Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hospitals Report Rise in Gut-Punch Injuries As Financial Aid Letters Arrive

Los Angeles, CA – Hospitals are reporting a rise in the number of patients, specifically parents of college-bound children, being admitted after complaining of pain in the abdomen area after receiving letters informing them of their financial aid status.

“It feels like some guy sitting behind a desk in the financial aid office just punched me in the gut,” said Brad Toller, after finding out he would be receiving a measly $5000 from his son’s Ivy League dream school. “It starts with a dull ache when you open the letter, and then all of a sudden you’re writhing in pain begging your kid to go to community college.”

Children are being traumatized as well, as they watch their parents deteriorate before their very eyes. “Dude, first my dad started cussing like crazy, and then my mom drank an entire bottle of wine,” said Mandy Taylor, a 17-year-old high school senior who was with her parents when they opened her financial aid packet from the prestigious Ojai Fine Arts Institute. “Next thing I know they’re both on the floor. I freaked and called my BFF Heather and her parents were sick, too! So, like, then we had an Uber take us all to urgent care.”

“It was horrible watching my parents go through that,” said Mandy, who was only awarded $1500 towards her $55,000 yearly tuition in Experimental Paper Maché studies. But the teen says the worst part of the hospital visit was talking to 30-year-old hot resident Todd Majors, who told her he was still paying off $150,000 in student loan debt and was reduced to living above his parents garage and buying his clothes at Ross. “That’s when it really became serious for me,” Mandy said solemnly. “I hurled all over my iPad.”

Doctors at East Hollywood Memorial Hospital say they are treating their patients with a combination of Xanax and a list of famous people who didn’t go to expensive colleges but turned out just fine. “Once they see that Oprah and Steven Spielberg seem to be doing reasonably well without having gone to an Ivy League school, they appear to have a significant reduction in their symptoms,” says Dr. Tom Rettig.

Along with their gut-punch cases, doctors at Hollywood Memorial Hospital are reporting seeing parents with other serious injuries related to the financial aid situation, mainly those complaining about losing an arm and a leg to their children’s intended colleges.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Pollinator Garden at the Natural History Museum is worth a trip or five

When was the last time you went to Natural History Museum in L.A.? If you're like most people, this is probably the last thing you remember seeing, along with the sound of your second grade teacher screaming your name:


For most of us trips to the museum were usually courtesy of elementary school field trips. I gained a new appreciation for the place when my kids started going to the summer camp there (which is excellent, by the way. More on this later). I would spend many solo hours exploring the grounds and got to know every nook and cranny pretty well – the sprawling Rose Garden is not a bad place to hang out while you wait for your kids. After camp my girls and I would spend another couple of hours checking out the exhibits and end with a visit to the gift shop. We have a pretty hefty collection of NHM pencils.

But a couple of weeks ago I was invited to the opening of the new Pollinator Garden, the last component of their new (well, new to me) 3-1/2 acre Nature Gardens and I was completely taken by surprise – the entire garden attraction has completely transformed the space, and once again it's taken on a whole new appeal for me.


After I parked my car, I was directed up a gorgeous trail – one of several – and over a pedestrian bridge. (The one on the right leads you to the Edible Gardens.)


What was once a parking lot now looks like this:


The Pollinator Garden is located in the northeast corner of the new outdoor garden space, and was created to attract wildlife and demonstrate the relationship between flowers and pollinators. It will be in bloom every month of the year.


But wait – I can't resist showing you the other parts of the garden too. Check out these 'trumpets' along the path where you can listen to the roots:


No, not these Roots, although that would be kind of awesome.


Look at these beautiful areas to climb into and under. These are part of the Get Dirty Zone. I know just the sound of that gives some parents the dry heaves, but it was one of my favorite parts of the garden and seemed to be the most popular with all the young kids, too.


