AN ABSENTEE REPORT 2.0

As this news service continues to celebrate our 25th anniversary, we once again dip deep into our not-so-distance past to find a previous article that speak for the time as it was then as it’s now.

Although the pandemic isn’t as bad as it was a year ago this time, and is NOT over with in spite of what some may claim, a number of events that would normally take place this time of year that focus upon in person happenings will be either be held later in the season, or will occur one year hence. And one of those events is the ever lovin’ San Diego Comic Con, the be-all-to-end-all place to gather to celebrate, as well as sell, the best (and perhaps worst) of comic related elements, science fiction, fantasy, and any other aspects that is part of the popular culture universe–no matter what kingdom, sector, galaxy, planet, or alternative reality tribal vantage point they may hail from–or not!

Although this writer has never attended the SDCC, I was aware of it since its humble beginnings in the early 1970’s when comic book collecting began to grow up.

As some of you readers out there may know, the biggest get together of its kind took place over the previous weekend. (Actually, a weekend and a half!) It was the infamous San Diego Comic Con, where a massive crowd of folks, enough to fill a good sized city, arrived at this town along the Pacific Ocean and just a stone throw’s from Tijuana, to literally “geek out”, burring themselves in anything and everything within the form of comic books, graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, horror, animie, and anything one can create that mostly caters to a young(er) demographic or for those that never got around to growing up. This party won’t report on just what went on for mainly one specific reason. Yours truly never showed up!

Yes, this very writer did have opportunities to attend this five day event (including the Wednesday night preview) that met at the San Diego Convention Center, but for various reasons, some important and others long forgotten, just could not get away to meet all of the fan boys along with a few fan girls to live, breath, eat, sleep, text, tweet, blog, and poop about this form of domestic popular culture.

However, by the time this issue hits the streets (or is made available via cyberspace), there will be millions of other reports on just what went on. From the big movie studios using the convention to market their new releases to the comic books publishers, (DC, Marvel, and everyone else) plugging new and existing titles, as well as the teams of wannabes that are seeking their nitch into writing, drawing, and creating the “next big thing” when it comes to this art for print, movies, television, video streaming, or however media is presented.

The San Diego Comic Con has been around for some forty plus years, staring out in 1970 formed by a group of comic book collectors that paid tribute to comic titles from the “Golden Age” (1933-1955), “Silver Age” (1956-1970), as well as those comic strips that appeared in newspapers aka “The Funnies”. From that humble beginning (as well as one of many other comic book conventions that took place in various cities around the nation), this weekend meeting of comic fans grew slow but steady to a massive orgy of comics and everything in between that exists to this very day!

This writer used to attend some of the smaller conventions that usually took place in a hotel ballroom over a Friday night through Sunday afternoon period. The first one this writer attended was something called “Nostalgia ‘72” that took place at the Pick Congress Hotel in downtown Chicago, as well as its sequel, “Nostalgia ‘73” that was also at the Pick the next summer. (Both conventions met in late June-early July) As far as yours truly can recall, there was no “Nostalgia ‘74”, but did attend another convention that year whose name was long forgotten–mainly because it wasn’t as well organized!

Throughout the decade of the 1970’s aka “The Bronze Age”, this same ol’ person would show up at few of these gatherings. Not because I (no more third person references) was deeply into comics or anything although I did find ‘em amusing for what they were, but just to view what was out there in terms of comics, movie related materials, TV, and so on. At the evening hours, there would usually be special events (sometimes with a lecture attached) of comic related subjects, from a complete run of some 1940’s-era serial made by a poverty row movie studio, to live appearances of some star that was part of the era. At another convention name long forgotten (c.1976), Kirk Allen, the first screen Superman, made an appearance to speak about his career and how he turned down an offer to appear in the TV series that made George Reeves a star! Before he spoke, the first episode of Superman Vs. The Mole Men was run, followed by Kirk speaking on stage while taking questions from the audience. At another connection (c.1979), Bob Clampett made an appearance to speak about his days at Warner Bros. as well as his creation of the puppet show TIme For Beanie and its cartoon version Beanie and Cecil. Later that evening, a selection of Clampett directed Loony Tunes were run, as well as a few kinescopes of TIme For Beanie and Beanie And Cecils from the early 1960’s were screened.

But those meetings and conventions took place multiple generations before, now totally irreverent. But this writer (now returning to third person reference) still makes an attempt to follow upon what’s going down in comics and so on. Perhaps the only notion behind it all is to attend conventions. But that’s a schlep as it is! So much for geekdom!

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SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY (Warner Bros.) features LeBron James appearing as LeBron James (i.e. “himself”), a professional basketball player. But this isn’t the LeBron James story. It’s a take of a basketball playing person being involved with a bunch of cartoon characters that are out to save the world and his character as a caring dad–sort of!     

Let’s get into the plot first as created by the story writing team of Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, and Terence Nance, with a screenplay by the for named team with additional material by Jesse Gordon and Celeste Ballard, and based upon the Space Jam story written by Timothy Harris, Steve Rudnick, Herschel Weingrod, and Leo Benvenuti (Whew!) It starts out as a standard sports bio movie. We see LeBron as a kid living in working class Akron, Ohio, playing hoops in a community center while getting chewed out by his coach for not concentrating on his playing the game. Then comes the montage of stock footage and TV clips showing off his rise to fame. Then we see LeBron at home living in a fortress of a mansion set in the Hollywood Hills being portrayed as a family man–and a well-to-do one at that! (This is all happening just in the first eight minutes of the movie, including the opening credits!) After some Tyler Perry-esque banter, then comes the real plot of the feature.

Deep inside the serververse (computer mainframes) located deep within the Warner Bros. studio lot of Burbank, California, a digital algorithm being of artificial intelligence,  Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) watches LeBron from far and within with envy because he’s a rather successful being both on and off the court. Meanwhile at a staff meeting with a group of WB executives, LeBron is offered a place as part of the studio’s intellectual properties. After the high tech pitch featuring Al as its top “pitchman” showing he can team up with DC super heroes, etc., LeBron turns down the offer, in spite of what his twelve year old son Dom (Cedric Joe) feels as he is more into creating video games than following his dad’s footsteps on the court. Al, not too pleased in this turn down, gets his revenge by sucking LeBron and Dom inside the serververse. Al proceeds to  “kidnap” Dom, only to offer LeBron a deal. Al challenges him into a game of basketball with his squad of cyber players to win freedom. If LeBon’s team wins, he and Dom can go off and run back into the real world. If he loses, the two are stuck inside of serververse forever! Since LeBron is within the WB lot, he gathers the studio’s best intellectual property to form a team–the Loony Tunes characters consisting of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the rest of the bunch for another round on the b-ball court!

This movie is a follow up to the 1996 release Space Jam, which in turn was based upon a c. 1992 TV spot for Nike entitled Hare Jordan where Bugs Bunny through animation and Michael Jordon through “real life”, go out for a one-on-one game of hoops. Of course, this latest entry to the Space Jam series(?) has been tweaked for a postmodern audience of kids, mostly young boys and perhaps some adults, that grew up in the wired age where everyone is connected through online portals, as well as being somewhat familiar to selected Warner Media’s intellectual properties, or IP for short!

But getting back to the SP-ANL movie itself. Unlike the previous SM feature that hinted that one was watching a flick with live action and animation blended in, this entry takes the same idea and stretches out entirely, nearly making this film as one long advertisement for Warner Media, or at least the sellable parts of WM! As to the animation, it’s a lot better than what was seen in the original SJ flick, since CGI has improved within the last twenty five years.

Although there’s a lot more involved in this title, this writer won’t get into the details. (No, it’s not a spoiler alert since there isn’t anything to spoil!) However, don’t expect anything intelligent about it, unless that intelligence is from artificial and digital stock!

As directed by Malcolm D. Lee, this film would appear to please a rather juvenile (and again, mostly male) audience! It might cater to a standard fan of professional basketball, but don’t expect those involved in sports talk radio, TV, or wherever one obtains their sports stat sheets to discuss this feature in any regarded terms. However, it still does make ideal product placement, just like it was back in the day when Air Jordon ruled the NBA b-ball set! And so it goes!

PS..Don’t also expect to see Pepe Le Pew in this feature. The reason has something to do with the character not being “politicly correct” in today’s landscape. But this writer won’t get into that issue as this is a movie review, not a political forum! And we’re gonna keep it that way! Get it?

SP-ANL is rated “PG” for cartoon-type violence (or course), as well as for mild television suitable cussing. Now playing in theaters where available, as well as streaming online via HBO MAX (“ad free” a.k.a. “subscription” version) for a limited time.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!

CATFISHING WITH GHOSTS AND BREADCRUMBS

The Internet a.k.a. The World Wide Web a.k.a. Cyberspace has added a lot of words, phases, and actions that a number of us living in domestic society have embraced for the past last thirty years of its existence.

