Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

A Week? It Seems Like a Year

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jan 25, 2017 @ 11:34 am PST

userpic=trumpIt has now been a week since President Trump took the oath of office. What a week it has been! Threats and actions against journalists, scientists, immigrants, citizens, … you name it. As I read the news this morning before work, thoughts are swirling around my mind. I have to get them out. Excuse the length of this. And yes, that’s what Trump said (rimshot).

Topics:

  • Finding Focus
  • We Had Our Chance, and We Blew It
  • Not a Question of “If?”, But “When?”

Finding Focus

As I look at Trump’s actions all week, there are so many to get upset about. Attacks on a woman’s right to choose. Provoking a trade war with Mexico. Attacking immigrants. Attacking science. Where to begin? What should we fight?

I think is it useful to focus instead on the question of: From which actions will we eventually recover, and which actions will have long-term implications? For example, limiting immigration will not have long term impacts on our country. It will hurt the immigrants (which is a terrible thing), but our country will eventually recover and the pendulum will swing back. Similarly, although we’re up in arms about the attacks on a woman’s right to choose, it really won’t impact the number of abortions. Women will be hurt, unsafe abortions will be procured, but the pendulum will swing back. Attacks on LGBTQs are similar. Many many many friends will be hurt, but our country won’t be irreparably damaged. There are so many things this President has done — in just one week — that if we attempt to fight them all we will dissipate our energies to a meaningless level. (I’ll note this is similar to the fight against his Cabinet appointees: we have only so many silver bullets. We may need to let some bad candidates get through — Carson — to save our bullets for some even worse and more destructive ones — deVoss)

On the other hand, there are significant attacks that could be non-recoverable. For example, the attacks on science in general and the science of climate change in particular. What hasn’t gotten through Trump’s thick skull (and for a man with such thin skin, he has a remarkably thick skull) is that it doesn’t make a difference who caused climate change. What makes a difference is what we do about climate change, and our doing anything we can makes a difference in the long run. If we have it wrong on the cause, then we are no worse off and we’ve created new jobs in new energy fields. If we have it right, we potentially stave off significant natural disasters. But ignoring it could be deadly.

Similarly, attacks on the free press and the truth go to the fundamentals of this Nation. The ability to say what you want, the ability to petition to Government for redress of grievances, the ability for journalists to investigate and report the truth are fundamental. The belief of the public in fact-based journalism. The trust of the people in the government. These are fundamental. Trump has attacked these to the point where his followers no longer trust reporters, and no longer trust that government works in their interest. These are dangerous, long term, threats, potentially damaging to the heart of our Republic.

Then, of course, are our international relationships. These relationships go far beyond just trade, but the businessman sees only dollars and cents. There are issues of National sovereignty, of survival, or war and attacks. It is not a good thing to hurt long standing allies and partners, and to make them believe we do not stand by what we have said in the past. This could hurt us big time when things go south.

We Had Our Chance, and We Blew It

No, I’m not talking about the election itself. I’m talking about the Electoral College.

Our nation was built on checks and balances, but I don’t think the founders anticipated the level of primaries and voting we have today. They expected that reasoned (white) men would be choosing reasoned (white) candidates, not the huddled masses. They also expected the Electoral College to be that last voice of reason — if a rogue candidate arose, they were the change to exert reason and stop it. This is what our Electoral College should have done. I’m not saying they should have chosen Hillary — that ship has sailed. But opting to choose an interim Republican candidate, or even turning to Congress, would have been better than what we’ve got.

This election has shown some fundamental flaws in our election process, just as the early election showed fundamental flaws in how we selected President and Vice President. There needs to be the ability to recall a candidate upon the petition of a super-majority of the state legislatures, and there needs to be a provision for a special National election to replace the President. We should be pushing our representatives to introduce such a Constitutional amendment. Note that this must be independent of any effort to abolish the Electoral College or render it moot.

Not a Question of “If?”, But “When?”

Over this week, I’ve been reading the news (a dangerous thing these days). In particular, I’ve been reading about the actions of the Trump administration, and wondering how long it will be before Congress gets fed up with him and kicks him to the curb. Clearly, it won’t be immediate — the Republican leadership is too enamored of their party being back in power for them to give it up or admit their failure. It won’t be because of many of the Democratic concerns: climate change is really only an issue that drives significant votes in the cities (which are already Democratic), similarly, abortion and LGBTQ issues only drive vote along the current urban / rural divides and will be insufficient to shift the political climate.

Rather, I think the dissolution and pushback will come from one of the following places:

  • The Deficit. Trump’s desire to build “the wall” and Mexico’s refusal to pay for it will result in a significant increase in the Federal Deficit. This will annoy the budget conservatives in the GOP, who will start to push back on any Trump proposal that isn’t actually paid for. If the elected budget hawks don’t do it, then those who elected them will.
  • The Uninsured. Unless Trump carefully crafts the replacement for the ACA, those who lose coverage will take it out on him. The problem is that the people that supported him don’t want Obamacare, but it is more the “Obama” they don’t want vs. the “care”. They want lower insurance rates, ideally subsidized, with coverage in the face of pre-existing conditions, affordable deductables, affordable prescriptions, and the lot. If that was easily achievable, it would have been done — and Trump is going to find that out. These folks will fight back and vote in 2018.
  • Narcissism. Let’s face it: we have elected a pathological narcissist — so much so that he is doing anything to justify his belief that he won with a majority. This will trip him up in the end, especially as he discovers that his theories are not borne out after investigation, and that his powers are much more limited than he thought.

Resistance has already started: there are already numerous unofficial / rogue Twitter feeds to broadcast facts to get around orders for agencies to maintain social media silence. We have other government refusing to play along with Trump’s beliefs and ideas. As time passes, the courts are going to start to weigh in and rule his orders unconstitutional (I already believe that directing deportation with only the accusation of a crime may be borderline unconstitutional, but I’ve got to check the words guaranteeing a right to a trial).

Resistance is effective, but resistance alone is insufficient. Nor is pointing out the Executive Orders are unconstitutional — President’s issue unconstitutional orders all the time without impeachment. The courts just rule them invalid.

