Do you remember where you were when the first episode of American Idol aired on Fox in 2002? While the platform may seem a little dated at this point in time, with more singing shows than aspiring singers it feels like, the program offered singers the chance to change their lives in front of a huge audience of American voters. Now 19 seasons later, performers like young Alanis Sophia are getting the chance to strike out for Hollywood for the opportunity to become America’s next idol.
The most recent name that has everyone talking is young Alanis Sophia, a contestant from Wesley Chapel, Florida, who was named after the famous singer, Alanis Morissette. Sophia appeared on the program in late February to raucous applause from the star-studded cast of judges, including glowing praise from Katy Perry herself!
Alanis Sophia Sets Sights on Stardom
For Alanis Sophia, appearing on American Idol in 2021 was all about making the most of a second opportunity. Still just 19-years-old, Alanis wasn’t even born when American Idol began airing. Originally staking her claim to the music scene at the age of 11, Alanis would appear on and land second place in the Spanish-language iteration of The Voice, titled La Voz.
After coming so close to tasting victory, Alanis would focus on curating her skills while plying forward with her work at school. Sophia would attend Pasco School and graduate from the institution in 2019, paving the way for Sophia to focus entirely on improving her skills and preparing for a second chance at Idol-fame when the program returned to Florida in 2021.
Upon arriving at the show, Sophia would get her chance to perform in front of Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry, and country musician Luke Bryan. A visibly confident Sophia would explain to the judges that she had been gifted an American Idol microphone as a child and that she had clung to the hope of ‘going to Hollywood’ ever since. Sophia also explained to the judges that American Idol would operate as a bonding point between Sophia and her mother, often pointing to how music helped them during tough times back in Puerto Rico.
The Performance of a Lifetime
After explaining a bit about her story, Alanis would set forth with her own rendition of Anyone by the esteemed and incredibly talented Demi Lovato. Sophia kept the gifted American Idol microphone in her hand throughout the touching rendition, bringing smiles to the face of Katy, Luke, and Lionel. By the time the song had ended, it was clear that Sophia had won over not just a single judge, but all of the judges.
Katy Perry would open up the discussion regarding Sophia with instantaneous effusive praise saying, “She is the best we’ve seen today.” Such high praise from one of the most successful pop artists of all time should go a long way toward Sophia’s confidence in her skills, but that wasn’t all the judges had to say.
Lionel Richie would pile onto the praise that Sophia received after Perry finished gushing over the performer. Richie pointed out that Sophia had a ‘purity’ to her voice and that Sophia’s personality ‘requires nothing but exactly who you are’. Ritchie would go on to say that Sophia had huge potential and those words were quickly echoed by Luke Bryan.
Now on her way to Hollywood for another chance at stardom, Alanis Sophia and her family are hoping for a finish at the top of the competition. Yet with such high praise from music legends like Richie and Perry, it feels like Sophia is already on the way to victory.
Big Plans For The Goonies House In Oregon
The well-known “Goonies House” in Astoria, Oregon has recently been purchased by a new owner who intends to keep it open for movie fans.
For decades, fans of the film have visited the house, which is located at 368 38th St, Astoria, OR 97103. Many visitors have taken pictures outside the house, and some have even climbed to the roof to reenact the iconic scene in which the Goonies slide down the chimney to escape the Fratellis.
The new owner stated that they have always been fans of the film and were thrilled to be able to purchase the house. They intend to renovate the property, but they want to ensure that it remains true to its appearance in the film.
“I have always been a fan of The Goonies, it was my favorite movie as a child, and I remember visiting the house when I was a kid. I just couldn’t let it go when it went up for sale. It is such an iconic piece of movie history,” said the new owner. “I’m excited to share the house with fans from all over the world and to give them a chance to experience the magic of the film in person.”
The new owner also intends to open the house to the public for tours, and they are currently developing a website where visitors can learn more about the house’s history and purchase tour tickets. They also intend to have a gift shop on the premises where visitors can buy Goonies merchandise.
The Goonies House is located in Astoria’s historic district, which was also used for filming. The house was used as the exterior of the Fratelli’s house, where the Goonies characters Mikey, Brand, Data, Mouth, Chunk, and Andy try to save their neighborhood from demolition by searching for the treasure of One-Eyed Willy, a legendary 17th-century pirate.
