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Hello Dear Readers! Today the subject matter is substantial and varied and includes everything from a video you may have seen to a Bond house. Here are our topics:
Disney's in business to make money, but that’s not all the company is about. They also give back. In that arena, Disney does some really great things. Sometimes you hear about it, the recent $5 million Disneyland donated to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, comes to mind (here's Disney's annoucement of it). Sometimes you don’t hear much (the many things the VoluntEARS do) but the resort quietly goes on doing good anyway.
The thing I’d like to draw your attention to today — well, you’ve probably have heard about it, but we’re going to take a closer look because it’s worth looking at closer and because it’s a really wonderful thing the Disney company and Disneyland Resort does.
The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach if they can get through their teen years. It started out with one video telling the world that it might be nasty now, but hang in, it gets better. That one video has been joined by thousands — famous people, not so famous people, one and all telling their stories about how it really does get better.
While the It Gets Better campaign reaches out to the LGBT teens, I think the message is for everyone. If you’re feeling like you don’t fit, it reminds you that you will find your place. If you don’t like the people you feel don’t fit, it reminds you that the world is filled with individuals and maybe you need to look at your attitude towards others and be a nicer person.
And this is where Disney comes in. Have you seen the Disney contribution to the It Gets Better campaign? It features Disney castmembers telling their stories. It’s pretty amazing. Take a moment and watch this outstanding video if you haven’t seen it. And if you have seen it already, take a moment and watch the video again.
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a celebration of the Disney It Gets Better video, PRIDE — It Gets Better Premiere Event, held at the Disneyland Hotel. It was a terrific evening. PRIDE is the name of the Disneyland castmember group that works for understanding everyone’s differences, in fact the letters p-r-i-d-e stand for People Respecting Individual Diversities In Everyone, and the group does a lot of great things both for castmembers and the community.
When I went to the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect except that it was centered around the Disney It Gets Better video and that some of the people featured in the video would be there. Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis spoke, there was a panel discussion with Seth Levy, Board Member & Counsel of the It Gets Better Project, David McFarland, Interim Executive Director & CEO of The Trevor Project, Briana Foster, PRIDE Co-Chair, and Amy Reinbolt, WDW Resort Executive Communications and Producer of the Disney It Gets Better video.
Seth and David both spoke about their respective organizations and about everything they do to help stop bullying, get people to understand each other’s differences, and to be there to support people who are being bullied and feel like they have nowhere to turn. Briana talked about what it was like to tell her story to the world and how PRIDE worked to get Disney to make the video. Amy told the story of how emotional it was for her set up each interview and hear all the different stories, and how the making of the video has really impacted her life. When she spoke about the experience it was clear the video is extremely important to her and she stressed that the positive reaction the video has had, both within the Disney company and the with the public, is a really nice thing.
A Q & A session at the end of the panel discussion taught the audience that The Trevor Project can provide educators with materials to instruct them how to aid their students, and that we, as a community can help by volunteering our time, donating money, or just plain getting out there and being understanding of each other’s differences.
I think Disney Imagineer Bruce Vaughn sums up it up quite nicely in the video when he says, “Every life is a story. And we all get to write our own life story, but no life is a one person show. You need to surround yourself with the people who love you for what you are and encourage you to share with the world the unique gifts you have to offer.”
How can you make a difference so that it gets better?
• The Trevor Project is the leading nationalorganization providing crisis intervention andsuicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
• It Gets Better: In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.More than a year later, the It Gets Better Project™ has turned into a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 30,000 user-created videos viewed more than 40 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of "Glee", Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more.
• Sign up to join the Aids Walk through Disneyland on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 (see if you can spot me amongst the VoluntEARS handing out water to the walkers): The 2012 AIDS Walk Orange County is a 5 km (3.2 miles) walk through Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney. The Walk will begin promptly at 7:00 am. While the 5 km walk does include the portion of the walk from the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure to Disneyland, the opening ceremony will take place at the Main Street Hub inside the park.
For more information on the walk, to donate money, or sign up to be a walker, visit this link.
Now, let’s switch gears and talk about something completely different. Architecture, with a little James Bond thrown in for good measure.
There’s a very famous house that’s going to be open for tours this month. If you’ve seen the 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, you’ll remember the scene where the very athletic Bambi and Thumper try to put the moves on our man James — well then, you’ve seen the Elrod house:
The world famous Elrod House opens its doors to the public for 5 intimate tours during Modernism Week. Come share in this unique opportunity to experience John Lautner's masterwork. Commissioned by interior designer Arthur Elrod in 1968, the house is featured in numerous books, magazines, museum exhibitions, and appeared in the classic 1971 James Bond movie, "Diamonds Are Forever."
