Hello Dear Readers! Not much time left in 2011, are you getting your party hats all ready to ring in the new year? Before you get to celebrating, we’ll be talking about a few things you might want to put on your calendar, both for the remaining hours of 2011 & in the new weeks of 2012. Here are today’s subjects:
Congrats Oscar! • Walt and the Promise of Progress City
• Noon Year’s Eve X 2 • Walt’s Sierra Adventures • Touring The El Capitan
• A Tribute To Richard Sherman • Hunger & Music
If he’s ever greeted you when dining at Disneyland’s Carnation Café, then you know first-hand what a nice & friendly guy Oscar Martinez is. It’s always a pleasure to see him moving from table to table, asking diners how they’re enjoying their meals. And now Oscar has a very special occasion of his own to celebrate — he’s marking his 55th year working at the Happiest Place On Earth. Congrats on that milestone Oscar!:
In his signature, tall white chef's hat, Oscar Martinez holds out a hand out as he greets just about every breakfast guest sitting on the patio at Disneyland's Carnation Café. With a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes, he asks a series of questions: "How long have you been here?" "Are you having a good time?" "What are you having?" Oscar Martinez, 76, has worked at Disneyland for 55 years. He's been a chef at the Carnation Café restaurant on Main Street U.S.A. for most of that time.
In recent years though, he has promoted out of the kitchen and is now the official Carnation Café Ambassador -- glad-handing guests, posing for pictures and telling jokes to children. Oscar celebrates his 55th year at the Anaheim theme park on December 29. He has become something of an icon among Disneyland regulars and is as much a draw to the restaurant as the food according to members of the wait staff.
For the rest of the story, visit this link.
Here’s a great idea for a way to spend some of that Christmas money you received — add to your Disney library. And how better to do that than to buy Sam Gennawey’s new book, Walt and the Promise of Progress City? Sam’s book takes a look at what Walt Disney had planned for EPCOT and explores the topic of how he was determined to bring new life to the world of city design and development and, in so doing, improve the American way of life. Better yet than just buying the book, make plans to head to the Walt Disney Family Museum on January 21st, to hear Sam speak about Mineral King: Walt's Lost Last Project:
Urban Planner and Community Engagement Specialist Sam Gennawey hosts past Disney CEO and Museum Founder Ron Miller and architect David Price to discuss the innovative (and now-forgotten) year-round mountain resort that was one of Walt’s last major projects. This fascinating program gives context and detail to a remarkable and imaginative destination resort project that Walt assumed was a fait accompli upon his passing, and explains the forces and opposition that led to its ultimate abandonment. Illustrated with rare images, art, photos, archival documents, and film clips; this program offers insight into Walt’s vision at the height of his final career phase.
The program takes place at the museum on Saturday, January 21, 2012 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Tickets are on sale now, the cost is $12.00 and can be purchased at this link. Walt Disney Family Museum members note — there will be a members only program earlier the same day: Meet & Greet with Sam Genneway & Jeff Kurtti. 10:00am – 12:30pm at the Special Exhibition Hall, $30.00 per Member or Member guest, check your museum newsletter for information on purchasing tickets
Members will enjoy meeting our special guests before the public program Mineral King: Walt’s Lost Last Project – pictures and autographs allowed (limit three items per person). Admission to this special program is limited. Each paid attendee receives a copy of Walt And The Promise Of Progress City by Sam Gennawey and a book by Jeff Kurtti. Admission to the 3:00pm program must be purchased separately.
While we’re on the subject of the Walt Disney Family Museum, for those of you living in the Bay area, if you cannot be at my favorite place to ring in the new year — Disneyland, the Walt Disney Family Museum is planning a dandy celebration of its own, and you don’t even have to stay up late to enjoy:
Countdown to Midday - who wants to stay up all night when you can celebrate at noon? Join us for our very first Noon Year’s Eve Celebration. We will have indoor & outdoor activities including a beach ball bounce. There is a special showing of The Love Bug in the Theater and you can visit Herbie & friends in front of the Museum. Enter to win a special screening in our Theater for you and your 50 closest friends!
