SPARE CHANGE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ONE OF THE “EIGHT MILLION” IN THE NAKED CITY

     In the containing saga of what can be called “real life stories” as experienced by this writer, this specific article will revile the all-true tale of a married couple. This particular couple is part of the millions of other traditional married couples that live and work within a post modern domestic urban society. 

     Before we begin, let’s get some of the ground rulings out of the way. First and foremost, the pair is based upon a pair personally know to this writer. A few facts about this same pair has been changed, but just slightly. The couple focused upon will become part of the heart of future articles that deal in domestic life. That is, the life that most, if not all, of you readers tend to live within 

    This targeted couple is a white man and a woman, childless, own a 1400 square foot home with mortgage attached, are “Gen-X” aged (middle-late 40’s), and are American citizens living within the city of Los Angeles. We’ll first give ‘em both an alias: Gloria and Ambrose. Ambrose works in a warehouse delving goods that the company creates within the same facility; A product that is available nation and worldwide. Gloria works in lower education that focuses upon school age kids under the age of fourteen. The two have been at their jobs for ten years and up. Their annual combined income is less that 80k per year, labeling them as “middle class”.

     The couple has been married for less then ten years. Ambrose was previously married and has little connection to his “ex”. Gloria was never married. They own three wheeled vehicles (two cars and an SUV), and a 50’ boat with trailer. They live in a suburban community consisting of track houses built in the 1960’s. Ambrose enjoys outdoor activities (thus the boat) while Gloria enjoys reading and occasional writing. (Her version of the “great American novel” has ben written and rewritten on and off for over ten years!) The pair drink socially, don’t smoke, and are of excellent health for people of their age and status. Ambrose is into electronic devices. They both own smart phones, lap and desktop computers (Macs), an iPad, three iPods (again, Macs), and recently purchased a 50” “smart” TV. They receive their video programming via a satellite carrier, and plan to subscriber to a number of streaming video services. (The reason for the “smart” TV set!) 

      They both take advantage of getting their entertainment outside of the home by dining out visiting hole-in-the-wall eateries, franchised based casual dinging places, and places that strike their fancy. The go to the movies an average of two to three times per month. They also attend live theater shows and concerts occasionally as well. (Again, two to three times per month.) 

      Ambrose is into buying much of his goods via online. Gloria shops in physical retail stores. Each one take turns getting the household in order, with Ambrose paying the bills, and Gloria performs much of the domestic chores (light cleaning, etc.) For larger or heaver maintenance, an outside hired party performs these tasks. (Gardeners, domestic maids, etc.) Both have the ability to perform those same functions themselves, but chose not to. 

     Their finances are handled through an outside financial advisor. They have a 401k plan established through their places of employment. Both are members of their own respectfully unions. Ambrose has a life insurance plan with Gloria as the benefactor. Although they are childless, Gloria’s elderly mother lives within the household. (Father deceased). Gloria is an only child, while Ambrose has three siblings; one lives in the area, while two live out of state. Ambrose’s parents are both deceased.

     Now that you the reader received a little insight to this couple of the hour, this writer will occasionally write a bit more about this two through the next few issues when deemed appropriate. The facts presented above will give you the reader a bit of a background so we don’t necessarily have to recap their back stories each time, unless their have been any updates that is worth reporting upon. So keep this issue handy so you’ll know just who and what they hey are are writing about! Stay tuned to this very news service for more details of this lucky couple! See you then!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

     Beverly Hill’s Theatre 40 opens their 2014-15 season of stage plays with THE GAMESTER, a classic comedy about a man’s decision to either keep the love of a woman he desires, or to hold on to a passion he possess where money is at stake with the skill to win or lose it all!

     Set in France in the dawning years of the 19th century, Valere (Rafael Casino) is the gent about town. The son of a wealthy man of means, he has everything he wants; a woman that he desires named Angelique (McKenzie Eckels), as well as his art of gambling, playing in a casino complete with whatever gaming is to be wagered upon. However, lady luck isn’t always at his side as he is racking up more debts than winnings. But the thrill of a spin of the the roulette wheel, the throw of the dice, or another round of cards are too good to pass, even when his francs goes to the casino house. But Angelique hands him a hard choice. Either he gives up his gambling, or he gives her up! But there is much more to Valere with the people that surround him, from Amgelique’s elder sister Mme. Argante (Maria Spassoff) who holds a passion for him, Dorante (Antony Ferguson), and older man of means that has a desire for Angelique, widow Mme. Securite (Elain Reinhart) who seeks younger suitors for private purposes, and others that place their mark for the call of vive la différence!

     This comical farce is inspired by the 17th century era play Le Joueur by Jean Francois Reguard and written as a 20th century-era adaptation by Freyda Thomas. The tale itself is spoken in rhyming couplets, meaning that characters speak where words are given their prose that add charm to the setting; The rhyming itself isn’t as heavy as one would image, as it’s not really poetry per se. Then again,  many plays composed in France during this period were also told in rhyme! There are plenty of conflicts exposed between fate with heavy doses of sex added but described in a playful attitude. (After all, it’s French!) The cast of players are just as comical as the theme itself, full of farcical sprit that is depicted in more of a tamer stance than to a British caricature. (Not much running in and out of doors, there’s a hint of a mistaken identity, and although sex plays a huge role in this piece, there isn’t much undressing depicted!) Jules Aaron directs this show that is diverting, full of wit, and is charming to say the least. 

     As with traditional French comedies, it boasts a huge repertoire of players that also includes (listed in their alphabetical order in addition to those listed above), Susan Dumante, Scott Facher, Ilona Kulinska, James Schendel, David Hunt Stafford, and Marco Svistalski. 

      As to the visuals on stage, Jeff G. Rack provides the set decoration, and Michele Young provides the costume design, showing off the frilly ruffles and powered wigs that became the rage of the nation where the Paris fashioners went agog!

     For those that enjoy a classic comedy that is more attractive in terms of visages and esprit, then THE GAMESTER is where to place one’s bet! Seven come eleven shows that the Comedie francaise is alive and well! It’s just that too much snuff up the nostril will make one sneeze. But as the French would say, c’est la vie!! 

     THE GAMESTER, presented by Theater 40, and performs in the Reuben Corova Theater located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until August 24th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. 

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

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     Performing at the Santa Monica Playhouse for a very limited run is ARE WE THERE YET?, featuring Richard Stockton as he tells his story through voice and in song about his presence through his times as a life long entertainer both on stage and off!

     Richard was born in Bakersfield, California at the early years of the “Baby Boomer” period in America when the men who served in World War II were coming home from one form of active duty (fighting off the enemy in foreign lands) to another form of active duty. (Creating families while living in starter home dwellings!) As a kid born in ‘49 in a semi rural central California community, Richard informs his crowd that he experienced the expected notion of what made the 1950’s great! As he got older in the 1960’s, he began to see changes; most notably, the challenging of authority–not necessarily rebelling per se, but asking a lot of questions for himself. As time progressed, so did he. He was a college kid attending UC Berkley one of the flash point locations of student uprisings, later traveled around the country eventually settling in a log cabin he built in North Carolina near the Great Smokey mountains, morphing in working in a family run business in Sacramento, and even performing in real show biz type stuff! (He appeared as the only white guy on a comedy improv TV series airing on Black Entertainment Television!) In spite of his personal ups and downs, Richard informs his brood that he is still moving and hasn’t arrived to his life destination–yet!

     This solo show is one part musical (he plays the guitar as well as banjo) and two parts spoken performance. If features some original tunes that emphasis his points throughout the show, and even illustrates some of those same points through limited visuals projected foreground, mostly consisting of still pictures of him with a selection of some historical moving and still snapshots that depict the decade i.e.1960’s, etc.) But it’s Richard and his amazing yet true sagas devoted as the heart of his performance while proving that he isn’t his father’s “age 65” that would normally focus upon embracing grandkids and asking for a senior discount!

     Mark W. Travis directs this piece that contains plenty of humor with touches of a rebellion sprit. There is nothing exposed in RIchard’s delivery that can be labeled as overly cute and cuddly. But he does reflect living in an age where he, along with millions of others within his domestic domain, did attempt to make a stand for the better and to show off the right thing to do, even when his elders spoke up differently or otherwise!

     The title to his show ARE WE THERE YET? depicts a virtual journey that is still in progress. The show itself is also a “work in progress”, meaning that when it’s performed again either at the SM Playhouse or somewhere else, it’s going to be slightly(?) different! As to keeping with one of the themes of this performance that vocalized upon the questioning of authority, this writer will suggest that Richard add more songs that speak for his personal times within his repertoire and keeps a few of his narratives tighter! This writer isn’t attempting to fight a cause (this is just a stage show review, not a manifest), but will add that yours truly has fond(?) memories with a selection of the episodes discussed! Then again, the “Baby Boomers” today control a lot of the money, power, and fame this nation holds, so this show may become a lesson to the members of the other lifestyle eras that followed. (“Gen X” and “Millenniums” in particular.) Nevertheless, this show is by a boomer man that recalls fearing the bomb, seeing great leaders fall to a bullet, and recalling a time where the American Dream was accessible to all and for all! And Richard is just getting started! 

     ARE WE THERE YET? created and performed by Richard Stockton, performs as a benefit show for the SM Playhouse for a single show on Saturday, August 2nd at 8:00 PM at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street, one quarter block south of Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. For tickets reservations and for more information, call (310) 394-9779 x 1, or online at http://www/SantaMonicaPlayhouse.com.

     Visit the official stage show site at http://www.AreWeThereYetShow.com

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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…

(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)

My six year old grand told me today that I could never die because if I did, his head would explode. 

-Linda

Ok out of here…going to see a movie this afternoon with a friend. Looking forward to it. I never go anywhere here but work. She called and ask me if I would like to go, So a nice outing. Plan to splurge and get popcorn and a drink MAYBE a box of candy…ohhhh !! Dinne

-Claire

Tomorrow I will be in a house with no internet for a week, and no I have no smart phone. Thank heavens for library and cafes. BONUS! I will get so much writing done! Will you miss me?

-Hazel

Whelp, no need to fill the pool tomorrow…

-Kathleen

As of July 28th, Tiffi has 2,153 Facebook “friends” and counting!

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WRITE TO US!!

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE

is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com

http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com

@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) 2014 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! 

ACTIVE TV JUST A TWEET AWAY

     Since this medium became available to the public at large, television was always known as passive. That is, one could only watch but not necessarily participate. The only thing one can do with watching the boob tube–a phrase that came about in the 1950’s to describe the intelligence factor of television programming that it was for “boobs” only, although some showgirls that were featured on variety programs such as The Jackie Gleason Show did sport large bustlines–was to take what the networks, programmers, and local stations gave the viewers and nothing much more.
     Of course, if the viewer did like what they saw, or perhaps didn’t care for the content, the only thing one could do was to write a letter to make their say. Although the stations and networks never overemphasized that one was able to write a letter for commentary, it was only mentioned in a very low key and subtle manor. When TV stations signed off for the broadcast day back in the era when local TV stations were not on the air 24 hours a day, they would present a blurb stating “We welcome your comments and suggestions”, flashing the station’s mailing address on the screen. However, unless one was watching TV minutes before they would play test patterns with the annoying signal tone, (if not playing the national anthem first), one would never see that notice, let alone be remotely encouraged to send those letters of praise or complaint.
     The three TV networks never did this notification on the air, although they were supposed to encourage such letter writing commentary as required by the FCC. TV Guide magazine would normally print the big three’s addresses (all based in New York), in case anyone wanted to drop a line or two. But if something needed attention right away, phone calls would be made that depending what the situation, would flood the station’s main switchboards. Such examples include (among others) the infamous “Heidi Bowl” on NBC (just Google “Heidi Bowl” for more details), as well as when local station WFLD in Chicago aired the MGM musical Anchors Away, and cut out the scene where Gene Kelly was dancing with Jerry the cartoon mouse, even when The Chicago Tribune in their local TV program guild highlighted that scene in its description of the movie. Angry viewers called the station to complain. All was forgiven when the station repeated the feature the next week with the scene intact!
     When one would call or write a letter, that act of communication was limited between the writer of the letter (or caller on the phone) and the receiver,–some anonymous person at the station/network. This form of communication was rarely made public. Once in a while, a person’s complaint would get to somebody with power to do something about it, such as the case when a film editor living in North Hollywood made a complaint to the FCC over the fact that the networks were repeating their shows too often! He hand wrote a letter, complete with a few typos, to the then chair of the FCC over this matter. This campaign grew when the angry viewer has a few people he knew in the industry to back him up, including the heads of labor unions SAG, AFTRA, and the WGA. The filing was eventually heard between the FCC and the networks, resulting in an effort for the big three to offer counter programming–newer programs that would air in place of repeats. This whole effort took some two years from its start to the results. However, the only reason it became known was the fact that the complain was filed by somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody, etc. etc.
     (For the record, this event took place between 1971 and 1973 when reruns on TV were more of a taboo programming subject, outside of the so-called “sex and violence” content that were appearing on TV screens across the land!)
     Thanks to social media, the TV viewers has more power to make something out of a show, idea, or even a note of a visual and/or audible effect,–intentional or otherwise. And unlike the two plus years it took a rerun hater to grease the wheels of power, today’s reactions occurs within days, hours, and even minutes after the fact! One of many to point out for instance was a recent TV spot for Nabisco’s Honey Maid graham crackers that showed families enjoying the product in some kind of domestic setting, such as around a kitchen table or in a car traveling somewhere. The ad showcased the many forms of families that exist in today’s post modern society, ranging from the traditional (mom, dad, kids), to the nontraditional (single parent, interracial couple, same sex couple, etc.). Many people went on Twitter to have their say, many of the comments positive in nature with a number of them anything but! The result of this gave the birth to another spot (played over the air as well as on YouTube) where a pair of visual artists printed the negative comments of small slips of paper, rolled them up, and placed the tighten rolls standing upright into a artistic pattern where it would eventually spell “love”. This entire episode occurred within a month’s time and went virtual shortly after. (Get back on ol’ Google and look up “Honey Made TV Spot” or something to that effect, and see the whole thing yourself!)
     Things have drastically changed over those many moments. Today, TV reruns are not only tolerated, they are nearly expected! And with millions of tweets going out every hour, it’s no surprise to note that when enough folks have their say on something or another, somebody’s going to notice. Of course, the result may not necessarily be settled where it was expected to be placed, but the notion to do something about it is there for the tweeting.
      In spite of it all, the old rule of tolerance still stands. If you don’t like what you see on TV, then don’t watch it! ‘Nuff said!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
    Performing at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Valley Village is PRAYER: A SONG CYCLE, a showpiece that applies multimedia elements blended in with prose, harmony, and expressive motion that utilizes the basic theme of prayer and its continuations.
     The show consists of a trio of performers on stage; taking on character names as Black (Susan Joseph) donned in the named color; White (Evie Ruth) flushed in white motif, and within the center is Dorothy (Beth Ricketson), the sole humanness of the group. As told through music, both transcribed and presented live with Haskel Joseph on guitar as well as vocalized causerie, Dorothy is exposed through the notion of art and prayer in the form of hope, forgiveness, and a sense of peace and the state of happiness, unfolding in a dreamlike surreal setting, as interpreted through the beholder.
     This stage presentation is interesting since it speaks for the elements of what prayer is all about. The stage setting is minimal. The backdrop consists of projected visual movement from optical effects extracted through stock footage as designed by Angela Grillo with Ana Rafa, through the influence of a selection of other video artists and creators. It holds an original music score by Sackjo22 that deems fit to the themes it speaks for. Ana Rifa’s design of the Black and White beings are the most artistic. Black resembles a ragged scarecrow, while White dons an oversized wig dressed in a white gown type fitting. Dorothy appears in standard fare, wearing an outfit that adapts as part of a mainstream grouping. Adding to the performance is choreography by Davis Neves that adds to the prospect toward this presentation’s matter.
     PRAYER shows its three basic tableaus as supplication, transformation, and gratitude. It holds its spiritual aspects to what prayer is for, and accentuates these elements through the for noted music and visuals. Overall, it’s a extension that holds peerless and plausible notion. It has a prayer, and the quest speaks for itself.

