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!

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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 (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!

SEASONAL GREETINGS!

As September progresses into October, this week calls as the “real” end of Summer. Although most folks observed the Labor Day weekend as the point where those lazy-hazy-crazy days came to its close, Summer is now officially over and Fall in now in full gear. Since the month of August, retail outlets were pushing the fall-related items, mostly in the form of orange and brown colored something or anothers with visions of pumpkins all aglow. Now that October is just around the corner, another time of year comes to mind. It’s the season to make merry, as well as make money. We don’t have to inform you readers what time of year this writer is referring to. You can already guess. But here’s a little hit. It’s colors are red and green, with a heavy emphasis on the green!

Have you already guessed without scrambling to Google via your phone devices? If you haven’t found the answer. Her it is. It was the season that is known as “Christmas”. For the rest of those that want to please everyone, it’s been referred to as “The Holidays”. It’s the time of year that traditional ran between the day after Thanksgiving, and continued through January 2nd. It is the time were things become frantic, joyful, sad and somber, and perhaps profitable. For many people, those previous last six or so weeks of the year is the only time for anything to matter.

And why not? The Holidays covers any and every significant holiday that comes around between late November through the day after New Year’s Day. Some of the holidays are rather known for what they are (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.), others are known but tend to be celebrated by a select few (Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, etc.), while others are only created in order to push a product, service, or idea. (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, College Bowl Watching Time, etc.)

When it comes to the entire notion of these six weeks, The Holidays (the term we are going to use to cover every day of these final half-dozen weeks of the calendar year) are being prepared much earlier than in pervious eras. Since late August, The Hallmark Channel has been plugging their schedule of season TV movies, informing their viewers, a demographic that consists of middle aged women, to take advantage of these feature length programs that features a story where anything can happen because of the Christmas spirit, especially when it comes to family, romance, or a selection that involves something culled from the two subjects in question.

To give one an idea of what we are “speaking” about, those folks from Kansas City (not to be confused with “Those Characters from Cleveland” as that name belongs to Hallmark’s biggest rival, American Greeting that owns such favorites as The Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and other characters that already do their Christmas antics every season), will be premiering not one or two, but twenty-two (count ‘em) world premiers that are all Christmas theme based titles that are of feature-film length. (Around 120 minutes, including commercial breaks and promotional plugs.) Granted, these features may not necessarily win any awards or show any significant merit. They are only there for entertainment purposes, the reason why television programming as a whole exists in the first place. They also show a placement to sell products for the holiday season, perhaps another reason why such programming exists.

Which comes to another point. Over the last few years, advertisements that appear in media, be it traditional television or through social media aspects, focus upon the events falling in December has referred the singular “Christmas”, falling this year on Tuesday, December 25th, as “The Holidays”. Even though there are other holidays to keep in mind, Christmas holds the biggest placement. Not necessarily limited to being known of by name, but through symbolism. Such symbolism can be something as but not necessarily limited to, decorated trees, holly and mistletoe, red and green coloring, and good ol’ Santa Clause ho-ho-ho! There won’t be anything wrong with the use of this now accepted name, although a number of people and groups may show a bit of concern. However, it’s still a little early to see what’s going to happen for now. It’s just a wait-and-see attitude!
As they would say, “Stay tuned”!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents as their second entry to their 2018-19 season, Eric Ulloa’s 26 PEBBLES, a melodrama about a group of townsfolk who react and speak upon a tragedy that occurred in their humble community

The town itself is Newton, Connecticut where in December of 2012, a lone gunman carrying a powerful firearm entered an elementary school and began shooting at random where 20 children and six staff members were killed. The play open about six or so months after the event. A series of local citizens and other people speak about what had occurred, the reaction to this episode, and what the future may bring. The characters themselves ranges from community citizens, parents of those at the school, clergy, and others based nearby and of longer distance that show concern and curiosity toward the collection of events, give out their feelings. These feelings are not within the notion of broad opinions on what should be disallowed or pointing their fingers to who and/or what was at fault. They express themselves with many of the same human emotions that are of and for the good, from the psyche of hope, bonding, family spirit, and perhaps the most important aspect of all, love.

This single act play was compiled by playwright Eric Ulloa based upon interviews and notations he collection from the local citizens of Newtown and nearby Sandy Hook, Connecticut where they express themselves of how their lives and emotions were shaped by what occurred. A team of six performers, consisting of as noted by their alphabetical order, Roslyn Cohn, Jean Kauffman, Jennifer Laks, Joe Lorenzo, Michele Schultz, and George Villas, play the various of characters where they speak upon the aspects of how their town became the center of attention. The play doesn’t form a linear pattern of dialogue per se, but consists of shorter monologues that keeps its continuity toward the before, during, and after the facts. It avoids taking sides of why it did occur and the notions behind it all. It takes heart to mention the list of victims while the gunman’s name is never disclosed! Its real emphasis is to stay emotionally strong and to recall that love is the real grace saving.

Along with the performing troupe is the people who made this production a visual treat. Theatre 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack creates a stage space that consists of a pair of tall vertical panels on each stage side with an equally tall vertical panel displaying a facade of blackboard surface material at center stage. Furnishings consists of a stock of brightly colored blocks that service as a virtual set that move along with the townsfolk when stating their verbal pieces. Gabrieal Griego creates the projection of still and moving imagery illustrating the humble town these citizens call home. And Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski provides the sound design and original music score that sets the moods.

A debate may bring the conviction if 26 PEBBLES holds a happy ending? It actually does, but not in the traditional sense. It content comes from the strong belief of compassion and hope that one will arise, and to know that the settlement of love will conquer all. As to the aspect of “never again”, that has still yet to be proven. Whatever the case, this play will make one think, and perhaps think twice. This showcase is indeed highly recommended.

