Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 3701 times since Wed May 28, 2008
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 .


This article shared 3701 times since Wed May 28, 2008
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

Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street's 'Half of Us' debuting May 20 2021-05-03
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) 43rd season will be completed with the virtual world premiere of new work by choreographer/director Robyn Mineko Williams entitled "Half of Us," on Thursday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. The 16-minute ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Master of None,' children's book, Kristen Stewart, expectant couple 2021-05-02
- Master of None is coming back—but this time, the series will focus on Lena Waithe's character, Denise, out.com noted. Master of None, created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang for Netflix, starred Ansari for the first ...


Gay News

Actress Olympia Dukakis dies at 89 2021-05-01
- Olympia Dukakis—who won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 1987 hit Moonstruck and starred in Look Who's Talking and Mr. Holland's Opus as well as iterations of TV's Tales of the City—died May 1 at her home in New York City ...


Gay News

VIRTUAL CINEMA MeToo drama 'Slalom' airing at Siskel starting May 7 2021-04-29
- The Cannes-selected #MeToo drama Slalom—the debut from filmmaker Charlène Favier—will run at the Gene Siskel Film Center's Virtual Cinema starting Friday, May 7. The French movie is also currently playing ...


Gay News

Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars pre-party raises $3M 2021-04-26
- The 29th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards® Pre-Party hosted by Emmy- and Tony-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris alongside Sir Elton John and David Furnish, raised $3 million for the global effort to end AIDS, ...


Gay News

Exceptions the rule at 2021 Oscars 2021-04-26
- After a year that saw the motion picture industry upended by both the COVID-19 pandemic and an already shifting entertainment landscape, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pressed on with the 93rd Annual Oscars ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples 2021-04-25
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), ...


Gay News

Netflix to debut limited series 'Halston' on May 14 2021-04-23
- On what would have been legendary fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick's 89th birthday (on April 23), Netflix stated it was honoring the visionary icon by announcing the Friday, May 14, global premiere date for the five-episode ...


Gay News

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics hands out Dorian Awards 2021-04-19
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES, CA, April 18, 2021 — Nomadland, the spare and fact-based drama of a group of struggling Americans living off the grid; the vivid blueswoman biopic Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; the family-happy fish-out-of-water fable Minari; ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Brandi Carlile, 'Legendary,' children's book, film festival, Janet Mock 2021-04-18
- Lesbian musician Brandi Carlile memoir, Broken Horses, debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Sellers list, a press release announced. In addition to the hardback book, a very special audiobook edition of the ...


Gay News

WORLD Trans women arrested, death threats, Russian film, leader apologizes 2021-04-11
- Two transgender women facing charges of "attempted homosexuality" (as well as public indecency and not carrying identification) in a high-profile case in Cameroon will spend more than two months behind bars without a trial after a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans singer, 'Pose,' Kate Winslet, Lil Nas X, Broadway 2021-04-11
- Trans femme indie-punk artist Evan Greer (she/her) released a dystopian new music video for the song "Surveillance Capitalism," a press release noted. She is using it to launch StopSpotifySurveillance.org with Fight for the Future, where she ...


Gay News

Movie about art sensation born into slavery to premiere April 16 2021-04-08
- Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts—a film about a man who was born into slavery, and whose works became sensations in the art world—will premiere Friday, April 16, in local virtual cinemas of Music Box Theatre and Facets. ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart hosts 'Disappeared: Chicago's Lost Lesbian Bars' screening, discussion 2021-04-06
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives (Gerber/Hart) hosted a virtual screening of Disappeared: Chicago's Lost Lesbian Bars, a short-film documentary that Jacob Pieczynski directed. A panel discussion followed the screening. The 2017 ...


Gay News

'Ma Rainey,' 'Schitt's Creek' win during diverse SAG Awards 2021-04-05
- On April 4, a one-hour, pre-taped 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards aired on TNT and TBS, celebrating the best achievements in film and TV performances for 2020. According to Entertainment Weekly, it was a historic night, ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

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.