CHRISTMAS ON THE TV HEARTH

One thing that this season has to offer is the mergence of media and the rituals that go along with it all that make this month unique where if it was totally missing, it would be noticed!

Over the decades, Christmas a.k.a. “The Holidays” and television have been played as strange bedfellows. Since the dawn of TV, there have been many occations where TV has played its part of how this season is depicted as something that is festive as is part of all of the merry making–or at least as an attempt to be depicted as merry.

Let’s face it! There have been many video events that have appeared on the medium called television that has become an extension of the season to many folks that falls within the same methods as traditional rituals that are part of Christmas. Folks just loved to gather around the TV machine for either a special Christmas themed episode from one of their favorite TV shows, or to view a single “special” program that spoke for the holiday season. These kind of TV specials focused upon a specific person–usually a media personality that has some professional comedy and/or musical background, that participated in skits and segments that overemphasized the season that was for the entire family to enjoy. A good number of these personalities made a second career in bringing warmth and joy for the season through video, such as Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Judy Garland, and many others remembered and a few long forgotten. The basic theme to these special programs ranged from joyous, bright, gay (the original definition of “gay”), sentimental, and perhaps a bit sweet and silly. However, video audiences didn’t seem to mind too much as all of these TV programs became a welcomed part of the media landscape and served as a vehicle for product sponsors to sell their goods.

These series of stand alone Christmas specials aired on the big three TV networks from the middle 1950’s and continued through the middle 1990’s. Since the 90‘s, cable TV channels has more time and space on their schedules to offer alternative Christmas themed programing that was more akin to its audience, around the same time when the fornoted media personalities were either long retired or dead. Those that did retire never found a personality to fill their shoes (so to speak) in continuing in what they did for TV audiences to be merry and jolly, sing a few songs as either as a solo artist or with the assistance of TV family members or their “special guest stars” to add toward the comedy and/or musical selections performed by the backing of a full orchestra.

One element that cable TV bright to forth was the Christmas themed TV movie, a feature length program that told a story that took placed over the Christmas season (thus the genre “Christmas themed TV movie”), that featured a character that was in some kind of domestic dilemma. The character in question would eventually find some form of salvation through another person and/or source that took advantage of what the season was all about to make things correct for the protagonist(s) with a pleasant conclusion. The stories told were simple enough to bill it as either light drama, comedy, (or both), as well as hold some form of romance added for pleasant and festive flavor.

These kind of TV features were first aired as part of The Hallmark Hall of Fame when it moved from NBC to CBS in the late 1970’s. When the network aired these programs, they were presented with a bit more drama, yet still kept their happy ending. When The Hallmark Channel became part of the cable TV medium in the 1990’s, its focus changed to something out of a romantic comedy catering to more of a female demographic–the kind of demo that purchase products made by Hallmark Cards and their many offshoots. The quality of these features were just “OK”, as the stories were again simple and sweet. The ensemble players appearing on them were either “B” or “C”-list actors, or those that became famous through daytime television i.e. soap operas. These movies fell into the category as “so-bad-they’re-good”, that resulted a holding toward a cult following.

Before long, mediums such as Lifetime started to air their own take on these TV movies. Later, other sources took advantage of the Christmas TV movie bandwagon, from Freeform, Ion, Bounce, UpTV, and countless others that brought on the seasonal sweetness to the pot.

And thanks to OTT television, one can stream their way where a viewer can partake on a binge fest of their own. Places such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Crackle, and the giant of them all, Netflix, offers a vast selection of these same movies where they are available for the ever lovin’ 24/7 time period! Their lists are totally endless.

And why are these kind of feature length one-shot seasonal video programs hold toward their appeal? Perhaps they show a time, place, and characters that do not really exist in so-called “real life”. They are shadows depicting a fantasy world that could be real, but are not likely to really be found in the ways depicted. In the same tradition as a male demographic would find an action/adventure feature (especially starring comic book super hero types) as part of a fantasy world they can escape to, those that are of a female demographic can find comfort in a story that star those that look and act as themselves as they are finding the meaning of the season through joy, faith, and perhaps love. Comparing a special-effect laden action pix and a Christmas themed TV movie title may not necessarily be a fair line-up, but the ideas do exist.

So as the season progresses with such items that can be consumed on any electronic device that sports a viewing screen and can get internet access, The Holidays as they are presently labeled, will still prevail, just like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, and other days of the week that will all run as late as Super Bowl Sunday, although that part of the media landscape that is for another topic and for another article!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Crown City Theatre presents for its alternative production, Jeff Goode’s THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, that consists of the troupe of reindeer that speak about how Santa wasn’t very nice–but rather naughty!

Seems that Jolly ol’ St. Nick wasn’t much of a saint. In fact, the ol’ boy may have been involved with some actions that may be true–or not. Was Santa taking indecent liberties with the elves? Does Rudolf have a deep secret that we all should know about? The eight reindeer dish out on what’s going on at the North Pole. There’s Dasher (Neil Unger), the leader of the pack. If there is a scandal, he isn’t talking! Cupid (Michael Mullen) is a bit more fluid over what’s going on. He won’t hesitate to tell you that he’s gay and proud of the fact! Prancer (Michael Marchek) has gone Hollywood starring in a movie featuring his name. (Never mind the fact that the movie itself is only “ok”!) Blitzen (Kimberly Patterson) insists that “no” really means “no”! Comet (Eric Keitel) once ran around with a pack of bad reindeer. Santa saves his from a life of crime and drugs, so he’s backing up the man no matter what! Dancer (Valerie Lynn Brett) was once a dancer, but joined the reindeer team shortly after his dance studio was burned in protest of fellow reindeer dancers. Donner (Jeff Wiyzek) became part of the group in order to not speak about past event called the “Foggy Christmas” episode. Vixen (Megan Cochrane) accuses Santa over sexual harassment, and will indeed press charges!

This play by Jeff Goode was first presented some twenty years ago long when such scandals were coming to light. (Not involving reindeer through!) In today’s domestic society, talks and tales of sexual mishaps have been all over the place! This makes this series of monologues more timely than ever before! It develops through dark humor that becomes deeper as this show progresses. With a running time of just a little over an hour, “The Eight” speaks upon how it’s not all happy and gay (except for Cupid) up in the North Pole as one would assume!

The cast of eight play their roles as expected without being too “over the top”! Donning cloth antlers and a black nose, only one would know they are a set of reindeer that speaks the truth. Sonny Lira and William A. Reilly directs this show that is to the point, and of course, not for the kids! It may be The Holidays, but not everything that counts for the season is meant for the entire family–and rightly so!

THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, presented by the Crown City Theatre, and performs at the Crown City Theatre space located on the campus of St Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 11031 Camarillo St North Hollywood, until December 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday nights at 8:00 PM, Friday and Saturday nights at 11:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For tickets and for for details, call (818) 605-5685, or online at https://www.CrownCityTheatre.com

This production is running in repertory with CCT’s regular production of The Mousetrap. Visit the CCT’s website for more details on this program.
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The Zephyr Theatre presents the west coast premier of Neil Koenigsberg’s WINK, a comedy-drama of the friendship of two different people from two different backgrounds that hold a common bond.

The setting is Los Angeles-the summer of ’17. David Mingrino is Dario Villanova. He was a one time rising actor appearing in big-time features while winning awards for his craft. That was a few years before. Now he’s down to being on the “C” list. His long time agent Peter King (Adam Cardon) is offering a role in some slasher film that may bring him back into the spotlight. Dario himself has been in mourning over the recent loss of his housekeeper’s nephew as he drowned in his pool. When he isn’t working which has been often, Dario volunteers his time at a place that serves LGBTQ youth. One person he meets is a youth that is named Wink. (Andrik Ochoa). Wink is a young adolescent of mixed latinx decent that came from The Bronx, New York and lives where he can, usually inside of a cardboard box under a freeway overpass. Wink is gender neutral-not a boy or a girl–just Wink. Dario discovers that Wink is artistically talented, and loves 1950’s doo-wop music. This preference of music grants these two with a common bond. He eventually takes Wink under his wing as a friend. Manuel Ortiz (David Mingrino), a social worker at the LGBTQ youth center, sees this friendship as a bit odd, yet genuine. This form of bonding is enough for Dario to promise a major financial contribution to the center. But what is behind this friendship between a fading actor and a young person that isn’t a he nor a she? What will this do to his career? Will Wink become a whole person staying on the edge of being a male and/or a female? And how will Dario’s publicist Valerie Smith (Amy Argye) offer to the awaiting press over Dario’s personal and benefactory choice?

