Category Archives: Dance

Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

6 Dance Lessons in 6 WeeksLast Tuesday evening had me sitting in the Wilshire Screening Room for the second and final preview of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, the new screenplay by two-time Writer’s Guild Award winner and Emmy nominee, Richard Alfieri based on his Broadway hit show by the same name, to be released this Friday, December 12th, in Los Angeles at Sundance Sunset Cinema, Laemmle Town Center 5, and Edwards Westpark 8 and in NY at AMC Empire 25.

The movie stars two-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Gena Rowlands as the crusty 75-year-old South Florida matron Lily Harrison who unexpectedly develops a life-changing friendship with her much younger, gay dance instructor.

Cheyenne Jackson co-stars as Michael Minetti, the frustrated, 30-year-old teacher and former Broadway chorus star who is assigned to Lily after she calls to request a private lesson.  Julian Sands plays Cunard, owner of the dance studio. And what would a dance film be without Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy award winner Rita Moreno (West Side Story) who makes a lively appearance as Lily’s cranky downstairs neighbor.

Six Dance Lessons overall is rather a delightful little film and was certainly well-received by the crowd in attendance.  The movie lightly hits all the intended points about stereotypes, prejudice, intolerance, ageism, gay issues, religion, and most of all the invisibility of older women.

“I’ve noticed so many times older women say, finally something for us,” said director Arthur Allan Seidelman.  Sincerely, this is a film dedicated especially to them.  A love story between a very much older matron and a very young man who genuinely need each other for so many reasons.  And sex actually does sort of come into play, just not for the two of them.  But the story does bring up the issue of older women, their power, loss of identity without a man, loneliness and needs beyond card games, bingo and coffee clutching.

It is a story however “by the numbers” so exact in intention that it feels at times a bit like a Sunday School lecture in relationships. The dialog “fits and starts” at the beginning and feels more like a stage play rather than a film.  In fact, Broadway is exactly where this story was originally debuted.  Characters have been added in to pad the drama and the environment between the two leads, and more layers could have filled the gaps.  But in the end, it does settle into what the director wanted to give us…a beautiful picture and a clear message.  That’s exactly what we got.

As an homage to the ladies of this film, their respective talents, beauty and full-spanning careers, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks is worth the viewing simply for the sentiment and wisdom.  Gena Rowlands and Rita Moreno are as wonderfully spot-on and snappy as ever.  Actress Jacki Weaver as the kittenish, older woman looking for a great time, throws in a tremendous amount of honesty in the few moments she is given on screen.  And all of them supported by a strong and thankfully not overbearing Cheyenne Jackson.  Overall, it’s a sweet, comedic, straight-shooting story of life lessons for everyone.  You’ll want to get your pen and paper out for notes.  Because eventually, this day is coming for all of us.

The Film Collective and Dada Films presents a Docler Entertainment Production in Association with Entpro

And Arthur Allan Seidelman Film.

Screenplay by Richard Alfieri, based on his play.

Directed by Arthur Allen Seidelman

STARRING:

Gena Rowlands as Lily Harrison

Cheyenne Jackson as Michael Minetti

Jacki Weaver as Irene Mossbecker

Rita Moreno as Ida Barksdale

Julian Sands as Winslow Cunard

LA THEATERS
Sundance Sunset Cinema – 8000 Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, CA

Laemmle Town Center 5 – 17200 Ventura Blvd #121, Encino, CA
Edwards Westpark 8 – 3735 Alton Pkwy, Irvine, CA
NY THEATER
AMC Empire 25 – 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

Mystery, Wit and Invention: A Dance of the Absurd in “Performance” at REDCAT DTLA

RASHAUN-FINAL-4_designed by Rachel Berks

Rashaun Mitchell: “Performance.” Photo by Liza Voll Photography.

If you are fans of Merce Cunningham like we are here at Gia On The Move you will love this!  We also happen to be lucky to have worked with photographer Richard Avedon, who inspired the subject matter of this performance too.  What a treat! And if you are a dancer, you’ll want to get in on the workshop that accompanies this performance.

REDCAT, CalArts’ Downtown Center for the Contemporary Arts, will be presenting what has been described as the intoxicating choreography of former Merce Cunningham dancer Rashaun Mitchell combined with the live musical stylings of Magnetic Fields singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt in their new work, PERFORMANCE, Thursday, December 4th to Sunday December 7th.

PERFORMANCE is a celebration of the mysteries in the art of performance, of on-the-spot wit and invention, and of the absurd. This one-of-a-kind collaboration is inspired by an observation from Richard Avedon: “We all perform. It’’s what we do for each other all the time, deliberately or unintentionally. It’s a way of telling about ourselves in the hope of being recognized as what we’d like to be.”

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Photo by Liza Voll Photography.

 

Developed during a residency at the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) in Boston in 2013, the dance and music exist within the beguiling visual design created by San Francisco installation artist Ali Naschke-Messing and a lighting design by Davison Scandrett.

Rashaun Mitchell is joined by dancers Hiroki Ichinose, Cori Kresge and Silas Riener, and Stephin Merritt performing on and off stage.

@CalArtsREDCAT

@TheMagFields

In conjunction with the REDCAT performances of Rashaun Mitchell’ PERFORMANCE, Silas Reiner, dancer and choreographer, will lead the workshop “Building Other Worlds: Inside Worlds Outside Worlds” at Pieter Performance Space, Saturday, December 6 from 12-2pm. To register and more information visit Pieter.

Read more about the work of artists:
Rashaun Mitchell
Stephin Merritt
Ali Naschke-Messing

logoREDCAT performances:
Thur-Sat, December 4-6, 8:30pm and Sun, December 7, 7pm
Tickets: $25-$30 (students/members $20-$25)
http://www.redcat.org/event/rashaun-mitchell-stephin-merritt-ali-naschke-messing-performance

Get a taste of Rashaun Mitchell here:

RADITATICAL: A Journey in Rhythm On December 12th

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A unique interactive theatrical stage spectacular hybrid performance sensation which explores the human potential and finds the music which lies within us all. Premieres December 12, for six performances only.

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Featuing Bronkar Lee, the world’s only Rhythmic Juggling Beatboxer

An new family-friendly, original live stage spectacular filled with music, laughter, dance, beatbox, juggling and raw energy opens in Hollywood at The Montalbán Theatre on December 12 for six performances only.

Appropriate for all ages, RADITATICAL: A Journey in Rhythm is a unique hybrid performance sensation which explores the human potential and finds the music within all of us, a story of one man’s journey across the country, learning about musical expression and realizing possibilities beyond his wildest dreams. Audiences become a part of the quest, discovering their own rhythm in heartbeats, breath, movements of their hands and feet – how it’s all connected to the pulse of life.

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This highly energetic, unique live theatrical experience is a living, breathing, inspiring, interactive, family-friendly rhythmic adventure. RADITATICAL: A Journey in Rhythm tells its story more through action and music than dialogue. The hero’s journey into rhythm engages the audience as the ensemble make music for — and WITH — the audience. Each cast member blend their high caliber musicianship with physical stunts and movement, and is supported by never-before-seen creations and stunning visual effects.

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“A true collaborative experience, RADITATICAL: A Journey in Rhythm, is the culmination of performance concepts that I’ve been developing for nearly 10 years from my days with spectacle-based entertainment like Stomp!, Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil,“ explained RADITATICAL director Ameenah Kaplan. “When Bronkar Lee approached me about working onRADITATICAL with him, it seemed like a natural evolution. We want the audience to experience the journey with us – that rhythm is within all of us.”

Heading the cast is Bronkar Lee (Tonight Show with Jay Leno, America’s Got Talent). Directed by Ameenah Kaplan(STOMP!, Blue Man Group, The Office) and choreographed by Simon Chalban (America’s Got Talent). Utilizing a six-member ensemble who beatbox, juggle, tap dance, and play on all sorts of percussion instruments in a one-of-a-kind performance.

The cast also features Aaron Williams (Tap Dancer and Multi-instrumentalist), Melinda Sullivan (Dancer and percussionist and seen on So You Think You Can Dance), Paul Newman (Multi-instrumentalist and Boss Loop World Champion), Scotty Lund(Drummer and member of the L.A. Laker Band,) and Andrew Pulkrabek (Beatboxer and Bassist for The Senate).

RADITATICAL0925141649RADITATICAL: A Journey in Rhythm opens on December 12, for six performances only, and continues on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through December 21.

Tickets range from $20-$50. The Montalbán is located at1615 North Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 323-461-6999;www.themontalban.com/; or www.raditatical.com.

