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 (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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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

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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!

MY DOG IS SMARTER THAN YOUR DOG!

A few weeks ago, a report that appeared in the journal Learning & Behavior noted that dogs are no more unique than other animals in terms of intelligence.

The report stated that the authors of this study, Stephen Lea and Britta Osthaus, both form Great Britain, discovered that while dogs are intelligent and trainable to do tasks, they are not “super smart” as what was believed in compared to other animals that are similar in nature.

They compared the intelligence of wolves, cats, chimpanzees, dolphins, horses and pigeons. What was found was “dog cognition does not look exceptional.” (A direct quote from Stephen Lee, who did admit that he is more of a cat person that a dog fancier!)

Of course, this report spread pretty fast to those that love and admire dogs, either as pets of just for their desire for the so-called “(Wo)Man’s best friend” part of their lives. People who have dogs (one or many) will speak out for their fido to state “My dog is so smart, it ain’t funny!!” or something to that effect. Some of these dog owners will go on to prove to you or to anyone that is within earshot, that their pup(s) can do simple tricks such as the standard roll-over/play-dead/fetch-the-stick variety, but can also do other things such as bark a number of specific times when prompted, will run around in clockwise and/or counterclockwise circles on command, open doors, and other sorts of tasks that are not necessarily “stupid pets tricks”, but nothing that would be worth writing home about!

People have been owning dogs since the beginning of time. There are countless stories, tales (or “tails”), epics, or various lies and untruths that have been passed down the ages that center around dogs. The media was all over the place when it came to dogs, first in movies from Rin-Tin-Tin, Petey-Peat, to Lassie. TV came around to feature the for noted collie that became a staple on Sunday night television for decades, as well as other dogs, some remembered and other long forgotten. Social media made some dogs popular with enough celebrity status that can be rivaled (to a point) to Lassie and the rest of the curs that previously appeared on the big or little screen.

Anyone who lives in a domestic-type area will have others living nearby who has a dog, and will see those neighbors walking their pup up and down the street in nearly all parts of the calendar day. Some will start off at dawn to walk their dogs. Middle days is also a popular time to see Rover on a leash. Late nights will have dog walkers out and about. One person in the area where this writer hangs his hat will see a person walking a Golden Retriever donning a headband with a LED light attached, leading the way through the darkness of the neighborhood sometimes between 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM.

If one went up to these owners of dogs to ask how smart is their pup, chances are that these folks will talk your ear off to say (brag?) that their dog can do anything and everything a dog can do among other things. Their dogs may not speak intelligence English or any other human-based language, but they can “speak” in their own right.

Of course, this is just one of those many scientific studies that tend to come and go when it comes to how people and animals behave themselves. There will be other journals that will release reports to either enhance the facts as stated, or will prove that the previous reports may not be totally on their mark as once perceived. These elements are just for those to discuss and debate about in person (such as while in a dog park), or through their favorite social media platforms out their in cyberspace.

For those of you out in Accessibly Live Off-Line land that are dog fans and owners, we give you a hearty salute. For the rest of you that feel that dogs are “OK” and that’s about it, then it’s up to you to wonder what the fuss is all about. Dogs are good for what they are just as long as one cleans up after their pup! You can curb your enthusiasm, but just curb your dog! The neighbors will appreciate it! So will this writer–and we are speaking to you, the late night light wearing Golden Retriever owner! (Get the message??)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Sorry! No reviews this week, but check out our next edition for the latest in what’s going on!

Until then, we’ll see ya!
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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!

 

HOLD THE PHONE!

Although there is still a few weeks left in this calendar year, 2019 is just around the corner. When the first day of that year rolls around, one will see and hear about special occasions and event that will make that year noteworthy.

Among the many elements that will be called upon the welcome of ’19 will be anniversary dates, noting that the year 2019 will mark a place in time where an event took place recalling a specific anniversary date.

This article is focus upon one event that would change how this nation communicates with itself. It will mark the 35th anniversary of the start of the breakup on the telephone industry where The Bell System a.k.a. “Ma Bell”, was officially dissolved by way of the Federal Communications Commission. (FCC). This meant that The Bell System and many of its companies including AT&T, Western Electric, and many of the regional Bell companies that provided phone service in various cities, states, and regions, would be broken up leading to more of a competitive service.

Before long, companies that offered long distance services such as Sprint, MCI, and other firms would be offering cheaper rates to make calls that were out of their region. Other companies could make and sell aftermarket phones for people to actually own, rather than leasing them from the Bell System’s regional phone service.

There was a lot of speculation going around at the time of the breakup on how phone service would be for the years after this official “divorce” with Bell and everyone involved. Some stated that rates would increase, while others were stating that phone service would be worse off. Time proved that phone service didn’t necessarily get worse. It just meant that choices would be more diverse than ever before!

