Monday, January 2, 2017

Memorializing Pop Icons with Puppets

Sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington have made a career based on their love of pop culture. Their positive entertainment content — including interviews, articles and trivia challenges — has been syndicated to Yahoo, OMG!, Examiner, Screenpicks, and many more.

They have conducted over 1,200 interviews including more than 50 one-on-one oral histories for the Television Academy's Archive of American Television — including in-depth interviews with Danny DeVito, Ed O’Neill, Tom Bergeron and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

They were handpicked by OWN to be part of the VIP digital press corps covering Oprah’s Lifeclass during Winfrey’s tour of the U.S. and Toronto. And through their work as MediaMine’s Creative Directors they helped to create the Official Hollywood Walk of Fame App, a thousand-question Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson trivia game, a Don Rickles Zinger App and more.

Most recently, they launched their own line of hand-crafted pop culture themed puppets that have paid tribute to legendary icons like David Bowie, Bernie Sanders, Freddy Krueger, Prince and Carrie Fisher.

DW: As women who are passionate about all things pop culture, what made you want to memorialize celebrities? Was 2016 and all the celebrity death the impetus?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's the End...

Of the year as we know it. And I feel fine. Actually, I don't feel fine. Can you hear that tiny violin playing in the background? No? Well, I suggest you get your ears checked. It's there. Listen closely.

As we all know, the end of December is typically a time of reflection as well as a time to think about plans for the next year. I'm not very typical. I have never liked New Year's Eve, nor do I like the month that follows it. To me, January is a major let down after the consumer holiday frenzy from mid October to December 25. After that we fast forward from peace on earth and goodwill toward men to the next big event that's not fun for anyone. And no, I'm not talking about Valentine's Day. I'm talking about April 15. This is how my mind works. I mentally go from the expectation of holly jolly wish fulfillment to the bureaucratic nightmare of tax preparation in a nanosecond. This bummer emotion usually hits me on December 28. Debbie Downer, right?

Well, the last two months of 2016 have been a big old Crisco frosted cake left out in the rain kind of downer. I'm not even going to go into it but it rhymes with lump--like a large, orange cancerous tumor of unidentifiable yuckiness at the bottom of your Christmas stocking. On a side note, I hate to break it to you kids, but coal isn't coming back. Maybe Santa will put a renewable energy source in your stocking if you're naughty. Or maybe Santa will be replaced by a nonjudgmental robot who is not only more efficient, but doesn't require quite so many cookie breaks. That should be lump's first executive order. You're welcome.

And then Carrie Fisher died. And the day after that horrifying loss, her mom died. How f-ed up is that? Yes, yes. We all know. 2016 is a killer. It's taking the icons. Gen X and the Boomers are losing their heroes. There are far too many to name. David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Carrie Fisher hit me the hardest. I wrote a post about the first two, but Carrie just happened and I'm just a little bitter right now. I became a fan of Carrie Fisher after reading her memoir, Wishful Drinking. I loved her voice and her sense of humor, so much so that I went to see her show in New York all by myself. That was awkward but I thoroughly enjoyed it. No, I didn't know her. No, I wasn't a Princess Leia fanatic. While Star Wars was truly a cultural touchstone for me as a kid in the 70's, I didn't fantasize about being her. Truth be told, I wanted to be Darth Vader. After donning a Vader costume and scaring a bunch of little kids one summer, I realized that it was much more fun to be the bad guy. Vader had a cool outfit, people feared him, he was powerful, and to top it all off, he was voiced by James Earl Jones. "This is CNN." I know, I'm weird.

Despite Lumpy and the copious amount of celebrity death in 2016, it was actually a pretty good year for me. I traveled a lot, both to promote my book as well as just for fun. I became much more comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. I also lived through a book event in New Orleans where only two people showed up and neither of them bought my book. That was totally awkward, but I lived to tell the story. What doesn't kill us gives us stories! I also finished my second book and I'm almost done with graduate school. So there's that.

So, did anything good happen in your 2016? Doing anything fun for New Year's Eve? Is there black-eyed peas on your grocery list?

Tell me.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Mourning: The Death of a Child

A year ago, an annual FB post was noticed by the DW. I’d not yet read Pam’s book but her request to share my story has scratched at the back of my brain ever since. After reading Death Becomes Us, I knew I could trust her and her audience with my story. As this is a particularly meaningful year for me, it felt like the time was right.

My son, Christopher, was born by emergency C-section 16 years ago, today. He was 4 weeks early. We found out later that I’d gotten a group B strep infection earlier than they tested for and it had killed the placenta. The entire experience was traumatic, in ways that have haunted my nightmares ever since, but I’m not going to relate that here. Suffice it to say that it was an abusive marriage and had been an equally brutal pregnancy. I was alone in every way that matters and everything went wrong. But in the end, Christopher was alive and recovering, or so we thought.

Preemies must prove that they are eating and growing at a certain rate before a hospital releases them so, for two weeks, we believed we had a normal kid that had just gotten a rough start. A midnight life-fight to Primary Children’s hospital changed all that. Did you know you have to promise that you won’t freak out if your kid flat-lines mid-flight to ride with them? With only minutes to absorb the situation, I had to admit that I didn’t know if I could stay calm. They flew off without me.

My husband (at the time) gathered our things from the hospital sleep-room (a temporary room provided to parents with children who’ve been hospitalized) and drove us the hour and a half to where our son had been taken. What followed was five and a half months of fighting for Christopher’s life.