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Queens of the Ashes: GAME OF THRONES Arya and Daenerys

ARYA STARK

Arya’s been a fighter since S1E1; not only in a sling-an-arrow-stick-em-with-the-pointy-end kind of way. Her journey has been one of vengeance, retribution towards those who harmed her loved ones. She’s fought to survive, stay sane, and figure out not only who she is but who she wants to be.

Arya knew deep down what she did not want to be – she was no lady in the way the world formed them. She was a fighter, truthteller, passion-fueled girl who saw her loved ones taken from her again and again – her father, mother, brothers, Gendry. She literally lost her sight when she took vengeance into her own hands and fought back. When death came for her, she ran through the streets of Braavos – wounded but determined. Though trained to be “No One”, the lone wolf made a choice in the House of Black and White:  A girl HAS a name – A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell; and she’s going home.

Over the course of two seasons, Arya’s gained those she lost; reuniting with her family, her champions, and her best friend. She opened her heart and made herself vulnerable in ways she could control – still doubtful of letting others see her clearly. Where once she was resigned to a life of death and loss, Arya was suddenly faced (pun intended) with another path. One veiled by uncertainty and vengeance. Now, Arya Stark of House Winterfell has a chance to return home once more – where home ends up remains to be seen.

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She’s spent the past seven seasons finding out who she is through what matters to her. She’s always been surrounded by advisors (some who betrayed her and others who offered clarity and reason among chaos) and now at the end of it all she’s got but one trusted ally left (two if you count her dragon).

Daenerys’ trusted inner circle grew as a result of deep respect and belief. She saw those who were tortured and imprisoned as people worthy of her help – and freedom. She believed, and destiny confirmed, that she was the one to save them all. Jorah, Missandei, Grey Worm, Tyrion, and Jon all stood at her side because she’d earned their respect and love. One by one they’ve been taken from her, either through death or perceived betrayal. Her actions in S8E5 were ones of a woman whose world crumbled before her – alone and deceived by destiny. Everything she fought for and those who fought in her name told the story of a brave woman destined to rule – to rid the Seven Kingdoms of the tyranny that’s plagued them. Never do I believe she ever thought that her choices would lead her to become that which she fought against.

QUEENS OF THE ASHES

While Arya’s journey has been one of vengeance, Daenerys’ was justice to those who committed unspeakable acts. When faced with death, Arya chose life. Daenerys chose vengeance. They have been wounded (physically, emotionally, and mentally), burned (literally in Daenerys’ case), and threatened by those who deemed them weak. Time after time, they stood back up. They rose from the ashes and kept moving.  These two complex, flawed fighters have been on mirror journeys – how their stories end I do not know. But I will most definitely be watching!

**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with GAME OF THRONES is implied.**

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A Stark Reality: Why GAME OF THRONES Matters

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After a decade of hard work, sweat, tears, blood, and friendship – we soon bid adieu to the award-winning drama series, GAME OF THRONES. A show so beloved by fans and critics alike earns its spot among television greatness with sweeping saga storylines, fantasical elements, memorable characters and dialogue, costume masterpieces, and special effects that look more real than not.

I entered the GoT fandom in 2016, after my older sister’s passing. Perhaps watching this particular series with my mother seems an odd choice, but it bonded us – allowed us to escape from our grief for a while and rebuild a foundation on which House Deeny can stand. We binge-watched the first six seasons before the seventh’s premiere, and wait with anticipation together for the final journey into “Westeros”.

My mother and I are not alone in our excitement; a claim validated when I went to the HBO shop on Sixth Avenue ten days before the S8 premiere. The store was busy (as it will likely be for the near future) with fans pondering the agonizing decision of which item NOT to get. (To my delight, there were lots of House Stark merchandise leaving the shelves.)

Praying to the TV Gods (Old and New) that my favorite character survives!

GAME OF THRONES matters to people; I implore you not to discount it as a mere pop-culture phenomenon or decade-long fad as that would be doing a disservice to the cast, crew, and fans. If you doubt GoT’s significance, look at social media stats, fan fiction writings, cosplay photos, or the multitude of well-researched theory videos on YouTube. This fandom cares about not only the actors who’ve shot to stardom (deservedly so), but the finished artwork that is GAME OF THRONES. They know the names of those behind the scenes, respectful and appreciative of the writers’, directors’, and musicians’ dedication and craft.

