HOLIDAY ANTICS-REVISED

It’s been a tradition through the annals of retails where folks are doing their best to get their shopping done for the season known as “The Holidays”, the period that runs until the end of the calendar year that involves the exchanging of gifts and related items.

Since last summer(!), retailers both as physical outlets as well as those existing in cyberspace have been doing their best (or worst) in getting folks to buy their goods for this season. Some of these outlets have been toting “Black Friday” sales as early as the Labor Day weekend. And this recent Black Friday–the day after Thanksgiving, found some uptick to the traffic that came in and out of the stores. But it wasn’t the mad scramble day that it once was long before shopping online became trendy, if not the norm!

However, there have been some folks that completed their shopping traits for the year. These aspects are not to be confused with the people that completed their shopping from the previous season. This is saluting those that completed their shopping for this time of year!

To give one an example (if one really needed an example), we know of one person who will call “Olif”. Now, Olif asked those on its list on what everyone had a mild interest in getting. Once Olif received a tally from the people it knew, then Olif went shopping online and/or through the stores it visited on a regular basis. Olif would grab the items through these means. Then Olif would label each of the goods with the name(s) of the people that the gift would go to. Those same goods were then stored in a container placed in a secure location where Olif could get access to. As soon as the time arrived, Olif would unpack the goods from the container, wrap them up in some kind of decorative matter using wrapping paper, ribbons, and perhaps a fancy container itself.

And before long, Olif would give those on its list the items with a cherry “Happy Holidays” greeting attached, and that would be done and over with! Olif usually finished its shopping trips around July–August at the very latest. So for the next four or so months, the items would remain until the big gift giving day arrived.

Before this writer continues, you readers may have noticed why I didn’t identify Olif’s gender. This was to protect Olif’s privacy since we did not secure permission from Olif on what it does each year. You may say that for this time, Olif is what’s known as “Non Binary”. Olif could be a he, or could be a she. Whatever the case, Olif as far as we are concerned is best known as an “it”. Granted, this may not be the proper term to call somebody that ain’t a he and/or she. So don’t be offended that we don’t call Olif for what that is. Besides, chances are that you are not on Olif’s gift giving list. If you are, then we apologize. If you are not, then don’t worry about this and just move on!

We are pleased that Olif is on the ball when it comes to things such as getting gifts months before the fact. However, we will state that Olif is a bit compulsive in that it dose compulsive actions throughout its life. Perhaps that is the reason toward the gift giving long before the fact. But we digress.

Perhaps this little episode may influence you the reader in taking a tip from Olif. Then again, you may not even give a hoot in hell! That’s OK though. Olif won’t mind, let alone care! Just as long as the retailers out in shopping center and/or cyberspace land get their sales, what difference does this all make anyway?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre presents their 54th annual production of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a tale about an old grumpy skinflint who realizes about the magic of the season thanks to the aid of a trio of spirits from the past, present, and those shadows yet to come.

You already know the plot! But for those that seek a brief reminder, here it is. In 1840’s London, accountant Ebenezer Scrooge (as portrayed by Guy Noland), doesn’t care much for the Christmas season. He finds all of the mirth and merriment that’s around him as “humbug”. He would rather ignore the holiday than to embrace it. On Christmas eve, after his sole employee Bob Cratchit (Shea Taylor) begs him to have Christmas Day off, Scrooge is visited by a group of spirits, known as the ghost of Christmas Past (Amanda Greig), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Steve Teague), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. (Preston Simpkin) This set of specters, the first two rather friendly and warming, show Scrooge a few faint episodes of his life set for the Christmas season, where he embraced the joy that once existed. The third spirit, resembling a grim reaper, gives him a glimpse of what may happen if the old man doesn’t charge his state of heart and attitude.

This GCT production, a seasonal legacy for this theater group, is always a delight to experience. The costuming by Angela Manke sets the tone to the story and era-a specialty stage trait for this theater as they have always presented period pieces that speak for the period. The Dickens tale itself is cleverly adapted for this stage for a theatre-in-the-round space where every seat is a “good” place to view. It boasts a huge ensemble cast (25 players) that perform the various characters that are part of the Dickens repertory. (Space doesn’t allow this reviewer to list ‘em all, but each one places their own personal mark to this time tested tale!)

The mother-daughter duo of Zoe Bright & Tayah Howard directs this show to its fullest extent, bringing out all of that charm and grace that this presentation shows itself to.

In addition to the players as seen on stage, Paul Reid serves as lighting designer, stage manager, and choreographer. Steven Applegate, a GCT regular known for his transcribed musical direction and arrangements, is on helm for a few musical intrudes, forming this show as a mini musical i.e. a “play with music”. These little intervals set the moods within the scenes depicted, rather than songs added that can break up the action as some other musical shows tend to suffer with.

There are a lot of Christmas Carols out there as stage works, either presented as straight dramas, full blown musicals, and even as parodies. (And all are pleasant for what they are!) Nevertheless, leave it to the GCT to present a holiday tradition that will carry long after Scrooge’s ghosts make their annual appearance. Place that in your cup of tom and jerry and savor the wordiness.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursdays December 12th and 19th, Fridays, December 6th, 13th, and 20th, and Saturdays, December 7th, 14th, and 21st at 7:30 PM, Saturday matinees, perform on December 7th, 14th, and 21st at 2:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons, December 8th, 15th, and 22nd at 1:00 PM. Additional performances take place Tuesdays, December 3rd, 10th, and 24th, and Wednesdays, December 4th and 11th at 10:00 AM, Mondays, December 16th and 23rd at 7:30 PM, Thursdays, December 12th and 19th at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, December 22nd at 5:00 PM,

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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Performing at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood is Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR, a tragedy that speaks of the vicious circle of Brutus as he takes part in a plot led by Cassius to murder the title character in order to prevent him from becoming Rome’s dictator.

Although the original play, first present c.1599 and takes place c.44 BC, the version as appearing on the Hudson Theater stage occurs in an unset time and space, although it could be placed within the era of now in a post modern military based setting.

Leah Zhang appears as Julius Caesar, a military general that was the leader behind the rise of the Roman empire. Nathan Nonhof is Cassius, a senator and general known as a leading motivator in the plot to eliminate Caesar from rule that would occur on March 15th-“the ides of March” that Caesar was warned about. Kaite Brandt is Decius Brutus, one of the leading masterminds of Caesar’s murder plot. Tori Danner performs as Mark Antony, a Triumvar of the Roman Empire and a supporter of Caesar. Julius Hoover appears as Octavius, and Paul Dixon plays Flavius.

Besides the transition of the setting of this classic tragic tale from ancient Rome of the common era of the present, many of the roles are gender reversed. This change of male/female characters do not distract the meaning and mood of the original intentions this work has first brought. In fact, it enhances it out even further, where its characters speak the same lines that The Bard created some 400 plus years before.

Amy Setterlund provides the costuming that consists of many of its leading and secondary characters donning black with a shade of blue that represents those in the Roman political circles, with its senators displayed with a red colored smock-type wear. In its second act as the play develops, the characters are dressed in contemporary military gear in their camouflage fatigues. David Zahcacewski’s set design consists of a set of vertical panels colored a light drab color, along with a few wooden boxes that once held ammo. These floating props and panel settings suggest that there is a military style presence through its visuals.

And speaking of military, many of its performers that appear in this production are actual veterans of the armed forces. Paul Dixon as Flavius served in the Air Force. Christopher Loverro, who appears as Marcus Brutus, fought in the Iraq conflict of recent years. Trevor Helms, one of a trio of performers that are dancers: personas that serve as incidental characters as well as those that appear to introduce a changing scene, was a medic in the Army.

The theater company that is presenting this production, Warriors for Peace, consist of civilian performers working with military veterans that use the arts, especially the works of William Shakespeare, to promote peace, healing, and fosters the principles of global citizenship by bringing veterans of different nations together in the arts–as stated through this theater company’s mission statement.

For those that enjoy a tale of tragic drama only The Bard can conceive, as well as to support those that placed their life on the line in the name of the freedoms of the USA, this production is indeed worth one’s theater presence. It goes to showcase that such dramas only get better through the ages, and the cause of military might is not to harm nor destroy, but to provide a severance of peace, justice, and the not just the American way, but for those that live in a would that respects the for stated points of freedom and justice.

Whatever the circumstance, this stage performance of Julius Caesar is very well executed, and worth its well intended look.

JULIUS CAESAR, presented by Warriors for Peace theatre, and performs at The Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, until December 22nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more details, visit http://www.WFPtheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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

THANKSGIVING REVISED

For those residing in the USA, this week is Thanksgiving week. This is the time where people gather together to socialize, catch up on various things and events that were not posted through social media platforms, and of course, eat like there is no tomorrow!

This season as celebrated in the USA and its territories has been the focused upon within the media for longer that one may realize. In many TV shows and feature films, the depiction of this holiday has been projected between as sweet and charming, to a source of major comic relief–mostly focusing upon the latter!

For many folks, the fiction part tends to reflect upon the reality toward such a gathering. A lot of these same folks tend to use family as a basis for getting together. (“Family” in this case, means people that are related to one another through birth, marriage, or other forms of relations based upon current legal standings!) Many family member do get along, always pleased to see one another in person when such face-to-face meetings are not necessarily possible. Others just tolerate each other, holding some kind of dispute that was never settled in some form of methods. The rest can’t stand one another, latching on to a medium that will never be resolved through reasons only know to one another. These grudges could have lasted for longer that expected from weeks to decades!

But this article isn’t about how family at a Thanksgiving get together tends to duke it out with one another. Those scenes can be viewed in a number of feature films (Home For The Holidays, The Ice House, etc.) as well as isolated episodes found in a number of sitcoms. (Waaay too many titles to list here!) But the whole process of this holiday kicks of the last six weeks of the calendar years where Thanksgiving is one of three holidays (maybe four or five) that occur between later November through January 6th.

Before we continue, this article stresses upon what is commerated within the USA boundaries. In Canada, Thanksgiving Day occurred last October 14th, the same day that that holiday referred to as Columbus Day and/or Indigenous Peoples Day lands on. (Now you know!!)

Anyway, let’s get back to the story. There are many methods to celebrate this time of giving thanks! For a number of seasons, many of the lifestyle magazines that catered toward home making and home keeping would offer tips on staging such a Thanksgiving based gathering through the use of decor, table setting placement, and of course, how to prepare the meal. Titles ranging from Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and Family Circle would have their November issues chock full of pictures and descriptions of how to pull off these stunts. And the November issue of Family Circle will become its last hurrah for Thanksgiving ideas as its parent company, Meredith Corporation, announced that the December Christmas/Holiday edition of FC will be its last as it ends its print run after 87 years!

Thanks to the online world that is known to anyone over the age of two, one can find plenty of those same ideas and suggestions throughout cyberspace. Some of these ideas are traditional, while others ranges from unique to totally off kilter. But this is the early 21st century, so some of those classic and traditional rules don’t necessarly apply!

