Tag Archives: Bullying

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June Pride Month – Freak Show, The Movie, Gets Blu-Ray DVD Release – Alex Lawther. Bette Midler

No Reruns.net Freak Show Review By Kyle Nolan June 5, 2018 Bette Midler, Blue Pantsuit, Freak Show June is Pride Month, and to help celebrate, Shout! Factory and IFC Films have released the new teen dramedy Freak Show on Blu-ray & DVD. Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther, The End of the F***ing World, Howard’s End) isn’t like most other teenagers. He likes to glam things up, putting on wigs, dressing up in women’s clothes, and decking himself out in beads and feathers. When he was a child, Billy’s parents were constantly arguing, and eventually split up. The 7 years that followed were some of the happiest of Billy’s life. He spent all his time with his best friend, his Muv (Bette Midler). The two of them always had a grand time, dressing up and dancing. However, this came to a sudden end when his mother suddenly dropped him off at his father’s family estate while she headed off to some unknown destintion. Billy hardly knew anything about his “Daddy Downer” (Larry Pine, House of Cards), except that he didn’t approve of Billy’s lifestyle, and that Billy was not the son that he had always dreamed of having. Billy doesn’t really make a good first impression at his new school—as he walks down the halls dressed like a 1980s Boy George, he is met with stares and constant pointing, and everyone seems to have his or her phone out filming the freak show. Billy becomes the target of ridicule, a constant barrage of spitballs, and even violence, but his father doesn’t really have any sympathy, telling Billy that “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. Billy wants to leave town—while he’s been hated at school before, it’s never been by everyone. However, Billy soon meets a girl in the library (AnnaSophia Robb, Mercy Street, The Carrie Diaries) who fills him in on all the school gossip, and the two quickly become friends. He also strikes up an unlikely friendship with star football player Flip Kelly (Ian Nelson, There’s… Johnny!)—it was love at first sight when Billy first cast his eyes on Flip, even though Billy knows the feelings are one-sided. Despite making a couple of friends, Billy continues to struggle to fit in, and decides that he is going to shake things up by running for prom queen, against ultra-conservative/religious mean girl Lynette (Abigail Breslin, Scream Queens). I was first interested in checking out this movie when I saw that the lead was played by Alex Lawther. I had first seen him in the recent Netflix series The End of the F***ing World, and was really impressed with his work. Once again, Lawther completely commits himself to his role—this time an eccentric teenager who is happiest when he can just be free to be himself and dress and act the way he wants. Billy Bloom is an interesting character—sometimes I found him charming and interesting, while other times irritating and entitled. I found myself torn between being happy that he was being himself, but also wondering why he wouldn’t just tone down his attitude or way of dressing if it would make things easier for him at school. The film does explore this to some degree. When Billy is dressed in “normal” clothes, there’s definitely a spark that seems to be gone, but when he’s dressed up as say Zelda Fitzgerald while doing a book report in front of the class, he just comes to life. His attitude and way he dresses is a core part of him, and he doesn’t want to sacrifice that by pretending he’s something he’s not. I quite enjoyed some of the relationships in the film, especially the one between Billy and Trip. At first it seems like these two come from completely different worlds, but they share a common background of their fathers wanting them to be people they aren’t. The friendship they have is completely platonic, but still loving and supportive. I also enjoyed the relationship underappreciated housekeeper Florence (Celia Weston) has with both Billy and his father. She’s always there to listen to problems and talk some sense into these men. While the film does touch on some more serious topics such as bullying, hate speech and alcoholism, it does so at a very artificial level, and doesn’t get serious enough to really show the dangerous consequences of these. The film is in this middle area where it isn’t constantly laugh out loud funny (though it has its moments), or deadly serious. It tries to ride the line between the two, with varying degrees of success. The movie is basically broken into three distinct acts. In the first act, Billy is displaced from his fully-accepting household with his mother, and placed in a new, more conservative setting where he doesn’t fit in, and starts to face ridicule and verbal and physical abuse. In the second act, Billy opens up more and starts to experience moments of happiness and joy, but a couple of betrayals bring his world crashing down once again. And in the final act, Billy is reborn, finding and reclaiming a strength he didn’t know he had. Overall, Freak Show is an uplifting and sometimes funny story about just being one’s self without worrying what others think. It also features cameos from Laverne Cox as a reporter doing a story on the prom queen race, and John McEnroe as the school’s gym coach. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release provides picture that is, for the most part, clean and detailed, though occasionally some colors look slightly washed out. The audio track provides clear dialogue, and the surround channel is used effectively, such as in scenes where crowds are cheering and clapping during school assemblies. Unfortunately, the only bonus feature included on the disc is the film’s trailer. The disc comes packed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. Blu-Ray DVD: What’s Included: Film: (1:30:58) 1080p / Widescreen 2.40:1 Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround, English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo Subtitles: English, Spanish Extras: Trailer (2:03) Final Thoughts: Overall, Freak Show is an entertaining film, with some great performances, but it seems a bit confused as to what tone it is aiming for. While the trailer seems to promote a comedy—and there are many funny moments—the film itself is more of a dramedy. It touches on some more serious topics, but glosses over the consequences of these. While the overall message of the film is positive, I think it could have been even more effective had it conveyed a little more of seriousness of the attacks on Billy (or just left this part out completely if it was going for a straight-up comedy). Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release provides a solid presentation but lacks any bonus material. Due to this, I would suggest a rental before a blind buy.
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Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Powerful Film Is Putting The Struggles Of A Genderfluid Teen Front And Center

