PLAY OR “PLAY”?

A few weeks ago, The New York Times presented an article about theater etiquette, a form on how theater goers should behave themselves while attending a play or some other live production.

This method of behavior of how one should act (no pun intended here) and how one should present themselves while attending a performance has increased in scope over the recent years. As one could guess, good ol’ smartphones are often the blame for the unruly behavior that has been witnessed in theater settings, both in large houses and small “hole-in-the-wall” joints!

The most obvious forms of unwanted and unacceptable behaviors involves using a phone during a performance to text messages, capture moving imagery of what’s going on stage, and even engaging in a conversation while the play is progressing! All of these actions are obviously annoying to both the performers doing their thing on stage, and the audience that is seated within the darken theater setting.

This writer has attended a lot of theater shows over the many years. And what yours truly can confess, I (now writing in first person) have witnessed people playing with their phones during the performance using a combination of the above noted procedures as the show moves forward.

Right before a performance, a voice (live or pre-recorded) will usually inform the audience to take upon a few house rules, such as noting where the exits are in case of an emergency, not to bring food or drink inside (bottled water seems to be OK), and to unwrap that candy piece NOW! Along with those basic rules, the non use of phones are mentioned, informing the same audience to place them on silent or even to off so they don’t go ringing while the actors emote their lines. Ditto for sending texts while the play is in progress. (They do encourage you to text during the intermission or after the play to inform the textee how great–or not so great–the play was!) And one form of “no-no” is to capture any imagery of what is going on stage. This is usually in the realm of copyright procedures since the theater presenting the show are not allowed to use any of the mechanical rights to a play. These “mechanical rights” usually consist of recording the show (audio and/or video) in any means and methods. Yes, it’s understood that a live show is that–a live show. Once that show is done and gone, noting remains. But even if the theater has some form of rights to capture the play, the audience members can’t do such!

This is most true in these post-modern days of social media. Many people, especially those that attend plays running in big theaters such as the ones in New York City, attempt to sneak a capture of a play or musical. Some do isolated scenes while others will attempt to capture the entire production–sound and video and all!

If one make an attempt to troll such spots as YouTube and other places where video content can be uploaded and found, one will find such examples. If one is seeking a stage capture of a “hot” show, chances are one will find it! If the management company who owns the show or the company that runs the theater where the show is based, they may stop the uplinks. But with more people capturing shows attended verses the managements that owns the shows and/or the theaters, if one source is stopped, another one will spring into gear to fill that void.

In fact, yours truly were able to “attend” such hot shows (at the time anyway) of such theater programs ranging from The Book of Mormon to Hamilton, all in the comfort of my home base. Yes, seeing a lavish musical production from the point of view of somebody sitting in the upper balcony (the place where a good number of shows are shot from) capturing the show using a phone device that tends to be of shaky and distorted video quality with the sound giving off a lot of reverb, isn’t the greatest way to experience theater. However, if one can’t score tickets (let alone afford them) for a play and/or musical that “everyone” is taking (or texing or tweeting or posting) about, it’s better than nothing. And since one can see these shows for “free”, one can’t beat the price!

A disclaimer here. When I attend plays for review, I never use my phone during the show for any reason! I will also never capture any imagery (moving and still) of the show. This includes the stage set before the show begins–unlike some people who do the same thing I do (review theater) that I personally know, usually in the form of posting pix on their Facebook home pages. As to seeing shows through somebody’s else’s video capture? I will not review a play and/or musical through these methods since seeing a show live vs. through moving imagery isn’t the same! One day when I have the opportunity, I will review The Book of Mormon as a live production and to really find out if the show is as great as everyone who has seen it claims it to be! (I found it “amusing”, but not “great”! Maybe that’s just my personal tastes!)

So a friendly bit of advice from yours truly. Please don’t text during a show or even use your phone during a performance. And don’t capture any of the show’s performance. You can even be ejected from the theater if you are caught doing this. (I know this because I have actually seen somebody being thrown out for violating this rule. At least the management waited until the intermission to bounce this person out!)

And for that person who insists to let everyone know where he is going thanks to his Facebook notices, I’m glad that you are able to prove to the world on what play you are attending by capturing the stage set. And if you are indeed a theater reviewer, how about actually writing a review rather than just showing off to what production you did attended?

But that’s just part of show biz!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sacred Fools Theatre Company presents for their second entry of their 2019-2020 season, Dave Hanson’s WAITING FOR WAITING FOR GODOT, a comedy about a pair of understudy actors waiting for their big break in appearing in a production of a classic play and it performs on a stage.

Bruno Oliver and Joe Henandez-Kolski star as Ester and Val, two thespians that are stationed at a theater dressing room set backstage. On the bill is Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. Ester attempts to be an actor’s actor who performs for the sheer art of emoting other people’s lines taking a director’s directions. Val is another actor that holds a lot of comical charm and grace. In spite of the talents they possess, they are cast as the understudies, meaning that they can shine on stage assuming that the real stars are not able to perform! As they wait, they sweat it out with themselves on how they can become the performers as they are. As they emote with one another, they discuss through words and actions about everything from the art of acting, their place in the theater world, and if they could score an agent! As the play progresses, they become trapped inside of their own personal play where the conflicts and pathos is presented to an audience of one–each other! That is, unless they can count upon the assistant stage manager Laura (Julie Marchiano) to notice what they can do. But she is just the assistant stage manager a.k.a. the ASM, whose job is to make sure that everyone involved doesn’t miss their cues as it states in the script’s stage directions!

This single act play written by Dave Hansen and making its west coast premier courtesy of The Sacred Fools, is a comical piece about two thespians that can act better off stage than on! The two leads, Bruno Oliver and Joe Hernandez-Kolski perform with the same comical timing in the style of a comedy team from the days of vaudeville and burlesque when physical comedy was king! (Also very common as seen in two reel film comedies of yore before the movies learned how to “talk”!) Jacob Sidney as director keeps their pacing up from frantic to near panic stricken as the duo hope they can emote the lines that made Beckett one of the theater world’s most respected playwrights.

Besides the action that progresses on the intimate stage, Aaron Francis’ scenic design consists of a dressing room one would normally find in a small theater, complete with racks of costumes, posters from past plays tacked upon a side wall, as well as the lighted mirrors where the actors apply their greasepaint on their faces. Edgar Landa provides the choreography, and Stephen Simon serves as the physical comedy consultant that takes its cues ranging from Stan and Ollie to Olson and Johnson!

And with the spirit of what this play is all about, it also features real understudies, with Steve N. Bradford and Zach Smith appearing as Ester and Val, with Marion Gonzalez appearing as Laura. Since these three are the genuine understudies, it’s not known to this writer if they are actually backstage awaiting to appear in this production with the same method and finesse as to what is seen with its main players. One can call this practice Waiting For Waiting For Waiting For Godot, but this is overkill as that stands! So much for theater!

WAITING FOR WAITING FOR GODOT, presented by The Sacred Fools Theater Company and performs at The Broadwater Second Stage, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. one block west of Vine Street, Hollywood, until December 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday, November 17th, December 1st and 8th at 5:00 PM, and Monday, November 18th at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, email the Sacred Fools at SFReservations@SacredFools.org, or via http://www.SacredFools.org
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DEFENDERS, Caillin Maureen Harrison’s drama about three fighting solders trapped in a remote location and those in the region who ply themselves between those invaders fighting for the cause in connection to the land they are set within, makes its world premier at The Broadwater Blackbox theatre in Hollywood.

It’s the spring of 1942. In the remote island and village of Hrisey, Iceland, a battle exists between the allied forces and the invading German troops who are attempting to take possession of this nation, currently in neutral status. A trio of American G.I.s consisting of Lt. Marcus Jansen (Bryan Porter), Sgt. Frank McKinley (Tavis Doucette) and Pvt. Fred LeFleur (Spencer Martin) take refuge in a well weathered church. A massive storm has settled upon the island where they become isolated through weather and circumstance. They have minimal ammo, and a radio device that isn’t operational. Lt. Jansen is the leader of this troupe that are out looking for the invading Germans that may be near. Without their firearms, its connected equipment, and a communication device, they are out on their own. While inside of the church, they encounter the pastor, Geir Styrsson (John P. Connolly) and his daughter Vigdis. (Una Efferets) Although Pastor Geir tolerates these G.I. taking refuge in his church, he informs these servicemen in the mists of their battle about the myths and legends this island community has faced over the many years and centuries from other invaders. Lt. Janson is a man that takes orders through his C.O., and accepts the pastor’s warnings as contained anecdotes. But these mysterious sagas are not just fables, but play a role between surviving the forces–those that are part of nature, military strength, and of mythology.

This single act play written by playwright Caillin Maureen Harrison is a drama that is as intense as a war-related saga can withstand. The action is fierce, tight, (very tight mind you), and is a stage piece that one can’t take one’s eyes off of! It’s not just limited as a set where a war ravishes and the fighting men go gung-ho through the process. It’s more of how a ragtag troop of military peacekeepers are in the center of battle between the enemy and the surroundings they face with the quest of who they are defending for.

The characters that consist of the solders, Sgt. McKinley as portrayed by Tavis Doucette, Lt. Jansen played by Bryan Porter, and Spencer Martin as Pvt. LeFleur, have their conflicts yet stick to being a military team that use their wits to survive. And the pair of locals, Pastor Styrsson as played by John. P. Connolly and his daughter Vigdis Geirsdottir as featured by Una Efferets, stand upon their neutral ground with the awareness that there is more power existing within their land that isn’t military force. These elements make this play work its magic as it crosses the line between a war drama to one that is of the human side of things through a mythological based milieu.

The real attraction to this production is what is seen on the intimate stage. David Goldstein’s scenic design consists of a weathered worn church that has seen its better days. Adding to its mythological effects is Dominik Krzanowski’s lighting design, showing off the aspects of battle along the lines of real and mythos.

This production directed by Reena Dutt is a turnaround that speaks for the writing talents of playwright Callin Maureen Harrison. A play she also composed and was recently presented on stage, Last Swallows (see review, Vol. 24-No. 38) was a rather cute and charming little comedy. DEFENDERS is a very intense and “big” drama that shows more of a “war” than a war itself! This reviewer will look forward in experiencing more stage plays as created by this playwright. This program is highly recommended!

DEFENDERS, presented by Pandelia’s Canary Yellow Company, and performs at The Broadwater Blackbox theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Lillian Way), Hollywood, until December 8th. Showtimes are Saturday and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more details, call (323) 960-5770, or via online at http://www.Onstage411.com/Defenders
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

SPARE CHANGE?