And even how people gather has taken a change over the recent years. Because of the chance (threat?) of possible family fights and disputes that take place around the dinner table (assuming that there is a dinner table to gather around), many folks have “adapted” family members to meet for Thanksgiving. These people are personal friends that are not necessarily related to one another. They can be friends that are actually pleased to be with one another! These form of holiday gatherings have been dubbed “Frendsgiving” where they mimic a traditional family Thanksgiving session, except those meeting are there by personal choice and suggestion. These same gatherings are also treaded as potlucks, where attendees bring a dish (main and/or side) that are designed to be shared by everyone in attendance. And such Friendsgiving events are popular to the Millennials and Gen-Z aged crowd. Those are folks younger that 40, are not necessarily legally married, and stress their food options in more of a serious and accepted matter. The turkey main dish may not even be a “real” turkey! It could be a vegan-style food. And even the side dishes may cater to certain food-based lifestyles. (Vegan, gluten free, etc.) This way, everyone attending would be satisfied since those same folks are present because they want to be together, rather than being there through circumstance.

Of course, this writer can continue upon other Thanksgiving based traditions, from having the TV device on all that day so those football fans and view three games back-to-back. (Check your local listings for game times and channel!) Or to the notion of folks taking pictures with their phone devices to later post throughout the usual social media platforms for all to view and admire. Whatever the case, Thanksgiving is a time where one should pause to give thanks for those elements that make up part of a domestic life and style.

So here’s to you dear readers! We do wish our thanks to you for all of the events and happenings that occurred since the last time we paused to give our thanks, or “thanx” using a bit of creative license!

PS..we do know about the Black Friday thing. However, Black Friday started last July, when the folks at Amazon offered free shipping day(s)! It may not have been “Black Friday” per se, but it sure placed the biggest invisible retailer “in the black”!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its run at the Antaeus Theatre Company of Glendale is the world premier of Jennifer Maisel’s EIGHT NIGHTS, a drama about one woman’s journey of an existence from her darker past and she moves towards a present state of being, all taking place during a festive seasonal eight day celebration.

The story focuses upon Rebecca Blum. She is a German Jewish woman who becomes a refugee extracted from the tensions in her native homeland during World War II. The story opens during the period of Hanukkah, 1949. Rebecca arrives to a humble apartment located in New York City’s lower east side at age 19 resided by her father Erich (Arye Gross). She was once inside of a death camp run by the Nazis, yet she survived. Her siblings and mother were not as lucky. The story moves forward through a number of decades. As Rebecca matures, she experiences a domestic life living within her Jewish community, from her marriage with Arron (Josh Zukerman), the birth of her daughter Amy (Zoe Yale), her daughter’s marriage to son-in-law Steve (Devin Kawaoka), the birth of her granddaughter Nina (Zoe Yale), and those that became “adapted” family: Benjamin (Christopher Watson), and his wife Arlene (Karen Malina White). Through the many years from one Hanukkah season to another, Rebecca attempts to recall her past life as she still struggles to live for the time of the present, long after those in her life have come and gone through many trials and tribulations.

This is a play that gives emphasis to a sole woman that has seen more personal visions and exposers in her many years through being a devoted spirit of the Jewish persuasion, and how those visions were linked to those around her as to the period of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Two performers appear as Rebecca during the stages of her life. Zoe Yale plays the lead as a younger woman. Tessa Auberjonois is Rebecca as a more mature being. Each episode in her timeline shows how she escapes what she went through while living in Germany and how the people that were not blood family holds a common bond to what she had faced. The drama shown during the performance can become tense at times, yet it never loses the grip of the sense of hope and forgiveness, even if that hope becomes positioned within an apprehensive state of consciousness.

The cast of the six other players, some appearing in multiple roles, work well with one another that do reflect for the life and times of Rebecca, thanks to Emily Chase’s stage direction. It tells these episodes as a single act play. Unlike other single acts that can wrap up a story line within a hour’s time, this performance holds a length of one hour, forty minutes. And unlike other stage sets that present itself without an intermission, this play keeps its pacing without the break of any continuity whatsoever. With such passing, an intermission isn’t necessary and rightly so.

Edward E. Haynes Jr’s scenic design shows the apartment where the entire play takes place. Unlike a so-called basic dwelling unit that existed throughout Manhattan’s lower east side, it’s a place that is well kept for what it is. Alex Jaeger’s costuming reflects the era of each period installment with a touch of staying modern for its time frame.

EIGHT NIGHTS is a play that stretches through its eight nights over a near seventy year prolonged time frame. It may be a long journey of space, but it’s a virtual trip that looks back with remembrance as it peaks forward with better intentions.

EIGHT NIGHTS, presented by the Antaeus Theatre Company, and performs at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway (at Brand Blvd.), Glendale, until December 16th. Showtimes are Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. No performance on November 25th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 506-1983, or via online at http://www.Antaeus.org
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Angel City Chorale will present their annual holiday concert STARRY STARRY NIGHT, a seasonal celebration that will include its standard concert performance & an audience participation sing-a-long.

Founded and lead by Sue Fink serving as artistic director, this concert will feature a selection of cherished songs that speak for the festive occasions that fall within the month of December. The diverse playlist will offer musical offerings ranging from classical, traditional, contemporary popular, rhythm & blues, gospel, and all points in between.

Traditional selections presented consist of Vivaldi’s Domine Fili Unigenite, the Jewish hymn Hine Ma Tov, the Spanish carol/villancicos Los Peces en el Rio
and the west coast premier of the Swahili seasonal number Njooni Waaminifu, an original piece composed by ACC favorite Christopher Tin.

For those that desire seasonal tunes extracted from big screen favorites, The Home Alone Suite composed by John Williams will be featured, along with the soulful Joy With Joy to the World from The Preacher’s Wife, When You Believe from The Prince of Egypt, and a melody of songs taken from such films as Meet Me in St. Louis and White Christmas.

The chorale consists of an ensemble of 180+ voices that as just as diverse as to what the season speaks for. Male and female voices blend with those that are from all faiths, backgrounds and lifestyles. Along with the voices is a full orchestral company that will provide the musical interludes that make this chorale group a time-tested audience favorite

STARRY STARRY NIGHT, will perform at the acoustically perfect Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles (Koreatown) 90010 for two performance: Saturday, December 7st, and Sunday, December 8th. Both performances take place at 7:30 PM.

For tickets and for more information on all concerts, as well as for the Angel City Chorale, visit ACC’s presence on the web at https://angelcitychorale.org
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On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we wish each and everyone one of our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

We’ll see you for our next edition coming in the next week!
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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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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

TV’S “THRILL IS GONE”!

Although the above headline may suggest that this writer is making a comment on a specific TV program or series distributed through any portal that transmits moving imagery that may be viewed on any electronic device that sports a screen, this article is about how that said content could become connected to the lack of video anticipation.

Once upon a time, long before cable television, and waaay before streaming video was known to exist, the “big three” television networks, consisting of The American Broadcasting Company (ABC), CBS-formally known as the Columbia Broadcasting System, and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) would introduce their new programs in the fall of each year, mostly in September, but at times could bleed into October. These new programs, airing during the “prime time” hours between 8:00 PM through 11:00 PM Monday through Saturday, and as early as 7:00 PM Sunday (Eastern/Pacific times zones–subtracted one hour for the Central time zone), would be hyped up as early as July through their national channels and by way of local affiliates that promised that this season would become the “best season ever!”.

TV Guide, perhaps the be-all-to-end-all publication that wrote about television in the USA for the consumer audiences, would publish their Fall Preview Guide around the second weekend in September that would also hype up all of the new shows that would be seen throughout the year and for future seasons to come. That is, unless the shows that were hyped up would even last through its thirteen season probationary period!

Of course, times have changed. With cable TV once considered as TV’s second coming, as well as the rise (and fall) of the video cassette recorder (VCR), the rise (and steady hold) of the digital video recorder (DVR), and of course, the rise of every loving streaming services that are part of the new “second coming(s)” of TV, the thrill of new(er) programs to view on a video screen doesn’t hold that same anticipation as it used to possess.

Granted, the TV season of tradition still exists, running between September of one year through April/May of the next. Nowadays, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything that is introduced as new and different will commence at the head or even the middle of the seasonal schedule. (Middle season meaning January or so). Programs in this day and age begin when they begin, and end when they end, either through design (the program has a limited number of installments) or through circumstance. (The program ends production because of various reasons.)

There was one time that CBS attempted to introduce their new TV season in late summer. At the start of the 1975-76 TV season, the network offered “sneak previews” of some of their newer shows. Among the few that were launched right before the Labor Day weekend was a dramatic series called Beacon Hill. This series was a period drama set in the Beacon Hill district of Boston, Massachusetts in the early 1920’s that spoke upon their lives of a wealthy multi-member family and their hired staff of butlers and chambermaids. When the series was first presented as a special program in early August, the rating and interests were large. Two weeks later, the regular run made its mark on the CBS schedule. This series, attempting to catch on to the success of the PBS airings of Upstairs Downstairs featured its same look and feel. Lavish (and rather expensive) sets were build on various sound stages on the Paramount lot. Costuming was also of the elite design. And the writing was long drawn and somewhat flowery in speech. The network thought that they, a commercial advertiser supported video source, were going to beat PBS in their own game! However, although anticipation was set high at first, viewers became rather tired and perhaps bored in what they were tuning in to. Making a long story shorter and after thirteen weeks had passed, the series came to its end in early November, never to be seen again!

This would be the time of year where that TV fatigue would begin to make its mark. However, that time of year would be geared toward the anticipations of the holiday seasons with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner. And interestingly enough, those two holidays are big TV viewing periods, usually through special programs or sporting events that only come around that time of the year.

As of this writing, Disney+ the most awaited streaming service to come around the video landscape this year has launched. It’s a bit too soon to discover how much of the anticipation has affected its fan bases. But one thing for sure, those video fans won’t necessary get tired right away to what’s available. But with Disney being Disney, there will be plenty of material for that media company is to offer in order to entertain, if not overwhelm, its viewership!

PS…It would be interesting to discover if the series Beacon Hill will ever become available to view again through the streaming portals. (CBS All Access?) It’s a program that is worth its second look some 44 years after the fact! So as they say, stay tuned….!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Odyssey Theatre presents the American premier of Pat Kinevane’s BEFORE, a virtual pilgrimage of a man’s search for a gift to a long absent daughter through the spirit of stage musicals and those in between.

The plot revolves around a man named Pontius who travels to a large department store in Dublin to purchase a 21st birthday gift for his daughter who he hasn’t seen in some seventeen years–and will be meeting within the hour! But the story doesn’t end there. Pontius then morphs into telling more tales ranging from (among many isolated episodes), from how he obtained his name to the men that doesn’t wash after their restroom trips! As this is a musical adventure, he proceeds to sing and dance in the style of a Broadway musical from the glory days. As he emotes, he speaks with a deep Irish brogue and his verbiage progresses through his odyssey. The entire setting he plays through is presented through a surreal backdrop. It all begins through a thick stage fog where the entire performance field is blacked. As Pontius enters, he begins rather normally. Then the mood changes into a rather tense atmosphere. By the time his quest comes to its conclusion, he does obtain that gift for his daughter that a good father figure would accomplish.

