SPARE CHANGE?

No, we are not asking you for money! (Although if you did have a few bucks to pass our way, we would gladly take it. However, this is besides the point!)

This column is speaking about the change that goes on through almost everyone’s personal domain. Each season, new things are brought upon us. Some are changes that are seasonal. Right now it’s the time to don sweaters and jackets as the weather may be a bit on the nippy side, even here in so-called sunny California! Other changes are toward personal reasons, such a change of career, a change of diet, and a change of personal wardrobe that isn’t related toward weather conditions. And the rest of changes can even be of a trivial nature, such as a change of daily route to and from work, school, or some kind of regular place one tends to journey. Or maybe it’s just changing the type of TV channels one can subscribe to! (Will you take Netflix for now, or will you go for Disney Plus?) Get the idea?

Changes in one’s domestic life can be good or otherwise. It’s been known through various studies and related factors that human beings as a whole are creature of habit. We as those same humans living within a domestic society that tend to do the same things over and over without even giving it an after thought. For instance, if one attends some kind of event on a regular basis where one is usually seated, one will sit themselves in the same seat within the same location of the seat. If one performs a ritual that is done on a daily basis such as waking a dog, one will walk that pup using a regular route usually around the same time of day. Ditto for taking a meal break. (Breakfast at 8:00 AM. Lunch at 1:30.) Generally speaking, people will tend to do the same things over and over again, whenever they realizes this or not.

When there is an opportunity to make a change, sometimes that change can become a bit difficult to do. Some folks are so embedded in what they do and how they do it, that can throw things off in a loop. To give an example of another domestic episode from one’s slice of life, we know of one person that recently made a transition in a career. This woman was working for a company for over thirty years. However, management as management tends to peruse was going toward another direction, a direction that wasn’t to this person’s liking. So after careful consideration, she decided to call it quits. But for those thirty or so years, she would start her day around the same time of day, taking the same route to and from her homestead to arrive at her office at the same time. Now after thirty years, she isn’t doing this ordeal anymore. She still will arise ever morning around dawn. She still walks her dog every morning as normal. However, unlike all of those years where she would take off to work after her pup gets the workout, she isn’t doing this anymore. There won’t be any episodes going around the office. There won’t be any of the chit-chat of fellow employees around the coffee machine. There won’t be any office gossip going around. There won’t be the same route to take to and from their job. All of that is gone forever. And how is this person after thirty years taking it all? Quite nicely from what this writer was told! Then again, this change was long in the making, meaning that she was expecting this change of career, informing the higher ups that she would be leaving at a certain date. It just would be the time and effort to make this change go into its effect. So this change was rather easy for this person.

Then again, there are changes that are quite sudden and not planned nor expected. Perhaps one change that is dramatic in nature is a change due to a death. Unless this death was forth coming or even expected, such as a person experiencing a terminal illness where “the end was near”, a death can defiantly throw things off in a loop. The death can be one due to natural causes or through circumstance. Whatever the case, it’s a change! Period!!

Before this writer goes too far in this topic of change, we are created this article on some changes we will be performing within our Accessibly Live Off-Line universe. And we are pleased to note that this change will be for the good and for the better. What will these changes consist of? Stay tuned to this very newsletter for updates! See you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Pacific Palisades’ Theatre Palisades conclude their 2019 calendar season with
RUTHLESS: THE MUSICAL, a musical satire about a bubbly child star awaiting to perform on the theater stage, her slightly ditzy backstage mom, a sleazy talent agent, and a murder plot all rolled into one!

Taking place in an era when domesticated men worked all day and the wives stayed home to keep house, Judy Denmark (Jenna Nichole Sullivan) is the mother of eight year old Tina (Benni Ruby). Unlike other eight year olds of the era where they were seen and not heard, Tina desires to be seen and heard on the theater stage! She can act, sing, and tap dance while looking pretty all the time. She has an agent Sylvia St. Croix (Jon Sparks) who has special plans for the kid. When Tina’s elementary school stages a new Pippi Longstocking musical run by her drama teacher Myrna Thorn (Carly Reeves), Tina knows she can nail that part! However, then events don’t go the way she planned it. Things turn for the worst or for the better, depending on who’s behind the better or for the worst. Before too long, there’s a new shinning star along the Great White Way, Ginger Del Marco, who happens to be Tina’s mom! Will big-deal theater critic Lita Encore (Randi Cee) phrase the acting skills of Tina and/or Ginger Del Marco, or will she give them both a goose egg?