No, we are not asking you for money! (Although if you did have a few bucks to pass our way, we would gladly take it. However, this is besides the point!)

This column is speaking about the change that goes on through almost everyone’s personal domain. Each season, new things are brought upon us. Some are changes that are seasonal. Right now it’s the time to don sweaters and jackets as the weather may be a bit on the nippy side, even here in so-called sunny California! Other changes are toward personal reasons, such a change of career, a change of diet, and a change of personal wardrobe that isn’t related toward weather conditions. And the rest of changes can even be of a trivial nature, such as a change of daily route to and from work, school, or some kind of regular place one tends to journey. Or maybe it’s just changing the type of TV channels one can subscribe to! (Will you take Netflix for now, or will you go for Disney Plus?) Get the idea?

Changes in one’s domestic life can be good or otherwise. It’s been known through various studies and related factors that human beings as a whole are creature of habit. We as those same humans living within a domestic society that tend to do the same things over and over without even giving it an after thought. For instance, if one attends some kind of event on a regular basis where one is usually seated, one will sit themselves in the same seat within the same location of the seat. If one performs a ritual that is done on a daily basis such as waking a dog, one will walk that pup using a regular route usually around the same time of day. Ditto for taking a meal break. (Breakfast at 8:00 AM. Lunch at 1:30.) Generally speaking, people will tend to do the same things over and over again, whenever they realizes this or not.

When there is an opportunity to make a change, sometimes that change can become a bit difficult to do. Some folks are so embedded in what they do and how they do it, that can throw things off in a loop. To give an example of another domestic episode from one’s slice of life, we know of one person that recently made a transition in a career. This woman was working for a company for over thirty years. However, management as management tends to peruse was going toward another direction, a direction that wasn’t to this person’s liking. So after careful consideration, she decided to call it quits. But for those thirty or so years, she would start her day around the same time of day, taking the same route to and from her homestead to arrive at her office at the same time. Now after thirty years, she isn’t doing this ordeal anymore. She still will arise ever morning around dawn. She still walks her dog every morning as normal. However, unlike all of those years where she would take off to work after her pup gets the workout, she isn’t doing this anymore. There won’t be any episodes going around the office. There won’t be any of the chit-chat of fellow employees around the coffee machine. There won’t be any office gossip going around. There won’t be the same route to take to and from their job. All of that is gone forever. And how is this person after thirty years taking it all? Quite nicely from what this writer was told! Then again, this change was long in the making, meaning that she was expecting this change of career, informing the higher ups that she would be leaving at a certain date. It just would be the time and effort to make this change go into its effect. So this change was rather easy for this person.

Then again, there are changes that are quite sudden and not planned nor expected. Perhaps one change that is dramatic in nature is a change due to a death. Unless this death was forth coming or even expected, such as a person experiencing a terminal illness where “the end was near”, a death can defiantly throw things off in a loop. The death can be one due to natural causes or through circumstance. Whatever the case, it’s a change! Period!!

Before this writer goes too far in this topic of change, we are created this article on some changes we will be performing within our Accessibly Live Off-Line universe. And we are pleased to note that this change will be for the good and for the better. What will these changes consist of? Stay tuned to this very newsletter for updates! See you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Pacific Palisades’ Theatre Palisades conclude their 2019 calendar season with
RUTHLESS: THE MUSICAL, a musical satire about a bubbly child star awaiting to perform on the theater stage, her slightly ditzy backstage mom, a sleazy talent agent, and a murder plot all rolled into one!

Taking place in an era when domesticated men worked all day and the wives stayed home to keep house, Judy Denmark (Jenna Nichole Sullivan) is the mother of eight year old Tina (Benni Ruby). Unlike other eight year olds of the era where they were seen and not heard, Tina desires to be seen and heard on the theater stage! She can act, sing, and tap dance while looking pretty all the time. She has an agent Sylvia St. Croix (Jon Sparks) who has special plans for the kid. When Tina’s elementary school stages a new Pippi Longstocking musical run by her drama teacher Myrna Thorn (Carly Reeves), Tina knows she can nail that part! However, then events don’t go the way she planned it. Things turn for the worst or for the better, depending on who’s behind the better or for the worst. Before too long, there’s a new shinning star along the Great White Way, Ginger Del Marco, who happens to be Tina’s mom! Will big-deal theater critic Lita Encore (Randi Cee) phrase the acting skills of Tina and/or Ginger Del Marco, or will she give them both a goose egg?

This dark and comical musical, with book and Lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird, is an obvious satire spoofing a variety of sources, everything from Shirley Temple-esque child stars of yore, the musical Gypsy, the feature films All About Eve and its inspiration, The Bad Seed. Of course, it’s all done for laughs and rightly so. The cast of characters that appear are presented as live action cartoons. They can all spoof one another as Tina, et. al. sing and even dance their bit while emoting through their Broadway-bound process! Benni Ruby as Tina has a good part of the talent as she can tap dance as well, although her tap dancing is somewhat limited! Along with the rest of the cast that includes Jessica D. Stone as Louise Lerman, the kid that got the part Tina wanted, and Talulah Hunter as Puddles who has no speaking lines, perhaps the best one of them all is Jon Sparks as Sylvia St. Croix. Jon can drag on to this role with the utmost of finesse, always ready to take on what’s coming to him/her! Alta Abbott directs this show that blends the talent and artistry that this production always holds on to.

Outside of the said talent, there’s lots of other things to see on stage The costume designs by June Lissandrello, Jon Sparks, and Greg Abbott are over the top. Ditto for the wig design also by Jon Sparks. Sherman Wayne is once again behind the set and lighting design, and Victoria Miller presents the choreography.

The musical score is presented live by a three pice combo with musical direction by Brian Murphy performing on the keyboards (playing on a real piano), Spencer Hutton on stand up bass, and John Harvey on percussion.

The title of this musical is self explanatory. It is ruthless, it’s a musical, but it’s very funny as well as charming in its own unique way! One theory states that for every burned out bulb found on a theater marquee, it represents a Broadway bound broken heart. That may be the situation, but nothing is broken in this production as witnessed on the Theatre Palisades stage. And if that isn’t the case, then one call this very “critic” an Unkie’s Muncle!

RUTHLESS: THE MUSICAL, presented by Theater Palisades and performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until December 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

Theatre Palisades has announced their 2020 season of stage shows and musicals.
The season opens in January with Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, followed by Mary Chase’s Harvey in April. In June, Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors performs. In September, Frederick Knott’s thriller Wait Until Dark opens. And rounding out the season in November is the Dan Goggin musical Nunsense. All production titles and schedules are subject to change.

More information on these and all shows as well as for ticket reservations can be obtained by calling (310) 454-1970, or through the Pacific Palisades Theatre website at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
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Julia Migenes appears at The Odyssey Theatre in her program LA VIE EN ROSE, an intimate cabaret performance where she tells the stories of the songs and the artists of Paris, France through music and memoir.

Julia first steps on to the stage not with an opening number, but a brief story on how she came to Paris after her stay in Vienna singing opera. Once she began to lose weight dining on Parisian food (as she tells it), she embraced herself upon the harmony and fashion to what French music is all about. She continues to wax nostalgic on the period of Paris and France between the era of Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso, generally the 1880’s to around the 1960’s. Standing alongside a grand piano, she tells briefly about some of the vocalists that were active in this part of Europe, such as Charles Aznavour, Leo Ferre, Jacques Brel, Michel Legrand, and of course, the beloved Edith Piaf whose inspiration sets Julia’s performance in motion.

Seated at the piano is Victoria Kirsch, who plays the songs that Julia tells about that are well remembered in France and especially in Paris, but may not be well known to those stateside as these talents never made much on an impact outside of their native land. But Julia does give a bit of a demonstration to these musical artists and their style of presentation. At times, Julia’s story telling on these harmonious style are reminiscent to how Leonard Bernstein used to explain the methods of music on Sunday afternoon television. Yet Julia doesn’t play the piano and Leonard Bernstein never did musical vocals.

Julia’s show is extremely charming and very moody. Also, it only holds a running time of some seventy-five minutes. This isn’t enough time to really get the grasp of Julia’s true musical approach. She holds a portfolio of various styles of tunes and singing. And since she calls this musical review part of her “farewell” tour, one would believe that she would really show what she can do before she leaves the spotlight for good!

The stage set Julia and her musical complement Victoria Kirsch appear upon is very minimal. Chris Bell designed a stage scene consisting of Julia, Victoria seated behind a piano, along with a classic style “French” lamppost placed far off stage left, and a Victrola stage center, all positioned within a blacken setting. On the talking machine’s turntable is a pink colored Edit Piaf record. Although that pink colored record is the brightest spot of the stage set, it’s there just for show since Julia is doing the real singing and the Pief record is in reality, an album that is to be played back at 33 1/3 RPM!

Directed by Peter Medak, LA VIE EN ROSE is a melodic program for those that hold that same romance for Paris, France, and for those that recall the flavor of the spirit that small spot in Europe represents. Even through Julia is stating a “goodbye”, let’s hope she returns to do another set of tunes to top off this farewell, or a farewell for the time being.

LA VIE EN ROSE featuring Julia Migenes, performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, until December 8th. Showtimes are Thursday, November 7th, 14th, 21st, and December 12th, Friday, November 29th and December 6th, Saturday, November 9th, 16th, 23rd, and December 14th, and Sunday, December 1st and 8th. All performance begin at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, or online at
http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com
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The Victory Theatre Center presents the west coast premier of Judith Leora’s ELIJAH, a dark play about a group of people stranded in one place because of a storm that faces many challenges between personal secrets, a death about to take place, and the quality of service inside of a casual dining establishment.

The setting is a TGI Fridays restaurant located in a small town in Texas off the interstate. The weather outside isn’t very pretty as Hurricane Elijah is passing through. A group of folks take refuge inside of the place that has only a scant pair running the eatery through default. There’s the manager Lori (Kathleen Bailey) and her teenaged niece Ashley (Mackenzie) who is learning how to be part of the waitstaff. As the storm become intense, a few people trickle in to weather out the storm and to get a bit to eat–whatever they can get! There’s Dawn (Molly Grey), Greg (Jordan Well), Tim (Jesse Merill) and Patience (Elle Vernee). Besides the weather, another event is taking place nearby at a state prison. Scheduled for that same evening is an execution of a serial killer. And the few that are present at this diner are there to take part in a protest connected with the execution. This is where the conflicts take their start. While the storm progresses, so are the tempers and attitudes of those taking refuge. Before long, a lot of secrets are reviled between these six, making the storm inside more brutal that the storm taking place outdoors!

