CAMPUS CAPERS

Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of say so going on regarding to the college admission scandals of late. Social media has been harping on these antics since the news broke out. Folks that have an association with the universities involved within the hurlyburly were confused, disappointed, and even angry over the fact that these same folks worked their all-in-all in order to attend, or to just be considered for admission. A few that formed a legacy with the schools noted on these black lists have announced that they no longer want to do anything with these same schools they attended based on their own merit by performing such tasks from removing themselves from their alumni association, cutting off ties in terms of donations to the school’s specific department(s), or to even getting rid of the swag they possessed that showed they still has the pride of attending, from simple window stickers affixed on their vehicles, to clothing decked out with school logos and color schemes.

And for those that had the thought of enrolling to these schools? A few have changed their minds. One person that this writer holds a vague acquaintance with was in the final stages of enrolling their child as a freshmen to one of these schools. Now they are at the last moment, enrolling their kid into a smaller yet well respected college located not so far off into the distance.

This writer started to write a piece where another acquaintance, somebody that I know more personally, started off in getting their soon to be turning eighteen year old daughter (a senior in high school) for college. They also have a son that is about to graduate from the 8th grade this spring. Although college is some four or so years off, they through that they would jump the gun and plan for their son as future college bound material. As one can guess, these post-modern parents are doing what their parents didn’t do; Plan ahead for a higher education for their kids as their parents (their kids’ grandparents) never completed a formal education beyond receiving a lowly high school diploma.

Because of the buzz going around (and still very active as of this writing), yours truly thought to take this story out of the purgatory heap (in apposed to the trash pile as it’s always great to keep an article idea at bay since one will never know then that same idea may come in handy), and bring this little “slice ‘o life” story back into the limelight.

So settle back and read on about how a parent (or parents since this story is about the mom doing the work rather than the father figure, although it’s going to be assumed that he is taking some kind of part of this ritual), is doing their damnedest in getting their kid off to some school that is far beyond the high school level.

In order to continue this story, we’ll have to change the names around here since this newsletter doesn’t want to influence anyone or any place in order to get their kids into the college(es) of choice. After all, we still have to protect our asses!

At the start of the school year last September, Gloria (not her real name–remember?) has a daughter Gloria Jr. (again, a fake-o name) that is starting off her senior year at a community high school. Since her days as a junior, her mom was working with her on what colleges she wanted to attend. Gloria Jr. wasn’t too sure on what she wanted to do for herself in terms of a college major. Gloria Jr. and Sr. received all of the information about higher education schools located within a thousand mile radius of Los Angeles proper, limited themselves to mostly schooled located in west coast states. They did the usually investigations, from gawking through the school’s websites, to even taking a few in-person visits to many of these schools in order for Gloria Jr. to get a taste of what life was all about on campus.

Gloria Sr. attended a smaller liberal arts school located within the state of California. It wasn’t a so-called “big deal” school, but it was a place where one can receive a respected education. This school was indeed on the hit list of places where Gloria Jr. could attend.

Since the first month of her senior years, the challenge began. Applications were received and filled out. Test programs that were known by their initials rather than by names were conducted in order to enhance Gloria Jr.’s sense of ability, as well as holding on to those test scores that can bring her into a more prestige standing in terms of admission. It was a full time task where Gloria Jr. would hold her place at a school of choosing once she would receive her high school diploma.

To make a very longer story much shorter, the number of colleges were whittled down to a few. Most of these schools were now located within a 500 mile radius. A few were “brand names” (i.e. schools that many have heard of) while a few were smaller liberal arts colleges respected within their own right, including Gloria Sr’s alma mater.

As of April 1st, the number of chosen schools were now whittled down to about eight. One was in the ivy league, while the rest were within the smaller ranges. With the exception of two, every one of these school’s admission departments were interested in Gloria Jr. becoming part of the incoming freshman class. During her high school’s spring break period (week of April 15th-19th), both Gloria Jr. and Sr. will be making a barnstorming trip to a few of these schools as on-campus visits.

Yours truly doesn’t have to note that Gloria Jr. will be enrolling on her own merit. She did score high on the SATs, ACTs, and other tests never mentioned. (To me anyway!) However, it appears that Gloria Jr. will be a shoe-in to a number of these colleges, including the small liberal arts college that her mom attended not too many years beforehand.

In this domestic society, where one attends school makes up part of how one discovers themselves in terms of knowing what’s going on, as well as being part of the passion and nostalgia of school antics as higher learning or learning while high! Many feature films and television programs used school settings as part of the themes and plot points. (One of the longer running places of media, Archie, based on a comic strip created by Bob Montana c.1941 as a knock off to Henry Aldrich, is still alive as known as current TV series Riverdale.) Ditto for college life as well. (Too many of those titles to list!) But getting into a school–any school–is best based on one’s own capacity. It’s hard enough to just get by as it stands. And when one attends a school of higher learning, one can get that career off to a decent start. After all, somebody’s going to have to pay that student loan debt. However, that issue is for another ALOL article!

Stay tuned!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Hudson Guild Theatre presents Debrianna Mansini’s solo show THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES, a saga about a dysfunctional family and the food that tied the binds.

Debrianna tells the true tales about her family. Growing up in the wilds of Connecticut, she emotes about her mother who gave birth to three of her four sisters before she reached the age of twenty-one as a “child bride”. She also adds about how she related to her mother, her father(s), her sister siblings, her boyfriends, and others that came in and out of her life. One element that made it worth its while was the savory dishes her mother created. Coming from Italian roots, she acquaints her audience that good things came from her kitchen, from panettone, meatballs, and more! She also sneaks in episodes from the time she has to make secret phone calls to her boyfriend, how her mother made an attempt to meet her favorite singer Engelbert Humperdinck with the kids in tow, as well as how those mouthwatering dishes removed some of the bitterness that reined within her homestead.

This single act program written and performed by Debrianna Mansini, takes upon a charming viewpoint on a woman that grew up in a crowded house that was blessed with a selection of meals proving that the family never went hungry. She speaks with a vocal tone that though there were rough patches experienced in her earlier days, it was not through sorrow, tears, anger, or regret. It was through humor, togetherness, and most important of all, it was through food! Not any type of food mind you, but through genuine Italian meals! (No cardboard pizza or thin spaghetti topped with ketchup!) For ninety minutes, Debrianna will guide you through a journey that is funny, somber, and of course, delicious!

Although Debrianna is alone on stage, she does receive some assistance through visual illustration as created by David Forlano. Projected on a backdrop at the rear of the stage area are a selection of still and moving imagery that embellishes the sagas she details, with plenty of close up of hands kneading dough through the creation of those meals she speaks about that are a feast to themselves.

Tanya Taylor Rubinstein directs this show, along with guest director Laura Gardner, that enhances Debrianna’s charm and grace. THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES is served piping hot! Just make sure to save some room for desert!

THE MEATBALL CHRONICLES, presented by Kuker and Lee Productions, and performs at The Hudson Theatre Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block west of Wilcox), Hollywood, until April 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (323) 960-7788, or via online at https://www.onstage411.com/meatball
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DUMBO (Disney) stars Danny DeVito as Max Medici, owner and operator of the Meddici Brothers Circus, a rag-tag operation that makes its appearances performing its shows barnstorming through small towns throughout the southern part of the USA. Max doesn’t have a bother, but thinks if Ringing can add a sibling to its name, so can he! It’s the early 20th century, and Max and his troupe of the usual circus stock, set up camp outside of Joplin, Missouri. He purchases a female elephant named “Jumbo” that is with child–an elephant child! Once it become born, he enlists his onetime circus star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two kids Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care of the newborn elephant. (Holt was once a trick horse rider, but his wife left him while he was fighting in “The Great War” in France.) As Milly and Joe nurse this new stock, they discover that the baby elephant has big ears. What is even special is when the elephant holds a feather with its trunk, it can fly! Max, seeing this as an opportunity, adds the elephant named “Jumbo Jr.” as part of the circus act. When a sign advertising this new sensation falls apart with a letter “D” replaying the “J”, it becomes “Dumbo”. Before long, folks are flocking to Max’s circus. This flying elephant brings interest to persuasive carnival entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who makes an offer to Max in forming a partnership through his traveling and rather abundant entertainment venture, Dreamland. Its star is an aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green). However, under all of its shiny and over-the-(big) top veneer, this Dreamland has its own dark secrets that Max and his company soon discover.

