot airless Wookie costumes. They make up what became a TV special that was not well received! The network CBS never aired the program again, while Lucas himself wanted to destroy any copies that may have been recorded off-the-air by those that had access to a Beta and/or VHS formatted video cassette recorder, as well as the broadcast master tape.

Although the comedy is well paced and the premise of the plotting is interesting and amusing, one would have to view the originally source (The TV special) to have all what’s seen on stage to make some sense. Underground recordings of this special has been floating around for decades as made available through comic book and/or SciFi conventions and gatherings, as well as through internet portals as YouTube. But once the TV special is seen, then the ideas expressed in this show keeps its comedy in high gear.

And for the record, the special itself is rather amusing for what TV programs of the late 1970’s could muster up. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either! Then again, CBS preempted Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk in its time slot. Watching episodes of those programs in today’s media landscape could be seen as “cheesy”. And the program following The Star Wars Holiday Special that night? A long forgotten drama/comedy program called Flying High that focused upon the misadventures of three Los Angeles based stewardesses working for a domestic airline. So much for TV’s “golden age”!

SPECIAL, presented by Ol‘ Bait Shop Productions, performs at Theatre of N.O.T.E,
1517 North Cahuenga Blvd. (Off Sunset Blvd.), Hollywood, until January 13th, ’19. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 5:00 PM. Special New Year’s Eve show on December 31st at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or online at https://SpecialThePlay.com/tickets
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MARY POPPINS RETURNS (Disney) stars Emily Blunt as the titled character who makes a return back to the Banks household while the family is going through a bit of distress.

The story takes place c.1930s, some twenty-five or so years after the previous time this nanny-for-hire had visited the London based Banks homestead. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is now in his 30’s, still living in the home he grew up in. Now a widower, he is the father of three children: Anabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson). Michael’s sibling Jane (Emily Mortimer) is unmarried and works as a supporter for the cause of labor and worker’s rights. Michel is a struggling artist, yet his other job is working as a teller in the bank his father was part of. Money was rather tight in his household, so he took out a loan with the bank against the value of his home. Now a bit behind with the payments, the bank summons a pair of solicitors, Gooding (Jeremy Swift) and Frey (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) demanding the payment in full, or they repossess the home. Just when things begin to become bleak, Mary Poppins makes a comeback, sailing from the skies through her umbrella, after many years. She becomes aware of Michael’s dilemma, so she assist by not only being a nanny of his three kids, but finds a way where Michael can help himself of saving the home from repossession. All of the is seen through the watchful sprit of a local gas lamp lighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) that is just as bright and cheerful as the lamps he lights each evening and puts out in the dawn throughout the streets of London.

This long awaited sequel to one of the Walt Disney Company’s “crown jewels” is a very charming and pleasing musical. Its concept is one to a movie musical released during the 1960’s and 1970’s at a time when film musicals, although not as common as they once were, were something akin to a movie “epic”–not so much as epic in scope (no large scale battle scenes with a cast of thousands), but of a feature that was grand due to is overall set-up with lavish sets and backdrops, and song and dance numbers with plenty of high stepping choreography all synced to a rich and plush sounding musical score. In today’s movie landscape, such musical have been created in limited numbers (if at all) thanks to the public’s ever changing tastes in movies and the way they are consumed. This title breaks those barriers with a piece that is simple in idea, yet complex with playing itself as a 60’s and 70’s-esque motion picture! Emily Blunt plays Mary Poppins with the elegance and finesse where she can be the nanny of choice, yet keeps her “magic” to herself only when needed–the way that a magical nanny should perform! Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the adult Banks children are charming as well They are far from being cute, although the Banks kids as played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson have their own appeal minus being sappy or overly sweet. Lin-Manuel Miranda as gas lamp lighter Jack serves as Mary’s confident, the same method as Burt the Chimney Sweep did a generation before. (Bert’s name is mentioned as a vague reference to the first movie–more about that in a few later paragraphs!)