Pat Kinevane, the star of own his presentation, creates a performance that uses a fantasy ploy through the boundaries of his skills by speaking with an Irish method while singing, (again, with an Irish twist) and dancing. (No special geographic region, unless “Broadway” is considered an ethnic dominance.) Pat’s scripting of his performance and the emoting he forms makes this showcase very amusing. What adds towards its flavor are the musical components. With a score by Denis Clohessy through transcribed music performed by the RTE Concert Orchestra conducted by Cathal Synnott with the choreography by Emma O’Kane, Pat Kinevane as his alter ego Pontius (named after a one-time governor of the district of Judea rather than a “pilot”), does his musical schtick that pays its homage of the tuneful stage shows once born on The Great White Way. One can see the ghosts of those shows from Chicago to Oklahoma and all points in between!

Jim Culleton directs this show that has Pat working overtime and he enters his task of what could be a simple process–shopping for his kid’s birthday–into a sphere of unearthly fate, comedy, drama, and of course, signin’ and dancin’! Unlike a typical stage show where it features a cast of thousands (so to speak), Pat has no one else to guide him through except his own persona as he is in the lead. He does use a few props as an aid including this writer’s favorite, a pair of glowing iPad minis! But it’s Pat all the way up and way out; the latter term not to be confused with “exit” as Pat’s only one is right at its end–and it’s quite sudden to match!

Also heard in the performance are the transcribed voices of Clelia Murphy, Kez Kinevane, and Alex Sharpe.

What makes this show unique is its title. Pat Kinevane carries right on through through its ninety minute running time. And if there is to be a sequel, that title could be known as During followed with After. For the moment, it’s BEFORE, and it’s “now”!

BEFORE, presented by The Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Fishamble: The New Play Company is association with Georganne Aldrich Heller, performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, until December 8th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Special post-performance “talk back” discussions take place on Friday, November 15th and Sunday, December 1st. No performance on Thursday, November 28th.

For ticket reservations and for more information, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, or via online at http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com
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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents for the third entry in their 2019-20 season, the Los Angeles premier of Colin Spear Crowley’s FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKED FILLED ROOM, a drama about the campaign nomination of Walter G. Harding for president, and the back story behind it all.

The setting is during the Republican National Convention in Chicago in the early summer of 1920. David Hunt Stafford plays Harding, a senator from rural Ohio. He was set to become nominated during the convention as the presidential candidate. His campaign manager Harry M. Daugherty (John Combs) is getting his name across during the convention’s day of balloting. Harding’s wife, Florence (Roslyn Cohn) holds an uneven feeling toward the outcome. Being in a superstitious nature, she even went ahead to consult a fortune teller on what may transpire once her husband takes over the candidacy for the possible winning of the election. Adding toward this is Nan Britton (Sarah Walker) a younger woman who happens to be Harding’s second mistress! These aspects that materialize on that day in Chicago brought forth the political based “smoked filled room”, where secret meetings would take place under heavy cigar smoke through the power brokers that could settle the results of a political movement with a lot of deal making on the side!

This single act play written by Colin Spear Crowley takes its premise based upon true facts to the Harding campaign that did involve a series of scandals, including the Teapot Dome Scandal taking place later in Harding’s term in office. The cast of characters that appear in this Theatre 40 production show off their performances as tight as the story itself. Although it’s rather talky in nature, this talkiness moves the story into the highs and lows of political based drama based upon actual episodes–with a little bit of creative license blended for dramatic effect.

Jeff G. Rack, Theatre 40’s residential set decorator, creates a set that portrays a plush hotel suite at the Congress Hotel where much of the “smoke filled room” events did come to pass. This time around, no spoke is depicted on stage!! Michele Young’s costuming shows the same period fashion that was standard as worn during the political arenas.

Also appearing in this presentation is Kevin Dulude as George Harvey, a journalist and central figure into the smoke filled room proceedings, and Roger K. Weiss as a radio announcer.

Directed by Jules Aaron, FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKED FILLED ROOM is a play that takes an inside look to the forming to one of America’s least preferred presidents in terms of running the nation through scandals, affairs, and other back handed details. Although what did came about happened nearly a century ago, it’s another part of preferred drama that adapts well on the Theatre 40 intimate stage set.

FIFTEEN MEN IN A SMOKED FILLED ROOM, 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 December 15th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM, with additional Sunday evening performances on December 1st and 8th at 7:00 PM. No performances on November 28th and 29th.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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The Lounge Theatre of Hollywood presents the world premier of SALVAGE, a drama about a young musician set between a hard edged and well seasoned singer, songwriter, and “preacher” all rolled into one!

In a run down roadhouse located far from nowhere, a man known as Preacher (David Atkinson) has set this place as his pulpit. He doesn’t preach the gospel from the Good Book, but from the gospel of a hard scrubbed life. He has his guitar in hand as he plays as he “prays”. The only candle and incense that burns in this “church” are from smoldering cigarette butts and from stale beer. Johnson (Leonard Earl Howze) serves as the barkeep that overlooks his place that is just as run down as Preacher. In walks Harley. (Christopher Fordinal) He’s a young singer and songwriter who has his guitar within reach, but is just as down and out. He has a young spouse who can sing named Destiny (Nina Herzog) who is currently carrying with child. Harley arrives at this location with an anxious attitude since this joint was the actual spot where legionary singer/songwriter Floyd Whittaker met his demise. (It was due to chocking on his own vomit, most likely set from substance abuse!) Harley finds Preacher as a man to follow in terms of what he grasps through his music. But there are a lot of lessons to be learned first. Both the students and the teacher, or “preacher” discovers more from one another through the music that they know and worship.

This single act play with book by Tim Alderson is self described as a “play with music”. To be more precise, it’s really a full fledged musical! The songs performed on guitar by both David Atkinson as Preacher, the elder one in age, personna, and through his consumption in beer and whiskey, and Christopher Fordinal as the younger and eager Harley, performs a selection of original songs as composed by Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, and Tim Alderson. The songs themselves consist of tunes that are more as folk in nature, rather than what’s been called as “traditional country”. They speak for the times in life where they can become hard, with the ever present sense of desire, hope, and fortune. Nina Herzog, who plays the young and expecting wife of Harley who just happens to be named Destiny, sings a pair of songs with a voice that is sweet in nature and spirit. A total of eleven musical pieces are performed in this single act program. Each tune sets the tone of the times and lives of the young man, the genteel wife, and the booze laden gent that play his version of a man of the cloth. The only performer that show no musical talent in this piece is Leonard Earl Howze as Johnson the barkeep. He a heavy set African American man who resembles a blues player than a modern day troubadour slinging an acoustic six string.

Adding to the mood to this showcase is what appears on the intimate stage set. Joel Daavid’s scenic design of the roadhouse is lined in shades of grey with the necessary equipment found in rundown out-of-the-way dive joints from the longneck bottles of beer to a underused jukebox that could have been loaded with songs by Hank, Cash, and Jones. Wendell C. Carmichael’s costuming of the players is just as appealing in terms of being pretty as they are scrubbed.

Stephan Terry provides the musical direction to the series of tunes that Atkinson and Fordinal perform as both a single and duo act.

Directed by Damian D. Lewis, SALVAGE is an appropriate title to a musical play (or dramatic musical) that speaks upon the notion of what can be salvaged can be utilized as a true entry to destiny. There are more to the lessons of life that can be found inside of a roadhouse. Just as long as the music is playing and the beer is flowing, anything is quite possible through the word of the “lord”!

SALVAGE, presented by Theatre Planners and performs at The Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. (at El Centro, one block east of Vine Street), Hollywood, until December 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (323) 960-7712, or via online at http://www.OnStage411.com/Salvage
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FORD V. FERRARI (Fox) stars Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby, a professional race car driver and engineer. He’s been driving on various tracks for some time. After winning in Le Mans in 1959, he lays off on the driving side now getting back into designing cars. Meanwhile, the Ford Motor Company, always in second place behind General Motors, holds the desire to do something different. Under the supervision of junior executive Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal), the company wants to build a fast car, even with plans to team up with Italian auto maker Ferrari still run by its founder, Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) to create a racing division. When that deal falls through, Lee turns toward Shelby to build a car that can even beat Ferrari’s fastest car. Shelby himself turns to British born race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to team up to build that dream car. With their ups and downs on the test track as well through their personal relationship, they complete that car, ready to race at the 24 hours long Le Mans rally in 1966.

This is a movie that concentrates between the conflicts set between Carroll Shelby, as portrayed by Matt Damon, and his “frenmy” Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale. Shelby is seen as the “cool” guy. He knows his stuff as he has a team of car designers working under his belt. Ken Miles is more of a family man. His wife Mollie (Caitriona Balfe) and their son Peter (Noah Jupe) both back him up as they are rather hip to the motor sport world. The first portion of this film deals with the conflicts set between the two leads, and they go through the process of building the car that will beat the all mighty Ferrari. The final third is where the action takes place where Shelby, Miles, et. al. are in France where the car they have built will take on all comers at this day long race at Le Mans. This is where and when this feature really shines its brightest throughout! The screenplay by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and Jason Keller has its own ups and downs. The “down” part of this feature consists of the “talky” scenes between Shelby, Miles, Ford executives, etc. (“Talky” in this case means “non-racing” scenes!) But when the cars are front and center, this movie steps on the gas!

James Mangold directs this film that is very much akin to any form of biographical feature of late. Although it is based on true facts, there are some creative license to it all. But that’s not really the point here. It’s a great film to view that has a balance between drama and action to hold on.

As this film makes its way into the movie theater scene, there has been some talk about placing Damon and Bale into the award season scene. Perhaps so. However,for those that enjoy a movie where the cars are the real stars, FORD V FERRARI will fit that bill.

PS..even though this is a period movie (1960’s), the soundtrack features some tunes from the era, but those sounds don’t overtake the style and mood. Its real “music” is the sounds of Shelby built Fords, etc. revving up their engines. For any “gear head”, that is music enough for their ears!

This feature is rated “PG” for mild cussing and violence in the classic “punch out/drag out” variety style of fighting! Now playing in all 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) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

PLAY OR “PLAY”?

A few weeks ago, The New York Times presented an article about theater etiquette, a form on how theater goers should behave themselves while attending a play or some other live production.

This method of behavior of how one should act (no pun intended here) and how one should present themselves while attending a performance has increased in scope over the recent years. As one could guess, good ol’ smartphones are often the blame for the unruly behavior that has been witnessed in theater settings, both in large houses and small “hole-in-the-wall” joints!

The most obvious forms of unwanted and unacceptable behaviors involves using a phone during a performance to text messages, capture moving imagery of what’s going on stage, and even engaging in a conversation while the play is progressing! All of these actions are obviously annoying to both the performers doing their thing on stage, and the audience that is seated within the darken theater setting.

This writer has attended a lot of theater shows over the many years. And what yours truly can confess, I (now writing in first person) have witnessed people playing with their phones during the performance using a combination of the above noted procedures as the show moves forward.

