STATUS SYMBOL REBOOT

Back in the days from not so long ago, (say, anytime in domestic society from the 1950’s well into the turn of the 21st century), anyone who wanted to prove to the world they lived in that they officially “made it” in terms of success of some sort usually as reaching a financial goal, these folks would possess something called a “status symbol”.
This object or series of objects would be something or another that was shiny, attractive, and rather pricy for what it was. It would be something also known as a luxury item, meaning that the item in question was nice to have and use, but not necessarily something that was needed to function through their domestic life. It was more of a lifestyle element than something that was necessary to get through the day or for a much longer term.
If one went to their favorite search engine and typed in “status symbol”, one would receive dozens of definitions and examples of what it means to flaunt one’s place in their neighborhood. One example as found on Reference.com states that a status symbol …tend(s) to be impractical or superfluous items, often bought for the sole purpose of belonging, or at least feeling a sense of belonging, to a higher social stratum.
Many brands out there exist for the sole purpose of showing off that a person or persons live in some kind of upper tier. For example, if one wanted to own a car that showed off their higher marks in what they do and how they live, that car was a Cadillac, or perhaps a Lincoln. (If one wanted to got back to those days of yesteryear-say, the 1960’s, one could own an Imperial, Chrysler Corporation’s entry to the luxury automobile market.) When the “Yuppy” movement was trending in the 1980’s, the chose of autos moved from owning a Caddy to a Mercedes-Benz or a BMW. And for those that don’t know (or don’t remember) what a “Yuppy” is/was, that’s an acronym for “Young Urban Professional”, a person that was usually a second tier “Baby Boomer” (born between 1956 through 1964) that came to age in the 80’s when they were in their 20’s and 30’s working in a well paid occupation. This era showed off many of the so-called status symbols that thrived for many years, such as Gucci, Rolex, Prada, the for noted Mercedes and BMW, among many others.
As those yuppies grew older in the 90’s, they started to seek homes that were bigger than what was available in many urban areas. Many of the newer homes that were being built (or rebuilt) were larger than ever (2000 square feet and up) that gave more rooms and reshaped them into size and function. These form of homes were dubbed as “McMansions”–a type of homestead that was developed and built, generally on a larger scale that was suitable for a family of five and up, but usually occupied by a family consisting as little as two people. Those two persons consisted of a domestic couple. Normally, but not necessarily, as a man and woman. (“Husband and Wife”).
But getting back to the status symbol element that’s brand centric. Things went for what they were as changes were seen through domestic society, now shifting through electronic based technology. As the internet and devices wireless came to view, many of those aspects entered the market as those of status and luxury. Using a selected type of cell phone or a computer device was part of that new movement that showed who one was important, or at least somebody that used technology as something as a professional necessity.
When the so-called Great Recession hit in the late 00’s, the object or objects that were linked to being something of status became out of vogue for the moment. Those oversized SUV’s that became a trend in the 1990’s were no longer cutting it anymore! Carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag lost its luster. And living in an oversized home wasn’t the same as it used to be. And that period of financial ruin changed the spirt and attitude for those that experienced it for the first time, or at lease for the first time in a while.
In the advertising and marking world, it’s been always the chose to target the younger crowd for goods and services. That group of youth has been labeled as “Millenniums”, those born after 1980 who came to age when technology became a way of life, rather than something of a novelty that reshaped much of how lifestyles current function. And the demographic that follows the Millenniums in terms of age and status are the “Gen Z”s, those born after the middle 90’s that are of age but not necessarily of legal adult status.
Recently, MediaPost performed a survey of those post-1980 folks about what a status symbol and the brands associated with them are all about to them. Since many of these people came to age in those great recession times, generally from 2008 through 2012, (give or take a few years), the meaning of “less-is-more” became part of the norm, with their attitudes of showing off shifted into new gears.
In MediaPost’s findings, some 81% of those polled aged 13 through 34 agree with the phrase “Showing off expensive things you have bought on social media is not cool.” However, 46% did state that they will feel successful in life when they are able to afford luxury brands and products. It may not be right now, but when the moment arrives, they will have those goods that are targeted for an upper tier.
And what are those brands that are their status symbol? According to the poll asking some 1000 people from 13 and up, they listed their top ten brands of status that they would like to own, if they don’t own it already. Those brands listed were: (in rank of order), Apple, BMW, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Michael Kros, Louis Vuitton, Lexus, Gucci, and Rolex.
Of course, as elements make their mark in terms of financial and technology progression, what shows if you’ve got it will go with its flow. And with that, having the best of its kind may be OK for what it is, assuming that anyone else is concerned over the matter. Using a great handbag may be fine and dandy, or flashing off a fancy watch may make its mark. But the question remains. Will having those goods prove a point? It all depends just what that point is. It’s a tough jab, and somebody’s going to have to do it!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Making its Los Angeles premier at North Hollywood’s Gray Studios is LOVE ALLWAYS, a comic anthology of short plays that deal in love, romance, and all points in between, written by the multitalented husband and wife team of Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.
In this program, a series of short plays are performed skit style and presented in some form of slight linear fashion. The first act has much of the action taking place in a bar/restaurant/club. The second part of the bill occurs at an exotic resort along a beachfront, moving on to a resort nestled within the Poconos mountains, then shifting on to various locations set somewhere else in this world. In spite of this moving to and fro, the topic always speaks for love and its many complications while served up in a humorous fashion. The topics range from a husband and wife getting hit upon at a party separately, two married couples at a beach resort that involves a “bromance” between the pair of husbands, a guy’s conversation with a woman on movies, the so-called intimate moments that goes on within the cabins of the Poconos resorts, and plenty more!
The plays themselves are very witty, downright comical, and even holds a touch of bizarreness that’s set in. That oddball method of humor really serves as part of the comedy, making this anthology of skits funnier than sitcom fodder!
As to the actual production, Gloria Gifford of Jamaica Moon Productions, directs these series of skits in a robust fashion. Also servicing as Executive Producer, she has for her players a rotating ensemble of talent that pull out the comedy punches while acting out the “foibles and follies” of that named human emotion that folks love to love, love to hate, hate to love, and a combination of all three!
That ensemble cast of performers is huge, Some forty(!) actors and actresses are cast in this show, but not at each presentation. (Check programs for specific cast list!) Although space doesn’t allow this writer to list each appearing performer by name, this same writer can state that every actor that holds a part fits very well into this program.
It’s a real treat to see a comedy show as LOVE ALLWAYS that holds genuine laughs! From the first opening skit to its final showcase, each installment running no longer that ten minutes (some are even shorter that ten), it’s ideal for those that prefer their comedy served up in tasty morsels. And granted, one will receive these tidbits that tastes good! They may not be in good taste per se, but just as long as one laughs (and one will), then that’s all good!

     LOVE ALLWAYS, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and the GGC Players, performs at the Gray Studios, 5250 Vinland Avenue (North of Magnolia Blvd.), North Hollywood, until April 23rd. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations, call (310) 366-5505, or via online at
http://www.Tix.com
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THE MOVIES ARE ‘A CHANGING-AGAIN!