This single act play by playwright Judith Leora was first inspired when she had to take refuge inside of a TGIF Friday’s joint while a hurricane was actually passing through. To make her isolated episode more interesting, she added all of the conflict and pathos that takes place on stage. It can be described as a rather macabre comedy. The comedy itself doesn’t consist of one-line jokes or even comic situations. Much of the so-called “humor” is based upon a group of people that arrive from totally different backgrounds and beliefs that are holed up in one place through dire circumstance rather than by personal choice. These differences and their constant ribbing one another is set as unintentional humor, let alone the serious nature of what’s really going on throughout. (A horrendous storm, an execution, deep secrets reviled from a darken past, etc.) The mini conflicts between the six as well as their dialogue is presented in a very tight fashion, never letting its momentum drag to any standstill.

The cast of players do get along with one another, but not in any playful manor. They are likable for who they are depending on one’s mood. That element is what makes this play work! Marie Gobetti, one of the artistic directors of The Victory Theatre, directs this program through a solid loop that carries on toward its ninety minute limit right up to its conclusion, even if that conclusion is a bit abrupt!

Evan Bartoletti’s set design shows the inside of what could be a “real” TGI Fridays, complete with appropriate tables and chairs, as well as the kitschy decor that makes this kind of location the proper joint to eat its comfort food selections and watch the game on a dozen TV sets, yet there are no video monitors present on this stage set!

ELIJAH is a production that carries a title of Biblical proportions, yet has nothing to do with the prophet of the same name. It’s just a theater piece that shows what could happen when somebody is plopped at the right place for the wrong reasons. At least TGI Fridays serves the best curly fries around!!

ELIJAH, presented by and performs at The Victory Theatre (The Big Victory Theatre), 3326 West Victory Blvd. one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until December 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at
http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org
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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (Warner Bros.) stars Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog, a private detective based in Brooklyn, USA c.1957. His office is within a car service company that takes people to and where they have to go when a cab, bus, or subway car isn’t available. When his longtime friend and mentor Frank Minna (Bruse Willis) is gunned down, he starts to get to the reasons on who was behind this murder. He makes some discoveries within his leads that takes him to the backend of city hall where a there is a corruption deal going on with a structure builder figure, Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin) who plans to build dwelling units in the slum areas of the city that in reality would relocate the negro population out of the area. One person that is fighting against this plan is Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) what holds the reasons toward getting behind the murder of Lionel’s best friend. One elements that Lionel holds is a emotional handicap, having a case of Tourette Syndrome where he blurts out words and fragmented sentences without any control. It’s a long journey through the back alleys of the borough he knows well, facing more than he may possibly handle.

This feature film is based on the novel of the same name written by Jonathan Lethem. Edward Norton supposedly discovered this work in the late 1990’s, and desired to adapt it for the big screen. He eventually wrote its screenplay even setting to not only star, but to direct, making him as a “triple threat” toward this path. The movie itself is very “film noir”-esque as it has a lot of the elements that make up a typical film noir vehicle. (Grimy back alleys, darkened rooms and places with streaks of light shining through, seedy looking joints and dives heavy of cigarette smoke and booze, etc.) as well as the characters that are part of the gritty urban landscape. (Thugs, goons, politicians on the take, etc.) The film’s look is 1950’s Brooklyn throughout! Beth Mickel’s production design, adding Kara Zeigon’s set decoration, as well as Amy Roth’s costuming make this feature as part of the eye candy that makes period films just what they are.

Alas and alack, those are the better parts of this feature. What this film lacks is continuity that moves is a fast clip. The feature opens rather well as Lionel and his best friend Frank go undercover on a case, only to have Frank gunned down. (This tidbit wasn’t a spoiler alert as Lionel’s gum shoeing started when Frank was “whacked”!)

From that point, the feature starts to bog down where the pacing creeps slower and slower. By the time the feature came to its conclusion some 144 minutes later (give or take a minute), the pacing nearly came to a dead standstill. This form of miniminalistic action would would be ideal, if not perfect, for television. In fact, this movie plays like a made for TV mini series what consists of Lionel looking for the killer. And there are a lot of scenes where the characters talk to one another through close ups. This form of picture direction is fine for a TV program, but not for a theatrical film. To compare, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does a great, if not better, job in recreating 1950’s Brooklyn. However, folks tend to see movies, especially period films, for its plot points, acting abilities, and so on, not to look at scenes recreated to resemble another time and space!

There are a lot of others appearing in this title, including Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, with Willem Dafoe. Many of these names are more of the character actor type then leading “boxoffice” worthy stars. That is why this movie is best suited for television that a theatrical experience.

Oh yes, there is the musical score to note. Daniel Pemberton composed the score that features Wynton Marsalis on the trumpet.  And Thom Yorke performed an original song as part of the soundtrack. These musical notes (pun?) are this feature’s saving grace as jazz was indeed part of 1950’s New York. So was doo-wop, yet there is no period rock ‘n roll anywhere to be heard! Perhaps street corner doo-wop isn’t as sophisticated as bebop jazz!

It’s somewhat understood that the last few weeks of the calendar year is important in the movie biz as this time of year launches the start of the movie awards season where every studio releases their best films of the year that contains lots of deep drama, performers that are good (if not good looking) in what they do–and never mind the fact that that they aren’t necessarily big-name stars, as well as releasing movies covering topics that are of an important nature. (Social issues mostly) And yes, they tend to cater to an older (50+) audience that usually tolerate such kind of movies to let’s say, a super-hero type action film, a family friendly animated title, or a classic “tentpole” franchise property that may not be original, but exists to make serious money nevertheless.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN isn’t one of those kind of pictures! It’s a good movie for what it is, and perhaps good enough to snag an Oscar or two assuming that if it’s going to be nominated for something! However, it’s best if one can appreciate this title seen on the smaller video screen. If those academy voting members out there like this movie, so will you we suppose!

This title is rated “R” for cussing and for “urban” violence. (Gunshots, fist fights, etc.) Now playing in 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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Either this is a trend of sorts, or perhaps it’s part of our imagination. Or maybe this writer is just paying more attention to these things. Who knows?

Anywho, it appears that people we know or know of are taking vast efforts in making some sort of a career change. This form of change is part of a shift to what the person is doing or did do something for a living i.e. “a job”, and creating a newer opportunity of doing something else that’s different or unique in what they were doing beforehand. This change is based upon actions that are of the person’s own making and choosing. This change isn’t to be confused with being laid off at their place of employment. Or worse, being fired from their occupation! (Also known as “getting 86ed”, “canned”, “pink slipped”, “being axed”, given the boot”, and other colorful named meaning leaving a job because somebody decided that you were no longer needed to be paid for doing something there!)

Getting back to the story here. For a lot of folks, especially for those that are at a certain point in their life, changing a career or occupation is a move that can bring joy and excitement, holding an adventure that the person wanted to experience but never did (or never did as expected), or one that give them an opportunity to pursue something they would never do because of various reasons, from getting “outside of the box” (whatever that term means), or trying to overcome being chicken s#it! It also could bring fear and anxiety, not necessarily knowing what’s going to happen next! However, that fear and stuff isn’t as scary as they may have imagined. It’s another method of rising to the occasion.

Those circumstances could fall because that person isn’t feeling satisfied in what they have been doing. Perhaps they are working their assets off and never even getting a token “thanx” from anyone in what they have accomplished. Perhaps the person is working for a company, a firm, or some other outside entity that isn’t doing what they should or what they once performed. Or maybe the company or firm itself is getting out of their business, meaning that unless the person involved in that outlet finds something else to do with another force, that person will be out on the street when the bigger company calls it quits. Usually, there is advance notice when this occurs for those working under their roof with the notion that they have been warned before the fact. There had been a few cases especially during the era called “The Great Recession” (2009 through the early 2010s), where a firm’s source came abruptly to a finish, meaning that on Friday afternoon, those involved at the workplace discover that there won’t be a Monday morning to come back to.

There is one person that we personally know of that has been part of the same company for a little over thirty years(!) This person arrived to Los Angeles from her native state of New Jersey to obtain this position back around 1988. Over that time, she progressed in that company as well as in her personal life, She married only to have that domestic partnership dissolve, and self raised a (now adult) daughter. She even purchased a house that she still has to this very day! And for those thirty one years, she did what she did for the firm receiving the utmost respect.

Sadly, over the last few years, the company went under different managements. After careful consideration, she decided that after a little over three decades with the same firm, it was time to move on. Yes, she is getting to that point in her life where the traditional age of retirement isn’t as far off as it used to be, but she isn’t considering retirement. She has a lot of life in what she dose, and has other things to perform to gain that self respect. She is involved with duties at a nearby church, and assists two elder ladies in getting to and from the church to attend services each weekend. She presents herself in what she does with pride.

There are others that are doing the same shift as well. There is another person that writes for a weekly travel blog for a company she founded a little over ten years ago. In her recent blog posting, she says that she is merging her travel firm with another company and will be moving into new avenues. Yours truly doesn’t know this person personally or otherwise, so we can’t comment too much on what and where she is going. We just know these facts because we just so happen to be on her mailing list. So we take what she has to say for herself for what it’s worth!

This writer is paying attention to all of this since yours truly is around the same age of the person who was with the same company for thirty one years. (The travel lady is a bit older or so we assume!) And although we won’t necessarily admit it, we are not getting any younger. Granted, there is a lot of life to live ahead, but it’s not the same life we experienced when we were living inside of a domestic life from times past when we were younger, dumber, and full of…you get the idea!

So we give our congrads to our thirty-one year veteran of the job site. We do hope to get updates from this person to pass along some of the details in how she is handling things to our curious readers. But we ourselves are just chugging along.

What will be in store for ALO-L as we soon enter the roarin’ 20’s? We’ll keep you posted! And that’s gonna be the cat’s pajamas!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Matrix Theatre on Melrose presents the world premier of Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s THE DOUBLE V, a story about one man’s effort to write a “letter to the editor” to a newspaper that would start a long process of the declaration of equality through victory.

