REMEMBERING NOSTALGIA

The times that people that live and dwell within this domestic landscape are seeing their world going to hell in a hand basket. This is the phrase that the world as we know it is doomed and everything associated with it is going to pot, and not necessarily through “wacky weed” (where available of course), although using the stuff may ease the pain for its moment.

This article won’t discuss the many trends and reason why the said world is going to hell, pot, the dogs, or whatever cute term one wants to use to describe a situation where it ain’t want is used to be as what is why those serious news sources exist, and why they want you to subscribe to their services they offer to let you know just what is going on in that cold cruel world of ours. What will be discussed within these notes is how people cope with such factors on how they can get through their life and times, even if they can ease the pain for the moment.

One of the many factors that people use is what’s called “nostalgia”. According to the ol’ Webster’s dictionary (or any other dictionary) that can be found online, that term means “..a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations..”

That definition is quite understandable. People as a whole do possess associations with previous experiences within their past. Some are pleasant and happy, such as a trip someone has taken, or an event one attended such as a birthday party for an associate of themselves. People have also experienced not-so-great moments in their life as well. If one was once involved in let’s say a flood, you may not necessarily be nostalgic for that event. So speak about such an event to state “Remember the Smithville Flood of nineteen-aught-three? Boy, was that a time!!” sound very much like a line from some comedy skit. Then again, perhaps what came from the flood may fall into nostalgia, such as how the people in the area assisted with one another, or the results of getting a dwelling space that was a lot better than the old home that got flooded out. But we believe that you readers out there get the idea of what we are attempting to state here.

Anyway, nostalgia has played through a number of factors, especially during recent times. When the pandemic was at its peak, many folks tried to cope with what was going on through nostalgia. Streaming services offered a dose of programming from not-so-long-ago that gave people their own personal comfort, enough for them to not only binge and their favorite TV and/or movie series, but to gain interest in a title that had previously been forgotten about. This drive was even brought to the attention of those programmers and other groups that help the intellectual property (“IP”) rights to the source, enough to present another remake/reboot/reimangaring to the big or the little screen.

A good number of this type of nostalgia tends to teeter toward events and properties based upon the nostalgia user’s own memory, and those folks lived through the moment or era. There are other forms of nostalgia as well. History fans may have nostalgia over an event or period of time that they hold interest to, but didn’t necessarily live through the time where the elements were at their peak. There is even a term for that phase called Anemoia, whose meaning is for a longing for a past one doesn’t remember. (There’s another term for this sense called Nostalgia-alga, and one can switch off from one phrase to another if you want!)

For instance, one holds a fascination for the Civil War that took place in the USA from 1861 through 1865. There are Civil War reenactors that gather in large groups in an open space or field. These folks dress up in military uniforms of the era donned in blue for the north and grey for the south, and participate in reenactments of battles that may or may not have taken place. These Civil Way fans hold a nostalgia for the Civil War, but of course, never were around to live through this period in US history. And bringing it up to 20th/21st century standards, some people of Millennial age (up to age 40 or so), have an interest in mid-century modern furnishings and related designs. Mid-century modern describes the period of c.1945 through the 1970’s where designs were simple, flowing, and had a futuristic look as created by such designers as Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, and a host of others that were involved within that field. Those that are 40 and younger do not necessarily recall when those designs were at their peak, but they hold a personal interest in a period that was already the past when they first saw the light of day. But you get the idea here.

And it’s not just limited to media and objects. Food comes into play here, where recipes and dishes have made their comeback thanks to nostalgia. Macaroni and cheese, a dish that was long associated with foods that one would serve kids either through an elementary school lunch or as a dinner that “mom” would once serve her offspring(s), has returned. Gourmet versions of this once stable have graced the pages of cookbooks and related media associated with home living. Restaurants are adding that dish to their menus either as a side dish or a main entry. And the reason behind this return? Mac ‘n cheese has been labeled as “comfort food”, an item once enjoyed and later forgotten or abandoned, depending on one’s personal tastes toward food. And that conformity is connected to nostalgia. This is also the reason why cookbooks published from another era are sought by those that troll garage and estate sales, as well as looking online to find a book that features recipes created back in the day where nobody seemed to give a damn in what they ate. Cookbooks of the modern era (21st century mostly) have dishes that are much healthier than ever before, even breaking down its nutritional values to it all. Even when there is an attempt to reprint a cookbook from yore, many of the recipes are rewritten to substitute ingredients that are much healthier now than they were back in the day. Bacon fat isn’t as popular as it used to be, yet bacon itself serves as “comfort food”. Just don’t use the grease in your recipe!

Nostalgia of course, is far from being new. Yours truly first experienced this face of interest into the past going back to the 1960’s when movies from the so-called “golden age of Hollywood” started to take interest thanks to local TV stations filling up their schedules running older movies whenever they could fit them in. This started the creation of books that wrote about this era. I got involved with nostalgia when I started to attend the first set of comic book conventions that would take place in some hotel ballroom for a weekend that glorified the golden and silver age of comic books and related. In fact, the first major convention I attended was called Nostalgia ’72. In 2022, anything from 1972 is considered nostalgic! And since this is the fiftieth anniversary of 1972, that is behind the reasons why one may be seeing elements connected to that year. And to stay in focus with that year, this year celebrates the infamous break-in at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC that started a political tailspin. And in July, that month commemorated the 50th anniversary of the film release of Deep Throat, the movie that ushered in the modern era of porn features that were movies where one can see on camera “lovemaking” among a weak and thin story line. After all, one doesn’t see such a movie for its plot and acting beyond “doing it”!

There is a lot of stuff going on right now that isn’t very happy and well. And that trend will continue as long as the human race will thrive. However, there is an escape to all of those troubles and woes. And that escape, even if that method of getting away from it all is through emotional means, is there for the taking. Granted, those concerns may still linger, but at least one can take that vacation from the 2020s and return where those concerns were not as bad as one released when one left. They even may find a solution to those concerns thanks for diving into those sights, sounds, and tastes that came from another era. After all, what goes around comes around. And who knows, perhaps fifty years from now, there will be folks that will wax nostalgic over the pandemic, the war, and when gas prices shot through the roof. There might even be nostalgia over the use of gasoline to fuel cars! We’ll just wait and see…!

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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the world premier of Norm Foster’s comedy A CLEAN BRUSH, a tale about two house painters, a pair of sisters that aren’t sisterly to each other, and an “accidental” death.

James Lemire and Michael Kerr play Dick and Mello, a pair of house painters whose latest gig is to repaint a room inside of a dwelling belonging to Zoe. (Mandy Fason). Dick and Mellow learn that Zoe’s husband recently passed away by “falling” on a fireplace poker. In fact, he fell a number of times on the poker, apparently in the same spot on his head. Zoe wants to get the place freshened up to rent out. While Dick and Mello start on their painting job, Zoe’s neighbor and sister Lois (Susan Priver) comes in She’ there to see what’s going on with her sis, even though they barely get along with each other, as well as reviewing the pair of painters she hired. Is Zoe trying to cover up a possible murder of her husband? Is Lois behind this plot as she didn’t do too well with her spouse? And will Dick and Mello complete their painting gig, even though Mello is taking a shine toward Zoe? This is far beyond another plot of slapping on a fresh coat of paint on the walls just to get the job done!

This new comedy by veteran comedy writer, playwright, and Canadian by origin Norm Foster is a comic farce that holds up to a lot of sharp dialogue, especially between painters Dick and Mello as portrayed by James Lermier who is the “straight man” to Michael Kerr’s Mello as the “fall guy”. The pair of painters peter out as a comic duo that holds more sarcastic canniness than genuine knockabout laughs. One won’t see any physical comedy as the two attempt to paint a la Laurel and Hardy, or even another attempt for a revival of Mack & Myer for Hire! (Do an online search for the latter description!) Zoe and Lois, as portrayed by Mandy Fason and Susan Priver, could plot themselves as scheming sisters, but instead portray siblings that are on their own terms. They are not working with each other in a supportive role, but are just emotionally distant. (Just like real siblings!) The pacing is indeed original for how it stands, even through there is no paining done on stage, and there is no real murder seen on display–assuming that there was a murder in the first place!

As to the visuals, Michele Young’s costuming shows off to where the characters stand within their roles. Dick and Mello’s costuming only consist of painter’s jumpsuits (spotted in the first act while cleaner in the second), while Zoe and Lois dress as women that could be as low-key evil! And Jeff Rock’s scenic design is at its minimal. There are little furnishing on display since the stage consists of a single room that will be painted over. And there is a fireplace placed on stage right to where the “murder” apparently took place!

Directed by Howard Storm, A CLEAN BRUSH is a play that consists of house painters along with a pair of cunning sisters that know enough about each other. It sounds more like a plotting for a drama than a comedy. So we’ll call this production a dramatic comedy or a comical drama. One can take their pick. So make sure you have the proper rollers and enough drop cloths to keep the place dressed with a fresh coat! And use primer as well! It’s enough to be amused much faster than watching the paint dry!

A CLEAN BRUSH, 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 October 23rd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.    

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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DON’T WORRY DARLING (Warner Bros./New Line) stars Florence Pugh as Alice Chambers. She, along with her husband Jack (Harry Styles) lives in a suburban community nestled in the middle of the desert resembling Palm Springs of the 1950’s. This community named Victory, is connected to a rather secretive organization developing The Victory Project, a utopian experimental collective run by its CEO Frank (Chris Pine) where the husbands are the breadwinners and the wives live within a fantasy life. The wives cook and clean as they are supposed to do. But they also lounge by the pool, drink fancy cocktails, and smoke their brand of cigarettes. After their husbands return from their jobs working within The Victory Project, they hold dinner parties with other couples in the neighborhood dining on the elaborate meals as prepared by the humble wives. And yes, each husband makes love with their spouses on the husband’s commands. But Alice isn’t like the rest of the wives that do household chores and attend fashion shows held within the community of Victory. She sees things going amiss. She even starts to question what her husband does within The Victory Project. This starts a chain of reactions to where Alice may be proven to be out of line where pills may bring her to her senses, or so says the “expects” working on behalf of The Victory Project. Does Alice know more than she should know? Or is she really seeing things as a hallucination? And is this community really part of an ideal 1950‘s-esque utopia complete with everything in a style of mid-century modern along with period music played from phonographs in everyone’s ranch style homes?