Right before a performance, a voice (live or pre-recorded) will usually inform the audience to take upon a few house rules, such as noting where the exits are in case of an emergency, not to bring food or drink inside (bottled water seems to be OK), and to unwrap that candy piece NOW! Along with those basic rules, the non use of phones are mentioned, informing the same audience to place them on silent or even to off so they don’t go ringing while the actors emote their lines. Ditto for sending texts while the play is in progress. (They do encourage you to text during the intermission or after the play to inform the textee how great–or not so great–the play was!) And one form of “no-no” is to capture any imagery of what is going on stage. This is usually in the realm of copyright procedures since the theater presenting the show are not allowed to use any of the mechanical rights to a play. These “mechanical rights” usually consist of recording the show (audio and/or video) in any means and methods. Yes, it’s understood that a live show is that–a live show. Once that show is done and gone, noting remains. But even if the theater has some form of rights to capture the play, the audience members can’t do such!

This is most true in these post-modern days of social media. Many people, especially those that attend plays running in big theaters such as the ones in New York City, attempt to sneak a capture of a play or musical. Some do isolated scenes while others will attempt to capture the entire production–sound and video and all!

If one make an attempt to troll such spots as YouTube and other places where video content can be uploaded and found, one will find such examples. If one is seeking a stage capture of a “hot” show, chances are one will find it! If the management company who owns the show or the company that runs the theater where the show is based, they may stop the uplinks. But with more people capturing shows attended verses the managements that owns the shows and/or the theaters, if one source is stopped, another one will spring into gear to fill that void.

In fact, yours truly were able to “attend” such hot shows (at the time anyway) of such theater programs ranging from The Book of Mormon to Hamilton, all in the comfort of my home base. Yes, seeing a lavish musical production from the point of view of somebody sitting in the upper balcony (the place where a good number of shows are shot from) capturing the show using a phone device that tends to be of shaky and distorted video quality with the sound giving off a lot of reverb, isn’t the greatest way to experience theater. However, if one can’t score tickets (let alone afford them) for a play and/or musical that “everyone” is taking (or texing or tweeting or posting) about, it’s better than nothing. And since one can see these shows for “free”, one can’t beat the price!

A disclaimer here. When I attend plays for review, I never use my phone during the show for any reason! I will also never capture any imagery (moving and still) of the show. This includes the stage set before the show begins–unlike some people who do the same thing I do (review theater) that I personally know, usually in the form of posting pix on their Facebook home pages. As to seeing shows through somebody’s else’s video capture? I will not review a play and/or musical through these methods since seeing a show live vs. through moving imagery isn’t the same! One day when I have the opportunity, I will review The Book of Mormon as a live production and to really find out if the show is as great as everyone who has seen it claims it to be! (I found it “amusing”, but not “great”! Maybe that’s just my personal tastes!)

So a friendly bit of advice from yours truly. Please don’t text during a show or even use your phone during a performance. And don’t capture any of the show’s performance. You can even be ejected from the theater if you are caught doing this. (I know this because I have actually seen somebody being thrown out for violating this rule. At least the management waited until the intermission to bounce this person out!)

And for that person who insists to let everyone know where he is going thanks to his Facebook notices, I’m glad that you are able to prove to the world on what play you are attending by capturing the stage set. And if you are indeed a theater reviewer, how about actually writing a review rather than just showing off to what production you did attended?

But that’s just part of show biz!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Sacred Fools Theatre Company presents for their second entry of their 2019-2020 season, Dave Hanson’s WAITING FOR WAITING FOR GODOT, a comedy about a pair of understudy actors waiting for their big break in appearing in a production of a classic play and it performs on a stage.

Bruno Oliver and Joe Henandez-Kolski star as Ester and Val, two thespians that are stationed at a theater dressing room set backstage. On the bill is Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. Ester attempts to be an actor’s actor who performs for the sheer art of emoting other people’s lines taking a director’s directions. Val is another actor that holds a lot of comical charm and grace. In spite of the talents they possess, they are cast as the understudies, meaning that they can shine on stage assuming that the real stars are not able to perform! As they wait, they sweat it out with themselves on how they can become the performers as they are. As they emote with one another, they discuss through words and actions about everything from the art of acting, their place in the theater world, and if they could score an agent! As the play progresses, they become trapped inside of their own personal play where the conflicts and pathos is presented to an audience of one–each other! That is, unless they can count upon the assistant stage manager Laura (Julie Marchiano) to notice what they can do. But she is just the assistant stage manager a.k.a. the ASM, whose job is to make sure that everyone involved doesn’t miss their cues as it states in the script’s stage directions!

This single act play written by Dave Hansen and making its west coast premier courtesy of The Sacred Fools, is a comical piece about two thespians that can act better off stage than on! The two leads, Bruno Oliver and Joe Hernandez-Kolski perform with the same comical timing in the style of a comedy team from the days of vaudeville and burlesque when physical comedy was king! (Also very common as seen in two reel film comedies of yore before the movies learned how to “talk”!) Jacob Sidney as director keeps their pacing up from frantic to near panic stricken as the duo hope they can emote the lines that made Beckett one of the theater world’s most respected playwrights.

Besides the action that progresses on the intimate stage, Aaron Francis’ scenic design consists of a dressing room one would normally find in a small theater, complete with racks of costumes, posters from past plays tacked upon a side wall, as well as the lighted mirrors where the actors apply their greasepaint on their faces. Edgar Landa provides the choreography, and Stephen Simon serves as the physical comedy consultant that takes its cues ranging from Stan and Ollie to Olson and Johnson!

And with the spirit of what this play is all about, it also features real understudies, with Steve N. Bradford and Zach Smith appearing as Ester and Val, with Marion Gonzalez appearing as Laura. Since these three are the genuine understudies, it’s not known to this writer if they are actually backstage awaiting to appear in this production with the same method and finesse as to what is seen with its main players. One can call this practice Waiting For Waiting For Waiting For Godot, but this is overkill as that stands! So much for theater!

WAITING FOR WAITING FOR GODOT, presented by The Sacred Fools Theater Company and performs at The Broadwater Second Stage, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd. one block west of Vine Street, Hollywood, until December 14th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday, November 17th, December 1st and 8th at 5:00 PM, and Monday, November 18th at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations, email the Sacred Fools at SFReservations@SacredFools.org, or via http://www.SacredFools.org
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DEFENDERS, Caillin Maureen Harrison’s drama about three fighting solders trapped in a remote location and those in the region who ply themselves between those invaders fighting for the cause in connection to the land they are set within, makes its world premier at The Broadwater Blackbox theatre in Hollywood.

It’s the spring of 1942. In the remote island and village of Hrisey, Iceland, a battle exists between the allied forces and the invading German troops who are attempting to take possession of this nation, currently in neutral status. A trio of American G.I.s consisting of Lt. Marcus Jansen (Bryan Porter), Sgt. Frank McKinley (Tavis Doucette) and Pvt. Fred LeFleur (Spencer Martin) take refuge in a well weathered church. A massive storm has settled upon the island where they become isolated through weather and circumstance. They have minimal ammo, and a radio device that isn’t operational. Lt. Jansen is the leader of this troupe that are out looking for the invading Germans that may be near. Without their firearms, its connected equipment, and a communication device, they are out on their own. While inside of the church, they encounter the pastor, Geir Styrsson (John P. Connolly) and his daughter Vigdis. (Una Efferets) Although Pastor Geir tolerates these G.I. taking refuge in his church, he informs these servicemen in the mists of their battle about the myths and legends this island community has faced over the many years and centuries from other invaders. Lt. Janson is a man that takes orders through his C.O., and accepts the pastor’s warnings as contained anecdotes. But these mysterious sagas are not just fables, but play a role between surviving the forces–those that are part of nature, military strength, and of mythology.

This single act play written by playwright Caillin Maureen Harrison is a drama that is as intense as a war-related saga can withstand. The action is fierce, tight, (very tight mind you), and is a stage piece that one can’t take one’s eyes off of! It’s not just limited as a set where a war ravishes and the fighting men go gung-ho through the process. It’s more of how a ragtag troop of military peacekeepers are in the center of battle between the enemy and the surroundings they face with the quest of who they are defending for.

The characters that consist of the solders, Sgt. McKinley as portrayed by Tavis Doucette, Lt. Jansen played by Bryan Porter, and Spencer Martin as Pvt. LeFleur, have their conflicts yet stick to being a military team that use their wits to survive. And the pair of locals, Pastor Styrsson as played by John. P. Connolly and his daughter Vigdis Geirsdottir as featured by Una Efferets, stand upon their neutral ground with the awareness that there is more power existing within their land that isn’t military force. These elements make this play work its magic as it crosses the line between a war drama to one that is of the human side of things through a mythological based milieu.

The real attraction to this production is what is seen on the intimate stage. David Goldstein’s scenic design consists of a weathered worn church that has seen its better days. Adding to its mythological effects is Dominik Krzanowski’s lighting design, showing off the aspects of battle along the lines of real and mythos.

This production directed by Reena Dutt is a turnaround that speaks for the writing talents of playwright Callin Maureen Harrison. A play she also composed and was recently presented on stage, Last Swallows (see review, Vol. 24-No. 38) was a rather cute and charming little comedy. DEFENDERS is a very intense and “big” drama that shows more of a “war” than a war itself! This reviewer will look forward in experiencing more stage plays as created by this playwright. This program is highly recommended!

DEFENDERS, presented by Pandelia’s Canary Yellow Company, and performs at The Broadwater Blackbox theatre, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Lillian Way), Hollywood, until December 8th. Showtimes are Saturday and Monday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more details, call (323) 960-5770, or via online at http://www.Onstage411.com/Defenders
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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

SPARE CHANGE?

No, we are not asking you for money! (Although if you did have a few bucks to pass our way, we would gladly take it. However, this is besides the point!)

This column is speaking about the change that goes on through almost everyone’s personal domain. Each season, new things are brought upon us. Some are changes that are seasonal. Right now it’s the time to don sweaters and jackets as the weather may be a bit on the nippy side, even here in so-called sunny California! Other changes are toward personal reasons, such a change of career, a change of diet, and a change of personal wardrobe that isn’t related toward weather conditions. And the rest of changes can even be of a trivial nature, such as a change of daily route to and from work, school, or some kind of regular place one tends to journey. Or maybe it’s just changing the type of TV channels one can subscribe to! (Will you take Netflix for now, or will you go for Disney Plus?) Get the idea?

Changes in one’s domestic life can be good or otherwise. It’s been known through various studies and related factors that human beings as a whole are creature of habit. We as those same humans living within a domestic society that tend to do the same things over and over without even giving it an after thought. For instance, if one attends some kind of event on a regular basis where one is usually seated, one will sit themselves in the same seat within the same location of the seat. If one performs a ritual that is done on a daily basis such as waking a dog, one will walk that pup using a regular route usually around the same time of day. Ditto for taking a meal break. (Breakfast at 8:00 AM. Lunch at 1:30.) Generally speaking, people will tend to do the same things over and over again, whenever they realizes this or not.