     PRAYER: A SONG CYCLE, created by The Reflective Collective, and performs at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., (between Chandler and Magnolia Blvd., Valley Village, until July 13th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:30 PM, with a matinee performance on Sunday, July 6th at 3:00 PM. No performance on Friday, July 4th.
     For more information and for ticketing details, visit the web site http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org
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     The Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica closes their 2013-14 season with Mel Brooks’ THE PRODUCERS, a merry romp about a down on his luck Broadway producer and his scheme to present the biggest flop ever to appear on the Great White Way.
     Silas Benjamin is Max Bialystock. He’s is a one-time successful theater producer, living it up on Broadway. In recent times, he’ has seen his better days pass before him. He’s reduced to get his backing for his shows from little old ladies who have money. But in order to get those checks (all payable to “cash”), he has to sctup them–not an easy task to do as one would expect! His accountant, the nebbish Leo Bloom (Jack Robert Riordan) discovers through his bookkeeping that it’s quite possible to raise money for a show where if it fails, the balance doesn’t have to be accounted for! This gives Max an idea. If he can produce a show that will be a sure fire failure, he can pocket the cash and live the good life. So with Leo on hand–a man whose secret desire is to become a big time Broadway producer, they seek and find what supposedly is most offensive script, a musical called “Springtime for Hitler”, a play written by Franz Liebkind (Matt Harrison), a Nazi wannabe that raises pigeons to bide his time–if not writing plays about his personal “hero”! So taking a Swedish blond bombshell Ulla (Lauren Blare) as thier secretary, adding Roger De Bris (Aric Martin), the Queen of Broadway to direct this showpiece with his assistant and boy-toy Carmen Ghia (Robert Francis) on hand, Max and Leo holds the promise that this show will bomb big time! Or will it..?
     This musical, a real hit on the real Broadway written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meecham, with songs by Brooks, (based on the feature film of the same name–minus most of the music score) is just as funny than ever before! Although this show has been previously presented on a bigger stage, this presentation seems to work very well on a much smaller space. Silas Benjamin as Max is as colorful as one would find in a failed Broadway-type producer. His performance is just as heavy as his physical physique! Jack Robert Riordan as Leo Bloom may appear to be a milquetoast, but he’s far beyond his role as he can sing and tap dance pretty well! Lauren Blair as Ulla is just as fun. She keeps that pseudo Swedish accent with her role as the resident sexpot. Robert Francis and Aric Martin as Roger De Bris and Carmen Ghia are the pair of gay blades that steal the show as their caricature of who they portray are indeed fit for a Queen! In addition to the leads, Shaina Ostroff appears as Hold Me-Touch Me, one of the many spinsters that Max must do his manly duty to get those “checkies” for his stage shows. And rounding out the cast are the seventeen(!) ensemble players performing various roles by singing, dancing, and even goose-stepping their way to make this musical a sure hit. (Space doesn’t allow this writer to list them all, but rest assured–they were all great!)
     As to the behind the scenes staff, Anne Gesling directs this piece with Justin Yu as assistant director that keeps up with the fast pacing that this comic farce desires. (Anne also provides the transcribed musical direction as well!) Lauren Blair delivers the choreography that is Broadway worthy, even at an off-Broadway size and scope. Tom Brown’s set design is simple on some ways and complex in others! And the costuming as provided by The Theatre Company, is just as imaginative as the comedy it speaks for. Meredith Wright and W. Joseph Anderson (the real producers of this Morgan-Wixson Theater show) has churned out another hit all over again that just gets better no matter how one takes to it!
     The Morgan-Wixon Theater has been part of the Santa Monica landscape for over 65 years, and performing in the same playhouse for almost fifty. Only a handful of playhouses that exist in the Los Angeles area can boast for being around for that long, let alone in the same space for multiple generations! It’s no surprise that this intimate community theater still maintains its supportive power. For the MWT here and now, it’s springtime indeed!

     THE PRODUCERS, presented by the Morgan-Wixson Theatre Guild, and performs at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, until August 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. Special audience talk back sessions where the cast and crew discuss their roles to the audience with a Q & A, takes place following the performances of Friday, July 11th, and Sunday, July 20th.
     For reservations or for more information, call (310) 828-7519, or online at http://www.Morgan-Wixson.org. The MWT is also present on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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     Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus makes its annual return back to the Los Angeles area with LEGENDS, a three ring spectacular that will thrill and amaze children of all ages.
     The theme of this performance has a running story line where Paulo The Legend Seeker is on an inquest to encounter the troupers that make the circus just what its been for generations. With the assistance of master Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson (a modern circus legion himself), Paulo witnesses acrobats, high wire walkers, animal trainers, motorcycle daredevils, and three unique creatures; a Pegasus (winged horse), a Unicorn, and a Wooly Mammoth. Are those beasts for real, or are they the legions as they appear to be?
     The story line itself isn’t what makes this circus matchless. It’s the sheer atmosphere that brings marvel and awe to this form of showmanship that earns the Ringling Bros. circus as the zenith to all circuses both past and present. The selection of acts that will appear are the China National Acrobatic Troupe, where one can witness among other feats, nearly two dozen people balanced on a pair of bicycles; the Cossack Riders showcasing their challenging equestrian skills, the tours de force of Alexander Lacey as he tames those big kitties, and for those that do wonder, there will be elephants on parade and lots and lots of clowns to amuse all!
     Outside of the show itself, those attending will be considered for a selection of pre show events. VIP ticket holders are treated to the Ringmaster Zone (new this season), an event that hosts a backstage visit with Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, a close up view the motorcycle stunt show’s Globe of Steel, a chance to climb upon the Ringmaster’s float, and to get near-at-hand with the pachyderms. Everyone in attendance can visit the All Access Pre-Show where kids of all ages can step onto the performance floor to meet and greet the performing stars, learn a few simple circus skills, try on a costume or two, and to snap photos for the world to see and admire! (Selfies and then some!) For those attending the shows appearing in Ontario & Anaheim (details below), one can also visit the Animal Open House, where one can up close and personal with many of the performers that may not be human, but human in their own right!
     This year marks the 144th edition to the Ringling Bros. circus, making this version as an all new program. If one has attended a show by this circus in previous seasons, one hasn’t seen this lineup! It’s called the Greatest Show On Earth for a good reason!
     Performances of Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ Legends take place at The Staples Center, downtown Los Angeles, from July 9th through the 15th, the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA July 18th-22nd, and the Honda Center-Aniheim, July 25th through August 3rd
     For more information on all Los Angeles area shows, including dates and showtimes, ticket prices and selections, as well as other circus related details, visit http://www.Ringling.com. Ringling Bros. is also present on social media platforms. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube)
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     LIFE ITSELF (Magnolia Pictures) is a documentary directed by Steve James that takes a look at one of moviedom’s best known and most respected film critics; Roger Ebert.
     This feature unfolds with the story of Ebert, an only child to a middle class family living in Urbana, Illinois, who had the desire to become a journalist getting his start while attending the University of Illinois, becoming part of the staff of the school’s paper The Daily Illini. Although he did have a love of movies attending screenings of older films held on campus, it was his first real job as a cub reporter for The Chicago Sun-Times (one of four daily papers published in the city) that he started writing film reviews when the resident film critic retired. From that humble beginning, he stayed with the paper for the rest of his career and life.
     This documentary not only reviews much of his career, but about his life itself. (The title of this documentary is based upon his published memoir released a year before his death.) Director Steve James wanted to document this man in his then current state. Losing his lower jaw to cancer, he was no longer able to speak nor take solid food. When James started to capture Roger in his “new normal” routine of using his writings as his voice (as well as speaking through a voice synthesizer device), he fractured his hip and thus, was hospitalized in late 2012. Much of the footage used in this documentary shows Ebert on his hospital bed, going through physical therapy, being fed through an IV tube, as well as having many of his family and friends at his bedside, including his spouse Chaz and her nearly grown kids. (The two met while Roger, a one time heavy drinker, attended an AA meeting.)
     Along with the expected elements of a documentary that pays tribute to the history of someone or something, there is plenty of stock footage used, mostly in the form of showing off his career teamed up with fellow firm critic Gene Siskel who wrote about the subject matter for the rival paper The Chicago Tribune on their weekly program featuring the two speaking about current films, first airing as a locally produced show on the PBS affiliate WTTW, later moving on to syndication. And there are talking head commentary bits with a selection of the people that worked with Roger throughout his life, such as the producing individuals of Siskel & Ebert (Nancy De Los Santos, Bruce Elliot, Thea Flaum, and Donna LaPietra), film critics Richard Corliss, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and A.O. Scott, film makers Ava DuVernay, Ramin Bahrani, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Gregory Nava, and Martin Scorsese, spouses Chaz Ebert, and Marlene Iglitzen-widow of Gene Siskel, along with many of his friends and one time fellow journalists who recall the days of Roger when he held court at a tavern near the Sun-Times building that lead him to his excessive drinking. (He eventually did quit drinking and remained sober for the rest of his days.)  
     The documentary itself is informative and entertaining, and shows how a humble journalist that got his “big break” in the movies by not appearing or making them, but writing about the flicks. (He did write the screenplay the cult favorite Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls with producer/director Russ Meyer, but that’s beside the point!) Thanks to the post modern world of electronic journalism, film critics has sprouted up like weeds where there are endless sources to read and write reviews. (Roger himself embraced this world, writing regular blogs from 2006 through 2013-the final entry “published” the day before he passed on, as well as being a regular on Twitter.) But he is one of the few that will be forever known as a man that loved movies for what they were, writing those reviews with honest respect. With dozen of places to see movies, be it in a theater or on a video screen, as well as to read about those same movies written by folks that are self proclaimed “critics”, the simple notion is that all of these roads lead to Roger Ebert, the forever popcorn favorite!
     This documentary hasn’t been officially rated by the MPAA, but performs akin to “PG-13” for some of the hospital scenes depicted and for mild cussing. Currently playing in select theaters.
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    Next issue: Accessibiy Live Off-Line’s annual “State of the Union” address, available the week of July 7th. Don’t miss it!
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Getting ready to go meet Kathleen Margaret and Vickie for lunch. Does an author good to get out of the house every so often.
-Amy

Movies with Abby, Allyson and Jeffrey…love having all of my favorites under one roof. Feeling blessed!
-Michelle

Omg, Desiree just saw Chupacabra vs. The Alamo on the Syfy channel. Lmaooooo
-Regina

I feel so bad for my daughter. While my other two daughters and I were at the movies, and her dad ran to a neighbors, she discovered her rat had died. The vet gave her about a week, and Saturday was a week. So sad. she wasn’t even a year old, and her favorite. I felt bad that I wasn’t here for her when she discovered it. Not sure why this seems to keep happening to her – her pets dying way too young. She was our favorite.
-Kym

Florida here we come tomorrow …watch out !!!!
-Kaylee
As of June 30th, Tiffi has 2,100 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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 VACATION AWAY FROM HOME

