Monday, June 27, 2022

Monday 6/27 at 9:30am pst - Judy Wu, professor of Asian American studies, director of the Humanities Center, and historian talks about her book Fierce and Fearless Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress

Marking the 50th Anniversary of Title IX, Judy Wu, professor of Asian American studies, director of the Humanities Center, and historian who recently co-authored a comprehensive biography of Title IX pioneer, Patsy Mink, titled Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, professor of Asian American studies and director of UCI's Humanities Center, is a co-author on the first-ever biography on the powerhouse lawmaker and major author of Title IX, Patsy Takemoto Mink. Wu collaborated with Mink’s daughter, political scientist Gwendolyn “Wendy” Mink on the book, Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress.

“Lots of people associate Title IX with equality in collegiate sports, but it’s also about admissions, scholarships, housing and employment. It established the basic legal principle of gender equity and completely revolutionized education in America,” says Wu.

Fierce and Fearless
Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress

by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink

Discussion points:

How did the idea for this book come about?

Tell me about the process of collaborating with Wendy Mink.

How did Patty Mink, who surprisingly is not a well-known name in feminist US history, make her mark in Washington DC?

This is the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Can you talk about the creation of Title IX and it's legacy today.

In 1972, what happened when Title IX was enacted, because I know it took several years to create the structure to enforce it

Cara Capuano UCI's Communications Officer and accomplished TV & Radio Sports Broadcaster recently produced a UCI podcast featuring Judy Wu and Wendy Mink:

READ: Title IX’s legacy at 50 | UCI School of Humanities

Projects mentioned by Judy:

About Professor Judy Wu

Professor, Asian American Studies
Director of Humanities Center
Chancellor's Fellow
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1998, History
University of California, Irvine

See the new short documentary by Ben Proudfoot.

When the Backlash Came for Title IX, She Fought Back

Research Interests
Asian American History; Comparative Racialization and Immigration; Empire and Decolonization; Gender and Sexuality

Monday 9:00am LIVE on KUCI - Vicky Johnson, professor of film & media studies and African American studies and author of Sports TV joins host Janeane LIVE on KUCI 88.9fm


Victoria E. Johnson, professor of film & media studies, is the author of Sports TV, which looks at the genre from a distinctly humanistic perspective, exploring American history, culture, class, race and identity through the lens of broadcast sports. One chapter in Sports TV specifically focuses on Title IX and its legacies, including the explosion of female participation and visibility in sports at all levels, as well as in the boom in marketing of the “female athlete icon” that has occurred from the 1990s onward, thanks to the growth of the first and second post-Title IX generation of female participants in sports.

According to Johnson, "Perhaps the most visible legacy of Title IX has been the explosion of female participation in sports at all levels since its institution. Title IX has encouraged subsequent generations of female-identified athletes and professionals to participate in and to re-imagine sports as athletes, coaches, and sports media professionals. Crucial here, also, have been the ways that marketing, advertising, and the explosion of social media have capitalized on and promoted the 'post-Title IX' female athlete as icon and target demographic."


This book offers an introductory guide to sports TV, its history in the United States, the genre’s defining characteristics, and analysis of its critical significance for the business practices, formal properties, and social, cultural, and political meanings of the medium.

Victoria E. Johnson discusses a range of examples, from textual analysis of programs such as Monday Night Football and Being Serena to examination of television rights details, to sports TV’s technological innovations and engagement of critical political debates. Johnson examines sports TV from its introduction to the ESPN+ era. She proposes that sports, as seen on TV in all of its iterations, is the central cultural forum for working through questions of community ideals, struggles over national and regional mythologies, and questions of representative citizenship.

This book is an ideal guide for students and scholars of television, media, and cultural studies as well as those with an interest in television genre, sports TV history, and contemporary sport and media culture.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Coming up Monday June 20th 2022 @ 9:15am pst - Father and son simultaneously battle cancer in comedian’s darkly funny and deeply moving memoir - Cotton Teeth. Four-time cancer survivor Glenn Rockowitz pens follow-up to bestseller, “Rodeo in Joliet”

Seattle, Washington – Four-time cancer survivor, comedian and former SNL writer, Glenn Rockowitz, is back with his highly anticipated second memoir, “Cotton Teeth” (Harper & Case, December 14, 2021).

Diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1998, Rockowitz recalls being told he had only three months to live. He was 28 years old at the time, and starting a family. His wife was eight months pregnant. Rockowitz’ psychoanalyst father, after praying that they could switch places, received his own surprising terminal diagnosis only a week later. In the weeks that followed, the two would battle cancer side-by-side.

With writing that is visceral, raw and poetic, Rockowitz dives headfirst into old memories, and tragedy gives way to a darkly funny and intensely loving experience.

Named one of Kirkus’ Best Books of 2021, this is Rockowitz's unflinchingly candid account of the heartbreak, joy, and wisdom shared between father and son as they face their final months of life alone, and together. “Cotton Teeth” is the long-awaited follow-up to Rockowitz's bestselling memoir, “Rodeo in Joliet,” published in 2009.