When there is an opportunity to make a change, sometimes that change can become a bit difficult to do. Some folks are so embedded in what they do and how they do it, that can throw things off in a loop. To give an example of another domestic episode from one’s slice of life, we know of one person that recently made a transition in a career. This woman was working for a company for over thirty years. However, management as management tends to peruse was going toward another direction, a direction that wasn’t to this person’s liking. So after careful consideration, she decided to call it quits. But for those thirty or so years, she would start her day around the same time of day, taking the same route to and from her homestead to arrive at her office at the same time. Now after thirty years, she isn’t doing this ordeal anymore. She still will arise ever morning around dawn. She still walks her dog every morning as normal. However, unlike all of those years where she would take off to work after her pup gets the workout, she isn’t doing this anymore. There won’t be any episodes going around the office. There won’t be any of the chit-chat of fellow employees around the coffee machine. There won’t be any office gossip going around. There won’t be the same route to take to and from their job. All of that is gone forever. And how is this person after thirty years taking it all? Quite nicely from what this writer was told! Then again, this change was long in the making, meaning that she was expecting this change of career, informing the higher ups that she would be leaving at a certain date. It just would be the time and effort to make this change go into its effect. So this change was rather easy for this person.

Then again, there are changes that are quite sudden and not planned nor expected. Perhaps one change that is dramatic in nature is a change due to a death. Unless this death was forth coming or even expected, such as a person experiencing a terminal illness where “the end was near”, a death can defiantly throw things off in a loop. The death can be one due to natural causes or through circumstance. Whatever the case, it’s a change! Period!!

Before this writer goes too far in this topic of change, we are created this article on some changes we will be performing within our Accessibly Live Off-Line universe. And we are pleased to note that this change will be for the good and for the better. What will these changes consist of? Stay tuned to this very newsletter for updates! See you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Pacific Palisades’ Theatre Palisades conclude their 2019 calendar season with
RUTHLESS: THE MUSICAL, a musical satire about a bubbly child star awaiting to perform on the theater stage, her slightly ditzy backstage mom, a sleazy talent agent, and a murder plot all rolled into one!

Taking place in an era when domesticated men worked all day and the wives stayed home to keep house, Judy Denmark (Jenna Nichole Sullivan) is the mother of eight year old Tina (Benni Ruby). Unlike other eight year olds of the era where they were seen and not heard, Tina desires to be seen and heard on the theater stage! She can act, sing, and tap dance while looking pretty all the time. She has an agent Sylvia St. Croix (Jon Sparks) who has special plans for the kid. When Tina’s elementary school stages a new Pippi Longstocking musical run by her drama teacher Myrna Thorn (Carly Reeves), Tina knows she can nail that part! However, then events don’t go the way she planned it. Things turn for the worst or for the better, depending on who’s behind the better or for the worst. Before too long, there’s a new shinning star along the Great White Way, Ginger Del Marco, who happens to be Tina’s mom! Will big-deal theater critic Lita Encore (Randi Cee) phrase the acting skills of Tina and/or Ginger Del Marco, or will she give them both a goose egg?

This dark and comical musical, with book and Lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird, is an obvious satire spoofing a variety of sources, everything from Shirley Temple-esque child stars of yore, the musical Gypsy, the feature films All About Eve and its inspiration, The Bad Seed. Of course, it’s all done for laughs and rightly so. The cast of characters that appear are presented as live action cartoons. They can all spoof one another as Tina, et. al. sing and even dance their bit while emoting through their Broadway-bound process! Benni Ruby as Tina has a good part of the talent as she can tap dance as well, although her tap dancing is somewhat limited! Along with the rest of the cast that includes Jessica D. Stone as Louise Lerman, the kid that got the part Tina wanted, and Talulah Hunter as Puddles who has no speaking lines, perhaps the best one of them all is Jon Sparks as Sylvia St. Croix. Jon can drag on to this role with the utmost of finesse, always ready to take on what’s coming to him/her! Alta Abbott directs this show that blends the talent and artistry that this production always holds on to.

Outside of the said talent, there’s lots of other things to see on stage The costume designs by June Lissandrello, Jon Sparks, and Greg Abbott are over the top. Ditto for the wig design also by Jon Sparks. Sherman Wayne is once again behind the set and lighting design, and Victoria Miller presents the choreography.

The musical score is presented live by a three pice combo with musical direction by Brian Murphy performing on the keyboards (playing on a real piano), Spencer Hutton on stand up bass, and John Harvey on percussion.

The title of this musical is self explanatory. It is ruthless, it’s a musical, but it’s very funny as well as charming in its own unique way! One theory states that for every burned out bulb found on a theater marquee, it represents a Broadway bound broken heart. That may be the situation, but nothing is broken in this production as witnessed on the Theatre Palisades stage. And if that isn’t the case, then one call this very “critic” an Unkie’s Muncle!

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

Theatre Palisades has announced their 2020 season of stage shows and musicals.
The season opens in January with Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, followed by Mary Chase’s Harvey in April. In June, Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors performs. In September, Frederick Knott’s thriller Wait Until Dark opens. And rounding out the season in November is the Dan Goggin musical Nunsense. All production titles and schedules are subject to change.

More information on these and all shows as well as for ticket reservations can be obtained by calling (310) 454-1970, or through the Pacific Palisades Theatre website at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
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Julia Migenes appears at The Odyssey Theatre in her program LA VIE EN ROSE, an intimate cabaret performance where she tells the stories of the songs and the artists of Paris, France through music and memoir.

Julia first steps on to the stage not with an opening number, but a brief story on how she came to Paris after her stay in Vienna singing opera. Once she began to lose weight dining on Parisian food (as she tells it), she embraced herself upon the harmony and fashion to what French music is all about. She continues to wax nostalgic on the period of Paris and France between the era of Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso, generally the 1880’s to around the 1960’s. Standing alongside a grand piano, she tells briefly about some of the vocalists that were active in this part of Europe, such as Charles Aznavour, Leo Ferre, Jacques Brel, Michel Legrand, and of course, the beloved Edith Piaf whose inspiration sets Julia’s performance in motion.

Seated at the piano is Victoria Kirsch, who plays the songs that Julia tells about that are well remembered in France and especially in Paris, but may not be well known to those stateside as these talents never made much on an impact outside of their native land. But Julia does give a bit of a demonstration to these musical artists and their style of presentation. At times, Julia’s story telling on these harmonious style are reminiscent to how Leonard Bernstein used to explain the methods of music on Sunday afternoon television. Yet Julia doesn’t play the piano and Leonard Bernstein never did musical vocals.

Julia’s show is extremely charming and very moody. Also, it only holds a running time of some seventy-five minutes. This isn’t enough time to really get the grasp of Julia’s true musical approach. She holds a portfolio of various styles of tunes and singing. And since she calls this musical review part of her “farewell” tour, one would believe that she would really show what she can do before she leaves the spotlight for good!

The stage set Julia and her musical complement Victoria Kirsch appear upon is very minimal. Chris Bell designed a stage scene consisting of Julia, Victoria seated behind a piano, along with a classic style “French” lamppost placed far off stage left, and a Victrola stage center, all positioned within a blacken setting. On the talking machine’s turntable is a pink colored Edit Piaf record. Although that pink colored record is the brightest spot of the stage set, it’s there just for show since Julia is doing the real singing and the Pief record is in reality, an album that is to be played back at 33 1/3 RPM!

Directed by Peter Medak, LA VIE EN ROSE is a melodic program for those that hold that same romance for Paris, France, and for those that recall the flavor of the spirit that small spot in Europe represents. Even through Julia is stating a “goodbye”, let’s hope she returns to do another set of tunes to top off this farewell, or a farewell for the time being.

LA VIE EN ROSE featuring Julia Migenes, performs at The Odyssey Theatre, 2055 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, until December 8th. Showtimes are Thursday, November 7th, 14th, 21st, and December 12th, Friday, November 29th and December 6th, Saturday, November 9th, 16th, 23rd, and December 14th, and Sunday, December 1st and 8th. All performance begin at 8:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (310) 477-2055 ext. 2, or online at
http://www.OdysseyTheatre.com
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The Victory Theatre Center presents the west coast premier of Judith Leora’s ELIJAH, a dark play about a group of people stranded in one place because of a storm that faces many challenges between personal secrets, a death about to take place, and the quality of service inside of a casual dining establishment.

The setting is a TGI Fridays restaurant located in a small town in Texas off the interstate. The weather outside isn’t very pretty as Hurricane Elijah is passing through. A group of folks take refuge inside of the place that has only a scant pair running the eatery through default. There’s the manager Lori (Kathleen Bailey) and her teenaged niece Ashley (Mackenzie) who is learning how to be part of the waitstaff. As the storm become intense, a few people trickle in to weather out the storm and to get a bit to eat–whatever they can get! There’s Dawn (Molly Grey), Greg (Jordan Well), Tim (Jesse Merill) and Patience (Elle Vernee). Besides the weather, another event is taking place nearby at a state prison. Scheduled for that same evening is an execution of a serial killer. And the few that are present at this diner are there to take part in a protest connected with the execution. This is where the conflicts take their start. While the storm progresses, so are the tempers and attitudes of those taking refuge. Before long, a lot of secrets are reviled between these six, making the storm inside more brutal that the storm taking place outdoors!

This single act play by playwright Judith Leora was first inspired when she had to take refuge inside of a TGIF Friday’s joint while a hurricane was actually passing through. To make her isolated episode more interesting, she added all of the conflict and pathos that takes place on stage. It can be described as a rather macabre comedy. The comedy itself doesn’t consist of one-line jokes or even comic situations. Much of the so-called “humor” is based upon a group of people that arrive from totally different backgrounds and beliefs that are holed up in one place through dire circumstance rather than by personal choice. These differences and their constant ribbing one another is set as unintentional humor, let alone the serious nature of what’s really going on throughout. (A horrendous storm, an execution, deep secrets reviled from a darken past, etc.) The mini conflicts between the six as well as their dialogue is presented in a very tight fashion, never letting its momentum drag to any standstill.

The cast of players do get along with one another, but not in any playful manor. They are likable for who they are depending on one’s mood. That element is what makes this play work! Marie Gobetti, one of the artistic directors of The Victory Theatre, directs this program through a solid loop that carries on toward its ninety minute limit right up to its conclusion, even if that conclusion is a bit abrupt!

Evan Bartoletti’s set design shows the inside of what could be a “real” TGI Fridays, complete with appropriate tables and chairs, as well as the kitschy decor that makes this kind of location the proper joint to eat its comfort food selections and watch the game on a dozen TV sets, yet there are no video monitors present on this stage set!

ELIJAH is a production that carries a title of Biblical proportions, yet has nothing to do with the prophet of the same name. It’s just a theater piece that shows what could happen when somebody is plopped at the right place for the wrong reasons. At least TGI Fridays serves the best curly fries around!!

ELIJAH, presented by and performs at The Victory Theatre (The Big Victory Theatre), 3326 West Victory Blvd. one block east of Hollywood Way, Burbank, until December 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 841-5421, or via online at
http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org
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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN (Warner Bros.) stars Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog, a private detective based in Brooklyn, USA c.1957. His office is within a car service company that takes people to and where they have to go when a cab, bus, or subway car isn’t available. When his longtime friend and mentor Frank Minna (Bruse Willis) is gunned down, he starts to get to the reasons on who was behind this murder. He makes some discoveries within his leads that takes him to the backend of city hall where a there is a corruption deal going on with a structure builder figure, Moses Randolph (Alec Baldwin) who plans to build dwelling units in the slum areas of the city that in reality would relocate the negro population out of the area. One person that is fighting against this plan is Laura Rose (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) what holds the reasons toward getting behind the murder of Lionel’s best friend. One elements that Lionel holds is a emotional handicap, having a case of Tourette Syndrome where he blurts out words and fragmented sentences without any control. It’s a long journey through the back alleys of the borough he knows well, facing more than he may possibly handle.