There are two things that must happen in order for Trump to be removed from office:

  1. The Republicans in Congress must get sufficiently fed up to want to investigate him. A week in, he’s advancing their agenda forcefully, and so they are sticking with him. That’s a win in their books. What will change their mind? Not online petitions. Not calls from Democrats. Not calls to their office from non-constituants. What will change their mind is having the people who voted for them indicate that they won’t do so in the future, and seeing their fundraising dry up. To do this, the point needs to be driven home to the Republican voters and donors that the positions that Trump takes are contrary to Republican values of lowering the deficit, paying down the debt, being fiscally responsible, ensuring the safety of America, and negotiating from a position of respect. Republican candidates need to be found willing to challenge the Trump-Toadies, and these candidate need to be supported. Faced with siding with Trump or staying in office, investigations will be opened.
  2. Trump must be resisted, and resisted in a way that will provoke him to do something clearly illegal or treasonous. At the present time, Congress has indicated that it doesn’t care about things that would have been problematic for a Clinton or Obama: use of a private electronic device to conduct government business, significant conflicts of interest for personal gain from government actions. There will need proof of foreign powers influencing Trump in a way that he goes against Republican goals, or significant mischief in the White House (including movement of US funds for his personal use). Not being experiences with the rules for a US government official, he is very likely to run afoul of those regulations.

I think both of these things will eventually happen — it’s not a question of “if”, but “when”. We just need to keep nudging. In particular, we must present evidence to Republicans that their Congressional leadership no longer represents core Republican values, and that they restore the Republican party to those values, and reject and replace Trump, if they are to stay in office at the mid-Term and subsequent elections. Parallel to that, the Democratic Party must continue to resist peacefully but forcefully, speaking truth to power, in numbers too great to ignore. That will get under Trump’s skin the most, and will provoke the high crimes and misdemeanors necessary to convince Congress to impeach Trump and remove him from office. What might be such a crime? Consider directing the US military to attack the American people on American soil. That is a direct violation of law. If Trump gets fed up enough…. and believes he is powerful enough….

Additionally, getting under Trump’s skin could increase the evidence that he is mentally unbalanced and unstable, and there the constitution can work in our favor. The Constitution very clearly allows for the removal of a disabled president; Article II establishes this possibility, and the 25th Amendment further clarifies the process. Here is the wording of Sec. 4 of the 25th Amendment:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

There, friends, is the ultimate way out.

Security Chumbits – Tidbits to Raise Security Awareness

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jan 24, 2017 @ 12:39 pm PST

This is a quickie collection of news chum items related to security that have caught my eye:

  • Weaponized Narratives. I did a whole separate blog entry on this, but I wanted to highlight the original article again in light of the emergence of “alternate facts”. Remember: A weaponized narrative “seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will by generating complexity, confusion, and political and social schisms. It can be used tactically, as part of explicit military or geopolitical conflict; or strategically, as a way to reduce, neutralize, and defeat a civilization, state, or organization. Done well, it limits or even eliminates the need for armed force to achieve political and military aims.” Alternative facts? Excuuuuuuuse me. They are yet another weaponized narrative.
  • Ransomware. eWeek had an interesting article on some free software that claims to help fight off ransomware. This software is called RansomFree, from security company Cybereason. Once it’s installed (windows-only), it does three things. First it can detect the ransomware malware when it arrives on a computer if it has a signature it recognizes. But because of ransomware families rapidly evolve, it also watches the activity of the ransomware looking for attempts to encrypt files. Finally it deceives the ransomware into thinking its working, when in reality all that it’s doing is operating in a secure honey pot of a container. Think about that last point for a moment: a ransomware honeypot. Cool.
  • Infrastructure Security. A number of recent incidents in Las Vegas highlighted the Strip’s vulnerability in terms of infrastructure. In November, Paris Las Vegas was evacuated after an errant drilling severed its main power line; customers were not cleared to return for nearly a day. Shortly before New Year’s Eve, an unfortunate series of events that began with an overflowing sink sparked an outage that darkened the Rio’s Masquerade Tower (the tall one). The tower wasn’t fully reopened for a week, straddling both the New Year’s holiday and the start of CES, two peak occupancy periods. Earlier this month, Palace Station fell victim to an interruption in Nevada Power service that darkened the property for about 90 minutes. A similar outage had affected power at Palace Station—also for 90 minutes—in July. The MGM/New York-New York outage this month, reportedly caused by a windstorm blowing debris into a substation, lasted just over an hour. These all demonstrate inadequate contingency planning, or more important, resiliency, in the design of the buildings.
  • Phishing Attacks. There’s a new Gmail phishing attack going around, and it is one that can fool the best users. The phishers start by compromising a Gmail account, then they rifle through the emails the user has recently received. After finding one with an attachment, they create an image (screenshot) of it and include it in a reply to the sender. They use the same or similar subject line for the email, to invoke recognition and automatic trust. “You click on the image, expecting Gmail to give you a preview of the attachment. Instead, a new tab opens up and you are prompted by Gmail to sign in again,” WordFence CEO Mark Maunder warns. The phishing page is a good copy of Gmail’s login page, and its URL contains the accounts.google.com subdomain, which is enough to fool many into believing that they are on a legitimate Google page. You can take it from there. Even the smartest people, with the right page, will click on an link in an email without examining it. I’m sure you’ve done it; I know I have.
  • Automotive Security. If you have a relatively new vehicle, you are driving an increasingly sophisticated computer that can be easily attacked. But fear not… or fear more. A consortium of researchers announced the development of a universal, free, and open source framework to protect wireless software updates in vehicles. The team issued a challenge to security experts everywhere to try to find vulnerabilities before it is adopted by the automotive industry.
  • Password / Form Security. Passwords are often stored in places you least expect, or obscure places that you do expect because you stored them there. One way around that mess is to use a good password manager. But you need to remember to get rid of the passwords stored outside the manager when you do.  Did you? Further, that form completion can also get you into trouble by completing saved personal information into fields you don’t expect. Again: use a password manager with form completion.