     Although this week is technically the first full week of Summer, (It began last Saturday the 21st), many folks since the Memorial Day weekend (the “unofficial” start of the Summer season) has been planning to take that vacation; A trip to somewhere a distance from one’s homestead where for a day, week, or even longer, one can take part of a long leisurely time visiting an attraction that is not found in one’s neighborhood to relax, destress, and overall have a great time doing it, either by staying in a cabin nestled in the woods, hanging around a beach front, or taking advantage of some human created (formally “man made” if one is still on the “PC” route) sight, attraction, or event that is fun to see and do. (Amusement parks tend to fall within this range.)
     Within the last few years, a new type of vacation came into vogue. It was a period of time where one would not stray far from one’s home base to do the usual vacation antics. This form of major “R&R” was dubbed the “Staycation” where one mimicked the same traits and rituals one would do within a vacation time and place, except for the fact that this was done at home, or within a short distance from the homestead. Technically speaking, one was away from home on vacation while staying at home at the same time.
     This staycation became common not through popularity, but through circumstance. In the last few years, thanks to higher gas prices as well as the effects from The Great Recession, many people decided that not staying away from home was the notion to do. It was more economical to conduct this indication due to not spending as much within its process. It wasn’t really preferred by those that did pull a staycation, but having a little relaxation near or at home was a whole lot better than having none at all!
     However, the doom and gloom of staying at home for a vacation is appearing to fade away. Mintel, a consumer market research company based in London, recently released a report on American lifestyles and trends stating that folks are getting mighty tired of worrying about the economy and are having the desire to take a real vacation as they once did. Within the past year, more people are willing to spend for vacation times. According to the report, between 2012 and 2013, spending for vacations and tourism increased 4.6%. And steady growth on leisure spending is expected to increase. Just a few scant years ago, as much as 41% of those polled within the report stated they would cut back on leisure activities. In ‘13, that number fell to 30% and is expected to fall within time.
      Please are realizing that taking a trip outside of the home is for gaining an experience they would never obtain if they never went out anywhere! This is especially true for household families that consist of a group of two or more people living within the same dwelling space that are connected to one another, not necessarily based on blood or marriage lines. And the fact that vacations and trips to somewhere or someplace for sheer experience and for fond memories has been holding true for generations. One of the most common subjects found in personal photos collections has been the family vacation or trip. Among the vast photographs and home movies taken for decades, a selection of these images consist of the family (mom, dad, kids, and perhaps the family pet) photographed at someplace that wasn’t at or near their home. (The beach, a national park, a foreign country, an amusement park, and the list goes on!) This trend even exists in the post modern world where folks whip out their phones to take ever lovin’ selfies while standing in front of Old Faithful, the Eiffel Tower, or in one of many Disney parks based in Florida while posting away these same pix on various social media outlets.
     So it appears that folks will actually go somewhere for real for that time off. It doesn’t matter where one heads off to, just as long as it’s for that well deserved rest ‘n relaxation. And they will have enough pix and moving imagery to post to their Facebook friends to prove it all!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
    Malibu Playhouse presents the world premier of Gene Franklyn Smith’s FLIM FLAM: HOUDINI AND THE HEREAFTER, a drama about the world’s greatest escape artist teaming with the creator of the world greatest detective over their challenge upon their communication with the sprit world.
     Rick D. Wasserman is Harry Houdini, a man who finds there is no lock is too hard to pick, no rope is too difficult to break free from, and where no straight jacket can ever hold him down. Melissa Kite is Bess Houdini. The pair are part of Harry’s stage show where they perform feats of magic and illusion. In 1922, Harry and his best friend, Sir Author Conan Doyle (Peter Van Norden) meet as part of their prospecting of psychic eminencies for Scientific American. Both of these master figures of their own craft hold interest in communication with the hereafter and the conversing with those that are no longer in a physical state of being. But fate sets aside when Arthur encounters Mina Crandon (Sabra Malkinson), whose claims of her ability to speak with the deceased are genuine. Houdini believes otherwise, contesting that she is a fake. That is, until she speaks with the master of escape’s long departed mother who Houdini was very close to. This communication became so real, Houdini himself is contested to the fact. The conflict speaks more than just magic and phantasm, as well as the sense of what is reliable or what is part of the flimflam that makes show business entertaining to an amused and perhaps gullible audience.
     This is a play that takes two real characters to life on stage and sets them into a world of psychic mystery, back within the era when the public at large held fascination over mediums that were not well understood yet showcased marvel and wonder–even if that wonder may involved a bit of trickery. Rick D. Wasserman as Houdini is ideal for his role. He has many of the same notions that the master in the art of escape would contain. Melissa Kits as Mrs. Houdini doesn’t have that same appeal when it comes to escape, but she knows each and every one of Harry’s tricks–perhaps the only one to ever know outside of Harry himself. Peter Van Norden as Sir Author Conan Doyle towers upon his companion of magic  through his personality and overall stature. And the others that round out the cast, Gigi Bermingham as Lady Jean Conan Doyle, and Cameron Mitchell, Jr. as Dr. Leroi Crandon are superb for their support that builds this play that holds on to the sprit (no pun intended) of magic, illusion, and the old fashioned art of fooling a paying audience of giving them what they want, even if that delivery involves a bit of flim flamery!
     As to the technical side of things, Erin Wally’s set design is basic and functional, showing the various selections of Houdini’s New York City home, the theater stage where his feats are presented, and the setting of specter advisor Crandon’s dwelling where her contact with the sprits are conducted. Claire Livingston’s costuming parleys of the period, adding to the flavor of the era it speaks for. Beverly Craveiro provides the musical direction as he performs on a tinkly piano off side stage providing musical sounds in the same style and method of the tunes presented in sync to a silent moving picture. And Jim Bentley provides the magic consulting with the selection of the tricks and illusions that is performed within this stage piece.
     Directed by Thomas James O’Leary, FLIM FLAM: HOUDINI AND THE HEREAFTER might discuss what’s real and what’s entertainment, but is far from being a piece of “flim flam”! It’s a solid play that takes its matter and escapes with it! (Pun indented!)
According to playwright Gene Franklyn Smith, who also happens to be artistic director to the Malibu Playhouse, much of what is savored on stage is based upon fact! Then again, many of Houdini’s secrets of his art died along with him. But if the tricks and escape feats became the marvels that they were, then it all must be true since truth is stranger that fiction with a bit of magic!

     FLIM FLAM: HOUDINI AND THE HEREAFTER, presented by and performs at the Malibu Playhouse, 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, (adjacent to Zuma Beach), Malibu, until August 3rd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For more information and for ticket reservations, call (310) 589-1998, or visit the theater’s web site at http://www.MalibuPlayhouse.org
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I’m seeing something lately that I haven’t seen in a long time. Lightening bugs! I remember when my best friend, Georganna and I would catch them and put them in jars. We were just little girls. But then they seemed to disappear. I just love them. Do you have them in your neighborhood?
-Nancy

Gene’s been fishing today. Looks like bass for supper! Now, if I just had some okra…..
-Linda

Chuy’s Tex Mex before my trip. A tradition… just like Mexican food upon my return. I love Texas!
-Mary

Thanks Robert Aten for my harley ride. You made my day:):):)
-Kenna
As of June 23rd, Tiffi has 2,095 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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!  

 

“C” TICKET

    A few weeks ago, The Walt Disney Company raised the standard price of admission to Disneyland. Since May 18th, it presently costs $96.00 for single day adult admission to both the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks. ($92.00 for child’s admission.) Parking will now cost $17.00 per standard vehicle. For an annual pass that will allow unlimited entry to both parks (not counting blackout dates), that will set one back $519.00 per pass. These price increases that were not announced in advance, average around 4% from the previous amount, and will remain unless noted.
     In a press release statement issued by The Walt Disney Company, it said, “Like any business, we periodically evaluate our pricing and make adjustments based on a variety of factors. A ticket to our theme parks represents a great value, particularly when you look at the breadth and quality of attractions and entertainment we offer and the special moments guests experience with our cast.”
     To point out the “great value” that the above quote offered, let’s do the math. We’ll use as an example, a so-called traditional family situation; Parents (two adults) and two kids under the age of eighteen. They arrive in one passenger car at $17.00. The two adult  admissions ($96.00 each) comes to $192.00. The pair of kids’ tickets at $92.00 each, totals $184.00, Add everything together, and one has the total of $393.00. This doesn’t include any taxes, surcharges (if applicable), or any other in-park purchases. For the nearly four hundred dollars, that family of four can have at it at the happiest place on earth in one day! And that doesn’t include the price of gas to get to the park location, depending on where one came from, and anything else!
     Let’s face it. There is no other place in the Los Angeles area, or anywhere else for that matter, that offers the same amusement opportunities as Disneyland. For nearly sixty years, Disneyland changed the scope of the nation, if not the world, when it comes to attractions. Millions of visitors from around the globe flock to the parks, not only in SoCal, but in the state of Florida that feeds the local and state economy. Tourism is big in Florida, and thanks to the efforts of The Walt Disney Company, it made Florida, especially the central part of state, a genuine mecca for travelers.
      Although there had been a rough spot thanks to the economic slowdown of recent years, people are coming back. A recent report made by the AAA stated that travelers over the recent Memorial Day weekend made efforts to travel away from their homesteads (fifty miles or more) than in the previous year in spite of the high(er) gas prices that as of this writing, are holding steady or are dropping slightly. And when it comes to visiting places to do things, noting beats heading over to the amusement parks that started the major attraction business those many years before.
     Of course, there are other mega amusements parks out there, such as the Six Flags collections of parks, as well as Universal Studios–Disney’s biggest competitor. Over at Universal Studio’s main park in Universal City, construction is currently taking place building The World of Harry Potter attraction, that’s been a big hit in Universal’s park located outside of Orlando. The Universal Amphitheater, a place that was around for some forty years, was raised last year so the park can accommodate this attraction. Unlike Florida where the two parks–Universal and Disney–are relativity close(er) to one another, the two parks in SoCal are some sixty or so miles apart, meaning that it can take as long as three hours to get from one park to the next. And since both places are smaller in size and scope, it’s quite possible to see everything at Universal Studios in one day. For Disney, not so much! But Florida is the place to go for tourism than SoCal, although there are a lot more things to do and places to go in LA. But that all depends on personal taste, location, and preference.
     However, there are too many places to search to find discounted tickets and offers. A simple “Google” peek can find dozens of place to find such discounts. There are plenty of apps one can get to find such offers with the flick of a thumb on one’s phone. (You already knew of this–right??) So if that family of four coughed up nearly four hundred skins to spend the day at Disneyland, they didn’t really seem to do their homework! And in today’s post modern society, that kind of family would be wired to the max, so there’s no excuse!
     However, there are other places where a family used as our example can go and partake in for a whole lot less. However, if legacy amusement parks are one’s destination, nobody can come close to what Disneyland has to offer. It’s there for the taking, but there’s going to be a lot of take from the provider. One is paying for the experience, and that might hold for the value of admission as that stands!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Theatre 68 presents DROP DEAD, Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore’s comedy about a theater group presenting a murder mystery that turns into a real murder mystery, while the survivors attempt to save their own lives as well as their careers.
     The setting is a far away off off off Broadway playhouse located within the Big Apple. A team of rat tag players are in the rehearsal stages for some whodunit called “Drop Dead”, featuring a cast of thespians that had seen their better days both on and off the floorboards. Director Victor Le Pewe (Cy Creamer) calling himself “The Wonder Child of the Broadway Stage” is attempting to get this show on the road. The plot itself takes place within a home in the woods somewhere where a murder takes place. It has a butler named “Drools” played by Chaz Looney (Eddie Liu), its two leading leads Candy Apples (Shelly Hacco) and Brent Reynolds (Bill Doherty) as Penelope and Alexander respectfully, Dick Scoresese (Mark Vazquez) as Inspector Mounds, a police inspector present to inspect a  murder, Mona Monet (Claudine Claudio) as Bette, a possible suspect, and Constance Crawford (Mews Small) as Lady Barrington, whose spouse was Lord Barrington (played by nobody), the owner of the estate. During its rehearsal stage, things don’t seem to fall into place. It’s not pleasing for the producer P.G.. “Piggy” Banks (Barry Brisco) who’s funding this showcase, as well as for the playwright himself, Alabama Miller (Gray Rodriguez), who insists that his inner meaning medifores he created in his work shows more of itself off on stage. Leading up to the behind the scenes people is stage manager Philip (Timothy Alonzo) that tries to keep up the pace to what the directors says–something that is to Phillip’s liking! (And that liking doesn’t have anything to do with theater!) As with rehearsals, cues are missed, props don’t seem to work, and then a real murder takes place at its opening night performance. Who is behind the bumping off? Who gets murdered? Whodunnit? Will the show go on? Will these thespians receive their comeback? Did they ever had a career to begin with?
     This play written by the writing team of Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore is very in line to a British comic farce, where people are running in and out of doors, a cast member (female ‘natch) become scantly clad, but no mistaken identities play a part here! The production itself is very funny in terms of wackiness where the action speaks faster than the words uttered! Although it shows plenty of frenzy movement, it tends to keep its head in gear–enough to where the audience can keep at its pace. Billy Van Vandt directs his own work that focuses upon the notion that cheesy theater is funny, if not for real!
    And speaking of realism, Danny Cistone’s set design consists of a painted backdrop loaded with painted furnishings, props, and other scenic antics resembling a background found in a cheap looking cartoon. This kind of scenery only makes this show even funnier as the actors themselves are rather cartoonish as they stand and fall! (There are a few real furnishing used, but that’s beside the point!) Crystal K Craft’s costuming only enhances the bafoonery style slapstick that bounds about!
     DROP DEAD is fast, funny, and is ideal to perform in a tight theater space where the action almost aligns with the audience, nearly giving it a “3-D” look. There aren’t many shows out there that can boast this fact. And will the murder itself be solved? Since this is a comedy, what difference does that make??

     DROP DEAD, presented by Theatre 68, performs at The NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd. (off Lankershim Blvd.), North Hollywood, until June 28th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights @ 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 3:00 PM. For reservations and information, call (323) 960-5068, or via online at http://www/Theatre68.com
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     HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (Fox/Dreamworks Animation) continues the tale of young Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless (Randy Thom) where this boy and his faithful companion discover an ice cave that is the dwelling to a flock of wild dragons, lead by a rather mysterious dragon rider named Hoark the Haggard (Kieron Elliot) whose goal is to control all of the dragons within the kingdom through his own beast: A towering dragon that’s called the alpha dragon that can set mindset to the winged creatures, including Toothless! But the hero of this story encounters another person from his life. At first, it appears to be another dragon master donning a mask. But behind the costuming, it turns out to be his long lost mother Valka (Cate Blanchett) who left the family when Hiccup was just a babe. Between a family reunited and a super dragon master along with a super dragon, Toothless must prove that he can beat this threat, as well as catching up to the mother he hardly knew.
     This follow up to the 2010 release of nearly the same title (minus the “2”) has lots of action, thrills, and moves in a very fast pace, never letting down when such onset is required as the plot suggests. Most of the characters from the first feature–Gerard Butler as Stick, Craig Ferguson as Gobber, America Ferrera as Astrid, Johan Hill as Snotlout, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs, T.J. Miller as Tuffnut, and Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut–are all present. Some of the newer characters seen in this sequel are Kit Harington as Erit, Philip McGrade as Starkard, Andrew Ableson as Ug, Gideon Emery as Teeny, and Simon Kassianides as No-Name. What lacks for a mass of characters is the for noted action and adventure episodes. Dean DeBlois writes and directs this feature (based upon the “How To Train Your Dragon” series of books by Cressida Cowel) that is fun, exciting, even a bit sad and touching that keeps the sappy part far out of reach. And in spite of the film’s apparent content, it holds a pleasantry to it. There is little concern over anything scary for little kids or adults who might pose a fear toward computer generated imagery. That is the reason why this feature is rated “PG”–the level that was once held for “G” rated movies; A rarity in its own right!
     This title is Dreamworks Animation’s latest cash cow now that the Shrek franchise is over with–for now anyway! With a TV spinoff series in tow, along with the merchandising to follow, there is a very good chance that if this feature does well box office wise (and it most likely will), there will be a HTTYD “3” down the road. But that road will be a long one since four years passed between the original and this follow up. So as they say, stay tuned!
     Now playing at local multiplexes nationwide in 3-D.
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY...
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Tonight I locked myself out of the house and that’s bad. But… I was on the phone with Moreen and that’s good. So I walked clear around my property and never lost the connection (can you believe it?) Felt so good to laugh. That Moreen, she’s a stitch. xxoo
-Donnell

Up early for a Saturday morning! Answering emails and then heading over to see Dad! Gotta stock him up on a treat or two!
-Jeane

The bad news: Insomnia sucks. Finally managed to sleep from 6 am to 1 pm
The good news: I read four books (including 3 by Karin Tabke)
The bad news: I didn’t get my first cup of coffee until 1:30 pm
The good news: The whole second pot is mine
The bad news: I’m over half a day behind in today’s schedule…
The good news: I don’t care
-Silver

Pit stop at Target. Zackary  had a flip flop malfunction. Had to buy new ones. These have more tread on them. He should be able to go more miles with these on his feet.
-Martha

We just saw a man in full Thor costume walking down the street
-Pepper
As of June 16th, Tiffi has 2,072 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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! 

