A NEW WORLD RECORD?

A few weeks back, we received a news story that came from one of those so-called “news” sources that concentrates on reporting a cross between human interest stories and celebrity/entertainment fodder. Whatever the case, we found it as a bit amusing.

It appears that the record for binge watching virtual reality video content has been broken by not one, but by two individuals, clocking in some fifty hours of watching video content as this new method of TV viewing
According to the report, Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso, and Alex Christison, of New York City successfully completed the feat by watching VR video content staring on a Saturday at around 8:45 AM through the next Monday at 10:45 AM (EST) with a five-minute break per hour.

AJ and Alex completed this feat through a sponsorship from CyberLink, which has a VR-playback feature on its Power DVD17 software. The report continues to state that this pair used Oculus Rift headsets connected to VR-capable laptops.
The report also noted that Aj still holds the record of binge watching standard video content that he completed this feat last year through a ninety-four hour marathon.

And for what its worth, both champs are of the Millennium demographic. AJ is 26 and Alex is 37.

So what does the above news story mean? Not too much really! It’s just another tale on how folks consume their television, no matter what medium is used to view all of these wonderful programs.
It’s no real secret that television and its viewing elements has drastically changed since the turn of the 21st century. Back in 2001 the first year of the new millennium, television was viewed through over the air broadcasts, cable TV, and through a satellite dish that mimics what one would normally see through a CATV hook up. There was the trusty ol’ VCR where one can watch videotapes either as pre-recorded titles such as movies, or stuff recorded off the air for later viewing. DVDs did exist as well. However, one really couldn’t recorded on a DVD, so videotape was more of a preferred method. The picture quality as a whole wasn’t as good as what a DVD could generate, but if one recorded that week’s installment of Friends to view later, then the image quality was acceptable for what it was. Even if the person wanted to keep the show for their own library, the programs as recorded was still acceptable. After all, one can build up a nice collection of programs recorded off the air for very cheap; Mainly, for the price of a blank videocassette. (Blank tapes were going around $5.00 or so, and a lot less if one purchased in bulk.)

Today, videotapes as a whole (pre-recorded or off-air recordings), are so out of demand, people tend to dump their tapes at garage sales for “make offer” prices, or toss them in the trash! Second hand shops such as the Goodwill won’t even take VHS tapes anymore as they no longer sell! And when it comes to the TV machines that were used back on ’01? Unless the set was something rather unique or special, one can’t even give those old tube sets away anymore! This writer would observe a tube set (usually a 1990’s-era set around 24” inches in screen size), sitting along a curb ready for anyone to take it away! At one time, one can find an average of two TV sets abandon on a curb every week!

Now this binge watching stuff! Leave it to the folks at Netflix to start this habit of consuming television. Although this video service do offer a selection of feature films and catalog television programs, they have their line up of original TV programs. Unlike how the networks would present a program by offing a new episode per week, Netflix, as well as their competitors (Hulu, Amazon, etc.) would premier their shows as a whole, not as one episode at a time! So when, let’s say Hulu, introduces a new program (not necessarily in some given part of the calendar year compared to the traditional fall season in September), one can see the entire season in one sitting. Granted, one isn’t obligated to see every episode all at once, but depending how one finds the program interesting, one can do that! It all depends on how one can ether find the time or effort to take every bit of a specific show. Call this method as “all in the timing”!

A few years ago, the folks as 20th Century Fox TV held a contest that involved the animated series The Simpsons. The contest involved a marathon watching event where a large tent was placed (in this case, within the Hollywood and Highland shopping complex) that was set up auditorium style. A large 80” TV monitor was placed at the end of the tent. In front of that monitor was a series of folding chairs lined in rows. The object of the contest was to watch every episode of The Simpsons projected while seated in the tent, and the person that remained in the tent watching for the longest period of time would be declared as “the winner”. This writer didn’t get the details on the contest rules, such as allowing for breaks or anything like that, let alone who was the winning contestant, how many hours (days?) they remained, or even what the prize was! However, one can do their ever lovin’ Google search to find those answers.

So as TV sets become bigger and smarter, and TV program providers become more creative in how their shows are viewed, we can assume that this method of TV consumption is here to stay. This is supposed to be television’s second coming. (Again!)

It just can’t get any better that that!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Pasadena’s Theatre @ Boston Court presents the world premier of Dan O’Brian’s THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE: A MEMOIR FOR THE STAGE, a performance about a playwright’s quest to write about his family for artistic purposes, only to discover there’s more to his cause.

Brian Henderson is Dan, a writer living in Los Angeles that has a desire to compose a stage play (instead of a screenplay) that uses his family as its basis. Originally from the New York area (Scarsdale), he begin his personal journey attempting to contact various people in finding out about his roots and the reasons behind his removal from the family domain. Tim Cummings portrays these diverse virtual citizens that dwell within Dan’s practical junket (including “Dan” himself) that informs him about siblings, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and those not necessarily related through blood, marriage, or existence. The farther Dan travels, the more he becomes aware about these beings, while not knowing about who they are and what they are not. Dan’s memoir develops into a plateau that isn’t part of a physical theatre, but more of a theatre of one’s mind.

This single act play created by Dan O’Brien takes on a theme of sorts that focuses upon the standard and accepted practice of being part of a so-called dysfunctional family, a basis that was once an unspoken taboo and is presently viewed in this age’s post-modern domestic society as sitcom fodder! In this production, the play’s concepts begins as the for noted progressive sitcom where much of the humor is expressed. As the plot thickens (so to speak), the tone becomes more sobering as the protagonist finds out hidden secrets about his linage–true or otherwise!

The two performers seen in this program, Brian Henderson as Dan, and Tim Cummings as Dan (and others), communicate through a myriad of settings and personalities that ranges from comical to solemn. The words and emoting that Dan et. al. speaks holds more wit than traditional comedy, while at the same moments, are more dramatic in words than dramatic through physical action. Michael Michetti’s stage direction keeps these two players in step, never giving the opportunity to have its pacing falter.

In terms of visual elements, Sara Ryung Clement’s scenic design shows a pair of metallic chairs on stage left-center as its only physical props, Its backdrop are two walls angled at its center that are used to hold projected moving imagery as designed by Tom Ontiveron. These images displays Dan within his journey until he discovers the family he knows of or not.

It’s not quite known if playwright Dan O’Brian used his actual family as the setting to this work, even if this is indeed a “memoir for the stage” as this play’s subtitle suggests. That question doesn’t have to contain an answer as to what is depicted on the stage can speak for itself. One question may remain. Does Dan, the play’s main character, complete his odyssey to create a stage piece that serves as his memoir? Perhaps that is for another stage play or as a “reboot” as it’s known in movie speak!

THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE: A MEMOIR FOR THE STAGE, presented by and performs at The Theatre @ Boston Court, 70 North Mentor Avenue (off Lake Street and Colorado Blvd.) Pasadena, until June 4th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Additional performance takes place on Monday, May 22nd at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 683-6801, or via online at http://www.BostonCourt.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 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’M JUST A LONELY BOY

The above title beings to mind an “oldie” tune sung by Paul Anka c. 1960 that was not only a hit heard on top 40 radio back in its day (in Los Angeles, KFWB and KRLA placed that record on its playlists), but was heard as a regular staple on those stations that once programed rock ‘n roll “oldies” beginning in the 1970’s and continued well into the 2000s. But this article isn’t about Paul Anka, top-40 and oldies radio stations, or even collecting 45 PRM records! It’s about the topic in question: The sense of feeling lonely and becoming within a state of being where a lonely person doesn’t have others to coincide with.
Not so long ago, The Harris Poll in conjunction with the American Osteopathic Association, conducted an online survey asking participants on their sense of being isolated from others, either as people known to one another, or to those that hold a common bond with each other based upon interest, their place of employment, or just within a stage as a group, organization, clan, or other method that could be considered as a gang of some type.