Huffington Post A Powerful Film Is Putting The Struggles Of A Genderfluid Teen Front And Center By James Michael Nichols 01/26/2018 04:35 pm ET A new film from director Trudie Styler is placing the story of a genderfluid teen in the limelight and humanizing the struggles of young people living outside of binary notions of gender. “Freakshow” tells the fictional story of Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther). Billy is a young, queer teen who suddenly has to deal with the painful realities of a quintessential American high school after his mother (Bette Midler) pushes the responsibility for his well-being onto her husband (Larry Pine) years after their divorce. Bloom, who enjoys dressing up and presenting his gender nontraditionally, is forced to find a way to live at his new ultra-conservative high school ? and ultimately decides to run for homecoming queen against one of his biggest bullies, Lynette (Abigal Breslin). “Freakshow” is based on a book of the same name by James St. James, of “Party Monster” and Club Kid culture fame. St. James told HuffPost he hopes the film contributes to a larger conversation about the bullying that queer and genderfluid kids face every day in schools all across America. “The book was written almost 10 years ago, long before the subject of LGBTQ bullying was a national dialogue, and long before LGTBTQ teens were actually running for ? and becoming! ? prom queens and homecoming queens,” St. James told HuffPost. “In that way, it’s ahead of its time. And, in a way, I’m glad that it took so long to make. The themes of bullying feel more relevant now in Trump’s America than they did back then. I hope the movie furthers the discussion of bullying and the acceptance of the genderqueer and genderfluid kids out there who are defiantly making an impact and getting their voices heard.”
FREAKSHOW
Alex Lawther as Billy Bloom.
The film also tackles another important topic: the bonds between queer youth and their straight peers, and how precious these relationships can feel. The central relationship in the film is the one between Bloom and his best friend Flip ? a straight jock whose kindness and compassion literally save Bloom’s life at one point. “The characters of Billy and Flip could not be more different, and yet they find a commonality,” St. James said. “They bond and form a friendship that they both learn from and both grow because of it … This story feels modern in that it focuses on two boys, one gay one straight, and how they form a powerful lifelong bond based on mutual respect. I hope kids can learn from that.” “Freakshow” is now playing in select cities and through video on demand.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

“Freak Show” – the tale of a boy who would be queen; Midler provides a strong presence

