TOO LONG AND NOT SHORT ENOUGH!

It isn’t any surprise that people seem to hold shorter attention spans than they did a few generations before. Thanks to social media, people have the notion to focus upon a sight, sound, or a combination of both for a fixed period of time, only to focus upon some other sight and/or sound, no matter what that element may be.

And it appears that the more robust one is, their attention span is even shorter. These robust types tend to hold interest with a number of audio and visuals going on all at the same time. And thanks to sources such as Twitter and Tic-Tok, one can capture the comprehension of reading, seeing, or hearing something in just a few seconds. If they are really interested in what they are seeing or hearing, the length of time devoted to those elements runs longer. Not necessary to any massive amount of time, but the notions still exist.

But this article isn’t written to criticize any person or thing regarding this short attention span crisis. It’s just the aspect to note that the shorter one’s stimulus is, the better it can be for the consumer. And if there is more content to the stimulus, any device longer can be made up just to become the quality that is there, rather than the  quantity of said content.

Of course, such a finding is far from being newly discovered. Multitasking, the emotional and physical task of doing more than one thing at a time, has been studied and noted as human nature for years. This writer recalls seeing a segment on a local TV show created for adolescents that was entitled INK: Interesting News for Kids, that had a report to state that kids of the present day were able to do things such as read a passage from a book, listen to the radio, as well as engage in a conversation with another person (in this case, an adult) all at the same time and knew what they were reading, what music they were hearing, and what the small talk was all about. And this was something unique for kids of that era–yours truly included. The segment ended with the on-camera hosts consisting of a perky young man, an even perkier young woman, and some hand puppets(!) saying that if your parents said for you to do your homework with the radio off, tell them you are able to talk to them, write your assignments, and hear your top-40 hits all at the same time and succeed with everything. And for the record, I saw this report back in 1974 and I did eventually survive multitasking. Perhaps not so much with the homework part, but I was able to keep up with the musical rotation playlist as programmed on WLS.

But kids do grow up as adults, and their short attention spans progressed as the media did. In addition to traditional TV and radio, there’s the ever loving social media. Twitter was once known to have people “tweet” their musings at the maximum of 140 characters for tweet. Vine, a once profound social media source where people could create video content ranging for only a few seconds of length, became the rage. Eventually, Vine withered, and Tic-Tok stepped in with the same notion in mind, having its creators presenting short and sweet video elements for the purpose of personal expression, as well as the notion of perhaps bringing in some fame. Both platforms later extended its running times and typing spaces. But the real meaning of “short and sweet” is key.

Even TV commercials have since entered that fray. Back in the days when yours truly became embraced in TV, commercials tended to run for sixty seconds. Then came the thirty second spot. Sometimes the 30 second version was a cut down of the longer 60 second ad. In recent times, there have been fifteen and ten second spots. This shorter version emerged through social media, and was later adapted for traditional TV and not-so-traditional streaming.

But what about media that runs a lot longer than a minute, or even for more than an hour? Can anyone in this post-modern period of “TV everywhere” can sit through some kind of programming and embrace and capture it all through their comprehension without a stumble?

The answer to that question is a brief “yes”, just as long as the media holds a sense of quality and has an appeal to the consumer of the said product.

A great example of this is what’s known as binge watching. This is the task where one views a specific TV series consisting of a multitude of episodes or installments one after another all at the same time. This form of viewing or binging was only possible back in the early days of home video.

In the 1980’s when folks obtained a video cassette recorder (VCR), they would record off-air episodes of a TV series that they had found appealing. They would record each episode either on a weekly basis for newer programs or on a daily basis for a show that was syndicated as reruns of an older series. One series that was notorious for this mass recording was the 1960’s sci-fi series Star Trek. These folks would program their VCR to the same station at the same time of day where Star Trek was airing in their local communities. They would keep these tapes for later watching. And when they did, they watched one episode after another, only to later fast forward the recordings past the commercials aired on the local station to get back with the program. They would keep the tapes of multiple Star Treks in their collection for years, only later to be forgotten or in many cases, abandoned. This is the reason why this writer has these long forgotten collections of Star Trek reruns as recorded off the air from stations in Minneapolis, Dallas, Los Angeles, and even from a station in Toledo, Ohio. (WTOL-TV in case anyone is keeping track!)

When it comes to movies, that’s another story. When one watches a movie in a theater, there is no option to place the visuals on “pause” if one wanted to, let’s say, get some snacks from the concession stand or to answer the call of nature. One had to sit through the movie for its entire running time. You really can’t gawk on your phone during the movie as one would annoy others in the theater. So if the viewer of the movie won’t mind sitting through a film that is far beyond a 120 or so minute running time, then they just better like what they are seeing on the screen set in front of them. If not, the only way to avoid the film is to get up from one’s seat and walk out of the theater room.

This sitting in a movie house for a long time was recently truly tested on yours truly. For example, I watched two films presented by the same studio, Warner Bros in separate incidents. The first was the 2022 release of The Batman. That movie’s running time was clocked in at two hours and fifty six minutes. This includes the end credits running for at least eight minutes! Unless one sits through end credits looking for names one may know or know of (after all, Los Angeles is an industry town and sometimes people look out for others working in some field), this is the portion that is usually skipped. That is, unless there is a segment tacked at the end of the credit run that will reveal something leading toward a future sequel or spin off!

Although the movie itself was rather amusing for what it was, I had to struggle to watch the entire film. A few times I did get out of my seat because nature was calling, but I really didn’t care that I was missing out on anything during my brief absence.

On the other side of the coin, I recently sat in a movie theater for a special one time only revival of the recently restored version of film director George Steven’s epic Giant. This film released in 1956 starred (among many others), Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean in his final film. The movie itself was a giant and as big as Texas where most of the film takes place. The running time of that feature is three hours and eleven minutes, some fifteen minutes longer than The Batman! And Giant’s end credits ran around thirty seconds consisting with the words “The End” and “A George Stevens Production” placed along with the Warner Bros. shield logo.

I did not move from my seat for that entire running time. I was so embraced with what was going on on the big screen, I was seeking more when the movie ended when I realized that a little over three hours had passed. And unlike other movies of the era that were long epic productions, this title didn’t have an intermission tacked on in its middle as some studios did place on their longer running shows. However, if one is lucky enough to attend another revival of this film, take note that there’s a lot to view. And if anyone gets a hold of the DVD released in 2013 through Warner Home Media, make sure it’s the correct screen ratio of 1:66:1 as some editions (made through error) sport a 1:85:1 ratio. (Only film preservation buffs such as myself would really care about a movie’s proper screen size!!)

So don’t worry if your attention span has gone short. That could even be for a good reason. After all, life is just as short as one’s attention span, so live that life as full as one can get away with! As it was once said by somebody or something, the sooner the better. And if any influencer out there desires to make a Tic-Tok video of my phrase, remember that you read it here first, and I’ll come around to collect my commission later–or even sooner!

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Continuing its run at Studio City’s Two Roads Theater is the world premier of Jeff Gould’s A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE DIVORCE, a comical look on how a trio of couples are handing their journey on how they are handling their end of marital bliss.

The scene is the waiting room of a divorce mediator. A set of three couples arrive to take their turn of how they are going to arrange their end of marriage as arranged by the mediator. The three middle aged couples consist of Brian (Ian Nemser, alternating with Albert Garnica) & Carol (Laura Walker, alternating with Kelly Desarla), Doug (Corbin Timbrook/Michael Camacho) & Angie (Marie Pettit Gregson/Patricia Mizen), and Ken (Anthony Backman/Gerald Dewey), & Tanya (Bri Ana Wagner/Swisyzinna Moore). They come from different backgrounds and different family setups. They all hold one common bond. Everyone’s marriage is on the skids! As they are all in the same waiting room waiting for this marriage mediator to arrive, they all have to face one another, let alone face the spouse they wish to break up with! They begin to know each other for their better or for worse. They discover the ins and outs of their one time happy life, and discover that every other couple is just as “F”-ed up as the next! The longer they wait for the mediator to arrive (if at all), they chance on what outweighs the other: Staying married or if the big “D” is the only way to go!

This single act play written by playwright Jeff Gould takes upon a humorous look of marriage and divorce in today’s post-modern domestic society that provides that the “until death do depart” portion of the wedding vows holds lots of negotiation, if not with loopholes so big one can jump through ‘em! The six set of players that appear in this play (double cast by the way) hold enough chemistry with one another, even if that chemistry can be very toxic! They fight with each other while they reflect on how their marriage worked out and how it flopped. Their start and finish shows happiness and sadness, joy and scorn, and the manner that their sex life tethered between “f-ing” and being “f-ed”!

March Antiono Prichett directs this play that uses lots of creative license in portraying the couple depicted. It’s not quite known if the playwright and/or the director were inspired from actual experience. Whatever the case may be, it depicts that marriage and divorce can become an equal challenge.

Sky Pilot Theater Company, the theater troupe that presents this program, originally scheduled to open this show in March of 2020. Of course, something bigger than a divorce got in its way. But now it’s here after its two year leave of absence. It was indeed worth its wait as this show holds plenty of laughs with a touch of somberness. These are the same emotions emoted when it comes to marriage. You can fight one moment and have a roll in the hay the next! And not necessarily in that order!

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE DIVORCE, presented by the Sky Pilot Theatre Company, and performs at The Two Roads Theater, 4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, until September 11th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. No performances on August 13th-14th, and 20th-21st.

For ticket reservations, order online at https://Divorce.BrownPaperTickets.com

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

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
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(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

DROWN ME IN THE RIVER

This week will feature another two day “holiday”. It’s not just a holiday to commemorate a moment of history, a period of recognition of significance, or even a day of celebration. It’s a day that combines all three emotions and then some. It’s a time where one can receive what they desire through need or want. It’s a period that for many people, the day (or dates in this case), that really matters.

On July 12th and 13th, it will be the annual Amazon Prime Day where one can grab onto the goods they feel they must have at a price that will be less than in this case is the shoppers, can obtain for less and receive such goods faster than ever. In a few cases, as little as one calendar day, all delivered to one’s doorstep.

OK..so why in the hey that we, the folks at Accessibly Live Off-Line, are creating an article about a retailer that will be hosting a sale where one can get just about any item that can be obtained legally, and receive that item faster and easier than ever before?

The reason behind all of this is because we can. Also, it’s part of the good (or better) news that we can report within these pages of ALOL. With all of the things going around the nation and the world from deadly war, inflation, shootings, political strife, and all of the other conflicts providing that the nation and those part of it are containing it’s one day trip to hell in a hand basket, it’s nice to report on something that is more content and even trivial.

Let’s face it! Amazon has been called by many through social media and otherwise, a blessing and a curse all rolled up into one. It’s been labeled as a friend to the shopper, and it’s been called the evil retailer. It can control you, or you can control it. It’s a great place to work, and it’s the company there is in terms of treating their employees. No matter how you slice it, the company exists for what it is, and won’t be going away.

However, this year will seem a little different. With inflation for what it is and where it is, people have been paying more for the same amount of goods and services than they did just a few years before. Gas prices seem to have taken the biggest hit. And when gas prices are high, folks are being a bit frugal when it comes to using their vehicle to get around town. That means when it comes to shopping for goods that are necessities rather than something they can obtain because they could, the desire to make those trips worthwhile. And if one can find a source where they can bring the goods to you rather than you coming to the goods in question, then so be it.