This movie is a blend between the stylish fashions and set dressings made famous in the TV series Mad Men while set upon a post-modern aura of science fiction. (A 21st century version of SciFi, not the classic 1950’s take on SciFi!) It also leans towards a sense of a fear that brings havoc to those that aren’t part of the status quo. The screenplay by Katie Siberman with story by Carey Van Dyke, Shane Van Dyke, and Siberman starts out with Alice and Jack hosting a party in their home where their friends are present. Then things start to get a bit out of kilter, almost surreal and strange. Those elements added is what makes this movie not just another retread of living in the 1950’s as it may have existed or not! Then again, this feature could be part of a tale that could be expanded as a multi-part mini series viewed on one of those streaming video channels that tends to be the place to view such mini epics!  It has enough plot twists that can provide the room and ability to expand far from this film’s 122 minute running time.

It also features an interesting leading and supporting cast consisting of Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Olivia Wilde (who also directs), Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Kate Berlant, Asif Ali, Douglas Smith, Timothy Simons, and Ari’el Stachel. Many of these names hail from TV/Video, while the rest have appeared as character roles in previous feature titles. So don’t expect much “star power” as such a movie of this type may support.

The real stars of this film are the visuals as expressed. Production designer Katie Byron offers through its staging what the 1950’s were supposed to look like. Costume designer Arianne Phillips sets up the outfits that the men wore and the women paraded in, while Rachael Ferrara dresses each set that brings out the best of the style of the middle 20th century.

Of course, a good looking movie doesn’t necessarily mean that DON’T WORRY DARLING is a good movie! It has its moments for sure! But as stated before, this title would make a better mini TV series. Perhaps a version of this feature may wind up on HBO+ as it comes from the Warner Bros.-Discovery cannon. And since the majority of the cast hails from a TV landscape, it could have the original players set within the roles that make this movie just what it is. It’s a feature that’s amusing with a bit of suspense and mystery added for good measure, complete with a 50’s rock ‘n roll based soundtrack that is more doo-wop rhythm and blues than an expected collection of R&R stars from the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Elvis. After all, when it comes to period films, one must play as much music from that period as one can get away with (or can afford through licensing) in order to show its audience that it takes place in the era the movie represents. In this case, it’s the 1950’s for sure! (Ditto for placing shiny looking classic cars within the backgrounds!)

This title is rated “R” for sexuality, violent content and (limited) foul language as noted by the MPA. Now playing at all multiplexes nationwide.

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

DO YOU ACTUALLY WATCH TV?

In a previous issue, we reprinted some of the email messages we had received over time and tide that made commentary on our news service. Out of these messages, we printed some of the replies that were based on questions that noted elements of our content.

One question we received last spring was a simple and basic one that consisted of a few words. It read…

I see reviews of theater shows and movies. But what about TV? Do you actually watch new TV shows, or are you stuck in the past?

Robin G.

This question is far from being earth shattering or would express any interest to those that may be looking for hard news. Trust us folks. There are plenty of sources to find hard news! This ain’t one of them in most cases!

Well, this is the basic reason why we don’t review a lot of new TV programs. And when we state about “New TV Shows”, we refer to programming that can be video on any electronic device that sports a screen and can connect to the internet. This means a traditional TV set, a smartphone, a computer (desktop or laptop), or an electronic pad (“iPad”, etc.) And the term “new” means that it’s a service that first made its mark within the last five years. It could even be a title that’s been around a lot longer, just as long as it’s still in production and was created for “new” media. (i.e. Streaming, etc.)

First of all, thanks to the said streaming, there are many more sources where one can obtain this kind of content. And unlike traditional broadcast and cable TV where the programming aired on a selected time and day of the week where one can view only one installment at a time, streaming doesn’t have that restriction. This means that most, if not all, of its content is made available at any time the viewer wants to consume the program. You can watch an episode of let’s say The Morning Show on Apple TV anytime and any day. If you decide to see an episode on a Tuesday at 3:17 PM, or at 3:17 AM, it’s there for the taking! It’s a far cry from the days of “TGIF” days on ABC (or was it NBC? This writer forgets!) where you had to see the lineup on Friday. Ditto for “appointment TV” where you cleared your schedule to tune in on a specific show on a specific day and time. Yours truly once scheduled his days and times so I could tune in to the next episode of something. And I did this as young as six years old when I made such I was in front of the old 21” Zenith on Monday nights at 6:30 PM (CST) to watch the latest episodes of The Monkees, and hoped that Kellogg’s Cereals was picking up the tab that night so I can see a cast commercial featuring Mickey or Peter rant and rave about Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or Rice Krispies! (Even though much of its viewers were kids and teenagers, you would think that a kid friendly cereal would be plugged as it would be just as funny to see Mike and Davy rave about Froot Loops or even Sugar Frosted Flakes. But this is besides the point!)

But getting back to the newer still. I have been told by people that I personally know about all of the great TV that’s out there! I recently spoke to a mutual friend about the Disney+’s Star Wars series that play out as good (or almost good) as the features that were inspired from those titles. And unlike a feature that only can do so much in a given period of running time, TV shows hold the luxury of flushing out the characters giving them more personality, perhaps creating a backstory that the movie didn’t have the time and space for. One recently movie that shows this effort was Warner Bros.’ release of The Many Saints of Newark. This title was about the story of Tony Soprano who was exposed to the mob scene taking place in northern New Jersey when he was a youth in the 1960’s, later making him the man that he became to be. The movie showed the younger version of many of its characters—love ‘em or hate ‘em, as well as others that were only referred to but never depicted. I have seen isolated episodes of The Sopranos either from HBO or through its home video release. But the film would have made a better TV series than a stand alone title. Perhaps David Chase and the powers to be at HBO can work something out with a badda-bing!

And there are other shows to ponder upon where from what I have seen through bits and pieces, look very much like a feature film. They are edgy enough to be mistaken as a movie, and when appropriate, they can cuss and depict violence and sex. This is a far cry from the shows I used to tune in back in the 1970’s that were very restricted to what they can say and depict. This was based on the networks’ Standard and Practices (i.e. “the censors”) that had the upper hand. That was OK for what that was, but the movie could do better. That is how movies lasted as long as they did. Movies can showcase things that TV programs of the same caliber didn’t and couldn’t. That is why today that “tentpole” movies thrive, and dramas don’t!. And there are “tentpole” worthy shows appearing on TV. Thanks to computer generated special effects, one can show things exploding, or creatures running around causing havoc. Dramas take up time and concentration to make them appealing. And there is a lot of that form of content around, making TV shows better than ever.

So this gets back to what this writer doesn’t watch on TV.

Perhaps the real reason is due to less time available with more content to consume. And many serialized programs run on a continuity basis, meaning that in order to understand the storyline and the characters that are part of it, one must watch a series in rank and order from Season One-Episode 1 onward. This all began with such programs as Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere from the 1980’s. These programs had what one TV columnist called a “memory”. That is, its storylines would be able to recall or refer to a scene and/or the characters that were part of that season from seasons past. And these programs had to run in order and would possess a thread. Thus, running the episodes out of order would confuse the viewer. Before that, all episodes were self-contained. You can view a season of Magnum P.I. as a jumbled order, and you would be fine.

So what this writer is commenting about is the fact that I don’t have the time, energy, gumption, or even interest to view everything that is placed in front of me. And no lack of respect to those that offer such selection to me. All this attempt as going to a buffet usually found at a Las Vegas-type casino. There are hundreds of entries to choose from, and one can only consume so much. That is why these buffets are called “groaner bars”. (Or something to that effect!) By the time you tried to take everything from the buffet, you are going because you consumed too much. I am invited to a video version of a groaner bar. All I take is a few things, and then walk away to either return later if at all!

But that goodness to those TV gods out there for doing what they are doing. I would never realize in all of my years covering the media that television would remain king of the hill. It was first placed to me that cable television, with all of its channels offering more product that what the three (later four) networks could ever muster up, could present a load of choices where one can watch TV twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. But much of the stuff that cable TV offered some forty years ago wasn’t as great as it could have been. Unless one enjoyed watching reruns of previously aired TV shows, movies (theatrical and returns of movies made for TV), and sporting events, that was a good chunk of what was on cable. Original shows did exist, but were not as good as to what ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox would cram into their prime-time lineup.

So here’s to you, folks! The ol’ video machine will keep on plugging, while I give the TV buffet another chance. I’ll just wait for dessert. Or to place it all in text speak, YOLO!!!

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

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@AccessiblyLive (Twitter)
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http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

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

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

HOME WORK

It appears that the battle of working from where one lives versus working in a traditional office area is still in debate.

As pandemic issues are a fraction to where they once settled, many companies that operates their business out of an office space (or office spaces) are encouraging their employees (or in some cases, ordering their employees) to return back to their facilities to do the same work they have been doing at their home bases for the past year and a half.

Depending on the company and the work required by those being paid for the company, the people that offered their services are rather enjoying themselves in working at their homes, or where ever they can hang out just as long as there’s a wifi connection and if they have access to a cell phone or any electronic device that can connect to a wifi setup. So these folks can do their jobs while at home, hanging around a coffee joint, or wherever they desire. Just as long as the work can be completed within the requirements that the company specifies, then that’s OK.