Over time and tide, phone service took on new companies, new names, and newer offerings. Cell phone service started to become available shortly after the breakup date. However, such services were very limited. They were only made available to those that had a real need for it, usually related to what business the prospective subscriber was involved in. Usually their jobs involved something that was on a high intensive scale, such as doctors, lawyers, executives within a company that always had to be in touch with company top brass, and other folks that were high within their business ranks.

Cell phone service was only offered by local or regional companies located in big cities. Their rates offered so many cents per minute on a yearly contract basis. Equipment was sometimes included, but often, it was sold separately. Phone devices built inside of passenger cars were the most common where the handset, connected by way of a cord to the base, was located left of the driver’s seat. It was powered by the car’s battery system and was active when the car’s engine was running. Of course, if the car’s ignition wasn’t turned over, the phone didn’t work. Thus, if one was stranded in a mechanical breakdown, one couldn’t use the phone! This gaff was later modified to having the phone’s power independent to the car’s operation. But again, mobile phones and its services were limited to a few and was not addressed for the casual user.

That was in the 1980’s and through much of the 1990’s. By the later 90’s, cell phones could now be held by hand. However, phone service was still pricey for what they were, and its quality of calls sent and received was anywhere from tolerable to totally unreliable! But again, it was meant for usage by those that needed it.

By the 21st century, everything started to change. Phones became smaller, service began to become more competitive, and its regular usage started to trickle down from the high power user to the middle range consumer. By the middle 2000’s, cell phones became to become more mainstream where nearly anyone is most walks of domestic lifestyles would have access to a cell phone, mostly to keep in touch with business colleagues, family members, friends and associates, and others that wanted to always stay within the communications loop. Two year contracts were still the norm, and many call plans were based upon so much usages per billing cycle. Some companies offers “free” minutes between selected hours that would not count on the minute-per-use plan, such as unlimited talk between 7:00 PM-7:00 AM on the weekdays, and between 7:00 PM Friday through 7:00 AM the following Monday. Text message services were also available, assuming one had a phone that can indeed send and receive messages through a text system. That was ideal when users needed communication when talking wasn’t practical, or if the text user didn’t want to use their voice when communicating.

Then the smartphone hit with Apple introducing their iPhone in 2007. It would become Apple’s biggest hit of them all, far surpassing the iPod device introduced a few years before. Little did anyone suspect that the iPhone, or “smartphone” as its generically called, would mark the beginning of phone use as this society would ever know about.

Today, nearly the entire population of this nation (Canada, too), has access to a cell phone, with smartphones taking a majority of the slack. (Standard flip phones, the type that was common in the pre-smartphone era, are still in use and are still made available, but only on a very limited scale that is now confined to specific demographics.)

Countless articles have been written in the media (this newsletter included) about the many pros and cons about smartphones and its usages. Many are of and for the good, while others are its total opposite! But one element is for sure. Smartphones and the way they set themselves in these life and times, are here to stay forever. It’s within the same methods when television first came around some 70 years ago. What was first a novelty became a way of life.

In today’s field, the Bell System and all of its applications, have been transferred into something else, or perhaps totally forgotten. It’s advertising line made popular in the 1970’s that went “Reach Out and Touch Someone” was created to encourage folks to make long distance calls to family or friends that was part of somebody’s life. Of course, those TV spots would encourage those to make those calls when the rates were low(er), usually after 5:00 PM local time or on weekends. Those ads were created to make these phones a lifeline to loved ones. That notion in today’s landscape is now just an afterthought! One can get an app to do all of that reaching out just by a simple tap or swipe!

Ma Bell would be stirring in her grave–or is there an app for that?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing for its midweek run at The Whitefire Theatre is John Stysik’s VILLAINY or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story, a true tale about America’s first recorded serial killer, and the story that made him infamous during the “gay 90s”.

Chicago, 1893. The city is hosting the Columbian Exposition, the World’s Fair that introduced such invention as the zipper, Jacob Best’s “Blue Ribbon” beer, and Nikola Tesla’s demonstrations of electricity. Lurking about is physician Herman Webster Mudgett (Tor Brown). He begins his journey into his devious deeds by seducing women, eventually being married to three at one time. Now taking an alias of Henry Howard Holmes (portrayed by Eric Keitel)-using the last name after a popular detective in the fiction of the era, he goes into the murder of these woman, using his skills in the medical field by disassembling the bodies and selling the skinned skeletons to medical institutions. He even has his own place he calls as a castle, complete with darken rooms, narrow passageways, a pharmacy stocked with chemicals, and a torture chamber. The newspapers of the time was reporting on the details of his evil deeds, even calling him “The Devil in the White City” as he lived near the World’s Fair site. Shortly before he would be caught and tried in a court of law and to be exacted by hanging, newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst offered Holmes to write a confession of his many crimes into a memoir that was later published in the Hearst papers, making his macabre story a media sensation.

