A sad moment occurred recently when it comes to the preservation of popular culture in this crammed world of ours, enough where it was housed in a museum-type setting for those to inspire, study, educate, use as an influence, and even for the sake of using such culture for its entertainment value–a value that held its place for generations before and the generations ahead.

On Sunday, January 12th, The Paley Center for Media of Beverly Hills closed its doors for the final time after twenty five years of its presence at its location.

Located at 365 Beverly Drive at the intersection of Beverly Drive and “Little” Santa Monica Blvd., The Paley Center for Media was the go-to place to view vintage television programs that first originated from the United States, later expanding to other world nations from its early days of TV in the 1930s to yesterday–literally! It also housed thousands of recordings of radio programs from the 1920s to the 2020s.

The Paley Center for Media is actually based in New York in a building located at 25 West 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan, right next door to the “21” Club. (Ya can’t miss it!!) Started in 1975 by William S. Paley, the founder of the Columbia Broadcasting System–better known as CBS through its original name The Museum of Broadcasting, Will Paley visualized a central place where folks can come in to view vintage television shows that the viewing public remembered, as well as titles that would have been otherwise forgotten, if not totally lost.

The success of the center, later changing its name to The Paley Center for Media as television was no longer limited through over the air means. The collection later expanded to programming from cable TV channels, YouTube videos, as well as through video streaming. From their success of their New York location, the Paley Center opened a facility in Beverley Hills in 1995. The building itself was designed by architect Richard Meier that featured a white facade, a huge central lobby for hosting events, a theater where screenings and discussion panels would take place, a rooftop patio, and on its second level, an area where exhibits would be placed as well as where the viewing and listening areas were located for viewing and hearing the programs from their collection.

Although the Paley Center owned the building, it did not own the land it sat upon! The parcel of space was originally owned by seven different land trusts and estates that owned the property for some time, going back to the 1920‘s. The land was leased to Back of America, which in turn leased it to the Paley. (It once was a BofA bank site, eventually moving across the street!) According to Variety, the property was later sold to Jenel Management Corporation for nearly $47.3 million. The Paley had a lease on the property until 2024. Jenel Management bought out the lease from The Paley Center, ending its stay at the end of 2019.

So what’s going to happen? First, the Paley Center won’t be going away! Their New York facility will still remain on West 52nd Street. Some of the events that will take place in Los Angeles will still occure, such as the annual PaleyFest at the Dolby Theater in March, as well as other events using such facilities as The Directors Guild Theaters and other locations. But if anyone wanted to view any program from the Paley Center’s location, one would have to travel to New York City. And when the time arrives for a new location to be build in Los Angeles (all “TBA”), everything will remain “off the air”! (More details about The Paley Center as well as the PaleyFest can be found through its web site at http://www.PaleyCenter.org)

The writer has been working with the Paley Center for some time. This February will mark 35 years since yours truly first stepped inside the Museum of Broadcasting’s original digs at 1 East 53rd Street, (located between 5th and Lexington Avenues) for a job interview. Although I didn’t get the job, I did keep in contact with the people at the MofB, eventually contributing vintage television shows for their every growing collection.

Today, I remain one of the many friends that the Paley had latched onto for all of its years of existence, and I will still remain one of those pals with the support of perserving TV shows that has shaped the nation, if not the world! However, I just can’t perform my support through a locally based situation.

As to the physical site. According to one of the TV curators that I have recently spoken to, the building has been purchased by a well-known upscale fashion company that will most likely tear down the building in order to build a new shop (or series of shops) that will cater to the demographic that connects with the Beverly Hills lifestyle. After all, Rodeo Drive is just a few blocks away, so that hint will give one an idea to what’s going on that location.

So as one door closes, another one will open. As for myself? I will still do my part in the oft told (by me anyway) belief that preservation without access isn’t preservation! I will work on selecting programming from my personal collection for the Paley’s use, and for the accessibility where one can see these shows once again for the many years to come.

As of this writing, I am looking at some episodes of The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder (aired on NBC 1973-81). So as Tom used to say when he signed off his show for the evening, “Good Night Everybody!!”

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents for its eighteenth season, the return engagement of Katherine Bates’ THE MANOR, a play that speaks of a rise and tragic fall involving a very dignified family living in one of the nation’s prestigious communities.

The story begins in the roaring 20’s, where liquor flowed if one will find it, jazz music was all the rage, and fortunes were climbing at sky high paces. The MacAlister family that made its capital gains in mineral mining as headed by Charles MacAlister (Darby Hinton, alternating with Mark Rimer), is celebrating the wedding between his son and heir Sean (Eric Keitel) and the blushing bride Abby. (Nathalie Rudolph) As the two are joined in marriage, Charles meets up with his friend based in Washington DC, Senator Alfred Winston (Daniel Leslie) on a business opportunity. It appears that in the US territory of Hawaii, the Navy desires to build a naval base station within the location known as Pearl Harbor. Alfred asks Charles for a $100,000 loan to finance this development. In return for the requested amount, Alfred would receive exclusive rights to mine a valued mineral deposit that Charles operates. This well intended exchange opens in what later becomes a scandal developing into government bribery, business corruption, and an overall disgrace to this wealthy family estate leading up toward dire consequences. This aftermath not only involves Charles, but to the others within this domain set high among their “quaint” 50+ room estate overlooking the bedroom community village called Beverly Hills.

This original play written by Katherine Bates and directed by Martin Thompson, (based on original stage direction by Beverly Olevin), was inspired upon the actual family of Edward Doheny, who made his fortune in oil production. He was involved with tactics that later lead to a bribery misconduct known as the “Teapot Dome Scandal” that followed upon the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly in the early part of the 20th century. What makes this play rather unique, outside of the fact that the plot is inspired by actual events that involves greed, corruption, family disgrace, and even death, but the settings takes place at Greystone Mansion, a 46,000 Sq. Ft. building and estate once owned by the Donehy family. Many of the play’s backdrops are founded in what did occur within the mansion when Edward “Ned” Doheny, son of Edward Sr., took his own life with a pistol. (The reasons leading up to this death vary, but it was indeed billed as a murder-suicide!) The play itself offers plenty of drama as depicted by the cast members that also include Carol Potter as Marion MacAlister, Kristin Towers-Rowles as Henrietta Haversham Pugh, Melanie MacQueen as Cora Wilson, Martin Thompson, alternating with Daniel Leslie as family attorney Frank Parsons, Esq. with David Hunt Stafford as James the butler, Katherine Henryk as Ursula the housekeeper, and Ester Levy Richman as Ellie, the mute maid.

As to how this play is set up. It takes place within a handful of rooms in the mansion where the audience is broken up into three groups. After the first scene is performed, each group is lead by one of the domestic staff into another nearby room where a second scene is presented. Then the groups, rotating to other rooms, witness yet another unfolding scene. These scenes performed for the selected audience groups are presented in a different order, but not out of context as each scene keeps its continuity in check. The background of the mansion itself serves as the backdrop giving this production an authentic feel. Each room offers limited stage furnishings as the original furniture and other decor has long been removed. David Hunt Stafford & Jackie Petras provides the set design that is part of the play, rather then to the actual building where this showpiece is housed.

THE MANOR has been part of Theatre 40’s repertory since 2002, offering limited run performances at the location where many of the inspired stage settings developed. If one attends this performance, one will see just a small glimpse of a humble home built when elegance, even at an excess, was at its peak. They don’t build places like these anymore, and it’s just as well! Along with viewing the homestead and the grounds, one will witness a great play that’s fully loaded with all the drama that such a stage work firmly allows.

THE MANOR, presented by Theatre 40 in association with the city of Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Department, performs at the Greystone Mansion located within Greystone Park, 905 Loma Vista Drive (north of Sunset Blvd. off Mountain Drive), Beverly Hills, until March 1st. Showtimes are Thursday and Friday, February 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th, and 28th at 6:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday, February 22nd, 23rd, 29th, and March 1st at 1:00 PM.

For further information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 364-3606, or via the website http://www.Theatre40.org
FRIDA-STROKE OF PASSION, Odalys Nanin’s play with music that speaks about the final days of Frida Kahlo, performs at Casa 0101 Theatre in Los Angeles.

Odalys Nanin appears as Frida Kahlo, who hailed from Mexico and was one of the art world’s unique creators of canvas art. The story opens on July 6th, 1954, Friday’s 47th and final birthday. Her physical condition is in rather poor shape. She is recovering from a bus accent that occurred a few years before that did major damage to her body. She is bedridden part of the time, and moves in a wheelchair. Yet she still continues to create her work through her many paintings and sketches that express her physical and emotional condition. To ease her pain, she is taking painkillers along with taking shots of tequila as administrated through her personal nursemaid Judith (Tricia Cruz). As she attempts to work on her art, she notes upon her life as one that was rather extensive, through the past and present encounters she had through a number of noted people she came upon by way of her travels and motives. She recalls such people as vocalist Charela Vargas (Sandra Valls), Mexican film actress Maria Felix (Jorie Burgos, alternating with Magel Juarez), exiled Russian Communist politician Leon Trotsky (Paul Cascante), exiled American entertainer Josephine Baker (Celeste Creel), Cuban intelligence agent Teresa Proenza (Kesia Elwin), photographer Tina Modotti (Mantha Balourdou), and her close friend/muse/lover Diego Rivera (Oscar Basulto). Some of these people are depicted through her inner mind, while others are there in person as real. Many of these same souls that were and are in Frida’s life hold foundations that are solid as they are rocky. But with only a few days left in her life, Frida’s only guise is through the amounts of painkillers she takes, as well as the free flowing power source of tequila.

This play, written, produced, and featuring Odalys Nanin as the name being is an interesting look at the life and times of an artist that was part of the budding creative platforms that came from Mexico during the first half of the 20th Century. It shows the tile character that did held to her ability of expressing herself through her respected pieces of artworks. It also shows her back stories to her life. Many of those she speaks about were colleagues, and a few were lovers–both male and female. She even mentions about a child that she conceived, but never came to live a full life; a child called Little Diego. (David Santamaria). A number of these characters are depicted as part of Frieda’s life and times. But the real star here is the multitalented Odalys Nanin who gives an impression that her character held lots of grief, pain, and talent, even through her talent was one that shows what she was going through up to her demise-a demise that was never finalized. She died of an overdose of painkillers consumed either through accident or through intentional means.

The stage set consists of a bed placed center stage where Frida spends much of her time in, along with her paining area settled on stage left as designed by March de Leon. Anielka Gallo creates the graphic designs of some of Frida paintings through a video monitor placed above at stage left that also illustrates Frida in bed through a camera placed directly above. This represents the viewpoint that Frida saw from a mirror that was once placed over her bed-a place for recovery or physical expression.

In addition to the above noted cast, David Ty Reza appears as Judas, a devil creature that is one of the individuals as seen through the eyes of the artist whose time will be soon shortened.

This play also has some musical interludes as well. Francisco Medina plays the guitar, performing ballads that were first performed in Frida’s home country around the era of her existence. There ballads as presented are heard to give the audience the feeling and spirit that was felt through the period that Frieda was at work, both as pre- and post-accident.