Los Angeles Blade “Freak Show” – the tale of a boy who would be queen January 22, 2018 at 7:28 pm PST | by John Paul King Not so long ago, there was a tremendous need for movies that told the stories of LGBTQ young people. The need is still there, of course; but in recent years, as queer moviemakers have emerged from the shadows of a cultural landscape that had long suppressed them, we have seen a bountiful crop of such films. The latest is “Freak Show,” the directorial feature debut of Trudie Styler. Adapted by screenwriters Patrick J. Clifton and Beth Rigazio, from the book of the same name by James St. James, it’s the story of a fabulously non-conforming teen-ager named Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther). Raised under the sheltering wing of his glamorous and supportive mother (Bette Midler), Billy has grown up comfortable in his own gender-bending skin; but when she sends him to stay with his no-nonsense father (Larry Pine), he finds himself thrust into the deeply oppressive world of an ultra-conservative high school where his confrontationally androgynous fashion sense and ever-ready Oscar Wilde quips are not only out-of-place, but dangerously unwelcome. Though he’s not without allies (including, surprisingly, “Flip,” the popular quarterback of the football team) – he finds himself the target of relentless ridicule and bullying. Making a stand against the school’s power elite, he declares his candidacy for the coveted title of homecoming queen – drawing the ire of head cheerleader and “queen bee,” Lynette. It’s a story ripped right out of the pages of any number of small town newspapers; there have been countless real-life iterations of this tale, and in our current era of emboldened homophobia there will doubtless be many more. Despite its relevance to modern times, though, “Freak Show” comes across as oddly dated, even a bit nostalgic. It may be the movie’s tone; reminiscent of a John Hughes-esque teen adventure from the eighties, in which the painful politics of high school life provide the backdrop for a heart-tugging saga of youthful self-actualization, it feels like the product of a bygone era. It might also be that, in the still-churning wake of the 2016 election, the premise of the film – that proud self-expression is enough to overcome ignorance and bigotry within a culture where it thrives – feels a little naïve, like a painful reminder of a dream that, while perhaps not crushed, has certainly been deferred. It may also simply be a function of the script; though Clifton and Rigazio hit all their marks, the execution is a bit clunky and more than a little slavish to formula. Revelations are too predictable, reconciliations too easy, resolutions too perfunctory – it all seems to be taken by rote, and consequently it feels like something we’ve seen before. Likewise, Styles direction, polished as it may be, does little to inject freshness. She provides a safe, standard cinematic structure for the story; and when flights of fancy are called for, though she delivers them with style and flash, they never quite connect us with the kind of visceral human experience that would make them truly relatable. One standout exception comes with the harrowing sequence – brilliantly accompanied by the defiantly brash Perfume Genius song, “Queen” — in which Billy, dressed like a ghost bride at a midnight wedding, is savagely attacked by a gang of masked bullies. It’s suitable that this moment should be delivered with such potency – but one can’t help but wish the rest of the film vibrated with more of that same creative vision. That doesn’t mean there is nothing here to surprise or delight us – indeed, St. James’ original story has a powerful voice and a lot of heart, both of which come through in the little moments that pave the way between the “big events” of the story – and especially through its charismatic hero. Billy is bigger than life and twice as fierce, a character that demands an actor up to the task of bringing him to life. Lawther is a perfect match for the part; he exudes the blend of confidence and fragility needed to make his journey believable, embraces the high theatricality of his personality, and infuses him with the humanity that allows us to love him. It’s a performance that would shine in any film; in “Freak Show,” it positively glows. There are some nice turns from the rest of the cast, too, though they have less to work with. Midler, in what amounts to little more than a cameo, is an appropriately strong presence as Billy’s mother; it’s hard to imagine a less on-the-nose choice of actress for the role. Also notable is the less showy Celia Weston, who, as dad’s longtime housekeeper, provides a more down-to-earth kind of nurturing presence for Billy. Nelson is likable but unremarkable as Flip, and Breslin delivers a sly caricature of toxic femininity as Lynette. Lastly, there is a much-appreciated appearance by Lavern Cox as a news reporter who comes to interview the candidates in the controversial homecoming campaign. It’s obvious that “Freak Show” is a project undertaken with a strong sense of purpose. Its message of empowerment – not just for queer young people, but for all those who are marginalized by the cookie-cutter ideal of conformity that pervades our society – is presented with sincerity and conviction, no matter how clumsily it may sometimes be delivered. It addresses the issue of bullying with unflinching honesty. It promotes the ideal of a diverse and inclusive society, while still extending compassion – mostly – to those who have not yet evolved enough to embrace it. With such good intentions behind it, one can’t help but wonder how great a film this might have been with a more expert set of hands to guide it to the screen. That, of course, will be a moot point to the movie’s target audience; LGBTQ teens, thirsty for a story and characters that reflect their own experiences, will be unburdened by comparisons to older material or quibbles about cinematic structure. For them, the story of Billy Bloom is likely to be a wonderful thing, and rightly so. “Freak Show” may not be a great film, but it’s a good movie; and for a world badly in need of its message of acceptance, that’s good enough.
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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Trudie Styler and James St. James Shine Light on Teen Bullying In The New Movie “Freak Show”