For those that follow the moving picture business outside of watching Entertainment Tonight (currently in its 36th season), E! Entertainment, as well as the news on what movies made so-much box office grosses (a bit of information that at one time was only limited to pieces found in the “trades” rather than addressed to the general public), it’s been noted within recent times that movies, the staple of visual entertainment that’s been around for over one hundred years, has been going through its many growing pains ranging from content, the method of consumption, as well as those that work in movies on both sides of the camera.
Those changes tend to be from a form of various stock. As to content, as this message is written and possibly read, the industry in smack dab in the middle of awards season. Since the first of the year, many of the trade groups and other organizations have been fobbing off awards and other forms of self recognition for the art and creation of movies–that form of visual entertainment where people go to movie houses to take part of this kind of amusement. Many of the award programs are well known, such as the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Awards, and of course, the biggest one and most recognizable one of them all, the Academy Awards.
Those award programs are known because their general emphasis is to present kudos to actors and actresses. Those are the folks that appear in front of the camera where they speak, move around, wear outfits ranging from simple every day stock to lavish costuming first made popular during Hollywood’s so-called “golden” era, as well as donning makeup and hairstyles that also hark from an era when movies were movies, rather than another visual medium that can be seen on a big or little screen.
There are other awards as well for those behind the scenes. Most of these awards programs, if not all, receive little media coverage and really isn’t televised since those award ceremonies tend to cater to those either involved in that industry or have some kind of alliance to that group. Folks involved in sound engineering, hair and makeup styling, and editing film (or at least editing moving imagery), are a hard working bunch. However, they are not necessarily known to the public at large and thus, are not of “celebrity” stock. In other words, those that are up for an award that doesn’t involve acting and possibly directing, (including the groups that are eligible for an Oscar for sound mixing, costume design, etc.) are everyday “normal” folks that do their own grocery shopping and personal laundry duties! Entertainment Tonight or the news reports found on E! really don’t go out of their way to report who won for best set design for a dramatic feature film. They would rather gush over on who won for best movie comedy ensemble at the SAG Awards program.
But those involved in making movies are mostly found behind the scenes. These are the peoples that are known through what they have done in the past or those that are involved in their movie of the moment. Their names appear on the credits for those to read. And in recent times, there has been a lot of talk that those involved in the movie industry tend to come from one form of human stock. That demographic seems to fit those that are white and male. Others that are not white and male are attempting to move up within the ranks stating to those of some form of “power” that they too, can do the same form of service their white male counterparts can present. And the groups that are speaking out for themselves are those of “color” (formally known as “minorities”), and women in general of any race.
There are many trade groups that cater to the demographics that feel they are suppressed within their industry, and through these groups and organizations, many are making their mark. Some become rather successful within their own right, while others get their opportunities only to see them sputter through time to later fizzle out, or to move into another direction not necessarily intended–for the good or otherwise!
Not too long ago, a study formed through the University of Southern California’s Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative went through the listings of some 1000 top-grossing films from the past ten years to see the make up of movie directors in terms of age, gender, and race.
In general, the study found that some 80% of female directors worked on a film, only to nearly disappear from directing another title. This form of working has been called “one and done”, meaning they did one movie and that was it. A “woman of color” (i.e. not white), has it slightly worse standing at a little over 83%. To compare, almost 55% of men directed just a single feature during that time span with Asian and black male directors faring slightly worse, coming in at 60% and 62.5% respectively.
When it comes to age, it seems that those in their middle years (40’s) reign as their peak era. 22 female directors did a flick at their 40’s, while fortysomething men were on top at their game, coming in at 467! As to shelf life, men won that category. 257 titles were directed by men in their 30‘s. (For 30-ish women, that magic number was 7!) For those in their 50’s, men came in at 230. For the women? Only 8 titles were directed by women in their 50’s.
Granted, the study focused on top grossing features released within the last ten years. This doesn’t count upon any of the smaller so-called “independent” titles that tend to flood the market. Those features are more friendlier to those of that are not necessarily white and male, and at times, speak for the groups that are suppressed in terms of cast, crew, along with plot and storyline. However, a good number of these titles have limited distribution, if any at all! The only way to actually see these types of movies, let alone known of them, are to either attend a film festival of some kind, or to view them as a “video on demand” selection through one’s streaming service. And for the most part, these same titles are for its “niche” audience where that demographic will view and perhaps support that film and those involved in it. For the rest of the population that falls outside of the niceh’s scope, the interest is little or non existent! That population wants to see movies for general entertainment. Granted, it may be an action-adventure title (super hero or otherwise), an animated film that is amusing for both kids and adults (it has to be for both groups rather than for a single group), or a fantasy title that takes place in a location and/or era that doesn’t exist in reality. Heavy dramas or witty comedies are at their best when seen through a screen found on an electronic video device.
So as awards season plugs onward, the public at large will still support those in front of the camera that would be found in a “tentpole” picture that is highly amusing enough for those to plunk down the ten dollars and up to see the picture. In the meantime, more people of genders, ages, and races will be involved in the movie biz. How well they do is based on performance. As one of the oldest rules in the moving picture business dictates, you’re only as good as your last feature! So make a good movie–if you can!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Santa Monica Playhouse presents the world premier of Albert James Kallis’ A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, a comic tale of a middle aged couple whose career and marriage is tested, with a third visible person invisibly standing in their way.
Gregg Berger and Rachel Galper are Oliver and Julia Foxx. They have been married for twenty five years. Oliver started a successful business, while Julia rediscovered her love and interest in becoming a writer, a passion she placed on hold while raising two kids. Now that the kids are grown and gone, she returned to her keyboard, spinning a tale that she was inspired to write based upon real events–her own! This writing became a rather obsession to Julia, as Oliver wants to live a good life with her. He’s planning to sell his business over reasons that he did something questionable. His selling the company under this slight distress and Julia’s big time novel is creating another havoc involving their sex life. That form of sexual bedlam has Oliver encounter another person while in bed. Enter Gina (Albina Katsman), a young and rather attractive woman that can nearly pass as his daughter! However, Gina is a character from Julia’s novel. But is Gina a real person, or is something from Oliver’s imagination? There’s a lot to ponder upon between this trio within their real or imagined ménage-à-trios.
This “bedroom comedy” by playwright Albert James Kallis is an amusing piece that deals with a couple and their relationship with one another, with the third person that becomes real to all for different reasons. Much of the humor extracted from this one act play comes from the situations expressed on hand, rather than from a string of one liners and sight gags. Although the mood is very comical in nature, it’s too funny to become a drama as much of the conflict can be serious in nature, but is far from playing out as a sobered affair. Gregg Berger as Oliver is the devoted man who does best for his spouse for a quarter of a century’s time. Rachel Galper as Julia is a character that is as devoted to her spouse, but did live a rather secret and wilder life. Gina, as performed by Albina Katsman is the free spirit that is young, perhaps too young, and ready for a romp! (Is she of legal age?) That notion adds to the mystery of her existence, and perhaps arranged in this way. Chris DeCarlo, co-artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse, directs this production into one tight and mirthful stage piece.
James Cooper designs a stage set that consists of the Foxx bedroom where all of its action takes place. This single setting makes this program a real bedroom comedy.
A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR blends humor and pathos with just a bit of raciness that’s depicted in a playful manner. It even can question if such a long term relationship can last through its many years. Just as long as that “third wheel” is there for the bedroom thrill or stand as a metaphoric plot point. It all depends on how one is hot and bothered over the issue!

A DeLUSIONAL AFFAIR, presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica, until April 30th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM.
   For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com    
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On Sunday, February 27th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 89th Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2016 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Casey Affleck won Best Actor for the feature release Manchester By The Sea. Emma Stone won Best Actress for La La Land. Damien Chazelle won Best Director for La La Land, and Moonlight won as Best Picture.
For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
http://www.Oscars.com.
The day before (February 26th), the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 37th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2016 calendar year via a presentation made available through streaming media.
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party cleaned out the award categories for Worst Actor (Dinesh D’Souza as Himself and Narrator), Worst Actress (The “Actress” who plays Hillary Clinton), Josh Dinesh D’Souza & Bruce Schooley for Worst Director(s), as well as for Worst Picture.
The third annual Razzie Redeemer Award, presented to a previous Razzie “winner” or nominee who have since been performing in better roles in better features, went to Mel Gibson for his Oscar®-nominated direction of the feature Hacksaw Ridge.
For a listing of all nominated films and people as well as its “winners’, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.com
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GREAT WEATHER FOR DUCKS!