 

Todo un mundo nuevo | “Aladdin Dual Language” @ Casa 0101

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jan 22, 2017 @ 10:08 am PST

Aladdin (Dual Language) at Casa 0101January is a hard month for which to book theatre. Shows are loathe to rehearse over the holidays, and there is fatigue amongst theatre goers. My birthday was on a Saturday night in January this year, and so we were casting about for just the right show to go to — something fun, something musical, something memorable. Every other weekend had something, but for this weekend nothing felt right.

Until magic happened. A listing came across Goldstar for something very intriguing: a dual-language version of the Disney musical Aladdin, where the people in the palace spoke Spanish, and the people in the street spoke English. The conceit was that the evil vizir, Jafar, did this to sew confusion amongst the people and gain additional power. This conceit even got written up in the Los Angeles Times, which noted the family-friendly concept first premiered at Theatre Under the Stars (FB) in Houston in 2009. It was being done at Casa 0101 Theatre (FB), whose mission is provide inspiring theater performances, art exhibits and educational programs – to Boyle Heights, thereby nurturing the future storytellers of Los Angeles who will someday transform the world. For those unfamiliar with the area, Boyle Heights is the original immigrant home in Los Angeles. It is where the first synagogue was in Los Angeles, was home to Russia, German, and Japanese immigrants (we had a delightful dinner in the last remaining Japanese restaurant down the street), and is now multiethnic, but primarily Hispanic.

This sounded fascinating, and as it was my birthday and my choice, guess where we were last night. It was a transformative experience, not only for the audience in attendance, but for us as well. We had been having a really bad week with home maintenance issues and such, and this evening and experience completely lifted our spirits. We even bought some artwork from their gallery.

So, Disney’s Aladdin, or to be precise, Aladdin Dual Language Edition/Edición De Lenguaje Dual, is based off the licensed Aladdin Jr. version from MTI. This is very different from the version that was done at the theme parks, and it is different from the version that is currently running on Broadway. It is based on the animated film, but   includes some songs that were cut from the film and changes the story slightly (and of course, the dual-language version changes it even more). The basic structure of the Aladdin Jr. version can be found in the Wikipedia synopsis. The key change here is that the narrators become three translators, able to move between the two languages and clarify for the audiences; the talking animals, similarly, have the power of translation.  The palace royalty and servants speak Spanish, the common people in the market speak English.

(The Dual Language version has a book by Jim Luigs, José Cruz González, music by Alan Menkin, and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, with lyric translation by Walterio Pezqueira (FB))

Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking: I’m not fluent in Spanish, how can I understand the show. You don’t need to be. I find it neat to listen to shows in other languages: I have recordings of Les Miserables in the original French, Hair in both Hebrew and French, and my favorite: a recording of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish. Other languages become like a poetry, a melodic flow that combines with performance and movement to tell the story. It is truly magic to see.

Casa 0101 Aladdin Cast - Pictures from various sources including Casa0101 Facebook PageUnder the direction of Rigo Tejeda (FB), this talented cast of 24 make the magic onstage. This is not to say there are 24 at every performance: the lead roles (Aladdin, Jazmin, Genie, Jafar) are dual-cast and alternate performance. Tejeda’s direction brings a wonderful energy and sense of fun to the production; there is a clear sense that this cast is having a great time doing the show and enthralling the audiences. It projects, amplifies, and makes magic. The direction also makes the jumping back and forth between the languages seamless; overall, the cast is to be commended for being able to handle both languages so well.

In the lead positions of our lovers are Michael Torrenueva/FB (at our performance, alternating with Daniel Martinez) as Aladdin, and Valeria Maldonado (FB) (at our performance, alternating with Sarah Kennedy (FB)) as Princess Jazmin. Torrenueva was extremely spirited and dashing, exuding charm; Maldonado’s Jazmin was lovely and playful and mischevious; again, with a strong singing voice. The two were just a delight to watch.

The evil side of the equation was played by Omar Mata/FB (at our performance, alternating with Luis Marquez/FB) as Jafar, supported by Jason David/FB‘s puppetry of Iago. Mata was a towering presence (at least a foot taller than any other player) who exuded evil in both look and performance. He was given a song, “Why Me?”, that was cut from the original animated movie and does not appear in the Broadway version.

The magic came from the Genie — at our performance, Finley Polynice (FB), alternating with Lewis Powell III/FB. High energy, playful, great singing voice, wonderful dancing. He also had a really great comedic style.

In supporting positions were Sebastian Gonzalez/FB as Apu, the monkey, and Rosa Navarrete (FB) as Raja, the tiger. These two handled the job of translation quite well, and had wonderful facial expressions and reactions, combined with strong dancing. Also serving a translation role were the three narrators/translators, Diana Castrillon (FB), Blanca Espinoza/FB, and Shanara Sanders (FB). Great singing, great dancing, great facial expressions, and just a delight to watch.

Also supporting the leads were Danielle Espinoza (FB) as the magic carpet, Henry Madrid/FB as the Sultan, and Evan Garcia/FB, as Razul the Captain of the Guards.  Espinoza’s role was primarily dance and movement; she excelled at this as well as with her facial expressions. Madrid’s Sultan showed his experience — he had the right aura of authority, fun, and fatherhood.

On top of all the above, however, the magic of this production was cemented by the ensemble: Andrew Cano/FB, Alejandro Lechuga/FB, Jesse Maldonado (FB), Bryant Melton (FB), Mariana Rocio Petersen/FB, Jocelyn Sanchez/FB, and Andrea Somera (FB). They were high energy, strong dancers, playful in the background, with with great voices — in particular, Somera who had a voice that just shone through the songs.

The movement was choreographed by Tania Possick (FB), who did a wonderful job in the small black-box space. The dances were delightful to watch.

The production was under the music direction of Caroline Benzon (FB), assisted by Jerry Blackburn (FB). During the performance, the music was prerecorded. I do not know if the tracks were those provided by MTI, or whether they were recorded specifically for this performance. The program does not make this clear. The music was adapted, arranged, and orchestrated by Bryan Louiselle (FB).