Created & Directed by Bronkar Lee and Ameenah Kaplan
Written by Bronkar Lee, Ameenah Kaplan, and Sam Rogers
Choreography by Simon Chaban
Starring Bronkar Lee, Scotty Lund, Paul Newman, Andrew Pulkrabek, Melinda Sullivan, Aaron Williams
Multimedia Visual Designer Marc Rosenthal
Stage Manager Richard Druther
Costume Designer Michael Mullen
Produced by Cyndi Lee, Sam Rogers, Tina Sanchez, Kelsey Scott
Presented by Gil Smith and The Montalbán

Six performances only; December 12 – 21, 2014
(Fridays @ 8 pm, Saturdays @ 8 pm, Sundays @ 3 pm)
Fridays @ 8 pm:  Dec 12, 19
Saturdays @ 8 pm:  Dec 13, 20
Sundays @ 3 pm:  Dec 14, 21

The Montalbán Theatre
1615 North Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
TICKETS & MORE INFORMATION:
www.themontalban.com; www.raditatical.com; or call 323-461-6999
TICKETS:
$20-$50
Call for group discounts

 

The Behavior of Broadus: Jacob Sidney Takes The Lead

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Photo from the @BurglarsofHamm

Photo from the @BurglarsofHamm Twitter feed

It was a one shot deal for actor Jacob Sidney stepping into the title role of The Behavior of Broadus at the Sacred Fools Theatre on Thursday evening (Oct. 16). And oh how he pulled it off!

Ok, I’ll confess, I seem to have a penchant these days for alternate casts and understudies.  But when every other critic in Los Angeles is jumping into the fray to be the “first man out”, it’s so much more interesting to take a step back and see how things actually progress – well after opening night.

Over the summer at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, I had the opportunity to review Mr. Sidney for his lead role in Hamlet Max, a rather amorphous yet off-handedly effective characterization of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  So I was quite looking forward to seeing what he could do with an even more obsessive personality.

For his “singular” achievement, Mr. Sidney, who normally plays Dean Stevens, completely dove into the character with exceeding skill.  In comparing photographs of the real John Broadus Watson, it could even be said that Sidney is a bit of a ringer. Truth be told, I never once thought about the fact that he was a “step-in” for the evening. It was the most natural, spot-on, technically well-presented performance that could have been rendered, supported by a wonderfully quick-witted ensemble which, coincidentally also included three other cast members switching places that evening. Due to an injury by actress C.J. Merriman, shortly on her way to foot surgery, cast members took the following roles: Aviva Pressman as Whitey; Kurt Bonnem as Loeb US; Scott Golden as Dean.  Overall, it was a total success.

The Behavior of Broadus

As a musical play, The Behavior of Broadus is mostly hilarious, bright, sit-up-and-pay-attention material that captures the imagination with ridiculous and often profane humor mitigated by dark moments that either suddenly creep in or which are thrust into the forum of the doctor’s lab, his relationships and his own psyche, a place where he himself fears to tread and yet, in his late life, has no choice but to confront. It is a fictionally composed story of the real life of John Broadus Watson, the American psychologist who established the Psychological School of Behaviorism and modern Advertising.

Coming from humble beginnings, John Broadus Watson starts off as a farm boy growing up in rural South Carolina circa early 1900.  Coerced, by his mother, into the religious road of preacher-ism, he eventually makes his way to the savvy sin bearing streets of Chicago to find converts. There he quickly throws down his Bible and finds a path to science.

Little-albertAided by his will, his imagination and in this version, his very intriguing, anthropomorphic relationships with farm animals and other four-legged testing patients he begins a life-long study on fear and classical conditioning, i.e. how to manipulate the human brain into doing what it is told. In his lifetime, John Broadus Watson conducted research on animal behavior, child rearing and advertising.  His most famous, greatest and undoubtedly shocking experiment was on an 8 month old baby named (Little) Albert with whom he took dangerously extreme liberties in the dissecting and retraining of the baby’s behaviors.  But it was his love affair (as then a married man) with his graduate student assistant, Rosalie Rayner, that ultimately sends him spiraling out of control and summarily booted from John Hopkins University. This consequently also leaves a once emotionally stable baby Albert mentally skewed for life, having been conditioned into phobias he never had. Watson never reconditions the baby back to normal behaviors.

The Behavior of Broadus

This past season has seen several shows come out of the Sacred Fools Company in collaboration with other theaters and groups, which has upped the level of intensity, sophistication and high-end storytelling.  If nothing else to note, above all, storytelling IS what they do best.  Broadus, written by The Burglars of Hamm and presented in association with The Center Theatre Group, hits the mark. Even with a bit too much length and repetitive music score, especially in the second act, which drains a bit of its impact, it is a first-rate production that with a “dust-up” should enjoy a second life or more in a larger theatre house and with a broader audience.  Let’s hope.