FEEDING THE BINGE

     In yet another incident extracted from this writer’s so-called “stories from life” comes from a couple that my spouse and I recently had a chance to meet up with over non alcoholic beverages. (For the record, yours truly and my spouse are friends with this couple-Barbara and Mike, as the two wives are a middle age adult version of “BFFs”!)
     Among the idle conversation we engaged in raging from local gossip of people we all know of to to the struggles of getting by in today’s urban landscape, came to the subject on how we all spent our recent Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer season.
     Expecting to hear about this couple’s mini adventures doing some sort of outdoorsy stuff as Mike enjoys going camping as well as some boating (he recently purchased a large boat and trailer for his amusement in spite of what Barb thought of it), Mike told me that he didn’t do any camping or boating over that three day weekend.
     “So, what did you two do?” I said in an off the cuff manner.
     “We just stayed home and did some binge watching!” Mike replied, getting Barb into this conversation. (She and my spouse were engaged in some kind of one on one chatting, only to be interrupted by Mike.)
     “Oh?” I replied. “So what did you watch?”
     “We got caught up on some show through Netflix. We streamed one episode one after another! It was great!” said Mike with his standard goofy grin on his face.
     After replying with a rather feeble “um-hmm”, the topic then changed into something else by Barb, apparently not too interested in speaking about watching their TV device for hours at a time.
     Mike and Barbara are one of many folks (couples or otherwise) that engage in binge watching, the art of viewing at least three or more episodes in one sitting. According to a report filed by Miner & Co. Studio, a New York City based marking firm, it noted that seven out of ten domestic TV viewers call themselves as “binge viewers”, those that watch continuos episodes of the same series in an additive method.
     The report also states that these binge watchers tend to overfeed themselves on a single series on a weekly basis as 63% confessed to this fact, based on 800 responses conducted by those age 18 through 54. 90% of bingers do this monthly, while 17% do this every day! Most of your binge watchers tend to be younger a la Millennium age (18-34) while 34% are non white. (Hispanic, black, etc.)
     The only caution to binge watching is personal hygiene! The report also notes that binge viewers are twice more likely than infrequent binge viewers to have skipped bathing or showering because of the bingeing. 27% said this marathon viewing made them feel sluggish, the same way that one would feel when binge eating, drinking, or performing related vices.
     This form of TV watching has been around for the last thirty five or so years, but only in isolated cases. In the early days of VCRs when people were able to record programming off the air only to tune in later, binge watching first came about when fans of Star Trek would record reruns from their local stations, only to watch them later if at all! Some folks would record there shows in order to “trade” tapes to other fans and collectors. This was spread to other programs, mostly in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, ranging from old Twilight Zone repeats to installments of Dr. Who, Space 1999, and other types of video titles. Unless one has access to these back episodes by either recording them off the air or to have tapes of off air shows, binge watching was limited to this group.
     In the 1990’s when the home video market expanded beyond feature films, some episodes of TV shows became commercially available, but only in a limited selection. Since a VHS tape could only hold some two hours of programming recorded in the best quality, only a pair of sixty minute shows or four half hour episodes could fit on one tape. It wouldn’t be practical for a program owner to offer an entire run of a series unless it would be packaged in a volume of twenty or so tapes. (It takes up too much space on a shelf, and the cost wouldn’t be cheap!) If there were any TV shows made available, it would only be selected episodes (a “greatest hits” collection), or it would be released a few installments at a time as what Paramount Home Video did for its Star Trek series, both the original run as well as its many spin offs. (Some budget titles were made available on thinner tape stock or recorded on a slower speed, but those were too far in between.)
     That changed with DVDs started to take hold in the late 1990’s. It was possible to offer as many as a dozen or so episodes onto one disk. And since disks take up way less space that a VHS tape would, it was quite possible to offer an entire run of episodes packed in a boxed set, complete with a booklet informing the owner a bit about the series and episodes enclosed. That marketing plan opened the floodgates to binge watching. Now it was quite possible to catch up on a show one missed during its original run, or to relive the program as before.
    And thanks to streaming video, it even makes binge watching much easier. One doesn’t have to bother changing disks ever four to six hours. All one does is to click on the icon on the website and have at it!
     Outside of the lack of cleaning up one’s self, binge watching in a great way to see program one enjoys and appreciates. Unlike a feature where it plays once and after 100+ minutes it’s all over, a TV program can express such notions as character development, writing changes, and tying in story arcs that would take weeks, months, and even years to make its point. Soap operas, known to take a basic plot line and stretch it on for years, only got away with that since it took so long to make a plot point established, it would in its own subtle way, recap itself every time it was ever referred to. That is why it was quite possible to follow a soap opera, leave it for a few months, only to tune in again where the story picks up where it left off! (Those soap opera writers just knew how to make an idea last! Perhaps this is a lost art?)
     By the way, this writer never asked Mike and Barb just what they was watching for those three long days. Then again, what does it matter? Just as long as they enjoyed themselves. The show probably didn’t appeal to yours truly’s tastes. Besides, this same writer is currently on a TV diet, and the equivalent of a “tea and toast” snack is making sure the TV machine is turned off and nothing more! But that’s show biz!!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the second of two shows currently performing in repertory with Norm Foster’s THE LOVE LIST, a comedy about a man who attempts to creates the perfect woman on paper, only to obtain what he desired.
     John Combs is Bill, a statistician by trade that just turned fifty. His best pal Leon (Martin Thompson), a novelist who’s seeking a comeback, gives Bill a unique birthday present; an offer to find the perfect woman! Seems that Bill’s been single for a while, long divorced from his ex, and Leon knows of a matchmaking service run by a Gypsy that can find the ideal woman through listing the ten qualities that makes a mate perfect. At first, Bill thinks that Leon is putting him on, so he goes along for the idea. After making a roster on a written list of what he believes is the choice woman, in walks Justine (Jennifer Lee Laks), a woman that possess those same personalities that happens to be on that list! She performs everything that’s written down. She’s not only perfect, but perhaps a little too perfect! Did Leon really help his pal Bill in finding a mate? Is Justine ideal for Bill? Is this “Gypsy” behind this match? And the most important question of them all: Is Justine for real, or is she something from Bill’s imagination?
     This play by Canadian playwright Norm Foster creates a comedy that is fresh, diverting, and is a farce that uses its comic appeal based on wit rather than physical pratfalls. Each of the three players that appear possess an amusing appeal where their interactions keep the comedy going. Howard Storm, a veteran of directing TV sitcoms, is on helm to direct this production (with Melanie McQueen as assistant director) that offers plenty of comical twists and turns, leading up to its final laughable crest.
    Perhaps the most obvious “moral” to this play is the theory that one should proceed with caution in fobbing off wishes ‘cuz you just might get ‘em! One will get plenty of delight in this play and production. And best of all, one doesn’t have to make any requests (or lists) because it’s all been granted! Who can wish for more?
    
     THE LOVE LIST, presented by Theater 40, and performs in the Reuben Corova Theater located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until June 20th. Showtimes are Thursday, June 12th and 19th, Friday, June 13th and 20th, Saturday, June 7th, and 14th,  Monday, June 2nd, Tuesday, June 3rd, and Wednesday, June 4th and 18th at 8:00 PM. Sunday performances take place on June 8th at 2:00 PM, and 7:00 PM.
     This show performed in repertory with the production of Educating Rita. For review and details for this performance, see Vol. 19. No. 21.
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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     Theatre West presents the second of two productions performing in repertory with Kres Mersky’s FLAG DAY, an original comedy about a holiday family get together that meets for the wrong reasons.
     It’s Flag Day, 1992 and the Harris clan are gathering together for the holiday. It’s not for Flag Day, but for Christmas! It seems that Mother Harris died on the previous December 25th at a local burn center in their hometown of Los Angeles. Not to break tradition, the family, along with a few “friends” of the family, make up for lost time to celebrate the season, complete with presents, decorations, and perhaps a bit of cheer. Margaret (Kres Mersky) the unofficial leader of the group, hope to spread a bit of that cheer some six months after the fact. But when families get together, chaos arises! Margaret is marred to Grover (George Toval), a vacuum cleaner sales manager who travels around attempting to sell vacuum cleaner devices that are just so-so in quality. She’s invited Jeffrey (Andrew Parks), a doctor at the burn center who is falling for Margaret thanks for the two having a bit of a fling, siblings Madeline (Saratogo Ballentine), Suzanne (Caitlin Gallogly) who is a high strung ad executive, Ed (Gerald Lancaster), teen age son Daniel (Michael Pammit), neighbor Brunetta (Diane Seller), and some family friends, teen girl Emma (Kylie Brakeman), Howard (Roger Kent Cruz), and Jonathan (Thomas Isao Morinaka). Since this is a post modern family, they have their own personal issues. They conflict with one another while not keeping with the season of peace on earth. But events progress from bad to worse when one of the invited guests congers a few plans of his own, making this Christmas an event and time to remember for many years to come–should they all survive to tell the tale!!
     This comedy written by playwright Kres Mersky who also performs as the lead role of Margaret, is funny in its own unique method. Its humor is based upon the characters that exist in urban families that’s been around long before the days when “political correctness” started to become in vogue! (This play takes place in 1992, the dawning era before technology started to take over modern society, and the for noted “PC” period was ready to kick within domestic life!) The cast of players hold their own singular personalities that use these temperaments as their humor factor, rather than telling one liners in a rapid fire method. In spite of its quirkiness that is seen within this play, it’s mostly based of fact, although the playwright look plenty of create license to create the characters as well as its situations projected within. But all-in-all, it shows a rather dysfunctional family that could be yours and mine–or any other family that the audience might has access to! Paul Gersten directs this show that is a comical caricature of such a group of folks that are related to one another through blood, marriage, or both!
     As to the behind the scenes aspects, Jeff G. Rack’s set design shows a rather comfortable homestead, complete with a pair of comfy sofas that serves as its living room space, enough to hold most of the family that does a lot of sitting down.
     Its title FLAG DAY presents the illusion that it’s about the holiday where one pays homage to the US flag. The real back story to this stage work that it pays tribute to all “F”-ed up families that live with one another through chose or through circumstance. That notion is enough to make this showcase worth running up the flagpole in order to salute! Oh yes! Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night!

     FLAG DAY, presented by and performs at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles (Universal City adjacent) until June 22nd. Showtimes are Thursday, June 12th and 19th, Friday, June 13th and 20th, and Saturday, June 21st at 8:00 PM, with Sunday, June 15th and 22nd, at 2:00 PM.
     This show performed in repertory with the production of Against The Wall. For review and details for this performance, see Vol. 19. No. 21.
     For reservations and for further information, call (323) 851-7997, or via online at http://www.TheatreWest.org
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     The Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena presents the world premier of COLD TANGERINES: THE PLAY, an adaptation of Shauna Niequist’s book or nearly the same name about the author’s life journey through her various highs and lows.
     In this stage work, Lynn Downey Braswell plays Shanna the narrator. She tells a selection of antidotes about appraisals of her life as disclosed by a trio of alter egos; Shea (Kira Shea, alternating with Aliza Pearl), is a perfectionist in every way by always being there and then; Anna (Betsy Roth, alternating with Emily Greco), the good wife and later good(er) mother, becoming the spouse/mater person that she is or should be; and Nadia (Susannah Hicks, alternating with Abby Lynn), who is concerned over her body and how she feels about her well being. Shana herself is the budding writer that desires to place worlds on paper in order to tell her saga to the world. She faces much of the trails and tribulations that a woman of her stature would encounter, from her marriage (with a small army of bridesmaids in tow), her relocation to a middle sized midwestern town (because of her husband’s career move), the notion of raising a child (something that is easier said than done), the sizing up of a basement space (how it’s kept and what’s in there), and other domestic challenges that are part of a post modern lifestyle.
     This is a play that isn’t a story told in a linear fashion, but sole “adventures” that are expressed by the narrator with the three others illustrating what Shanna is speaking about. It’s told in a way as if Shanna is thinking out loud while a small rep company is depicting the movie that plays within her head–a near quote that she states within her particular thoughts/writings/expressions. Lynn Downey Braswell adapted Sahuna Niequist’s memoirs into a stage piece that is very heartfelt and generally ministers in respect to a female based perspective. Or to be more specific, toward the type of woman who leads a middle class life that is God centered and although not mentioned or implied, would be a follower of the gospel according to Oprah. Karissa McKinney directs this show is is tragic and humorous in its various moments. The tragic elements are limited to small and personal exigencies, while the humor is the type that builds up carefully to its “climax”–the same form of comedy that caters toward its targeted demographic.
     COLD TANGERINES: THE PLAY is the type of show one can bring their chosen BFF to, and/or to use as a theatrical formatted supplement toward a book discussion group deliberation of the text (book) version of this title. Take plenty of notes and learn from the master!