Turning to the production side: Cesar Holguin (FB)’s scenic design was relatively simple, but worked quite well when combined with Karlo Ishibashi (FB)’s properties and Yee Eun Nam (FB)’s projections. Alysha Bermudez/FB‘s sound design was clear and had a reasonable balance between voice and music. Sohail e. Najafi (FB)’s lighting design focused attention appropriately and established the mood well. Abel Alvarado (FB)’s costume design combined with Jules Bronola/G+‘s costumes to establish locale. They were sexy as appropriate, with the only drawback being the alas-too-requisite banding to hold sound equipment. Completing the production credits are: Jerry Blackburn (FB) – Stage Manager; Ramon “Rooster” Cabrera/FB – Assistant Stage Manager; Angelique Enos/FB – Spotlight Operator; Luis Gaudi (FB) – Photographer; Steve Moyer Public Relations – Publicist; Edward Padilla (FB) – Casting; Vincent A. Sanchez – Associate Lighting Designer; Soap Studio Inc. – Graphic Design; Tony Velis – Puppet Design; George Villanueva/FB – Spotlight Operator. Aladdin was presented by Casa 0101 Theatre (FB) and TNH Productions (FB), in association with Los Angeles Councilmember Gil Cedillo (FB), and produced by Abel Alvarado (FB), Felipe Agredano (FB), Emmanuel Deleage, Edward Padilla (FB), Rigo Tejeda (FB), and Conrado Terrazas (FB).

Aladdin – Dual Language Edition / Edición de Lenguaje Dual continues at Casa 0101 Theatre (FB) through February 19, 2017, and there are hopes to extend if funding permits (so donate). Tickets are available through the Casa 0101 website, or by calling the Casa 0101 box office at  323.263.7684 between the hours of 11AM to 6PM M-F.  Discount tickets may be available on Goldstar.

* * *

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Chromolume Theatre (FB) in the West Adams district, and a mini-subscription at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows: January ends with Claudio Quest at the Chance Theatre (FB) on January 28. February 2017 gets back to being busy: with Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum (FB) the first weekend. The second weekend brings 33 Variations at Actors Co-op (FB). The third weekend has a hold for the WGI Winter Regionals.; we’re also seeing Allegiance – A New Musical (recorded on Broadway) at the AMC Promenade on Sun 2/19. The last weekend in February brings Finding Neverland at the Hollywood Pantages (FB). March quiets down a bit — at least as currently scheduled — with the MRJ Man of the Year dinner,  Fun Home at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) at the beginning of the month, and An American in Paris at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) at the end of the month. March may also bring Cats Paw at Actors Co-op (FB) as that gets shifted from April. Speaking of April, it will hopefully start with a concert with Tom Paxton and the DonJuans at McCabes Guitar Shop (FB) (shifting Cats Paws to an afternoon matinee that day, or the Sunday matinee the weekend before). The next day brings the Colburn Orchestra at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). The next weekend is currently open (and will likely stay that way). Mid-April brings Animaniacs Live at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center (FB). That will be followed on the penultimate weekend of April with Sister Act at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB). Lastly, looking to May, the schedule shows that it starts with My Bodyguard at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) the first weekend. It continues with Martha Graham Dance and American Music at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). The third weekend brings the last show of the Actors Co-op (FB) season, Lucky Stiff, at Actors Co-op (FB). May concludes with Hello Again at the Chromolume Theatre (FB). As for June? Three words: Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB). That, barring something spectacular cropping up, should be the first half of 2017.

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-Lemons, Musicals in LA, @ This Stage, Footlights, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.

P.S.: Mostly so I can find it later, here’s my predictions of what will go on tour and where they will end up. The Hollywood Pantages (FB) announces February 7th.

Weaponized Narratives

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Jan 21, 2017 @ 1:44 pm PST

userpic=divided-nationI saw a very interesting article earlier this week about weaponized narratives. Here’s the definition:

Weaponized narrative seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will by generating complexity, confusion, and political and social schisms. It can be used tactically, as part of explicit military or geopolitical conflict; or strategically, as a way to reduce, neutralize, and defeat a civilization, state, or organization. Done well, it limits or even eliminates the need for armed force to achieve political and military aims.

Sounds a lot like the fake news we’ve been reading. Here’s a good example of one that I saw this week — a targeted piece about Clinton shutting down the foundation the Clinton Global Initiative because now no body wanted her influence.  But buried in that hatchet job [ETA: And it really was a hatchet job, because the Clinton Foundation is not shutting down, only the CGI] was another weaponized narrative of its own:

Just like the Clinton Foundation, Trump plans to appoint an ethics specialist to vet conflicts of interest. Just like Clinton Foundation, Trump has forsworn new deals with foreign entities, while preserving current arrangements. And just like the CGI and the Foundation, Trump has put close family members in charge of his businesses, and pinky promised he would be totally removed from operations.

What was going on within Clinton Inc. stank. It was odious and repelled the nation. We hope the incoming adminstration realizes that such fetid arrangements are unworthy of people who hold high public office, and are likely to do them irreparable political harm. Hillary Clinton still, therefore, has one use. She shows what happens to pols when they corruptly mingle their public duties with personal enrichment, She is thus is a memento mori for Trump.

[ETA: Thus, we had a double weaponization, against both Clinton and Trump]

But that’s not the only narrative going around. Another one — picked up by our side (the liberals) was the mention of QVC on Melania Trump’s page on the new White House website (a reference since removed) and in fact, the kerfuffle over information being removed from the White House website when its changeover is  just a normal part of transmission. Fictionalized narratives to instill fear into people.

Here’s another quote from the original report:

The efforts to muscle into the affairs of the American presidency, Brexit, the Ukraine, the Baltics, and NATO reflect a shift to a “post-factual” political and cultural environment that is vulnerable to weaponized narrative. […]

Far from being simply a U.S. or U.K. phenomenon, shifts to “post-factualism” can be seen in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, France, and the Philippines, among other democracies. Russia, whose own political culture is deeply post-factual and indeed post-modern, is now ably constructing ironic, highly cynical, weaponized narratives that were effective in the Ukrainian invasion, and are now destabilizing the Baltic states and the U.S. election process.