What is stunning in the show is the lighting (by Brandon Baruch) which fully activates and heightens every action and emotion, accompanied by a live onstage orchestra — a distinctly gorgeous yet un-intrusive element in this production. But what I kept coming back to most, was the cleverly thought out movement and dance choreography  (by Ken Roht), impressive in how it often created bold formations, telling its own story, using the entire space and lines of the stage, something, as a dancer, I always look for, but I don’t often see in many theatrical productions.  The costuming matched the timeline.  The animal masks were thoroughly inventive.  And…there was an abundance of absolutely priceless lines, gags and moments from each actor/character in this script.

Broadus is “made-to-order” role for Mr. Sidney and it in he triumphs along with the cast for this piece, especially, the incredibly talented and entertaining Devon Sidell who gives a knockout performance as Rosalie Raynor.  The Behavior of Broadus is undeniably good.

The Behavior of Broadus

The Behavior of Broadus was to close last week but has been extended.  Performances run until October 25th.

For more information and Tickets visit: SacredFools.org

The Behavior of Broadus was commissioned by Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA.  This production was developed with support from Andrew W. Mellon

Deaf West Theatre’s “Spring Awakening” DTLA at Inner City Arts

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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Just when I thought it would be easy to discount yet another rendition of Spring Awakening on the Los Angeles theatre scene (we’ve witnessed more than a few in the last several seasons), Deaf West Theatre pulled out all the stops and delivered hands-down one of the most exciting, pop/rock musical productions to date.  The kicker — it’s all in sign language!

Spot on casting that was age appropriate with choreography that this former dance/movement professional could finally sink her teeth into, and emerging talent beyond imagination, these kids skipped all of the teen angst and went straight for the love.

Spring Awakening Twitter Hashtag

I was curious, however, about the reason for this play’s never-ending popularity.  So I turned to one of my colleagues sitting beside me during this performance and asked, “What do you think keeps this story going? What keeps it from getting old, keeps it fresh?  I mean, it’s been around a long time.  The issues are not new in any way.  They’re not taboo. Most of them are in the open. And it’s probably a given that generationally teenagers in every age are always going to be different from their parents…want different things than their parents…maybe.”

“Rebellion” was the answer I got.  Rebelling against the status quo.  “Yes, definitely” I thought.  But from my point of view, there was so much more.  It went much deeper than that.

We live in a time where “teen rebellion” almost seems too superficial a label to describe kids today, what they are dealing with, and more to the point how they are handling their environments, the issues from body consciousness, to sexual identities, to bullying, their own spirited emotions, dreams, fantasies and realities – everything really.  And certainly the story itself, although taking place in a century before ours handles the repetitive issue of adolescent sexual awakening.  It’s a topic, we can count on to stay at the forefront of tween to college aged conversations until the end of time as long as teenagers exist. But oddly enough this Spring Awakening, based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 expressionist play,  concurrently places us in a distant time frame yet appears so modern, so real, so “right now” that mere rebelliousness feels like an old-fashioned ideal.

An exquisite, flawless, cutting-edge ballad of youth for all time.

In truth, all I could see from these kids was pure, unadulterated, naive, passion.  And that is the fully tapped first cause in this production of Spring Awakening that takes the story, the music, the ideas, and all the characters to such a heightened place, there is no coming down from the nirvana.  It is the reason that although the script has a particular set of circumstances that it deals with, it is totally new and appealing to youth who are hormonally exploding and emotionally looking for definition, and wholeheartedly believable and empathetic to seasoned, experienced elders of any crowd packed into the same house, for the same performance. It’s THAT good!

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Technically, it is utterly mastered and directionally perfected musical theatre. Timing & delivery, sight & sound, choreography, costumes, set design, singing, signing, and acting, is innovative. There is not a single, solitary moment that is out-of-place.  The cast is gorgeous in every way inside and out.  Really, these kids are special. As an ensemble they are unstoppable.

An immersive production simultaneously performed in American Sign Language and spoken English one of the key components which evokes astounding electricity, is that the deaf performers had to very uncommonly pace their signing with the music’s tempo. The entire cast was urged by Director Michael Arden to really stretch. Nine non-hearing actors sign and fifteen hearing actors who had to learn American Sign Language, sing and sign the roles of their deaf counterparts, also acting as inner selves, mirroring their respective character’s stage play resulting in a perfect storm of exposition.

This is the play you absolutely cannot miss!  An exquisite, flawless, cutting-edge ballad of youth for all time.

Def West Theatre Spring Awakening

Presented by Deaf West Theatre in association with The Forest of Arden 

Produced by: David J. Kurs, Christopher Sepulveda and Ann E. Wareham

WORTH THE TICKET!

WORTH THE TICKET!