This iconic home, perched at the very tip of the Southridge enclave, is visible from throughout Palm Springs. Organic shapes, monumental construction and world class design create an extraordinary experience of space that Lautner described as "timeless" architecture.
The Elrod House will be open February 24-26, 2012 as part of Palm Springs Modernism Week for five tours over three days. For more information on tour dates, times, and cost, visit their website.
In other news of architectural note —
When I was a kiddy, it was high living if my grandpa took me into downtown LA to dine at Clifton’s Cafeteria. While the food there may not be as yummy as my kiddy self remembers it (Oh who am I kidding? I was there for the prize I got to pick from the pirate chest that came with every kid meal. I don’t even remember the food, but I sure remember the building), the experience of going to Clifton’s is still something one should get to do whilst touring the city of Los Angeles.
Yes, that is the interior of Clifton's...
...and yes, that is a typical meal you can have there.
The current owner of Clifton’s is respectful of the eatery’s LA history and is working to restore and modernize the cafeteria. This week, the original historic facade of Clifton’s was revealed for the first time since the 1950s. Clifton’s owner, Andrew Meieran, who also owns downtown LA's swanky The Edison, has plans to turn Clifton’s into a round-the-clock eatery with an updated menu, but all the while still maintaining the cafeteria-style service the restaurant is famous for. The top floors will become a nightlife destination with a neighborhood lounge and sit-down restaurant service.
The restoration is part of the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, which is seeing to the revival of vital recreation and work spaces in the heart of historic Downtown. For more on Clifton’s history, visit this link.
Pasadena Convention Center will be hosting the West Coast's largest annual rare book show this weekend. Who knows, browse the show and you just might find a copy of The Little Man of Disneyland:
The 45th California International Antiquarian Book Fair is coming to the Pasadena Convention Center this Friday through Sunday, February 10-12, 2012. A special preview event will be held on Friday from 3:00-8:00 p.m.; purchase a three-day admission ticket for $25 on Friday and the proceeds will go to The Huntington Library. The Friday preview tickets also entitle the holder to one complimentary entry to The Huntington during the month of February. Tickets on Saturday and Sunday, February 11-12, are $15, and include one free admission to The Huntington during the weekend of the Book Fair.
More than 200 exhibitors will offer rare books, prints, posters, maps, illustrations, autographs, photographs, and more. Subjects include the history of music, travel and exploration (including maps), early science and medicine, fine binding, children's books, California and the West, literature, and the arts. Items date from illuminated medieval manuscripts to 20th century novels by authors such as Jack Kerouac.
Book Fair Hours include a Special Preview pn Friday - 3:00 to 8:00 PM, then the regular schedule kicks in on Saturday - 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Sunday - 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The Pasadena Convention Center is located at 300 East Green Street, in Pasadena, CA. For more information, visit this link.
We’ll wrap things up on the column with some music:
The Golden State Pops Orchestra, in collaboration with the USC Thornton Concert Choir, presents Cinema Fantastique: Epic Choral Soundtracks. Be swept out of your chair on a journey through history and fantasy, across exotic lands and to galaxies far, far away as these joined forces fill the historic Warner Grand Theatre with breathtaking music from: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Avatar, Saving Private Ryan, Edward Scissorhands, Independence Day, First Knight, Empire of the Sun, Agnus Dei (a choral setting of Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber) and The Abyss.
Cinema Fantastique will be presented on Saturday, February, 11th at 8:00 PM at the Warner Grand Theatre, located at 478 W. 6th St. in San Pedro, CA. For more information (or to purchase tickets), visit their site.
Who doesn’t love Dick Van Dyke? Want to see him in person? Here’s your chance, he’s appearing Saturday at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert with his group, the Vantastix:
Join Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix for an evening of standards and classic TV show tunes that will take you back in time. Television, Broadway and film star Dick Van Dyke has teamed up with vocalists Eric Bradley, Bryan Chadima, and Mike Mendyke to celebrate and promote their lifelong love of singing.
The show takes place on February 11, 2012 at 8:00 PM at The McCallum Theatre on 73000 Fred Waring Drive in Palm Desert, CA. For more information, visit this link.
Okay, we’re all through here for today. If you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find:
FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.