26 PEBBLES, 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 October 14th. Showtimes are Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons 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 of North Hollywood presents the world premier of Julie Marie Myatt’s THE RESCUED, a play about a group of beings living within a commune setting going through the many personalities these individuals have while dwelling within their physical boundaries.

The individuals consist of old-timers Jason and Harold (Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall), tough guy Buster (Leandro Cano), sexy Candice (Meeghan Holaway), energetic Darrell (Rahul Rai), and the isolated Lola (Kacie Rogers). They all live in the back yard of a home somewhere in suburbia. Jason and Herold spend most of their moments together binding time as they are the elder ones. Buster holds the appearance of being rather mean, although his bark is worse than his bite. Candice is one that possesses a romantic streak and will slither up to Harold’s seat as her type tends to do. Darrell is always on the go, collecting data of his surroundings keeping track to how many trees, bushes, and other objects are in the back yard setting. Lola is kept inside of a closet, not knowing why she is there but just lives with the fact. These souls are all human in spirit. However, they are not people in the physical sense, but are domestic animals as the males are dogs while the females are cats.

This new work by playwright Julie Marie Myatt is a study of how animals, or in this case, pets that are sheltered because of various circumstances, can become human in many senses. Their domain is a person’s home located in the ‘burbs that take care of these animals because no other source would be available. Patrick Joseph Rieger and J.D. Hall as Jason and Harold are the “old dogs” that will live there until they die. Leandro Cano as Buster can be a pitbull breed that resembles a ferocious dog, but has a genteel streak. Rahul Rai as Darrell is a fun loving “weenier dog” whose purpose is to keep everything in check, including his fellow petmates. And Meeghan Holaway and Kacie Rogers as Candice and Lola are any kind of domestic cat that lives with these dogs, although Lola is just closeted.

The play itself holds a blend of mellow comedy and light drama in the same method as a mixed breed of dog and/or cat. (No purebreds in this bunch!) The performers appearing on stage holds many of the same traits as somebody’s pet may have, making this show appearing to all dog and cat lovers aside.

The set itself as designed by Sarah B. Brown is a back yard where a tall brown picket fence serves as the backdrop, while the old dogs are mostly seated in a pair of overstuffed lounge chairs. There is a box or two that could be a dog/cat house with nearby plush toys to play with. There is so much going on within this one-act play, there isn’t much toy playing! It’s just the dogs and cats getting along, or at least for most of the time!

Oh yes! There are some musical interludes performed within this play, consisting of some of the pets singing tunes that express themselves within their isolated scenes, using a transcribed music score that is either the original music source, a karaoke track, or in the case of two musical numbers, performed on an acoustic guitar. However, this isn’t a musical per se, just a play with pre-existing popular songs created within the last fifty or so years.

Directed by Marya Mazor, THE RESCUED gives a human face to animals that deserve to live a life in a loving and caring homestead. They seem to achieve that goal, just as long as the people in their world will allow them to coexist.

THE RESCUED, presented by The Road Theatre and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until November 11th. 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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Theatre West will present To Dad with Love, A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen featuring Kiki Ebsen who will speak about her father, dancer and entertainer Christian Rudolph “Buddy” Ebsen.

Ebsen, who began in vaudeville in the 1920’s teaming up with his sister Vilma Ebsen as a dance act, appeared on various theater circuits on Broadway and in-between. The two later headed out west where they appeared in a number of musical pictures for Metro-Goldwin-Meyer. When his sibling retired, Ebsen on went as a solo act featured in such films as Broadway Melody of 1936 (and -1938,) Banjo On My Knee, Captain January (opposite Shirley Temple), as well as an “almost” role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. When MGM wanted to give him an exclusive contract where the studio would “own” him, he turned it down. This lead to a fade away from features. However, it was television that made him a star, from playing opposite Fess Parker as sidekick George Russell in The Ballad of Davy Crockett for Walt Disney in the 1950’s, portraying Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies for Paul Henning in the 1960’s, and as private eye Barbany Jones in the 1970’s.

Kiki will also sing a number of tunes extracted from the musicals Epson appeared in, backed up by jazz band trio. Of course, there will be illustrated clips from his movies and TV shows that will highlight the long career of Ebsen that stretched well into the 1990’s! And Kiki was there to see much of her dad’s vast video walk of life!

This event will take place for one weekend only, Friday, October 12th, Saturday, October 13th, and Sunday, October 14th. Showtimes are 8:00 PM on October 12th and 13th, and at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 14th.

Theatre West is located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent). For tickets or for more information, call the Theatre Box office at (323) 851-4839, or online at http://www.TheatreWest.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!

I GOTS TO KNOW!

The above headline isn’t a typo! And sorry for those selected few–and you know who you are–that claim that this newsletter is full of typos, misspellings, and other printed nonconformities that you folks love to pick upon! At least we will give you credit to you for actually read this thing!

Anyway, the above headline is a quote from one of this writer’s selected favorite movies, the 1971 Warner Bros. release of Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood as the title police detective in San Francisco who’s out to get a serial killer that’s stalking the city, using his own method in getting his man in spite of what his superiors say! It’s a movie that took the lead to how many of the cop-based features would eventually be created in the many years to follow–for its better or for its worse!

Perhaps the most famous scene in this feature takes place in its first third. While having a cup of coffee in a local diner, Harry C. springs into action by shooting a suspect attempting to get away in a vehicle. He whips out his .357 Magnum to shoot the escaping vehicle. The car collides with a fire plug, flipping the car on its side. Then Harry makes an easy spring to where the driver of the car is spread out on the sidewalk along a side of a building. Harry stands right over in front of the suspect, pointing his weapon at the suspect to show him how powerful his gun is that’s ready to blow the suspect away! However, among the confusion, Harry couldn’t keep track if he shot six shots or five since his “tool” can only hold six bullets. So as he points his piece to the man that’s showing an expression of fear while still sprawled on the sidewalk, Harry asks the man if he feels lucky. Harry’s ready, willing, and able to blow this man away right then and there. If he pulls the trigger, will the gun go off, or will the device just give a “click” to the hammer?