I was once informed by a person (whose name has been long forgotten) on the art of starting a conversation with someone, especially if that someone wasn’t anyone well know to the other party. From what I can remember, I believe this advice dispensed on me was based upon my effort to meet somebody of the opposite sex. I was around the age of what’s now known as a “tweener”. So whoever this person was (the person whose name I forgot), was giving me this advice from an adult (person “X”) to a kid (me!)
The advice I was given was something to the effect that if you are going to start a conversation with somebody, begin your spiel on the weather. It’s a safe topic, and everyone is affected with that element in some kind of fashion. It may not to something that’s exciting or anything, but it’s a subject that is ideal for the twelve year old mind to decipher.
Now I am not going to get into any story about if this advice ever worked with a girl I met at a junior high dance or anything like that (that’s a topic for another article), but the notion why yours truly brought it up is the reason behind this article you are reading! It’s a topic we are going to “talk” about–the weather!
Last Friday February 17th, the Los Angeles basin was hit by a massive rainstorm. Depending what source you get your weather news, it was the biggest storm of its kind ever to hit Los Angeles and southern California is six years, ten years, or even twenty two years! It was a storm that dumped anywhere from three to six inches of rain within a twenty four hour period.
There were the usual weather related elements that occurred during that rainstorm. Their were mud and rockslides, flooded streets and highways, downed trees, power outages, a number of heroic rescues, and even a death due to the rain. And since the state of California has been under a drought for a number of years, this rain, as well as the other rains that occurred since October 1st of last year, has either wiped out the drought stage, or impacted it to a point where the dryness isn’t as bad as it once stood.
But with the drought gone away, this means that doing domestic stuff with water won’t be much of a burden as it use to be. Many communities used to set limits on how much water can be used to keep a lawn green, or how often one can wash their car on their driveway or carport. The line “Save Water. Shower with a Friend” that had its origins from a 1960’s water ration program that New York City was going through, even made a comeback of sorts.
But with the rains will come the spring, scheduled to begin on March 20th. This is the time where winter is over (duh!), and those flowers that are supposed to bloom take their part. Then the sun will shine, the birds chirp, and those domestic types will start doing their springtime activities, such as watering their lawns without guilt, washing their cars on their driveway or carport without feeling any remorse, and jazz like that! There is also that “shower with a friend” idea, but that’s a totally different subject to ponder upon. Besides, the shower bit really isn’t limited to springtime as that can be done year round!
This is one of the many reasons why this writer never dives into the subject of the weather as the lead article. Although the topic itself is rather amusing for what it is, it becomes rather dull after a few paragraphs. However, rain–any form of rain that falls within the Los Angeles area, is somewhat interesting since that form of weather only takes place a few weeks of the year.
Around the time when I was twelve years old–the same period that person “x” was giving me advice on how to attract a girl’s attention at a junior high dance, a song that was a staple of top-40 radio was being played by the stations I used listen to, mainly WLS and WCFL, was recored by Albert Hammond entitled It Never Rains in Southern California. Albert was a British born singer-songwriter who performed “easy listening” type music. In the song in question, he tells about somebody coming to California (Hollywood really) to peruse his dreams but alas, fails to do so. (Nothing newsworthy for sure!) Anyway, in the chorus, Hammond sings: “It never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya. When it pours, man, it pours.”
I never really understood that line since yours truly wasn’t even living anywhere near Hollywood, or even California, at the time, since I though it rained all the time out in California. And besides that, I really never liked the song! When Larry Lujack played that sone on his air shift, I either didn’t pay attention to the song, or I just switched the station. But now that those “music on AM radio” times has since faded away, I only hear that song every once in a while, and when I do, it’s mostly for mild nostalgia purposes. However, now that yours truly lives in southern California, (and not too far away from Hollywood), I can somewhat relate to what Albert was singing about some forty five years before. Perhaps he was just giving me a weather report for the future. Then again, that song was a whole lot better than another tune that was being played on the radio at that same time–Gilbert O’Sullivan’s Alone Again (Naturally). That tune was just as sappy (if not downright depressing) as one could have had! If WLS played that record, I’d also switch the station to hear another record–Donny Osmond’s cover version of Puppy Love.
OK, so maybe that wasn’t the greatest era for popular music! But as a dumb twelve year old who didn’t know better, I would have had the gumption to try to talk to Lorrie Miller about the weather. Maybe she would have finally notice me! But my sad-yet-true stories on being a “tweener” aged kid is set for another topic in a future article, if not for a memoir I’ll write one of these years when I ever get around to it–assuming it’s not raining outside!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Glendale Centre Theatre presents BYE BYE BIRDIE, the musical about a small time songwriter who attempts to create a publicity stunt for his client before he heads off for military enlistment by presenting “one last kiss” to one of his adorning fans from small town America.
Robert Pieranunzi is Albert Peterson. He’s operates a music publishing company called “Almaelou” that needs a hit so he can out of debt. His company consists of himself, his secretary and part time girlfriend Rosie Alvarez (Colette Peters), and Albert’s doting mother Mae (Cindy Irwin Bullock). Although Mae’s name is part of Albert’s company, she doesn’t do much except to cater to her son of 33 years, still treating him as a much younger boy! Albert’s most promising client, Conrad Birdie (Adam Hollick) an Elvis-type, is joining the Army and thus, won’t be able to cut records as an enlisted man. So Albert and Rosie hatch a plan to have Conrad give one last kiss to one of his teenaged fans before he leaves for basic training. So they pick the president of the Conrad Birdie fan club based in Sweet Apple, Ohio, an all-American small town. When that president of that fan club, Kim MacAfee (Maryanne Burr), receives the news that Conrad is coming to town to give her that one last kiss (also the name of Birdie’s new song release), she becomes the new star in town; In spite of the fact that her father (Danny Michaels), and her boyfriend Hugo Peabody (Taylor Wesselman) thinks otherwise, since Hugo just gave Kim his pin to go steady. It shows how rock ‘n roll changed the youth of America, how Albert can get the song hit he needs, if Rosie will ever become Mrs. Albert Peterson, and if Mae will ever understand her son by being the suffering martyr she places herself to be!
This musical with book by Michael Stewart and songs by Charles Strouse on score, and Lee Adams on lyrics, was the first major stage musical that used rock ‘n roll as its theme basis. It harks a time when those teenaged kids, especially the post-war bobbysoxers, not only dug the music, but shows how those performers made it all happen (with a lot of promotion) as it really was c.1960 when this show first made its mark on the Broadway musical circuit. In this GCT production, the cast and many of its performers (including the ensemble) pull it off quite well, especially for the two leads, Robert Pieranunzi as Albert, and Colette Peters and Rosie. Robert as Albert is the comical genus that can provide he’s in charge, yet Rosie is really the mastermind to everything! Cindy Irwin Bullock as mother Mae is a classic example of a lovable yet pushy and almost obnoxious mother-type that was commonly seen in 1960s-era TV sitcoms. (After all, this show is a period piece!)
And since this program is that period piece, Angela Manke of Glendale Costumes provides all of the outfits that are of the era it speaks for, from the suits for the guys, the downy dresses for the gals, the varsity sweaters for the teen guys, and the capri plants for the teen gals! (Albert’s mom Mae even sports a mink coat–a real fashion statement for a pushy mother of the time!) Other GCT behind-the-scenes regulars also presents their talents, including Steven Applegate’s transcribed musical arrangements, and Orlando Alexander’s choreography, performed with gusto by the cast within the theatre-in-the-round’s stage setting.
Directed by Todd Nielsen, BYE BYE BIRDIE is a showpiece that is still witty, appealing, and boasts some classic hits born and bread on Broadway. (“Put On A Happy Face” and “Kids” are the two signature musical numbers!) Although it’s a bit dated in places, it remains as a pleasant period piece that shows off how things were in the “good old days” when rock ‘n roll was kids stuff where the adults didn’t or couldn’t understand! A song asks “what’s the matter with kids today?” Nothing is the matter with them. They will just eventually take over the world!