We’re surrounded by chaos, anger, vitriol, and violence in our day-to-day life; so much so that it can seem daunting to trust that hope, joy, and love will reign supreme. People are fighting every day for what they believe in – to find justice for those persecuted or to put aside long-standing disagreements to battle an even greater threat. GAME OF THRONES entertains, shocks, moves, and awes us, but more importantly, it offers viewers a chance to examine the world around them and their part in it. We can overcome even the most challenging of obstacles, building relationships instead of walls.

The fans will certainly mourn the loss of the show (and most likely many of their beloved characters) come May 20th, but appreciation does not have a finale date. To all the artists (in front of and behind the camera) who were a part of GAME OF THRONES all these years: Your work matters! May this be but one reminder of just how much you all matter. Your watch has ended.  On April 14th, it’s the fans turn!

*No endorsement by any of the aforementioned entities, organizations, or their subsidiaries is implied.*

Anastasia: A Journey to Past, Present, and Future

After Act I of Broadway’s ANASTASIA, my eight-year-old niece clapped so hard that I could feel her excitement in my soul. I turned to her and asked, “Abbey, what do you think so far?”  Her eyes smiled and her mouth followed.  “I love it!” I teared up, my spirit soaring like those of the lost princess’s family.

 I’m known in my immediate family as the Broadway one. I will burst out in song at a moment’s notice, play cast albums in my car until I know all the words, and talk about my favorite shows incessantly. The love I have for musical theatre is so firmly engrained within my soul that I’m certain I brought it with me upon birth.

 When Abbey, my oldest niece, was about two or three, she showed interest in musicals. We’d watch animated fairy tales together – her attention captured and joy reflected across her face. She asked my sister non-stop to rewatch the same movie until she knew all the songs by heart and would put on performances for the family.  Like this early one…

 

The animated film ANASTASIA, the story of the lost Romanov princess, is one of our favorites. I’d play the movie soundtrack for her, and she’d ask me to keep the song Once Upon a December on repeat. I promised to bring Abbey to NYC for her first Broadway show, and when she learned that ANASTASIA was going to be a stage musical, that became the must-see choice. Almost two years later we boarded a train for our journey to the present; one which inspired my niece’s future. IMG_5578 

Though now out of my thirties I still feel joy and anticipatory excitement up until the curtain rises and the overture begins. However, on this day my heart filled with love and happiness every time my niece smiled, sang along, or clapped. She tapped my shoulder during Once Up on a December as the stunning visual effects danced across the stage. “Look, Kelly! Did you see that?” As her eyes beamed, so too did my heart – moved by her experience.

 During intermission I walked her up to the souvenir kiosk, because I never go to a show without coming back with at least the program. She saw the collectible music box and though we both gravitated to it we looked at items closer to our price range. We returned to our orchestra seats with a glittery tote bag and a beautiful tiara/crown, which Abbey promptly put on and wore until our return train ride.

 The magical experience continued even after the curtain call when Abbey met “Anastasia” (aka Christy Altomare). As we waited with a crowd of other excited theatre-goers at the stage door line, I asked the tired 8-year-old if she wanted to stay.  “I want to see Anastasia,” she shyly replied. IMG_5602 So we waited our turn, getting autographs from other talented cast members, until the moment arrived. Christy smiled brightly and Abbey mirrored the action. They talked about Abbey’s crown/tiara and whether Abbey enjoyed her first Broadway show. The youngster got quiet, and the grown-ups chatted about our shared hometown (Bucks County, PA). Before we waved goodbye, the two Bucks County musical theatre dreamers smiled for a picture – the younger standing next to a young woman who made her Broadway dreams come true.

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“I forgot to tell her something,” Abbey burst out as we journeyed back to Penn Station. “I didn’t tell her that I’m taking musical theatre classes.” The frown pierced my heart and I pulled her in close. “It’s alright, sweet girl. Tell you what, I’ll send her a message on social media. We can write it together.”  Her smile returned as she walked hand in hand with both her mother and I, our arms swinging and our heads filled with music.