This single-act play written by John Stysik tells this little known story of a serial killer using two actors as the man and his alter-ego killer-Tor Brown as the mild mannered Herman Mudgett and Eric Keitel as the notorious H.H. Holmes. Although the latter was the evil one, his portrayal is presented just as mild mannered. It shows how much he was willing to murder his victims–the women he would eventually marry by seducing them while taking advantage of their ignorance through the willing of any property that may had access to by transferring those plots to his name, while continuing to torture them by way of his vast medical knowledge.

The ensemble cast that play Holmes’ wives and later victims consist of Jennifer Novak Chun, McKenzie Eckels, Tanya Raisa, and Nathalie Rudolph.

Jeff G. Rack, known for his set decoration skills as seen in many local stage productions performing within the region, directs this show using minimal sets. What is seen on stage are the ones that would fall within the clutches of Mudgett/Holmes, as well as the one that is the killer himself! Shon Le Blanc provides the period costuming that shows the fashion of the 90’s (1890’s that is) where the ladies were in style, and the men were just as dapper, although a sense of evil still remains throughout.

Also to note is the pre-performance musical interlude by Jennifer Novak Chun on the cello, setting the scene to what will unfold.

Serial killers are mostly known to be active during the second half of the 20th century, bleeding (pun?) into the new millennium. VILLAINY shows that such multiple killings did occur back when opportunity was ripe to only those that knew what they were doing, rather than being the works of an amateur. And unlike the evil to the killings, nothing graphic is seen on stage. It’s up to the imagination of the audience to witness what was set within the mind of Holmes fulfilling his quests of power and eventually infame.

VILLAINY or H.H. Holmes’ Own Story, presented by VP Productions and the Whitefire Theatre, performs at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks, until November 7th. Showtimes are Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at
https://villainy.brownpapertickets.com/
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The Bucket List Theatre company presents SILENCE! THE MUSICAL, a tuneful romp about an FBI agent in training using the knowledge of a locked up serial killer to capture another serial killer on the loose.

Amanda Conlon is FBI rookie agent Clarice Starling. Her assignment is to capture a serial killer calling himself Buffalo Bill (Nick Dothee). A person that knows his ins and outs of his business is another killer who dines on people–Hannibal (“The Cannibal”) Lecter (Jesse Merlin). It may not be easy to complete this assignment, but thanks to her skills as well as a greek chorus of lambs, Clarice is there the save the day, and to “earn her wings” to become a real G-(wo)man!

This single-act stage musical with book by Hunter Bell and music & lyrics by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan, is very loosely based on the feature film (and non-musical) The Silence of the Lambs, and creates a musical comedy that is very witty and played for laughs, with a musical score that is pretty lively to boot. It doesn’t have much gore in spite of the premise. But what lacks for blood and guts makes it up for fun and frolic! It features a very large and robust ensemble cast to sing the praises of how an FBI agent receives her first big assignment. That ensemble cast consists of Julie Ouellette as Catherine, Brian Dyer (altering with Patrick Pizzolorusso) as Crawford, Kevin Michael Moran as Dr. Chilton, Courtney Bruce as Ardelia, Philip McBride as Papa Starling, Suzanne Slade as Senator Martin, Michael C. Silva as Miggs, Jeff Lagreca as Bimmel, and Jesse Gavin as Stone Rockbrockmanrock.

Edgar Cardoso provides the musical direction on the keyboards, Nick Foran is on helm with the lighting, while Amanda Conlon directs, choreographs, and presents the production design. Granted, the sets are not much to speak of as the backdrop is as black as the setting. However, that shard of dark just adds to the overall flavor to what this musical is–a parody of a thriller that shows more comedy that chills.

For those that hasn’t seen the feature in a while (if at all), then this musical will make up for miss. It’s a fun show to see, and just in time for All Hallow’s Eve season, too! SILENCE! THE MUSICAL is the trick to treat!

SILENCE! THE MUSICAL, presents by the Bucket List Theatre, and performs at the Let Live Theatre, 916 North Formosa Avenue, Los Angeles (West Hollywood adjacent), until November 3rd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. For tickets and for more information, visit http://www.BucketListTheatre.com
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BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (Fox) takes place in a once lavish resort called The El Royale located off Lake Tahoe, right smack dab in the middle of the California-Nevada border. Since it lost its gaming license, the place has gone down the tubes, although much of its visual luster still lingers.