Directed by Odalys Nanin with assist direction by Corky Dominguez, FRIDA-STROKE OF PASSION is a play that is informative, entertaining, and even sexy at times. Frida’s lifestyle would be considered as “bi” in today’s landscape, and it’s expressed through minor examples. In spite of theses depictions, Frida Kahlo was a woman that did hold artistic talent, and had the emotional capacity to create her work no matter how she felt. She wasn’t strong in body, but strong in excitable expressive drive.

FRIDA-STROKE OF PASSION, presented by Macha Theatre/Films, and performs at Casa 0101 Theatre, 2002 East First Street, Los Angeles (Boyle Heights), until February 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations online, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/frida-stroke-of-passion-tickets-85497484277
City Garage theater of Santa Monica continues its run of LARGO DESOLATO, Vaclav Havel’s play about a cerebral author living in a controlled society who comes under observation from its government due to his political hypothesis.

Troy Dunn is Professor Leopold Nettles. He apparently created a written essay that speaks unhighly over the government regimes at stake. He is housed within his flat, keeping a watchful eye on the outer surroundings of his unit, holding careful duty on who might be outside. He is rather nervous, although the people who Leopold knows as friends and companions are aware of his situation. His close friend Edward (Gifford Irvine), his companion Suzana (Emily Asher Kellis), and second colleague Bert (Trace Taylor) finds him as an unstable emotional wreck, from his drinking consistently and taking pills for his nerves. Leopold’s mistress Lucy (Angela Beyer) finds him unresponsive toward her affection. But others know of his work, even getting a visit from a “groupie” seeking advice, young student Marguerite (Marissa Dubois). But the time will take place when he will become apprehended by this government that serves as a “black hand”. However, a pair of rouges with no names from this government black hand sect (Anthony Sannazzaro and Aaron Bray) makes his an offer to sign a document that will deny who he is and what he did to upset the state. Only time and tide will determine the fate of this intellectual scholar who chose a thin chance to express his opinions upon a higher authority he views as going into a wrong direction.

This play was one of many creations that were brought into being by this playwright when the Eastern Europe nations were undergoing political dictatorships in the second half of the 20th century. Playwright Vaclav Havel composed this play in the middle 1980‘s when the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) was under communism rule. Havel created this stage work as a semi-autobiographical piece shortly after he was released from federal prison for his various political crimes. Much of what is presented shows the turmoil he and others under the same political beliefs were going through when principles were rather unstable.

The City Garage production presents this work (with English translation by Tom Stoppard) as a direct viewpoint of the times that existed at hand, when all citizen had to follow the rules of the land regardless if they were the correct element to take. The cast of performers that appear in this stage work perform their parts in a serious nature, although there are vague hints of humor. Anything remotely funny are present as an unintentional action. Perhaps the method the characters react and what they hold to say were placed as intentional, showing off to its audience that the ruling party is comical, with its citizens not having any last laughs.

As to the technical side of this production, Charles Duncombe’s set design (also serving duties as lighting director) shows Leopold’s flat as a two level dwelling space placed with modern furnishings with a minimalist touch–a place where an intellectual man of letters would settle. Josephine Poinsat’s costuming ranges from simple and smart to curious, especially with the duds worn by the “black hand” agents. And Aldo Romano’s musical interludes can be labeled as frantic bebop.

Directed by Frederque Michel, LAEGO DESOLATO is a theater opus that proves to question what a ruling body could do if their causes are not meant by those that live under their stature. In these times, something as this was noted that it could never happen again, as what is seen on stage is pure fiction. However, one can’t be too careful or careless in this day and age, depending on the current state of state…

LARGO DESOLATO, presented by and performs at City Garage, 2525 Michagan Avenue, (Building T1), Santa Monica, until March 1st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (323) 453-9939, or via online at
On Saturday, February 8th, Film Independent presented the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards, presented award citations for the best in feature films released in the 2019 calendar year that was made through artist-driven creations that emphasis diversity, innovation, and uniqueness in vision. The awards ceremony was held within a tented structure along the beach front near the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, and was hosted by Aubery Plaza.

Adam Slander won Best Male Lead for the feature Uncut Gems. Renee Zellweger won Best Female Lead for the bio picture Judy. Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie shared Best Director award for Uncut Gems. and The Farewell won for Best Picture.

Among the special awards: The Robert Altman Award for a film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast was presented for Marriage Story. The John Cassavetes Award for best feature created for $500,000 and less went to Give Me Liberty. The Bonnie Award for a mid-career female director went to Kelly Reichardt. The Producers Award for emerging film producers want to Mollye Asher, The Someone to Watch Award, the self described award for emerging directors went to Rashaad Ernesto Green. And the Truer Than Fiction Award for an emerging non-fiction/documentary director went to Nadia Shihab.

For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
On Sunday, February 9th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 92nd Academy Awards, presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2019 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood as another “no hosted” event.

Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for the feature release Joker. Renée Zellweger won Best Actress for Judy. Bong Joon Ho won Best Director for Parasite, that also won as Best Picture.

For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at
On February 7th, the Golden Raspberry Foundation announced the nominations for the 40th Razzie Awards, awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2019 calendar year.

The nominations are as follows:

James Franco / Zeroville
David Harbour / Hellboy (2019)
Matthew McConaughey / Serenity
Sylvester Stallone / Rambo: Last Blood
John Travolta / The Fanatic & Trading Paint

Hilary Duff / The Haunting of Sharon Tate
Anne Hathaway / The Hustle & Serenity
Francesca Hayward / Cats
Tyler Perry (As Medea) A Madea Family Funeral
Rebel Wilson / The Hustle

Fred Durst / The Fanatic
James Franco / Zeroville
Adrian Grunberg / Rambo: Last Blood
Tom Hooper / Cats

Cats (Universal)
The Fanatic (Wonderfilm)
The Haunting of Sharon Tate (Voltage Pictures)
A Madea Family Funeral (Lionsgate)
Rambo: Last Blood (Lionsgate)

For a list of all nominees, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.com
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The next weekend, the folks at AMPAS, better known as The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will hold their annual awards ceremony in Hollywood, giving out their coveted award, The Oscar (registered trademark) for the best in various forms in movies, from the technical side (picture editing, sound design, etc.) to the acting part, the only category that the public at large really cares about!

The titles that are available for nomination are the ones that were standard movie award fodder: Film releases that offer lots of drama, tell stories that are written rather well for what they are, and feature performers that were able to do what they are supposed to do by playing a character that they are not in so-called “real life”.

Its been stated through a lot of media outlets that the movies that are called for an award or three are not necessarily titles that the movie going public, those that have nothing to do with being involved in movies on any professional stance, would be willing to pay in order to see. The films they are willing to pay for tends to be action/adventure titles with a super hero/comic book emphasis, animation that is geared toward all audiences especially kids, and those titles that are of the fantasy nature that take place in places and/or in time periods that doesn’t really exist, loaded with characters that are from somebody’s wild(er) imagination. The movie titles that were able to get an Oscar were movies that were more melodramatic, featured players that could be big time stars but not necessarily limited to, and films that were first available in theaters (or even “a” theater) after October 1st. Many of these same movies would play better through a video source since dramas are ideal for semi-distracted viewing purposes. A few movies noted even received wide availability through those video sources, making them more as a “TV movie” than a theatrical one!

Since video content is now available wherever one goes as long as there is an internet connection available and one has access to an electronic device that sports a video screen, it’s easy to tune in to see a feature. Granted, any video source that has a running time of 40 minutes or longer can be called a “feature” rather than a “short(er) subject”. However, for the sake of argument, any title, fiction or non-fiction, would be known as a “movie”. That is, unless the “movie” is an multi-part episode of a series of shorter programs that are interconnected with one another. In that case, then it’s known as a “TV series”.

A burning question does remain on what constitutes what is a “good” movie (or TV series) and what can be labeled as a “bad” movie/TV series, even if it’s a movie/TV series that is just “OK”. They were not “good”, nor were they “bad”. They were just tolerable for what they were.

Sticking to theatrical movies that were made available in the 2019 calendar year, there were titles that were popular to the paying general public, based upon how much money they made at the box office. Such titles as Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the remake of The Lion King, and a few others, were crowd pleasers.

Folks flocked to their local multiplexes and were willing to plunk down anywhere from $5.00 to as much as $20.00 per adult to sit inside of a theater loaded with perfect strangers for some 100 minutes or more to take part in viewing this movie that is big in scope, bigger in screen size, and performed the job they are suppose to do: entertain its audience! The movies themselves were made for one basic reason: To make money! After all, the movie industry is a business. And anyone that has a hint of business sense knows that a successful business is a business that earns a profit. That’s just part of capitalism. And anyone that wants to dive into the world of business holds a right to make some kind of money, be it a little or a lot!

So one knows why everyone enjoys movies! They make one laugh, cry, get scared, become aware, informed, educated, becomes thrilled, relaxed, and to make one feel good, or even bad! It’s an extension of the human nature and spirit that’s been around for over a century’s era worth of movies.

But if one views a movie title that doesn’t fulfill those above noted emotions, something is wrong! If a movie confuses an emotion, or makes one angry, irritable, bored, or even causes drowsiness, then it could be called a bad feature. After all, nobody in their right mind would pay good money to sit through a movie for any length of time to see something that makes them into a worse emotional state what they were before they even glimmered at the title in question.

One movie that has been getting a lot of flack for this aspect recently is the Universal release of Cats. This title was originally a stage musical that hosts a music score composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on the works of poet T. S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats, first published in 1939. It consists of a collection of poetry and prose that speak about cats in character and personality. There isn’t a “plot” toward these poems as many of them can stand alone as they are. What makes those poems appealing is the fact that they are whimsical, they enlighten, they’re a bit silly in nature, and they feature an animal that is a popular being that serves as a domesticated pet.

When Cats wound up as a stage musical that was slightly strange in nature, it because a hit first in its native Britain, and later on Broadway. Folks were flocking to the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway off 47th Street in midtown Manhattan to see this musical. Before long, touring companies have made this musical available around the nation and around the world. It still plays somewhere to this very day, usually presented through regional theater companies that can showcase this title with lavish costumes donned by dozens of players than can sing and dance, a massive stage size with a detailed stage set, along with a full orchestra providing the musical score. Those elements made this show what it is: A presentation that is enlightening and entertaining because it’s all done live!

The feature film really tried to present the same emotional appeal. Alas, it didn’t for a lot of reasons. Outside of the rather creepy looking outfits the main players wore (or didn’t because a lot of those costumes were created through computer based imagery), one elements that wasn’t fully understood was its plot. In a movie, people want to know what the story is all about. In a stage musical, the plot is nice to know, but isn’t the reason why people would attend a performance of the musical. They see it for its staging, performing, and for the music. If the musical offers an amusing story line that easy to follow, that’s all the better! However, one thing that overtakes everything that a movie can’t do is the fact that the stage show is performed right then and there, live and in living color. Movies are just moving images that was created long after the fact!

In order for this movie to be highlighted publicity wise, one must present a bi-line or a ‘slug” to tell in one sentence on what they movie is all about. Universal Pictures, the company that released the film, gave the plot line as “A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.”


To be quite honest, this is the first time this very writer finally became aware of the plot to Cats, long after yours truly saw it at the Winter Garden Theater in the spring of 1990. (I still have my program and the ticket stub to prove it!)

