Around the Memorial Day weekend, a married couple personally known to this writer will set out plans on where to go on a vacation trip taking place during the summer season. This couple, already in their middle 50’s and childless, laid out ideas on where to go, when to go, and how long they are planning to get away.
This couple will called George and Gladys. (The reason for this name change isn’t necessarily done to protect this couple’s ID, but to avoid giving them influence on their vacations plans–another long story as that stands!) Anyway, this couple usually takes a number of vacations throughout the year, usually limited to a weekend get away. This time around, these plans they are making for themselves will be for a week’s time, and it will be much father away where the seven days gone will be worth its moments.
Just for the record, G&G as this writer will refer them as, lives in the Los Angeles region, meaning that their vacation will be taken as a road trip through George’s big-deal (and rather tricked out) late model Ford F-150 pick up truck that rides more as a car than it does as a traditional vehicle where its general purpose is to haul lots of stuff.
After going through their selections of places to go, things to do, and sights to see thanks to a lot of on-line based searches, they whittled down their picks to about a half-dozen or so places that limited themselves to about a 1000 mile radius of LA, meaning their choices would give them locations such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and perhaps Washington state. Those states were chosen since they have visited each place within the previous two years.
Many of the spots they picked out were of the tourist-ty kind, such as state and national parks, as well as a few other locations yet to be discovered. (Forest communities in Oregon/Washington, desert-based spas around Palm Springs or in Arizona, beachside hamlets up and down the California coast, etc.) Whatever the case, their picks and choices were plenty for them to pare down through.
Of course, there were many apps installed on G&G’s phones where the pickings were easy(ier) to find, as well as the grabbing of the best deals they could muster up.
For G&G, this time to pick a vacation spot is more of a game as it is a chore, and this couple tends to be rather sporadic in where to go, where to stay, and when to get away and for its length of time.
As this month progresses into July, as well as the fact that Summer has “officially” started on June 21st, many folks are planning for their little getaways to some place for that little R&R. But thanks to wired technology, many people who have jobs that rely upon said technology, can’t resist to do some of their work while they are support to be on vacation. This reason to be at work while out at play can be a decision based on choice or through circumstance. Many of their superiors (i.e. “bosses”) insist their workers to complete this report, file that document, or to work out on a spreadsheet that has to be done for a certain week/day/time of day no matter what! So such work is performed through some kind of electronic device that can be connected to a WiFi connection somewhere.
Even if a person doesn’t necessarily take their work with them, having access to a WiFi connection is indeed a must! And even if these folks won’t drag their laptops or some other connected based device (tablet, etc.), one can bet that they will have their smartphones at bay to keep them connected via phone. This way, if a person and/or family is off on their little getaway, someone within the brood can be connected by somebody else for whatever reason is set upon from “real” emergencies to emergencies for the moment!
One of the biggest complaints a vacationer holds while away is the fact that their spot for their R&R doesn’t have a WifI connection available. Many of the national and state parks and related outdoor spots do offer Wifi service in their parks, either through a visitor’s center or throughout their park, either as free for for a surcharge. Ditto for cell phone reception. This means that even if one is near a lake, a hiking area, or a place where mom nature at her finest can be experienced, there is a method to be connected.
As a public service to you readers from this writer, this link below as provided by the US based National Park Service lists the parks and other facilities that provide public Wifi. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/parks-with-public-wifi.htm
With the above link, one will have the confidence that while camping out in the park, one can rely upon their connected device to keep the happy(?) vacationeer ready, willing, and able to create pictures taken with their cell phones to post via social media in order to prove that they are indeed in the park in question and to rave on how wonderful it is to be there! This may lead into somebody experiencing a case of series FOMO! (See Vol. 24-No. 24 for more details.)
George and Gladys will bring along their electronic connected devices, but not for being around for work purposes. George drives a truck for a large beverage company, while Gladys is a school teacher. School is out for the summer, so there won’t be any classes being planned by Gladys. And since George drives a truck, there won’t be any of his work to take along, unless he’s making a delivery near or at their location of their vacation pickings.
Of course, there is the “staycation” where folks plan to take a vacation around their community while still living within their homes. This staycation was made popular (so to speak) during the great recession a few years ago where folks wanted to take some for of vacation while sticking to a very limited budget. Although the recession is long over, the notion of being frugal never really went out of style.
So hears to G&G as they make their picks on where to get away for a while, and to tell the folks they left behind on how great it was to leave for their brief moment. With their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts are geared up and ready to go, they will keep everyone in the loop as it all takes place to its fullest. After all, what is social media for anyway, hah?
NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents DAMES AT SEA, all about a Broadway musical that is nearly doomed, but goes out to sea along with a brand new star as its lead, along with the sailor that all make it happen!
The time is 1933. The place is The Big Apple. The nation is in deep depression. But The Great White Way is still in bloom. A new musical is set to open. Ruby (Katie Franqueira) arrives by bus from the wilds of Utah with a pocketbook full of air and a heart and soul full of hope and dreams. She meets Hennessey (Chuck McLane) the director of this show and tells him she can tap dance. He hires her on the spot! She meet Dick (Aaron Shaw) a gob for the U.S. Navy. He’s from the same hometown as Ruby, but desires to get his big break as a songwriter. The show’s star is Mona Kent (Jennifer Knox) a Broadway diva. But the production is doomed since the theatre building is set to be torn down for a W.P.A. project. But the show must go on! Thanks to Dick, he convinces the Navy brass to take the show out to sea on a battleship. While on the boat, Joan gets seasick and can’t perform! Ruby is set to take the lead! The show is saved, and everyone lives happily ever after!
