“WFH” AND BINDGE WATCHING

The above initials posted are not to be confused with the moniker “WTF”, although the two are closely related!

Within the last month, a number of buzzwords have been going around the media circles on social media, real media, fake media, and all points in return. One of those terms are “social distancing”, whose meaning roughly means “socializing while keeping your distance”. That is now the proper things to do nowadays, since keeping your distance from others would not allow one to be engaged through various results from avoiding contacting the “disease-of-the-year”, to avoiding smelling somebody’s B.O!

Another term that’s been making the grade is “work from home”, or “WFH” to be precise. That generally means one is perform their job, being as paid work of otherwise, within their home setting. This means that one isn’t making the very long commute to one’s work space to do through a job from a remote location. Now one is doing those same antics from the “comfort” and “privacy” of their home.

We internally placed parenthesis over the words comfort and privacy since many people doesn’t necessarily receive the same comfort and privacy where one lives. This is especially true if somebody is living with more that one other person, be it your kids, somebody else’s kids, family members related through blood, marriage, domestic partnership, or through legal or emotional adaption, as well as pets-domesticated or otherwise.

Yours truly has been working from where I normally hang my hat for some time. Some of my work allowed me to venture outside of my domicile to other places around town and the surrounding community. However, many of those travels have since been placed on hold for the moment. So now I have just hunkered down at my own joint while attempting to hack out these editions each and every week!

Over the previous week, I have received countless email messages from companies, trade groups, and perhaps those received through spam mail on how I can work better, smarter, or just plain work while being cooped up at home, especially if one has others living within. (See the above paragraph for the list of those that may be squatting along with you!) One of these messages came from The Broadcast Film Critics Association, the same group that brings you the the annual Critics Choice Awards program. The BFCA consists of journalists through electronic media that write and review feature films.

Since there are no movies being released at this time, let alone movie theaters being opened, they are suggesting to their fellow members to write about other topics that involved movies. One of those topics suggest to comment upon what they are watching through the many streaming services that are out there, and perhaps even write on what one is “binging” on! Although I myself isn’t necessarily bingeing on streaming movies per se, I will state what yours truly is binging on though a video device. And that binging consists of vintage television programs.

Allow me to explain in detail on what I am writing about. Not too long ago, I obtained a massive collection of videotapes from an estate who recorded television shows off the air for his personal amusement. This man had an industrial video tape machine that was generally used for commercial purposes. He started this hobby sometime in the early 1970’s, years before the first consumer VCRs came to the marketplace. (Sony started to offer their Betamax machines in 1976, while RCA and JVC marketed their VHS decks a year later!) So what I have is a collection of videotapes recorded on a format Sony developed called “U-Matic”. These consisted of cassettes that were the size and dimensions of a hard cover book where the videotape itself was 3/4” inches in width. These tapes are also referred as “3/4” tapes”, since the term U-Matic was more of a band name owned by Sony. Other companies that made videotape such as Maxell, Fuji, Scotch, and others used the generic term “3/4 inch”. But this is all besides the point.

Anyway, the collection I have consists of various programs that aired through over-the-air TV stations that existed in the Los Angeles area, as well as a few movies that aired on a regional pay-TV service on cable called The Z Channel. The date of these tapes recorded were from 1974 through 1982, mostly of programs that aired in prime time, although there are a few that aired in the middle afternoon, and a few from Sunday mornings.

The genre were linked to the person’s personal tastes in programming, and there were a number of episodes of a specific title or genre that are more common that others. Although the person who did record them is now deceased so I can’t ask him what he preferred, I was able to get an idea of what was his favorites. For starters, he did enjoy sports programs. (I have at least 12-14 hours worth of both the 1976 Winter and Summer Olympics alone!) He also enjoyed news programs, animation, comedy shows, as well as TV commercials(!!) There was no other rhyme or reason to what he recorded off the air or why. However, they all exist! And since I have the downtime, I am going through these tapes.

So the question remains. What am I currently bingeing on? I will present a few of the shows I have been looking at, some for the first time since they aired and a few that I remember watching! I will just list the programs that hold a common bond based on title or genre. So here is my top three types of TV that make up my private binge list:

1)- Variety shows that feature professional dancers. In the 1970’s, the three TV networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, programed a lot of these one-time only programs called “specials” that starred a celebrity name of some kind. It was more of the musical variety type where there was a lot of musical reviews, perhaps some vocalists, with doses of comedy added. If was just the kind of entertainment that was very light and breezy, and would be aired for the most part for one and only time. Sometimes if the show was worthy enough, such as winning a lot of Emmys or some other kinds of achievement, it would be repeated again. But for the most part, its first time on the air would be its last.

I was turning in to a number of the specials that featured dancer Mitzi Gainer that CBS aired in the middle 1970’s. All of those specials featured comedy skits with Mitzi and her ‘special guest stars’ as written by Jerry Meyer, a good friend of ALO-L. I also looked at other specials featuring Ben Vereen and Gene Kelly! (Both from CBS c.1978) For a good hour’s time including the commercials, I viewed these hoofers singing and dancing their way to happiness!

2)- The International Animation Festival. This was a series created by PBS affiliate KQED-San Francisco and consisted of a series of half hour episode that aired during the 1975 and 1976 seasons through regional PBS affiliates that featured short animation films made by animation sources from around the globe. The series was hosted by Jean Marsh, a British actress that previous appeared on other programs ranging from Dr. Who to Upstairs Downstairs. Each episode consisting of her introducing these short animation pieces from sources from the eastern block (Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, etc.), Europe, and North America. I have seen animation shorts made by such creators as John and Faith Hubley, Norman McLaren, and others. The animation ranged from traditional cell animation, stop motion animation, as well as a few pieces that were computer generated. For those that are animation buffs, it’s great stuff!

3)- The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. Between 1973 through 1981, NBC aired this talk show right after The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson as part of NBC’s trilogy of shows that consisted of The Today Show in the mornings, The Tonight Show in the late evening, and The Tomorrow Show in the late night/early morning hours.

The program was hosted by Tom Snyder, a TV personality that was active since the middle 1950’s, starting from his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moving around to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and back to Los Angeles where he got the spot to host a talk program on a nationwide scale. Unlike the other talk shows that on the air at the time hosted by Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, and even Dinah Shore that were of the light and fluffy variety, Tom Snyder’s guest ran the gambit discussing at times topics that were more of an series and even of an adult nature. (It was Snyder’s show where I heard about such topics as trangenders and the homosexual/gay lifestyle for the very first time!)

Tom did lighten up at times with interviewing comedians from George Carlin to Soupy Sales! He also interviewed politicians such as California Governor Jerry Brown c. 1977. He had writers from Joseph Wambaugh to Ray Bradburry. There were topics dealing with social issues such as the death penalty in the wake of the execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977. He had fellow TV journalists such as John Cameron Swayze, Howard Cosell, and Eric Sevareid. And there were those in show business he chatted with from Bette Davis to those involved in the growing porno industry of the 1970s!

What make The Tomorrow Show interesting to me was this series was one of my favorite shows when I was in my teen years. I would watch this program whenever they has a guest that was appealing to me,, and if I was able to stay up late Monday through Thursdays from midnight and 1:00 AM central time. (On Friday nights, NBC aired The Midnight Special that was more on rock music!) I had no problems when I tuned in during the summer months as I was off from school. But between September through June, I had to be in bed by midnight so I could get up early the next morning as I had to be at school by 8:30 AM. Sometimes if my mom caught me up watching Tom and his guests, she would yell at my closed bedroom door, “What are you doing up on a school night?” as I would watch while setting at my student desk where my Sony portable 14” black and white TV set would be seated on. Now at the present time, since there is no school to go to, I can stay up as late as I damn please watching these episodes on my current TV set–a Sony 26” studio CRT monitor!

If anyone desires to take part is viewing these programs mentioned in this article, send me a message through our email address. When this whole social distancing thing finally blows itself out, I could arrange to host a TV watching party at my joint. (It’s BYOB gang!!) This way, we all can celebrate our freedom back by tuning in to the TV shows that they just don’t make like they used to anymore! (This invite is subject to change!)

So until that moment arrives, (and as Tom would say when he ended his show for the evening), “Gooood night everybody!”
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

As of this moment, there are no plays or movies to review at this time. However, when things get back to its normal, we will once again provide the best in theater and feature films as posted in this very space!

Stay tuned!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

THE LATEST FROM HUNKER-DOWN CENTRAL

As another week goes by within the sense of total uncertainty, just about anyone and everyone are going through this so-called “new normal” with uneven results.

