Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of say so going on regarding to the college admission scandals of late. Social media has been harping on these antics since the news broke out. Folks that have an association with the universities involved within the hurlyburly were confused, disappointed, and even angry over the fact that these same folks worked their all-in-all in order to attend, or to just be considered for admission. A few that formed a legacy with the schools noted on these black lists have announced that they no longer want to do anything with these same schools they attended based on their own merit by performing such tasks from removing themselves from their alumni association, cutting off ties in terms of donations to the school’s specific department(s), or to even getting rid of the swag they possessed that showed they still has the pride of attending, from simple window stickers affixed on their vehicles, to clothing decked out with school logos and color schemes.
And for those that had the thought of enrolling to these schools? A few have changed their minds. One person that this writer holds a vague acquaintance with was in the final stages of enrolling their child as a freshmen to one of these schools. Now they are at the last moment, enrolling their kid into a smaller yet well respected college located not so far off into the distance.
This writer started to write a piece where another acquaintance, somebody that I know more personally, started off in getting their soon to be turning eighteen year old daughter (a senior in high school) for college. They also have a son that is about to graduate from the 8th grade this spring. Although college is some four or so years off, they through that they would jump the gun and plan for their son as future college bound material. As one can guess, these post-modern parents are doing what their parents didn’t do; Plan ahead for a higher education for their kids as their parents (their kids’ grandparents) never completed a formal education beyond receiving a lowly high school diploma.
Because of the buzz going around (and still very active as of this writing), yours truly thought to take this story out of the purgatory heap (in apposed to the trash pile as it’s always great to keep an article idea at bay since one will never know then that same idea may come in handy), and bring this little “slice ‘o life” story back into the limelight.
So settle back and read on about how a parent (or parents since this story is about the mom doing the work rather than the father figure, although it’s going to be assumed that he is taking some kind of part of this ritual), is doing their damnedest in getting their kid off to some school that is far beyond the high school level.
In order to continue this story, we’ll have to change the names around here since this newsletter doesn’t want to influence anyone or any place in order to get their kids into the college(es) of choice. After all, we still have to protect our asses!
At the start of the school year last September, Gloria (not her real name–remember?) has a daughter Gloria Jr. (again, a fake-o name) that is starting off her senior year at a community high school. Since her days as a junior, her mom was working with her on what colleges she wanted to attend. Gloria Jr. wasn’t too sure on what she wanted to do for herself in terms of a college major. Gloria Jr. and Sr. received all of the information about higher education schools located within a thousand mile radius of Los Angeles proper, limited themselves to mostly schooled located in west coast states. They did the usually investigations, from gawking through the school’s websites, to even taking a few in-person visits to many of these schools in order for Gloria Jr. to get a taste of what life was all about on campus.
Gloria Sr. attended a smaller liberal arts school located within the state of California. It wasn’t a so-called “big deal” school, but it was a place where one can receive a respected education. This school was indeed on the hit list of places where Gloria Jr. could attend.
Since the first month of her senior years, the challenge began. Applications were received and filled out. Test programs that were known by their initials rather than by names were conducted in order to enhance Gloria Jr.’s sense of ability, as well as holding on to those test scores that can bring her into a more prestige standing in terms of admission. It was a full time task where Gloria Jr. would hold her place at a school of choosing once she would receive her high school diploma.
To make a very longer story much shorter, the number of colleges were whittled down to a few. Most of these schools were now located within a 500 mile radius. A few were “brand names” (i.e. schools that many have heard of) while a few were smaller liberal arts colleges respected within their own right, including Gloria Sr’s alma mater.
As of April 1st, the number of chosen schools were now whittled down to about eight. One was in the ivy league, while the rest were within the smaller ranges. With the exception of two, every one of these school’s admission departments were interested in Gloria Jr. becoming part of the incoming freshman class. During her high school’s spring break period (week of April 15th-19th), both Gloria Jr. and Sr. will be making a barnstorming trip to a few of these schools as on-campus visits.
Yours truly doesn’t have to note that Gloria Jr. will be enrolling on her own merit. She did score high on the SATs, ACTs, and other tests never mentioned. (To me anyway!) However, it appears that Gloria Jr. will be a shoe-in to a number of these colleges, including the small liberal arts college that her mom attended not too many years beforehand.
In this domestic society, where one attends school makes up part of how one discovers themselves in terms of knowing what’s going on, as well as being part of the passion and nostalgia of school antics as higher learning or learning while high! Many feature films and television programs used school settings as part of the themes and plot points. (One of the longer running places of media, Archie, based on a comic strip created by Bob Montana c.1941 as a knock off to Henry Aldrich, is still alive as known as current TV series Riverdale.) Ditto for college life as well. (Too many of those titles to list!) But getting into a school–any school–is best based on one’s own capacity. It’s hard enough to just get by as it stands. And when one attends a school of higher learning, one can get that career off to a decent start. After all, somebody’s going to have to pay that student loan debt. However, that issue is for another ALOL article!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Hudson Guild Theatre presents Debrianna Mansini’s solo show THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES, a saga about a dysfunctional family and the food that tied the binds.