However, when it comes to sales from retail outlets, a sale isn’t worth much value if there is no desire to obtain anything at that moment. Some goods such as groceries are needed on a regular basis. Others such as higher ticket electronics are obtained as a one time only element. Some folks obtain such an item and won’t get another one of that same nature for years, decades, or never again.

Yours truly will admit to one thing. I rarely shop for goods through this retailer of the cyberworld. In fact, this writer has only received just two items through Amazon. One item was an instructional book that was obtained because it was selling for a lot less than the only other source that I knew of at that moment. And the second item was a connection device for an audio input. That was obtained because the other source didn’t have it available, but Amazon had it. Those two little shopping trips were done within the last ten years. And the ironic thing about these trips is the fact that the book I obtained isn’t referenced anymore, and the alternative place for the audio converter that didn’t “put out” is now out of business. However, the book in question is still sitting on the shelf over at Accessibly Live Off-Line central.

Other retailers of course are doing what they can of attempting to woo away shoppers riding on the Amazon Prime bandwagon. Folks at Walmart, Target, and even eBay that resembles Amazon nowadays than the one time online auction place from emerged from generations before, are hosting their own versions of this two day shopping extravaganza. And for those other, one isn’t necessarily committed to become a member of the Amazon Prime club. If one wants to take advantage of something on sale, then they can do that and walk away gracefully with what they wanted to grab. And if those Amazon Prime members enjoy their membership, they have incentive where they will remain part of the membership club. Granted, it’s not in the same league of being a member of let’s say, a gym or a country club since anyone with the gumption and funds to obtain a membership can be an Amazon Prime member. No forms to fill listing their name, rank and serial number. Just their name, address to where the goods they want needs to go, and a method of payment. It’s that easy!

But as the summer progresses, so will the retailers and those that cater to such. It will be another wait and see regarding inflation and all. But at least one knows that there is a place to get what one desires be it as a click of the mouse away, and the wait to give that package arrives at one’s doorstep with that big symbol resembling a smile right on the box, bag, or envelope. It’s enough to make one smile to live and exist in this ever changing world of ours.

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Hershey Felder returns to The Wallis in Beverly Hills in HERSHEY FELDER: CHOPIN IN PARIS as Fryderyk Chopin, a pianist of Polish descent living within the capital city of the French nation.

The date is March 4th, 1848, The setting is Chopin’s salon located within his dwelling where he greets his “students” (actually, the theater audience), where he is there to teach music lessons to be performed on the piano placed in the middle of the salon. Of course, the “students” present won’t be able to perform their piano lessons for the teacher, so Chopin moves forward addressing his class to tell a bit about himself and the stories behind much of his music. Born within a humble family in Poland and starting off as a child prodigy, he tells his tales of life where he first emotes emotional pain from the passing of his younger sister at a young age. From there, Chopin experiences a series of highs and lows, from the family experience of the invasion of the Russian forces, from moving to Germany, returning back to Poland, later to arrive in Paris. Chopin informs his class that his pieces were inspired from these conflicts that ranges from the elevation of joy to the downs of sorrow and all points in between. Of course, Chopin keeps his saga in sync with the generous helpings of his music for the world to thrive upon. These musical pieces as performed would continue for the many years to follow long after his death due to consumption at the age of thirty-nine.

Hershey Felder makes his first live appearance at this theater in some three years. This time, the performance is placed inside of the intimate 150 seat Lovelace Studio Theater where this show is much closer to the audience that can experience Felder as Chopin, up close and personal to the utmost fashion.

Felder knows his Chopin and the music connected to this composer. During his performance, Felder, speaking as his character, takes various questions from his audience. This Q&A makes part of it as a portion that is improvised. He never breaks character, and will present himself to speak on Chopin’s background based upon the questions asked. During the performance as attended by this reviewer, the audience did know their Chopin with their inquiries as Chopan/Felder answered back that brings more depth to this stage show.

But what makes this presentation very appealing is the music Felder performs on a grand piano nestled in the middle of his on-stage salon. The stage salon itself as designed by Felder consists of a sitting room dressed in 19th century French style furnishings where the piano is placed along high paneled windows facing a Parisian street scene that changes its view based upon the stories as told. Erik Carstensen provides that change of view as Production Manager and Video Designer. This salon is where Chopin, known as the “Poet of the Piano” belongs, as placed during the time that Paris was going through the 1848 revolution of Russian forces.

Joel Zwick once again directs this show as with previous Hershey Felder performances into a style that is one part theater with Chopin on stage, and second part concert where Felder takes upon this master with his performance of various musical pieces.

For those that know of Chopin’s life and music, this is the presentation to experience. For the rest that may know little to nothing of Chopin, one will receive their ninety minute single act lesson as taught by the named musician. This is Felder at his finest, and The Wallis is where one can see this performance as one that is very much alive and in person!

It may have been three years since the last live show at this theater in Beverly Hills. So the wait is worth it all!

HERSHEY FELDER: CHOPIN IN PARIS performs at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd, (at north Crescent Drive), Beverly Hills  until July 24th. Showtimes are Tuesday through Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more information, call (310) 746-4000, or via online at http://www.TheWallis.org/chopin

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

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

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

It’s the moment where we present our report on what we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line has been doing since we started our fiscal year last July 1st, and how we will end that same year come June 30th.

About a year ago, the pandemic was still going strong. It was not as deep as it was the previous year, but was still in the middle of the “is it over or not?” phase, and many folks were judging that option for themselves.

That option even affected how we were running this same news service. We didn’t have a lot of reviews to write about outside of feature films and the occasional TV series and perhaps book title. Live theater in Los Angeles was slowly getting its act together. (Is there a pun within that last line? You judge for yourself!) Many of these same theaters were attempting to make their comeback. A few had already taken their final curtain never to return. This also affected our editorial policy in how many reviews we would present in a given week. And since this news service is generally run like a one-man band, that would mean that this writer would be the one that would not only hack out reviews in a given week, but would have to take the time to get to the theater to see the show in order to hack out the review. Ditto for feature films as I would try to make a feeble attempt to review whatever movie fell into my lap, so to speak!

Lucky for me, seeing new titles online made this effort a whole lot easier. This also goes for some of the smaller releasing companies that do not have the same budgets to host a screening of their films by either renting out a theater or perhaps a screening room, send invites to journalists to see this flick at these theaters they rented out, and perhaps those in attendance would actually get around to write something for the flick. (Many of them didn’t!!)

But getting back to ALOL for this moment. Within the past year, we have been selected in what we can see and how the subject matter fits within our editorial scope. And since working from home has been the end-all-to-be-all when it comes to the journalistic workforce, it makes it a whole lot easier to churn out an issue each week.

Since this news service began over twenty five years ago, we have been based in Los Angeles, the so-called entertainment capital of the nation, if not the world. And if one wanted to write about such entertainment, one had to be in the middle of it all. That has been the case since within our earlier years. After all, if you wanted to gain access to the “stars”, you had to come to them. And those “stars”, as well as the folks working behind the scenes, were mostly based in Hollywood and adjacent.

Thanks to modern technology, it is quite possible to write about “Hollywood” and not necessarily be in it. Movies and TV Shows play just about everywhere, and one can write a piece about a feature or video program from afar. I should know that fact because I created reviews for movies and TV stuff when I was based in the Midwest. And if you want to interview a star or somebody related, you can do that via phone call. I did that as well. It wasn’t anything face-to-face, but as long as I was able to hear their words on what they had to say, then it all worked out.

During our last fiscal year, ALOL did set up shop at a location in the Midwest far, far away from Hollywood and all of that so-called glitter that comes with Hollywood. We actually churned out a few issues from our remote location while yours truly was getting all of the “I”s crossed and the “T” dotted–or something like that!! And we did that all with the aid of our ol’ trusted MacBook Air, our Samsung smartphone device, and a wireless Internet connection that made it all happen. Thus, we were working from home far away from home.

As of this writing, we have not made a decision on when (or if) this news service will head out to those greener pastures. There would be a major advantage of leaving Los Angeles and California. And that advantage is it’s a lot cheaper to do business. After all, the basic rule of business is to make as much money one could get away with. And if one can do it while being smaller and faster, that would mean we can have more pennies in our pockets.

That is what we have been doing since our last SOTU address. So what’s going on for the next year? Well, doing business is costing us much more thanks to inflation that isn’t getting better, so we will still be doing what we have been doing. It just won’t be as much as we have done. We were kicking the idea of either running advertising, or perhaps place this service behind a paywall meaning that our news won’t be on the house. Some major publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and a host of other news sources charge for their service, even if one subscribes to their daily rundown of their news that is fit to print, or placed as an email or text message!! However, we haven’t gotten to that level yet, so as of this writing, you will still gain access to what we write about without annoying ads posted throughout based on those ever loving “cookies” that companies place within your browser! So if you do an online search for a toilet plunger, you will get ads for toilet plungers and perhaps other plumbing supplies available through their online portals.

And speaking of portals, we are also within the process of perhaps adding more audio/visual content ranging from still and moving imagery to even creating a podcast. More news on those functions will be presented as options make their way. Stay tuned!

Lastly, we have been teetering on the idea of placing specific entries from each edition of ALOL as separate categories. Presently, each entry is divided into editions for the week as this edition is known as Volume 27-No. 27, as part of the Volume 27 series.

If we let’s say write about a specific review of a theater piece of a feature film, one can look up the review of the play or movie by its title, rather than in the edition the review may be placed. Once a format is established, that method of reclassification will be phased in through the next year, either as a fiscal or calendar year change.

But as for now, expect the standard editorial content we have been presenting since the middle 1990’s. It may not be as much as it used to be! Nevertheless, you will gain access to new installments of ALOL each week between Friday through Sunday.

As we end one year and start off the next, we will say a thank you for allowing us to be part of your day. Or to be precise, your week! The news may be “low-tech”, but the spirit and gumption is just as fast and furious as to a high speed ‘net connection located in the heart of Hollywood or the heartland of middle America. It’s all about when you are here, you are there as well!

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Santa Monica’s City Garage Theatre continues its run of Harold Pinter’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, a play about man living in a rundown boarding house that has the title event, only to have his shady past return to haunt his personal state of being.

Isaac Stackonis portrays Stanley, whose career is as a piano player. He lives in a boarding house that has seen its better days and is located in a British seaside community. The place is run by Meg (Peggy Flood), an older lady living with her husband Peaty (Andy Kallok). Stanley is a quiet person who is a bit on the neurotic side, not having any trust in strangers. His birthday is coming up, so Meg throws a birthday celebration for him. But uninvited strangers show up; Goldberg (Troy Dunn) and McCann. (Gifford Irvine). They arrive not for the festivities, but to discipline Stanley for some offense he committed or not! The “birthday party” itself isn’t a festive event. There are no party hats, birthday cake, or even a feeble retention of “Happy Birthday”. But the reasons behind this event and the two men that are out to get him become darker and mysterious. Also bringing in place is Lulu (Savannah Stackonis) a younger woman who attends the party that provides Stanley a gift that consists of a toy drum, a musical instrument that Stanley doesn’t play professionally, or at all! This whole event turns out to be a birthday that could be one as happy or otherwise!