Last but not least, the designer in me could not get over these gorgeous hand-made signs. They're everywhere. I plan on a special trip back just to photograph all of them. That's after my special trip just to hang out in the garden with a picnic. That's a lot of trips.


Getting back to those girls of mine, they're teenagers in high school now but are still fans of the museum, and are eager for a visit after they saw my pictures of the new Nature Gardens. They also want to see the newly remodeled gift shop. I guess you can never have enough pencils.

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Natural History Museum of LA County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 763-DINO

Hours: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm daily

Check the NHM website for ticket info. 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everybody cleanse now

*This chart is a lie, since we actually spent 0% of the time doing the juice cleanse, but the pie chart program wouldn't let me do a slice that small. Even science is disappointed in us.
A few months ago I managed to convince Rigel to do a Costco run with me (he considers it on par with other hideously unpleasant activities, like cleaning the catbox or watching 'Sex In The City' reruns) and while we were there we decided to buy one of those pre-packaged juice cleanses. We had been talking about wanting to "get healthy," and it sort of made us feel less guilty about that five-gallon drum of beef jerky, oversized bricks of cheese and pallet of beer we already had in our cart. By the time we left the store we were feeling so hopeful, visualizing ourselves as glowing, wholesome beings living life anew with cleansed bodies outfitted in expensive yoga pants and tight tank tops.

We decided to do the cleanse over a weekend since it would be easier to coordinate our meals, and we could be there to comfort each other as we went through the horror of doing without caffeine and alcohol. And as cleanses go, this one sounded reasonable – only three days, and it was more of a supplement to a healthy diet that they carefully outlined in their instruction booklet.

At least I think that's what was in the instruction booklet, since we never got around to really reading it. In fact, the only thing we managed to do was pay for the cleanse and put it in the refrigerator because this is the conversation we had when we got home.

Rigel: So let's start this cleanse on Friday.

Me: Well, we have that dinner party that night. I am definitely going to want to pig out and have a cocktail.

Rigel: Right. So let's start on Saturday.

Me: What?! You can't expect me to wake up on Saturday morning and not have a cup of coffee. Or bacon. Let's start on Sunday.

Rigel: No way, I have rehearsal that night, and I'm going to want to have a beer with the guys. Next weekend it is.

The next weekend rolled around, and of course there were parties and events with our girls that we just knew prohibited healthy living, so we pushed the cleanse back to the next weekend. We figured it wouldn't kill us if those toxins and liver deposits hung around in our bodies for just seven more days, and besides the date on the cleanse said it didn't expire for another three months. Renewed with our excitement over a robust, fit future, we poured ourselves a scotch and toasted our good judgement.

Slowly those bottles of cleanse moved to the back of the refrigerator, barely visible behind the jugs of lemonade, Chipotle leftovers and that hubcap-sized disc of brie I picked up at Costco. We tried not to look at those vessels of good health beckoning to us from the back row, because they just reminded us of disappointment and failure. Occasionally when we'd open the refrigerator we'd feign interest in making another attempt.

Rigel: We should really do that cleanse this weekend.

Me: Can you move, I'm trying to get to the leftover Chipotle guac.

As you can guess, those three months rolled around pretty quickly and we eventually just poured it all down the drain, the entire time promising ourselves we'd buy some new bottles and begin anew. I think we also spent some time making fun of people who were so obsessed with being healthy and who did juice cleanses, and agreed that they were just trying to cover up for other problems like not being able to enjoy life or appreciate a monstrous wheel of really good cheese.

We made a pact right there at the sink that we wouldn't turn into those people, congratulated each other on our ability to admit defeat and sliced open a package of jerky to celebrate.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Holidays At Disneyland: Our Night Of 5 Firsts

How many times have you been to Disneyland? I don't have an exact count, but if I had to guess I'd say we've been there close to a hundred million times. It never, ever gets old – especially for my girls – but we do tend to do a lot of the same things whenever we visit, whether it's visiting the same attractions or eating the same foods. For example, I always clap loudly and embarrassingly whenever I get on my favorite ride.

