Archives for July 31, 2017

The Emoji Movie – Exhilarating Storyline, Wonderful Cast, Colorful Animation and More

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The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user. In this world, each emoji has only one facial expression – except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and bursts with multiple expressions. Determined to become normal like the other emojis, Gene enlists the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic app-venture through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it’s deleted forever. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Imani B.G. comments, “I love how the world of emojis in the smartphone relates to the human world throughout the film. It gives the audience a way to associate themselves in the plot.” See her full review below.

 

The Emoji Movie

By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age: 15
 

The Emoji Movie is a kid-friendly fun and exciting film for people of all ages to enjoy and connect with. I love how the world of emojis in smartphone relates to the human world throughout the film. It gives the audience a way to identify with the characters and the plot. Families will definitely enjoy this amusing motion film and may even learn from it.

 

Alex’s (Jake T Austin) smartphone is home to all of the emojis. Each has its own facial expression except for Gene (TJ Miller). Gene struggles with being an emoji with multiple expressions and is determined to become normal like all of the other emojis. Gene asks for help from his new best friends, Hi-5 (James Corden) and Jailbreak (Anna Faris),  a popular code breaker. During their epic adventure, the three face great danger and conflict with other characters. Join them on their experience.

 

I enjoyed every aspect of this film, but my favorite scene is when Gene realizes his uniqueness from the other emojis. Alex is having phone troubles and is on the verge of getting it fixed, which means the end for all things emojis. Gene steps in to make sure that doesn’t happen, which is a perk since he recognizes his worth. This scene sends a powerful message for kids to learn about liking themselves and recognizing their importance in the world.

 

The overall message of the film is to learn to accept who you are, no matter what others think of you. In the beginning, Gene has trouble figuring out who he is and why he isn’t like the rest. That leads him to wanting to be normal. Fortunately, Gene later realizes who he is, with a little help from his friends, and finally accepts himself. Kids and even adults can learn a lesson from this and apply it to their lives by building up their own self-confidence.

 

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 18. There are scenes that tweens and teens can enjoy, but it also contains some scenes are suitable for 5 to 13-year-olds. Adults will most likely enjoy this as well. It really is a film that the whole family will get a kick out of.

 

I rate The Emoji Movie 4 out of 5 because of its exhilarating storyline, wonderful cast, colorful animation and overall message. The Emoji Movie opens on July 28th, 2017 so, be sure to check it out so you can laugh along with the characters and enjoy it as much as I did.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

LA Zoo’s World Elephant Day Celebration Features Opportunities to Explore and Learn

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World Elephant Day, an international spotlight on Asian and African elephants to bring attention to the urgent threat of their extinction, kicks off the Los Angeles Zoo’s World Elephant Day Celebration on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday August 13, 201710 am to 4 pm. The full weekend of opportunities to explore and learn about elephants, especially the challenges they face in the wild, highlight the Zoo’s state-of-the-art Elephants of Asia exhibit with chances to learn about its four elephant residents, including Tina, Jewel, Billy and recently arrived Shaunzi, and how they’re cared for. Fascinating behind-the-scenes barn tours, available to the public only once a year, take place from 11 am to 3 pm each day. A “medical clinic” invites young guests to bring their own toy elephants – or any other animal — for an “examination” to receive a “certificate of health.” Enrichment stations will illustrate how elephants use their trunks as tools, detail African and Asian elephants’ different traits and explain elephant enrichment. Additionally, an Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture station will be staffed by participants in the Zoo’s Duttenhaver Conservation Field Study Program who have just returned from an expedition in Kenya’s Tsavo Conservation Area where they worked with local farmers to implement sustainable agriculture methods. They will share their experiences about innovative efforts to support farmers’ livelihoods while ensuring that humans and elephants are able to peacefully coexist. World Elephant Day Weekend also features conservation crafts; a photo op where guests are encouraged to take an #Elphie; an action station where guests can learn about Zoo-supported elephant conservation efforts and what they can do to help; and more, all free with paid Zoo admission.

The Los Angeles Zoo’s state-of-the-art elephant Elephants of Asia habitat, which opened in December 2010, is the largest habitat in the history of the Zoo. The sprawling exhibit, located at the very heart of the Zoo, is 6.56 acres, with over three acres of outdoor space, deep bathing pools, sandy hills, varied topography, clever enrichment opportunities, and a high-tech barn capable of caring for elephants of all sizes and ages. Elephants of Asia focuses on the rich connection between elephants and the cultures of Thailand, India, China, and Cambodia. The exhibit familiarizes guests with the challenges Asian elephants face in the wild, including their shrinking habitat, and gives visitors the opportunity to directly contribute to conservation programs that support elephants in their native countries.

World Elephant Day Celebration is part of the Zoo’s year-long 50th Anniversary “ZooLAbration.” More information about the Zoo’s 50th Anniversary is available at www.ZooLAbrate50.org.