It’s early 1942. The United States, as well as a good part of the world, are at war. It’s a battle taking place “over there” as well as what has been called as “the home front”. James “Jimmy” Thompson (Preston Butler, III) a young Negro man from Wichita, Kansas, works at an aircraft factory that are building planes for the Army Air Corps. He doesn’t work on the assembly line through. He works in the kitchen as many of the “colored” employees assembles for their jobs. He would like to do his part in winning the war. Alas, because he is of the negro race, he faces a lot of obstacles just because he isn’t white! So he writes a letter to the editor of The Pittsburgh Currier, a leading negro newspaper and states within his letter that there are two victories to win-one over our enemies from without–meaning the battles in Europe and the Pacific region, and the enemies within-meaning those that suffer from discrimination because of race. This letter calls to the attention of the newspaper’s editor Ira Lewis (Nicholas Few) who assigns a budding reporter Madge Evans (Brie Eley) to write a story about Jimmy Thompson’s effort to call for victory on both counts. Upon arriving in Wichita, she sees that this battle to win a war isn’t as equal for everyone, especially for those of color. Before long, a Double V movement would spread to other colored communities around the nation that affected those negros that desired to become as equal as their white counterparts. The movement not only received the attention to the negro populace, but to other sects including the FBI! The letter that Thompson penned in the days of World War II would eventually become the seeds to the civil rights movement that occurred later in the century.

This play written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff is based upon the actual Double V movement that occurred during this period. However, its history toward the effect was eventually lost over time and tide, but continued through other rallies and events that would last well into the new millennium. In this stage production, Preston Butler, III as Jimmy plays his role as an energetic lad that holds a passion to fight for what is right for his nation and his people. He strives to continue through his ways and means, even though his boss as the aircraft factory, Charlie Simpson (Joe Coffey) tends to only tolerate his efforts with the secret desire to keep him, as well as the other negros in their space! (For the record, this writer is using the terminology of the era as today’s African Americans were called “Negro” and “Colored” in the 1940’s as to when the story takes place.)

Michael Arabian’s stage direction shows off the many faces to what is transpiring within the editorial regions of the Currier, as well as the middle America zones of Wichita. This is especially true to how the white community treated those that were not white, even calling the battle as “the white man’s war”!

The rest of the cast that appear in this production also features Terra Stong Lyons as Annie Culver, with Cary Thomson, Jamal Henderson, and John Apicella performing in duo roles.

John Iacovel’s scenic design shows on center stage Ira Lewis’ office, complete with wooden-yet-study desk, library chairs, an old file cabinet, a typewriter that was at the era of the 1940’s was a thirty year old relic, among many other period items. Stage right’s space is the setting for the aircraft factory, and stage left is a couch that makes call for Jimmy’s humble abode shared by his father along with Jimmy’s girlfriend.

THE DOUBLE V presents itself as a drama that showcases a young man’s patriotic duties and his struggles to become equal in a world of inequality. From this point, this eventually lead toward the mass marches, the efforts of the freedom riders, even leading into the post-modern era of the #Black Lives Matter factions. The play’s reach is far, and holds plenty of uplifting intentions. The war may become long over with as well as becoming victorious, but the efforts for racial equality has yet to be won. It’s another “V” to go!

THE DOUBLE V, presented by CEK Productions, and performs at The Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue (east of Fairfax), Los Angeles, until November 24th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For reservations and for more information, call (323) 960-7776, or online at
http://www.OnStage411.com/DoubleV
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents LOVE IN BLOOM, an original musical that takes place in a fairy tale world that foretells the fable of a prince involved in a pre-arranged marriage to a princess-to-be, along with the other myths and legions that just as mystical.

Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo appear as Talia, the Queen of the Fairies and Orion, the Faerie King. This royal duo tells the saga of Prince Hamelot (Patrick Censoplano) that is set for a marriage to the fair maiden Lady Merrymount (Rachel Galper). The good prince isn’t too keen into this marriage as his characters is self described as “wishy-washy”! In spite of the prince’s attitude toward, there are others in this storied kingdom to guide him along. From this mix is the informal scamp Frivolio (Graham Silbert), a pair of sister siblings (Tara Brown and Cynthia Zitter) who disguise themselves as men disguised as women, and a “monster” appropriately named Calabasas (Zane Garcia). From this blend of beings, they all bloom to reach that pinnacle point of a mythical tale where a pleasing ending awaits for all!

This musical with book by Evelyn Rudie & Chris DeCarlo, with music and lyrics by Evelyn Rudie & Matthew Wrather and stage direction by Chris DeCarlo, is a parable that is a harmonious fuse of mime, commedia dell’arte, with touches from the quill of Willie Shakespeare inspired from his midsummer’s night dream, the wit of Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as some bawdiness (from nobody in particular) added for flavor. The fore noted bawdiness isn’t anything explicit per se, but is more of the “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” variety! Overall, it’s a delightful musical that creates an illusion of a world where anything could happen with a secure placement that everyone comes form the happy and content stock.

But there is more to the characters, music, and snappy dialogue that is part of this showcase. Ashley Hayes’ costuming shows off the world of farce and fantasy that is more akin to a “as you like it” form of experimental theater. That is, the complementary kind of experimental theater in apposed to something that’s weird!

Cydne Moore’s choreography is very imaginative that uses the art of mime as its base. This form of stage movement leans toward the notion of illustration of a description to the plot points.

James Cooper’s lighting, set, and video projection design add toward its look and feel that fits very well within the compact stage. Something depicted on a larger playing field (i.e. a stage) would have been otherwise lost!

These notions as witnessed within this production is why the Santa Monica Playhouse is one of the best (if not beloved) theaters in the Los Angeles region. The team of DeCarlo & Rudie, who also serves as its artistic directors, has taken this theater into its new highest over their many years on stage and off. And with shows such as this one, there isn’t any doubt that one won’t find quality theatre of this ilk anywhere. And it’s not just limited for the “grown-ups”! On Saturday and Sundays, there are other shows that are fit for the younger ones that the adults will find just as charming! (Visit the theatre’s website for more details on those productions!

LOVE IN BLOOM is a musical showpiece that is giddy and whimsical as a lovestruck “fool”! It’s not a spoiler alert to say that everyone lives happier ever after. And within this universe of the time of now, everyone needs a bit of content more than ever!

LOVE IN BLOOM, presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse (2nd Stage theater space), 1211 4th Street at Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, until November 24th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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Santa Monica’s City Garage Theatre presents the world premier of Jeton Neziraj’s DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS, a surreal play about a bureaucratic center where dreams are obtained, catalogued, and deposited, and the people that control this inventory of thoughts.

Set within a unnamed nation, there is a governmental department calling itself “The Department of Dreams”, were every citizen is required by rule to report their dreams to this entity. Its mission is to transcribe these dreams, then to separate the dreams based on its practical use, then to ever further sort the dreams by topical category, finally to deposit these dreams for the full use and control to those that desire access. Within this department are those that enforce these tactics. John Logan plays Dan, a newly hired worker whose job as interpreter is to analyze the dreams that are otherwise difficult to decipher. This translates if such decrypted dreams are to be otherwise used as a possible threat to the nation’s wellbeing. Dan’s superior is his boss known as Master (Bo Roberts) that gives the outlines to what Dan should be seeking in terms of what occurs within these dreams. The person that Dan replaced was a worker known as Shortleg (Gifford Irving) who left as he spouted wings and few off to parts unknown. This act of Shortleg could have been itself a dream that Dan was required to translate. One entry he finds comes from a woman named Night. (Angela Beyer) This woman’s dreams seems to haunt Dan that drive him deeper into her psyche. Dan faces this challenge that could place him into other sections within this governmental ministry leading toward being cleansed–stripped down to a default pattern. Are these dreams being used for the benefit of its citizens, or only for the good to the national republic?

This single act play written by Kosovo native Jeton Nezira and translated into English by Alexandra Channer, is a haunting tale of an unnamed nation’s dominance to collect the dreams of its people as required by statute. These dreams are its citizen’s form of utmost privacy, very much akin to the times when Kosovo, located within the Balkans region of Europe that was once known as Yugoslavia, a one time suppressed region through political and economic aspects. In this play, much of what once occurred within this part of Europe is expressed throughout, yet presented in an unreal pattern. It can even be noted that its just as dreamlike as its citizens cannot keep their their dreams, but to pass those inner thoughts toward this agency accessible to a select class. The cast of performers mostly consist of those working within this department. David E. Frank plays an official to this bureaucratic entry, and Aaron Bray portrays a Dreambuilder that creates the dreams that is more suitable to the department.

The stage set for this production as designed by Charles Duncombe consists of a two winged structure to represent its working space it occupies as located within the seven story building where the dreams are housed. Its center stage on floor level is where some of the alternative occurrences takes place. The backdrop shows animated graphics as designed by Gaston Vinas that illustrates the inner intellect of what is unfolding through this inventory of dreams as collected in the past times, formed within the present mode, and the future destiny for the remainder.

This production can be witnessed as a statement of how a superior sect may be collecting the inner thoughts of those users by choice or circumstance. Although the basis may lean toward a political nature, it also could represent how non-governmental agencies are taking over the privacy of others in the form of high tech cyberspace based outlets through internet search engines and posts via social media outlets.

Directed by Frederique Michel, DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS can be a tale of fantasy, or a epic dose of hard reality cloaked as something from a parallel universe. Whatever may be the case, it questions to proceed these heeds with caution as everyone’s dreams may be next in line!

Please note that there is brief nudity depicted within this production.

DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS, presented by and performs at City Garage theatre, 2525 Michigan Avenue (at Bergamot Station off Olympic), Building T1-Santa Monica, until December 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM.

Special performances will take place the weekend of November 8th through the 10th featuring in person panel discussions with the playwright and other distinguished guest speakers.

More details on these special events, as well as for ticket reservations for all other performances can be obtained by calling the City Garage theatre boxoffice at (310) 453-9939, or through its website at http://www.CityGarage.org
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The Gloria Gifford Conservancy of Hollywood presents Tina Howe’s THE ART OF DINING, a comedy on a couple’s efforts within their new restaurant and the patrons that take part in their cuisine.

Ellen and Car are proprietors of The Golden Carousel, an upscale eatery located off the New Jersey shore. The new establishment was opened by this couple with Ellie as the master chef and Cal and the Maitre’D, as well as a $75,000 business loan to start everything off. Now it’s up to this couple to plan their menu, take reservations by phone, and to make sure that their customers can dine on many of their specialties found on the menu. The guests that arrive that evening consist of a married couple that are gourmands seeking the best for their tastes buds, a young writer of short stories awaiting to meet a rep from a publishing house with the hopes of making a deal, and three women out on a girl’s night out shopping trip that are there to enjoy their own company. Through the multiple courses of the evening, many little stories unfold, including of Ellie’s and Cal’s fighting and harmony in the kitchen. It’s really all about the mood and the food that takes center plate!