 Abbey’s declaration that one day she’ll be on Broadway warms my musical theatre heart, but I hope it fills her spirit with love, passion, and joy. I can’t wait to see what her journey to the future holds!

**ANASTASIA is currently playing at the Broadhurst Theatre. Visit the official website to learn more and purchase tickets.**

 

 

 

 

TIMELESS: Saving History and Inspiring Hope

I watch a ton of television and not all of them are worth blogging about – save a few. Now, I can proudly add NBC’s TIMELESS to that list.

With a touch of sci-fi rooted in historical fiction, TIMELESS follows a dedicated team (a historian, a pilot, and a soldier) determined to protect the present by saving history. Season one allowed us to delve into the wants, needs, hopes, and fears of it’s heroic trio:  Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), and Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter). We came to understand them, cheer for them, “ship” them, and care enough to take the weekly journey with them.

After the hard-core fan base brought the show back from the TV cancellation bunker, season two honored what made the show so beloved while deepening it’s importance as a must-watch drama series. The creators and writing team didn’t play it safe by any means. They raised the bar each week, challenging their viewers to see history, and those who played an important role in it, as complex yet identifiable throughout time. They seamlessly interwove current struggles with those of who came before. For though our circumstances were drastically different, our hopes and fears weren’t so: love, acceptance, free will, freedom, friendship, and fighting for a cause you believe in.

 

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March for Science, Washington, D.C. – April 2017

 

I’ve reiterated numerous times on my genealogy blog how history was my least favorite subject. My older sister was the history buff, traveling to interesting locales and continuously learning about important points in our country’s foundation. If she were still alive, Jen would definitely have been a weekly viewer. (Wherever she is in time and space now, I hope she’s visiting all those historic places she researched so ferociously.)

Featuring a talented and diverse acting ensemble, TIMELESS makes history accessible to all; for what makes us different strengthens us. The flawed, relatable characters (including Jiya, Mason, Agent Christopher, and even Flynn) are a community, a team, a group of people who care for and love one another – race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation but a part of the whole.

I learn, reflect, and am moved after watching TIMELESS for two seasons. I implore the TV-powers-that-be to see as much worth in this impactful series as we do!

 

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by anyone associated with TIMELESS, NBC, its employees, subsidiaries, or associates is intended or implied.*

Film Feedback: Come Alive with The Greatest Showman

I love The Greatest Showman. No, adore is more fitting! I adore everything about this fantastic, heartwarming, toe-tapping, inspiring musical. If you have yet to see the film, bookmark this post and go buy the digital, DVD, or streaming copy – it’s worth your time and your money.

As I sat in front of the computer to write my film review of this award-worthy film, I struggled. I was not at a loss for words – just the opposite; the words flooded my mind and heart. The classic review-style post I’d drafted, while detailed in appreciation, was impersonal. The blog writer put the review aside to make way for the artistic spirit within.

In recent months I rediscovered that the beauty within is far superior to the exterior. Embracing all that you are, broken mirrors and perceived imperfections abound, is not only possible but essential and attainable.  For as the award-winning anthem states, “I am brave/I am bruised/I am who I’m meant to be/This is me.”

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I am a straight, white female – one who’s never experienced hatred or violence due to the color of my skin, weight, gender identity, or sexual orientation. I do not know what’s it’s like to be in Ann’s trapeze-artist shoes or Lettie’s position and yet I know self-doubt, low self-esteem, and how it feels to not love the reflection staring back.

Open heart surgery as a toddler meant living with a scar that seemed massive for my smaller-than-typical frame. It morphed as I grew, the physical reminder of my “broken” heart fading as the emotional one spread. I never believed myself to be beautiful. I’m pretty, but not gorgeous. I don’t turn any heads when I walk in a room. If someone showed a romantic interest, then I’d run for the proverbial hills leaving a trail of regret behind.

I am an artistic spirit, pulled toward art’s ability to heal the soul and inspire the spirit. I gravitate to the entertainment arts – singing, writing, acting, celebrating film/TV/theatre in blog form. While others my age played sports, gossiped about boys, or frequented clubs/bars, I remained true to what interested me. I am an entertainment girl at heart and in spirit, one who’d rather spend a movie night with good friends then get wasted at a party.