Harry, sill in a rather calm mode since its assumed that he’s done this method of getting the bad guys at bay beforehand, asks “Do you feel lucky, punk?”, only to then walk away! The suspect, again still sprawled on the sidewalk leading on the side of a building, calls out the the departing Harry, “Hey man! I gots to know!”

Harry, hearing the man’s plea, turns around, points the gun to the man and pulls the trigger. The gun goes “click”, only to have Harry give this cocky grin as if to say “Sucker!!”

This reply from the “lucky punk” was kept inside of my head for the many seasons since yours truly saw this feature in a local neighborhood “scratch” theater all those years before. From that time, whenever I wanted to obtain an answer or reply to a burning question or inquiry, I would always say “I gots to know”, either within my head or to those that could supply me with the answer I was seeking. Yes, I was totally aware that my answer wasn’t correct English, as its reply would be “I’ve got to know”, or as I would say “I gotta know!” (The reason for the “gots” was the fact that the suspect in the feature was black, and was speaking in what was then referred to as “getto talk”, meaning that the suspect came from the mean streets of the Bay area such as to the “getto” communities that existed back in the early 1970’s!)

The term “gots” rather than “got” was more of a unique or colorful (no pun intended) way to use that line when I had to know of an answer or result in anything that I desired a reply to. As I progressed in and through life from my elementary school days when I was of that age when I saw the movie, toward my later times as a so-called young adult, to the current demographic where I stand, that single line always played within my head and/or my speech when an answer was needed by me. Sometimes I would ask the source to give me an answer based on the importance to the inquiry saying “I gots to know”! At other times, that line would repeat through my head over and over again until I receive a reply, or when I gave up on the idea that an answer would arrive much later than desired, if at all! Whatever came first!

In today’s domestic life, one can ask many questions that makes up part of that same domestic life this reporter is writing about. The questions can range between inquiries created just for the moment (“When will the pizza be delivered?” “Who won the ball game?”), questions that can change the results of elements through finance (“When will I receive my tax refund?” Will I receive a tax refund?”), to queries that can be of just for the peace of mind. (“Will I get the job?” “Will the person I sent a message to ever reply?”) The list is endless!

These question of life (so to speak) are part of the anxiety that people have within their personal domains. Some will speak about it openly and freely. Others will keep those little secrets to themselves that would be part of those skeletons hiding out inside of their closets just taking up valuable space when one can otherwise store that clothing collection that they usually ware, or outfits that they just might put on again one day as soon as the opportunity arrises! These awaiting opportunities just add to the anxiety that builds up if the owner of the clothes collection will lose weight, be invited to that formal gathering, or when the hit fashion trends of 1979 will make a comeback and its good enough to be considered as “retro”!

Not so long ago, The Atlantic magazine through its presence on the web, published an article on the anxiety that people face every day. It noted upon an article that appeared in New York magazine (the “city” magazine covering New York city and its boroughs) about the dangers of climate change–assuming it’s speaking on the subject on a worldwide scale rather limited to a seventy-five mile radius of Manhattan. And thanks to communications methods that’s been around since the turn of the 21st century, that buildup only went from bad to worse. The article reported that folks reported upon these dangers to those through their Twitter accounts, Facebook friends roster, blog posts, text message portals, e-mail mailing lists, and so on and so forth. Some people were indeed scared. Others felt concerned, only to just become more aware of the subject on hand. The rest couldn’t give a crap! Although events or occurrences that one can’t control, let along change, can bring caution, one can only handle matters based upon what they are worth.

Another article from The Atlantic recently posed the question of anxiety to its readers, encouraging those same readers to send on their take of what makes them anxious and how they handle it. Many of the anxious replies made up a part of daily living. One person noted upon a play-by-play description on how the reader makes an important phone call. The person stated that they start off their call by spending time rehearsing what they are going to say to the person on the other end. After the rehearsal, they might dial the number. If somebody answers, they may modify their lines, or state those same lines verbatim. If an answering device takes the call, they may leave a message, or simply hang up without saying a word. Sometimes the person picks a specific day and time of day to make this call. (“Thursday afternoon at 3:17 PM!”) And the cycle continues.

The reasons behind all of this anxiety ranges vastly. Some are concerned on what’s going to happen next. Others might worry if the results they may receive may not be of their desire. The rest just worry because if you don’t show any concern, then what’s the whole point of the issue? After all, even if you don’t get that job, that doesn’t mean you will never get a job from that source! It may not be now, but it can be at a later time.
As yours truly is writing this article, I am experiencing a bit of concern in receiving a pair of replies from two separate people regarding to an activity that I am planning. These events that I am making are based upon the good and well beings toward the other parties. As far as I am aware, both of these sources do understand the reasons behind these inquires as they are based on their personal benefits. I’m even hoping that I can even merge these events as both sources were informed about the others involved. (“The more the merrier!”) Of course, they are not obligated to sense a positive reaction toward these suggestions, although the reasons behind their refusals may not necessarily be known to me.

That notion of receiving a flat “no thanks” just adds more anxiety toward my side of the issue. It even reminds me about a lyric in a song that’s part of the 1960’s-era rock band The Animals’ hit portfolio where its chorus goes “I’m Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good. Oh, Lord! Please Don’t Make Me Feel Misunderstood”.