This feature film is based on the novel of the same name written by Jonathan Lethem. Edward Norton supposedly discovered this work in the late 1990’s, and desired to adapt it for the big screen. He eventually wrote its screenplay even setting to not only star, but to direct, making him as a “triple threat” toward this path. The movie itself is very “film noir”-esque as it has a lot of the elements that make up a typical film noir vehicle. (Grimy back alleys, darkened rooms and places with streaks of light shining through, seedy looking joints and dives heavy of cigarette smoke and booze, etc.) as well as the characters that are part of the gritty urban landscape. (Thugs, goons, politicians on the take, etc.) The film’s look is 1950’s Brooklyn throughout! Beth Mickel’s production design, adding Kara Zeigon’s set decoration, as well as Amy Roth’s costuming make this feature as part of the eye candy that makes period films just what they are.

Alas and alack, those are the better parts of this feature. What this film lacks is continuity that moves is a fast clip. The feature opens rather well as Lionel and his best friend Frank go undercover on a case, only to have Frank gunned down. (This tidbit wasn’t a spoiler alert as Lionel’s gum shoeing started when Frank was “whacked”!)

From that point, the feature starts to bog down where the pacing creeps slower and slower. By the time the feature came to its conclusion some 144 minutes later (give or take a minute), the pacing nearly came to a dead standstill. This form of miniminalistic action would would be ideal, if not perfect, for television. In fact, this movie plays like a made for TV mini series what consists of Lionel looking for the killer. And there are a lot of scenes where the characters talk to one another through close ups. This form of picture direction is fine for a TV program, but not for a theatrical film. To compare, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel does a great, if not better, job in recreating 1950’s Brooklyn. However, folks tend to see movies, especially period films, for its plot points, acting abilities, and so on, not to look at scenes recreated to resemble another time and space!

There are a lot of others appearing in this title, including Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, with Willem Dafoe. Many of these names are more of the character actor type then leading “boxoffice” worthy stars. That is why this movie is best suited for television that a theatrical experience.

Oh yes, there is the musical score to note. Daniel Pemberton composed the score that features Wynton Marsalis on the trumpet.  And Thom Yorke performed an original song as part of the soundtrack. These musical notes (pun?) are this feature’s saving grace as jazz was indeed part of 1950’s New York. So was doo-wop, yet there is no period rock ‘n roll anywhere to be heard! Perhaps street corner doo-wop isn’t as sophisticated as bebop jazz!

It’s somewhat understood that the last few weeks of the calendar year is important in the movie biz as this time of year launches the start of the movie awards season where every studio releases their best films of the year that contains lots of deep drama, performers that are good (if not good looking) in what they do–and never mind the fact that that they aren’t necessarily big-name stars, as well as releasing movies covering topics that are of an important nature. (Social issues mostly) And yes, they tend to cater to an older (50+) audience that usually tolerate such kind of movies to let’s say, a super-hero type action film, a family friendly animated title, or a classic “tentpole” franchise property that may not be original, but exists to make serious money nevertheless.

MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN isn’t one of those kind of pictures! It’s a good movie for what it is, and perhaps good enough to snag an Oscar or two assuming that if it’s going to be nominated for something! However, it’s best if one can appreciate this title seen on the smaller video screen. If those academy voting members out there like this movie, so will you we suppose!

This title is rated “R” for cussing and for “urban” violence. (Gunshots, fist fights, etc.) Now playing in multiplexes nationwide.
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Either this is a trend of sorts, or perhaps it’s part of our imagination. Or maybe this writer is just paying more attention to these things. Who knows?

Anywho, it appears that people we know or know of are taking vast efforts in making some sort of a career change. This form of change is part of a shift to what the person is doing or did do something for a living i.e. “a job”, and creating a newer opportunity of doing something else that’s different or unique in what they were doing beforehand. This change is based upon actions that are of the person’s own making and choosing. This change isn’t to be confused with being laid off at their place of employment. Or worse, being fired from their occupation! (Also known as “getting 86ed”, “canned”, “pink slipped”, “being axed”, given the boot”, and other colorful named meaning leaving a job because somebody decided that you were no longer needed to be paid for doing something there!)

Getting back to the story here. For a lot of folks, especially for those that are at a certain point in their life, changing a career or occupation is a move that can bring joy and excitement, holding an adventure that the person wanted to experience but never did (or never did as expected), or one that give them an opportunity to pursue something they would never do because of various reasons, from getting “outside of the box” (whatever that term means), or trying to overcome being chicken s#it! It also could bring fear and anxiety, not necessarily knowing what’s going to happen next! However, that fear and stuff isn’t as scary as they may have imagined. It’s another method of rising to the occasion.

Those circumstances could fall because that person isn’t feeling satisfied in what they have been doing. Perhaps they are working their assets off and never even getting a token “thanx” from anyone in what they have accomplished. Perhaps the person is working for a company, a firm, or some other outside entity that isn’t doing what they should or what they once performed. Or maybe the company or firm itself is getting out of their business, meaning that unless the person involved in that outlet finds something else to do with another force, that person will be out on the street when the bigger company calls it quits. Usually, there is advance notice when this occurs for those working under their roof with the notion that they have been warned before the fact. There had been a few cases especially during the era called “The Great Recession” (2009 through the early 2010s), where a firm’s source came abruptly to a finish, meaning that on Friday afternoon, those involved at the workplace discover that there won’t be a Monday morning to come back to.

There is one person that we personally know of that has been part of the same company for a little over thirty years(!) This person arrived to Los Angeles from her native state of New Jersey to obtain this position back around 1988. Over that time, she progressed in that company as well as in her personal life, She married only to have that domestic partnership dissolve, and self raised a (now adult) daughter. She even purchased a house that she still has to this very day! And for those thirty one years, she did what she did for the firm receiving the utmost respect.

Sadly, over the last few years, the company went under different managements. After careful consideration, she decided that after a little over three decades with the same firm, it was time to move on. Yes, she is getting to that point in her life where the traditional age of retirement isn’t as far off as it used to be, but she isn’t considering retirement. She has a lot of life in what she dose, and has other things to perform to gain that self respect. She is involved with duties at a nearby church, and assists two elder ladies in getting to and from the church to attend services each weekend. She presents herself in what she does with pride.

There are others that are doing the same shift as well. There is another person that writes for a weekly travel blog for a company she founded a little over ten years ago. In her recent blog posting, she says that she is merging her travel firm with another company and will be moving into new avenues. Yours truly doesn’t know this person personally or otherwise, so we can’t comment too much on what and where she is going. We just know these facts because we just so happen to be on her mailing list. So we take what she has to say for herself for what it’s worth!

This writer is paying attention to all of this since yours truly is around the same age of the person who was with the same company for thirty one years. (The travel lady is a bit older or so we assume!) And although we won’t necessarily admit it, we are not getting any younger. Granted, there is a lot of life to live ahead, but it’s not the same life we experienced when we were living inside of a domestic life from times past when we were younger, dumber, and full of…you get the idea!

So we give our congrads to our thirty-one year veteran of the job site. We do hope to get updates from this person to pass along some of the details in how she is handling things to our curious readers. But we ourselves are just chugging along.

What will be in store for ALO-L as we soon enter the roarin’ 20’s? We’ll keep you posted! And that’s gonna be the cat’s pajamas!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Matrix Theatre on Melrose presents the world premier of Carole Eglash-Kosoff’s THE DOUBLE V, a story about one man’s effort to write a “letter to the editor” to a newspaper that would start a long process of the declaration of equality through victory.

It’s early 1942. The United States, as well as a good part of the world, are at war. It’s a battle taking place “over there” as well as what has been called as “the home front”. James “Jimmy” Thompson (Preston Butler, III) a young Negro man from Wichita, Kansas, works at an aircraft factory that are building planes for the Army Air Corps. He doesn’t work on the assembly line through. He works in the kitchen as many of the “colored” employees assembles for their jobs. He would like to do his part in winning the war. Alas, because he is of the negro race, he faces a lot of obstacles just because he isn’t white! So he writes a letter to the editor of The Pittsburgh Currier, a leading negro newspaper and states within his letter that there are two victories to win-one over our enemies from without–meaning the battles in Europe and the Pacific region, and the enemies within-meaning those that suffer from discrimination because of race. This letter calls to the attention of the newspaper’s editor Ira Lewis (Nicholas Few) who assigns a budding reporter Madge Evans (Brie Eley) to write a story about Jimmy Thompson’s effort to call for victory on both counts. Upon arriving in Wichita, she sees that this battle to win a war isn’t as equal for everyone, especially for those of color. Before long, a Double V movement would spread to other colored communities around the nation that affected those negros that desired to become as equal as their white counterparts. The movement not only received the attention to the negro populace, but to other sects including the FBI! The letter that Thompson penned in the days of World War II would eventually become the seeds to the civil rights movement that occurred later in the century.

This play written by Carole Eglash-Kosoff is based upon the actual Double V movement that occurred during this period. However, its history toward the effect was eventually lost over time and tide, but continued through other rallies and events that would last well into the new millennium. In this stage production, Preston Butler, III as Jimmy plays his role as an energetic lad that holds a passion to fight for what is right for his nation and his people. He strives to continue through his ways and means, even though his boss as the aircraft factory, Charlie Simpson (Joe Coffey) tends to only tolerate his efforts with the secret desire to keep him, as well as the other negros in their space! (For the record, this writer is using the terminology of the era as today’s African Americans were called “Negro” and “Colored” in the 1940’s as to when the story takes place.)

Michael Arabian’s stage direction shows off the many faces to what is transpiring within the editorial regions of the Currier, as well as the middle America zones of Wichita. This is especially true to how the white community treated those that were not white, even calling the battle as “the white man’s war”!

The rest of the cast that appear in this production also features Terra Stong Lyons as Annie Culver, with Cary Thomson, Jamal Henderson, and John Apicella performing in duo roles.

John Iacovel’s scenic design shows on center stage Ira Lewis’ office, complete with wooden-yet-study desk, library chairs, an old file cabinet, a typewriter that was at the era of the 1940’s was a thirty year old relic, among many other period items. Stage right’s space is the setting for the aircraft factory, and stage left is a couch that makes call for Jimmy’s humble abode shared by his father along with Jimmy’s girlfriend.

THE DOUBLE V presents itself as a drama that showcases a young man’s patriotic duties and his struggles to become equal in a world of inequality. From this point, this eventually lead toward the mass marches, the efforts of the freedom riders, even leading into the post-modern era of the #Black Lives Matter factions. The play’s reach is far, and holds plenty of uplifting intentions. The war may become long over with as well as becoming victorious, but the efforts for racial equality has yet to be won. It’s another “V” to go!