Since out last edition went to press, many places of public gatherings from bars, restaurants, coffee houses, and just about any place where more that a dozen of so folks would gather, has either limited their services or shut down completely. Any activity for “going out” has been placed on indefinite hold. Generally speaking, everyone is all dressed up yet have nowhere to go.

People employed in larger firms and businesses were asked to work from home, making sure that their computer devices, internet connections, and cell phone machines are wired up and ready to go. For those that work is service areas where working from home isn’t performed, such as working in a restaurant, bar, or something that isn’t remotely wired, then layoffs could become possible. Some companies are offering some kind of salary arrangements to take care of matters. However, many other establishments are not.

All of these measures are going to last for the remainder of March. April is already on a holding pattern. Nobody is speaking for the month of May–yet!

In the mean time and somewhat of a positive note, people are actually taking advantage of doing things around their home base that they have been putting off for months, perhaps even for years! People are now starting to do cooking at home, taking care of repairs and related home improvements they can do on their own since many contractors are rather hesitant in getting anything done remotely in person, and even doing nothing but relaxing without any guilt. After all, if one can’t go out to do something else, why not keep busy and write that great American or Canadian novel one wanted to do but just never got around to it?

After all, we are sure that somebody out there is writing a novel and/or a screenplay that will address this virus situation. This means that coming soon to a local bookseller and/or movie theater near you, a story about the virus–assuming that there will be a book seller and/or movie house to attend to read/view this tale!

As things progress, we will give this all a wait-and-see look upon the aspects since that is all we can do for now! Stay tuned!

And to end this essay with style, we will say that when the roarin’ 20s (2.0) began on January 1st, we were going to start off this new decade stepping on the good-foot. So far, we just stepped in a pile of dog s#it!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

I STILL BELIEVE (Lionsgate) stars KJ Apa as Jeremy Camp, a young adult from a small town in Indiana who plays the guitar. It’s the fall of 1999, and Jeremy is about to head off to college, his first time that he’s about to embark on his own. He has the blessing of his parents Tom and Teri Camp (Gary Sinise and Shania Twain) on the new times he heads for. Before he boards a Greyhound bus for his journey to his school, his father give him his own guitar as token of his success in what his son wants to do with his life. As he arrives at his school, a smaller liberal arts college that subscribes to the Christian faith. Jeremy spots a flyer in his dorm’s bulletin board for a campus concert featuring a band called The Kry, where he meets up with its lead singer Jean-Luc LaJoie. (Nathan Dean) Jeremy asks Jean-Luc if he could perform with them. With Jeremy’s eagerness and ability to play, Jean-Luc gives him an opportunity to perform. Not only Jeremy proves his ability to play, but he could also learn about the ins and outs of song writing, as well as performing to a crowd, and about the music business as a whole. As he performs in the concert, Jeremy spies a young woman in the front row singing along. This woman is Melissa (Britt Robertson) that hold an appeal with musicians. At first, Melissa begins a rather flirtatious friendship with Jeremy, although she has another “friend” who is also a guitar player. But Jeremy won’t stop in getting their attention of this woman. However, Melissa is undergoing cancer treatments. But Jeremy attempts to be at her side with keeping the spiritual faith. Before long, both Jeremy and Melissa become a couple and start off on a journey of music, conviction, and the notion that they can believe in one another to the power of music and faith.

This latest entry by the siblings team of John Erwin and Andrew Erwin is a bio feature of the life and times of Jeremy Camp, an actual person that performs music that is of the genre known as Contemporary Christian Music (CCM for short), a musical style that is (adult) contemporary in sound, but holds lyrics that speak of Christian values and beliefs geared toward those who belong to a Protestant based Christian faith, although it could hold an appeal to anyone that prefers up-to-the-times “church” music.

As to this feature. KJ Apa, who is best known as playing Archie Andrews in the CW Network TV series Riverdale, portrays Jeremy, a young kid from a small town in the Midwest that comes from a rather caring (and Christian) family. He’s good looking for what he is, and is the good guy. Britt Robertson as Melissa is another young woman who is also appealing and perhaps the good “gal”. She is also the victim as her illness beings her closer to Jeremy, his music, the beliefs of God, and sadly, death. Jon Erwin & Jon Gunn’s screenplay, based on a book title of the same name written by Jeremy Camp, plays out as a very good TV movie. It does feature a number of cliched moments between the professional rise of Jeremy, the relationship between Jeremy and Melissa, and to her slow demise. This mentioning of Melissa’s death isn’t being treated as a spoiler as this is based on a true story (so as the opening title notes), and this is what actually occurred.

The feature as directed by John Erwin and Andrew Erwin a.k.a. The Erwin Brothers, is very pleasant for what it is. However, it’s more of a movie that would be something one would either see either as a group as part of a church-based youth/young adult group outing, or a title one can find through a video streaming service. It’s fine for a theatrical setting just as long as the viewer won’t mind paying for the privilege to see a feature that is better suited for a video screen.

In addition, unless one follows or is knowledgeable to the music and artists of CCM, much of its “true story” background may become lost. Granted, its concept is rather easy to follow. However, the notion of seeing the life and times of a CCM artist active in the early 21st Century would hold more appeal to somebody that knows more about Jeremy Camp’s music as well as his background. Otherwise, it’s a tale that is light, pleasant, and a little white-bread bland. And don’t expect anything out of the ordinary since is does hold a PG rating for “thematic material” that’s very family friendly.

I STILL BELIEVE is a title that could tide one over when it comes to wholesome entertainment, or until The Walt Disney Company releases another animated feature such as Frozen III or something else of that ilk. But this movie is live action and not a cartoon. Just take part the melodrama as it unfolds, enjoy the soundtrack, and take heed to what the title asks for in order to still believe!

Note: As this review was created, it was scheduled to play is selected multiplexes nationwide. However, movie theaters may not be open or accessible due to a current federal mandated health related crisis that is occurring throughout North America. Contact the local theater in one’s area for show dates and times.

Update: This title will be available via video on-demand (VOD) starting on March 27th.
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The 40th annual RAZZIE Awards, presenting awards for the worst movies released in the 2019 season, did not take place in Hollywood on March 14th in Hollywood as scheduled.

However, the Golden Razzie Foundation presented their awards program through a virtual reality ceremony.

Instead of this news service presenting the “winners” through a bland and boring list, enclosed is a direct video link to the ceremony itself. It’s a lot funnier that what this news service can present. And if we would need a good laugh, now is that time! -Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=gt2N5QsbHqY&feature=youtu.be
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
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(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
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#AccessiblyLiveOffLine

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

LIFE-POSTPONED!!

Since this news service first reported upon COVID-19, a.k.a. the coronavirus, things has been going from very concerned to possibly worse. This form of “worse” isn’t so much of the spread of this virus, but how others are reacting towards the prevention of the said virus.

There has been reports of people stocking up on everything ranging from canned goods, bottled water, hand sanitizer, and even toilet paper for staying away from anything that could cause upon getting caught from this illness. Events that has been scheduled months, and even years in advance, has either been postponed or even cancelled outright in order to prevent those to not to catch the illness. Companies are informing their employees to “work at home” for the same preventive reasons. Ditto for many colleges where classes will be offered through remote means rather than through in-person classrooms. And some sporting events will either be played to empty seats or downright postponed. The NBA and NHL is called off their season for now, and MLB is on close stand by!

Movie theaters are reporting lower attendance rates. Some of the live theater playhouses here in town are giving out notices that they are safe places to visit, event noting that their theaters are getting a clean once over! And in New York City, some Broadway shows are selling tickets as low as $50.00 just to convince folks that indeed, the show must go on and they are going on as scheduled come hell or high water! (Updated note: All major shows running in New York (“Broadway”) has been shut down through middle April.)

Major conventions has been postponed or cancelled unit the next year. Among the many meetings set for the chopping block, the National Association of Broadcasters won’t meet in Las Vegas in April, (ditto for CinemaCon formally ShowWest in Vegas), the video game convention the E3 Show won’t take place in Los Angeles come June, and the Turner Classic Movies Film Fest won’t happen in Hollywood in middle April. (Yours truly was going to cover this annual event this year for Accessibly Live Off-Line!)

And perhaps the biggest closer of them all. Disneyland and California Adventure is shut down–the fourth time the Disney parks in Anaheim has been closed in its nearly 65 years of operation!!