Mister D: This is also playing on DirecTV and Amazon Prime The Advocate Trudie Styler and James St. James Shine Light on Teen Bullying BY DAVID ARTAVIA JANUARY 10 2018 5:25 AM EST A new hero has risen in the form of eccentric teenager Billy Bloom, the character at the center of Freak Show, a film based on the award-winning cult novel by James St. James and the directorial debut of actor and activist Trudie Styler. The film, which can be seen across most digital platforms on Friday, follows Billy (Alex J. Lawther), who once lived a fabulous life in Connecticut with his equally eccentric mother, Muv (Bette Midler). After he is shipped off to his father (Larry Pine)’s Southern mansion, his integrity is put to the test when he chooses to fight back against intolerance at an ultraconservative high school. Produced by Styler’s production company, Maven Pictures, and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films, Freak Show is a compelling — sometimes ironic and raw — spotlight on high school bullying. Styler exposes the trauma inflicted on those who suffer at the hands of bullies, while bringing to light the consequences both teachers and parents face as a result. Styler was deeply connected to the story from the beginning, having been bullied in school herself due to a facial scar she received as a toddler after being hit by a truck. “[The kids] called me ‘Scarface,’” she tells The Advocate. “I felt myself as a loser as a child and teenager. And the corridors of school were shaming. You had to get from one class to another, traversing a hallway, and the students would be lined up left and right, watching everyone walk by, scrutinizing. It was like a catwalk.” It was destiny, Styler explains, that she became attached to direct this film. Originally her role was as producer — that is, until they lost their original director due to unforeseen circumstances. After meeting with James St. James several times to discuss the vision, it became clear this was a story she was meant to tell. And it’s evident onscreen. “He is such an extraordinary man — so talented. And a really good writer. I was thrilled it came to me,” she says of St. James, whom she first met in the early 2000s when she was shortlisted to play Macaulay Culkin’s mother in Party Monster, another film adapted from a St. James book. “The wonderful thing about Freak Show is that everyone pitched in. The writers didn’t leave my side. We were working on it constantly.” Styler used her own high school experience in the corridors as a springboard to shoot one of the film’s most poetic scenes: when Billy gets beaten up. While she wanted the scene to be heart wrenching and aggressive, Styler says she did not want it to be violent but rather to have a visual “almost like a danse macabre” and for it to be full of “kinetic energy,” with the corridors to seemingly have their own personalities. With his closet of extravagant and flamboyant attire, Billy is completely different from the cheerleaders, Bible belles, and beefy quarterbacks at his new high school. Yet despite the well-meant advice of his father and his housekeeper, Florence (Celia Weston), for him to just “throw on some blue jeans,” Billy is determined to be himself — even if that means wearing face glitter to school. Styler has been married to legendary singer, Sting, for 25 years. Together, they have been staunch advocates for environmental legislation and have continued to champion the rights of indigenous people. Freak Show acts as a lighthouse for parents, and Styler hopes it will be a call for action to bring forth serious change in the world. “I think adults — no matter what gender, creed, or race — can all learn,” the mother of four says. “We’re given a life where all people should be born free to be themselves, to be able to express themselves as the people they are. We’re at a point in our evolution where we have everything to do everything good — to do good work, to be inclusive, to be compassionate, to be tolerant — and yet the world seems to be pushing against all those things we have at our fingertips. We seem to be intent on destruction and pushing to the right, in wanting people to have less, and not sharing.” Styler also points to the Trump administration as an example of a bully’s impact. “Look at this administration,” she says. “It’s repealing all the things Obama has put in place. We have to ask ourselves, ‘What is it that we’ve done that’s created this world? How can we go on? What can we teach our kids, and how can we do things better?’ I think the only way is that we all have to stand together, be together, and come together. Treat each other better.” “These examples have to begin, surely, in our places of education,” she adds. “If schools take a strong stance on inclusivity and really deal with bullying in a very substantial way, that’s the only way we can go forward into the workplace and know that bullying is not civilized human behavior. It’s unacceptable.”
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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Film Review: Freak Show – Movie delivers nicely on both entertainment and emotional fronts