However, many office managers, as well as associate managers, or assistant associate managers, are asking/demanding those to come back to the offices to do the same work.

A few of these employees are just doing that with strings attached! They will ask or demand what would be the incentives for them to return. Companies are replying by offering incentives such as an open food bar, perhaps a lavish place to work, as well as other options that may almost sound like a bribe. These employees, taking upon the realm of what the “Great Resignation” gave them permission to do i.e. speak out for themselves, are asking (or demanding) a salary increase just to come into the office! They state that if they have to take out the time to get to the office/working location from where they dwell, then they should be paid a premium to do so.

Perhaps the biggest reason why people don’t want to come into the office is the fact that spending eight, nine, ten or more hours a day doing their jobs remotely disrupts their life balance. People spend as much as an hour getting to and from their office space each weekday via self commute. And if one lives in a megacity such as Los Angeles, the rush hour commute is frustrating as it is! Once they arrive in the morning hours after driving on the 405 freeway for so long, they are not in the greatest mood to work or to do anything for that matter. And for those that have family matters to deal with, then the situation is even worse. And for the most part, many people in traditional offices work alone or as a solo. There is the occasional meeting to attend. But thanks to modern technology, one can meet remotely. Zoom became the poster child for remote meetings. And the pandemic made that application a household word. Everybody can get it, and they use it on their phones, their electronic pads, their laptops, and even their desktops!

These companies are pushing the return to the office for their own reasons. They claim that working away disrupts what’s called “company culture”. This means without the bonding one can get with fellow employees while on the job, it’s very difficult for the other employees to work together. And those discussions around the water cooler? These companies are stating that many ideas are often expressed through these impromptu gatherings. Thus, if one is in the offices, the company can grow and expand. So can their employees.

Many of these same employees, hearing about this line on what is being stated, call it a lot of bulls#it! Many people who work with one another don’t necessarily fraternize with others within their office space. After all, there is no requirement to become friends with somebody in the next cubicle! And for years, perhaps decades, the company didn’t want you to hang around the water cooler, claiming that those around the water cooler (or coffee pot, or vending machines dispensing snacks, is goofing off on the job! And office managers have the desire to see people working, even though the work is actually getting done! And those working on a company internet system know that they are being watched while at the office. They are aware that every keystroke is being recorded. They are also aware that any place one logs on their network is also recorded. Some companies even go as far as to block selected websites that have nothing to do with what the company is involved in. Many of the sites one can’t get access to from a company server includes (but not limited to) ESPN, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, as well as all of the leading porn sites.

Also, the reason why offices want their groups to return is the fact that many of these firms hold long term leases of their office space. If a company made a ten year lease on a 10,000 square foot office in a downtown region back in 2019, they expected the office full or their humble and devoted employees working as busy beavers for eight to twelve hours a given weekday, and getting their money’s worth on the space they are renting out until the lease is up for renewal in 2029.

Of course, the pandemic threw a monkey wrench in the machinery. All of a sudden, their office spaces were emptied out. The company informed these devoted employees that you can now work from home. This way, you can keep free and safe from the virus, while getting their jobs done. It was a win-win for everyone.

That was a few scant months ago. Now that the lockdowns are no more, it’s time to return and for the company to make good on that 10,000 square foot space they are paying an arm and a leg for. Their employees are stating that thanks to the cost of gas, and everything else for that matter went sky high, then they can do the same thing at home. This is a win-win situation. People can work and get their lives back in order at the same time. And they don’t have to do everything from a traditional run from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM. If they desire to get the job done between 9:00 to 5:00, then that’s OK. If they want to work between 9:00 PM through 5:00 AM, so be it. If they desire to work on a staggered schedule on a twenty four hour rotation, then that’s all the better!

Of course, not everyone has the option of doing their jobs at home. Many people such as those in the medical field have to report to duty. Ditto for those in the hospitality industry such as restaurants. Same goes for construction. In other words, if doing the job desires an in-person experience, then working from home can’t cut it.

Yours truly is within a position where I can work from home, and have been doing such for years long before it became trendy. I write all of my pieces from my humble abode. I knock out each of these articles whenever deemed possible, no matter what hour of the day it is. I also do my other work from home. (Yep! I work multiple jobs!!) No matter what has to be done and when it has been ready, I can do it. And there is no office manager telling me when I can work, eat, breathe, or when I can crap. I am the one in control.

Of course, my situation is rather unique. And many people still do not have the luxury of working at home versus working remotely. But they do realize that they can speak for themselves. That is the reason why unions are making its slow yet steady comeback. They state that they can be loyal to the company they work for, assuming that the company will be loyal to them. It’s not like in the so-called “good old days” where an employer can state to an employee that they can be replaced if they slack off on the job. And thanks to social media, people can exchange stories on how they are mad as hell and they are going to take it anymore! And they are mad as hell indeed! And who can’t blame them?

In the meantime, inspired by the fact that a recession is looming (or not), people are still working. Jobs are still available. And in many cases, it’s a hiring frenzy. Granted, prices are higher. So are wages (good) and rents! (Not so good!) But whatever this situation states, it’s just going to be a long and rather tedious “wait and see” result. After all, one can gossip about other employees through your social media posts. It’s been going on for years. Why quit while you’re ahead?

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The Sierra Madre Playhouse in Sierra Madre opens their 2022-23 season with Lauren Gunderson’s SILENT SKY, the inspired true story of Henrietta Leavett, a woman whose interest in astrology was able to create a discovering in the pattern of charting stars, in spite of the challenges she had to face in order to become renowned within her feats.

Ann Marie Wilding portrays Henrietta Levitt. At around the turn of the 20th century, she begin to become involved at the observatory at Harvard University as what was called a “computer”, a person that charts the movement of stars through etched graphs photographed upon glass plates. These chartings were part of the research projects as orchestrated by the research scientists lead by Dr. Charles Pickering that would receive the credit for their work but not for the “harem” that underscores this research, including Henrietta and the rest of the female computing staff. But Henrietta becomes profound in her measurable calculations. This was enough to her desire to utilizes the telescope known as the Great Refractor, but she isn’t allowed to operate let alone even look into the Refractor because of her gender. Besides, it’s really part of the work of the important men that make up the body of the science departments based at the university. In spite of what the department restricts her in these studies, Henrietta proceed within the process of transcribing the changes in Cepheid stars. This charting becomes an important process into charting the entire body of stars as seen within the scope of earth’s boundaries within the known universe. Her work ethic is noted by Dr. Pickering’s head apprentice, Peter Shaw. (Jack Menzies), who later becomes somewhat of a romantic interest with Henrietta. But this doesn’t stop into the progress that Henrietta is finding within what lies far into the skies. Her skills and abilities later become a first in what the other male scientists has yet to discover at Harvard, and through the other astronomical portals outside of the campus halls of ivy.

This play by Lauren Gunderson is an inspiring drama that speaks for a lesser known person that made new and useful discoveries within the story of the stars when it was all drawn up through human ability based “computers” rather than the electronic type that would not be used for a number of years far into the future. Ann Marie Wilding as Henrietta play her role as a strong lead that knows as much as the male staff she works for. Within her character, she is firm in what she can prove, but is not bossy. The other female characters that are part of her story, colleagues Annie Cannon as played by Candida Celaya and Willamina Fleming (Aubrey Saverino) are within that same level, although Willamina is more “fun” and shows that her Scottish roots brings out her engineering abilities that the Scotts are most famous for. And Henrietta’s sister Margaret (April Elize) is more of the traditional type that such females were categorized during the early 20th century.

The stage setting by Barbara Schofield is arranged as a practical set. The sets consists of a few pieces of basic period furnishings are laid out on the stage depicting many of the aspects that Henrietta finds herself in, from the Harvard Observatory spaces to the universe starred skies itself. The latter is projected upon its back stage wall through moving and still imagery as designed by Fritz Davis. Barbara Schofield’s stage direction of the characters showcases the feats of its lead of the play’s protagonist.

SILENT SKY takes its title to the audio quality of the stars as seen within the heavens itself (physical silence), and the work that the women did that were a challenge into its own right. (Woman’s rights that had to be fought for, almost demanded!) The play hold both drama and inspiring heart into the work that Henrietta mastered in an honest method that still is acknowledged. As to women taking the lead in such fields of astrological studies? It continues today, but with similar consequences that Henrietta faced thought over one hundred years before. It’s rendered as one step forward, and one (or more) steps in the other direction.

SILENT SKY, presented by and performs at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, until October 9th. Showtimes are Friday, and Saturday nights @ 8:00 PM, with Saturday/Sunday matinee performances at 2:00 PM.

In addition to the performance, a series of lectures will be conducted entitled The Silent Sky Lecture Series that will comment upon insights into Henrietta Leavitt’s pioneering work, the history of women in science, and the infinite wonders of the stars, as described on the theater’s website.

Admission to all lectures are free. Information on the lecture series, its dates and subjects, as well as ticket reservations for Silent Sky can be obtained by calling (626) 355-4318 or online at https://www.sierramadreplayhouse.org

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

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

YOU THE PEOPLE SPEAK! LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

It’s been a while since we gave our readers the floor. So here’s your chance to say a few words…

..I really like your news. When will you do a podcast? I listen to a lot of them, and maybe yours will be just as good as the others…

-Mark

This is a question that we have been asked on occasion. We have been kicking that idea around for a while. So here’s our take on podcasts.

First and foremost, A podcast, in case nobody knew just what this element is, is a radio program that’s not on the radio. Many podcasts consist of talk shows that have a host that speaks upon a topic or topics. Many times they will have a second person on the show, making this program as a “tag team”. Other podcasts consist of audio documentaries, complete with various voices speaking upon the subject overlaid by a dramatic music score. These types of podcasts have become popular over the last few years.