I felt separate, different, odd when I compared myself with those around me. I didn’t feel as though I fit in a world obsessed with frivolity and superficial conversations. It wasn’t until I performed “On My Own” in my college Actors’ Showcase that I came alive. As the house lights remained dim and silence pulsated around me I thought. This is what matters. This is where my heart is. This is me. My artistic spirit soared in that moment of belonging, and recalling it still brings me joy.

 

I experienced the gloriousness that is The Greatest Showman in the company of my 8-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew. I smiled and my heart swelled with joy at seeing their reaction to the story on-screen. They were completely engaged, their eyes wide and their feet moving. When Zendaya came on screen, my niece cheered. When the townsfolk spouted hatred and violence, my nephew turned to me and asked, “Why are they being so mean?” I hope that The Greatest Showman inspires them in the way the musicals of my generation did for me.

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As we navigate the world of adult responsibilities, expectations, and societal roles, may we remember though we are bound to change the core of who we are never will. What makes us different does not separate us; it calls us to champion one another and the beauty within us all.

You…are…glorious!

 

*Disclaimer: No endorsement by any of the films, studios, talent, or associates is intended or implied.*

BLACK PANTHER & A WRINKLE IN TIME: An Awakening of Spirit

Something has changed within me. Something is not the same.

These lyrics from the oh-so-popular WICKED The Musical, encapsulate my spiritual shift after experiencing the gloriousness of the BLACK PANTHER and A WRINKLE IN TIME films.

Beauty and grace

The first time I saw BLACK PANTHER, I wanted to shout from the rooftops about the magnificence that is this film. I yearned to tell everyone I met to stop what they’re doing and go to the movie theater asap. And yet, I knew that it was not my voice which needed to be heard. There were others who were affected on a level I do not claim to know.

For though I would stick out like a sore thumb in Wakanda, the pride for country and culture leapt off the screen and soaked into my spirit. I thought about the ones who came before and continue to impart wisdom. My ancestors originated from European Nations, though my grandmother strongly claimed we had Native American roots, and as I sat enthralled by the trials Wakanda faced (internal and external) I thought once again about the struggles and Sins of My Ancestors.  

I am proud of my heritage for it led me here, however, I am cognizant of the reality that the color of my skin and that of my ancestors gives me a perspective spotted by privilege.

A WRINKLE IN TIME changed my life as a child – becoming the book that helped define my imaginative nature and love of creative writing. I recall so vividly sitting on my bed in the suburbs, the second eldest of four daughters, and seeing the words on the page form into pictures in my imagination. It touched me on not just a physical level but a spiritual one as well, and to this day Madeleine L’Engle’s series remain the example of what beautiful, imaginative, inspiring literature can do.

BLACK PANTHER awakened hope, beauty, grace, and empowerment; A WRINKLE IN TIME kept the awakening strong, realizing the power of diversity realized. As T’Challa passed through Wakanda’s hidden borders it broke through mine as well; my vision cleared and my soul rejoiced. As Meg journeyed through fantastical worlds and discovered the power of self-confidence and self-love, waves of colorful energy kissed my soul. I looked over at my young niece and hoped she felt it too.

As I sat in the theater for each film, I thought of all the people (especially children) seeing films that featured heroes who looked like them. I smiled so wide that my cheeks hurt and my eyes watered.

I am proud to know that my nieces, nephews, and their children’s children will live in world where people from all ethnicities, genders, orientations, and racial identifications are represented – in every industry. I don’t only pray, dream, or wish it to be so. I have faith in humanity. With beauty, love, grace, and truth we will celebrate our differences while uniting in a shared experience. We will make this world, and the souls that call it home, better than we found it.

 

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement from any of the above-mentioned entities, or their corporations and subsidiaries is intended or implied.*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actors are Real People

Despite what the fine print on your TV ads might say, actors are real people. Truly, they are! Unfortunately, I am continuously amazed that a percentage of the population treat celebrities as though they are not.

Actors (whether on screen or stage) have hopes and dreams, family and friends, ups and downs, and yes, even political opinions about the country and world in which they live. I’ve heard it stated on more than one occasion that “celebrities” shouldn’t complain about all the media attention or lack of privacy because it comes with the profession. That’s preposterous, ridiculous, and a load of…[bleep].