It’s the late winter of 1969, and a group of strangers check in all at the same time. There’s Farther Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges) a Catholic priest who is returned from his leave of absence, Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo) a “negro” back up singer that is seeking to go as a solo R&B vocalist, Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), a radical rebel woman sporting a “bad girl” attitude who brings along as her “guest”, her younger sister (Caileen Spaney), and Laramie Seymour Sullivan (John Hamm), a vacuum cleaner salesmen that speaks in a southern drawl. They are met by the person in charge at this hotel, Miles (Nick Offerman), who appears to be the only employee on duty, serving as front desk clerk, manager, bellboy, and maintenance man. Although each guest are not known to one another, everyone present (Miles included) holds a secret past they must face. Why are they stating at a hotel resort that has seen better days? Why is Emily treating her sister not as a guest, but as a kidnap victim? Is Darlene there for a vacation or for something else? Why did Father Flynn take a leave of absence from the church? Is he looking for something outside of faith? Is Laramie really a vacuum cleaner salesman, or is he there for other reasons? And what is the obsession of Miles’s guests? All of these notes are followed by yet another visitor Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth), who is out looking for Emily and her sibling. This little vacation spot is anything but a vacation, and perhaps just a place to reside while one of these guests, if not all, receives their chance for redemption!

This feature, written and directed by Drew Goddard, takes a number of elements from other features as written and/or directed by Sam Peckinpah, Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson, (among others for sure), and presents this film that holds plenty of action, suspense, trills, a dab of comedy, and plenty of violence! (Heavy on the violence!) The characters are very amusing, somewhat cartoon like (not necessarily “funny” per se, but entertaining), and are likable for who and what they are! Although Jeff Bridges as the man of the cloth appears to be the male lead, Cynthia Erivo as backup singer Darlene Sweet stands as its female lead. She does have a chance to sing a verse or two of the period R&B hits, but her singing doesn’t make this title a musical! There are lots of period music heard on its soundtrack from rock to “soul”, at many times as heard from a 1940’s Wurlitzer jukebox found within the hotel lobby that spins out tunes from the 1960’s on 78s! (There are as many as thirty people listed in the Art Department credits that made this movie a great looking one with its furnishings and related props and stylings!)

This title, as well as a number of others, are part of the first series of “gimmie a Oscar” features that’s going to make the rounds between now and the end of the year. These are movies that the studio that made it, and/or the distributor that’s making their movies available at the more refined multiplexes and stand-alone “art” houses, that contain heavy drama, complex story lines, as well as those actors that the Motion Picture Academy (as well as the other related movie award giver organizations) tend to honor. However, it’s October as this writer is churning out this review, so there is plenty of time for those movies to make their mark!

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE is rated “R” for cussing and violence. Now playing at all the neighboring multiplexes.
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FIRST MAN (Universal) dwells upon the story of Neil Armstrong, (Ryan Gosling) who as a test pilot for NASA, became involved in the USA’s space program and eventually became the first (hu)man to walk on the moon’s surface.

The story opens in 1961 as Neil flies a jet that nearly leaves the earth’s atmosphere, landing it successfully. Outside of Neil training to become an astronaut, he holds a domestic life as well, being a father to two sons and a young daughter that died of a fatal cancer. Claire Foy is Janet Armstrong, a woman who serves as wife and mother as Neil goes through his missions that are dangerous and rather unsettling to her.

Told in a fast paced quick-cut semi-linear fashion, this feature displays the tension that Neil and his fellow astronauts goes through as the USA is out to beat the Soviet Union into the game of what has been called “The Space Race”. Although many of the others astronauts are portrayed in this feature, including Pablo Schreiber as Jim Lovell, Shea Whigham as Gus Grissom, and Neil’s fellow astronauts who joined him on Apollo XI, Lukas Haas as Michael Collins and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldren, the real focus is Neil as a person the attempts to balance his domestic life and his profession one–the kind of image that the NASA program was attempting to show the public that these men into space are just like the people that may exist as your next door neighbors!

Damien Chazelle, who hold an impressive track record for directing films at his younger age (thirty two to be exact) whose directorial work La-La Land made him an audience favorite (and winning the Oscar to boot), directs this feature that holds more than enough of extreme tight and edgy moments taking advantage of the said fast cuts as provided by picture editor Tom Cross, that increases the excitement at each cut. The use a lot of extreme close-ups add to the tension, an application that is rarely used nowadays in theatrical features. These close ups are just applied as this movie will eventually be viewed on smaller sized screens (as compact as 3” across via a smartphone), but serves as a tool to heighten the moments what Neil encounters as a test pilot, an astronaut, and the battles he faces between NASA executives, engineers, and his own spouse.

Josh Singer’s screenplay adapts James R. Hansen’s book of the same name that uses Neil as a key player without totally drawing attention to him and him alone. His character may be in the center of the conflict, but the others that support this mission to make the USA the winner of the journey to “the final frontier” creates this movie as just what it is: An action-packed film that is comic book-esque in flavor. This time, it’s not of fantasy. It’s all for real!