But now that movie awards season is over with for this season, it’s time to look forward to those summertime releases that will offer more action/adventure/superhero fodder, family friendly animation, fantasy tales, and other movie genres that will please its crowd and make a hansom profit to boot. Just check these pages of Accessibly Live Off-Line for selected review of those movies. In the mean time, make those memories of your own! And don’t forget to feed the kitty!

As part of the Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2020 series of single person monologue performances was Anzu Lawson’s DEAR YOKO, an Asian-American’s tale of living a life of existing in America and points beyond within the mists of the shadows of fame, emotional control, and the notion that her life parallels to another artist and musician–as well as to the artist’s connection to rock music’s most noted band.

Anzu tells her story of being an American born person of Japanese decent while growing up in the 1970’s, a time when anything Japanese was linked to expensive cameras, gas saving autos, and electronic devices. Her “tiger mom” made sure that she overachieved in anything she did in terms of being front and center of the limelight. She worked as a teen model, competing in so-called beauty and talent contests, as well as becoming a pop star in the “J-Pop” mode. And all of this occurred by the time she reached her middle 20’s! In spite of her mom’s attempt to make her young daughter famous in the era before social media was invented, she finds her personal life stressful, too-hurried, and downright depressing. She engaged in sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll–not necessarily in that order nor due to her own choosing! However, she later discovered that another woman of Asian decent went through a series of challenges. That woman was Yoko Ono, an artist whose major claim to fame was that she became the second wife of one John Winston Lennon, a musician and songwriter and a member of The Beatles, perhaps the most beloved rock band to ever exist–as well as the possible link to the band’s demise!

Granted, Anzu never achieved the fame and glory that Yoko obtained, but the two did go through the motions that not being blond and white became a nonconformity, long before diversity extended far beyond the state of existing as causation verses anything else!

This single act performance written and performed by Anzu Lawson, is a story that brings this talented young woman into a life that stated as a young girl, skipping childhood altogether, and thrusted her into adulthood whenever she was ready for this lifestyle or not! For its ninety minute running time, Anzu expresses her good times as well as those that were anything from bad to worse and back again! She encountered moments that would fit in to a “#MeToo” approach, and even to where she would want to end her life for good! (She did later learn how to shoot a gun!) But her shining light came from the words and wisdom of Yoko Ono. She wasn’t exactly the “Fifth Beatle”, but more as a wise(ass) woman that has a spouse that was just as wise (but no ass), and lived through that wisdom from up to his final moments.

Along with the words, physical motions, and emotional spirit that Anzu places for herself is a selection of visuals projected along a back screen as engineered by Brandon Loesser. Those visuals showcases Anzu and her bunch throughout her years, all synced within the verbal storyline Anzu emotes with her audience.

Jessica Lynn Johnson developed and directed this show as a highly informative and very tight production. The audience takes part as that every lovin’ fly on the wall(s), while Anzu captures the spirit and aura of Yoko, down to mimicking her through her words and actions.

This performance will be part of the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival, taking place in June of this year. This festival will consist on dozens of smaller theatre shows that will perform at various locations found along Hollywood’s “theatre row”-Santa Monica Blvd. rightly between El Centro from the east to La Brea on the west. More details on the 2020 Hollywood Fringe Festival can be found at http://www.HollywoodFringe.org

The Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest 2020 takes place at The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd (at Sunnyslope), Sherman Oaks, on various days through the month of March. More details on Solofest 2020 can be found at http://www.WhitefireTheatre.com
The 2020 Writers Guild Awards, presenting awards for the best in screenplay writing for feature films and television/video mediums, was held on February 1st at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Comic actress Ana Gasteyer of Saturday Night Live fame hosted the awards event that presented the best in writing for television/streaming video, feature films, and videogames. Among those awards were a selection of special awards for the achievement in script writing.

David N. Weiss was awarded the Animation Writers Caucus Writing Award for achievement in writing for a selection of animated TV shows and feature films including Sherk 2, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and the Rugrats franchise.

Charles Randolph was awarded the Paul Selvin Award for his script for the feature Bombshell. This award is presented for those witch “best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere”, as dictated by the WGA.

The Valentine Davies Award, presented to an honoree for humanitararian efforts in the Writers Guild was awarded to TV writer-director-producer Brad Falchuk.

The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement was given to Merrill Markoe for her four-decade-long career in TV comedy writing, and being a longtime writer for The David Letterman Show, both in daytime and in late night.

The WGA-West’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting went to Nancy Meyers for her screenplays of such feature films as Private Benjamin, Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated, The Holiday, and many other works. The award was presented to Ms. Meyers by Diane Keaton.

For feature lenght screenplays, Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won was awared for Original Screenplay for the title Parasite. Taika Waititi won an award for Adapted Screenplay for JoJo Rabbit, and Alex Gibney wan an award for Documentary Screenplay for the HBO presentation The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.

For a full listing of all award nominees and winners in the respected categories, visit the WGA website at http://www.WGA.org
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Observing the name, “Cabin Fever” isn’t an illness that can be caught as if were a cold bug. Nor is it something that one can get through family ties, or something that just “comes”, such as a cancer. And it has nothing to do with a wood shack nestled in the woods where one can settle among the trees, or to be born in such a place as with any noted pioneer that came from American history or through pop culture. (The song lyrics states that Davy Crockett was born on a mountain top in Tennessee. It was likely that that coonskin wearing ol’ coot was born in a cabin located on a mountain top, rather that being born in the outdoors. But we digress!)

“Cabin Fever” in its traditional sense, means that it’s the emotion one can get with being cooped up inside of one location for longer that the person wants to be. It is usually commonplace in a geographic area where the weather outside is frightful, while the fire may not necessarily be delightful!

When people may state “Baby it’s cold outside”, it’s the time of year to stay indoors where its warm(er), and there isn’t any snow and ice to mess with. That may be the best place to be at the moment. However, after a while, that state of staying indoors for a tad too long may get to be a bit bothersome, sometimes where one can became loaded with anxiety. This is especially true when somebody may be with another person where the other person, be it a domestic partner, a relative, or somebody else where after a while, the other person may spark an annoyance through the so-called “little things” that the other may do or not do. Think of this situation as a plot point found within a sitcom where two people (roommates, family members, spouses, romantic partners, etc.) may fight with one another, limited themselves to a battle that is created for comic relief.

Although Cabin Fever isn’t necessarily a seasonal trait, it usually starts around later January. In December, thanks to too many festive holidays that may take place in such a short time span, much of this fever business may not be felt, let alone noticed. Because of too much partying that’s going around, folks tend to be too busy indulging in the party atmosphere, nearly too engaged to even notice.

In January, the holidays and the parties that go along with them tend to stop. The Christmas tee is already sitting on the curb, the Chanukah candles have burned down it its stems, and the new year’s champaign has been long consumed. Now it’s the time to get back to some kind of normalcy only to look forward to the next festive time, assuming that there will be another festive time to look ahead for.

As the colder weather takes its toll, people start to get restless. They become anxious, frustrated, and even irate to those around them for no said reason. This is where Cabin Fever takes its toll. By the time it’s the end of January, it’s the moment to do something with their time by breaking away from the home base where things tend to get cooped up and to see what is available far beyond there they are holed up in.

And although this may be a cold weather thing, it’s not necessarily limited to where the temperature is below 45 degrees. It can take place in warmer climates as well! Here in southern California, it may not get down to below freezing, but the anxiety of sitting alone in your room with nothing to do may set its pace.

Of course, not everyone gets a dose of Cabin Fever. However, there is many ways to beat the feeling even when it does creep up inside of one’s craw.

One thing to do is to arrange a celebration of some sort. Since January doesn’t have a lot of holidays that call for a time of cheer, many turn toward February to beat the heat–or cold in this case! This is one of the reasons why people may host and/or attend a Super Bowl watching party. Granted, not everyone may be a football fan. They may not even care for the sport, let alone know who’s in the match! But since the bowl game takes place the first Sunday in February–a time where Cabin Fever is at its peak, its a great excuse to have a festive event in one’s home or at some kind of public place, such as a theme restaurant, a sorts bar, or some other location where the people attending are upbeat, the food and drinks are plentiful, and the TV device is at its biggest screen size!

Many folks that host or attend such watching events are present to mingle with others, eat, drink, and maybe even look at a play or two. If they do watch the game, they may take advantage of the half time show (sometimes more entertaining the game itself), or even to check out the commercials that are for the most part, mini epics that are lavish, sometimes dramatic, and even comical that are worth it’s 30 to 120 second running time. That of course, all depends on what product is being sold, and how much the advertiser forked over to get their message across to those that want to know!

So there you have it folks! You don’t have to ask “Dr. Google” to seek a cure for this fever that won’t give anyone a temperature, nor present an illness that could be the subject of some melodramatic media program. It’s just another emotion that is more of a state of mind.

By the way, anyone know of a decent Super Bowl watching party out there….?

The Sacred Fools Theatre Company presents the world premier of Bob Derosa’s GIFTED, a dramity about one woman’s unique talent, and how that talent would work for her as well as agent!

Kacie Rogers is Ashlyn. She is a single woman in her twenties that lives within her urban community. She works as a clerk at an independent bookstore, and spends much of her time at a local coffeehouse/tavern. From watching people, especially couples that are some kind of romantic track, she can predict the fate of these pairs–who will remain together, who will break up for whom, and so on. She doesn’t know why she has this uncanny knack, but she does. By chance, she speaks to the barista on duty about this talent, only to discover that the barista can predict what patrons will order on the menu before they speak up! Ashlyn is then invited to join a special group consisting of those that posses a skill to know about other notions through a special mental power, such as the color of other people’s undergarments! These mental abilities can be called “gifts”, since other people can’t perform the same aptitudes. This suits Ashlyn fine, until she meets Randy. (Ross Phillips) Before long, Ashlyn and Randy become a romantic couple–the same kind of couple that she can predict the future with. With this sense on hand, can Ashlyn predict her own future with Randy, or are the unintended hunches she feels remain as lucky guesses or as an impression of future doom?

This new play by Bob Derosa is a distinct character study on how one’s talent (or gift) can become a blessing (“They are meant for each other!”) or a curse! (“S/he won’t be a Ms/r. Right after all!”) The production itself has a very youthful sensation to it all where the characters, its settings, as well as the encounters that the protagonist faces reins toward a young adult (a.k.a. “Millennial”) based vibe. This form of youthfulness keeps this play moving in a rather rapid clip. Its pacing isn’t anything frantic where everyone is operating as a blur. Its progression is actually delivered as a continuous motion where the spirit of life is a road moving ahead than a trail left far behind! Rebecca Larsen directs this show in an even stand adding an equal and steady blend of humor and drama.