Last weekend we were there for Holidays At Disneyland – where the entire resort gets transformed for the holidays – and we did some things we hadn't done before. Here they are – see if you can make it through the entire post without singing Foreigner's 'Feels Like The First Time' in your head.

1) We rode the first-ever holiday version of the Jungle Cruise – the Jingle Cruise!
For the first time, the Jungle Cruise gets transformed for the holidays! I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite rides and my girls', too, and I was ridiculously excited to ride this new version. The dock has been decked out in lights, and the skippers have added some holiday humor to their comedy routines – don't judge, but we actually love all of their slightly corny jokes. Which leads me to another first – for the first time ever I followed a Disneyland ride on Twitter. And you should, too because then you can read things like this:

2) For the first time, someone else besides me took the photos
We just bought Kiyomi a new camera, so she was happy to document our visit. She did an amazing job and took all the photos you see here (except for the pics accompanying item numbers 3 and 4. Those slightly blurry, over-filtered Instagram pics are all mine.)

She did a photo essay of Kira and her Santa hat throughout the park. Here are a few:


I highly suggest this idea of putting your kids to work documenting stuff so you don't have to. It helps you to see things through their eyes, and also frees you up to enjoy things, like bacon-wrapped asparagus. (See next item.)

3) I ate bacon-wrapped asparagus skewers at Bengal Barbecue
That's a big lie. This is the eightieth time I've eaten these, not the first. But I have to keep mentioning them because some of you out there haven't tried them yet, and I won't stop until every man, woman and child has tasted one of these amazing pairings of meat and vegetable. (However, in keeping with the spirit of the 'firsts' theme of this post, I will say it's the first time I left without wishing I had another one – this is the first time I ordered TWO skewers.)

4) I rode the Red Car Trolley in California Adventure
I'm used to having people yell at me to get out of the way as this thing comes at me while I'm texting in the middle of the street. So this was a much more pleasant experience. The trolley takes you for a short tour through the park – starting in Carthay Circle, up Buena Vista Street, through Hollywood Land and ending at the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror. Along the way the nice conductors (that's one of them there) tell you stories about the the park and Hollywood, including the history of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the basis for the Tower Of Terror ride. Want to hear the story? You'll have to ride the Trolley yourself. (See how I did that?)

5) For the first time, we did NOT ride 'It's A Small World'
One of our Disneyland mottos is, "No visit is complete without a ride on 'It's A Small World,' especially during the holidays when it's transformed into 'It's A Small World Holiday.' (Our other motto is, 'Don't eat the corn dog until after you ride the Teacups.') Usually our tactic is to wait until later in the evening when the line is shorter, but this time the wait was estimated at 90 minutes. After we were done cursing everyone who had stolen our tactic, we decided to move on. But not until we had stood in awe for a few minutes and snapped some pics of the gorgeous facade, of course.

Holidays At The Disneyland Resort runs through January 6, 2014.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A plea for help made of gifs from 'Fight Club' and one from 'Grease'

A few days ago I appealed for help for my daughters' school but apparently no one heard me. So now, you leave me no choice but to re-tell my story and plea for funds using jerky moving pictures and movie captions.

Apparently the first rule of fundraising is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FUNDRAISING.

Let me break it down for you.


A few months ago the kids had to watch their beloved performing arts department get wiped out. 

It hasn't been an easy year. Everyone is carrying on but we know how they feel inside.

Now, because of a lack of funding, it's looking like the Senior Class of 2014 will be the first class in the high school's history NOT to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl.

GO AHEAD, KICK US WHEN WE'RE DOWN, UNIVERSE.

It doesn't feel good. It fact it hurts like a mutha.

Now everyone is stressing out trying to figure out how to come up with the down payment.

All of our appeals are falling on deaf ears. It's like we're the Amway salesman of high schools.