This play written by Neil Koenigsberg is a unique look of a friendship where backgrounds differ, yet strings of commonality keeps them together! Dario and Wink are not father-son types. They appear as a father figure and a young human. This method of a relationship gives this play a storyline that is unique and as noteworthy. The two leads, David Mingrino as Dario Villanova and Andrik Ochoa as Wink, play their roles with sincerity. Adam Cardon as Dario’s agent Peter King isn’t as stereotypical as media would portray an agent of his kind, although he really doesn’t understand his client’s choice of who to bond with! Euriamis Losada as social worker Manuel Ortiz is one that supports the community that are labeled with a string of letters that stand for something involving personalized sexual status, lifestyle, or identity. And Amy Argyle as Valerie Smith is an over-the-top publicist that knows how the Hollywood track works.

The play itself is just as dramatic as it’s comical as it’s heartwarming! It’s not sweet, nor it’s bitter. It’s expressed as a basic case study of a honest and trusting friendship. Michael Allen Angel direct this show as a story full of characters that desire to belong. Some with specific labels, and with one (Wink) who just wants to be Wink!

Special note goes to what’s seen on stage, from Pete Hickok’s set design (Just a few pieces of basic furnishings showing where the characters reside), to Katrina Pagsolingan’s projection creation that shows its backdrop through graphics and animation as cast upon the stage area’s artistically drafted back wall.

WINK is a play that treats those that fall within being LGBTQ with respect through the understanding that humans are humans. Granted, not all domestic setting may understand this fact. However, this point isn’t expressed nor emphasized in any overly fashion. It’s just an actor and a questioning youth getting together through their passion of oldies but goodies! (Ooo-WEEE-oooh!)

WINK, presented by Shanks74 Productions, and performs at The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Avenue (east of Fairfax and west of La Brea) Los Angeles, until January 13th, ’19. Showtimes are Saturday and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Added performances take place on Fridays, December 21st, 28th, and January 11th at 8:00 PM. No performances on December 24th and 31st.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 960-1055, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/Wink
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The Santa Monica Playhouse will present their annual NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW, the self titled event that will celebrate the changing from the old into the new through music, song, dance, with doses of comedy.

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

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

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

The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica. For more information on these shows, call (310) 394-9779 ext 1, or visit the SMP online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

That above headline, far from something original, was taken from an indirect quote from a colleague of mine that give their report on their Christmas shopping.
“I’ve completed my Christmas shopping already!” says the shopper in question as that person sported a quirky grin.

“How did you finish already?” I asked, although I really didn’t care too much on how this so-called expert completed this task, considering that it wasn’t very likely that I was going to be part of this person’s gift list.

“I started my shopping around September. I ordered everything on-line. I followed up with a receipt stating that everything was shopped out! Everything should arrive by the end of this week!” said the shopper, where this writer added a lot of phrases to this dialogue since I really can’t remember just what was really being stated.

I do recall that the shopper showed me everything through their phone device: The items ordered, the method of payments, the receipts for the goods purchased, as well as the notices on what was shipped when. Everything that this person did was also bought through their handy-dandy phone.

I’m not going to get into too many details on this person since the shopper in question isn’t about the focus of this story, although I will state that this person’s demographics would fall within the “millennium” age. This person of this selected age group believes that anything one can do within their life is available by having access to an internet connection and a device that can connect to that same internet connection.

The real focus here is on this person’s buying habits. This person, whose name and gender is not important for now, joined Amazon Prime about three years ago while attending a local community college. That person had to purchase a textbook. The book itself was being sold at the school’s bookstore for a certain price. However, Amazon had an offer where for a student rate, one can join their Amazon Prime group. This person did join just to grab the textbook. From there, the person started to look for other goods since there was a “free shipping” part of that deal. It was an offer that was too good to pass up. From there, just about anything this person wanted to get was done through this portal for shopping. And this recent seasonal shopping splurge was no exception!

There has been many write-ups in the media lately on how people’s shopping habits has changed over the past few years. Although shopping online is far from being new, it’s now part of a way of life where one can get goods through a click of a mouse and/or a tap on a glass screen. It’s a method to perform a task that easy, fast, and perhaps fun.

However, it’s not the only way to shop. Physical retail stores to still exist, and people are still reasonable to obtain goods in person. One can still experience the items by looking at them, touching them, and getting the goods when they want it–right now! No waiting for shipping no matter how much it may cost, be it as free or at a greatly reduced price.

And even those retail outlets can offer what they sell in both ways. One can order online, and pick up the goods right then and there sans the free shipping charge. And many stores, in order to lure customers in, are hosting events at their outlets. Places that cater to the kitchen and related in-home hospitality offers live in-store demonstrations, classes on home crafting, and other hands-on events. Not only are these classes and demonstrations informative, but gives the attendee an incentive to actually make a purchase. No matter how a video program seen via YouTube can teach a task, one can’t get the same satisfaction if taught and presented in-person!

And shopping malls have all of the “holiday” decorations up and running. (A few malls had them up as early as Columbus Day!) Seeing the bight lights, hearing the canned music piped in from hidden loudspeakers, and all of the red & green and blue & white shades promise that all of the merriment is present. One can’t see all of that on a website within the same stance.

There are other methods to get the shoppers back into the real stores to take part of the season, but you the readers can get the (snow) drift! It’s all part of what makes the December based season just what it is!

As to our shopper that got everything done. Now that all of the December antics are completed, now it’s time to that person to get going on the activities for the new year. Mostly, preparing to file tax forms that show off all of the details done (and spent) from the previous season. It may not have the same fun level that shopping has created, but when the government talks, one has to listen! So much for humor!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

No new reviews this issue, but stay tuned for more of the news, previews, and reviews you find here at Accessibly Live Off-Lne!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

 

SEARS HAD EVERYTHING

Recently, the company known as Sears Holdings make another move in their retail business that was predicted by those that are involved within the measurement on how physical and cyberspace based retail is conducting the sale of good and services, with a heavy emphasis on the goods side. It filed for bankruptcy protection.

Over the past few years, Sears have been scaling down its many stores, most of them were located in shopping malls around the nation. The few free standing stores were the first ones to go as many of them closed their doors after being in their neighborhoods for decades. Its last store based in the city where it was founded, Chicago, closed after being at its same location since 1938. It was located in a Chicago neighborhood called “Five Corners”, since three major streets intersected. It was for many years the area where small and larger stores existed. Although when the shopping mall frenzy began in the 1970’s and continued through the 1990’s, that Sears store held out on its own. It was also the first first Sears outlet that had central air conditioning, something that took care of shoppers during those long hot summers that Chicago normally receives.

But Sears were very unique in their own ways. Although their store was not the first ones to offer a catalog (that was the late Montgomery-Wards that began their business in 1872, some fourteen years before Sears Roebuck began their retailing), many people awaited the grab their catalogs that were kept by folks to a point where it rival The Bible as the book to have at bay. At one time, they has a series of private brands that made Sears unique to what they were, the retailer that did “have everything” as their ads boasted for many a decade.