There’s been much talk as of late regarding “fans” and their sense of entitlement towards celebrities. The idea that fame constitutes ownership on any level is unfathomable. These are men, women, and children who are following their artistic passion. Their profession of choice enables them to make their dreams a reality – to act, sing, dance (all three) and share their art with the public. That’s beautiful and worthy of admiration. However, that does not invite a break in boundaries or lack of privacy by the adoring public. We have NO right to expect and/or demand that an artist (regardless of medium or level of fame) owes us their time, attention, or signature.

I completely understand the excitement of seeing your favorite actor, actress, or musician in person and the once in a lifetime opportunity of getting a selfie to show friends and family. I get that – I truly do. (If I ever met Lea Salonga in person I’d probably lose all ability at putting words together cohesively.)  But to intrude upon their personal space or assume that they have a right to acknowledge my presence because I may will it so…well, no – never would I ever.

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I like to think of celebrity sightings as a glass-half-full moment. If my favorite TV star or musical lead willingly makes time to sign autographs and take selfies, then that’s a happy surprise. Beside, there’s always conventions!!!!

 

If they choose instead to wait at the theatre between shows or are exhausted, in a rush, enjoying peace and quiet, or waiting at the airport then who am I to expect or assume that my needs supersede theirs? They owe me nothing – it is quite the opposite. If they’ve been brave enough to embrace their talent and succeed because of it, I owe them my respect and admiration.  I will continue about my day and, if moved enough, write a letter or blog post sharing my appreciation.

Perhaps the next time you’re frustrated, angry, or annoyed that an actor passed you by without acknowledgement, you might consider that…

Actors are real people!

 

*Recent allegations regarding illegal and unethical behavior by some in positions of power in Hollywood must be voiced and heard in order to enact change. I applaud the brave individuals speaking out against a culture poisoned by those who believe fame gives them a sense of entitlement. If you commit a crime, you should be held accountable by law – regardless of your chosen profession.* 

 

A GAME OF THRONES Newbie

Winter came late for me as it was only last year when I journeyed into the TV series so many adored. After binge-watching the first six seasons of Game of Thrones with my mother I watched each Season 7 episode with excitement and anticipation.

I’d say I’m sorry it took me so long, but the circumstances which led to last year’s binge-viewing made us appreciate the drama series all the more. House Deeny lost its eldest daughter in June of 2016 and sadness filled the space we called home. My parents mourned for their first born, and the “Little Women” – esque sisters grieved for their fierce, independent, outspoken big sister.

 

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Picture of my sister was taken at a Scottish cemetery

 

A few weeks after my sister’s passing, my mother began her research into an Irish family vacation the following summer. When I mentioned that the Deeny ancestors came from Northern Ireland (Rathmullan in County  Donegal and Dungiven in County Derry to be specific), she focused on that area for her tourism research. It was then that GoT entered our world.

“There’s a Game of Thrones tour,” she told me. “Have you watched that show?”

“I haven’t, but so many people tell me I’d love it.”

We were hooked after the first episode and made it a weekly (or bi-weekly) viewing date. I don’t know that I could’ve watched a show that’s graphic in many ways with my mother under normal circumstances. However, we had to move forward into a new normal. Watching “our show” each week became a bonding opportunity for us. For an hour we could immerse ourselves into the drama and intrigue of a fictional world and the characters who inhabited it.

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We cheered for our favorites (Arya, Jon, Sam, and Tyrion) and I often wondered if my mom grieved when Catelyn Stark did. Like the fictional matriarch of House Stark, my mother is a passionate defender of her daughters – compassionate, wise, outspoken, and full of love. Just as Sansa and Arya embody the qualities of their mother in different ways, so too do the Deeny sisters.

This brilliant piece of fictional television deserves all the award recognition it’s received over the years, and I look forward to seeing the talent (on-screen and off) be recognized again for their stunning work in season 7. Game of Thrones is one such show that blends all artistic pieces into one seamless work of art. From the score; to the complex and twist-turning writing; and the raw, flawless acting GoT‘s praise warrants even more.

While I watched the newest season with dear friends (as my mother preferred the “wait for the DVD” method), we’ve decided that buying S7 in December will be a joint Christmas gift to one another. I’ll have plenty of time to get her caught up before the next and final (noooooo) season, and maybe we’ll still have time to get in that GoT tour in Ireland before S8 E1 airs.