Now Thru Nov 9, 2014

Recommended for mature audiences only: strong language, nudity and adult themes

Rosenthal Theater
Inner-City Arts
720 Kohler Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021HOW:
(818) 762-2998 or www.deafwest.org

Visit them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/deafwesttheatre
Follow them on Twitter: @DeafAwakening
 
TICKETS:
General admission: $34
Students with valid ID: $30
 
Thursdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 25*; Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; Nov 6
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 12 (preview), 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov 7
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov 1, 8
Sundays at 3 p.m: Sept. 28; Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26; Nov 2, 9

*ASL Nights on Thursday, Sept. 18.and Thursday, Sept. 25: arrive at 7:30 pm for a 15-minute ASL workshop that teaches signs used in the play.

Starring Joey Antonio, Miles Barbee, J.D. Barton, Jimmy Bellinger, Katie Boeck, Joshua Castille, Julian Comeau, Daniel Durant, Treshelle Edmond, Max Fishman, Sandra Mae Frank, Kathryn Gallagher,Gabrielle Garza, Sean Grandillo, Karla Gutierrez, Joseph Haro, Amelia Hensley, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Marmion, Austin McKenzie, Lauren Patten, Natacha Roi, Rustin Cole Sailors, Daniel David Stewart, Ali Stroker, Alexandra Winter

Music by Duncan Sheik
Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater
Based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Directed by Michael Arden
Musical Direction by Jared Stein
Choreography by Spencer Liff
Set Design by Christopher Scott Murillo
 
Deaf West Theatre, in association with The Forest of Arden, reinvents the multiple Tony Award-winning musical about lost innocence and the struggles of youth with an immersive production performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English. Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial 1891 expressionist play of the same name and featuring an electrifying rock/pop score, Spring Awakening follows the lives of a group of adolescents as they navigate their entry into sexual awareness. Featuring a cast of 25 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing actors and musicians.
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Carpe Noctis: Get Ready Los Angeles for the Late Night Fantasy Event of the Season

The lineup remains a mystery until you set foot in the doors.  We’ve been told it’s a wild experience like nothing you’ve ever encountered.

#carpenoctis

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Carpe Noctis is a Late Night Theatre Festival running from 10PM – 3AM nightly, taking place the first four weekends of October at The Hollywood Theatre Complex on Santa Monica & Wilcox.  The Complex is comprised of seven venues, all of which will have shows going on every thirty minutes.

www.CarpeNoctis.com

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Some of the shows you can expect to see include Live Kung Fu, Suicidal Mimes, Knife Throwing, Rated R Children’s Theatre, Vintage Burlesque, Capoeira, Breakdance Combat, a stellar Striptease Showdown and many more surprises behind every door. (Click on the regular photos for some secrets links to past events.)

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Carpe Noctis runs every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from October 2nd through October 26th. The doors open at 10 p.m. and close at 3 a.m.

  • Festival passes include up to 4 nights of live entertainment.
  • $5 valet parking per night.
  • Each weekend pass gives you access to hundreds of shows.

SOLD OUT!!!! (AS OF 10.1.14)  SINGLE SHOWS HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED.

ADULTS ONLY

Sound good?

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Take FLIGHT at Exchange LA Saturday, September 6th

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A new fitness brand has hit the Los Angeles area as the world’s first high energy fitness and electronic dance music collaboration premiering at Exchange LA nightclub on Saturday, September 6th from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. : FLIGHT!

 GET FIT * FEEL THE MUSIC * TAKE FLIGHT

Flight instructor Sydney Benner (Benner Fit) infuses her signature high-energy dance, sculpt and flow to the custom live beats of DJ Ryan Fontana (of Sex Panther) who will be spinning for an unforgettable fitness experience. As the bass booms through the club you will be taken on a workout of a lifetime leaving you soaring on a natural high. Move over SoulCycle, Crossfit, Barre and more.

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Tickets are available now for only $20 and must be purchased in advance. Doors open at 12:30pm with class beginning promptly at 1pm.

Buy your tickets now and be there first to receive a very special Flight gift bag (limited numbers apply). Yoga mat, sneakers and your favorite fitness attire will be needed for your journey. Ages 18 and up only, please.

***This event will be filmed so be prepared to smile for the camera!

Be one of the 200 club-goers to embark on this journey of electronic music euphoria. Get ready to take Flight!

WHEN:
September 6th, 2014
Doors open at 12:30, Class 1-2pm
WHERE: 
EXCHANGE LA
618 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
 
WEBSITEhttp://www.weareflight.com/
FACEBOOKhttp://www.facebook.com/weareflight
TICKETShttp://www.wantickets.com/Events/ShowEvent.aspx?eventId=164993

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