This feature is another attempt for The Walt Disney Company to remake (or “re- imagine” in movie speak) many of its properties that make this studio famous in the first place. This time, it takes its third animated feature (and one of its titles that has a shorter running time) and bloats it into a full length non-cartoon film that is as expected, overloaded with GCI special effects! Danny Devito as Max is ideal for his role, taking on the persona he’s best to play. He’s both comical and creepy. Not evil or something out of a horror film, but holds a bit of scariness to him. Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier is the leading man character that is still good looking, through he’s been faded into the limelight, something that holds an appeal. The pair of kids, Milly and Joe as played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, are present to not only make this movie more family friendly, but add a sense of independence to them that is fit for a post modern audience. (Milly even holds an interest in science, something that is being pushed to girls in this day and age thanks to STEM-related educational aspects!) Michael Keaton as V.A. Vandevere is the cartoonish villain that holds a sense of capitalistic sin in his performance. Eva Green as Colette Marchant is the elegant yet mysterious figure that has a sense of beauty and sophistication, yet knows what is behind the Dreamland she performs in. These characters as portrayed are amusing for what they are, but still have that “cartoon”-esque feel for them all!

And speaking of cartoons, there are no traditional cartoon images found within this feature, but plenty (and we mean plenty) of special effects are indeed present. (We won’t be listing the entire special effects team here by name, but there are lots of them available!) It will be stated that Tim Burton, who has been a mainstay at Disney since the 1990’s, does his director thing to bring this movie as that same over the big top sensation that he is best known for!

There are a few things changes presented from the original cartoon. There is no “Timothy Q. Mouse” character present (although Molly and Joe do have a pet mouse within their mists), the “Pink Elephants” are formed through soap bubbles rather than cartoon “D.T.s”, and there are no crows found where in the original cartoon, they hold a character sense that they could be played as “colored”–five years before Disney’s release of the beloved “Song of the South” that might (and we do mean “might”) be available to view on the forthcoming Disney + streaming service!

DUMBO is a movie that will please those that enjoy a good Danny Devito feature, or one that holds nostalgia to many of the Disney animated classics. Then again, the summer movie season is just around the corner, and this feature will give one an idea on what to expect to play in the multiplexes between now through the Labor Day weekend. This title will prove that people will still get off of their video screens, see a movie in a real movie theater, and pay for the privilege!

DUMBO is rated “PG” for some scary scenes and mild cussing that is suitable for TV. Now appearing in multiplexes nationwide.
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is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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THE NEW RADIO

According to a report filed by the marketing research firm Edison Research, a little over one half of those residing in the USA has listed to a podcast, as noted in Edison’s 2019 Infinite Dial study.

The document noted that some 51% of Americans (around 144 million people) over the age of twelve has tuned into a podcast found within cyberspace that deals in various topics and subjects. (Last year, some 44% tuned into a podcast). And nearly one third of the 51% tune in to a podcast on a monthly basis. The report also notes that 70% are familiar to what a podcast actually is.

The information was based upon research conducted by Edison Research since 1998, long before the term “podcast” was actually coined and established, meaning that a lot has changed thanks to all internet based application created since the turn of the 21st century.

Complete details on the 2019 Infinate Dial report can be found through the link https://www.edisonresearch.com/infinite-dial-2019/

For those that may not be within the 70% of familiarity, a “Podcast” is basically a radio show that isn’t heard nor found on over-the-air radio. It usually consists of a person or series of people taking about a subject on hand covering nearly any topic manageable. It’s somewhat in the same style of a classic radio talk program where there can be a moderator and a second person or persons as the “guests”. A number of these podcasts may have commercial sponsorships as an over-the-air radio show could have, but most are commercial free.

The length of these programs can also vary, from as little as a five minute running time or for a number of hours per episode, although the traditional 30 and 60 minute length is the set standard.

Although many are just limited to voice, a few feature music from the classic radio DJ’s playing records of a specific musical genre, to a program that speak about a music format with the appropriate guests that deal with the musical topics on hand.

The reason why these shows are not called “radio shows” is the fact that they are not heard on the radio, but through various electronic devices that has an audio speaker and can reproduce sound. The “pod” in “podcast” comes from the iPod, Apple’s device where one can hold “a million songs in one’s pocket” as the late Steve Jobs stated when introducing this device to the world some fifteen years ago. (His actual quote about the million songs in a pocket is recited slightly out of context, but you get the idea!)

Although not many folks use a dedicated device for transmitting sounds, just about every smartphone in existence can be used as an “iPod” device, not necessarily limited to the iPhone brand. Anyone can gain access to a specific podcast obtained through a streaming element or for downloading to be heard at any given time.

As to what’s out there. There are literary millions of podcasts out there that cover any subject what one can muster up. Some programs are a lot better than others in terms to the knowledge of subject matter, consistency, and sound quality. The reason for this vast coverage is the fact that anyone can produce a podcast. Some present a program (or in many cases, a series of programs) that can be informative and entertaining. Others are good in content and not so much in sound quality. And there are others that shouldn’t be presenting a podcast, but do so just because they just feel that they can!

One of the most common questions we receive at Accessibly Live Off-Line is to why we don’t produce a podcast. Although we do have the knowledge of presenting a program for the ears that is worth its time for listening, we just don’t because we feel that our faithful readers would rather see our topics in hand as a text medium, rather than existing as a sound version. Although it does hold a convenience to hear a program rather than to read one, keeping the written word in check shows more importance than one with sounds. Granted, this writer’s voice can be heard by many for the first time, but the subjects found in each issue is presented as a quick and easy read, usually taking some ten or so minutes of time to consume. A podcast that runs around ten minutes each episode is also quick and easy, but should last longer. Rambling on longer as one should is one of the moist annoying elements found on a standard podcast. This ramblings for the sake of rambling is usually reserved for those people that present a podcast when they really have nothing to say. They feel that they can create a podcast, so they do!

And with recording devices and/or software programs to transcribe sounds become better is quality and cheaper to obtain, folks will continue to present an invisible radio program that isn’t found on the AM or FM bands. It’s there floating in cyberspace land, ready to be heard by just one person, or to reach the millions that may be out there!

Although the iPod device may no longer be the hot item as they once were, the podcasts will still continue. And as they used to say on the radio, tune in tomorrow, same time–same station!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The West Coast Jewish Theatre presents the west coast premier of Mark Leiren-Young’s BAR MITZVAH BOY, a dramity about a man who desires to have the bar mitzvah he never had some fifty plus years after the fact, and the rabbi that guide him on his journey to become a man long after the same fact.

Emmett Lee is Joey “Yosef” Brant. He’s an attorney that deals in divorce law. His grandson will soon have his bar mitzvah. However, Jory himself never had a bar mitzvah of his own due to circumstances encountered long ago. So he checks in at the same synagogue he attended those same years before. But things have changed over the period, discovering that the temple’s rabbi is a middled aged woman named Michael Levitz-Sharon (Pamela Heffler). Rabbi Michael has a family of her own, with an eleven year old daughter that will (hopefully) have her bat mitzvah. Although the rabbi doesn’t perform bar mitzvah guidance, she takes on Joey’s plea, even when he offers her an impressive tiding toward the synagogue. So the two start upon the process of Joey’s long awaited desires as the two embark on a spiritual journey that is more than just keeping with Jewish tradition.

This play written by Mark Leiren-Young is a tale where its plot point has a student figure who in this case is a man of a seasoned age, deals with a teacher, a woman that leads her congregation, and winds up switching roles. That is, the student becomes the teacher, and vice versa as the two learn from one another through their intertwined guidance. Pamela Heffler as Rabbi Michael performs her role as someone that is tomboy-esque, complete of having a name that is more masculine, yet she still keeps her feminine traits in gear playing a task of being a mother figure to her daughter and to Joey. R. Emmett Lee as Joey is a full grown adult that still has his boyish charms while remaining serious of completing his place within the Jewish traditions of having that bar mitzvah that could have wound up as long forgotten. These two character elements make this play as one that’s comical, tragic, charismatic, along with the notion that keeping one’s faith never goes out of style. Howard Teichman, artistic director for the West Coast Jewish Theatre, directs this single act play as one that would appeal to anyone that desires a story of keeping with tradition while staying with the times of now.

Also featured within the cast is Christine Torreele as the voice of Sheryl, Rabbi Michael’s unseen secretary as spoken through the temple’s intercom system.