Film Journal Film Review: Freak Show Although it has its serious, even harrowing moments, this quirky, glitteringly gussied-up treatise on teen bullying keeps things likeably frothy and delivers nicely on both entertainment and emotional fronts. By David Noh Jan 12, 2018   The hallways of high school in the Deep South constitute something like the Stations of the Cross for young, flamboyantly cross-dressing Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther), who has been taken from his alcoholic Connecticut mother, Muv (Bette Midler), by his far more conventional and less fun dad (Larry Pine). In a sharp departure from the East Coast (“where,” in our hero’s words, “Chloë Sevigny is from”), the teenage yahoos at Billy’s new home as a senior hate anything unusual or even vaguely transgender. The daily bullying—amidst barrages of spitballs—is pretty ferocious. Despite the shameful indifference of the faculty, this Bloom refuses to be some suicidal shrinking violet and repeatedly pays a terrible price as he seeks the self-destructive spotlight for himself, impersonating Zelda Fitzgerald as a convulsing, immolated flapper-victim for a book report and even running for homecoming queen against his loathed Queen Mean Girl rival (Abigail Breslin, brimming with Dixie spitefulness). Trudie Styler, the gifted actress, producer, philanthropist and wife of rock god Sting, makes her feature directorial debut here, adapting her story from a memoir penned by former notorious New York City club kid James St. James. It’s a winsome and quite winning take on the now almost ubiquitous topic of teen bullying. I, for one, far prefer it to the overpraised, no doubt soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture Broadway hit musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Instead of saturating itself in the excessively maudlin, like that show, Freak Show positively basks in the restorative qualities of outsider glamour, which many a queer kid (this writer included) embraces as an escape from all the teasing and torment. Given his handy way with a needle and thread, as well as Daddy’s deep pockets and Mommy’s status as an unapologetic fashionista, Billy is able to wow with more costume changes than a Cher concert, paying witty homage to mermaids, Goth brides, David Bowie, Boy George and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Dante Spinotti’s luminous cinematography and the terrific costumes by Colleen Atwood magically transform the gifted and chameleonic Lawter, who can look Hedy Lamarr-gorgeous one second and Black Lagoon Creature-grotesque the next. Also extremely efficacious is one of the best-curated music scores I’ve ever heard, with the 1977 French hit “Ça plane pour moi” by Plastic Bertrand getting an especially rousing workout. That last song accompanies an exhilarating romp with Billy and Mark (Ian Nelson), the school’s football star who, a closeted artist himself, becomes one of Billy’s only two friends. Nelson is, if anything, even more winning than Lawther. He’s a true star in the making, boasting perfect James Dean features and an irresistibly adorable personality that goes a long way to making credible this unlikely buddy pairing. Styler has cast her movie impeccably, with charming chatterbox AnnaSophia Robb as Billy’s other friend, the aptly named Blah Blah Blah (because Billy never quite catches her real one), and wonderful character actress Celia Weston, who as Billy’s housekeeper lends a whole lot of heart to the proceedings. Pine, one of New York’s finest stage actors, brings welcome and quite touching gravity. Midler, whose appearance is relatively brief, makes the very most of her scenes as a mom who seems like but is not exactly your perfect Auntie Mame for a troubled, fey youth. Click here for cast and crew information.
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Freak Show (2018) REVIEW – Couldn’t Be More Timely

