Thursday, November 05, 2009

Kids Media Salon (11/04/09)

(Click the image to watch the latest 40th anniversary promo):

I just realized Kids Media Salon has my sister's initials.. KMS. ;)

Well last Wednesday night was a lot of fun. It was a change of pace for me since I usually spend my free time goofing around with Naveen or watching animated comedies like the Simpsons or catching up on one project or another. It was a night with a very intellectual, opinionated, friendly group called Kids Media Salon, a melting pot of talented industry folks working in children's entertainment who have been invited together by none other than miss Sally Anne Syberg.

This particular event was held at the home of Louise Gikow, who most recently published "Sesame Street: A Celebration -- 40 Years of Life on the Street" which has been a great, nostalgic read and has also served as a sort of memory keepsake for my past year working at Speakeasy FX. I've even started calling it 'my yearbook' and have asked my coworkers to sign it. Louise offered to sign the inside cover page, "Hope you enjoy it, Laura!" I was thankful for that, even though I hoped she might sign it later on November 21st at the Brooklyn Library event, but this was a more intimate meeting anyway. I greeted her with some nice products from a new store in Westfield called "Bath Junkie" - one being a soft-woven menthol baggie for headache relief, and another being a eucalyptus ball that effervesces in the shower for sinus relief. Tis the season, after all - I'm going back for some myself later.

Louise had a gorgeous apartment. As the ten of us sat around her living room, I started out fairly quiet, but by the end of the night I was actually trying to be more reserved because despite my usual standoffishness or indecisiveness, I was finding myself just as outspoken as the rest and had to restrain myself from interrupting or interjecting possibly too much. After all, I was in the room with an Emmy winner, Louise Gikow; an independent foreign documentary film maker, Tania Cypriano from Brazil; writer/illustrator/Dogshark President Robert Wurzburg (a clever but subtle hoop earring on the right); the analytical President of Paradigm Research & Consulting, Iris Sroka (of Polish descent, and reminded me occasionally of my friend Joanna Leathers); President ("Countess") of Relevant Research, Patricia "Pat" Tobin; directors/animators for, Max Porter and Kaoru "Ru" Kuwahata (a couple of bright, creative people - beware the quiet ones, they have the talent!); project manager/producer Diane Strack (the friendly, laid back woman who sat next to me and was willing to chat with me superficially about monetizing strategies in a changing world for broadcast models); and of course, miss Sally Anne Syberg who was our EP at Speakeasy FX during the AFFS project, is a networking superwoman who was able to pull us all together for the Salon group (which meets regularly), and is now coming up on some really exciting new ideas for production.

Add Laura Skowronski Nattam, character animator on Abby's Flying Fairy School (the new second segment of the Sesame Street hour), also former art director for CVC Communications... :-) yeay me.

The conversations really escalated at times, regarding today's content for children: the appeal and values of yesteryear's classics as opposed to the quality of television, film, and games made today; the amount of layering happening with syndicated television, dvd sales, and recording programs like TiVo; current topics in media and our own current projects; etc. I got the vibe from Sally that the evening was perhaps somewhat more disjointed and socially-motivated than topical or socratic as it typically may be. Nevertheless, good time, good company, good evening.

My major contribution of the evening was recommending "Everything Bad is Good For You" by Steven Johnson, regarding the Sleeper Curve theory and "How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter."

This morning (I'm finishing this recap Monday 11/09/2009), I'm excitedly watching the hours pass until the airing of Sesame Street tomorrow morning. The local stations air the program at 7 but then again at 9am, which is good because that's when most everyone from the AFFS crew can make it out to Westfield. We're gathering at a family restaurant called Dillon's up in Mountainside to watch the premiere of our show. How very, very exciting. :)

PS, Sesame Street is throwing a birthday party next Saturday, 11/14, following the premiere of the new season tomorrow (11/10). Folks have been asking me what time it airs - you'll have to look it up through this website:
The party website is here:


Thanks again for all your support!

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