“Cotton Teeth”

Glenn Rockowitz | December 14, 2021 | Harper & Case | Memoir

More about Glenn Rockowitz

Glenn Rockowitz is an American writer, filmmaker and comedian. A graduate of Chicago's famed Second City, Rockowitz went on to write and perform comedy for many years throughout the U.S. In 1995, he founded a nonprofit AIDS and cancer charity known as The Best Medicine Group–an organization that brought hundreds of live comedy shows into the homes of terminally-ill patients throughout the metropolitan New York area.

“Rodeo in Joliet,” a memoir of Rockowitz’s battle with a very aggressive late-stage cancer, was released nationally on April 11, 2009. By early 2010, the book became a national bestseller and was subsequently optioned by director Matt Aselton to become a major motion picture, written by Ryan Knighton for release in 2023. His latest memoir “Cotton Teeth” was awarded a 2021 Foreword INDIES award and a 2022 IndieReader Discovery Award, and was selected as one of Kirkus’ Best Books of 2021. Rockowitz has appeared on the Moth, NPR, NBC, CBS and a variety of radio programs.

Follow Glenn Rockowitz on social media:

Facebook | Twitter

In an interview, Glenn Rockowitz discusses:

  • His background in stand-up comedy and improv, and why it was important to infuse humor into his memoir

  • How being told that he only had months to live affected his everyday life

  • The suppressed childhood memories that resurfaced while he battled cancer and how he reckoned with them

  • How his relationship with his father changed during their joint battle with cancer

  • The impact his father’s death had on him as a son, but also as a father himself

Coming up Monday June 20th 2022 @ 9:00am pst - Wade Rouse, internationally bestselling author of 13 books, is back with his first memoir in a decade. MAGIC SEASON: A Son’s Story

to the show

Wade Rouse, internationally bestselling author of 13 books, is back with his first memoir in a decade. MAGIC SEASON: A Son’s Story (Hanover Square Press; May 3, 2022; hardcover)

In the 1970’s Ozarks, sports, hunting, and fishing defined a boy’s world. But they didn’t define author Wade Rouse’s world, which was instead filled with reading, writing, and cooking. This was a problem for Rouse’s father Ted, a by-the-book engineer who was incapable of the emotional support his gay son so desperately needed. The only thing the two had in common was a love for the St. Louis Cardinals.

When Ted’s health is in decline, Rouse returns home to Southwest Missouri to watch one last season of baseball with his father. Emotions run high on the field as the Cardinals race for the pennant; and on the couch, where Rouse races to make peace before his dad passes on. As Rouse recounts the past and confronts the present, readers may find themselves rooting for reconciliation on one page, then hoping for a final and permanent split on the next.

While sports fans will enjoy the baseball tie-in, this book is also for anyone with a parent, child, relative, or old friend who they continue to love despite the person being very hard to love. Since a perfect parent/child relationship is about as likely as a perfectly pitched game (.01%), Rouse’s story, and the highly-charged themes within it, will strike a chord with nearly every reader.

About Wade Rouse

Wade Rouse is the USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author of 13 books, including four memoirs and nine novels. 

Wade’s books have been translated into 21 languages and have been bestsellers across the world. He chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, as a pen name to honor the working poor Ozarks woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction. His latest Viola Shipman novel, The Secret of Snow, was an instant national and indie bestseller.

Wade will publish three new books in 2022, including Magic Season and two new Viola Shipman novels, The Edge of Summer (July) and a winter/holiday novel, both with Graydon House Books.

A noted humorist of four memoirs, Wade was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in Humor (he lost to Tina Fey) and was named by Writer’s Digest as “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (Wade was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson).

Wade’s previous Viola Shipman novels include The Summer Cottage (a USA TODAY bestseller); The Clover Girls (a #1 Great Lakes & Midwest Indie Bestseller); The Charm Bracelet (a 2017 Michigan Notable Book of the Year); The Hope Chest; The Recipe Box; and The Heirloom Garden.

Wade’s books have been selected multiple times as Must-Reads by NBC’s Today Show, featured in the Washington Post, USA Today and on Chelsea Lately and chosen three times as Indie Next Picks by the nation’s independent booksellers.

His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications and media, including Coastal Living, Time, All Things Considered, People, Good Housekeeping, Salon, Forbes, Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.

Wade earned his B.A. from Drury University and his master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. He divides his time between Saugatuck, Michigan, and Palm Springs, California, and is also an acclaimed writing teacher who has mentored numerous students to become published authors.

Wade hosts the popular Facebook Live literary happy hour, “Wine & Words with Wade,” every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EST on the Viola Shipman author page where he talks writing, inspiration and welcomes bestselling authors and publishing insiders.

For more, please visit or

Sunday, June 19, 2022

What is the Significance of Juneteenth? Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day & Freedom Day has it's one year anniversary as a federal holiday that began in 2021.