This production can be described as to how the “foodies” first came to light into the dining world. The play itself was first presented some forty years ago, back in the day when people would really dress for dinner, exotic cuisine was limited in reach (and was well worth the search), and reservations were only taken via the phone. Outside of these little methods on how restaurants operated and how patrons took its advantage, there really isn’t anything “dated” in this play. People still love to eat out, and restauranteurs still have their differences. However as noticed, nobody was fooling around with their phones while seated at their tables!

A rotating cast of players perform within this production. Billy Budinich, Keith Walker, Chris Jones, and Christine Maltez play Cal. Joey Marie Urbina and Kelly Musselwhite portray Ellen. Chad Doreck, Danny Siegel, Dan White, and Joshua Farmer portray Paul Galt, while Lucy Walsh, Keturah Haminlton, Cynthia San Luis, and Abigail Kochunas appear as Hanna Galt. (The married couple). Elizabeth Barrow Colt-the budding writer, is played by Kasia Pilewicz, Sabrina Won, and Justine Estrada. David Osslow, the publishing house executive, is performed by Haile D’Alan, Benito Paje, and Joe Flippone. And the trio of woman as the “girls night out” group consists of Leana Chavez, Nancy Vival, Samiyah Swann, Jade Ramirez Warner, Raven Bowens, Irene Gerakas, Amber Dancy, Danielle Abraham, Gloria Alvizar, and Rosa Frausto.

What also makes this play quite interesting is the detailed set design by Gloria Gifford, Keturah Hamilton & Lucy Walsh. On stage left is a real working kitchen space were food is actually prepared for the actors to dine on stage. Center stage are three white table clothed tables and chairs complete with cloth napkins, fancy china, and a stage candle placed on each table for mood and for show. Stage right is the reception lobby area of the restaurant (complete with a gold colored carousel hobby horse) all decked out in purple. These elements show that this restaurant isn’t another greasy spoon diner, and well as a bland quick service (i.e. “fast-food”) franchise joint!

Directed by Gloria Gifford, THE ART OF DINING is a play that hasn’t been performed in the Los Angeles region for some thirty five years! It’s long awaited revival is now available that enjoy a good number of laughs, in addition to how eating has become an art within its own right! Being a real foodie takes skill and effort. Not only that, it also takes a lot of good taste to pull it all off! As the pre-meal “prayer” goes, “Good food, good meat, good gosh, let’s eat!”

THE ART OF DINING, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and the GGC Players, performs at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory theater, 6502 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, until December 8th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4404222
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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

THE OLD MILL STREAM

In another chapter of the continuing saga of how television is once again changing, another entry to the streaming wars recently made their mark.

NBCUniversal recently gave a name to their new streaming service that will open in the Spring of ’20. It’s calling itself Peacock, named after the bird that has been part of The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) since 1956 when it was in the process of introducing color TV, perhaps the most significant improvement of TV that became mainstream in the 20th century. (High definition, although being tested, didn’t become the standard until the middle 2000s i.e. the 21st Century!)

As of this writing, there will be a number of new and improved streaming services here and/or “coming soon” that will offer a vast selection of content; old, new, and new again. The new stuff will be programs never seen before. The old stuff will be time tested favorites that were created within the last thirty years. (Friends, The Office, Seinfeld, etc.) as well as a few remakes, or in better terms, reboots! Peacock will offer reboots of two other shows from the 1980s and 1990s; Saved By The Bell, and Punky Brewster. The former series is based on a live action series for youth that was once part of NBC’s Saturday morning lineup, while the latter series was a prime time sitcom whose namesake was supposedly named after a girl that NBC’s programming head at the time, Brandon Tartikoff once knew as a youth!

It really isn’t any surprise to figure out why streaming media is now part of the many new comings of TV. There are the many reasons behind that note. First, streaming media can be obtained through any electronic device that sports a screen and can be connected to the internet, wired or wireless. Second, the programs can be viewed whenever the viewer desires, rather than on let’s say Thursday nights at 8:30 PM. (7:30 PM Central and Mountain times.) And in most cases, one can watch one episode at a time, or become a video hog and view every episode one after another for hours at a time. This method of watching one episode after the other is called “binge watching”. However, some of the streaming services will only release a few episodes of a programs at a time in order to give the viewer a serialized feel to it by also giving a few cliffhanger aspects to it all. This is assuming that the series in question offers some kind of a story arc. But most programs, especially programs that are not sitcoms, to have that continuity to it all. This means that if one begins to watch the series starting on episode five, some content will be missing or it won’t make much sense! You’ve got to start on EP1!!

However, the real reason for streaming’s appeal was the monthly service price for a subscription. Most of the streaming channels are available a la carte, meaning one can get those channels one at a time and to their choosing. Some services are offering package deals, such as Disney is going for their Disney+ and ESPN programs at a package rate. This is totally different with cable TV where the service would be for so much per month, offering channels that the subscriber may view a few times or not at all while paying for the privilege.

To give you readers an idea to what we are commenting about, back in the 2000s, this writer knew of somebody who was paying $121.00 per month to their local CATV provider to only watch three channels: Bravo, The Discovery Channel, and A&E. This same subscriber has access to 110 active channels, 30 that were “reserved for future use”, and the rest were audio only channels that offered a selection of music based on genre. One the screen as the music played, a static photo of the artist performing the song was displayed or a stock photo of an image that would fit the mood of the song was on the screen if the artist photos were not available. The name of the song, the artist name, and the source to where the song came from was displayed on the lower right side of the screen–MTV style!

Each decade of the 21st century had some change or improvement when it comes to TV within this domestic landscape. The 2000s introduced high def TV signals while is ended standard resolution TV–the kind that’s been around since the 1940s, as well as antilog signals. It was saw the end of the traditional CRT TVs that featured a square screen made of glass, as well as the end of the VCR. The 2010s made high def the norm while sets became longer and flatter in size and scope. The 20’s may show the fading of cable TV as will as DVD media. However, not everything that can be viewed on a TV device will be available via streaming since it’s more of a legal thing that a technological aspect.

Because of this, DVDs are not necessarily going away for good., so don’t quite toss out that DVD machine yet! And if one is a real consigner of content, many titles that were once available on commercially released videotapes may no longer be available anymore! (It’s another legal thing!) And the only way to see some content that’s out of print (so to speak), one needs a VCR to view it back. Keep in mind that the video will be seen at around 240 scan lines, making the picture look washed out when viewed on a 4k set. However, unless some lawyers get their acts together, one is never going to see a specific movie, TV show, or some other content on any other medium for a while, if at all!

Yours truly has been asked a number of times on what kind of programs I take a look at existing on the TV universe. I really never made any real comments toward this question. However, yours truly will give a reply to that time tested inquiry in a future issue of ALO-L.

So as they would say on TV, stay tuned!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its limited run at The Zephyr Theatre on Melrose is Karen Lukesh’s new play DO US PART, a mini melodrama of a soon to be divorced couple having what appears to be their final stand.

Karen Kukesh and Scott Speiser are Dee and Nick. They have just completed their 11th (and final) year as husband and wife. Now in the final process of dissolving their marriage for keeps, they are packing their respectable goods from the home that was once theirs. Their meeting seems to be rather stilted as they still continue to dish out their faults. Although they both admit that they are beginning to “see” other people, they still desire to have they last minute say with each other. It’s not as easy to call it quits after a decade plus. But can they really end it all? Better still, is there hope for Nick and Dee, even though their attitudes may say otherwise?

This one act play written, directed, and co-starring Karen Kukesh, is a piece that can be lifted from what is known as “real life”. It’s generally a play that takes upon a comical look of a couple that thought they had it all, but it appears that the “all” wasn’t as cracked up as it could. The dialogue between the two is fast paced, cocky at times, while it holds some hints of sweetness to it all. They both come to their own conclusions within its sixty or so minute running time–something that a real life situation could really use.

What makes this play as charming as it is in spite of its theme of a marriage gone to pot, is the fact that it holds simplicity. Its stage set just consists of a few scattered cardboard boxes full of clothing, paperback books, CDs, along with an oversized wedding album that is now all for naught. These props represent a few of the things that are just reminders of a domestic life that is no more.

For those that desire a classic case of less-is-more theater, DO US PART fits that bill. It’s a comedy that tests if a marriage can really last through personal choice, or through dumb luck.

DO US PART, performs at The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, until October 24th. Showtimes are Thursday nights at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at https://douspart.brownpapertickets.com
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Art Shulman’s CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMEN, a comedy-drama about a man who juggles a quartet of women that are part of his life while one dwells in the afterlife, makes its world premier at North Hollywood’s T.U. Studios.

Anthony Backman is Richard, who goes by his nickname “Champ”. He was once married to Susie (Rebecca Westberg), who Champ called “Princess”. It’s been a year since she passed away, yet her spirit is present within Champ’s humble condo home. Although he is alone in his condo, it seems that living there isn’t as feasible for him. (Besides, he could use the money for its sale!) So he uses the services of a real estate agent he first met at his gym, Cheryl (Caroline Westheimer). She is there as a professional, but as someone who may act as his companion. Adding to this mix is Esther (Leah Bass), a neighbor who does Champ’s laundry if not dispensing her spin on advice, and Annie (Shelby Janes), who works at the deli that makes his favorite sandwiches he partakes in!

This comic drama (or dramatic comedy) by regional playwright Art Shulman is a tale that focuses upon one’s personal conflict between the notion of letting go and moving on within one’s personal life. The cast that appear in this production are rather appealing. Anthony Backman as Champ is portrayed as a humble sole with shades of a person with hopelessly romantic traits, yet keeps on with his comical allure. (He can tell jokes, even if those jokes fall flat!) Leah Bass as Esther serves as the neighbor who is a bit on the nosy side, yet still keeps her heart of gold. Caroline Westheimer as Cheryl is straight forward in her line of work, yet gets along with Champ’s ideal. Shelby Janes as Annie is just as charming and perhaps can be the right person for Champ, outside of creating his sandwiches the way he likes ‘em! Rounding out the cast is Rebecca Westberg as Susie a.k.a. Princess, Champ’s real love of his life. Princess remains as a ghost that gave him her final (and written) notes for him just before she was sent to the afterlife.

Stan Mazin directs this play that is more melodramatic that comical, although it doesn’t get overly serious. It’s also talky, meaning that there are a lot of issues noted. Those plot elements just brings the backstory up front for the audience to follow up to.

CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMAN is a appealing play that serves its purpose, reminding those that one is never totally gone, let alone forgotten. It also shows how life can become a wonder as well.

CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMEN, performs at the T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street (at Lankershim Blvd. and Vineland Avenue), North Hollywood, until November 24th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For reservations and further information, call (818) 646-0007, or online at
http://www.ChampsWomen.com
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MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (Disney) stars Angelina Jolie as the title character. Elle Fanning is her goddaughter Aurora as the hailing Queen of the Moors, the mythical land that harks fairies and other fantasy-type creatures. Harris Dickinson is Prince Phillip, son of King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) who rule the neighboring kingdom of Ulstead. When Phillip asks Aurora’s hand in marriage, the task of the two families soon to be united in marriage lean toward the arrangement of a formal dinner party at the castle of the king and queen to commerate the celebration. It first appears that this dinner meeting may hold some complications. Malificent agrees to meet the future in-laws, even getting some training in royal etiquette through her assistant and companion, her raven Diaval (Sam Riley), who appears in human form when desired. At the dinner party, what begins as simple small talk conversation unfolds into something bigger. This leads Maleicent to place a curse of King John, putting him into a deep sleep. Will a kiss break the spell, or is there more into a once peaceful kingdom getting inside of a conflict between the citizens of Ulstead and the creatures within the Moors?

This feature film is a sequel of sorts from the 2014 release Maleficent from The Walt Disney Company which in turn, was extracted from the 1959 animated release Sleeping Beauty. The current release, as well as its follow up, is another take of Disney making “live action” versions of stories taken from “cartoon” editions.

As to what this title provides, it features not only a slew of special effects (of course), but it adds more depth to all of the characters that appear throughout. Angelina Jolie as the evil Maleficent (as the title of this flick suggests) is evil by way of her stern looks and through the curse that starts the film’s plot points. Elle Fanning as Aurora isn’t the sweet and syrupy princess as Disney tends to market her as, but holds a firm caricature of her self. Although the studio uses their princess “collection” as a major source of income, they are obligated to tone down the innocence just a bit to fit the current standards of total girly-dom.

There is plenty of action and conflict to view, as this movie is as expected as pure fantasy. There are a few other charactors of note that are featured to make the fantasy quite possible. Chiwetle Ejiofor appears as Conall, a winged creature who befriends Maleficent as a dark fairy. Ditto for Borra, as played by Ed Skrein, another dark fairy is desires more war than peace. These characters are just as macabre and scary looking through the tone of the screenplay as written by Linda Woolverton and Nora Harpster & Micah Fitzerman-Blue. The darkness angle depicted is more akin to a Grimm’s Fairy Tale of yore than standard Disney fodder. However, there isn’t any gore or bloodshed depicted. (After all, it is a Disney title!) But even with its “PG” rating, it’s a movie that isn’t meant for all kids–perhaps from age ten and up at the very least! However, since kids age ten and less makes up Disney’s core fan base (along with its major source of money making income), perhaps the studio is selling itself short!

Directed by Joachim Ronning, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL is an adult fantasy piece that is more Disney-esque than let’s say, a super hero action picture! (And never mind the fact that the Marvel super heroes is owned and operated by the same management!) It’s not as family friendly as Disney’s other “live action” version of a former traditional cartoons such as last summer’s The Lion King, but still holds plenty of attention! For those that seek more “live” versions of their cartoon features, check out the upcoming Lady and the Tramp, soon to appear on the Disney+ streaming service. However, LATT is a TV movie. M:MOE is a theatrical vehicle! So there!

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, now appearing at all multiplexes nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

WELCOME TO CYBERSAPCE!

This month sparks a landmark or sorts for yours truly. The landmark event being referred to marks the time I experienced my first entry into the world that can be called cyberspace. This is the so-called “place” that is does not exist in any physical sense, but it’s a domain that is everywhere whenever folks realize it or not. However, it was a journey that I didn’t recognize at first. It was something that I remembered that would change a course for me, along with the zillions of folks out there that would later join me to use, misuse, and abuse.

Twenty five years ago, I entered cyberspace for the first time to visit the the first web site I ever viewed!

Here’s the story on how that all happened.

In October of 1994, the National Association of Broadcasters, better known as the NAB, hosted the NAB Radio convention. This was a trade show for those involved in the radio industry from engineering to programming and all points in between. For three days, the industry would gather to view the latest in radio/audio technology, take part in various workshop panels that speak about the radio industry, as well as attend a number of after parties hosted by various companies involved in the business called radio.

That year, the convention was held at the Los Angeles Convention in downtown LA. At the time, the convention center just opened their south hall, a massive hall space that expanded the convention site that linked the older and smaller west hall, increasing the space to host big-deal conventions.

The area where the convention site was located was in a semi-run down part of town. A collection of parking lots circled the convention building. Around the various streets were a group of smaller hotels, as well as smaller buildings ranging from retails stores (including two auto dealers), and some older apartment building where a lower class clientele called home. The massive Staples Center was in the planning stages whose goal was to bring life in an area of the city that was being avoided through any and all means.

Downtown at the time was a place where people worked at their jobs during business hours, only to leave in the early evening to the outer regions of the area based upon where the freeways would take the commuters. After hours, the area was a ghost town, only inhibited by those that were not ghosts per se, but were scary enough where one would want to be anywhere except this “heart of the city”.

Anyway, let’s get back to the NAB Radio show. I attended not because I was involved in radio, although I did hold an interest in that industry as a listener and fan. I attended to see what was going on in the industry, as well as grab as much swag I could get away with, and to attend (crash?) a number of after parties that were going on after the show closed for the day around 6:00 PM. The after party hosted by radio show distributer Westwood One was a blast, allowing me to meet a number of radio personalities that were part of the WWOne domain such as Jim Bohannon (Larry King’s substitute host), Tom Snyder, the former host of NBC’s The Tomorrow Show that was going to host a radio talk program with WWOne, as well as a few other folks, many of those names long forgotten!

Anyway, at the convention there was the exhibit hall where various companies involved in radio were showing off their goods and services. As I was trolling among the exhibit hall grabbing as many freebies I could find, raging from the standard pens and notepads with the company logo affixed on them, to audio cassettes of demo shows of radio programs available for syndication, I visited one booth that was small in square footage space, but important enough.

The booth I visited was hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a government agency that at the time was an independent agency to assist areas affected through natural disasters. FEMA was stall making its presence in Los Angeles due to The Northridge earthquake that occurred earlier that year. In the previous year that summer, they were involved covering the areas affected by the flooding of the Mississippi River in the Midwest. FEMA was encouraging radio station managers and programmers with their offering of news and information on informing its listeners with the details on how FEMA can assist their regions in case of an emergency.

Placed on their table in front of their booth was a collection of flyers and the usual amount of swag. Seated on the left side was a computer monitor that was connected to the FEMA website. I was told by the FEMA rep on duty that this site can be accessed by anyone with a computer connected to “the internet” with all of the latest details from FEMA posted. Their website can be accessed through any Netscape web browser by typing in http://www.fema.gov anytime day or night, seven days a week.

I recall browsing the site seeing what info was placed there. After glancing at it for about a minute or two, I was very impressed that anyone connected to that thing called the internet can get the latest from FEMA. However, in order to do such, one needed a computer machine and some way to connect to the internet. I, also, had no such resources available to me at that time. But I did thank the person at the FEMA booth for the information, only to saunter off to another booth nearby that was hosted by a radio show distribution company offering stations to become an affiliate of a talk show called “After The Rush”, designed to be aired right after Rush Limbaugh’s radio gab fest. (I still have the demo cassette I grabbed. However, with all of the audio and video tapes I own, I have yet to listen to it. Maybe one year soon…!)

Little did I know at the time that that glance on that FEMA website of long ago would become the first time I entered cyberspace. It would be a few more years until I did get my first computer machine–a custom made desktop tower that ran a Windows 95 operating system, along with a Hayes 140,000 baud external modem that connected to the internet via telephone line by calling a local phone number provided by an internet provider called KBBS that would tie up my phone. When I was “on-line”, nobody was able to call me as the caller would just receive a busy signal. If I wanted to make a call, I would have to go “off-line” in order to get phone access.

Of course, things have changed. The NAB Radio Show is still around. (Now called “The Radio Show” https://www.radioshowweb.com/ that incorporates streaming audio and podcasts.) Its next show takes place in Nashville, Tennessee in September of ’20. FEMA is now part of the Department of Homeland Security, and has gone through their growing pains of late, still accessible at http://www.FEMA.gov. Microsoft canned Windows 95 years ago, and is now in the process of throwing out Windows 7..uh..out the window! KBBS is long gone, as well as Netscape. The desktop computer and matching modem I once used was tossed out in the recycling bin. My next machine was a Macintosh Performa 575, made by Apple Computer, and you can bet Apple is still alive and kicking! I switched operating systems then, and never looked back since!

That event at a convention now long forgotten is part of my personal portfolio on how I embraced media for the first time. Soon, I will emote upon the first time I encountered radio and television. Stay tuned to this hear news service for those updates!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

JOJO RABBIT (Fox Searchlight) takes place in Falkenheim, Germany c.1945. The country is under Nazi rule. Although the nations fighting the Germans are gaining strength, Deutschland is doing its best to stay afloat. Ten and a half year old JoJo Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis) lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson). Jojo’s father is away in battle fighting for the cause. Although things are rather tough in Nazi Germany, Jojo’s patriotism rings true.

He starts to show off that patriotism when he is able to join the Jungvolk, aka The Hitler Youth, a group that resembles the Boy Scouts. However, instead of learning how to tie knots or to pitch a tent, they learn how to throw hand grenades and how to kill the enemy. In spite of this training, Jojo attempts to do his best for his mom. He also leans to a special friend. He is of the imaginary friend type named Adolph (Taika Waititi), who has an uncanny resemblance to der Furier, except this Adolph is much more friendlier and doesn’t yell as much! Once afternoon when Jojo is home alone, he discovers a secret panel on a wall within his mother’s bedroom. Behind that panel is a secret hiding place. Inside of that hiding place, he discovers a sixteen year old girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) who is Jewish. It seems that Rosie is hiding her, in spite of what consequences she may face with the Gestapo at bay. Even through JoJo is trained to kill all Jews, he begins to feel for her, even through that feeling can become a bit stilted at times.