Richard Donner directed and Steven Spielberg produced this film, which starred Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, and Jonathan Ke Quan. The film was a smash hit, grossing over $61 million in the United States and Canada, and has since become a cult classic.
Overall, the new Goonies House owner is thrilled to be preserving a piece of film history and sharing it with fans from all over the world. Visitors can expect tours, merchandise, and the opportunity to witness the film’s magic in person.
France’s 2022 Z Event Blows the Doors of Expectations
Streaming events are easily the fastest, widest way to reach the biggest audiences with entertainment today. However, the Z Event has now raised things to an all new level, boosting a charity event to one of the biggest financial donation drives ever. Combining the marketing for five different environmental causes and their non-profit organizations, the Z Event consolidated giving to an eye-popping €10.1 million.
The Z Event took a combined effort of 57 different streamers working together to pull it off. Focusing on their audiences, channel tools, and various related activities, the streamers consolidated traffic and attention on the charity drive, pushing digital focus on boosting the financial commitments well beyond previous amounts realized in earlier drives. Each year has been a record-breaking performance, so the latest one wasn’t going to be an exception from the participants’ perspective. Just from a technical perspective, the logistics for the latest Z Event took some serious marketing. Streaming is generally based on the assumption that everyone has sufficient technology to watch and listen to the event online with a browser and sufficient hardware. However, at some point the event also has to be managed to the lowest common denominator in terms of being viable, otherwise people don’t “show up” online. Doing the same with 57 plus providers as well as the variety of tools used in a coordinated fashion is still eye-popping in retrospect.
Interestingly, the Z Event has generated such a sizable audience in France, it has even dwarfed the individual industry channels. Rather than just being confined to the gaming arena, the Z Event organizers broadened their scope to include popular music channels as well as even politics. That doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges; for example, one of the charity organizations to benefit was the Goodplanet Foundation, which was reeling from earlier criticism about its operations and connections. So, to address any concerns about where the money went, participants and fans were allowed to choose the organization they wanted to benefit from the pool of eligible charities. That easily shut down criticisms and allowed the Z Event to move forward in a positive light.
Despite the biggest blowout yet in response, the latest Z-Event is scheduled to be the last in the planned strategy. No one is quite sure whether it will come back in a new format or just be repeated or done at all after 2022. Given the results, there’s going to be considerable pressure to bring it back in 2023, especially from the organizations that benefit from the sizable charity generated. However, no commitments have been made to take on the next Z Event per se.
Overcoming a Fear And Then Creating a Children’s Book With It
People are afraid of different things. Some freak out from spiders, others can’t stand the sight much less the feel of a snake, and still others go into a panic over fish in the water. However, for Amulya Vadali, her fear was rooted in dogs. It didn’t matter the breed; all dogs were a primal threat to her as far as Vadali was concerned. If a city park allowed dogs, even in a fenced dog run, she wouldn’t go near the location. As it turned out, things were going to get even more challenging in high school. Attending her AP English class at Southern Regional High School, Vadali realized not only that her teacher had a dog, but she would bring the dog to class occasionally as well. It was the worst possible combination of academic stress and
Vadali was fit for a panic attack. Looking back on the matter after the fact, she is fairly convinced that the lack of any exposure to a pet dog in her younger years had a lot to do with her fear later on. As it happened, later in high school, Vadali’s brother was able to convince their parents to have a pet dog, and with exposure to their pet, Brody, she overcame her fear of canines in general. Much of the transition had to do with being with a dog from the beginning, puppy stage to full adult. In particular, the change catalyst came in the form of a golden retriever.
Named Cosmo, Vadali’s new pet was a gamechanger for her. In fact, the dog became her best friend. She went from being deathly afraid of dogs in general to practically having to be pulled away from them. It literally was a night and day change for Vadali.
Years later, Vadali made it through college, and then she found her husband and got married. However, one thing has remained constant: her four-legged partner, Cosmo. While the dog didn’t move away with her, Cosmo still gets visits almost regularly from Vadali. Every chance possible, she’s back with her childhood pet, most often on the weekends. She spends her work days functioning as a biotech researcher and scientist, but interestingly, Cosmo has also become her muse to be a children’s book author as well.
Vadali admits she loved the idea of writing early on, remembering back as far as when she was six and listening to her father read stories. And in school classes, Vadali tried her hand at writing. Her work was notable enough to earn some good marks, which inspired her, but Vadali ultimately ended up fading away from the practice. College science classes and similar kept her so busy, Vadali didn’t think about writing at the time. It wasn’t until she was back to regular life again, settled in marriage, that Vadali began thinking about stories once more. And that was enough to spark her mind towards writing again.