And speaking of movies, according to the folks at Warner Media for their streaming service that offers subscribers to gain access to the Warner Bros. catalog of films released within the last few decades, one of the titles available to view is the 2011 release of Contagion that starred Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishbourne, Jude Law, and others. Its plot line speaks about a deadly worldwide virus going around that a team of medical professionals are attempting to stop the illness in its tracks. At the beginning of the year, this film ranked no. 274 in order of streaming demand. As of the first of this month, the title jumped to number two! (What remains at number one? The Harry Potter series ‘natch!!)

Finally as this issue went to press, the IRS may be considering pushing the tax filing deadline beyond its standard April 15th date just because people may be too concerned in getting out to get their taxes filed by somebody else, let along just remaining in a state of over concern because of the ever lovin’ virus!

First and foremost, there is nothing wrong in the prevention of avoiding any form of disease or illness that may be around. It’s always smart to watch one’s self on possibly getting ill over anything, virus or otherwise! However, having normal activities being altered or even taken away is getting toward a state of forced discipline. It’s almost like being punished for something that nobody did to create it in the same way a kid could become “grounded” for something the kid may have done, or even didn’t do!

It’s rather obvious that nobody did anything to start this virus on purpose. (The tabloids may say otherwise!) However, one doesn’t have to hole themselves inside of a bunker of a home with their stockpile of thousand cans of beans, massive amounts of bottled water, and dozens of rolls of toilet paper to make themselves safe. The only reason this writer could think of on why would anyone needs an immense supply of toilet paper to keep themselves free from any harm is because their bottled water supply came from somewhere where one should not drink the water in the first place! But we digress!

As stated many times before, the best way to prevent any illness, coronavirus or otherwise, is to take basic precaution. Consumer Reports published on their website some basic guidelines to keep one as safe as possible to prevent getting any form of virus, as well as details on the virus itself. Check the link below for the news:

https://www.consumerreports.org/coronavirus/coronavirus-faq-what-you-need-to-know-covid-19/?EXTKEY=EH03COVID&utm_source=acxiom&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20200306_cromc_covid19

In the meantime, ALO-L will keep an eye on things for updates and revisions. (Note: This issue was revised eight(!) times before it went to press!!) Until then, we just suggest the basic information we provided in our previous issue. It will remain that way for the duration; Keep Calm and Carry On, Let’s Be Careful Out There, and For God’s Sakes Man! We’re All In This Together!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the world premier of Jack Rushen’s TAMING THE LION, the backstory of a conflict between a movie star and the studio moguls upon the star’s acting off camera than on.

The year is 1933. The setting is Culver City, California, just a redcar ride away from Hollywood. The studio is Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, run by Louis B. Meyer. (Jeffrey Winner) One of the many stars working at the studio is leading man William Haines (Landon Beatty) who’s been under contract since the silent days. It seems that Louie B. along with fellow studio head Irving Thalberg (Kevin Dulude) holds a concern with their star over the fact that he is of the homosexual persuasion, a trait the studio won’t tolerate. In order to snuff out the rumors that’s been going around, they arrange a plot for William to “date” and eventually marry one of the stars working on the lot, Joan Crawford. (Marie Broderick). And since William is under contract, this idea isn’t a request, but a demand! (The contract allows the studio to treat their film stars as property rather that employed staff.) However, William has his own lover, a fashion designer named Jimmie. (Niko Boles). So if William wants to remain in pictures, he either marries Joan, or he becomes unusable because of his alternative and unspeakable lifestyle.

This play is based upon a true episode that did occur back in the days when such an activity was banned if not illegal! Besides, the Hayes office a.k.a. the censors, wouldn’t allow such a depiction in any of the studio features releases due to its immoral behavior! It’s also part of a Hollywood that never made the pages of Photoplay or the gossip columns of Parsons and Hopper. But making the movies look “clean” was part of the business of feature films, the prime escapist form of entertainment during the era of the Great Depression. In this play, the cast that play the stars and studio heads holds a striking resemblance to the actual characters they portray. Jeffrey Winner is within the same stocky personna that was L. B. Meyer, whose looks was far removed as leading man material. Marie Broderick resembles a young Joan Crawford that had yet to become a mommy dearest. Kevin Dulude also resembles Irving Thalberg, although his likeness was just limited to photos appearing in “the trades”.

Melanie Macqueen directs this drama as an interesting stage work. It contains as much conflict and pathos as one would see in any picture released by Metro in the 30’s. This time, its stakes would be for real!

The atmosphere of Hollywood from the period is very well present, thanks to Theater 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack. Its staging shows off Louie B.’s office at center stage, William’s rather plush home on stage right, and a snug table at The Brown Derby (along with its star caricature pictures on its walls) on stage left.

Also appearing is Jean Mackie as Ida, Louis B’s right hand girl secretary.

And one questions remains. Will TAMING THE LION have its happy ending by the end of its final reel? With Hollywood being Hollywood, there will be smiles seen upon the faces of the stars at fade out! They don’t call this ars gratia artis for nothing!

TAMING THE LION, 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 April 12th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.

Due to current situations involving a national health related crisis, this program may be subject to be placed on hold. Contact the theater for updated information at (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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OUR MAN IN SANTIAGO, Mark Wilding’s comic spy thriller about an ill-equipped secret agent recruited by the CIA to lead an attempt in the overthrow of a newly elected leader of a South American banana republic, and the fellow agent to see it all through, makes its world premier at Theatre West of Los Angeles.

The setting is Santiago, Chile c.1973. The government has a socialist president in rule, and a plot is being formed between the US by way of the Nixon administration and the Chilean military police force to overthrow the current leader whose been in power since the beginning of the decade. The agency selected Daniel Baker (Nick McDow Musleh) to lead in the coup. The CIA suspects that he’s the man that can execute this dangerous task, but Daniel doesn’t seem to be cut out for this mission. Using a suite in one of Santiago’s finer hotels as headquarters, he’s paired up with fellow agent Jack Wilson (George Tovar) to complete this detail. It’s not going to be as easy as it may appear working through a nation that hasn’t been on a steady political ground. As the two arrange their scheme, another party becomes involved, Chilean woman Maria (Presciliana Esparolini). She isn’t a spy, but the hotel maid! Receiving their cues through sitting American President Richard Nixon (Steve Nevil) and Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger (Michael Van Duzer), both Daniel and Jack unfold their government backed under wraps strategy to complete their mission, no matter how dangerous it may wind up. But what do they know, and how much are they aware of this outcome? And is Maria somebody to consider, or is she really just the clean-up woman?

This new comedy by Mark Wilding was inspired by an actual event where the CIA was involved in an overthrow attempt of President Salvador Allande during the 1973 Chilean coup d’état with the US as a backing force. This play takes those events and forms a comical farce where its leading characters, Daniel Baker as portrayed by Mick McDow Musleh and Jack Wilson as played by George Tovar, are spies without a mission and vice versa. In other words, they are more Maxwell Smart than James Bond! They don’t have fancy gadgets or unique schemes to complete their assignments in any way shape or form. All they have are their own wits for what they are worth. The humor embedded is of a fast paced variety and plays out as a very refined sitcom. (The high brow quality sitcom sort!) The thrills that exist are of the leads getting deeper in what not to do in order to keep this nation south of the equator free from a military junta. In fact, the laughs outpace the cunning spy-type thrills as each step leads toward more laff-loaded buffoonery than the standard cloak-and-dagger espionage methods of practice.

Theatre West member Charlie Mount directs this program in a clip that just gets funnier by the moment. Steve Nevil as “Tricky Dick” Nixon with Michael Van Duzer as Henry (“missing”) Kissinger are just as comical in this production as they really were in so-called real life back in the day. Those comical characteristic are most appreciated by those of a certain age (Baby Boomers mostly) who fondly recall those times, especially if one followed the newscasts some forty-five or so years ago when all of these things were taking place!

One space for eye-candy is Jeff G. Rack’s set design that shows off the fancy hotel suite located in Chile’s national capitol, and the Oval Office where Nixon and Kissinger are taking roost. (The president’s desk as depicted on stage is more appealing that the man seated behind the thing!)

It’s not often where one can experience a spy thriller play as seen on an intimate stage as Theater West provides. It’s really rare to see a comical spy thriller on the same stage set. But OUR MAN IN SANTIAGO fits the bill quite nicely. It’s a load of laughs, and no secret code is needed, or even used! Besides, overthrowing a government is so easy, anyone can do it! All it takes is a little know-how!

OUR MAN IN SANTIAGO is presented and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd, between Barham and Lankershim Blvd. In Los Angeles. (Universal City adjacent). This production was originally scheduled to perform Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM through April 5th.

Due to current situations involving a national health related crisis, this program has been placed on hold until further notice.

