Observations Along the Road

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

Better Warn the Pantages….

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Mar 21, 2016 @ 5:22 pm PDT

Cabrillo Userpicuserpic=colonyuserpic=repeastI’m three for three.

All three of the theaters at which I subscribed at the end of 2015 have gone dark or belly up.

  • REP just went silent; there have been no newsletters or messages to subscribers since December. A 2016 season was never announced. An old message on the grapevine said they might be back in August. We’ll see.
  • The Colony Theatre announced they were cancelling the last two shows of their seasons, and there was no prognosis for the future. One could “donate” the remainder of the tickets for a tax write-off, or wait to see if something emerges. No offers of refunds. At least the Colony had the decency to tell subscribers before the media.
  • Cabrillo Music Theatre announced today that they were closing up shop at the Civic Arts Plaza at the end of this season. The next season was cancelled, and the future is unknown. The TO Civic Arts Plaza will be refunding subscriptions and donations. They informed the media and Facebook before they sent the mail to subscribers.

First, someone better warn the Pantages — we just subscribed there. It also makes me think twice about subscribing at the Pasadena Playhouse: it looks like companies that have come out of financial problems remain shaky and unsteady. and Pasadena is only a few years out.

So here’s my question: We traditionally have had three subscriptions: one intimate, one mid-size, and one large. Arguably, the large is now the Pantages. So where should we consider for the intimate and the mid-size? I’ve got my ideas, but I’d like to hear your suggestions.

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Finding Acceptance 👗 “Casa Valentina” @ Pasadena Playhouse

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Mar 20, 2016 @ 12:24 pm PDT

Casa Valentina (Pasadena Playhouse)userpic=pasadena-playhouseIn the last two years, we’ve seen remarkable strides in the acceptance arena. We’ve seen homosexuals get the right to be married; we’ve been able to observe the transformation of Wheaties Box Heroes from one gender to the other. We’ve seen acceptance of a wide range of sexual preference in society, from no preference at all (asexual) to traditional preference to non-traditional preferences. We’ve seen similar understanding (perhaps not full acceptance yet) of the full range of gender identities. But this hasn’t been comfortable for many; arguably, many wish for those simpler days when the roles and nature of the sexes were much more separate, and those roles and orientations that went against “what nature intended” were best hidden from sight.

The play Casa Valentina by Harvey Fierstein (FB), officially opening tonight for a run through April 10, 2016 at the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) (which we saw last night) explores those days. It is based upon the true story of Casa Susana, a resort that existed in the Catskill Mountains of New York in the 1950s and early 1960s. The resort catered to men who wanted to release the girl within; in other words, it provided heterosexual men a place where they could endulge their desire to dress as women.  This is an era when homosexuality was firmly in the closet, and any inkling of transvestism except as humor tended to be an offense that could land you in jail. The genders, for the most part, were clearly distinct (and God meant them to be that way).

In the play, George (Valentina) and his wife Rita are the proprietors of Chevalier d’Eon, a resort in the Catskills catering to men who like to dress as women. We meet them when a first-timer, Jonathan, arrives for the weekend. He is greeted by Rita and Bessie (Albert), a large friendly girl. Both welcome him, and Bessie helps him get over his fear of transformation into his alter ego, Miranda. We shortly learn that this is a weekend when most of the regulars are present, because there is another special first time guest: Charlotte (Isadore). George arrives home, and during his transformation into Valentina provides more information. Charlotte is from California and is the publisher of a transvestite magazine for which Valentina regularly writes articles. Charlotte has an announcement that could be the savior of George, Rita, and the resort.  George also discusses with Rita the reason he arrived late: he was being questioned by the postal inspectors about an envelope of pictures of naked cross-dressing men that had been addressed to him. This worries Rita, and she asks him to discuss it with another of that weekend’s guests, Amy (The Judge).

Soon the other guests have arrived — Gloria (Michael) and Theodore (Terry) — and it is time for the announcement. Their informal sorority was going legit. Charlotte had incorporated it as a non-profit in California, and he just needed their legal (birth names) on a form to sign as officers. Discussion of the risks of this uncover that they are signing a second statement: that they are not homosexuals. It turns out that Charlotte is a strong advocate for transvestites and wants them to be accepted in society. To do this, he believes, they must disassociate themselves from the homosexual cross-dressers. He says something to the effect of: in 50 years, society will broadly accept the cross-dresser, while homosexuals will still be on the outside. Quite a telling line.  This requirement — to disavow homosexuals — essentially splits the group. I won’t go into the dynamics from there as it would spoil the story.

This notion — of hetrosexual transvestites — provides some of the most interesting discussions and characters of the story. Much of this centers around Rita, the wife of Valentina and the only GG (genuine girl) on stage for much of the show. What is her relationship to George? What is the relationships of the other characters with their wives? Through exploration of those questions, we begin to see the nature of transvestite relationship: the distinction between the relationship between the man and “the girl within” and their spouses.

All of this is told — as would be expected from Firestein — through loads of extremely humorous lines. This is a very funny play, as humor often comes from great pain. I should note the humor is not from the cross-dressing (as those who recall Milton Bearle or Flip Wilson might recall), but from commentary on life itself.

As I left the play, I had quite a few observations and “compare and contrasts” going through my head. The first was with the musical Dogfight, which we had seen earlier this year.  In the first half of Dogfight, the notion of Marines competing to find the ugliest woman, and possibly bed her against her will, just grated against today’s mores against non-consensual sex and how we treat women. Similarly, the notions expressed in Casa Valentina against cross-dressing and homosexuality grate against where society is today: where gays are accepted, and transgender has come out of the closet into something closer to a cultural norm.

The second comparison, which was related to the first, was seeing Casa Valentina in a triangle with two other shows: Feirstein’s Kinky Boots and the reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Unlike what was hypothesized in the play, homosexuality has not remained on the outside. In much of the country, homosexuals are completely accepted. It is out in the open and dramatized on commercial TV. As for transvestites: although some still hold the view that many are gay, the efforts of the transgender movement has brought out into the open that some see themselves as female: women trapped in a male body. But this play doesn’t concern either of those: it deals with men with a clear male gender identity and clear heterosexuality just wanting to dress as women. In society today, there’s only one way such men are accepted: as drag queens. Does society accept men who just cross-dress and pass? Have we reached the To Wan Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar level? I’m not sure were there yet. Places like Casa Valentina no longer need to exist… or do they?