Up until the 1990’s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the nation in terms of goods sold and the outlets that were available. Although they did have plenty of competition in terms of department stores, including J.C. Pennys, the for noted Montgomery-Wards, as well as the many regional outlets that were part of a major city’s landmark, Sears was the get-go place for such goods as Craftsman tools, Die-Hard batteries, and the crown jewel of their portfolio, Kenmore appliances, known to be one of the best brands in the business. Many of their “white goods” such as washers/dryer units, stoves, refrigerators, etc. as well as the smaller appliances, were built to last! (This writer has held on to his Kenmore refrigerator and washer & dryer since purchased in 1996, Except for the ice maker to be replaced the previous year, none has yet to give up fail! Ditto for a built-in stove unit colored dark brown that was first dated as c.1966, but may be as old as a 1960 model!)

Walmart, the retailer that was more of a “discount department store” rather than a full fledged retail outlet, started to expand its footprint from being in rural and far suburban communities to extend to the urban city landscape in the 1990’s. Before long, folks were heading off the place home for “falling prices” with its famous (or infamous) yellow smiley face. By the turn of the 21st century, not only it becomes the biggest retailer in the nation, it later became the biggest non-government employer! (At one time, General Motors had the distinction of being the biggest employer in the USA where American autos really made a difference!)

But the all-mighty Walmart is experiencing its growing pains as well. Their main rival is not Target, a retailer that is similar to Walmart’s method of retailing, but it’s a retail outlet that mostly exists in cyberspace–Amazon. And Sears is even trying to get in connection with Amazon by offering many of its Kenmore appliances available though the Amazon portals.

But with the big holiday shopping season just about here, it’s a new change on how folks are going to get their goods for those gift-giving holidays that fall within the month of December. Last year at this time, the biggest retailer of toys, Toys-R-Us, made what would have been the final attempt to become part of the seasonal buying frenzy. They did stick it out, only to later dissolve their entire store universe months after the Christmas trees were long put away as well as the wrapping paper stuffed in trash and recycle bins.

As of this writing, Sears will still be around for this holiday season. Although physical retail outlets may be threatened by those that exist in cyberspace land, they will not totally go away! So the news of a physical retail store being “dead” is anything but!

It’s been many moons since the days when yours truly as a wee tot would be at a Sears store (with my mom, ‘natch) –a stand-alone store where I would find fake food inside of their Kenmore refrigerators, could grab a bag of freshly popped popcorn in bags that were long and narrow, and to head on over to the shoe department to grab my latest issue of March of Comics, a digest sized mini comic books published by Western Publishing Company (under the name of “Gold Key”) that had the license to offer comics feature the Looney Tunes characters (Bugs Bunny and the rest), Water Lanz (Woody Woodpecker, etc.), the Disney staple, as well as comic book versions of popular TV shows of the era. (The Man from U.N.C.L.E, The Beverly Hillbillies, and so on!)

Oh, yes! Inside of most of the Sears outlets had an office of Allstate Insurance where one can get details on home and auto insurance policies. It was indeed one-stop shopping, and my mom knew where to go to get whatever was needed in the family household! It couldn’t have been better than that!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents for the holiday season, A CHRISTMAS STORY, the beloved tale of a boy’s deep desire to wish for a cherished toy, only to discover that his wish isn’t at his command–or so it seems!

The place is the Parker household located in Hohman, Indiana, a working class community located between steel mills to the east, and the city of big shoulders to the west. It’s Christmastime, 1940. Nine year old Ralphie Parker (Andre Mora, alternating with Sawyer Valin) is on the quest for the Christmas gift to end all Christmas gifts-a genuine carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a built-in compass and sundial endorsed by comic strip cowboy Red Ryder. Rebuffed at every turn with a similar echoing response by his mom (Andrea Stadling) stating that “You’ll shoot your eye out”, and his “old man” (Richard Van Slyke) that knows better since he’s the head of the household, Ralphie schemes to achieve his desperate desire for the coveted BB gun come heck or high water!

This play, based upon the writings of humorist Jean Shepherd from his book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash as well as the screenplay of the feature film of the same name composed by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, and Bob Clark with stage adaption by Phillip Grecian, is a charming nostalgic tale set during the Christmas season (when it was still known as “Christmas”) focusing upon a middle class domestic family and the little trials and tribulations that became part of one’s childhood–even if a little creative license was added for good intentions! In this stage version, Jackson Kendall plays the adult version of Ralph as he guides the audience on how his life was all about, and the material objects that would make it all happen, from the for noted carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle, to a table lamp the old man won in a newspaper contest.

The cast includes a mix of adult and youth players as part of the ensemble. Bradley Bundle, alternating with Kevin Yings, plays Ralphie’s younger sibling Randy. The neighborhood kids consists of Schwartz (Marshall Gluck, alternating with Myles Hutchinson), Flick (Jude Gomez, alternating with Lucas Lim), Helen (Kennedy Farr, alternating with Charlotte Li), Ester Jane (Zoe Cox, alternating with Jade Riley), and neighborhood bully Scut Farkas (Jax Malcolm, alternating with Griffin Sanford). The other on-stage adult player is Danon Dastugue as Miss Shields, Ralphie’s teacher.

Charles Erven is the scenic designer, dressing the stage with period pieces ranging from humble furnishings to a kitchen some twenty years behind the times, and Shon LeBlanc’s costuming is also fit from the era it speaks for.

Directed by Christian Lebano, A CHRISTMAS STORY is an appealing play that the entire family can enjoy. It will give the adults something to smile about, and it will teach the youth that Christmas (or “holiday”) gifts came from the heart. Although asking for BB guns that resemble real firearms may have fallen out of vogue in today’s landscape, it still competes with the notion of a family rising to their occasion with no batteries (or wifi) required!

A CHRISTMAS STORY, presented by and performed at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until December 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees on December 8th, 15th, and 22nd at 2:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons, December 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th at 2:30 PM.
Special performances on Wednesday and Thursday nights, December 19th and 20th at 7:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or through the SMP website at
http://www.SierraMadrePlayhouse.org
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The Glendale Centre Theatre presents its annual production of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, the beloved tale of how an old skinflint changed his heart in the outlook of the season, thanks to a trio of spirits that showed him otherwise.

Richard Malmos plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly man who runs a counting house in London. It’s Christmas, 1843, and everyone is making merry for the season except for Scrooge that won’t have any of it. He overworks his employee Bob Cratchit (Greg Hardash), and turns down anything that has to do with the season, replying with a “Bah Humbug!” On Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his deceased partner Jacob Marley (Rick Steele) warning him of a visit of other specters representing Christmas Past (Samantha Labercque), Christmas Present, (Shey Taylor) and Christmas yet to come. (Travis Dietlein) In spite of what the sprits foretold to Scrooge, he did learn his ways, as the lesson is to keep the season in one’s heart.

Every season for fifty three years, the GCT presents this tale that’s been passed through for many generations. And for this season, this production boasts a robust cast. Many of the players that appear in this program are part of this theater’s repertory company. Richard Malmos as the lead player has appeared in many other productions in the past, too many to mention! Other GCT regulars are Greg Hardash as Cratchit, Hisato Masuyama (who also serves as musical director), Kyle Kelly, Michael Dumas, and many others. As much as this writer would be honored to list every player in this show, space won’t allow. However, each performer fits to their roles down to its holly leaf.

James Betteridge adapted this stage production as well as serving as director. Steve Applegate arranged the transcribed music score. James Betteridge & Ashley Caven serves as set designers, and Angela Manke created the costumes that speak for the period.

The GCT has presented this time-tested classic for ages. Although each production may have differed through the many years, it’s always a refreshing moment to experience this show again. This reviewer has seen this presentation at the GCT starring the late Mario DiGregorio, and through the work of all of the players appearing in this show, his sprit lives on! No matter how one experiences this time of the year either as “Christmas”, “The Holidays”, or through other monikers, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a program for all ages to enjoy for its first time, or for its first time again! Tiny Tim said it best by giving it a heady God bless everyone!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday afternoons at 3:00 PM, Sunday matinees at 1:00 PM, and 5:00 PM December 16th and 23rd, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons December 4th, 5th, 11th, and 12th at 11:00 AM, and daily December 17th through the 24th (except the 23rd) at 8:00 PM.