Cultured Vultures Freak Show (2018) REVIEW – Couldn’t Be More Timely By Danielle Solzman Jan 8, 2018 Freak Show is one of those films that ends up being rented on VOD platforms because studios don’t know what to do with them. In this instance, it’s IFC Films giving the film a limited theatrical platform while sending it to VOD platforms. Trudie Styler directs the fish-out-of-water film, if there’s any way to describe it. Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) is a gender-nonconformist whose fashion sense is on the feminine side. After his parents divorce, he stays with his mom, Muv (Bette Middler), but it reaches a point in which Billy is forced to live with his father, William (Larry Pine). It’s while he lives with his dad that he finds himself in the worst possible setting to be someone who is LGBTQ: a high school in the south. The high school may be full of bullies, but Bloom is able to make the best of it, finding friends in both Blah Blah Blah (Annasophia Robb) and Mark “Flip” Kelly (Ian Nelson). Bloom must contend with mean girl Lynette (Abigail Breslin). Lynette is a stand-in for all of the extreme conservatives. She’s that spoiled-rotten kid who isn’t exposed to the kind of people who can get her to challenge her beliefs. It’s her character who recites the following line: “Let’s make America great again!” Laverne Cox, a prominent transgender actress, has a minor role as a news reporter, Felicia Watts, working on a story for Lynette’s race for homecoming queen when Bloom declares he’s in the race. Cox’s role in the film is mostly a cameo at best but her appearance is vital because this is the era in which more films need to be telling trans stories. It’s at this point in the film where the reporter asks Bloom how he wants to be identified. He starts out by saying “trans-visionary” before settling on “freak” when he says he was going to reclaim the word. Lather adds so much vulnerability to an otherwise self-confident character. PJ Clifton and Beth Rigazio’s screenplay help bring James St. James’ book to life. One difference between book and film is that the screenwriters further developed the character of Muv given the relationship between Billy and his mom is so vital to the film. Dante Spinotti is a legendary cinematographer and his work is what allows Styler to be able to focus on capturing the performances. The fact that Freak Show isn’t getting much of a theatrical release is a shame. These kinds of stories are the ones that need to not only be told but find an audience outside of LGBTQ circles. The importance is to help educate those who might not necessarily know an person who is transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming. Going with the theme, all of the musicians appearing on the film’s soundtrack are LGBTQ. It goes without saying that there are a lot of derogatory slurs in this film. However brutal it will be to hear them, it shows the brutal reality of life for LGBTQ students in school. While out-students have to hear this kind of language all the time, it’s the closeted students who have to be calculating on when they come out as such. The release of the film comes at a very relevant time. It sends an anti-bullying message during a time in which may feel that it’s okay to be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, etc. It’s the prejudice that needs to end so that people can truly feel included and accepted for who they are. IFC Films opens Freak Show in select theaters and VOD platforms on January 12, 2018.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Non-Bette: And Now A Word From Your Favorite Gay – Well, Me!

Millions of Americans wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Spirit Day was started in 2010 by teenager Brittany McMillan as a response to the young people who had taken their own lives. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag. Getting involved is easy — participants are asked to simply “go purple” on October 20 as we work to create a world in which LGBT teens are celebrated and accepted for who they are. Haz clic aquí para ver información en español.

Show Your Spirit on October 20, 2011! How you can participate in #SpiritDay:

Spirit DaySpirit DaySpirit DaySpirit DaySpirit DaySpirit Day

Wear purple Thursday, October 20! Go purple online today through October 20!

Facebook pic: Click here to create a purple version of your Facebook profile pic – Then look for the purple photo in a new photo album called “Twibbons,” click on the purple photo, and click “Make Profile Picture.” Works best on square profile pictures. Facebook status: I’m wearing purple October 20th to support LGBT youth – make your profile pic purple for Spirit Day at http://glaad.org/spiritday Facebook event: RSVP to this event and invite friends! Facebook timelines: Download this cover photo for the new Facebook timeline. Purple your photo Twitter pic: Click here to turn your Twitter profile pic purple Twitter status: click here to post this tweet: I’m wearing purple to end anti-LGBT bullying – make your profile pic purple Oct 20 #SpiritDay http://twb.ly/brKAjY Purple your photo Need help turning your pictures purple? GLAAD has developed an iPhone application to do just that! This app will allow you to take a picture or select one from your camera roll and make it purple on your iPhone. You can then upload that image to show your support for Spirit Day! Download our Purple your Picture for Spirit application in the iTunes Application store to get started. Purple your photo “Watch” the Spirit Day Channel at www.mobli.com/spiritday. Download the Mobli app: www.mobli.com, Blackberry, Android, iPhone. 