There are a number of aspects added to this production that are just as unique as the mental talents many of its characters represent. The production design by Madilyn Sweeten Durrie is very minimal, only consisting of a collection of very square table pieces that are moved about in a free flowing matter to represent various scenes. (Also note the various practical light fixtures on its upper celling!) The props ranges from simple items (bland colored cups/glasses, a solid colored bottle, etc), to ones that are invisible! Its only real prop of significance is a “Magic 8 ball”, a novelty item where one can “ask” the 8 ball about something in the future. (Not to be confused with an internet-based electronic device that is built upon an “A-I” platform!) And there’s some choreography added to this program as arranged by Tavi Muller that represents the visuals that the Ashlyn character can “see” within order to predict a couple’s fate! All of what’s witnessed on stage is presented in a theatre-in-the-round setting, a form of physical stage set that isn’t presented as much as it once was–if ever at all!

Appearing in this production includes and listed in their alphabetical order, Libby Baker, Marc Forget, Madeleine Heil, Jason Jin, Carrie Keranen, Alessendra Manon, and John Ellsworth Phillips.

Being “gifted” can become a joy or as a damnation, depending on who’s getting the joy and/or being damned! Many people possess some kind of ability that others may not have. Most of these potentials won’t save the world, let alone make any news headlines! All it can do is to win bar bets or act as a carnival side show! It’s been noted that everyone has a gift of some kind. And that is what being gifted is really all about!

GIFTED, presented by The Sacred Fools Theater Company and performs in the Broadwater Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. (one block west of Vine Street at Lillian), Hollywood, until February 29th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sundays, February 2nd and 16th at 4:00 PM, and Monday, February 17th at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, email the Sacred Fools Theatre Company at SFReservations@SacredFools.org, or go online at http://www.SacredFools.org
The Odyssey Theatre presents THE UNSEEN HAND and KILLER’S HEAD, a pair of short plays written by legionary playwright Sam Shepard.

The first entry Killer’s Head has a middle aged man speaking (or actually, rambling) about a number of notions on “horsepower” maintenance–the mechanical and animal variety. This will be his last time thinking out loud as he’s only minutes away from being executed by way of the electric chair!

The second entry The Unseen Hand, takes place near a highway that was once known as Route 66 located somewhere outside of Azusa, California. Blue (Carl Weintraub), a one time cowpoke, is on a trip to nowhere by keeping home in his old ’51 Chevy convertible that is just as creaky as he is–perhaps creakier. He is met by a strange being that seems to have come from outer space, an alien that calls himself Willie. (Matt Curtin). Willie tells Blue of his tale of escaping from where he came where a powerful force is undergoing a mind control mission that would otherwise spell doom to his people. He finds Blue to be his only hope upon breaking free from this mind control operation. Willie also seek the aid of Blue’s pair of brothers, Cisco (Jordan Morrison) and Sycamore (Chris Payne Gilbert) two others from the wild west days who were brought back from the dead. These three gunslingers could be the method of bringing freedom to Willie’s galactic tribe! Added to this bunch is a teenager (Andrew Morrison) that just escaped from being harassed and roughed-up by a bunch of thugs from a rival high school just because he wasn’t “man enough” to play varsity football for Azusa High, only to serve as a male cheerleader. Will Blue, Cisco, and Sycamore save Willie and those that live in his galaxy from the alien force called “The Unseen Hand”? (And if so, how??) And will this kid from Azusa High bring triumph to his school team by his cheering them on to victory?

These two plays by Sam Shepard are presented not so much as a double feature, but as a feature with a “selected short subject” added to the bill. The first play Killer’s Head has a running time of about ten minutes, and is performed by a rotating ensemble of actors playing the man that has walked the last mile. (Steve Howey, Chris Payne Gilbert, Dermot Mulroney, Magnus Jackson Diehl, Jeff Kober, Darrell Larson, and Jonathan Medina in their order of scheduled appearance.) The second play The Unseen Hand is the featured presentation. This selection shows a group of characters that comes from different time and space eras. Blue, Cisco, and Sycamore originate from the late 1800’s. Willie comes from the future(?), while the high school kid appears to be from c.1960, donning a vintage varsity jacket, wearing a hairstyle that is a cross between Elvis and Rick Nelson, and is proud to live in a suburban bedroom community that has everything from A to Z in the USA (the actual origin of this community’s name!) from its drive-ins, bowling alleys, the Safeway, and KFWB! And all of this takes place in the 20th century or thereabouts.

What makes this latter play that can be billed as a comical drama or a dramatic comedy appealing is what is seen on its stage set. Son Yi Park’s set design consists of a roadside junk pile complete with a rusted front facade of a car that resembles a ’53 Ford than a ’51 Chevy–but this writer digresses! Denise Blasor’s costume design dresses up everyone from the eras they come from! Carl Weintraub as Blue first appears as a Gabby Hayes type, Jordan Morrison as Cisco appears to step out of a 1950’s TV western, while Chris Payne Gilbert as Sycamore is a dapper gent a la Bat Masterson. The outer space alien Willie as played by Matt Curtin is dressed in a black outfit where he isn’t necessarily the “bad guy” of the bunch, and Andrew Morrison just known as “Kid” dons a varsity jacket that represents Azusa High. (“Go Aztecs”!) Killer’s Head’s character only wears blue jeans and a t-shirt! All of these elements mash into a production that only a playwright as Sam Shepard could ever get away with! And he does it all in his own unique style.

Directed by Darrell Larson, the pair of plays that make up this Odyssey Theatre production these isn’t as well known as the other works from the portfolio of this respected American playwright. So it’s worth the time to see these two gems as presented. And as Gabby would say, “Yes-ser-ee-bob! Yer darn tootin’”!

THE UNSEEN HAND and KILLER’S HEAD. presented by and performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, until March 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM, and performances on Wednesday, February 5th and March 4th, and Thursday, February 20th, also at 8:00 PM. Post-performance discussion with its cast and crew takes place on February 5th and 20th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, or online at http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com
The 19th annual Final Draft Awards ceremony took place on January 21st at the Paramount Theatre, located on the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Hollywood.

Randy and Jason Sklar, better known as the comedy duo The Sklar Brothers, hosted the event where achievement awards were given for the craft of screenwriting for feature films and for television/video.

The New Voice Award for movies was presented to Lulu Wang by the writer and director of the film Parasite Bong Joon Ho for her independent film The Farewell. Steven Canals was awarded the New Voice Award in television/video by Mj Rodriguez and Angel Bismark Curiel from the FX series Pose, for Canals’ writing for the TV series of the same name.

The 2019 Grand Prize award for original screen work for film and for television was presented to Steven Anthopoulos for his feature screenplay My Summer in the Human Resistance, a sci-fi story about a man living within a world of robots, only to fall in love with a anti-robot revolutionary. Todd Goodlett won the Grand Prize for his TV pilot The Arsonist’s Handbook, a proposed series about a woman fire investigator hunting for a serialist arsonist, only to live a double life as an arsonist herself.

The Hall of Fame Award for an established screenwriter was awarded to Quentin Tarantino. The prize was presented to Tarantino by screenwriter Walter Hill.

Final Draft is a software program where its user can create and write a properly formatted screenplay. It is the leading software application for both desktop/laptop and for smartphone/electronic pads for writing screenplays for feature film and television formats.

More details on the award presentation, as well as for the Final Draft software can be found at http://www.FinalDraft.com
The 47th ANNIE AWARDS, celebrating the best in animation in all moving image media, was presented on January 25th at Royce Hall, located on the campus of UCLA.

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

This year’s Annie Awards was dedicated to the late Richard Williams for his work in animation from designing animated titles for such films as What’s New Pussycat?, Casino Royale, The Charge of the Light Brigade, the Pink Panther movies from the 1970’s, his award of an Oscar for the short subject A Christmas Carol, and the creation of the revolutionary film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? that blended animation and live action.

The June Foray Award, going to the person that posed a significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation, was presented to Jeanette Bonds for her involvement in supporting independent animators through a non-profit organization she founded entitled the Global Animation Syndicate. (GLAS)

The Ub Iwerks Award, for the technical advancement that made a significant impact on the art or industry of animation, was awarded to Jim Blinn for his pioneer research in computer generated animation through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and created many elements that formed the current standards in CGI based animation and imagery.

The Winsor McCay Award, for the recognition for career contributions to the art of animation, was presented to three individuals. The first award was presented to Henry Selick for directing such features as James and the Giant Peach, Monkeybone, Caroline, and his best known feature, The Nightmare Before Christmas. The second award (shared) was presented to Ron Clements and John Musker for their involvement in the “Disney Renaissance” that brought the studio back into the animation limelight with such feature titles as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog. And the third award went to the late Satoshi Kon for creating animation features and short subjects in his native Japan.

Out of the many titles nominated for their individual categories, the most notable program achieved at the awards was for the Netflix feature Klaus, that won every single award it was nominated for including Best Animated Feature.

For the entire list of nominees and winners, visit the official Annie Awards website https://annieawards.org/
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Once upon a time, there was an annual publication that came out called The Guinness Book of World Records, a 300+ page paperback book that features facts and figures that reported on the world records found in nature and those from the human world.

Originally published by the Irish brewery Guinness as a guild that would settle bar bets, this title would host dozens upon dozen of little tidbits of such marvels ranging from the most distant known star from the solar system, the tallest man and woman on record, the oldest song, the most valuable diamond, the movie that grossed the most money since its release, and so on and so forth. For those that desire to know anything about everything, this book was the go-to title! Yours truly as a kid obtained the latest edition from a local bookstore and newsstand, and would use the book as reading material when the need called from it, such as reading during long road trips, bedside reading, or whenever I had a hankering to spend my time when there was nothing good on TV or when I didn’t care much for the radio, although I did have the radio on playing my to-40 hits as I clamored with the book just so I can tell anyone who cared that I knew how heavy was the world’s heaviest rock!

For a while there would be records recorded on human feats. Those tasks were sports related (the fastest human ever to run on a track), or perhaps done to prove a point. (The longest time one ever sat on top of a flagpole, or the person that climbed the highest mountain peak.)

There were even eating records, from the person that ate the most clams in one sitting, or the person that used the fastest time to wolf down hot dogs. However, because of safety issues, the folks at Guinness decided to no longer recognize such eating feats. Even so, people still wanted to be the first (only) person to chow down on that 72 ounce steak served at the roadside restaurant along Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas.

The Guinness people eventually decided to get out of the world record business around the turn of the 21st century, selling off the title to an outside entity. Since that time, most of the records acknowledged were not as earth shattering as they used to be.

To give an example, the article reprinted below came from AdWeek, a print and online new source that reports upon the advertising and marking industry. Here, they report upon a Chinese based electronic firm that reported a “new worlds record”. The article reads…

…A Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi broke the Guinness World Records title over the weekend for “Most People Unboxing Simultaneously.”

Over the course of an hour, 703 participants simultaneously unwrapped hundreds of boxes filled with Xiaomi gadgets including cameras, scooters, power banks and more.
The event, held outside the Oculus in lower Manhattan, was designed to promote the company’s new Mi Box S android set-top box. A social campaign generated awareness of the event.

The previous record was held by Mercado Libre (an Argentina-based eBay-like company) for an event staged in Mexico City in September.

Simultaneous events of one kind or another have become a thing over the past few years. And not just involving people, either. There’s a Guinness record for simultaneous dancing robots….

That above noted feat gives one an idea to what kind of so-called “world records” are reported through this publication.

There have been other kind of amazing triumphants recorded that are very akin to the above, such as the longest parade consisting of golf carts, the largest gluten-free pizza ever created, the funniest joke ever told (this entry really doesn’t exist yet, but it should be!), and you get the idea!