THE DOUBLE V, presented by CEK Productions, and performs at The Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue (east of Fairfax), Los Angeles, until November 24th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM.

For reservations and for more information, call (323) 960-7776, or online at
http://www.OnStage411.com/DoubleV
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The Santa Monica Playhouse presents LOVE IN BLOOM, an original musical that takes place in a fairy tale world that foretells the fable of a prince involved in a pre-arranged marriage to a princess-to-be, along with the other myths and legions that just as mystical.

Evelyn Rudie and Chris DeCarlo appear as Talia, the Queen of the Fairies and Orion, the Faerie King. This royal duo tells the saga of Prince Hamelot (Patrick Censoplano) that is set for a marriage to the fair maiden Lady Merrymount (Rachel Galper). The good prince isn’t too keen into this marriage as his characters is self described as “wishy-washy”! In spite of the prince’s attitude toward, there are others in this storied kingdom to guide him along. From this mix is the informal scamp Frivolio (Graham Silbert), a pair of sister siblings (Tara Brown and Cynthia Zitter) who disguise themselves as men disguised as women, and a “monster” appropriately named Calabasas (Zane Garcia). From this blend of beings, they all bloom to reach that pinnacle point of a mythical tale where a pleasing ending awaits for all!

This musical with book by Evelyn Rudie & Chris DeCarlo, with music and lyrics by Evelyn Rudie & Matthew Wrather and stage direction by Chris DeCarlo, is a parable that is a harmonious fuse of mime, commedia dell’arte, with touches from the quill of Willie Shakespeare inspired from his midsummer’s night dream, the wit of Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as some bawdiness (from nobody in particular) added for flavor. The fore noted bawdiness isn’t anything explicit per se, but is more of the “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” variety! Overall, it’s a delightful musical that creates an illusion of a world where anything could happen with a secure placement that everyone comes form the happy and content stock.

But there is more to the characters, music, and snappy dialogue that is part of this showcase. Ashley Hayes’ costuming shows off the world of farce and fantasy that is more akin to a “as you like it” form of experimental theater. That is, the complementary kind of experimental theater in apposed to something that’s weird!

Cydne Moore’s choreography is very imaginative that uses the art of mime as its base. This form of stage movement leans toward the notion of illustration of a description to the plot points.

James Cooper’s lighting, set, and video projection design add toward its look and feel that fits very well within the compact stage. Something depicted on a larger playing field (i.e. a stage) would have been otherwise lost!

These notions as witnessed within this production is why the Santa Monica Playhouse is one of the best (if not beloved) theaters in the Los Angeles region. The team of DeCarlo & Rudie, who also serves as its artistic directors, has taken this theater into its new highest over their many years on stage and off. And with shows such as this one, there isn’t any doubt that one won’t find quality theatre of this ilk anywhere. And it’s not just limited for the “grown-ups”! On Saturday and Sundays, there are other shows that are fit for the younger ones that the adults will find just as charming! (Visit the theatre’s website for more details on those productions!

LOVE IN BLOOM is a musical showpiece that is giddy and whimsical as a lovestruck “fool”! It’s not a spoiler alert to say that everyone lives happier ever after. And within this universe of the time of now, everyone needs a bit of content more than ever!

LOVE IN BLOOM, presented by and performs at The Santa Monica Playhouse (2nd Stage theater space), 1211 4th Street at Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, until November 24th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:30 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more details, call (310) 394-9779 ext. 1, or via online at http://www.SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com
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Santa Monica’s City Garage Theatre presents the world premier of Jeton Neziraj’s DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS, a surreal play about a bureaucratic center where dreams are obtained, catalogued, and deposited, and the people that control this inventory of thoughts.

Set within a unnamed nation, there is a governmental department calling itself “The Department of Dreams”, were every citizen is required by rule to report their dreams to this entity. Its mission is to transcribe these dreams, then to separate the dreams based on its practical use, then to ever further sort the dreams by topical category, finally to deposit these dreams for the full use and control to those that desire access. Within this department are those that enforce these tactics. John Logan plays Dan, a newly hired worker whose job as interpreter is to analyze the dreams that are otherwise difficult to decipher. This translates if such decrypted dreams are to be otherwise used as a possible threat to the nation’s wellbeing. Dan’s superior is his boss known as Master (Bo Roberts) that gives the outlines to what Dan should be seeking in terms of what occurs within these dreams. The person that Dan replaced was a worker known as Shortleg (Gifford Irving) who left as he spouted wings and few off to parts unknown. This act of Shortleg could have been itself a dream that Dan was required to translate. One entry he finds comes from a woman named Night. (Angela Beyer) This woman’s dreams seems to haunt Dan that drive him deeper into her psyche. Dan faces this challenge that could place him into other sections within this governmental ministry leading toward being cleansed–stripped down to a default pattern. Are these dreams being used for the benefit of its citizens, or only for the good to the national republic?

This single act play written by Kosovo native Jeton Nezira and translated into English by Alexandra Channer, is a haunting tale of an unnamed nation’s dominance to collect the dreams of its people as required by statute. These dreams are its citizen’s form of utmost privacy, very much akin to the times when Kosovo, located within the Balkans region of Europe that was once known as Yugoslavia, a one time suppressed region through political and economic aspects. In this play, much of what once occurred within this part of Europe is expressed throughout, yet presented in an unreal pattern. It can even be noted that its just as dreamlike as its citizens cannot keep their their dreams, but to pass those inner thoughts toward this agency accessible to a select class. The cast of performers mostly consist of those working within this department. David E. Frank plays an official to this bureaucratic entry, and Aaron Bray portrays a Dreambuilder that creates the dreams that is more suitable to the department.

The stage set for this production as designed by Charles Duncombe consists of a two winged structure to represent its working space it occupies as located within the seven story building where the dreams are housed. Its center stage on floor level is where some of the alternative occurrences takes place. The backdrop shows animated graphics as designed by Gaston Vinas that illustrates the inner intellect of what is unfolding through this inventory of dreams as collected in the past times, formed within the present mode, and the future destiny for the remainder.

This production can be witnessed as a statement of how a superior sect may be collecting the inner thoughts of those users by choice or circumstance. Although the basis may lean toward a political nature, it also could represent how non-governmental agencies are taking over the privacy of others in the form of high tech cyberspace based outlets through internet search engines and posts via social media outlets.

Directed by Frederique Michel, DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS can be a tale of fantasy, or a epic dose of hard reality cloaked as something from a parallel universe. Whatever may be the case, it questions to proceed these heeds with caution as everyone’s dreams may be next in line!

Please note that there is brief nudity depicted within this production.

DEPARTMENT OF DREAMS, presented by and performs at City Garage theatre, 2525 Michigan Avenue (at Bergamot Station off Olympic), Building T1-Santa Monica, until December 8th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM.

Special performances will take place the weekend of November 8th through the 10th featuring in person panel discussions with the playwright and other distinguished guest speakers.

More details on these special events, as well as for ticket reservations for all other performances can be obtained by calling the City Garage theatre boxoffice at (310) 453-9939, or through its website at http://www.CityGarage.org
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The Gloria Gifford Conservancy of Hollywood presents Tina Howe’s THE ART OF DINING, a comedy on a couple’s efforts within their new restaurant and the patrons that take part in their cuisine.

Ellen and Car are proprietors of The Golden Carousel, an upscale eatery located off the New Jersey shore. The new establishment was opened by this couple with Ellie as the master chef and Cal and the Maitre’D, as well as a $75,000 business loan to start everything off. Now it’s up to this couple to plan their menu, take reservations by phone, and to make sure that their customers can dine on many of their specialties found on the menu. The guests that arrive that evening consist of a married couple that are gourmands seeking the best for their tastes buds, a young writer of short stories awaiting to meet a rep from a publishing house with the hopes of making a deal, and three women out on a girl’s night out shopping trip that are there to enjoy their own company. Through the multiple courses of the evening, many little stories unfold, including of Ellie’s and Cal’s fighting and harmony in the kitchen. It’s really all about the mood and the food that takes center plate!

This production can be described as to how the “foodies” first came to light into the dining world. The play itself was first presented some forty years ago, back in the day when people would really dress for dinner, exotic cuisine was limited in reach (and was well worth the search), and reservations were only taken via the phone. Outside of these little methods on how restaurants operated and how patrons took its advantage, there really isn’t anything “dated” in this play. People still love to eat out, and restauranteurs still have their differences. However as noticed, nobody was fooling around with their phones while seated at their tables!

A rotating cast of players perform within this production. Billy Budinich, Keith Walker, Chris Jones, and Christine Maltez play Cal. Joey Marie Urbina and Kelly Musselwhite portray Ellen. Chad Doreck, Danny Siegel, Dan White, and Joshua Farmer portray Paul Galt, while Lucy Walsh, Keturah Haminlton, Cynthia San Luis, and Abigail Kochunas appear as Hanna Galt. (The married couple). Elizabeth Barrow Colt-the budding writer, is played by Kasia Pilewicz, Sabrina Won, and Justine Estrada. David Osslow, the publishing house executive, is performed by Haile D’Alan, Benito Paje, and Joe Flippone. And the trio of woman as the “girls night out” group consists of Leana Chavez, Nancy Vival, Samiyah Swann, Jade Ramirez Warner, Raven Bowens, Irene Gerakas, Amber Dancy, Danielle Abraham, Gloria Alvizar, and Rosa Frausto.

What also makes this play quite interesting is the detailed set design by Gloria Gifford, Keturah Hamilton & Lucy Walsh. On stage left is a real working kitchen space were food is actually prepared for the actors to dine on stage. Center stage are three white table clothed tables and chairs complete with cloth napkins, fancy china, and a stage candle placed on each table for mood and for show. Stage right is the reception lobby area of the restaurant (complete with a gold colored carousel hobby horse) all decked out in purple. These elements show that this restaurant isn’t another greasy spoon diner, and well as a bland quick service (i.e. “fast-food”) franchise joint!

Directed by Gloria Gifford, THE ART OF DINING is a play that hasn’t been performed in the Los Angeles region for some thirty five years! It’s long awaited revival is now available that enjoy a good number of laughs, in addition to how eating has become an art within its own right! Being a real foodie takes skill and effort. Not only that, it also takes a lot of good taste to pull it all off! As the pre-meal “prayer” goes, “Good food, good meat, good gosh, let’s eat!”

THE ART OF DINING, presented by Jamaica Moon Productions and the GGC Players, performs at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory theater, 6502 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, until December 8th. Showtimes are Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (800) 838-3006, or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/4404222
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE OLD MILL STREAM

In another chapter of the continuing saga of how television is once again changing, another entry to the streaming wars recently made their mark.

NBCUniversal recently gave a name to their new streaming service that will open in the Spring of ’20. It’s calling itself Peacock, named after the bird that has been part of The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) since 1956 when it was in the process of introducing color TV, perhaps the most significant improvement of TV that became mainstream in the 20th century. (High definition, although being tested, didn’t become the standard until the middle 2000s i.e. the 21st Century!)