This dark and comical musical, with book and Lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird, is an obvious satire spoofing a variety of sources, everything from Shirley Temple-esque child stars of yore, the musical Gypsy, the feature films All About Eve and its inspiration, The Bad Seed. Of course, it’s all done for laughs and rightly so. The cast of characters that appear are presented as live action cartoons. They can all spoof one another as Tina, et. al. sing and even dance their bit while emoting through their Broadway-bound process! Benni Ruby as Tina has a good part of the talent as she can tap dance as well, although her tap dancing is somewhat limited! Along with the rest of the cast that includes Jessica D. Stone as Louise Lerman, the kid that got the part Tina wanted, and Talulah Hunter as Puddles who has no speaking lines, perhaps the best one of them all is Jon Sparks as Sylvia St. Croix. Jon can drag on to this role with the utmost of finesse, always ready to take on what’s coming to him/her! Alta Abbott directs this show that blends the talent and artistry that this production always holds on to.

Outside of the said talent, there’s lots of other things to see on stage The costume designs by June Lissandrello, Jon Sparks, and Greg Abbott are over the top. Ditto for the wig design also by Jon Sparks. Sherman Wayne is once again behind the set and lighting design, and Victoria Miller presents the choreography.

The musical score is presented live by a three pice combo with musical direction by Brian Murphy performing on the keyboards (playing on a real piano), Spencer Hutton on stand up bass, and John Harvey on percussion.

The title of this musical is self explanatory. It is ruthless, it’s a musical, but it’s very funny as well as charming in its own unique way! One theory states that for every burned out bulb found on a theater marquee, it represents a Broadway bound broken heart. That may be the situation, but nothing is broken in this production as witnessed on the Theatre Palisades stage. And if that isn’t the case, then one call this very “critic” an Unkie’s Muncle!

RUTHLESS: THE MUSICAL, presented by Theater Palisades and performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until December 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

Theatre Palisades has announced their 2020 season of stage shows and musicals.
The season opens in January with Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, followed by Mary Chase’s Harvey in April. In June, Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors performs. In September, Frederick Knott’s thriller Wait Until Dark opens. And rounding out the season in November is the Dan Goggin musical Nunsense. All production titles and schedules are subject to change.

More information on these and all shows as well as for ticket reservations can be obtained by calling (310) 454-1970, or through the Pacific Palisades Theatre website at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
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Julia Migenes appears at The Odyssey Theatre in her program LA VIE EN ROSE, an intimate cabaret performance where she tells the stories of the songs and the artists of Paris, France through music and memoir.

Julia first steps on to the stage not with an opening number, but a brief story on how she came to Paris after her stay in Vienna singing opera. Once she began to lose weight dining on Parisian food (as she tells it), she embraced herself upon the harmony and fashion to what French music is all about. She continues to wax nostalgic on the period of Paris and France between the era of Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso, generally the 1880’s to around the 1960’s. Standing alongside a grand piano, she tells briefly about some of the vocalists that were active in this part of Europe, such as Charles Aznavour, Leo Ferre, Jacques Brel, Michel Legrand, and of course, the beloved Edith Piaf whose inspiration sets Julia’s performance in motion.

Seated at the piano is Victoria Kirsch, who plays the songs that Julia tells about that are well remembered in France and especially in Paris, but may not be well known to those stateside as these talents never made much on an impact outside of their native land. But Julia does give a bit of a demonstration to these musical artists and their style of presentation. At times, Julia’s story telling on these harmonious style are reminiscent to how Leonard Bernstein used to explain the methods of music on Sunday afternoon television. Yet Julia doesn’t play the piano and Leonard Bernstein never did musical vocals.

Julia’s show is extremely charming and very moody. Also, it only holds a running time of some seventy-five minutes. This isn’t enough time to really get the grasp of Julia’s true musical approach. She holds a portfolio of various styles of tunes and singing. And since she calls this musical review part of her “farewell” tour, one would believe that she would really show what she can do before she leaves the spotlight for good!