In fact, around this time c. 1991, every form of communication and related tasks were done in similar ways performed thirty years before in1961. If one wants to contact a person, one may do so by phone call or letter sent through the mail. If one wanted to send a printed message to arrive immediately, one sent a telegram, and so on.

Of course, things started to change in the 1990’s. That new fangled method of communication called “the internet” started to take hold. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight! Personal computers did exist in the early 1990’s. Most were stand alone setups, meaning that one can type in data where all the data would be confined to the hard drive built inside of the machine. A few were interconnected through dedicated phone lines, but those were mostly through business practices. Very few individuals had this kind of set up, but for various reasons. As the decade progressed, so did internet usage and access. Of course, it was just available to those that needed to use it, or just wanted to use it because they could. Besides that, it was “fun” in its own way!!

We don’t have to state that this little electronic novelty grew up from a freshly scrubbed infant to a mega monster! Today, it’s a way of life, and is just another part of the notions found within the world that could fall into the ranks of such elements as food, water, air, and electricity. Once can live without some of these elements, but would be very difficult, if not impossible!!

And when one has an entry such as the ‘net, a lot of idiocy (so to speak) falls into play based upon its existence. One of these elements is language, words, and phrases. One can fill a dictionary loaded with such words and notions that are added by the day and by the hour. Some of these words, etc. come and go. Some catch on while others fall into the wasteland. But this article will focus upon a few words that can describe a situation between one person and another. Not necessarily based upon its original intention, but it uses the idea the words and phrases express linking to the reasons behind the form of communication–or lack thereof.

To set up the story, we will use the take of a person who we’ll call “Pat”, and another person we’ll label as “Terry”. In this case, it’s a story of a possible bonding of one person with the desire to become a friend with the other.

Because we begin, here’s a disclaimer. This bonding has nothing to do with anything of a sexual nature. The sex of Pat and Terry won’t be reviled here because gender doesn’t necessarily play a role, or so this writer believes. It holds no connection to an individual in being what’s called a non binary person either. Gender isn’t much of a focus right now. Everything in this case falls into a platonic state of existence.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s proceed.

Pat first met Terry a few years before at a mutual place of gathering. In this case, their place of employment. Pat would see Terry showing up to the job site as well as at events that the location hosted. Pat would on occasion enroll into some small talk when Pat would see Terry.

As time went on, Pat would see Terry more often. The smaller talk would slowly change into more elongated conversations, but one speaking about “safe” subjects, mostly on what was going on at the meeting spot. Over time, Pat would see Terry as a very pleasant person based upon personality. Pat would want to perhaps meet with Terry outside of the location for a drink, or for some lunch. Sadly, Pat wanted to ask Terry in a way that Terry would agree for this meeting. However, Pat didn’t know how to forgo this task.

After some careful research, Pat was able to get the social skills to ask Terry for this meeting. To Pat’s surprise, Terry agreed.

Over time and tide, Pat would set up a form of communication with Terry, mostly through phone calls and texting. At first, Pat thought that sending text messages wasn’t effective since “kids” only do this. But Pat learned that many adults would send text messages to one another because it’s easy, quick, and at times, are the only way to get in touch with somebody since people can’t necessarily answer their phone when somebody calls. They may be engaged in something more important to stop what they are doing to take a call. So Pat thought, texting was indeed OK for those far beyond “kid” age.

Well, the bonding play worked out pretty well. The two did communicate for a while and met when schedules allowed.

However, Pat started to realize something between their communication. It appeared that when Pat wanted to communicate with Terry, Terry would reply. However, Terry didn’t make much of an effort to communicate with Pat. Pat was doing all of the talking, while Terry would listen to Pat, but would never make a notion to perform the opposite. It was Pat calling Terry, rather than Terry calling Pat.

So Pat thought quite a bit of this situation. There wasn’t any sense that Terry didn’t have the desire to contact Pat for whatever reason. It’s just that Terry never did it. Perhaps Terry thought that if Pat wanted to contact Terry, Pat would do it. But Pat knew that Pat was doing all of the communication. Pat didn’t have this form of one-on-one talk in mind, but just as long as Terry would agree to communicate with Pat, then it was OK.

This leads up to the above headline that used three words that came to light within the last few years: Catfishing, Breadcrumbing, and Ghosting.

Here’s a very brief rundown of these words and their newly adapted meanings. All phrases were born to describe the methods of communication with one person holding a desire to meet another for some form of relationship, mostly within the categories of courtship and its related applications.

Sources to find friendship that are based on a sexual or romantic nature have been around the ‘net for as long as the ‘net because accessible on a wider scale. Match.com, perhaps the granddaddy of all of the “dating” sites, has been around since 1995. Here, along with other countless “dating” sites, have provided the opportunity to have men, women, and those non binary to meet those for anything ranging from basic friendship, casual dating, series romance, or for just a single time “hook up”.

And among these rituals come the language that are connected to those looking for love/sex/professional networking/”other” within their reasons. First, there’s the term “Catfishing”. According to the Urban Dictionary, this word means …when someone pretends to be someone they are not by using social media platforms such as Facebook to create false identities and to pursue people in deceptive practices – particularly deceptive online romances.

The second term, “Breadcrumbing”, means to describe (again, according to the Urban Dictionary), …the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. “breadcrumbs”) in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort,

And “Ghosting”, perhaps the most self explanatory mean of them all, is when one stops replying and/or sending message to the other without any reason given or implied. Generally speaking, the person turns into a “ghost”.

So what do these terms have to do with Pat and Terry? As it stands, nothing much. However, Pat, after careful consideration, released upon what’s going on based upon what Terry is doing with Pat.

For starters, Terry has no intention of giving Pat misleading ideas, and there is no malice involved. Terry isn’t causing any evil or misleading options to Pat, and holds no desire to do so such. Although it feels that Terry is catfishing or breadcrumbing to Pat, it is in reality, the catfishing and breadcrumbing from Terry is caused by…Pat!

In other words, Pat is doing the catfishing and breadcrumbing to itself. Pat is believing that Terry is leading on Pat towards a lasting yet platonic relationship based upon Pat’s personal thoughts and plans with Terry! The same goes with the breadcrumbing thing. Terry isn’t leading Pat on to keep the friendship going, it’s Pat that is leading on itself. Pat thinks every chance that Pat can get that Terry is indeed the best friend that Pat has, almost to believe that Terry can become a member of Pat’s adapted family in the same sense as having a sibling. (i.e. An adapted brother/sister figure) Pat holds a personal and secret desire to contact Terry over little things, even actions that can be called trivial. Pat could send a text message to Terry to say “Hi! I hope you are well”, and Terry could reply with a message that says “It’s going well”, or some other form of small talk. When Pat tried that early on, Terry never replied! And if Pat sent Terry a long winded text message, Terry may replay to that message using a single sentence…or not!

And Pat even keeps it a secret that perhaps one day, Terry can become a “3:00 AM friend”. This firm of friendship is perhaps the holy grail (so to speak) on the dynamics of platonic friends, where a person would be comfortable calling somebody at 3:00 AM to report of a crisis going on–real or imagined. And Terry would take the call as one of a series nature, even if the crisis isn’t life threatening, and would be there for Pat just because Pat is a good friend.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear to be this way. Pay will always call Terry, Terry will reply accordingly, perhaps for the sake of being polite(?)  And if Pat desires to meet up with Terry, it will be Pat doing all of the work, not as vice versa.

This leads to the final meaning-ghosting. Pat for a long time wanted to do a little experiment. What if Pat all of a sudden, stopped communicating with Terry as often as Pat is going now? What if a week, month, or season would go by where all of a sudden, there would be no messaging going back and forth? Pat in turn, would become a ghost! What would happen next? Would Terry make an attempt to call Pat to see if Pat was OK and perhaps not ill, dead, or even worse? Would Terry ever inquire to Pat on Pat’s leave of absence? Does Terry ever think of Pat as much as Pat thinks of Terry?

There are answers to questions that Pat doesn’t know, and may not ever know. Pat isn’t going to ask Terry if Terry does indeed think of Pat. And Pat isn’t too keen to let Terry know the importance of the presence in Pat’s life because Pat doesn’t want to let Terry know that Pat holds a bit of neediness toward Terry, suggesting an emotional weakness. After all, appearing to be busy all of the time is a good front. So Pat want to appear to Terry as one of those busy people, even though Pat will make the time to contact Terry just for a quick hello!

We won’t dwell too much on this form of friendship, since Pat and Terry do keep good ties, but not within the methods that Pat had in mind. Yes, there are no real stories to report on this connection. In fact, this events are not anything sensational to state the least. We are only posting this little episode from domestic life for the sake of Pat, our protagonist in this story.