Learn more… ...  Read More

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

50 Cent Writes, Bette Raves

Gather 50 Cent Tailors Novel to Teen Bullies October 03, 2011 11:30 PM EDT Curtis Jackson III, also known as rapper 50 Cent, has recently released a novel entitled Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully which is loosely based on his life growing up as a teen bully. The story follows the life of a 13-year-old named Butterball, after he has moved from his home in the city to live in the suburbs, where he is forced to go to therapy after a playground incident that sent a kid to the hospital. As the story evolves, readers are given a first-person voice point-of-view narration of the experiences and conditions that explain the how and why he became a bully. Although it gives the bully’s perspective, in no way does it try to condone the character’s actions or any other real-life bullying for that matter. According to Entertainment Weekly, Jackson writes in the introduction of the novel, that the purpose of the book is to “show a kid who has become a bully — how and why that happened, and whether or not he can move past it.” The EW article also features the first three chapters of the book. The novel also includes drawings and photographs. Many other celebs such as Bette Midler and Russell Simmons have already given the book rave reviews. Based on the positive feedback, it seems likely that the novel will very well resonate with the youth on a realistically positive level. As another inspiration, Playground was also written with 50 Cent’s 14-year-old son, Marquise Jackson, in mind.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bette Midler & More Celebs Join The Oogieloves To STOMP Out Bullying