So, in October of 2021, Vadali decided to take a leap and write her first children’s book. And, no surprise, the focus of the book was on Cosmo saving his sister in a big, dark and gloomy forest. Named, Cosmo Faces the Forest of Fear, the book manifested Vadali’s early fears and how Cosmo helped her overcome them so much. Using tools of confidence, perseverance and patience, Vadali’s story provided a child’s resource for understanding how to deal with fear and overcome it. The book turned out to be a hit, sells well on Amazon today, and memorializes her years of relationship with Cosmo. Most importantly, she has put into words the love Vadali has for her best friend and dog.
The Simpsons Incorporate ASL in Their Show
The TV cartoon, The Simpsons, has never been known for being a mild, sedate cartoon with low volume. Instead, it’s been loud, brash and visual. That said, one of the reasons the Simpsons has lasted for so long, aside from always being relevant to current events and new generations, is the fact that the show also incorporates new elements when it makes sense. That was the case when the show’s writers decided to incorporate American Sign Language for the first time.
Of course, there were challenges. Cartoon characters are not always anatomically correct. In the Simpsons world, everyone has four fingers on a hand instead of five. To make matters worse, the episode needed Shakespeare to be translated with ASL. Oops.
Making Up Fiction Based on Reality
The current writer responsible for the ASL episode was also keen on going farther. Instead of just focusing on solving how to use ASL, Loni Sosthand also figured out a way to incorporate deaf actors for the voices as well. Double-wow. The recognizable character, Lisa Simpson, spends a story on mourning over the passing of a musician she liked and was a mentor to her character. As it turns out, however, that musician had a son in the cartoon, and the boy is deaf. Lisa, trying to be the perennial helper, wants to assist the boy in getting a hearing implant, and of course, things go sideways from there.
Of course, like many stories used by writers, Sosthand’s episode was rooted in reality. Her own family was big in jazz, different racial perspectives, and a sibling born deaf. The episode gave Sosthand a chance to use her personal experience of balancing a physical limitation with a whole family of issues and going from there. Sosthand ended up bringing her relatives into the cartoon world vicariously through Lisa Simpson’s experience trying to help the musician’s son.
The Results Proved the Success of the Idea
The ASL and deaf voice actor combination was a hit. The episode came across as realistic and accurate, despite fundamentally being a cartoon. And that’s the kind of factor that makes The Simpsons one of the longest running TV shows, much less the longest running TV cartoon show. Even South Park doesn’t even come close to longevity. And for those who use regular ASL, the particular episode of Lisa’s adventures hit home and provided representation for the first time on The Simpsons. It was history in the making.
Arthur is Going to End, Long Live Arthur
PBS has been known for a lot of things in terms of documentaries, but for a whole generation of kids the name Arthur was more familiar while they were growing up. Just like for Boomers and many from Generation X that the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom will never be forgotten in their minds for many Generation Z and some late Millennials who caught the show, “Arthur” was a familiar name from childhood. The PBS Kids cartoon has now reached a major milestone of 25 season runs, and its creators as well as distributors are in agreement it’s time to shut down the program.
The original concept for Arthur as a cartoon came from Marc Brown, a writer and illustrator of children’s books. Arthur was the “everykid,” a cartoon character kids from all backgrounds could relate to and no one in particular. It helped that Arthur was an Aardvark and his family and neighbors were all animals as well. A parent never had to try and explain differing cultures to their kids watching the show, unlike many other TV programs and simply growing up has required these days. The show was timeless, positive, and it became an international success as well, easily translatable to other languages.
The break in the confidentiality of the show’s ending first came from Kathy Waugh; she let the secret loose during an interview in the summer of 2021. Since then, the final episode has been in countdown mode, with fans of all ages wondering when the final chapter was going to be viewed. The creators and show managers decided reaching the 25th anniversary was as good a stop as any, especially after all 250 something episodes that came before it and a few movies. However, on February 21, the last episode was shown on its original schedule.
Lots of folks thought the Arthur cartoon series was just going to keep on going without an end. The program was easy to maintain, working with storylines that definitely felt evergreen in placement and not stale at all in teaching kids values and social
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