If we don't come up with the balance of the down payment, the kids won't get to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl, something they've been looking forward to for FOUR YEARS.

I KNOW I KNOW THERE ARE BIGGER PROBLEMS TO WORRY ABOUT.

But these kids have been through a lot this year, and man, you don't know how happy they would be with a great sendoff on their last day of school. 

If you or someone you know would like to help sponsor the Hollywood High Class of 2013, please leave your contact info here or email me at marsha_tm@yahoo.com.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Help us get to the Hollywood Bowl


I'm about to ask for money for my kids' school. If this type of thing upsets you, you might want to look away, turn off your computer, block me or erase me from your contacts list. (But don't un-invite me to your holiday party – I promise not to ask for money there, only for your rum ball recipe.)

As you know, my girls go to Hollywood High School. Like most public schools in the inner city, they are constantly strapped for funds. Adding to their woes this year was the decimation of the Performing Arts Department, when another school (with much deeper pockets) swooped in and hired away the musical director, the technical director and took many of the top-performing kids with them. It was brutal, like that scene from Kill Bill, only worse. (Okay, not worse. but it felt like it.)


One of the things Kira's looked forward to from the day she started at Hollywood High was to graduate at the Hollywood Bowl. It's a time-honored tradition with the school, and they are one of only two schools in the city who have the honor. The Bowl only charges one-dollar for the event, but a staggering $22,000 is needed to cover additional costs like staff and security.

In years past they've had corporate sponsors who helped cover the Bowl cost, but no sponsor has materialized this year. The kids have been doing fundraising, but a majority of the families at the school have limited means. Many of them are struggling to meet the basic graduation costs of their cap and gown, senior dues, etc. 

Right now there's the possibility that they may be the first Hollywood High senior class ever not to graduate at the Bowl. As of now they have only raised $8,500 towards this goal, and a deposit of $15,000 is needed by next week, December 20 in order to secure the location for their graduation in June 2014.

I know, it doesn't rank with some of the other more dire needs of the school district as a whole. But these kids saw their senior year – one of the most significant periods in their educational journey – get yanked out from under them. They go without what a lot of other affluent schools have throughout the year, and it would be great to be able to give them this one last sendoff, and to let them have the opportunity to perform from the Hollywood Bowl stage. They would be so grateful.

So, we're appealing to friends, family, and associates and asking: Are you, or do you know, work for, associate with, drink cocktails with, are married to, have BFF status with, or are owed a favor from, any corporate sponsors or big-hearted supporters of public education who could come through for us and help us meet this deadline? Right now we're only looking to raise the additional $6,500 needed to meet our deposit amount – that will give the kids a few more months to raise the final balance.

What will they get in return? A private performance by Kira and some of these talented kids. A big shout-out at the graduation. A prominent mention in the program. And most of all a deep, heartfelt THANK YOU from a bunch of grateful teens.

Thank you for listening.

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If you would like to share this to get the the word out, please use the hashtag #HollywoodBowlGrads
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Live, On Stage: Your Awesome Memories


My girls still remember going to a production of Sleeping Beauty when they were probably only around four and six-years-old. The play was at a tiny theater around the corner from where we lived at the time, didn't star any big names or feature any elaborate sets and I think tickets were only around ten dollars each. They loved seeing one of their favorite stories brought to life on the stage, and we waited after the show so the girls could meet the actors. This is probably why Kira has to linger after every show she goes to in order to meet the performers – thus a groupie was born.

Fast forward over ten years to last weekend, when we took them to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the Ahmanson Theater. They had been asking to see this for weeks (Kiyomi had already seen it on a school field trip and wanted to see it again) so we bought some last-minute tickets and headed downtown. The show was spectacular, and once again we were reminded how powerful and moving a live performance can be – and how happy we were that we could share it with our girls. (I should add that these tickets were a bit more than ten dollars, though.)