This play composed by the playwright in the late 1950’s has been labeled in various forms and methods as a “comedy of menace”, perhaps a British term for a “comedy of errors”. This is rightly so as this play consists of short and to the point dialogue that holds a lot of enigma throughout its formation. It’s told in a semi-linear fashion that doesn’t answer its questions and doesn’t question its answers. It’s just a sad tale of a man that experiences a birthday with a team of guests that are out to serve him for his purpose, and that purpose isn’t with ice cream and cake!

As to this production at City Garage. The cast of six players are seen as hard ridden and unexplainable. They show off their characters they represent on stage for a reason that is up to the theater audience to figure out. Frederique Michel directs this production with a sense of pace, taking its time to develop its characters as they progress, leading up to a climax that lands much softer than expected.

Charles Duncombe provides the set and lighting design that shows off the boarding house as one that isn’t the Ritz. It never was an elite place, and never will be one! And Josephine Poinsot’s costuming enhances the characters that don their duds. This is rightly so with Troy Dunn Gifford Irvine as Goldberg and McCann as they are the “men in black” that arrive on a mission with a purpose.

Granted, THE BIRTHDAY PARTY is open for a lot of interpretations for its real meanings. Even if one doesn’t win in this guessing game, the stage presentation at City Garage makes great theater as viewed on its intimate stage. As to birthdays themselves, it’s been stated beforehand that they must be good for you since the more you have, the more you live longer–or something to that effect!

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, presented by and performs at City Garage Theatre, 26th Street Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Avenue., Building T1, Santa Monica, until July 23rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM. A special “talkback” session featuring the cast, the producer, and the director will take place following the Sunday, July 10th performance.

For tickets and for more information, call (310) 453-9939, or via online at http://www.CityGarage.org

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

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
https://www.facebook.com/accessiblylive.offline
@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

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

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE CIRCUS IS BACK IN TOWN-SORT OF!

Upon the slogging of emails I receive each week that consist of press releases and other notices of events and happenings that the sender(s) are making sure that I am fully aware of their notices, I recently came across a notice from the folks from Feld Entertainment, the company that produces many of the stage and ice shows that use the Disney characters and related Intellectual properties (or “IP” for short), as well as their most iconic brand, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® circus, also known as the registered trademark, The Greatest Show on Earth, stated that their circus that was shut down a few years ago, is making its return–but not in the same method as it once was known by.

The release stated that they will be returning in the fall of 2023 with a program that will feature most of what the circus was known for with teams of acrobats and related death-defining tracks. One will assume that clowns will also make their returns and they are just as part of the line up associated with a circus. What won’t return will be the animal acts from lions, tigers, and perhaps bears. (Insert your own exclamation here). And the three rings won’t be back as well.

As with these high tech times, Feld Entertainment did list a link to their YouTube Channel with a nearly two minute piece that states their new arrival that can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM9h-pf0AUs

It’s a mixed reaction by this writer on this return by the event self billed as a return of an American icon for many reasons. First and foremost, the reasons why Feld Entertainment placed the Ringling Bros circus to its end came from various sources. Those sources range from protests and concerns from animal rights groups stating that some of the animals, elephants mostly, were not treated properly, even having people from these groups attending the fonts of stadiums passing out flyers and related materials to those attending the circus. Other sources state that the circus doesn’t hold the same appeal to post-modern families and regard domestic broods that the circus is catering to. A few sources note that going out to the circus is rather pricey for what they are. And the list goes on from there.

Of course, the Pandemic had nothing to do with the end of Ringling Bros since its final season was in 2018. However, if Ringling Bros. did try to reach its 150th Anniversary in 2020, that season would have been shut down. But Feld beat the pandemic in its own game and closed on their own verses through distress.

This isn’t the first time that Ringing Bros tried to change their ways. A few years ago, they had a touring company that attempted to mimic their show in the same fashion as Cirque du Soleil. But that only came with limited success. And from what this writer has seen in their promo reel through their YouTube channel, it may return toward those roots, but perhaps not as “new age-y” as the former attempt. Still, it will be another event in its wait-and-see methods of operations.

Yours truly has attended a number of the Ringling Bros. Shows in the past, either appearing in Los Angeles at The Forum, or at the stadium once known as The Staples Center. Long before that, I attended the shows that came through Chicago in the 1970’s. My first show was its grand 100th Anniversary tour back in 1970. It has just about everything one would expect in a circus, along with its animal acts. There were elephants of plenty, including its grand finale where an elephant carried out what looked like a log dressed as a giant candle. In the center of the arena, a structure resembling a birthday cake was in its center. The elephant, along with an elephant driver, had the rest of the team of elephants facing the “cake” in a circle. The lead elephant, perhaps the biggest one of the bunch, carried the log/candle toward the cake, placing the candle on top in its center. Then a shower of sparkles shot up from its tip that lit the entire stadium. It was remarkable to see this, especially for a kid like myself. I even still have the oversized program that Ringing Bros. sold for a dollar that was splashed with photos of all of the acts present, along with the ads that came with it. That program is stashed away within my archives somewhere!

I did see a few other shows around the time where it took up a month-long residency at the old Chicago Stadium when it came to town around October, right before the NBA and NHL seasons would begin. After that, my family had other things to do when it came to entertainment, and the circus wasn’t part of that schedule, if such a schedule would even continue. But it was nice to return in the early 2000s to see such a show, even if I was there as a journalist rather than a kid that only previously viewed the Ringling Bros. Circus through a series of special one-time only events on TV. (CBS would air these TV specials at the start of their season using Roy Rogers and Dale Evens as its hosts.)

So for those that are interested in the circus, either as adults or those with kids in tow, this upcoming “greatest show” may be a thing to take advantage of. In this day and age of remakes/reboots/reinventions/restaging/reentries/re(fill-in-the-black), Ringling Bros. Would be ripe for its “second act”. It could be enough to run away from home to join up with. If one does, at least you won’t start off with taking a push broom to follow the pachyderms with. (Hey, ya gotta start somewhere y’know!)

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The Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum of Topanga continues its 2022 repertory season with Ernest Thompson’s THE WEST SIDE WALTZ, a drama about a widowed one time concert pianist living alone in her apartment on New York’s upper west side, her alliance with her violinist neighbor, and the young household companion who moves in for a lengthily stay.

Ellen Geer portrays Margaret Mary Elderdice, who once graced the classical concert stages with her piano work. Melora Marshall is Cara Varnum, who unofficially looks after Margaret Mary and stops over for their impromptu concert performing simple classical pieces for piano and violin. Although Margaret appreciates Cara’s coming over to play music, she feels that she needs someone else to do some light housekeeping as well as keeping her company. She places a local ad for such a person that is answered by Robin Bird. (Willow Geer). Robin is a budding actress seeking her big break. Although she’s young enough to be Margaret’s daughter, she’s had some hard experience within life with a marriage that failed, taking upon menial jobs between possible acting gigs as well as holding concerned with a social issue that was making its mark in society. And adding to this mix is Margaret’s “super” Serge (Miguel Perez), a devoted and hard working immigrant who’s ready to fix whatever is going wrong within the apartment.

This play written by Ernest Thompson first appeared on Broadway in 1981 featuring Katherine Hepburn in the leading role. It dealt with a few issues that were going on at the time of the play’s first production, mostly notably the AIDS crisis that was not well understood, let alone “accepted” at the time. In fact, the playwright revised this play that makes its “world premier” appearance on the Theatricum stage that changes some of the notations first expressed back then to fit the tastes and acknowledgments for a post-modern audience. Even though those former elements are not depicted in this production, its middle 1980’s-era flavor remains thanks to Beth Eslick’s costuming and John Eslick’s prop mastery. Margaret’s character dresses herself as an “old maid” not going with the times, and Robin’s character don herself with gear as something that stepped out of an MTV aspect. And Margaret’s apartment appears that it hasn’t been decorated since the 1940’s loaded with antiques that were even outdated way back then!

Mary Jo DePery directs this production as a play that shows three generations of women that get along with one another for a while, only to branch out toward other directions for their own good and well being–the same elements that does occur in “real life” in alliance with a staged version of what real life is all about. And this play depicts that the world, or at least the area Margaret and company live in as their world, is getting worse before it gets better. It shows that the so-called “good old days” of then weren’t as recalled as good compared to the things existing in the early 21st Century. It just has different meanings, names, and features.

Also appearing within the cast is Charles Lin as Glen Darson, an attorney who assists immigrants to become American citizens and to become part of the American dream that was quite possible to reach.

This production presented at the Theatricum Botanicum showcases the family Geer at its finest. Ellen Geer is the daughter of the theater’s namesake Will Geer. Melora Marshall is Ellen’s sibling sister, and Willow Geer is Ellen’s daughter. These trio of performers leave their mark in keeping the Geer name alive and living within the sphere of performing, either on the stage or screen. Very few families can’t even come close to those credentials!

THE WEST SIDE WALTZ, presented by and performs at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, until October 1st. Showtimes are July 2nd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 29th, August 6th, 12th, 21st, 27th, September 3rd, 18th, 23rd, and October 1st at 7:30 PM, and special matinee performance on Sunday, September 11th at 3:30 PM.

For ticket reservations and for further information, call (310) 455-3723 or via online at http://www.theatricum.com

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ELVIS (Warner Bros.) is a biographical feature about a guitar playing country boy from Tupelo, Mississippi who later became the “King of Rock ‘n Roll”.

Austin Robert Butler is featured as Elvis Aaron Presley, a boy from Tupelo, Mississippi who had a unique musical talent. He could sing, play the guitar, and move his hips a lot! But there is a story behind this boy who later grew up to become a legend. In fact, the story is told and narrated through the perspective of his manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) who gives credit for discovering this boy, and groomed him to become the named member of royalty of Rock ‘N Roll music.

This bio pic isn’t just another feature about a country boy that became the said legion of his own time and long after his untimely passing at the ripe age of forty-two. It’s a feature that resembles a roller coaster ride set in an ultra modern theme park. There are a lot of special effects (yes..special effects) that take the movie viewer on this journey from the backwaters of Tupelo to the big town of Memphis to Las Vegas and all points in between. The story and its visuals as directed by Baz Luhrmann is done in classic Baz Luhrmann style in terms of visual and surreal means that just won’t quit! Even though Elvis caters to mostly the demographic known as the “Baby Boomers”, the sensory this movie presents itself is geared to “Gen Zers” and perhaps “Millenniums” that were yet to be born when Elvis was making his mark in music.

Butler as Elvis holds much of the mannerisms as the title man, especially in his younger years. Hanks as Parker displays his character where he swaggers as a country businessman speaking in an accent that resembles southern gentleman with a European twist. That is because Parker didn’t come from the hills of West Virginia, but from Holland! (Spoiler alert?) That is fitting for Hanks as his role in movies of late is to play different characters. And portraying Parker isn’t any different as to his previous roles playing Fred Rogers or Walt Disney.  