Such a large and varied shift to weaponized narrative implies that the enablers are indeed systemic. One fundamental underpinning – often overlooked – is the accelerating volume and velocity of information. Cultures, institutions, and individuals are, among many other things, information-processing mechanisms. As they become overwhelmed with information complexity, the tendency to retreat into simpler narratives becomes stronger.

Under this stress, cultures fragment. Institutions are stretched until they become ineffective or even dysfunctional. Individuals who define their identity primarily through the state – such as Americans, Russians, Chinese, or Europeans – retreat to a mythic Golden Age nationalism, while those who prioritize cultural and religious bonds retreat to fundamentalism.

We are in the era of the weaponized narrative folks. Fight it the best you can.

Inauguration Day

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Jan 20, 2017 @ 7:58 am PST

userpic=trumpToday, the administration changes. Today, we move from President Obama to President Trump. Although Mr. Trump is #notmypresident, he is our President. Although Mr. Trump is not the candidate I would have chosen, he is the candidate that won the Electoral College, and per the Constitition, he is our President as of noon today.

For the last two days, I have been in a Cyberawareness class, advising the instructors on how best to teach Cybersecurity. They kept emphasizing the risks and the threats, and what the Obama administration had done with respect to the area. They also emphasized the fact that Cybersecurity is our incoming President’s second priority. That’s significant, and if I was thinking purely about my future employment, I’d be happy.

I read the posts of most of my friends on Facebook — folks with a similar political bent as I. They are filled with hatred towards Donald Trump and all he stands for. They abhor his cabinet picks. They opine that his election has set back the country 300 years. They talk about wearing black to mourn the death of the country. They are filled with dread that Trump’s installation will result in drastic changes to the life they know. They are scared for the country. Their fear manifests itself in calling the incoming President childish names, circulating Fear + Uncertainty + Distrust memes, and sensationalized news that amplify their position.  They state it is the end of Democracy as we know it.

In other words, they behave exactly the same as the folks who opposed President Obama when he was inaugurated. I hate to tell them that it won’t make a difference, and only will make them look stupid and will continue the increase in partisanship. But they are set in their minds — their fear has made it so they can’t listen.

What of the folks on the other side? They are gloating that President Obama is gone. They are intimating that it is about damn time. They are intimating that it is time that this [unspoken and unvoiced – Negro] imposter and poser is out of the White House. They are intimating that he left this country destroyed, and in the hands of our enemies.  They are ecstatic about kicking the Liberals out. There is joy that (white) men and (white) women and a few token acceptable Conservative minority representatives are in power. There is joy and a belief that Christian values will reign again in our country.

In other words, they are acting equally childish, as they have been the last eight years. They are being just like Mr. Trump has been to date: inflammatory and divisive and pushing and reinforcing the partisan divide.

Children. All Children. And that’s not in the “Children, One and All” sense of Rod McKuen.

Me? Well, it has been a shitty week, topped off by the inauguration. As I stated, he is not who I would have chosen, and in many ways he is not my President, but he is our President. I desperately want him to succeed in doing good things for our country (and if not good, at least I hope he’s careful, and if not careful, that he names it after me — old joke), and our country to succeed and be strong. Right now, I don’t have a lot of confidence in the man, but I still have hope (it is just a very different hope than when President Obama was elected). I don’t believe democracy is dead, but its life and strength depends not on President Trump, but on our other government institutions: our legislative leadership (Congress) and our judicial leadership (the courts). It also depends on our military leadership, who have sworn allegiance not to the Commander-in-Chief, but to the Constitution and the rule of law. I work with the military, and I believe they take that oath very seriously.

I do not believe I can get those who opposed Mr. Trump to support him, nor would I want to. I can’t change the language both sides have been using. I can, however, ask my friends to look closely at their actions and consider how they look to those in the middle, and those on the other side. If they are coming off as partisan foamers, perhaps they should consider a different way of getting across their opinion. This week we celebrated the birthday of Dr. King. I strongly suggest they look to him as a model, and ask themselves whether Dr. King would be on Facebook, posting and saying what they are?

Let us all pray (and if you don’t pray, then hope):

  • …that the mantle and import of the office he is entering brings a change to Mr. Trump.
  • …that Mr. Trump realizes that extemporaneous tweeting of his opinion can be dangerous and deadly, for he no longer speaks just for himself, but the entire Nation.
  • …that Congress grows a pair of appropriate-intestinal-fortitude-glands, and remembers that their job is not to rubber-stamp the actions and nominees of their party, but to provide a check and balance — they are the ones ensuring that those serving the country are free from foreign influence, are free from temptations to advance their personal fortune or personal goals, and most importantly, follow the constitution even when they personally may disagree.
  • …that Congress holds the President accountable for his actions, and ensuring that he remains true to his oath of office, protecting the Constitution by following it faithfully (including the clause about being free of influences of foreign powers).
  • …that our Judiciary remain ever the voice for, and ever protective of, those in society who will never hold positions of power, and who do not have the means to weld a financial voice with clout. Our justices are the ones who must ensure equal protection for all under the Law, that the freedom to speak freely is always possible, and that the freedom to practice whatever religion we want (even if it is no religion) is possible without interference.

May it so be.

ETA: P.S. A final lunchtime thought, after seeing an ad for The New York Times: As opposed to sharing silly memes and stuff, perhaps the best way to fight back is to subscribe to legitimate media outlets that do fact-based journalism (such as the Times), thus supporting their abilities to do so.

Pissed at Water, In General

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jan 17, 2017 @ 6:56 pm PST

Today (well, this week) has been a day where I’ve been pissed at water, and no, this isn’t a Donald Trump “golden shower” joke. The only glimmer of a rainbow is that things are better than this morning, when I was majorly pissed.