As for us, we can do a podcast. But that could consist of someone reading an issue to the listener. And the irony of it all, AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com was the basis of a talk program hosted by yours truly called Accessibly Live that aired on a public access channel in suburban Minneapolis and suburban St. Louis in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

As of now, I am working on developing a podcast that will not necessarily be related to the content found at ALOL. We’ll keep you posted on that aspect.

Do you guys still give out reviews of plays and movies? You used to do (reviews) of a lot of movies! Where are they?

-P.

Yes, we still churn out reviews of theater and feature films. However, we went through a change of editorial policy not too long ago, based on various factors that we encounter mostly through circumstance.

Within the last two years, beginning around the second quarter of 2020, the pandemic has changed a lot with it coming to regional theater and the ways movies are marketed. We’ve reported within these pages a number of times that regional theater emerged a bit different as they once did some two years before. Some theater groups returned. Others didn’t. And movies are returning back to theaters. Right now, the movie industry’s saving grace are the blockbusters that rely on existing premises ranging from the ever lovin’ comic book/superhero types, to squeals, remakes, reimanages, and whatever one can call a new version of a familiar name. You can call this “comfort foods”, but not necessarily the edible type. And since there is so much of this that’s going around, So with less movies, that means less reviews.

As to the smaller movies, many of them are being released as “video on demand” titles, meaning they don’t play in theaters anymore. In fact, many of the so-called “art” movie theaters have closed or been modified. But this doesn’t mean movies are going away, They are just spacing themselves out a bit. And yours truly is going that as well.

But we will provide those reviews you readers still look out for. So keep looking out for them!

A long winded answer to a rather short and sweet question. And thanks for asking…!

…I really like your blogs. You write about those little issues that remind me of old Seinfeld episodes. Keep up with those blogs. And if I can suggest a few topics that you can write about, I would really like that…

-BillyBoyz38

Well, “BillyBoyz38”, we assume that you are commenting upon our entry essay column that starts out each edition.

We recently did an audit on how our editions circulate each week. And we have noticed that when we begin each issue on those “little” stories you noted, we get a spike in readership in terms of how many log on during a given day and time of day. When we make a comment on, let’s say, how streaming TV is making its mark to those with video devices connected to the ‘net, those “hits” tend to drop a bit. To give you an idea of what we are noting, a few issues ago (Vol. 27-No. 24), we wrote a column on how our internet service went down and the havoc it caused. That particular edition saw a massive uptick of hits for that given week. This means that people still prefer to read about those little things of life that are not newsworthy in a traditional sense, but do “hit home”, so to speak!

As as to your suggestion of what we should write about in the future. What topics do you have in mind?

Will AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com be moving its offices somewhere else? We heard that you are leaving Hollywood forever! Is this true?

-Pat Leib

First of all, Pat. Let’s clear up the air for a moment when it comes to relocation to a physical place.

Since last year, yours truly did obtain a place located in the center of the Midwest region. We even churned out a few issues of this news service from that region. It’s a place that is very far away from “Hollywood”–some 2100 miles away give or take. In fact, it’s a lot closer to Chicago than it is to Los Angeles. And thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to crunch out each issue from this little spot. However, there isn’t a lot of “activity” there in comparison to what the Los Angeles region provides. One can’t attend a stage theater show when one isn’t at the theater. Movie reviews can be done since this region has movie houses run by the national chains. And I have reviewed movies through secure steaming portals as provided by a few of the film distributorships. However, making a relocation isn’t that cut and dried. There are a lot of factors that are preventing us for making this physical move a reality. (The storm clouds hovering over the domestic economy market is one of them!)

But to answer your question. Yes, we do hope we can move to this little hamlet that we have our eyes upon. It just won’t be right away! But that doesn’t mean that ALOL will go away, far from that. We feel that after all of these years we have been in what one can call the media capital of the nation, if not the world, perhaps it’s time to move on. It’s not going to be in the near future. But as I said to myself when I first came to this community not so long ago (and to borrow a famous line spoken by Judy Garland in the feature The Wizard of Oz) “Toto..I don’t think I’m in Los Angeles anymore!”

That’s all for now! If you wish to drop us a line, please do so! Just send your comments (both the good ones as well as the not-so-good types) to us. See the last entry of this edition on how to get a hold of us! Until then, we’ll “see” you then!!

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

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

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

“FREE” TUITION

Although the school season is well under way, the big school related news occurred last week where President Joe Biden declared the student debt forgiveness program.

What it all means is that those earning $125,000 a year or less (or $250,000 for a domestic legally married couple) will be forgiven for their student loan debts up to $10,000 for a federal loan. If one obtained a Pell Grant during their enrollment, the increase extends up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.

This includes the Parent PLUS loans (now long discontinued) as well as loans filed if one was a grad student. If one was a grad student and did receive a Pell Grant, the forgiveness is limited to the Ten Gs.  And if one filed for a federal loan before July 1st of this year, one is eligible to be part of this forgiveness program.

And if one is still paying off a loan, the payment delay has been extended again until December 31st of ’22.

The only ones not eligible for forgiveness are those that applied for a loan through a private bank or related financial institution outside of government issue.

This writer was honored to be enrolled in college not so long ago. Yours truly was part of a four year public college located in southern Illinois, about 350 miles south of Chicago. However, I wasn’t attending for four years in a row, my education “career” (or one wants to call it a “career”) was staggered for some ten years. However, I was very lucky to not acquire any form of high tuition debt.

My enrollment days extended mostly in the 1980’s bleeding into the early 1990’s. This was at the time where college, although pricey for what it was, was rather affordable. And being the fact that the college I attended was in the semi-rural community of Carbondale, Illinois, and the school itself was Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. (Go Salukis!) You can find more details of this institution through their website at http://www.siu.edu or through the usual social media portals.

Anyway, when I enrolled, I did so through the federal program then called the Basic Education Opportunity Grant (BEOG) that awarded some given amount to cover tuition and even some other expenses that were required for me to become part of the so-called Saluki universe. I did enroll for one full year that ran from late August through middle May. Living in a town such as Carbondale was cheap(er) for what it was worth, and I really didn’t necessarily live the stereotypical college student life, whatever that college life was! However, my tuition was taken care of courtesy of U.S. Taxpayers.

A year later, I had an opportunity to trek over to Minneapolis for a career opportunity that was literally given to me. I was hoping to stay in school while living in the frozen north. However, because of the jobs I held, as well as “maintaining” having a girlfriend, school life took a leave of absence.

About four years later after the job was eventually dissolved (not of my making by the way), as well as the relationship with the girlfriend blowing itself out, I decided to return back to the wilds of southern Illinois to pick up where I left off school wise. I enrolled through the Pell Grant as the BEOG took a different turn, and continued my education. Although tuition did increase, the increase was rather stable. However, the Pell grant covered most of the expenses for education as dictated.

Unlike the first year where I was a full-time student, I was now going part time. I did get a job with a cable TV facility located in suburban St. Louis, where I commented some 200 miles round trip while on duty. I did this because gas was a lot cheaper in Missouri than it was in Illinois. And if I did move to the Missouri side, I would have lost my in-state status. (I could have moved to some place in “Metro East” Illinois, but I didn’t! I stayed in my community of Murphysburo and lived the Midwestern small town life!)

But getting back again to the tuition part. I was able to attend school for all of this time and not once I was forced to take out a loan. Outside of the usual expenses one encounters for rent, food, as well as for that Missouri gas, I didn’t have to pay for the use of what the University had to offer back then.

Of course, this all occurred over thirty years ago when it was quite possible to attend a public post-high school institution and rack up a minimal sized tuition based debt. But from what I have seen over the many years since I gave my final farewells to the SIU gang, attending college isn’t as cheap as it used to be, if it was cheap to even begin with!

Most of your undergrad students, assuming that they are of the eighteen through twenty-two age range a.k.a “Gen Zers”, are those that were born in the 21st century. These are the ones that don’t remember life before the internet. They are the ones that are overly wired to the max, and make many of their expense payments through their smartphones that could even be better than the one I carry around. And its a way a lot better than the phone service I had access to while attending SIU that was provided by the local phone company, GTE. (I still recall that during welcome week, GTE had these pop-up kiosks around campus that pushed their phone services while giving away the usually amount of swag as feeble incentives that I still have to this very day!)

Many of those in the media, social or otherwise, are giving kudos over this forgiveness program, while the naysayers state that only allowing 10 to 20 Gs isn’t even enough. Many of those that did attend college are still paying off loans that have become one of their biggest expenses, if not their biggest overall expense. Those in their 20’s and 30’s, when they attended school as an undergrad after the turn of the 21st century are working in jobs that mat not necessarily reflect in what they enrolled in while at school. They do have the desire to purchase a dwelling space. But instead of living the so-called “American Dream” of home ownership, they are taking their funds that would be set for a dwelling space to pay off the college loans they took out those many years before.

And it’s not limited to those “young adults” that are paying off these loans. Many parents of offspring are paying off the loans as well. Ditto for the grandparents that may have been a loan arranger (no pun intended to George W. Trendel) in a federal loan for their grandkids to succeed in life in the same methods that the “baby boomers” did back in their day.

Of course, it’s going to take time until all of this forgiveness is going to have some kind of effect. As with government based issues and declarations, it’s going to be quite a while until all of the action gets it acts together! It’s another round of “hurry up and wait”!

But as school days take its churn in life, one has to remember a line that yours truly spotted from a source now long forgotten. And it says it all!  College is the only party that carries a $20,000 cover charge!

Did I already mention “Go Salukis”?

