Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Mombian: Dottie's Magic Pockets sparkles in Chicago for LGBT families
Special to the Online Edition
2008-05-28

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


BY DANA RUDOLPH

When Dottie's partner, May, takes their son Ollie to his first day of school, the stay-at-home mom feels lonely. Luckily, Ollie has left her a present—a sweater with magic pockets. Glitter in the pockets transforms Dottie's living room into a colorful, whimsical playground for herself and several new friends: James, a tea-loving French daisy, Motilda the Mouse, Randal, a slightly nerdy beaver, Wally the Wall and Uncanny the Singing Can.

That is the premise of Dottie's Magic Pockets, a new DVD-only television series aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds from LGBT families. The show's creator, Tammy Stoner, developed Dottie because she could not find any videos for her 4-year-old son that featured families like their own. 'If I wanted my son to have media to reflect his life,' Stoner says, 'then I was just going to have to do it myself.' Luckily, Stoner had worked in the film industry and knew people who could help realize her vision.

'We pulled in favors from everyone we knew,' she recalled. 'A lot of people put in a lot of time free.' She shot the first three episodes in her garage: 'That's why we have a lot of inserts, imaginative things that take you off the set even though you're still on the set.' Still, they faced some unexpected hurdles. The garage's seven-foot ceilings limited the height of their stage lights, causing trouble with shadows. And they had to stop shooting every 20 minutes during Oscar weekend because their Southern California location was on the flight path for many celebrities' private jets.

The show will cover a number of different educational topics, including problem-solving, basic word concepts, taste and manners. These serve to facilitate the core concepts of acceptance and diversity. Dottie uses a light touch, though. There are no heavy-handed discussions about diversity or 'issues' children of LGBT families may face. Instead, Stoner explained, 'We want to have good, clever stories that assume intelligence on the part of the children and really attract wanting to watch the show. We're going to have a lot of people come by and talk about their partners in everyday, ordinary situations. We don't want [ coming from an LGBT family ] to be a one-liner, where it's like 'It's okay! It's okay!' We just want to do a program where it is okay.'

Dottie's son doesn't appear except in the opening sequence, however, because of the financially draining requirements for having children on set. The show gets around this, though, by having Dottie talk about Ollie and May, and in one episode, reviewing a photo album of her family. Inserts also show other children who were filmed off set, or feature animated characters like a caterpillar named Princess who has two dads.

Overall, the formula works. Actor Jen Plante plays Dottie as upbeat and cheery, but has a wide enough range to avoid the constant chirpiness that makes some children's-television stars irritating. Her non-human friends, all puppets, are engaging and sympathetic. The songs have infectious lyrics and rhythms that should get most kids up and dancing, if my own 4-year-old is any indication.

There are a few rough edges. Uncanny's high-pitched voice is sometimes hard to understand. A few inserts don't seem to add to the whole, and others appear without enough transition, yanking us out of Dottie's house. Stoner could take a cue from Sesame Street's 'Elmo's World,' which has Elmo view videos e-mailed to him by other characters. A similar lead-in from Dottie ( maybe her photo album could magically bring pictures to life ) might work well to introduce scenes off the main set.

Dottie also isn't quite up to the pedagogical rigor of shows like Sesame Street and Between the Lions. In 'Beat Beet,' the characters discuss 'words that sound the same, but have different meanings.' This works for pairs like 'beat-beet' and 'flower-flour.' When Dottie explains that 'beehive' can mean both a home for bees and a hairdo, however, I scratched my head. The hairdo was named after the home for bees, so that isn't really a separate meaning. Still, my son loved Dottie's hot pink beehive wig, so maybe I'm being fussy.

If I am, it is in the hopes of being constructive. Despite some shortcomings, Dottie is more watchable than many mainstream children's shows, and has a unique and compelling message of acceptance for all families. It is also refreshing to see a show that hasn't yet swamped us with a wave of mass-market merchandising ( though you can buy 'Uncanny' t-shirts via its Web site ) . Still, it would be a certain sign of progress if Toys R Us started carrying posable Dottie action figures.