In spite of this all, much of the anxiety people face every hour of their day can be changed while others cannot. Some are vasty important while other are important for the moment. The rest don’t seem to really exist. Although what I am facing at the moment of this writing might have resulted in a positive answer by the time this issue “hits the streets!” This means that my anxiety was just all for naught. If the results were not to my linking, I would let the others know about it, not giving blame to what has happened. Their reply could have been based on a reason never made known to me, and perhaps it was just as well! Whatever the case, I will still play out that line heard in a flick featuring one of my two favorite “movie cops”, Harry Callahan. The other favorite one is Popeye Doyle from The French Connection, another movie I also saw in a theater that same year! And never mind the fact that I was way too young to see an “R” rated movie without anyone that wasn’t my parent or adult guardian! As long as I paid my 75 cent admission, the box office lady didn’t seem to care! The theater didn’t even seem to care that I was carrying a grocery bag full of popcorn, soda pop, and other goodies I dragged from home to wolf down on! Those movie going antics were just showing off I cheap I was for not paying for popcorn, etc. with money I didn’t have. Another reason to raise the bar of anxiety!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its run at Hollywood’s Lounge Theater is David Margulies’ TIME STANDS STILL, a drama about a couple that stands between what they do within the world of journalism, and how they challenge themselves as a domestic pair.

Nicole Pacent and Jamie Zwick play Sarah Goodwin and James Dodd. The two work within the same field, journalism, where James writes freelance articles covering various subjects, from fluff pieces to hard news. Sarah is a photo journalist who has covered the various wars going on within the middle east region. The scene opens where Jamie has just returned back from a war front, barley surviving a roadside blast that nearly killer her. She returns injured and scarred. James attempts to get her back physically and emotionally. Although they do share the same small apartment in Brooklyn, they are living as an unmarried couple. James’ editor for the print journal he writes for is Richard Ehrlich (Paul Urcioli). He is presently involved with Mandy Bloom (Kelly Fischer), a woman that isn’t connected in the journalistic field, but is young enough to be Richard’s daughter! Sarah, knowing that her life was at stake when she accepted her assignment covering the current conflicts, holds the desire to get back in the action, although James is pleased enough to stay where they are while continuing to write his pieces. This leads into a consequence of either leading a life of domestic bliss, or to serve within the duty of informing the public on the real conflicts found within the world just for the sake of reporting the news.

This play as staged at The Lounge Theatre, is presented within a very tight portrayal. Nicole Pacent as Sarah is a hearty woman that desires to keep on doing what she loves taking candid yet intense photographs, even if this passion may cost her own life. Jamie Zwick as James respects his partner, but would rather keep it safe and content. Paul Urcioli as Richard regards these two as he has known them for some time. Kelly Fischer as Mandy is first presented as a young and perky soul that has first yet to mature, although time and later circumstances presents her in a real adult life. These portrayal of their characters make this play rather dramatic with emotion, showing that the sides of work and domestic happiness runs a thin line. Playwright Donald Margulies has written other plays that focus upon people that compete toward these challenges, and this work leans toward these related principles. Joel Zwick, known for among other works, directing the productions of actor/writer/musician Hershey Felder, recently seen in Hershey Felder: Beethoven (See review-Vol. 23, No. 31) directs this show that focuses itself toward intense melodrama rather than classical music.

Special note goes toward Chris Winfield’s set design that shows the small yet humble apartment that Sarah and James share consisting of a kitchenette at the rear of the stage, and a big and somewhat comfy couch stage front and center as its centerpiece where a good part of the dramatic actions unfolds.

TIME STANDS STILL receives its title from what occurs when a camera shutter button is pressed; A visual illustration created being in view of a scene that stands still. This play stands itself as one that is loaded with drama and emotion, just short of a happy ending–or at least short of a traditional content conclusion.

TIME STANDS STILL, presented by and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (at El Centro-one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until September 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. Tickets can be obtained online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents the Jeff Gould comedy THE MARRIAGE ZONE, a surreal comic play about a middle aged couple who meets up with two other couples in different stages of their lives that refects as their own!

Cal (Dane Bowman, alternating with Matt Harrison) and Beth (Rene Ashton, alternating with Monica Young) are a couple that’s been together for some twenty or so years, raising a fifteen year old son Ryan (Kody Fields, alternating with Tanner Fontana). They are moving up in their world. So for their progression, they have their house up for sale. A knock on their door brings some interested buyers to the home, Mike (Alex Hyde-White, alternating with Michael Dempsey) and Liz (Jacee Jule, alternating with Dawn Joyal). This pair is some twenty years younger, and are in the process of starting out in their lives as the two recently became engaged. As Mike and Liz are looking over the home, another knock on the door occurs as Ellie (Britt Rose, alternating with Leslie Stratton) and Skip (Cameron Tagge, alternating with Ben Bergstrom) enter. They are twenty years older that Cal and Beth. But a certain element is discovered as these two couples hold a connection between Beth and Cal. Does Mike and Liz portray themselves as what Beth and Cal were to each other a generation or two before? And is Ellie and Skip represent a version that’s twenty years into the future? How can Beth and Cal handle the fact that their lives have flashed before their eyes? Is this a message warning them of the things that were and is? Does Ellie and Skip hold the key to what is about to take place? Or are these other folks are really interested in the house currently on the real estate market?

This one-act play, written and directed by Jeff Gould, is chock full of fast paced wit. The barbs and one-line gags holds its comic appeal where a simple situation takes upon many ironic twists without losing any of its humor. For its eighty minute or so running time, one will become highly amused over the marriage challenges that are addressed speaking upon the notions that the marriages starts off on its good foot, leading to a number of stubbed toes along the way, and finally setting its pace on either having the marriage stand on its own two feet or to have its feet stepped on, if not being tripped over!