Pat (and Terry) are in reality, both mutual friends within the annals of AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com. And through the request of Pat, we decided to bring this little tale to you readers to comment on and perhaps give advice. We will state that some of the details in this story have been slightly altered, but is based upon actual events.

Anyway, please send your comments and suggestions on behalf of Pat directly through our email address located at the end of this issue. We do ask that you “play nice” with your responses. And in a future article, we’ll give you the revised updates of the story of Pat and Terry, and the friendship the two of these people hold.

More to come! Stay tuned!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the world premier of Jack Rushen’s TAMING THE LION, the backstory of a conflict between a movie star and the studio moguls upon the star’s acting off camera than on.

The year is 1933. The setting is Culver City, California, just a Redcar ride away from Hollywood. The studio is Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, run by Louis B. Meyer. (Jeffrey Winner) One of the many stars working at the studio is leading man William Haines (Landon Beatty) who’s been under contract since the silent days. It seems that Louie B. along with fellow studio head Irving Thalberg (Kevin Dulude) holds a concern with their star over the fact that he is of the homosexual persuasion, a trait the studio won’t tolerate. In order to snuff out the rumors that’s been going around, they arrange a plot for William to “date” and eventually marry one of the stars working on the lot, Joan Crawford. (Marie Broderick). And since William is under contract, this idea isn’t a request, but a demand! (The contract allows the studio to treat their film stars as property rather that employed staff.) However, William has his own lover, a fashion designer named Jimmie. (Sean Rose). So if William wants to remain in pictures, he either marries Joan, or he becomes unusable because of his alternative and unspeakable lifestyle.

This play is based upon a true episode that did occur back in the days when such an activity was banned if not illegal! Besides, the Hayes office a.k.a. the censors, wouldn’t allow such a depiction in any of the studio features releases due to its immoral behavior! It’s also part of a Hollywood that never made the pages of Photoplay or the gossip columns of Parsons and Hopper. But making the movies look “clean” was part of the business of feature films, the prime escapist form of entertainment during the era of the Great Depression. In this play, the cast that play the stars and studio heads holds a striking resemblance to the actual characters they portray. Jeffrey Winner is within the same stocky personna that was L. B. Meyer, whose looks was far removed as leading man material.

Marie Broderick resembles a young Joan Crawford that had yet to become a mommy dearest. Kevin Dulude also resembles Irving Thalberg, although his likeness was just limited to photos appearing in “the trades”.

Melanie Macqueen directs this drama as an interesting stage work. It contains as much conflict and pathos as one would see in any picture released by Metro in the 30’s. This time, its stakes would be for real!

The atmosphere of Hollywood from the period is very well present, thanks to Theater 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack. Its staging shows off Louie B.’s office at center stage, William’s rather plush home on stage right, and a snug table at The Brown Derby (along with its star caricature pictures on its walls) on stage left.

Also appearing is Jean Mackie as Ida, Louis B’s right hand girl secretary.

And one questions remains. Will TAMING THE LION have its happy ending by the end of its final reel? With Hollywood being Hollywood, there will be smiles seen upon the faces of the stars at fade out! They don’t call this ars gratia artis for nothing!

TAMING THE LION, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until August 1st. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

We here at Accessibly Live Off-Line central are always intrigued to assemble our annual “State of the Union Address”, where we write our annual report that reaches the end of the previous fiscal year covering the term from July 1st through June 30th, as well as adding our predictions for the next year which will in this case will be spilling into 2022. We normally have an idea in what we are going to do noting upon what we have previously done. And those options are based upon the aspect that it’s all for the better and for the worse

Around the period that we slapped together our last SOTU report (Vol. 25-No. 27-Week of July 6th, 2020), it was when all hell was breaking loose. Around that time, the pandemic was billed with a lot of names, from its official name of COVIG-19, to names that were posted all over social media–some of which were not of a “family friendly” nature!

Also at the time, a big heated election was going to take place. The then current king of the USA was pulling his weight around with the notion that he was going to be king for the next four years come hell or high water, while his competitor was taking things in stride and more at ease. Granted, the challenger wasn’t doing anything that would be with entertainment value. It was just politics at work, not necessarily as a reality TV show–whatever that would mean!

But as the world around us started to get deeper and deeper into the dog s#it we stepped in with our beginning-of-the-decade goodfoot, we here at ALO-L headquarters were making plans on what we were going to do with ourselves for the next fiscal year. And as the notions of the year progressed (or lack thereof), we knew how we were going to proceed based upon our own personal hunches

Well, those “gut feelings” we were experiencing were not because of all of the gas we were getting from consuming meals we were cooking because one can dine on so-much take out food! What we found out that our plans for ourselves were in cahoots with other plans people were creating that were very much in line to ours. Ito be precise, we were catching the idea bugs that were biting us. (Note: These “bugs” that were biting us are not to be confused with the “acting bugs” that only affects would-be thespians that tend to hold a hot nut to clime onto a theater stage to recite prose written by somebody else while moving about the notions as dictated by a theater director!)

What we mean here is the fact that people who dwell within a domestic society that’s out there finally realized that they were living overly hectic and frantic lives. With their careers moving into a tailspin and their family life spinning into the ground, along with those that were getting ill, not getting ill, and doing their damnedest to not fall into one trap into another, it appears that they all quoting a classic movie line written by Paddy Chayefsky that stated “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

And these folks decided that they weren’t going to take it anymore! Now that there has been a vaccine made available to fight off the covig bug, while things are slowly opening up toward a state of “normalcy”, a lot of people are making their personal changes for the better. They are completing that for the reasons that they can! And for many, it’s the first time in their entire lives that these changes can be performed. It’s also known that what occurred pandemic wise will never happen again in their lifetimes, meaning that if they don’t act fast, they may not get a second chance. It’s a massive avoidance of the case of the “I shouda-coulda-wouldas”.

With those ideas in mind, we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line are going to make some changes too, all based upon the notion that’s it’s going to be a change for the better. Or if you desire for us to use high tech speak, call these changes “Accessibly Live Off-Line 2.0”.

So what will these new changes be all about? Well, for the past twenty-five and a half years, we have been cranking out these newsletter editions to an audience that desires to experience journalism from an alternative perspective. Over time and tide, we added more features, such as reviewing movie releases that were playing in theaters when movies seen in a theater still maintained an appeal with its film fans, even through that home video and cable TV were still all the rage! Then we moved into covering live theater plays and programs. Although Los Angeles may be the movie and TV capital of the nation with the notion that Hollywood continues to feed the world with media content, its stage presence has been rather under looked. The reason it really existed is the fact that Hollywood and its surrounding communities is full of starving actors, writers, producers, directors, and a bigger collection of those working “below the line”. (People that are involved as “above the line” consist of actors, directors, writers, and perhaps producers. Anyone “below the line” are those that range from lighting directors, sound engineers, picture a.k.a film/video editors, and other folks that perform an important job but never receives the recognition they could deserve. After all, when was the last time you experienced a “news” story about a costuming designer in programs as Entertainment Tonight, or perhaps in one of those celebrity gossip print mags as Us, In Style, Entertainment Weekly/Monthly, among others? But we digress

So what’s happening in these parts of ALO-L? We will continue to churn out weekly editions as before, but we will focus upon writing more human interest based articles. These are tales that hold a connection to the topics we have been writing about, but that move toward a personal side. We will still comment upon a trend in media, as well as hack out a review of a feature film (theatrical release or otherwise), as well as occasionally enter a stage play review. But our focus will be placed along with the articles that our fans really want to experience. They want to be amused about some of the little slices of life that others possibly have been through, but may have never noticed beforehand. We have placed various articles that dealt with these topics in the past before. And from the feedback we have received in recent times through our “letters to the editor” column, many folks informed us that they really found those pieces with grater fascination that from a review of a play that may be available to view. After all, theater shows are appreciated when one can actually see the performance in question, rather than to just hear about it! That is why the annual Tony Awards hold the lowest TV ratings among the “big four” entertainment-based award shows! After all, how can one appreciate a new musical appearing on Broadway located in New York City USA when one never saw the show, let along even heard about it because they are nowhere near the area to where the show is performing? Unless one follows the theater business or lives within a fifty mile radios of New York city, the chances that one may be familiar to the play is rather slim. And as one person who recently wrote to us stated, “..I’m glad you wrote a great review of (name of play) as it appears to be an entertaining and well crafted production. But if I ever travel to Los Angeles from where I am living in Copenhagen, I might catch it. Then again, I may not as there is more of America to really see….!”

