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‘Christmas Survival Guide’ at Dio sports stellar cast and voices

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PINCKNEY, MI – ‘Tis the season for holiday shows. And if you want a change from the various versions of Scrooge and that classic story’s spinoffs, certainly give A Christmas Survival Guide at The Dio Dining & Entertainment Theatre a whirl.

This kind of show can be deadly in the wrong hands. But in the hands of Director Steve DeBruyne and Assistant Director Amy Schumacher, and a masterfully chosen cast, it is as welcome a treat after our long COVID induced theatre coma as Santa himself and a turkey dinner with loved ones.

The title is pretty much the extent of a pretty thin book, by James Hindman & Ray Roderick, to this music presentation. Indeed, think of “Survival Guide” as a Christmas juke-box musical. There is a self-help book out for sale, and each of the five cast members take turns reading some of the advice and bromides (read by Jon King and run through the theatre sound system), with each quotation leading to a comedy or sentimental sketch with music and a bit of dancing in some cases.

The strength of the show is in the players, who slay the Christmas tunes and have a lovely chemistry. Rachael Cupples is a delight every time she is on stage, delivering everything from a sexy and saucy “Surabaya Santa” and “I’d Like To Hitch A Ride With Santa Claus” to a more heartfelt “Little Girl Blue.” When she belts, she is as clear and resonant as a church bell on Christmas Eve. Sarah Brown leans into the more sentimental and sweet songs and sketches as with her “Christmas Eve,” and “This Will be The Best Christmas Ever”  duet with Steve DeBruyne, and shows her comedy chops with “The Twelve Steps of Christmas.” Angela Hench has great comedic timing and a beautiful voice to match and is hilarious playing a child, which she does on her knees with pants and shoes that make her appear three-and-a-half feet tall. Perry Devon Quarker Jr., making his Dio debut fits right in with this excellent troupe, demonstrating solid vocals and some very good timing in numbers like “An Old Fashioned Sleigh Ride,” and in doing a turn as a Christmas Elvis.

The individual song numbers are nicely balanced with Christmas medleys like “ A TV Christmas Medley” from Brown, DeBruyne and Cupples (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Feliz Navidad, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, and more), as well as a sacred medley (Away in a Manger, Some Children See Him, and Amazing Grace). In short, Survival Guide checks all the boxes you could want, and does so with some of the very best voices in Michigan and without getting too sappy or schmaltzy.

Casy Baker does a fine job of leading as Music Director, handling the arrangements by John Glaudini, and has a good onstage presence as he is involved in a few of the sketches. The band is on stage, which was an excellent choice by DeBruyne and Technical Director Matt Tomich. Indeed, Tomich’s set is not only a perfect frame for this lovely musical Christmas card, but he once again shows that his execution and skills as a craftsman have few equal peers in Michigan. Norma Polk’s costume design and Eileen Obradavich prop designs do very well to support all the different vignettes and costume changes, and the two’s efforts create good separation among the sketches.

The Dio has done away with the buffet it employed before COVID, and now has a dinner of it’s “signature” fried chicken, red-skinned potatoes and green beans, plus salad, breadsticks and dessert delivered to tables by the cast, who double as servers.

Between the great fun happening on stage and the chicken (and you can bring your own wine), you can’t do much better for a holiday season date night…or Sunday matinee.

For ticket information and sales, go to The Dio’s website. Masks are required during the performance, but obviously not while eating. Management explains that it must do all it can to minimize the chance of spreading COVID, not only among patrons, but the cast. The cast mingles in the seating area as servers, and if one of the cast-members tests positive for COVID during the run, they will have to suspend performances, which would be a huge financial hit to the theatre.

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Delhi Covid-19 Cases Latest Update Live, Delhi Air Quality, Pollution Updates, Delhi Omicron Variant Update Today Live, Delhi Airport Rules

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Delhi govt releases EV charging norms for corporates

The Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC) launched a guidebook for EV Charging in workplaces for corporates, Monday.

DDC vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah said research suggested that 90% of EVs are charged at home or workplace.

“This guidebook details the processes involved for effective decision-making to install workplace charging and is aimed at making corporates an integral part of the EV movement,” he said.

If police knew about riot plans, then why no action: Umar Khalid’s lawyer to Delhi court

Former JNU student Umar Khalid, through his lawyer, asked a Delhi court Monday why police allowed the Northeast Delhi riots to take place when a protected witness was supposedly in touch with the local SHO, informing him about the planning.