A final observation has to do with the ending, which is somewhat sudden and on an odd note. The play ends with a discussion between Rita and George about the nature of their relationship, and how it might differ from the relationship between George and Valentina. Rita knows she is George’s wife, but what is she to Valentina. The answer disturbs her, and we end the show with Rita slumped at the table, head in her hands.  It raises the question about how all this looks from the wives of such men: there is acceptance, but what is the relationship. Could be an interesting character study.

Overall, what is the impact of the story of Casa Valentina? On the surface, this is a very funny show. It is possible that the surface level is all that was meant. But I think the show has a deeper takeaway: it makes a statement about how society has grown and changes, and how what we predict might be the direction of grown might be very different from what actually happens. It demonstrates the power that fear of discovery can have, and makes us realize that we still have a ways to go for full acceptance. Lastly, it raises wonderful questions about the nature of our relationships: our relationship to the facets of our personality, as well as our relationships to our spouses and our friends.

Director David Lee leads the actors to a very natural performance.  He lets the actors draw the humor from the words, and doesn’t draw humor from the costumes. This leads to a very easygoing and humorous show. He has also worked to design the show around a gigantic house as opposed to a flat stage. I believe this amplifies the closeness of the quarters and the closeness of the men. It is a different way of staging the show from the pictures I have seen of other productions.

The actors themselves are excellent. I think the most interesting was Valerie Mahaffey (FB)’s Rita. There was some hidden depth to her character that came off through her performance that was fascinating. Just seeing her in relationship with the men and their girl alter-egos was fascinating. She was part wife, part sister, part confidant, part girl friend. A multilevel complex character, well portrayed.

I also enjoyed the performance of Raymond McAnally (FB; FB Actor Page) as Albert/Bessie.  When compared to the other actors, I think he inhabited his girl most completely. There was no sense that there was a man under the frock: this was a loving, open girl who was having fun and just being herself. This was a very open portrayal that made the character very accessible to the audience.

Christian Clemenson‘s Charlotte/Isadore perhaps did the best “crossing”: her portrayal of Charlotte was seamlessly female, and was a fascinating character to watch in her portrayal and her passion.

As for the other “girls” in the cast — James Snyder (FB)’s Jonathan/Miranda, Robert Mammana (FB)’s George/Valentina, Mark Jude Sullivan (FB)’s Michael/Gloria, Lawrence Pressman (FB)’s Theodore/Terry, and John Vickery (FB)’s The Judge/Amy — I’m trying to think if there are any portrayals that stick out in my mind… and there aren’t. They generally came across as men dressing as women and playing their characters. They were good, but none had that special something that transcended the line between the man and the girl.

Rounding out the cast was Nike Doukas as Eleanor, the Judge’s daughter, who only appeared in one scene. The understudies are Matthew Magnusson (FB) (Michael/Gloria, Jonathan/Miranda), Mark Capri (FB) (The Judge/Amy, Theodore/Terry, Albert/Bessie), and Sean Smith (FB) (George/Valentina, Charlotte/Isadore).

Turning to the production and creative team: The small amount of choreography in the show was provided by Mark Esposito; what was there worked well. The scenic design by Tom Buderwitz was mentioned previously: a gigantic house on a turntable that rotated to bring to the fore various rooms and locations. It worked well, but it was interesting following the actors through the rooms. The costumes (by Kate Bergh (FB)) and wigs (by Rick Geyer) were a key to this show: they worked well on their characters and did an excellent job of creating the illusion of femininity (or at least men dressing as women). The lighting was by Jared A. Sayeg (FB) and was up to his usual excellent standards. The sound design was by Philip G. Allen and consisted primarily of sound effects and recorded music, which worked well. Remaining technical and production credits: Mike Mahaffey (FB) — Fight Choreographer; Jeff Greenberg Casting — Casting; Jill Gold — Production Stage Manager; Julie Ann Renfro — Assistant Stage Manager; Joe Witt — General Manager; Christopher Cook — Production Manager; Brad Enlow — Technical Director. Sheldon Epps is the Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse.

Casa Valentina continues at the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) through April 10. Tickets are available through the Pasadena Playhouse website. Discount tickets may be available through Goldstar. I think this show is worth seeing.

The Pasadena Playhouse has announced their 2016-2017 season, and I’ve gone over it here. It may be worth subscribing, but I need to see their pricing. In the past, Playhouse season pricing has been expensive, and Goldstar has been the better option.

* 🎭 🎭 🎭 *

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 subscribe at three theatres:  The Colony Theatre (FB), Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), and I just added the  Hollywood Pantages (FB). In 2015, my intimate theatre subscription was at REP East (FB), although they are reorganizing and (per the birdies) will not start 2016 shows until August. Additionally, the Colony just announced that the remainder of their season has been cancelled, so the status of that subscription is up in the air. 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: The third weekend of March takes us back to the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) on March 19 to see Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, followed by Bach at Leipzig at The Group Rep (FB) on March 20.  The last weekend of March brings “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) on Saturday, followed by A Shred of Evidence at Theatre 40 (FB) on Sunday.  April will start with Lea Salonga at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) on April 1 and an Elaine Boosler concert at Temple Ahavat Shalom on April 2 (this concert is open to the community; get your tickets here). We’re also considering the Voices/Rising concert from Muse/ique on April 3 in Alhambra. We have a mid-week concert of the Turtle Quintet at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) on April 7, followed by “Children of Eden” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on April 10. The next weekend’s theatre is on Thursday, because the weekend brings our annual visit to the Renaissance Faire (Southern). The Thursday show is Stella’s Last J-Date at the Whitefire Theatre (FB). The fourth weekend in April is is Pesach, but the Indie Chi Productions dark comedy Dinner at Home Between Deaths at the Odyssey Theatre (FB) sounded so interesting I’ve booked Sunday tickets. The last weekend of April has a hold date for The Boy from Oz at the Celebration Theatre (FB). May starts with a hold date for Endgame at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (FB). We then run off to the Bay Area for our daughter’s graduation from Berkeley. While there, we may squeeze in a show: the Landmark Musical Theatre (FB) is doing The Boy from Oz (if we miss it at the Celebration), but otherwise the pickings and concerts are bare. May 21 has a hold for Los Angeles: Then and Now, a new musical at LA City College (FB) from Bruce Kimmel. The last weekend of May has holds for the MoTAS Outing to the Jethawks, and Armadillo Necktie at The Group Rep (FB). As for June? It’s the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and I’ve started to hold dates for the following shows: All Aboard the Marriage HearseAll The Best Killers are LibrariansQaddafi’s Cook — Living in Hell, Cooking for the DevilSqueeze My CansTell Me On A Sunday   Toxic Avenger: The Musical  ✨. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.