I should point that that water and houses are a particularly problematic area for me. In our last house, we had a continual leak problem from our roofing heating/air conditioning unit, which wasn’t properly flashed during a reroof. We had continual sewer problems due to roots, and constant problems with caulking around a bathtub.

In our current house, we’ve had different sorts of water problem. There were continual sewer problems, eventually resulting in a collapse of the Orangeberg line and having to do a complete retrench and resewer a few years ago. There was the continual caulking problem around a tub, which was eventually replaced. The new shower has also had leak problems around the door (I think I’ve got that under control), as well as leak problems with its outside window that was installed upside down, and not sealed properly. Again, I think I’ve fixed that. We had a leak in our pool (also fixed), and I still suspect there could be one more, but it could also be evaporation.

So what got me upset today.

First, our reroofing has started in preparation for the solar install. Yes, right in the break in the atmospheric river. The roof was ripped off yesterday, and the rain starts Wednesday night. This had me all worried that they wouldn’t get the watertight layer installed in time, but they got that done today and should have the roof done tomorrow. Before the rain. But the gutters won’t be there for two weeks. Additionally, the DirecTV dish came down today, and thanks to the DirecTV schedule and the upcoming storm, won’t be back up until Saturday (my birthday). About the only bright side there is that I’ll have to miss the inauguration. Damn.

Then, of course, is the hot water leak under the slab in the center of the house that started three weeks ago. We just confirmed where it was, and the answer to the problem is…. a whole house repipe. In the middle of reroofing. The bids have ranged from $7.2K to $10K. Ouch. This morning I was worried that we would have to be out of the house the first night of the rain due to the water being turned off. … and thus not there to find any leaks from the new roof. Luckily, it turns out they will keep one bathroom up and running that night. Then it looked this evening like the start of the repipe would be delayed until Monday due to crew illness. Again, our contractor saved us (actually, one of his customers did) by allowing projects to be shifted so he could start tomorrow. Needless to say, I’m thankful for that, although these are very unexpected bills.

(I should also note that our shower door has slipped, meaning we can’t close it completely. They’re coming next week to fix that)

So keep your fingers crossed, or whatever is your equivalent, that we make it through to next week dry.

(Perhaps I should run away and join the circus. Oh, right.)

I’m Fed Up With The Lot of You

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Jan 16, 2017 @ 6:46 pm PST

userpic=trumpThis is my political post of the day. It is brought to you by the fellow who responded to a post on Rep. John Lewis by saying “Those who refuse to accept reality are welcome to leave.” The bad mood is brought to you by having to do a whole house repipe on top of a reroofing on top of having to replace a double wall stove on top of having to replace the struts on my wife’s car and all other such similar expenses.

To the Conservatives:

  • I am sick and tired of being called a libtard.
  • I am sick and tired of watching you count down until Trump’s inauguration.
  • I am sick and tired of you calling our legitimately elected President names.
  • I am sick and tired of you wanting to take health care away from people that really really need it just because you hate anything Obama has done.
  • I am sick and tired of you wanting to shove your religion down my throat and enforce it on everyone else because you believe you are the arbiter of whether we go to heaven. Related to that, I’m tired of you believing in Christ so much you feel you need to hasten Armageddon.
  • I am sick and tired of telling people to shut up simply because you don’t like what they are saying.
  • I am sick and tired of you spreading false news just because it appeals to your biases. You can check your sources. Further, Snopes is a legitimate fact checker who cites their basis, so check their facts if you don’t believe them.
  • I am sick and tired of you discounting our journalists. They may not be perfect, but they are the best we have.
  • I am sick and tired of you wishing all liberals would die, or that all people from a particular minority group would be locked away.

To the Liberals:

  • His name is Trump. Not Drumpf. Not “He who will not be named”. Not any of these silly names you make up. Didn’t Harry Potter teach you anything? You use the name of your opponent; not naming him gives him more power.
  • He is President. If you claim to believe and support our constitution, you have to accept that. However misguided, the Electoral College voted for him. So don’t call him illegitimate or any other such nonsense. We have to accept that he is President.
  • He is doing enough stupid things that you don’t need to go around spreading fake news. All of these stories of “oh that’s gotta hurt” and other fake news. Don’t spread them. Don’t be like the Conservatives were during the Obama administration. Here’s a simple test: Would you have wanted a story like that spread about Obama? If not: Don’t share.
  • Act like an adult. Pure and simple. If you are behaving as childish as the other side did during Obama’s presidency, you’re only perpetuating the partisanship. You’re better than that.
  • Protest like an adult. Do you want to go out and peacefully protest? Go for it. Do you want to write letters and petition Congress? I’m all for that. Call your congresscritters. Write letters. Protest and exercise your right to free (adult) speech while you have it.
  • Insist that Congress behave towards President Trump as they did for President Obama. Just because the President is from the same party doesn’t mean he gets a “Get Out of Jail” card for himself or his nominees. Investigate, investigate, investigate (but only for legitimate crimes). Insist on ethics disclosures and no conflicts of interest. Insist on the absence of influence from foreign powers.
  • Remember that President Trump has a very thin skin. When pressed by legitimate free speech and criticism, he will do something impulsive and stupid — impulsive and stupid enough to get Congress to investigate, and potentially impeach and remove him from office. President Obama was able to deal with the pressure from the haters. If Alec Baldwin can rile Trump, just imagine how he will deal with 4 years of pressure. This is why you must behave like adults. Childish taunts can be ignored, and responded to childishly. Adult legitimate criticism creates investigations.

 

 

 

Revisiting a Topsy-Turvy World | “Zanna Don’t” at Chromolume

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Jan 15, 2017 @ 1:10 pm PST

Zanna Don't (Chromolume)Back in 2007, the Republicans were in power, George W Bush was President, and the US Military was operating under a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. In this environment, the West Coast Ensemble (FB) theatre company presented the West Coast premiere of Zanna Don’t, an Off-Broadway musical that had first run in 2003, in the same environment. Zanna Don’t, with music and lyrics by Tim Acito and additional book and lyrics by Alexander Dinelaris (FB), tells the story of an alternate reality where being homosexual is normal, and being heterosexual is unnatural and shunned, in order to make a point about the homosexuality laws of the time.