UPDATE: 01/03/18I bought the Season 7 DVD the day it was released and my mother is now all caught up. She waits, as the rest of us do, for what Season 8 will reveal!
**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by any organization mentioned above or their affiliates, actors, or producers is implied.**

 

 

My Adventure in Hollywood: A Writer’s Quest

I watched the 2016 Oscars ceremony from a hotel room in the mid-west, halfway through the cross-country trip from Pennsylvania to California. I was on an adventure – taking a leap of faith and pursuing a career as a TV writer.

As my father/frequent driver/guru slept during the awards I sat on the edge of my temporary bed, my eyes glued to the screen and my fingers dancing on social media apps.  I cheered, booed, and celebrated wins (quietly as not to wake my elder) and fell asleep as the credits rolled. My heart was full of joy, my spirit filled with purpose, and my mind brimmed with inspiration.

The joy, purpose, and inspiration weren’t enough to turn the dream into a goal. Ten weeks into my CA adventure I made the life-changing decision to return to the east coast.

Lessons Learned

I failed – that’s the message that I’ve told myself during the eight months since my return to PA. Though friends and family use words like brave and inspirational, I thank them but disagree. The memories of my time in Hollywood fill my soul with pride yet also cut my self-confidence in half.

 

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View of the Pacific Ocean

 

I miss the artistic energy, the scenic views of the Pacific coast, and even the healthier lifestyle. I miss taking walks with my sister and her family, playing board games with my nephews, and attending baseball practices/games.

I miss attending events like the LA Times Festival of Books and WonderCon – listening to panels varying in topic from Young Adult Fantasy and TV marketing.

I miss the beautiful weather, navigating LA traffic with ease, walking around Hollywood & Highland, waiting along the sidelines during red carpet premieres – with pen and paper to remember it all.

What don’t I miss? The fear of failure success, applying to jobs that would require dedication and commitment for the long-term goal, and the dreaded self trio: doubt, confidence, and esteem.

I had to ask myself if I wanted the ultimate goal of TV writer badly enough to work my way there over the course of five to ten years. Could I settle down in Los Angeles – away from most of my family and friends? What if I achieved career satisfaction or even financial success? Would all my faults and flaws be food for fodder? Could I handle achieving my personal and professional goals only to have them challenged, threatened, or tainted? Wouldn’t that destroy me more – to reach that level of fulfillment and then lose it?

So I didn’t try, didn’t give it my all. I wasn’t brave, inspirational, or determined. I focused on spending time with the CA family and taking in the sights of Hollywood as though an outsider though I yearned to be an insider.

My sister and brother-in-law offered wise counsel, tons of laughs, and pragmatic suggestions – gently prodding me to determine my  ultimate goals. “I don’t know,” I’d reply. “Why don’t I know?”

I reached a point where all the inactions and non job searching forced me to make a decision regarding the next step in my life’s journey. Do I stay and put all my energy into achieving my entertainment dreams or go back east and pursue publication as a YA (Young Adult) author? I chose the latter, convincing myself that I wasn’t running away so much as being realistic.

Eastward Bound

My father accompanied me on the drive back east, rain greeting us each of the four days of travel. I stared out of the window, saddened and disappointed in myself but longing for home so that I could pretend I was brave and independent when the actual lesson from the CA adventure revealed the stark reality: I’d failed. I’d given up.  I allowed fear to color my decisions.

Three weeks after settling back at “home”, my older sister (one in PA) suddenly passed away. As I dealt with the stages of loss, I also found some comfort in knowing that I was there in her final twelve hours. I told myself that I must have sensed a need to be in Pennsylvania and that that’s what prompted the end to the CA adventure.

In the many months since my “failed” adventure, sister’s death and worrying about the election outcome, I spun into a downward spiral – sucked in by irrational fear and an overwhelming sense of dread. Art had consistently been my source of healing in years past, yet now I found little fulfillment from writing. Blogging about entertainment seemed meaningless and tweeting to my favorite actors or TV writers/execs felt like a waste of time and energy. “What did it matter?” I asked. “I’d decided, after all, that a career in TV wasn’t for me so why give it so much attention now?”