     COLD TANGERINES: THE PLAY, presented by Little Candle Productions, and performs at the Fremont Centre Theatre, 1000 Fremont Avenue, South Pasadena, until June 29th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8;00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. Special talk back sessions will take place after the Sunday, June 15th performance with playwright Lynn Downey Braswell and Susan Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations with God, and with Shauna Niequist, author of the book Cold Tangerines, following the Friday, June 20th performance.
     For ticket reservations and for more information, call (800) 811-4111, or via online at http://www.FremontCentreTheatre.com
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     MALEFICENT (Disney) features Angelina Jolie as the title character. The tale begins once upon a time in a far away land where two kingdoms live. One consists of ferries and trolls, while the other lives humans living under the ruler ship of King Henry (Kenneth Cranham). The story begins with Maleficent as a winged fairy of sixteen years, living a content life of a fairy among the moors and forestry. She encounters a young boy, Stefan, a orphaned serf that come across Maleficent’s dwelling. They fall in love as he teachers the winged fairy about love’s true kiss. Stephan desires to be king one day to live a life of royalty, rather than being a lowly serf. As Maleficent becomes older, King Henry, with the notion of authority, has his team of mounted soldiers attempt to invade the moor land of the fairies. Thanks to her power and magic, she is able to stop King Henry’s army. The king himself seeks his revenge, offering a chance to rule on the throne to anyone who brings Maleficent’s wings. Stefen, now a young adult, completes this task and is named king. He and the queen bare a child named Aurora (Elle Fanning). Maleficent hears about the news, and in order to seek the revenge against King Stefan over the evil he committed by clipping her wings for the sake of being ruler, places a spell on Aurora where upon her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel only to fall into a deep sleep, never to be awoken. That is, unless she receives a true love kiss.
     If the above description describe a classic fairy tale, as well as an animated cartoon that was the first one released in 70 mm with a six track stereo soundtrack produced by somebody named Walt, one is only half right! This feature tells an alternative tale of not only the fairy tale that’s been around since the 15th century, as well as the for noted Disney feature that’s been around since 1959. In this version (c. 2014), it exists within a bevy of special effects where to seems that 90% of this feature is a CGI creation that surprisingly, doesn’t take over as much as one would expect. (It exists of course, but doesn’t “mug” the camera!) There are some live human players as well. King Stefan is played by Sharlto Copley, where he is more evil than one would expect. Sam Riley is Diaval, Maleficent’s personal servant who she changes into various animals (usually as a raven) in order to use as a spy or as a fighting beast when deemed necessary. Brenton Thwaites is Prince Phillip, the closest character than comes as a “Prince Charming” type, and Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, and Juno Temple appear as Flittle, Knotgrass, and Thistlewit respectfully, three fairies that take care of young Aurora from young babe to sweet sixteen. These trio of players are the closest to this film’s “comedy relief”!
     The real two stars in this feature are Elle Fanning as the teen Aurora, and Algelina as Maleficent. These pair of performers have a bonding toward one another that isn’t part of the so-called “Disney version” that most, if not all, fans of this classic fairy tale grew up with. The lead role’s persona was originally created by Marc Davis, one of the studio’s “Nine Old Men” who became the heart and soul in animation for W. D, and Algelina still keeps that look to her
     Even though this feature film has the magic that this studio can present itself with, the whole theme is a little on the dark side. Linda Wooverton’s script presents a story that offers more intense action and adventure than a traditional happy ending, and production designer Robert Stromberg is now in charge, making his feature film directing debut. WIth the aid to other behind the scenes folks, from Dean Semler’s cinematography, Gary Freeman and Dylan Cole’s production design, Anna B. Sheppard’s costuming, with Rick Baker’s makeup (aside from the army of special EFX folks that pixilated everything), one has an impressive looking film, either in IMAX, 3D, or in standard ratio.
     The question remains. Is this film suited for all audiences? Perhaps anyone over the ages of ten and up, as MALEFICENT can be rather freighting for anyone younger. That age limit cuts off quite a bit of the demographic that Disney would normally target to when in comes to marketing its characters for merchandising purposes. Although this feature is rated “PG” for its action battle violence and a few intense scenes, it’s best to leave the young kids at home–or at least keep them watching Frozen for the umpteenth time where they can “let it go”!
     Now playing in multiplexes nationwide, as well as in selected IMAX theaters. 
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Having a great time hanging with my gal. Adriana and I had fun shopping at one of Sacramento’s largest malls yesterday. We restocked our makeup supplies at Bare Minerals, and I got a cool new pair of Crocs at the Crocs store. Today we watched the very first showing of Maleficent and both gave it two thumbs up.
-Keli

WOOT!!! Checked my bank statement and it said “paid in full” so no more old mortgage. This time I got the house I wanted with Kelly Blue’s help.
-Michelle

the reading glasses work great! I’m back to more consistent reading. Before the glasses it was growing bothersome. Even when writing a grocery list, I had to hold the pad at arms length.
-Shawn

So, I bought some slippers, and Amazon said that customers who bought them also bought — wait for it — a cat toy! Funny!
-Tamela

Glad I don’t have to work tomorrow now, gonna catch up with Sierra and relax!
-Sarah
As of June 2nd, Tiffi has 2,070 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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!

   

CONFESSIONS OF AN EMMY VOTER-PART ONE

A few weeks back, I was asked by the New York staff of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a separate yet related group of The Television Academy (formally knows as the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences) to be a judge for their annual Daytime Emmy Awards that will take place later this year. Since I am a member of the Set Decorator/Art Directors peer group, I was requested to view a selection of clips from a number of programs that air on daytime TV, either on a media network or through syndication. The clips of each entry, made available through a secured NATAS web site, consisted of a selection of short segments from each episode that aired during the previous year. There was a brief outline of each show noting some of the progressions made from the show’s run during the previous season. What I was suppose to look for is how the program’s set and artistic values made the series just what it is, and how it creates the overall mood and scope to the program.
As with daytime television, the shows selected for an Emmy (about twenty five titles to choose from) are either shows that are created for kids ranging from preschool to high school/young adult, or aimed toward women, although its specific demographic is what used to be known as “housewife” or something that can resemble that occupation. (The closest to what use to be labeled a “housewife” in today’s post modern society is now known as the “Stay At Home Mom” a.k.a. SAHM.)
Anyway, my assignment, since I already took it, was to view the clips of the chosen shows (around 18 to 20 minutes each), and to judge the program based upon how the set(s) were created and what makes their appearance express the program for its appeal. It didn’t matter upon its content, its performances, how the show was interesting/exciting/comical/boring/obnoxious or anything like that! Those figures were to be judged by other folks as I was supposed to pay attention to its backdrops and how pretty they looked!
So during the last week of voting, the week where Easter and Passover clashed (and also the week of the traditional Spring Break where one could head on over to Daytona Beach Florida and whoop it up), I looked at the near twenty five clips and segments of these daytime television programs, most of them for either the first time or first time in generations.
Because I judged the sets, I won’t comment on how the art direction was staged since I want to make it fair to those who did a slam bang job of making the show look neat and pretty, and to the others that made the program as a “meh”! However, I can comment about everything else since I had no part in its judging. I will state that all titles judged that were up for an Emmy for best Set Decoration and Art Direction normally air between the hours of 6:00 AM through 6:00 PM local time. Even though that this time slot can run any day of the week, most of the programs eligible tend to air Monday through Friday.
A bit of a disclaimer here. I normally don’t watch television, not so much daytime TV, but any form of television! As to the time slot in question, I weaned myself off of daytime TV in the middle 1980’s when time and tide didn’t allow me to tune in during those daylight hours. However, a decade or two beforehand, I was affixed to what aired during the day, mostly tuning in during the summer months or when school was not in session, usually around Christmas and Easter break, a single Monday holiday, or when I was under the weather. (Being sick from school wasn’t as common for me as I though it would be, thanks to modern medicine I suppose!)
Getting back to reality here, I began my assigned viewing looking at clips from two shows I did tune in to back when I was a heavy daytime TV viewer and are still on the air today; Sesame Street, and The Price Is Right.
Sesame Street, or “SS”, was a fixture of PBS when that “network” was newly named The Public Broadcasting Service removing itself from its old title, National Educational Television back in the fall of 1969. Although Jim Henson and his cast of characters, The Muppets, have been occasionally seen on TV throughout the 1960’s, SS was what made him and his team real stars! The Price Is Right (TPIR) was one of three games show that CBS premiered on Labor Day, 1972, after taking a five year game show leave of absence. Over its many years, it gave away countless prizes just so folks can win ‘em by playing a game while guessing its suggested manufacture retail price.
I enjoyed these two shows for two different reasons. On TPIR, Bob Barker’s on screen personality was pleasant. The contestants ranged from charming to rather dull, and for the record, they usually wore semi formal outfits. The women were dressed in nice cocktail party style pants and tops, sometime in bright 1970’s era colors and patterns, while the men wore jackets and ties, although many of them wore clothing that would be considered as “business casual”. Today, most folks don garish clothing from t-shirts that state they are part of some kind of group, to other clothing that look like they came from a thrift store! (Because they did??) They also appear to be more overbearing and rather annoying as their counterparts behaved some forty years before. And Bob Barker, now long retired, has been replaced by comic Drew Carey, who in my opinion, doesn’t have that same appeal and charm as Bob did back in the day. And the staff announcer George Gray no longer gives a quick spiel on any of the brand name products offered, the same way as the late Johnny Olson and Rob Roddy did. Even though the description of prizes were quickie commercials for the product, it didn’t seem to concern me hearing about how easy it was to cook Rice-A-Roni (“The San Francisco Treat”), or what features were available as standard equipment in a 1974 Chevy Malibu. (After all, they could be yours if the price is right!)
And why did I watch SS since I was a bit too old for the show? I found The Muppets appealing, and as the critics did state, it was unlike no other program made for kids that was on the air at the time. Even Captain Kangaroo couldn’t compare, although The Captain did featured Tom Terrific and Lariat Sam cartoons! (It also had the Captain hawk Wonder Bread and Schwinn bicycles, but that’s another story as that stands!)
So I looked at a SS created for a generation of kids that were born in an overly wired world, as well as a TPIR where anyone can now compare prices on their smart phones, if not wearing tacky clothing! The TPIR clip judged was the Halloween episode, perhaps the best dressed episode of the year, as well as for the Christmas episode, also included within the bunch. Drew donned a vampire outfit while mugging for the camera, while announcer George Gray had his head “float” above his announcers podium, something that was rarely seen on camera. (The floating head effect was created by having George wear a green outfit that was chromakeyed out!) And there were plenty of props set around the stage that consisted of jack-o-lanterns, tombstones, cobwebs, and the usual Halloween details. The Christmas episode clip was also appealing, but not in the same way that All Hallow’s Eve was set. Again, it was a gimmick and a fun one at that!
SS was to me, a very far cry to what I was used to seeing. All of the Muppets were there (or its descendants) teaching those kids in these times the basic things they would use within their future lives. The clip presented was a James Bond spoof where Cookie Monster (as agent “Double Stuffed Seven”) was to retrieved a crown made of cookies stolen by “Lady Finger” who was going to dunk the crown in a large glass of milk. (The lesson taught was to listen, remember, and to follow directions!) The second segment took place on the title street (a sound stage really), where a “Latino Festival” was taking place. Of course, diversity was on stake here, something that was referred to since the show’s second season when it integrated Spanish words, although the cultural aspect was more related to Puerto Rico that Mexico and points south. The third skit, another movie-type take off, consisted of a special committee of sheep out for the big bad wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing! There were other clips as well, but the program’s overall look was much slicker than it was forty plus years ago, and its humor is pleasant, although its targeted demographic will miss on a lot of it! And the special effects are terrific! Back in the days where yours truly used to tune it, the EFX seen was very little to none, outside of letters and numbers superimposed on the screen generated by a basic character generator!
There are more shows and clips to ponder upon, but those titles and commentary of such will be addressed in the next issue of ALOL! See you then!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
Actors Co-op winds down their 2013-14 season with the musical production of 110 IN THE SHADE, a tale about a woman that discovers herself through the guidance of a mystical man that offers a promise to save a rural farming community from the perils of a killer drought.
The setting is the 1930’s. The dust bowl is causing havoc through the nation’s southwestern corridor. The land and crops are parched, and there hasn’t been a decent rainfall for weeks. Rancher H.C. Curry (Tim Hodgin) is attempting to keep a herd of cattle alive, nearly depleted from the dry spell and heat. He runs his ranch with his two sons Jimmy (David Crain) and Noah (Jason Peter Kennedy), as well as with daughter Lizzy (Treva Tegmeier). Although her father and her pair of siblings have to deal with the dehydrated ranch, Lizzy has her own concerns. She has never married and is not keeping a legacy for her family, thus becoming an “old maid”! Although the Curry menfolk have attempted to interest the local sheriff File (Michael Downing) in Lizzy, he is too busy and concerned in finding the whereabouts of a traveling con man that’s been sighted in the area. Then a young stud of a man mysteriously arrives in town. Calling himself Bill Starbuck (Skylar Adams), he says that he is a rainmaker, and can bring rain to the community for a price. HC pays Starbuck his desired fee for rain. But his charm and personality brings Lizzy to realize that she may find just what she is looking for in her own life. Will Starbuck bring rain to the community as promised? Will Lizzy find the love she is seeking? And is this rainmaker the con man that Sheriff File is on the hunt for?
This musical by Harvey Schmidt (score) and Tom Jones (lyrics) is based on N. Richard Nash’s stage play The Rainmaker (who also provided the musical’s “book”) that carries the same premise. In this production as presented by Actors Co-op, the leading cast of performers present this showpiece as an impressive production sans the over staging. The sets as designed by Stephen Gifford are rather simple, consisting of a few stage pieces that suggest a ranch with wide open spaces. These wide open spaces serves as the stage where all the action takes place. Although each main player, notably Tim Hodgin as the elder Curry, with David Crain and Jason Peter Kennedy as his sons perform very utmost, the real stars here are Treva Tegtmeier as Lizzy, and Skylar Admas as Starbuck. They are the two that carry this stage piece to its height, with Lizzy as the humble one and Starbuck as the person with the magnetism and charisma a roving man can offer. Richard Israel’s stage direction along with Julie Hall’s choreography adds to the entire allure as experienced within this presentation.
In addition to the noted lead performers, it boasts a large ensemble cast that features as listed in their order of appearance, Alex Denny, Nicholas Acciani, Courtney Potter, Julie Hall, Rory Patterson, Emily Armstrong, Colby Salmon, Mark Ostrander, and Rachel Hirshee.
Rounding out the list is the talented personnel. Bryan Blaskie’s musical direction adds a little tinge of jazz to the music score, although it doesn’t necessarily sound “jazzy”. He conducts the musical combo that consists of Bryan on piano, Brian Cannady on percussion, Xander Lott on bass, Brian Morales on clarinet/flute, and Kevin Rose on guitar/banjo. Evan Duffy serves as guest conductor and performs on piano. Their tuneful sounds adds to the lure of this musical work that holds up within the intimate theater space housed within the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. Its staging is tight and compact, bringing the show to its audience as flourishing and up close.
110 IN THE SHADE is one of those few stage musicals that don’t seem to be revived as often as they should. This notion would make this moment an ideal opportunity to experience the Actors Co-Op’s product within a neighborly setting as the Crossley Theatre space provides.

