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Shop Small Business Saturday by Sonia Kang | November 26 2016, 0 Comments

We had such a great pop-up shop at Miracle Mile Toy Store celebrating Shop Small Business Saturday.
We met other small businesses like The Piggy Box which helps teach kids about money. 
We also had great support by larger businesses that support our small business. Fresh Brothers is a family-owned business that does a great deal for the community and schools. Plus their pizza is ah-mazing!
What a great day! The kids were surprised to have a special book reading by the voice of Disney's Doc McStuffins. Laya DeLeon Hayes was so sweet and the kids adored her as she sang songs from the show. 

Boo at the LA Zoo by Sonia Kang | October 21 2016, 0 Comments

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with the L.A Zoo for their annual BOO AT THE L.A. ZOO event. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

This is our second year attending this event and the littles couldn't wait to check it out again this year.

This annual event, sponsored by 99 Cents Only Stores, is back to fill every day in October with Fang-tastic activities that my kids loved.

Check out our fun-filled day at the Zoo.

We were able to get up close and personal with some of the Zoo’s scaly, slithery creatures at “Animals and You” encounters, with tarantulas, scorpions, snakes and more at 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. daily, plus an extra show at 12:45 p.m. on weekends.

Full disclosure: I am not the slithery sort so I smiled my way through it watching my littles touch everything they could, at a safe distance.

We were then treated to more halloween fun by exploring spooky caves and a corn stalk maze.

The kids enjoyed watching the pros pumpkin carve, and other family fun including a “Disney Activity Station” and costume character meet-and-greets with PJ Masks and Peppa Pig on select weekends.

Other daily activities include a corn stalk maze filled with hair-raising Halloween scenes, among them a haunted barn, and a “freaky frame” photo op. 

 

On the weekends of Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23 and 29-30, the Zoo partners with Disney to add activities and giveaways previewing the upcoming release of the animated film Moana. Stations from KIND Healthy Snacks, the L.A. Federal Credit Union, and ScholarShare add to the Halloween happenings throughout the month. BOO AT THE L.A. ZOO’s Halloween bash concludes on Saturday and Sunday, October 29-30 with traditional trick-or-treat stations throughout the grounds and special costume character meet-and-greets with PJ Masks and Peppa Pig.

 

The kids and I loved the special animal feedings. There were brushes all around us so the kids each grabbed one and brushed the animals.
It started to warm up so we hit the “Musical Monster Mash-Up” puppet show (a costumes-encouraged dance party) followed by a boo-tiful Halloween themed crafts area.
We enjoyed our day. We definitely recommend Boo at the LA Zoo. We loved hanging out as a family. One of our favorite parts of the day was when we competed as a family against other teams of families. We won a game where we answered silly questions and had to work together as a team.
Hurry and check it out before it's all over!
Here's the info: 

October 1 through 31, 2016
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12). No ticket is required for children under 2. Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free. The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Free parking is available. For additional information about Boo At The Zoo, call (323) 644-6001 or visit http://www.lazoo.org/boo/. For general information about the Zoo, call (323) 644-4200.

Activities at BOO AT THE L.A. ZOO, which is sponsored by 99 Cents Only Stores, are free with paid Zoo admission. Check lazoo.org/BOO for details and daily schedules.


ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE Event by Sonia Kang | October 13 2016, 0 Comments

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Fox Home Entertainment. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
My family and I are fans of the Ice Age franchise so when we were invited to attend the Ice Age Collision Course DVD release media event at Discovery Cube in Santa Ana, we jumped at the opportunity.
 
I brought my husband and two of our four children to the event which started with a breakfast with Scrat. Scrat is the hilarious squirrel who is obsessed with acorns that constantly elude him. The kids loved meeting him and taking pictures with him. 
In this DVD our favorite ICE AGE heroes are back and cooler than ever! Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn accidentally triggers cosmic events that threaten the ICE AGE world.  Buck, Manny, Ellie, Sid, Diego and the rest of the herd must work together on a hilarious journey filled with nonstop action and colorful new characters in order to survive the global Scrat-tastrophe!
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Our fun-filled day began with a yummy breakfast and photo op with Scrat.
               s                               
Following breakfast we were ushered into an auditorium where we were given a presentation by two of the filmmakers:Jony Chandra and Galen Chu. Jony is the story artist who led a live character drawing session that Ava absolutely loved. She was able to follow along as he made Scrat.  Luke enjoyed co-director, Galen's explanation of how he brings the characters to life.
Next was an interactive chat with an air & space expert.
Luke has been collecting rocks since he was 4 and found the rocks and meteor that brought fascinating. In fact, he wanted to bring it home! No luck lil dude!
As if all of the excitement up to this point wasn't enough, we got a special tour of the Science of Hockey Rocket Lab, Mission Control and the Planetary Research Station. 
What an amazing family outing. We all found something we enjoyed but nothing is better than watching your children enjoy themselves while learning.
Special thanks to The Discovery Cube for hosting the event and to all the sponsors!
 
 
Pick up your copy ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE at any major retailer or online
 Blu-ray release of Ice Age: Collision Course available October 11  
ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE Blu-ray™ & DVD Special Features Include:
o   “Scrat: Spaced Out Mini-Movie”
o   “Ice Age: The Story So Far”
o   “Scratasia: Scrat’s Solo Adventures”
o   “Mysteries of the Scratazons”
o   “Star Signs of the Animal Kingdom”
o   “The Science of It All: deGrasse Tyson deBunks”
o   “Figaro Sing-along”
ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE TM & © 2016 FOX. All Rights Reserved.

Women and Finance by Sonia Kang | September 29 2016, 1 Comment

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Looking at me on social media, you would never know how difficult my life is. We all tend to put our best foot forward, right? We feel that if we present the "realness" folks may not like what they see and if you're in the public eye, perhaps sponsors will shy away from your brand. At the many networking events I attend, they stress presenting your authentic self. I have to admit, I am afraid to present this side of me but when I went to the Prudential/DiMe Media 'Women Inspired' San Diego event last week and heard all the beautiful stories shared by the women on-stage and in the audience, it encouraged me to face my reality. If my story and past can help another, like these ladies helped me, then that's what I will do. So buckle up, and get ready for a whopper of reality. My reality!

Teen mom: I had my daughter shortly after graduating high school. I was in my 1st semester of college living with my high school sweetheart, barely able to care for myself and now we were caring for a newborn.

Special-needs mom: as if having a baby at such a young age while in college wasn't enough, my sweet baby girl was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. We noticed all her developmental milestones were delayed and she was underweight. It took many years for science to catch up to an actual diagnosis but she is 1 in 4 people IN THE WORLD with this rare disorder. It affects her mentally, physically and socially. Life is hard for her but she tries her best.

College Graduate: While my daughter was graduating special-ed kindergarten, I was graduating with my Bachelor's degree in Nursing. Eager to start my new career as a RN, I wasn't excited to pay back all the student loans I acquired during my years pursuing my degree.

While in my first year of nursing I had another child, this time a boy. Our family of four was now on cruise control as we starting looking for our first home to raise our children. But sadly we would never get there as my children's father passed away in a terrible accident.

Y'all still with me?

Young Widow:  At 29 years of age and a mom of two I was now facing the devastating loss of my children's father. Emotionally, physically and financially, losing someone is quite possibly the worst pain I have ever felt.

Effecting Change "Aha" moment 

When the funeral services were over and family and friends slowly stopped coming over reality kicked in and I realized I am left to raise two children on my own. There is something that came over me realizing that I was the only parent left to provide for my children was a real rude awakening. If something happens to me, my children will be alone. Alone!! Who would be there to care for them and prepare for their future? It was time to get serious.

Let that sit in for a moment. 

Financial Challenges While some of my friends were celebrating their big 3-0 birthdays clubbing, traveling to exotic spots, I was making financial plans for my children and I. I bought my first home and was assigned a financial planner through my employer who helped me get my 401K, life insurance plan, and their 529 college savings plans in order. I felt so proud of myself. I kept thinking I was doing everything I could to prepare for my future, but more importantly, for my children's future. 

I felt good that I had all this in place and as the years passed, life was finally on a good path. I fell in love, married and had 2 more children. We were now a family of 6.

I wish I could say that's where the story ends but it wouldn't be mi vida loca if it did.

As I was working as a critical care RN my life's mission and entrepreneurial spirit led me down another path. Taking the approach of "life is too short" I started a small business, Mixed Up Clothing. With the help of my grandmother and (sadly) borrowing against my 401K I started my company and have not looked back. 

This little company has taken me on the journey I would never have predicted for myself but it has taken all the money I saved for my future and now I need to get back to investing in my business, myself, my spouse and my children. 

Future Plans  Being at the Prudential/DiMe event, I walked away with action items and a to-do list of what I'm going to do to work towards retirement and invest in my legacy. 

They are:

1. Find a financial planner I trust

2. Research the various options out there that meet my needs. Each person and their circumstances are different. What suits one may not suit another. I will discuss with the planner and find the best one for us that address my needs:

A. I have a special needs daughter 

B. I have a senior in high school so college savings is pressing.

C. Elderly grandparent and parents I want to help

3. Business- I want my business to continue long after I'm gone so how do I navigate that process in preparing a legacy.

4. Retirement- umm, yea one day I would like to retire

So there you have it. Here I am flaws and all. I don't have a pretty life story. I have had tragedy after tragedy and guess what? I'm still standing. I learned I am stronger than I ever thought I was and that I can do anything I set my mind to.

I will get back on financial track because I owe it to myself and my family. 

 


Mixed Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium by Sonia Kang | September 01 2016, 0 Comments

Last year around this time I was with my family at Filipino Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium. It was at that game that my then 7-year-old son, Luke, asked if there was a special day at Dodger Stadium that was for kids that were multiracial. By the time we were singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” I had decided I would answer that question posed by Luke by reaching out to the LA Dodgers and creating a Mixed Heritage Day.

The next day I pitched them the idea of Mixed Heritage Day and they accepted.

Along with my co-founder of MultiCulti Corner, Delia Douglas Haight, we set out to produce the best inaugural Mixed Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium we could.

With the help of several sponsors we achieved that.

Bobby Brown Foods donated an awesome raffle basket

 

 Sponsors who believe in the importance of celebrating cultural diversity and inclusion signed on to support our event. We would like to thank:

Mixed Up Clothing, Inc              

DDHPR

Target

Los Angeles Dodgers

CurlyKids HairCare

FORD
Multiracial Media Multiracial Americans

A Mixed Girl ‘s Favorite Recipes

Mixed Marrow

Multiracial Family Man Podcast

Mixed Roots Stories

Giggle Drink

On August 27, 2016 we met at Dodger Stadium and walked the exact route the Dodger players take to get to the field. While walking through we learned about the wonderful history of the Dodgers and got to see all the trophies.

On on the field, we gathered to be recognized by the office of Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti.

Meet Amanda Mejia, the East Area Representative, Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. She was so kind and helpful.

This is a great shot of us all taken by Dodger's photographer, Jon Soo Hoo and posted to his Dodgers Photog Blog page.

On0the-field fun with cameras and reporters

The moment we all were waiting for...Mixed Heritage Day on the Jumbotron

 

My dad and I having fun with the IG cutout.

My littles and I

My littles with celebrities Luna Blaise from Fresh off the Boat

and

Kayla Maisonet from Stuck in the Middle

Showing off the award to actor Jason George from Grey's Anatomy

Sara from Awesomeness TV and I hanging out.

 

What the day was really about. These littles are what Mixed Heritage Day is all about. Celebrating cultural diversity and inclusion.

Good friends, good times

 

And that's a wrap on our inaugural Mixed Heritage Day!

See you next year!!

 


Mompreneur: vacation edition! by Sonia Kang | August 08 2016, 0 Comments

It's really hard for my family and I to get away for a week vacation. We are always on the go. As a mom, wife and entrepreneur, I'm as busy as the next person but I admit that I need to do more to make time with my family to disconnect and be one with each other and nature. 
This summer my family and I decided we would head to Lake Tahoe to get one with nature. I partnered with Lincoln who provided the beautiful MKX for the week. This busy business woman and mom of four could really use the time away and why not enjoy an affordable luxury vehicle while on the go?
 We loaded up the car and took off on the drive. With each mile we drove I could feel the sense of relief and excitement building. I was getting away with my family and I was determined to put the electronics down and really live in the moment.  
After several hours in the car we finally made it to Lake Tahoe and checked into our hotel. We showered and walked into the harbor are for a nice dinner on our first night in town. After dinner we took a stroll by the lake and watched the sunset. 
Heading back to the hotel, we talked about what was on tap for the next day and the kids decided they wanted to be swim and fish.
I'm not a fisherman by any stretch of the imagination but I can hold a fishing pole my husband or son baited for me and wait for a bite. 
We had an amazing time fishing. It does take quite a bit of patience but well worth it. My kids wouldn't be my kids if they didn't complain about how long it took to catch a fish but they had to deal with it. They were using both hands to hold the poles so they couldn't use their phones and play games. The horror!! Just when the complaints were getting to that point, the fish started biting and it was on! The first kid that caught a fish got bragging rights and the others were determined to catch one on their own. Nothing like a lil' sibling rivalry to get them out of complaining. I'll take it! We each caught a fish and that would be our dinner for the night as our hotel offered  bar b que pits.
Now on to the beach! 
We joined some family that was also spending time in Lake Tahoe. They brought their kayaks and paddle boards so my kids were in heaven.
I am usually labeled the uptight parent. My husband is the fun one. Mommy is the more serious one. I like a good plan, where my husband is more spontaneous. But I promised myself I would let go more while on this trip. I'm not going to lie, when the family was in the water and I was sitting under an umbrella relaxing, I did bring out my mobile and check on emails. I couldn't help myself. I have a total fear of missing out (FOMO). What if an opportunity is sitting in my in box and I'm missing it? After getting caught working, my kids demanded I get in the water. They actually fought over who was going to kayak with mommy. Not because they wanted me, but they knew I may not be the best partner! I showed them, I kayaked my butt off. Sure, we fell over once but who doesn't?
The night ended with visiting with family at their campsite. We toasted s'mores, listened to music and talked. The kids played a Mexican game of Loteria  which is similar to Bingo. If I had to pinpoint the moment I had been waiting all year for, this would be it. The moment where all was right with the world and I was with those that mean everything to me. 
The next day was spent hiking and more beach time.
Lake Tahoe is just an amazing place. The perfect weather, clear skies, fresh blue water and the views are breathtaking. 
Our week away came to an end and it was time to head back to reality. Driving home I start to get antsy as I knew school would be starting soon and I would be swooped away in mommy-hood and business woman mode soon enough.
As we drove the last few miles home I told the kids how much I loved spending time with them and that I hope that when life gets hectic and all their school work and after school sports activities get too much, lets re-group and remember that things will be ok, as long as we are safe and healthy. I am proud of my family and love that I had this time away from them. I promised myself to be a bit more spontaneous and to step away from my electronics a bit more. We don't have to be away in order to re-connect with each other. It just times practice.
Disclosure: Thank you to Lincoln Motor for the MKX and to The Ellen Show for the hotel accommodations. All opinions are mine.

Diversity Matters: Multicultural Mamapreneurs and the Businesses They Started by Sonia Kang | July 28 2016, 0 Comments

                                    

 

Last year I was at a Dodger game with my family when the Jumbo-tron flashed information about upcoming ballgames. My young son tugged at my arm motioning for me to glance at the information being displayed. Fun nights like “Filipino Night”, “Cuban Night” “Korean Night” popped up on the screen. He pulled me closer to him and asked:

“Mommy, what day do kids like me come to Dodger Stadium? Is there a day for us coming up?” I asked him to explain what he meant and he said: “well, you’re Black and Mexican, and 아빠 (Daddy) is Korean so is there a special day for kids like me that are mixed?”

Talk about being thrown a curve-ball.

I laughed it off and told him that we could go to the ballpark anytime we wanted but by the 7th inning stretch I had not been able to shake his question. As we locked arms and swayed side to side to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” I was determined to find an answer for him.

We got home and I carried my sleepy son to his bed and whispered that I would figure out a way to answer his question.

But what could I do?

Like in my business, Mixed Up Clothing, and as a multiracial community activist, I am used to having to answer the question of WHY this event, and others like it, are needed?  Why are diversity and inclusion important? WHY should there be a “Mixed Heritage Night”?

                         

 Simply put, because we are here and we want to see our community recognized.

  1. We are the second fastest growing community.
  2. Interracial marriages are on the rise according to Pew Research Center.
  3. 40% of all adoptions in the U.S. are transracial

 Fully armed with this information, facts and figures, I pitched the idea to the Dodgers for “Mixed Heritage Day.” In my pitch, I included how children look up to the Dodger players as role models and how great it would be to have a dedicated day for children of mixed heritage to see the new Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, who identifies as mixed Black and Japanese. Or Outfielder, Trayce Thompson, who is Black and Caucasian. It went on that children want to see themselves and their reality reflected in the world around them. That the multiracial and multicultural community want to be represented in media, in books, on television, on fashion runways, in the beauty aisles, in sports and at other cultural events.

I submitted the pitch and now I would wait for the Dodgers to respond.

I know I'm not the only one whose mama bear instinct kicked in and wanted to make a difference for her children and those children like them. I turned to fellow women of color who built their own businesses. They agree that “necessity is the mother of invention” and just like me, wanted to create something for their children and fill the void left in the marketplace.

Check out these mamapreneurs who know a thing or two about starting a business and fulfilling their life's mission.

 

Chudney Ross, Books and Cookies       photo credit: Lauri Levenfeld

Chudney is a writer, teacher, entrepreneur and a mom. After graduating Georgetown University, she became a teacher with AmeriCorps's Teach for America program. After years of teaching elementary school, Chudney's love of children's literature and her advocacy for children's causes motivated her to open Books and Cookies, a children's bookstore, enrichment center and event space in Santa Monica. Her love of books also led her to write a middle grade children’s book called Lone Bean, which was publishedby HarperCollins in 2012.

 

Chudney opened Books and Cookies in 2011 after noticing a lack of safe and engaging spaces for families with small children. This was when play spaces in LA were just starting to emerge and parents were still hanging out at coffee shops. She thought this was a perfect opportunity to engage families and build community around her love of books.

Her hope was, and is, to create a positive and fun-filled learning environment that is not only kid-friendly, but adult-friendly; to be a welcoming space for families by offering enriching activities and snacks, and to be an active and positive part of the community while promoting the joy of literacy!

 

Chudney’s fortunate to be able to part-take and share in the experience of Books and Cookies with her daughter, 3 year old Callaway. She created the structure, designed the space and filled it with books, but the families who continue to build this community and share their love and support make it the success it is. Chudney shares “how lucky that my daughter (since she was just a tiny infant) gets to share in that joy. When I was pregnant, I got to ask questions and share in the experience with other new moms & moms-to-be in store. When Callaway was an infant, we would join in on Baby Play Time and now, she still enjoys play dates in the Learn and Play area and joining in on Story Time. I work hard to keep Books and Cookies clean, safe and enriching for my child and for yours! Callaway loves books… and cookies, too!”  

                                                    

                                        Photo credit: Lauri Levenfeld, photographer   

Chudney’s advice to moms who want to start a business is one shared by many. It “is the hardest thing I have ever done (other than raising a child). It takes countless hours, sleepless night, stress beyond belief, but I do truly believe that anything is possible with hard work, passion, reliance and dedication. I would not change this journey that I have embarked on for anything!”

 

Sandy B. Williams Co-Founder of CurlyKids HairCare

CurlyKids is a collection of products developed for curly, kinky, coily, wavy, and frizzy hair. Additionally Sandy B., is Editor-In-Chief of CurlyKids Magazine and blogger at CurlyKids HairCare Blog. Residing in Los Angeles, Sandy B. is an ancestral / lineal research enthusiast, maven within the beauty business, a wife, and a mom to a dynamic college student, model, and Miss Santa Monica USA Crown Holder.

Her and her co-founder started the CurlyKids HairCare line because of a recognized need within their own family for a styling product specifically designed for mixed hair textures and different curl patterns. After talking with more family members, friends, and colleagues they realized the need for the product extended further than just their family. Globally, there was a need for CurlyKids HairCare whose mission is to provide quality hair care products that are affordable yet feel luxurious.

                                

Sandy B. shared that “my daughter and I share a very close relationship. As a college student my daughter is very interested learning all about the beauty business and has been incredibly supportive of our business.” Good news is that CurlyKids HairCare plans to extend the line to include a few additional items that “we feel our customers will love.” Their products in major retail stores and someday they hope to have their own flagship CurlyKids HairCare store with styling salon. 

Sandy B. has advice for future female entrepreneurs: “surround yourself with brands, business owners, colleagues, and mompreneurs that support each other.  There's a popular phrase "empowered power, empower women" I have found this to be very true.”

 

Delia Douglas, Owner of DDHPR

DDHPR is a boutique public relations firm catering to an eclectic roster of fashion, beauty, multicultural, curve, non-profit and artist clients. Passionate about diversity, Delia is a board-member at MASC (Multiracial Americans of Southern California) and co-founder of Multiculti Corner, a culturally diverse community of multiracial people and families for social, educational, and celebratory news and events. An advocate for positive body-image messaging within the media, Delia is the US Ambassador for Slink Magazine, UK's premiere print plus-size fashion and lifestyle magazine. A California native, Delia, her husband, and their 5 year old daughter reside in Venice, CA.

Delia founded DDHPR in 2010 as a boutique public relations firm with an eclectic roster of Fashion, Beauty, Multicultural, Curve and Artist Clients after years of dreaming about working independently and owning her own business. Her decision to launch her own boutique PR firm was actually based on necessity. “When I was pregnant with my daughter my obstetrician warned me that my stress level was alarmingly high and that my baby was at risk. I needed to change my work environment and still generate an income. I took a leap of faith in leaving my in-house gig and going on my own.”

Delia explains how she has “been fortunate to meet and connect with some incredible fellow mamapreneurs. And at times I've been able to bring my daughter to work with me in a space that she too enjoys.” This prompted Multiculti Corner, a second-venture and partnership with her dear friend. Multiculti Corner is a culturally diverse community of Multiracial people & families. They plan and curate social mixers, educational events, cultural adventures, and visits to historic landmarks. She shares her hope “that together we continue to share positive messaging and images that evoke kindness, compassion, and inclusion.”

All of us mamas started something, as difficult as it is at times, to make a difference somehow. Not just for our children, but for children who aren't always seen or recognized. It is in this spirit of inclusion, that the LA Dodgers accepted and confirmed the inaugural “Mixed Heritage Day” game which will be held August 27, 2016 at 1:05pm.

So on this day, when the Jumbotron flashes on and welcomes us to “Mixed Heritage Day” you will find me with my husband, children and thousands of others that identify and support our community, celebrating a win for diversity.

Now that is what I call a home run!

 

For more information:

Mixed Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium

Saturday, August 27,2016 at 1:05 pm vs Chicago Cubs

Purchase tickets here: http://tinyurl.com/haozq9b

Proceeds go to support Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC) a 501c3 serving and advocating for the multiracial and transracially adopted community for over 25 years

Books And Cookies

@booksandcookies

CurlyKids Haircare

@curlykidshaircare

DDHPR

@ddhpr

MultiCulti Corner

@multiculticorner

 


LACO @ THE MOVIES: AN EVENING OF DISNEY SILLY SYMPHONIES by Sonia Kang | June 15 2016, 0 Comments

“LACO @ THE MOVIES: AN EVENING OF DISNEY SILLY SYMPHONIES”
BRINGS DAZZLING ACADEMY AWARD
®-WINNING DISNEY ANIMATION
TO THE BIG SCREEN WITH
ORCHESTRAL SCORES PERFORMED LIVE BY
LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA,
LED BY EMMY® AWARD-WINNING COMPOSER MARK WATTERS

Dustin Hoffman Serves as Honorary Chair

Saturday, June 4, 2016, 7 pm
The Orpheum Theatre Downtown LA
I was excited to be invited to attend the “LACO @ THE MOVIES: AN EVENING OF DISNEY SILLY SYMPHONIES” with my family. My dear friend is a musician and has performed with the LOS ANGELES CHAMBER ORCHESTRA so I knew a little something about the Silly Symphonies.  She explained that the orchestra performed the music as part of the backdrop to the animated films. From symphonic to jazz I knew my kids would enjoy this evening of beautiful music and film but I would need to explain a bit more to about the Silly Symphonies and how it was part of Disney History. My kids know about Disneyland and films like Mulan, Frozen and Snow White but would need to learn a bit more about Walt’s Silly Symphonies.
Everyone knows that Walt Disney produced the Mickey series but not very many know that he produced the Silly Symphonies, to go with the Mickey series. According to the popular Disney fan page, D23: “It featured different casts of characters in each film and enabled the animators to experiment with stories that relied less on the gags and quick humor of the Mickey cartoons and more on mood, emotion, and musical themes. Eventually the Silly Symphonies turned into the training ground for all Disney artists as they prepared for the advent of animated feature films. Flowers and Trees, a Silly Symphony and the first full-color cartoon, won the Academy Award® for Best Cartoon for 1932, the first year that the Academy offered such a category. For the rest of that decade, a Disney cartoon won the Oscar® every year.”
 
My kids looked like their minds were blown when they heard about the Silly Symphonies.  We talked about how Walt produced 75 Silly Symphonies during the Great Depression and that they were meant to lift the spirits of those affected during this time. After digressing into a lengthy discussion on what the Great Depression was, we moved on to how we would be going on a mini excursion using the Metro to the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown, the event’s landmark venue.
The Orpheum Theatre, located at the heart of downtown’s revitalized Broadway Theatre District Los Angeles, and a block away from my studio/office.
 
On the evening of the event we headed to the NoHo Metro station and had a bit of time on the train to talk more about some of the seven classic animated Silly Symphony shorts we would be watching including the “five Academy Award-winners, the first Silly Symphony short produced and directed by Walt Disney, the first commercial color short and the first to utilize a multiplane camera to create depth of field.”
We arrived at our stop and walked a short distance to the Orpheum, which opened in 1926. Once inside we walked passed the 2,000-seat theatre features a stunning Beaux Arts façade designed by architect G. Albert Lansburgh toward the stage to see the Orpheum’s 1927 Wurlitzer. The Wurlitzer is one of only three remaining original theatre organ installations in theatres in Southern California. At the concession stand, we grab our popcorn and some water, head to our seats and settle in for LACO @ the Movies.
 
The film and live music conducted by six-time Emmy award-winning composer Mark Watters, fascinated the kids . The poor people in front of us as my kids kept scooting forward, amazed by what they were seeing and hearing the music by such luminaries as Leigh Harline and Carl Stalling.

FEATURED SILLY SYMPHONIES:
The Skeleton Dance (1929)
Flowers and Trees (1932)
Three Little Pigs (1933)
The Country Cousin (1936)
The Old Mill (1937)
The Ugly Duckling (1939)
Music Land (1935) 

“LACO @ the Movies: An Evening of Disney Silly Symphonies” opens with The Skeleton Dance (1929), the first Silly Symphony short produced and directed by Walt Disney, starring four music-making and dancing skeletons in a macabre graveyard with a score by Carl Stalling based on the foxtrot, a popular dance beat of the era, set in a minor key.  Also shown are Flowers and Trees (1932), the first commercial short produced in color using the then-new Technicolor three-strip process and featuring a pastoral symphonic score by Bert Lewis and Frank Churchill, which became a critical success and won the first Academy Award® for Animated Short Subject; Three Little Pigs (1933), a musical sensation scored by Stalling that won a 1934 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film and was named to the National Film Registry in 2007 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”; and the Academy Award®-winning The Old Mill (1937), the first short to experiment with animation and camera techniques utilizing the multiplane camera, which added a dimensionality not previously seen in animated film and was later used in the iconic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 

Other featured Silly Symphony shorts include The Country Cousin (1936), performed with live music for the first time since it was produced 80 years ago.  Winner of the Best Animated Short Academy Award® in 1937, this film is based on the Aesop Fable "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse" with a sophisticated musical score by Harline.  Also shown is the 1939 color version of The Ugly Duckling, based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, which was the last Silly Symphony produced by the studio and garnered an Academy Award®  for Best Short Subject (a black and white version was produced in 1931).  The evening concludes with Music Land (1935), featuring a brilliant and virtuosic score that pits the Land of Symphony against the Isle of Jazz for a unique Disney “take” on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.”

As the show ended and everyone rose to acknowledge the amazing experience they had just witnessed, I looked over to my kids as the lights went on and could see the smiles on their faces. As we walked back to the Metro we talked about their favorite parts. I loved listening to their take on it and I agreed with each of them including my oldest saying her favorite parts of this magical evening was knowing that the event benefited education and concert programs of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Thank you Disney and LACO for all you do!
photo credits: Jamie Pham, ©Disney and Mixed Up 
Disclosure: Mixed Up was given tickets to this event but opinions are my own

Farewell to Michael Strahan at Live w/ kelly and Michael by Sonia Kang | June 01 2016, 0 Comments


MultiCulti Corner visits LA's Chinatown for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) month by Sonia Kang | May 30 2016, 0 Comments

Ni Hao!

Mixed Up Clothing is proud to support our partner, The MultiCulti Corner, as they teach multicultural children about other cultures around Los Angeles.

On this beautiful day we were introduced to one of the country’s oldest and most historic Chinese enclaves by docent, Helen Hua of Undiscovered Chinatown.

We met at the entry into Chinatown which is highlighted by a large dragon above Hill St. 

Helen explained that the Chinese immigrants moved into this area as early as 1852 and the first Chinese were mostly men. She went on to share that they were laborers doing work such as laundry, gardening, and building roads. There was heavy discrimination going around in the later part of the 19th century which led to The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.

 

We made a stop in Central Plaza, dedicated in 1938, which gives you a taste of true Chinese culture! 

It was at this time that this area officially became the first modern American Chinatown.

Our next stop was the intricately designed Taoist Temple, Thien Hau Temple. It is one of the more popular areas for worship among Asian residents.

The temple is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea and patron saint to sailors and fishermen.

The children were excited to learn about the stone Fu dogs at the front entrance of the temple. Outside the temple is a ceremonial urn which was used by villagers to pray for good weather. 
Also outside is a stone horse. The kids were excited to crawl under the horse as it is said that children who crawl under it are protected from harm.

The children gathered around to learn about the deities. They were allowed to burn incense which is used as part of the worship of the deities.

 

As we wandered the streets of this lively streets of Chinatown, we made a stop at the Chinese Historical Society.

After much walking, the kids were hungry. It didn't help that we passed several bakeries, restaurants. Helen walked us to a restaurant where we joined locals and other tourists and ate dim sum. 

After a few hours, we concluded our walking tour and exploration of this vibrant neighborhood full of variety and cultural activities. 

We encourage you to take part in learning about Chinatown by heading over to The MultiCulti Corner youtube video