This show features a rotating cast roster that vary during each performance. Please check with the staff management on who is going to appear in the performance and when! However, it doesn’t really matter on who will be present on stage as THE MARRIAGE ZONE is very witty and funny to say the least! It’s also very honest as well as being linked as a married couple (man and woman in this case) does has its moments! Maybe not to the same moments as depicted on stage, but it can get pretty close!

THE MARRIAGE ZONE, performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth Street (at Wilshire), Santa Monica, until November 17th. 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 http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/3591184
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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!

OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID

The previous weekend from when this edition was first “published” (note: we are no longer a print news source, thus the reason why the word published is in quotes), was the Labor Day weekend, a holiday where its focus is on, well…labor! This is the day where those involved in some kind of occupation is saluted. Granted, not every kind of work is recognized, but at least there is a holiday for something not really noted for its cause. Many know of this day as the end of the summer season, the time where kids (and adults) go back to school–or at least “to school”, and it was the time where one would drop a dime or two for Jerry’s kids!

But the focus here is labor, work, occupation, or doing something for pay or even a lack thereof. Many folks in this domestic society do something for exchange for something that holds monetary value. The job can be anything from a person that rakes leaves, answer phones, serves up coffee drinks, to something high power such as being a CEO of some big-deal Fortune 500 corporation that nearly everyone has ever heard of!

A lot of people work in different settings and environments as well. For many years, a working person would start the work week (a Monday mostly) rising early, getting themselves gussied up, grabbing a quick breakfast of a bagel, a granola-base or some kind of candy-esque food bar, a cup of coffee (and possibly a combination of all three), and drive themselves to their work enveriment. They also may take the bus or train (subway and/or commuter train), and head over toward a downtown-type region to spend the next eight or so hours toiling away at a desktop, at a machine, or dealing with some kind of group of people in order to flesh out their skills and assignments for that duration of a day–usually between the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Then they would get into their transportation vehicles, only to head back home to take care of their personal business. This went on for five days a week up to that Friday. Then the weekend would arrive for those folks to do their own things around the house and/or around the neighborhood.

In this day and age, the old standard Monday-through-Friday-Nine AM-to-Five PM workday and week is still around, but not as profound as it used to be. Many folks work at home for longer hours and perhaps for more days. People work on the weekends as they would during the week. And thanks to what’s been referred to as the “gig economy”, people take upon various assessments coming in from various sources on a non-linear basis. They may be on a project that lasts for weeks at a time, or they may have an assignment that’s only for that afternoon. Others will even encounter a dry spell where no work will come in for days, weeks, months, or at all! And some will face chronic unemployment where no matter how skilled they are (or what their resume and/or Linkenin profile may state), they can’t find any company or source that would be convinced that they can do the work as projected and prescribed. There are many reasons behind this absence of work, from lack of specific skills the company expects from all applicants, (even if the skills they expect from those that apply even exists), to those that are too old in age for the company’s liking. Yep, it’s illegal to sort by age, yet it’s hard to prove!

But are people that do hold some kind of job are pleased in what they earn? The folks at Gallup, the company that takes opinions to find out the real truth in things, recently conducted a poll asking how satisfied people were with what they perceived as their jobs, from how engaged in what they do, to what they received as earnings.

Two separate polls were conducted with these inquiries. The first poll that deals with pay scales, stated that four out of ten workers in the USA feel that they are underpaid in what they do. This is the same rate that underpaid workers stated when Gallup last asked that question some eight years before, around the time when the “great recession” was going at full tilt, a period when anyone that was employed by anyone was glad to have any form of a salaried job.

And though this four out of ten feel they should be receiving more pay, half of those replied (50%) admitted they were paid a proper wage scale! A lowly 5% stated they were getting too much salary in what they did, although the poll didn’t indicate in what type or work they did that paid more money than it should!

At the same time, some 34% of those polled stated they were engaged in their work. This is another term that they love their jobs and look forward in being involved in something their desire to do while getting paid in the process. This 34% is the highest number that Gallup collected from those employed since they started to ask this question around the turn of the 21st century, even tying the highest number of engaged workers as reported in March of 2016.

And if job hopping is the key here, some 65% noted that this current time is the best time to find a high quality job, compared to the 10% that noted this in August of 2010 when the recession was still hanging around.

If the notion that money may by happiness, those that feel they are underpaid aren’t necessarily unpleased in their work. 85% admitted in the poll that they are pleased in their work, even if they felt that have more value in what they do. Those who understand they are paid the right amount are more likely to be satisfied with what they earn (98%) and with what they do for a job (97%).

So what’s the reason for this underpayment. Slow growth in salary levels can be the cause. In recent years, annual growth has come in around 2-3% per year. Before the recession hit, that growth came around 4% per year. Also, the rising costs in benefits, a lack of workers with the skills needed for better paying jobs, and the fall of labor union power played a role. Whatever the case, if one wanted to find some other job that was much better, one can possibly find something else some other place.

Of course, the above facts do not necessarily reflect upon everyone who has the ability to work. Thanks to the internet, many people has found work created by and for themselves, from doing work as an independent contractor, selling goods online via Esty, Craigslist, and the grandaddy of ‘em all, eBay, as well as other matters and sources that break far beyond the “9-to-5” routine, even though that routine isn’t as vast as it once was.

The notion of underpaid for work is far from new. Many sitcoms of yore airing on public media that featured a character or characters that were of the “blue collar” variety usually spoke of salary or the lack thereof, from Chester A. Riley to Ralph Kramden to Archie Bunker to Dan Conner. They may not have been the best well-off folks on their block, but they always had been on the brink of possibly getting a bigger paycheck. (To compare this fact, in a 1955 episode of The Honeymooners, Ralph Kramden stated that he was earning $63.00 per week. In 2018 dollars, that comes to around $592.40, not counting deductions for taxes, union dues, and perhaps entering into the payroll savings plan to invest of US Savings Bonds!!)