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

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

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

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

SCHOOL DAYS ALREADY??

For most of those attending school, you should be in the classroom already. However, I didn’t start school until it was the day after Labor Day.

For most of my school life from elementary school throughout high school, my first day of sitting in the classroom forced to have a teacher “rule the roost” and what appeared to run my daytime life during the week from early September through early June of the next year(!) was the run of the course so to speak!  I knew that when that holiday where we were supposed to “celebrate” labor a.k.a. “work”, my summer vacation was officially over and done with!

Nowadays, this level of schooling starts two week earlier in mid August. That was the time back in the day where I started to build up a sweat. Not so much from the heat, but from worry and general panic knowing that I only had some fourteen days (give or take a few), to cram my life full of fun and adventure that I should have started upon in June. The day after Labor Day, my free time would be fully dedicated to homework and other stuff that wasn’t really fun, or fun to me anyway.

But I always went through with this. When school was out for the Summer, I had to myself most of June, all of July, all of August, and a little bit of September to do what I damn well pleased. I know a lot of my peers did their own thing, from attending summer camp, or perhaps going on some kind of vacation in a spot located near or far from home, or maybe taking a summer-type job where they could do something and actually get paid for it! However, I really didn’t attend Summer camp in my adolescence. Family vacations were taken, but that was mostly a weekend version of an extended stay. One year I did spent three weeks in Florida seeing the sights that my folks wanted to see. And yes, we did pay a visit to Unca Walt’s joint where for the price of an “E” Ticket, I would take advantage of some nifty attraction, go on a ride, or even do something else with good ol’ Mickey not too far off in the distance! But I digress!

But getting back to the start of school. A few years ago, the Los Angeles (California) Unified School District (LAUSD) settled on a revised date on when the school season for all of their school houses would begin their classes and when to finish them off. The dates chosen would be from middle August (Around August 15th or so) through the first week of June. Starting this school season, school would not begin until 8:30 AM or so. Before that, school could and would start as early as 7:00 AM. That time of day turned out to be way too early for those kids and even for adults. So to make up for all of this, the school starting time was changed later so these same kids would be wide(er) awake by the time the school bell rang for the first class of the day.

Placing my slant to this story, I knew that on that final weekend before my school bell would go “ring ring” (or in some cases, a sound of an electronically enhanced monotone “buzzer” that would he heard for five second stretches), I would have to get myself ready for that first day of school. That meant that I would no longer be doing the only thing to do for the summer that really mattered to me; watching daytime television! I knew that I would no longer be able to see (and play along with) my favorite game shows as there were many to choose from. The titles of these game shows may have since been forgotten, but their hosts ranging from Wink Martindale, Jack Berry, Alex Trebeck, Monty Hall, Bob Barker, and of course, Bill Cullen, would be carrying their shows to its height. I got my schooling with these game shows as taught by my “teachers” where for a correct answer, a lucky contestant would win some fabulous prizes. It could have been a toaster oven, a dining room furniture set, a collection of matching luggage, or the best prize of ‘em all, a brand new shiny car! And since I was able to play along, I would be able to win those prizes. Alas, I didn’t win anything because I wasn’t a studio contestant! I was just a dumb kid sitting in front of my 14” Sony black & white TV set spitting out correct answers for nobody to hear. But again, I did learn a few things that would help me later in life, such as knowing how much stuff was priced! I did learn that a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese had a SMRP of 27 cents. And I also learned that a Pontiac Grand Prix cost a whole lot more than a Cadillac Sedan de Ville. And in spite of what all the “experts” stated, who says that kids didn’t know the real value of a dollar??

But when I completed my high school years (barely I might add), then it was off to college. And the start of post-high school didn’t get itself going until the final week of August, before the Labor Day weekend. That is, assuming that I was in a college that ran under the semester season–late August, middle May. The quarter system school ran from the end of September through sometime in June. But by the time one entered college, it was a whole new vibe compared to a high school environment. In high school and below, one’s schedule was jammed packed for the six or seven hour day. College was different. One can take classes that ran for a few hours in a given day, but one had more free(er) time to do stuff like hanging around the student center, or perhaps attend a meeting of some student run organization, or maybe use the facilities that the school offered for recreation. And of course, you can still catch up with your daytime television!

When I was attending college, soap operas were all the rave for the young adult viewer. Mostly females would tune in, but I’m sure that the guys check soaps out as well! I attended a college where it was located in a region where the folks at Nielsen, the company that gives all of those TV ratings for advertisers would know how many eyeballs were watching their TV commercials in order to sell products, would list the college’s geographic location at number 67 in ADI; that is, Area of Dominant Influence. (To compare, New York City was at the top spot at number one. Los Angeles was number two, Chicago at three, and so on!)

Anyway, there were only five over-the-air TV stations covering that region. Three stations made up as part of the big three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. One was a PBS affiliate, the school’s own TV station, while the remaining channel was a lower power independent station that carried a lot of religious programs. At the student center, there were three dedicated TV lounges where a 24” CRT television receiver was mounted on a back wall tuned on to one of the three networks. There was no TV lounge set for the PBS station or for the independent channel. If one wanted to watch Masterpiece Theater, or whatever tired rerun the indy station would be airing, if not broadcasting that day’s installment of The PTL Club, one had to go watch somewhere else.

Anyway, one afternoon, I decided to take a shortcut from attending a class held in one lecture hall to travel to another class that was located in a building located across the campus. I passed by the lounge that was tuned to the ABC affiliated channel, only to see the lounge room jammed to the walls! I stopped in for a moment to take a quick peek inside the lounge to see what was going on. Perhaps it was some kind of rally, or maybe it was an early happy hour party. It turned out that everyone in that lounge room was watching that day’s episode of General Hospital. It appears that these students just had to take the time to catch up on all the antics that were going on in Port Charles, New York in and around the name hospital! Of course, this was at a time where very few of these students had a VCR of their own to tape the episodes off the air only to watch them later, let alone had their own TV sets in their dorm rooms. Although it’s been decades(!) since I last set foot in that student center, I assume that that TV lounges from yesteryear are long gone. These students have their own smartphones to catch up on the latest TikToc videos, Twitter posts, and even viewing that day’s episode of GH as viewed through Disney+!

But these things in and about school are all connected here. But right now, summer vacation is over! And soon it will be fall, then winter, then spring, and so on. So while I sip on that pumpkin spice latte while shopping for the latest in Halloween gear while creating my “holiday” shopping list ordering stuff online (with my smartphone ‘natch), I’ll just be glad that I won’t have to deal with those pencils, books, or teacher’s dirty looks! That is, assuming that pencils and books are still being used inside of a classroom. Ditto for the teachers. They may be teaching inside of a meta universe. But what do I know? I was pleased if I barely got a C- as a grade!

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

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

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

KICK THE BUCKET LIST

There has been a term that’s been floating around within the past twenty or so years-give or take. It’s a term that could be considered as a euphemism that means, according to the folks at Merriam-Webster as “…the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant..”

The term this writer will focus on is the term “bucket list” that means roughly, an event or task one desires to do before they die. In other words, before the “kick the bucket”.

It’s a description that’s been used so many times, it’s somewhat turned into a tired cliché. It served a plot line in a number of media elements, down to a feature film called The Bucket List that starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nickerson as two older men meeting inside of a hospital room diagnosed with the same illness, and decide to fulfill their “bucket list” of things they wanted to accomplish before they keel over and die. The movie itself is “OK” for what it is, and since it was released by Warner Bros., one can assume it’s available for streaming through the HBO Max portal. (Check your local listings for details!)

This writer hears this term every so often. Interestingly enough, that “so often” tends to limit itself through social media. When this writer trolls through “Sherry Dunhurst”’s page found on Facebook, a “friend” of hers will place some kind of something or another announces to the world (or the person’s world anyway) that they are going to perform some kind of series of tasks they wanted to do that just so happens to be on their bucket list, such as taking a trip to some exotic location, or maybe some physical activity that is a bit out of the ordinary such as rock climbing, or perhaps create an object that was never done by this person before, so so they claim. Once that element is created (and assumed to have its results posted on the usual social media platforms), that assignment is crossed off the bucket list, only to move on to the next item up for bids!

You can guess that people’s bucket lists consist of those unique tasks and journeys that not everyone can or would take care of. Those new and exciting things are what making a bucket list is worth its while. If one posted things such as “pay gas bill on time”, or “call up Cousin Ambrose on the phone when there is something to say”, not only would make the list seem dull, but those commenting on it through those social media platforms wouldn’t have anything witty to post. Granted, some people would find that attempting to call Cousin Ambrose on the phone would be a major accomplishment. For the rest of the world, all they would say is a polite “that’s nice” or even an angry “who in the hell is Cousin Ambrose??” You get our drift here!

And when one views that bucket list term, it tends to focus upon the user that seems to be of a certain age. That is, usually somebody of the “baby boomer” generation that tends to be in a state of retirement (by choice or through circumstance), or are getting close to their state of entering their “second act”. This makes a whole lot of sense because somebody over the age of 55 tends to have more time on their hands and thus, can explore those things they wanted to do or go to because they never got around to it. Now they have the opportunity through that access of time and perhaps a bankroll they can use to fund such an accomplishment and thus, cross off their bucket list since their time to kick the bucket is a lot closer. That element is based upon living a standard life free from demise from natural causes or through a tragic episode.