 

My Father: A Remembrance (2016)

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Mar 19, 2016 @ 5:40 am PDT

userpic=father-and-son

Every year on my dad’s birthday I post a remembrance that I wrote the day after he died in 2004. Today he would have been 94. As I wrote last year: As I get older, I see more and more of my father in me — and I like what I see, and I’m grateful he gave so much to me that makes me who I am.

My father was born in Flushing NY in 1922. He was the eldest of four brothers; the son of a tailor who lived over his shop. I can’t give you too many details of the early days. His mother died young, when he was in his twenties, and sometime thereafter, his family moved to Los Angeles (how’s that for glossing over details). My dad went to Southwestern School of Accounting, and was a Public Accountant. He married his first wife in the late 1940s, and my brother was born in 1952. He loved my brother very, very much. He divorced that wife in 1955, and retained custody of my brother. He married my mother in 1956, and I was born in 1960. My mother was a CPA, so they formed an accounting company of their own, Faigin and Faigin. My brother died, reportedly due to an accident (I never knew the true details) in 1970. It devistated both my parents. My mother died in 1990 on my wedding anniversary. My father remarried a year or so later to Rae, who had lost her husband. This brought me some new wonderful family members. This should bring you up to date on the familial backstory.

So, who was my dad, and what do I remember. This is a jagged collection of memories.

I remember being in Indian Guides with him, painting rocks and bark to invite people to meetings. I remember going on Indian Guide campouts with him. It is because of this that I did Indian Princesses with my daughter, continuing the tradition. I recommend this program to anyone who is a dad.

I remember going on trips with him to East Los Angeles, to visit his clients. We would hit small mom and pop grocery stores, Mexican candy companies. I’d always get sweets… and get to sort the paid bills afterwards.

I remember him taking the time to be with me.

I remember him telling bad jokes, and being enamored with old-time radio stars, such as Al Jolsen (his favorite), Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and so on.

I remember his teeth. Specifically, I remember how he would remove his dentures just to gross out us kids.

I remember him taking me to the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion to see musicals, starting in 1972 when my mother was too sick to attend The Rothschilds. From this came my love of musicals.

I remember him reading Robert W. Service to me, especially Bessie’s Boil.

I remember him, at the Passover Seder, reading the Four Sons. He loved to act, mug, and play with his voice to make a point during the story.

I remember him being active in the Masons and the Shriners, especially with his good friend, Raymond Schwartz. I remember him going to the Masonic Picnics.

I remember him playing bridge with my mom and their friends, the Cohens, the Schwartzes, and the Strausses. Perhaps this is where I got my love of gaming.

I remember him telling stories of his time in the Navy, when he was a pharmacists mate, 2nd class, at Camp Elliott, which is now part of Mirimar NAS in San Diego. He found it ironic that he was in the Navy, as he could never swim.

I remember his disorganized tool-bench, where eventually you could find what you need. I still have his 30 year old power drill, which I still use today.

I remember him taking care of my mother as she died of cancer, and fiercely defending her when we would fight.

In his later years, I remember him fighting with the computer, and eventually learning to use it and to use Email. However, he could never quite get the printer figured out. I would get calls from him that stuff wasn’t printing, and it was because he had been playing with the printer queue again.

I remember him cooking. He loved to cook peppers and onions in olive oil. He made a mean spaghetti sauce, and a great pot roast in tomatoe sauce. Rae says that I got my cooking skills from him, with which I must agree, as I don’t think my mom could cook.

I remember him collecting autographs and first day covers. For many, he would frame them and put them all over the walls.

I remember his love of baseball, which never rubbed off.

I remember him taking pictures. And more pictures. And more pictures. And still more pictures. I’ll probably find about 50 cameras at the house, together with probably 200 photo albums. In particular, I remember a few specific cameras: His Konica T-3 SLR, which I have. His Fuji POS, which he received at a special party my mother threw for him at the Magic Castle in Hollywood.

I remember him loving fountain pens, just like me. He had boxes of pens, and even more ink. He’s the only man I know that has a quart bottle of Schaeffer Black Quink Ink in his supply closet. There are about 6 bottles of ink on his desk (I only have 3).

I remember him being a luddite when it comes to computerizing financies. He left me loads of two-peg journal books to go through to figure out stocks and bank accounts.

I remember him being a packrat. He collected office supplies. He collected biographical books. He collected CDs. You name it, he collected it.

I remember him being a good friend and caring about other people. After my mother died and he remarried, his new wife’s children were treated the same as his natural children, with the same love. He was a second grandfather to my sister-in-law’s children. He was there when people needed him. Until his last year, he volunteered to help seniors with their taxes.

For many years, I remember him being a staunch Republican, going counter to my mother, the strong liberal. I remember him backing Nixon and Reagan. This year [nb: this was written in 2004], however, had he been strong enough, he was going to vote for John Kerry.

I remember him being a people person. He would just light up when he was around people, especially those that hadn’t heard his stories before.