For more details on revised performance dates, contact Theatre West at (323) 851-7977, or by way of its website at http://www.TheatreWest.org
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is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

LET’S BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

That was the line as quoted by Sergeant Phil Esterhaus, as played by Michael Conrad in the 1980‘s TV series Hill Street Blues. His character would say that line when he took roll call to the line of cops he would address during the start of their shift. He was just giving some advice to his men (and a few women) stating that it was pretty bad out there, and one must watch their backs before heading off to the city on their beats.

That’s a line that has been stated many times latest over the virus that has been going around the last few weeks, the virus called COVID-19, or better known as the coronavirus.

It’s been a big concern since many industry event of late has been altered, if not totally cancelled, to avoid the spread of this virus. These events that ranged from a Facebook developers conference, to a TV marketing convention and conference in Cannes, France. Many of these events were global in nature, so people from other nations would be in attendance. This rang true to Asian nations, (China mostly) where the virus had first broken out.

And as this writer was compiling this piece, MGM announced that the feature No Time To Die, the latest entry in the James Bond franchise, had its opening pushed from April to late November-November 25th in North America, yet will open in the U.K. some two weeks before. This will allow movie goes to stay away from crowds until the virus is curtailed a bit. It’s also a good move for MGM as November 25th is the day before Thanksgiving, a time where folks normally flock to the local movie houses to get away from Thanksgiving antics, and to see J.B. back in action. But this is all besides the point!

And not only industry event has been altered, there has been a big concern on the fate of the Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo from July 24th through August 9th. The Summer Olympics in one of the few sporting events that attract a huge following around the world, and the USA is one of those followers. NBC, who had held the TV rights to the summer games since 1988, find this event a big cash cow for the network, reaping millions of dollars in terms of advertising and marketing. It’s one of the few TV telecasts that attract big audience ratings outside of the annual events such as the Super Bowl.

This is also rather rare for a program that airs in the summertime where folks are usually out in the air and sunshine. However, thanks to NBCUniversal’s big presence in streaming, one can view any of the games on any device that sports a video screen wherever they go just as long as there an internet connection to plug them in. In spite of the concerns, the Olympics are still being labeled as a “go”! (Stay tuned for updates!)

But meanwhile, back at the home front, folks are taking a lot of precautions in making sure they are safe. Many of the drug store chains are reporting a lead in sales of hand sanitizer, paper face masks, and other methods to distract themselves in avoiding the virus. Although as of press time, a few isolated cases of the virus has been reported occurring stateside, it’s not very likely that a huge spread of this virus will occur. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to keep in check with what’s going on wherever one may be.

Only time will tell when this virus will be curtailed. Thanks to many elements from modern medicine to vast communication devices, people can be informed on updates on the progress of slowing down, if not stopping, the virus in its tracks. But of course, one must take the best way to stay safe regardless.

Although standards methods of life may be altered a bit, it’s also best to “keep calm and carry on”-a phrase first used in Great Britain during the days of World War II, and has since been reused, misused, and abused through the media. However, the idea is just the same. Just live your life as always. Or to also re-quote the good Sgt. in Hill Street Blues, let’s just be careful out there!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sacred Fools Theatre Company of Hollywood rounds out their prime season with Nadhuri Shekar’s ANTIGONE, PRESENTED BY THE GIRLS OF ST. CATHERINE’S, a play about a group of high school that appear in their school’s theater production, only to encounter more drama off stage than on.

The setting is St. Catherine’s, a Catholic boarding high school for young ladies. Their drama club is preparing for a production of the Greek tragedy Antigone, directed by drama teacher Mr. Reed. (Luis Fernandez-Gil) He’s a Spaniard who teaches his troupe with emotional fire laced with theater passion. The players that appear in this production are Marilyn (Emma Mercier), Susan (Scarlet Sheppard), Tamsin (Jessica Ma), Anna (Jenny Griffin), and Lilly (Chloe Wray Gonzalez). Each one holds their own personal trails and tribulations as any adolescent would possess. As Mr. Reed attempts to place his directing chops toward his cast, it appears that Marilyn is paying more attention to the director than the production itself. This habbit isn’t boding too well with the others. Although they all are reaching toward adulthood, they still do have their shares of gossip and secrets between one another. As opening night slowly approaches, it seems that the drama they encounter has nothing to do with their show. What’s going on between Marilyn and Mr. Reed? And is the gossip that’s moving around speaking about truths, is is it just that–gossip?

This single act play making its west coast premier at The Sacred Fools is a production that deeds out as a very mature “young adult” story that isn’t of the same variety one would find on The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. It’s more of a piece that’s suitable for those adults far beyond high school age. The play appearing on stage features the usual antics that would take place in a Catholic girls high school, such as the girls going through their growing pains, friends breaking up and making up, the anticipation of college life, and the for noted gossip sessions. But every episode is taken within a serious mode, although there are some humor antidotes added to get this piece away from be labeled as too sobering!

Along with the drama seen on stage with its players, there’s other notes to consider. Amanda Knehans’ set design consists of a stage area on stage left with a few Greek pillars posted around with a backdrop that has a spattering of graffiti placed in various points. (Is St. Catherine’s school located in an area yet to be gentefied?) Nancy Dobbs Owen’s costuming dresses the girls in typical Catholic girls school clothing fodder. (Navy blue sweater-blouses donned with a school logo, grey skirts, knee socks, etc.) These elements brings this play into its truer light.

It’s rather difficult to call this play a “tragedy”. However, it’s very amusing for what it is and may even bring back some nostalgia, especially if one did attend a Catholic girl’s high school. Most of these school tend to present fluff pieces for their theater shows rather than performing Greek plays long forgotten. But this isn’t a story about lost youth. It’s really a tale about youth lost!

ANTIGONE, PRESENTED BY THE GIRLS OF ST. CATHERINE’S, presented by the Sacred Fools Theatre Company, and performs at The Bradwater Main Stage, 1078 Lillian Way (off Santa Monica Blvd., one block west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until April 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with Sunday matinees March 22nd, 29th, and April 5th at 3:00 PM, with an additional performance on Monday, March 30th at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more details, visit http://www.SacredFools.org
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Performing at the Edgemar Center For The Arts in Santa Monica is the improv show MURDER MAFIA, a self titled program where ten suspects are rounded up with suspicion of a murder. It’s up to the audience to find out who was the killer i.e who’s part of this “Murder Mafia”.

This program stars Derek Jeremiah Reid as the detective. He’s gathered these suspects that comes from all walks of life and backgrounds that may or may have not done the deed(s)! Those players consist of (as listed through their order of the alphabet), Vanessa Gelacio, Carly Harper, Deia Jain, Marion Maclou, Malu Martins, Albi Neziri, Meitar Paz, Mariana T. Restrepo, Manni J. Santamaria, Salvatore Tabone, Rory V, Josefine Wallensgaard, and Sashil Zakwai. Once they are all in the same room, another person is bumped off. By the time the program comes to its conclusion, one person remains! So who dunnit already?

This program uses its plotting based upon suggestions solicited from the audience. The detective, as played by Derek Jeremiah Reid who also directs this show, has selected audience members write down a word or phrase on an index card that the detective asks for. (A food item, a lyric from a song, etc.) Then those idioms as gathered are integrated into the improvised dialogue the characters a.k.a. suspects speak as those suggestions are added into the humorous elements.

The idea of such a show is rather promising. For its running time at eighty or so minutes, it could play out as a much tighter program for its plotting and pacing. Whatever the case, the show contains a setting where everyone is innocent until proven worthy enough to ice off the unlucky victim. That to in itself is enough to blend into its comic relief!

MURDER MAFIA performs at The Edgemar Center For The Arts, 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica, until March 28th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (310) 392-7327, or via online at http://EdgemarCenter.org
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ONWARD (Disney/Pixar) takes place in a world of fantasy loaded with wizards, gnomes, and unicorns, but not in any traditional sense. The fantasy world is the village of New Mushroomton, a community that resembles a domestic suburban bedroom community. Living with this place loaded with cookie-cutter thatched homes, strip malls, auto traffic (for suburbia), and other traits of urban life is Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland), an elf creature that resembles a teen aged boy. He has an elder brother Barley (Chris Pratt) who is a total opposite. Ian is a rather thin and awkward lad-elf that acts meek and rather confused. Barley is more of the “rad”-type who dons a leather jacket loaded with patches expressing his personalty, drives a beat-up van, along with the fact he is more portly and knows how and where to have fun in his life. Ian’s mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a middle aged mom-type that cares for her kids. Their father Wilden has since passed on shortly before Ian was born. But he left an important artifact for his kids, a large staff that resembles a wizard’s wand. The boys discover that if a magic jewel is placed on its top part and resite some magic words through an instruction sheet was enclosed with this staff, they can bring their dad back for just only one day. When they attempt to bring their dad back, the jewel only holds enough power to bring back dad from the waist down. Barley has an idea to make a heroic quest to find another jewel that can complete the job. But they only have a day to do it since their half dad will be gone forever within twenty four hours. So with a lot of enthusiasm and a little hope, Ian and Barley goes upon their quest (as well as a road trip), to get that magic jewel and just to find out if there indeed is a little magic left in their post-modern suburban fantasy world.