The screenplay by Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, Jeremy Doner, and Baz Luhrmann with story by Doner and Luhrmann takes some creative liberty to what was actually true about Elvis, Tom Parker, and those around him. And how those times were depicted give the same liberty to how it actually was back then to what the feature says how it was. And with some notion to other films about the life and times of the big “E” that has been released within the last forty five years from the TV Movie Elvis released in 1979, or the 1981 documentary This Is Elvis, there are many episodes of mild hokeyness added for entertainment’s sake. But this isn’t a “real” documentary, It’s the kinda-sorta true story of Elvis. (This reviewer won’t add some of his feature films to the list of tacky versions of Elvis as those movies stand on their own merit for better or for worse!)

Besides Hanks and Butler, there are others featured in this flick. Most notably, Olivia DeJonge as Priscilla, the only woman Elvis has been with who he actually married, and remained that way until his untimely death in the summer of 1977–the day for some was when the music died!

For a running time of two and a half hours, this movie is not to be taken seriously as that makes it more fun than sober dramatic. And unlike the other blockbusters out there that are loaded with action, gunfire, explosions, and CGI effects, this title is only loaded with the visual effects. Also, there is a lot of music heard on its soundtrack (many of those tunes played as distorted within their own unique methods) from the 1950’s to the 70’s that consist of country, rhythm and blues, and of course, Elvis material!

It was high time that a theatrical movie about Elvis would ever be attempted. So here it is! And as the King himself would say long before he leaves the building, “Thunka-Thunka-Thunka-Very Much!”

PS…This was the movie that Tom Hanks was working on when he received a case of the virus known as Covid-19 while in Australia that delayed production for a brief while. But as his fans became aware through the social media portals, he eventually recovered!

ELVIS is rated “PG-13” for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material, and smoking as noted by the MPA. Now playing in theaters nationwide.

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Next week, Accessibly Live Off-Line will present its annual State of the Union Address. Don’t miss it!

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

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

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

SPOILED SPOILER ALERT!

Recently, I received a notice to view a new feature film through the studio’s secure streaming link. This link is provided by reviewers of said films (this party included) in order to view the title before its official release. Many smaller film releasing groups, as well as a few of the larger and better known studios, use streaming because it’s a whole lot cheaper (if not convenient) to offer the title to look at for its editorial review.

Anyway, this studio that this writer will not name (but trust us, it’s part of a huge conglomerate that currently owns money making intellectual property, or “IP” for short), sent to me the information of this title, along with how to watch and how long the link will be active.

But one interesting notice that was along with the details of the film. Written below was this disclaimer that reviewers such as myself, were suggested to follow, and perhaps obey. It read…

In order to give audiences around the world the opportunity to enjoy our movies to the fullest and allow them to discover any surprises and plot twists, we respectfully ask that you as press refrain from revealing spoilers, cameos, character developments and detailed story points in your coverage, including on social media.

OK then! We get it. When we compose our review for this big time feature, we are not supposed to review how the movie turns out. We are not going to inform you what happens to all of the characters in this movie. This way, if you know how everyone turns out, you really won’t care to schlepp over to your friendly neighborhood movie house in order to plunk down as much as $17.00 per person (maybe even more, depending on where you drag yourself off to), to sit inside of the multiplex for its 100 or so minute running time to view all of its action and know how everyone’s gonna come out in its end. That notion does make sense.

Then again, if one really wants to see the said movie even if one already knows how it will finish (or even if a sequel will be in the works, intended or otherwise), one can wait for six or so weeks and see that same movie on a streaming service for the same price of a movie admission ticket in the comfort and privacy in one’s own home domain. It also makes sense as well.

This is something that is now being a commonplace notion on the shelf life of a feature film title. Now it appears that movies don’t play in theaters as long as they once did, and for good reason. It’s a matter of various notions, from economics to easy access to peace of mind.

Once upon a time not so long ago, movies used to make its presence in a movie theater as long as the movie had “legs”, an industry term meaning that a specific title still held the draw to make box office money. Thus, it could still stand on its own “legs”. Sometimes a movie will keep a theatrical run for a few weeks. If the movie was really popular, it would last for months. When 20th Century Fox released Star Wars in theaters on the Memorial Day weekend in 1977, the movie continued to run constantly until the next Memorial Day weekend in 1978. By May of ’78, it was mostly playing in second run or “scratch” theater, but still enjoying a movie house show schedule somewhere. Then again, this was before home video really took off.

The decade of the 80’s was the start of the home video era. This included releases on videotape as well as the rise of subscription cable TV (HBO, Showtime, etc.) The average wait time from a movie’s theatrical release to when it would be available on videotape to rent (mostly) and to purchase outright was around six months. (A July theatrical release would be available around December/January, etc.) For pay TV, that window was one year after the theatrical release. This writer was working for a franchised cable TV provider at the time, and when the local office would receive the monthly program guilds provided by HBO and Showtime, the photos and graphic art of the previous year’s blockbuster would be splashed on its cover. Raiders of the Lost Ark was on the cover for the June, 1982 editions as that movie was released in June of ’81.

Things started to change when Paramount Home Video made an announcement that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan would be made available on home video four months after its theatrical release and would be offered on home video with its suggested retail selling price at $39.95. This was one of the first (if not the first), major releases on videotape to be offered at an “affordable” price. Of course, one can also rent it out at one’s favorite place to rent videotapes. But the idea here was that one could see it at home for just four or so months when it was playing in theaters.

But over time and tide, the window of theatrical run versus TV availability became shorter and shorter and seeing a new film in a theater was not the only place to view a title. The rise of streaming in combination with the results from the pandemic was a major game changer. Now folks are very comfortable viewing a movie on their video device and going to see the title in a traditional movie house. That option is for a lot of reasons. Right now, thanks to the rate of inflation running as high as it is, folks would rather cut back on their spending. Streaming subscriptions are running far less than what one would have to pay for admission in a movie house, especially if one is looking at a tile with another person. (It’s the “Netflix and Chill” attitude here, minus the notions for any post-movie engagement if you know what we mean here!) And since gas prices are running as high as they are, one doesn’t have to crank up the ol’ Toyota in order to drive to the movie house. Just turn on your device that sports a screen and can connect to the internet, and you are good to go!

There’s no real spoiler alert that one element is missing from viewing a movie in a theater vs. watching the same title at home or where one is at the moment. It’s the emotional appearance that movies have when you are with a bunch of strangers sitting inside of the dark area where everyone present can react to what’s going on the screen. But depending on the movie and depending on the crowd present, that emotional appeal now serves as an afterthought. On many occasions, one doesn’t even notice that there is a crowd present. It is notable that during the movie as seen in a theater, one can’t talk to another person either present in the theater or on the phone, one can’t text to another person, and if one has to answer the call of nature, there isn’t a “pause” button to engage to stop the action while one has to get up from their seat in order to do their business. So much for the convenience factor.

So I’ll just take the advice from this big time movie studio and won’t give out the points that I am not supposed to mention within my review. I won’t say who will win, who will lose out, and even won’t note that there will be a “monk’s reward” built in this tile. (The latter term means that there will be a scene running about a minute or so after the end credits roll out that can review some important issues to the movie, including if there will be a sequel in the works!) So fear not folks. I will make sure you get your money’s worth, even if you have to wait to place your comments on your social media portals an hour later than you desire. And we’ll see you at the movies!

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LIGHTYEAR (Disney/Pixar) tells the real story about the space ranger of the Star Command that went on missions that took him to infinity and beyond.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) serves as part of the team of space rangers that is on a mission set upon a distant star consisting of a colony of star commanders. His assignment is to formulate a fuel source to get this colony back to their home base. His partner is Commander Alisha Hawthorne. (Uzo Aduba)  When Buzz tests the fuel using a single rocket, something occurs where he bends the time barrier where he leaves for a four year period. (Four earth calendar years that is!) But he must attempt to find the proper fuel blend, even if each test takes another four years. But as the crew on the base ages while he’s gone, Buzz remains the same physical age. With his one personal assistant, a robot cat named Sox (Peter Sohn), Buzz finally finds the proper fuel blend, although over sixty years have passed since. This time, he’s teamed up with Izzy Hawthorne (Keke Palmer), the granddaughter of Alisha, as well as a motley crew consisting of Mo Morrison (Taika Waititi) and Darby Steel (Dale Soules) who fight a army of robots lead by Emerior Zug (James Brolin) who has a mission of their own to get that fuel source that can bring power to Zug’s ships as well as their power of commandment.

This spin off to the once herald character that consisted of a plaything first seen in Toy Story some twenty seven years ago, is now a bonafide space commander. It’s bringing a new dimension to the beloved franchise that not only put Pixar Studios on the animation map, but changed animation almost forever through computer generated imagery, or CGI for short! However, this film is far removed from the antics of Toy Story and its related sequels. It’s a CGI space feature that just so happens to be a postmodern “cartoon”! It has action, sci-fi thrills, adventure, a lot of close calls, and plenty of comedy relief that Pixar features are most noted for. The story by Angus McaLane (who also directs), Matthew Aldrich, and Jason Headley with screenplay by Angus McaLane & Jason Headley blends all of these emotions into a fine animated package. It shows off the best of Buzz Lightyear who can’t ever compare with a friendly buckaroo of a cowboy that serves as sheriff.

There are others whose vocal talents are also present. Mary McDonald-Lewis plays
I.V.A.N., a programmed instrument board on the commanding ship, Isiah Withlock, Jr. As Commander Burnside, Angus MacLane is featured as Eric/Deric, and Zyclops, Bill Halder is rookie Featheringhamstan, with Efren Ramirez as Airman Diaz, and Keira Harston as a younger Izzy. One person who is absent here is John Ratzenberger. His voice was featured in every Pixar animated feature film ever released from Toy Story and later. It’s not known if John will ever return for the next feature release. But for now, Pixar is making its best to milk its intellectual property (IP) to all its worth!

Oh yes. There’s been talk that one element will be depicted in this feature that has nothing to do with sci-fi. It has something to do with Disney making up for a “don’t say gay” bill that recently passed in Florida. This review won’t make any spoiler alert about that issue. It will be up to the viewer of this movie to even find the scene in question! ‘Nuff said!

LIGHTYEAR is rated PG for animated action and peril. Now playing exclusively in traditional movie houses nationwide.

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

Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
Details@LinearCycleProductions.com
http://www.AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
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(Look for us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see us on YouTube!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

CASTING THE ‘NET

A few weeks ago, a tragedy took place within the space where I work and operate. It was an event that stopped me cold. It was an activity that would not allow me to conduct my said activity for whatever reasons I could even imagine. It was the be-all-to-end-all, and I was at the mercy of the source that provides the methods to where I work, play, and even breathe it. This source was in the virtual oxygen business, although that might come close on these days if one isn’t too careful.

So what was this happening where nothing would happen? What is the bull in the room that had to be noticed, compared to an elephant in the room as I am not referring to that animal because some may mistake it as a political endorsement? What was the case of near doom that might even be an inspiration for yet another TV/video series to be available where folks stream their media?

My internet failed to operate!!

That’s right, gang! My good ol’ internet service provider (“ISP”) has their internet connection to go out. It occurred without any prior warning. It was working quite nicely one minute, and the next minute, nothing would ever appear on screens across the area where the ISP held its franchise. If anyone attempted to log in to a website using their browser of choice, one would see a white screen with a message that states “That website cannot be accessed” or some other message that warns the user that you ain’t connected to the ‘net. And since you aren’t connected, you ain’t gonna get anything no matter what you attempt to log on to no matter how hard you try.

