Check out Freeline Productions’ haunting original novels


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Koby the stray kitten longs for a home. (Graphic designed by Sherrie Smith).

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions is the source for original fiction novels by author Michael W. Freeman, which reflect the anxiety, turbulence and often harsh realities of life following the Great Recession.

His novels “Bloody Rabbit” and “Koby’s New Home” were both written at times when the author found himself downsized from the volatile field of print journalism, searching for his next opportunity. The lead characters in both books, R.T. Robeson and William Grabinski, struggle to cope in these frustrating, emotionally demoralizing times when all that’s left is the new part-time “gig” economy. They’re living on the margins, like so many others.

At the same time, these novels are not simply about economic dislocation. In a deeply chilling way, the novels take the reader into a nightmarish existence where social norms appear to be breaking down, and a collective anger among average workers has created a hostile environment where outbursts of violence can happen at any second. Everyone is on edge, and losing control seems dangerously easy. Both Robeson and Grabinski, two mild-mannered and discrete men, find themselves living in a half-dream state where old realities have faded away. Their sense of alienation grows. Humanity is omnipresent — and oppressive and corrupting. Suddenly it’s as if the entire world was made up of James Joyce’s Jesuits, ranting about the horrors of the grave. Continue reading

Community theater is a part of Freeline’s mission


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“Murder Sleep” was performed at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions started in 2008 with an original play simply called “Hooked.”

Playwright Michael W. Freeman had written the darkly comic play in the mid-2000s, and submitted it to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in November 2008. It was accepted, and “Hooked” had its premiere at the Orlando Fringe, the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States, in May 2009. Along the way, Freeman created
Freeline productions as the artistic vehicle to produce the play.

Since then, Freeline Productions was expanded to become a full service freelance writing and editing business, but it remains a vehicle for Freeman’s passion for community theater, and will continue to produce original plays in the Orlando area. Continue reading

Happy birthday to the late, great Roland Topor


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Roland Topor

Jan. 7 1938 is the birth date of the artist and writer Roland Topor.

It was on Jan. 7 1938 when the French artist Roland Topor was born in Paris. His legacy lives on today.

Today, there are still exhibits from Roland’s artwork in his native France, like Exposition : Topor s’illustre, and exhibits in other parts of Europe as well. Roland’s work is not as well known in the United States, except perhaps among fans of horror and science fiction, who still fondly enjoy his 1964 novel “Le Locataire Chimerique” (which was published in the U.S. and U.K. in 1966 as “The Tenant,” and adapted into a 1976 movie by director Roman Polanski) and his script and artwork for the animated 1973 sci fi film “Fantastic Planet.” Those are his two most enduring artistic legacies, although his work also includes the horrific pitch black satirical novel “Joko’s Anniversary” and his hilarious performance as Renfield in Werner Herzog’s 1979 movie “Nosferatu The Vampire.”

And there are some happy signs that Roland’s work will continue to find new audiences, including here in the States. Continue reading

Lake County Animal Shelter promoting holiday pet adoptions


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Lake County Animal Shelter
TAVARES – Are this time of year, people often feel in a charitable mood, willing to contribute their time and money to good causes and to help those in need.

One government agency in Lake County is asking the public to consider going one step further, and offering a truly special gift to one very vulnerable group: offering their homes, and their love, to an unwanted pet.

As Elisha Pappacoda, public information officer for the Lake County government, noted, there are still pets living in the Lake County Animal Shelter that need a home, so this month the shelter is offering special incentives to bring pet owners through their doors.

“Holidays are happier with pets!” Pappacoda noted. “Give your family the gift that keeps on giving – a shelter cat or dog delivered directly to your home by a jolly elf on Christmas Eve.”

To find homes for the animals they care for, the staff at the Animal Shelter will be hosting “Operation Santa Paws” from Monday, Dec. 18 through Thursday, Dec. 21. Just visit the shelter during that week, pay the adoption fee and schedule your pet’s arrival to your home. Continue reading

The Shakes’ “It’s a Wonderful Life” sweeps us back to the 1940s


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It's a Wonderful Life

The Orlando Shakespeare Theater is now producing “It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play.”

ORLANDO — The production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” now playing at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater isn’t really about the 1946 Frank Capra movie that starred Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, the savings and loan executive who sacrifices his dreams to help his neighbors, and eventually learns he’s much richer than most others in town.

Well, let me back up: yes, this play does reenact the story of the 1946 movie — how George thinks he’s going to lose everything and go to jail after his Uncle Billy loses $8,000 in client cash deposits, and wants to throw himself off a bridge on Christmas Eve. It takes the intervention of the angel Clarence to convince George that he’s had a very positive influence on the lives of the people of Bedford Falls, and that he’s had a very wonderful life after all.

But note the full title of this play: “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” Written by Joe Landry, it’s an adaptation of an actual radio production of the 1946 movie, but it’s not set in Bedford Falls, and it doesn’t feature a huge cast that re-creates all the memorable characters from the Capra story. This production is set in a radio station, and this nostalgic, funny and clever play is actually about the old fashioned days when radio — before the arrival of television, DVD and the Internet — had the unique ability to capture the hearts and minds of the American listening public. Continue reading

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