I remember him being there for me and my family. We spoke weekly on the phone, something I will miss, talking about everything. He had good advice, which I grew to respect as I got older. To the youngsters reading this: listen to your parents. They’ve been their and made the same mistakes. They do know what they are talking about.

I remember his love for his granddaughter. He had pictures of her everywhere, and she loved him. I remember him taking her to Disneyland when she was three, and being there in the hospital when she had her open heart surgery at the age of four.

I remember his love for his family. He enjoyed spending time with his brothers, Herbert, Ronald, and Tom, and researching family history. [I’ll note we lost Uncle Herbert in 2011, and Uncle Tom just last year; luckily, Uncle Ron is still going strong.] When my daughter was little, we picked up a copy of Grandfather Remembers and gave it to him. He filled it out, and now it is a lasting memory for her of her grandfather. To those of you who are grandparents: take the time now to write out your memories for your grandchildren. Record an oral history. Annotate your photo albums. It is worth the time. You will create that memory that will outlive you.

I remember how he loved Yiddish and Yiddish stories. I remember him reading the Freiheit. [ETA: I think he would have been extremely proud to see his granddaughter become the Yiddish scholar that she is.]

I remember (or have discovered) how he loved his wives. I remember how he loved my mother, Nancy, even through the depths of her depression, her anger, her rages, her illnesses. I remember how he rarely lost his temper (and when he did, you needed to worry). I remember when he first told me he had met Rae, and how they quickly grew to love each other. Even though there was an age difference there, I saw the deep affection that existed between them. He chose well.

I remember how he touched people. A few months ago, I went to a funeral that was packed to the gills of people who loved the deceased. My father had friends all over the world, and helped many people.

In short, I remember a deeply caring man, who I really think was responsible for making me the way I am today (both for good and for bad). He does live on in me, and I think he lives on in my daughter as well. As long as we remember someone, they never die.

It’s a Age-Old Story: Boy Meets Girl Dressed as Boy 🎸 “All Shook Up”

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Mar 13, 2016 @ 9:37 pm PDT

All Shook Up (Morgan-Wixson)userpic=theatre_ticketsJukebox musicals (so called because they mine the discography of a particular artist) typically take one of three forms: there is the straightforward presentation of an artist’s music (think Sophisticated Ladies), perhaps with vignettes for each song; there is a biographic presentation of the artist that uses the songs to tell the artists life (think Jersey Boys); and then there is the show that attempts to take the artist’s songs and form them into a coherent story that makes the songs work in a musical context (think Mamma Mia). All Shook Up, the show we saw last night at Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson (FB) Theatre, falls strongly in the latter category. An innocuous but plausible love story serves as the bones upon which hangs approximately two hours of Elvis Presley (FB) most popular hits. At the end, you may not go away caring about the story at all, but you’ll be hummin’ those tunes. And really, is that such a bad thing: to be entertained for two hours with really good music and performances?

Author Joe DiPietro (FB), who has written such musicals as Memphis, I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change, and Toxic Avenger: The Musical crafted a musical focused on a roustabout who comes into town, exciting the womenfolk and stirring up all sorts of relationships. Watching it, I kept having the notion that the story line was familiar, especially about the leading lady wanting the leading man, and disguising herself as a man to do so. There’s only one author I know who loves to do that in his stories — and when I got home I checked (and I was right): this was a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night,, which has been made into other musicals such as Play-On.

The basic storyline — or at least the story setup — does sound a lot like Shakespeare’s comedies of mistaken identities and love, where everything ends in marriage (the definition of a Shakespeare comedy). Roustabout Chad (a 50’s Elvis type) comes to a small town in the middle of nowhere, where everyone is bored out of their lives. This is a town that has banned music and dancing and anything fun. His bike breaks down, and so he brings it to Natalie, the greasemonkey mechanic daughter of Jim Haller (who lost his wife and love three years ago). Natalie instantly falls in love/lust with Chad, not knowing that Dennis, the bespectacled dentist to be is in love with her. Jim is good friends with Sylvia, the owner of the town bar (and Sylvia has more than friendship in mind for Jim, unbeknownst to Jim). Chad, on the other hand, has no interest in Natalie — she’s too tomboyish; his fixation is on the docent of the town’s museum — the sexy Miss Sandra. Also interested in Sandra is Jim (remember, Natalie’s dad). Adding to the panic in all of this is the mayor, Matilda, whose military-school son Dean Hyde has become smitten with Lorraine, Sylvia’s daughter (but this is “forbidden” love as Sylvia is black, and thus so is Lorraine).

To try to get Chad to notice her, Natalie decides that Chad must get to know her as a friend first. She uses grease to fake a beard and mustache (which of course looks real and camouflages her girlish looks and figure), and has Dennis (who by now is Chad’s sidekick) introduce her to Chad as Ed. Chad grows to like Ed as a friend, but is still interested in Sandra. Dennis also suggests that Chad give Sandra a Shakespeare sonnet, which he has Ed do on his behalf. This results in Sandra falling in love with Ed. Meanwhile, Ed kisses Chad, leaving Chad all confused. Oh, yeah, and the Sheriff is in love with the Mayor.

Confused yet. There’s a more detailed summary of the plot on Wikipedia, which also has an enumeration of all the different love relationships in the show.

Deep book, this is not. Fluff based on Shakespeare’s confusion comedies it is. Don’t go in expecting more, other than to be entertained. You want something deep, find a different show.

Let’s turn now to Morgan-Wixson’s execution of the show. For those unfamiliar with M-W (we hadn’t been there since the 1995 production of Baby), it is a 200-or-so seat community theatre that goes back to 1946, when it was the Santa Monica Theatre Guild. They now get a mixture of up-and-coming professionals (non-AEA, but possibly SAG-AFTRA) and community actors.  For a show such as this with a large ensemble, that’s reasonable.  You can see some great publicity shots of the cast in the BWW Writeup of the show.