In other words, dear madam or kind sir. You are off the grid!

That is what happened, and it occurred during the damnedest time for me. At around 5:30 PM (PST), I was logging on to a number of websites to check upon some facts and figures for various reasons and for various sources to add within a future article for this news service. I also had a virtual meeting through Zoom set for 7:00 PM later that evening. And once that meeting was over, I had to get back to checking in to another online portal. It was just another day at the “office”.

Well sure enough, it appeared that my internet signal crapped out from me. I did the usual routines when a signal isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, such as logging off, rebooting the computer machine, unplugging and plugging in the internet modem that was supplied by the ISP, and so on. I thought that would correct the problem and then I could get back to my work.

After going through that ritual, I experienced the same thing. I was getting nothing, and plenty of it, too!

So I tried it again as before. No connection. I tried it a third time, Still nothing, So I gave it the ol’ college try in its fourth attempt. You guessed it! Nothing. So much for college!

So I did what I do often when I am having a riff with my ISP. I called their toll free number that’s printed on their monthly statements. Once I connected to their robot phone answers, I was told by Ms. Robot as it was a female sounding voice. This, the proper title. And since robot tend not to be human, I don’t believe there is any gender neutrally involved in this encounter.

Anyway, Ms. Robot told me to follow prompts by asking your zip code, your reason for your all, etc. After punching a number of “buttons” appearing on my smartphone’s keypad, I was told that there was an outage in my area. The robot asked me if I gave them permission to call me to report that service was restored. I allowed the ISP’s robot to give me the good news.

In the meantime, I had to finish what I was doing that don’t require an online presence, and to wait for that phone call from an online service once more.

Then again, what about that virtual meeting I had to join at 7:00 PM? Would I be able to join the group in order to have others talk about what they had to talk about? Well, I learned I was able. Unlike my set up in my office space where I have a mini camera that can churn out a high def 1080p picture placed upon a tripod connected to a laptop, I was limited to using my smartphone.

Now keep in mind, many, if not most, people use their smartphones to capture any form of media their devices can do for whatever reason they could conger up. They take their pictures from formal portraits to “selfies” that appear where online presence is consumed. They can capture moving imagery i.e. “videos” for the same reasons behind the pictures. They can stream their video imagery live for the world to see (or not!) It is the only device they have that really matters.

However, I am more of a professional when it comes to creating media. I have a dedicated digital camera to take pictures for both business and personal reasons. I also have a number of dedicated video cameras that do the same. And I have my smartphone. However, I use the former more than the latter. But since that same phone device is all I have that can connect to the ‘net using my phone’s signal strength, I was able to join the meeting, although I was very awkward in getting the picture properly aligned. For all of the video imagery I’ve seen from long forgotten Zoom meetings to what exist through the social media portals, it seems that their cinematography skills could use work, and lot of it. Then again, these captures are only done for the moment of interest, and not meant to be seen by anyone else. But I guess I want to prove to the “world” that I know how to stage a shot, assuming that anyone would even give a damn to know that I can do this.

So after the meeting ended about running 45 minutes too long, I thought I would have my internet service restored. So after I signed off from the meeting, I went back to my desktop to see if we were indeed “on the air”.

Nope! No dice. I was experiencing technical difficulties, and not even a test pattern to look at during the duration.

So it was back to the phone to call the ISP robots for the latest scoop. But before I called the team of robots (assuming that there was more than one on duty, I received a text message about a half hour before from the ISP stating that their service was taking longer than expected and should be up and running by 8:30 that evening.

I glanced at the ol’ clock on the clubhouse wall and it read it was 8:45. This means that their estimated arrival time (or “ETA” in airline speak), was fifteen minutes off. And calling the ISP’s robot department confirmed that their ‘net was still down and if I still wanted for them to call me once service was restored.

From this point, I started the big “hurry up and wait” session to await when my ISP would properly wind the rubber bands tighter, or when somebody will feed the squirrel to run on the treadmill. I thought they would be back up and running by 10:00 PM at the latest.

10:00 PM came and it went. Nothing!!

So I gave them another hour to get their s#it together. Nothing!

I didn’t get a call from these folks as requested, so I tried to call ‘em again. The robot said the same line as programmed.

Well, to make a very long story much shorter, I wanted for the ISP to get back on the air. I tried as late as 3:00 PM. It was now some nine plus hours since the ‘net connection crapped out on my and to its massive subscriber count that services the neighborhood where I hang my hat.

The next morning, I tried to log on as before. Apparently, the ISP finally got the bugs out of the system, and internet access was restored. This was an event that wasn’t worth popping champagne corks over, but it came pretty close. Besides, this was at 9:00 AM, and happy hour wasn’t scheduled for a number of hours. And then, I would be working once more and didn’t even have a gang to hang around for a quality happy house. So much for the joys of working at home!

So what is the moral to this sad yet true tale? It appears that many people are dependent on their internet connected devices. It seems that once somebody or something takes those devices and its paraphernalia that go along with it, a havoc will take place. Some may tolerate the (temporary) loss and go on their merry way. Others felt rather strange and awkward not being able to log in somewhere with something. And there are a few folks that will go into an out-and-out panic. Their worlds that they know will come crashing toward its end with enough epic presence what would be an idea for the next video series available where video streaming is available for viewing or bingeing, whatever comes first.

However, all’s well that ends well as Willie S. once wrote some 500 years before. So now my ISP is providing the service that folks are paying for, and it’s back to work for all.

And if any of the ideas that were expressed within this column is used for another video streaming service, I expect to get a percentage of the profits as have the title of “Executive Producer” as placed on the end credits that nobody tends to read. However, I still live in an industry town. So the fools in “the industry” will actually read these credits to find out who’s working and for what position. Just another day of a life living in good ol’ Hollywood, USA.

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The Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum of Topanga kicks off their 2022 repertory season with the classic play by William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comic piece where John Falstaff arrives in a small town to court not one, but two wealthy married women in order for him to tap into into their wealth, ramping up toward a humorous jumble of situations set within the named (and merry) hamlet.

Instead of taking place in Windsor England at the turn of the 17th century, the scene is now set in Windsor, Connecticut in the 1950’s. Jeff Wiesen plays John Falstaff who attempts to seduce Mistress Page (Willow Geer) and Mistress Ford (Emily Bridges) whose husbands are connected to a lot of money that Falstaff desires to get. But the pair of wives have their own plans of this prime example of a comedy of errors.

And the way this version of The Merry Wives… is presented, it’s a load of fun. It features frantic slapstick humor throughout. It’s even a musical of sorts where songs of the era (1950’s that is) is interjected at times that show off much of the humor that’s been around for some 400 years, even if one wouldn’t even know of it! A robust cast of additional players don the Theatricum Botanicum stage set within the canyons of Topanga. Along with the above noted players, Cavin (CR) Mohrhardt appears as Dr. Caius, Alistair McKenzie portrays Parson Hugh Evans (who speaks in Irish tones), Tim Halligan appears as Shallow, and Earnestine Phillips is featured as the gutsy Hostess of the Garter.

Ellen Geer directs this production with plenty of comic flair and timing added to boot. Tracy Wahl designs the costuming that do hark the 1950’s in splendor, while Marshall McDaniel provides the musical direction that labels this show as a musical. (This writer likes that idea of a musical where that fact is noted twice within this review!!)

The rest of the cast in this program also features as listed in their alphabetical order, Joseph Darby, Miller Friedman, Christopher Glenn Gilstrap, Julius Geer-Polin, Ethan Haslam, Corrin King, Alexandra Kunin, Charles Lin, Ashley Maimes, Michaela Molden, Kenneth Montley, Aleksander Ristic, Gerald C. Rivers, Taylor Jackson Ross, A.M. Sannazzaro, Andy Stokan, Sky Wahl, Seth Weaver and Elliott Grey Wilson.

If one hasn’t brushed up with their Shakespeare, don’t worry. It’s a show that is as timeless as ever. Some of the dialogue was accommodated for post-modern audiences, but it’s still a tale from The Bard. Even Willie himself would approve of this show since it makes his name and his plays live onward. A few playwrights can come close, but good ol’ WS tops them all!

This program runs in repertory with three other programs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, also by Willie Shakespeare opening opening on June 12th, and two contemporary plays: Ernest Thompson’s The West Side Waltz on June 25th, and Trouble The Water by Rebecca Dwight Bruff and adapted for the stage by Ellen Geer. Trouble The Water opens on July 9th.

Further details for all programs can be found on the Theatricum Botanicum’s website. (Website link listed below)

The Merry Wives of Windsor, presented by and performs at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, until October 2nd. Showtimes are June 18th, 26th, July 15th. 30th, August 7th, 13th, 19th, 28th, September 4th, 9th, 17th, and 25th at 7:30 PM, and July 9th, 24th, and October 2nd at 3:30 PM.

For tickets and further information, call (310) 455-3723 or online at http://www.theatricum.com

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JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINATION (Universal) picks up some four years after the wreckage of Isla Nublar where the dinosaurs are becoming part of the natural landscape, almost to a point where they will dominate if allowed. Already, some of the species are through the natural process of balance with the distraction of food crops and other forms of vegetation. Adding to this crisis, there are rough teams of poachers out there attempting to snag some of the more desirable creatures for their own gain. Along with this, there are the teams that are working in tandem to curtail these prehistoric beings to how they should be within the world, from the efforts of Jurassic experts Owen Grady and Claire Dearing (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) to the large and perhaps evil corporation wanting to find Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) to Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant (Laura Dern and Sam Neill) who are active to preserve these creatures for further study. (Allan is still digging for fossils of the original tribe of dinos with the new generation in existence.) From here, it’s the battle of “Man vs. Beast” as “.. whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures in a new era…”

This fifth entry to Universal’s Jurassic Park franchise plays within the same dominance to the previous four entries. It’s loaded with some drama, but there are more hang-on-tight action sequences and a lot of special effects that were created by perhaps the hardest working production team as witnessed by this reviewer, along with those in their theater seats.

The screenplay by Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow from a story by Derek Connolly & Trevorrow and based upon characters extracted from Michael Crichton’s novel seems to play in the same method to a Summertime action film released in the 1990’s and 2000’s, long before the super heroes took over this genre. Then again, the super heroes came from comic book origins, and so does this film. (It plays like a comic book in case one didn’t notice!) There are a few dramatic spots set within this movie, but those dramatic scenes only exist to bridge the action and excitement between human beings (real ones) and those creatures from the “B.C” era. (Those “B.C”s are really “CGI”s to use a massive amount of initials to describe them all!)

This is also a movie that doesn’t have a lot of well known names to carry this title through. Most of the players in this feature are not known to play leads, but can stand alone on their own screen merits. (Bryce Dallas Howard and Laura Dern are the daughters of Ron Howard and Bruce Dern.) Scientist Dr. Henry Wu as played by B.D. Wong is a bigger name appearing on stage and on TV screens than in movies. And Jeff Goldbloom returns as Ian Malcom who graced the original Jurassic Park feature nearly thirty years before, showing that there are strong links to its original.

And speaking of links, Michael Giacchio provides the music score that made the first entry memorable in its own right. Within the score, one can still hear musical links connected to JP’s theme song (so to speak), letting the viewers know where this entry has first come from.

