Cause Celeb: Stars, drag queens and bingo

By Colin Newton

Kirsten Vangsness from Criminal Minds and drag queens playing bingo to support child literacy? We must be in Hollywood.

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Kirsten Vangsness

Only here could one find an institution like “Legendary Bingo” — “Los Angeles’ longest running and most successful weekly celebrity/drag queen charity event” (one wonders how fierce the competition was); and obviously, only in Hollywood would next week’s charity be Reading to Kids.

Reading to Kids’ mission is based on a 1985 study that said the single most important activity for eventual success in reading is to read out loud to children, said Charlie Orchard, managing director of Reading to Kids.

So the organization partnered with seven elementary schools in Downtown LA to bring live reading to underserved children. Once a month, volunteers read aloud to children, make arts and crafts projects that relate to the readings, and present the kids with books to take home.

“Reading aloud to children imparts a love of books,” Orchard said.

Vangsness, a friend of a longtime reader, is the first celebrity ball caller to sign up for the event ahead of time. But well known personalities have been known to drop in unannounced. Two years ago, Richard Simmons led everybody in a brief dance workout.

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Claudia’s Corner: What we can learn from puppets

by Megan Tambio

So, there’s only a couple more weeks before the sweet release of summertime. What if I told you that you didn’t have to wait until then to do something awesome? The Assistance League of Santa Monica (ALSM) has you covered.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 3.20.06 PMThe ALSM’s Puppeteers put on awesome puppet shows to teach kids about social issues and provide thought-provoking material. Plays like “Playground Bullying” shows the dangers of bullying, while “Caught in the Middle” teaches children of divorce how to cope with their new, complicated situation.

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Claudia’s Corner: Start acting your age

by Megan Tambio

So, school’s done. Hooray! … But now you have quite a bit of time on your hands. Like, a lot. While video games and TV are all well and good, you may be wanting something extra to shake things up.

The Santa Monica Playhouse is here to save the day with their 2015 Summer Camp.

1 SMPlayhouse EARLY STAGES Performance (2) - Version 2The day camp provides a fun, immersive experience that teaches kids and teens all aspects of theatre acting, improv, writing, and even production.  There are multiple programs depending on how old you are and what you want to focus on. The camp is taught by professional actors who specialize in different performance areas

The theatre camp has been around since 1969. If all this doesn’t sound awesome enough, certain celebrities (Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson and Jason Ritter just to name a few) have participated in this hallowed program.

“Community engagement in the arts provides invaluable life skills for kids and adults,”says Co-Artistic Director Evelyn Rudie. “(It provides) communication, leadership, collaboration, self- confidence and, perhaps most important of all, your ‘artist’s voice’ and learning to follow your heart.”

The first sessions begin June 15, but don’t worry, there are multiple sessions over the summer. Visit santamonicaplayhouse.com for pricing and other info.

Find your artist’s voice this summer (then watch TV and play video games).

1 SMPlayhouse Summer Theatre Camp MOVEMENT AND DANCE

 

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Claudia’s Corner: Get Digging!

by Megan Tambio

Have you ever wanted to throw on a fedora and go find ancient artifacts like Indiana Jones?  If some good old fashion adventure sounds appealing to you, come down to the Skirball Cultural Center and check out there Dig It! exhibit! (Fedora and whip not included)

Digit!At Dig It!, families can dig and sift through sand to discover vital Jewish artifacts from the Iron Age.  Work with Skirball’s archeology team to analyze artifacts and learn about ancient culture.

Open since 1996, the Skirball Cultural Center prides itself on providing various historical and artistic exhibits about Jewish heritage.

The exhibit is open Saturdays and Sundays 10 am- 4:30 pm excluding May 24. General admission is $10, kids’ tickets (ages 2- 12) are $5.

“Our focus at the Skirball is connecting the past to the present by looking at the commonalities between people of different cultures and backgrounds,” says Kimberly Kandel, a representative of Skirball .  That’s something everyone can dig.

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Claudia’s Corner: Be cool to your school

By Megan Tambio

SurferGirlYou like rides, games and food? Of course you do. We’re kids. On Sunday, come to the Santa Monica Pier for all of that and more.

The Pier Party, hosted by the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, runs  from 10 a.m- 2 p.m. In addition to all those other awesome things, there will be crafts, a “touch tank” (fish skin!) from the Santa Monica Aquarium and a live DJ. If you’re parents feel fancy and want to upgrade to a VIP ticket, there’s a brunch with tastings from Caffe Luxxe, FIG, Pier Burger, Border Grill and Cookie Good.

By the way, all this awesomeness benefits Santa Monica- and Malibu-based schools.

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