For more details and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com. The website will also provide GCT’s full 2019 schedule of plays and musicals.
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RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Disney) features the two characters from the first release “Wreck-It Ralph”; racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) and Ralph (John C. Reilly). Both live within their arcade games as content video game characters. Vanellope is looking for something new and different from her game Sugar Rush as she knows every twist and turn of the racing track in all of the game playing levels. Ralph doesn’t want his game to change as he is always wanted to wreck his buildings so Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) can fix them. Things start taking a turn when the arcade they live in installs something called “wifi” that can connect those with an electronic device to “the internet”, something that Ralph and Vanellope isn’t too familiar with. When the steering column on the Sugar Rush game breaks off, the machine can’t be fixed as the company is no longer making the game and the cost to replace the wheel is too expensive. However, a replacement wheel is being sold on eBay for a price that the arcade manager doesn’t want to pay. Thus, the game will be turned permanently off leaving Vanellope to be gone forever, So Ralph and Vanellope decide to go to this place called the internet and to eBay to get the replacement wheel. Once in (on) the internet, they overbid on the wheel where they have to pay a high amount. In order to raise the funds, they become connected with J.P. Spamley, a character in charge of “click bate” where Ralph and Vanellope are lead to a multi-player game called “Slaughter Race” where muitle players can race among a post apocalypse city–a game that the sweet Vanellope finds as her real and true home.

This feature, also known as Wreck-It Ralph II, takes a fast paced and rather keen look on the ways of the ‘net as its related to a pair of video game caricatures that were supposedly created during the pre-internet days. (Ralph comes from the 1980’s as Vanellope is a 1990’s-esque video game star!) The concept of this feature with a screen play by Phil Johnson and Pamela Ribon, from a story by Rich Moore, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, along with Johnston and Ribon, takes a number of liberties and inside gags to the concept of the ‘net, while it holds on to a side story on how Ralph and Vanellope cherishes their friendship without getting that notion as overly sappy. (Post-modern kids would appreciate this idea!)

Among the many fast paced comical moments that is featured in this title are the characters from “Slaughter Race”. Most notability, Shank (Gal Gadot), a kick-ass racer gal that admires Vanellope’s driving skills, even adapter her as a sister figure. (Driving through a destructive city isn’t as different than racing through Candy-land). Another treat to see is an encounter through a Disney-based website where Vanellope meets all of the Disney princesses! This meeting gives the maker of the feature, The Walt Disney Company, to poke a little fun of their princess characters, even though those same princesses are a big cash cow for the company!

There are a lot more elements that make this movie as a fun vehicle. (Pun?) However, this writer doesn’t want to create any spoilers–unless the ‘net has already done so, but we will state that it doesn’t take itself very seriously and rightly so! Rich Moore and Phil Johnson’s direction makes this feature amusing and entertaining for all ages. Kids will understand it (they are more tech savvy then those of voting age), as well as those adults that made it all happen!

Unlike a Pixar Studios animated film released close to the end of the year that contains more sentiment, this movie holds more comic relief than deep emotion. That is the theme to many of the other animated features of late. If this title pans out the way it should, there may be a third entry to this franchise. Just Google the name for any updates!

This feature film is rated “PG” for some action as for “rude humor”. Now playing in all multiplexes nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

HOLIDAY FOR STRINGS

The above title is a play on words (so to speak) on the current retails shopping season as well as the title to an instrumental composed and recorded by bandleader David Rose called “Holiday For Strings”, a song that made the hit parade in the 1940’s. But this article isn’t going to focus on long forgotten musical hits. It’s all about the big shopping season that is already going in full tilt.

Just about everyone that is an avid reader to this newsletter knows that yours truly has expressed that the season calling itself “The Holidays” speaks for all of the days of importance that falls within the final six weeks of the calendar year where gifts are exchanged. Many of the holidays are for real. (Christmas, Chanukah, etc.) Others are real, but not necessarily observed. (Boxing Day, the first Tuesday of the month calling itself “#GivingTuesday”, etc.) And the rest are just days were created by the retail industry for the purpose of selling more goods before December 31st comes rolling around for the sake of bookkeeping purposes.

This year, Thanksgiving Day in the USA falls on the earliest day that this holiday can fall on–November 22nd–once meant that there would be more shopping days for the Christmas season back when the term “Christmas” was used more freely.

Thanks to that good ol’ thing called the Internet, one can do all of one’s shopping with the an internet connection, a click of the mouse, along with an active credit card account at bay. And plenty of folks are doing that by going shopping for the holiday season by making their personal battle plan of what to get, where to get it, and for who it’s going for. And statistics show that folks have been planning as early as late summer; A time where the season may be hot and muggy, but serves as an open opportunity to beat the rush of shoppers that would be otherwise crowding into the malls and other places where goods are sold and exchanged.

Which brings up the notion that physical retail, those “brick and mortar” places that’s been part of the retail industry since the retail industry began, is very well alive and living! It’s been proven that people still like to head into stores where they can see the goods, touch the goods, and grab the goods in person right then and there. No waiting for the items to arrive, even with “free shipping” options, since the only shipping involved is performed by the buyer of the stuff. And many of these retails are being very completive when it comes to getting merchandise at their stores verses getting those same goods through cyberspace land.

A recent report released by the marketing research and consulting firm Catalyst noted that retailers from both platforms (physical and cyberspace based) are aware of what the other is doing in order to lure their customers into their sight for the seasonal shopping frenzy. Their report notes that 96% consumers have visited Amazon within the last year, while 78% also visited the Walmart website to research or to make a purchase. 85% of browsing and purchasing activity occurs with retailers that isn’t Amazon, while 25% of US based brands say they have an advertising strategy for retailers far beyond the Amazon portals. 20% of consumers do go to Amazon first when they know what they are looking for, while 46% of consumers begin their search with a standard search engine i.e. Google. When a consumer doesn’t know what they are looking for, 62% of purchase search journeys start with a search engine visit.

So what will become of “Black Friday”, that traditional (for the 21st century anyway) day after Thanksgiving where retailers open their doors at dawn (or Thanksgiving night) offering great deals on items that may not necessarily be sold as “holiday gifts”, but are made available just to get people through their doors in order to grab the deal of the week? It will still be around, but it won’t be the shopping frenzy as it once was just a few scant years before. Many of these physical retailers, as well as the ones that only exist in cyberspace, will be offering deals around the time the post-Thanksgiving holiday comes to view. Which will lead toward Black Friday’s cousin “Cyber Monday” where many shoppers will be hitting the web sites the Monday after Turkey day, usually when these shoppers are back at their work stations where an internet connection is readily available.

So as the Thanksgiving weekend slowly approaches, it’s time to get ready for the big noise from Winnetka (or Walmart, Target, and good ol’ Amazon, among many others) and shop like one means it! After all, this time of the season comes but once a year, so why not milk it to death? The retailers will indeed thank you, and so will your gift receivers–even if that gift is addressed as “From Me-To Me”!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

William Inge’s BUS STOP, a play about a set of travelers that become held up at a roadside diner during a March snowstorm and the situations they all hold on to, makes its appearance as the third production of the 2018-19 season presented by Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills.