In the lead positions, I think the standout in the cast was Zoe D’Andrea/FB as Natalie Haller. She not only had a wonderful small-town girl look and hidden-beauty as Natalie/Ed, she also had a knockout voice. Reading her credits, it shows that she took on the role of another Natalie — the daughter in Next to Normal.  I could easily see her in the role — she had the requisite power and projection in her voice. She is someone who I would hope to see again on larger stages in the future. Playing against her as Chad, the Roustabout, was Christopher Paul Tiernan II/FB. Tiernan had a good presence and a winning performance, but needed a slightly stronger and slightly deeper voice to pull off the Elvis-imitation. Still, the two together were fun to watch.

Chasing after Natalie was dweebish Dennis, played by Paul Luoma (FB). Luoma portrayed the teen quite well (I didn’t realize his age until writing this post), and sang and moved well.

The second couple of interest were Lorraine and Dean Hyde, portrayed by Flynn Hayward/FB and Joseph Monsour (FB), respectively. Hayward was particularly strong as Lorraine, radiating quite a lot of fun and joy with the role, which came across in her performance and her singing. Monsour worked with her well.

The key older adults in the cast were Larry Gesling/FB‘s Jim Haller, and Brittney S. Wheeler (FB)’s Sylvia. Here, the standout performance-wise was Wheeler, with a great gospel-style voice and oodles of character. Wheeler, however, needs a bit more power behind that great voice. She needs to outshine the musical. She was great, but could be much greater. Gesling is evidently a long-time player at the M-W, and gave a very strong folksy performance that worked well for his character. He handled his leather jacket well (said one CBG to another).

The object of both Chad and Jim’s affection was Miss Sylvia, portrayed to sexy perfection by Alice Reynolds/FB. Reynolds sang strong, exuded a wonderful sense of sex, and captured the role quite well.

Rounding out the significant named roles were Jewel Greenberg (FB) as Mayor Matilda Hyde and Matthew Artson (FB) as Sheriff Earl. Greenberg captured the mean momma well, especially in her one main song “Devil in Disguise”. Artson was mostly silent and strong, but his final scene was great.

Rounding out the cast were Eileen Cherry O’Donnell (FB) (Henrietta), Gillian Bozajian (FB) (Ensemble), Chandler David (FB) (Ensemble), Anne Claire Hudson (FB) (Ensemble), Dana Mazarin (FB) (Ensemble), Caeli Molina (FB) (Ensemble), Marc Ostroff (FB) (Ensemble), Alexander Reaves (FB) (Ensemble), Robin Twitty (FB) (Ensemble), Holly Weber/FB (Ensemble), and Steven Weber/FB (Ensemble). As is common, it is hard to single out people within the ensemble, but I will observed that they all seemed to be having a lot of fun with this production, and that joy is broadcast out into the audience, which is a good thing.

The production was directed by Nell Teare (FB), who also served as choreographer. I always find it hard to separate the director from the actor’s performance, which I presume is the mark of good direction. I will say that there were no obvious directorial problems, and the actors seemed to convey the story well with good feeling. The dancing was interesting. It was a mix of period dance with some clear ballet steps thrown in — which seemed out of context for the characters in the story. They were fun to watch and well executed; I just found myself going — oh, that’s ballet. Kristi Slager (FB) was also credited with choreography.

Music direction was by Anne Gesling (FB)… and there were no other music credits. This implies that the music was pre-recorded; I have no idea whether it was done just for this show, or provided by the licensing agents. In either case, I want to encourage the theatre to use live music — it makes a significant difference in the energy in the show.  The music ties very closely to the sound design by… by…. hmmm, there was no credit for sound design. This is a small enough theatre that the actors were not amplified — which can be good if they can properly project — but that is hampered by the recorded music which then has to adjust its volume so that the actors can hear it, the audience can hear it, and it doesn’t overpower one or the other. Some work may need to be done to adjust that balance.

The set design was by Lidiya Korotko (FB), and was clearly in the community theatre vein: flats that were rolled on and off the stage with various props, and a back-projection to establish place. It worked at that level, although the back projection needs to be off the stage so it doesn’t shake as the actors move. As for the flats, they are certainly in the range of acceptable theatre, although an number of items were creatively drawn or constructed (such as the gas pumps). The mix of realistic and created items was a little bit jarring.  The sense of place created by the sets was supported by the costume design of Kristie Rutledge. The costumes seemed sufficiently period, but there were little things that created questions. My wife couldn’t recall if crinoline came in all the colors used back in the 1950s; I was unsure whether the belts the ladies were wearing on their dresses were correct.  The lighting design was by William Wilday; it did a suitable job of establishing time and mood. Deena Tovar was the stage manager. All Shook Up was produced by Meredith Wright.

All Shook Up continues at the Morgan-Wixson theatre until April 2. You can buy tickets online through M-W’s online ticketing. Discount tickets may be available through 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 subscribe at three theatres:  The Colony Theatre (FB), Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), and I just added the  Hollywood Pantages (FB). In 2015, my intimate theatre subscription was at REP East (FB), although they are reorganizing and (per the birdies) will not start 2016 shows until August. Additionally, the Colony just announced that the remainder of their season has been cancelled, so the status of that subscription is up in the air. 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: The third weekend of March takes us back to the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) on March 19 to see Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, followed by Bach at Leipzig at The Group Rep (FB) on March 20.  The last weekend of March brings “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB) on Saturday, followed by A Shred of Evidence at Theatre 40 (FB) on Sunday.  April will start with Lea Salonga at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) on April 1 and an Elaine Boosler concert at Temple Ahavat Shalom on April 2 (this concert is open to the community; get your tickets here). We have a mid-week concert of the Turtle Quintet at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) on April 7, followed by “Children of Eden” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on April 10. The next weekend our annual visit to the Renaissance Faire (Southern). The fourth weekend in April is is Pesach, but the Indie Chi Productions dark comedy Dinner at Home Between Deaths at the Odyssey Theatre (FB) sounded so interesting I’ve booked Sunday tickets. The last weekend of April has a hold date for The Boy from Oz at the Celebration Theatre (FB). May starts with a hold date for Endgame at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (FB). We then run off to the Bay Area for our daughter’s graduation from Berkeley. While there, we may squeeze in a show: the Landmark Musical Theatre (FB) is doing The Boy from Oz (if we miss it at the Celebration), but otherwise the pickings and concerts are bare. May 21 has a hold for Los Angeles: Then and Now, a new musical at LA City College (FB) from Bruce Kimmel. The last weekend of May has holds for the MoTAS Outing to the Jethawks, and Armadillo Necktie at The Group Rep (FB). As for June? It’s the Hollywood Fringe Festival (FB), and loads and loads of shows that aren’t scheduled yet. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.

