GROUP (TV) THERAPY

According to a recent study released from the New York based marketing firm GfK MRI, half of all domestic viewers of television, and nearly 60% of young(er) viewers, watch in groups more than they were three years ago.

Some fifty-seven percent of the time co-viewing is done with a “significant other” (spouse, domestic partner, lover, etc.), 19% with kids, 16% with another adult family member, and 9% with friends. Almost half (48%) of TV watching is done as a co-view.

As to the source of TV programming, a little over half (52%) co-views their programming for the legacy pay services (HBO, Showtime, etc). 48% from a streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), while those of the “millennium” age (18-34) co-view streaming services at 72%.

As to the program genres, feature films are likely to be viewed by more than one person at a time. Children’s programming is more likely done as a family with parents/caretakers present with their kids.

And why do people watch TV as a group? They can spend time with one another watching the same show and to share the same experience.

This study was conducted by this marketing firm from research based on 24,000 in-person, in-home interviews, tracking levels of “cord disruption” among ten categorized viewing groups.

So is TV becoming a group event, or is watching moving imagery through an electronic device is still reserved as a solo activity? That all depends on what one is watching. Sporting events tend to take hold in terms of watching with more than one in the area of the TV machine. Over the previous Sunday, there were plenty of Super Bowl “watching” parties going on, where folks gathered together to have a mid-winter party-type event. Food was mostly likely served along with beverages, and people who may have known each other (if not attending as total strangers) were within the same area of the video device. Many took part of watching the many TV commercials that were at times more entertaining that the game itself. And yes, there was a football match going on as well!

Also, since this is in the middle of awards season, others may meet to view some kind of entertainment-based award presentation where trophies are presented for the best in this or the best in that, usually won for those that are known to the general public at large. (There are a lot of award shows going on that are not necessarily televised since those that are getting these certificates of merit aren’t famous! But that is another topic as that stands!)

Just as long as the program, be it a sporting event, an awards presentation, a scripted show, or any other video based topic of general interest is suitable to view in a group setting (and as long as the viewing device is big in screen size, and is of the highest picture quality possible), then viewing as a whole will be the thing to do. And in this day and age where people are slowly tending away from doing something or another in a group setting, then let the TV machine hold court. It may not be within the same realm of joining a bowling team or hosting a book club, but it does help!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Sacred Fools Theatre Company presents the west coast premier of Jireh Breon Holder’s TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET, a drama about four young couples living in a rural community in Tennessee that deal to conceive justice, affection toward one another, and their own places in life during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.

The two couples consist of Sally (Kacie Rodgers) Bowzie (Derek Jackson), Tony (Shane Liburd) and Evelyn (Jaquita Ta’le). As Negro citizens, they all live within the shadow of racial strife. Sally is wishing to become a stylist, completing an education at a nearby beauty school. Bowzie is attending Fisk University in Nashville on a scholarship and wants to do better for himself. On campus, he becomes involved with the civil rights movement that has been suppressing the Negro population, especially in the deep south. He hears about a group of people called “Freedom Riders” that travel by bus to cities and communities throughout the southern states where segregation is intense. Many of these Freedom Riders, both white and black, have been threatened by those that don’t want them there, even using violent tactics to stop them. Bowzie wants to do what is right. Yet his wife Evelyn and his friends Sally and Tony think otherwise. There is the constant danger in what Bowzie desires to commit to and is willing to take the challenge. It’s the drama of four “colored” people that live through moral support, yet dwell under the dark cloud of discrimination and face suppression just because they are not white!

This play written by Jireh Breon Holder takes a historical point in 20th century American history and develops a melodrama that is both stirring and fiery in terms of emotion. The ensemble cast of these four players show their skills to portray their characters with a sense of believability through Michael A. Shepperd’s stage direction. The dialogue in honest in scope, even at times where the so-called “N” word is used to refer to what they are, but not in any derogatory stance! It’s part of how their community treated those that were colored, even through they were just as honest citizens compared to those of causation decent.

In addition to the play’s styling in terms of performance and writing scope, there are the stage visuals to note upon. Alex Calle’s set design (with the aid of associate set designer Levi Lack) showcases the home base that Bowzie and Evelyn live in, consisting of some rough and worn out furnishings, as well as a kitchen setup that is twenty five years behind the times. Naila Alladdin Sanders provides the costuming that displays the outfits from the era as nothing fancy, but nice. And Byron Batista’s hair and wig design also speaks for the period.

TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET is somewhat a slight step back to the themes of programs usually presented by the Sacred Fools Theatre group. Many of their shows tend to be within the fields of quirky, eccentric, and perhaps slightly off the wall. Since relocating to their new(er) digs in the heart of Hollywood’s “Theatre Row” along Santa Monica Blvd between La Brea to the west and El Centro to the east, the Sacred Fools have matured through their stance, yet still holds on to presenting a number of unique productions throughout their regular reason, including their infamous Serial Killers series performing on late Saturday nights and entering its 14th season. Let’s hope for more productions such as THFYP to be presented at The Fools for the many seasons to come!

TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET, presented by Sacred Fools Theater Company, and performs at The Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block west of Vine Street), Hollywood, until March 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information on this show as well as all other productions as presented by the Sacred Fools, visit http://www.SacredFools.org
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The 46th ANNIE AWARDS, celebrating the best in animation in all moving image media, was presented on February 2nd at Royce Hall located on the campus of UCLA.

Among the many categories presented for animated television programs, feature films, and video games as well as a new category for virtual reality, were a selection of special awards to commemorate those that made their marks in the animation fields.

The June Foray Award, going to the person that posed a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation, was presented to the late Adam Burke for his achievement at Pixar as well as founding the Pixar Hospital Visit Program, where artists from the named animation studio visit community children’s hospitals to demonstrate animation techniques as well as arranging Pixar films screenings. The hospital visit program in now named in his honor.

A Certificate of Merit, awarded to an individual or organization for the service, art, craft, and industry of animation was given to Jason Jones for his volunteer services with the ASIFA-Hollywood chapter.

The Ub Iwerks Award, for the technical advancement that made a significant impact on the art or industry of animation, was awarded for the open source animation software program Blender.

The Winsor McCay Award, for the recognition for career contributions to the art of animation, was presented to three individuals. The first award was presented to the late Frank Braxton, the first African American who worked in the filed of animation in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The second award was presented to Ralph Eggleston for his involvement in Pixar in various capacities from art direction, writing, and animation direction. And the third award was given to Andrea Romano, a voice casting director.

Out of the many titles nominated for their individual categories, perhaps the most significant program achieved at the awards was for the Sony Pictures Animation feature Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse, that won every single award it was nominated for including Best Animated Feature, making that title the real “winner” of all.

For the entire list of nominees and winners, visit the official Annie Awards website https://annieawards.org/
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