Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Closer, Alice In Wonderland and the Sunshine Kids!

A Big Sunshine Kids Shout Out!!!!

Spent a delightful day volunteering with the inspiring kids and wonderful staff at the Sunshine Kids organization. Sunshine Kids is a non-profit that provides fun activities and outings for children affected by cancer.

The Sunshine Kids staff were totally welcoming and sweet, especially Natasha and Ron. First, they had a pizza party for the kids with great pizza and the most scrumptious mini cupcakes ever. Then we were off to a tour of the set of The Closer on the Raleigh Studios lot. Our tour guide was Andy Sacks (producer for The Closer)and Exec. Director of Sunshine Kids, G.W. Bailey. Bailey also plays Detective Lt. Provenza on The Closer and is also known for his roles as Rizzo in M*A*S*H*, and the Police Academy movies. I have been a fan of Mr. Bailey since my teens so I was too thrilled!

We got to speak with the entire cast and crew and we even sang "Happy Birth Day" to the petite, blond and lovely Kyra Sedgewick (Virgos rule!!!) Sedgewick plays Brenda Leigh Johnson on the show and she is the sweetest in person but sans the southern accent. She is excellent in The Closer and it is no surprise that she has been nominated for the 2010 Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series. She goes up against a group of strong actresses including Glenn Close for her work in Damages, Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights, Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife, Mariska Hargitay for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and January Jones for Mad Men. I hope Kyra wins but I think Marguiles may squeak by her and it is never wise to rule Glen Close out in any acting competition.

Kyra's married to actor Kevin Bacon, another of my favs. I really liked Bacon in movies like Foot Loose, Apollo 13, A Few Good Men, He Said, She Saidand Hollow Man but if you haven't seen Mr. Bacon act in a while just check him out in Taking Chance, wow! He is also rumored to be the villain in one of the new X-Men movies. Bacon also works with charities through his Six Degrees organization (named for the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon), which helps connect donor with worthy charities. I think Kyra may have been talking to Bacon briefly on her cell phone before she handed out pieces of her birthday cake to the cast and crew. This was an amazing insider moment and I'm still pinching myself!!!

I tell you, everyone was so great! Andy let the kids lift a large fake cement block and the actors who were dressed as police men let us touch their realistic looking prop guns and badges. The crew even treated the kids to craft service where the kids had their pick of frozen treats and chips. We also met the two ginger-striped cats who “star” as Joel, the Brenda's new cat on the show. The youngest of the cats (barely out of kitten-hood) is so easy to handle that he crawled on my shoulders then nearly stood on my head (to my delight). There was a big “character arc” in season 5 involving the previous cat being put to sleep so I am glad the cats are back on set.

The set is a mind boggling place with a mock up of a police station complete with fake badges and a wall of fallen police men, desks with fake computers with pop up screens and fake family photos, an “outdoor” patio area with fake bougainvillea bushes, a complete bathroom with a soak tub and tilt-able mirrors that do not reflect the cameras and crew as they film the show. They even had fake elevators that were so realistic that I was totally fooled and nearly stepped into one. Mind-blowing!

Speaking of lovely petite blonds, cats and mind-blowing set pieces, we left the set and went to The Grove for a showing of Alice in Wonderland as part of the Movie Under The Stars summer series. We sat on blankets on the grass in the outdoor plaza where a big screen was set up and we could see the bright crescent moon in the sky. Some people had brought picnic baskets while others ordered from the Grove restaurants (The Cheesecake Factory being the most popular). I lowered my creaky self onto one section of blanket, praying that I would be able to get up after the movie(lol). A radio DJ got the crowd going and handed out prizes for correct answers about the Twilight movies, Johnny Depp, Disney classics characters (Tinkerbell being one of our favs) and Alice in Wonderland, of course. We whooped and hollered as our favorite entertainers were mentioned then, to our surprise, they gave a big shout out to the Sunshine Kids!! Whoop-eee!!!!

The movie started and we snuggled under blankets and passed around every snack imaginable. The kids giggled and bonded with each other and we laughed and clapped during the movie. Alice is a very visually stunning movie (as Tim Burton movies usually are) so it never got boring and most of the adults laughed at some of the adult humor that went over the heads of the kids. The temp dropped so Natasha passed out lovely blue sweat shirts with the Sunshine Kids logo which were long sleeved and thick so that kept the cold weather at bay for a bit. The movie ended at 9:50 pm and the crowd gave the movie loud claps and cheers as the credits rolled. A father of one of the kids helped me up off the blanket (bless him!) but a serious temp drop cleared out the crowd quickly after the movie so we all called it a night. But what a night it was!

The kids had a great time and I certainly did too! The Sunshine Kids is truly a worthy cause and they are really making an impact. I've provided a linked to the Sunshine Kids website below, so please visit their site and make a donation if you can.

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