One would suspect that the title BAR MITZVAH BOY would be more of a coming of age story through the persona of a young lad. Actually, it is a coming of age tale. However, the young lad isn’t as young as he used to be. And the rabbi is more than just a leader of an assembly of faith followers. This production would appeal to any theater attendee that enjoys an intense character study, no matter if one is Jewish, gentile, or some other else. It’s never too soon nor too late to keep the faith!

BAR MITZVAH BOY, presented by The West Coast Jewish Theatre, and performs at Miles Memorial Playhouse, 1130 Lincoln Blvd. (at Wilshire), Santa Monica, until May 12th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more details, call (323) 821-2449, or visit online at http://www.WCJT.org
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US (Universal) begins within a simple and somewhat innocent scene at a oceanside carnival during the spring of 1986. A ten year old girl, Andleide Wilson, is with her family. As dad plays some of the carnival games, she wanders to what appears to be a “funhouse”. Something within that building gives her a sense that she has met her own being. The time shifts some thirty plus years to the present day. Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) a woman now in her early 40‘s, is with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and their two kids Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) for a vacation stay at a summer home where Adelaide grew up in the same community. Late one evening as the family is settled inside their home, they encounter a strange group of beings that resembles a family, except they are donning red colored jumpsuits. At first, Gabe finds these strange people (along with the two others that appear to be young kids), as neighbors. They turn out as those that possess an evil presence, along with a nasty pair of shears! They are all out to kill this family. One element that these people contain–they are all mirror images of each Wilson family member, kids and all! But who are these people? Where did they come from? Why do they want to stalk the Wilsons? And perhaps the strangest element of them all that there are others just like them that don these red jumpsuits that serve as evil twins of others in the community that will kill!

This latest entry, written and directed by Jordan Peele, is a film that using an extensive blend of horror, psychological fear, along with plenty of doses of surrealism set within! This feature uses the aspect of what’s known as the doppelgänger, or the mysterious doubles of living people. These doppelgängers can be used as those that serve a purpose ranging from becoming every-so-good to holding a rage of downright evil. In this case, the latter emotion works out best. (It wouldn’t be much of an exciting story if these mysterious folks are there to serve a good cause!) There are plenty of twists and turns to this film that becomes the classic edge-or-your-seat thriller. In fact, this horror film could resemble a good Steven King story, except Peele is the one in charge here. Although there are acts of violence depicted, the blood and gore isn’t as intense as it could be. Its senses uses the art of deep-seated emotional fear, rather that spilling blood for the sake of cheap butchery!

Although the main cast featured are not necessarily an ensemble of well known names, the selling points of this film is the intense drama and senses of fear–an aspect that is rather tricky to work out well, and its writer/director/and producer Jordan Peele pulls it out! And there are other senses used that can be depicted in many ways. How this writer can present and interplant these hidden meanings aren’t spoiler alerts per se, since it’s a bit of a challenge to give one an alert to spoil outside of the fact that some minor characters that include friends of the Wilson family, Kitty and Josh Tyler (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker) and their twin teenaged daughters Becca and Lindsey (Cali Sheldon and Noelle Sheldon) meet their evil twins with murder on their agenda.

US has been received as a crowd pleasing movie, even with a theme of an R-rated horror film. But unlike other horror films that usually cater to a rather younger demographic that contain less creative chills, this title uses the said horror in a very artistic way. Of course, one will spend time trying to decipher many of its other elements of symbolism used throughout. (Rabbits, ballet, et. al.) And this movie should not be confused with the TV series This is Us. The TV series doesn’t use violence nor doppelgängers. But you already knew that!

This film is rated R for violence and cussing. Now playing at all of the multiplexes found nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

NETFLIX AND SHILL

In a breaking news story that isn’t as broken as it could get, a recent report study from the website CordCutting.com states that one in five TV watchers that view programming on Netflix are watching on somebody’s else’s account. This means that one fifth of all subscribers that tune in to that ever lovin’ streaming service is watching through an account they are not paying for! And that average length of getting that free ride tends to last an average of twenty six months. This translates to watching for “free” for a little over two years!

According to the report, Netflix isn’t the only streaming service that attracts those that stream on somebody else’s account–and dime! Hulu and Amazon Prime also have piggy backed subscribers. Folks that hitch their streaming via Hulu do so for eleven months-nearly a year, while Amazon Prime tend to have these freeloaders some sixteen months.

One could blame the ever lovin’ Millennials–those born between 1998 through 1998, to perform these hatching accounts, and rightly so, as 18% do this via Netflix and 20% at Hulu. When it comes to Amazon prime, it’s the Baby Boomers, the generation that embraced television to its ranging glory, were most likely to stream this service per another’s account!

Although these folks are watching for free, are they “stealing” this service? The people that do don’t believe they are doing anything wrong. However, if they no longer had access to somebody’s account, would they become a legitimate subscriber? According to the report, nearly 60% (59.3% to be exact) would be willing to pay for a Netflix account. Shy of 38% would pay for Hulu, while 27.6% would pony up for an Amazon Prime account.

At the time that this report was curtailed in late 2018, a Netflix account cost $8.99 per month. (Now it’s $12.99). Amazon Prime cost $8.99, while Hulu runs $5.99 per month, the cheapest one of the bunch!

This report isn’t anything that would resemble “breaking news”, as the art of so-called “borrowing” one’s TV service isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been going around since cable TV started to spring up in communities around the nation. And this writer should know this fact since yours truly has seen it occur!

Back in the good ol’ days when cable TV (or CATV as this method of receiving television programming is know in the industry) was the greatest thing to happen to TV since the test pattern, many communities were starting to wire their towns and neighborhoods for cable, stringing up miles of coax cable along telephone poles, and connecting those cables to single stand alone homes and apartment buildings. Folks living in these areas would now be able to obtain up to 40 channels of TV that could cover many subjects, from all news, all sports, all kids, all music, and channels that features a variety of programs that the “big three” couldn’t and didn’t offer! All of these channels were available for some $25.00 per month! And if one wanted to see recent movies uncut and uncensored, one could do so from such channels as Home Box Office (a.k.a.. HBO), Showtime, Cinemax, and a host of other places existing in CATV land. Those sources would cost a little more, usually going for $10.00 per month per channel, but for watching TV sans commercials, one would become the hit of the neighborhood!

And these is were the “borrowing” would begin. Many forks discovered that if one made an attempt to connect a cable from the pole line that runs to the household complex, one could get the basic channels. And if one was in an apartment unit, it would be a lot easier. Many apartment complexes had a junction box attached to the side of the building or placed somewhere use, such as in the underground parking facility. Although the metal cased box that held the wires and its connection terminals where a specific unit would receive cable was locked, that lock was easy to get into. (Sometimes there was no lock at all!) And the best part of all of this was the cable company would never know that somebody connected their line to a “live” source. The only time this connection was ever discovered is when a CATV technician was at the facility for some reason or another. Sometimes many months, and even years would pass until somebody discovered that their cable was messed with!

And what about the pay services? Those signals coming in the line would have a scrambled video signal. (The audio would be heard normally). In order to get a pay channel in a legit way, one would receive a set top box from the local CATV service that would attach from the coax cable coming in to the dwelling area (usually found in the living room), and through another cable going into the TV set. That box could be “addressed” from the cable TV’s “head end” to the box so the scrambled signal would be unscrambled. However, it was rather easy to get pay TV without paying the CATV company some $10.00 or $12.00 per month!

On the back of many magazines that catered to those into electronics, such as Popular Mechanics, or some of the early computer magazines, one would find small display ads from companies that offered cable TV descramble devices sold via mail order where one would receive every pay service that the cable company offered. The boxes sold for around $50.00 to $100.00 depending on the box and the source that sold them. One could hook it up to the incoming coax cable and to run it out to the TV set. Just plug the thing in and presto! One can get all of the pay channels unscrambled, and the CATV company would never become the wiser! The device would pay itself off as early as four months! And the best part of getting these boxes that it was totally legal! This writer doesn’t recall the loopholes these company used to get away with selling these devices, but in reality, one would be using these boxes to “steal” service!

In today’s landscape, one doesn’t have to get fancy contraptions to get something one should be paying for, let alone connecting a cable line to get even basic cable service. All it takes is to use a friend’s username and password, and one is all set!