As of this writing, there will be a number of new and improved streaming services here and/or “coming soon” that will offer a vast selection of content; old, new, and new again. The new stuff will be programs never seen before. The old stuff will be time tested favorites that were created within the last thirty years. (Friends, The Office, Seinfeld, etc.) as well as a few remakes, or in better terms, reboots! Peacock will offer reboots of two other shows from the 1980s and 1990s; Saved By The Bell, and Punky Brewster. The former series is based on a live action series for youth that was once part of NBC’s Saturday morning lineup, while the latter series was a prime time sitcom whose namesake was supposedly named after a girl that NBC’s programming head at the time, Brandon Tartikoff once knew as a youth!

It really isn’t any surprise to figure out why streaming media is now part of the many new comings of TV. There are the many reasons behind that note. First, streaming media can be obtained through any electronic device that sports a screen and can be connected to the internet, wired or wireless. Second, the programs can be viewed whenever the viewer desires, rather than on let’s say Thursday nights at 8:30 PM. (7:30 PM Central and Mountain times.) And in most cases, one can watch one episode at a time, or become a video hog and view every episode one after another for hours at a time. This method of watching one episode after the other is called “binge watching”. However, some of the streaming services will only release a few episodes of a programs at a time in order to give the viewer a serialized feel to it by also giving a few cliffhanger aspects to it all. This is assuming that the series in question offers some kind of a story arc. But most programs, especially programs that are not sitcoms, to have that continuity to it all. This means that if one begins to watch the series starting on episode five, some content will be missing or it won’t make much sense! You’ve got to start on EP1!!

However, the real reason for streaming’s appeal was the monthly service price for a subscription. Most of the streaming channels are available a la carte, meaning one can get those channels one at a time and to their choosing. Some services are offering package deals, such as Disney is going for their Disney+ and ESPN programs at a package rate. This is totally different with cable TV where the service would be for so much per month, offering channels that the subscriber may view a few times or not at all while paying for the privilege.

To give you readers an idea to what we are commenting about, back in the 2000s, this writer knew of somebody who was paying $121.00 per month to their local CATV provider to only watch three channels: Bravo, The Discovery Channel, and A&E. This same subscriber has access to 110 active channels, 30 that were “reserved for future use”, and the rest were audio only channels that offered a selection of music based on genre. One the screen as the music played, a static photo of the artist performing the song was displayed or a stock photo of an image that would fit the mood of the song was on the screen if the artist photos were not available. The name of the song, the artist name, and the source to where the song came from was displayed on the lower right side of the screen–MTV style!

Each decade of the 21st century had some change or improvement when it comes to TV within this domestic landscape. The 2000s introduced high def TV signals while is ended standard resolution TV–the kind that’s been around since the 1940s, as well as antilog signals. It was saw the end of the traditional CRT TVs that featured a square screen made of glass, as well as the end of the VCR. The 2010s made high def the norm while sets became longer and flatter in size and scope. The 20’s may show the fading of cable TV as will as DVD media. However, not everything that can be viewed on a TV device will be available via streaming since it’s more of a legal thing that a technological aspect.

Because of this, DVDs are not necessarily going away for good., so don’t quite toss out that DVD machine yet! And if one is a real consigner of content, many titles that were once available on commercially released videotapes may no longer be available anymore! (It’s another legal thing!) And the only way to see some content that’s out of print (so to speak), one needs a VCR to view it back. Keep in mind that the video will be seen at around 240 scan lines, making the picture look washed out when viewed on a 4k set. However, unless some lawyers get their acts together, one is never going to see a specific movie, TV show, or some other content on any other medium for a while, if at all!

Yours truly has been asked a number of times on what kind of programs I take a look at existing on the TV universe. I really never made any real comments toward this question. However, yours truly will give a reply to that time tested inquiry in a future issue of ALO-L.

So as they would say on TV, stay tuned!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

Continuing its limited run at The Zephyr Theatre on Melrose is Karen Lukesh’s new play DO US PART, a mini melodrama of a soon to be divorced couple having what appears to be their final stand.

Karen Kukesh and Scott Speiser are Dee and Nick. They have just completed their 11th (and final) year as husband and wife. Now in the final process of dissolving their marriage for keeps, they are packing their respectable goods from the home that was once theirs. Their meeting seems to be rather stilted as they still continue to dish out their faults. Although they both admit that they are beginning to “see” other people, they still desire to have they last minute say with each other. It’s not as easy to call it quits after a decade plus. But can they really end it all? Better still, is there hope for Nick and Dee, even though their attitudes may say otherwise?

This one act play written, directed, and co-starring Karen Kukesh, is a piece that can be lifted from what is known as “real life”. It’s generally a play that takes upon a comical look of a couple that thought they had it all, but it appears that the “all” wasn’t as cracked up as it could. The dialogue between the two is fast paced, cocky at times, while it holds some hints of sweetness to it all. They both come to their own conclusions within its sixty or so minute running time–something that a real life situation could really use.

What makes this play as charming as it is in spite of its theme of a marriage gone to pot, is the fact that it holds simplicity. Its stage set just consists of a few scattered cardboard boxes full of clothing, paperback books, CDs, along with an oversized wedding album that is now all for naught. These props represent a few of the things that are just reminders of a domestic life that is no more.

For those that desire a classic case of less-is-more theater, DO US PART fits that bill. It’s a comedy that tests if a marriage can really last through personal choice, or through dumb luck.

DO US PART, performs at The Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, until October 24th. Showtimes are Thursday nights at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at https://douspart.brownpapertickets.com
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Art Shulman’s CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMEN, a comedy-drama about a man who juggles a quartet of women that are part of his life while one dwells in the afterlife, makes its world premier at North Hollywood’s T.U. Studios.

Anthony Backman is Richard, who goes by his nickname “Champ”. He was once married to Susie (Rebecca Westberg), who Champ called “Princess”. It’s been a year since she passed away, yet her spirit is present within Champ’s humble condo home. Although he is alone in his condo, it seems that living there isn’t as feasible for him. (Besides, he could use the money for its sale!) So he uses the services of a real estate agent he first met at his gym, Cheryl (Caroline Westheimer). She is there as a professional, but as someone who may act as his companion. Adding to this mix is Esther (Leah Bass), a neighbor who does Champ’s laundry if not dispensing her spin on advice, and Annie (Shelby Janes), who works at the deli that makes his favorite sandwiches he partakes in!

This comic drama (or dramatic comedy) by regional playwright Art Shulman is a tale that focuses upon one’s personal conflict between the notion of letting go and moving on within one’s personal life. The cast that appear in this production are rather appealing. Anthony Backman as Champ is portrayed as a humble sole with shades of a person with hopelessly romantic traits, yet keeps on with his comical allure. (He can tell jokes, even if those jokes fall flat!) Leah Bass as Esther serves as the neighbor who is a bit on the nosy side, yet still keeps her heart of gold. Caroline Westheimer as Cheryl is straight forward in her line of work, yet gets along with Champ’s ideal. Shelby Janes as Annie is just as charming and perhaps can be the right person for Champ, outside of creating his sandwiches the way he likes ‘em! Rounding out the cast is Rebecca Westberg as Susie a.k.a. Princess, Champ’s real love of his life. Princess remains as a ghost that gave him her final (and written) notes for him just before she was sent to the afterlife.

Stan Mazin directs this play that is more melodramatic that comical, although it doesn’t get overly serious. It’s also talky, meaning that there are a lot of issues noted. Those plot elements just brings the backstory up front for the audience to follow up to.

CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMAN is a appealing play that serves its purpose, reminding those that one is never totally gone, let alone forgotten. It also shows how life can become a wonder as well.

CHAMP AND HIS FOUR WOMEN, performs at the T.U. Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street (at Lankershim Blvd. and Vineland Avenue), North Hollywood, until November 24th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For reservations and further information, call (818) 646-0007, or online at
http://www.ChampsWomen.com
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MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (Disney) stars Angelina Jolie as the title character. Elle Fanning is her goddaughter Aurora as the hailing Queen of the Moors, the mythical land that harks fairies and other fantasy-type creatures. Harris Dickinson is Prince Phillip, son of King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) who rule the neighboring kingdom of Ulstead. When Phillip asks Aurora’s hand in marriage, the task of the two families soon to be united in marriage lean toward the arrangement of a formal dinner party at the castle of the king and queen to commerate the celebration. It first appears that this dinner meeting may hold some complications. Malificent agrees to meet the future in-laws, even getting some training in royal etiquette through her assistant and companion, her raven Diaval (Sam Riley), who appears in human form when desired. At the dinner party, what begins as simple small talk conversation unfolds into something bigger. This leads Maleicent to place a curse of King John, putting him into a deep sleep. Will a kiss break the spell, or is there more into a once peaceful kingdom getting inside of a conflict between the citizens of Ulstead and the creatures within the Moors?

This feature film is a sequel of sorts from the 2014 release Maleficent from The Walt Disney Company which in turn, was extracted from the 1959 animated release Sleeping Beauty. The current release, as well as its follow up, is another take of Disney making “live action” versions of stories taken from “cartoon” editions.

As to what this title provides, it features not only a slew of special effects (of course), but it adds more depth to all of the characters that appear throughout. Angelina Jolie as the evil Maleficent (as the title of this flick suggests) is evil by way of her stern looks and through the curse that starts the film’s plot points. Elle Fanning as Aurora isn’t the sweet and syrupy princess as Disney tends to market her as, but holds a firm caricature of her self. Although the studio uses their princess “collection” as a major source of income, they are obligated to tone down the innocence just a bit to fit the current standards of total girly-dom.

There is plenty of action and conflict to view, as this movie is as expected as pure fantasy. There are a few other charactors of note that are featured to make the fantasy quite possible. Chiwetle Ejiofor appears as Conall, a winged creature who befriends Maleficent as a dark fairy. Ditto for Borra, as played by Ed Skrein, another dark fairy is desires more war than peace. These characters are just as macabre and scary looking through the tone of the screenplay as written by Linda Woolverton and Nora Harpster & Micah Fitzerman-Blue. The darkness angle depicted is more akin to a Grimm’s Fairy Tale of yore than standard Disney fodder. However, there isn’t any gore or bloodshed depicted. (After all, it is a Disney title!) But even with its “PG” rating, it’s a movie that isn’t meant for all kids–perhaps from age ten and up at the very least! However, since kids age ten and less makes up Disney’s core fan base (along with its major source of money making income), perhaps the studio is selling itself short!

Directed by Joachim Ronning, MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL is an adult fantasy piece that is more Disney-esque than let’s say, a super hero action picture! (And never mind the fact that the Marvel super heroes is owned and operated by the same management!) It’s not as family friendly as Disney’s other “live action” version of a former traditional cartoons such as last summer’s The Lion King, but still holds plenty of attention! For those that seek more “live” versions of their cartoon features, check out the upcoming Lady and the Tramp, soon to appear on the Disney+ streaming service. However, LATT is a TV movie. M:MOE is a theatrical vehicle! So there!

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL, now appearing at all multiplexes 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
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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEHxSllfDItpWh3z8vuUb_w
(Accessibly Live’s channel on YouTube)
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com
#AccessiblyLiveOffLine

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

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