There are other players in this flick that are worth noting, such as Mamoudou Athie as Ramsay Cole, DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts, Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood, etc. But the real stars here are the dinos and related beasts from another time. Thanks to the team of special effects creators (too many of them to list here), they are the ones that stand front and center, doing their thing under Colin Trevorrow’s film direction.

Will this movie be another hit as seen in real theaters compared to home versions of a movie house? Perhaps. It’s a fun movie for what it is as long as it’s not taken too seriously. It’s also a strong point for Universal as their intellectual properties (IPs for short) are based upon those that they created (“Fast and the Furious”) rather than from sources taken from comic books, toys, and even practical products found on within retail commerce. It will sell a lot of popcorn in addition to soda pop, nachos and cheese, and in the case of a local AMC Theater located in this writer’s neck of the woods, full plate dinners and alcohol. But even without the snacks and beverages, this movie is worth one’s time and price of admission. And expect another entry to the JP/JW franchise as soon as it comes to a theater and video screen soon!

Jurassic World Dominion is rated Rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of action, some violence and language” as dictated by the MPA. Now playing in real theaters nationwide.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE DIME OR QUARTER IN THE POCKET

Once upon a time, let’s say thirty years ago or longer, parents and/or caretakers of kids aged before they because legal aged adults (seventeen or so and under, but this article will focus on kids ages eight through fourteen i.e. “tweeners”) would make sure their safeguards were over basic safety issues.

These kids were given a dime, and later on thanks to inflation, a quarter to be used for an emergency phone call. Their instructions were in general, to call home or the work number of the parent(s) in case the need desired it. Most of these so-called “emergencies” consisted of getting a last minute ride to somewhere, informing the parent that they were not coming home from school right away, or some other reason that was more of a domestic nature. It was very unlikely that the kid was in some form of danger. It was a call for basic peace of mind.

That dime/quarter was to be used for a public pay phone where the call could be made from. If the kid wanted to check in and has access to a landline they can use for “free”, then the coin wasn’t necessary. But many times, a kid would have that coin inside of a pocket, purse, wallet, or where a kid could keep a coin on their person for that needed call.

This need for that emergency phone call was enhanced in the 1980’s. This was the time where there was a fear of parents for a possible (and rather unlikely) child abduction. There were reports of such child abductions that were going around in the existing media at the time. Of course, these stories were rather isolated in nature, and most, if not all, abduction were done of a person that the kid knew personally. (A family member or somebody of that capacity). But the focus is to have that coin on hand for that “just in case” phone call.

That was then. When cell phones started to enter the domestic landscape at the turn of the 21st century, many of these same caretakers were able to get additional phones for their kids through their service provider. Unlike the caretaker’s phone device that was more for an adult type usage, the kids got a basic phone that can send calls and receive calls. Their use was more limited for use in terms of the phone plans being offered, and that extra phone would be tied to the caretaker’s account. But not all kids would have that phone for that just in care phone usages due to the expense. But for those that could afford it, then that phone would be available to keep in touch.

When smartphones became more accessible a few years later, kids started to get their own smart phone as provided by the caregivers. And since kids want the latest and greatest type of phone and the fact that phone carriers were offering family plans where multiple phone would be tied to the same account, these kids would not only have their own phone, but could do nearly anything and everything with their devices from sending and receiving text messages, taking photos and videos to create and view, playing phone and video games, and of course, to send and receive phone calls to anyone and everyone–caretakers included in that mix by default.

Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey asking parents and caretakers of kids aged twelve and younger on their kid’s phones and their habits with such phones.

Perhaps the most obvious reason why these parents gave smart phones to their kids was to contact them and vice versa. (78% and 73% respectfully). Other reasons given was for the kid’s entertainment, for doing their homework, and because their friends have them.

And what do these kids actually use their phone for? According to the results, online video programs came as the top reason at 64% tying in with watching video content. Playing games came in next at 43%, and reading was next at 34%.

If you want to see the Pew survey report yourself, check out the link below https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2020/07/28/childrens-engagement-with-digital-devices-screen-time/?utm_content=null&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Monday%20Email&utm_term=4ABCD#:~:text=Majorities%20of%20parents%20of%20children,child%20has%20their%20own%20smartphone

It’s really no surprise that kids as young as age eight are getting their own phones. Common Sense Media did their own findings to state that 31% of those aged eight has phones for their own use. (in 2015, only 11% had phones of that age.) Today, those kids are now fourteen and 91% still have phones! (Six years ago, 59% had phones!) Those kids are now “young adults” where 98% have phones. It really isn’t known why those lowly 2% are phone free. This is either by choice or through circumstance.

But these “Gen Zers”-those born after 1995 are in their time of life where the internet and its related devices have always been around. They insist that a phone and a good wifi connection is a right and is expected to be accessible, just like water, air, and other notions that make up domestic living.

When yours truly was of those ages in the second half of the 20th century, television was always around. I could never understand why people a lot older than I spoke about not having TV and radio as the basic choice of home entertainment. (There was recorded music as well, but I had that within reach with my record collection that spun around at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM.) But radio was around long before TV, and I used radio to listen to my top-40 charted music. I just wasn’t lucky enough to hear Fibber McGee and Molly or The Great Gildersleeve each week as they did back in the “good old days”!

But getting back to phones and its youthful audience. Although kids do have traditional TV and most of them engage with it, they also watch the same content, if not additional, through their phones. And since these kids, and for the most part, many adults have their life and times revolved around these devices that are now a part of living.

These comments are to praise the results that everyone can become connected with for good reasons and otherwise! What makes these reasons not so good is from use and abuse that people of many ages follow. It was and is never such a good idea to be out in public gawking into a phone while near heavy traffic. There have been reports in many urban centers where people were hit by cars as they crossed the street while engaged with their phone. Many people use their phone while driving, sometimes holding their phone while behind the wheel. Some communities and areas forbid holding a phone while driving, let alone texting somebody while operating a moving vehicle. Sometimes one has to be on a phone while getting from one place to another. But common sense is always encouraged.

But being the fact that the cat has long been out of the bag, kids and phones will be commonplace, thanks to the caregivers that have a phone over. Before long, don’t be too surprised that the family pet will have a phone of their own. And don’t laugh folks. It’s already happened! Just whip out that phone, connected to YouTube, Tic-Toc, or where one receives their video content and see for yourself! (And don’t say we didn’t warn you!!)

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The Victory Theater of Burbank hosts the world premier of Richard Willett’s A TERMINAL EVENT, a story of a man undergoing a medical condition and the woman at his doctor’s office that aids him in receiving his “cure” as well adding toward their emotional state of being.

Laura Coover plays Kate Milbrandt, a receptionist at the clinic of Dr. Martin Crossley (Tom Ormeny, alternating with John Idakitis), a promising physician within the treatment of cancer. Kate is also an actress that attempts to audition for a part in some production, be it for a stage work, a television program, or even a TV commercial. While at the clinic, she meets Desmond Forrester (Marshall McCabe), an account executive at a major advertising agency. He arrived at the clinic since he is going through his treatments for his stage of cancer. Undertaking traditional medication for his treatment, he insists to Kate that he is prescribed alternative medication. He should know as he handles pharma accounts for some treatments that state within their ads all of the side effects to these medications. Kate follows this “mad man” through his knowledge in spite of what Dr. Crossley follows within his practice. What begins as a treatment between doctor’s advice and its client states something that can be cured and otherwise!

This new play written by Richard Willett had its origins in his creation during the height of The Pandemic. Through the ups and downs of what was going on at the time, he composed this play that can be noted as a blend of radiant drama with sprinkles of glowing humor, as well as clinging hints of romantic interludes between Kate and Desmond. It’s not within the same stance as a classic “rom-com”. There are episodes of comic flair, but far from being a so-called “laff riot”. The dramatic edge’s essence is more toward a lighter result. The drama itself isn’t heavy, but still possesses an aura of an element of something serious in nature.

As to this stage production as presented by The Victory Theater, the cast of four players that also includes Randi Lynne Weidman as Roberta Kingsley, another patient of Dr. Crossley, perform their roles as expected. Tom Ormeny/John Idakitis as Dr. Crossley is the traditional doctor that does his treatments the way it should be executed. Laura Coover as Kate is the actress whose real job is at the clinic that views more drama for real than what‘s found inside of a script. Marshall McCabe as Desmond learns about medical treatment not through experience, but by way of TV doctors from not so long ago, but a bit too far into the past that Kate could relate to.

Maria Gobetti directs the play and its cast into a stage work that holds plenty of appeal, and shows how such treatment can be treated (of course) without being too preachy without the laundry list of side effects and other cautions to current medications.

A TERMINAL EVENT is the Victory Theater’s first full scale production presented in some three years. And this thirty six month (give or take) waiting period was worth its time as this show is well liked and holds appeal. It stands as a careful fusion of a light drama or a serious comedy. Whatever the case, it’s far from being a terminal event as the title may suggest. It’s just a play that offers the hope one can receive as well as its rewards that follow.

A TERMINAL EVENT, presented by and performs at The Victory Theater, 3326 West Victory Blvd. (off Hollywood Way), Burbank, until July 10th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. Current standards for Covid prevention will be in effect and the wearing of face masks will be required.

For ticket reservations and for further information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org

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

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Normally, we don’t necessarily discuss what has been going on during the nation (and perhaps the world) within these pages as we normally speak upon elements that fit within the scope of this news service.

However, we do wish to bring an event (or actually, events) that did occur within the past two weeks.

We have received a collection of emails from our readers on why we have not addressed the events of recent days that involved the shooting of multiple individuals, including the latest episode that involved a number of those that were under adult age.

First and foremost, the reason on why we made no commentary on these events isn’t because that we don’t care or hold no interest. It’s just the fact that we just write about the media at large. And although the events in question are (social) media oriented, enough to where it’s quite possible to stream video imagery of the said event “live” to anyone that desires to look at it, these events are more related to hard news. We do make commentary on hard news events, just it’s associated in what we do write about.

So take it from us. We are sad, confused, and downright scared of what went on. We can state that we offer our thoughts and prayers. Sadly, that term “thought and prayers” has turned into a tired cliche, meaning that there is no longer a deep emotion to that phrase, although the intentions still possess substance.

A few years ago, Theater 40 of Beverly Hills presented a stage play that speaks out for the tragic event that took place in southwest Texas, a play called 26 Pebbles that spoke about the most profound school shooting that ever happened in the USA…so far! We are going to reprint that review as originally presented that will stand as a reminder of sorts that such events that did take place. We feel that the review will still stand as our statement to what’s going on…

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents as their second entry to their 2018-19 season, Eric Ulloa’s 26 PEBBLES, a melodrama about a group of townsfolk who react and speak upon a tragedy that occurred in their humble community  

The town itself is Newton, Connecticut where in December of 2012, a lone gunman carrying a powerful firearm entered an elementary school and began shooting at random where 20 children and six staff members were killed. The play opened about six or so months after the event. A series of local citizens and other people speak about what had occurred, the reaction to this episode, and what the future may bring. The characters themselves range from community citizens, parents of those at the school, clergy, and others based nearby and of longer distance that show concern and curiosity toward the collection of events, and give out their feelings. These feelings are not within the notion of broad opinions on what should be disallowed or pointing their fingers to who and/or what was at fault. They express themselves with many of the same human emotions that are of and for the good, from the psyche of hope, bonding, family spirit, and perhaps the most important aspect of all, love.