Of course, everything that we plan to do is subject to change. We do wish to go forward with ALO-L 2.0, but we are not hell bent to keeping it in that way. We are just glad that we are still around, as many of our colleagues we once dealt with are no longer functioning. We are just pleased that we received the opportunity to get ourselves together, although how we were able to do so in a method that we really didn’t necessarily have in mind. Waiting for the apocalypse to occur is usually found as a plot point only seen in bad sci-fi movies and TV shows that one can find submerged within the programs found on streaming media.

But as it’s been stated many a time here, stay tuned to this program for further developments! And we do wish to thank you all for just hangin’ around! We could not have done it without any of you. After all, what’s the point of planning a party and not having anyone show up? Granted, people may still be antsy in gathering together in masses. But as long as you got your shot in the arm, you’ll do OK!

And keep those cards and letters coming in! We will read every one of them all! We promise!! (Right..?)

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

I STREAM-YOU SCREEN-WE HEAR YOU!

It’s really no surprise that within the last year and a half (give or take), more of us has been looking at electric screens for all sorts of things, raging from keeping in touch with other people, finding out the latest news and information we need to know and perhaps not to really care about, to keep us entertained, and from keeping us from going insane!

Of course, the pandemic had a lot to do with it all. But even before the time when all hell broke loose, folks were embedded with electronic devices that sports a video screen. Smartphones that Apple first introduced as the “iPhone” in July of 2007 was the beginning of the end when it came to becoming mesmerized by an electronic device that was originally introduced as a tool, not as an obsession.

And television devices, that electronic toy that’s been around since the 1940’s, started its next trend is video hypnotism. It was the middle aughts when TV sets began to get bigger is screen size, became wider and thinner in length and depth, and held a picture that became sharper in visual quality. (Audio became richer as well, but more on that in a minute!) For a while, 3-D television made its debut, only to fail due to the fact that there wasn’t enough 3-D TV shows to gawk at, and the fact that one had to wear those pesky glasses to see images that seemed to leap out into your lap–so to speak!

But now, there is a new(er) method of grabbing video content, be it from a TV device (in 2-D), a smartphone, a electronic tablet (i.e. an “iPad”), or a laptop of one’s choosing. This method that’s all the rage is called “streaming”, “video on-demand” a.k.a. “VOD”, and other descriptions of “over-the-top a.k.a. “OTT” television. This is where video contact is available whenever the viewer wants to see it, no matter when and where the viewing is going to take place. All one needs is the for noted electronic devices, a stable internet based connection, as well as a subscription to gain access to the said content. It’s not like in the so-called “good old days” when if somebody wanted to view a specific program, one was at the source’s mercy to view the said content at a day and time of day where the source deemed for for viewing access. In other words, one has to work their schedules around to view the program(s) in question, rather than the other way around.

For a while, TV fans had some control in seeing a program of such that was more at the viewer’s choice through the magic of capturing the program with their video cassette recorders (VCR’s for short) that did the “watching” for the viewer only to see the program much later–assuming that they eventually got around of viewing the program they recorded in the first place. But this is all besides the point!

Now with streaming in the norm and the devices to take it all visually, people are getting rather tired in all of this viewing.

Recently, IPG Mediabrands, a company based in the United Kingdom that describes itself as …a client-first, consulting-led, community-driven group of 13,000 media and marketing specialists in over 130 countries on a mission to ensure our clients win in the marketplace as stated on their LinkedIn page, released a report coauthored with the digital audio group Spotify stating that the pandemic was a major contributor to “screen fatigue” that shifted American media consumption toward audio content, especially of the digital kind that Spotify carries.

Why the rise of audio contact one may ask? It’s because of the notion of looking at video screens for just about everything, such as bingeing on past and current episodes to The Handmaid’s Tale (among other programming) to participating on meetings conducted through Zoom whose meeting topics were about everything from educational classes, business meetings, bible study groups, job interviews, as well as for birthday parties, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, as well as for creating and/or viewing home brewed porno movies! (Don’t laugh folks! The website PornHub.com has (had?) a number of these sessions posted and available for anyone to see, although a few of them are even worth the time and effort to look at!)

And listening to audio has indeed been a source to release that screen fatigue. Within the last few years, podcasts, an audio program that’s been around since the aughts and has taken its name when one could hear these shows on one’s iPod device–a device that went out of vogue since smartphones can perform the same task that can house audio files as a stand alone iPad once did, has been of the rise of late.

Generally speaking, a podcast is a radio show that’s not found on the radio. It’s a mix of a talk show and a classic radio program once heard during the “golden days of radio” of the 1930’s through 1950’s, complete with dramatic music, sound effects, and other audio to give the show more appeal than just having a couple of voices talking about the subject(s) of the show on hand. Podcasts are so profound nowadays, media companies such as iHeart Radio has dedicated places on their web presence where one can turn in to even “subscribe” to the program, usually as presented on a serialized basis rather than a single one-show episode.

Of course, there are musical shows that cover all genres of music from tribal folk songs to progressive alternative ska music. (Don’t ask that kind of music this is as we don’t know either!!!)

But as the pandemic changes for the better, many of those that were watching too much stuff on their video screens as well as hearing more content through their earbuds will continue to do such. Yes, these audio and video fans will socialize in person once more. They will be meeting with others without the need to keep six feet away from one another and to wear that face mask. But old(er) habits do die hard(er)! Just as long as the video and/or audio content is worth its mark, then it’s worth being a keeper. And the best part, it’s all disposable. If one gets fatigue in viewing or listening, then one can shut off the device, and enjoy the real sounds and sights that’s worth all its peak. All of the real sights and sounds are all in stereo, 3-D visuals, and it’s free to boot! And no wifi connection is required! One can’t beat that!

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F9: THE FAST SAGA (Universal) is the ninth entry to the action-adventure movie series The Fast and the Furious, featuring Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto and his group as they embark into another mission taking them through various places around the globe.

This time around, his clan of fast driving individuals consisting of Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) arrive at Dom’s farm to inform him that the aircraft of Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) has gone down and out within the jungles of Central America with the infamous Cipher (Charlize Theron) in his custody. The team has come to Dom and his spouse Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) expecting the pair to join them and get back into the game. Letty is up for it but Dom hesitates. That is, until he learns that the person behind this plot is led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena). So with wits, might, as well as a lot of machinery (and fast driving vehicles) they head off upon another mission to save the world!

If the above scenario doesn’t seem to hold much of a plot, then that is the whole idea to this feature film! It has action, gunfire, hard driving vehicles driving through terrain set in world wide exotic places, along with enough stunt scenes that is too good to be true! And these depictions all take place within the first twenty minutes of the movie! This notion beats on what’s called the “twenty minute movie rule” a.k.a. “the first reel rule” that describes that if nothing happens on screen within the first reel of a movie, nothing is going to happen!

Guess what, folks? One will get their money’s work in terms of said action, gunfire, explosions, with plenty of visual special effects to boot! Vin and company are back ready to take on the bad guys that always seem to have a cause in some form of conflict that can’t be resolved with a one-on-one conversation. (If that would ever take place, one would’t have much of a movie!) Daniel Casey & Justin Lin’s screenplay with story by Lin & Alfredo Botello and Daniel Casey is another comic book-esque form of entertainment that made summertime movies just what they are; Another “popcorn” type of feature. (It also could be described as a “nacho with cheese goo” movie, but one gets the idea here!)

Justin Lin, who not only penned part of the story and screenplay as well as directing the third through sixth entries of the F&F franchise, is back calling the shots as seen on screen. If one is a fan to this franchise of movies that made a killing for Universal since the turn of the 21st century (and when the studio was once owned by Vevendi, a French based water and sewer utility company, with the studio changing many hands since, now owned by NBC), one won’t be disappointed! One will get one’s dollar worth, although one will receive more satisfaction in experiencing this film in a real movie theater rather than through a video-on-demand platform such as NBC’s Peacock.

Rounding of the cast appearing in this vehicle (and perhaps driving a few of them as well) is Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past, and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna. (Reviewer’s note: the above paragraph was word copy extracted from the official press notes as provided by NBCUniversal as this same reviewer isn’t too familiar with Cardi B. and Ozuna. Perhaps it’s due to the reviewer’s demographic!)

Again, if one can see this movie in an actual movie house, one will get that big screen with booming sound experience! If one desires to see it through another platform, make sure the volume control of one’s audio system is cranked up as loud as the management will allow since Brian Tyler’s music score is pretty decent for an action/adventure pic. And with its running time running two hours, twenty five minutes, one should either hold off on guzzling those fizzy drinks if set inside of a theater, or one can guzzle as many as one can if viewing at home. When nature calls, it’s either hitting the pause “button” on the viewing device, or it’s a bathroom break during the movie where one might miss some of the action. Then again, the plot’s rather easy to follow, so never mind…!

F9: THE FAST SAGA is rated “PG-13” for action sequences and mild(er) cussing. Now playing in theaters where available ——————————————————————————————————————-

In next week’s issue, Accessibly Live Off-Line will present its annual State of the Union Address. Don’t miss it!! ——————————————————————————————————————-

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!