This feature can also serve as a “bookend” movie between two other titles that also tell the true epic of the flights to the unknown void of solar space: The Right Stuff, and Apollo 13. Although this movie stands out as its own, it’s ideal to view these two titles (available through streaming via Netflix), to really get one in the mood. For those that recall the times when the challenges that NASA faced in the 1960’s were in the headlines, this film will be a nostalgic trip. For the rest of those that may not have been around back then, the feature serves as a great intense thriller. Would it be a spoiler alert to note that it does conclude with a happy (or happier) ending?

This feature is rated PG-13 for intense scenes and situations. Now playing at all of the 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!

BLACK FRIDAY IS HERE!

When the label “Black Friday” comes around in today’s lexicon, the term usually refers to the day after Thanksgiving, where physical retail stores and outlets will kick off the traditional “holiday” shopping season to offer deep priced bargains in order to lure those same shoppers to make their purchases keeping these retailers “in the black”. That is, giving these stores a high profit margin in the final six weeks of the calendar year.

What made the Black Friday shopping weekend a big deal was the fact that stores would open around dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving where those shoppers would camp at the front doors to wait in line just so they can take advantage of a good or item that was being sold at a rather low price. Usually electronics were the draws to get the folks in. Some outlets offered designer clothing, while others offered some other piece of merchandise that was in high enough in demand that was worth the all-night wait.

Within the last few years, the online market cut into the Black Friday sales. So did stores offering Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day, where the stores would be open in the late afternoon. Then some stores offered Black Friday deals the Friday before Thanksgiving–one week sooner! Then some on-line retailers offered deals in October. So did the physical retail outlets. Before long, that day after Thanksgiving sale moment lost a lot of its luster. The only ones that really benefited were the shoppers as they no longer had to wait in line in front of a store at the early morning hours smack dab in the middle of a holiday weekend just so they can get a big screen TV set for a lower price!

So why is this news letter giving a report of holiday shopping antics some two or so months before the big day? It’s because that retail outlets, both physical and on-line, are starting to offer deals through their stores just for the holiday shopping season on Columbus Day in the USA and on Thanksgiving Day in Canada! (Both fall on October 8th of this year!) Never mind that the holiday season, better known as the period where there are a number of seasonal holidays that fall within the month of December where tradition shows that gifts are usually exchanged.

For the record, this news service has identified those holidays too many times. But in case one needs to be told, the holidays in question are Christmas-December 25th, Hanukkah-December 2nd through the 10th, Kwanzaa-December 26th through January 1st, Boxing day-December 26th, and other holidays, both real and imagined, that fall between November 25th to January 1st.

But getting back to the seasonal shopping for a bit. It appears that this season is going to be rather robust. With the economy going in full tilt, people will be out spending their loot in order to grab the goods they desire for others, as well as for themselves. A recent report created by The Harris Poll on behalf of advertising exchange firm OpenX state these facts clean and plain.

Among the many numbers in its notes, some 75% of those polled between August 30th and September 6th stated that the current economy will improve within the next year. This would mean that folks will be spending more on gifts, etc. than the previous season. This holds true to the Millennial group-those born in the 1980’s and 1990’s. where 41% plan to spend more than the previous year.

And it appears that gift giving will be a lot easier that other years. According to the report, gift cards will become the most desired gift to give to someone at 68%. Apparel some in at a close second at 63%. And toys will be the third biggest choice at 47%.

Although this will be the first season where Toys-R-Us, the one time biggest toy retailer of them all, will no longer be present, parents, grandparents, and others where kids are present within their domain, will be getting toys for their little ones. As for those for noted Millennials? They will be spending more on their furry kids–mainly, pets! Roughly $90.00 to $100.00 will be spent on those non-humans. That’s a lot for getting something for fido or fluffy, assuming that fido and/or fluffy appreciate a something or another!

So when will these potential shoppers plan their spending sprees? According to the poll, they are planning for it right now! 38% of those polled stated they plan between October through the Thanksgiving weekend. 31% started their plans in September or sooner. However, some 6% wait until the last minute to start their shopping!

In spite of this planning and spending, does the traditional Black Friday period really matter? It’s a mixed bag! While 60% admitted that the Black Friday rituals are overwhelming, 73% stated that it’s not. And 59% will skip Black Friday all together. But leave it to those Millennials (again) to save the day, as 30% of those in this demographic stated that they will shop on Cyber Monday, the first Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend that for this year, falls on November 26th–the earliest that Cyber Monday can ever fall on.