  BYE BYE BIRDIE, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until April 1st. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM. Additional performances take place on Thursday, February 23rd and March 2nd at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees perform on February 26th, March 5th, and March 12th 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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LANDLINE HO!

In the category of “so what else is new?”-type news, it’s been reported that more than half (52%) of adults in the USA live in households with cell phones but no landline phone, so says a research report from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer.
According to findings from the GfK MRI’s Fall 2016 Survey data release, based on interviews with approximately 24,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and over, cell phone households showed an increase doubling in count within the last six years from 26% in 2010 to the 52% in 2016. As expected, those in the younger demographic has the biggest take of wireless phones. Millennials (those born after 1980) stand in as 71% cell phone only. The Gen Xers (born 1965 through 1979) tag in as second place at 55%. The ever lovin’ Baby Boomers (’46 through ’64) are only in at 40%.
The report also broke down ethnic and racial groups in terms of wireless homes. Hispanic or Latino origin of descent lead in the highest incidence of landlineless phones at 67%. Asian decent comes in next at 54%. White/Causation stands at 51%, and African Americans at 50%.
The northeast part of the nation has the least amount of homes without a land line, coming in at 39% The reason for this is many of the media companies that do business in that area offer packages with internet and TV service along with phone, making the internet and television offerings a priory while having hardwired phone service as an afterthought. (57% households in this region have package deals.) This compares to the homes in the midwest (53%) and south (57%) with cell phones and nothing else.
This bit of information, as amusing at it may read, just states the obvious where hardline phones have lost its luster within the last ten years. Granted, having a landline phone didn’t necessarily offer anything unique outside of calling plans (unlimited phone usage to anywhere in the nation or world, call waiting, etc.). But as cell phones moved from their novelty stage to being a way of life, having a phone device sitting on a desk or countertop was losing its appeal.
Many people kept their landline service because they were receiving their internet service via a phone line. At first, internet service came from a modem that would dial a dedicated phone number to connect with the internet company making that high pitched squealing noise so you would know that you were “on line”, but the service was rather slow for what it was and it would tie up your phone line. If somebody wanted to call somebody while on the ‘net, they would receive a busy signal until you “logged off”. Later, internet companies would offer service that still came from a phone line, but would keep your phone service open. Both signals would remain on the line with your traditional phone handling all the voice calls while a modem would remain on at all times with the internet. However, if your phone service was interrupted through a cut line or through a weather situation, your internet would go out too!
When cable companies offered internet service along with TV and other forms of media, folks switched from phone lines to dedicated cable. That would mean that a landline wasn’t necessary anymore, and that phone number assigned to that land line became disconnected and no longer in service!
Many of the hardline phone providers, such as AT&T and Verizon among other providers, are players in the cell phone industry. Although these telcos do offer the service to businesses who still reply upon hardline phones, many consumers shy away from landlines and thus, don’t necessary push this type of phone offerings as much as they used to as the profit margin is rather low. Many folks are not even aware that hardline service is still available. But with the lower demand, the phone companies will still provide such services only upon request.
Time will tell on the fate of the consumer landline. If it does go away totally, that won’t be for a while. But will it be missed? Some folks, especially those that can remember the times in question, reminisces about the days of the milkman making the rounds each morning, about the same time of day when the paper boy (and it was nearly always a boy) would deliver the morning paper. And if one lived in a cold climate, the coal man would come around making a delivery of coal. These elements make up part of the nostalgia that made the good old days, well…good! But as they say, memory ain’t what it used to be!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre West presents the world premier of Darryl Vinyard’s FAMILY ONLY, a darkish comedy of a family gathering to celebrate the ownership of a homestead by one of its siblings, and the complications that go with everything else!
The setting is the home of Will and Nicole (Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker), a couple pushing middle age who is on their way to make the “American Dream” come true by their purchasing a 1950‘s-era ranch house located in a “south of the boulevard” Sherman Oaks neighborhood. In order to commemorate this ownership, they decided to have a get together with other members of the family. Coming along for the backyard party along where the pool is set is father Will (Frank Gangarossa), his third wife Brenda (Sheila Shaw), Will’s half sister Andrea (Anne Leyden), and Will’s grandmother Amanda (Dianne Travis). While Will and Nicole are hosting their event with the usual selection of picnic foods, the people in attendance tend to speak up for what’s going on with their lives. Will has a great idea for an invention he wants to market and hopes that his son and daughter-in-law can invest some much needed cash for his idea. Andrea announced that her divorce has just been finalized, so far taking custody of her six year old daughter Chloe. What makes matters worse is the fact that Andrea can’t hold a job and she’s behind on her rent–enough to be evicted and eventually become homeless in just a matter of days! (She’s even hoping that Will and Nicole will take her in!) As the party progresses, moods change for the worse! Grandma Amanda, a feisty old coot, won’t even put up with what’s going on! Before long, tempers tend to go out of hand while this family proves how out of balance everyone appears to be, because they are!
This very witty comedy by Darryl Vinyard has about everything one would want to experience that speaks for a family that is just as dysfunctional as anyone can get! Roger Kent Cruz and Riley Rae Baker as Will and Nicole are a hard working childless-for-the-moment couple that fought tooth and nail to grab that part of the American Dream, even if that dream needs a bit of TLC–for the house anyway! Frank Gangarossa as Will is the dad that was just as hard working and wants to do best for his kids, even though the kids won’t do the best for his needs! Sheila Shaw as Brenda is the type that has to put up with a lot, although she isn’t treated as “real” family! (She is Will’s third wife!) Anne Leyden as Andrea is a middle aged obnoxious and borderline neurotic woman that can’t seem to get her act together, holding on to the notion that everything bad happens to her and won’t take the blame for her bad luck! And Dianne Travis as Amanda is a two fisted and hard drinking woman that has been around for quite a while, and won’t let anyone forget it! These forms of personalities make this comedy a rip-roaring riot! This domestic family as depicted on stage is far from being perfect and sweet. They are just inches away for nearly killing each other as that’s how families really act! (Admit it folks! The only perfect families around were only depicted in 1950’s and 1960’s TV sitcoms where problems were created and solved within a 25 minute time slot–not counting commercial breaks!) Anden Teresa Lewis directs this “dramity” that holds a taste of sweet bitterness with an emphasis of comical hijinks without the so-called happy ending!
As to the stage sets, Jeff G. Rack creates a setting of a backyard patio area that is normally found in a typical 1500 square foot patch of homestead located in the San Fernando Valley, complete with stone wall fence, sliding glass door, and a color scheme painted in blue. This tint was a very common color found on homes built around the same era when perfect families were depicted on TV sitcoms each week!
FAMILY ONLY is a comedy that proves to domestic society that the “fun” in dysfunctional either means there is plenty of amusement to be experienced, or to describe the setting in an acronym that stands for “F-cked Up Nation” where everyone seems to live in. This play ain’t a 50’s/60’s sitcom and doesn’t try to become one! (Thank goodness!)