WATCH: What is Juneteenth? History, Meaning and Why We Celebrate the Holiday (

From Erin M. Smith, Congressional Research Service

"Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the civil war and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation came 2½ years earlier on January 1, 1863, many enslavers continued to hold enslaved Black people captive after the announcement, and Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African-American freedom. Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021. All 50 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or observance, and at least 18 states have enacted laws to observe the holiday as a paid state holiday."

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Coming up Monday June 20th 2022 @ 9:30am pst on KUCI 88.9fm -- Ruth Weisberg, a versatile and vivacious voiceover narrator and coach, on-camera moderator, and keynote speaker chats with host Janeane


Ruth Weisberg is a versatile and vivacious voiceover narrator and coach, on-camera moderator, and keynote speaker.

Her distinctive and dynamic presence can be seen and heard on radio/TV spots, news commentary programs, interactive sites, e-learning and animated productions.

Ruth is also an instructor at The Voice Box, teaching group classes in voiceover narration, as well as mentoring and coaching voiceover students with individual private instruction.

Despite appearances she never spills ink.

She is also a big part of the 
Nokomis Beach Drum Circle in Sarasota County, Florida.

WATCH Ruth in the Accidental Art Model

LISTEN to her VO Reels

Monday, June 13, 2022

Monday 6/13 at 9am pst - Critically-acclaimed author, Annie Hartnett, talks about her brilliant new book, UNLIKELY ANIMALS

While visiting friends in New Hampshire, Hartnett became fascinated with nineteenth-century robber baron Austin Corbin’s historical estate, and a real life Doctor Doolittle that worked there! This surreal property, Corbin''s Park, became a secret, exclusive hunting park that still exists today. The true story is fascinating and it's no surprise it inspired Unlikely Animals—already receiving rave reviews! 

“Hartnett masterfully balances a story of deep loss with the perfect amount of hilarity and tenderness.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Hartnett’s whimsical storytelling casts a spell.”—Publishers Weekly

“This is a big novel doing big things. It bears some similarity to Hartnett’s much- loved first novel, Rabbit Cake. . . . But Unlikely Animals is a broader, brassier, and even more fiercely tender story. In this, her second novel, Hartnett lands an astonishing leap as a storyteller.”—The Rumpus

“Wistfully charming . . . This unapologetically genre-bending tribute to life and death, and the beautiful weirdness found in both, has potential to spark exceptional book club discussions.”—Shelf Awareness

Author Annie Hartnett released her first novel, Rabbit Cake, in 2017 to critical acclaim. Numerous media outlets included it on their “Best of ” lists, and it was named a finalist for the New England Book Award, long-listed for The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and shortlisted for The Crook's Corner Book Prize for Best Debut set in the South. Reviewers called it “[a] treasure” (People Magazine) and “truly terrific and original” (Booklist). Now, I’m excited to share that Hartnett has knocked it out of the park once more with her second novel, UNLIKELY ANIMALS (Ballantine Hardcover; On Sale 4/12/2022). When I first started reading this tender, funny, quirky story, I realized quickly that I had never encountered anything like it before.

Upon first glance, you may think the plot sounds familiar: a young woman returns home to a complicated family after a failed attempt at striking out on her own. But add a dash of zoology and a bit of mystery, all mixed with a smidge of the supernatural and set against the backdrop of the opioid crisis, and you have a story that is wholly, wonderfully unique. I can’t wait for you to read it.

Natural-born healer Emma Starling once had big plans for her life, but she’s lost her way. A med school dropout, she’s come back to small-town Everton, New Hampshire, to care for her father, dying from a mysterious brain disease. Clive Starling has been hallucinating small animals, as well as visions of the ghost of a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes, once known for letting wild animals live in his house. This ghost has been giving Clive some ideas on how to spend his final days.

Emma arrives home knowing she must face her dad’s illness, her mom’s judgement, and her younger brother’s recent stint in rehab, but she’s unprepared to find that her former best friend from high school is missing, with no one bothering to look for her. The police say they don’t spend much time looking for drug addicts. Emma’s dad is the only one convinced the young woman might still be alive, and Emma is hopeful he could be right. Someone should look for her, at least. Emma isn’t really trying to be a hero—but somehow she and her father set in motion just the kind of miracle the town needs.


Annie Hartnett is the author of Rabbit Cake. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She studied philosophy at Hamilton College, has an MA from Middlebury College, and an MFA from the University of Alabama. When she began writing Unlikely Animals, she was living in the groundskeeper’s house in a cemetery. She now lives in Providence, Rhode Island, in an ordinary house with her husband, daughter, and darling border collie, Mr. Willie Nelson.


“Unlikely Animals is a testament to the wild talent of Annie Hartnett. This novel possesses such tenderness and empathy for a world that wears us down and ruins us, a world that sometimes offers a glimmer of hope, and Hartnett knows how to turn up the brilliance of that light and wield it to do magical things.”
—Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang

“A wondrous and wonderful story filled with unforgettable characters, both living and dead. An instant classic that will make you question reality even as you embrace a town with a unique relationship to nature and miracles. Please, please read this marvelous book.”

—Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of the Southern Reach trilogy

“A riotous, joyful, hilarious romp with the wild and the tamed, the living and the dead, Unlikely Animals is both a love letter to John Irving and a literary accomplishment in its own right. Annie Hartnett is the real deal, and Unlikely Animals is a triumph.”

—Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen, finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award

“I devoured Annie Hartnett's Unlikely Animals. She's created a beautiful menagerie set inside a troubled household and their small New Hampshire town; a delightful mess of tenderness, grief, and despair, but most importantly, hope. This book is a winner.”

—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things and With Teeth

“Unlikely Animals is a modern fairytale that beguiles and breaks the heart. Annie Hartnett walks a tightrope of comedy and tragedy, in tender, sparkling prose cut with wit. A large-hearted story populated by an original and amiable cast of characters — human, animal, spirit — about living, dying, and all the messiness in between.”

—Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin

“Unlikely Animals is a wonderful love song to a place and the people who live there, past and present. It is a warm, joyful, generous novel about families and human frailty — an homage to the dead and a celebration of the living, one that embraces the complexity and fullness of both.”

—Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State

“No one is better at heart than Annie Hartnett—in the best, most layered, most complicated and deeply human sense—and still Unlikely Animals stunned me. There are tame(ish) foxes, a ghost, a Greek chorus that speaks from their graves at the town cemetery, a cast of eccentric fifth-graders, and a deeply troubled, devoted, hilarious family—and every last one of them became dear to me. In a book rich with miracles, it’s this complexity and expansiveness of connection that feels most miraculous of all.”

—Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Producers Gabrielle Blumberg and Jordy Sank talk about their DANCES WITH FILMS INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE OF “LEEMTES EN LEEGHEID (A VOID)” SUNDAY JUNE 12, 2022



The intimate short film from South Africa, written by Jordy Sank and Terence Makapan, will screen at 2:45 PM at the famed TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.

HOLLYWOOD, MAY 27, 2022 -- “LEEMTES EN LEEGHEID (A VOID)”, a South African dramatic short from writers Jordy Sank and Terence Makapan, will make its international premiere at the 25th Annual DANCES WITH FILMS Festival, June 9-19, 2022 at the legendary TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

The film delves into the world of Magdaleen, a recluse in her 80s, who numbs the pain of losing her husband by envisioning him beside her. After being locked away with the memory of him in her apartment, she desperately attempts to venture into the outside world and to the sea she so longs for. “Leemtes en Leegheid” took home three awards from its world premiere at the South African film festival Silwerskermfees including: Best Short Film, Best Screenplay and Audience Choice.

“Leemtes en Leegheid” is produced by Sanktuary Films in collaboration with kykNET. Sanktaury Films is a Johannesburg based production company committed to creating documentaries and narrative film content that enlightens the world. Their previous award-winning documentary, “I Am Here”, told the story of 98-year old Ella Blumenthal, a feisty, spirited South African Holocaust survivor who shared her astonishing life journey and her unwavering appreciation of life. The film won multiple awards at international festivals including the Jury Award for Best South African Documentary (Oscar Qualifying).

Both films were directed by the South African director Jordy Sank who gravitates toward intimate human stories and social impact narratives. He is passionate about pushing the envelope of South African storytelling and sharing meaningful films with the world. "Within the past few years, we have all experienced tremendous loss and loneliness in many shapes and forms, which is why we believe the story of “Leemtes en Leegheid” truly connects with audiences,” says Sank.

"We have seen how this story of grief and isolation has resonated so widely, and we hope it brings comfort and closure to those who watch it,” says Gabriella Blumberg who produced the poignant film with Samantha Pelteret.

Tickets for the screening of “Leemtes en Leegheid” on Sunday, June 12 at 2:45 PM are available on the DANCES WITH FILMS website at a pre-sale price of $18 prior to June 9; thereafter tickets are $20. Parking is readily available at the Hollywood & Highland complex, $3 for the first 4 hours (validated at the theater) or $18 maximum for the day.

Visit: Sanktuary Films - Johannesburg South Africa
Sanktuary Films, is a Johannesburg based production company, committed to creating documentaries and narrative film content that enlighten the world.

For more information about the film or to arrange interviews with the production principals, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants, at 818-758-6509 or email

# # #

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Beloved Rabbi Steve Leder discusses his NEW book, For You When I Am Gone - Twelve Essential Questions To Tell a Life Story

We often focus on the material things we leave behind when we die, when what we really should consider is the legacy we leave behind. We write a will to divvy up who gets what, but rather than just stuff, we should be leaving something that speaks to who we wanted to be, who we were, and what we want for our loved ones in their lives. In FOR YOU WHEN I AM GONE: Twelve Essential Questions To Tell a Life Story, beloved Rabbi Steve Leder, bestselling author of The Beauty of What Remains, offers a new guide to help readers put into words what they hope their loved ones know after they have gone - creating what he calls an ethical will. Rabbi Leder has helped thousands of people to write their own ethical wills, and in this intimate book helps us write our own. Rabbi Leder appears frequently on national TV and you can watch a few of his appearances here: FOX LA (grief during the pandemic), CBS Sunday Morning (the war in Ukraine), TODAY with Hoda and Jenna (on grief). Rabbi Steve Leder is available for interviews on Wednesday, June 8th. Sincerely, Ari

Ethical wills are ancient traditions, often including stories, reflections about your past, joy, regrets, and ultimately becomes both a way to remember a loved one who is gone and a primer on how to live a better, happier life. In FOR YOU WHEN I AM GONE, Rabbi Leder examines twelve questions to help readers put into words what they hope their loved ones know after they have gone, including: What was your most painful regret and how can your loved ones avoid repeating it? When was a time you led with your heart instead of your head? And what did you learn from your biggest failure?