This feature, directed and written by Taika Waititi and based upon Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies is a feature that takes a premise of an era and political situation that doesn’t hold much comic relief on its own. Yet it does carry some of the lighter side of this darker period. Although this movie is billed as a satire (for which is is), the comedy involved isn’t as fast and furious as it could be. Mel Brooks did a better job in that department. Ditto for Charlie Chaplin appearing in The Great Dictator, as well as The Three Stooges(!) in the short subjects You Nazi Spy and I’ll Never Heil Again! Unlike those titles that were created for more an a mainstream audience of its era, the movie that this review is all about is more geared for a selected audience that desires their, drama, conflict, pathos, and even humor leaning toward an “art house”-type crowd; That is, a group of movie goers that would rather see a feature film geared toward a more sophisticated (and older) audience, rather than an crowd that would prefer a commercial tentpole franchise and its sequels, spinoffs, and knockoffs.

Also appearing in this film are Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf , Jojo’s “scoutmaster”, and Rebel Wilson as Fraulein Rahm, the scoutmaster of the girl’s division of the Hitler Youth league.

In spite of the nature that this movie takes its jokes upon, JOJO RABBIT isn’t a film for all tastes. Some may be offended. Others may accept it as a macabe yet comical satire. The rest of those may accept it for just what it is! However, it is rather unique and different for what it’s worth! Just don’t expect any sequels connected to this movie, let alone product placement!

PS..where did the name “Jojo Rabbit” came from? It would be a spoiler if this reviewer told that backstory. We will confess to the fact that it does involve a bunny!

JOJO RABBIT is rated “PG-13” for cussing and mild violence. Coming soon to selected theaters.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

WHY TALK WHEN YOU CAN TEXT?

One of the many (and we do mean many) places on the ‘net where you can find the answers to those questions you wanted answered but didn’t know where to look let alone ask, is from the website Quora.com.

Here, folks can ask questions that range from the practical (“How can I get people from parking in front of my house?”), to the interesting-yet-amusing category. (“What is the most embarrassing favor you had to ask?”) Anyone can ask a question, and anyone can answer. We can’t vouch if any of the answers given are true and accurate, but it still constitutes for amusing reading!

One of those many questions that were thrown to the Quora universe was posted by this person who stated “What used to be unacceptable 20 years ago but is now ok”?

The most obvious answers came through the likes on what can be stated and/or depicted through media that at one time may have been offensive, objectionable, and otherwise against moral standards but have gained momentum as a so-called “new normal”, such as the case of the acceptance of same sex marriages or the mainstream use of pot. But there was one answer that we found quite interesting. It was the elements of using initials in writing as well as speech as shorthand for terms, words and phrases that were not part of a name of a company (CBS. IBM, etc.) or a medical terms that was too difficult to pronounce. (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s disease”.)

The person stated that “text speak” was once limited to through writings on internet “chat rooms” that were popular with younger folks–the same folks that were the first generation weened on home computers and the things that go along with them, are now acceptable as written communication.

When chat rooms first made their make in more of a wider scope, the uses didn’t want to type in full phrases. So shorthand was created to state a comment that could be expressed in just a few letters, such as JAC (“just a second”), IDN (“I don’t know”), or G2G. (“Got to go”). A few of these terms fell upon the wayside, but a number of them remain where their letters created a new word to have their place in an English language dictionary, such as FYI (“for your information”), TMI (“Too much information”), and the most famous one of them all, LOL. (“Laughing out loud”).

In the media, journalists that knew better would never sport out initials to express an idea through commercial media. Now, thanks to the ‘net where just about all commercial media is found and takes advantage of, uses chat room initials as part of their writings. And since chat rooms were first around as far back as the 1980s, those that were the first generation of users are now in their 40s, a time in one’s life that is now deemed as “middle aged”.

When cell phones first introduced the notion of sending message via text around the early-middle 2000s, those uses were able to send a message to somebody (rather than through email) that can be received through the receiver’s phone immediately. Of course, those of as youthful age were the ones that embraced this notion of sending a written note to a friend about something or another, using those same chat room terms to get their point across. If the texter wanted a reply, a TMB (“text me back”) would work out fine.

Smartphones were the electronic device that changed everything when it came to personal communication. And texting because rather popular from that point. Not so much with kids, but through right minded adults! At one time, if one wanted to give some rather short lined details about something, one would place a voice call to the other person. If that other party could not take the call at that moment, one could leave a voice message. Now, people would rather send a text message to provide those same short(er) details. The person receiving the message can read the message when it was appropriate, and reply back when the time was right, assuming that a reply was necessary!

At first, this writer (“me”), thought that texting was not necessarily proper etiquette, believing that sending a text rather than calling was considered as too tacky. However, I discovered that people don’t necessarily have the opportunity to speak verbally due to where they may be at that moment, and would rather send things in writing where nothing can be unintentionally be heard as incorrect–such as forwarding an address, phone number, or somebody’s name or title. Facts about something or another is best if spelled out rather than verbally dictated. I have performed transactions with others using text as exclusive communication. Once in a while, I may leave a voice message to the other person to follow up, but most of the “hard news” communicated was delivered through text.

That last person who answered the Quora statement on what was acceptable now but not in another era went on to comment, “Why talk when you can text?” Texting is now the “new normal” method of communicating with one another. It also relieves the awkwardness of speaking to somebody when the message sender would rather not talk to the other, such as leaving a message to someone due to some kind of “falling out”. If somebody wanted to let’s say, end a romantic relationship, one can do that by text rather than performing that same message via e-mail or even in a face-to-face situation. For the record (“FTR”), sending a text message in order to break up with somebody isn’t necessarily proper in terms of etiquette–depending who you ask! However, it’s done more often that imagined. (Yours truly once had a relationship end by the other person sending me the message of the break-up through email, but that’s for another article!)

It would be interesting to know what elements that are not acceptable in this domestic society now will be relaxed in twenty years. It’s hard to call. However, when that is eventually reviled, we may be thinking upon what elements that were awkward back around the start of the 2020’s are now OK in the 2040s–IYKWIM!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Making its world premier as a guest production at Los Angeles’ Odyssey Theatre is Brian Reynolds’ MONO/POLY, a dramatic comedy about a group of people that test their fidelity among one another and the outcomes that develop.

The scene unfolds at a costume party attended a group of people consisting of Victoria (Tanya Alexander), Bridget (Renata De Costa), Krystal (Megan Gainey) Susan (Georgia Gould). Jerry (Travis Joe Dixon), Miles (Dennis Renard) and Henri (Angela Sauer). They meet up with Scott (Robert Mammana) who is engaged in a polyamorous based lifestyle who holds a series of intimate relationships with other people, and not necessarily with those of the opposite sex! This method of alternative relations later become interlaced with these same folks that include a pair of couples that were previously monogamous. This leads toward a challengeable drive toward this practice of relationships. Before long, their personal and even business associations become deeply involved and affected. New questions arise. Who is in love with whom? Who is the real husband and/or wife and who will service as its mirror? What must a person do to earn a “hall pass”, and will this pass be given with or without stings attached? And what are the rules between barriers and genders? If relationships are complicated as they are, how better (or worse) will they get?

This new play by writer and director Brian Reynolds is loosely based upon his own experience in hosting a relationship (or relationships) that became more open than what would be considered as standard, if not as “normal”. In this play, the character collective take these decisions as experimental, rather that what’s right and positive vs. wrong and unacceptable. These routines of convictions show this form of romantic relations as one that doesn’t use judgement based on social status. The first act presents much of the humor depicted on the ideas between men and woman’s reaction between love and sex–not necessarily in that order! Its second act becomes a bit more serious and sober, even though the play’s tone never forgets that this is a comedy or rather, a play that is comic in nature.

The cast of players that appear in this production are rather likable. They can represent the so-called “couples next door”, or the people one would find in the office working at a desk near by. This is what gives this play a unique appeal, even with the subjects on hand. Although there isn’t any nudity depicted, it does get slightly graphic. (Sex toys are depicted, but never used as intended!) However, because its subject matter is about sex, then the said props are just part of what is going on behind those closed doors!

Morgan MacDouglas’ set design is created as very minimal. Furnishings and door placements are arranged on stage in a floating manner, meaning they are interchanged from one scene to the next. MacDouglas also designs the costuming and props, giving the cast to dress up, dress down, and even undress based upon their settings and their mood.

MONO/POLY is a very amusing and unique play that again, addresses a lifestyle that is practiced on a small scale. Having multiple partners between men, women, or a combination of both are not for all tastes. But for those that are curious, this play may show that one (wo)man’s fantasy is another (wo)man’s curse. After all, everybody loves a lover, no matter what equipment they may have on (and in) hand!

MONO/POLY, presented by Tubeman Productions, and performs as a guest production at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd. (between Pico and Santa Monica Blvds.), Los Angeles, until November 10th. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservation or for more information, call (310) 477-2055 x 2, or online at
http://www.MonoPolyThePlay.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

GO ASK YOUR YOUNGER SELF

We tend to receive a lot of profile bios of people involved in companies both big and small. These bios, written by various PR firms, deal with a short story about a company’s founder, CEO, VP, or whatever title they give to themselves. Some of the bios are written as a straight forward introductory sheet that informs the reader about what they did in their professional career, what companies they are (or were) involved with, as well as their higher educational background. (These are the kind of rundowns one would see on a Linkenin page rather that something found through Facebook!)

A few of these bios are written in a question and answer structure, where the writer of the article will post a question, and then the person being interviewed will give their often long-winded answer.

For instance, the Q&A feature may look something like this:

Q: I see you have called your new book How I Became A Success In Starting A Chicken Ranch On A Chicken Feed Budget. What makes a chicken ranch successful?

A: I wanted to start a chicken ranch because all of my friends were doing it. My pal “Stinky” thought that chickens of the world should be raised on ranches for all of the world to see and later eat! Before long, good ol’ Stink–as I used to call him–would be operating the first chicken ranch open 24 hours, meaning that you can get a chicken at all hours of the day, not just limited to a 9 to 5 operation….

Of course, there will be a selection of question that speak for the person and/or the industry they are involved in that pretty much gets to the point. Once in a while, one will find a question that is getting to become rather common, if not turning into a chiche, in these Q&A rallies.

Among the questions that fall into this category comes to the effect of “What advice you would give to your younger self?”

There are many reasons why the interviewee would ask the person being interviewed. Perhaps one reason that comes to mind is the fact that when anyone was a younger person with a different personality, they had performed tasks and actions where those actions could be called “mistakes”, “errors”, “defaults”, or some other motion where if they knew back then to what they know currently, the person would have performed that action in a different manner by adding to the action for the original response, or not even performing the task at all! Call this part of the “What Was I Thinking?” school of life.