TEN YEARS AHEAD FIFTY YEARS BACK-PART 2

In last week’s edition, this writer was commenting upon a questionnaire written by one Betty Jones who was about to become a graduate of Lakewood Senior High School of Long Beach, California–Class of 1971.

Within this questionnaire, she was asked what her prediction were going to be for herself ten years after her graduation. That year would have been 1981 when she would be in her late 20‘s–28 years old or thereabouts.

On the back of this documents, she completed an easy that was addressed to herself ten years ahead. In other words, the Betty of 1971 would be composing a letter to the Betty of 1981 offering her advice and other words of wisdom to take heed.

Here is that easy she wrote, dated June 2nd, 1971…

Dear Betty of 1981,

Needless to say, it seems pretty silly writing a letter to myself but, by the time you read this letter, I won’t be myself anymore.

Right now, I know the mistakes that I don’t want to make when I am your age. I only hope you can look at this letter and say you didn’t make them. You probability have a family of your own now, and I hope you can remember the things that your parents did for you when you were the age of your children, so that your children will be as happy as you were. Remember not to hold on too tightly to the ones you love, for that is the quickest way to lose them.

Be happy always, and make everyone around you happy too! Remember the mistakes you made in your high school years, and help your children through their mistakes. Don’t try to stop them from living their own lives or give them too much advice. Let them find out things for themselves.

Well, there’s so much more I’d like to say and no room left to say it. Be happy and love life. Do as much as you can in the little time that God has given us on this earth. Good luck in life! See you in the world!

Sincerely,

Betty (1971) Class of ’71

On the upper left side of the letter was a likeness of a sun with a smiling face in its middle, and on the bottom right of the letter next to the “sincerely” is another smiling sun doodle.

This is all what is known of Betty. I don’t know if she went off to college, or if she indeed started a family, or to even know of this Betty Jones is still living. All that remains of her life is this questionnaire that was found stuck in the center of a hardcover book that was purchased at an estate sale long forgotten.

All we can say right now is for parents out there who has a “young adult” that became a graduate of some high school or equivalent source of education that will become part of the class of ’21. We can’t speak for your offspring, but we do hope for the best in this world. They may be heading off to a source of higher education, or to take some time off to “find themselves” (whatever that term means) or to make their proper choices. And if they want to seek out fame through social media, they are within the right demographic to do such. But as with everything out there, moderation is the key.

And this writer doesn’t transcribes these words as a parent. It’s all based on personal experiences and just “being there”. And yes, there is a connection to that phase and a feature film that starred Peter Sellers of the same name. (A registered film as part of the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.) My connection was television, and my journey to the world was connected to those sources when the “big three” American TV networks ruled, even though I really didn’t care much of who indeed shot J.R.! But that’s for another episode as that stands!

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When one thinks of “Summer Movies” one may conger up thoughs of a film (or series of films) that the season in question is set centered, such as the Gidget films released through Columba Pictures (or Columbia Pictures Television if one adds the TV film Gidget Grows Up), or the beach movies made famous through American International Pictures starring Frankie Avalon of top-40 rock and roll fame, and Annette Funicello who became the most successful ex-Mousekateer to ever grace the big and little screen. One may also connect a summer movie to a “epic” blockbuster film released between late April through later August that could be a remake, a reboot, and/or a sequalized “franchise” title that offers lots of explosions, gunfire, and other forms of CGI created scenes that service as the biggest source of income to the studios that bankrolls these sorts of movies for audience to view where the movie houses showing off these flicks sell a lot of popcorn in the process. (Hence the nickname of these kind of titles-”popcorn movies”!)

The above descriptions may be true to describe a summer movie. But there were a load of films released within the last 100 years or so that hold a focus to the summer solstice but are never referred to as a summer movie per se, outside of the fact that much of its plot takes place during this time of year.

John Malahy has composed a book that gives this definition to a summer movie into a new (sun) light! SUMMER MOVIES: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics (Running Press) is a book title where Malahy writes about two and a half dozen movies that are set within the good ol’ summertime in terms of its focus and depth. He writes about what these movies are all about, who appears within the feature, as well as adding little amusing and “gee-I-didn’t-know-that” tidbits in terms of the creation of the film, the geographic area to where the movie takes place, as well as an idea to view an additional title that gives off the same and theme of the featured noted and expressed, suggesting a double feature!

A good number of the films noted are the ones that are obvious to the season, such as MGM’s Summer Stock, Fox’s Moon Over Miami, the for noted Gidget and Frankie & Annette beach flicks among other titles, as well as movies where the summer heat plays a major part. Paramount’s Rear Window comes to mind as the story’s focus is looking through an open window to beat the summer heat. Ditto for Fox’s, The Seven Year Itch where a man has to send his wife and kids away from New York City for the summer since very few folks had air conditioning (and a neighbor as Marilyn Monroe), and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing that takes place on a hot summer in Bed-Sud Brooklyn, where the only way to beat the heat is to crack open a fire plug if not cranking up the Emerson window air conditioner placing a strain on Con-Ed’s electrical grid! And there’s even titles noted that may be overlooked, if not nearly forgotten, because of its rather obscure place in the film word, such as Lonesome, a 1928 silent feature released by Carl Laemmle’s Universal Pictures, or Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, a 1953 release from France starring Jacques Tati who spends the season at a beach resort with comical results, and Smiles for a Summer Night, (Sommarnattens Leende) another world entry from Sweden directed by Ingmar Bergman where its American distributor billed this picture as “a sexy frolic” starring Sweden’s “most beautiful women”! Rounding off the collection are movies that do take place in summer but are more downplayed. (Embassy Pictures’ The Graduate, Vestron Pictures’ Dirty Dancing, and Sony Studios’ A League Of The Own come to mind.)

Loaded with photos from the films as well as glimpses of the original one sheet posters, this book is a great companion to have on hand while soaking up the sun, sand, and surf, while viewing a feature or two while on summer vacation wherever one may be!

Of course, it can’t post every film ever created that speaks for the season. (This reviewer’s personal favorite, Summer Holliday, a British film starring Cliff Richards isn’t present!) But after looking through the selections as found, it will make one search even deeper to sport other movies that speak for summertime where the livin’ is easy–or maybe not!

With an introduction by Leonard Maltin, movie-dom’s biggest film fan of them all, as well as having the “seal of approval” with Turner Classic Movies, the be-all-to-end all place to see those films from no so long ago, SUMMER MOVIES: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics will keep one busy well into the fall season! And most, if not all, titles mentioned in the book can be accessed through home video (both as in and out of print media), streaming on demand, as well as a running on TCM or where movies can be accessed, either on the little video screen or on the big theater screen when and where available.

And as the ads used to say (with neon laced billboards found within Miami-Dade and Broward County Florida with the likeness of the little pig-tailed girl showing off some rear end cleavage thanks to her pup), “Tan Don’t Burn-Use Coppertone”!

SUMMER MOVIES is available through all leading book sellers, both in-store and online.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!

TEN YEARS AHEAD FIFTY YEARS BACK-PART 1

Not so long ago, I bought some old books at some old estate sale now long forgotten. The books were a bunch of hard covers that came from an estate what lived in the same home since the 1960’s. The kids had since grown up and moved off on their own, while the parents lived in the house until the couple passed on.

This article isn’t about this couple who this writer did not know or know of! I just attended their estate sale! But what makes this sale unique is what I found tucked inside of one of the books I purchased.

Inside of one of the books was a page that was a page written by one of the kids named Betty Jones. She attended high school at Lakewood Senior High School located in Long Beach California, and was going to graduate in 1971. This would make Betty around the age of eighteen or so, meaning that was was born c.1953, making her 67-68 years old in 2021.

Right before she was going to complete her year, she filled out a 1971 Senior Time Capsule Questionnaire, as this questionnaire was called. On one side was a series of questions what one had to fill out the blanks. On the other side offered the questionnaire filler a place to write an easy to write a letter to one’s self ten years into the future. In this case, it was the “Betty Jones” of 1981.

On her entry dated June 2nd, 1971, she was asked about personal goals set by 1981. Question #1 asked if she would be married in 1981. “Yes” was her answer. Question #2-At what age would you marry? (“19”). How many children would you have? (“4”) Who do you believe you would marry? (“Doug Stodgel” was her answer.) How much education will you secured by 1981? (“At least four years of college” was her reply.) What would your occupation be? (“Politician or Performer”) Where will you be living in 1981? (“New York City”)

And there were a few personal questions rounding out the questionnaire, such as if the draft will still exist in 1981? (“Yes”) Will student unrest on college campuses still exist? (“No”) In what position do you feel we will be ecologically in 1981? (Her answer was “Much better than we are now!”) and the last question asked upon what definite problems have you had in this high school–with an asterisk noting that “This question is for you to determine whether or not this was a problem after ten years.” Betty replied that “I’ve been too busy to study and get good grades, and not applying myself enough”

What made this questionnaire interesting is what the Betty of 1971 wrote to the Betty of 1981–ten years into the future. This story about the Betty of tomorrow will be discussed in detail in the next article! Stay tuned!