FOR YOU WHEN I AM GONE includes examples of ethical wills from a broad range of voices—old and young, with and without children, famous and unknown. It inspires readers to examine their own lives and turn them into something beautiful and meaningful for generations to come.


Steve Leder is the senior rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. After receiving his degree in writing and graduating cum laude from Northwestern University, and spending time studying at Trinity College, Oxford University, Leder received a master’s degree in Hebrew letters in 1986 and rabbinical ordination in 1987 from Hebrew Union College. He is the author of five books: The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things, More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul, and the bestsellers More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us, and The Beauty of What Remains.

HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE” TO MAKE WORLD PREMIERE AT DANCES WITH FILMS, FRIDAY JUNE 10, 2022. Janeane speaks with Jonathan Hblika, Connor Rueter, Maxime Lauzon about their roles in this film and more!


Full-length comedy feature from Other Animal Entertainment

part of lineup at 25th Anniversary of Dances With Films Festival, June 9-19, 2022

HOLLYWOOD - June 1, 2022 -- A foul-mouth comedy about a struggling metal band, “HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' will have its world premiere on Friday June 10th at 9:30PM at this year’s DANCES WITH FILMS, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the internationally-acclaimed film festival. All films will play at the legendary TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood.

Directed by Derek Diorio, written by Ryan Keller and J. Gordon Ross and produced by Keller, “HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' tells the story of Ronnie Weston and her brother Will who live in a one mill town. When the mill workers go on strike, the future for their family looks bleak. Fortunately, Ronnie has found a brisk business selling weed. When Will wants to start a band, Ronnie uses her weed profits to buy Will an electric guitar. Against everyone's advice, Will enlists local outcast Artie Porter as the bass player. Artie spends his days allegedly partying with heavy metal icons and getting fellatio from rock and roll legends - or so he says. Artie’s lies cause instant conflict within the band, especially with Vince, the egotistical lead singer. But the musical chemistry is undeniable, and Will feels that his band just might hit the big time. If they can survive their dying town…and each other.

In the comic spirit of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Metalhead,” the 98-minute dramedy stars Matt Close, Mattea Brotherton, Dana Hodgson, Connor Rueter, and Maxime Lauzon.

“Working with these phenomenal young performers has been one of the highlights of my career” says director Derek Diorio, “Seeing their raw talent bring the story to life on screen was inspiring.” “Growing up in a small industrial town, and knowing this life firsthand, it was very important to me that every actor brought an authentic voice to these characters,” says Ryan Keller. “I was stunned by their performances.”

“HAPPY F’K’IN SUNSHINE'' will screen on Friday, June 10 at 9:30 PM at the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the DWF website at and clicking the Buy Tickets icon. All tickets are $18 if purchased prior to June 9; thereafter tickets are $20. Parking is readily available at the Hollywood & Highland complex, $3 for the first 4 hours (validated at the theater) or $18 maximum for the day.

For more information on the film or to arrange an interview with the principal creators, please contact Deborah Gilels, LA Media Consultants at 818-758-6509 or email

Happy FKIN Sunshine principle cast and crew:

Matt Close as Will

Mattea Brotherton as Ronnie

Dana Hodgson as Artie

Connor Rueter as Vince

Maxime Lauzon as River

Bridget Graham as Danielle

Aubrey Rand as Taylor

Lewis Hodgson as Frank

Lisa Boivin as Loraine

Directed by Derek Diorio

Written by Ryan Keller & J. Gordon Ross

Produced by Ryan Keller

Executive Producers Jonathan Hlibka & Terry E. Markus

Director of Photography Clement Lush

Production Designer Stephanie Avery

Happy FKIN Sunshine: Creator Statement

Happy FKIN Sunshine is a story about the last chapter in the life cycle of an industrial town told through the eyes of the town’s working-class youth. Northern Ontario and Manitoba are littered with small towns that sprung up around pulp and paper mills in the heyday of the mid-late 20th century forestry industry. People flocked to these towns on the promise of stable high paying jobs and a real future for themselves and their children. But the economy changed in the 1990’s and many mills began closing. Suddenly, many of the children of the millworkers found themselves without the chance of the bright future that their parents once thought they had.