Nearly everyone has some form of list of places to go and/or activities to do that they carry with their person (real or otherwise) that they would like to take part of before it’s their time to check out. This writer has that as well. However, much of these accomplishments are based on practical desire rather than something that would be nice to finally get around doing or seeing. If I, let’s say, wanted to go on a tiger hunt in India, and finally got the gumption to head off to that place in the Orient with a shotgun in hand to bag that tiger, I can say that tiger hunt was completed and thus, off the ol’ bucket list. And if I always wanted to be as a stand-in to the fifth leader performer in an off-Broadway stage musical, I can head off to that little theater off Times Square, audition for that part, and then be cast as the stand-in to that musical showpiece, then another event can get the old “X” on that list. However, upon glancing at that list, I don’t see an entry that reads. “Go to India to participate in a tiger hunt” or “Become cast as a stand-in for the fifth lead for that musical stage show playing off-Broadway”. Maybe I have the wrong list, or maybe I just didn’t get around to jotting those events on the said list.

The only list I have on me at the moment is a tally of what I’m going to pick up at the grocery store next week, such as “cat food” and “beer”. Those things may make an amusing video piece posted on TikTok. However, I’m not of that TikTok generation. I’m living in the “bucket list” generation that details items that are more suited to a person that has experienced more that they can express. I’ll tell the grandkids about that idea. But first, I have to get grandkids. Second, I have to get kids. I’ll just place those options on the ol’ bucket list, and I’m good to go!

So much for pathos!!

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

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

NOSTALGIA COOKING

Food and a longing with the past tend to be strange bedfellows. Over the past few years, the term “comfort food” has been cropping up within the social media circles as well as other related places that deal in creating dishes that are deemed as “comfort”. That is, foods that one may have consumed with one was at a previous stage of domestic life.

For started as well as our disclaimer in order to product us for a possible lawsuit, disruption, or even reaction from those “trolls” that live under cyberspace bridges that border enchanted forests found in the meta universe, we will use the basis that one began their life living in a standard domestic household within a home base that was of typical nature found in North America, and perhaps selected places around the globe (Europe, etc.), and lived within a rather middle class (or equivalent) lifestyle. We hope that for noted disclaimer will please all of those attorneys from the “C”-suite variety with offices found in newer highrise buildings to the “cheap suit” clan that tends to advertise their services on billboards overlooking freeways and through TV spots that run on on local weekday daytime television! But we digress…

Of course, this younger stage usually begins at one’s childhood. When one was that kid, eating habits were not at their greatest. Toddlers tend to place anything within their mouths, edible or not. Their caretakers were the ones that fed them with foods that were deemed right for the kid, in spite of what the kid thought. As the kid got older, their food choices were at their own discretion, while mom, dad, and related caretaker would keep a watchful eye to what foods they consumed.

It would be around age ten and up where a kid chooses what they ate and how/when/where. School lunches were usually the butt of jokes as it’s widely noted through written stories that dealt with “tweener” life. (Way too many titles to list as an example here, but usually are titles that wind up as programming fodder through such media portals as Disney +, Nickelodeon, Netflix, and other sources). Ditto for so-called higher education sources including high school and even college, though college would be the most liberal chose to grab grub at all hours of the day and night via dorm spaces.

But getting back to comfort foods for a moment outside of the stage of life. There have been dishes that never seemed to receive the respect as they were just deemed as standard meals and were far from becoming anything fancy or even “gourmet”! Dishes such as pot roast, meat loaf, and even macaroni and cheese were something labeled as “1950’s foods”, through they reach back farther than the decade of the 50’s. Sweet items held no better, including those dishes made with genuine Jello brand gelatin that spelled J-E-L-L-O, and were sung in those commercial jingles. Jello molds or “salads” were rather common. But as things went around, they came around! Today, there are places that serve fancy versions of the above noted dishes, and tend to be the rave from those that remember those foods in their original form, and those that want to remember those forms of dishes.

Perhaps the best places to find such recipes are online of course. But if one desires, one can find those recipes in cookbooks published back in the day. Just within the past 100 or so years, there have been thousands of cookbooks commercially available that created recipes based on the source that published the cookbook. The cookbook could have been of a generic nature, such as the classic The Joy of Cooking first published in 1931 and has been revised dozens of times within the last ninety years. There have been the Betty Crocker cookbooks that have made the cooking circles thanks to the creation of “America’s Homemaker” through the advertising genius working with General Mills of Minneapolis. (Or actually, Golden Valley, but never mind..!) And there have been cookbooks backed by celebrities or people of interest that were associated with food or not. In the pre-internet days of the media, some of these folks created cookbooks through their media exposure that brought their name and face to their fans, as well as showing off that they could cook, or claim that they do!

Out of all of these cookbooks from another era that are out there, about 95% of them are long out of print. There are places to find those cookbooks of old from the standard online portals (eBay, etc.) to physical locations such as second hand bookstores, garage and estate sales, or if one is lucky enough, even abandoned in garbage cans and on street curbs. (Don’t laugh folks! Yours truly found some cookbook “gems” within these places!) They are often loaded with recipes and related food and cooking tips that are just as nostalgic and one can get.

A few years ago when I was attending some media event hosted by the Food Network, there was an onstage presentation conducted by Food Network TV personality Alton Brown. During the question and answer portion of the program, I asked Alton about his collection of cookbooks. And out of these cookbooks, what are the ones that are his favorites that are of a vintage nature. He replied that he tends to favor these cookbooks that were used as giveaways from local radio and TV stations that once produced a local radio/TV program that aired on daytime that catered to the housewife. These cookbooks, made available from the 1930’s and well into the 1980’s featured not only recipes as once presented by the on air personalities that hosted these shows, but had other notes from cooking tips to even making sure that your kitchen was ready for “action”. There were also a lot of ads placed by local businesses based in the geographical area of the program’s reach. Yours truly has one of these cookbooks that were given away by a local radio station in Dayton, Ohio c. 1966. That station had a program that aired between 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on a Monday-Friday basis, and although I cannot find any air checks of that show, it appeared that the show was a light and breezy program. (For the record, the station is still on the air with different call letters and is now a sports talk station as part of the ESPN network.)

Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of people turned to cooking for overall comfort. They did the same with anything that was linked to nostalgia. And this cooking and nostalgia had their happy accident. But long after the pandemic was brushed aside (almost), using cookbooks of old became the perfect fit. So I will continue to dig deep within my collection and whip out a recipe from one of those titles of yesteryear. This week, it will be a recipe from either The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book (Simon and Schuster-1954) or The Mystery Chef’s Own Cook Book (Garden City Publishing-1943 edition). The former title was “prepared under the direction of Julia Kiene”, and the latter was written by John Macpherson who was the first male celebrity chef. He hosted a syndicated fifteen minute radio program in the 1940‘s called The Mystery Chef where he never gave out his name during his broadcasts. (Thus, the “mystery”!) Betty Furness was a New York based stage actress and served as the spokesperson for Westinghouse appliances doing the live commercials on Westinghouse Studio One, a live dramatic anthology series that aired on CBS on Monday evenings during the early days of television.

Their names and places in the media may have been since forgotten, but their cookbooks live on–or at least in my kitchen anyway!

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City Garage theater of Santa Monica presents the world premier of Charles A. Duncombe’s BEACH PEOPLE, a play about a couple attempting to spend a leisurely day on the beach, and the pair of beachcombers that change their oceanside attitudes.

Angela Beyer plays Anna, and Henry Thompson is Paul. They are a couple whose day on the beachside is to place themselves on lounge chairs to enjoy the sun, sand and surf. As they soak of the sea air, two others make their presence known. Diana (Naomi Helen Weissberg, alternating with Marissa Ruiz) who dons a skimpy bikini, a floppy hat, sunglasses, and holding a bowl of strawberries, passes by. Her presence draws the attention of Paul, leading toward a deep dialogue between Diana expressing various topics from a pursuit of happiness leaning upon a meaning of life. Diana aka “the girl in the bikini” isn’t there as a flirt nor as a threat. But she holds a mysterious presence. Adding to this “threesome” is Rex (Kasey Esser), a beachside waiter that can make a mean pina colada while showing off his tanned beefcake body. What is in store for Anna and Paul? Do Diana and Rex appear as how these two will figure out what life means to them? Or are they just another part of another day out where the sand meets the reef?

This single act play composed by playwright Charles A. Dunbcome is a fast paced comical drama (or dramatic comedy) that offers quick witty dialogue. It speaks an opus upon various topics that hold little to do with the sand and surf, but may be a metaphor about the subjects of the idol rich, what constitutes personal joy, and if a couple can compete with the “real” people of the beach. It’s a program that is fast placed while learning toward a lot of life’s questions that hold no answers. And that’s the best part!

The cast of four players that appear in this production hold off toward one another very well, especially with Angela Beyer and Henry Thompson as Anna and Paul. One can assume that their characters are just another seasoned couple i.e. within a married stance as Diana and Rex appear as their distractions. It doesn’t matter if that is the case as Frederique Michel’s stage direction points out that there is more to the beach than getting a tan along the sandy turf.

The stage set only consists of the for noted lounge chairs and a tiki bar off the the side on stage right as the set and lighting design is created by none other than the playwright. Josephine Poinsot’s costuming only consists of beachwear–an obvious choice!

It goes to show that there is more than what’s in store along the beach. One can get a bit of life’s meanings, or one can get enough coconut oil slapped upon one’s skin. But this production will fall to that old line that this show won’t give you that sunburn. It will present a time on the beach that is another meaning of human existence with a dash of salt air and a pina colada on the side!

BEACH PEOPLE,  presented by and performs at City Garage theater at Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Building T1, Santa Monica, until September 11th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 4:00 PM. A question and answer session will take place with the cast and crew following the performance of Sunday, August 28th.

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

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

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

A SUMMER RE-RUN “CLASSIC”

Now that we’ve entering the so-called “dog days” of summer, this would be an ideal time to dip into the ol’ Accessibly Live Off-Line archive to revive an article that you may have missed.

We are bringing this article back using the traditional “summer re-run” ploy that the TV networks used during the months of July and August when folks were more likely to venture in the great outdoors instead of staying in watching TV.