In the poll’s findings, some 2,000 American adults polled found that 72% reported having felt a sense of loneliness at one time or another, with nearly a third (31 percent) experiencing loneliness at least once a week.
The reasonings toward this isolation vary widely, from working at a job or occupation for longer hours, as well as the ever present social media that has others develop so-called “friendships” with one another without seeing the person face to face, speaking to each other, or even knowing if that person even exists! Thanks to this technology that is supposed to make life easier, it appears that it really didn’t service as a connivence, but as another step to making things more complex.

This trend of the state of being isolated in a domestic society is far from being something as new. When television stated to make its mark in the late 1940’s, folks were flocking to be in front of those television machines in order to take a peek of those programs being accessible on those new fangled devices. At first, TV sets were rather expensive for what they were. Much of the early viewing trends were based on watching within a group-type setting, from going to a local bar or tavern to see The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports or perhaps being at a friend’s or associate’s home to watch Your Show of Shows on a Saturday night. As TV sets became more common and thus, more affordable, those viewing parties faded away where people could and would watch by themselves. In many neighborhoods, especially in smaller towns, television was the cause (blame?) as the reasoning of community breakdowns. Everything from bowling leagues to woman’s groups experienced a fall of membership and events thanks to the presence of television. As recently as the 1970’s, the community of Essex, California was known to be one of the few places in the USA that couldn’t receive television signals from both Los Angeles (too far away) and Las Vegas (too many mountains). When a booster antenna was finally installed nearby, TV signals reached Essex. Community groups within this hamlet saw memberships drop only to induce more isolation within this small town just because people can stay home to watch television rather than do something else with others!

But that story of Essex was a remote case. Over time and tide, people drifted toward isolation through various reasons, yet technology played a part. Around the turn of the 21st century, a book written by Robert D. Putman entitled Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community was released that noted about the drastic decline of social interaction within the last fifty years beginning around 1950. That period was marked between the rise of TV to the dawn of internet usage. But in 2000, the ‘net was somewhat of a different place as it exists in the present time, as well as how one can get access to it all.

Perhaps two elements has since taken place around the time that book title make its mark: Social media, and how one can receive it. Within the last fifteen or so years, social media platforms morphed from being a novelty to a way of life. And cells phone changed from small candy bar shaped devices to mini computers that can do nearly everything from sending text messages, viewing video content, hearing audio sounds, and yes–sending and receiving phone calls! As to social media, that grew in leaps and bounds where many websites came and went where one can know of others in cyberspace land. Perhaps the granddaddy of them all in terms of social media presence is Facebook, where it is quite possible to find many people one may know, one may know of, and others that are total strangers–assuming that these strangers are for real! On Facebook, one can have as many as 5000 “friends” where one can find out anything the “friends” post about themselves on their platforms. In spite of the fact that one can have as many of these friends allowed, one question remains. How many of these online buddies one has spoken to via voice, or have actually seen in person? One of our fake people we have on Facebook reached its 5000 limit, receiving online banter over what the 5000 are doing, what they believe in, and anything else in between. Will we ever meet any of these fine folks? Fat chance for that!

Although social media is OK for what it is, it’s not all evil, and getting out of isolation isn’t something one will be stuck with for life. According to the Harris poll results and what the American Osteopathic Association suggests, there are ways to get out of being all alone and back into group situations, from finding groups to gather with (Meetup.com can be used to find such groups), from shopping locally (such as farmer’s markets), to changing communities where one works and/or lives, and to possibly take an effort to limit one’s reliance of social media! (Or as it’s know, to become “off the grid”!) It’s not impossible to perform all of these steps, but after some trial and error, one can get back with others and to get away from becoming all by their lonesome.

Of course, one has to have a balance in own’s life. Being by one’s self has its advantages. And being with others also holds its perks. Whatever the case, all one has to do is to is try. To quote a c.1959 Peanuts panel strip, when Charlie Brown first has his appointment with Lucy with her five cent physiotherapy session, he asked upon how to beat his depression, Luck replied to “Snap out of it”, and to demand her five cents for her services. Maybe there is more to that solution, but we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line are not doctors, nor do we play them on TV! Just ask the towns folks in Essex just in case you don’t take our word for it!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at The Actors Company of West Hollywood is the world premier of Michael Harney’s THE AWFUL GRACE OF GOD, a collection of six short plays that take the theater audience through various places of time, location, and space.

The half dozen short tales consists of Off, featuring Curtiz Belz and Bechir Sylvain as two friends living in Flushing, Queens c.1972 as the they deal with living in their neighborhood keeping with their street smarts: Surrender with Tim DeZarn and Janine Venable as an older couple aging in place at their cabin nestled within their rustic spot in an unnamed community in New England, still getting over the death of their child from not so many years before: and Willy and Rose, about a young couple on the run living in a seedy motel room where Wille performed a “job” bringing a lot of money in their coffers, only to pay a price, featuring Johnny Whitworth, Agatha Nowicki, and Joseph Bongiovanni. The second half consists of The Long Walk Home, a period piece set in New York City c.1950 about a man’s dilemma from his drinking and how it affects his wife and kids, only to have his crippled father to set him straight. Features James Harvey Ward, Tim DeZarn, Janine Venable, Rebecca Lidvan, Daniel Litz, Amelia Jackson-Gray, and Joseph Bongiovanni. Need (Shelter From The Storm), stars Marie Broderick as a psychotherapist and Marshall McCabe (alternating with Ilia Volok) as her client where he expresses his devotion to her, in spite of her limiting their relationship as only professional. And rounding out the six is Through, Oscar Best is an African American man tied up at a lynching post as he discovers his freedom through virtual means.

This pool of short plays written by Michael Harney is presented in a very tight mode. Their moods range from light and humorous to downright sobering. Each mini-tale has touches of surrealism contained in various places, some with more doses of this entry that others that give off an equal balance. The method that these single standing scenes as portrayed gives the audience the desire to want more, only to have its conclusions arrive in the nick of time! Michael Harney, best known as playing the character Sam Healy in the Nexflix series Orange Is The New Black, creates through his writings, six unique worlds that journeys through the past, present, and possibly a future that might lead as experienced (or not)!
 As to the visuals seen on stage, Joel Daavid’s set design combining with Fritz Davis’ video projection design creates a backdrop that takes each of these short epics in miniature through every situation and latitude, from the streets of Queens to an isolated cabin somewhere in Yankee country, back to the present urban scene, and far beyond the reaches of physical volume.

Directed by Mark Kemble, THE AWFUL GRACE OF GOD is far from “awful”! In fact, it holds a rather powerful reaction that is set within its slightly over two hour running time! It has been stated before that big things tend to come in small packages. This fact is indeed very true as through the grace of God or otherwise!