We've been taking them to live shows for years – concerts, plays, ballets, musicals, circuses – and good or bad, the experience is always memorable.  Movies are fun, but chances are they're going to remember the live pre-show way more than what happens next on a flat screen. (But I will admit movies have better snacks. Get with the popcorn and nachos, live show planners!)

People often cite the high cost of tickets for live shows, but with a little big of digging you can often find tickets for less than the price of a movie ticket, and sometimes free (hello, Goldstar!) My girls belong to the CTG Student Scene, a network sponsored by L.A.'s Center Theater Group that offers them deeply discounted tickets (students only) to events at the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Last year they got floor seats to Anything Goes, and I had a nice dinner and a cocktail at Pinot while I waited for them. See, live theater has many benefits.

And speaking of live theater and FREE tickets, I have tickets to give away to a holiday family show: Aladdin And His Winter Wish at the Pasadena Playhouse. Great casting: Ben Vereen as the Genie, and Bruce Vilance as Widow Twanky. And your tweens/teens will love this, too – it stars Teen Beach Movie's Jordan Fisher as Aladdin.

So get out and see some live theater –  Frozen will still be there next month. 

What: 'Family PacK' of 4 tickets to Aladdin And His Winter Wish for either December 14 or 15 at 11:00am.

How: Leave a comment here no later than 11:30pm Sunday night (December 8) telling me your favorite live performance you've seen. I'll use random.org to draw a winner from the entries. One comment per person, but you can share on Facebook or Twitter for additional entries. Please don't forget to leave a valid email address.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Cirque Du Soleil's TOTEM: The Best Cirque Yet


On Wednesday night we were treated to an evening at Cirque du Soleil's newest show, TOTEM. We've been to quite a few Cirque productions over the years and I know I say this every time, but this version of their show was even better than the last one. And yes, I'll probably say that the next one is better than this one. Because unlike that milk in your refrigerator or those Die Hard movies, Cirque du Soleil really does get better with age.

TOTEM loosely tells the story of evolution, but don't expect just cave dwellers and ancient rituals – in a way this version of the show felt like the most contemporary yet. From the wry references to man's reliance on technology to the parody of beach culture, my teens related to this show more than before. Of course, it had nothing to do with the abundance of six-pack abs in those beach scenes.

The show felt more intimate, too. I'm not sure if it was actually a smaller stage and arena, but it was easier to see all of the performers and to follow along with all of the stories they tell using just their bodies, facial expressions and gestures. One of our favorites was a scene involving a fisherman on a lake, and it's hard to imagine being able to pick up on all of the subtle visual humor in a larger venue. (Another bonus: It was a much quicker trip to the top of the stairs to exit the arena to get to the bathrooms.)

Here's a short preview of the show. It will blow your mind, as it should:



After the show we got a huge treat – we were able to go backstage, talk to a few of the performers and see the inside workings of a Cirque production. The artists talked about their various backgrounds (they come from all over the world) how they came to join the Cirque family and their daily routines while traveling with the show. When they got to the part about having an on-site chef that kept them fed throughout the day and filled up with snacks, we were all ready to sign up.



Being backstage gave us such a broader appreciation for what a huge undertaking the show is, and how disciplined the performers are. Their costuming area is not that big, considering the huge amount of activity that must take place there. I imagine it's what I feel like having to share a bathroom with my teenage daughter, only fifty times more crowded.




I wish that everyone, especially kids, could have the chance to see a Cirque show, and especially TOTEM. The artistry and skill are awe-inspiring, and the shows have such a magical and inspirational effect on audiences – it gives you the desire to create art, to look beyond your own environment and to seek out and pursue your dreams.  Does it make one want to "run off and join the circus"? I think it might – especially if that circus comes with an on-site chef and endless snacks.