So with this being said, we looked for an article to bring back that was amusing, if not timely, to revive. So we present an article originally published in ALOL-Vol. 11-No. 32-Week of August 7th, 2006. -Enjoy…

ARE WE HAVING FUN YET..?

August means lots of things to lots of people. It’s the start of the summer “dog days’” where things tend to drag on because of the heat and humidity. August means the start of state or county fairs where one can see everything from livestock (smell included) to entertainment that ranges from locals to one-time big name stars that aren’t so big names anymore! (Of course, there are state/county fair food staples from cotton candy to corn dogs. Not part of a healthy diet, but what the hey–it’s summertime!) August means summer vacations, where folks will take off somewhere for a week, a weekend, or perhaps just for the day to “get away from it all”! August means it’s the “beginning of the end” of summertime, where school will get back in session soon. And for the rest of those same folks, August means it’s just another month on the calendar!

But with the usual antics that summer has to offer (from big-deal summertime blockbuster movies to the aforementioned heat and humidity), the question of the moment is–are you having your fun yet? Yes, summer is the time to have that fun in the sun, but is it really fun? It’s stated above that summertime is the moment where many of us (or some of us) have loads of good times. For many folks, summertime is that–summertime. It’s a lot warmer in the summer than the fall, winter, and spring. But what’s so special about summertime?

According to a very unscientific research project consisting of yours truly asking people about their favorite time of year, summer ranks number one. In spite of the 100+ degree weather that took place last month, people like warmer weather days than cooler ones. So even in southern California where winters are not that cold compared to, let’s say, Minneapolis, summertime is the time to be and to live!

But what about the fun part? Yes, one can assume that people are having fun, but they are also going through their own personal stress. Such stress has nothing to do with the season. It just occurs regardless of time ‘o year it is! This article won’t get into the kinds of stress that’s common in current domestic surroundings (that’s a whole other article as it stands), but the notation that one is suppose to have fun is just a vague suggestion.

Also to keep in mind, what can be fun to one person can be misery to another! Digging a ditch can be fun! So can whipping up a chocolate cake! To the rest, who wants to dig a ditch or even turn on a stove? That’s not fun, that’s work! And work ain’t fun!\, so one can be told!

So call it what you will. If you, the reader, are having a great time this summer, that’s wonderful. if not…well, that’s the way it goes! But nevertheless, before one knows it, summer will be dead and gone (until next year anyway), and to state that one should have had fun is another whole story as it is! The whole notion is to have a time that one can appreciate, even if it’s not “fun”. After all, where’s all the fun in that?

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Popular music and movies have been working together since soundtracks were added to films. From its early days, it started with Ragtime Jazz. Then came Swing music, to be filled in by the Big Bands, eventually moving toward the vocalists that populated the hit parade. In the 1950’s, another form of popular music was making its way to the public. This was a type of music that the “youngsters” got into while the adults despised it. It was something called “Rock and Roll”. It was big, loud, and sizzled with crazy lyrics set to a fast beat.

Hollywood as Hollywood is, knew that this was something to take advantage of. In order to introduce this type of music catering to the teenagers, MGM was releasing their feature The Blackboard Jungle in 1955 that dealt with a school teacher assigned to an inner city high school. For its opening musical number, Bill Haley and the Comet’s Rock Around The Clock played during its opening credits. The movie was a hit, and so was the music! Rock ‘n Roll was to stay in the movies from that point!

ROCK ON FILM: The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen (Running Press) written by Fred Goodman, a former editor of Rolling Stone magazine, focuses upon the movies that used Rock and Roll and all of its variations to express its sound and image in movies, both as fiction, non-fiction, and all points in between.

It pinpoints upon the movies that used rock as its premise, first as “jukebox musicals” that were thin on plot but big on rock and the stars that made it happen. (Sam Katzman produced a lot of this “B”-type movies for Columbia Pictures.) The artists, from Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Richie Valens, as well as the various “negro” doo-wop vocal groups performed their tunes as musicians but did very little acting. It wasn’t until 20th Century Fox released a western first entitled The Reno Brothers, later changing its name to Love Me Tender to accommodate for a young man that sang, played the guitar, and shook his hips a lot. Elvis Presley became rock’s first film star. And Hollywood had a great thing going!

In this book, Goodman presents essays of how this type of music came to movies from its lowly “B” status to films that captured the sound, sights, and the fury this musical genre presented to the world. There are studies of the documentaries of artists on stage playing their music for real, rather than “mouthing” their songs as first seen in the Sam Katzman vehicles. The known documentaries created in the 1960’s onward showcased the artists performing live on stage, from The T.A.M.I Show filmed from as live concert held in Santa Monica, California and its “cousin” The Big TNT Show, to Don’t Look Back where Bob Dylan, a folk singer by trade and played as a major influence to rockers then and those yet to come, is seen as a scrappy man that is as raw as his music. And there are what many call the “big three” of 1960‘s-era concerts: Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Gimmie Shelter. The first two titles were celebrations, while the latter was a “beginning of an end”!

There are many other films that are examined in this book where rock, and its later variousness, are used as its focus. There are the bio films, such as La Bamba featuring Lou Diamond Phillips as Richie Valance and The Buddy Holly Story Story with Garry Busey as the title character. There are also movies where music on its soundtrack made film to what they became. (George Lucas’ American Graffiti introduced “oldies” to an audience that grew up with the music and to those discovering it for the first time!) And there are even titles where rock was even laughed at! Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap is a “mockumentary” of a heavy metal headbanger band that never existed! (When the film became a hit, the band reemerged as for real through actual recordings and concerts.)

This book covers just nearly all musical genres that traditional rock and roll served as its launching pad; Blues, Folk, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Punk, New Wave, Alternative Grunge, even Rap and Hip-Hop, a musical genre that ended the British Invasion genre in the 1990’s. (Hip-hop is just as popular in the U.K. as it is in the USA!) The only musical genre extracted from rock that is missing in this book is Country and its various formats. (Country & Western, Electric Country, Country Rock, etc.) Perhaps the reason for this omission is that very few feature length documentaries were ever created that showcase county artists in form (Elvis doesn’t count here), and only a handful of bio films of country stars were ever attempted. (Your Cheating Heart with George Hamilton as Hank Williams is “OK’ for what it is, while Coal Miner’s Daughter featuring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn is a feature that is not to be missed!)

Along with the various write ups on the films it speaks for, there are notes and essays from such filmmaker such as Cameron Crow, Jim, Marmusch, Penelope Spheeris, Taylor Hackford, and John Waters that state upon their creative aspects to this musical culture and why it all matters. Michael Linsdsay-Hogg who worked with The Beatles provides the forward that sets the scene to rock, etc. as captured on film stock and its equivalents.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is behind this book title. That video source is an ideal place to possibly see many of these movies detailed in this book. Other titles are available for streaming or on home video. And there are some titles mentioned that are not available in any media–yet! Perhaps this book will be that wake-up call those those rights holders out there to offer their visual gems to their public again as they deserve to be seen for prosperity. To quote a moving image preservationist whose name has since been forgotten by this reviewer, “Preservation without access isn’t preservation!”

ROCK ON FILM: The Movies That Rocked the Big Screen is available at all leading book retailers, both as in-person and online.

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

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

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

UNHEALTHY EATING CAN “KILL” YOU!

The above article resembles those heading news-type write ups one sees on various social media posts. These are known in the business (among other sources) as “click-bait”. One usually finds these articles placed within legit news outlets such as the Associated Press website that holds a sensational headline such as ours. When you “click” on that blurb, it will take the viewer to another website that will attempt to sell you something or another, and perhaps place those ever lovin’ “cookies” within your web browser so it may track you to place more ads for you to ponder upon.

But this article isn’t meant to be viewed as “click bait”. However, it does refer to food. And since food, especially entries known as “comfort food” that makes its revival since the deep dark times of the pandemic, is still a hot topic, we thought we would give you readers out there a little bit of insight to where we stand upon those measures.

Of course, healthy eating has been going around for quite some time, especially since the start of the 21st Century where such elements as sugar, salt, grease, and caffeine are out, and “natural” or even “plant-based” foods have had their share of love and hate.

Instead of going over a rave of foods that are “good for you”, and actually have some flavor packed within such dishes, we are going to spend a bit of time speaking about the opposite. That is, foods that are anything but healthy, but do service as a form of comfort to its consumer.

One place to obtain such foods are at county and state fairs. For a ten day period (give or take a day), country/state fairs are known for its traditional foods one would find served within a carnivalesque setting with such entries as burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy, and the like.

However, some vendors at carnivals started to be a bit creative when it came to foods not necessarily served any other place outside of the carnival. Those foods, also known as “Midway foods”, are offered in dedicated food booths normally found on the midway of the fair where all of the rides are placed as well as the game booths that are lined up at the carnival, all decked out in their bright and shiny neon lights and massive amount of bulbs and LED lighting schemes.

Of course, the foods that are offered may vary from one carnival to the next, so the list of what’s offered may not necessarily be available at your local fair. That is what makes the carnival unique. It shows that the consumer can only get this delicacy at this fair and nowhere else. Or you can get the fairs’ version of this dish that may be better (or worse) that the same offering at another fair.

To give one example, we’ll focus upon the entries offered at the Wisconsin State Fair that takes place this year (August 4th through the 14th) in West Allis, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb. According to the notes recently received by this writers, there will be an offering of eighty new entries made available on the fairgrounds, Instead of this writer presenting a laundry list of what will be for your dining pleasure, we’ll provide the link from the state fair’s website where you can actually plan your means right before your arrival. And they even have a printable menu listing on what you and your clan can take while at the fair. Keep in mind that if one has to avoid one of the items listed on the  four basic food groups (see paragraph three for that list). We highly recommend that you use their judgment in picking and choosing what to have, or have not!