The setting is a standard roadside diner located in a small eastern nameless Kansas community. A bus on a Kansas City-Wichita route is forced to stop due to a late winter blizzard. The place is run by Grace Hoylard (Michele Schultz), who serves as head waitress. Her assistant waitress Elma Duckworth (Mani Yarosh) is still in her teens, working her way through high school. Elma is very familiar with this bus as it passes by a number of times a week. The local sheriff Will Masters (Shwarn Savage) a regular patron, informs Grace that the bus and its passengers will take refuge at the diner until the storm blows over. The bus passengers consists of Cherie (Kaitlin Huwe), a night club singer, Bo (Nico Boles) a rodeo rider and cowboy of sorts along with his guitar playing cowpoke companion Virgil Blessings (Gary Ballard), Dr. Gerald Lyman (Jack Sundmacher) a college professor who has a habit of hitting the sauce more than hitting the books, and the bus driver Carl (David Datz). While keeping out of the winter storm, another storm gathers in the diner that isn’t weather related! Bo has the desire to marry Cherie, although she claims that Bo abducted her from a Kansas City club she was performing at. Dr. Lyman attempts to woo the young and rather naive Elma, who finds the college professor amusing due to his vast knowledge in literature. Grace is intrigued by bus driver Carl, even to have a fling or two with this man, although he never says if he is even married in the first place! Sheriff Will tries to keep things in order. All of these elements progress throughout the night until the roads are clear and everyone heads out to where they are going.

This play written by playwright William Inge and first presented in 1955, has been deemed to be part of an American classic in terms of theater, and still serves as a staple in regional and community theater houses. In this Theater 40 production, the setting keeps to its 1950’s-era period thanks to Jeff G. Rack’s set design of the diner itself, along with Michele Young’s costume design. The cast that appear in this program under the stage direction of Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, present themselves as a band of misfit people that winds up at a place that could be considered as a “drive-by” location where one would only stop for a cup of coffee and a piece of pie and not much more. Here, there is more than just coffee and pie being served as the cast of characters play out their roles to their very utmost.

This is one of those stage pieces composed by William Inge that fit within the annals of theater that have been studied for its character development many times over–the same procedure that plays by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and a host of other similar writers that are taken as academic masterpieces. In spite of its intellectual structure this play may contain, BUS STOP still holds up to its entertainment value. Granted, it’s part of the 1950’s-era vista, and rightly so. Those times may seem innocent in today’s landscape, but were far from anything as being safe and secure. No matter though! Theatre 40 continues to provide an eclectic variety of stage plays as presented through the facilities of artistic director David Hunt Stafford. With the selection of plays as performed by this theatre troupe, it’s always a treat to see a time-tested classic. BUS STOP is one of those plays that will leave the driving to “us”!

BUS STOP, 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 December 16th. Showtimes are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. No performances on Thursday and Friday, November 22nd and 23rd,

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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A pair of rarely presented one act plays are currently performing at North Hollywood’s T.U. Studios.

The first selection, Bertolt Brecht’s THE JEWISH WIFE, takes place in Berlin in the late 1930’s. Judith (Sandrine Sahakian) who is of the Jewish preseason, plans to leave town to head to Amsterdam. She spends time on the phone telling those that she knows that she is leaving. Her husband Fritz (Jody Bardin) a non-jew, discovers that her departure is not for pleasure, but for escape.

The second play, Jean-Paul Sartre’s THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE, takes place in a small southern town sometime in the 1940’s. Lizzie McCay (Maude Bonanni) has just arrived in town to pursue her trade. Her first customer is Fred Clarke (David Abramsky), the son of Senator Austin Clarke (Aramazd Stepanian). While on the train, Lizzie was attached by two “colored” men. Two white men killed one of the colored men, while the other escaped. Senator Clarke, who has political power in the town, insists that she sign a statement that was contrary to the fact. In this community, anyone that is colored doesn’t matter as a human, as a lynch mob is seeking the second negro Tyler Matins (Theodore Martinez), ready to take justice into their own hands.

These pair of plays were written within the periods where local politics and racism were running as an uneven pair. The first play was written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht (and translated by Martin Esslin) in 1937, when political strife was heating up in Deutschland. The second play was written by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre (translated by Lionel Abner) in 1946 when the southern part of the USA was segregated. What makes these plays interesting is the fact that they mirror the friction that is still in existence to this very day! It shows how a person who is of a specific element is challenged by an authority that insists that they are correct within their own methods. Each piece speaks for the discords that was in place then. Once can compare how things have changed since–or not!

THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE also features in its cast, Rock ‘n Rod Long, Garen Petossian, Jody Bardin, and Norayr Ayvazian.

Both plays are directed by Aramazd Stepanian that showcases the mood to the places and time period each piece reflects. Granted, both do not hold a so-called “happy ending”, and doesn’t promise one. It could be the case of “what goes around comes around”. Even with the taking away of any political sides, both remain as a pair of stage works that are indeed informative as quality theater.

THE JEWISH WIFE and THE RESPECTFUL PROSTITUTE, presented by CAPS-ATC Productions, and performs at the T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street, at the intersection of Lankershim Blvd. and Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood, until December 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. No performances November 23rd, 24th, and 25th.

Tickets can be obtained at the door, or on-line at http://www.ItsMySeat.com/CAPS
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Angel City Chorale will present SILVER & GOLD: THE BEST OF OUR 25 YEARS, a seasonal celebration that will mark ACC’s Silver Anniversary of existence.

Founded and lead by Sue Fink serving as artistic director, this concert will feature a selection of cherished songs that speak for the festive occasions that fall within the month of December. The diverse playlist will offer musical offerings ranging from classical, traditional, contemporary pop(ular), rhythm & blues, gospel, and for Hanukkah, the season of lights, an original piece entitled One, composed and lead by Sue Fink.

The chorale consists of an ensemble of 150+ voices that as just as diverse as to what the season speaks for. Male and female voices blend with those that are from all faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles. Along with the voices is a full orchestral company that will provide the musical interludes that make this chorale group a time-tested audience favorite, both as an in-person experience as well as through their appearance on the NBC series America’s Got Talent earlier this year.

SILVER & GOLD: THE BEST OF OUR 25 YEARS, will once again perform at the acoustically perfect Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles (Koreatown) 90010 for two performance: Saturday, December 1st, and Sunday, December 2nd. Both performances take place at 7:00 PM.

UPDATE: A third presentation of this concert will be offered on Wednesday, December 12th at The Novo at LA Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd, downtown Los Angeles, at 7:30 PM.

For tickets and for more information on all concerts, as well as for the Angel City Chorale, visit ACC’s presence on the web at https://angelcitychorale.org
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On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we wish each and everyone one of our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We’ll see you for our next edition coming in the next week!
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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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(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

REUNION REVISITED

Keeping up on the nostalgic kick as this newservice has been holding on to for a bit, this writer, better known as “me”, will take the time to comment about an event I recently attended.

Not to long ago, I attended a 40th high school reunion. The reunion took place at what could be called “the scene of the crime”, a large meeting room on the campus of the high school in question. About 200 of those were in attendance. Many were dressed up if they were attending a wedding or some other once-in-a-lifetime event that was of the festive variety. A few wore casual clothing. However, it was a time where people can meet again after some four decades had passed since their last communication. That is, unless they attended reunions from ten, twenty, or even thirty years beforehand.

The event started with a happy-hour event, where finger foods were being served, along with a nearby open bar serving beer, wine, soft drinks, along with a bit of the “harder stuff” that can be added in the beverage of choice. A table on one side of the room were loaded with photographs of high school events from the class senior year. (1977-78), along with some programs of high school football matches with a few worn out yearbooks ready to thumb through. (The yearbooks were provided by a member of the class as the front and back inside covers were loaded with autographs and other forms of long winded best wishes messages written inside!) In the corner of the room was a “selfie wall” were one can take a picture or two (with one’s cellphone, ‘natch), where one can stand in front of a wall with a sign noting of the high school name and year, all decked out using the school’s colors as its scheme. On the opposite side of the same room was a table with a few long stemmed candles posted with battery operated candles flicking a light. In the center of the table was a laptop showing off a PowerPoint slide show with the names and photos of those that have since died. About a dozen or so of those in the graduation class had since passed on.