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Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM runs for a limited engagement through November 10, 2013 at the Port of Los Angeles – San Pedro, first stop of the production’s 2013-2014 Southern California tour. Following this limited engagement, TOTEM will be visiting Irvine (opens November 21, 2013 at the Orange County Great Park Festival Site) and Santa Monica (opens January 17, 2013 at the Santa Monica Pier). Tickets for all TOTEM performances are now available online at cirquedusoleil.com/totem.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Time At Disneyland: Calling All Parents of Teens

It's Halloween Time at Disneyland! Definitely not for the gourd-phobic.
Last weekend we were treated to a day at Disneyland Resort to enjoy their special Halloween Time event. This is where the parks are transformed for Halloween and some of the rides get a scary makeover – Space Mountain becomes Ghost Galaxy, The Haunted Mansion turns into Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas hosted by Jack Skellington and The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror gets a few additional dead souls checking in. And of course no one does Halloween decorations better than Disneyland. (Sorry, Pinterest.)

Lately when I've mentioned to friends with older kids that we're heading to Disneyland I get the same response. Usually it's "Why?," followed by "What are you on?" Let's face it – our kids are getting older and we're – gasp – getting older too, and the prospect of a 14-hour day at Disneyland seems daunting. Crazypants, even.

But I've got some strategies for parents that can make your day at Disneyland and California Adventure just as fun for you as it is for your teens while fitting in some family time, too. Can you say guilt-free date night? And it doesn't involve any illegal substances, either.

Don't cry – you can now get your double-tall-extra-dry cappuccino on Main Street
1. Load up on coffee.
There is a Starbucks on Main Street, people. I think when I first saw this I took off my mouse ears, dropped to my knees and kissed the feet of the barista dressed in old-timey garb. No more waiting for an hour for your cappuccino at the lone coffee cart! (There's a Starbucks in California Adventure, too, but it tends to get mobbed.)

2. Make sure your phone is charged. 
You're going to need your phone for those "I'll give you more cash but twelve churros is enough," calls. Also, how else would you know to meet up at Cafe Orleans for the 9:00 Fantasmic Show, or Instagram your entire day? There are now phone charging lockers on Main Street ($2 per hour – you can see a how-to video here.) I always have spare power with me – I take along 2 Mophie juice packs to get me through the entire day.

3. Go see a movie.
That's right, you have the time to see a movie while your kids are blissfully unaware that you're indulging in 'me' time. Tell them you'll meet them after their tenth spin on the Indiana Jones Adventure, and head off for a cinematic interlude in a dark, air conditioned theater. The AMC theaters in Downtown Disney are really nice, and usually not crowded. We saw Gravity there on opening weekend and the theater was practically empty.

It doesn't have to be all chicken fingers and Cokes.
4. Have a grownup meal. And an adult beverage.
There are so many places within the parks and in Downtown Disney where you can sit down and have a nice meal and a cocktail. California Adventure's Wine Country Trattoria has a great patio where you can dine on Italian food and sip a nice glass of wine, and we never leave without having drinks and appetizers at the outdoor Uva Bar in Downtown Disney. We also love hanging out at the Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian Hotel or on one of the big couches in the lobby. (Also – and not necessarily a grownup, sitdown meal – but I'm a huge fan of the bacon-wrapped asparagus at Bengal BBQ in Adventureland.)

They should rename this the Peace Train because it's the best place to get some peace and quiet.
4. Ride the train. Over and over.
I'm not kidding – if you want a truly peaceful, meditative experience at Disneyland, grab a coffee (see Starbucks revelation above), sit in the back row of the Disneyland Railroad and ride that sucker for at least two trips around the park. You'll disembark refreshed, renewed, and the with the entire script of the dinosaur experience memorized.

If you don't enjoy a good fireworks show you might just be dead inside.
5. Don't miss the fireworks or you'll hate yourself.
Whatever crazy, grownup thing you're doing at around 8:30, make sure you stop and head to Main Street to catch the fireworks. It really is one of the best fireworks displays you'll ever see, and might be one of the few things your teenagers will want to do together with you. Well, that and get coffee. (Did I mention there is now STARBUCKS ON MAIN STREET?)