This writer isn’t endorsing the fact that it’s proper to perform this function. However, it’s a method people were doing for the last forty or so years. And the CATV companies knew that this was going on, but was very tough to enforce, let alone nearly impossible to find everyone in their town that was doing this “borrowing”. However, if one really feels guilty about receiving something one should be paying for, it’s best to get one’s own subscription for a streaming service. It’s a whole lot cheaper in this day and age, compared to what one paid for cable TV some thirty five years ago! A basic cable TV subscription, along with getting let’s say two pay services (HBO and Showtime) would cost somewhere around $35.00 per month in 1984,—around $87.00 in today’s dollars! If one received Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, that bill comes around to $30,00 per month for all three services! And one can watch anything whenever they wanted in high def! The only difference is the fact that one can’t tune into to The Nashville Network (sorry county fans!), WGN from Chicago (home of Bozo’s Circus), or WOR from the New York City area featuring The Joe Franklin Show! So much for the golden age of TV!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 continues its 2018-19 season of stage plays with William Fairchild’s
THE SOUND OF MURDER, a classic murder mystery in the British style about a spouse’s plot to do away with her husband with the person she really loves, and the secretary that stands within its middle with a plan of her own.

David Hunt Stafford plays Charles Norbury. He’s a rather successful author of a series of children’s books. Unlike the genteel nature of his writings, his persona is far from kind and simple. In fact, he is rather manipulative to his wife Anne (Kate Whitney), where he uses his personality treating her as a lowly servant, even down to refusing to have children with her–the same beings that made him a success in the literary world. Anne has a lover, Peter Marriot (Gabriel Oliva). The two desire to marry and have a life of their own. However, Charles rightly refuses to grant a divorce with the notion that being a divorced author of kids books would tarnish his longstanding career. So the only way to get rid of Charles is to develop a plot to murder this man as Anne and Peter devise. Meanwhile, Charles has a secretary, the studious Miss Forbes (Roslyn Cohn) whose job is to transcribe the writing he creates as he dictates his verbiage via a tape recorder. She learns about the plot from hearing a recording unintentionally made of Anne and Peter plotting the murder. This situation leads toward a murder and a love affair finally developing. So the elements remains. Will Anne and Peter get away from this fiendish plan in order to live a life of bliss? Is Miss Forbes also in love with Peter? Will Charles really be bumped off? And will the police find out who did what to whom?

This play is one of those classic English “whodunits” that holds the expected (and well received) plot twists that progress while this production plays itself our–so to speak! It’s also one of the more obscure plays of this kind around, meaning that it’s so unknown, it’s near new after some sixty years from when this play was first presented on London’s west end in its rather short run. (It was due to being poorly received!) However, time has been very kind to this play since it’s very well executed on the Theatre 40 stage. The characters presented are those one would find in a British murder mystery. The performers appearing in this show take their English rather seriously as every player are deep into their roles. Theatre 40’s artistic and managing director, David Hunt Stafford takes the lead as the villainous Charles. His character may be described as a bit “over the top”, but is really seen as one that is evil in the less obvious places, including to his spouse as portrayed by Kate Whitney. Although she is the victim, her character is strong enough once she places herself into the thick of things. The same goes for the secretary Miss Forbes as performed by Roslyn Cohn. She may just be a hired hand, but she pushes to what she desires out of the situation. Adrian Cohen directs this show that keeps the spirit of a traditional British bred murder mystery in full check, as those plot twists take their turns in the right places.

Theatre 40’s residential set decorator Jeff G. Rack dresses the rural cottage Charles and Anne dwells with a blend of classic British country home with traces of middle century modernism, meaning that this comfortable space nestled within the countryside has some hipness to it all–something that isn’t necessarily expected within a tale of murder.

Also appearing in this production is Peter Trencher as Inspector Davidson, and David Westbay appears as Police Constable Nash, present to solve the case.

THE SOUND OF MURDER is indeed a “sound” play! It’s not Agatha Christie, but then again, only Agatha Christie is Agatha Christie! This play is just as deep as a scheme of having somebody snuffed because of one loving somebody else. That is good enough for those that really love a mystery, and this play proves its plot points in full!

THE SOUND OF MURDER, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until April 14th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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The Road Theatre Company presents the world premier of Stephanie Alison Walker’s FRIENDS WITH GUNS, a dark comedy/drama of a pair of young married couples that have a few things in common, and one that doesn’t seem to jive quite yet!

Kate Huffman and Arianna Ortiz are Shannon and Leah. The two meet one morning while tending each other young kids at a nearby playground located on the westside of Los Angeles proper. Besides being a mom, Shannon is a real estate agent what performs well in what she does, but lacks an inner self confidence. Leah, also a mom to a pair of young kids, is friendly enough to encourages her to keep her kids in order. This episodes sparks a friendship between these two. Later, Shannon and her spouse Josh (Brian Graves) meet with Leah and her husband Danny (Christian Telesmar) for dinner. As these four get to know each other as friends, Shannon and Josh discover that Leah and Danny possess a small collection of firearms. They only keep these guns as basic protection, away from the kids, and locked up in a gun safe in their garage. They insist to Shannon and Josh that they are not gun fanatics. They just keep them “just in case”. This notion of keeping guns at bay are of a concern at first. Until one day, Leah gives Shannon an opportunity to try shooting a gun at a firing range. This simple task leads Shannon a chance to give her some self being that she didn’t possess, in spite of what Josh may believe.

This play takes a slice of domestic life where two couples meet and bond, and brings forth an aspect that one couple hold an interest where the other may step back upon, let alone to bring a sense of fear. The play itself doesn’t take a side on the interest of barring arms, or the lack thereof, is a proper notion to have. It just shows how an interest to one source may be a major concern to another. Stephanie Alison Walker creates a play that can occur in any neighborhood that is red, blue, or even grey, as well as how one’s self esteem can be enhanced from an element may not be for everyone. The cast of the four players appearing in this stage work can be your friends and neighbors. That aspect makes this play as real and believable. Randee Trabitz’s stage direction enhances these facts with a sense of what is one person’s self confidence and another person’s inner dread.

Perhaps the most simple aspect of this play is its set design by Stephen Gifford. With the use of some floating pieces of furnishings serving as place settings, as well as a backdrop with a view of palm trees tops from looking upward, the mood brings a sense of a virtual reality that is the center focus of this tale.

FRIENDS WITH GUNS isn’t necessarily a play that has been “ripped from today’s headlines” thanks to the gun-related issues of late, but gives an opportunity to think about one’s fears. Generally speaking, are these people really friends, enemies, or “frenemies”?

FRIENDS WITH GUNS, presented by The Road Theatre and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until May 5th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.
For ticket reservations or for more details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
http://www.RoadTheatre.org
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The Sierre Madre Playhouse will present for a limited run, Scott Drier’s DORIS AND ME-ONE MAN’S OBSESSION WITH DORIS DAY, a cabaret-esque program where Scott will wax poetic upon one of Hollywood’s genuine stars dubbed as “America’s Sweetheart”.

Scott will sing as well as perform on the keyboards along with bass accompaniment, many of the tunes that made this “girl next door” type one of the favorites to ever to grace the screen (both big and small), as well as through the hit parades of not so long ago. Scott will also reminisce about his personal fondness to a woman whose professional career spanned generations from the 1950’s through the turn of the 21st century.

Doris Day, long out of the media limelight, is presently involved with her animal rescue groups-The Doris Day Animal League and The Doris Day Animal Foundation that speak for the welfare of animals big and small.

DORIS AND ME-ONE MAN’S OBSESSION WITH DORIS DAY, will be presented for four shows only, Friday, April 6th, Saturday, April 7th and 13th, and Sunday, April 14th. The Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 PM, and the Sunday, April 14th showcase commences at 2:30 PM.

The Sierre Madre Playhouse is located on 87 Sierre Madre Blvd. in “downtown” Sierre Madre, two blocks west of Baldwin Avenue. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or visit the playhouse’s website at http//www.SierreMadrePlayhouse.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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE “NEW” BREAKFAST

We here at Accessibly Live Off-Line central recently received a press release regarding to a food based suggestion as presented by a group that caters toward the promotion to this product. And the food in question is one of the all-time favorites of “foodies” across the land: Pizza!

The press release titled “Pizza for Breakfast” toted on the marvels of having this dish as the one to start off the day. Within its pages of information and advice, it went on to state that pizza is much better that a favorite breakfast cereal, using a piece that was written by Chelsea Amer, a New York based nutritionist. Her article was posted on the website http://www.Delish.com, a place on the ‘net that discusses food and all of its applications.