Beginning at 10:00 AM on December 31st, the cost for members is $5.00 and for non-members — $10.00. Noon Year’s Eve ticket includes free beach ball and Noon Year’s Eve Frisbee, but does not include Museum admission. Tickets are available at the door. In the interest of planning, here’s the Noon Year’s Eve Schedule of Events:
• 10:00am — 2:00pm in the Learning Center & Lower Lobby, Let’s make Kites, Party Hats, and Party favors & noise makers
• Beach Ball Bounce — 12:00 PM on Front Lawn of the Museum
• The Love Bug runs at 2:00 PM in the Theater (Free to the first 114 people - guests must obtain ticket to enter theater)
• 5:00pm at the Ticket Desk — Grand Prize drawing: enter to win a special screening in the Theater for you and 50 friends.
• Scavenger Hunt takes place from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the Galleries — Visit the galleries and follow the clues to hunt and find the artifacts
— complete the hunt and receive a reward for completion.
For more information on the Walt Disney Family Museum, visit this link.
There’s a Noon Year’s Eve celebration taking place a little closer to Disneyland as well, and this one would be great fun to take the kiddies to — Noon Year’s Eve at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana:
Why wait till midnight? Grab the kids and get ready to celebrate the new year with us at NOON on December 31! Noon Year’s Eve is a fun-filled day of celebration with activities for all ages.
• Countdown and toast to 2012 at 12pm and 2pm
• Witness chemical reactions as canisters pop and fly in the air
• Make your own party hat
• Create a tambourine while learning about sound
Noon Year’s Eve is included in general Science Center admission (and don’t forget that cool Star Wars exhibit is still at the museum — see it and celebrate New Years at the same time). Tickets for Adults are $14.95 & $12.95 for Children (3-14), $12.95. The Discovery Science Center is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday December 31st, and is located at 2500 North Main Street in Santa Ana. For more information, call 714-542-2823 or visit this link.
Our next Pressing Matter is one to plan for, a trip. It sounds grand, a railroad trip to explore some of the adventures Walt Disney had in mind for the Sierra Nevada Mountains — Walt’s Sierra Adventures:
Even before Florida, Walt had year round fun in mind enjoying the high Sierra. From early days skiing at Big Bear and Sugar Bowl to the 1960 Winter Olympics, he greatly enjoyed the relaxation away from the Studio that was found in the mountains. Using the talents of his Imagineers, he had in mind a wonderful resort to share the beauty of the Sierra with guests. Even after his passing, the company carried on with plans, first for Mineral King in the southern Sierra and later for Independence Lake in the northern Sierra.
While we travel from Emeryville to Reno aboard a chartered Vista Dome dining car, special guests will be sharing the history of Walt Disney and three locations for mountain fun - the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort as well as nearby Squaw Valley which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics with much assistance from Walt and many people at the Disney Studio and Disneyland - Mineral King and Independence Lake.
The trip is priced at $600 per person (double occupancy) including food and beverage aboard the railcar, hotel in Reno and transfers between the hotel and the Amtrak Station. Also included is a special souvenir album for the trip for every passenger as well as a special Saturday night event with a surprise guest presentation not to be missed. For more information, visit this link.
Our next two Pressing Matters deal with the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. For years I’ve told you how fabulous this old theatre is. It kills me to see beautiful old buildings torn down when they could be restored and live on, and I’m glad to say it’s such a treat to have the El Capitan. The people of Los Angeles are lucky to be able to see shows in that theatre.
Once upon a time I was given a tour of the building from the Mickey Lift in the basement to all of the Mighty Wurlitzer’s inner workings high up in the theatre. It was the most interesting tour you can imagine. Now, you'll have that opportunity too. The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation is offering a tour of the El Capitan Theatre:
Rob Richards in one of the El Capitan's rooms that house the Mighty Wurlitzer's workings.
