The beautiful Hudson River is to my left and I've got ten hours to go. Yes, I'm on Amtrak en route to Montreal and the route is crazily beautiful. I could spend the whole time looking out the window and fantasizing about living in one of the houses that dot the river's edge. Ahhhh.
And now to reach for my iPhone and obsessively check Facebook/Twitter. That's right, "being in the moment" for me lasts exactly that long: a moment. Anyhoo, I'm going up to do a master class in musical theatre auditioning, which is what I also did last week in Durham, NC. I worked with some great students at the Durham School of the Arts, an arts magnet school. What's so great about this school is that they have tons of arts classes but also maintain incredibly high academic standards. This whole myth that you can't have arts and academics makes me crazy! When I was growing up, my school had tons of options for singing, instrument playing and acting. And many, many kids in my high school got amazingly high scores on their SAT's (not me) and perfect GPA's (not me). The arts are being cut in so many schools claiming that kids need more academics, but it's actually hurting children and it's hurting the future of our culture. How is a child going to discover that or he/she is talented at something if they're not exposed to it in the first place? We're losing out on a generation's future brilliant musicians/visual artists/actors etc. because these kids are not being exposed to what could be their life's calling.
Juli goes to a public school in Manhattan and I volunteered to be the chorus teacher because there was none! And chorus had to be after school because they don't have time for it during the day! They don't? How did I have time for orchestra, chorus, special chorus, theatre and chorale? Besides the fact that I almost failed geometry? PS, not joking. I literally got a 50 for two quarters, but that's because I was a terrible student. So many of the high-achieving kids in my school were involved with the arts. How do we bring back the arts to schools?
Anyhoo, because my trip to North Carolina was on a Wednesday, I recorded "Seth Speaks," my SiriusXM talk show, on Tuesday. One of my guests was Barbara Baekgard. If you read my column back in March, you may remember her being the woman whose daughter hired the entire cast of Disaster! to celebrate her birthday. We all went over to her stunning apartment and put on a show. Here's one of the videos!
I thought the story about how Barbara started her own business would be interesting for my listeners, so I had her come by for an interview. She told us that back in the 80's, she was a stay-at-home mom and her fourth daughter was about to start college. She noticed that all the luggage she saw in stores wasn't very colorful, so she got some material and sassed up her daughter's bags. Soon, Barbara got a phone call from her daughter saying that other girls in her dorm wanted the bags, too. Barbara decided to start a small business with her neighbor. They each put in $250 and Barbara borrowed her share from her husband. Yes, borrowed. She didn't have her own money because, she told us, it was a different time and her husband controlled the household money. It was very "I Love Lucy" AKA Ricky in charge of the couple's bank account. Barbara decided to name the little business after her Mom because, although Barbara didn't grow up with a lot of money, her Mom had amazing taste and always made the house look pretty. She called her mom as a courtesy and asked if she could name her business after her. Of course, her mom said yes.
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