After a buffet dinner with a selection of main dished and sides (with a dessert bar offering a selection of cheesecakes presented as the night progressed), there was a brief presentation show, complete with a cheerleading squad show as performed by way of the class of ’19, a few words by the folks responsible for this reunion, as well as everyone participating in a giant class picture. The evening was topped of by some dancing. The son of one of the original graduating class were playing hits of the era (as well as a few newer tunes snuck in) all coming from this man’s trusty laptop connected to a massive loudspeaker system. In short, the event was really great! Everyone seemed to get connected with many a story swapped, a few old flames became ignited again, and even a few business cards exchanged.

And did this humble writer enjoy himself? Absolutely! For me, it was a total blast, and I would attend another reunion again. However, there was no nostalgia ever dispensed from me.

So what was the reason why I didn’t take that trip down memory lane? It wasn’t my high school reunion as I didn’t know a single person!

So why in the world did I attend somebody else’s reunion? This reunion was for my spouse! She wanted me to attend, and I wanted to go! It was her that was the one who spend four years of her so-called teenage life among these hallowed halls. She was the one that bonded with a group of folks that she hasn’t seen in generations! Some people she recalled fondly. A few didn’t know as well but had recollections. The rest were totally forgotten. However, she was back at the place that became part of her high school years, the period where many folks living a standard domestic life took part of with all of the nonsense that goes along with being in a high school of that magnitude. There was the homecoming, the school groups, the teachers that made it all happen, the prom, and those other events that make high school just what it is. It’s either the best years of one’s life, the worst years of one’s life, or just another part of growing up toward an adult lifestyle.

It was interesting to witness just a slice of my spouse’s life years (decades really), long before I came into the picture. She was living in a community (Santa Monica in this case) during a period where I was dwelling some 2000 miles away where my biggest concern was an attempt to catch up with the old movies that were being aired on local TV. I wasn’t so concerned about high school nonsense such as going to the prom. On that long forgotten evening, there was a double feature of old movies being aired that I would not miss–The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and The Best Years of Our Lives with Fredrick March, Myrna Loy, and Dana Andrews. And remember folks, this was slightly before the time I purchased my first VCR with my own money!!
Otherwise, I would have recorded those flicks off the air to watch later!

There were a few things that I observed about attending somebody else’s reunion. Perhaps the biggest thing I noticed that I was under no pressure of meeting somebody I wanted to see. I didn’t have to think of stories or excuses to tell somebody about myself or what I had been doing for the last forty years! There was no reason to give my life story to anyone, or to ask for anyone else’s reasons on how they wound up to what they today! In fact, a few people did come up to me thinking that I was somebody else. They were trying to remember me in some way or form. All I told these folks that I was a guest there. However, I did appreciate them approaching me to give their greetings!

And I also realized that I was not the only guest in attendance. One woman I met said that she was a cousin of one of the reunioners. She grew up in Honolulu, and was slightly older than most of those in attendance. She was living in a retirement community in Riverside, and traveled all the way just for the event just to keep her cousin company.

And a few others did come in from out of town as well. One person came from Philadelphia, one was from Lincoln, Nebraska, while a few were living in neighboring towns ranging from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas.

Of course, just about everyone was within the same age bracket, middle to late 50’s. Many looked good for their age while a few didn’t. Some people didn’t seem to age at all. On everyone’s name tags were their name at the time of graduation as well as a picture extracted from the yearbook. Many people came up to my spouse stating that she didn’t change at all. Looking at her likeness of her eighteen year old self to what she resembles today, I can get these people’s points as rather accurate.

As we were departing the event after it shut down for the night, there was an announcement made for the next reunion, (the 50th), scheduled for sometime in 2028. I can’t say my spouse will take part then. However, if I’m still around, I’ll go again!

As we were leaving the reunion site, she did ask if she would ever attend my reunion. I told her that both of us won’t know anyone in attendance. Besides, the last time I did know of some kind of reunion of sorts, it took place in the ballroom of a local Holiday Inn. However, what’s the point of attending a reunion where I would not know anyone there? It would be rather silly to go up to someone to say “Hi! Am I suppose to remember you?” Then again, maybe somebody would remember me. As for now, I’ll just stick to a crowd I really know nothing about as much as they would know of me! So much for humor!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Impro Theatre, the improvisational theater troupe that performs “plays” that are in the style of a well known playwright or a specific genre, will be making two separate appearances outside of their home base for the month of December.

Its first program is 1966 HOLIDAY VARIETY EXTRAVAGANZA, a satire of those Christmas TV specials that once littered the media landscape back in the days when three television networks brought in most of the programming as scheduled and as deliver through an antenna device from over-the-air signals. These form of TV specials that were created for the Christmas season (when the holiday in question was actually called “Christmas”), featured a host that was musically inclined (Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, etc.) that featured plenty of musical numbers, comedy as provided by a tally of “special guest stars”, and other forms of merriment that was geared toward a family audience. They were all sweet, charming, and gay. (The original meaning of the term “gay”!) Unlike those TV special of yore where everything done on camera was scripted and pre-planned down to its last holly and mistletoe, Impro Theater will perform this show through total improvisation, meaning that everything presented will be done without any planning! Their stage show cue will be extracted through a few vague suggestions taken from the studio audience. Each performance will be presented for its first time, as well as its last. No two shows will be alike!

The second Impro Theatre production will be JANE AUSTEN UNSCRIPTED, where an ensemble of players will present a play done in the style of the early 19th Century English author that charmed millions of readers through her novels as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and other works. This time, the troupe will present a play that could have been Jane’s latest work, but isn’t! Using a suggestion or two taken from the audience, one will witness a new work that will service as its first premier and its closing night performance all in one! Everyone on stage will be dressed in period costumes, so the flavor of Jane Austen can still be savored!

1966 HOLIDAY VARIETY EXTRAVAGANZA will perform at The Garry Marshall Theatre, 4252 West Riverside Drive, Burbank (Toluca Lake adjacent) opening on Friday, November 30th through Sunday, December 9th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Tickets and more details can be obtained by calling (818) 955-8101, or via http://www.www.garrymarshalltheatre.org

JANE AUSTEN UNSCRIPTED performs December 14th through the 22nd at The Edye theater space within The Broad Stage, 1310 11th Street (at Santa Monica Blvd.) Santa Monica. Showtimes are Friday, December 14th and 21st at 8:00 PM, Saturday, December 15th at 8:00 PM, Sunday, December 16th at 5:00 PM, and Saturday, December 22nd at 4:00 PM. Tickets can further details can be obtained by calling  (310) 434-3200, or online at http://www.thebroadstage.org

IMPRO THEATRE can be found at https://improtheatre.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) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said

TV GUIDE REVISITED-Pt. 2

In last week’s issue, this writer was filing a review to one of the nation’s leading magazines, TV Guide, the series that wrote about television as well as providing what’s on the air each and every week. Upon looking at the then current issue, I noticed something unique about this magazine. Not so much for the type of shows features in terms of reviews and profile pieces, but through the advertisements that were found. Nearly every item being advertised seems to be marketed for a certain demographic, and that demographic tends to be of one that can be called “seasoned”. Specifically, older baby boomers and the generation before the babies went boom called “The Silent Generation”–those born before 1945 that can still recall a time before that newfangled device called “television” became a way of domestic life–the same notion that Millenniums and the next generation “Gen Y-ers” see how the internet and its high tech connected gadgetry is a way of their life.

So I took a challenge. I would compare the current issue of TV Guide to an issue taken from the era when yours truly was a paid subscriber, the time where TV for me was part of my life. This was the time that I was enrolled in junior high school, where every day after school, I would come home sometimes to an empty house, and sometimes not, only to turn on the TV set for a does of after-school television. Such programs that would await for me consisted of The Mike Douglas Show, Dinah (talk show hosted by Dinah Shore), reruns of 1960’s-era “idiot” sitcoms (Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, F-Troop, My Favorite Martian, etc.), as well as reruns of theatrical cartoons from the 1930‘s, 1940’s and 1950’s from the studios of Universal, Paramount-Famous Studios, and MGM.