So even though that 40% stated they are earning less than they should, the majority noted they are getting the right amount. Only time and tide will predict of those “making that paper” will get more into their pockets for the blood, sweat, and tears they put out each week. It’s only a paycheck away!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Whitefire Theater in Sherman Oaks hosts the world premier of MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY, the self titled show that features Ray spinning out of this world tales that involve The Red Planet, along with the perils and truths that lies beneath.

Charles Mount portrays Ray. He begins to speak towards his audience about Mars, perhaps the real destination that lies within the final frontier of space. With his workspace nearby, he gives the brief backstory of his fascination of a supernatural sphere that is just as real as humans would allow. The show intertwines itself with a quartet of short stories that deal with Mars. It opens with Albert Beck and Leonard Craig (Paul Gunning and Joe Seely) part of a Mars expedition team that seeks for the Blue Bottle of Mars that hides a mysterious content. (Is it bourbon inside, or is it something else?) There is a young couple, Bob and Carrie Prentis (Michael Pert and Melissa Lugo), other members of the same expedition that attempts to make their settlement as to a garden from the planet to where they came from-Earth. This phases to a place of worship on Earth where a man of the cloth, Father Niven (Eric Keitel) shapes an alien from this planet into the form of Christ. This leads back to the Red Planet where Emil Barton (Don Moss), the last surviving team member of a martian exhibition, only has electronic transcriptions of his younger self to keep him company. Can he live with his own being as a spy young man, or will he go insane with his own likeness? These, and perhaps other thoughts and theories comes from the mind of Ray, because he has seen it all!

This play, conceived and adapted by Charles Mount and Jeff G. Rack, takes its premise from four short tales written by Ray Bradbury: The Strawberry Window, The Blue Bottle, The Messiah, and Night Call, Collect. Each one of these tales are blended into a showcase that feature the character Ray as performed by Charles Mount, narrating there mini epics in the same tradition that Rod Serling introduced each saga on the TV series The Twilight Zone. Although Ray created each episode, he never gets in its way. This form of presentation makes this theatre piece an almost-yet-but-not-quite one man show. The ensemble cast that appear that also include Tor Brown, John T. Cogan, Richard Mooney, and Robert Paterno, illustrate the tales that Ray spins out, always keeping with its loop, but knowing when to step back to let his performing team, as well as his imagination, run wild.

Along with the ensemble cast, there is a lot of visuals seen within its stage set worth its noting, from Jeff Rack’s production set design and stage direction, to Gabriel Griego’s visual projection design depicting still and moving images of Mars, Earthly hallowed spaces and its surroundings, along with an original musical score composed by Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski. These, among many other elements too numerous to mention in this review, all make up the worlds that Ray created, foretold, and reshaped for all of its fans now and fans of tomorrow to be taken by.

MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY is a loving tribute to a writer that created tales to astonish, to amaze, to thrill, to live and love, as well as to take warning and heed. Ray himself was one of a kind who kept on creating. A stroke that changed the way he verbal communicated, and limiting himself to being confined to a wheelchair did not stop him as he continued to create these tales until he passed in 2012. This show is proof that he knows the future, because he’s been there!

MARTIANS-AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY, presented by Arcane Theatreworks and the Whitefire Theatre, performs at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks, until November 2nd. Showtimes are Friday nights at 8:00 PM. Special Saturday performance takes place on November 10th at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.WhitefireTheatre.com
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The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents D.L. Coburn’s THE GIN GAME, a melodrama about two people living in a senior community home that bonds and conflicts with one another over games of gin.

Alan Blumenfeld and Katherine James are featured as Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, a pair of senior citizens that are living off their sunset years in a well worn yet comfortable home for the aged. Weller was a one time business owner that had his success when he was at his prime. Failing health confined him to this community walking with a cane and keeping busy with a card game to set his mind and spirit amused. Forsia’s family had placed her there with the notion of perhaps keeping her there for good. Weller invites this new member of the home for a friendly card game of gin, where she catches on with the game’s strategy. Weller’s first impressed over her playing, only to take her luck into a new meaning. But it’s far beyond of two aged souls in just binding their time over cards. The pair realizes that their states of being are not coming to its end, but are to open another chapter into their long and listed lives.

This play written by D. L. Coburn was the first of many other plays created by this playwright winning the Pulitzer Prize for this work. The play was first created during an era when being aged could mean spending their final years socked away in a “senior home”, usually arranged by their adult children that tend to know what’s best for their folks–or so it seemed. The play itself has all of the charm and grace that depict the pair of characters as friendly and warn, yet appear to hide their sadness fully conscious that they have lived out their lives, and awaiting for their time to eventually die. Alan Blumenfeld as Weller shows off his feistiness, enough to cuss in front of a lady without batting an eye. Katherine James as Fonsia Dorsey is a somewhat timid person who is aware that her family didn’t give her the respect that she would have preferred. However, she does open up to her new found friend, in spite of his senior-level aggressiveness. In short, they become as a pair of folks that may be up in their years, but still retains to their hearts of gold.

What makes this show very appearing that it contains a bit of everything sans the overabundance that comes with a one-size-fits-all attitude. It’s amusing, it’s witty, it’s sober, and even holds just a hint of romance. Christian Lebano directs this show that is tight with emotion, and is loose with its charm and personality.

Special note goes towards Tesshi Nakagawa’s set design of the “day room” of the senior home, a place where one can sit, read magazines, play board games, as well as a friendly game of cards, a place where it could be your grandfather’s (or grandmother’s) senior home for the aged. Elizabeth Nankin designs the costuming where the two characters don clothing that is suitable for “old folks” and not much else. Cate Caplin provides the choreography that shows the dancing ability of Weller and Fonsia, still keeping in pace to their dancing moves.