This musical was born in the late 1960’s, around the time with old 1930‘s-era movies were first being discovered on after-hours television airings on The Late-Late Show, and around the time when contemporary movies were getting worse than ever in terms of depictions of sex, violence, and even cussing! It’s a tribute to those bright, shiny, and black & white musicals made by Warner Bros. that featured all-talking, all-singing, and all dancing! The book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller and musical score by Jim Wise is rather corny yet cute. This just enhances the appeal that harks back to the era was movie musical were indeed, movie musicals! The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents a full scale Busby Berkley-style show on a breadline budget, making that kind of staging even more appealing! It features a selection of tunes that recall those tunes of the 30’s as performed by musical director Sean Paxton on piano. Jeffrey Scott Parsons’ choreography provides how much of the cast, especially Katie Franqueira’s tap dancing, makes this show a real treat to experience. And Joshua Finkel’s stage direction gives all of that dancing and romancing placing it into new heights
Also appearing is Ruben Bravo as Lucky, another sailor man, and Marissa Mayer as chorus girl Joan. They too can sing and dance as anyone can, or at least in a musical spectacular.
And what’s a musical musical without the lavish sets? Jeff G. Rack provides those sets consisting of the theater and the battleship where the show sets sail into glory!
It’s been said that for every burned out bulb found on a theater marque, it means that another Broadway hopeful gets their heart broken. DAMES AT SEA may not have many burnt bulbs because it shines through! And did we say it has a happy ending? After all, it’s a musical, not a gangster feature! In the latter, those mugs wind up either shot dead on sent up the river to Sing-Sing! But that’s for another musical, and for another review!
DAMES AT SEA, presented by and performs at the Sierre Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierre Madre Blvd, Sierre Madre, until August 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8;00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Special performance on Saturday afternoon, August 3rd at 2:30 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at
TOY STORY 4 (Disney/Pixar) continues the saga of the toys once possessed by former child Andy, and now under the ownership by current child and soon to be kindergardener Bonnie.
As Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw) enters kindergarden, she makes as a simple art project, a stick figure made of pipe cleaners, felt, a pair of doll eyes, and a plastic spoon/fork (“spork”) and calls this stick figure Forky. (Tony Hale) Forky isn’t a toy per se, but is just as beloved by Bonnie. The toys, lead by cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) tried to welcome Forky to the bunch, yet Forky is very shy and would rather keep itself in the trash where it came from. The bonding of Forky and the rest of the toys move forward as Bonne’s family take a short road trip in a rented RV with many of the toys in tow. As they stay in a campground in a small wooded town where a local carnival is operating, Forky becomes lost. Woody seeks the lost spork, only to encounter an antique shop where he spies a lamp in the window that looks familiar. It’s the lamp that at one time featured the ceramic figurine Bo Peep (Annie Potts) on its base. Bo was once the apple of Woody’s eye. This chance encounter, along with Woody becoming lost from the other toys, beings a search for the cowboy lead by Buzz Lightlyear (Tim Allen), and well as becoming mixed with other toys from the antique shop that holds sinister purposes. This also includes Ducky (Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele), a pair of stuffed toys with cocky attitudes that are carnival game prizes, and become part of the other toys looking out for one another if not for themselves.
This fourth entry to Pixar’s flagship franchise that started the feature length computer generated imagery animation filed, is once again charming as all of the rest. This film holds many emotions from the cute and cuddly to the borderline illusion of horror–or at least a family friendly version of a sense of horror! The storyline by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie Lapointe, along with Rashida Jones & Will McCormack, Martin Hynes, and Stephany Folsom, with screenplay by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom, brings on a vast blend of concepts that are geared to please fans of this long running franchise, as well as those that are new(er) into this entry. Mostly in the rein of kids that grew up with the Toy Story series thanks to home video and related video content services.
Outside of the regular collection of toys (Woody, Buzz, et. al.) are some newer characters that make up the roster. The sinister toys found in the antique shop consists of 1960‘s-era doll Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) a taking pull ring doll with a worn voice box who desires to get Woody’s functioning voice box (a pull ring toy into itself), Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), a mini doll figurine from the 1980’s, Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) a 1970‘s-era stunt motorbike trick rider from Canada who still grieves from the boy that abandon him because it can’t perform the stunts as shown on TV, and a group of silent henchmen types known as The Dummies (Steve Purcell), a group of identical looking ventriloquist doll dummies that can’t speak since somebody else would normally do the talking for them!
Josh Cooley directed this animated fare that is pleasant for all ages from those for noted kids to the adults that either grew up with the Toy Story series, or for those that are fans of animation that is less snarky and many of the other animated features of late tend to resource its humor through.
Pixar, the animation arm of The Walt Disney Company that is one of many sources that brought this ninety-plus year old studio up to date, provides another feature that will carry on long after its theatrical run has finished. That is why it never relies upon dated or topical elements to keep it afloat. And for what it’s worth, it even carries a few themes into its story, most notably to listen to one’s little voice inside! Woody’s pull ring provides his voice, and Buzz has a series of buttons affixed to this frontside that speak for it as well. One of those voices is the catchphrase “To Infinity and Beyond”–where this film will defiantly go!
This feature is rated “G” for all ages. Now playing in both standard screen size and in selected IMAX theaters nationwide.
The next issue (Vol. 24-No. 26) will feature ALOL’s annual “State Of The Union” address! Don’t miss it!
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