110 IN THE SHADE, presented by Actors Co-op, performs at the Crossley Theatre located on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, 1760 North Gower Street (South of Franklin Avenue and north of Hollywood Blvd.), Hollywood, until June 15th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM, with additional Saturday afternoon performances at 2:30 PM on May 17th and June 14th. For ticket reservations and for more information, call (323) 462-8460, or via online at http://www.ActorsCo-op.org
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Continuing its run at the Acting Artists Theatre in West Hollywood is Percy Granger’s VIVIEN, a tale of an uneasy bonding between an adult son and his elderly father after being separated for nearly forty years.
Paul Howard (Illia Volok) is an up and coming theater director based in New York. He recently took a position to direct a regional production of The Seagull in Seattle. But what brings him to the northwest was to see his father Vivien (Craig Braun) who was committed long before to a psychiatric hospital where he has lived for four decades. When Paul arrives, he finds his father to be very old yet holds a glimpse of sense within. Vivien doesn’t recognize his son at first, believing that he isn’t the young Paul that he once knew. Paul got the notion that his dad asked a nurse that is stationed within his ward, Mrs. Tendesco (Tracey Silver) for his son to visit. But it was the nurse that brought the name of Paul to him. Vivian and Paul finally obtain their time together, even if that time is very short and is just as bittersweet.
This one act play by playwright Percy Granger unfolds a saga of a family long torn apart through undisclosed causes, and a final attempt to mend it all back, even if that mending is an equivalent to placing a simple bandage over a massive stab wound. Although this play has a cast of three, it is Illia Volok and Craig Braun as elder father and young(er) son that make this production just what it is: A very edgy and almost satisfying father and son relationship gathering that stands within a first time/last time frame of mind. Craig Braun as Vivien is old (perhaps looking and acting older that he really is) and only knows of a life closely guarded as well as constantly medicated. Liiia Volok plays an adult child who is moving up to the world of theater, possibly Hollywood, whose home life may not hold that same share of success. The two fight, they smile, and wonder what’s going to occur next. Tracey Silver, who appears as Nurse Tendesco, directs this play as a simple story in a complex package.
As to the look of this production, it’s just as simple and basic as one can get. Lupe Nevarez’ set consists of a few furnishings. It exists that way to present a virtual set and reality, the same notion that would otherwise extend the family ties between “dad and kid”.
This writer won’t state if VIVIEN holds a happy ending or a somber conclusion. However, this same writer will note that this play does pack a subtle impact. It also presents a bit of advice to those that may have a family member within their reach, either to keep the ties that bind or to let it all go. But this isn’t family therapy here, just a few memos of a play that shows domestic importance.

VIVIEN, presented by CABIV Productions, and performs at the Acting Artists Theatre, 7313 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, until May 25th. Showtimes are Saturdays and Sundays ay 3:00 and 8:00 PM. For tickets and information, call (323) 960-7770, or online at http://www.Plays411.com/Vivien
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Question for the health gurus: If this kidney stone was a calcium stone, does that mean the smoothies I make from foods high in oxalate (my spinach, kale, rhubarb, wheat bran, etc.) are somehow contributing??? ‘Cause that would be like, really uncool.
-Jo Ann

Aali has her first ever job interview on Monday!
-Michelle

Bill West is amazing! He redid our downstairs bathroom on a shoestring budget and made it look fantastic! I am beyond blessed.
-Kim

Mike Sevi, you would have been proud of your ‘nieces’. Three of them were in the back seat ‘debating’ something. I yelled back, “Stop”. And Kelsey immediately said, “Hammer time”. Our 80s legacy lives on….
-Tiffany

Am I the only crazy lady who organizes her grocery cart by cans, boxes, cold stuff, and non-food?
-Ashley

It’s so hot
-Delanah
As of May 12th, Tiffi has 2,031 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 Linear Cycle Productions.
All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

THE SHACK GETS THE SHAFT

     Last month, Radio Shack, the Ft. Worth, Texas based retailer of electronic gizmos and other related paraphernalia, announced on its corporate investor relations web site that it will close as many as 1100 underproductive stores over the next few months in order to allow the company to regroup itself, as well as to keep losses at bay. The company lost some $166.1 million during the fourth quarter of 2013, with retail store sales down 19% as driven by traffic declines and soft performances in cell phone sales. The company is going through a plan where it will shift its sales in mobile devices in the for noted cell phones, as well as offering electronic pads and other related devices.
     In spite of this change of business, it’s a far cry to what these stores were once was back in its so-called glory days: A place where one can get just about any electronic device ranging from diodes, ham and CB radios, RC toys, and other related objects that was the place to go that the do it yourself person (or “DIY” in post modern lingo speak) can find and need!
     Many of the Radio Shacks are in malls, although there are many free standing outlets. This was the joint where this writer would trek off to if a specific cable adapter was needed while working on a media project. (More on that in a moment!)
     Since the turn of the 21st century, Radio Shack began to shift gears from offering the standard electronic devices, such as TV sets, radios (of course), turntables, as well as the for noted diodes and cable adapters, to cell phones and laptops when such devices were becoming more common but still holding on to its novelty and specialty status. As these devices grew in popularity, as well as the growth of other places that offered the same things (online as well as the “brick and mortar” outlets), Radio Shack was changing from the “go to” place to the “go to if it’s convient” location. Sadly, the DIY devices were taking a back seat in the business. Although some devices are still made available, much of what was there in the stores were now limited to an online sale, meaning that if one wanted to get its Archer brand outdoor aerial, one had to order it online! Anyone that has a big screen high def TV monitor is aware of the fact that such a device–a traditional TV antenna–will not only receive local stations, but will pick up high def signals cleaner than what a cable or satellite provider can provide.
     Radio Shack is one of a number of once strong retailers that didn’t advance fast enough through the annals of time. Thanks to the progression of technology that changed nearly everything in terms of business strategies and leisure activities that came about within the last twenty or so years, the way one conducts monetary business as well as one’s personal affairs were given a new face. Many corporate businesses were created through this era, as well as other establishments that were either changed drastically or outright destroyed! Meanwhile, the ways one conducts their living aspects in a standard, and even boring domestic life, has also seen that change! Back in the “good old days” c.1994, if one wanted to plan their day, one would pull out a Day Runner–that midsize three ring binder–and write down important notes and sources on its blank lined pages, from a meeting with corporate management to an upcoming gathering by the local PTA group. There would be a list of phone numbers, addresses, and other facts jotted down made handy for the user. If one wanted to call a number listed, one could do so through a home and/or a office phone. If that person was outside of the home and/or office, one can head to a local pay phone. However, if the person wasn’t available to take the call, there was an answering device. Nevertheless, it would take time for the person to call back once the person had access to the message.
     In today’s period, that day runner device would be changed to a smart phone, where one can keep track of meetings and other social affairs. All phone numbers, addresses (physical, and e-mail), as well as Twitter handles, would all be included! One can call anyone, and mostly likely, that call would go to another cell phone. However, one can’t escape the answer device if the called person can’t take the live communication.
     But getting back to Radio Shack for the moment. The company will still operate and still keep its stores. However, there won’t be a lot of obscure cables and other parts available. Either one has to order it online, or find it somewhere else!
     As to how Radio Shack saved my rear end? When I was involved in video production a generation or so ago, I was in constant need of audio and/or video cables to conduct my production and post production elements. When I was at a remote location and I needed a special cable adapter (RCA male to BNC female), I would head on over to a nearby Radio Shack, find by adaptor, and was on my way! I always took advantage of their Battery Club where I can get a free Radio Shack brand standard battery per visit! (I usually took 9 volt or AA size). I kept a few in my camera bag to use for mics that used battery power. Over time and tide, I stockpiled a load of these cables and adapters for my media  use. Today, I still have each and every cable and adapter. However, I rarely use them now, but you never know when they still come in handy!
     So don’t say “good buy” to Radio Shack quite yet. They haven’t gone away, they just changed just like the 1980’s eventually did! (PS…I still can use open reel audio splicing tape! If anyone has some, please contact me! Thanx!)
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     Theatre Palisades presents the French comedy farce DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER, a tale about a married couple having their flings while trying to hide their affairs at the same moment set to a dinner party taking place all at the identical time!
     Bernard (Michael Allen) and Jacqueline (Maria Pavone) are a married couple living in a country home just outside of Paris. Jacqueline is planing to go off to her mother’s place for the weekend, while Bernard is hosting a visit at home with an old friend Robert (Drew Fitzsimmons). Bernard has even hired a cordon bleu chef Suzette (Holly Sidell) to prepare a gourmet meal. Things get a bit complicated when Jacqueline cancels her visit since she and Robert are having a little fling, while Bernard is also fooling around on the side with Suzanne (Maria O’Connor) who was coming over to celebrate her birthday, along other “celebrations”! Before long, each guest at the “dinner” party must hide each other’s reasons on why they are there, in addition for having cook Suzette masquerading as Bernard’s “niece” as an alibi, blending within the many misadventures that go along with a group that mixes together for all the wrong reasons!
     This frantic piece written by March Camoletti, who has penned many a French stage satire in French (Robin Hawdon provides its English adaptation), has all of the expected elements one would find in such a comedy, from running in and out of doors, mistaken identities, kinky humor, and frenzied slapstick that creates a stage work that is downright comical in its own method! The cast of six players (including Rodney K. Carrington as George, Suzette’s spouse), have their comic timing set to a “T”. Although the humor isn’t anything “highbrow”, the wild frenzy that takes place on the floorboards makes up for all the difference, thanks to Theatre Palisades resident director Sherman Wayne. He, along with the cast, knows their physical comedy down pat while each player shuffles from one little comic situation to the next without missing a beat.
     In addition to his directing and comedy skills, Mr. Wayne also provides the set and lighting design, showing off a rather charming farm house turned country estate, complete with a small bar to the side (as the French have their desires to consume sprits) as well as a series of set doors where the cast enters and exits on diverting cue.
     DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER is one of those laughable plays that can be taken as a so-called “guilty pleasure” since its humor aspects is far from sophisticated or intellectual, but its downright entertaining! As with French comedies, it’s also a bit kinky, but in a playful state of matter! Then again, affairs tend to be playful, so its themes are not far from the truth. And as the French may add to all of this flippancy, Viva la difference!!

     DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER, presented by Theater Palisades, performs at the Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Road (off Sunset Blvd.), Pacific Palisades, until Mat 11th Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For more information, call (310) 454-1970, or visit online at http://www.TheatrePalisades.com
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     Currently playing at the Glendale Center Theatre is Michael Cooney’s CASH ON DELIVERY, a comedy set in the frantic mode about one man’s feeble attempt to cash in on government benefits, only to have his scheme unravel faster than expected.
     The story focuses upon Eric Swan (Michael Sartain) a man living in East London who lost his job some time before but is seeking work with little success. In order to support himself, he has been taking the identity of a former tenant in his building who moved out of the country two years before in order to obtain his government benefits, from his social security payments, his disability, child support, and even maternal premiums–as Eric knows of all the loopholes! His wife Linda (Danni Wheller) isn’t aware of Eric’s scheme, even though that the social security office send in an agent named Jenkins (Tom Killam) to visit him at home in condition to check up on his status and to have him sign a few more forms to receive more benefits! In order to keep his fib in line, he cons an actual tenant Normal McDonald (Collin McCarthy) to claim that he is Eric and Eric as the tenant. From that point, this little lie turns out to be a big one and Eric realizes that he’s been pulling a rather complicated method of getting money that he wasn’t eligible for in the first place.
     This farcical parody by playwright Michael Cooney, known for his madcap comical farces, creates a play that is funny, fast, and frantic, containing many of the ingredients one would expect to see portrayed in such a breakneck paced piece, from the mistaken identities (as there are lot of this), to the running in and out of doors (again, plenty of this type of action in supply) to a variety of other plot points, from dead bodies to cross dressing! Unlike other comic farces, there are no scantly clan characters, but there is a playful hint of kinkiness noted, but kept on a family friendly level! As to this production, the cast of performers, many of them GCT rep players, are masterful when it comes to frenzied action as seen on the theatre-in-the-round stage, as each one holds a sense of amusing believability. (Sure, the plot itself may be a silly, but still holds a charm of its own!) Director Zoe Bright, who also appears as Ms. Cowper, another social service agent who arrives at Eric’s home to check up on things, directs this ensemble of performers that keep their comic timing upbeat without never letting any of the spirit of the play down! Assistant director Tosca Minotto adds to the furious action that adds a good part of the fun.
     As to the others in the cast, this play also features Kyle Kelly as Uncle George, who is also duped into Eric’s laughable purposes, Kelly Smith as Sally Chessington, another agent from the welfare board, Don Woodruff as Dr. Chapman, a relationship councilor whose also checking in on Eric’s situations for yet more benefits, Tom Allen as undertaker Mr. Forbright, and rounding out the cast is Kay Rosin as Brenda Dixon, Norman’s fiancé.
     In addition to the players, CGT regular Angela Wood from Glendale Costumes provides the contemporary outfits donned by the group, and CGT artistic director and producer Tim Dietlein provides the set decoration of the Swan living room setting where all of the action takes place, if not for the running in and out of doors!
     Comedy farces were never known for its witty humor. However, CASH ON DELIVERY offers its laughs in a classic way through quick comic timing and slapstick absurdness. That’s the best way to gain joyfulness in such a play. Even within the director’s notes, it states that the team of performers had a great time getting this piece together for the stage, and it shows off this fact within this GCT presentation. After all, it’s only money!