The plot of Happy F’K’IN Sunshine is simple: Will and Ronnie, the teenage children of a millworker, start their first band while the mill is on strike and the town’s entire economy is collapsing. Music is their refuge. Inspired by the band’s chemistry and their growing popularity on social media, they increasingly see music as the path to a life otherwise unattainable. Thematically, the film is a character drama about music’s power to provide comfort and a sense of purpose in otherwise impossible circumstances.

The entirety of the soundtrack of the film is music that the characters listen to and the music that they make as a band. It is a rich blend of punk, country, rock, and metal ranging from the 1970’s to contemporary pieces. The songs the band performs are entirely original and were written for the film. When the band plays their music the audience experiences the same sense of sanctuary as the characters. Cinematographer Clement Lush and writer/producer Ryan Keller spent a large part of their careers working together filming bands for documentaries, music videos, and television and drew upon the repertoire of strategies to realistically convey the connection among musicians that arises through the act of making music.

It was incredibly important to the filmmaking team that all details, from the dialogue and locations to the background performers, felt authentically like Northern Ontario. Hence, the film was shot entirely on location in North Bay, Ontario. To further capture the authenticity of the story, the actors playing the band and their relatives are Northern Ontarians. The adult characters are played by an ensemble of industry veterans recognizable from numerous film and television productions. The younger cast are newcomers who were found through an extensive casting process and who worked under the guidance of director Derek Diorio to create powerful debut performances.

Dances With Films HFS page


About director Derek Diorio

Derek Diorio has written, produced and directed hundreds of hours of dramatic, animated, documentary and live-action television programming and feature films starring the likes of Ernest Borgnine, Eli Wallach, Graham Greene, Michael Moriarty and Terri Garr. From 2012 to 2018 he co-created and co-wrote four seasons of the critically acclaimed drama series Hard Rock Medical.

His work as a writer has earned him many international awards, including a Cable Ace Award in the U.S., a Banff Television Festival Award and three Gemini nominations in Canada. He moved his family and production company to North Bay in 2018 and is an active Producer promoting Northern crews and talent.

Monday, June 6, 2022

The Tenth Annual She Rocks Awards Celebrates Outstanding Women in the Music Industry -- Dionne Warwick, Meredith Brooks, Carmen Vandenberg, MILCK and Many Other Musicians and Audio Industry Professionals Honored at Prestigious Event

photo credit: Kevin Graff

Anaheim, CA, June 6, 2022 ––The tenth annual She Rocks Awards rocked The Ranch in Anaheim on June 2, to help kick off the NAMM Season! Hosted by the Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN), the gala celebration featured a star-studded array of honorees that include GRAMMY® Award winners Dionne Warwick, who appeared virtually along with live appearances by Meredith Brooks, Carmen Vandenberg, MILCK, Yvette Young as well many other women from all corners of the music and audio industry.

The evening included special performances by the honorees including Carmen Vandenberg, MILCK, Yvette Young, Sherri Chung. Vocalists Heather Youmans and Laura Clapp joined Mindi Abair on sax, the Command Sisters and drummer Christina Torres who performed a medley of “That’s What Friends Are For,”and “I Say A LIttle Prayer,” as a tribute to Dionne Warwick. The evening concluded with a rousing performance of “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks featuring fellow honorees Carmen Vandenberg on lead guitar and MILCK joining in to duet with Brooks.

The full list of 2022 honorees includes:

● Dionne Warwick, Legend Award - Six-time GRAMMY® and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, multi-platinum iconic singer, actress, television host, former UN Goodwill Ambassador and interior designer with her own WG Design Lab

● Meredith Brooks, Trailblazer Award - singer-songwriter and guitarist celebrating the 25th anniversary of her single ”Bitch”

● Carmen Vandenberg, Bold Star Award - lead guitarist and one half of the GRAMMY®-nominated rock duo BONES UK

● MILCK, Vision Award - singer/songwriter, leading advocate for women’s rights and celebrated role model within the music industry

● Yvette Young, Inspire Award - guitarist and front-woman for the math rock band Covet

● Kerry Fiero, Motivator Award - producer of the annual "Girl Power! Women Working in the Music Industry" Conference

● EveAnna Manley, Mad Skills Award - president, Manley Laboratories aka “The Tube Chick”

● Sherri Chung, Spirit Award - Award-winning film and TV composer and Governor of the Music Branch of the Television Academy

● Leslie Gaston-Bird, Champion Award - mixer, sound editor, author and a champion of diversity in the audio industry

● Lyndsey Parker, Dreaming Out Loud Award - Yahoo Entertainment Music Editor, SiriusXM host and author

● Julie Robbins, Powerhouse Award - CEO of effects pedal manufacturer Earthquaker Devices

● Myki Angeline, Warrior Award - radio professional for Audacy and social media manager for the WiMN.

Co-hosting the event were Katie Daryl (AXS TV host) and Mindi Abair, two-time GRAMMY® nominated saxophonist/vocalist, who stepped in for Lzzy Hale (Halestorm). The opening performance by Canada’s own Platinum Award-winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Tenille Arts got the evening off to a stellar start.