T-T-T-Transitions

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Mar 12, 2016 @ 9:44 am PDT

userpic=old-shieldThis themed collection of news chum all has to do with transitions — and I’m not talking about recent obituaries (such as Charlie Tuna, George Kennedy, George Martin, or Nancy Reagan, or even the death of civility in political rallies). Here are some different transitions of interest:

  • Black Oak Bookstore, Berkeley. Another independent bookstore bites the dust: this time, Black Oak on San Pablo. When I last visited Berkeley, I had a wonderful time in this store, which was walking distance from not only the AirBNB where I was staying, but a used record shop a great tea joint. According to my daughter, more and more indie bookstores in Berkeley are closing. This is sad; used bookstores make a great college town. I still think the decline of Westwood started when University Bookstore on Westwood closed.
  • Oakland Tribune. The Oakland Tribune is closing, being merged into an East Bay conglomeration by it’s owner, BANG (Bay Area News Group). BANG is also doing something similar with the San Jose Mercury News. This should be a warning for Los Angeles: BANG is owned by Digital First Media, who also own the LANG (LA News Group). LA News Group, in turn, owns the LA Daily News and a bunch of smaller papers in the region ripe for consolidation. Digital First also just made a bid for the Orange County Register and Press Enterprise. They will be competing with Tribune Publishing (LA Times) and a group of OCR investors.
  • Western Federal Credit Union. Following the trend of credit unions to move away from their original member group origins, WFCU is becoming the Unify Financial Credit Union. Otherwise known as Single UFCU, from Double UFCU. At least it isn’t Logix. I still remember when it was Westernaire Federal.
  • Target. It appears that changes are in store for Target, our favorite non-department department store. Target executives have laid out a plan to become the ultimate one-stop grocery, apparel and home destination for American families. When they are done,  a shopping trip through Target’s app or online and finishing it in a store will become more seamless, with text notifications when online orders for in-store pickup are ready and dedicated areas of the store for these orders. Online orders will ship faster, as Target transitions more of its physical stores to double as fulfillment centers.
  • San Fernando Observatory. The San Fernando Observatory, originally started by The Aerospace Corporation, has found a new home at CSUN.  This is great news for the CSUN Astrophysics program.
  • 747, marked down to 740. The 747 aircraft continues its descent into oblivion. This time it is United Airlines accelerating the retirement of the aircraft. So production will stop, and this great aircraft will be relegated to special purpose and cargo usage.
  • Valley Outreach Wanders No More. Valley Outreach Synagogue, long wandering across the valley, has finally found a home. They are now preparing a new home in Calabasas. In addition to a sanctuary, the 15,000-square-foot facility will have offices, learning spaces and a social hall for bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and other events.

 

Projecting Meaning into Life 🎭 “Man Covets Bird” @ 24th Street

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Mar 07, 2016 @ 8:13 pm PDT

Man Covets Bird (24th Street)userpic=yorickIf you read my blog a lot, you’ll know that I listen to a lot of podcasts — so many, that it is a job to keep up. One of the many theatre podcasts on my subscription list is Anthony Byrnes’s “Opening the Curtain“. Back in September, the B-man had a strong recommendation for 24th Street Theatre (FB)’s “Man Covets Bird”, written by Finegan Kruckmeyer (FB). He wrote that it was sophisticated children’s theatre, and that it was theatre magic. Alas, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule, but I remember the glowing reviews. Later, I received email indicating it was coming back for a 6 week run starting in Mid-February, so I made sure to get tickets.

Going in, I didn’t know much about the show, other than it was magical. The tag line in the publicity was “Because it’s a liberating thing to talk publicly about thing you’re only supposed to think privately”. That does not describe the show. Not. at. all.

Trying to describe the show, I faced a problem. Most of the reviews of the show (a good source of synopsii) gave the opening premise, and then devolved into wonderment about the execution, not the story. It was as if the magic of the execution overshone the story. But I wanted to piece together the story. I wanted to figure — in this 70 minute intermissionless exposition — what the moral was. After all, this was a Theatre for Young Audiences production. There has to be a moral, a message, a teaching. Right?

So let’s get the start of the story and the magic out of the way first. The basic story concerns a man, never quite named, who serves as the narrator and focal point of the story. At the beginning, he wakes up in his parent’s home to discover that he’s become a stranger that his parents no longer recognize. He recognizes himself, of course, but to his family and his town, he is alien. Children won’t understand this at all, but parent’s will see that as the teenage years.

This young man soon finds a young bird, similarly orphaned, who can not fly. He takes the bird, so to speak, under his wing. He ventures off to the big city. where he gets a job in a factory where he pushes a button whenever a light comes on. Light, push button. Light, push button. Light, push button. He lives in factory housing, and attempts to build joy by building his nest there, and by listening to his bird’s song.

Let’s digress at this point into B-man’s theatre magic. This story is told by two men: the man (Andrew Huber (FB)) and the bird (Leeav Sofer (FB)). They have, essentially, a bare set of walls and boxes. But what makes the story is the projections. Simple, chalk-like animated projections that move around all the walls — front, back, sides. They become magic in their interaction with the players, and essentially become a third player themselves. I’ve seen this magic happen three times before: a production from The Road Company of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency back in 2006; the absolutely wonderful Astro Boy and the God of Comics from Sacred Fools; and the recent Empire at La Mirada. In all of them the critical acclaim quickly lost track of the story, and were astounded at the magic of the projection. I agree that the projections were magical. All four of these shows represent an advancement of the art of projection design from a cheap replacement for a background flat to becoming a character of their own. But magical thought they are… and as close as they are to a character … they are part of the set dressing. They are the frame on which the story is hung, but that story has to be there. The problem with most of the Man Covets Bird writeups is they start with the story and get lost in the magic.