FAMILY ONLY, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until March 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. A special talkback session with the cast and crew will take place after the Sunday, February 19th performance.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 851-7977, or via online at http://www.TheaterWest.org
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The Falcon Theatre presents the world premier of FOR PIANO AND HARPO, written and starring Dan Castellaneta that is about the life and times (or ups and downs) of pianist Oscar Levant.
Dan Castellaneta plays Oscar, who started in his career as a classical pianist. Originally from Pittsburgh, he came to New York City to continue his study in piano. He eventually became part of the Broadway music scene hobnobbing with some of the influential folks in New York, and eventually became part of the Algonquin Round Table. But with such hobnobbing, Oscar himself was never on any sane level. Addicted to various forms of pills, he finds himself at the Psych Ward at Mr. Sini Hospital. While in the ward, his personal story moves from various points in his life, from his rocky marriage with his spouse June, to his friendship with Arthur “Harpo” Marx, and his existence under the shadow of George Gershwin, a personality that he could have been just as good as! Oscar’s emotional journey finds himself into a trip of his lifetime that takes a lifetime to complete, if he will ever complete it!
This is a tale that is about one of the greatest pianist known within the music circles that is also the most forgotten. Told in a nonlinear fashion, the story opens on Jack Parr’s post-Tonight Show talk program, then moves to the hospital psych ward from a few years before, then shifts to the interior of Harpo’s rented home during the time he was working with his two brothers, and in all points in between! Dan performs as Oscar in the various points in his life as he deals with his phobias, fears, relapses, and recoveries. He is seen as his own anti hero, both as the good guy and the not-too-well villain that deserved more credit that he could have had.
This show features a well refined supporting cast that perform in multiple roles. JD Cullum appears as Harpo both as the stage Harpo and as “Arthur”, Deb Lacusta is featured as June Gale a.k.a. June Levant, the second wife of Oscar’s that lived through his rises and falls. Gail Matthius, Phil Proctor, and Jonathan Stark also co-star in a variety of roles. (Stark, by the way, plays Jack Parr to an uncanny “T”!) Stefan Novinski directs this production that moves between comedy and drama, keeping the laugh factor in humorous gear while the drama portion sets itself into a stance that never becomes too heavy nor too light.
And since this is a tale about a musician, there are musical interludes heard. As visual backstage performers, musical director David O plays the piano parts for Dan’s role as Oscar (Dan himself never plays a piano, let alone touches one), and Jillian Risigari-Gai performs on the harp. JD Cullum as Harpo is just as silent on the instrument his character is almost named for!
FOR PIANO AND HARPO is rather amusing for what the show is, focusing itself on a personality in the Classical Music/Broadway/Hollywood scene that has since been left as an afterthought. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of his death, and perhaps this presentation will pay its well deserved respect to a man of the keyboards that had as many rises as he did failures. There won’t be another personality as great as Oscar Levant was in his prime because musical tastes has since changed–for the better or for the otherwise!

     FOR PIANO AND HARPO, presented by A Laugh Then Think Production, and performs at The Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Drive, Burbank, until March 5th. 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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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!

THE GREATEST SHOW OFF THE EARTH

    Although this year is a little over a month old, a lot of things have occurred. Within the last thirty or so days, we’ve seen everything from a heavy rain storm that went through California and possibly ending (or near ending) a six year drought, to a royal coronation in Washington DC crowning a new king of the USA, to another amusing Super Bowl game. (Congrads to the xxx!) However, perhaps the biggest news story that happened in January was the announcement that Rignling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be calling it quits this year after 147 years of existence!
Since the news was released around January 15th, folks on social media platforms will all abuzz on this announcement. Each one were giving their reasons to this news, blaming everything from rising costs of brining a circus to communities around the nation (and in some cases, to various nations around the globe), to the lack of interest by families living in a post modern wired world, to attempting to change the circus by adding daredevil motorcycle acts than traditional circus fodder, to the appeal of Cirque De Soleil-type productions, or to the buckling down of complaints from animal welfare pressure groups stating that the circus treats their animals in a cruel fashion.
According to reports stated by Feld Entertainment, the company that has owned and managed the circus for the last fifty years, noted that all of the above were part of the decision to end its run. Perhaps the biggest blow to it all was the fact that last season, the circus did away with the elephants. Die hard fans of the circus know that elephants are just as part of the circus atmosphere as to the clowns, high wire acts, and the three rings where much of the action takes place.
The circus was perhaps one of the forms of entertainment that were driven to the public at large in this nation right after the Civil War. People wanted to become entertained, and what better way to wow them was to present a show that would just do that! Granted, much of the entertainment was mostly for adults as kids were in those days were “seen but not heard”, so the form of amusement was rather crude. However, the circus offered just about any form of high (and low) amusement that can fit under a big top tent.
Over the many years, long after Phineas Taylor Barhum met Al Ringling and his siblings along with James Anthony Bailey to form a circus troupe, this form of entertainment has been part of the domestic landscape for generations, even surpassing the appeal of circuses based in Europe as well as the area known as the Soviet Union where the whole circus bit was first created and established. Throughout the twentieth century, Ringling Bros. thrived, offering those epic shows that packed the public into the tents that sprang up in communities far and near. Even when movies and later TV came to view, people still wanted to see the circus as this medium was best viewed live, rather than on a screen of some kind.
Yours truly was first exposed to the circus through television. My mom, who unintentionally weaned me with television, allowed me to stay up on Friday nights to see International Showtime on NBC, where Don Ameche would serve as host presenting many of the circus acts from Europe and other nations around the globe. (Thus the name International Showtime!) In that same decade, CBS would present their first TV special of the new season that showcased a “sneak preview” of the traveling Rignling Bros. circus. Roy Rogers and Dale Evens would serve as hosts this time around, showing off to those TV audiences bits of pices of the acts that would be “coming to your home town soon!” as Roy and Dale would say.
My first Ringing Bros. live show was the season when the circus celebrated their centennial year. Everything one excepted in a circus show was presented around those three rings. There were the high wire acts, the bareback riders, the lion tamers (featuring Gunther Gebel-Williams handing the big cats), the parade of clowns, and of course, the elephants! The big finale featured a group of elephants bringing a large prop birthday cake in the center of the arena stage by pushing it with their heads. Then another elephant brought in a large “candle” that was a big as a tree trunk. That elephant placed the candle in the top center of the cake with its trunk. Then the candle emitted a shower of colored sparks shooting upward that celebrated one hundred years of the circus, and expecting to last another one hundred years! Oh yes! The circus was not taking place inside of a tent as that was phased out by the middle 1950’s. The greatest show on earth was inside of a arena. But there were smaller tents placed around the arena grounds where the public could see the elephants up close!
Since that time, yours truly attended the Ringing Bros. circus on and off through the years. In recent times I took on a show that occurred at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. And while heading toward the entrance to Staples were these groups handing out flyers and holding sign stating that the circus showed cruelty to their animals, especially for their elephants. Many people who were attending the circus (mostly as families) would see these protesters making their point come across. I would even take a flyer they were handing out to read about the notions that they were stating about, only to stick the flyer inside of the oversized program I would eventually get. (Those flyers are still stuck within the programs I have kept within my archives.)
Whatever the case, Feld Entertainment will play out their current traveling shows through this year making its end run around early-middle May. From that point, the circus will be placed to its end. Rumors have been springing around that Feld will place the circus on hold, perhaps bringing it back soon. However, there has been no official word. The company will still present their others shows, mostly the ice and stage shows co-produced by The Walt Disney Company that features the regular Disney stock as well as a separate show that has the Marvel Comic super heroes. That form of media is more of a cash cow than anything else!
So as the last of the circus fades into the landscape, this is indeed the time to send out the clowns, and to drive the elephants into the elephant graveyard. As for family entertainment? That will still continue and can be experienced through a hand held video screen device. It may not be the greatest show on earth, but what difference does that make–unless there’s an app for that!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Performing at the Actors Workout Studio in North Hollywood is Sarah Kelly’s WAR STORIES, a play about four up-and-comers involved in the notion of love, romance, and the ups and downs of this human emotion.
The story involves a quartet of people (two guys and two gals) living in the big city (Los Angeles) that hold a connection to one another. Sarah Kelly is Jen, a professional therapist. Alexander Carroll is Jake, a client of hers. Roxanne Jaeckel as Chelsea. She’s an actress seeking some foothold in her career. Samuel Martin Lewis as Sam, a writer who’s also looking for his big break writing for some form of media. Sam wrote a script that featured a character that was a striking resemblance to Chelsea’s persona. She actually auditioned for that part! Those two eventually became a couple. Meanwhile, Jake also has a girlfriend–Chelsea! He tells Jen through his therapy session about his love life, down to the kind of shoes worn by his lover. Jen herself once has a relationship with Sam while the two were in college–not that many years before! These episodes morph into an aspect that gets deeper as it progresses. It’s a simple tale of a not-so-simple situation asking the musical question, why do we love who we love?
This play written by Sarah Kelly who also performs as Jen, can be labeled as a romantic comedy for the new Millennium. Its characters are those of that demographic who are involved in very Los Angeles-centric occupations. (Actor, writer, therapist, etc.) They speak about a rather simple subject of love that becomes anything but! Although it does involve a romance of sorts as well as the humor that comes out of this topic, its expression isn’t anything that’s sappy nor sweet. In fact, it’s more told as an emotion what can be somber, perhaps bitter, and could ask if getting involved with love is really worth the price? Although the playwright claims the characters and their plot points is of fiction, it does contain elements that comes from personal experience. That experience is what makes this play very appealing as is has realism into it rather than nonsense that’s found in a network TV sitcom.
What also makes this show appealing is the simplicity seen in its staging. The stage itself only contains a few furnishings, enough to only establish a setting to where the characters react with one another. This form of theatre is a classic example of using a less-is-more approach. The “less” part is the set decorating. The “more” element is of the players speaking their dialogue and their reactions to it all. Stacy Ann Raposa directs the cast that do ring true to the methods noted and demonstrated.
WAR STORIES is about a battle, but not in the tradition sense. It’s about a conflict that makes the art of love as tough as the theory of war. Emotions can do what they do. And what’s done here is the fight for a war that can be won or otherwise!