She goes on to state that the base ingredients found on a pizza pie–cheese, holds plenty of protein product and is far better that sugar, even with cereals that have minimal sugar such as corn flakes and other so-called “adult” cereals.

The press release also points out than many speciality pizzas also have substances that are good as a breakfast meal. Pizzas are also quick to prepare by either heating a slice in a microwave for three minutes, and perhaps eaten at room temperature. Whatever one consumes this product, pizza is better than cereal or even those “energy” bars that’s been around since the 1970’s.

This writer finds this article as something that I have known of longer before people stated to give a damn on what they ate! In fact, yours truly has been consuming pizza for breakfast long before any food dish was trendy and when meals made at home was anything far removed as interesting or unique. They was just there!

It all started with my mom. When I was just a kid, she was the one in the family homestead that made everyone’s meals for my two siblings and my dad. Dear ol’ dad wasn’t very picky on what he ate. As long as dinner was on the table when it was suppose to be, then he was satisfied. Maybe not overly pleased, but just content–barely!

My two siblings and I at first just accepted with what was placed in front of us. But I seemed to have a bit of pull to what I wanted to consume at home and while on the road! I even recall the very first time I ate at a McDonald’s Restaurant (as they were know at the time), but I’ll save the tale for another article!

Anyway, at many times to save time, my mom would stock up on frozen foods, from TV dinners to those singe dishes in “family style” packages. One of my favorites was frozen pizza. She would get these pizza’s 10” inches in diameter. It was made by a local based brand and was sold at many of the regional supermarkets. I recall these pizzas very well becomes as a premium, they featured 8” circular photos printed on thin cardboard that sported pictures of ball players from The Chicago Cubs, such as Ernie Banks, Ken Holtzman, and Ron Santo. I recall seeing Santo’s picture on the front of one of these pizzas, so I would refer those pizzas as “Ron Santo Pizza”. When my mom would go the grocery shopping every week or so, she would make sure she would stock up on “Ron Santo Pizza”!

The company behind Satno’s pizza even offered packages of mini pizzas as a three pack. The pizzas were about 6” in diameter, and one can place a whole pie in the over for about a ten minute cooking time. My favorite was cheese pizza as Ron Santo pizza was loaded with mild yet gooey cheese, and wasn’t as spicy as sausage or pepperoni pizzas were. So cooking these frozen pizzas were easy to do.

One early morning, my mom decided that she would cook me one of these mini pizzas for breakfast. I though that would be neat! I would have my pizza in the morning, and that would tied me over until lunch time. My elementary school offered a hot lunch for 45 cents, and the menu changed daily. If the school was serving something I didn’t care for, the pizzas would tied me over. And at times, my mom would cook two pizzas, one for breakfast and the other for lunch that would be packed in my trusty (and rusty) metal lunchbox! I really didn’t care if I had the same thing for breakfast and lunch. In fact, the pizza would be cold by the time noontime rolled around. and I thought that cold pizza tasted better that the hot ones I would eat while watching Captain Kangaroo on TV before I would head off to school.

This went on for quite a while. I would have pizza for breakfast, and sometimes pizza for lunch. That is, until my dad cough wind over the fact that my mom wasn’t serving me breakfast foods for breakfast!

Since he was the head of the household, he asked (ordered?) my mom to stop serving me pizzas for breakfast. So as the mom as she was, the Ron Santo Pizza special for breakfast came to its end. From that point, it was back to the sugar loaded cereals I knew of thanks to the overload of TV commercials I would see on during the three networks’ Saturday morning cartoons blocks, or on after school TV. So for the next few years, it was back to Apple Jacks, Frosty-Os, Honey Combs, and other brands catering to the kid market!

Over time and tide when I made my own chooses on what to consume, breakfast slowly went on the wayside. For many years, breakfast was now an afterthought, even when I attended higher education institutions, from high school and even college. Although I somehow kicked the sugar loaded cereal habit, I never left pizza! I even discovered how cold pizza tended to improve with age, tasting better long after it left the ovens. And that wasn’t meant for breakfast, but for anytime! However, cold pizza for breakfast tends to fall within the trendy method of food! After chowing down on a cold slice of pizza that’s been sitting in the cardboard delivery box for days (weeks?), one will have a treat to have while getting to work, either as a commuter sitting in a car, or one that moves from one room to another at wherever one performs their daily slaving!

Kellogg’s Cereals used to have a slogan that went “The Best To You Each Morning”. Well, that notion would also apply to pizza. Make it best for your morning! You’ll hit it out of the park just like Ron Santo used to do while playing at The Friendly Confines!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood is Anthony Wilkinson’s MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING, a comedy about the title wedding ceremony about two men in love and the people around them.

The place is Brooklyn, USA, not too far away from “Little Italy”. Gianfranco Terrin appears as Anthony “Tony” Pinnunzatio. He’s a young adult still living under the same roof as his parents, mom Angelia (Linda Lee) and dad Joseph (Ric Olivera). He’s been going out with his lover Andrew Polinski (David-Simon Dayan) for some time. The two decide to make it official by getting married. He announces the wedding to his folks, even showing off his ring. Things begin to get rather complicated since his folks want a traditional Italian and Catholic wedding. However, the Catholic church frowns upon same sex marriages. To add to the confusion, Andrew’s mother, living in sunny Florida, may not attend the wedding due to a falling out she has with her son. And to add insult to injury, Andrew’s ex-boyfriend Gregoria (Fabrizio Allata, alternating with Jordy Tulleners) plans to sabotage the wedding revealing a secret incident that occurred the previous summer. The questions still remain. Will a traditional Catholic and Italian family tolerate with their son starting off a life with his “best man”? Will Andrew’s ex spill the beans with what happened beforehand? Will Father Rosalia conduct the service? And most important…Will love really conquer all?

This play takes a simple premise of a young man from a traditional and conservative family, and creates a setting that keeps a comical presence throughout. The method that this production executes itself is presented in a frantic stance, full of characters that are comical, cartoonish (in a good way), and rather outlandish. This technique adds to the humor this play shows itself. It features a rather robust cast that consists of players that stand as friends, family, clergy, and others that make up big gay Italian weddings that are not as simple as it could be.

Along with the above noted cast, this production also features Kevin Clough, Ana Maria Perez, Dashae, Serena Limonta, Claudia Jakab, Salvador Aven, Julian Zambrano, Tomaso Di Blasi, and Sarah John Long. An alternative cast also consists of Sarah John Long, Luca Della Valle, Kory Larsen, Veronica Maccari, Kenny Fierro, and Lisa Preston.

Directed by Gianfranco Terrin, MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING is a marriage that may not be made in heaven, but it comes rather close! After all, if a wedding such as this one shows itself off in a frenzy, let’s not wait until the divorce! (A sequel perhaps..?)

MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDING, presented by The Italian Comedy Club and Fausto Petronzio, performs at The Hudson Theatre Mainstage, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block west of Wilcox), Hollywood, until March 31st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (323) 481-6890, or via online at
http://www.ItalianComedyClub.com/mbgiw
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

A WEEK WITHOUT A PHONE

There has been countless reports on how people are affixed to their phone devices. For much of their waking hours, people that own these methods of communication are constantly checking to see who called and/or texted them within the last three minutes. They appear to be staring into their phones where they are looking for something. They don’t know what they are necessarily looking for, but the search goes on. Generally speaking, they don’t own smartphone, the smartphones own them. And that’s not too smart to begin with!

This writer may have been just a little harsh with the description of how people are obsessed with their phones. Yes, there are those that seem to be in a state of hypnosis while they are using their phones, down to having their eyes rolling in a spiral pattern, an edison-style light bulb affixed to their heads flashing while uttering in a monotone voice “I Will Do What Simon Says!” (See Vol. 23-No. 15). And there are a few folks that do take advantage of what their phones can do to use the applications as prescribed, only to place the device down when finished and to walk away! So regardless of what the media reports on how smartphones are good while they are evil, there is a balance in existence.

Which leads up to an experiment that’s been going on to test how one uses their phones or how their phones uses them. There have been a number of case studies that challenged people not to use their cell phones for a given time, let’s say for seven days. For that week’s worth of time, one can’t use their phone at all! No texting, no using various apps of color or size, and no taking either! Nothing! And the contest begins! Who will win? Who will come out unscaved? And who will turn into a total emotional train wreck just because they could not perform simple tasks without that hand held device where once upon a time, they were able to perform those same functions minus any electronic gadgets at their side?