Fast forward to 2016. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” went away as policy in 2011, and the Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage. One might thing this musical was overtaken by events (OBE). But Donald Trump is about to be installed as President with the support of a Republican Party that still opposes same sex marriage and homosexuality, working with a extremely Christian Vice-President who is also against same sex marriage. What was OBE is now, chillingly, relevant again.

In it in this atmosphere that Chromolume Theatre (FB, TW) has opted to remount Zanna Don’t as the first show of their 2017 season. The season almost didn’t happen, what with landlord trouble (don’t ask, but I’ve been told they have been resolved for 3 years) and the messy kerfuffle with Los Angeles Theatre. These have placed some limitations on Chromolume, being an under-50 seat theatre, especially in terms of budget, and number of performances, that weren’t there back in 2007 for WCE. Thus, the difference in the quality of the sets and costumes, for example, is not a surprise. (I’ll note that it also explains the three-show season). For you, reading this, there is one significant takeway: if this writeup makes this show sound interesting, get your tickets NOW. It won’t be extended, and this theatre needs as many full houses as possible, with full price patrons.)

As noted above, Zanna Don’t takes place in an alternate reality where being homosexual is normal, and being heterosexual is unnatural and shunned. Set in Heartsville USA, it  is the story of a matchmaker, Zanna, who lives only to help people fall in love with the right guy or girl. The show opens on a busy day, when Zanna is creating some new matches between the super-popular Chess team champion, Mike, and the new Football player, Steve. He also is matching up Roberta with the head of the precision mechanical bull riding team, Kate. He does this all with the aid of his canary, Cindy, his wand, and love music selected by Tank, the DJ. Life at high school is highlighted by the drama club musical, directed by Candi and her assistant, Brad. This year they have chosen to do something daring, something that upsets the locals and the school board. They are doing a musical about heterosexuals in the military. The musical stars Steve (the football player) and Kate (the bull rider). Although they each have their own partners (Steve has Mike, Kate has Roberta), the reluctantly agree to kiss. As you might guess, they fall in love. But this is a forbidden love, which has its consequences… that are explored in the second act.

Act II deals with the consequences of this love. Their partners are left in the dark, not understanding how someone could fall that way. Candi is disgusted, and is protesting to the school board, which promptly bans straight couples from the prom. The couple turns to Zanna, who unleashes a love spell that changes the world, a spell that makes the world safe for heteros. After the spell is cast, the scene changes to the prom… where in their black tuxes, Mike and Roberta and Candi and Brad all gather together to crown their new King and Queen: Mike and Kate. Into this sashays Zanna, in a grey and pink tux… and is immediately the outcast, for he is (gasp) gay. But the attitudes change, and soon everyone is singing about how all love must be accepted (and Zanna finds a guy for himself, Tank).

As I noted above, Chromolume’s production was developed under some tight restrictions of budget, at a time where there theatre had some existential issues of its own.  This surely impacted the development and rehearsal process, and the theatre has done a remarkable job when these limitations are taken into account. It also surely impacted the cast available. Looking at the overall picture, the direction and realization of the story by Lauren J. Peters (FB) worked well. My only quibble was whether the characterization of the gay characters was a bit over the top, but it is also possible that is how the script directs things to be. This got a lot of laughter from the audience, but you want that laughter to be for the right reason. One wonders (assuming it isn’t in the script) how it might play if the actors did it more (pardon the expession) straight, and how that might color their reception and perception of the story. One other directoral comment, as the problem was common across a number of performers: the authors crammed a lot of words into fast songs, meaning extra attention needs to be paid to both enunciation and projection if the audience is to make them out.

⇒ [ETA: Chromolume has posted a Facebook album of pictures of the actors in the show. ]

Turning to the individual performances: In the lead position was Jason Bornstein (FB) as Zanna. To my eyes, Bornstein had the wrong look for Zanna, but in small theatres you get what the casting process brings. Setting aside my look biases for the role, Bornstein gave his all in the performance, and exhibited some wonderful comic improvisation when the jukebox prop failed to stand up on its own. His singing was good (and stronger in the second act), and I found his emotional expression in the second act quite good. Zanna is a difficult role to get right: you need to be playful and magical without being overly over-the-top, and you need to balance a meddling exterior that is not too annoying with a sensitive core that the exterior is hiding. Bornstein came pretty close to getting that right.

The other two lead characters were Jacob Zelonky (FB) as Steve (as well as Officer Klotsky in the opening number) and Jillian Easton (FB) as Kate. Zelonky did a great job with Steve, especially when you consider that he is only a high-school senior. He nailed the singing and the emotion of the performance. You could get a sense that he was a little less comfortable on the dancing, but that will come with time (I told him after the show that an audience can always pick up when the actor is having the time of their life performing the character, and this will come through in his dancing as he gets more comfortable there). Zelonky was also an example of the string of small-world connections that happen with this theatre (the first occurred when we saw Prez): he is the son of the director of Life Long Learning at our synagogue (in fact, you can see him at the upcoming Cantors Concert on Feb. 4th), and he is in the same magnet program at Van Nuys HS that our daughter attended. As for Easton, we saw her last in The Count of Monte Cristo – The Musical at HFF15, when I wrote: “She combined her strong voice with a very interesting look and performance, and again was a delight to watch.” The same was true here: a strong vocal performance, strong dance, and strong performance. Just watch her during “Ride ‘Em”.

In the second tier of characters was Everjohn Feliciano (FB) as Mike and Vanessa Magula (FB) as Roberta. Feliciano was very good at Mike, with strong singing, performing, and dancing, especially in his interactions with Magula’s character in the second act. He was also very good in the “I Think We’ve Got Love” number in the first act, where we really meet the character. However, the surprise of the show was Vanessa Magula’s Roberta. This young woman, in her LA Theatre debut after just graduating UCLA (and not with a performance degree), was an exceptional singer, performer, and dancer. I’m just a cybersecurity guy and long-time theatre audience member, and I hope to see this young woman in many more shows. She has the potential to go far.