It would be interesting to see people making an attempt to break a record on something that hasn’t been broken before, such as an effort to create the biggest governed country in the world, or the loudest shriek uttered by a domestic wombat, or perhaps creating the cleanest bathroom space! If we do hear about such attempts being made, we will report those noted element right within these pages of Accessibly Live Off-Line.

Stay tuned….!

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills present their 4th entry in their 2019-20 season with the world premier of Tony Blake’s SUNDAY DINNER, a drama about a family who gathers for an evening meal on the title day of the week, only to receive more than what’s being served on the table.

The setting is a family residence located in The Bronx, New York. James Tabeek is Michael Matera. He’s a priest of the Catholic faith who arrives in town from his residency in Chicago shortly after the passing of his grandfather. He’s present to meet some of his family inside of the residence he grew up in, a place that his family has lived for generations. There is his parents Eddie (John Combs), his mother Rose (Sharron Shayne), his Aunt Margaret (Michelle Schultz), along with his brother Richie (Kevin Linehan), his cousin Flip (Dennis Hadley), and his former sister-in-law Diane (Meghan Lloyd), who was once married to Richie. It appears that Michael’s mom and dad desires to sell their home while they can, as their Bronx neighborhood hasn’t gone through the gentrification as other nearby communities has witnessed over the recent years. The family could use the money for their home, especially Flip as he has medical bills to pay for his mother. Before a nice and plentiful Italian dinner is to be served (quite right as Italian is the family heritage), Eddie takes Michael aside to present a confession to him. (After all, he is a priest!) The confession involves something that Eddie arranged many years before, an act that would have been a benefit for the family. However, little episodes within the clan starts to revile itself and not necessarily for the better. In fact, things go from bad to worse! Before long, this family shows off their true colors to one another where everyone has a skeleton in their personal closets that needs to get out in more ways than one. This Sunday dinner isn’t really a dinner at all, but more than a one way trip to hell!

This new play, written and directed by Tony Blake, is loosely based upon an actual episode from the playwright’s own family where some skullduggery was performed many years before, only to have the clan know about it all long after its fact! Here, the playwright creates a heavy drama that features a cast of characters that speak their own minds toward one another. Although they may seem charming and serving for their good, not one lives up to this trait. In other words, it’s a dysfunctional family at their worst for a kindred meal that isn’t Thanksgiving!

The cast of six performers in this production are very fit for the roles they represent. James Tabeek as “Father” Michael is the humble appearing man of the cloth that isn’t as holy as he supposedly lives up to. His parents, Eddie and Rose as portrayed by John Combs and Sharron Shayne, are from the the “old school” variety of Italian parents that worked hard in what they did to raise a decent family. Kevin Linehan as Richie is the badass brother that sports a cocky attitude and says and does things through his own concerns rather than what others may think. Dennis Hadley as cousin Flip lives up to his name as being a bit flippant, but never reaching the level as Richie does. Michele Schultz as Auntie Margaret is another old school Italian always ready for a stiff drink and a smoke whenever she can get away for a quick shot and puff. And Meghan Lloyd as Diane is a woman what is trying to get her life back together after a rocky marriage from Richie, and the ability to raise a twelve year old son on her own with little (if any) support from her ex. These characters is yet another snapshot of a family many others (this writer included) can relate to!

Theatre 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack creates a setting of the Matera homestead that shows off the dining and living rooms areas with furnishing and decor that comes from another era making their place very neat and proper for how it all stands.

SUNDAY DINNER can be shocking at times based upon the opinions and viewpoints expressed through its characters. This is what makes this play shine throughout! Granted, what is stated among the clan may become as a bit offensive. However, this is a family that can be labeled as a brood that is just as “F”-ed up as any other family that doesn’t come from a tired TV sitcom. It’s just another part of the life and times of a tribe that nobody wants to be part of! (Yours perhaps??)

SUNDAY DINNER, 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 16th. 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.org
The Road Theatre Company on Magnolia presents the world premier of NOWHERE ON THE BORDER, Carlos Lacamara’s drama that deals with a border patrol agent, a man seeking his daughter, and her attempt in entering a neighboring country to search for economic opportunity that may cost her life.

The play takes place along the US and Mexican border just off Arizona. A member of a civilian volunteer border patrol agent Gary (Chet Grissom, alternating with Lance Guest)) is on duty to keep those crossing the border on their own side. While on patrol, he encounters Roberto (Jonathan Nichols, alternating with Carlos Lacamara), an older man who claims that he is looking for his daughter Pilar (Natalie Llerena/Gabriela Fernandez) who forged ahead a few weeks before in a border crossing attempt, where she remains missing. Pilar used the aid of a “coyote” Don Rey (Thom Rivera/Juan Pope) to get across. As Pilar and two others, Jesus (Leandro Cano/Roland Ruiz) and Montoya (Diana DeLaCruz/Maricella Ibarra) trudge through the desert, they risk their lives by challenging desert heat, coyotes (the animal), and the US Border Patrol through their journey toward a better life that lies ahead just across the border.

This is a play that was recently re-written and revised by Carlos Lacamara that speaks for a timely issue: The stoppage of those from Mexico and points south to enter the USA under unauthorized means in order to find a better life that they had left behind. It shows the bitterness that is expressed by the volunteer border agent who would rather keep his America just for “Americans” away from those that could be called “illegals”, retaining them in their own place on their side of the border. The drama expressed is tense at times, yet shows the human side of the native citizens who will risk everything just so they can have a better life. The way this play is presented is told within two stories told in a parallel fashion with the conflict of border agent Carl and his perpetrator Roberto. Then the scenes shifts between Roberto’s daughter Pilar, along with companions Jesus and Montoya as they venture along a rough terrain always close to a dangerous spot. Stewart J. Zully directs this single act play that holds the equal balance between getting a better life with risk, and the sole border keeper that carries a personal grudge in who he’s stopping!

As to the technical mentions toward this production. Paul Dufresne’s set design consists of a spot in the desert, complete with rock formations and cactus plants, coated within a beige colored placement. Mary Jane Miller’s consuming shows Gary the border agent dressed in military fatigues, finished with a pistol strap (with pistol) and a large knife. The rest are dressed in “poor people” clothing, showing that the life they are leaving behind is more of the peasant variety. And Nicholas Santiago’s projection design illustrates some of the virtual situations that the characters deal with as they toil through their barren and dry landscape.

Also appearing is Mackenzie Redvers Bryce as a troubadour-type guitarist placed along stage right that performs musical interludes between selected portions of this production.

NOWHERE ON THE BORDER is a very well created stage piece. It’s also sit within a timely subject that’s been part of the domestic political field. Although it doesn’t take any stand or sides about the entry of undocumented aliens or its consequences, it shows the physical and emotional side of what people will do to seek a better life no matter what it may take. And this form of life is accessible to all.

NOWHERE ON THE BORDER, presented by The Road Theatre Company and performs at The Road on Magnolia, 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, until March 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (818) 761-8838, or via online at
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) announced their nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards on January 13th.

The following titles and names received the nomination for the following categories:

Best Picture

Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
The Irishman (Netflix)
Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Joker (Warner Bros.)
Little Women (Sony-Columbia)
Marriage Story (Netflix)
1917 (Universal)
Once upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony-Columbia)
Parasite (Neon)

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas-Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio-Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
Adam Driver-Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix-Joker
Jonathan Pryce-The Two Popes

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo-Harriet
Scarlett Johansson-Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan-Little Women
Charlize Theron-Bombshell
Renée Zellweger-Judy

Best Director

Martin Scorsese-The Irishman
Todd Phillips-Joker
Sam Mendes-1917
Quentin Tarantino-Once upon a Time…in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho-Parasite

The awards program will once again feature a set of rotating hosts, and will take place on Sunday, February 9th at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center-Hollywood, and airs on ABC.

For a complete listing of all nominations, visit the official AMPAS web site at
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!


In case anyone forgot, let alone didn’t notice, this year is a major election year. Since late 2018 (perhaps sooner), there have been a load of campaigning by folks to make themselves known that they have the desire to become elected King of the USA. Over those months, those lucky enough to have the time, space, and money (heavy on the “money” side) have been making barnstorming attempts to get their face in the crowd while blurting out “Vote for me!” to anyone within earshot. They were at it while making the rounds by participating in the usual campaign antics (shaking hands, kissing babies, donning funny hats, etc.) as well as participating in televised debate pageants where each contestant were placed on their “hot seat” to answer questions ranging from healthcare, homelessness, global warming, and other topics of interest. Many of those that began in the race has since dropped out. Some did so in a stream of flames while a few took their quick exit barley saying “That’s all folks!” Whatever the case, the race to become monarch of the land has just been picking up steam, and their is no end in sight–for the moment anyways!

Although we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line central do not take up sides in terms of politics, we do humbly wish each and every one that is in the fight for all of the best. As for the current leader of the land, the process of dethroning the man in charge is getting itself together. Some are for this action, while other may say, “not yet–if at all!” Granted, we don’t know too much in what’s going on in this category, but at least there is some news to follow as January tends to be a very slow month, and it has to give the people who care something to do while they bide their time until its the moment to host and/or attend that Super Bowl watching party!

But never mind that nonsense! It’s the new(er) year, and one must get themselves going on (guess what?) those New Years resolutions that were compiled a few hours (minutes?) before the local clock struck twelve midnight on December 31st of’19. This New Years Resolutions thing is the annual laundry list for folks to make a promise to conduct for themselves in the new year. Those promises tend to fall upon self help rituals ranging from a promise to go to the gym, not yell at one’s kids, remembering special moments within their domestic circles, quit smoking, and so on. On the first of the year, they begin their task in a flurry. By January 15th, they find out that the promises they made for themselves wasn’t going to be as easy as it first appeared. By February 1st, they are ready to give up the ship! By February 14th (Valentine’s Day), they become sidetracked because they had something to do on the day set aside for lovers and other strangers. By March 1st, those resolutions have been changed, altered, or perhaps long forgotten! However, there are a few folks that actually kept all of their promises they had made for themselves. For those people, this writer salutes each and every one of you. For the rest of those that tried and could not make it–better luck next year!

So until the next time we meet, this is your humble writer wishing everyone one of you a bye for now!

Theatre Palisades opens their 2020 season with Robert Harling’s modern classic STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a comical drama about a group of genteel ladies living in small town in the deep south that make their lives in and around the local beauty salon.

Set in the parish of Chinquapin, Louisiana, the story’s focus revolves around a beauty shop run by Truvy Jones (Courtney Shaffer). She has a young assistant Annelle Dupuy-Desoto (Jessica Hogan) who works along aside of her. She’s the newer one in the community where she learns a thing or two on how to style hair, as well as to become absorbed in what’s going in and out of the shop, getting to know the local ladies that come in for a serious ‘do. There’s Clairee Belcher (Catherine Rahm), a widow of well-to-do means as was a former “first lady” of Chinquapin parish. Next is career woman M’Lynn Eatenton-Latcherie (Marie O’Connor) and her younger daughter Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie (Grace O’Neill). Rounding out the group is Ouiser Boudreaux (Sherry Coon) who is so stuck-up, she says that she isn’t crazy. She’s just been in a bad mood for forty years! Told in a time span of some thirty-six months, the storyline shows off the trails and tribulations of these woman folk as they deal with Shelby’s struggle with type one diabetes, how they act toward with the men in their lives–both as family members and of romantic partners, as well as how these same women form a lasting bond with one another through their ups and downs and their various styles of hair.

