Hello Dear Readers! This past week, we all survived Carmageddon, which turned out to be a non-event, the Harry Potter saga came to its final end, and Disneyland turned 56. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to new things while the summer’s still young. Here are the topics for today’s Pressing Matters:

Shrek • A Dance With Dragons • Zombies • Harry Potter Withdrawal
• Carousel of Projects • Kennedy Center Honors & The Sherman Brothers

A few days ago I went to see Shrek The Musical at the fabulous Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. I expected a plethora of fart jokes but hoped the humor wouldn’t be too base. I also hoped I’d have a good time, and boy, did I! Yes, there are the obligatory fart jokes, but Shrek’s an ogre, after all and really, it was funny not gross and disgusting. The show was wonderfully & cleverly staged, the costumes were gorgeous (and clever too), the acting was terrific, and the music was super hum-able  — especially the paean to fart jokes, “I Think I Got You Beat.”

What I loved best of all about Shrek The Musical though, was that it works for both kiddies and adults. The kiddies will find the big green ogre both lovable and funny and they’ll laugh at the fart jokes. And the musical is witty enough that it provides plenty of inside jokes adults will find hilarious (and they’ll laugh at the fart jokes too). In short, Shrek The Musical is a perfect show to introduce kiddies to the world of musical theatre. They won’t be bored and you will have fun too – kind of like Disneyland:

In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre -- not a handsome prince -- shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a villain with a short temper, a cookie with an attitude and more than a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand... and his name is Shrek. Featuring a terrific score of 19 all-new songs, big laughs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, Shrek the Musical is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and all irreverent fun for everyone!

Shrek The Musical runs at the Pantages Theatre through July 31st. The Pantages Theatre is located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. Box office Ticket prices are $78 to $ 90. But why not try Goldstar, the discount site where I purchased my tickets? Prices there for the same seats are considerably cheaper at $40.50 to $55. For more information on Shrek The Musical, visit this link.

If you’re like me and watched the recent HBO series, A Game Of Thrones, in an attempt to find out what happens next, you’re pouring through the other novels in George R. R. Martin’s A Song Of Fire And Ice series. George R. R. Martin is currently on a book tour to promote the latest book of the series, A Dance With Dragons. He’ll be showing up in the LA area next week at the Barnes and Noble at The Grove:

We're thrilled to welcome George R.R. Martin when he visits to sign A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in his landmark series, as both familiar faces and surprising new forces vie for a foothold in a fragmented empire. He will be at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove on July 26th at 7 PM. This will be a wristbanded event. Wristband distribution will begin at 9 AM on July 26th with the purchase of a George R.R. Martin book. There is a two-book limit per wristbanded guest.

The Grove at Farmers Market is located at 189 Grove Drive Suite K 30, Los Angeles. For more information, call: 323-525-0270 or visit this link. Martin will also be at Comic-Con if you’re heading that way. He will moderate a panel with the Game Of Thrones show creators and cast at Comic-Con 2011 on Thursday, July 21. For more information, visit this link.

And speaking of Comic-Con, here’s something I’ve always wanted to see that’s happening down there at the same time, and you don’t have to be a Comic-Con registrant to join in — a Zombie Walk:

This year marks the FIFTH anniversary of America’s Finest Undead shuffling through the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter during Comic-Con! At 5:30 PM, on Saturday, July 23rd, zombies from all over will be gathering in San Diego to take over the nerdiest place on Earth… and feast on their brains! Our initial meeting location is set to be the courtyard area next to Horton Plaza, outside of Sam Goody, at the corner of 4th & Broadway – where we’ve met for all of our Comic-Con walks. This area is large, easy to locate, and quick to get to from the Convention Center.

As always, the walk is ALL-AGES and FREE of charge to participate and is open to everyone, not just convention attendees! Remember… the more the scarier! This is the perfect way to participate in the fun of Comic-Con without actually entering the convention itself, as you get to dress up and be among fun-loving and entertaining individuals from all backgrounds. Please come dressed and made-up as a zombie.

For more information, visit this link, or follow on Twitter.

I know more than a few folks who are starting to show signs of Potter withdrawal now that the boy wizard has grown up and finished his time at Hogwarts. This sounds like a sure cure for anyone longing for more Potter, and it’s artsy too — The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt:

Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the Getty Center in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Keep your trusty wand handy as you track down a powerful sorceress, a Snape-like potions master, flying owls and dragons, Hagrid-like giants, centaurs and unicorns like those you’d see in the Forbidden Forest, strange mermaids and sharks that seem straight out of the Triwizard Tournament, fierce knights in armor, and cloaked and masked figures as scary as any Death Eater or Dementor. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum.

The hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids (ages 10 and up) must be accompanied by adults. The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt takes place on Saturday, August 6th at 4:00 PM at The Getty Center Los Angeles. Adult tickets are $19.50, kids are $17.50, and must be purchased in advance.

The Getty Center Los Angeles is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. To purchase Wizard School Scavenger Hunt tickets, visit this link. For more information about the Wizard School Hunt and hunts in other LA museums, visit this link.

I know the D23 team is working hard to bring you fabulous things to explore at next month’s D23 Expo. This week they announced another part of the line-up and it sounds like a must-see to me — the Carousel of Projects:

The Parks & Resorts exhibit from the last Expo.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts invites D23 Expo attendees to hop aboard the "Carousel of Projects" for a sneak peek at concepts, designs, models, storytelling tools, and technologies currently being developed at Walt Disney Imagineering for Disney parks around the world. Throughout the weekend, exclusively at the D23 Expo, fans will get a look at the latest details for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' 11 parks and five resorts around the world:

  • Actual figures, props and ride vehicles for Radiators Springs Racers, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the building of Cars Land.
  • Concepts, models and plans for Fantasyland, one of the most ambitious expansions in the 40-year history of Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Imagineers and cast members who create and operate Disney's parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other vacation experiences will take fans behind-the-magic with nine exciting presentations including:

  • Radiator Springs Reality: Imagineering Cars Land for Disney California Adventure – Join Disney-Pixar's John Lasseter and a panel of Imagineers and Pixar creative talent as they share the twists and turns through the real-life development of Radiator Springs.
  • The Making of Star Tours - The Adventures Continue – Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald will share the inside scoop on how Walt Disney Imagineering and George Lucas' Industrial Light &Magic began laying the groundwork for a new version of Star Tours.
  • A Good Look at Buena Vista Street –Imagineers Lisa Girolami, Ray Spencer, and Coulter Winn provide a preview of the new entrance to Disney California Adventure, an idealized depiction of the Los Angeles Walt Disney lived and worked in throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

In addition, the Parks and Resorts pavilion will also feature Mickey's of Glendale, an outlet of Walt Disney Imagineering's employee-only store, where—for just the three days of the D23 Expo, guests can shop for "Carousel of Projects" souvenirs and collectibles and Walt Disney Imagineering merchandise not available anywhere else.

There’s much more to the story, of course. You can read the whole scoop here at this link. And if you haven’t got your D23 Expo tickets yet, as the Disney Geek always says, “What are you waiting for?”

We’ll end today with something I read on Facebook recently. Robbie Sherman, the son of Disney Legend Robert Sherman, has started a grass-roots campaign to get his dad and uncle nominated for Kennedy Center Honors. I can’t think of two people more deserving of that honor and you can help if you’d like, all it takes is a letter. (Yes, a physical letter.):

Dear Friends of the Sherman Brothers:


A number of people have been speaking with me about getting the Sherman Brothers nominated for the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors and I certainly think it’s a great idea! If you are willing to help out with this, please write a letter recommending the Sherman Brothers for this high profile commendation. Letters to this effect should be sent to the following address:

The Kennedy Center Honors
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20566

Also, be sure to make it clear at the top of your letter that your letter is “RE: SHERMAN BROTHERS FOR 2011 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS”.

Grassroots campaigns are officially welcomed by KCH. The deciding committee will be meeting in August, so letters should be sent out ASAP! Additionally I have arranged for copies of “Walt’s Time” (the SB’s joint autobiography), “The Boys” (a documentary film) and “The Sherman Brothers’ Songbook” (a 2 disc CD) to be made available to the committee as well.

The Sherman Brothers are my father and uncle respectively, and for that reason I can’t really be expected to be objective on the matter. Nevertheless, I feel confident in the assertion that no other songwriters’ music and lyrics better capture the essence of our civilization’s highest ideals and aspirations. It is for this reason as well as so many other, immeasurable contributions which the Sherman Brothers have made to the arts and culture, that I hope that you will join me in this effort.

Please let me know if you decide to write a letter. It will be useful to have a general count. Lastly, if anyone reading this personally knows someone on the KCH Deciding Committee, a conversation with that person would be extremely helpful as well. Any other ideas are welcome too. Thank you in advance for your efforts.

Very truly yours,
Robbie Sherman

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If you'd like to submit something to be considered for the column, please send it to both Sue and Al at the following email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected] with the words "Pressing Matters" in the subject line. Due to our already extensive email loads we won't be able to acknowledge each submission, but those under consideration may get a note from us asking for more details. Representatives from the items chosen are invited to answer questions from readers at the forum linked at the end of each column.

FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Sue Kruse and Al Lutz did not receive any payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in this article. They pay for their own admission to theme parks and their associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.

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2011 Sue Kruse