THE AWFUL GRACE OF GOD, presented by Go The Distance Productions, and performs at the Other Space at The Actors Company, 916 N. Formosa Avenue (two blocks south of Santa Monica Blvd, and two blocks west of La Brea), West Hollywood, until May 28th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 960-7784, or via online at http://www.Plays411.com/GraceOfGod

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Performing at the Charles Stewart Howard Theatre in Woodland Hills is the program THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY, the Neil Bartram-Brian Hill musical that focuses itself on how everything in life is relative and interconnected, no matter how important or trivial these connection presents itself.
In this production, an ensemble of twelve performers consisting of (as listed in alphabetical order) Laila Abdo, Tiffany Bailey, Chris Clonts, Kristne Gilreath, MacKayla Hill, Justin Hoff, Daniel Koh, Paulina Logan, Katie Lynn Mapel, Caitlyn Rose Massey, Kyle Sundman, and Laiya Cheyenne Wynn, emote through song on how personal episodes found within that element called “domestic life” holds some connection to one another, although that interconnection may not seem obvious firsthand.
The mini-stories this musical speak, or sings for ranges between (in no specific order) a person attempting to impress another with a confession to his cat allergy, a pair of BFFs since childhood whose friendship status changes as they eventually mature, another person scuffling on how his uncertainty with the emotion of love is connected with math theory of pi, a college bound student discovering his adult life in progress as unique from his once sheltered family life, how another young man with his fondness of oranges finds the love of his life by way of this fruit, a young woman who believed she found her true love only to have that love take another turn leaving her with a permanent reminder, a person who gathers the courage to say hello while waiting in line for a coffee drink, and other sagas that makes up the rituals of emerging into continuing adulthood.
This musical with music score and lyrics by Neil Bartman and book by Brian Hill, is a piece that is charming, witty, touching, honest, and depending of one’s demographic, nostalgic! The episodes portrayed are mostly told in song, although there is some spoken dialogue emitted that is powered to set up the “story”, making use of some basic laws of physics. That is where the math ends and the musical notions take hold. WIthin this seen production, the cast of twelve are seated on various white colored semi-mismatched chairs at first, only to take the stage when it’s their turn to sing taking upon the character they are playing that’s emoting their little life account. Within the stage backdrop is a blackboard setting placed on stage left and right with math-esque problems scribbled throughout while a vase filled with posies is placed in the center of these blackboards as balance. Jessica Worland’s production design first gives the illusion that this show is just about math and physics. But that feeling takes a backseat when the show extends itself as how people emerge in life.
And how does “nostalgia” fit into this musical work? For the most part, the stories told and the players that depict them are mostly of the “millennium” age. However, a point in life doesn’t make a difference here since nearly anyone who did undergo a domestic form of living can relate to these same tales, except that these epics occurred a few years before when one used their inner emotions and gut feelings rather than through an app loaded into their smartphones!
With Larry Collica providing musical direction performing on the keyboards, and Marshelle Giggles-Mills as stage director, this one-act musical can be described as tight, meaning that its musical and dramatic emotions never bogs down a bit from its opening number to its climatic conclusion.
The Charles Stewart Howard Theatre isn’t a traditional stage theatre per se. Its theater space is found within an auditorium setting located on the campus of Woodland Hills Community Church, a facility nestled within a residential neighborhood just about a mile south of Ventura Blvd. It is indeed off the beaten path, and that is actually a good thing! This slightly out-of-the-way place gives this same theatre space its charm and appeal. And with its size, this theatre indeed subscribes to the “less-is-more” method of performing quality stage works. It’s not really the same as a “Hollywood hole-in-the-wall” playhouse because it’s far from existing as a “hole-in-the-wall”, and it’s some distance from Hollywood! This theatre space is found in the west San Fernando Valley region where high caliber performing art does exist. One just has to look a bit deeper for it!

THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY, is presented at the Charles Stewart Howard Theatre on the campus of Woodland Hills Community Church, 21335 Dumetz Road at Canoga Blvd. Woodland Hills. Performances take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 6th and 7th, at 7:30 PM. Ticket reservations can be obtained by calling (818) 835-0612, or via online at http://Theory.BrownPaperTickets.com or http://cshplayhouse.wixsite.com/the-cshp
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 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!

CABLE TV AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

Once upon a time, say, thirty or so years ago, cable television, or as it was known in industry speak, CATV, was toted as television’s second coming. It was a method where people (or actually, regular TV watchers), would have more choices in their television viewing. For the first time since TV came to be in the late 1940’s, folks would have the opportunity to have access to some 30+ channels to see programs for all tastes, from movies, sporting events, news and information, kid’s shows, and other types of entertainment that the “big three” (i.e. the over the air TV networks), couldn’t or didn’t provide.

Unlike getting access to those “big three”, that is collectively, ABC, CBS, and NBC, having a cable TV subscription became available for a fee, while the over the air networks were free. Many of the local cable companies that were wiring communities toted their services where one can get thirty to forty channels of various CATV networks for a monthly charge, usually around $15.00 to $25.00 per month, depending on the number of channels offered and the company providing such services. Of course, those monthly fees were just for “basic” service. If one wanted to receive those pay TV channels, such as Home Box Office aka HBO, Showtimes, The Movie Channel, or other sources, one would have to pay an extra $12.00 to $15.00 per month. Unlike basic service channels made available, such as The Arts & Entertainment Network (“A&E”), the USA Network, WTBS, ESPN, and a host of others, the pay services would offer recent movies (released at late as one year prior), and a few original programing choices that was uncut and uncensored. Now one can see those recent movies with all of the violence, cussing, and nudity intact! One could see original programs that also featured the said cussing and violence. Of course, all of these pay services offered family friendly programs as well. HBO has a contract with The Jim Henson Company to provide hour long titles that featured The Muppet characters. Showtime would also provide shows suitable for all ages, and all of the pay channels offered movies (their “bread and butter” programming) that were aimed for kids. And unlike basic service, there were no commercial interruptions, meaning that an original hour long show ran 58 minutes, thirty seconds, and movies ran their original lengths.

But that was back in the 1980’s when television was limited to standard analog signals running at 525 lines (NTSC standard). Stereo sound was its latest improvement, and VCRs were all the rage. And at the time, TV’s most profound advancement since its beginnings were color transmissions. SInce those thirty or so years, TV has grown in leaps or bounds. Cable TV is still around, but takes upon a different meaning. Many of those CATV companies around back then have either been bought out, merged, or pulled out of the business altogether. The choice of channels have increased from 35 to 200 plus. The amount for a subscription skyrocketed to $70.00 a month. (Never mind the fact that new subscribers can receive so much for less that $50.00 a month. It’s only good for one year where the regular fee kicks in starting at year two!) And although the pay channels are still available for an additional fee, original programming is promptly featured, while movies, the one time “bread and butter”, is now programmed as an afterthought.

However, the number of cable (or even satellite) subscribers has fallen through the recent years. There are many reasons given why people no longer want their CATV and/or satellite services is the cost factor. Paying $50.00 and up per month for receiving channels that are never watched no longer serves as practical, since a good number of CATV subscribers tend to tune in about eight to ten channels on a regular basis.

What is also killing CATV is what’s known as “streaming”, where one receives moving imagery content through an internet based connection. Instead of limited themselves on viewing through a traditional TV device, one can watch contend through any electronic gadget that sports a video screen, be it a laptop, an electronic pad, or even a phone. Granted, one will receive the maximum audio/video quality through a traditional TV, but it’s still quite possible to catch whatever one wants wherever the viewer is located, assuming that a wifi connection exists. Perhaps the two major advantages of streaming is the fact that one can view content whenever the viewer feel like it, and its monthly service is a whole lot cheaper, less than $10.00 per month in many cases.
But all is not lost for the once mighty CATV channels, as they too, offer streaming services of much of their content, from movies or original shows. And a lot of this content is also uncut and uncensored, too! Yep, there is also lots of family friendly material as well! So go ahead and bring the kids along!