For the rest of you that desire to view the report on your own time, it’s available via http://www.openx.com/2018holidayresearch

So whatever one purchases what for who or when, it’s going to be a very red and green and blue and white holiday season! That’s what makes the retail world go round!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sacred Fools Theatre, is association with Burglars of Hamm, opens their 2018-19 season with Lars Mattsun’s RESA FANTASTISKT MYSTISK, a recently discovered play written by this Swedish playwright who created a play of note that holds a number of hidden meanings, metaphors, and other messages that made this composer of stage plays a name unto himself.

The concept of this play features the protagonist Phillip (Tim Kopacz), a struggling artist that embarks onto a fantastical and somewhat surreal journey to reclaim his right to be a painter. His journey takes him toward situations that reflect upon the meaning and times that were common and discovered during the era this stage piece was first created sometime between 1898 and 1903. Here, the audience can witness the struggles between his existence and those encountered that speak for the meaning of the color red, the relation of his sexual domain, the concept of woman’s presence (not necessarily related to the sexual thing), his “Fruit Period”, and other related concepts that Lars Mattsun and his other plays written in the late 19th century-early 20th century reflect upon. His creative works were compared along such contemporaries as Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg in terms to strong meaning with stronger characters.

For those that may not be familiar with Mattsun’s play, the director, adaptor, and choreographer of this production, Todd Merrill, will guide the audience into the real meanings expressed in this play through AV devices. Each audience member will receive a wireless audio headset. Throughout this production, Merrill will explain in detail through the sounds of his voice into what is going on, and what some of the characters present mean to the play. Serving as play-by-play and “color” announcer, Merrill details these expressions to where the audience will then begin to understand what is unfolding. His commentary is what makes the play into a new(er) meaning for all exposed.

This play was first presented as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival in cooperation with the theater troupe Burglars of Hamm and The Ghost Road Company. In this production as presented by the Sacred Fools, it took nine (yes, nine) writers to make this show just what is is; A play that is amusing and comical! The writers that “revised” Mattsun’s original concept (Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, Jon Beauregard, Joel Marshall, Todd Merrill, Katharine Noon, Victor Ortado, Laura Otis, and Selina Merrill), created a piece that is deep in words, deeper in concepts, and overall, a piece that really moves!

The ensemble cast (or “dramatis personae”) that appears in this production features Carolyn Almos as Gertrude, Scott Leggett as Barnaby, Carrie Keranen (alternating with Laura Nicole Harrison) as Mariah, Selina Merrill as Madame Sheksetenlodt, and Kita Grayson as The Mysterious Child. Albert Dayton serves as the bona fied director (based upon Matt Almos’ original direction) that makes this play a real treat to experience and to wonder.

Also to note is Barbara Lempel’s scenic design of the stage area, using her skills to create a set that is in the same authentic Swedish style of a classic Mattsunian creation.

To really appreciate the play style of Lars Mattsun, it is highly recommended that the audience attendee(s) read up on his other works that include Where the Shoe Squeezed, Song of Wonder, Day of Trees, and Whether Wind Wither You. These titles make up part of the 23 plays that have known to exist as composed by Mattsun. If you can’t find any of these plays, just use your favorite search engine on the ‘net to seek ‘em. While you’re at it, just Google your way to discover any details on playwright Lars Mattsun as well! You will be impressed in what you may find!! (Losta luck!!)

RESA FANTASTISKT MYSTISK, presented by The Sacred Fools Theatre Company and Burglars of Hamm, performs on the Broadwater Main Stage, 1076 Lillian Way (off Santa Monica Blvd. and one block west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until November 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. Ticket reservation can be made by emailing the theatre box office directly at SFReservations@SacredFools.org, or through the theater company’s website at
http://www.SacredFools.org
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A STAR IS BORN (Warner Bros.) tells the tale of Jackson Maine. (Bradley Cooper). He’s a successful musician that plays just as hard as he works. He’s dependent on various chemical substances to keep himself going. He’s also losing his hearing, making his performing a bit to deal with. His manager and brother Bobby (Sam Elliot) tells him to keep off of what is driving him down, in spite of the consequences Jackson is going through. While ducking out after a concert he just performed in, he takes refuge in a nearby dive bar where a drag show is taking place. A woman-a real one- named Ally (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta a.k.a. Lady Gaga), an aspiring vocalist, is there to take on the show. Jackson and Ally spark a repertoire with one another upon their meeting. Soon, the pair encounter a few attempts in working with each other. Ally’s father Lorenzo (Andrew “Dice” Clay) who is a livery dispatcher, support his daughter in her musical career. Before long, Ally’s musical success rises up to the top, while Jackson goes into a spiral downward-both professional and physically-thanks to his overabundant work-hard-play-hard lifestyle.