This is a play that is ideal to see presented for a smaller stage. Its main focus is the characters that make up the spark of this simple salon that is loaded with hair pins and styling mousse, patronized by a group of woman from different backgrounds and stages of life that can’t get by without one another through the “glue” that keeps them as one! The cast of six players that appear in this program live up to their characteristics that make this stage work a real charmer! They all speak their verbiage in southern-style dialogue with touches of sweet charm and hints of sassiness. This said wordiness, as well as what they wear on their persons and on their heads add to the flavor of this production. Brandon Ferruccio directs this show that lever loses any of its momentum, keeping its creative style set in place!

June Lissandrello and Brandon Ferruccio provide the costuming that ranges from conservative on one end of the scale, to sexy on its other end. Jon Sparks provides the wig design that serves as a class unto itself! And Sherman Wayne once again provides the set and lighting design, showing of Truvy’s hair salon with overtones of southern grace, dabs of home spun spot-in decor, with dashes of kitschy-but-cute trims that make this salon more of a comfy home than a place of commerce.

This is a play that is dramatic in places, comical in others, and just a load of fun all around. The community of Pacific Palisades may be different then the parish of Chinquapin, but those differences make this Theatre Palisades program a real treat to experience, or even experience again! Just make sure you keep your Virginia Slims unlit when applying the Aqua Net. Otherwise, your ‘do will be set aglow! (Safety tip for the day!)

STEEL MAGNOLIAS, presented by Theater Palisades and performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until February 16th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

Ticket reservations can be obtained by calling (310) 454-1970, or through the Pacific Palisades Theatre website at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
Sarah Frutig aka Sarah Benoit, recently performed her solo show called Turn Around at the Tag Studio in Burbank, where for an hour’s time, she told the all true story between the relationship with her father, as well as the many suiters that came in and out of her life.

As a child living in central-east Michigan, Sarah emotes her tale from the moment shortly after she was born, even speaking from the womb of her mother Luella Eleanor Liimakka Frutig. From there, she tells about many of the boys (later men) in her life, from childhood sweetheart Mark, her beau from college Chuck (when she was living in Chicago pursuing an education in performing), Tony whom she ended her virgin status, John, a person that tied her over, finally drifting toward Gary (now settled in Los Angeles), where her two year trial shacking up period lasted for nine years! While she was moving from one male figure to the next, her father, Harrison Benoit Frutig, was her major influence. She kept upon his spirit and image right up to his passing. Sarah learned a lot from him, as well as discovering her inner self as becoming part of the nations of Turtle Island, a place (physical and spiritual) the hosted ceremonies and sacred circles rituals that captured the aura she holds faith to–a conviction she has grasped for a good part of her life.

Sarah’s solo show captures honesty, trust, as well as depicting the comical episodes she experienced as real, because it’s all true! Perhaps a bit of creative license was added for amusement flavor. But the truth does leak out–a frankness Sarah wears as a badge of honor!

The spot where she performs her show is an intimate stage. Actually, it’s more as a platform, where she share the performance area with a few props. These stage tools only show where Sarah and her father (appearing as proxy) stand within one another’s lives.

The sited theme to her program uses reference to the record The Men In My Little Girl’s Life, a tune released c.1965 and performed by Mike Douglas. However, Sarah has since settled down with a man who now serves as her husband. Those other boys/men may have moved on, yet she continues to keep the faith alive between her father and those that are part of the spirit world.

TURN AROUND, performs at the Tag Studio located within The Actors Group Studio, 2812 West Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.

For more details including additional show days and performance times, call (818) 300-2885. Tag Studio can be found online at http://www.TagStudio.org
The 25th annual Critics Choice Awards ceremony was held on Sunday, January 12th from the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California, and was aired live on the CW Network.

Taye Diggs once again served as the master of ceremonies where awards were presented by the choosing of Critics Choice Association, presenting the best in television programming and feature films.

Among the many awards that were presented, ranging from Best Ensemble Cast (feature films), Best Actor/Actress in a Comedy/Drama (ilm/television), Best Supporting Actor/Actress in Feature/TV, Best Action Feature, etc., two special awards were presented. Kristen Bell was awarded as part of the #SeeHer movement where females are presented in movies and TV shows in a positive and progressive light, and Eddie Murphy was awarded the Creative Achievement Award for his work in many elements on both the large and small screen, from his first major appearance as a Saturday Night Live ensemble performer, to a sting of movies including his latest feature, Dolemite Is My Name.

The Best Picture Award was presented to the feature film Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.

The Critics Choice Association consists of members who work as professional journalists that write and review films and TV shows in publications that exist through multimedia outlets. (Disclaimer: This writer is a member of the CCA.)

For a complete listing of all titles nominated and its associated winning categories, visit http://www.CriticsChoice.com
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!


It may have taken some ninety years to complete this journey, but this world has finally returned to the decade ending with the 20‘s!l

Up until now, the ten year calendar period that featured a “2” as its third number for its year was previously recalled, (if not remembered for this nation), as the decade that featured the style of the raccoon coats, varsity sweaters, and flapper outfits. Folks were driving Model-T Fords and other flivvers of makes long gone and forgotten. People were drinking gin made in bathtubs and consumed as served in speakeasies always keeping one step ahead from the feds. On the Victoria “talking machines” were recordings of the tunes of Rudy Valle, Paul Whitman, and Coon-Sanders and the Kansas City Nighthawks. And the latest electronic device around was something called the “radio” where one can hear music as well as news and information coming from far away places such as New York, Detroit, and even Pittsburgh!! Chicago was crawling with gangsters making sure that their booze details were left alone–or somebody is going to play a tune on their fiddle in the form of a Tommy gun! Movies were the rage with such stars of the “photo-plays” with names as John Gilbert, Clara Bow, Thelma Todd, and Rudolph Valentino for drama, while Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and the Keystone Cops were making ‘em laugh–all without sound. That is, until Al Jolson later told ‘em “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!”

Yes, those life and times would have otherwise been known as the “good old days” where the nostalgia was at its peak! Sadly, the decade that started this entry was known as the Nineteen Twenties that all began on January 1st, 1920–some one hundred years before. In this day and age, very few folks that were around during that decade are still living. And those same surviving souls may not necessarily remember anything about that decade expect that they may know of what was around at that time. And for a lot of people, those fads and fashions didn’t effect them, let alone involve their being! It was what it was!

But within the last few weeks, the biggest concentration to the past times of now were the previous decade of this 21st century, the 10’s, or better known as the “teens”. Those days that lasted from January 1st, 2010 through December 31st of ’19 were discussed, texted, tweeted, and even instagramed to its living death! It was indeed the good times, and the bad ones to boot!

The decade started off in the USA on a sour note. The Great Recession was going at full tilt. People were out of work, and for many, out of their homes! Big manufactures were operating by the skin of their teeth. And thanks to government hosted bailouts, the larger corporations such as General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, were able to survive, yet barley! But within a few years, the bust period were beginning to boom itself out. But by the time forks were ringing out 2019 either from Times Square or via virtual reality devices, the boom would continue. However, it was not going through the same pace for everyone. The homes people lost were either regained eventually, or were gone for good. Some of those folks wound up living on the already crowded streets and alleyways. Rulings of a political nature either brought citizens closer to one another, or tore them apart! Colors were also the big thing, with such shades as red, blue, black, brown, and white with the same “do-or-die” attitude! Such groupings turned to social media with mashed-up names starting with a symbol that could be called “pound”, “hashtag”, or “#”., if not with an emoji.

To place things in its perspective, this decade past saw its share of the good times, and the bad ones to boot! (A phrase worth repeating!) Things were rough, smooth, or it bailey budged for all of the good, bad, or otherwise!

But as to what the 2020s will bring is still everyone’s guess! All anyone can do is to give it a wait and see attitude. And what that something is is just another text, tweet, hashtag or emoji away! But until then, we’ll just spend the days stilling on a flagpole with a hot-cha-cha and a vo-do-dee-vo-do! That is what makes these times the best one we can find–so far!

The Glendale Centre Theatre in Glendale kicks off their 2020 season with the Brandon Thomas’ comic classic CHARLIE’S AUNT, a witty farce that deals with a duo of college boys, the women they attempt to impress, and an auntie that comes to visit–or not!

The story examines a pair of Yale students, Jack Chesney (Ethan Leaverton) and Charley Wykeham (Anthony Lofaso), who are in love with their girlfriends Kitty Spettigue (Autumn Harrison) and Amy Verdun, (Lauren Faulkner)–in that order. The two ladies have their connections. (Amy’s uncle, Stephen Spettigue, is Kitty’s guardian). Both are set to depart for Scotland early the next day. Jack and Charley desires to have a private moment in which to disclose their fondness toward Kitty and Amy, yet can’t have the two to their rooms alone out of concern for the girls’ good character. Thus, a chaperone is needed! Luck has it that Charley is expecting his aunt Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez (Megan Blakeley), who happens to be the rich widow of a Brazilian millionaire, and has bankrolled his education. However, he never met this deceased uncle-in-law in person. At the eleventh hour, Donna Lucia wires a telegram to Charley stating she has been delayed on her scheduled arrival. Kitty and Amy are arriving soon with no chaperone. So they ask–or actually, influence their old friend Lord Fancourt Babberly (Ethan Haslam), who just so happens to be appearing in an amateur theatre production playing an elderly woman, to play Charley’s Aunt donning a frumpy “old lady” costume and all! Will Fancourt get away of playing auntie for the moment, or is there more that what he had bargained for with doing this favor for his college pals?

This timeless slapstick comedy has been pleasing audiences for over one hundred years. Its origins date back to the late 19th century, first appearing in Great Britain, later moving stateside. The GCT’s production shows off its comical farce as a frantic program, loaded with physical humor and the mistaken identities that provides its laugh appeal. The fevered aspects ring true especially through the talents of Ethan Leaverton and Anthony Lofaso appearing as Jack and Charley, making this pair a high comic duo. This pair plays off of much of the for noted cast that also feature Howard Lockie as Colonel Francis Chesneym-Jack’s dad, Shawn Cahill as Stephen Spettigue, who has his eyes on Charley’s auntie, Angie Portillo as Ela Delanhay, and GTC favorite Richard Malmos as Brassett, the energetic butler and footman to the boys.

Carter Thomas directs this show with all the frenziness one can expect in such a comedy. By way of the action of the cast and through their spoken dialogue, all provides their amusement through every twist and turn!

Another GCT behind the scenes regular, Angelia Manke, provides the period costuming that gives much of the flavor of the era–in this case, the roarin’ nineteen twenties! The same goes for Tracey Thomas’ production design of the theatre-in-the-round created sets.

It’s not often that such a show is made available for modern day audiences to enjoy while getting a good laugh or three. For those that desire to get a supply of such comedy, then this is the show to see–the same program where the nuts do come from!