     CASH ON DELIVERY, presented by and performs at the Glendale Centre Theatre. 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until May 10th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, with Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, with Sunday matinee taking place on April 13th at 3:00 PM. 
     For reservations or information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
I’ve been cooking chicken and dumplings. (Thanks Susan for the recipe.)
-Cristie

Call the Midwife, Selfridges, Game of Thrones. Glorious evening at home with the love of my life, Paul
-Kris

Tiny shaker…reminds me of home if it was nearby, prob a 3.
-April

Just ate graham crackers with peanut butter for the first time ever. This isn’t good, people. Not good at all.
-April

As of April 7th, Tiffi has 2,010 Facebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2014 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!

AS THE SHOPPING CONTINUES

     Now that “Black Friday” has come and gone, now it’s the moment when “Cyber Monday” makes its mark, the week where folks spending for the holidays (i.e. Christmas, et. al.) are seated at their work terminals going online to supposedly do what they did at their physical stores: shop for gifts for those on their list.
     Of course, the ever present giant of all on line trade, Amazon, had teemed up with the US Postal Service to offer deliveries of goods on Sunday, a day where UPS and FED-FX are normally shut down. This Sunday deliver is only set for deliveries to the big coastal cities: New York and Los Angeles, and will spread to other communities within the next few periods.
     This Sunday delivery is good for many reasons. It will allow those last minute shoppers a bit more time to have their goods delivered to those on their list a bit faster–assuming that the receiver holds an address in the New York/Los Angeles areas, and the notion that it will beat all other on-line retailers in getting the goods in a more timely manner. This may be a blow to those that insist they do their shopping via cyberspace and holds the desire to get their goods one day sooner. There won’t be any more “hurry up and wait” as the waiting game shrank an additional 24 hours.
     However, getting a gift through a physical store (the term “brick and mortal” has become a cliché, so this writer won’t use that illustration to describe a retail outlet that isn’t by way of a website or through an “app”), is just as fast and easy! Unless an item is out of stock, one can obtain the good(s) right then and there! No delivery required! One walks into a store, sees the item, pays for it, and takes it home-or wherever the final destination to where the merchandise belongs. Of course, one must physically go to the said retail outlet to obtain the item in question. For some, that might be a bit taxing, as getting off to a mall may be a challenge to itself!
     And speaking of physical stores, many of those, especially retail outlets that are part of a big conglomerate, has their shopping hours extended. The malls, decked out as early as Halloween. are blasting their canned holiday music, have a whole mess of red and green lights sported about, and place their Santas awaiting for the kids to ask ol’ St. Nick on what they desire, from traditional playthings to toys more suited for adults. (Smartphones, electronic tablets, video game setups, etc.) In short, the malls, as well as other retailers, have been trying hard to lure those back into the stores and to get off their web based gadgets in order to spend for the season.
     And so far, retailers across the board are watching closely as how people will use their spending habits in spite on how economic concerns take their toll. The forecast that retailers set themselves for this season is “partly cloudy”. It’s not gloomy, but it’s not sunny either! Of course, much of the shopping takes place during the last full weekend before December 25th. And since Christmas day falls on a Wednesday this year–an ideal time since Wednesday a.k.a. “hump day” is the day of the week that’s between the previous weekend and the next weekend. Just as long as retailers can get as many full weekends as they can, that’s still OK. However, the seasonal shopping spree that used to start right after Thanksgiving began as early as October, so it’s extended season has been going around for quite a while.
     More news on the buying frenzy will be reported here right up to the last few moments. Stay tuned!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
     The Glendale Centre Theatre presents their annual production of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a tale about an old grumpy skinflint who realizes about the magic of the season thanks to the aid of a trio of spirits from the past, present, and those shadows yet to come.
     You already know the plot, but for those that seek a brief reminder, here it is. In 1840’s London, accountant Ebenezer Scrooge (Daniel Roebuck) doesn’t care much for the Christmas season. He finds all of the mirth and merriment that’s around him as “humbug”. He would rather ignore the holiday than to embrace it. On Christmas eve, after his sole employee Bob Cratchit (Kelly Flynn) begs him to have Christmas Day off, Scrooge is visited by a group of spirits, known as the ghost of Christmas Past (Brenda Dietlein), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Tim Dietlein, who also directs this show), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This set of specters, the first two rather friendly and warming, show Scrooge a few faint episodes of his life set for the Christmas season, where he embraced the joy that once existed. The third spirit, resembling a grim reaper, gives him a glimpse of what may happen if the old man doesn’t charge his state of heart and attitude.
     This GCT production, now in its 47th year, is always a delight to see. The costuming by Angela Wood of Glendale Costumes sets the tone to the story and era-a specialty stage trait for this theater as they have always presented period pieces that speak for the period. Brenda Dietlein adapted the Dickens tale for the stage, a theatre-in-the-round space where every seat is a “good” place to view. It boasts a huge ensemble cast (35 players) that perform the various characters that are part of the Dickens repertory. (Space doesn’t allow this reviewer to list ‘em all, but each one places their own personal mark to this time tested tale!)
      This production presented in 2013 feature character actor Daniel Roebuck in the lead, walking upon the footsteps of long time GCT rep player Mario Di Gregorio whose characterization of Ebenezer was brought to life in previous seasons. (Mr. Gregorio passed on last July). Daniel Roebuck, whose film and TV bio includes such titles as Matlock, Nash Bridges, Star Trek: The Next Generation and many others, is an ideal Scrooge. His presentation of this man will indeed delight those that seek a quality production that is suited for all, keeping up with the theme of this playhouse of presenting family friendly plays and musicals.
     In addition to the players seen on stage, Nathan J. Milisavljevich provides the set and sound design, Paul Reid serves as lighting designer and stage manager, and Steven Applegate, a GCT regular known for his transcribed musical direction and arrangements, is on helm for a few musical intrudes, forming this show as a mini musical. These little intervals set the moods within the scenes depicted, rather than songs added that can break up the action as some other musical shows tend to suffer with.
     There are a lot of Christmas Carols out there as stage works, either presented as straight dramas, full blown musicals, and even as parodies. (And all are good for what they are!) Nevertheless, leave it to the GCT to present a holiday tradition that will carry long after Scrooge’s ghosts make their annual appearance. Place that in your cup of tom and jerry and savor the experience.

     A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 1:00 PM. Additional Sunday performances begins at 5:00 PM.  
     For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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     The Angel City Chorale, a Los Angeles based chorale company, will be presenting their 20th annual holiday concert and sing-a-long entitled Joyful, Joyful, presenting a selection of songs for the holiday season.
     The 160-member Angel City Chorale will perform an exceptional blend of musical number that celebrates both the Christmas and Chanukah seasons within the realms of traditional favorites as well as original themes that cover this circle’s diverse range of styles from classical to contemporary, combining popular, world/folk, and gospel.
     This event will take place on Saturday, December 7th, and Sunday December 8th, and the Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, located right next door to the Wilshire-Ebell Theatre. Each performance begins at 7:00 PM.
     For more details on Joyful, Joyful, and for ticket information, call (310) 943-9231, or via online at http://www.angelcitychorale.org, or via their presence on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/436714093100889
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     INSIDE LLEWIN DAVIS (CBS Films) features Oscar Isaac as the titled character; a folk singer attempting to make a comeback that he never had!
     It’s the middle winter of 1961, and hootenanny style folk singing has become the rage. In Greenwich Village, New York, what is considered the “ground zero” for the folk singing lifestyle, Llewin is making the rounds with his guitar and his load of songs, both traditional and a few he has penned. He’s working hand over foot, performing on the open stage at the Gaslight Cafe for whatever he can get. (His pay is based upon the ‘pass the hat’ method.) He did cut an album, first as a duo (his partner later committed suicide for a reason never specified), later going as a solo with an album entitled “Inside Llewyn Davis” for a small time folk record label. But folks records as they are aren’t big money makers and thus, his residual pay is nearly non existent! Llewin is so down and out, he lives on people’s couches and wherever he can crash for the night. He can go back to his real job as a merchant marine, but folk singing is in his blood. As the attempts to get himself together, he runs into situations. One of the people he crashes with, Jean Berkey (Carey Mulligan) is pregnant with his child, and wants Llewin to front the money for an abortion. However, he has an opportunity to hitch a ride to Chicago to meet Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) who operates the Gate of Horn club. In spite of his meeting, Llewyn, just like other guitar thumping folk singers out there, he has yet to find his nitch and may strike his cord–or not.
     Leave it to siblings Joel & Ethan Cohn to write and direct yet another flick that takes a look upon life in a rather strange and unique way. This feature is full of Cohn-isms: odd looking and acting characters, quirky dialogue, and twists and turns that never come out the same way twice–or if it does, one won’t notice! The movie itself captures the down and gritty folk singing lifestyle that did exist when popular music was divided between rock ‘n roll (for the “youngsters”) and jazz for “adults”! Bruno Delbonnel’s photography give each and every seen a sepia tone. The colors are not vibrant, but rather faded, resembling what a magazine would look like after leaving it on an urban widow sill for three weeks! As to the cast, Oscar Isaac as Llewin is clean yet a bit scruffy, although he could appear a bit more down and out looking. The rest of the cast, featuring Justin Timberlake as fellow folk singer Jim, Garrett Hedlund as Johnny Five, and Cohn Bros. rep player John Goodman as Roland Turner, a fat man who comes to Chicago with Llewin for the ride, are all treats to see; each one adding their own color to this feature, in spite of this film to be shot is limited color plates!
     And adding to the look of each set is Deborah Jensen’s art direction, full of cluttered rooms, messy and nearly unkempt Village apartments, as well as scenes of public places long gone! (Including an interior scene of a Fred Harvey restaurant along a stretch of the Illinois Toll road!) These settings presents this movie its period look in a near perfect manner! (The even got the period license plates correct!!)
     And there is the music where Oscar et. al, sings a number of folks songs, both traditional and even one original piece that makes this movie not a musical per se, but a feature with music, and folks singing at that! (Living folk and blues legion T. Bone Burnett produced the songs heard within this title!)
     It’s rather obvious that the Cohns are aiming toward yet another “gimmie an Oscar” picture, as they have a number of these kind of features already under their belt. Will INSIDE LLEWIN DAVIS snag a few awards fobbed off come January and February of ‘14? It’s rather likely it will, although its glory somewhat defeats the purpose of a movie depicting entertainers barely surviving in life! It just places them into the glamor of the music biz. But this is Hollywood, not Greenwich Village!
     This movie is rated “R” for cussing and mild depictions of drug use. Opens on December 6th at selected theaters.
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
My heart is broken this morning. My kitten, Lajni, died.
-Jean

I am so thankful my children are being relatively quiet today. Thank goodness.
-Nocole

feet and legs are cramping…woke up to spring out of bed! Now I’m soaking in epsom salts to take in magnesium. Groggy bath sitter. Waiting for toe wrinkles. And cold water.
-Lorrie

Wow, I am so disappointed. Was listening to a wonderful story. Then the hero got killed off near the end. What??? Double checked on Amazon and it shows that is what happened. Stopped listening. ACK!!! Something like 9 hours into it. sigh….
-Carie

blah! My pants are too tight … I’m bout to pop this button and walk around like that!
-Rachael
As of December 2nd, Tiffi has 1,936 Fabebook “friends” and counting!
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WRITE TO US!!
ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions
AccessiblyLiveOffLine@gmail.com
http://AccessiblyLiveOffLine.wordpress.com
http://www.LinearCycleProductions.com

(Look for us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!)

ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2013 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!