It’s been a little over forty years since THE GIN GAME was first staged at a “storefront” theater in Hollywood now long closed. Since then, it’s played on Broadway, with two separate revivals appearing on The Great White Way. Back then, being “old” was just that–being old and gray, showing a sign that the end of a life was near, if it hasn’t already arrived! In today’s landscape, notations as “70 is the new 50” has been the norm of late as grandparents are becoming as hip as their grandkids, communicating through social media and other high tech aspects. Thus, this play didn’t age at all. In fact, it got better with time! Experiencing this production at the intimate The Sierre Madre Playhouse just adds to its endearing allure.

THE GIN GAME, presented by and performed at The Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until October 6th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM.
For ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at http://www.SierraMadrePlayhouse.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!

THE “NEW” TV SEASON

The Labor Day weekend commemorates a lot of different milestones to a lot of different people connected to these milestones. That first weekend in September was the time where school-aged kids, as well as adults returning back to a classroom, would be starting off school, if not already attending. Labor Day also noted the unofficial end of Summer, a time of year where one would be partaking their summertime antics. And for those living in the electronic media age, Labor Day was the time where the three national TV networks residing in the USA would be starting out their new season with a lineup of new shows catering to many tastes.

Although summertime was considered a slow time for TV watching, much of what was offered and scheduled between Memorial Day (May 30th-later as the last weekend in May) through Labor Day consisted of reruns of shows that’s been around since the previous season, or summer replacements–“filler” shows that were amusing for what they were, but served as placemarks for programs that were either off for the summer (“on vacation” so to speak) or were there to fill up a time slot until the fall season where a brand new show would be seen on its day and time slot.

The networks, usually starting in August and continuing through September, started to advertise their new lineup for the fall, bombarding the viewer with promo spots and extensive ad campaigns loaded with catchy slogans and jingles with the notion that this season (the one starting in September) will be the “biggest and best” season since the TV network in question went on their air! Perhaps noting that the new season would become the “best ever” seemed to be a little bit exaggerated, but people still awaited to see what the hubbub was going to be all about!

TV Guide, perhaps the “bible” of reporting upon the American (and at times the global) television scene, also participated in this rush of new programming. The issue that was released for the first week of September (Saturday through Friday) was the annual “Fall Preview” issue, chock full of articles and notes on what ABC, CBS, NBC, and to a lesser extent, PBS, was going to present to its viewers. Everything and anything one wanted to know about the new year was going to be crammed in those compact pages, all available at fifteen cents a pop! Inflation would increase this “price of admission” later to twenty cents, twenty-five cents, fifty cents, a dollar, and so on! However, if one was going to subscribe to TV Guide only to pick one issue for its subscription, the Fall Preview edition would be the pick.

Of course, this writer is speaking for an era when TV was available over the air for the whopping price of free! Beginning in the latter part of the 1970’s, cable TV slowly started to make its mark into the TV landscape. Ditto for the big clunky electronic device called the video cassette recorder, or “VCR” for short. As the 1980’s progressed, cable and VCR penetration moved from being a novelty to a way of life. There was now more programs to watch. Some of the shows were great, some mildly amusing, while others were not worth their time. The ol’ VCR would assist those to “time shift” their programming to view those shows at a more convenient hour and day. That is, assuming somebody remembered to record the program in the first place!

But as the ol’ song wails, “The times are a changing”. In today’s post-modern TV landscape, the new fall season isn’t what it used to be. Yes, the over the air networks, as well as a few cable dedicated outlets, are planning a new fall season introducing new programs. but the hype is long absent. Thanks to streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube Red (or whatever its called now), and perhaps the two-ton ape in the joint, Netflix, new programs are being presented all year round, The other channels that also have streaming services, such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, and a host of others, are taking the advice of the streaming services when if a series was ready to be released, it give the viewers a chance to watch the series right there and then, no matter what the calendar says. And considering that it’s very likely that the entire run is going to be offered all at once, viewing won’t stop unless the viewer wants to the series to end. Never mind the fact that the viewer may spend ten hours of bingeing in one sitting. Just as long as they enjoy the show, why fight it?

So as September means back to school, cooler weather, and watching football–if not “playing” the game thanks to one’s fantasy league, or perhaps participating in an office pool of some sort, the new fall TV season is beginning to progress. And when one does tune in, make sure you watch where you are going! It’s no fun to be run over by an SUV while crossing the street against traffic as you stare into your phone turning in to episode 36 of Game of Thrones. If this happened, the ER room may not have streaming services available on their walled mounted TV devices. However, some hospitals through their closed circuit network, offers such selections. But that’s for another issue, and for another accident!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre Palisades presents BARK! THE MUSICAL, the self titled musical about the life and times of six dogs living their day!

This half-dozen collection of curs consists of Boo (Elena Coleman), Chanel (Julie Hinton), Golde (Marina Tidwell), King (Greg Abbott), Rocks (Ben Fuglini), and Sam (Peter Miller). These dogs first meet when are are boarded at a local doggie day care center. Each of these pups hold different personalities and come from different backgrounds. Boo’s a Cocker Spaniel that is looking for his own voice. Chanel is an elegant Poodle of pedigree stock that holds two obedience school degrees and loves hearing the Metropolitan Opera radio concerts, if not singing along to an aria. King’s a Labrador Retriever and is still faithful to his master who is away at school, hoping to perhaps being together again. Golde is a Bulldog that’s keeps its comical traits to its advantage. Rocks is an energetic Jack Russell Terrier that wants to be loved and desired, while Sam is a lowly mutt of the Pit Bull variety that’s mostly tough in heart and spirit. But as dogs tend to be, they all get along especially when they later meet at the neighborhood dog run. It’s another moment in the lives of (wo)man’s best friends!