This latest title from Pixar is another animated feature that caters to a slightly older audience: those boys over the age of twelve that enjoy a good “buddy” movie (as this one is) that speaks to them and for them. The humor and general attitude isn’t anything that could be considered as “cute”! Although there is stuff as rainbows (sort of) and unicorns contained in this picture, it isn’t the kind of unicorns, etc. that would be for those that are fans of Frozen (both I and II) as those fans consist of girls under the age of twelve! (Although Frozen is part of The Walt Disney Company, this feature comes from the Pixar side of things, but this is besides the point!)

The story and screenplay by Dan Scanlon (who also directs), Jason Headley & Keith Bunin is a tale that is fast, adventurous (for an animated film), and rather amusing. It doesn’t present itself as a standard Pixar release that features characters that are likable, holds plenty of heart, and has a plot to match. It performs more as a typical CGI animation release created by one of Pixar’s competitors. That doesn’t make this notion a negative one, but don’t expect this title as another so-called “Pixar classic”. (It ain’t no Toy Story for sure!!) But is does perform as a crowd pleaser as Pixar films tend to be, loaded with the cocky and snarky humor one could get away with through a PG-13 realm. (The rating is mostly for its “scary” scenes!)

And there is the rest of the cast that uses their voice talents to make this so-called “magic” happen. Octavia Spencer is featured as The Manticore, a winged character that knows where the jewel can be found. Kyle Bornheimer is dad Wilden, Lena Waithe is Officer Spector, a half man-half horse who is currently Laurel’s boy/horse friend, Ali Wong is Officer Gore, Grey Griffin is Pixie Dusters Leader Dewdrop (yep, it has a gang of motorcycle driving pixies in this feature!), Tracey Ullman is hock shop owner Grecklin, Wilmer Valderrama is Wilden’s old college buddy Gaxton, George Psarras is Officer Avel, and in keeping with having his voice heard in every single Pixar feature film ever released, John Ratzenberger is construction Worker Fenwick.

ONWARD is one of those movies that may not be within the same category as the Cars franchise, per se, but is fun enough to something that is very entertaining. And it will be one of two Pixar features that will be released within the same calendar year. (It’s other title Soul will be hitting the multiplexes later in the season!) But until then, just grab the extra large popcorn bucket topped off with butter flavored grease, the oversized cup of iced fizzy sugar water, and perhaps a box or two of Jujubes and enjoy! After all, movies are supposed to be fun! That is where the magic really remains!

Now playing at those same multiplexes nationwide!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

MEATLESS MEAT: THE SAGA CONTINUES

There has been a lot of talk lately over the trend on meat products that look like meat, cook like meat, and even tastes like meat, but isn’t meat at all! It’s a food substance made out of plant material. It’s a new way to not only not rely upon animal product, but to provide alternative ways to create available foodstuffs of healthier choices to all consumers that practice meatless or vegan based diets.

There are currently two brands that offer plant based meat products: Impossible Meat, and Beyond Meat. (Other brands will be added over time!) And those new products are currently developing. At the recent CES convention (once known as the Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas last month, plant based pork products were introduced. (The CES is more in high tech development rather than just the showings of the latest in TV sets and streaming audio devices!) Before long, there will be plant based hot dogs, pork chops, fried chicken, and other staples that are part of the domestic diet.

What is the reaction to all of this like of “fake meat”? From what is understood, it’s coming in rather well! Last summer, a KFC restaurant in Atlanta offered chicken pieces that weren’t real chicken, but product that resemble chicken pieces. Folks were flocking (pun?) to this location in droves, at times lining up around the block. Burger King is test marketing an Impossible Whopper with positive results.

Rumors are going around that McDonalds may be dabbling with offering a Big Mac version featuring plant based meat. Wendy’s may be doing the same. However, those notes haven’t been confirmed from the sources as of this writing. So don’t park yourself to a Mickey D’s to get a macless Big Mac just quite yet!

Even Hollywood is jumping on the plant based meat bandwagon. At the Golden Globe Awards, such product was being offered to those attending the show at the ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel. A week later at the Critics Choice Awards, Impossible Meat burgers were being served. Baja Fresh were also offering tacos made with meat created with this plant based product. And both award show didn’t hide the fact that their attendees were being served plant based products as some of the award winners when accepting their trophies even acknowledged this fact to the TV audience.

One question does remain. How does this stuff taste like? I was attending the Critics Choice Awards program last month, and I had the opportunity to try out both the tacos from Baja Fresh, as well as the burgers (and sliders too) made from Impossible Meat. Each slider even had a little paper flag with “Impossible” written on the flag so one would know that this appetizer was made from this product! The burgers looked like standard burgers complete with a tomato slice and lettuce leaf. If one wanted of put some ketchup on the burger, there were squeeze bottles of the stuff available. (All organic of course!)

So what was my reaction? The burgers, tacos, and sliders weren’t bad at all! The meat itself was rather firm. There was no greasy residue oozing from the meat patties, and they didn’t break up to smaller pieces when bitten into. The taste really didn’t have the flavor of meat, but it came pretty close! The tacos itself were served on soft shells, so they didn’t have that special “crunch” to them as one would expect. And the toppings were a bit on the minimal side. However, the meat product inside was about the same consistency as the burger product. What I found rather interesting was the amount of ketchup bottles offered. There were enough of this supply where if one wanted to, one can drown the burgers with the ketchup in order to hide the taste. However, I never saw anyone do this since the folks present wasn’t there to chow down, they were there to see a bunch of moving picture and TV stars win an award or two. Besides, everyone there was more interested in bellying up to the bar drinking booze laden drinks than wolfing down on burgers made with meat that at one time was impossible to create!

Oh yes! For those that wanted to eat burgers and tacos made with the real stuff, they were available for those souls that didn’t want to bother with the plant basted products!

Time will call the fate of these new products that are bring offered as a new choice in cuisine. Whatever may be the case, the creation of meatless meat is gaining the interest to those that desire to give it a whirl. The product may even be available in your neighborhood. (It is available where this writer hangs his hat!) But don’t just rely upon my take to all of this. Just try it out for yourself and you decide! Besides, I’m not a food critic anyway! Then again, I was the one that used to place chocolate sauce on pizza way before it became trendy, or would make hot cereal for breakfast using cold cereal! (A bowl of Cap’n Crunch heated in an oven for ten minutes at 300 degrees made ‘em rather tasty!) Then again, I really wasn’t a picky eater to begin with!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its run at the Antaeus Theatre Company of Glendale is MEASURE FOR MEASURE, William Shakespeare’s dark tale of the corruption of authority in Verona, and where sexual desires comes with strict justice.

Paul Culos is the Duke of Vienna. He attempts to grant Angelo (Ramon de Ocampo) temporary rule of the city. Meanwhile, Claudio (Ramon de Ocampo) is apprehended by local law enforcement for the crime of “having relations” with his fiancee Juliet before marriage, and his sentence is death! Claudio is convinced that the Duke could appeal his case. But the Duke disappears to hide at a local monastery. He disguises himself as a visiting frier to see how Angelo is running things. When Claudio’s sister Isabella (Carolyn Ratteray), who herself is preparing to become a nun of the church, begs Angelo to show mercy for her brother. Angelo will release her sibling in exchange for personal relations i.e. sex!

This production as presented by the Antaeus Theatre Company shows the true spirit of the work as composed by The Bard when it was first presented on a stage setting within the early years of the seventeenth century. This Antaeus presentation takes place in a Vienna of today with hints of the early 1600’s added for visual atmosphere. Of course, there is the original prose spoken that made the writings of W.S. known to the English language world. Yet this depiction, along with the simplistic sets as designed by Frederica Nascimento holds a contemporary feel. Its only real stage set is seen within the first act that resembles a judge’s chambers, complete with law books on a back bookshelf, a scale of justice alongside the stogy books, and a front desk loaded with piles of legal files with a desktop gavel that’s within reach. The rest of the play’s scenes shows no formal sets, only a time and space that is of a virtual reality. Allison Dillard’s costume design is also akin to the modern fashion tastes of the 21st century with smart touches of the 17th century period added. Those acclaimed elements gives the notions where although the play’s source is from its original “olden days”, the feel is within the present climate. Especially with the idea that one man’s freedom can be obtained for a sexual favor that’s is nowadays known as a “MeToo” moment with a hashtag symbol plopped on its worded front end.