WAR STORIES, presented by Dry Martini Productions and Boston Bred Productions, performs at the Actors Workout Studio, 4735 Lankershim Blvd. (one block south of Camarillo Avenue), North Hollywood, until February 26th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday, February 12th at 2:00 and 7:00 PM, Sunday, February 19th at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, February 26th at 2:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 506-3903, or online at http://edm.ticketleap.com/war-stories/  
     Find WAR STORIES on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WarStoriesThePlay, and on Instagram at @WarStoriesThePlay
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CORRECTIONS: In the review of the play FUGU, appearing in our previous issue (Vol. 21-No. 5), the names noted within the review are corrected as follows:
The Japanese diplomat posted in Lithuania was Sugihara.
The actor playing Kotsuji is Scott Keiji Takeda
The Japanese dancer is Kaz Matamura
The director is Howard Teichman
Thanks to our eagle-eye readers for spotting those errors!
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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!

LIVE TV IS DEAD!

    Perhaps the above headline is a bit too rash. It should read “Live TV Isn’t As Live As It Once Was” so something to that effect. However, that same headline is a bit too long, and it’s still not totally accurate. Let us explain, shall we?
This article speaks toward the notion of watching television “live” without the aid of a DVR, a streaming service, a downloaded torrent app, or even a VCR. (Yep, although the good ol’ video cassette recorder isn’t as in vogue as it once was, some of those machines from not so long ago are still being used by folks out there in TV land!)
In this day and age where moving imagery can be consumed by any electronic device that sports a screen, watching television when it originally airs can be bypassed through various methods, from one’s phone, electronic pad, laptop, or any related method. Of course, watching a video element after the fact only makes sense through selection options. Scripted programs fall into the category of bring taking advantage of when it’s connivence for the viewer, but when it comes to timely matter from a standard newscast (especially when the newscast has a “breaking news” event), a sporting event (think Super Bowl Fifty One aka “ SB LI”), or even an awards show, watching live as it occurs makes a whole lot of sense. Then again, depending on what the program is all about, many of those folks are checking in through social media to place their two cents worth. Granted, much of this “two cents worth” has that kind of equal value, unless those tweeting away are backed by a well known name that has a million followers–give or take a few!
In this every changing world of ours (whatever that line means), people now have that the upper hand when it comes to viewing video content when the same viewer feels it’s the proper moment to do such. It’s not like back in the “good old days” when if one wanted to take advantage of watching a program of some kind, they had to park themselves in front of the television device at a certain day and time to look at the program for their own personal amusement. That was the basic method of becoming a TV viewer for one’s desired programming. That is, until the video cassette recorder was first made available to the public at large beginning in the late 1970’s. The VCRs available in the latter 1970’s were somewhat pricy for what they were. RCA’s VBT-200, known as the first VHS machine to be placed on the market in October of 1977, has a “suggested retail price” or about $1200.00. Blank 60 minute cassette tapes retailed for around $10.00, while two hour tapes came around $14.00 each! It wasn’t until the 1980’s when those handy machines dropped in price making those devices available to all, and brought the phrase “time shifting” into the TV watching vernacular.
Moving the calendar up some twenty five plus years later, the VCR faded toward the digital video recorder (DVR) in the middle 2000’s. The DVR was a device that was similar to the VCR of days before. Unlike the VCR that used physical videotape to record the programming desired, the DVR did the same thing, but to capture the imagery as a digital file imbedded onto a hard drive. Again, it did the same thing as a VHS tape did, but offered a cleaner high defination picture that even looked “live”, but wasn’t!
In today’s TV imaging, folks can now view content without necessarily capturing it on a hard drive, let along using a videotape, for later viewing. Streaming video, the art of watching imagery that comes from a source internet connected, is the way to go, or at least based on Nielsen’s third-quarter (2016) Total Audience Report. This report stated that live TV viewing actually slowed down during this period as the number of households with TV devices adding more streaming services, dropping down to around four hours and six minutes per day using a so-called “traditional” TV device. This can compare to an increase of using an app on a smartphone to view the same content. That came to an increase of two hours, ten minutes a day. (It was around one hour, fourteen minutes a day a year before!)
But rest assure folks, live TV is far from being deceased! It’s just not as common as it used to be. But with the Super Bowl coming around, as well as all of the entertainment based awards shows that feature the usual set of stars and related performers appearing on camera, folks will still tune in for all of the antics as they nearly occur. And if you can’t watch, there are the social media folks that will take the reins to present the play-by-play! Sometimes they do a better job in reporting what’s going down–whatever that means!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The West Coast Jewish Theatre presents the world premier production of Steven G. Simon & Howard Teichman’s FUGU, a story based upon true facts on a settlement of refugee Jews from Lithuanian emigrating to Japan during the early days of World War II.
The place is Kobe, a city located in the center portion of the nation. A colonization of some 6000 people of the Jewish persuasion had been established through an arrangement from Japanese diplomat Chiune Sigher, offering the refugees a safe distance from the Nazis that took over their former country. The Japanese minister of foreign affairs Colonel Nohiro Yasue (Ryan Moriarty) holds the notion to make terms with the USA by not getting into war, as he believes that President Roosevelt is of the Jewish persuasion and thus, tries to form an understanding between the US and Japan. He selects Dr. Avram Kaufman (Warren Davis) to become a delegate with the US in terms of factors of discussion of the Jewish sect between politics in Washington, finance through the traders at Wall Street, and through the movie studios in Hollywood. This diplomatic plan is called “Fugu”, named after the puffer fish that is a delicacy but is very toxic when incorrectly prepared. As an attempt to make this plan become in effect, there are other issues of concern that being to take note. There is Colonel Josef Messenger (David Preston), a German officer that is making check of the alliance made through the Nazi party and its allies, as with Japan, that the Jews not flee Japan, even as protected refugees. Adding to this political strife is Yasue chief aide Setsuzo Kotsuji (Scott Keiji Tacked) who is forming a friendly alliance with Sarah Kaufman (Rosie Moss), Dr. Avram Kaufman’s daughter. This alliance turns into a romance that is considered to be one as crossing lines of culture. The clouds of a world war are darkening as time progresses as many involved will feel some form of political and personal strife that places the lives of the Jewish population at stake.
This production tells a story in world history that isn’t well known. Howard Thiamin, artistic direction of the West Coast Jewish Theatre, first heard about these historical episodes while attending a Seder, meeting with a fellow attendee whose relatives fled to Japan to escape the Nazi suppression. This small encounter grew into an idea of a play. Joining forces with co-writer Steven G. Simon, the pair eventually developed a play that speaks upon a time in history where a country set for participation of world battle would assist a group of exiled peoples from an allied nation, allowing that populace to settle as a safe harbor. This play takes upon those historical moments and brings them all into this dramatic program that is as informative as it is entertaining. Although this theatre piece is a drama, there are some lighter episodes expressed that holds some comical tones, but never stays away from its dramatic and sobering moments. The cast of performers in the program speak out among themselves as they present their characters involved into a practice of keeping one’s faith and traditions through a backdrop of love and war! Along with the previous noted performers, Kaz Matura, Matt Gottlieb, Peter Altschuler, and Marcel Licera are also featured under the Howard Teichman’s stage direction.
In addition to the players that are seen on stage, the set decoration created by Kurtis Bedford combines customary Japanese motifs with traditional placement of Jewish artifacts. This establishes a sense of community for the refugees to stay as long as they are accepted in a colony far different than whence they came
FUGU is a very well written and well researched historical stage drama. It’s unique as it unfolds an episode during an era where many lives would be at stake while a force of world superpowers attempt to overcome through their dominate goals. Yes, there is a bit of dramatic license that is added to expand the story, but those bits of creation never seems to ever get into the way of what this play is all about–along with the fact that this production is highly recommended to see, and to possibly teach a respected lesson though its outcome!