This year (2017) will make the 70th anniversary of the slow-yet-steady start of regular TV programming on a wider scale. Next year will note the 70th year of standard programming available on a regular basis seven days a week! Viewers have come a long way since those early days when Milton Berle became TV’s first real star, and rooftops started to post those TV antennas. Uncle Miltie is long gone, but those TV aerials still can be used to receive those HiDef signals. It’s not wifi, but still works!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Performing at the Lounge Theatre in Hollywood is David Lindsay-Abaire’s RABBIT HOLE, a melodrama about a couple coping over the recent loss of their child due to circumstance, and the people that maneuver within their lives.

Much of the drama takes place at the home of Becca and Howie Corbett. (Jordana Oberman and Michael Yurchak), located in a well-to-do bedroom community in New York State. They also had a young son who had perished from an accidental death. Although Becca and Howie had accepted the fact that their son is gone, their relationship they once had begins to falter. And in spite of the fact that they are surrounded by supportive people such as Becca’s sibling Izzy (Toni Christopher), as well as her mother Nat (Darcy Shean), it’s just not enough to keep emotions in line. But one person returns back to the fold. Jason (Rocky Collins), an adolescent who will soon embark into adulthood and beyond, was the person responsible in the family’s tragic event. He seeks for honest forgiveness from the couple, but receives more that his desire. This is a bittersweet tale of acceptance, loss, recovery, and the notion of the realism of substance.

The play, winner of the the coveted Pulitzer Prize for 2007, is a stage work that presents an even blend of humor and temperateness without relying upon one or the other. Within this specific stage product, the cast of five players perform their roles down to a point where one may actually know of an genuine person in so-called “real life” that is depicted on stage. Eric Hunicutt directs this production as intense drama that isn’t too heavy, but effortful enough. The creative work of Lilly Bartenstein scenic and lighting design of the Corbett home: A comfortable homestead fit for the postmodern era. along with Serena Duffin costuming adds to the realism depicted.

Although the theme of this piece deals in tragic affairs, RABBIT HOLE isn’t a “downer” play per se, but has a story line that speaks for emotional high and low points with the theory that one can rise to the occasion, not matter what that occasion may be.

RABBIT HOLE, presented by JTK Productions, and performs at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block east of Vine Street at El Centro), Hollywood, until May 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For reservations and information, call (917) 407-3346, or online at http://www.plays411.com/RabbitHole
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents for a limited run, Barbara Minkus starring in I’M NOT FAMOUS, a performance with music where Barbara tells her life story on how she became (almost) famous.

Barbara emotes her yarn for her humble beginnings in Chicago where she was first exposed in performing songs in front of her family as well as at her elementary school. Inspired from catching the stage shows at the Chicago Theatre on State Street, she embarked on a rather long clime to stardom. She did over time eventually make it out to Broadway, and well as heading toward “the other coast” i.e. “Hollywood” a.k.a. Los Angeles to appear in a few gigs both both on stage as well as on Television. But in spite of gaining some kind of stardom, she became inspired to lead another life that had nothing to do with show biz. Through her narrative, she has an opportunity to sing a few songs that enhances her saga from one chapter to the next.

This show is far different that a standard solo show where one tells their life story (or a part of their life story) within a ninety minute or so running time. As described above, this showcase features some tunes lifted from Barbara’s personal soundtrack of her life. Many of the songs performed are from the “standards” variety as this is Barbara’s forte. WIth Ron Barnett on the keyboards, she is as her best singing as she is emoting. Within this ninety minute timeframe, she shifts the tale between her professional life to her personal side, from meeting the man that would become her spouse, the desire of starting a family, as well as creating a real “day job”. Although she does touch upon a few darker sides of her life, most of the performance places an emphasis on her brighter moments as she had more of the latter than the former!

Susan Morgenstern directs this program that is funny, charming, witty, with just a touch of sadness added for good measure. There are a few visuals projected within the stage backdrop as provided by visual projectionist and set designer James Cooper. These images just illustrate some of the stories that Barbara tells her audience that make this showpiece a source with the information that gives all the important facts about a person that isn’t famous!
In spite of what the title of this presentation may suggest, Barbara is indeed famous in her own right! Granted, she may not be a household name per se, but this writer knew of her from many years before when yours truly would be seated in front of a Zenith tuning in every Friday night (chomping down a bag of Jay’s potato chips) as well as the next morning while downing a bowl of Froot Loops and/or Lucky Charms. (Tuning in on the same TV network!) I didn’t necessarily know her name, but I knew her look! And for somebody of her vintage (21+), she still has what it takes, having a sense of real talent than let’s say, somebody “famous” through self performed antics uploaded on YouTube. (That’s for another story, and for another stage show playing somewhere performed by somebody else that’s “famous”!)

     I”M NOT FAMOUS-A MUSICAL JOURNEY WITH BARBARA MINKUS is presented by and performed at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (off Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until May 28th. Showtimes are Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or online at
http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com/Im-Not-Famous.html
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 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 SELLING OF YOURSELF VIA FACEBOOK

Facebook, as everyone knows (or should know) is one of the the be-all-to-end-all places in cyberspace that is part of what social media is all about. For the past ten or so years, millions of folks have posted their place on the site where they let anyone within their “friend’s” realms about anything and almost everything about what they do, what they think, and how everything is all up to snuff.

Although elements may vary, it appears that these folks, ranging in age stretching from “Gen Y’s” through the Baby Boomers generation, take the time to express the elements about their life, showing off pictures of their family, the events that attend, the assignments they do, and anything else they feel that others should know about. Never mind the fact that these expressions may be of little to no interest by the others that make up their “friends”. They just perform these things just because they can!
However, one will note that many of these posts about their lives tend to fall into a sense of bragging. Many of these folks give the illusion that their lives are bright and rosy. The work they do are their “dream jobs”, their families are perfect, their pets are oh-so-cute (if not being passed off as a family member), and other bits and pieces that would become a work of a public relations team, making sure that whatever aspects they spin, it must be upbeat and ideal.

Although there is nothing wrong with anyone that “toots their horn” about themselves (after all, that is what having an ego is all about), posting all of this goodness from others can backfire. Some of those that are obsessed with this social media entry may take some of these post seriously, perhaps too seriously! Many studies has found that spending too much time on Facebook (perhaps an hour or more per session), has brought a sense of depression to those that keep on reading all of these people’s post with their reports of joy, happiness, and the elements that “everything is going my way”!
People that continue to read these posts, as well as glancing at their video uplinks, can receive the notion that all is well with these “friends” (when in reality, they are perfect strangers), that may ask themselves, “What have I done with my life?”.

As much as people may believe, Facebook never makes any agreement that anything  people post on their sites that are of a personal nature are deemed to be true and accurate. Anybody can state anything about themselves and/or about those around them whenever they are actually true or not. A person for instance who claims they are a writer can say they just signed a zillion dollar contract with a big deal publishing company on their next romantic novel. (Many of these writers tend to be women, just to let everyone know!) Or somebody can post pictures of a recent vacation that they and/or the family went on where everyone in the pictures are having the time of their lives. However, how would anyone know that these events are real? Perhaps the “writer”  didn’t get a high dollar contract. Perhaps this writer is attempting to write that novel, hoping to sell it to anyone that’s willing to buy it. Maybe that writer doesn’t even exist! How would anyone know these facts? And would anyone really care??