CHARLIE’S AUNT presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until February 1st. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For more information and for ticket reservations, call (818) 244-8481, or via online at
MUSKET AND THE RAT, Sammy Horowitz’s urban drama about a woman living through the underworld of peddling drugs, the few “friends” in her life, as well as the family she keeps by way of blood relatives and through association, makes its world premier at Arena Stage Hollywood.

Maya Schnaider is Musket Cherry. She’s a badass woman who lives in a shabby apartment located in one of Chicago’s rougher neighborhoods. Her trade is being a low level drug dealer whose clients that she has long dealt with come parading in and out of her flat for their fix. She only has two so-called true friends. One is Gay Steve (Adam Pasen) whose cleaner cut image is an opposite of Musket as he lives in “Boystown”, a more upscale (and very gay) neighborhood. Her other is Billy (Adrian Burks), a boyfriend of sorts that comes around for his drug fix as well as for a friendly f-ck. Musket lives with her mother Tabitha. (Michelle Holmes) She’s isn’t in any better condition than her daughter as she is just as high strung over countless years worth of substance abuse. All live through a vast amount of stress as Musket and company are always watching their backs through the trade of questionable substances, the flow of vast amounts of money, and those seeking revenge through deadly violence. Things move on from bad to worse as Musket’s younger brother Weso is arrested and being charged as an accessory for a robbery rap. Musket arranges bail that Billy can provide. However, he is robbed of the bail money through a neighborhood rival. Things are just as rough at Cook County Jail where Weso’s life is in danger. It’s up to Musket, thanks to her street smarts as well as a plot through her own slant toward justice, to get some wrongs being righted.

This new play written by Sammy Horowitz is a very edgy and hard hitting drama, loaded with the gritty settings and characters that showcase the city’s underbelly where large amounts of cash money, illegal drugs, and violence isn’t just the exception, but the rule! The characters are just as worn and strung out as the neighborhood they dwell within. At times, the situations become a bit on the ugly side. These settings are what makes this play rather appealing, showing off a life that isn’t neat, clean, and where one wrong about face can cost one’s life through the barrel of a gun. Maya Schnaider as Musket shows off her ability to do what she has to survive in the urban jungle and to never take any s#it from anyone no matter what! Adam Pasen as Gay Stevie is present at Muscat’s side while she deals in her trade and keeping his image a glow. (Literally!) Adrian Burks as Billy is a user in many aspects, perhaps using Musket as a protege. And the rest of the cast that features Curt Cornelius, Angel Lizarraga, Garrick LeWinter, and Emma Hoss, play characters that are part of the domain that Musket lives for the better or for the worse!

Special notes goes toward Fatimah Bey’s costuming dressing everyone in urban streetwise clothing, along with Aaron Glazer’s set design of Musket and Tabitha’s unidealized apartment loaded with shabby furnishings littered with empty chip bags and beverage containers proving that the characters don’t live in squeaky-clean Arlington Heights!

Masterly directed by Simon Lees, MUSKET AND THE RAT can hold a moral where to just trust nobody but themselves! The title of this play even sums up everything as all isn’t as fair in the so-called war on drugs and life itself!

MUSKET AND THE RAT, presented by Dull Boy Productions and performs at the Arena Stage Hollywood, 1625 North Las Palmas Avenue, located between Selma Avenue and Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, until January 18th. Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday nights at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at https://BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4423684

Visit the play’s official website at http://www.MusketAndRat.com
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2020 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!


With the above headline, one would get the idea that this article is about the art of “Christmas Caroling”, the seasonal activity where a group of folks gather to belt out traditional songs of Christmas (not “the holidays”) going either door to door, or standing in one place such as a street corner or near a Salvation Army pot. Since this is the current holiday season, we’ll step aside to those activities and focus upon something else that is more important for the moment.

According to a recent stat reported by an online guide to those streaming services in existance, it stated that it takes an average time of some twenty three minutes for the standard video viewer to decide what program they desire to see through their video device. This method of scrolling through listings consist of picking what kind of program (TV series, feature film, short form video, etc.) is available out there. With the choices of media ranging from Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Apple TV+, YouTube, and of course the service that “broke the mold” Netflix, it would take time to choose what programs to bindge upon, and what programs to look at for ninety seconds only to be bored with it by the time the opening credits comes off the screen.

It’s no surprise that it would take that long to pick a show. Of course, some folks know what exactly to choose, while others are rather clueless or just overly picky. However, it is the notion where there are a lot of choices to glance at, even if that glancing takes the same amount of time to go through an episode of a recent “half hour” series. (23 minutes is the average running time for a sitcom episode of late, minus the TV spots, promos, and other non-related programming that are normally imbedded within the program segment.)

This way of looking for programming is how this method of viewing time results in this current day and age. It’s a very far cry (and we do mean “very far”) from the days when one would have to look at a copy of TV Guide, or through a local newspaper’s listing, to see what is worth its watch.

Of course, TV Guide, the publication that’s been around since 1953, was the be-all-to-end-all choice to know what is available on the tube in terms of programming and the related aspects that are part of the domestic television landscape. For the price that one would have to pay for an individual issue (from its starting cost at fifteen cents to the current cover price of $4.99), one would see not only the “laundry list” of shows, but everything the articles that covered the entertainment aspects of a show (the biggest chunk of television) to the coverage of news, sports, as well as trends in television. For the same amount of time it takes in this day and age to look for what is worth their moments to view, one could read an entire issue of TV Guide nearly cover to cover, minus any advertising that would be found within its pages.

But that was during the era when there were only three TV networks to pick through. Unless over would add the networks from past such as The Dumont Network, The WB, UPN, and even the currently active Public Broadcasting System, (although PBS isn’t a traditional network per se, just a collection of program titles local affiliates would schedule on their own terms), there wasn’t much to choose from! And there were the local stations as well that offered syndicated shows, local programs unique to its region, and the bevy of old movies and reruns that filled the time slots every day of the week.

However, this is the era of now, and right now, one has a dizzying aspect to slosh through. Sometimes it would even take an hour’s time just to see what is idea to watch. Then again, after an hour, one would say “phooey” and turn off the device, or to fling the phone and/or electronic pad aside and to do something else–such as reading a real book!

So as one picks through the virtual “57 channels”, take the time to bindge through what you want and where! After all, it’s your 23 minutes!

Continuing its run at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE, a musical based upon a romantic film comedy about a collection of people from various places in life who are all falling within love.

Taking its premise of the feature film released by Universal Pictures written by Richard Curtis and originally starred Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, and a host of others, the story is the same. During the Christmas season in London and around the U.K., a collection of folks discover the human emotion called love. Starting from the young couple that just got married, to the aging rock star attempting to make a comeback with his recording of a new tune for the season, toward the recent widowed man with the task of raising his adolescent son on his own, the writer taking a retreat to compose his murder mystery on an isolated farm in France, the Prime Minister who has the most political power of all the land with the exception of the Queen, and the energetic restaurant worker who discovers that American women are more to his liking. Their episodes are loosely linked together all in the name of fulfilling the art of love with lots of holly and mistletoe added for flavor.

This theater production, adapted and directed for the stage by Anderson Davis, is a blend of stage musical and feature film screening all into one. Throughout the lavish stage set as designed by Matthew Steinbrenner that resembles a facade of vintage buildings seen as common place within the U.K., the actual movie is screened in selected parts that introduces the characters as they speak their lines. While on stage, performers that resemble those speaking characters recreate their counterparts as they sing a selection of tunes that express the scenes and how they feel at that moment. The show itself is a pseudo three dimension version of the title romcom, complete with a live orchestra performing the music score.

Jess Vargas provides the musical supervision, arrangements, and orchestration of the score as performed by a fifteen piece orchestra. Although there are a few original numbers performed as part of the music repertory, most of the other tunes are taken from established sources from top-40 (Bye Bye (Baby Goodbye), Puppy Love, Jump (For My Love, All You Need Is Love, etc.) to Christmas tunes such as White Christmas as extracted from “The Great American Songbook”, to even The Star Spangled Banner that is performed as music score only! There are also cuts played as taken from the film’s insedential music score as presented to just keep the continuity in check via its connection to the film.

The show itself hosts a robust cast that sing, dance (thanks to Sumie Maeda’s choreography) and overall keep up the pace to its content. The ensemble group consists of (as listed in their named alphabetical order), Tomasina Abate, John Battagliese, Declan Bennett, James Byous, Gabriela Carrillo, Nayah Damasen, Rogelio Douglas, Jr.,Jon Robert Hall, Carson Higgins, DougKreeger, Ruby Lewis, Emily Lopez, Chris Mann, Carrie Manolakos, Molly Rogers, Aubrie Sellers, Levi Smith, and Rex Smith.

For a musical show as this one, its running time is rather long, clocking in at two hours, forty five minutes, including the fifteen minute intermission. Granted, the feature film this show takes its premise from runs a little over two hours–a rather long running time for a romcom, especially for one that has its British flavor. And unlike its American counterparts, the term “Christmas” is freely used as British tradition and standards usually allow. (In the USA, “The Holidays” is the term used to describe the event that falls on December 25th!) But this show isn’t about the war on Christmas. It’s about falling in love!

The theater group For The Record Live conceived the idea of taking a movie and mashing it together with a stage musical. It’s a very interesting and amusing concept. And since it’s the time of the season to promote peace on earth and good will to all, LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE is the place to be, and it’s what all you need!

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE, presented by The Wallis Annenberg Center and For The Record Live, performs at The Wallis Anneberg Center for the Performing Arts’ Bram Goldsmith Theater, 9390 North Santa Monica Blvd. (at Canon and Crescent Drives) Beverly Hills, until December 29th. Showtimes are weekdays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 2:00 and 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 PM. Special matinee performance on December 27th at 2:00 PM. No performances on December 24th and 25th.

For ticket reservations or for further information, call (310) 746-4000, or via online at http://www.TheWallis.org/Love
The Santa Monica Playhouse will present their annual NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW, the self titled event that will celebrate the changing from the old into the new through music, song, dance, with doses of comedy.

Featured in this production are a selection of songs and skits extracted from the vast repertory of past shows that have appeared at the SM Playhouse over its many years. Much of this assemblage of these stage pieces are original for this theater, or those that made its first appearance on their floorboards. So one will witness highlights of those one-of-a-kind shows that are charming, witty, and most of all, very family friendly! They will put a smile on your face and a pleasant skip within one’s souls. A great way to enter a new year on its right track!

And what makes a New Year’s celebration complete are all of the goodies that go along with it! Your evening includes a buffet supper, champagne/sparkling cider, and party favors that will guide everyone in attendance to slide from the end of the old “teens” decade into the new decade–the Roarin’ 20s!

The SMP’s NEW YEAR’S EVE MUSICAL REVIEW will have two performances: 6:00 and 9:30 PM. The early show (6:00 PM) is more family oriented, presenting on opportunity for kids of all ages to spend a real “grown-up” New Year’s celebration! The later show (9:30 PM) will feature on-stage dancing with champagne toasts! Of course, there will be sparking cider for those that desire a sip of the bubbly minus the “kick”!

The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 4th Street (at Wilshire Blvd.) Santa Monica. For more information on these shows, call (310) 394-9779 ext 1, or visit the SMP online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
On December 11th, The Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board announced the twenty five film titles that will be entered as part of the LOC’s National Film Registry.