So the issue I will revisit came from this writer’s personal collection as picked from random choice. The issue will be commenting upon comes from the week of February 1st-7th, 1975. (Saturday through Friday). I will only comment on the national edition part-not the local pages since the issue I have is the Los Angeles edition. The edition that I received some 43 years beforehand was the metro Chicago edition as that copy wasn’t available for me to review or revisit.

One the cover was James Garner, star of NBC’s The Rockford Files, a program that premiered the previous September, and would be successful for the network running for five more years. Besides the news and details to what is current on TV, as well as reporting on other trends in television, were the ads. In the national version sections that “bookeded” the local listing part, the ads featured were for a number of cigarette brands (BelAir, Parliament, Pall Mall, etc.), Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand processed cheese food spread, a Time-Life book series subscription offer for “The American Wilderness”, a correspondence course for job training skills, Mrs. Paul’s brand frozen fish sticks (complete with a ten cent off coupon), and an ad for the RCA Record Club where one can get eight record albums on 12” disk, audio cassette, or 8-track tape cartridge (your choice) for ten cents as an introductory offer.

Upon reviewing these advertisements, the pattered that this writer could see tends to be for adults over 21 years of age. Specifically, it would be adults in the 20’s through 40’s (21-49 reach). This would mean these adults would be in the form of college undergraduates or perhaps post-graduates, (or those currently enrolled), those that were working some kind of professional job, perhaps married with kids. This target market would be considered as a rather healthy and perhaps “normal” range of people that would exist in an urban and/or suburban domestic landscape pulling $15k per year and up.

Using the 21-49 age range with 1975 as its reference point, the youngest of this group would have been born in 1954, while the elders turning the age of 49 in 1975 would have been born in 1926. Using today’s demographic placement, that would include The Silent Generation born between 1925 through 1945, and the first tier Baby Boomers. (First tier BB’s were born between 1946-54, while the second tier was born between 1955 through 1964).

In 2018, the youngest would be 64 years, while the oldest would be 92. This range of age is somewhat synced to the products that were advertised in the current issue previously discussed.

So does this mean that the folks that once used TV Guide as their be-all-to-end-all source to find out what’s on the tube as carried through the local stations are the only ones that still read this magazine? Maybe, or maybe not!

Since the turn of the 21st century, people have been scrambling to the internet to find out what’s in store on broadcast, cable/satellite, and eventually streaming. There are phone apps one can download (including one for TV Guide magazine itself) where one can get the lowdown to their favorite shows available to see one episode at a time, or all at once via their phone! TV in indeed everywhere, even if that everywhere consists of viewing content on a screen size around 6” with tinny sound–unless one is using big-deal headphones to make up the tinniness.

Of course, these listings as provided by TV Guide are only limited to the commercial sources that provide programming, There are series running on YouTube created by professionals as well as amateurs that range from very well done to something that can be called as a “nice try”. It would be nearly impossible to have a listing for every one of these programs as they are uploaded and made available every minute of the day. Besides, in order to find them, one can always google their way to happiness to locate ‘em–if one dares to do that!

So TV Guide we are happy to report is very well alive and living. Yes, TV itself has changed over the many decades past. Within the last five years, the method of providing content has shifted from delivery via over the air signals or coax cable to internet streaming. However, people will still want to have a paper magazine to have and to hold in order to find out if such a program is even worth its time to gawk at. There are only twenty four hours in a day, and so many hours to view anything. And having that mag is there for that purpose. even if one has fallen and couldn’t get (it) up!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre Palisades closes out their 2018 calendar season with the romantic comedy PARFUMERIE, E.P. Dowdall’s adaptation of Miklos Laszlo’s original stage piece Illatszertar, about a pair of employees at a perfume shop that compose letters to their secret yet romantic pen-pans, never to realize that they are writing to one another.

The setting is a perfume shop in downtown Budapest, Hungary. It’s Christmastime, 1937, and proprietor Miklos Hammerschmidt (Mitch Frinstein) is getting the place prepared for the upcoming shopping season. The two head clerks, Mr. Sipos (Manfred Hofer) and George Horvath (Tyler Gaylord) are managing the store the best they can. George holds conflict with Amalia Balash (Mariel Suarez), a fellow clerk that he constantly feuding with. To make matters worse, Hammerschmidt receives an anonymous letter stating that somebody at the shop is having an affair with his wife. Just before Christmas, he accuses George as the guilty one. But George isn’t having the affair. In fact, he has a pen-pal to a woman where he writes romantic interludes. So does Amalia as she too, corespondents with a secret admirer. Little do they know that the people they are writing to is one another–two lost souls they they barely tolerate with!

This play was first performed as written by Miklos Laszlo in 1937 and became a hit throughout the theaters of Hungary and the rest of Europe. It wasn’t until the early 21st century when Laszlo’s nephew, E. P. Dowdall, adapted this play from the English translation by Florence Laszlo–the spouse of the playwright, into a “new” play that holds the charm and grace of a romantic comedy that actually contains genuine romance! Many have compared this piece to other sources where this play brought inspiration, from the 1940 feature film release The Shop Around The Corner, the 1949 film musical release In The Good Old Summertime, the stage musical She Loves Me, the 1999 remake of TSATC, You’ve Got Mail, as well as other sources remotely suggested. But this play as seen on the Theatre Palisades stage is the genuine source!

The robust cast that appears in this production is a cross blend of roles that can be humorous in nature, yet shows some dramatic interludes throughout. The comedy depicted isn’t of the “laugh-out-loud” stance, and the drama isn’t anything that can be called as “heavy”. The cast that perform these forms of dramatic comedy episodes (and vise versa) keep everything in check thanks to Brandon Ferruccio’s stage direction.

In addition to the above noted cast members and the roles they portray, the performing ensemble consists of (as listed in their order of appearance), Kristian Kordula, Kiara Feliciano, Brittany Turner, Mariel Suarez, Kevin Kempis, Hana Pak, Nancy Hullihan, and Judy Rosenfield.

Sherman Wayne, Theatre Palisades’ residential set & lighting designer, once again presents a stage set along with the lighting of the same set, that consists of a quaint perfume shop that is pink in nature without the standard “foo-foo”-esque style that perfume shops found in Europe would contain. June Lissandrello’s costuming shows that one can be very stylish even in a cold climate that Hungary may experience in December.

Although there is a Christmastime thread in this production, it’s far from being a “Christmas” play in the traditional sense. However, it’s an ideal show to experience to not only get one into the holiday seasonal mood, but to also experience a play that is gentile in scope, yet has enough romantic interludes that keep the nature of this play as adorable. Those words can describe PARFUMERIE. It has a pleasant lingering fragrance throughout, and it doesn’t stink!

PARFUMERIE, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until December 9th Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.  For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 454-1970, or via online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
Theatre Palisades can also be found and followed through social media via Facebook and Twitter as “Theatre Palisades”.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

TV GUIDE REVISITED-Pt. 1

Recently, I was sent through the courtesy of the folks at TV Guide magazine-the publication that’s been reporting on the elements known as “television” for the past sixty-five years (as well as letting those reader know what’s on the tube that week), their current issue. In this case, it’s the issue covering the period of October 15th-28th. (Monday through Sunday). It’s been a very long time since I had an opportunity to glance at a recent issue, so I took the advantage of thumbing through this copy that sported on its cover, the cast (or as the headline read, “The Boys”) of the series Supernatural (one of two covers) featuring the likeness of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins. The two covers available consisted of these three with smiles on their face, or with the same trio with stern looks on their faces shot in half light. The former cover appeared to have this show resemble a sit-com, and the latter cover (the one I received) gives an illusion of a series that was sobering and serious with a hint of being eerie and mysterious.