Senior advocate Trideep Pais was arguing for bail on behalf of Umar before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat. However, his arguments could not be concluded and will continue on December 9.

On the last date of hearing, Pais submitted that the witnesses in the UAPA case made cooked-up statements and that a case can’t be made on half-truths. During Monday’s hearing, Pais submitted that the witnesses had made improved statements to the Magistrate and that they were “cherry picked” by police around Umar’s arrest.

3 men arrested for hacking exam centre computers

The Delhi Police Cyber Cell arrested three men who run coaching centres in Delhi and Ahmedabad for allegedly helping hundreds of students cheat in competitive exams.

Police said the trio used the dark web to advertise their services, and would hack systems and change answers during online exams. To ensure no one from the test centre suspected them, they used software to detect movement of all people inside using a computer there, police said.

Senior police officers said the accused charged Rs 1-2 lakh from each candidate to help them clear exams such as GMAT, GATE, CAT.

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Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen said the investigators looking into the Trump Organization could ‘indict Donald Trump tomorrow’ and be successful

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Michael Cohen exits a car while wearing a mask

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney, arrives at his Park Avenue home after being released from federal prison on July 24, 2020, in New York City.Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

  • Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen said prosecutors could successfully indict the former president.

  • He said the New York investigation is going after Trump Org executives, Trump, and his family.

  • Cohen said he had supplied investigators with “thousands and thousands” of documents.

New York prosecutors investigating the Trump Organization and its finances “could indict Donald Trump tomorrow if they really wanted and be successful,” Michael Cohen, the former president’s ex-personal attorney, said Sunday.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cohen discussed the ongoing criminal investigation against Trump, led by the Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general. It’s centered on a number of potential financial crimes by Trump’s organization — most notably the question of whether he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets to gain an edge in financing deals.

Cohen said he had supplied “thousands and thousands” of documents to the prosecutors and that other witnesses have been roped into the investigation.

When asked by the host Chuck Todd whether he was “confident you did help Donald Trump commit crimes,” Cohen said: “I can assure you that Donald Trump is guilty of his own crimes. Was I involved in much of the inflation and deflation of his assets? The answer to that is yes.”

He declined to talk about the case against Trump in detail, as he didn’t want to “tip off Trump or the Trump Organization’s people about what is actually happening.”

But he did say prosecutors are taking aim at the former president and his family.

“You can bet your bottom dollar that Allen Weisselberg is not, and I truly mean this, Allen Weisselberg is not the key to this,” Cohen said, referring to the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer. Weisselberg was charged with 15 felony counts including scheme to defraud, conspiracy, and grand larceny.

“They are going after Donald. They’re going after Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, a whole slew of individuals — family as well,” Cohen said. Cohen also repeated his previous assertion that Trump wouldn’t run in the 2024 elections, saying that the former president’s “Big Lie” fundraising appeals — based on claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him — are the “greatest grift in US history.”

When Todd asked whether Cohen believed the Trump Organization is a “criminal enterprise,” Cohen responded: “I don’t even know how to answer that. Are they a criminal enterprise? Let’s just say that they committed crimes.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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How Indian vaccines will fare against COVID’s Omicron variant

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India has currently granted emergency usage authorisation to multiple vaccines, of which the only mRNA vaccine by Moderna is not yet available in the country.

As of now, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russian vaccine Sputnik V are being administered in India to people who fit the eligibility criteria.

Both Covishield and Russia’s Sputnik V uses the adenoviral vector technology to trigger an immune response using a modified version of a different virus, known as a vector. Covaxin on the other hand, is developed using Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell derived platform technology, wherein the inactivated virus does not replicate but mounts a defensive immune response against the infection.

Since the new Omicron variant is known to have many mutations in the spike protein that are targeted by the vaccine antibodies, there could be some changes in vaccine efficacy.

However, according to Dr. Panda, only time could tell and determine how effective the vaccines will prove against the new variant. He says, “There are different kinds of vaccines. Some are directed towards the spike protein of the virus which gets attached to the receptor. So, if changes happened there, vaccines might not be effective.” In simple terms, if the spike protein that helps the virus to enter the host cell continues to mutate, it might become difficult for the vaccine-induced antibodies to detect and neutralize it, making it more rampant.

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