“It was so exciting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2022 She Rocks Awards by honoring these fantastic female role models,” said the WiMN founder, Laura B. Whitmore. “The entire evening was packed with inspiring stories, performances and very special moments!”

The Silent Auction featuring many one of a kind items including: an autographed package from Lzzy Hale which includes an autographed Les Paul guitar and tickets to any Halestorm show this summer, a Blackstar guitar package from Carmen Vandenberg, a photo shoot with renowned photographer, Mark Maryanovich, 2 tickets to the upcoming Keith Urban show at an Los Angeles show in September and so much more, has been extended until June 11th. Visit HERE for more information and to bid on these special packages!

Find out more about the event and the organization at Watch a stream of the awards, HERE

The 2022 She Rocks Awards is sponsored by Positive Grid, Sweetwater, PRS Guitars, Monster Energy,, Shure, Roland, Martin Guitar, Audacy, Berklee College of Music, Blackstar, D’Addario, D’Angelico, dw Drums, Fishman, Gator Cases, Gibson, iZotope, 108 Rock Star Guitars, KMC/JAM, Korg, Levy’s, MAC Cosmetics, Manley Labs, NAMM, Pigtronix, Soundgirls, Supro, Taylor, Tech 21,The Music People, WRiiG, Zildjian, AXS TV, Parade, Future Publishing,

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About The Women’s International Music Network (WiMN)

Founded in 2012, the Women’s International Music Network unites women who work within all facets of the music and audio industries. With as its hub, the WiMN provides a community for women within the industry while enriching their careers and musical experiences through networking and sharing. The Women’s International Music Network produces the She Rocks podcast, the LIVE: Front & Center web series, WiMN She Rocks Spotlight Showcase Series and the She Rocks Awards, and is founded by music industry veteran Laura B. Whitmore. For more information, visit

For more information on the She Rocks Awards, please contact:


Melissa Dragich @

Kelly MacGaunn @

Author Amy Daughters talks about her book - Dear Dana: That Time I Went Crazy and Wrote All 580 of My Facebook Friends a Handwritten Letter

When Amy Daughters reconnected with her old pal Dana on Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Though the two women hadn’t had any contact in 30 years, it didn’t take them long to catch up—and when Amy learned that Dana’s son Parker was doing a second stint at St. Jude battling cancer, she was suddenly inspired to begin writing the pair weekly letters.

When Parker died, Amy—not knowing what else to do—continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend”, what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?

A whopping 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life, and most of all her heart, would never ever be the same again. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, flawed people for a specific reason. They loved her, and she loved them. And nothing—not politics, beliefs, or lifestyle—could separate them.

Talking points:

In what ways this story is so important in this day and age

Non-instantaneous communication in a world that wants everything immediately

The statistics associated with the Facebook project

The importance and power of non-instantaneous communication

How we don’t need a reply to validate us

Pros and cons of social media based on this experiment

More about the book:

“Dear Dana reminds us that despite the reality of where we are as a society, hope literally oozes all over the place. It is alive and well between you and the person sitting next to you – your coworker, your neighbor, a stranger you’ve never even met and yes…your Facebook friend.”

When Amy Daughters reconnected with her old pal Dana on Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Though the two women hadn’t had any contact in 30 years, it didn’t take them long to catch up — and when Amy learned that Dana’s son Parker was doing a second stint at St. Jude battling cancer, she was suddenly inspired to begin writing the pair weekly letters. When Parker died, Amy — not knowing what else to do — continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left

Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter? Let’s just say Amy’s life, and heart, would never be the same after she interacted with real people behind every friend’s profile.

Just featured on KUCI 88.9fm - THE EIGHTY-YEAR-OLD SORORITY GIRLS By Robin Benoit


As a group of eighty-something girlfriends deal with the mental decline of their sorority sister, they reconnect with their college sorority, advise their grandchildren, find new lives for themselves and continue to stay the closest of friends. Vivian, nicknamed “Button,” is an Alzheimer’s patient who adores her sorority group, Helen rediscovers love at age eighty-one, Ida’s crazy side comes out during football season and Laney is the “big sister” in charge of baking for the group. These three women consistently show up for Vivian as her mental health deteriorates — because that is what sisters do. As they discover a new way of

“The Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls is a heartfelt book that will inspire women of all ages to stop, pause and reflect on one’s life journey … to embrace it with open arms and reminiscence the friendships and the opportunities they have experienced. Robin Benoit has provided a beautiful collection of magical and memorable moments that will bring laughter and smiles of joy, and tears of love and compassion. Page by page and chapter by chapter, The Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls is a must read as one’s life comes full circle. Don’t let it pass you by… enjoy, and thank you to our author and storyteller Robin Benoit.” —Deborah S. Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of BCPS, Inc. and Author of A Mother for All Seasons: A Memoir and Proud Mother of Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps

“Robin Benoit’s touching story is a celebration of the enduring bonds of sisterhood. Whether you are 18 or 80 years young, women need women in their lives, and this book is a beautiful testament to that.” —TJ Condon, President of Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation and Award-Winning Author of Some Assembly Required: A True Story of Love and Organ Transplants

“I think fans of Steel Magnolias will love this book! I recommend it wholeheartedly!” —Carey Conley, Co-Author of Keep Looking Up and Co-Founder of Infinite Nation™ Community

“I find this a truly endearing book, and the style of writing conveys just that message. I recommend this book for all women to enjoy. We all need our tribe, our pride and to think about our special relationships and their lifetime impact personally and on future generations.”