This latest “reboot” of the movie classic theme about one going up in their world while the other comes down is the fourth version to this story. And out of the four, this latest version comes in as a very close second! (The 1954 release featuring Judy Garland and James Mason will never be beat as far as this reviewer is concerned!) The story with screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters based up the original story idea by William A Wellmand and Robert Carson written in the 1930’s, takes upon an image that harks a good old-fashion treatment while keeping its concepts into the notion of the post-modern life and times of now. The movie has more drama than flash (no real over-the-top special effects to speak about) while holds a number of musical interludes between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga that adds to the flavor this title possesses. Those that are fans to the other versions that Warner Bros. churned out within the last seventy five years won’t be disappointed. Not only there are the drama aspects seen in this feature, it also holds a bit of romance between the lead players.

Bradley Cooper himself directs this picture that is very appealing, and except for the for noted Garland/Mason feature version, this latest release will leave the other versions in the almost “dust”. (No offense to those that enjoyed the original 1937 film with Janet Gaynor and Fredrick March. That one was interesting, let remains in the 1930’s. And never mind the 1976 release featuring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand. That film, although amusing for what it was, was indeed a “nice try” for the time!)

This title unofficially kicks off the season where the major and very minor studios and releasing companies that handle theatrical movies will put out their “Gimmie an Oscar” pictures that will have lots of drama, plenty of character development, and will offer little to no special effects that’s worth any mention! (Ditto for explosions or gunfire!) These titles tend to appeal to those of a selected age group that still can recall when is was difficult–if not impossible–to watch films on a hand held electronic device sporting a visual screen! The younger set have their summertime movies, many of them now available via home media, to look at!

A STAR IS BORN is rated “R” for drug usage, cussing, and sexual scenes. Now playing at all of the multiplexes.
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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!

OH, HOW DO I HATE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING!

Not to long ago, a proposal that been floating within the California State Legislators has a bill that will allow state schools to begin their classroom day no earlier than 8:30 in the morning. This bill will require schools up to the high school level not to begin classes before half passed eight. This way, anyone of school age (eighteen year or below) can show up at their local school house by 8:30 AM at the vary latest without missing on those sessions that involve readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmatic.

There has been arguments through parents and/or caretakers over the many school seasons noting for these kids stating that it’s very hard to have these same kids rise at the crack of dawn (sometimes even earlier) in order to get ready for their school day. Some schools even began their classes as early as 7:30 AM. Depending on where the school was located or how the kids got to school, this would mean that a student would have to be up and atom by 6:00 AM or so (perhaps earlier), in order to start their day. In other words, this rise and shine method may be as bad–if not worse–then what the adults have to face getting to their places where they may spend their Monday through Friday antics, usually in the form of some kind of employment and or remote commitment.

Although it’s been many years since this writer was part of the pre-college school curriculum, I can relate to this issue of school starting off way too early. It really wasn’t fun to get up early in the morning in order to take part in an activity that wasn’t a big favorite of mine. It was bad enough where for some six and a half hours per day five days a week, I was cooped up in a rather sterile building where I had to deal with teacher’s (or a number of teacher’s) dirty looks on subjects I found anywhere between mildly amusing to downright dull and boring! What made it worse is that these episodes started before 9:00 AM, a time where during the summer months along with an occasion “no school” day, I would usually get out of bed around that time. It’s only saving grace to getting up a bit earlier on that no-school day was to catch up on some of the game shows that were on daytime TV back then! If I would get up early that weekday morn’ where I didn’t seem to mind, it was because I wasn’t going to school! I can enjoy a full hour of Captain Kangaroo without being rushed to turn off the TV set with my mom hollering at me to hurry up so I won’t be late for class!

Even as an adult, getting to and from one’s job was within the same ilk as going to school. However, unlike a kid heading over to the classrooms where transportation was either by school bus, public transportation, or if one was lucky enough, having one’s mom drive them to school, or having somebody else’s mom drive them as part of a carpool system, the adult would have to drive themselves to the office while fighting through that morning rush hour traffic.

But this writer is speaking for an era that occurred not so long ago when many people worked that 9-to-5 agenda. Within the last few years, telecommuting allowed people to work at home or some other remote place that didn’t require them to be at the office at 9:00 AM on the dot. And thanks to the gig economy, one can work when they wanted to start and ended when they desired to quit for the moment. Just as long as the assignment was completed, it didn’t matter much if one didn’t began the work day at 9:00 AM and completed in by 5:00 PM.

For many kids, that option doesn’t apply. Yes, there are some kids that are “home schooled”, meaning that they receive their education outside of a traditional classroom setting by having a parent or some other adult aged person with the knowledge and ability lead the kids as the teacher for the period. However, very few kids are considered as home schooled. The majority of these kids still get their education at an outside location with other kids of their own age and/or situations.