This writer (“me”), has stated many times about the people we created that’s alive and living on Facebook. A few we have forgotten about while two in particular are indeed “alive and living”. Although they do have an active profile going, they are anything but real! They don’t exist!! But one person who as of this writing has 5000 friends–the maximum about of people one can have as friends. But out of these 5000, how many are aware that this person is a fake? A few may know, but for the most part, they don’t care! And then again, how many of the 5000 are real? And so it goes!

So go ahead. Let everyone in your gang know about everything you want them to know about! Just keep things in an upbeat matter. Don’t let anyone know that your life is just as crappy as the next person’s. It will just spoil the continuity of things, and will turn attitudes on its face(book)! It’s just part of the personal PR that everyone wants and needs–assuming that anyone would really give a crap!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS  

At the Zephyr on Melrose theatre located in the heart of the Fairfax district is James McLure’s LONE STAR, a comical tale of two siblings that talk about some of the things in life for better of for worse.
Taking place not too many years ago, Roy (Christopher Jordan) and his younger brother Ray (Christopher Parker) meet behind Angel’s Bar in Maynard, Texas-a place only famous for passing the day and nights away drinking, playing the jukebox loaded with Wayland, Willie, and Hank, shooting pool, and shooting s#it. Roy, a vet that did a duty in ‘Nam, doesn’t have much going for himself with the exception of a beer in hand (“Lone Star”) and his pink ’59 Thunderbird. Ray and Roy talks about the basic in life–or their lives anyway–that has meaning, such as being in Maynard all of their lives. Not much is going on outside of discussing drinking, Roy’s war stories and his car, and the woman they both once knew. The only one that seems to have his life together is Cletus (Brian Foyster). He’s a clean cut Baptist and works at the local appliance store. He does admire Roy as he’s the man that Cletus isn’t. Things just never get any better (or worse) in the Lone Star state.
This one act play is very comical that expresses how being in a small town where drinking in dive road houses is not just a hobby, but an “art”! The three characters that appear in this production are just as backwater Texas as they could get. David Fofi, one of the founders of the Elephant Theatre Company, a long established theater company that made its mark along Hollywood’s theatre row aka Santa Monica Blvd., directs this program that is highly entertaining, although its very short for a one act as its running time is somewhere around 70 minutes!

Special attention goes to Christopher Jordan’s scenic design that consists of a faded and very run down back of a rural road house bar loaded with rusted auto parts, a beat- up car seat serving as a comfy couch, along with long spent longneck bottles of Lone Star scattered about–the only brand of beer that matters!

LONE STAR is very witty on laughs and very short on running time. That’s no blame for this production as that was how the play was penned. But life itself is too short to worry about things as such. Just enjoy while taking a swig of brew while The Man in Black is thumping on the jukebox!

LONE STAR, presented by the Elephant Theatre Company, and performs at the Zephyr on Melrose, 7456 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, until May 7th. SHowtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For tickets, order online at http://www.plays411.com/LoneStar
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The Glendale Centre Theatre reprises Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, a play that banters upon upper class Victorian life, and the notion of two acquaintances being engaged to the same woman–among other follies!
Daniel Deyoung portrays John Worthing, a man that lives in a county estate outside of London. While in the city, he uses the moniker of Ernest. He’s in love with the coquettish Gwendolyn Fairfax (Meghan Lewis). Miss Farifax has a cousin named Algernon Moncrieff (Grayson Wittebarger) who also goes by the alias name of Earnest. Algernon a.k.a. Earnest heads off to Jack’s country home and falls toward romance with his ward Cecily Cardew (Zoe Farmingdale). Things become quite complicated with these two suitors calling themselves Earnest and their attempt to woo the named ladies that leads up to a climatic conclusion showing how important it is to be…Earnest!

There has been many accounts and notations stated about this play by the master Wilde (ironically, his final work), that has been expressed by many a theater connoisseur to become perhaps one of the greatest comedies ever written in English that didn’t come from the pen of The Bard! And after 100+ years from its first appearance, it appears to be just as timeless than ever before! The play itself is very well intact with its ever present wit. In fact, it’s very talky (i.e. use of dialogue than stage action) adding plenty of the for mentioned witticism that is part of its humor factor!

Zoe Bright, who appears in this production as Lady Bracknell, directs this piece with its cast of players that holds as much charm and appeal as the play itself. That said cast features, as listed in their order or appearance, Anthony Papastrat as Lane/Merriman, Dynell Leigh as Miss Prism, Tom Allen as the Rev. Chasuble, and Martin Sottile as Merriman the butler.

Angela Manke of Glendale Costumes provides the period costuming that is just as appealing as the performers that don such outfits, making their fashion statements well know to the era it caters to.

One forgets how such an ageless piece this play presents itself to be, no matter how many times one is exposed to it. After a century plus, it just gets better with time! And this community theater company located in a growing section of Glendale is indeed the place to see it for another opportunity!

   THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, presented presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until May 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Thursday, April 20th at 8:00 PM, and on Sunday, April 23rd and 30th at 3:00 PM.
    For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the GCT’s web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 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!

IS EVERYBODY HAPPY AT WORK?

The New York Times recently presented a news story about Thomas Painter, a hydrologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He is in charge of the Airborne Snow Observatory, mapping out snow caps in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. He flies an instrument-bearing airplane that checks out the snow falls that cover those areas. If he’s not flying over the mountains, he’s on the ground using various devices that measure out how much snow fall is over those peaks. He works some eighty hours a week doing what he does. When asked how he manages to work those long hours pinpointing how much snow is present to keep the water drought in line, he just stated, “It’s so much fun!”

In last week’s issue (Vol. 22-No. 14), yours truly made a few notes on one’s happiness levels. Among the many comments made over how one can be happy within their personal domains, one form of happiness is based on what one does for a living, or at least as an occupation. Many folks do a job of some sort based on need and/or through circumstance. Others will perform a task for the same reasons, but get themselves engaged in a job that they find as a pleasure, a joy to do, or even “fun”! Working some eighty hours a week on one job may seem like a lot. But if one is enjoying every minute of it, that amount of time is just a drop in the bucket!

But there are a few folks that don’t see their job is fun! What they do for a paycheck (assuming that these working stiffs are getting some scratch), may be routine, dull, or downright boring! The Gallup Polls generally asks the status on work and employment. As of this writing, Gallup reports that 33.04% of those asked noted that they are engaged in their jobs, while 45.2% said that there are good jobs available. That must be true, since the Economic Confidence Index stands are +4. Compare that level to what is was some nine years ago around this season when it was at -47 and eventually falling further! And during at that time, people became somewhat pleased in their work. Not so much in what they did, but being happy that they still has their jobs!
But those so-called “good old days” are dead and gone. The job market and everything that goes along with it is coming in on a roll! Many employers are having a tough time looking for workers! And those workers are not having the same trouble in finding that work, although they may be a few that are taking a bit longer than others seeking for those jobs!