-30-
        

HOLIDAY ANTICS

     We don’t have to remind you readers that this week is perhaps one of the biggest weeks when it comes to holidays and other notions to commemorate, either by way of a joyous celebration or through another reason to be stressed and tensioned out.
     For starters. It’s Thanksgiving, the time where family, “family”, friends, and even utter strangers get together for the big meal of turkey and all the trimmings. It’s also the day where folks travel from one place to another in order to gather with the for noted family, etc. for the said meal. And when these family members et al. gather, sometimes they all get along, and many times they fight–both through yelling and screaming and/or throwing fists. (These kind of fight fights tend to be more of sitcom fodder rather then actual events, so pleased take the last action in stride!)
     There are those that do good for the day by offering their time and/or resources to assist in a community gathering, where people who have nowhere to go for the holiday can enjoy a meal. Many of these events take place in church basements or social halls, community centers, or in many cases, in the open street with meals served by food trucks in depressed neighborhoods for those that can’t head off to a community center. Those folks that do ‘give back’ are those that are thankful for what they have, and wish to extend those thanks to those that are of a lesser status.
     Outside of Thanksgiving, then there is the day calling itself “Black Friday”. This is (or was–read on) the day where stores would open their doors bright ‘n early the Friday after Thanksgiving to offer deep discounted bargains on anything and everything worth shopping for. There has been countless stories and reports where folks would camp outside of a retailer for days just so they can make a big deal purchase of something they need or think they need. The theory behind this early shopping was to entice shoppers to spend for the holidays. But many of these buyers aren’t getting Christmas and related gifts for others; they are getting gifts for themselves! (Dose anyone know of somebody giving a big screen TV set to somebody as a Christmas gift? It can happen, but usually doesn’t!) But stores that jump the gun on the seasonal start as soon as they can get away with it are having their black Friday events on Thanksgiving day–or even the Wednesday or Tuesday before; the days when people who have to travel from one part of the nation to the other are supposedly in transit. And these early bird discounts are just in store only. There’s the ‘net as well, another factor as that stands.
     What makes this week rather interesting, if not confusing, is the fact that another holiday makes its mark; a day that usually begins sometime in December. Hanukkah, the Jewish eight day celebration of lights, begins at sunset (local time) on November 27th–one day before Thanksgiving!
     Calling this day “Thanksgivukkah”, the biggest holiday competing with Christmas is now competing with Thanksgiving, a day that doesn’t necessarily have ties to any spiritual based movement–although many religions hold connections to this day as expected. Not only this moment clashes with the day o’ thanks, it also leaves retailers out on a loop. After all, Hanukkah is a gift giving holiday, meaning that those retails, if they do wish to join the holiday spending bandwagon, should have started their shopping spree nonsense last Friday! In fact, many of them did!
     It’s also interesting to note on what will be served this Thanksgivukkah; roast turkey with a side dish of potato latkies? Since food “mash ups” are all the rage, perhaps this blend of foods may not be as wacky as it sounds! Visit your favorite search engine to find recipes to get ideals on this new tasty treat!
     However folks, enjoy these two holidays at the same time while you can, because according to a calculation, the next time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will meet again will take place some 79,043 years from now–give or take a year!
     And to quote a comment about this holiday clash posted via Twitter, “79,000 years? Oy, we should live so long!”     
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
    Theatre 40 presents as their third production for the 2013-14 season, Moss Hart’s LIGHT UP THE SKY, a comedy about a group of theater folks on the road previewing a new play that’s bound to become a hit or a miss.
     In Boston, a play written by upcoming playwright Peter Sloan (Nick Denning) is currently in its preview mode before it officially hits the Great White Way. Meeting at the hotel suite of lead actress Irene Livingston (Stephanie Erb) are a number of those involved in the play, either as behind the scenes folks or those by default. Those gathered are Miss Lowell (Cathy Diane Tomlin, alternatively played by Elain Rinehart), a secretary and play ghostwriter, producer and backer Sidney Black (Arthur Hanket), his spouse Frances (Meredith Thomas), veteran playwright Owen Turner (Martin Thompson), the star’s mother Stella Livingston (Flora Plumb), her husband Tyler Rayburn (Bryan Bertone) director Charleton Fitzgerald (David Hunt Stafford), along with Shriner William Gallegher (John Combs) Castello) and Sven (William Murphy). As the performance takes place on the stage that is “off stage”, the production isn’t going too well on the floorboards. Each one in the room exchanges barbs with one another with the sense that this show will close before its opens. But is this play called an “experimental” work a true hit? Is the real drama occurring in this hotel room? Of perhaps the critics writing in the press will have their say before events become as bright as the sky, or as dark as a burnt out bulb on a theater marquee.
     This play, first staged in 1948, takes a behinds the scenes look (with a lot of creative license added) on how the theater biz operated, and was indeed part of a notable member of the performing arts along with motion pictures and to a lessor extent, radio. (Television was the new kid on the block, and wasn’t taken as seriously since what was mostly aired wasn’t considered as “art”!) The play itself has more wit than belly laughs. The notions expressed are well taken, even though this is a period work. As to the cast, each player is amusing to see and holds lots of appreciation and personality. While all the actors far exceeded the content of this play, each trouper conducts themselves as diverting, carrying themselves through an entertaining first act, and a somewhat slower and longer(?) second. David McClendon directs this show as lively as it could be projected that shows off this classic work; a comedy that isn’t as presented as often as it used to.
     And there are the visual aspects of this Theatre 40 production that add to the charm. Michele Young’s costume design is appealing, especially with the woman’s fashions that sport that overbuilt 1940’s era concepts. And Jeff G. Rack’s set design shows the hotel suite (where all of the action takes place) looking more like a full sized living room that a hotel suite. As noted before, this is a period piece, and hotel suites might have looked like living rooms since these places were intended to be homes away from home.
     LIGHT UP THE SKY is an interesting scan to behold on what went on in the theater biz back in the day, and the folks at Theatre 40 do a pleasing task of initiating a stage piece about a play nearly becoming a flop with its characters swapping witty lines rather than pratfalls and perhaps fists. Then again, such banter as vented is more of an art form than just gawking at a cluster of actors falling down a lot. As its been stated countless times, they sure don’t make ‘em like this anymore!!

     LIGHT UP THE SKY, presented by Theatre 40, and performs in the Reuben Corova Theatre located on the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills ,until December 22nd. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. No performances on November 28th and 29th. For reservations and information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.org
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     STOREFRONT CHURCH, John Patrick Shanley’s play about a head of a regional  district who a holds a confrontation with a local minister at the type of titled house of worship, makes its west coast premier at North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts Center.
     Taking place within a vicinity located in the south Bronx, New York, Donaldo Calderon (Aris Alvarado) the head of the neighborhood borough, is in the process to save the home of Jessie Cortez and Ethan Goldklang (Johnnett Kent and Alan Ehrlich) from foreclosure, being some eight month behind payments. They do have a tenant, Chester Kimmich (Steven Stanton) a small time preacher who operates a house of worship; Not in a traditional church, but in a store that once held a cleaning business. (The old sign still is painted on the front window!) Since Ethan can’t negotiate a deal from the loan officer Reed Van Druyten (Ed Dyer), he asks the borough’s president for help since his political connections include businesses he is conducting with the bank CEO Tom Raidenberg (Charles Hoyes). What makes things a big conflicting, Donaldo is the offspring of a preacher who grew up with his father’s way of holding service. Adding to this mix is that his later mother cosigned the loan long before! The bank president would forgive the loan in exchange for Donaldo’s support on a multimillion neighborhood development project.
So Donaldo meets Chester in his “church” to find out upon the real low down of this storefront ministry.
     This play is part of a trilogy of previous theater pieces that mix religion and confliction in the Bronx. The first, and perhaps best known of the trio is Shanley’s one act play Doubt, a period piece about a Catholic priest and an action that he was supposedly accused of bearing. (See review: Vol. 17-No. 30). This current piece takes a different look upon this form of confliction that balances the notion of modern day neighborhood development and a man trying to spread the “good news” in his down and out community. The dialogue spoken is biting and to the point, each stanza voiced in rapid fire tones. Aris Alvarado as Donaldo Calderon is the type of small time politician who cares for his community, even though that community has seen its better days pass. Johnnett Kent and Alan Ehrlich as couple Jessie and Ethan are both amusing; the former is gentle and understanding while the latter is more high strung, but in a good way! Ed Dyer as Reed holds an appearance of a man made creature; Nothing scary per se, but somebody that would be a bit on the freighting side. Charles Hoyes an Tom is more all business–running a bank and all! And rounding out the cast is Steven Stanton as Chester, the man of the cloth who would preach from the good book, although he does hobble from a crutch! Ronnie Marmo directs the play (also serving as producer) into a production that is dramatically whole while holding on to a bit of humor. It’s far from a comedy in the conventional sense, but shows a willingness to be as dramatic as it can become.
      In addition to the performance seen on stage, Danny Cistone’s set design shows a run down retail place that is “magically” turned into a church by using a worn looking pulpit and a few folding chairs as its pews, decked out with exposed pipes and an electrical junction box affixed on its harsh walls. Donaldo’s office space is just a simple office desk and a few other furnishings. Noting special, but the real heart of the story is the for named location upon what the narrative is all about!
     STOREFRONT CHURCH is another chapter between the never ending struggle between “church and state”. Although the church isn’t as glamorous as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the political machine presented doesn’t have the same power as the folks running the city during the glory days of Tammany Hall, it still poses these concerns. All in all, it’s a tight little play that holds a massive allure.

     STOREFRONT CHURCH, presented by Theatre 68, and performs at the NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd. (at Lankershim), North Hollywood, until December 21st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. For reservations, call (323) 960-5068, or online at http://www.Theatre68.com
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     NEBRASKA (Paramount Vantage) stars Bruce Dern as Woody Grant, an elderly man who was born and bread in rural Nebraska and currently lives in Billings, Montana with his wife Kate (June Squibb) of fifty plus years, along with their two grown sons Ross (Bob Odenkirk) and younger sibling David. (Will Forte). Woody suffers from a slight case of dementia, having the tendency of leaving his home to wander award. One day, Woody receives a letter in the mail, informing him that he “won” a million dollar cash prize! Although this letter was send as part of selling magazine subscriptions, the old man insists that he travels to the sender’s corporate office in Lincoln, Nebraska to claim his fortune. Will, who oversees his dad, tells him that the letter is just an advertisement. But Woody, the hard man that he is, is still hell bent in getting the cash he supposedly won. Will decides to take him on a road trip to Lincoln so his dad can grab the goods: This trip would be Woody’s last go-round (so to speak) since the years for him are slowly coming to its end. As they travel, they decide to stop over in the town of Hastings, Nebraska-Woody and Kate’s home town (Kate joins the two later) to visit distant family still residing. While in Hastings, Will discovers a lot of long hidden secrets about the early days of his folks, especially about Woody’s drinking and money problems from long ago.
     This drama is a film about bonding (to an extent) between an elderly and rather confused father, and his wiser son who knows better while looking after the man. It’s full of interesting characters that speak for the hard working midwestern life. The screenplay by Bob Nelson has these characters talk quite a bit; Not mindless talk, but dialogue that speak toward one another with plenty of close ups seen on the screen to boot! Phedon Papamichael’s black & white cinematography shows each scene to be hard and gray, along with plenty of empty rural streets and wide open fields that have a ghostly emotion. This look and feel to this feature, along with the talking between Woody, David, Kate, and the rest of the townsfolks, makes up for the “action”–or lack of it, that other movies would otherwise cram in. (This isn’t a tent pole picture anyway!)
     As to the cast, Bruce Dern’s performance shows a frail man that was once a tough soul that knew how to take care of things; that is, until he started hitting the sauce many years before! Will Forte as David is the sanest of the group, still taking care of his ol’ man no matter what. June Squibb as Kate also shows her midwestern toughness, even though she was once the “hottle” in town from a long forgotten era. And in a supporting role, Stacy Keatch plays Ed Pegram, a man who knew the old man and was once a business partner in an auto garage with Woody, finally meeting up with one time associate after many long years. Ed learns that his pal from way back when has hit the jackpot and thus, attempts to collect a long forgotten debt!
     Directed by native Nebraskian Alexander Payne, NEBRASKA is one of the many “Gimmie an Oscar” titles that are floating around (or will be) between now and the end of the year. Will this feature win that golden award, or any award for that matter? Perhaps, since the folks that vote for the said awards, as well as those that fob ‘em out, tend to be more of a mature (read: older) crowd. And since the leading man’s film career’s peak was around forty or so years ago (and is also the same age of those same voters), those elements alone will ring true. If Dern himself doesn’t grab the goods for his performance, somebody behind the scenes will! (Director, editor, cinematographer, etc.) That’s great for Dern and the rest of the gang. And the movie viewer, voter or otherwise, will be indeed pleased with the results.
     This feature is rated “R” for general cussing. Currently playing in selected theaters.
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     FROZEN (Disney) tells the saga of Anna and her sister Elsa (voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel), who are the children of the king and queen of Arendelle, a kingdom located deep within the fjords of Norway. Anna posses a magical power she has had since birth to conger icicles through her fingertips. As young children, both siblings were at play when Anna through accident, “hits” Elsa with her magic, knocking her unconscious. She is taken to a “specialist” who brings her back, only to have the young Elsa emotionally disconnected with her sister with the fear that she will be once again hurt in the same way. Years later when the king and queen pass on, Elsa succeed to the throne. During the coordination celebration, Anna meets with Prince Hans (Santino Fontana), and they hit it off, fall in love, with Hans proposing to Anna, all within that short period of time. But Elsa as queen, won’t allow her sister to marry somebody she’s just met, and thus, places a curse of the town making it winter year round. The queen flees, and Anna must get her back in order to relieve the curse. With the prince now in charge, he summons a team to bring back the queen. One of these volunteers is Kristoff ( Jonathan Groff) a rugged outdoorsman who harvests ice blocks for a living, doing his job with the help of his trusty reindeer Sven. (No voice credit!) They, with Anna in the lead, search the back icy forest areas to find Elsa to break the curse of the forever winter.
     This latest release from the Walt Disney Animation Studio (who competes with its “partner in crime” Pixar) brings yet another tale that holds to the classic and traditional Disney-style animated releases. (The only element that isn’t traditional so to speak, is that  its another CGI creation rather than “cell” animation that’s more of a cartoon!) Based upon the tale of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson, it offers many notions bringing this narrative ideal for kids (girls mostly, as Disney knows how to handle younger females than attracting boys, unless one counts the Marvel super hero line), whilei it’s just as entertaining for adults as well. The animation itself is far better than what was seen in earlier WDAS releases, such as Tangled, and Chicken Little, thanks to faster computer processors and better software no doubt! The music score by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez is lush and enjoyable. The song move the story along, with a few “I want” numbers added that isn’t necessarily another sappy song added to the mix. (After all, it is a Disney title!) Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, and Shane Morris’s screen story takes a timeless reference (The Snow Queen) and keeps it the same way, yet adds a few mildly post modern references within, making this movie appealing to those that are custom to the “gross” humor level seen in Nickelodeon properties. (This grossness is enough to have an actual disclaimer about one line referenced in the end credits; Look for it!)
     But as noted before, the real appeal to this movie is girls aged 12 and younger, the ones that go for the Disney Princess line. Since Elsa is Queen (a somewhat evil one) and Anna is a Princess (his innocence shows through), these two characters will become part of the mass merchandising that will keep Disney’s coffers pleased well into the holiday buying season!
    And yes..there is a comedy relief character found in the bunch; a short and goofy snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad) who desires to discover warmth, joining up with the team seeking the Queen through her Ice kingdom.
     PS: It’s also in 3-D, making this feature a bit more magical as the 3-D effects are all placed properly, rather than being used as an element where junk it thrown at the screen for sole visual effect. (In fact, no junk is tossed to the viewing audience–so there!)
     FROZEN is directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and is rated “PG” for action sequences and mild rude humor. (See disclaimer!) Opens the day before Thanksgiving (November 27th) at multiplexes nationwide.
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TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Off to see Catching Fire with my girl and a bunch of her buddies (I’m the chaperone tossing pop corn at then from the back)
-April

just woke up from a nap. Little Mama is watching the movie Titanic. ON THE SPANISH CHANNEL. that is all.
-Sharon

I’m thankful for blue skies and the tiny chickadees that seem to drip from fir branches.
-Kathleen

Today Facebook is showing me that one friend, Tonia is using her web based computer while another friend, Lashanta is using her mobile phone to be on Facebook. WHY do I need to know? Makes me feel like a stalker or something….
-Lorrie

Homemade Tuscan Bean, Veggies & Chicken Soup with Garlic Bread. That’s what I’m having for dinner.
-Sandra

Guess what time it is? Yummy cooked chocolate pudding. (I won’t eat the instant). : ) can’t wait to dig in!
-Patrica
As of November 25th, Tiffi as 1,936 “firends” and counting
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     On behalf of the staff and management of Accessibly Live Off-Line, we wish each and everyone of you a Happy Thanksgiving. (Happy Hanukkah, too!)
     We’ll be back next week with more of the news and information you care about. See you then!
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