Many members of the stage ensemble are doubled cast where they don their respected costumes and speak with different personas. A few are gender fluid, meaning that a man may appear as a woman and vice versa. This gender swap is in tribute to what was done back in Willie’s day as all female characters were performed by men!

The troupe of players consist of Julia Fletcher as Escalus, Lloyd Roberson II as Provost, Desiree Mee Jung, alternating with Nicole Erb, as Mariana and others, Paul Eiding appearing in multiple roles, Bo Foxworth is Lucio and Juliet, Aaron Lyons is Pompey, and Rhonda Aldrich appears as a collection of dramatis personae.

Armin Shimerman & Elizabeth Swain share director duties making this program pit itself itself out from one scene into the next, offering everything one can expect to discover inside of a Shakespearian program as this one from its dramatic effects to its comical interludes. One thing about this play is it features a high conclusion that is left open ended. It showcases that a theater piece some 400 years old can be just as thrilling and captive in this high tech day and age as it was way back then. Granted, modern morals changed quite a bit. Consensual sexual relations won’t get somebody into the pokey, let alone be put to death. As for the non-consensual stuff? Refer to the term with the hashtag in front!

MEASURE FOR MEASURE, presented by the Antaeus Theatre Company, and performs at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway (at Brand Blvd.), Glendale, until April 6th. Showtimes are Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. No performance on March 2nd.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 506-1983, or via online at http://www.Antaeus.org
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Write Act Repertory presents the world premier of SHOW ME A HERO, Willard Manus’ drama about the meeting of a Greek political freedom fighter and the journalist that has a story to tell about this fighter’s goals and consequences.

The setting is Athens, Greece c.1974. The nation was undergoing a dictatorship that began a few years before known as the Regime of the Colonels or simply, The Junta. Illia Volok is Petros. He’s been part of the league that was set off to fight the dictatorship, leading to an arrest for the “crimes” he’s committed. He was eventually jailed and tortured. When the dictatorship fell, he was released from his captivity. Now living in a small flat, he’s attempting to get his life back together while still fighting for the cause. His political work is set towards the attention of Luisa (Lisa Robins), a journalist from the Italian region whose beat covers political uprisings, wars against democracy, assassinations of heads of state, and other notions reflecting world politics. She arrives from Rome to his cramped yet comfortable apartment in the heart of Athens to gain a story about his undertakings. Petros does emote his background to Luisa. But this man isn’t a person that is an all-fight action hero type. He is a man with a charming personality. Lusia isn’t a hard boiled journalist going for a scoop as she holds a human side to her as well. Before long, a romance blossoms. But there is a job to be done for the two and they both hold on to their set goals. With Petros working with friend and fellow freedom fighter Dmitry (Rico Simonini), both Petros and Luisa continue to finalize in what has to be accomplished within their respected fields.

This single act play written by playwright Willard Manus is based upon the actual story between Greek freedom fighter Alexander Panagoulis and Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci who did have a romantic relationship during the conclusion of the fascist dictatorship in Greece. In this stage version, the two leads, Illia Volok as Petros and Lisa Robins as Luisa posses a chemistry toward one another, but not in any traditional sense. Both of their characters are very tight in what they do for their causes, yet possess a gentle side. (Illia Volok in his Petros character can also do some graceful Greek dance steps!!) It’s a far cry to anything one could experience in a “rom-com” feature of late where the male and female leads can be more of a “fluff” piece that something of substance.

The play itself is very solid as well, never letting its pacing falter. Daniel E. Keough directs this production as a deep drama with romantic interludes, or as a love story with noteworthy significance–take your pick!

The stage set as designed by Daniel E. Keough shows Petros’ flat in Athens as small and compact, yet is enough for this man of the honor to do his assignments.

This play takes its title from a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that states Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. This play does presents its heroes, yet also shows some tragic results. But exposing those tragic elements would only become a spoiler. SHOW ME A HERO is a stage production that rings true and just won’t spoil!

SHOW ME A HERO, presented by Write Act Repertory and performs at the Write Act Rep’s Brickhouse Theatre, 10950 Peach Grove Street (at Vineland Blvd. one block north of the intersection of Camarillo Street and Lankershim Blvd.) North Hollywood, until March 29th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more details, call (800) 838-3006 ext. 1, or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4510530.

Write Act Repertory can be found online at http://www.WriteActRep.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

SYNCHRONOUS vs. ASYNCHRONOUS

Those are two words that may not be familiar with many folks. Granted, they may be words used in a game of Scrabble, or words that are considered as “Two dollar words” that show off how somebody can seem educated, or as a person that is trying to impress somebody or something either asked for or as unrequested.

For those that aren’t in the know, these terms can describe how people communicate with one another. In this modern day and age, communicating is a whole lot easier than ever before. Yes, there is all of the high tech gadgetry that exist at one’s disposal, but there is all of the communication that is done live, for real! Meaning one must do so in a face-to-face situation.

That is where Synchronous comes to mind. That word can be known as its loose definition as face to face communication where the other source can provide an immediate response.

Asynchronous can be described as communication through text, email, letters, smoke signals, etc. where one is reliant on someone seeing it and possibly responding.

Many folks use the latter method in today’s communication. Just about everyone has access to a cell phone device, be in a smartphone, or perhaps a classic style flip phone. Although flip phones have been out of vogue for quite some time, they can not only send and receive calls, they can send and receive text messages-a function that’s been around long before the first smartphones came in view some some twelve years before.

When folks are going through their business throughout their day, sometimes they can’t take a standard phone call. They may be driving a vehicle, attending a meeting or function that demands their attention, or may not just want to speak with someone at that very moment. However, a message of some sort must go through. Yes, one can leave a voice message through the phone carrier’s message system, a virtual answering machine that can transcribe a message. However, people don’t seem to use that function as they once did. So they will type a message as a text message. This way, the person receiving the message can read it at their first opportunity. They in return, will reply to the message through the same way–by text! This way, everything they want to say is there in writing, ready to acknowledge and understand.

How text messages are sent depends on lots of factors. Some folks will send a message using cryptic words or phrases, such as Wil C U whn i cn thanx! added with an emoji symbol consisting of a smiley face sporting a big grin. (This message example was one that this writer once received!) Its translation, for those that could not figure the message out, means Will see you when I can thanks! Emojis, those little cartoon-type symbols that’s been around since text messaging, are used as “picture words” its loose translation from the Japanese where the term “emoji” comes from. Many people that use these picture words are more of a younger sect, yet many “seasoned” people tend to use it as well! (This writer should know as many people that send text messages to yours truly that add such emojis are well over the age of fifty!)

But no matter how text messages are sent or who is the sender and receiver, they are tending to take over standard voice calls. Perhaps people don’t want to leave a message by their voice, but would rather type the same message. It’s known why this is the case. However, yours truly within the past year or so have been doing by communication through text. And in return, the others I wish to communicate to are doing the same thing. Granted, these text message communication cycles are from people that I don’t know too well. Nevertheless, our back and forth conversations were all done in writing. I also send text message to people I know rather well. I just perform this task just because I don’t know what they are doing when I wish to send them a message. And if they respond, that’s fine! However, their return volley won’t be through a voice message!

No matter what method is used, it all depends on what one wants to say, and who is going to be told. And again, it’s not limited to text messaging either! There are the for noted emails, letters written on paper stock, smoke signals, and other forms that don’t require a face-to-face contact! However, in spite of these methods of how one can do anything and everything through a tap of an icon or a swipe of a screen, one can’t beat the factor of speaking to somebody in person and for real! Perhaps the oldest way to get things done are still the best, no matter what stage in life one stands in!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Open Fist Theatre Company presents RORSCHACH FEST, an anthology series consisting of a selection of shorter plays that uses the theme of perspicacity between the playwright(s) and its audience through visual clarification.

The short plays themselves are categorized in three separate collections, listed as “Inkblots A”, “B” and “C”. Each one of these “inkblot” blocks are performed in a repertory fashion on different production dates.