Well, yours truly come to that test, but not by choice. It was through circumstance. However, it was not involving any hand held gadgets through this dare. It wasn’t even part of the smartphone set. It was the other phone device–the one that’s attached to a wall, better known as a hard line!

Here’s how it all began. In early February, the Los Angeles region was hit by a number of rainstorms that damped the area where some five inches of rain fell through the area. And with that amount of rain falling in a short period of time, one will encounter some water based damage. Somewhere near the facility where this here news service is produced, a phone junction box affixed to a telephone pole (‘natch) received some water leakage and thus, shorted the phone wires. This occurred on a late evening.

The next morning, yours truly noticed that the hard lines used did not sport a dial tone. However, it was a Friday, and usually on that day, people frustrated with the weather wanted to start their weekend early, so not many calls would be made. Also, it was the start of the President’s Day weekend, meaning that the Monday would be a holiday. And it would be the last three-day weekend until Memorial Day some three months ahead. (Other “holidays” such as St. Patrick’s Day and Easter doesn’t count, although some people blow off Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday!) So I wasn’t too hot of a hurry to get the line fixed the moment I discovered the outage.

I attempted to contacted the telco, AT&T, about the phone being out of order. Calling the customer service number late Friday, I discovered that they were closed for the day and for the weekend, so I had to wait until that Monday. Monday was President’s Day, and AT&T’s customer service department was also closed for that holiday. So I had to wait until Tuesday to report my outage.

On Tuesday morning, their 800 number was dialed (from my smartphone of course!), only to lead me to a series of phone prompt handled by a robot. After pressing “1” for this and “2” for that, I was able to make my appointment for a technician to arrive to see what the problem was. That appointment day was for that Friday, a week after I discovered that the phones were down!

To make a longer story shorter, the technician was able to fix the problem, and sure enough, phone service was restored. I thanked the person that came in on a rather cold and somewhat damp afternoon, and that was the end of that!

What made this encounter rather interesting was the fact that for that one seven day stretch, I did not miss the hard line being out of order. For that week, it was rather quite and peaceful, never hearing that phone ring constantly throughout the day.

A few things that should be noted. Although many households no longer have a hard line in place, this writer has one. And the reasons for that is because cell phone service in where I am based is rather fair to poor. The hard line serves as a backup. Also, the phone number attached has been a working number for a little over twenty years, and on occasion, I do receive calls for outside sources that had kept that number at bay for the many years. If that number does become disconnected, then one may assume that I moved, went out of business, died, or a combination of all three!

Those are the good reasons on why that hard line exists. The bad news about it all is the fact that within the last two or so years, a majority of incoming calls are either from robots and/or telemarketers based in nations outside of the USA attempting to sell me goods or services that are for real or for scamming purposes. There have been times where within a six hour period, I receive as many of eight to ten phone calls for the above noted robots and foreign based telemarketers.

I am not the only one to get bombarded over robo calls and telemarketers from outside sources. The FCC has reported that such calls have increased over the last year. Los Angeles is one of the hardest hit areas of the nation where robo calls overtake standard voice calls. Some people that have kept their hard lines for various reasons don’t even bother to answer their phones anymore. They just let it ring, or have the voice record device take the message. Even through the FCC does maintain their do not call list established, many of these companies that have robo calls systems set up are located outside of the USA. Thanks to internet based phone connections, it’s very easy and cheap to make thousands of calls all at once from as far away as East India and the Philippines, far enough from the reaches of where the FCC does their business.

Interestingly enough, when phone service was finally restored, within five minutes, an incoming call came in from a telemarketer based in some Asian based nation informing me that I was awarded a three day two night trip to Hawaii. All I had to do was to attend a “ninety minute” presentation from a timeshare vacation company at their facility in Oceanside, California–some 100 miles away from where I hang my hat!

So to answer the time tested question on if I can live without my phone for a week’s time, that answer would be a “yes”! And we are speaking (pun?) about the hard line. As to the smartphone? From the annoyance I receive from that device as it stands, I would be willing to take the challenge!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at The Lounge Theatre in Hollywood is the Los Angeles premier of Michael Weller’s FIFTY: WORDS, a drama about a couple that face the challenges of working to get ahead while raising their child, along with coping to a once well kept secret.

Jan (Olga Konstantalakis) and Adam (Erie Larson) live in a renovated brownstone in the New York borough of Brooklyn. Jan was once a professional dancer. Now she is working for a young start-up company. Adam is an architect. His work takes him to various places within the middle region of the US. They have a nine year old son named Greg who’s enrolled in an upscale school. One Friday evening while their son is away at a sleepover event, Jan and Adam and Jan spend their first night home alone since Greg was born. Perhaps it’s the right time for the pair to take a rather intimate evening together. But Jan is bogged down with her work, bypassing their planned night of passion. Adam has his own problems as well with his job. Along with the stress they experience with their son, it appears that their domestic life is teetering on its edge. What brings things to its screeching halt is a phone message that Jan took for Adam earlier in the day from a woman she didn’t know. This woman turns out to be somebody Adam knew for some time. Her existence was more of an intimate affair rather than a business colleague. With their marriage already falling from its peak, Jan and Adam face a contest to either keep their relationship in check, or to end with what they have built up as a couple.

This play is a well intent melodrama that speaks for an element of a domestic marriage on how faithful a partner is to its other. The two performers, Olga Konstantalakis and Erie Larson as Jan and Adam, fit the standard of a couple living in an urban landscape with the sense of having it all. But alas, they hold more pressure in order to keep up with the personal universe. Shane Stevens’s stage direction holds these principles to its truth. This said direction, along with the performances of Olga Konstantalakis and Erie Larson, make this stage work as believable as it could get.

In addition to the talents as seen through performance, John Mahr’s set design shows off a rather cozy yet mildly cluttered unit where Jan and Adam live, complete with toys and other signs showing that a child lives among them. Even through the child himself (Greg) is never seen but only referred to, one can sense that this couple are doing well for themselves in terms of keeping up with the so-called “joneses”.

One element to this play is the fact that it holds many questions about one couple’s marriage that’s on the brink, but doesn’t offer a solid closure. Perhaps it is up to the viewing audience to make that conclusion for the stage couple. As in “real life”, there are no easy answers to life’s own trails and tribulations.

FIFTY: WORDS, presented by Mackley Jones Productions, and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block east of Vine Street at El Centro), Hollywood, until April 7th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information ,call (800) 838-3006, or online at https://FiftyWords.BrownPaperTickets.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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

SOCIAL MEDIA LAND

It’s not such a big wonder to know that for many people, social media is a world where they live and dwell. Each and every moment, these people start their day (whatever a “day” is to these same folks) by checking in on their many accounts that exist in the social media universe. (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instgram, etc. etc.) to see what exists within those places. And as they continue throughout that day, be it a real one or as a virtual platform, the add a few elements from a text based message, a photographic image, passing the text message and/or photographic image, perhaps creating a moving image piece, sharing somebody else’s moving imagery, and one can conceive the idea from there. These tasks the folks present may take up from a few minutes to encounter to a number of hours, depending on how much heavy usage they wish to embark upon. And once that “day” is completed for the moment, they will set aside to get some rest (assuming that these social media citizens take part in that function), only to begin again.

And as the one amusing now rather tired and overused cliche goes–wash, rinse, repeat!

Social media as it exists in the present moment is pretty much an invention of the early 21st century. It was first born in the 1990’s when internet access became available to those that knew what to do with it all! As it progressed and matured over time and tide, it moved from a state of curiosity and novelty to a way of life. Depending on appeal and demographic, people use a number of platforms for various reasons. Gen Z-ers, those born after 1996, tend to flock to Snapchat and Instagram. The Millenniums, those born from 1980 through ’96, also use those platforms as well as Facebook., However, Facebook with their current situations, are slowly eroding away from this group. Facebook is rather popular with the Gex-X bunch (born 1965-1979) as well as the Baby Boomers (born through 1946-1955, and 1956-1964). This latter group uses Facebook on a wider scale to keep up with the people they know, they know of, and those that until very recently, was long forgotten and now “found”.