Here’s the problem: The story is a pretty good parable about growing up, and what you will face through life. Children will see the magic and get lost in the awe of it all. Adult will recognize the subtle message, and what it is telling them to do.

So, we left off with the man working in a factory, getting joy from his bird’s song. He’s living in factory housing and attempting to build the nest, but the house isn’t his. The owners keep coming and rearranging his nest to their idea of what it should be. This doesn’t make the man happy.

One day, he discovers an abandoned Ice Cream truck, which (to paraphrase the show) had lost the “ce Cre” and the “m”, under which someone had graffitied a word that rhymes with “nupid”. But the man decides to make the truck his home. He cleans it, repairs it, and builds his nest there. As he does, the wounded bird heals. By the time the man is finished, he is whole again. He has built his nest, and is happy again. He lets the bird go. The bird joins the rest of his flock, and is happy. The man is a little sad, but understands this is part of life. Eventually, the man restores the engine, and goes and visits his parents. He reconciles with them, understanding what happened, and feeling how they felt when his bird left him.

As I said, many of the reviewers got lost in the magic, and didn’t see the story. Some felt it fluttered around. Some felt the relationship with the parents was irrelevant. Some saw it as a commentary on the industrial revolution — a horrified notion of work, as one wrote. Some saw the imagery as random. I posit that few of them were middle-age parents of teens. One came close, positing the meaning as “Life proceeds in fits and starts, through long periods of tedium interrupted by mysterious change. Although a person may never feel as though he or she is on the right path, a courageous or generous act occasionally results in a moment of grace.”

Here’s how I saw it:

The bird was a metaphor for joy and happiness. Through the bird, the man found a way to bring joy in his life; a way to bring joy to even joyless tasks. He tried to spread that joy through sharing the bird’s song … and he discovered that everyone in the factory had their own bird — their own way of finding the joy in life. The lesson: life is what you make of it. You can view it as drudgework, or you can find the joy in life and be happy.

There was also a message about growing up. The opening with the parents represented the first stage: becoming that teen alien, and needing to leave your parent’s nest to find your own way. The man tried to build his own nest in someone else’s house, but that didn’t bring him joy. When he decided to live life his own way, with his own nest in his own style, he found happiness. By finding his own joy and his own happiness, he was finally able to see and understand and respect the needs of others.

Not a bad message at all, especially for kids and adults. Oh, and the significance of the 8 years? At the beginning the man was a teenager — figure 16-18. He’s gone for 8 years. This makes him 26. When do studies show that men start to actually mature? Not when they go off to college… but in their late 20s.

In short: the presentation is magical. The story is even more so. And, like one Fringe show I went to, there’s ice cream at the end. (But this show is much better. Both the show and the ice cream.)

In addition to the wonderful conception and projections, what makes this show magic are the performances. Huber and Sofer, under the direction of Debbie Devine (FB), artistic director of 24th Street, have a very gentle way of telling the story with humor and music (Sofer also served as musical director, and composed melodies for the music-less songs in the script, as well as musicalizing other dialogue). You can hear the music on their Soundcloud Playlist. The two men are never in your face or harsh; they present the story in a manner accessible to adults and children. They have a very relaxing presence (almost too relaxing at points — their lyrical voices just lull you). But they are just a delight to watch. You get the clear impression that their is a deep friendship between these two men, or should I say the man and the bird.

Supporting these two men, as I noted above, is the invisible actor: the video design of Matthew G. Hill (FB). I’ve talked about them before, but they are clearly magical: chalk drawing that come to life, and with which the actors interact as if they were real. These are augmented by the sound design of the very talented Cricket S. Myers (FB) [who seems to be everywhere these days]. This sound design not only includes amplification of the actors, but wonderful sound effects that form part of the interplay of the story. Lastly, this is supported by the lighting design of Dan Weingarten (FB). Weingarten had an interesting problem: how to convey mood with the lighting without washing out the projections. He figured out how to do it; how to make the lighting enhance the story on top of the projections.

Rounding out the creative and production team were the costumes of Michael Mullen (FB). Alexx Zachary (FB) was the stage manager. There also was a delightfully friendly person at the door greeting people, but I didn’t get her name.

The executive directory of 24th Street Theatre is Jay McAdams (FB), who did the announcements. I got a chance to finally meet him after the show; Jay is the founder of the #pro99 group on Facebook that has been supporting the I Love 99 effort.  I’m one of the few non-actors in that group, and it is amazing the community Jay has built.

One other brief note, before I finish up. I had never been to 24th Street Theatre before. It is in this funky community just outside of USC. Across the street is the Union Theatre, home to the Velaslavasay Panorama, an old fashioned panoramic entertainment in an old theatre. This is one of these little historic neighborhoods that LA folks should know about but never discover. 24th Street is doing a wonderful mission of bringing magic to children and adults there. Well worth visiting.

Man Covets Bird continues at the 24th Street Theatre (FB) until at least May 15th (so ignore the “for 6 weeks”). Tickets are available online, or by calling (213) 745-6516. Discount tickets are available on Goldstar and LA Stage Tix; there are also special prices for neighborhood residents and children. This production is ostensibly for ages 7 and up; it is your judgment on younger, but make sure they can deal with a lot of exposition. Please bring them cough lozenges;  there was one child behind us that kept coughing up a storm who was pretty distracting. I felt sorry for his parents.