“Inkblot B” features Harold Pinter’s Landscape, starring Laura James & Tom Noga as an elderly married couple named Beth and Duff, holding a distant tone deaf conversation between themselves taking about different subjects not connected to one another. Landscape is directed by Chris Cappiello. Its second entry, Daniel Maclvor’s Never Swim Alone, stars Bryan Bertone and Dylan Maddalena as Frank and Bill, two “salesmen” competing in a heartless contest attempting to one-upmanship each other for a vague prize for placing in first. Ann Marie Wilding appears as the Ref, donning a black and white vertical striped outfit a la football field, keeping eye on the contest while occasionally perched on a lifeguard’s high chair. Amanda Weier directs.

Inkblot “C” resides with a pair of short stage pieces by Caryl Chuchill. The first entry entitled This Is A Chair, offers a number of isolated episodes taken from (British) life, ranging from an attempt in feeding a child, a woman who doubled booked herself while going on a date, a group of people discovering their friend jumped off a balcony, and other factors while superimposed upon a background are headlines that are relevant to the U.K. (Hong Kong, Peace in Northern Ireland, The Labour Party, etc.) The second installment Here We Go, is about a group of people attending a funeral. They all speak about what will take place on their soon-to-be deaths. A seperate scene occurs upon what happens to the funeral’s “guest of honor” i.e. the deceased.

This Is A Chair directed by Martha Demson and Here We Go directed by Matthew McCray, features as listed in alphabetical order, Megan Brotherton, Emmas Bruno, Carmella Jenkins, Schuyler Mastain, Debba Rofheart, David Shofner, Casey Sullivan,

Alexander Wells, and AlgeRita Wynn. Neil Oktay and Steven Rosenbaum appear in This Is A Chair, and Alberto Isaac is featured in Here We Go.

Inkblot “A”, consists of a single act play entitled Ghosts, written and directed by John O’Keefe. Ghosts has yet to be reviewed by this writer as of press time.

These series of plays presented by The Open Fist Theatre Company are performed with a minimalistic approach. The sets as designed by Jan Munroe are rather sparse. Each entry uses just a few pieces of objects of various sizes and functions that show no formal time nor space. These forms of visuals as presented only enhances to what the playwrights, as well as the directors desires to perceive per installment. It’s up to the audience to take in what is being said and done into their one ideas by its respected cast through these mini episodes. This is why this series of “inkblot” shows are very unique. Granted, they may not be for everyone’s desires. Then again, in today’s media landscape where every visual and audible aspect is played out as an anything goes-esque motif, these plays as depicted are a welcomed relief to those other notions that could be seen between something that’s genus quirk, or as an “I-don’t-get-it” method of theater! Whatever the case, each selection seen within this series passes the inkblot test–permanent ink stains and all!

RORSCHACH FEST, presented by the Open Fist Theatre Company, and performs at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles (Atwater Village), until April 5th. Showtimes are Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4:00 P. Inkblots A, B, and C perform twice a week on a rotating repertory basis.

For more details on tickets and for specific performance dates and times, call (323) 882-6912, or via online at http://www.OpenFist.org
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The Whitefire Theatre of Sherman Oaks continues its SoloFest 2020 series of performances featuring a single presenter telling tales based upon various topics, subjects, and sources. One of these presentations that performed on February 23rd is TL Forsberg’s The Book That Won’t Close: Confessions Of A Love Addict, a true narrative expressing her virtual and emotional journey where she came in and out of relationships, receiving emotional recovery through a unique “teacher”, and her overcoming an audio-based nonconformity.

In her performance, TL as her first name is credited, tells her epic saga about the individuals than appeared in and out of her life as she describes as figures appearing in a pop-up book where they fold into the pages when the book is shut. In this case, the “book” she lives through doesn’t close as they do not fold away.

Upon her recounting about some of these men–romantic partners or otherwise that were anything but perfect, she finds a mentor that gives her the advice she accepts. This person, a transgender woman, hands her a direction to take. But there is more to what TL has to face.

Perhaps her greatest challenge she holds is the fact that she is hard of hearing. She isn’t deaf in the traditional sense where she dwells in silence, nor she is of a mute that just won’t speak. She can’t conceive forms of background noises quite correctly, but she holds the ability to use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. (And don’t label her as “hearing impaired”!) But throughout her nearly two hour presentation, TL emotes her words and actions in a very animated fashion, never slowing down unless the story calls for a milder pace. With the aid of some visual images projected back of the performance space and through the audible effects as both designed by Glenn Longacre, TL is facing her strengths and weaknesses that goes back to her childhood in her home base of Canada (where in Canada?) that dealt with her parents and grandparent that held a culture difference; A difference that doesn’t rein true toward contemporary standards and practices.

Jessica Lynn Johnson, who specializes in the development and instruction of teaching those how to create their own single person show through movement and speech, directs this stage piece that highlights the verbal and even singing talents of TL. Granted, she covers a lot of ground within her 110 minutes on stage–a length that extends far beyond the sixty to seventy minutes a single performer usually takes to emote to an audience. However, those minutes are not wasted at all. It’s enough where the ALS interpreter Bob Lo Paro seated off stage left, keeps up with what she has to say and do! And she survived everything to tell just what happened!

TL Fostberg will present this production later this year during the Hollywood Fringe Festival, the annual theater program that will feature hundreds of intimate theater-based programs in a number of the smaller venues along Hollywood’s “theater row”-Santa Monica Blvd. roughly between El Centro Avenue to the east, and Highland Avenue to the west.

The Book That Won’t Close: Confessions Of A Love Addict will once again perform at The Broadwater Theatre, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. (off Lillian Way) in Hollywood on Sunday, June 7th at 3:30 PM, Thursday, June 11th at 9:30 PM, and Sunday, June 21st at 7:00 PM.

For more information on The Hollywood Fringe Festival, visit
http://www.HollywoodFringe.com

For more information on Jessica Lynn Johnson, visit
http://www.JessicaLynnJohnson.com

For more details on TL Forsberg, visit http://www.TLForsberg.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!

WHERE’S KOBE?

Although we usually dedicate a specific issue to reprinting and answering letters we receive from our readers, we are taking the time and space upon a selection of notes that express one the same topic: Our lack of response to the recent death of basketball star Kobe Bryant.

Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving a number of email messages (as well as two separate text messages) asking us on why we made no such effort to mention any commentary over the death of this star athlete.

First and foremost, we do present our condolences to all that perished in the accident that occurred on January 26th in an area located within a ten mile radius to where Accessibly Liver Off-Line calls its home base. It is always tragic for any person’s demise that is not connected to any condition that isn’t natural or medical based causes. And that notion is fully respected.

There are a lot of reasons why this new service didn’t take the time to write a piece. First, thanks to social media and its applications, there are far too many places to report this sort of news, especially here in Los Angeles as it holds more of a local connection to the event and through those that were connected. Second of all, it’s a sports related aspect, and although we do report on some kind of elements that holds a link to sports be it professional or amateur, those reports are based upon a media relation to the game, a team, a player, or some other facet. Granted, media did play a huge role in reporting just about every single aspect to what had occurred. However, it was based upon a celebrity that is well known within the circles of the game as well as it has a “hollywood”-esque tie-in. Every media source from the usual expected players, from Sports Illustrated to ESPN covered the event. So did TMZ and E! Entertainment, whose beat isn’t necessarily sports per se, mostly through entertainment. However, Kobe as he was, would fit that bill perfectly.

We here at Accessibly Live Off-Line doesn’t do a lot in terms of reporting upon sports unless it holds a connection to this writer or its editorial content. I, myself, never has any connection, personal or otherwise, to Kobe and his method of performing on the basketball courts. I never met the man, nor did I ever watch him play either live or through some TV portal.

In fact, I never really cared much for the game of basketball, either as a player of some kind of “pick-up” game, or watching the action played through a team-setting.

College basketball is just “OK” for what is is, and professional basketball (i.e. The NBA) is mildly amusing, but that’s about it! Not everyone cares for sports, professional, collegiate, or in any other form. So you can’t please everyone in that element!

I do respect over the death of any person, and that is one topic we don’t discuss much through these pages. The last time that we did was a number of years ago over the death of a sister-in-law of mine. (See Vol. 18-No. 4 for details) That passing held a personal connection to this writer. Again, the demise of Kobe was sad and tragic, but doesn’t contain a personal aspect to me. Thus, I can’t express any words to the nature of what happened with the exception to state that is occurred. But that news was reported twelve times over, perhaps even more than that.

We do want to state that if we do report on some form of passing, it will be related to our editorial content. Not everyone may know of the subject that we will report a death for. But we will do our best to pay the respects and honor to the person (or persons) that have passed on, either through natural causes or through circumstance.