The stage set Julia and her musical complement Victoria Kirsch appear upon is very minimal. Chris Bell designed a stage scene consisting of Julia, Victoria seated behind a piano, along with a classic style “French” lamppost placed far off stage left, and a Victrola stage center, all positioned within a blacken setting. On the talking machine’s turntable is a pink colored Edit Piaf record. Although that pink colored record is the brightest spot of the stage set, it’s there just for show since Julia is doing the real singing and the Pief record is in reality, an album that is to be played back at 33 1/3 RPM!

Directed by Peter Medak, LA VIE EN ROSE is a melodic program for those that hold that same romance for Paris, France, and for those that recall the flavor of the spirit that small spot in Europe represents. Even through Julia is stating a “goodbye”, let’s hope she returns to do another set of tunes to top off this farewell, or a farewell for the time being.

LA VIE EN ROSE featuring Julia Migenes, performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, until December 8th. Showtimes are Thursday, November 7th, 14th, 21st, and December 12th, Friday, November 29th and December 6th, Saturday, November 9th, 16th, 23rd, and December 14th, and Sunday, December 1st and 8th. All performance begin at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, or online at
http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com
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The Victory Theatre Center presents the west coast premier of Judith Leora’s ELIJAH, a dark play about a group of people stranded in one place because of a storm that faces many challenges between personal secrets, a death about to take place, and the quality of service inside of a casual dining establishment.

The setting is a TGI Fridays restaurant located in a small town in Texas off the interstate. The weather outside isn’t very pretty as Hurricane Elijah is passing through. A group of folks take refuge inside of the place that has only a scant pair running the eatery through default. There’s the manager Lori (Kathleen Bailey) and her teenaged niece Ashley (Mackenzie) who is learning how to be part of the waitstaff. As the storm become intense, a few people trickle in to weather out the storm and to get a bit to eat–whatever they can get! There’s Dawn (Molly Grey), Greg (Jordan Well), Tim (Jesse Merill) and Patience (Elle Vernee). Besides the weather, another event is taking place nearby at a state prison. Scheduled for that same evening is an execution of a serial killer. And the few that are present at this diner are there to take part in a protest connected with the execution. This is where the conflicts take their start. While the storm progresses, so are the tempers and attitudes of those taking refuge. Before long, a lot of secrets are reviled between these six, making the storm inside more brutal that the storm taking place outdoors!

This single act play by playwright Judith Leora was first inspired when she had to take refuge inside of a TGIF Friday’s joint while a hurricane was actually passing through. To make her isolated episode more interesting, she added all of the conflict and pathos that takes place on stage. It can be described as a rather macabre comedy. The comedy itself doesn’t consist of one-line jokes or even comic situations. Much of the so-called “humor” is based upon a group of people that arrive from totally different backgrounds and beliefs that are holed up in one place through dire circumstance rather than by personal choice. These differences and their constant ribbing one another is set as unintentional humor, let alone the serious nature of what’s really going on throughout. (A horrendous storm, an execution, deep secrets reviled from a darken past, etc.) The mini conflicts between the six as well as their dialogue is presented in a very tight fashion, never letting its momentum drag to any standstill.

The cast of players do get along with one another, but not in any playful manor. They are likable for who they are depending on one’s mood. That element is what makes this play work! Marie Gobetti, one of the artistic directors of The Victory Theatre, directs this program through a solid loop that carries on toward its ninety minute limit right up to its conclusion, even if that conclusion is a bit abrupt!

Evan Bartoletti’s set design shows the inside of what could be a “real” TGI Fridays, complete with appropriate tables and chairs, as well as the kitschy decor that makes this kind of location the proper joint to eat its comfort food selections and watch the game on a dozen TV sets, yet there are no video monitors present on this stage set!

ELIJAH is a production that carries a title of Biblical proportions, yet has nothing to do with the prophet of the same name. It’s just a theater piece that shows what could happen when somebody is plopped at the right place for the wrong reasons. At least TGI Fridays serves the best curly fries around!!