But getting back to the notion of enjoying one’s employment. This reporter is pleased to note that I’m having better moments in what I do for work. As some of you readers may know, I deal in the preservation of both still and moving imagery. One assignment I have partaken in is to digitize a huge collection of television programs recored off the air on videotape back in the 1970’s, a few years before the VCR craze hit the general public. These recordings will eventually be transferred to a well respected media archive based in New York where they will become accessible to anyone who has the desire to view them for the first time, of the first time in years! (That is what preservation is all about–making everything accessible!) Since digitizing moving imagery has to be done in real time (i.e. an hour-long program will take a minimum of one hour to complete), imagine performing that assignment 2000+ times over! It’s enough work to keep me busy for weeks, perhaps for months! With everything that has to be done, the question remains. Will it bother me in performing everything for all of those days, weeks, and months? Maybe even working seven days a week, especially for the scratch that I will get to complete that task? That answer is simply the same as Mr. Painter’s comment on checking snow cap levels on northern California mountain tops. “It’s so much fun!”

I would be pleased to continue writing here, but it’s time to end this column to get to my other job. Now I’m going to digitize selected episodes of The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. (c.1974-77). So as the late Tom would say “Gooood night everybody!”
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is the west coast premier of Simon McBurney’s THE ENCOUNTER, a solo performance that tells the true tale of Loren McIntyre, a photographer on assignment for National Geographic magazine who stumbles upon a hidden tribe deep within the jungles of Brazil that changes his purpose of being within that region.

In this performance, Simon starts out in a humble mode, telling the audience how he will present his spin of this remarkable tale. He first notes upon his five year old daughter Noma back in his home town in London, then carries that same audience to the time in 1969 when Loren arrives to a deep remote part of South America to take photographs of the native tribes that reside in that part of the world. As he arrives by plane using the local river to guild him in, Loren, armed with his camping supplies along with a Minolta camera and film stock, is set to take the photo images that really matter for its NatGeo subscribers. But Loren meets up with the natives, only to become part of their existence through circumstances that blend between natural and those set up within his mind. Simon expresses these matters using not only his actions and words, but through sound!

This element of sound is what makes up the bulk of the true meanings of this performance. Taking advantage of advanced audio technology, Simon speaks using various mics placed throughout within what is nearly a barren stage. Within the center of the stage, a head shaped figure is set on a stand. This “head” is really a surround mic device that captures such sounds as if one would hear those noises through natural acoustics. To hear those sound naturally by the audience, each theatre seat is equipped with a headphone. This advanced audio system developed by Sennheiser, is what can be referred to as “3D audio”, where one hears these sounds is a 360 degree method. What the audience really hears is Simon, speaking as narrator (his unfiltered voice), and Loren (a deep sounding electronically altered spoken vocal), along with sound effects, atmospheric music cues, and various voices that mimic much of what Loren encountered among these tribes and what he discovered within the hidden jungles of Brazil.

Simon creates a high energy concept in telling the episodes that started to be a remote photo shoot to a mind alternating “acid-esque trip” that few (if any) will ever experience. Simon, using his words, sounds, and actions, takes inspiration to the book title The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, who was able to transcribe much of Loren’s memoir of this journey. Simon himself never had any opportunity to meet Loren in person, but his perception of this man and this remarkable encounter (thus, the title of this performance) stands out through his interpretation by way of articulated patterns and audio effects.

Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin provides the audio effects for this single act show, engineered by Samantha Broomfield, Laura Hammond, and Amir Sherhan. This team of audio managers creates the real backbone to what would normally stand as a solo show featuring a single performer attempting to take somebody’s words to make it as their own, without the standard autobiographical hash-out! In fact, this showcase can be seen and heard as an illustrated radio performance. It’s quite possible to even close one’s eyes to really “see” the saga of a working journalist from the western world to a space that time and civilization nearly forgot!

Simon not only performs this show, he also directs. And these directions lasts a near two hours running time. This means it’s Simon all the way! And after those 120 minutes (give or take) pass, one can be convinced that through the audio, the audience member was really there with Lorne and his movements nestled in the deep brush forests and jungles–A far cry to what would eventually wind up (or not) within the pages of a magazine that would otherwise remain on home book shelves for generations. That is, until somebody finally gets around to tossing those magazines in the recycle bin!

THE ENCOUNTER, presented by Complicite, and performs at the Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Bram Goldsmith Theatre, 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, until April 16th. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with matinees on Saturday and Sundays at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 746-4000, or via online at http://www.TheWallis.org/Encounter
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Broads’ Word Ensemble presents the west coast premier of Barbara Kahn’s THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN, a play about one of the better known actresses of the 19th century and the people that she loved, both onstage and off.
The year is 1858. The place is St. Louis, Missouri. The actress is Charlotte Cushman (Dawn Alden), a celebrated thespian of her time. She lives with her spouse, a noted sculptor, in Rome. She’s presently in St. Louis on one of her “farewell” tours in a production of Romero & Juliet where he performs as Romero–a notion when females would perform in male roles. Her right hand woman, Sallie Mercer (Sonja Inge) is a “colored” free and refined woman from Philadelphia. Cushman becomes involved at the same time with hardy frontier gal Jane Partridge (Lacy Altwine), who believes that she has marginalized the affections of Marie Louise Yvette L’Amour (Chantal Thuy) the daughter of St. Louis’ leading citizen, who has developed an emotional crush on her; and her Juliet, who can’t really separate Cushman’s onstage Romeo from her offstage character.

This play focus upon a leading actress of her era whose personal choice was something that was never acknowledged. Although Charlotte Cushman was respected as an actress, her inner feelings toward women as a lifestyle was a matter the was closed and never openly spoken upon. However, it did exist. Perhaps this is why Cushman became “forgotten” over time. The play itself as written by playwright Barbara Kuhn has its plot point and dialogue that goes along with it set within a rather tight fashion. It never fully emphases how the characters feel toward one another, but the actions and illusions are ever present. The cast of performers that also include Maikiko James and Tara Donovan, play their roles in a well developed technique. Kate Motzenbacker directs this program that moves rather well on the theatre’s intimate stage set. Danielle Ozymandias’ costuming is of the period that features a cross between a “southern” look with a bit of the pioneer feel to it all. (St. Louis was considered as the “gateway to the west”, as well as not being too far removed from American southern culture.)

THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN perfectly describes the well known actress it speaks about that faded from view over the generations. In today’s era, what is fully respected is the sense of acting on stage, and the lifestyle a selected number of people take to choose for themselves.

  THE LADY WAS A GENTLEMAN, presented by Broads’ Word Ensemble, and performs at the Dorie Theatre at The Complex, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox),
Hollywood, until April 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. Additional performances take place Monday, April 17th, and Thursday, April 27th at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evening, April 23rd at 7:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, visit online at http://BroadsWordEnsemble.com/ or
 http://LadyGentPlay.bpt.me/
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All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

IS EVERYBODY STILL HAPPY?