In the third tier of characters were Michael Angel (FB) as Buck / Bronco, Lilly Elliott (FB) as Candi / Karla / Loretta, and Ken Maurice Purnell (FB) as Tank / Tex. Elliott seems to have extremely strong comic timing and great singing skills — I kept picturing her as a Penny Pingleton from Hairspray — if you get the sense — comic, playful, spunky. She was very fun to watch. Purnell I was less sure about in the beginning: he was one of the folks that needed to enunciate a bit better during his fast songs in order for the audience to pick up all the words. However, in his closing number with Zanna, “Sometime, Do You Think We Could Fall In Love”, he just blew me away with the quality of his singing. I look forward to his getting the whole package together and appearing in more LA shows. Angel was a bit more comic in his performance, with good singing and dancing. The three got a chance to shine in one of my favorite numbers from the show, “Fast”. In this number, Elliott was a particular standout in her ability to keep up with the extremely fast and tricky lyrics while preserving the ability to hear them cleanly.

Rounding out the cast was Lauren J. Peters (FB) providing the voiceovers for Principal Cooper. The understudies were Christopher Tiernan (FB) for Steve, Amy Segal (FB) for Kate, and James Esposito (FB) as Principal Cooper.

Choreography was by Michael Marchak (FB), with musical direction by Daniel Yokomizo (FB), who also lead the Heartsville High Band consisting of Daniel Yokomizo (FB) [Piano], John A. Graves [Bass], Anthony Jones (FB) [Drums], and Jeff Fish (FB) [Drums]. The dance numbers and movements were reasonably good, particularly in the “Fast” and “Ride ‘Em” numbers. Musical quality was good, although at times it overpowered the singers. It is unclear if that is a problem with the music, or the fact that singers don’t project as strongly these days, depending more on microphones.

Speaking of microphones, let’s turn to the technical and creative production side of things. The sound design by James Esposito (FB) was good, but was plagued by numerous execution pops, balance, static, and drop problems. I made a comment during intermission, and I now know the theatre is working on it (so it will hopefully get better). The lighting design by Richard Fong (FB) worked reasonably well to establish the mood. As noted earlier, Lauren J. Peters (FB) scenic design was clearly budget limited (especially when compared to WCE), but she did a very good job within that budget. It made me realize we were spoiled with the fully realized designs we saw at places like REP and The Colony; but that theatre does not require fancy designs as the goal is for the actors to create the design in your imagination (yet another contrast with cinema). I think the design here had the proper bones to do that, and the only real problem was the jukebox that couldn’t stand on its own… stand. The costume design was by Michael Mullen (FB), and was suitably high-school-ish. My only quibble was the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” mini-musical and the military costumes — and that’s only because I work with the military daily and know what proper uniforms look like (and that the military costumes would have been very different if the other Michael Mullen did them). But hey, this was supposedly a high-school musical and high-school students would assemble rag-tag costumes like these. Veronica Vasquez (FB) was the stage manager, assisted by Danielle Han (FB). Publicity was by Ken Werther Publicity (FB).

Zanna Don’t continues at Chromolume Theatre (FB, TW) through February 5th. Tickets are available through the Chromolume online store. Use the code zanna30 for 30% off! There are a very small number of tix on Goldstar for a few select performances at 40% off too. The show is fun and well worth seeing. I’d also be remiss in my duties as Past President of the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom if I didn’t remind you that you can also see Jacob Zelonky from this show at the upcoming TAS Cantors Concert on Feb. 4th.

* * *

Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience member. I’ve been attending live theatre and concerts in Los Angeles since 1972; I’ve been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I’m a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I am not compensated by anyone for doing these writeups in any way, shape, or form. I currently subscribe at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), the  Hollywood Pantages (FB), Actors Co-op (FB), the Chromolume Theatre (FB) in the West Adams district, and a mini-subscription at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). Through my theatre attendance I have made friends with cast, crew, and producers, but I do strive to not let those relationships color my writing (with one exception: when writing up children’s production, I focus on the positive — one gains nothing except bad karma by raking a child over the coals).  I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.

Upcoming Shows: Zanna Don’t kicked off our 2017 theatre year. Next weekend this continues with Aladdin: The Musical (Dual Language Edition) at Casa 0101 Theatre (FB) on January 21 (my birthday!). January ends with Claudio Quest at the Chance Theatre (FB) on January 28. February 2017 gets back to being busy: with Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum (FB) the first weekend. The second weekend brings 33 Variations at Actors Co-op (FB). The third weekend has a hold for the WGI Winter Regionals. The last weekend in February brings Finding Neverland at the Hollywood Pantages (FB). March quiets down a bit — at least as currently scheduled — with the MRJ Man of the Year dinner,  Fun Home at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) at the beginning of the month, and An American in Paris at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) at the end of the month. March may also bring Cats Paw at Actors Co-op (FB) as that gets shifted from April. Speaking of April, it will hopefully start with a concert with Tom Paxton and the DonJuans at McCabes Guitar Shop (FB) (shifting Cats Paws to an afternoon matinee that day, or the Sunday matinee the weekend before). The next day brings the Colburn Orchestra at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). The next weekend is currently open (and will likely stay that way). Mid-April brings Animaniacs Live at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center (FB). That will be followed on the penultimate weekend of April with Sister Act at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB). Lastly, looking to May, the schedule shows that it starts with My Bodyguard at the Hollywood Pantages (FB) the first weekend. It continues with Martha Graham Dance and American Music at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB). The third weekend brings the last show of the Actors Co-op (FB) season, Lucky Stiff, at Actors Co-op (FB). May concludes with Hello Again at the Chromolume Theatre (FB). As for June? Three words: Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB). That, barring something spectacular cropping up, should be the first half of 2017.

As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Better-Lemons, Musicals in LA, @ This Stage, Footlights, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves. Note: Lastly, want to know how to attend lots of live stuff affordably? Take a look at my post on How to attend Live Theatre on a Budget.