Under the guise of the National Film Preservation Act, the LOC chooses twenty five titles that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The films must be at least ten years old at the time of creation or public release, and must be an American production or co-production. Any motion picture can be chosen as long as it meets those guidelines, and do not necessarily have to be a commercial production. (Amateur and home movies can be selected.)

Each year, the LOC selects the titles are suggested by the LOC’s film preservation staff, moving image scholars, as well as the general public.

Listed below are the twenty five titles along with its year of release/creation. A “#” in front of the title indicates that it is a non-feature length film. (Short subject, amateur film, etc.) “D” indicates the title is a documentary/non-fiction selection.

Amadeus (1984)
Becky Sharp (1935)
(D)Before Stonewall (1984)
Body and Soul (1925)
Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
Clerks (1994)
Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
#Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903)
Employees Entrance (1933)
(D)Fog of War (2003)
Gaslight (1944)
#George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute (1937)
Girlfriends (1978)
(D)I Am Somebody (1970)
(D)Last Waltz, The (1978)
#My Name Is Oona (1969)
A New Leaf (1971)
Old Yeller (1957)
The Phoenix City Story (1955)
Platoon (1986)
Purple Rain (1984)
Real Women Have Curves (2002)
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Zoot Suit (1981)

For more details on the above titles including titles of other films on the registry as well as how to vote for the 2020 selection, visit the LOC’s National Film Preservation Board web site at http://www.loc.gov/film
RICHARD JEWEL (Warner Bros.) stars Paul Walter Hauser as the title character. As a young man living in northern Georgia specifically in the Atlanta area, he desired to get into law enforcement. He eventually did by becoming a security guard who did his job “by the book” with a no-nonsense approach. He lives a humble life with his mother Bobi (Kathy Bates) in their apartment unit in a suburban area. He received an assessment as a security guard during the 1996 summer Olympics taking place in Atlanta that year. While doing his beat at Centennial Park, he discovers a specious backpack left under a bench. Upon doing his job clearing the area after it was discovered it contained a bomb, it explodes. Since he did his part in warning those in the area reducing possible causalities, he becomes a local hero. However, something doesn’t seem to click at first as Richard was known to be an aggressive security guard. FBI agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) who was assigned detail at the park, begins his investigation of Richard if he was involved in planting the bomb in order to become an “instant hero”. Reporting this event for the local newspaper is reporter Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) who was the first that received this scoop. As Richard was quickly turned from hero to suspect, he takes upon the legal services of Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell), a person Richard knew from his early days. This episode begins a long struggle of clearing Richard’s name for a crime that he didn’t commit.

This movie is yet another film based upon a true story of the actual Richard Jewel who was a real suspect in the bomb attack that marred the Olympic events taking place in 1996. Using the magazine article that first appeared in Vanity Fair in 2007 written by Marie Brenner as its base, Billy Ray’s screenplay of this episode starts off rather well. Once the investigation begins, the pacing of this movie starts to slow down, almost to a crawl! In fact, it becomes rather dull in spite of its premise! If this title was let’s say, a TV feature or a movie created for video screen viewing verses a theatrical setting, the pokey movement may be forgiving. After all, when one is watching traditional television, one may be doing something else. (Paying bills, cooking a meal, clipping toenails, etc.) So whatever would be happening on screen wouldn’t necessarily be missed. But if one is inside of a movie theater, one can’t do anything else–or they should not be doing anything else anyway! (Playing with a phone, etc.)

The evergreen Clint Eastwood, known for appearing in action packed movies from not so long ago, directs this film in the same fashion as to a feature created for the small(er) screen. There are a lot of close-ups during dialogue scenes between the characters, especially between Richard, his mom Bobi, and his attorney friend Watson. Again, this is ideal for a TV setting. But for a theatrical movie? Maybe…?

Granted, awards season is just around the corner. This is perhaps the only reason why movies such as this one is made and released. If one wanted to see an action movie that contains more fast paced thrills than talky people doing something for the good of another, wait until the late spring as those titles will become readily available for consumption. Yes, they may be pictures that are “tentpoled”, remakes, reboots, and/or sequels, but at least those titles will deliver their maximum entertainment value!

Since this movie is based upon a true story, would it be a spoiler alert to note that Richard didn’t do what he was suspected in committing? Anyone can always read the article that the premise to this film was extracted from. And so it goes!

This movie is rated “PG” for cussing and minor violence. Now appearing in multiplexes nationwide.
1917 (Universal/Dreamworks) takes place during “The Great War” a.k.a. World War I in April of the title year. Stationed near the western front in central France, a pair of enlisted men fighting for Great Britain, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are assigned a mission by their commanding officer. Their job is to deliver a message written on paper to a platoon planning to engage in an attack with the German troops. This battle is some distance away, enough where they must cross the German occupied region. This attack was set by the enemy as a trap where the platoon would become wiped out. Among those fighting within this platoon is Blake’s brother (Richard Madden) serving as a Lieutenant. It is up to Schofield and Black to complete the assignment as they travel on foot through dangerous regions to deliver the message that would save the British army in such a disastrous fate for their nation and for Blake’s elder sibling.

This latest entry in war movies, a genre that hasn’t hasn’t seen much action (no pun intended) in recent years, isn’t another battle picture that feature the usual scenes such as massive guns going off, bombs exploding all over the place, as well as the typical caricatures of the fighting men in action. (They were usually men, although women were added in wars taking place after 1990, but that’s besides the point!) This WWI feature written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns consists of the two leads George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as Schofield and Blake, traveling from their platoon base to the other platoon location going through the usual war traps, from slogging through mud embedded battle grounds, encountering an abandon German outpost complete with booby traps, passing among bombed out villages, and keeping an eye out for the “Jerrys” that may be armed lurking in the brush. Their movement throughout most of the feature is set within a staging where there are limited breaks in the camera shots. That is, appearing where all of the action takes place in real time akin to a stage play where everyone and everything in moving through complete syncopation. (Thee are a few breaks within the camera as being “always on”, but it’s barley noticed!) Unlike a movie that attempted to use the same method of cinematography called Birdman or through its complete title Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance that wound up as headache inducing, Roger Deakins’ method of cinematography doesn’t distract, yet somehow enhances this continuity non-breakage. This real reasons toward this form of visuals is because there is a lot of action going around for what it is. Granted, there are a few bombs going off, gunplay taking place, and even a German airplane crashing to the ground. (What kind of aircraft that crashed isn’t known to this writer.) But most of this form of “action” is between Schofield, Blake, and the elements around them!

Sam Mendes, who has directed a pair of James Bond flicks in recent years, directs this feature that does use the same techniques to what one would find in a Bond vehicle. However, unlike the JB flicks that feature weaponry that are overloaded with special effects that are over-the-top akin to a standard super hero title, this title uses EFX only when needed. After all, this is a war movie y’know!

Also appearing in this feature is Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Claire Duburcq (the only on-camera female in the cast), with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain MacKenzie.

Is 1917 another “gimmie-an-Oscar” picture? This could become the case as there are lots of elements to this film that would work in becoming an award winner, such as the intense acting action between the two leads, the for noted cinematography, Thomas Newman’s music score, the fact that this is an all-British production, etc. There won’t be any nostalgia aspects factoring in as anyone that could remember The Great War is long dead and gone! And for the record, there are no period songs performed on its soundtrack. So don’t expect to hear any early jazz recordings being played out!

This feature is rated “R” for war related violence and occasional cussing. Opens December 25th in limited release, and on January 10th, 2020 at most multiplexes nationwide.
JUST MERSEY (Warner Bros.) stars Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson, an African American civil rights attorney based in Connecticut and fresh out of Harvard law school. He takes upon the case of Walter McMillian (Jamie Fox), who in 1987, was apprehended, accused, and committed to death at the state penitentiary in Alabama for the murder of an eighteen year old white woman. Walter claims his innocence as he states that he was nowhere near the site of the actual murder, as well as a witness, Ralph Myers (Tim Blake Nelson) a fellow criminal currently servicing time in prison on another charge, states he was present at the murder site yet he held a personal motive to lie. In addition, the rural Alabama community is run by a group of white leaders that doesn’t necessarily cater toward racial equality. This case intrigued Bryan enough to assist the doomed Walter to have a retrial that would prove his innocence. With the aid of a local civil justice advocate Eve Ansley (Brie Larson) that handles such cases, the two team up in their effort to work with Water on gaining his second chance in court to get his name cleared.

This story, taken from Bryan Stevenson’s memoir of the same name and thus “based on a true story”, is a very well crafted drama. Michael B. Jordan as attorney Bryan Stevenson holds well in his dramatic performance. Ditto for Jamie Foxx as Walter McMillian, who is always on the edge between facing death through execution, and becoming the free man he long desires. Destin Daniel Cretton (who also directs) and Andrew Lanham’s screenplay shows how the long process of starting this case lasted for years, long before with the access of technology later becamse part of this process. (The story itself takes place mostly in the early 1990’s, as much of the film’s look and feel reflects this period.)

The above paragraph states some of the higher notes that this theatrical film contains. What may work against it is the fact that this title plays out as a 1990’s-era feature, especially for a movie released toward the end of the calendar year. That is the season where the movie studios both large and small(er) would release their best movies in order to become candidates to win awards, better known as “gimme-an-Oscar” titles. That step may have worked out in the 1990’s when theatrically released movies held more clout, in spite of the presence of home video and cable TV. In today’s age, melodramatic movies (such as this one) would play better when viewed through a smaller screen (television) available for immediate streaming. In fact, the pacing of the film moves rather slow. This pacing is fine for a feature as seen through a video monitor set inside of a home domain as one can watch the film while doing something else, such as sorting out laundry, paying bills, or even playing with one’s smartphone while texing, tweeting, and social media posting! It’s rather tough to do those same functions while seated inside of a large darken room loaded with strangers at a movie house. Sure, you can use your phone as the film plays on the big screen. One just might irk the fellow patrons!

Again, JUST MERSEY holds plenty of merit for what it is. However, the studios must remember why movies are made and why people will trek out of of the house to a theater to see the film. The answer to that statement is movies are made to make money. People go to the movies to be entertained. This writer can’t express the box office take to what Warner Bros. et. al may earn for this title. As far as its entertainment value? That is why super hero action-based “tentpole” pictures exist, as well as CGI animation titles! Those films don’t preach or make some kind of a statement. This movie goes toward that route!

PS…would it be another spoiler alert to note that Bryan Stevenson succeeds in proving that Walter McMillian was indeed innocent from his charges and was released eventually from prison? It would have been a more interesting movie if Bryan did fail to spring his client. But this is all besides the point!

This movie is rated “PG-13” for cussing and TV-style violence. Opens December 25th in regional areas where industry voting members reside. Opens on January 10th, 2020 for the rest of the nation at selected multiplexes.
This issue will be the final edition of Accessibly Live Off-Line for the 2019 calendar year. We will be taking the next two weeks off, and will return with Vol. 25-No. 1 starting on the week beginning January 6th, 2020.

On behalf of the staff and management of ALOL, we wish everyone a safe and progressive holiday season!

See you in 2020 vision!
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!