But when it comes to using social media for other purposes, not necessarily through events or related details on more of a personal nature, then that presence becomes rather robust. For instance, the recent Super Bowl generated a reported usage of 24.05 terabytes (TB) of data through the many social media platforms in terms of picture posts, text messages, moving imagery, and other aspects that make up the social media platforms. And to generate how much data is 24.05 TB, that is the equivalent of reproducing everything housed in the Library of Congress twice over! As one can note, that is a lot of data!

But where did all of this data go, not necessarily limited to the Super Bowl, but to any other event or commendation? It’s been placed on hard drives through the real universe ready, willing, and able to be found, lost, extracted, and plopped somewhere for those to reexpose it later–if at all! And this is data that exists as this report is being written. It doesn’t count for the data that will be created tomorrow, the next day, or even the next minute! It’s all going out there, and it’s not going to end at all–like it or not!

So as the social media platforms do their duty to make other know about themselves, we’ll give a big hat tip to them with the expression of joy they get out of living in their world of reality, make believe, or a combination of the two. It’s a wonderful “world”, and a world of “wonder”–whatever that means!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its run at The Greenway Court Theatre is Barra Grant’s MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER: BESS MYERSON & ME, the self titled solo show where the daughter of the one time Queen of Atlantic City tells what is was all about!

Barra paints a verbal picture on how she became the first and only child of the woman who was once awarded the prize of Miss America in 1945. In her saga, she emotes how she became the “ugly daughter”, a child that was pudgy, had bad teeth, gnarly hair, and was far from being beauty queen material. But her mom did not remain perfect once her rein as Miss America was long over. As a child of the great depression and one of Jewish persuasion, Bess attempted to become involved with men who were with money and was Jewish, although those two traits didn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand! Barra lived in various places thanks to her dads from multistory mansions to humble apartments units in Manhattan. Bess did have a post-Miss America career, from being a TV personality as a panelist on I’ve Got A Secret, to having government positions as part of city politics. But this story isn’t really about the rise and fall of Bess Myerson, although she did encounter a number of those kind of episodes. This is the real account on how a mother and daughter didn’t live a full life of close bonding. In fact, their relationship was rather dysfunctional. The only difference was the fact that Bess and Barra was more in the media limelight that an average mom and daughter’s dysfunctional alliance.

This show, written and performed by Barra (nee Barbara) Grant and directed by Eve Brandstein, is a true and rather honest look of the life of a child that was living in the shadow of being with a celebrity. Barra gives a “tell-all” confession on how her lifestyle was affected thanks to her mom’s many encounters of the men of her life ranging from a millionaire to a mid-level mobster. Barra herself eventually shook off her uglyness, wrote screenplays nobody did anything with, and became an actress appearing in a grade “Z” grind house feature. But throughout the show, it’s about the life and times of Barra and Bess.

The stage set is rather basic as designed by Elisha Schaefer. On stage right is a desk where a cordless phone sits where Bess speaks to Barra on the phone calling at all hours over trivial crisis her mom is experiencing. On stage left is Barra’s personal room representing the many places she lived from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. In the center of the stage is a queen’s throne where a red robe is draped and a tierra is placed, along with the trophy Bess was awarded when she was crowned Miss America. Deborah Keaton’s graphic design shows through imagery projected on the back stage wall the many timelines that passed through the eras from its humble beginnings through its final moments.

Also featured in this production in Monica Piper as the off-stage voice of Barra’s mom.

Bess Myerson was only a handful of Miss Americas that has had many successes and failures in their life long after they departed the boardwalks of Atlantic City as pseudo royalty. Most former pageant queens faded away from the public view over time. Bess continued to be known for the good or otherwise as Barra spins a tale that can’t be made up! It’s all true–with a bit of creative license added from good measure! It’s also very entertaining! Granted, being crowned queen in a beauty pageant has lost its luster in recent years, so there will never be another Bess Myerson. That’s great for the mothers and daughters out there, but not too great for those same daughters attempting to create a one person tell-all stage show about their mom. Barra is lucky to have that chance, and the theater going audience is also lucky to become witnesses of an one-of-a-kind epic! As Mr. Parks would once sing, “Here she is….”

MISS AMERICA’S UGLY DAUGHTER: BESS MYERSON & ME, presented by Pageant Productions, LLC in association with Cannon Theatricals, performs at The Greenway Court Theatre, 544 North Fairfax Avenue. (one block south of Melrose Avenue), Los Angeles, until March 24th. Showtimes are Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 6:00 PM, and Monday nights at 8:00 PM.

For tickets and for more details, call (323) 285-2078, or via online at
http://www.MissAmericasUglyDaughter.com
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The Sierre Madre Playhouse opens their 2019 season with TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, a story about two people, a teacher and a student, that learn from one another long after school was out.

Jackson Kendall is Mitch Albom. He attended Brandeis University as a standard student. Out of his many professors that came and went was one that stood out; Morrie Schwartz (Larry Eisenberg), a professor of sociology. On graduation day, Morrie asked Mitch to keep in touch with him once he was out in the world. Mitch went to New York to live with an uncle of his. He worked as a jazz pianist playing in various clubs. But that gig don’t last too long. Upon of the death of his uncle, he went to grad school at Columbia to become a journalist and later as a sports writer. He did well for himself. However, there was one thing he didn’t do was to keep in touch with his professor friend. That is, until one late evening he caught the ABC late night news and interview program Nightline, where Morrie appeared in a guest spot. That appearance gave Mitch the notion to call Morrie after a sixteen years leave of absence. From that first contact, Mitch and Morrie rekindled their friendship by meeting each and every Tuesday with the old college professor giving life advice to his new(er) pupil. However, Mitch discovered that his coach, as Morrie insisted he be known as, was dying of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Here, Mitch and Morrie developed a close bond that paved the way that the longtime grad of Brandeis University would see his own life in a new perspective.

This play, from the same titled book by Mitch Albom, and adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, is a very charming piece that is a careful blend of comedy, drama, and tragedy, all rolled up in one neat package. Within this single act play, Jackson Kendall as Mitch starts out as a eager young adult that desires to make it big in his world, and did so with vast succession. Larry Eisenberg as Morrie is the man that knows everything. Not only in sociology, but in life itself. He would speak from the heart and mind while adding a bit of yiddish to his speech for variety and flavor. These two players hold that performing chemistry that becomes real and honest, thanks to L. Flint Esquerra’s stage direction.

As this pair present their story on the SMP stage, Amanda Knehans’ set design is graced with a horizontal oak colored plank facade. With using a handful of props and furnishings, it shows that the ol’ professor lives in a modern world, although he is set in the era when he was much younger and more virtual in the physical sense. It’s not ivy colored walls, but it’s neat into itself.

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE is a production that will leave the theater going audience leaving with many notions to keep in mind. Once will learn about the simplicities of love, life, work, family, and of course, death. It may even spark an idea to contact an old friend from not so long ago. One doesn’t have to wait to find them again either by TV or through social media. Who knows? You just might learn a lesson or two. After all, Tuesday comes but once a week!

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, presented by and performs at the Sierre Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierre Madre Blvd, Sierre Madre, until March 31st. Showtimes are Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8;00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 PM. Special performance on Monday, March 18th at 8:00 PM. No performance on Sunday, March 17th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at
http://www.SierreMadrePlayhouse.org
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On Sunday, February 24th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 91st Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2018 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood as a “no hosted” event.

Rami Malek won Best Actor for the feature release Bohemian Rhapsody. Olivia Colman won Best Actress for The Favourite. Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for Roma, and Green Book won as Best Picture.

For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
http://www.Oscars.com.

Earlier in the week, the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 39th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2018 calendar year

Donald J. Trump (as himself) won Worst Actor for the features Death of a Nation and Fahrenheit 11/9. Melissa McCarthy won Worst Actress for The Happytime Murders and The Life of the Party. Etan Cohen won Worst Director for Holmes & Watson, and Holmes & Watson won as Worst Picture.

The special Razzie Redeemer Award, presented to a person that appeared in both a bad movie as well as a deserving feature went to Melissa McCarthy for her appearance in the “good” movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?

For a listing of all nominated films and people as well as its “winners’, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

WHAT IS A (BRAND) NAME?

Plenty! Or at least based upon one’s brand name and what the brand stands for!
A recent report from the marking firm YouGov’s Brand Index databank complied the top ten brands in terms of “Buzz and Improver Rankings”, based on recognition, awareness, and over quality of the brand in terms of the goods and/or services it provides to domestic consumers.