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IN THE HEIGHTS (Warner Bros.) is a musical tale about a group of eager and young citizens dwelling in a section of New York City who holds dreams of becoming big within their own ways and means.

The story takes place in the Washington Heights district of upper Manhattan, a working class neighborhood located due north or Harlem-a location far removed from the glimmer and glitz of Midtown that has shifted its demographics over the many years where much of its residents hail from Central America.

It tells the trails and tribulations of Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who runs a small bodega he inherited from his late parents. His big dream is to restore a seaside cantina his dad once ran in a village located in his native place of origin in the Dominican Republic. There’s Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who toils in a neighborhood hair salon who desires to become a fashion designer and perhaps run her own boutique one day. There’s Nina (Leslie Grace) a childhood friend of Usnavi who’s returned back from attending school at Stanford Univeristy-the first person in her family that is receiving a formal education beyond high school. There’s Benny (Corey Hawkins) another young man working as a dispatcher in a community car service company who has his own aspirations. Along with its various neighbors, family members (blood relatives or those “adapted”), and others dwelling within their patch of the barrio, each one holds the wish and desires that if their dreams are big enough, one can possibly reach the top to where they want to go no matter who they are, where they came from, and where they are heading toward–all among the vast shadows of the George Washington Bridge.

This musical feature film, based upon the stage musical of the same name conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda (before he really struck gold with his other stage musical Hamilton) with music and lyrics by Miranda and screenplay by Quiara Alegría Hudes, who also composed the “book” for the stage version, is a light and rather “cleaned up” version of a tight-nite community where everyone knows one another and looks after each person to a degree. (This part of upper Manhattan is where both Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes hailed from. Thus, they write and speak from personal experience!) The area itself appears to be rather colorful in its own movie version way, full of scenes and descriptions that are very New York City centric, meaning if one ever lived in or near the NYC area, one can perhaps relate to. Other than that, it’s a community depicted to others outside the realm as one-part West Side Story and another part Sesame Street. This means that the people and places depicted are those that are free from the urban grit and grime one may find in such communities of late.

Also, each main character as depicted are first generation American citizens, although they do “keep real” with their roots while all were born in the USA and are not “illegals” by any means. However, this is a movie musical, not a documentary! So however the characters are depicted and the region to where they hang their hats are just part of the escapist forms of visual entertainment that is desperately needed in these current times as folks are just starting to get out of their shells and are looking for summertime movies that is rather “fun” to look at–no matter what kind of environment they may be in at the moment.

And speaking of current times, much, if not all, people involved in this feature both in front of the camera and behind are those that are what’s known as “people of color”. (i.e. Non white!) Jon M. Chu, the person behind the surprise hit film of 2018, Crazy Rich Asians, directs this piece in a form that is very amusing, upbeat, charming, and harks back to the times where movie musicals, especially those set in an urban setting–mostly in New York City rather than Chicago or any other urban towns located in the Northeast or Midwestern part of the USA, showcases a hamlet that’s the be-all place to be! A city that’s big, exciting, and full of heart and soul!!

The remaining cast fits the bill when it comes to diversity, such as Melissa Barrera (TV’s Vida), Olga Merediz (Broadway’s In the Heights), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway’s Rent), Gregory Diaz IV (Broadway’s Matilda the Musical), Stephanie Beatriz (TV’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Dascha Polanco (TV’s Orange is the New Black) Jimmy Smits (The various Star Wars films), and Lin-Manuel Miranda himself as Piraguero the narrator. This reviewer placed their previous credits of the cast members as extracted from the press notes supplied through the Warner Bros. movie publicity department expressing the fact that they may not be big names stars so to speak, but have appeared in other properties well circulated among the streaming media circles.

As to the behind the scenes stuff. Alice Brooks (The Walking Dead) serves as its cinematographer giving the film its city-esque appearance. The costuming is by Mitchell Travers that presents its characters that urban barrio look including its female leads donning shorts that show off their legs. The set designs by Andrew Baseman give this film another urban presence to it all. (He also did the sets for Crazy Rich Asians, as well as The Trial of the Chicago 7, a title remembered more as a TV movie rather than a feature release that was suppose to play in selected movie houses.) And its choreography is by Christopher Scott, who previously worked with Chu on the Hulu TV streaming series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.

All in all, IN THE HEIGHTS is still an appealing title to view. It does have a rather long running time for a movie musical, clocking in at around two hours, twenty minutes–give or take! But for those that wish to see it in a real movie theater, make sure to bring along your extra large bladder or to hold off guzzling those large cups of fizzy soda pop! For those viewing it on HBO Max, Warner Media’s streaming service, one doesn’t have to worry about these little things. When nature calls, just hit the pause “button” on your device, step away to do your duty, and return to where one left off. Everyone will be waiting for you so they can sing and dance through the phrases of living life in the barrio.

This feature is rated “PG-13” for mild cussing and for “suggestive references”–whatever that means! Now appealing in selected movie theaters that may be open in your community, or through streaming via HBO Max for 31 days from its theatrical release date or until July 11th or thereabouts.

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QUEEN BEES (Universal/Gravitas Ventures) is a comical look to where a woman of age is forced into a setting to live with others of her own kind, only to discover that their attitudes they hold haven’t changed too much since their adolescence days as both for the bad and good!

Ellen Burstyn stars as Helen, a widow who desires to live independent, but really can’t seem to keep up. Her adult daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell) insists that she moves into a local senior community center, but flatly refuses. Laura’s young adult son Peter (Matthew Barnes) cares for his grandmother, but also shows his own concerns, even making sure he keep on hand an extra key to her place in case she locks herself out. One evening while cooking something on the stove. Helen does lock herself out. The pot on the stove burns resulting with a kitchen fire. Laura then decides to place Helen into the senior home until her home is reconstructed. Helen is or course reluctant to relocate, but holds little choice in this relocation that she insists is only for a short time. Once settled into her new temporary digs, she see other people of her age, but not in the same behavior patterns as expected. She notices that the other ladies there are flirting with the few male residences, even having these same ladies “sharing” the male suitors. But what makes things change for her is when she meets a gaggle of three women known as the “queen bees”, consisting of Janet (Jane Curtin) the leader of the bunch, Margot (Ann Margret), and Sally (Loretta Devine). When there is an opening in the bees’ tight-nite bridge group, Helen is invited to join them. But Dan (James Cann) a man living at the home tries to woo Helen. She first resists Dan. But being a guy that won’t say “no”, he insists that the two can be something. Dan does hold a good heart and spirit, and Helen sees this. They do eventually become a couple, in spite of the fact that the other ladies has one less man to “share” with!

This little feature written by Donald Martin based upon a story by Harrison Powell, is a charming melodrama that is light in spirit as well as light in its dramatic and comical tone. (No real big laughs here!) Although the concept of a group of ladies playing so-called “mean girls” that’s far removed from bossy girls found in any domestic middle school and/or high school setting, that idea of elders playing kids as comedy relief never seems to jell as it could. However, it’s rather amusing to see a pack of well known film and TV stars make another appearance in a program such as this feature–somewhat in the same notion as an old episode of the TV series The Love Boat where its “special guest stars” are familiar faces from the TV and movie world to where the viewer could say “I though they were long dead!”, as their screen appearance would prove otherwise! Michael Lembeck, the son of character performer Harvey Lembeck, directs this film that holds enough grace and style in the same fashion as any mature woman of a selected age would show herself off to–cute and amusing, but that’s about it!

Along with the for noted stars, Christopher Lloyd is featured as Arthur–another male “catch” at the senior community, and French Steward as Ken, the manager of the senior center. French is not a big name star per se, but this writer has seen him play Buster Keaton in the stage production Stoneface at Hollywood’s Sacred Fools Theater a few years back.

As one can guess, this feature title has the seal of approval from the AARP as “the most AARP movie ever” in their collection of movies called Movies from Grownups that usually consists of films that are heavy in drama, and tends to cater to those over the age of 60–maybe even older! After all, its principles are all of that age bracket. Ellen Burstyn clocks in at 88 years, James Caan at 81, Jane Curtin 73, Ann-Margret 80, Loretta Devine 71, and Christopher Lloyd at 82. Michael Lembeck himself is 72 years old. And for the record, those age statistics were provided to this reviewer by the AARP itself, proving to those in the know that folks of these elevated ages can still get work. After all, President Joe of the USA is pushing 80, so there still is hope! Maybe eighty may not be the new eighteen as Jace Curtin’s character Janet states, but this is all besides the point!