The LAHTF is especially honored to present All About the El Capitan. This immersive tour will take you from the basement to the booth. Trained docents will lead you backstage and behind the footlights, where technicians operate sophisticated performance systems to make the live shows come alive. The tour continues under stage where the performers prepare. There are some amazing special stage effects to see, as well.
Did you know Citizen Kane had its world premiere at the El Capitan?
All About the El Capitan is an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of America's most successful single screen theatre. Don't miss it! Before the tour begins, theatre historian Ed Kelsey will present a photographic history of the El Capitan - first as a legit house then its transformation into the Paramount. Ed Collins, El Capitan Executive Director, will pick up the story from the beginning of the Walt Disney Company's restoration and operation of the theatre.
Tour-goers are especially lucky, because El Capitan organist, Rob Richards, will present a demonstration of the Mighty Wurlitzer and let me tell you, you don’t want to miss that. When you sit in the theatre you only see Rob seated at the keyboard of the Mighty Wurlitzer, but you will be astonished at what is involved in producing all the music you hear coming out of that instrument.
You'd think jumbo jets are much less complicated to operate.
Advance reservations for the tour are strongly recommended. The price for the General Public is $12.00, Los Angeles Heritage Theatre Foundation member and Hollywood Heritage Members pay $5.00. The tour takes place early in the morning at the El Capitan Theatre on Saturday, January 28th — Doors open at 7:45 AM and the presentation and tour will begin at 8:00 AM. Tickets are available only through PayPal. Visit the Los Angeles Heritage Theatre Foundation website to purchase: www.lahtf.org
Before that event happens, there’s another unique experience involving the El Capitan … and a certain Disney Legend, namely Richard Sherman. On January 8th, head out to Hollywood because you’re going to want to see A Tribute To Richard Sherman:
On Sunday, January 8, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., the El Capitan Theatre will present a musical multimedia showcase of Disney Legend Richard Sherman’s life and music. From rock and roll to songs from Disney classics like Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book, to current film and stage projects, Richard Sherman has brought joy to audiences for more than six decades.
“A Tribute to Richard Sherman” will feature special musical guests Nashville Pianist Alex Zsolt, Hollywood Maestro Richard Allen, and the guest of honor himself, Richard Sherman. The event will also feature El Capitan’s own house organist, international concert and recording artist Rob Richards, and the world-famous El Capitan “Mighty” Wurlitzer Pipe Organ.
For tickets ($20.00) and more information, visit this link. [D23 Members receive a special-rate ticket of $17.00 (a savings of 15% off regular pricing) by calling (818) 845-3110. For more information, visit this link.]
Okay, that’ll about do it for today. I’ll leave you with one more item for thought … The Hunger Games — A gripping tale of a dystopian future that I could not put down. Who’s read it? Looking forward to the movie version? I think it’ll be interesting to see how the novel translates to film. Until it arrives on March 23rd, 2012, you’ll have to content yourself with music from the upcoming film:
Big Machine Records recording artist Taylor Swift, a four-time Grammy Award Winner, including the 2009 Grammy for Album of the Year, collaborated with the Civil Wars and twelve-time Grammy and Academy Award-winning producer and songwriter T Bone Burnett to write and perform the lead single Safe and Sound, which was launched on iTunes on December 23rd. The song, released for fans to discover organically and promoted directly to Swift's fans through her Twitter account, shot to the top ten on iTunes overall songs chart, and pop chart within twelve hours of its debut, and was the number one song on iTunes the same day of its release. Safe and Sound became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter soon after Swift first tweeted the news of the single's release.
Could this be an indication of how much The Hunger Games is anticipated? The single is priced at $1.29 and is available for purchase on iTunes at: http://WWW.smarturl.it/HungerGames.
That’s all for now folks, I’ll see you next year! 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: