Despite early reports to the contrary, the new stage for Jedi Training Academy at Disney/MGM Studios has not displaced the Ewok Village. And the stage looks pretty good; pictures are available at DISUpdates.
Now, here’s something that’s just sat in my blogreader for days, because I couldn’t figure out what to make of it. Mousevine posted last week that the Night of Joy Christian music event at Walt Disney World is being moved from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Not a big deal to me . . . my fondness for Christian music is pretty much centered in Bach chorales, Gregorian chants, and similar golden oldies. So, what caught my eye was Mousevine’s commentary on the event itself:
. . . some who have attended previous NOJ festivals, as well as Cast Members who’ve worked it, claim that of all the separate-ticket events held at the Magic Kingdom, it’s the most unruly. Tales abound of the Magic Kingdom overrun by mobs of drunken teens, petty thievery in the shops, as well as an overworked security dealing with fights among the crowds of young concert attendees. Not exactly the kind of behavior one would expect to find at a Christian music festival. The discussion then devolves into those who swear the stories are true and those who accuse people of being anti-Christian posting their false stories.
It’s hard to assess the veracity of the tales of debauchery involving NOJ unless one witnesses it for themselves. I have read of one Disney fansite who had members attend the concerts to see if the stories were true or if it had become another Disney urban legend to add to the pile. And for the most part, the group found the stories to be true. And it’s hard not to believe the stories when you read the accounts by cast members who’ve worked NOJ and the majority are negative.
Wow, I had totally missed this Disney fan controversy! Almost makes me want to attend NOJ and see for myself. (But hey, it doesn’t take much to make me want to go to Disney World, now does it?)
I opened today’s morning paper to find an ad for The Boston Globe’s Children’s Book Festival, September 15, 11am – 5pm, and featuring such stellar acts as the Doodlebops and Choo Choo Soul.
Attention Nathan Rose: If you’re booking a flight out, drop me a note! I promise not to shame you for your love of the Doodlebops. Those of us who make clothes for our Pal Mickeys can hardly afford to throw stones.
This is why I need to move to Tokyo. Akihabara, to be more specific. Now.
Hat tip to Silent Kimbly, yay!
At first, I didn’t realize that some of my fellow cast members were frightened of these guests. Something about their black makeup and reputation made the Bats crowd intimidating, I suppose. I really didn’t notice. In high school, I had stepped out of my comfort zone and made friends with a few goths, to discover that, more often than not, they were far nicer than the “normal” people. It might have been because I was a misfit myself, but I believe they would have opened up the same way to anyone. As for the Disneyland guests, they came to have fun, same as anyone else. It was annoying to me that I had to initiate contact with “scary people” because…well, they were scary. Even after one of them managed to talk with one of the goths to discover that yes, I was right, they can be very nice, the cast members seemed very nervous about them.
Apparently, despite having it drilled into our heads from the time we are old enough to watch our first episode of Sesame Street, most people do not remember not to “judge a book by it’s cover.” It doesn’t matter that this particular event took place at Disneyland, because I see it all the time. I’ve been a victim of this kind of thing for as long as I can remember. I come from Long Beach, so I’m automatically into drugs, rap, and because of the high school I attended, I’m possibly mentally unstable, part of a gang, and prone to violence. It doesn’t matter that people get these ideas from poorly researched television programs and films, it must be true because that’s what they know. I’m also preppy because I’m intelligent, and therefore I must have good grades (niether of which is entirely true). I am supposedly a hippy, therefore (again) a druggie, because I like to listen to sixties and seventies music. The list goes on and on. Worse, because I have an uncommon and not-very-phoenetic name, people tend to think I’m weird anyway without even learning more than my name.
And while we’re being asked not to judge books by their covers . . . I’m reminded of a post I saw earlier today on the QueerSighted Gay Blog, discussing whether High School Musical 2 is “chock full of gay:”
Perhaps disturbed by the gay subtext [in High School Musical] that was pointed out to them by homosexuals with agendas, Disney attempts to butch up High School Musical 2, removing all traces of queer allegory and metaphor and amping up the heterosexual love triangle. Even so, this sequel (which exists in a parallel universe where the high school experience is so watered down that it might as well be clear) is perhaps even gayer than the first movie.
I must say, it did occur to me that the “I Don’t Dance” scene was as laden with coded references and knowing glances as any Hays Code-era Hollywood blockbuster. Ryan’s the pitcher, eh? Not surprising at all, to those of us who’ve spent a good bit of time wearing the pink hats ourselves. And did anyone else think it was odd that Troy could even pretend to be jealous when Ryan slung his arm, with platonic affection, around Gabriella’s shoulders?
It would seem we’re confronted with a post-modern dilemma: Do we choose to view Ryan’s fabulous, fey mannerisms as thinly-veiled references to his homosexuality, or do we embrace the notion that hetero men should also be free to love show tunes and camp it up? Either way, Ryan saves the day, so does it matter? Not to me. I’m a big fan of both gay rights and gender aberration, so either way I’m all for it.
But more to the point . . . maybe Ryan’s sexual orientation does matter if you’re a gay teen growing up today, watching High School Musical 2 and thinking maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to be who you are. Could it be possible that we really are all in this together?
Just saw this on DIS News: The Walt Disney Company is demanding that University of Washington retract its Baby Einstein study. From Bob Iger’s letter:
The study fails to account for, let alone assess, the interactive nature of products such as Baby Einstein, seemingly dismisses the importance of interactivity as a factor by assuming without proof that interaction is equally important regardless of content design, and then undermines even that unproven assumption by conceding that the study “cannot capture the quality of [parent-child] interactions, which surely vary.”
While it is indisputable that children develop at different rates and differ in their innate abilities, there is no attempt to control for these differences which are particularly important in the sample of younger babies.
Iger would seem to be agreeing with Sarah, who posted yesterday on my blog that the results of the University of Washington survey just suck.
My scientific mind would like to see more studies. As a parent, my gut feeling and anecdotal experience say that talking to your kids is a more effective way to teach them language than any other method (surely that’s how evolution should have set things up here). Don’t go thinking that this means I didn’t let my kid watch Sesame Street videos though . . . I can sing Ernie’s greatest hits with the best of ‘em.
News broke last week that the Trinity Broadcasting Network has stepped in to save the Holy Land Experience, a Jerusalem-themed attraction not far from Disney World.
Mr Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage) has just published a trip report from his April 2002 visit to the Holy Land Experience. Here’s a snippet from his report:
After getting my ticket, I then passed through the Jerusalem Gate, sans Ass or Palms, and wandered straight into a recreation of a Jerusalem street market which might easily be confused with a souvenir shop. The tchotchkes offered here and at various carts around the park are all Old Testament: a variety of shofars, several types of menorahs and jet black yarmulkes (suffice to say this selection of keepsakes has done nothing to soothe Jewish feelings about the park). The day I was there there was only one depiction of Jesus to be seen: a standard-issue, saccharine painting of an Anglicized Him meeting the woman at the well. All other paintings feature either Moses or Abraham. Indeed this lack of Christian imagery is ubiquitous throughout the park and on its customers. I didn’t see a single cross on anyone inside of the park. The only cross I did see was a small and relatively discrete one in The Land’s logo: It takes the place of a star in the sky over a silhouette of the old Jerusalem skyline. Admittedly that logo is on everything from key chains to tote bags to t-shirts but compared to the trifurcated circles of Mickey Mouse which are incorporated into buildings, landscaping and food at Disney World, The Holy Land is a model of restraint. (Indeed after visiting The Land, I was keenly aware of what it meant to have Disney’s corporate logo offered to me in cookies, ice cream and cakes of butter. Body of Mickey, anyone?)
I suppose you won’t be surprised to know that Broke Hoedown Jr and I spent the day in Fantasyland instead.
From the DIS News:
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle say that baby DVDs and videos – such as “Baby Einstein” – are different from beneficial children’s programming because they have little dialogue, short scenes and disconnected pictures and show “linguistically indescribable images such as a lava lamp.”
The researchers found that for every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants understood an average of six to eight fewer words than babies who didn’t watch them. Their study was published Tuesday in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Want to help your baby’s language skills? Don’t put on a video, just have a nice little chat.