According the their report that asked consumers “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”, those top ten brands as acknowledged from the recently completed 2018 cycle are, in order of their appearance: 1)-Nexflix 2)-Amazon.com 3)-Amazon Prime 4)-Samsung 5)-YouTube 6)-Dawn (dishwashing liquid) 7)-Toyota 8)-M&M’s 9)-Home Depot and 10)-Chick-fil-A

The top ten list of “Buzz Improvers”-brands that received the highest positive awareness from the previous year, are 1)-United Air Lines 2)-Ring (video doorbell) 3)-Samsung 4)-American Airlines 5)-Chick-fil-A 6)-Uber 7)-Pepsi 8)-Hulu 9)-Goldman Sachs, and 10)-Target.

YouGov’s Brand Index states that in order to be listed in their surveys, the brand must have been accessible to the public at large for at least six months in the prior year’s period, as well as being currently tracked, to appear within the movers tables.

It’s rather interesting to note that many of these brands reflect the current interests and tastes to the general public in terms of what they are, what kind of function they perform, as well as how well they are perceived over the year. A few of the brands listed in the “buzz improvers” section became within the ranks from being negative, or more of a positive stance. The two airlines noted, United and American, was ranked lower in 2017, but improved in the next year. United, with a net score of -13.1 in 2017, rose up to -3.5. American was listed at -1.2 in ’17, was lifted to 2.9 a year later. And investment firm Goldman Sachs, was lifted from -8.1 in 2017, to -4.8. All of these scores are net scores, calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative responses from the percentage of positive responses for each brand. Still, only United and GS are still holding on to a negative ranking.

But getting back to the top ten for a moment. The brands listed are the ones that have served many purposes for those that want to take advantage in what they provide. Nexflix, perhaps the be-all-to-end-all source for watching content through one’s internet connected electronic device that sports a video screen is listed as high. More folks are using this service as their prime source of watching TV and its equivalent. A separate survey reviled that many people would not give up their Netflix subscription if they could help it. Even when that same source (Netflix) recently announced they were going to raise their monthly subscription rates a dollar or two more per month, people decided that rather that cancel their subscription, they would just soak up the additional expense just so they could stream the program(s) they desire to watch and/or binge upon. If their traditional cable TV company pulled the same ploy by increasing their monthly fees, a good number of folks would call it quits and cancel! YouGov’s brand index that ranked cable and satellite services still listed Nexflix at the top spot, followed by Hulu, Amazon Video, Sling TV, and Verizon FiOS. In the “Buzz Improvers” section, only Dish Network was listed in a negative ranking. In 2017, they were at -1.5. A year later, they were parked at -0.6. Granted, this brand did improve themselves, but were still listed below 0.0. No traditional CATV company (Spectrum, Cox, etc) made the cut in terms of rankings.

One interesting brand that was ranked within the top ten-Dawn dishwashing detergent. This product from P&G (Proctor & Gamble) has been around for a good number of years. It’s one of many brands that’s on the market that can wash dishes, among many other items. It’s a brand that isn’t new or unique, and a product that isn’t thought of as much. However, it seems to have a loyalty connected to it. It’s available in a number of colors and fragrances, as its main purpose is to wash items where they can come out sparkling clean. It can also do more than dishes! Since this report is being released during the industry awards season where trophies are presented for the best in this and for an outstanding performance in that, one can use this dishwashing liquid (or any dishwashing liquid) to clean one’s award. Just take a bowl of warm water, add a few drops of the liquid in the water, take a lint free cloth ranging from a dedicated hand washcloth to a pair of old cotton underwear, dip a corner of the cloth in the bowl careful not having it overly soaked, and dab the damp cloth on the surface of the award, making sure that it doesn’t leave a water streak on its surface. Keep doing that gentle cleaning all over the piece, even rubbing the crevices and tight places that might exist on the item. After that is done throughout the award, take a dry end of the same cloth and wipe it free from excess moisture. After all of this work, one will have a clean and sparkly Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony award ready to display to all of those you can show off to! (This cleaning tip is being presented by the staff as ALOL as a public service!!)

But getting back to brands! Thanks to the for noted internet, many of the top brands would be deemed worthless if it wasn’t to the high wired connection that makes it all possible! The top five all reply upon the ‘net, and Samsung is one of the players that can make it all happen. This company has been in the American market for some time. This company, as well as their rival once known as (Lucky) Goldstar, were electronic firms from South Korea that were the “budget” brands for consumer electronics such as TV sets, VCRs and so on. Samsung was once the leader of lower priced VCRs in the 1980’s when those devices were still selling for over $100.00 retail. Today, Samsung is the biggest maker of cell phones in the world. They still make traditional electronics (TVs, DVD players, etc.) but mostly assembled in China, Ditto for LG (formally Lucky Goldstar) that still ranks rather high. (5th place in the top five for consumer electronics with a score of 14.2)

But as the moments progresses, so will the brands. If these brands provides the quality product or service it’s known for, then people will continue to respect those brands. If not, then this is where the love/hate relationship takes its marking. Only time and tide will show how well these products will be! Through this article, one is indeed aware of what’s going on, and one will still have the cleanest Emmy Award this side of the Hollywood Hills!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at The Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood for a limited run is MILKCRATES, Markietha Singleton’s play about three girls of African American decent that come from the same apartment complex where they live an innocent life as best friends.

The setting opens in Chicago c.1983 at a public apartment building (“the projects”) located on the city’s south side. Three adolescents girls, Chastity, Tonya, and Londi live next to one other. They live with their moms (no fathers present) in their small yet comfortable places. They are far from being well off as they dwell in subsidized housing and on government aid. However, they don’t see or become aware of their form of poverty. They just gather on the fronts stoops of their adjacent units with the few things in their lives that make it all worth while. They have their boom box that play their tunes to practice their dance routines, and each one has a hard plastic milkcrate that consist of an open box that is used for various purposes. (They find these milkcrates set behind the local grocery store.) With their crates and what they can hold in them, they also have their ambitions. They even plan to enter a dance residual being held at the local community center offering a cash prize for the winner. However, Londi informs the others that she will be moving to rural Mississippi to live with her uncle. From there, the storyline moves some sixteen years later when they meet again at the same complex for Tonya’s mom’s funeral. The building will eventually be torn down as the neighborhood undergoes some changes. Although the girls, now young women, have done better for themselves since then, they discover that a few deep secrets are uncovered that will test their long standing friendship.

This play, written by Markietha Singleton, is an honest look of life in the ‘hood as seen by three girls that are not aware of where they are or how they stand as social class. They are just budding to become somebody through their hopes, dreams, and their support for one another.

A rotating cast appear in this production. The Green Cast consists of Martina Marie Holley as Chasity, Samara Smith as Tonya, and Nate R. Jones as Londi. The Blue Cast appears featuring Monifa Sims as Chasity, J C Thomas as Tonya, and Markietha Singleton–the playwright, as Londi. Javon Johnson directs this production (and both casts) that is as charming and comical as it becomes darker and dramatic.

MILKCRATES shows how those living a lower class life can still survive thanks to the power of friendship and the spirit of being true to one’s self.

MILKCRATES, presented by MK Productions, performs at The Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. (off Lankershim) North Hollywood, until February 24th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, February 22nd and 23rd at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, February 24th at 3:00 PM. For tickets, order online at https://m.bpt.me/event/4031949
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The 2019 Writers Guild Awards, presenting awards for the best in screenplay writing for feature films and television/video mediums, were held on February 17th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Comic actress Chelsea Peretti of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation hosted the awards event that presented the best in writing for television/streaming video, feature films, and videogames. Among those awards were a selection of special awards for the achievement in script writing.

Nicole Dubuc was awarded the Animation Writers Caucus Writing Award for achievement in writing in animation productions.

Adam McKay was awarded the Paul Selvin Award for his script for the screenplay Vice. This award is presented for those witch “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere”, as dictated by the WGA.

The Jean Renoir Award for international screenwriting was given to French filmmaker Agnes Varda.

The Morgan Cox Award, presented to an honoree for service in the Writers Guild was awarded to TV writer, documentary filmmaker, and former WGA-West board member Joan Meyerson.

The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement was given to Jenji Kohan, who created the series Weeds and Orange Is The New Black.

The WGA-West’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting went to the writing team of Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel. That award was presented by Ron Howard.

For a full listing of all award nominees and winners in the respected categories, visit the WGA website at http://www.WGA.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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!