As one can figure out in the above description, there isn’t much of a plot of this musical as written by Mark Winkler & Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (book), with music by David Troy Francis, and lyrics by Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Robert Schrock, and Mark Winkler with additional lyrics by Jonathan Heath & Danny Lake. It’s just a charming, breezy, and fun showcase that is just as easy as a dog’s life! The six band of players are very upbeat when it comes to playing the dog characters as they “speak” to each other upon how they fit within their dog world. With their presence on stage, the ensemble cast perform in a method that’s enough to make you want to take ‘em all home! The music score itself ranges from bright and carefree to elegant to moody to “street”! Gary Nesteruk provides the live musical direction performing on keyboards, with Dan Radlauer alternating with Dave Keif on bass, with Tom Zygmont on percussion.

As to what’s seen on stage, long time set designer for Theater Palisades Sherman Wayne, provides a simple setting that shows a dog house, a love seat of a couch, a picket fence at the rear of the stage, and a tree on stage right. The tree and picket fence doubles in the second act as its part of the dog park. Heide Dotson’s costuming shows the dog side of what the human cast can portray, while Susan Stangl directs this show that pleases all–human or otherwise!

Sometimes one desires to see a musical stage show that is light, mild, and airy. That is what BARK! THE MUSICAL is all about. It’s within the same nature of a chewed out slipper, or an old couch with a dent in its seat that Fido prefers to take a long doggie nap on. It may not be a show that’s elegant or unique, but it’s tasty and rather comfortable! It’s also enough to make one want to pet the pup of choice! Take this show out for a nice long walk! It won’t bite!

BARK! THE MUSICAL, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until October 7th. 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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The Glendale Center Theater presents Ted Swindley’s ALWAYS PATSY CLIEN, a musical tale about how an energetic fan had the opportunity to come close to her favorite musical star, and the bonding she created.

The story’s focus is around Louise (Ann Myers), a woman that recently divorced her husband, and wound up living a simple life in Houston. By chance, she discovered an up and coming star in the Country & Western music scene, Patsy Cline (Cori Cable Kidder). Her style of vocals attracted Louise to this performer. When she hears about a local appearance that Pasty would make, Louise, along with her boyfriend and her boss, arrived at the concert hall a bit early. There she meets Patsy in person and develops a bond that morphed later into a friendship that lasted for years afterword right up to Pasty’s tragic demise in an airplane crash.

This jukebox musical is a tribute to one of Country & Western’s leading artists that had a unique voice, but never played a musical instrument to place her fame. This stage show itself is very lively, holds plenty of humor and charm, and features a selection of tunes culled from Patsy’s greatest hits collection, as well as other songs she covered over the years! (Back In Baby’s Arms, Walkin’ After Midnight , I Go To Pieces, among many others!) The selection that Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy sings are within the same vocal patters as to her character. She emotes those deep voice models that sounds rich, but never high strung or “twangy” as many of the other female C&W singers possessed during that era. Ann Myers as Louise is the animated one. Sporting a blond nearly kept hairdo and speaking in a voice that is just as twangy, she has the dynamo and drawing power that keeps this show moving in its swift yet easy pace.

Unlike the other musicals that the GCT has produced over its many years of operation, this is the first musical that this writer is aware of that features a live music score. That musical creation is provided by a four piece band on its own bandstand that’s set off to the side of the performance area, consisting of Sean Paxton (as “Joe Bob”) on keyboards, Kevin Tiernan (as “Billy Bob”), on guitar, Mike Flick (“Ray Bob”) on bass, and Jim Miller (“Bob Bob”) on percussion. Longtime GCT ensemble crew member Steven Applegate’s provided the live musical direction, along with Angela Manke’s period costuming. Murat Montero provides the set design that consists of the bandstand, a kitchen area in front to represent Louisa’s humble home, with a “bar” area towards the rear that shows the concert hall setting where Patsy performed and where Louisa created her bond.

Robert Marra provides the stage direction and choreography that makes a show to please those that appreciates the style of Patsy Cline, as well for those that are discovering her music for the first time some fifty plus years after her passing. It’s been long stated that the good die young. This may have been the case for Patsy that placed her for her musical legacy. But for now, this stage musical holds all of the appeal and humor that is part of the GCT’s theater showcase realm.

ALWAYS PATSY CLINE, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until October 6th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with a Sunday afternoon performance taking place on September 9th at 3:00 PM. 

For more details and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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The Los Angeles Woman’s Theatre Festival presents Hot Off The Press, an special stage presentation that features a selection of excerpts of new works and monologues as created by woman playwrights that showcase their creative talents.

The program will be featuring four new stage pieces. Three will be performed by its writers. The ensemble will consist of Heather Dowling’s Fertile: An Exploration of the Expectations of Procreation, a tale about Jenny, a middle 30’s married woman who discovers that becoming a mother may not be as simple as the “birds and the bees” would lead you to believe; Pam Levin’s The Untraditional Present, described as a painful lesson about reading the instructions; Juliette Jeffers’ Kasturba, performed by Aishveryaa Nidhi, is the story of the woman behind Mahatma Gandhi, and Amy Witry’s Once Upon a Kidney, a self described tale of a journey of love, life and donating her kidney.

Along with this quartet of stage pieces, folk musician Sarah Rose Reynolds will provide musical interludes that blends a harmony of soulful folk sounds. This is a stage program that is a balanced mix of comedy, drama, and all points in between.

Hot Off The Press will be presented for one show only on Sunday, Spetmeber 16th at 7:00 PM at the Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd. (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks. Street parking is available along Ventura Blvd.
For tickets and for more information call (818) 760-0408 and via online at http://www.lawtf.org
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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!