We do hope that this editorial will answer all of the inquiries we have received over this matter. However, if you do wish to contact us on this or just about anything we reported upon, please see the last section of this news service on how you may do so. We will be honored to hear from you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre of Glendale continues its run with the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical BRIGHT STAR, that tells the story about one woman’s life from two separate viewpoints, and how she met a person from her past she thought was long lost.

The setting is within the Blue Ridge mountain regions of North Carolina. Linda Neel plays Alice Murphy, the editor of The Asheville Southern Journal, a magazine that publishes short stories. It’s shortly after the end of World War II, and recently discharged GI Billy Cane (Jacob Reynolds) arrives to his hometown in nearby Hayes Creek. He’s a budding writer and hopes to get some of his stories published in the magazine. He’s been sending those stories to a longtime friend Margo (Camille Gray), who works at a local bookstore. She appreciates his talent, and encourages Billy to submit his stories for publication. The story later shifts twenty three years earlier when Alice was a girl still in her teens. She takes upon a shine toward a young man, Jimmy Ray Dobbs (Peter Easton), the son of the mayor of the township they reside. Their love towards one another takes another direction as Alice become a carrier of a child to be born. Because she conceived the child outside of marriage with the father, Jimmy’s dad, Mayor Dobbs (Tim McGowan) arranges to keep Alice isolated in a cabin away from town until the child is born with the notion of placing the newborn for later adaption. But the child winds up being “disposed” rather quickly. But after all of those years with Alice believing that her long lost child is living with another family somewhere else far away, she finds out that this aspersing writer that insists that his stories be published bares some uncanny resemblance connected to her personal episode that happened nearly a quarter century before.

This musical with book by Steve Martin (the one time “wild and crazy guy”), and singer Edie Brickell is a tuneful stage piece that holds plenty of homespun charm, humor, with plenty of heart and soul. It’s a theater work that never had the chance to receive the respect it should have taken when first made the theater rounds a few years beforehand. However, thanks to the talents behind the Glendale Centre Theatre, this program sports a glowing new and refreshing revival.

The show itself features a very robust cast of players that bring the music and comical drama to life. For starters, the lead players, Linda Neel as Alice, Peter Easton as Jimmy Ray, Jacob Reynolds as Billy Cane, and Camille Gray as Margo hold that same appeal and drawing power as this production presents to itself. The musical score, provided transcribed with arrangement by Steven Applegate, is very upbeat and carries a folk-country flavor with hints of bluegrass blended in. It shows off the rich persona that is part of the Tar Heel State. Adding the choreography by Katy Marcella and stage direction by Martin Lang, all of these forces keeps this musical show moving to a steady clip. Angela Manke provides the period costuming that is rightly suited for such a presentation as those duds provides an inspiration to this saga which in turn, was inspired upon an actual event that did take place a long time before.

Among the other players that appear in this program, it features Haley Chaney as Lucy, Caleb Alman as Daryl, Michael Shaughnessy as Daddy Cane, Lisa Garner as Mama Murphy, Rob Schaumann as Daddy Murphy, Michael Dumas as Max, and Michael Dumas, Kevin Holmquist, Jonathan Algeroy, Calista Ruiz, Bridget Pugliese, Faith Stalzer, and Paula Montgomery as the ensemble.

BRIGHT STAR is stage program that is fit and very ideal to see (or maybe see again) within this intimate theater-in-the-round setting. As stated by this writer many times before, the GCT located in the heart of Glendale, is the only known theater-in-the-round place left in the Los Angeles region. After fifty-five years of operation in the same setting and managed by the family that founded this very theater company in 1947, it’s perhaps the last of its breed. But its physical space and operations isn’t just part of it. It’s really based through the talents behind it all working both on and off stage, and it’s rightly so!

BRIGHT STAR, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until March 14th. Showtimes are Friday nights at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Additional performances on Saturday, February 29th, March 7th and 14th, Wednesday, March 4th, and Thursday, March 5th at 7:30 PM. No performance on Friday, March 6th.

For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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Performing at The Broadwater Second Stage Theatre in Hollywood is the world premier of LAW AND ORDER: THE MUSICAL, a parody program based on the TV show of the same name and somewhat of the same premise.

The setting is New York City, a city loaded with TV worthy crime. A murder occurred where a woman was bumped off. It seems that the police investigators have a case on their hands with this woman possibly working as a streetwalker before she was put on ice. Perhaps the local mob was behind the deed. Maybe her husband did it! After going through their clues and bringing the case to trial, the court system and law informants finds out whodunnit, all in the name of criminal justice and television level drama!

This single-act musical with book and lyrics by Ilyse Mimoun and musical score by Jeremy Adelman, is a comical satire of the long running TV series of the same name originally created by Dick Wolf that uses the same ideas that the program hosted. It follows a crime (usually a murder as that offense holds more intense drama than something else like tax accounting fraud), and presents the crime using two separate vantage points–the police investigation and the prosecution in a courtroom. Unlike the TV show, this is a full fledged musical where the characters sing and dance their way through the investigation and prosecution. And unlike other parodies of any intellectual property out there in the pop culture world where those take-offs can be hits or misses, this show is very witty with a musical score that is catchy with lyrics that’s just as comical as the “book”! The cast of players appearing consisting of (as listed in their alphabetical order), Ebenezer Alasi, Annie Bond, Tara Cox, Steve Fite, Godfrey Flax, Kerr Seth Lordygan, Tifanie McQueen, Ilyse Minoun, and Kira Powell, are very animated with high strung gags and jest. (Many of these same performers play multiple roles!) The humor is sharp and takes jabs on everything ranging from multiple sexual preferences, plant based foods, post-modern criminal justice, and even nostalgia! The quips run so fast, sometimes it’s kind of difficult to catch up!

With such musicals, there are plenty of those working in the background that makes all of this happen! Jeremy Aderman’s transcribed musical direction add to the catchiness the songs provide. Lou Becker conducts the choreography that’s just as amusing, Jennifer MacCarthy provides the costuming, and Ilyse Mimoun directs this show that can stand alone to itself. Even if one never saw the actual TV show it’s attempting to satirize, one still has a very witty, hilarious, and entertaining musical that proves that law and order is in lawful order!

And for the record, this program is labeled as a parody in accordance with fair use law. This means that the producers are saying in their own ways, “Can’t you take a joke?” The audience can and will laugh their way through until the cops and court can provide who’s guilty and who’s gonna walk! Until the next week’s episode…

LAW AND ORDER: THE MUSICAL, presented by Blooming Damsels Productions, and performs at The Broadview Second Stage Theatre, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. (east of Lillian Way and west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until March 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at
https://BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4470025
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As part of Sherman Oak’s Whitefire Theatre’s SoloFest 2020, a performance of Diana Varco’s Shattered was presented, where Diana tells her story of a life as told by her with the assistance of her inner emotions, and how she picked up the pieces of a life that was indeed, shattered.

Diana begins in an upbeat mood, emoting her story from her early beginnings, living within a household, (or to be exact, households), where she began to discover her world as told trough these inner emotions, taking her up, down, and in the middle. Her natural parents only took care of her part time, while foster parents stepped in when her first set of folks were not available. (That story is another solo show into itself!) As a budding actress, she found her loves in her life. That was all good–until she was assaulted! That episode nearly destroyed her. Diana went through many years of therapy, show recovery, and her making of herself as emotionally strong. One can call this adjustment as her turning into a superwoman. But Diana calls this transfiguration as just becoming Diana.
Diana’s performance is one that starts off as light and bubbly. Of course, when she emotes about her darkest hour, the mood becomes rather sobering. However, in spite of the macabre nature of its themes, Diana proves to her world that she can bounce back. In her seventy minutes (give or take) emoting on stage, it’s Diana all the way, playing against her 35+ characters that speak within her mind. These supporting players are her inner voices that the audience can hear, while Diana shows in a very candid and honest (if not brave) method that she will remain the last person standing!

Jessica Lynn Johnson, who teaches those on how to develop their own solo performances, directs this program that moves in a steady clip. Most of the elements expressed are rather easy to follow continuity-wise, considering that Diana is the only one in her performance spot that really knows her story the best. After all, she lived through it. The audience is just there for the ride.

The Whitefire Theatre, located at 13500 Ventura Blvd (at Sunnyslope) in Sherman Oaks, continues its run of solo shows that performs for single night presentations through the month of March. More details on those shows can be found at
http://www.WhitefireTheatre.com

For more details on the talents of Diana Varco, visit her online at
http://www.DianaVarco.com

For more information on Jessica Lynn Johnson’s solo classes, visit
http://www.JessicaLynnJohnson.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
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#AccessiblyLiveOffLine

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!