The yearlong “ZooLAbration” began on November 28, 2016, which is the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ opening at its current location. Throughout the 50th anniversary year, the Zoo is spotlighting not only its key role as a world-class destination and an important community asset but also its critical successes in conservation, quality of life and premier care for animals. Having recently completed a $172 million master plan which significantly improved the Zoo facility, the Zoo marks its 50th anniversary as it embarks upon developing a new Master Plan, which will serve as a road map for the future. The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered, as well as a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. Its responsibility toward wildlife conservation not only encompasses safeguarding the animals in its care but also actively participating in the preservation of some of the world’s most critically endangered species and their habitats. Its many conservation successes include having led the charge in saving California condors from extinction and restoring populations of these critically endangered animals to their native habitats. The Zoo’s lush grounds on 113 acres feature Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; and one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world. Among other highlights are an extraordinary, hands-on Hippo Encounter and face-to-face Giraffe Feedings; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo and Muriel’s Ranch animal contact area; the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; a variety of daily opportunities to learn more about animals, including close-up visits, special feedings and intriguing talks; and much more. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Programing subject to change.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $21 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $18 for seniors (ages 62+), and $16 for children (ages 2 to 12)..  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  Free parking is available.  For additional information about World Elephant Day Weekend, call (323) 644-6001 or visit http://www.lazoo.org/worldelephantday/.  For general information about the Zoo, call (323) 644-4200.

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.

Ralph’s World Presents ‘Time Machine Guitar’ Album of 12 original story-songs inspired by history is available on August 4. A 'Time Machine Guitar' YouTube series also launches

Amidst a busy summer of dozens of concerts, Ralph’s World, the Grammy nominated songwriter, performer and author, will release a new album of original story-songs, Time Machine Guitar, on August 4.

 

The new album of 12 songs reflects Ralph’s World’s “quirky lyrics and solid rock sensibility”(LA Times). Time Machine Guitar takes listeners on an imaginative musical and narrative adventure through time and space,  whether it be about “Ben Franklin’s Mole,” or “Beethoven’s Horse,”  the “Young King Tut,” or “Hummingbird Tree.” Amidst all the fun, these songs often offer socially conscious messages, as in “Toy Masters of War” (with a strong nod toward Bob Dylan’s protest song), and memorable life lessons, like “Color outside the Lines.” Ralph Covert’s ability to craft instantly accessible and singable songs is clear in each of these new tracks. As MusicBox Online noted, “He’s as close to the Beatles as they get, both in terms of sound and sheer brilliance.”

 

The album liner notes will include a booklet of biographical information on the historical figures featured on the album. Historical people come to life, as Ralph paints a picture of the boy King Tut playing with toys, or Mozart and Haydn (who were real-life friends) chat about music. Ralph, who studied classical music  while beginning his career in rock music, says, “I used the song ‘Beethoven’s Horse’ as a vehicle to demonstrate the different styles of their musical compositions by recasting the same melody as each of them might have interpreted it.”  A learning guide will be available this fall.

 

A pilot for “Time Machine Guitar” originally aired on Chicago public television, WTTW.  A series of “Time Machine Guitar” episodes is launching on the Ralph’s World YouTube channel. Fans who subscribe to the channel will be the first to view new episodes every other Saturday morning. In the show, Ralph lives in a colorful tree house with his three puppet animal friends, Rani, a squirrel, Beauregard, a dog, and Malcolm, a cat. Together they make and learn about music, and go on trips through history with Ralph’s Time Machine Guitar to visit interesting people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, and Tito Puente.

 

As Ralph explains,“The show is in the spirit of Saturday morning cartoons from our childhood. It will be a music driven show that combines educational elements with an engaging and energetic sense of fun. Our hope is that kids will be inspired to learn more, and that they will feel excited about exploring their own creativity.”

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More about Ralph’s World

 

Since his first children’s recordings in the early 2000’s, Ralph’s World has won numerous awards and critical acclaim for his 12 children’s albums and music videos (released on Minty Fresh, Waterdog Records and Disney Sound). He has published four children’s books, created scores for musical theater, and has toured the nation performing for thousands of fans at venues ranging from Lollapalooza to Austin City Limits, as well as sold-out crowds at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Symphony Space in New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His last children’s album was Ralph’s World Rocks and Reads (2015).

Ralph Covert continues to lead the grown-up, Chicago-based rock band The Bad Examples, who still perform together frequently. He also records and performs solo shows. A Ralph Covert acoustic album is scheduled for early 2018, tentatively titled Little Bird. 

For the third year in a row, Ralph will curate the Lil’ Pilgrims family stage at Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, TN, and he will perform there and on the main stage that weekend.

Find all upcoming concert details at www.ralphsworld.com.

Credit: Sugar Mountain PR.