The songs heard in this feature as composed by Marc Shaiman (music) and Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman (lyrics) are of the same nature. The tunes are catchy, lively, and would be more suited to a stage musical geared toward a mature level rather than something taken out of a popular music style i.e.. alternative rock or hip-hop. The screenplay by David Magee with screen story by David Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca is one that keeps its genteel motives about that fits to more of a family-friendly audience. Granted, it may more be suited with adults that grew up with the original musical through cable and home video (as well as limited theatrical runs), although kids that are totally abundant with taking moving imagery as seen through a hand held electronic device, may view this feature as something new and different.

As noted, there are a few references made in this film toward the original, but those references are just brief and somewhat vague. However, it is the method that this title gives it a “wink” toward the original source. And the question remains on if there will be a third movie title? This writer can’t really say as it all depends on how well this movie does box office wise! However, one can muster up a stage musical in the works!

PS..Would it be a spoiler that this feature also stars three noteworthy cast members? If it’s a spoiler, then stop reading this review right now! If it won’t be a spoiler, then those cast members are Meryl Streep as Mary’s cousin Topsy, Angelia Lansbury as a balloon lady, and Dick Van Dyke as bank president Mr. Dawes, Jr. reprising his role.

This feature is rated “PG” for some minor intense moments. Opens on December 19th at all of the usual multiplexes!
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On December 12th, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.

Under the guise of the National Film Preservation Act, the LOC chooses twenty five titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least ten years old at the time of creation or public release, and must be an American production or co-production. Any motion picture can be chosen as long as it meets those guidelines, and do not necessarily have to be a commercial production. (Amateur and home movies can be selected.)

Each year, the LOC selects the titles are suggested by the LOC’s film preservation staff, moving image scholars, as well as the general public.

Listed below are the twenty five titles along with its year of release/creation. A “#” in front of the title indicates that it is a non-feature length film. (Short subject, amateur film, etc.)

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Broadcast News (1987)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Cinderella (1950)
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
#Dixon-Wanamaker Expedition to Crow Agency (1908)
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
The Girl Without a Soul (1917)
#Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People (1984)
Hearts and Minds (1974)
Hud (1963)
The Informer (1935)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Monterey Pop (1968)
My Fair Lady (1964)
The Navigator (1924)
On the Town (1949)
One-Eyed Jacks (1961)
Pickup on South Street (1953)
Rebecca (1940)
The Shining (1980)
Smoke Signals (1998)
#Something Good — Negro Kiss (1898)

For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2019 selection, visit the LOC’s National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film
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The Santa Monica Playhouse will present their annual NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW, the self titled event that will celebrate the changing from the old into the new through music, song, dance, with doses of comedy.

Featured in this production are a selection of tunes and dance numbers that hold an eclectic range, from 1940’s-era jazz, country-rock favorites, Jewish patter songs, and even a romantic balled or two as presented by the Actors’ Repertory Theatre-consisting of Andrea Asnoff, Jacob Cooper, Chris DeCarlo, Tiffany Haile, Adya Mahanty, Evelyn Rudie, Elena Rust, Berkeley Sanjay, and Raeva Vasisht. A number of these performers has been seen in previous shows at the SMP, so it’s a “family reunion” of sorts that welcomes the new calendar year in high style!

And what makes a New Year’s celebration complete is all of the goodies that go along with it! Your evening includes a buffet supper, champagne/sparkling cider, and party favors that will guide everyone in attendance to slide from the old of ’18 into the new of ’19.

The SMP’s NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW will have two performances: 6:00 and 9:30 PM. The early show are for those that wish to partake the celebration a few hours before the stoke of twelve, or for those that wish to attend a second outside event. The 9:30 PM presentation will give those the moment to ring in the new year with the entire cast! And both shows are family friendly! Bring the kids of any age to partake in all of the festivities!

The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica. For more information on these shows, call (310) 394-9779 ext 1, or visit the SMP online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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This issue will be the final edition of Accessibly Live Off-Line for the 2018 calendar year. We will be taking the next two weeks off, and will return with Vol. 24-No. 1 on the week beginning January 7th, 2019.

On behalf of the staff and management of ALOL, we wish everyone a safe and progressive holiday season! See you in ’19!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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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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