So even if this bill does pass through the California Legislators, will this starting school no earlier than 8:30 AM make a difference to these kids? It’s rather hard to say, although the so-called experts have their reasons to note on why it will work and/or won’t!

However, thanks to these post modern parents of kids, it will be very likely that they will push their kids in the participation of extra curriculum activities. Many of these activities involve a sporting game play, although a few meet to do something else, especially at the high school level such as computer programming (or “hacking” in today’s speak), or maybe a “cram” session to study for those ever lovin’ SATs, or whatever a pre-adult does in the current landscape. And many of these sessions take place before the school day. So if daughter Taylor and/or son Hunter participate in some kind of event, that practice session may begin at 7:30 AM, meaning that the kid will be at the session location every early. However, Taylor and Hunter picked this activity by choice. If they wanted to play soccer or lacrosse so bad, they will get up before sunrise to play a game or two before regular classes.

Again, this writer can’t speak for today’s landscape as I was never a parent and didn’t have to fight these issues. But if they did have this proposal of post-8:30 schooling way back when, I would not have to worry to getting up earlier each day. I can spend a “school night” staying up late by watching an old movie on the late show, or staying up late tuning in on The Tomorrow Show. I learned a lot more from Tom Snyder’s guests than what I was able to get from Mrs. Klien’s social study’s class. At least Tom sported a better sounding laugh!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Victory Theatre of Burbank presents the world premier of Judith Leora’s comedy SHOWPONY, a tale of where a working team at a smaller company that turned bigger finds themselves in confusing misunderstandings thanks to the revised rules that exist within the “new normal”.

The setting is an ad agency in New York that recently purchased a smaller boutique firm. Tara (Sionne Elise) is set to lead her group into a new marketing campaign targeting a female demographic. The team itself shows diversity, where fellow members Destiny (Bianca Lemaire), Patricia (Elle Vernee), and Omolola (Krystel Roche) are African-American. One member Sam (Lizzy Kimball) is far from being an ideal team player. In fact, her general attitude is somewhat obnoxious. She is there because she was part of the smaller ad firm that was bought by the bigger agency, so she remains there by default. Thanks to Sam’s going ons during their meeting, mentions of some inner notions held by this group start to leak out in terms of gender aggressions leading toward racism, and how post-modern domestic society treats some of these elements. Their notion are not as intentional at first, but through comments spoken not-so-off the cuff, these actions lead towards a spiral of how people of sex and color (i.e. “non-white”) are set within their own place verses on how they should be placed. And these same actions affects Tara’s boss Walker (Marshall McCabe) the only male of the bunch. A lot of diverse and not-so-diverse secrets and blown out of the water thanks to shifts of who’s right and what’s tolerated in the domesticated world of now!

This original comedy by Judith Leora is a very low-key satire of the recent upbringing based on factors between the so-called “#me too” movement, the “black lives matter” issues, and other perceptions that fall under the category of “political correctness”. Using those elements as a basis, the real focus is the comic repertory the ensemble casts holds up toward themselves. Sionee Elise as Tara is the true “white” woman that rose up from her previous world with the ambitions she keeps for herself. Her team members Destiny, Patricia, and Omolola do face the odds of being women of color, yet they do hold on to their professional commitments as well. Marshall McCabe as Walker may be the “token male” of the group that slides into a point where he falls as a victim of circumstance. Perhaps the character that stands out is Sam as played by Lizzy Kimball. She is the type that the team would want to toss out the window with a minimal height of about twenty stories, but can’t because she is part of the company by default!

The play could be called a “black comedy”, but in a different tone. The comic barbs projected are very witty, and the story line could be almost ripped from today’s headlines. Tom Ormeny, co-artistic director for The Victory Theatre, directs this show that hold high amusement factor, yet displays a bit of realism that many would not admit to when challenged otherwise. That is how real that this play can get.

Special mentions goes toward Evan Bartoletti’s set design that shows the boardroom of the ad agency in act one, and a fancy Miami hotel room in act two, utilizing the same furnishings that is slightly modified. Both sets show the spirit of the working and leisure settings that merges business and pleasure into one.

SHOWPONY is indeed a very original comedy that keeps its pace for today’s domestic landscape, while showing the same respect that the changes of what’s right and what isn’t is making its grade. Kudos to the playwright and its on-stage cast to focus the attention on speaking for these matters without going too far (or deep) into what it’s really all about. It’s all presented with keeping things moving while focusing on the funny side! Those elements may be strange bedfellows, but it all works out to the final crowning point!

SHOWPONY, presented by The Victory Theatre’s Barebones Ensemble, and performs at The Victory Theatre mainstage, 3326 West Victory Blvd., one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until November 18th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM.
For ticket reservations and for more information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCentre.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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