This single act play was compiled by playwright Eric Ulloa based upon interviews and notations he collected from the local citizens of Newtown and nearby Sandy Hook, Connecticut where they express themselves of how their lives and emotions were shaped by what occurred. A team of six performers, consisting of as noted by their alphabetical order, Roslyn Cohn, Jean Kauffman, Jennifer Laks, Joe Lorenzo, Michele Schultz, and George Villas, play the various characters where they speak upon the aspects of how their town became the center of attention. The play doesn’t form a linear pattern of dialogue per se, but consists of shorter monologues that keeps its continuity toward the before, during, and after the facts. It avoids taking sides of why it did occur and the notions behind it all. It takes heart to mention the list of victims while the gunman’s name is never disclosed! Its real emphasis is to stay emotionally strong and to recall that love is the real grace saving.

Along with the performing troupe are the people who made this production a visual treat. Theatre 40’s residential set designer Jeff G. Rack creates a stage space that consists of a pair of tall vertical panels on each stage side with an equally tall vertical panel displaying a facade of blackboard surface material at center stage. Furnishings consist of a stock of brightly colored blocks that serve as a virtual set that move along with the townsfolk when stating their verbal pieces. Gabrieal Griego creates the projection of still and moving imagery illustrating the humble town these citizens call home. And Joseph “Sloe” Slawinski provides the sound design and original music score that sets the moods.

A debate may bring the conviction if 26 PEBBLES holds a happy ending? It actually does, but not in the traditional sense. Its content comes from the strong belief of compassion and hope that one will arise, and to know that the settlement of love will conquer all. As to the aspect of “never again”, that has still yet to be proven. Whatever the case, this play will make one think, and perhaps think twice. This showcase is indeed highly recommended.

Vol. 23-No. 39-Week of September 24th, 2018

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TOP GUN MAVERICK (Paramount) stars Tom Cruise as Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who had been one of the Navy’s top fighter pilots serving in that capacity for over thirty years. But he was in form from another era. Now considered as a relic, the Navy brass instructed by Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson (John Hamm) tells him that he won’t be testing out the new jets as part of the Navy’s Topgun team, but will serve as instructor to a new generation of trainees consisting of Lt. Natasha “Phoenix” Trace (Monica Barbaro), Lt. Robert “Bob” Floyd (Lewis Pullman), Lt. Ruben “Payback” Fitch (Jay Ellis), Lt. Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia, Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell), Lt. Neil “Omaha” Vikander (Jack Schumacher), Lt. Billy “Fritz” Avalone, Lt. Callie “Halo” Bassett (Kara Wang), Lt. Javy “Coyote” Machado (Greg Tarzan Davis), Lt. Brigham “Harvard” Lennox, Lt. Logan “Yale” Lee (Raymond Lee), and Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who served as a companion of Maverick from those glory days from decades before. Based upon the skills that Maverick acquired, he faces the challenges and perhaps the ghosts and images that he sees in Rooster, and how he trains this group that’s considered as the “best of the best”, though Maverick latches on in being a seasoned elite fighter pilot.

This long awaited sequel to the 1986 release of Top Gun is an ideal setting for Tom Cruise, who still has his charm, grace, on screen sexiness that made him a name in movies, especially in the action/adventure category that doesn’t involve comic book superheroes. In fact, this entire movie does play as a comic book loaded with characters that aren’t necessarily believable, but as just as gung-ho to what they can do and how they stand within the naval fleet, the way that a comic book should depict them. After all, they aren’t just “gobs” swabbing the deck, yet they do play with the jets and all of the toys related to flying high as if they were indeed toys.

The screenplay written by Ehran Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie with a story by Peter Craig and Justin Mark, based upon the characters originally created by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr. show how this old versus new setting fits into the Naval program. It’s loaded with lots of great photographic stunts as provided by Claudio Maranda’s cinematography, and features a music soundtrack that would be considered as “classic rock”, including the use of a snippet of Glen Frey’s Danger Zone from the original TG release. It does feature new music by Lady Gaga performing Hold My Hand & Onerepublic with I Ain’t Worried, so the songs aren’t totally “retro”. The musical score is a reminder that fans of the ’86 release could relate to the tunes once heard on record albums or on Album Oriented Rock (AOR) FM radio stations more than to an audience that were to hear those same tunes via a streaming service on their smartphones. And for the record (no pun intended), Lorne Balfe, Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, and Hans Zimmer create the musical score played during the action and non-action scenes that adds with the pacing this pic provides.

Another notable entry in this feature is Val Kilmer as Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who Maverick once flew with during those early days. He holds a higher ranking as Maverick, but Tom Cruise as Maverick is the real star here, and his presence makes this movie worthwhile since Val Kilmer is the only other person (and character) that appeared in the original release.

This movie directed by Joseph Kosinski has been in the making to be seen on the big screen for a number of years. Its first release date was scheduled for July 12th, 2019. Paramount moved the date nearly a year later to June 26th, 2020. Thanks to the pandemic that shut down movie theaters around the nation and the globe, the new date was pushed for December 23rd of 2020 with the anticipation that movie theaters would be open by then. The pandemic didn’t go away and neither did open movie theaters, so the revised date was now July 2nd of ’21. Then a new date was set for November 19th of ’21. So after a number of delays, May 27th of ’22 finally saw this film hitting big movie screens. Was it worth the wait? This reviewer believes so as it’s a very entertaining movie just as long as it’s not taken too seriously. Then again, when did a superhero movie meet the same serious factor as let’s say a drama? Then again, dramas belong on some streaming platform!

PS…This title was dedicated to the late Tony Scott, director of the first Top Gun that was planning to become involved in its new follow up, but passed on shortly after this sequel was within its development.

TOP GUN MAVERICK is rated “PG-13” for its action sequences and mild cussing. Now playing in multiplexes nationwide.

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

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

LOOKING IN A MIRROR FROM A MIRROR

The above headline will serve as a metaphor to what this article will be “speaking” about. And when what we do mean as to “speaking”, it just describes the content of the article as a written piece, rather than something verbally transcribed from a podcast that can be found somewhere in the meta universe.

Back in the early “aughts”, I wrote a column called Richer By Far that appeared within the pages of The Epicenter, the official newsletter for the Los Angeles chapter of the Catholic Alumni Club, a social group for those that were unmarried and desired to subscribe towards the Catholic faith. I also served in an unofficial capacity, the club’s archivist.

One thing I used to do was to go through the pages of the LACAC’s newsletters of the past that were created for its members. The newsletters consisted of bound volumes from 1954 to the present time, and consisted of monthly listings of club activities and related events. It also sported a few other articles and notes that were created and served of interest to its members.

I came across one specific article from these back issues that I found to be rather amusing. So I wrote about it for my column that appeared in the May, 2001 edition of The Epicenter….

A survey was once conducted with the men of the LACAC asking the question, “Are the women in the LACAC too independent?”. Here are some of their responses…

“…Heck no! If they were, maybe more of them would wind up dependents!”

“You’re darn right! They’re all rich and sour!”

“No, never! Too many square male members!”

“No, not too much! We much appreciate independence! There will be at times when we (if we ever get married), will be glad they are so!

“Independence is regarded as a quality in a gal by some of us men. It is an expression of a girl’s individuality and man, let’s keep it alive!”

It’s interesting to note some of the replies from these men. It’s also interesting to note that this survey was conducted back in 1956!!

Independence is one of the most treasured possessions that a human being can have. Knowing that one is free to do whatever one wants (within reason, of course) is a blessing. While on the same note, being independent isn’t necessarily the same as keeping to one’s self off of the time. It has been proven that people need each other for a lot of reasons; friendship, guidance, and yes, to have somebody to love and cherish!

It’s the same element that makes groups (such as the LACAC for instance), to be solid. It takes a number of people to bond together offering others some of these same traits, while allowing each other to keep and maintain their independence!

Yours truly had recently heard a number of gripes from some fellow members stating that they would rather go out on their own than to stay and give this club a fair chance! If they wish to break out on their own, so be it! If we wish to keep together, then we must make a point to offer those other members out there (independent by default) to become part of the club. It doesn’t take any effort, if any effort at all! Just a bit of motivation and devotion. It’s sort of like an old “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” bit.

So how independent are the women in the LACAC in the early 21st century? Well, let’s put it this way, so to quote another person who responded back in ‘56, “You can’t get along with them, but you can’t get along without them!”

..And the more things change, the more things stay the same! (That’s my quote!!)

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse of Sierra Madre officially opens their 2022 season with Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES, a story about a legionary Chinese American family based in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and how a younger member of this clan is witnessing how much is changing while remaining the same.

Harmony Zhang is Lauren Yee. Her Father Larry Lee (Dennis Dun) is the current (and elder) generation that is part of the Yee Fung Toy Family Association. This association was created around the time of the gold rush of 1849 when the Chinese immigrated to America to see their fortune and to help build the transcontinental railroad linking the east coast states to the west into the newly inducted union state of California. Since its origin, it has been a club for the men folk (and only for the men) where they arrange to assist its members for financial purposes and to keep their family name strong, in addition to holding on to their tightly knit Chinese heritage. Laura’s father is more or less a traditionalist and built his status through hard laborious work. Laura is a college graduate and desires to build on a playwriting career rather than creating a family as her father expects her to do. The family association is based in Chinatown where its entrance is a red door decked out in a conventional facade. One day, Larry goes missing. There’s no four play suspected, but Lauren must find him still. As she starts out, she stumbles upon many of the elements of her heritage through a series of unique scenarios and episodes that cross between historical ancestry that goes back through the centuries, and to the Chinatown of the postmodern era where traditions remain for the pleasure of those non Chinese. Lauren finally becomes aware of where the family came from and to honor her father’s diligence connected to the cultural bonds between the then and the now.

Playwright Lauren Yee created this piece as a semi-autobiographical tale of her own domestic life connected to her father who served as the current “king” of the family name and legacy. Lauren’s journey is a selection of crossover blends that range from becoming humorous, tragic, joyous, sorrowful (not much of that emotion), and how change can be good for one’s own soul while keeping connected to one’s lasting roots. Her journey takes a route of a surreal nature as Chinese culture can be viewed as such if one landscapes it using western standards and practices as its base. Tim Dang, who was also involved with Los Angeles’ own East-West Players Asian-based theater company, directed this program with the utmost guidance and care where its focus is Chinese humanities and culture adding respect along with respected satire. There are no stereotypical elements depicted, yet some of the characters that Lauren encounters through the upward and down sloped journeys as performed by Christopher Chen, Tom Dang, and Miley Yamamoro can be spotted as comical, yet never cartoonish.

With the cast of players on stage are the sets and visuals that go along with everything. Yi-Chien Lee’s set and projection design falls into the traditional look and feel, along with Jojo Siu’s costuming. (Traditional and contemporary.) It even has some choreography as created by Tom Tsai that would fit within a musical production. Although there are musical cues added through Dennis Yen’s sound design, this program isn’t a musical per se. It’s just an honest play that speaks for the tradition that’s been around far longer than San Francisco, California, and anything connected with North American values.