I became immersed in fear and self-depreciation until the morning of November 9th. I realized that I could not sit idly by and let fear and dread consume me. I must stand up and keep moving forward. Life is a journey-  my Hollywood adventure but one path along the way. I am currently writing a children’s book and reminding fear that I am strong.

What about the TV writer dream? I feel immense regret over my inactions especially since talking about film, TV, and/or theatre still brightens my eyes and fills my soul with joy. I remain unsure of my personal and professional goals but I’m motivated to search them out.

This February 26th, I’ll celebrate the best of 2016 film from a comfy couch and in the company of friends and family. Will I blog about it afterwards? Perhaps…but I’ll enjoy the show nonetheless.

 

**No endorsement from any of the above organizations/events implied.**

‘Supergirl’ Inspires a New Generation at PaleyFest LA

They walked down the aisle, their red capes leaving a trail of smiles behind them.

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My level of excitement for film and television blossomed throughout my childhood and remains intact as I approach the age of forty. However, the stark reality of a world so cocooned in fear and misery can make even this entertainment girl a little disillusioned. My view can sometimes cloud with a mist of cynicism and entitlement but every now and then, the briefest of moments can dissipate the mist and let a little bit of wonder shine in.

 

Supergirl‘ panel at the 2016 PaleyFest LA event

Taking time out of their Sunday night schedule, cast members Melissa Benoist (Kara/Supergirl), Calista Flockhart (Cat), Chyler Leigh (Alex), Mehcad Brooks (James), David Harewood (Hank/J’onn), and Jeremy Jordan (Winn) along with Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler joined us for an evening of laughter, discussion, and shared affection for this beloved series. Each of the panelists were absolutely delightful and the camaraderie between them evident – from Jeremy and Mehcad “suggesting” an interesting twist to the James/Kara/Winn love triangle to the heartfelt exchange between the Danvers sisters’ portrayers when asked about their off-screen relationship. I think Calista summed it up perfectly when she declared that “This is one of the most amazing, supportive casts…”.

 

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L-R: Moderator – Leanne Aguilera, Berlanti, Adler, Benoist, Flockhart, Leigh, Brooks, Harewood, and Jordan
 

Even before the lights dimmed and the panelists took their seats onstage, inspiration hit me like a ray of sunlight. I knew that I would write about the event after the fact, but was unsure how to present it, until I saw all the young girls in their Supergirl costumes. “This is what matters,” I thought as I stood alongside fellow fans along the Dolby Theatre’s balcony, straining to get a peek of the press line. A young girl with long blond hair walked up next to me and peered over the balcony. I grinned and said, “Are you excited?” The shy smile and wide eyes answered my question, warming my heart and sending my spirit soaring.

 

Before I knew it, my memory flooded back to myself at a young age. My long blonde hair fell over my Cinderella shirt as I’d watched the Main Street parade, waiting with growing anticipation for the arrival of my favorite animated princess. I waved emphatically and to my utter shock she pointed to me and said, “You look like me.” Thirty-some odd years later, at the TV version of a stage door experience, a young girl waiting to see her favorite character wiped that cloud of disillusionment right away.

 

The inspiration continued throughout the event as the actors talked about the positive influence of a show like Supergirl for the younger generation. Chyler spoke about how meaningful it is for her being a part of this show, given she has two young daughters, and the look of awe and excitement on the faces of children who visit the set and see Melissa in costume.

 

The moment that touched me most was when Mehcad Brooks took off his mic, jumped down to the front row, and placed a young fan on stage so we could all see the adorable Supergirl costume she had on. She had just asked Melissa if she could be her friend, to which Melissa immediately replied, “Yes, of course!” And when they realized that the rest of us couldn’t see the costume, Mehcad flew in to save the day. What a moment that must have been for that precious child whose smile hadn’t faded by the time we all left the theater an hour later.

 

It’s moments like those that reaffirm my support for the show and the delightful cast. As Melissa said, “I’ve been so privileged to get to know all these little kids who’ve been inspired by the show.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes Melissa (and her on-screen counterpart) inspiring to those young of age and young at heart.

*DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by or affiliation with anyone associated with Supergirl, DC Comics, Warner Brothers, CBS or their subsidiaries is implied.*