    FUGU, presented by the West Coast Jewish Theatre and performs at the Pico Playhouse, 10508 Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, until March 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (323) 821-2449, or via online at
http://www.WCJT.tix.xom
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) announced their nominations for the 89th annual Academy Awards on January 24th.
The following titles and names received the nomination for the following categories:

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Emma Stone – La La Land

Best Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Picture
Arrival (Paramount)
Fences (Paramount)
Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)
Hell or High Water (CBS Films)
Hidden Figures (Fox)
La La Land (Lionsgate)
Lion (The Weinstein Company)
Manchester by the Sea (Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios)
Moonlight (A24)

Jimmy Kimmel will host the awards ceremony, taking place on Sunday, February 26th at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center-Hollywood, and airs on ABC.
For a complete listing of nominations, visit the official AMPAS web site at http://www.Oscars.com
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On January 23rd, The Golden Raspberry Foundation (RAZZIES) announced their list of nomination for the worst in feature films released in the previous calendar year.
The following titles and names has been selected for the worst in the following categories:
Worst Actor
Ben Affleck-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Gerard Butler-Gods of Egypt & London Has Fallen
Henry Cavill-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Robert de Niro-Dirty Grandpa
Dinesh D’Souza [as Himself]-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Ben Stiller-Zoolander No. 2

Worst Actress
Megan Fox-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Tyler Perry-BOO! A Medea Halloween
Julia Roberts-Mother’s Day
Becky Turner [as Hillary Clinton]-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Naomi Watts-Divergent Series: Allegiant & Shut-In
Shailene Woodley-Divergent Series: Allegiant

Worst Director
Dinesh D’Souza and Bruce Schooley-
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
Roland Emmerich-Independence Day: Resurgence
Tyler Perry-BOO! A Medea Halloween
Alex Proyas-Gods of Egypt
Zack Snyder-Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Ben Stiller-Zoolander  No. 2

Worst Picture
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros.)
Dirty Grandpa (Lionsgate)
Gods of Egypt (Summit Entertainment)
Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party
(Pure Flix Entertainment)
Independence Day: Resurgence (Fox)
Zoolander No. 2 (Paramount)

The Razzie Awards will take place on Saturday, February 25th at a location to be announced.
For a complete listing of nominations and other details, visit the official Razzies web site at http://www.Razzies.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!

WE’RE NOT GOING THERE!

If you are a reader of this newsletter, it will be assumed that you are interested in what’s going on in this nation. You are a person that is always informed within the latest news taking place across the county and perhaps around the world. You are someone that wants to know (or perhaps needs to know) on every little matter that occurs, from the important to the trivial. It is very likely that you own a hand held electrical device that is internet connected. You subscribe to a number of news sources (some legit, while others can be a bit questionable) that informs you on the latest scoop on the subjects and topics you find important. This way, if somebody you may encounter holds questions to a topical subject on hand, you can answer that inquiring subject with anything and everything on that matter. You can even win small friendly bets by challenging those by sporting all the headlines and the bylines! In this overly connected society most of us live and dwell in, these factors are not too hard to pass.

No, this isn’t a pitch to advertisers on connecting with us to know what kind of demographic we cater to, although we do like to toot our horn on occasion so to speak! However, we will state a number of things that we wish to do within these electronic pages, along with a few notes we won’t even discuss.

Within the last few days, the media has been saturated upon last Friday’s (January 20th) crowning of the new king of the USA. Within the previous year of ’16, headlines and bylines have been springing around both in print and through pixilated pixels on what might happen once that day of reckoning finally rolls around. Well, that day came on schedule, and just about anyone and everyone that can read and write jotted down their play-by-play coverage on everything and everyone involved, from composing 3000+ word essays enough to fill a journal, or through jotting down a few words that total no more that 140 characters. Many were read and passed around through social media, while other laid dormant, hoping that somebody will discover those notes, even if that discovery came long after the fact!
So you may ask yourself, if you already didn’t ask–”Why isn’t the Accessibly Live Off-Line editorial team giving their two cents over these issues?”
There are a lot of reasons behind these matters, but we will just stick with a very short reply. Here at Accessibly Live Off-Line, we do cater to a few topics on hand. We write reviews on regional theatre shows that take place in the Los Angeles area. We report on some notes and reviews that cater to feature films and television programs. We will present a book review as well. And our opening essay (such as the one you are reading), gives this writer a space to report on things that can be labeled as “the passing scene”. And as much as we wish to cover, we can’t report on everything since that so-called “everything” can be topics that are way out of our scope.
To give you an idea, if one wanted to know about what’s on TV, one can find these bits of news that report of television programming, depending on how deep wants to dive in that subject. The Hollywood Reporter will focus on those behind the scenes details that are more business like, while TV Guide will focus upon the program itself and the stars that appear in these shows. Granted, those two sources may cross one another within the same journalistic field. THR will write a piece on an actor appearing on a TV program, while TVG will make a few entries on a TV network executive. But for the most part, these two news sources will generally stick to what they know and what’s expected by their regular readership.
So with this all being said and done, we here at ALOL will not report on the new king of this nation, even if he’s going to stick around for the next four years assuming that nothing is going to happen that will prevent that leadership, either by choice or through circumstance. We’ll just see these events taking shape as another entry to what’s going on while taking it for what it’s worth. It’s just that simple!
But if you insist on knowing anything and everything, we will recommend that you log on to those news places that you know and know of to get the latest scoop, be it as news and as “news”! Then again, perhaps you know more on what’s going down than we would! And if you want to keep up in the loop, we encourage you to let us know! At least we can’t say we’re always in the dark!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the American premier of Jordan Tannahill’s LATE COMPANY, a drama where two couples meet along with their teenaged son over dinner, arraigning a closure between them all with the attempt to receive an emotional healing.
Grinnell Morris and Ann Hearn play Michael and Debora Shaun-Hastings. Michael is a regional politician while Debora is a sculpture artist. They have invited Tamara and Bill Dermot (Jennifer Lynn Davis and Todd Johnson) along with their sixteen year old son Curtis (Baker Chase Powell) for dinner at their home located in a well-to-do neighborhood. This dinner party isn’t really a gathering of friends. In fact, Michael and Debora don’t really know the Dermots too well. Their only connection is the notion that Curtis attended the same high school as their late son Joel. The passing of Joel who took his own life, was driven upon the harassment he received due to Joel’s chosen lifestyle; a lifestyle that didn’t bode too well with some of the other kids-Curtis included. This dinner event was created to make some form of peace with one another. However, because of the tempestuous stage all are facing through Joel’s death, things start to go in different directions, leading up toward emotional wounds being torn open rather than healed. Blames to what happened and who’s responsible are tossed around to one another, blurring the conclusion to who is the real bully of them all, and who is the victim.
This one act play by Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill takes its premise upon an actual episode that occurred in Ottawa, Ontario where a 15 year old boy was harassed by his peers just because he was gay, and eventually took his own life. The playwright used that event as his guide, along with the fact that Jordan himself was also bullied because he was gay and wasn’t accepted by the kids he knew. That is what makes this play very emotional; it’s culled through experience! The drama depicted in very tense where at times, the audience that views this show can experience moments where it becomes eerily quiet, adding to the charged responses this production congers up. The cast of five players that appear in this program shows off their dramatic timing very well, from the first lighter (and even comical) moments to its final epilogue. Bruce Gray directs this stage production that speaks upon an issue that isn’t brought into a conscious effort as often as it should, although social media’s power to express this issue plays an important role (both in this play and in real life) for the good or otherwise!
Jeff G. Rack, Theatre 40’s residential set designer, presents a set that consists of a fancy looking polished dining room table set for six along with a backdrop of a matching buffet. The side wings of the stage are barren. This condensed setting was intentionally designed where the audience would focus upon the dinner party around the table where all of the drama (and the lighter moments) takes place.
The title of this play, LATE COMPANY, expresses the fact that whatever happened in the past is being resolved, but long after the fact–much too late to do anything except to learn, understand, and accept. A teen’s life is never easy to live through, no matter when or in what era one experienced that moment of existance. It all depends upon acceptance, and how one tolerates another person’s personal lifestyle of choice. This play proves its point in a sufficient and though provoking manor.