QUEEN BEES is rated “PG-13” for TV-type cussing as well as for milder drug usage. (Dope smoking.) Now playing is selected theaters where available, and through streaming video on demand.

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THE “NEW” NORMAL III

In the current issue of Time Magazine (June 2nd-24th, ’21) its cover story dealt with “The Great Reopening”. Gracing its cover was a hanging sign that stores would place on their doors that had a clock face that told when the shop keeper steps out for the moment, and when that same shop keeper would eventually return.

Instead of numbers on the clock face that gave the time when the said shop keeper would return, it has phrases that stated “Please Get Me Out Of This House”, “When My Kids Are Back In School”, “Wearing Sweatpants”, “3 Days A Week” “Are You Paying For Childcare?” and even “How About Never?” These meanings are telling what people will be doing when things get back to as normal are they are going to get. People do desire to get back with their lives, but not necessarily in the same fashion before all hell broke loose around the start of the week of March 15th, 2020.

Within those fifteen months, folks went through many phases in such a short period of time. Some of the phases were rather positive, such as taking the time to learn a new hobby, re-leaning an old hobby, developing a bond with close and not-so-close friends, family members, other people relations or otherwise that were once ignored and/or forgotten, and so on. The negative ones dealt with illness (catching the disease), death (dying from the disease), losing a job, suffering with what’s now called “food insecurity”, not being able to take care of personal expenses, etc. For quite a while, it was every (wo)man for themselves, while it sensed a notion that we were all in this together.

But based on how things stand on a local sense as well as a national one, it appears that the recovery is not too far off. It may be just right around the corner. And it might already arrived, but in a whole new look, appearance, and attitude.

Many of the things that did occur gave us new responsibilities and new ways to conduct everything from business, pleasure, and all in between! It made many realize that after what everyone has gone through, they want to start fresh and anew. And how they did things before and glanced at how they saw things after both physically and virtually, they don’t necessarily want to go back! They like it here in the new arena, and nobody and nothing is going to take it away from them, or even us! After all, from what everyone has experienced, don’t they are deserve more than what they should get?

This writer is pleased to report that yours truly has gone through the same emotions. I won’t get too specific as those notes will be explained in detail in Accessibly Live Off-Line’s annual “State Of The Union” address that will appear in Vol. 26-No. 27-Week of July 5th, 2021. And this writer isn’t an exception with it comes to being placed into a new template.

To give an idea in what we are speaking about, just about every movie and almost every theater production this writer had to opportunity to experience was done online through the portal of the year (or maybe the decade), called Zoom. In case you don’t know what Zoom is, it is a software program where anyone with a smartphone (which is just about everybody) and/or a desktop and/or laptop computer machine can communicate through audio and video. Many a meeting has taken place for school, business, and even for friendly (and not so friendly) chats with those that are connected within the same network. And yes, many stage theater companies have used this method in performing a show when their regular theater houses could not safely hold live performances.

To give you an idea of what this writer is..well, writing about, I recently saw a program that was performed by Gloria Gilford’s GGC Players theater company performing a production of Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor’s modern classic play Lovers And Other Strangers, as presented as virtual theater performed in real time. The play itself is a romantic comedy about a young couple planing for marriage, the brides parents planning for a divorce, as well as a few bouts of infidelity tossed in for good measure. In other words, it’s around various misadventures of a family that’s f-ed up as anyone else’s! The play, through slightly dated in some spots, holds plenty of wit that has as much charm embedded within its dialogue without the obnoxious traits normally found in postmodern rom-coms of late.

The performers that appeared in this double cast production were played more-or-less as talking heads. It carried itself out not so much through physical stage movement, but as an elaborate radio show. (Yours truly didn’t really “see” much of it, but mostly heard it all without losing any of its momentum!) Granted, it wasn’t the same as experiencing this production in a traditional theater, but it made this writer’s job a lot easier to witness. I didn’t have to shlep to a specific location to the theater space, and I didn’t have to “dress up” to attend. Since this program was a one-way production (I could see them but they could not see me), I could have been dressed up in a tux, a grubby t-shirt and grubbier sweatpants, or even donning nothing at all! (Don’t worry folks! I’m not quite ready to experience theater in the nude, or not through the audience’s side!)

What I’m stating within this article is this point is that this new method of communication has taught those that went through the pandemic that it’s quite possible to have an online experience of something that can complement a real in-person activity. Granted, it’s been done way before 2020, but wasn’t taken as seriously with the notion that “nobody’s going to want to do video meeting online”! Well guess what folks? It’s been proven that it can be done and then some.

But as things start to open up, only time and tide will tell how it’s going to pan out, and how long its going to take its hold. If may change for the better. It may change for the worse. It might just go away only to become long forgotten. One can only guess when this “new normal” is going to stick. Let’s see who will become the real winners and real losers.

As Yogi Berra has been quoted to say, “It ain’t over ‘till It’s over”. And it’s far from being over! However, things are not as bad as it had been a year ago when people were franticly baking bread, hoarding toilet paper, painting their houses, and working on that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that features a likeness of the Cincinnati, Ohio skyline at dusk. (Don’t laugh folks. There is such a jigsaw puzzle like that, available online in cyberspace land!)I could add more into this column, but I’ve got to catch another Zoom meeting that’s starting up in just five minutes! (The first of three scheduled for today!) And I’ll be wearing that Hawaiian shirt once purchased at a long forgotten garage sale a few years back. Talk about being high on the fashion hog!!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE “NEW” NORMAL II

There has been a lot of talk about a phase this society is going through as a “new normal”. This NN has been reflective upon the opening up after a fifteen month plus hibernation period that many folks have gone through thanks to the rise and fall(ing) of the Pandemic.

Of course, a new normal isn’t anything new. In fact, shifting from a “normal” to a “new” and not necessarily approved version of the “old” normal holds different means from one another.

Case in point. A few years ago, this nation went though a period of economic decline. This period was called “The Great Recession” since previous recessions–a moment of time where the economic state of the nation was not doing too well-came and eventually went, leaving within its aftermath, a state where people who were affected, such as to the point where their living spaces were in fate through loss of income and the loss of home ownership thanks to subprime mortgages that banks were issuing out through the early years of the 21st century.

In 2013, we placed an article that speaks upon a “new normal” that was forming. The article’s heading was of course, called The New Normal. Eventually, things did get back to normal, and that lasted up until the start of the third decade of the 21st century.

Here is that article as we presented it in Vol. 18-No. 20…

This seems to be one of the so-called “buzz phrases” that’s been kicking around within the last few years. According to the Oxford Dictionary, this term means “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.”

This phrase came from the rise of “The Great Recession” where everything from spending habits, general employment, and anything else that took a hard beating didn’t necessary recover even through the so-called economic “recession” supposedly ended a few years back! What is general refers to is the fact that what was once standard isn’t anymore, and what changed will be that way for quite a while, if not for good!

For example, being frugal with one’s money is now a “new normal” than just a temporary state of being. According to a recent poll conducted by The Gallup Organization, nearly three fourths (73%) stated that they are either spending the same amount of money or just spending less. 31% of those spending less is their “new normal” method of handling their cash flow. This states that those penny pinching folks will keep this method up for good rather than just for the moment.

There are a lot of reasons outside to economic concerns about keeping a new normal as part of a way of life. This also means a new acceptance in a lifestyle. A sitcom with the same phrase (The New Normal) that premiered at the start of the 2012-13 TV season on NBC emphasized upon the antics of a gay male couple seeking a baby. In a post modern world, a single sex “married” couple is a small yet existent part of the domestic landscape compared to twenty years ago where such a couple would be rather small in number, if existent at all. (For the record, NBC announced that this new sitcom that was expected to blaze a few trails so-to-speak, has been canceled!)

Changing one’s way of acting upon a moment or situation isn’t really new or unique. The self help craze that began in the 1970’s, taking off in the 80’s, and continued through the 90’s and well into the new millennium, noted from time to time about “inventing yourself”. It’s about changing with the times; not necessarily the domestic time, but the “times” one lives through based upon personal circumstances. Growing up emotionally fits into this reinvention. However, many folks don’t take growing up it stride, still acting the way they were in their teen years, even though they can be way past thirty! By the time one reaches forty (i.e. “middle age”), then acting the same way as a youth doesn’t cut it anymore and thus, going through the process through domestic life becomes something as a new normal.

Is one uses their favorite search engine typing in “the new normal”, one will receive a whole lot of answers to those three little words. Some will reflect upon what this article speaks about, and a few more choices flag down other unrelated matters. No matter what one may find, there is more than enough to ponder upon.