—Robin White Fanning, President of Phi Mu Foundation


“I love books that represent the values of female friendships and supporting one another. The way these women show up for each other is truly inspiring.”

—Pat Mitchell, Co-Founder and Curator of TEDWomen and Author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World

“I love books that represent the values of female friendships and supporting one another. The way these women show up for each other is truly inspiring.” —Pat Mitchell, Co-Founder and Curator of TEDWomen and Author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World

DALLAS, TX— The Golden Girls meets Steel Magnolias in Robin Benoit’s debut women’s fiction, Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls (Brown Books Publishing; on sale: May 8, 2022). In this story, four women exemplify how the bonds of sisterhood can sustain through the hardest of times, regardless of age. It delicately addresses Alzheimer’s disease as the women champion their dear friend who is diagnosed with it. Benoit’s novel, at its core, spreads the message that life, friendship, and fun don’t end when the college days do — they are only just beginning.

“Robin Benoit has provided a beautiful collection of magical and memorable moments that will bring laughter and smiles of joy, and tears of love and compassion. Page by page and chapter by chapter, The Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls is a must read as one’s life comes full circle.

Don’t let it pass you by.” —Deborah S. Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of BCPS, Inc., Author of A Mother for All Seasons: A Memoir and Proud Mother of Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps


ROBIN BENOIT is a sorority alumna, and she would love for you to guess to which sisterhood he belongs after reading this book. There are a few clues, but also loving references to many
National Panhellenic Conference sororities. She did not name her sorority nor create an imaginary one so that every sorority woman would feel it was written especially for her. No matter the letters, colors, emblems or creeds, this book is for all the sorority “girls” out there.

Robin has served in officer positions for her sorority and Alumnae Panhellenic. She has said for many years that Thanksgiving at her home could be considered a Panhellenic meeting with the different sororities represented in her family. She graduated from college in 1985 with a degree in journalism/public relations. She believes it was her sorority experience which led her to a career in public relations/community relations with non-profit agencies and corporations because she wanted her work to be meaningful and helpful to others.

That desire to make a difference led her to become a writer. Robin is now a three-time author with two previous books under her belt. She wrote her first book in 2010 following the amazing success of her daughter Jillian’s vision therapy treatment. Jillian’s Story: How Vision Therapy Changed My Daughter’s Life, and second book co-written with her daughter in 2014, Dear Jillian: Vision Therapy Changed My Life Too, are found in many optometry offices around the world.

The Eighty-Year-Old Sorority Girls is her foray into fiction writing, but it, too, grew from a desire to share her personal perspective of loving someone with Alzheimer’s. Her mother, June, passed away in 2017 after struggling with the disease for several years. This story also blossomed into one about sorority sisterhood thanks to the examples of many special sisters in Robin’s life. One constant thread these sisters shared was their belief that they were sorority girls at heart no matter their age, thus the title of this book.

Robin lives in the Midwest with her husband, Brian, and they have two adult daughters, Annelise and Jillian. She loves to travel and credits her 1984 experience on Semester at Sea for creating the adventurer in her. She is a tremendous Disney fan, and it will be obvious that Big Sky Amusement Park was inspired by that love. She also enjoys her bible study circle and can be found several days a week in her local YMCA’s water aerobics class.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Music Editor at Yahoo Entertainment and host of the daily SiriusXM Volume show Volume West, Lyndsey Parker, to be honored at the 2022 SHE ROCKS Awards June 2nd, 2022

Lyndsey Parker is the music editor at Yahoo Entertainment and host of the daily SiriusXM Volume show Volume West. She also hosts the Rhino Records podcast series Totally ’80s and regular panels at the GRAMMY Museum and is a recurring cast member on AXS TV’s The Top Ten Revealed. Considered an expert in music and pop culture, Parker is a National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award and Online Journalism Award nominee and has written for Elle, MOJO, Rolling Stone, NME, and Guitar. She has also appeared in the documentaries The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story and I Want My MTV; in multiple episodes of Behind the Music; and on CNN, MTV, CBS’s The Insider, and Fox’s Good Day L.A. Parker has written two books: Permanent Damage: Memoirs of an Outrageous Girl (with former GTOs member Miss Mercy) and Careless Memories of Strange Behavior: My Notorious Life as a Duran Duran Fan. 

THIS ORDINARY STARDUST: A Scientist's Path from Grief to Wonder By: Alan Townsend, PhD

LISTEN THIS ORDINARY STARDUST: A Scientist's Path from Grief to Wonder By: Alan Townsend, PhD A compassionate exploration of scientific ...