Debrianna tells the true tales about her family. Growing up in the wilds of Connecticut, she emotes about her mother who gave birth to three of her four sisters before she reached the age of twenty-one as a “child bride”. She also adds about how she related to her mother, her father(s), her sister siblings, her boyfriends, and others that came in and out of her life. One element that made it worth its while was the savory dishes her mother created. Coming from Italian roots, she acquaints her audience that good things came from her kitchen, from panettone, meatballs, and more! She also sneaks in episodes from the time she has to make secret phone calls to her boyfriend, how her mother made an attempt to meet her favorite singer Engelbert Humperdinck with the kids in tow, as well as how those mouthwatering dishes removed some of the bitterness that reined within her homestead.
This single act program written and performed by Debrianna Mansini, takes upon a charming viewpoint on a woman that grew up in a crowded house that was blessed with a selection of meals proving that the family never went hungry. She speaks with a vocal tone that though there were rough patches experienced in her earlier days, it was not through sorrow, tears, anger, or regret. It was through humor, togetherness, and most important of all, it was through food! Not any type of food mind you, but through genuine Italian meals! (No cardboard pizza or thin spaghetti topped with ketchup!) For ninety minutes, Debrianna will guide you through a journey that is funny, somber, and of course, delicious!
Although Debrianna is alone on stage, she does receive some assistance through visual illustration as created by David Forlano. Projected on a backdrop at the rear of the stage area are a selection of still and moving imagery that embellishes the sagas she details, with plenty of close up of hands kneading dough through the creation of those meals she speaks about that are a feast to themselves.
Tanya Taylor Rubinstein directs this show, along with guest director Laura Gardner, that enhances Debrianna’s charm and grace. THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES is served piping hot! Just make sure to save some room for desert!
THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES, presented by Kuker and Lee Productions, and performs at The Hudson Theatre Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block west of Wilcox), Hollywood, until April 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (323) 960-7788, or via online at https://www.onstage411.com/meatball
DUMBO (Disney) stars Danny DeVito as Max Medici, owner and operator of the Meddici Brothers Circus, a rag-tag operation that makes its appearances performing its shows barnstorming through small towns throughout the southern part of the USA. Max doesn’t have a bother, but thinks if Ringing can add a sibling to its name, so can he! It’s the early 20th century, and Max and his troupe of the usual circus stock, set up camp outside of Joplin, Missouri. He purchases a female elephant named “Jumbo” that is with child–an elephant child! Once it become born, he enlists his onetime circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two kids Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care of the newborn elephant. (Holt was once a trick horse rider, but his wife left him while he was fighting in “The Great War” in France.) As Milly and Joe nurse this new stock, they discover that the baby elephant has big ears. What is even special is when the elephant holds a feather with its trunk, it can fly! Max, seeing this as an opportunity, adds the elephant named “Jumbo Jr.” as part of the circus act. When a sign advertising this new sensation falls apart with a letter “D” replaying the “J”, it becomes “Dumbo”. Before long, folks are flocking to Max’s circus. This flying elephant brings interest to persuasive carnival entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who makes an offer to Max in forming a partnership through his traveling and rather abundant entertainment venture, Dreamland. Its star is an aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green). However, under all of its shiny and over-the-(big) top veneer, this Dreamland has its own dark secrets that Max and his company soon discover.
This feature is another attempt for The Walt Disney Company to remake (or “re- imagine” in movie speak) many of its properties that make this studio famous in the first place. This time, it takes its third animated feature (and one of its titles that has a shorter running time) and bloats it into a full length non-cartoon film that is as expected, overloaded with GCI special effects! Danny Devito as Max is ideal for his role, taking on the persona he’s best to play. He’s both comical and creepy. Not evil or something out of a horror film, but holds a bit of scariness to him. Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier is the leading man character that is still good looking, through he’s been faded into the limelight, something that holds an appeal. The pair of kids, Milly and Joe as played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, are present to not only make this movie more family friendly, but add a sense of independence to them that is fit for a post modern audience. (Milly even holds an interest in science, something that is being pushed to girls in this day and age thanks to STEM-related educational aspects!) Michael Keaton as V.A. Vandevere is the cartoonish villain that holds a sense of capitalistic sin in his performance. Eva Green as Colette Marchant is the elegant yet mysterious figure that has a sense of beauty and sophistication, yet knows what is behind the Dreamland she performs in. These characters as portrayed are amusing for what they are, but still have that “cartoon”-esque feel for them all!
And speaking of cartoons, there are no traditional cartoon images found within this feature, but plenty (and we mean plenty) of special effects are indeed present. (We won’t be listing the entire special effects team here by name, but there are lots of them available!) It will be stated that Tim Burton, who has been a mainstay at Disney since the 1990’s, does his director thing to bring this movie as that same over the big top sensation that he is best known for!
There are a few things changes presented from the original cartoon. There is no “Timothy Q. Mouse” character present (although Molly and Joe do have a pet mouse within their mists), the “Pink Elephants” are formed through soap bubbles rather than cartoon “D.T.s”, and there are no crows found where in the original cartoon, they hold a character sense that they could be played as “colored”–five years before Disney’s release of the beloved “Song of the South” that might (and we do mean “might”) be available to view on the forthcoming Disney + streaming service!
DUMBO is a movie that will please those that enjoy a good Danny Devito feature, or one that holds nostalgia to many of the Disney animated classics. Then again, the summer movie season is just around the corner, and this feature will give one an idea on what to expect to play in the multiplexes between now through the Labor Day weekend. This title will prove that people will still get off of their video screens, see a movie in a real movie theater, and pay for the privilege!
DUMBO is rated “PG” for some scary scenes and mild cussing that is suitable for TV. Now appearing in multiplexes nationwide.
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