* 🎭 🎭 🎭 *

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 subscribe at three theatres:  The Colony Theatre (FB), Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB), and I just added the  Hollywood Pantages (FB). In 2015, my intimate theatre subscription was at REP East (FB), although they are reorganizing and (per the birdies) will not start 2016 shows until August. Additionally, the Colony just announced that the remainder of their season has been cancelled, so the status of that subscription is up in the air. 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: The second weekend of March recently opened up, due to the cancellation of “Another Roll of the Dice” at The Colony Theatre (FB). We’ve replaced “Dice” with another musical: “All Shook Up” at the Morgan-Wixson (FB) in Santa Monica.  [This also permits me to get more music for my iPod Classic (now at 512GB) by visiting Record Surplus)] The third weekend of March takes us back to the Pasadena Playhouse (FB) on March 19 to see Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, followed by Bach at Leipzig at The Group Rep (FB) on March 20.  The last weekend of March brings “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at the Ahmanson Theatre (FB).  April will start with Lea Salonga at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB) on April 1 and an Elaine Boosler concert at Temple Ahavat Shalom on April 2 (this concert is open to the community; get your tickets here). April will also bring the Turtle Quintet at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) (FB), “Children of Eden” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) , and our annual visit to the Renaissance Faire (Southern). April may also bring A Shred of Evidence at Theatre 40 (FB). As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411 or that are sent to me by publicists or the venues themselves.

Security News Chum: Browsers, Berkeley, Ransom and Requests

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Mar 05, 2016 @ 3:29 pm PDT

userpic=cardboard-safeReady for the third course of news chum? This part of the meal is a collection of articles related to cybersecurity:

  • Help! I’m DROWNing. This week, researchers announced yet another attack against TLS, the protocols used to secure the traffic that you see as HTTPS://. More than 11 million websites and e-mail services protected by the TLS protocol are vulnerable to this low-cost attack that decrypts sensitive communications in a matter of hours and in some cases almost immediately. The attack works against TLS-protected communications that rely on the RSA cryptosystem when the key is exposed even indirectly through SSLv2, a TLS precursor that was retired almost two decades ago because of crippling weaknesses. The vulnerability allows an attacker to decrypt an intercepted TLS connection by repeatedly using SSLv2 to make connections to a server. In the process, the attacker learns a few bits of information about the encryption key each time. While many security experts believed the removal of SSLv2 support from browser and e-mail clients prevented abuse of the legacy protocol, some misconfigured TLS implementations still tacitly support the legacy protocol when an end-user computer specifically requests its use. The most notable implementation subject to such fatal misconfigurations is the OpenSSL cryptographic library.
  • More Exposure at Berkeley. No, I’m not talking exposure of a student body, but exposure of the student body. The University of California, Berkeley, has admitted to a second data breach which may have exposed the data of 80,000 people to misuse. Current and former students, faculty members and vendors linked to the university are among those who have been warned about the incident, which took place through financial management software which contained a security flaw, allowing an attacker — or group — to access internal services. In total, 57,000 current and former students, including student workers, 10,300 vendors and others — at a ratio of roughly 50 percent of current students and 65 percent of active employees — could have had their information taken.
  • Dealing with Ransomware. Our biggest worry used to be viruses. Those were the days. Today, the big fear is ransomware — malware you get by a drive-by-download or clicking on a bad link in an email. These attacks encrypt the data on your computer and require you to pay a ransom if you want to have any hope of decrypting it. Here’s a reasonably good PCWORLD article with somethings you can do to prevent attacks. As usual, it boils down to the 4 “E”s: Use the engineering in your system to stop attacks by having a good always-on malware and dangerous site scanner; have usage policies and enforce them about not clicking on links, using non administrative accounts, etc.; educate your users on what to look for, and what not to do; and plan for emergency services by having a external disk backup that is not always connected using a reliable back tool.
  • Dealing with Requests. This article from ComputerWorld explains what really is at risk in the Apple vs FBI fight. The issue is not encryption or encryption backdoors. The FBI is not trying to break the encryption on the phone. They are trying to unlock the phone, which will decrypt it. To find that key they need to do a brute force attack; to do that attack, they can’t have the system wipe the phone after 10 failures. So what they want Apple to do is put up a special signed software update that the phone will automatically install that will remove the limit. In other words, this request is to force Apple to put up an untrustworthy software update that weakens the phone. That’s the precedent that Apple does not want to set. In particular, such an update can’t be limited to just one phone, and if a faked update can get out, then the entire spider-web of automatic software updates becomes untrustworthy. If it becomes untrustworthy, people won’t automatically install updates, and that will result in known holes being unpatched, which means weaker systems.

 

History and Los Angeles

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Mar 04, 2016 @ 9:42 pm PDT

userpic=los-angelesTime for the second course of News Chum. For your dining pleasure, we present a collection of articles dealing with history and Southern California:

  • Going on a Trek. If you remember a few years ago, we had this little thing called a Space Shuttle go through the streets of Los Angeles. Trees had to come down, a special route had to be plotted due to the weight, all to move Endeavor from LA Airport to Exposition Park. Guess what? It’s happening again. This time, they are moving a 66,000 lb External Fuel Tank from Marina Del Rey to Exposition Park. The complicating factor here isn’t weight — it is that the tank is extremely fragile and could easily collapse. The tank sits outdoors at the Michoud facility in Louisiana, where it was built. It is huge but also delicate, covered by about an inch-thick layer of foam. It can be touched only in a few places during transport. It will be a complicated move: by barge from Louisiana to Marina Del Rey through the Panama Canal, and then by truck and dolly from the Marina.
  • The Proud Bird. As the ET travels, it will go near a famous theatre is Westchester, the Loyola. Once a splended movie house (I went there a lot as a kid), it is now an odd-duck of an office building. When opened, the theatre’s baroque-modern architecture featured a stainless steel box office, an ornate marquee and a distinctive curved 60-foot high spire with a swan-like sculpture at its top. Inside, the theater had 1,200 seats, velvet drapes, hand-painting wall and ceiling murals and a variey of Art Deco fixtures. It also had a unique sunken circular concessions stand in its lobby area.
  • Seeing Stars. Speaking of stars, have you ever wondered about the Hollywood Walk of Fame and how the stars get there? Wonder no more.
  • Hitting Close to Home. Not that far away from where I live is Porter Ranch (oops) is Chatsworth, home to the former Santa Susanna Field Laboratory. Just the place to situate a housing development.
  • In The Subway. No, not that subway. The original LA Subway. Here’s what the Subway Terminal looks like today.
  • And Lastly. Photos inside the Last LA Bookstore. Cool. I must go visit there.