Bette Midler & More Celebs Join The Oogieloves To STOMP Out Bullying by BWW News Desk Love Our Children USA announced today its partnership with Kenn Viselman presents…, creators of the latest children‘s sensation The Oogieloves, to appear in a public service announcement for the campaign to STOMP Out Bullying, an initiative of Love Our Children USA. The Oogieloves join celebrities Demi Lovato, JoJo, Brittany Snow and Naturally Seven in a national campaign to end childhood bullying. The three Oogieloves, Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie, help to extend the national campaign to reach even further to preschool and early school-aged children, helping to break the cycle of bullying before it even starts. Other celebrities and those in the entertainment and sports industries who have supported STOMP Out Bullying include: Elton John, Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres, Sugarland, John Cusack, Donny and Marie Osmond, Ashleigh Banfield, Dancing With The Stars, Live With Regis and Kelly, The View, truTV, “In The Heights”, the NJ Nets and more. “Childhood bullying is harmful to children, especially during their preschool years when many of their first non-family relationships are founded,” said Kenn Viselman, president of Kenn Viselman presents. “The Oogieloves are all love, and understand the importance of being respectful to their friends. Goobie, Zoozie & Toofie are a natural fit to help this important campaign reach all children including the very youngest. Children like to emulate the behavior of those that they think are cool. Our expectation is that the Oogieloves can help reinforce the positive behavior to the youngest of children while they are still developing their social skills and appreciate their need to love, respect and honor others.” “Having the Oogieloves join this campaign will help to expand its reach to the very youngest, most impressionable of children” said Ross Ellis, Love Our Children USA, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “They will help us in our campaign to educate children of the negative effects of bullying and of the choices that we can all make, even at a very young age and I am thrilled to be able to expand the program to include them.” Ellis said “STOMP Out Bullying brings awareness and educates kids, parents and schools about the issue. It offers hope for every kid who experiences the harmful effects of bullying and teaches parents to keep open communication with their children and to look for signs. It also educates school administrators across the country, who have swept this issue under the rug for far too long.” Bullying Statistics • 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied. • 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some “Bullying.” • 8% of students miss 1 day of class per month for fear of Bullies. • 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school. • A poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools. • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month. • More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school. • 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight. • 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone. • 2 out of 3 say they know how to make a bomb, or know where to get the information to do it. • Playground statistics – Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. • As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they’re afraid of their bullies due to the pain of bullying. Cyber Bullying Statistics • 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. • 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once. • 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages. • 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. • 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. • 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online. All of this has everyone worried. Not just the kids on its receiving end, but the parents, teachers and others who may not understand how extreme bullying can get. Love Our Children USA is working aggressively to prevent these issues and to help the kids and teens affected by it. Ellis stated, “Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies often experience low self-esteem and depression, whereas those doing the bullying may go on to engage in more serious antisocial behaviors. Some kids are so traumatized by being bullied, that suicide has become an alternative for them. Bullies often have been the victims of bullying or other mistreatment themselves.” The STOMP Out Bullying campaign focuses its efforts to reduce bullying and cyberbullying, decrease school absenteeism and truancy, educate against homophobia and racism and deter violence in schools, playgrounds and communities across the country. It includes public service announcements, in-school education, online and social media campaigns, posters and brochures and wristbands. The Love Our Children USA’s National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week takes place each year in early October and will be observed October 4-10, 2009. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way in prevention as the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and keeps children safe. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become the ‘go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. It works to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential. It redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. It works to empower and support children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its goal is to keep children safe and strengthen families — Its message is positive … one of prevention and hope. Kenn Viselman, the mastermind behind the preschool frenzy of Teletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine and, Eloise, has begun principal photography on his sui genres interactive theatrical experience for preschoolers and their families, The Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure. The BIG Balloon Adventure is an interactive musical produced by Viselman and stars iconic comedian, actress, author and dancer, Cloris Leachman as the highly energetic grandmother, Dotty Rounder, who lives in her Treepot high atop the highest tree in all of Fun Forest. Dotty loves (and is in fact obsessed) with everything and ANYthing round. Milky Marvin…the proud owner of Milky Marvin’s Milkshake Manor home of Moola the Milkshake Making Cow is played by Chazz Palminteri, the Oscar-nominated actor, playwright and screenwriter who is one of Hollywood’s greatest singing and dancing tough guys. The comedy magic of three-time Emmy, Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Christopher Lloyd is evident in his portrayal of Lero Sombero, half of the team of Lola and Lero, the guardians of the Wonder Windmill in Great Grass Lake. Lola is delightfully played by Jaime Pressly, who showcases her incredible dancing skills. It is with the help of their cruise ship sized El Sombrero, and their essential interactive dance moves in The Sombrero Tango that helps the Oogieloves reach the final balloon in the adventure. This delightful family theatrical is being directed by Academy Award-nominated, Matthew Diamond who amongst his varied credits also directed Camp Rock, one of the most successful cable movies of all time. Screenwriter Scott Stabile has written an engaging, entertaining and magical script. The Oogieloves In The BIG Balloon Adventure is in fact a reinvention of the movie going experience of the youngest of children and their families. It is truly a unique opportunity that allows children to go to the theater and be children, encouraging them along with their families to sing, dance and to “help” move the adventure along. From the opening title sequence and unlike any other family movie in history, the audience is encouraged to take part in the adventure. “This is the movie I’ve always wanted to create,” said Kenn Viselman, founder of Kenn Viselman presents…”nothing is more joyous than the sound of children’s laughter. Especially now, when the world appears to be in an increasingly darker more frightening place for young families, The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure is designed to be a safe haven and an opportunity for caregivers to experience the world truly through the eyes of their children in both a fun and funny way, allowing for a truly memorable shared experience. Children actually take part in the action of the film, allowing them to feel as though they have become integral to the adventure. I want them to have a full experience and encourage them to dance, sing, laugh and experience the joy that is this film.” The Oogieloves in The BIG Balloon Adventure is being filmed on location in the Detroit, Michigan metro area and has been accepted as part of Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Michigan Film Production Incentives for hiring Michigan residents. Kenn Viselman presents…TM is committed to leisure time activities which are engaging, entertaining and enlightening for the entire family and focus on the themes of love and the wonderfilled world with which we live. For more information visit www.loveourchildrenusa.org. Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
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