So as times get better, worse, or just stay the same, there will always be a normal, or a newer one to take its place. However, by the moment where things and events finally fall into its own set place, sure enough, something else is going to turn things about! This moment should not necessarily be labeled as a new normal. Then again, what is normal anyway? Perhaps that’s a topic for another issue as it’s normal enough to quit while one is ahead! And we can’t get farther ahead than that!

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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 STREAMING WARS CONTINUE

Here’s more proof (if “proof” is actually needed) that streaming media ain’t going away!

Last week, Warner Media, the company owned by AT&T that has to its portfolio, CNN, TBS, HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Studios, and other names in the media business that’s been around since the glory days of cable television, will be “getting married” to Discovery Networks, the company that features a load of domestic living channels, such as HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, and other media elements within their portfolio. These two sources will provide more content to those that wish to subscribe through streaming media, offering titles to pick through to see whenever and wherever people can view on any device that sports a video screen as well that can connect to a internet connection.

Amazon, the company that among other sources, sells everything including the kitchen sink, is in talks of acquiring MGM, the studio that holds a library of some 4000 titles including a selection from United Artists and includes among others, the James Bond feature films and other recent “modern” classic hits such as Fargo, Robocop, The Silence of the Lambs, and many others. This portfolio will add titles to Amazon Prime, a streaming service that is gaining in popularity and is heavily competing with Netflix, and Disney+.

This possible acquisition is not to be confused with the MGM and is better known as Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, a studio once located in Culver City, California (not “Hollywood” as what’s stated at the end of MGM cartoons where they were “Made in Hollywood USA”), that became established in 1924. That MGM was purchased by Ted Turner in the middle 1980’s where its now part of Warner Media. That library consists of titles that were released through MGM from January 1st, 1924 through May 31st, 1986–just in case anyone is keeping score!

What this all means is that streaming media in now the hot source to receive and consume moving imagery content through electronic means. Although linear TV is still around, it’s being created with streaming in mind, meaning that if the traditional TV networks wishes to provide programming through over the air means, it will become available for streaming sooner or later. (More “sooner” than “later”!) ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC are all “players” in the streaming business! And the movie studios are also involved as well as they are all connected to TV, from Paramount (Paramount + via CBSViacom), Universal through NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Sony Studios with arrangements with Netflix, Warner Bros. with WarnerMedia, and The Walt Disney Company with of course, Disney+. In the late teens, Disney bought the assets of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, that now owners the entire Fox library for the purpose of streaming.

It’s been said in the business world that one should go where the money is. As of this moment, the big bucks are found in streaming services. With people now getting quite comfortable of getting their content through streaming thanks from being cooped up inside of their dwellings due to the results from the pandemic, it appears that people won’t break away from a habit that they actually enjoy in keeping. And because streaming is cheap(er) that traditional cable TV or even trekking off to a movie theater to view, well… movies, people will take that kind of offer.

After all, if it’s going to cost a whole lot less to get something where that “something” is brought to you verses the other way around, why not grab it? After all, free delivery is no longer a privileged option. It’s now expected!
As this Spring season will be turning into a Summer where the weather is nicer, and those orders to keep those ever lovin’ face masks on will be cast aside, folks may concentrate is doing so-called “normal” stuff, but with a twist! They won’t go back to the days where they had to engage themselves within a setting because that was the way to do things, but they will do those same actions as a “reboot” rather than a traditional “back to the way it is” or “back to the way it was” at least! And since a “reboot” is the post-modern way to describe an object or source as “new and improved”, they will go for that new and improved, leaving the old and not-as-improved version into the trash heaps for good. It will become a matter of time and tide to see who will become the next contestant in the streaming wars.

However, it may buckle down back to the notion that there may be 57 channels to get and there’s nothing on. Then again, you can’t please everyone out there. If you could, where would be the fun be in that??

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!

ONE LESS AWARDS SHOW TO VIEW

Last week, NBC announced that due to the lack of diversity, as well for ethical impropriates among the staff and voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a trade group of some 90 members that write about the entertainment industry to media sources based outside of the USA, decided not to televise the annual Golden Globes awards show in 2022.

The Golden Globe Awards, one of the most viewed entertainment award programs that is outside of the “big four” awards in media and entertainment, has been going through a recent shake up of its members and staff due to its lack of diversity (most members are white males), as well as other factors that caused NBC not to air this event next season.

The Golden Globes usually sets off the awards season for entertainment programs covering movies, television, recordings, and related factors. The season normally runs from early January and ends in late February with the presenting and telecasting of the Academy Awards. However, thanks to the pandemic, this year’s awards season ran some eight weeks behind schedule.

Within the January-February season, The Academy Awards a.k.a. The Oscars, as well as the Grammy Awards, are the only two from the big four that usually take place. The other two, the Tony Awards, usually takes place in early June, and the Emmys take place in early-middle September.

Awards shows and television has been a hand-in-hand notion for many decades. Its biggest draw was the roster of celebrities that usually appeared within these programs. It was always a thrill to TV viewers to see these so-called bigger than life stars to appear on their television screens. This was long true for The Oscars when movies and television existed as separate units. Movies were within their own world, and television was set in their universe.

For the Grammys, the only way that those in the music industry (musical bands or vocalists) would be seen on TV was usually as a guest spot in a variety program, most notably, The Ed Sullivan Show, among other programs of its ilk. The Tony Awards, for the best in New York-based Theater, has a unique approach as many of its actors and actresses, as well as those “behind the scenes” (authors, producers, etc.) that appeared as a presenter and/or as a award nominee wasn’t necessary a well known personality outside of the stage theater industry. And for The Emmy Awards, that was totally television! So those appearing for something or another was present within the medium they worked for and with.

But in recent years, the ratings for all of these award programs have been down in recent times. And there has been a lot of reasons why. Among the reasons, it was from the lack of knowledge on a massive scale of those nominated for an award and the source they were being nominated for. The Tony Awards presents awards for the best in stage theater for shows appearing on Broadway and in New York City. Unless one followers the theater industry and/or lives within a fifty mile radius of New York City, many of the shows and its stars and staff aren’t known as well to the public at large. The Oscars over the years (mostly from the 1990’s and onward), holds a tendency to recognize “art” or “independent” movies that are heavy in drama, and don’t tend to be big office office smashes. (If a summertime blockbuster becomes nominated, it tends to be for a technical award.) The Grammy only caters to those stars and recording that teeter toward a young demographic. TV programs that are set for an Emmy award focus upon television as a whole, but as less for programs appearing in one of the “big four” networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC), but toward premium a.k.a. Pay services (HBO, Showtime, etc.) as well as subscription streaming media. (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.)

Entertainment awards programs has been part of the TV staple for generations. The Academy Awards first saw the light on TV in 1953 on NBC. The Grammy Awards came to TV in the 1960’s. ABC first aired the Tony Awards in 1967. The Emmys, usually aired and rotated among four networks each year (Fox because the “fourth network” in the late 1980’s), first aired in the late 1940’s when TV was a new medium long before it became a standard.

As to The Golden Globe Awards. For many years, it was only aired as a local telecast within the Los Angeles area on independent station KTLA. For a while in the 1970’s, it was offered as a syndicated program for a national scale, mostly picked up by other independent stations across the USA. (This writer remembers watching this program in the early 1970‘s as a live event through WGN in Chicago, meaning that is aired from 10:00 PM to slightly past midnight, since the Central time zone was two hours ahead of the Pacific time zone.) in the middle 1990’s, it became a regular stable on NBC, around the time when celebrity news and its related factors started to catch on. Even the red carpet event before the awards show drew a bigger audience as much as the awards show itself that catered toward its viewing demographic.

Thanks to social media, these stars, mostly as seen and herd in front of the camera and mics, are always present 24/7/365. They have their own YouTube channels, host their own podcasts, have Twitter, Tic-Tok, and Instagram followers ranking into the millions, and can have their fans react to them through their own line of merchandise. So the notion of seeing them on TV through an awards show remains just another cog in their system of fans getting toward their stars, and the stars getting to their fans. If one is lucky, one can actually communicate with the stars in question, but that communication may be from a source that is working on behalf of the star in question, be it from a live person, or their robotic means.

Will this banning of NBC not airing the Golden Globes make a difference? It remains as a big maybe. After all, there are other award shows to consider. And maybe the HFPA may make an agreement to expand their team where it becomes more diverse to satisfy the network to reconsider. But in the meantime, the award shows will still continue. Live events still hold a bigger draw to video viewers. And its not limited to traditional TV. All of the media players participate in video streaming, and those that have access to an internet connected device can still watch where they may be, just as long as the WiFi connection holds out. And they can still follow their favorite stars through the media platforms as they are getting all of the attention they need just to keep up in their fame. It’s just another day in the life of a fanatic.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2021 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!