The first DVD, with two episodes, is available now at dottiesmagicpockets.com . Stoner is aiming to work up to three or four new DVDs per year, assuming the needed revenue comes in. One promising indicator is that they are getting 'a lot of great response' both within and outside the LGBT community. 'We've sold an equal amount to GLBT families and to traditional, straight families,' she says. 'We're selling to a lot of people who want to show their kids this is the way the world is, or here's Auntie Sue and Auntie Jane's family. It's just a really good tool for everybody.'

Center on Halsted will be hosting a screening of Dottie's Magic Pockets Sat., June 7, at 10 a.m., for $5/family. For further details, visit centeronhalsted.org or call 773-472-6469.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian, a blog and resource directory for LGBT parents. She can be reached at drudolph@mombian.com .


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

SHOWBIZ Julia Child movie, Janelle Monae, 'Ammonite,' Harry Styles 2020-09-21
Billy Masters 2020-09-16
MOVIES Reeling goes online for 2020 edition 2020-09-16
MOVIES David Pevsner brings performance to home screens 2020-09-16
SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Matt Bomer, 'Mr. Soul,' Lil Nas X, Halsey, Dave Koz 2020-09-15
Reeling 2020 reviews 2020-09-12
SHOWBIZ 'Star Trek,' Julianne Moore, benefit album, 'To Wong Foo' 2020-09-08
Resisterhood, Democracy through female, LGBTQ+, minority lens, streaming Sept. 22 2020-09-02
MOVIES New documentary visits 'House of Cardin' 2020-09-02
LGBTQ+ actor Hank Chen talks OneWheaton, Tyra Banks and Robin Williams 2020-09-02
"PFLAG Votes" film aims to get out the vote 2020-09-02
Reeling: Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest announces program 2020-09-02
Filmmakers look back at pioneering movie 'Transsexuals' 2020-09-02
SHOWBIZ #ReadOutProud, Mj Rodriguez, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez 2020-09-02
'The Boys in the Band' on Netflix Sept. 30 2020-08-22
Screening, talk regarding 1971 film 'Transsexuals' Aug. 27 2020-08-20
Billy Masters 2020-08-18
MOVIES 'Disarm Hate' features LGBTQ+ gun-control activists after massacre 2020-08-18
MUSIC Performer Jane Badler helps present late son's musical vision 2020-08-18
PASSAGES Filmmaker, Outfest alum and Emmy-Award-winning producer Ash Christian dies 2020-08-16
SHOWBIZ Janet Mock, 'Pose,' Joan Jett, Sam Smith, 'Digging Up Dorothy' 2020-08-04
Documentary about Miss Continental pageant released 2020-08-04
LGBTQ performers and stories among 2020 Emmy nominations 2020-08-04
MOVIES Reeling taking place virtually Sept. 24-Oct. 4 2020-07-31
31st Annual GLAAD Awards airs virtually; Lil Nas X, Dolly appear 2020-07-31
Wizard World postponed until June 24-27, 2021 2020-07-29
NATIONAL Trans teacher, Billy Porter, TGNC home, gay police officer 2020-07-27
SHOWBIZ John Waters, Billy Eichner, 'Trans & Nonbinary Kids Mix,' RuPaul 2020-07-27
NUNN ON ONE PHOTOGRAPHY Peter Bussian focuses on New York's trans community 2020-07-22
MOVIES Film probes Chechen's anti-LGBTQ atrocities 2020-07-22
Studio Responsibility Index reveals mix of high, low numbers 2020-07-22
SHOWBIZ: Ellen, Scooby-Doo, 'Survivor,' LGBTQ singers, Andy Cohen 2020-07-21
SHOWBIZ Seth Rudetsky, LGBTQ films, Janelle Monae, trans singer 2020-07-13
Welbon invited to join Motion Picture Academy 2020-07-09
Billy Masters 2020-07-08
NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Queer filmmaker has 'Mucho Mucho Amor' for famed astrologer 2020-07-07
SHOWBIZ Paris Jackson, GALECA nods, Halle Berry, Jennifer Holliday 2020-07-07
INTERNET Juan Pablo Di Pace: Life's all about the small things in 'Minutiae' 2020-07-07
SHOWBIZ Terrence McNally, Latino/a/x musicians, singer Harry Hains, Lena Waithe 2020-06-29
PODCASTS 'A Queer Serial' delves into LGBTQ history 2020-06-24
 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.