• led light 23.04.2012 No Comments

    While Parker is an alluring stage presence, her appearance is disconcerting at first. A former model best known for her work on the Showtime drama Soul Food, she is a statuesque beauty who conveys little of the jittery frailty of fading flower Blanche. Even under the stark glare of a naked light bulb this woman is a knockout. Instead Parker makes the character a wily fantasist, not so much lost in her reveries as carefully keeping the pieces of her cracked gentility in place. Her dealings with a crudely antagonistic hulk like Stanley suggest she knows her way around guys like him. Or at least thinks she does.

    But if Blanche appears to lack vulnerability for much of the sluggish first act, Parker plays her subsequent unraveling commandingly. That process is enhanced by sharp work in her scenes with potential savior Mitch, which are the production’s finest moments. In an incisively nuanced interpretation by Wood Harris (HBO’s The Wire), Mitch is courtly, kind and not overly confident around women – the opposite of his coarse, swaggering army buddy, Stanley. Without making him less of a man, Harris adopts a slightly hunched posture that suggests he’s uncomfortable in his gangly frame.

    While Mitch can sometimes seem an opportunistic choice for Blanche, there’s a tangible attraction between them here. That makes it all the more distressing when their romance is shattered after Stanley digs up the sordid truth about his sister-in-law. Parker is at her best in the blazing confessional scene in which Mitch confronts Blanche and she boldly answers to the charges about her corrupted past. And watching Harris with his head bowed and his face in his hands as Blanche is led away at the end of the play, Mitch’s loss is as affecting as her disintegration.

    The rapport between the two sisters also is nicely drawn. While Blanche assumes Stella must feel trapped in her shabby home and volatile marriage to a hotheaded brute, Rubin-Vega makes it clear that she chose to walk away from her former world and embrace an earthier existence. Hers is a sultry Stella; the makeup sex she has with Stanley after he slugs her early in the play gets almost feral. The actress finds all the poignancy in the conflict between Stella’s love for her husband and her protectiveness toward Blanche.

    Leaving aside the distraction of the swoons and catcalls from the audience whenever the ripped Underwood removes his shirt, his Stanley is an impulsive, animalistic man in full command of his rude charms and sexual powers. Fiercely territorial, his animosity toward Blanche surfaces the minute she arrives. And while the rape scene is often played ambiguously, its violence here is shocking, as is Stanley’s utter lack of remorse when Blanche is carted off to the psych ward.

    Mann stages that wrenching final scene well, with Blanche running to cower behind a wrought-iron bed like a frightened creature in a cage. The notable difference, however, is the stiff-backed pride with which Parker takes the doctor’s arm and exits, suggesting either that Blanche’s fantasies of a gallant rescuer persist, or more controversially, that she will somehow survive even this humiliation.


  • It took about 10 years of planning and acquiring parcels of land, but Acme Fresh Market officials are ready to rebuild their State Road store, which has been falling into disrepair, in Cuyahoga Falls.

    “Customers have been hugely patient,” said Acme President Steve Albrecht on Monday.

    Albrecht said he knows the Acme No. 10 customers have been shopping in an underserved store, but now he added, “We’re excited about rewarding them with the best we can come up with.”

    Albrecht Inc., the real estate development unit for Acme, will today submit plans to the city for an $8 million expansion and redesign.

    The store, which dates to the 1950s, will go from 30,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet with expanded bakery, floral, prepared foods, perishables and deli/meat departments. The store will add 40 employees to its current 70.

    The store serves customers in Cuyahoga Falls, including the Northampton area and many in the North Hill area of Akron, said Acme Executive Vice President Jim Trout. “We know we have to earn some customers back,” he added.

    Acme wants to break ground May 1 and be finished Nov. 1. The entrance will face north off a large parking lot; the entrance now faces east, fronting State Road.

    The only thing that will be “old” will be a 1950s-era Acme sign. A similar sign was removed in 2003 when State Road was widened and upgraded. It has been in storage and will be updated with LED lights, said Albrecht.

    The sign is the impetus for the design of the store’s exterior, which will have a 1950s look, he said.

    “This will be unique. The neighborhood is well-established. [The store] has been there since the ’50s. That brand-new store will fit right into that community,” he said.

    The store will remain open during construction, and the shopping area will be moved to the newer parts as they are completed. The last of the project’s three phases will see the demolition of the existing store within the new one, said Albrecht.

    Apartment tenants are moving out, and the Custom Auto Detailing and Hand Car Wash will be open until March 15 before moving to 411 West Ave. in Tallmadge, said its owner, Ron Shuler.

    Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart, a regular shopper at the State Road Acme, recalled maneuvering around pails catching water from the ceiling at least three years ago. He said he called the city’s community and economic development director and told them “we can’t have this in Cuyahoga Falls.”

    Robart said he believes there is room for multiple groceries in the area, with the rebuilt Acme set to compete with a new grocery store in Portage Crossing and a nearby Marc’s.

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  • Synbiosis’ ProtoCOL automated colony counting system is being used at the Robert Mondavi Research Institute, a major US food and wine research centre, to speed up studies on the growth of a variety of bacterial pathogens in food.

    Microbiologists in the Robert Mondavi Research Institute (RMI) at the University of California, Davis are using ProtoCOL to look for, and count colonies of bacteria associated with food poisoning on a wide range of media and plate types. These pathogens include E.coli 0157 and Salmonella growing in nuts and fresh produce.

    Using a ProtoCOL, researchers at the RMI are able to rapidly and accurately monitor how pathogens can grow in different types of storage conditions. It is hoped this information will lead to a greater understanding of how to prevent outbreaks of food poisoning associated with these bacterial pathogens.

    Dr Anne-Laure Moyne, Staff Research Associate at the RMI explained: We run trials looking at how storing products such as almonds, pistachios and lettuce can affect the growth of bacterial contaminants. During these trials, we can generate around 250 spiral, pour plates or gridded filters on plates every day, all of which have to be analysed. Doing this manually with a light box and pen meant our staff had to work very long days, so we knew we had to automate the process.

    Dr Moyne added: We tested two automated colony counters side by side but found that because of the different lighting methods only the ProtoCOL could recognise and count black Salmonella colonies when the BSA (bismuth sulphite agar) media they are growing on is green.

    We also saw the ProtoCOL could count red colonies on red media and distinguish between grid lines and colonies more accurately. This is why we decided the ProtoCOL system was the right one for our research and we have been very happy with the systems performance.

    Martin Smith of Synbiosis stated: With recent outbreaks of food poisoning in Europe associated with salad products, research into what triggers bacterial growth is critical.

    Were proud to hear the ProtoCOL is being used by microbiologists at such a prestigious food research institute to help improve the productivity of their important trials. The results RMI microbiologists are seeing, especially using chromogenic media, shows scientists in food microbiology laboratories looking for a versatile, accurate automated colony counter that a ProtoCOL is an intelligent choice.

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  • Rio has gone further upmarket with strong lines for a characterful design more closely aligned with the rest of Kia’s range. The body’s all new - sharing no panels with its predecessor or Hyundai’s related i20 - and it’s bigger, with wheelbase up 70mm and width by 25, though the roof’s actually 15mm lower for a sportier profile while the boot’s bigger, at 288 litres.

    Feedback that Rio’s seats were too hard has resulted in changes which include better bolsters and soy oil biofoam to cut petrol use in the car’s raw materials.

    As for engines, the petrol’s now a 80kW/138Nm 1.4, but power-to-weight remains the same as the outgoing 1.6. Thirst is claimed at 6.4l/100km for the auto - our vigorous Hanmer Springs launch drive returned 7.3 - while the 66kW/220Nm 1.4 diesel arriving in December claims 4.1l/100km. Buy a manual transmission and you’ll also get auto stop-go to cut the engine at Rechargeable diving flashlight and save fuel during city running.

    Kia’s going great guns globally, with its third consecutive year of 25 per cent growth. Rio’s segment is growing worldwide and in NZ, where Kia GM Todd McDonald predicts it’ll expand by 37 per cent this year. Two distinct specification levels pitch EX at price-conscious practical private buyers and LX at businesses seeking low ownership costs and advanced safety. Expect a four-door sedan variant next year, and a three-door 1.6 with six-speed transmission.

    Rio looks smart inside and out, though some over-hard plastics on areas such as the door tops made us wonder what the entry-level car is like. The top-spec $25,790 EX tested at launch includes a soft-touch dash as well as 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. But the $22,990 base-spec LX features six airbags, ABS and stability control, Bluetooth, reverse park sensors and upmarket stuff such as an auto emergency stop signal; hardly shabby for the price. Height-adjustable seats up front will please older buyers, though a glovebox deep enough to lose a household pet may frustrate some.

    Rio’s Euro-tune MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension proved impressive over the rural back roads we traversed out of Hanmer Springs, compliant enough to cushion frost-heave bumps while handling sufficiently well through the corners that we started wishing for a five-speed auto transmission, to allow better use of this motor.

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