I was interested in reviewing this magazine series as this was one of many titles I was first exposed to back in the era when magazines did robust business. My folks never subscribed to this magazine as they throught the “tv guides” that were enclosed in the Sunday paper was good enough for them! Although they carried the same program listings, those free editions didn’t feature the same articles as the “real” TV Guide did!

An aunt of mine subscribed to this magazine. Whenever my family would visit my aunt along with my uncle and cousin, I would scope out this magazine, looking at the pictures that were inside this little magazine that was the size of Reader’s Digest, as well as the splashy cover! (The first cover I recall seeing at my aunt’s place was the cover featuring Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 on the sitcom “Get Smart”) as created by Andy Warhol.) Although I didn’t much care for the listings of what was on the seven channels that existed at the time, I was caught by the illusions this magazine offered.

Over time, I learned that the edition I would always see was the local version. The program listings featured the local stations broadcasting in the area the magazine circulated, although the articles and other bits found in its first half and second half were all the same. (The listings were found in the middle of the mag!) I learned this fact when I would go on family vacations. As for my souvenir to the area(s) visited, I would get the local edition so I can see what TV was like in an area I didn’t live in! (Those stories of collecting TV Guides as vacation souvenirs can be found in Vol. 23-Nos. 33 and 34 of this news service!)

I was so interested in this little magazine, I decided to have my own subscription! So using my own money that I have earned through allowances, birthday gifts, and other sources, I had my mom make out a check payable for a year’s subscription to TV Guide, and to send that check to “TV Guide Subscriptions, Randor, PA. 19087”.

After sending that check through the mail and waiting around for six weeks, my first issue arrived! On its cover was a cartoon likeness of Charlie Brown’s face on a TV set, with Snoopy and Woodstock laughing at it. (Drawn by Charles Schultz!)

That was TV Guide then, a little magazine that measured 5” x 7 1/2” in size, had around 130 + pages (including the local listing section) and sold for 15 cents. (Today’s issues measures 9 1/2” x 6”, has around 84 pages–covers don’t count–and has a price of $4.99 as noted on its cover.)

What’s inside those covers is pretty much the same elements of TV Guide of my youth. There are feature stories on entertainment programs available, this time not limited by the networks ABC, CBS, and NBC. Cable becomes part of TV Guide’s listing since the 1980’s, and now it’s the streaming services that share space, although they are not posted on the program grids that are found in each issue as a streaming program can be seen whenever the viewer desires to see the program.

But one thing I did notice that was really never part of TV Guide from my day. It was the advertisements that were in each issue that wasn’t about a specific program or video series.

Using the issue I had in hand, I make a brief inventory to what was being advertised, and found a rather common thread to the products being sold in this edition. I’ll run it through here.

The ads sported were for ThermaCare pain relieving cream, a Phillips SimplyGo Mini portable oxygen device, a number of ads of goods sold through The Brandford Exchange that sold jewelry and what’s best described as “knickknacks”, Kraft brand shredded cheese that could be used on tacos, a Life Alert emergency device made by the same company that made the phrase “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” famous, Omaha Steaks, the mail order steak company, MD Hearing Aids, a chair calling itself “The Perfect Sleep Chair” a Lay-Z-Boy-esque lounge chair, a shoe that offered warmth and comfort, a seat cushion that helps relieve pain when sitting where its special shape resembles a toilet seat (it’s not a toilet seat–it just looks that way), a mail order tool firm, and cell phones from Greatcall that sells the Jitterbug line of flip and smartphones featuring a “new and improved simplified menu”, among other notions that are normally considered as givens to any smart phone. (Battery, texting, built-in camera, etc.). Rounding out this collection of ads were for P&G’s Always pads to prevent bladder leaks.

Seeing these ads and what was being advertised gave me the illusion that these products (perhaps with the exception of the shredded cheese), cater to a specific demographic. And that demographic would be anyone over a certain age, perhaps 60 and up–the same demographic that can still recall when TV sets sported screens that were 23” and less, used an areal to pick up signals, and offered TV programming that was available for the most part, free!

So I ask myself “What happened to TV Guide? Did it get old? Perhaps too old??”
This question of wonder will be answered in the next edition of this here newsletter. As they would say on the soap operas–tune in tomorrow!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Son of Semele Ensemble presents Maureen Huskey’s THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO SPACE AS A MAN, an experimental play with music that tells upon the double life of Alice B. Sheldon, a woman of means that had a career in middle life writing well respected science fictions tales under a nom de plume.

Betsy Moore portrays Alice B. Sheldon. Born in 1915, she was raised within a well-to-do family setting. As a young child, she and her parents went on hunting excursions in Africa, even being called by the media as the first white child ever seen by the pigmey tribes. She entered adulthood as a young debutante through her “coming out” event. She married the first man she met at her “debut”, resulting in a rocky marriage and a later divorce. She joined the Army during WWII becoming a lieutenant through Army Intelligence and later through the CIA. She married a fellow army officer, Col. Huntington “Ting” Sheldon. Although she had military intelligence experience as well as a pedigree through her family’s wealth and status, she embarked in yet another career of choice, writing science fiction tales starting at the age of fifty. What makes this choice unique that she wrote under the alias of James Tiptree, Jr. For most of her writing career, she was known to be a male writer of science fiction that received the honor and respect through her fans and peers. However, very few became aware of the fact that James was in reality, Alice!

This singe act play, written and directed by Maureen Huskey, pictures a woman of means that had lived a life in her first phase by experiencing more that what other people would never reach, later shifting gears to create tales to astonish just to satisfy her public just because that same public would never take a female writer seriously–or at least not during the golden and silver age of pulp fiction where writers of sci-fi were usually categorized as creators of short stories that were published in anthology digest magazines found on street corner newsstands. This performance as seen on the Son of Semele stage is not told in a linear fashion, but more of an experimental method, using an ensemble cast that focuses on her character from young girl to young adult. It also portrays her many phases of her life cycle, living in a “man’s world” that would be her first step in writing in a so-called “masculine” style while earning many honors and prestige.

This show is also a play with music, not necessarily as a traditional “musical” where cast members breaks out in song and dance numbers. The music score by Yuval Ron with lyrics by the playwright, is a blend of a post-modern hymn with a sense of rhythmic chant through Richard An’s transcribed musical direction. The songs themselves are not the type one could hum along to. It’s more manifested as a audible illustration to the notion of being a woman who was a man. The play also shows that Alice had episodes of lesbianism in her early life and thus, gave the switch of showing an identify of a man and a woman, yet not at the same time!

The cast that appear in this production consists of Anneliese Euler as Mary Bradley, James Ferrero as James Tiptree, Jr., Emma Zakes Green as Tass, Isabella Ramacciotti as Little Alice, Paula Rebelo as Young Alice, Megan Rippey as Mira, Ashley Steed as Janice, Aliz Wells as Ting, with Kamer Elliot, Nathan Nonhof, and Robert Peterno as the ensemble.

Lena Sands provides the costume design, Eli Smith is the set designer, Martin Carrillo creates the sound design, and Rose Malone is the lighting director. These combined factors shows the experimental aspects to this story. Not necessarily in a science fiction mode, but it undertakes this practice of expression.

For generations, writing tales that speaks for futuristic worlds, demention travel, of scientific beings, as well as journeys through outer and inner space has been taken as the territories of a “man’s world”. But those moments came long before those of the female gender were as good (if not better) as their male counterpoints to create such tales that would be read by millions of readers. Thus, the title of this productions does say it all! Then again, a man may indeed write romantic novels as respected by those of the female species. But that switch would not be as amusing as through its polar opposite. One would rather “blast-off” than to live happily ever after. Or would they…?

THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO SPACE AS A MAN, presented by the Son of Semele Ensemble and performs at The Son of Semele Theatre, 3301 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, until November 18th. Showtimes are Tuesday nights at &;00 PM, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 5:00 PM. For tickets and for more information, call (818) 841-5422, or via online at http://www.SonOfSemele.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com
#AccessiblyLiveOffLine

(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2018 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!