LATE COMPANY, 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 February 19th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.      
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.com
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Performing at the Sacred Fools Theatre in Hollywood is the West Coast premier of ROSE AND THE RIME, a tale about a young girl’s search to find the source that placed her community into an icy curse.
The setting is Radio Falls, a hamlet that can be like any other, except it’s winter all of the time! Rose (Amy Rapp), is a young girl who lives in this town with her uncle Roger (Andy Hirsch). They dwell within this year-round winter as set through the Rime Witch, a mysterious supernatural being. She hears stories when once a summertime was present when the sun was warn and shining, people went to the beach, and ate hot dogs rather than drink hot chocolate. She keeps this beverage in a thermos bottle inside of her backpack along with a two-way radio so she and her uncle can communicate with each other, and so Roger can warn Rose not to be out after dark when it is at its coldest. When Rose learns about what became of her true parents from her uncle, she makes a journey to find this witch and to get a magic coin that can break the winter spell. And when it’s broken, then the sun will be out and summertime arrives. But can Rose learn about what’s ahead for her, and will those days of the beach and hot dogs really mean something? Is it any different than the state of where and how she exists?
This one act play, written by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews, & Jake Minton, plays as a form of a modern fair tale, or a kid’s theatre production geared toward adults–or those that sport an adult method of thought! This Sacred Fools Theatre production uses as illustration, a staging set of three video projected screen space panels placed one next to the other a few feet apart as part of the scenic design as created by Chris Hutchings. (Hillary Bauman created the physical sets and staging that take up most of the performance space!) Those panels shows off animated segments that become part of Radio Falls, the seasons it lives in, as well as the other forms of life as experienced by Rose and company. The drama expressed is more of the whimsical kind that adds to the fantasy aspect of what this play holds. And in the tradition of kid’s theatre for adults (and vice versa), it has some dancing (as choreographed by Sierra Taylor), a few musical elements performed (not real songs per se, but enough to be heard as musical “bits”), and even puppetry! (Miles Taber created the puppets!) The storyline never speaks “down” to its audience as a kid’s show might do. But then again, this “kid’s show” are for those who are far from their childhood years!
Jacob Sidney directs a well rounded cast of players that also include Desiree Mee Jung, Brian Brennan, Sean Faye, Mandi Moss, Corinne Chooey, Allison Reeves, Aaron Mendelson, and Bart Tangredi. These performers make up the community of Radio Falls as a winter wonderland and a place in the sun.
Overall, ROSE AND THE RIME is a production that is suitable for all. Again, this isn’t a play for youth in mind since the storyline, as easy it may seem for those grown-ups out there, may be a little above the knowledge for anyone under the age of ten. Unless one takes advantage of a matinee performance (performed only twice in its run), then the kids will have to see this show in the evening hours. Then again, it never performs on a “school night”. Nevertheless, it’s still choice family-style entertainment for kids or otherwise!

     ROSE AND THE RIME, presented by the Sacred Fools Theatre company, and performs at the Sacred Fools Mainstage theatre, 1076 Lillian Way (one block west of the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine Street), Hollywood, until February 25th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with Sunday afternoon performances on February 12th and 19th at 3:00 PM.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 281-8337, or online at http://www.SacredFools.org
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LA Stage Alliance presented the 27th annual OVATION AWARDS, declaring kudos for the best in stage theatre found in the Los Angeles region. The ceremony took place on January 17th at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, located in the downtown LA region.
Alexandra Billings served as host for the awards event that presented a selection of citations that involved the various crafts that were seen on stage, as well as off stage as “behind the scenes” elements within theatre programs that performed between August 31st, 2015 through August 28th, 2016.
Among the many awards presented, The Geffen Playhouse’s Guards At The Taj won for best production of a play in a large theatre, Dry Land, presented by the Echo Theatre Company won for best production of a play in an intimate theatre, HAM: A Musical Memoir won for best musical production in a large theatre, Celebration Theatre’s The Boy From Oz won best musical in an intimate theatre, and for the best theatre season (large or intimate) was presented to the Los Angeles LGBT Center for their three shows: Fool For Love, HAM: A Musical Memoir, and Hit The Wall.
Pablo Santiago, a theatre lighting director, was this year’s recipient of the Richard E. Sherwood Award for his commitment in LA Theatre production. A special tribute for Gordon Davidson, the founding artistic director for the Center Theatre Group who passed away on October 2nd, 2016 was acknowledged and dedicated.
In addition, the newly designed Ovation Award was presented in its debut. The previous award piece was a blue colored glass figurine of a human likeness standing in a side arching stance raising its arms in an upward position. Starting this year and continuing onward, this figurine is now is made of an alloy of silver colored polished metal. This new construction will avoids any breakage when dropped on a hard surface!
A theme that was presented within the award show spoke for the notion that theatre is an art form that promotes joy, love, acceptance, and diversity. These elements of emotion was expressed by Alexandra Billings, as she as a transgender, told about an encountered experience at the Cal State school facility where she teaches the art of theatre. Her students within her classes, as well as the rest of student body, expressed her mutual feelings toward the diversity aspects that make up part of the populace of Los Angeles–both as a theatre community and as a bonded city.
For an entire list of all nominees and winners, visit the LA Stage Alliance website at http://www.LAStageAlliance.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

AccessiblyLiveOffLine@twc.com
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Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.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!