Let’s face it! Just about everyone that has lived within the domestic world that we are presently dwelling in had one of those moments. It doesn’t have anything to do in achieving a form of success in a business or industry. It would involve just living as so-called normal (or near normal) lifestyle. This is a form of life that consists of rather level, perhaps dull and boring, actions everyone does throughout the periods of time they dwell in. It could involve moving to a specific location, accepting some kind of offer or opportunity, or even deciding on what book to read, what diet they should embark in, or even if they should have done something, or not done something, that was regretted long after the fact!

Of course, some of those actions can’t be changed in any way for the same various reasons. The sources that may have been behind it all might no longer exist. A few are now irreverent because what the person who did and/or did not do holds no interest to the matter. And a handful are life long challenges where the person still regrets in doing something or not, even if that action (or lack thereof), was set long in the deep distant past.

It’s quote amusing to discover how people would do things differently if they knew better. Some chuck it up as a simple mistake that has since been corrected. A few post it as an error that made its difference long after the fact. The rest see these actions as an isolated embarrassing moment that they would rather forget. And a lot of these blushing episodes have since been forgotten as they have long moved on.

As for this writer, what would yours truly tell myself as a youthful youth? Plenty! However, those facts o’ life would be ideal for another time and for another article. After all, nobody’s perfect–yet!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Road Theate Company of North Hollywood continues its world premier run of Angela J. Davis’ THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK, a drama about a woman’s choice to offer a selection of ancient artifacts for auction, and the man that desires to have those artifacts conserved for heritage preservation.

The story opens in London in the early years of the 21st century. Shortly before his death, Jacob Adler (Allan Wasserman) prevents his former spouse Joan (Laura Gardner) to take a series of old Hebrew books and manuscripts he had kept for a long while. A year after Jacob’s passing, their daughter Michaela (Allison Blaize), a high school teacher living in Oakland, California, arrives to attend the unveiling of her father’s tombstone, a ritual based on Jewish custom. Although she has long abandon her Jewish heritage, she still holds respect toward her family. At the unveiling, she meets Julien Nazir (Richard John Seikaly), an American professor of Jewish and Muslim culture and history. She discovers that these books her father had kept for all of those years turns out to be rare manuscripts that are centuries old, “given” to him when he fled his native Germany during the Nazi occupation in 1941. Now these books are being consigned through a prestige auction house going to the highest bidder. These manuscripts, especially one with the informal name “Spanish Prayer Book”, is a 14th Century document that was published in Spain before the Jews were exiled in that nation. Its worth is appraised as a seven digit monetary figure. Julien believes (along with an American based Government official) that the books should not be sold off due to its mysterious background. Michaela, deep in debt, could use the money from the auction sale. But what is the real backstory to these documents? Were they actually rescued from possible destruction from the Nazis, or where they really removed for another purpose i.e. stolen? And how important are these books for the order of the preservation of Hebrew heritage? It’s a balance between the concerns of the legacy of a traditional faith, the power of financial value, and if possession is really nine tenths of the law?

This new play by playwright Angela J. Davis takes its premise inspired by an actual episode where in the 1980’s, a New York based auction house of fine antiquities acquired a collection of unique and rare Hebrew manuscripts where is was being consigned through an anonymous source. Upon inspection, the said documents were connected to a cultural library foundation in Berlin that the Nazis disbanded where its possession were in question. That event was thus dramatized into this play that shows its drama based through that exact premise.

The production itself follows a non-linear pattern between the contemporary scenes (London c.2009) and Germany c.1941 that show off the backstory to the source of the manuscripts where Michaela’s ancestors Alexander Adler (Carlos Lacamara) and Channa Wild (Tiffany Wolff) attempt to flee for their lives from the Nazi regime with the prized documents in hand. These scenes makes an attempt to clear the background of the old books that is the center of the conflicts.

Along with the performers seen on stage that also includes Amy Tolsky performing in a number of roles, Yuki Izumihara’s set design is relatively simple. There are no furnishings depicted. Only a few squared blocks colored off-white that matches the stage set are used to depicted various scenes, settings, and locations. Visual projections are utilized (also designed by Yuki Izumihara), that show off the lavish and detailed illustrations taken from the actual ancient Hebrew manuscripts that depict stories and fables from the Old Testament enhancing its rarity. Heather Harper’s prop design shows in much smaller detail, the books of old that are only to be handled by fiber free archivists gloves.

Directed by Lee Sankowich, THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK presents in dramatic elements the issues related toward the fate of sacred manuscripts. To quote one of the guidelines that archivists live by, preservation without access isn’t preservation. If that is (or not) the case, then what is…?

THE SPANISH PRAYER BOOK, presented by The Road Theatre Company and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until November 23rd. 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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Glendale’s Brand Park presents an outdoor Shakespeare-in-the-park event with KING LEAR, the classic tragic play presented with a contemporary twist.

Carl Weintraub is the name ruler of Britannia who offers to entrust his power and kingdom to his three daughters Goneril (Veronica Maccari), Regan (Chineze Enokwechi) and Cordelia (Jasmine Ilarde). But all three must first prove their honor and love for him. When Cordelia, the youngest and Lear’s most cherished daughter, declares nothing, he is outranged with her answer, only to leave her with literary nothing. This action starts toward his downward spiral into thoughts of his daughter’s betraying him and his slow mental demise.

As expected, this is the classic tale that has been entertaining theatre audiences for some 400 years. (413 to be exact–give or take a fortnight!) This time around, all of the characters are dressed in period costumes from the 21st century as designed by Melissa Wilson. This method of dress points out the timeless notion that Shakespearian theater never goes out of style! Indeed, some of the language can be a bit hard to decipher, but that is what makes plays extracted from the pen of The Bard just as fascinating way back then and it is in the world of today.

In this production, a cast of players that include Jennifer Ashe as (the) Fool, Carlo Di Alba as Albany, Kelton Jones as Gloucester, Massimo Napoli as Edmund, Madison Young as Edgar, John Ogden as Kent, and Daisy Koprowski, Christine Gan, and Emma Petersen as the granddaughters who will perhaps take over the space that the good King Lear vacated, perform their roles into the era of the present while keeping the poetic verse all in check. Rececca Lynne’s stage direction has the characters emote without any formal stage sets or backdrop. In fact, the backdrop is a corner section of the park, where the only elements seen of its “stage” is mostly trees and grass. There is a short platform with a ornate statue sitting on its top, but that is there to represent King Lear’s vast kingdom.

For those that enjoy a play that’s been around for multiple centuries that continues to keep with its pace as well as to experience such a production in a “less-is-more” setting all in the great outdoors of Brand Park, this seek no further because here it is!!

Depending on the weather, it’s recommended to bring a light jacket along as it may get a bit chilly. Also, bring along a blanket or a lawn chair as this program is in a park setting. And picnicking is encouraged!

KING LEAR, presented by the Dean Productions Theatre Company, performs outdoors at Brand Park, 1601 West Mountain Avenue, Glendale, until October 19th. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more information, visit the website
http://www.DeanProductionsTheatre.com
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JUDY (Roadside Attractions) stars Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland, a woman seeking her “big break” after going through a series of personal and emotional tribulations.

It’s the winter of 1968. Judy is in her middle 40’s. Her glory days as a young star at MGM has long past. She’s deep in debt, and is undergoing a custody battle between her two kids Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey (Lewin Llody) from her ex (and fourth) husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewill). Without a place of her own, she attempts to shack up with Sid. However, he can take the kids in, but not Judy. While attending a party in the Hollywood Hills, she meets Mickey Deans (Finn Wittrock) a man much younger that her. He has a lot of business ventures going, yet Judy is attracted to his charm. But she still needs to earn money to pay four million to the IRS, and to have a home for her kids. Without either, she’ll be broke and may lost custody. There is one bright spot. She accepts an offer from Bernard Delfont (Michael Gambon) who operates a club and cabaret in London, The Talk of the Town. Under desperation, she accepts the gig to perform for a five week run. In spite of her working again, she is still unsettled with her addiction to pills that’s been continuing since the days as a child star at Metro. While dealing with her personal demons, she finds her way into a comeback success that is indeed “over the rainbow”.

This bio film dealing with the final year of Judy Garland’s life was adapted from Peter Quilter’s stage play End Of The Rainbow into a screenplay by Tom Edge that showcases one of the “world’s greatest entertainers” into a battle between the people that loved her, the people that once loved her, as well as the her own self.

Renée Zellweger as Judy shows out much of her mannerism to near perfection. She plays this singer as a woman that is 47 years in age with the looks of somebody twenty to twenty five years older. Her singing ability does match very close to the original. The reason why it’s not head-on? Judy Garland is the only one that can sing as well as Judy Garland. Alas, it’s been some fifty years since her passing due to a mix of pills and alcohol.

Within this feature, there are brief flashback scenes to 1938 with the sixteen year old Garland (played by Darci Show) who just joined the studio run by movie mogul Louis B. Meyer (Richard Cordery) that tells the young starlet to do what he says and she’ll be a star, or to leave the studio and become forgotten. There are also flashback scenes between her and her co-star Mickey Rooney (Gus Barry), the first man she falls for, but only in the movies–not in “real life”!

In addition to the above noted cast, Jessie Buckley appears as Rosalyn Wilder, Judy’s personal assistant in London who is responsible of getting her from her hotel suite all ready and dressed and to the theater where an eager audience awaits for her to do what she can do best–sing those favorite tunes that will keep Judy into the limelight. Royce Pierreson is featured as Burt Rhodes, the bandleader of the orchestra who backs up Judy during her club gig. And finally, Andy Nyman and Daniel Cerqueira play Stan and Dan, two older gentleman who are big fans of Judy that eventually befriend her. They appear as mild comic relief who gives this feature film its gay appeal. (Both meanings of “gay”!)

Directed by Rupert Goold, JUDY is far from being the ultimate screen version of the life and times of the former Francis Gumm of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. That tale has yet to be told. However, this film will surface as a movie that isn’t loaded down with Hollywood bio cliches that tends to bog down these types of movies. However, it does leave a few untied story threads. (Those won’t be noted in fear of opening a few spoiler alerts!)

Perhaps the biggest untied thread is that this movie ends six months before her untimely death in June of 1969. What happened during those six months? Does this means there may be a sequel in the works? Since this type of film isn’t the “tentpole movie” variety, it will be hard to say! We’ll see.

JUDY is rated “PG-13” for mild cussing. Now playing in selected theaters.
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