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Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort runs through October 31, 2013. Click here for more information and details.

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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Something awful has happened that could be wonderful


If you've seen me ranting on Facebook or Twitter over the past couple of days you know that something unfortunate has happened at the girls' high school. In a nutshell, our beloved musical director has left to go elsewhere, leaving the performing arts department – the reason we went to the school in the first place – in shambles. As with most problems in this school district it had to do with money, or I should say a lack of it. And as with most things having to do with performing and the arts, there is lots of drama, some ego and hurt feelings involved, too. Throw in some sex and booze and you'd swear you were watching a miniseries on Showtime!

I'm not exactly sure what went down – I'm still trying to find out details but they seem to be hard to come by. There is secrecy and rumors and finger pointing, and lots of things being said that are prefaced with, "You didn't hear this from me, but..." (For some reason everyone has mistaken me for someone that can keep a secret, but I'm doing good so far.)

(And I'm not going to get into the main issue here, how THE ARTS ARE SO UNDERFUNDED, UNAPPRECIATED AND DEVALUED in this school district. How in education in general, sports are lauded and showered with money while ARTS PROGRAMS ARE ALLOWED TO WITHER AND DIE. No, I'm not going to get into it here, that's what ALL CAPS are for.)

But the bottom line is, the real victims here are the kids. This performing arts department is a shining beacon for a lot of students – many of them from the inner city – and to see it dying before our eyes is truly heartbreaking. And that is just what they are doing – destroying a program that has brought joy to many, won awards and inspired kids to pursue the arts. We even had Morrissey play our auditorium for crying out loud! Little did we know that when he sang, "You Have Killed Me" it would prove to be prophetic.


This has such personal implications for us, too. It's Kira's senior year, and this has put a damper on things to say the least. She tried for two years to get a spot in the glee club and she finally got in – as did Kiyomi – only to see the whole group crumble before they've even had their first performance.

And it was going to be a good one, too. They were set to perform at the opening of the newly remodeled Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. I wished the music director had stayed on just long enough to give the kids this opportunity, but it's not going to happen. Honestly, if I could carry a tune and had any idea how to coach a high school choir, I would do it myself. *cue telepathic waves to Will Schuester, who is a fictional TV character but would be perfect nonetheless*

Many of the kids are being enticed to follow the music director to his new position at the other school. And it was tempting at first – the school is new, shiny, and has a gorgeous campus. But we let the girls make their own decision, and Kira decided she didn't want to disrupt her senior year, especially since we are already a month into the new semester. Kiyomi is only slightly toying with the idea of going to a new school altogether, one that has a film department (and a greater abundance of hot guys.)

And luckily, there are teachers – excellent teachers – that have decided to stay on and are vowing to try and keep the program alive. They deserve our faith and support, now, and I hope that everyone remaining will stand by them. It will be an uphill battle for sure, as the drumbeat of, "We have no money," is loud and constant.

Who knows – maybe the person that comes in to run the department will be amazing (or hot, even!) Maybe the change up will create new, better opportunities for the kids that decide to stay. Maybe the absence of the musicals will allow the other productions to shine. Maybe some celebrity or benefactor will realize that the legacy of the legendary Hollywood High School is in jeopardy and will write a huge check that'll solve all of our problems. Hey, a girl can dream.

But here's what we're working on now: Trying to give our girls some optimism that sometimes change is good. That there is strength through adversity. That nothing ever stays the same, and when life gives you lemons you get your bad self busy making lemonade. (And for the adults, that a little vodka in that lemonade might take your mind off of school issues for a minute or so.)

What we are hoping is that the kids will band together and carry on the legacy of the school that has given them so much. That they'll realize they can thrive in spite of this setback, and get inspired to create something that shows just how resilient they are. It could be magical. Wonderful, even.

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