ELIJAH, presented by and performs at The Victory Theatre (The Big Victory Theatre), 3326 West Victory Blvd. one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until December 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at
http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org
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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (Warner Bros.) stars Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog, a private detective based in Brooklyn, USA c.1957. His office is within a car service company that takes people to and where they have to go when a cab, bus, or subway car isn’t available. When his longtime friend and mentor Frank Minna (Bruse Willis) is gunned down, he starts to get to the reasons on who was behind this murder. He makes some discoveries within his leads that takes him to the backend of city hall where a there is a corruption deal going on with a structure builder figure, Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin) who plans to build dwelling units in the slum areas of the city that in reality would relocate the negro population out of the area. One person that is fighting against this plan is Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) what holds the reasons toward getting behind the murder of Lionel’s best friend. One elements that Lionel holds is a emotional handicap, having a case of Tourette Syndrome where he blurts out words and fragmented sentences without any control. It’s a long journey through the back alleys of the borough he knows well, facing more than he may possibly handle.

This feature film is based on the novel of the same name written by Jonathan Lethem. Edward Norton supposedly discovered this work in the late 1990’s, and desired to adapt it for the big screen. He eventually wrote its screenplay even setting to not only star, but to direct, making him as a “triple threat” toward this path. The movie itself is very “film noir”-esque as it has a lot of the elements that make up a typical film noir vehicle. (Grimy back alleys, darkened rooms and places with streaks of light shining through, seedy looking joints and dives heavy of cigarette smoke and booze, etc.) as well as the characters that are part of the gritty urban landscape. (Thugs, goons, politicians on the take, etc.) The film’s look is 1950’s Brooklyn throughout! Beth Mickel’s production design, adding Kara Zeigon’s set decoration, as well as Amy Roth’s costuming make this feature as part of the eye candy that makes period films just what they are.

Alas and alack, those are the better parts of this feature. What this film lacks is continuity that moves is a fast clip. The feature opens rather well as Lionel and his best friend Frank go undercover on a case, only to have Frank gunned down. (This tidbit wasn’t a spoiler alert as Lionel’s gum shoeing started when Frank was “whacked”!)

From that point, the feature starts to bog down where the pacing creeps slower and slower. By the time the feature came to its conclusion some 144 minutes later (give or take a minute), the pacing nearly came to a dead standstill. This form of miniminalistic action would would be ideal, if not perfect, for television. In fact, this movie plays like a made for TV mini series what consists of Lionel looking for the killer. And there are a lot of scenes where the characters talk to one another through close ups. This form of picture direction is fine for a TV program, but not for a theatrical film. To compare, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does a great, if not better, job in recreating 1950’s Brooklyn. However, folks tend to see movies, especially period films, for its plot points, acting abilities, and so on, not to look at scenes recreated to resemble another time and space!

There are a lot of others appearing in this title, including Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, with Willem Dafoe. Many of these names are more of the character actor type then leading “boxoffice” worthy stars. That is why this movie is best suited for television that a theatrical experience.

Oh yes, there is the musical score to note. Daniel Pemberton composed the score that features Wynton Marsalis on the trumpet.  And Thom Yorke performed an original song as part of the soundtrack. These musical notes (pun?) are this feature’s saving grace as jazz was indeed part of 1950’s New York. So was doo-wop, yet there is no period rock ‘n roll anywhere to be heard! Perhaps street corner doo-wop isn’t as sophisticated as bebop jazz!

It’s somewhat understood that the last few weeks of the calendar year is important in the movie biz as this time of year launches the start of the movie awards season where every studio releases their best films of the year that contains lots of deep drama, performers that are good (if not good looking) in what they do–and never mind the fact that that they aren’t necessarily big-name stars, as well as releasing movies covering topics that are of an important nature. (Social issues mostly) And yes, they tend to cater to an older (50+) audience that usually tolerate such kind of movies to let’s say, a super-hero type action film, a family friendly animated title, or a classic “tentpole” franchise property that may not be original, but exists to make serious money nevertheless.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN isn’t one of those kind of pictures! It’s a good movie for what it is, and perhaps good enough to snag an Oscar or two assuming that if it’s going to be nominated for something! However, it’s best if one can appreciate this title seen on the smaller video screen. If those academy voting members out there like this movie, so will you we suppose!

This title is rated “R” for cussing and for “urban” violence. (Gunshots, fist fights, etc.) Now playing in multiplexes nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 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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