The United Nations recently released their sixth annual World Happiness Report that measures how 155 world nations find their peoples being in the said element of content.
The measure of happiness as rated are based upon six different factors: Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, healthy years of life expectancy, social support, trust of regional government and/or business, perceived freedom to make life decisions, and generosity toward commercial charities and from those through personal contact.
As far as what nations made the top-ten, Norway ranked in at number one with a score of 7.537. (Each element of the six factors are rated as a “10” as the highest score, and “0” as its lowest.) Denmark comes in second place with a score of 7.522. Number three, Iceland (7.504) Four, Switzerland (7.494). Five, Finland (7.469). Six, Netherlands (7.377), Seven, Canada (7.316), Eight, New Zealand (7.314), Nine, Australia (7.284), and Sweden rounds out the top ten at 7.284.
What nations hit the bottom ten? 146-Yemen (3.593), 147-South Sudan (3.591), 148. -Liberia (3.533), 149.-Guinea (3.507), 150-Togo (3.495), 151-Rwanda (3.471), 152- Syria (3.462), 153-Tanzania (3.349), 154-Burundi (2.905) and at 155-Central African Republic (2.693).
Oh yes! The good ol’ USA came in at number fourteen with a score of 6.993! That’s not too bad for what that is. Of course, it can be better! After all, what do those other nations have that the USA doesn’t? More happiness, that’s for sure!
Just about everyone living in the fourteenth happiest country in the world has their own personal ranking of what makes them happy. And those “happy points” can and do vary! For instance, this writer knows of a couple who enjoys wine and camping. (Not necessarily at the same moment!) They have a modest collection of wines, bottled up and kept on a wine rack or stored away in a special refrigerator that cools the wine at around 54 degrees. It’s much warmer that what a standard ice box can do, and much cooler that keeping the bottles at room temperature. They aren’t necessarily wine experts per se, but they know what type of wine is better than the other! They even read the labels just to make sure!
As to their version of camping. Although they do have a collection of camping gear that consists of tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and those forms of camping props, they use this stuff on occasion. They real piece of equipment is a camper that consists of a smaller camper housing made by none other than Winnebago that is affixed on a Ford truck bed. The camper is the smallest of the Winnebago line. In fact, it’s called a “Mini Winnie”! But this couple, both in their latter 50’s and are empty nester parents, use their truck to go weekend “camping” along the beaches between Los Angeles proper and Santa Barbara. They don’t necessarily do anything on the beaches, but they find hanging out on a beach taking along a bit of their home with them as a be-all-to-end-all!
Now some of you may find these hobbies of theirs rather amusing. Others might find it dull and boring. However, this “boomer” aged couple enjoy these things. Are they happy when they camp on the beach in a Mini Winnie, or tasting exotic wines from various parts of northern California?  One would suppose so!
Now granted, what makes one happy would make another one rather miserable! This writer doesn’t care much for wine! (Sorry folks!) And camping along a beach in a large RV (even if it’s a “Mini-Winnie”), might be amusing for the moment, but would be rather boring after a while! But this writer isn’t the only one on a happiness measure. Many others do things that they enjoy that some might feel otherwise!
One notion of happiness are the many jobs that people partake in. Some do a job for the money. Others do a task became they have a limited choice! (Taking care of another person falls into this kind of occupational aspect!) And there are a few folks that have their “dream jobs”. This is a kind of work that they totally love. Never mind the fact that these “dream jobs” may draw little salary, if anything at all! Just as long as they love doing these assignments each day, week, month, or year, then they have their happy place!
This writer won’t ramble into details on how happiness works or not! (That’s what search engine discoveries are all about!)  Nevertheless, happiness is a state of being based upon how it’s treated. If one enjoys digging a ditch all day long, or taking a sip of some off-brand white wine of some sort, or driving a Mini-Winnie to the beaches of Lompoc, then that’s what happiness is! You get what you pay for!
This same writer is aware that some of these answers are being presented as somewhat of a cop out! But this writer finds that those same statements are to an extent, a sense of being happy! Get the picture?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Victory Theatre Center’s Bare Bones presents the world premier of Lawrence Thelen’s PIE IN THE SHY, a dramity about a mother-daughter relationship and the baking of a pie to celebrate a birthday.
Taking place in the kitchen of a double-wide “manufactured home” located in Abilene, Texas, eighty-five year old Margaret a.k.a Mama (K Callan) decides to bake an apple pie to celebrate her daughter Dory (Laurie O’Brian) turning sixty-five. Mama gets started in baking the pie at 4:10 AM. Now that she got her daughter out of bed, Mama teaches her about her own method of baking the perfect apple pie. But her pre-dawn cooking lesson moves into different territories. As the crust is prepared, the “dry goods” are mixed, and the apples are peeled and sliced in a most delicate way, Mama and her mature child talk about a lot of issues. Many of these tales go back a number of years, (even decades), from Mama’s relationships with the men in her life, about Dory’s semi broken family, and other points of interest (to Mama anyway), that are reviled, perhaps for the first time! This mother-daughter bonding is set while the pie bakes. And how does the pie come out? The same way that Dory and Mama come out to each other, and maybe not as tasty!
This single act play by playwright Lawrence Thelen in a charming, perhaps bittersweet, perspective on how an eighty plus feisty woman gives her daughter a new look on life, even if that life is viewed on a virtual rear view mirror, rather than a gracious
vision through a front portal picture window. K Callan as Mama and Laurie O’Brian as Dory bring on their charm and grace through heady doses of Texas-style humor and pathos. They bicker as much as they bond, all revolving around a classic apple pie. One can really relate to these woman that might have seen their better times behind them, but still hold on to that glimmer of hope usually found in those romantic novels that cater to the character’s demographic. Marie Gobetti, co-artistic director of The Victory Theatre, directs this stage work as yet another example of a slice of life drama (no pun intended) that is served just as hot and hearty as an…well..apple pie!
And speaking of staging, Even Bartoletti designs a stage set that is simple and practical, consisting of a cramped kitchen decked out of furnishings one can find in any of those discount furniture places that tend to cater to a working class group. What makes the set more interesting is the c.1948 O’Keefe & Merritt stove that actually fuctions where it bakes a real apple pie as these two gals bond ‘n bicker, giving the theatre a pleasant aroma!
With its appropriate title, PIE IN THE SKY is a play that sets the pace when it comes to how food can be a way to bring people together. It’s also a way to bring the humor out on its surface, even if that surface has the expected skeletons neatly stashed away in the hall closet.

   PIE IN THE SKY, presented by The Victory Theatre’s Bare Bones, and performs at The Victory Theatre (The Little Victory), 3324 West Victory Blvd, one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until May 21st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 841-5422, or online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCentre.org
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The Falcon Theatre closes out their regular season for the 2016-17 year with THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED), a fast paced program that tells the absolute saga of farce condensed, with a few points added for good measure!
In this show, three performers, Zehra, Marc, and Mark (Zehra Fazel, Marc Ginsberg, and Mark Jaconson respectfully), act out by way of comical sketches, their take on comedy from the early days to current times. Through fast paced and frantic pieces, this trio demonstrates how comedy was formed, taking note to some of those responsible of making audiences laugh, from asking the question on why the chicken crossed the road, to what is considered funny through satire and what could be offensive (or not), along with the real story behind mimes and their purpose of being! The “plot” that is taken within these comical bits is to explain everything by way of an ancient Chinese manuscript on the theories of comedy: Chapters one through twelve, out of its thirteen. Its last chapter is long lost, so it’s up to Zahra and the two Mar(c)(k)s to sum everything up as they search for the quest of “WWRD?”
This showcase, written by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor, and directed by Jerry Kernion, is thin on the above noted “plot”, but thick on fast paced comic action, performed vaudeville style! The players play many roles, donning multiple change of costumes and characters while keeping up the rapid stance of getting to its punchline while never letting its pacing down and out. (The drama that was never intended in this show never arrives because it’s not suppose to because it’s comedy!) Although there is some audience participation presented in selected bits, they do keep that same audience in suspense with a threat of hitting somebody in the face with a pie! (Do they perform that deed? That’s the real joke!)
To add upon the flavor of a burlesque show, Stephen Gifford’s scenic design of the stage setting resembles a facade that would have been extracted from a vaudeville theatre house when comedians would don baggy outfits and would ramble on stage, telling old(er) jokes while hitting their fellow performers with pies in their face, if not squirting them through a seltzer bottle!
This show not only winds up The Falcon Theatre’s season, but is performed as the final program under The Falcon Theatre’s name. Later this year in time to introduce the 2017-18 season, this complex will be renamed The Gerry Marshall Theatre, named after its founder, comedy writer Garry Marshall who passed away last year. This renaming will play homage to the man and his long career. For those that desire to know where the name “Falcon” came from, it’s reviled in Garry Marshall’s autobiography, Wake Me Up When It’s Funny, first published in 1995, just a few scant years before The Falcon Theatre opened for business in 1997. This name change with also celebrate the theatre’s twentieth anniversary of its presence in Toluca Lake.

   THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED), performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 955-8101, or via online at http://www.FalconTheatre.com
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WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIDS TODAY-II?

Actually, nothing is wrong with these “kids”! They are still the ones that the media loves to dote upon!
Since we last reported on this domestic sect some two issues ago (Vol. 21-No. 11 to be exact), we here at ALOL have been receiving a number of reports and related statistics on how advertisers are using their high tech skills to market their products and/or services to this group of so-called future leaders. These are the folks born post 1980 that are the dream demographic that are tech savvy, hold their unique appeal, and are the ones that are just getting their act together. Never mind the fact that it’s taking them a lot longer to become “adults” based upon what previous generations did in order to become in this state of mind. The Millenniums are the current be-all-to-end-all collection to target.
Currently, there are a lot of examples this writer can report upon to prove this fact. Many of the reports we receive tend to be mildly amusing. Some are boring yet important for what they are. While are few are actually worth their notation. One example to note are how a number of companies are creating short moving image content (i.e. videos posted via YouTube and related online outlets) that function as a “mini-movie” that holds a hidden message to the company’s product or service. These videos are not commercials per se, but can function as one if one looks closer to what the messages sports.
For example, Mercedes-Benz recently released a series of short “movies” running at five minutes each that hold a theme of “growing up” through dramatic slices of life episodes. The characters that are seen within these mini stories face situations that show how life isn’t as easy as it can be. It’s not depicted as a deep drama or crisis, but shows how life can’t be as easy as one could want.
I won’t necessarily get into too many details on these videos as its best for you the reader to see ‘em yourself at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClj0L8WZrVydk5xKOscI6-A?sub_confirmation=1. However, keep in mind that these videos, as entertaining as they are, exist for the reason to sell you a Benz! Although the 20’s/early 30’s characters are the real stars here, the question if this demographic can even afford to take upon purchase on this kind of vehicle is a whole different issue as it stands.
As this writer stated in previous articles, there is nothing wrong for advertisers going their all to sell product to the millenniums crowd. Selling to youth has been the rage for generations. In the latter 1950’s, Pepsi Cola had their For Those That Think Young campaign using a commercial jingle performed to the tune of “Making Whoopee” sung by Joanie Sommers, as well as her Pepsi follow-up Come Alive! You’re in the Pepsi Generation. (An original tune). Polaroid introduced their “Swinger” camera around 1965 that targeted the “youth” crowd, heavily advertising on such TV programs as Hullabaloo, Shindig, American Bandstand, among other titles that was tuned in by kids aged 14 and up. There are more examples of youth based marking campaigns over the years, but you generally get the idea.
Of course, over time and tide, these poster children will eventually get older and thus, won’t be as cute as they once were. This leads up to the next demographic in line, the group known as “Gen Z”, that are currently noted as those born before 2000. Most of these kids are not of adult age yet, but they are just as savvy with what’s going on as they are the ones that are the most wired. All of the high tech gadgetry most (if not all) of the local population takes for granted have always been “there” at their disposal. It’s not so much that they take their high tech upon as their own. It’s usually the parent and/or caretaker of these kids that hand them the high tech goods. This is done just because they can!
So we’ll keep you posted on more news and related stories from the field on how the Millenniums and the Gen. Ys will take the world over. They may not necessarily hold the money, power and fame as the “Baby Boomers” tend to have, but that’s OK! After all, it’s just another part of the biz!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Actor’s Co-Op presents William Mastrosimone’s CAT’S PAW, a triller that involves an electronic journalist and a domestic terrorist who demands that his issues become expressed as he leads his band of followers over their concerns in spite of their odds.
Taking place inside of what appears to be a basement warehouse located in Washington, DC, a small company of radicals calling themselves “Earth Now” has taken up their space to conduct a mission over the threat upon the lack of clean water. Victor (Sean McHugh), the leader, has taken David Darling (Vito Viscuso), an official from the EPA as a hostage. Victor wants the major newspapers to provide some news space on their platforms to report upon their issues over polluted water. Regardless of the media scoffing off over these demands, instead of offing his captive, he arranges for a car bomb to explode near a government building causing catastrophic havoc. WIth the media reporting on this wreckage, he takes upon another captive-Jessica Lyons (Deborah Marlowe), a reporter for one of the bigger electronic news outlets. Victor, along with fellow Earth First follower Cathy (Ivy Beech) wants Jessica to conduct an interview with their leader so he can tell the world what his group’s goals are and what they will do in order to gain their way. But will Jessica do what Victor and Cathy, the only known members of their army, wants from her, or will Jessica proceed so her media outlet will grab those rating points that is part of the video business. And will David, an accredited link to the EPA, bend toward their commands where they insist to go forward, no matter what it will take?
This intense drama was originally written by playwright William Mastrosimone back in the middle 1980’s when terrorists from this nation were banding together over various issues such as the threat of nuclear arms, or toward environmental issues that took upon the range of levels between realistic to trivial to nonexistent. As the years progressed, terrorism took on new meanings, new backgrounds, and new methods to express itself. In today’s world, the more that operations have changes, the more they have remained the same, even in this post-modern landscape! And this play and its production as presented by Actor’s Co-Op express these notions, making it more timely than ever before! Using this form of backdrop, one will find intense drama and action, all rolled into a one lengthily and tight one-act play. (It’s presented as a one-act play so its continuity is never lost!) Sean McHuge as Victor plays his role as someone who knows what he is doing. He’s radical in mind and spirit, and will go to all lengths for a sense to what is “good”. Deborah Marlowe as Jessica Lyons is the media face that would appear on one of those cable news outlets that tend to lean toward a positional opinion. (Jessica’s news outlet is never named, so one has to figure out where she stands upon this point of issue!) And rounding out the cast, Vito Viscuso and Ivy Beech fill into the scene that is gripping into itself as directed by Stephen Rothman.
David Potts presents a stage set that consists of a undergound-esque storeroom, consisting of heavy hardware items that resembles a makeshift workshop, an ideal place to build a device akin to a weapon of destruction. Not mass destruction per se, but destruction nevertheless!
It’s not often where one can witness a stage play that packs overpowering thrills that questions what is really the correct notion to do for a specific cause. CAT’S PAW is that showcase that manifests those conceptions. And in today’s landscape, those terrorists still remain, just as long there is a media element to capture them at their game!

     CAT’S PAW, presented by Actor’s Co-Op, and performs at the Crossley Theatre, located on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1760 North Gower Street, Hollywood, until April 30th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Special Saturday matinees takes place on April 1st and 8th at 2:30 PM. No performances over Easter weekend-April 14th-16th.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or online at http://www.ActorsCo-Op.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 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!