The Chinese as well as the Asia based cultures have been gripping a number of blows over recent times. Those were from a sense of dislike of its people as a whole, and being taken the blame of the rise of COVID and the aftermath. But a play as this one shows that this culture may not be fully understood by those that are from an Anglo-Saxon and European background heritage. The production’s focus is not to preach the culture, but to serve as a welcomed bridge of how its legacy is detailed with respect and will remain through the many ages. Perhaps it may even teach some valuable lessons to this all in the name of goodwill with a bit of fun added for good measure. So if one’s surname is Lee, Chang, Smith, or Sachowitz, this is a program that is heartwarming and amusing. That’s the secret sweet and sour sauce to this show that glows as bright as the orange colored tone that same sauce is bathed in.

KING OF THE YEES, is presented by and performs at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, until June 12th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8;00 PM, with Saturday and Sunday matinee performances at 2:30 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at https://www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

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

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!

YOU TUBE WHERE..?

That was the opening subject line for an email message received not so long ago from somebody who wanted to know where our presence is for submitting new content on the get-go place in the “Meta Universe” a.k.a. “Cyberspace” to view, post, and share moving imagery.

That place is of course known as YouTube that’s been part of the media landscape since 2005, now in its eighteenth year of existence.

To give you a brief rundown of what we are speaking about. This person only identified as “Dave” wanted to know if we place original content  on YouTube in order to express an idea on what’s going on in the world we exist in.

The email was quick and to the point as stated: “When are you guys going to post new videos on YouTube? -Dave” sent from an email as a Gmail account?

We will get down to the point of Dave’s question in the same fashion that Dave asked us. And out answer is “When we have something new to post”. That’s our answer!

As some of your readers are aware, we have a vast collection of video imagery within our archives. Most of this imagery exists on videotape. Some are on film stock, and even a selection exists as video files of various formats. (The video file collection was obtained as video files, even though some of the material came from other stock.) And from that collection, only five percent of the material was created by me. Another 10% came from amateur sources in the form of home movies and home videos. This means that the remaining 85% was created by somebody else. That bulk of material we don’t have the rights for, meaning that it belongs to somebody else.

As a preservationist, I sit on the very narrow fence with it comes to make my collection available to those that desire to view it and appreciate its value. At the same time, I have to respect the outside courses that might have the rights to the imagery. This is now only because I pay respect to those creators that made the imagery possible, or I don’t want to go through the hassle of that source (or its executors) to have be a “ceased and desist” notice.

First and foremost, I am not an attorney that deals with the issues of copyrights and the connections that go along with it. And I do take note of the difference between what’s known as “fair use” and outright plagiarism. However, those issues are not the only reason why I don’t place anything in my collection that I didn’t have anything to do with its creation. Maybe the reason why I don’t place anything down to including new materials is this–enough to answer as its own paragraph.

I don’t have the time and effort to post older content, as well as to create anything new.

In this day and age, anyone can (and has) posted moving imagery up for anyone to see. Kids as young as seven years old (so they claim they are that age), have used their phone device to place something on TickTok and its many other applications. Those that work with the kid(s) assist in the uploading of the content, and depending on what the content is, they can receive as many as a million views. (Don’t laugh folks! It has happened!) Some even become “influences” which in turn make them celebrities in their own right.

As one suspects, this kind of fame (real or otherwise) belongs to those of youth, generally of the “Gen Z” demographic. (“Gen Z” refers to those born from 1996 to the present.) Some of the Millenniums, born between 1980-1996, also rule, but are aware that there is a new breed attempting to take over. Those that are middle aged, the “Gen X” crowd (born between 1965-1979) who were the demographic that was introduced to the internet as we know it, were accustomed to home video, and many of these folks actually created short video content that exist on VHS, S-VHS, 8mm/Hi8mm, and even on DV. This material didn’t have a creative circulation, only limited to those of the creator’s personal circle, but were the forerunners to original YouTube content.

As for the generation that came before the Gen Xers, the ever lovin’ Baby Boomers? They were the first to become aware of creating moving imagery, either on videotape -assuming that they had access to a camera and a portable tape deck recorder to capture it all), or on Super 8mm film.

The latter format (Super 8mm) was a bit tricky to capture. Usually, one had only three minutes tops to film something. And one always was in a guessing game to discover if whatever was shot on film actually came out OK as there was no way to view the content after it was shot! And if one used 8mm, one can only shoot about ninety seconds of uninterrupted material before the roll as used up, had to be removed from the camera (and to be careful not to expose the roll in direct light), reload the camera, and to continue for another ninety second before the roll was completed. If one was shooting various shots without any real continuity, that roll flip was just an issue to deal with. But if one was shooting a “feature” then one had to be careful not to shoot a scene that should not be broken up!

But videotape did away with such an issue, and many kids (or at least those that were “kids” from 1978 onward) were able to create this form of content. But unless one came from a household that was willing to shell out over $1000 and up for such equipment, then the young folks were real video pioneers to create video.

Of course, editing the video was rather tough. There were ways to do this from editing “in the camera” (shooting a scene, pausing the tape, and releasing the pause button for the next scene shot in real time), something that was mostly done for fun and personal amusement. In short, before there was any method of posting their content to a mass audience outside of their family and friends, these young folks were not looking for fame, although if they did receive it, they would accept what fame came across their way.

Bet getting back to the entire issue on why we don’t place anything on social media. We will consider such when the need calls for it. As if this moment, or the moment as this article is written, there is no cause. But keep in mind folks then that time arrives, you’ll be the first (or second) to know all about it. Just stay tuned to this news service for the updated information and details!

-See you then!

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Theater 40 of Beverly Hills closes their 2021-22 season with THE PLAY’S THE THING, a comedy written by Ferenc Molnar and adapted by P.G. Woodhouse is about a playwright who comes up with an idea to save the engagement between his nephew and an actress after the nephew overhears a flirty conversation between his fiancé and an unsavory actor.

The setting is a majestic castle set upon the Italian Riviera in the roaring 1920’s. Sandor Turai (Daniel Leslie), an author of a number of theater plays, undergoes a scheme to rescue an engagement between his nephew Albert Adam (Eric Keitel) and an actress named Idona Szabo (Kristin Towers Rowles) where the young Albert overhears a conversation that’s rather flirty in nature between Idona and her one time lover Almady (Todd Andrew Ball), whose character is on the annoying side. From there, Sandor uses his notable insights to save his nephew and future niece-in-law from a romantic disaster. From there, one element leads toward another with applying sophisticated charisma and wit within its process.

This play was first created by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar in 1924. British playwright Pelham Grenville (“P.G.”) Woodhouse adapted it, writing it in english two year later. This makes this play as a piece of the classic mode set during the era of the early 20th Century known as the time “between the wars” (“The Great War” and “World War II”) where British charm and grace was at its peak. And the way that this play was created, it shows that same charm and grace with a good dose of wit added as its spice. In the Theater 40 production, the lead characters express those notions as well. The elder men are donned in tuxes and smart suits, while the women are dressed in their finest, coming close to being the grand dames that they are as part of the theater scene. (Albert, the youthful one, is just as snappily dressed as all of the rest!) The play itself is very talky where its humor has to be heard with careful ears to really be appreciated. There’s nothing that is “laugh out loud” present, since Woodhouse’s writing shows all of the impressions of smart set canniness.  After all, he was the playwright that created the butler Jeeves who is more of a leading man rather than a part of the domestic help.

These aspects from this between-the-wars phase is what makes this play amusing and as its saving grace. The entire cast in this Theater 40 production performs their roles within those methods where being avant-garde would become the choice way for presentation. Melanie MacQueen directs this program using those same principles adding to its jollification. Along with the visuals to go along with everything else, most notably Michele Young’s costume design, and Jeff G. Rack’s set of furnishings and backdrops that could be found in European based castles, it all adds up to the section that caters toward the smart set of yore.

Also appearing is Michael Robb as Mansky, and Jeffrey Winner as Johann Dwornitschek, the butler.

If one is seeking a British comedy where everyone is running in and out of doors being scantily clad mistaking somebody as someone else, this isn’t the play to find those options. This is a stage performance that is good for the character with subtle humor as its zest. That is why this production is called its title. It’s indeed “the thing” this play is meant to stand by!

THE PLAY’S THE THING, 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 June 12th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights @ 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.    

Theater 40 has announced its schedule of plays for the 2022-23 season. Opening on July 21st is David Ives’ The Metromaniacs, followed by Norm Foster’s A Clean Brush opening on September 22nd. On November 17th, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? is presented written by Todd Keiedler adapted from William Rose’s screenplay. On January 19th, ’23 , Katie Forgette’s Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help opens, followed by Terrance McNally’s It’s Only A Play on March 23rd. And ending for that season will be Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolution’s Reign of Terror on May 18th, ’23.

For ticket reservations for The Play’s The Thing, as well as details for Theater 40’s 22-23 season, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org      

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Tanya Thomas stars in NATURALLY TAN, a solo performance currently performing at the ARTSpace Black Box Theatre in Simi Valley, is about her personal journey in becoming accepted for her ethnic background from her own resident land as well as the land that she adapted as her own.

In this performance, Tanya tells her tale of becoming an actress and performer starting out in her native land of Singapore, located on the southern tip of Malaysia. In this nation, there is an “invisible” ruling where if one holds a lighter complexion within their skin tone, that person will experience more opportunities within their domain, from career choice to overall acceptance. This is also a rule existing in many other countries within Asia. Tanya expresses her journey as told through various characters ranging from a drag queen to an eight year old that note these viewpoints. Of course, since her goal does deal in performing, she relocated to southern California where this rule also tends to apply. She is fortunate that she is in an area of America where the Asian population is rather large, even in recent times where the Asian acceptance has hit a virtual road block. But with any form of being a “person of color” , there are some levels to climb. And she succeeds within this right of passage as told by Tanya and her many alter egos.

This is a program, written and performed by the artist that is based upon her actual experiences, although there is a bit of creative license added to her true appeal story. Tanya reaches out in her honesty on how one must confine to a source that feels that being “whiter” is not only the accepted choice, but in some methods, the only choice. But she accepts this reasoning as she is not alone in these standings. But in the aftermath, Tanya is the sole person on stage! With the assistance of a visual projected background as created by the team of Kenny Johnston as video designer and Serina Morris as graphic designer. Tanya proves to her audience that she holds the complexion of being the tan she has and holds.

Jessica Lynn Johnson, a person well known for developing solo performances from other talented presenters that have a personal epic to share on a stage set, directed this presentation that follows the “sell line” for this show to its “T”; It’s a one woman’s cross cultural path to self-worth.

And that self worth is witnessed within Tanya’s performance. Although the show itself clocks in at about ninety minutes or so, it’s in reality, a saga that was thirty some years in the making! Tanya wraps things up quite nicely. And for the record, Tanya’s skin tone is tan by nature and thus, Naturally Tan!

NATURALLY TAN, presented by and performs at the ARTSpace Black Box Theatre, 2856 School Street, Simi Valley, until May 28th. Showtimes are Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM.

Tickets may be obtained at the door, or through VENMO @Jan-Glasband. More details can also be found through the website https://tanyathomas.com/artspace

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

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2022 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!