Of course, what the Wisconsin State Fair is known for is its selection of cream puffs, served on the fairgrounds for generations. Many folks that have visited the state fair (this writer included) have sampled this delicacy that consists of a baked pastry shell loaded with off-white cream filling. One has to be careful when biting on one of these things so the cream wouldn’t spill out of its pastry shell. It’s not only tasty (for a cream puff) but it’s a challenge to eat. It’s even fun to watch folks making their attempt to properly eat these puffs, making this viewing an event within its own right.

And yes, the state fair even sells these cream puffs by the box and offers them as a mail order item as well. One can get these puffs to ship to friends from out of town, or for those that recall these puffs from back in the day when one can be on the hallowed grounds of the fair. (Visit the official Wisconsin State Fair website for details at https://wistatefair.com)

On a side note of those cream puffs. Yours truly used to attend the fair many years before. I was tempted to get one of those puffs as I used to see others chomping down on this treat. However, irony set in while I was waiting in line to get one of these puffs during one summer afternoon. When I was in line, there was news that people were whispering about. It was something that just happened that day, and it was very tragic! In fact, I recall a group of four women (teens maybe) sobbing and crying. Others were in shock. Some were even still and silent when the news came around!

So what was the tragic thing that occurred while I, along with forty others started in line to grab a cream puff? That was the day that Elvis died! Yep, the King of Rock and Roll was announced dead at the age of 42! The big “E” was an entertainer that was in his prime when it came to music! But when it came to his health? That’s another story as it is!! And if the fair has a vendor booth offering peanut butter and banana sandwiches, you can bet that folks would have been flocking to that booth to grab their big hunk ‘o love to pay their tributes to their newly departed idol. Thunka-Thunka-Thunka-Verymuch!!

But being healthy is something to always take into consideration. One can create meals that are not only good for you, but just good to eat. If one desires to take part in a plant-based burger, so be it. If one had a hankering to lunch on greasy french fries, why not? If one even wanted to make a classic comfort dish of macaroni and cheese, there are the simple one one can make from a box, and there are the gourmet versions one can create on any stovetop. And mac and cheese can be made as healthy as one can create! Even the folks at Kraft Foods that has been marketing their boxes of Macaroni & Cheese for as long as the Wisconsin State Fair has been peddling their cream puffs went to the trouble of relabeling this entry as “Mac & Cheese”, a name that folks have been calling this product.

So while you dine on your deep fried pickle and sauerkraut served on a taco shell doused with sour cream, just remember the old line as quoted by some TV chef whose name has since been long forgotten, “Enjoy the day as tomorrow we diet!” And if anyone attempts to try out the fried pickle with sauerkraut, drop us a line at Details@AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com and tell us your experience. And if you are the winning entry, we’ll send you a roll of antacid tablets as our prize!

Disclaimer: Open to all residents residing in the United States. Not responsible for misguided details! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!!

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Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills opens their 2022-23 season with the Los Angeles premier of THE METROMANIACS, David Ives’ comical farce in the French style about a group of poets addicted to composing verse, and the many comedy of slight errors that come and go around when poets are are at their craft, both as word and deed.

It’s really a tale of poets of affection. Taking place in the robust spring of 1738, the story unfolds as an upcoming poet Damis (Alec Anderson Carraso) takes heart for a mysterious poetess from Breton. This poetess is actually a gentleman named Francalou (David Hunt Stafford) a man of substance with a bit of poetry mania himself. He holds the desire to unload his rather titillating but slightly dimwitted daughter Lucille (Josephine Nunez) who also just happens to be crazy for couplets. Before long, wily servants, well versed acrobatics, and mistaken identities bring out a hyperactive series of twists and turns in this breezy farce that only the French can muster off.

This “new” play by David Ives who is known for adapting nearly forgotten French comedies from the 18th century, uses Alexis Piron’s c.1738 release of La Metromanie as its source, and creates a play that is indeed French in nature and just as witty for domestic audiences. All of the dialogue is spoken in rhyme where its characters enter and exit its scenes in the form of a Shakespearian piece, but doesn’t speak in Shakespearian prose. It’s more contemporary in nature, but French all the way! Unlike French comedies of yore, the sexual hijinks are toned down quite a bit, meaning that there isn’t anything uncouth depicted. It’s just a bunch of poetry fanatics donned in 18th century-era clothing as designed by Michele Young. Judi Lewin provides the wigs/hairstyles and makeup, making everyone as French appearing as they could get. Jeff G. Rack, Theatre 40’s residential set designer, dresses the set to resemble a backdrop of a French “grand room” in muted tones, along with facades of trees and rocks that look like bland stage settings. This was done intently so its backgrounds don’t conflict with what goes on stage.

Also appearing in this production are John Wallace Combs as Mondor, Hisato Masuyama as Baliveau, and Jeremy Schaye as Dorante.

Directed by Marjorie Hayes, THE METROMANIACS title may resemble a stage piece about those that are fanatics with public transportation! Actually, the original title generally translates as The Poetry Craze that was a fad connected to poets and poetry that was sweeping the French nation at the time. If this occurred in this day and age (early 21st Century), many of these poets would serve as influencers plastered on social media, and perhaps to serve as intellectual property sources. But this is a play from the 18th century arranged for 21st century audiences. And to add to the rhymes as spoken, it’s a play that holds its humor, and that is no rumor!

THE METROMANIACS, 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 August 21st. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights @ 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.    

For ticket reservations, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org

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The Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum of Topanga begins its latest entry of repertory plays for the 2022 calendar season with the world premier of Ellen Geer’s stage adaptation of Rebecca Dwight Bruff’s TROUBLE THE WATER, the little known yet true tale of Robert Smalls, who became the first “negro” man of honor of the American Civil War of the 1860’s.

Gerald C. Rivers plays the elder Robert Smalls, who serves as on-stage narrator of his story. He begins to tell his tale noting that some of the facts may be heresy as people who were born into slavery never has their lives well documented. However, the tales he projects were indeed true and factual.

Born in the community of Beaufort, South Carolina in 1839, he earned the nicknamed of “Trouble”, a fitting name as other slaves of his age fall into this category as many paid for such trouble with their lives. Terrence Wayne Jr. portrays the young Robert a.k.a. Trouble who dwelled within a plantation owned by Henry McKee (Alister McKenzie) and his spouse Jane (Robyn Cohen). Trouble lived his mother Lydia (Earnestine Phillips) who was also part of the McKee “property”, and never knew his father. Although he was a slave, Trouble did what he could to make better for himself. He later worked on the docks in Charleston who earned a decent wage, mostly going to his owner. He even did better for himself learning how to read and write on his own power. As South Carolina and the other neighboring states were attempting to succeed from the nation, Trouble joined forces with others of his kind, His greatest success was to take command of a Confederate warship sailing it into the side of the Northern Union with a group of slaves aboard making them officially free. Upon delivering the ship along with an arsenal of rebel weaponry for the Union army, he was declared a hero. His meeting with President Abe Lincoln influenced the commander in chief to allow former slaves to fight for the Union and toward the freedom of all slaves.

This play is a dramatic story of Robert Smalls that did more for his people during a challenging time for the American nation and for his race. The story itself is expressed in a dynamic fashion that shows its drama as an influence from being a people that lived as lowlifes into a group that proved that they could succeed and eventually did.

This production under the stage direction of Gerald C. Rivers who appears as the elder Smalls, holds up to a very large ensemble cast of performers, some appear in multiple roles. Those that are most noted feature Rodrick Jean-Charles as the young Trouble’s Uncle George, Clarence Powell as his second Uncle Reuben, Tiffany Cody as Hanna, Trouble’s first wife, Franc Ross as Robert Barnwell Rhett, a neighboring slave owner and later a Confederate agitator, Michelle Merring as Small’s second wife, and Justin Blanchard as Reverend French. And with such a big story comes that for noted ensemble cast of performers that consist of (and listed within their alphabetical order), Matthew Clair, Joseph Darby, Emerson Haller, Ethan Haslam, Fallon Heaslip, Frank Krueger, Eden Lederer, Joelle Lewis, Tariq Mieres, Danezion Mills, Michaela Molden, Kenneth Montley, Venice Mountain-Zona, Susan Stangl, Sage Michael Stone, Monique Thompson and Elliott Grey Wilson

Adding to the drama as depicted on stage is the presentation of Street Corner Renaissance, a group of singers consisting of Charles (Sonny) Banks, Robert Henley III, Maurice Kitchen, Torrence Brannon Reese and Anthony Snead providing the musical interludes sung sans musical instruments in the style of a cappella. Many of their numbers consist of legacy “negro spirituals” that enhance the story line, proving that the meaning of these suppressed slaves held toward their spiritual faith with the beliefs that they would one day be free and to live respected lives for the many generations to come.

This production is the fourth of a quartet of stage pieces as presented by the Theatricum Botanicum that will play throughout the rest of the season as longer term showscapes. This theater saved the best for last as this stage play is just as powerful as the story concept itself. Over the last few years, the roles of what the confederate side of the Civil War did has been downplayed and even been attempted to be erased. But true facts are indeed true facts. This showcase brings out the better of these said and unsaid facts and makes this theater production an uplifting one. The saying has been going for generations noted that the South shall rise again. This show gives witness that those within the south did rise up for the good of others for then and for now. Those lives are the ones that matter.

TROUBLE THE WATER, presented by and performs at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, until October 2nd. Showtimes are August 5th, 14th, 20th, 26th, September 11th, 16th, 24th, and October 2nd at 7:30 PM, with special matinee performance on Sundays, July 31st, and September 4th at 3:30 PM.

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

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