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You CAN make a difference by bringing along some canned goods to the D23 EXPO

Jim Hill

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You CAN make a difference by bringing along some canned goods to the D23 EXPO

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Well, a week from today, the Mouse-related madness begins. At 9 a.m. (8 a.m. if you’re a D23 member), the doors to the Anaheim Convention Center will open and the D23 EXPO will officially get underway.

Now I know that a lot of people – when they first get to the EXPO – will immediately come down with a bad case of “Gotta-see-and-do-it-all” –itis. Which means that they’ll be racing from the D23 Arena (where these folks will have just seen Bob Iger expand on the Company’s recent decision to acquire Marvel Entertainment, Inc.) over to the D23 EXPO Dreamstore (So they can then snag some of those limited edition Opening Day goodies) and then back over to The Walt Disney Studios Theater (So that they can then catch the preview of that new Disney Digital 3D version of “Beauty & the Beast”).

Anaheim convention Center
Copyright Anaheim / Orange County Visitor & Convention
Bureau. All Rights Reserved 

Trust me. If you keep up that pace for four full days, the Imagineers actually will have to make room for a 1000th Happy Haunt over at The Haunted Mansion.

As a Comic-Con veteran, I have to tell you guys that the real key to enjoying the D23 EXPO is to slow down. Don’t rush-rush-rush to everything. Take a moment to take in the details.

So when you arrive at the Anaheim Convention Center, don’t automatically race to get on line for some panel or presentation. But – rather – get your picture taken with one of the characters in the D23 Welcome Center. Or – better yet – check out the enormous “can-structure” that Fernando Coellar of Pink Elephants, Inc. will be building right out there in the lobby.

What? You haven’t heard about this aspect of the D23 EXPO? It’s actually a pretty neat give-back-to-the-local-community. You see, attendees are being encouraged to bring some canned goods along with them whenever they visit the Anaheim Convention Center. So that these items can then be dropped at the Orange County Food Bank’s collection station (which will be located out in the lobby).

Orange County Food Bank
You can be just like these Disney VoluntEARS and really help out the local
community. Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Mind you, before all of these cans are shipped off to the Food Bank, Coellar (who’s this LA-area artist that specializes in magical surrealism) will be using these items to build a Disney fantasy castle right next to the collection station. So the more food that gets donated, the taller & more surreal this “can-structure” can become.

So – again – over the course of this four day-long event, you take some time out to go watch Fernando work. See this artist build his castle. Maybe even get a few shots of the work-in-progress.

More to the point, don’t be so quick to race out of a D23 EXPO presentations so that you can then get on line for the very next panel.If you do that … Well, chances are that you’ll then miss out on some sort of extra-added bonus aspect of that show.

Take – for example – that “the boys: the Sherman brothers’ story” screening & panel that will be held next Thursday night in The Walt Disney Studios Theater. Not only will Richard M. Sherman be on hand for this D23 EXPO presentation (as will “the boys” producer & director, cousins Gregory V. & Jeffery C. Sherman), but Laurence Juber will be in the hall as well.

Poppins Guitar CD cover
Copyright 2009 Solid Air Records. All Rights Reserved

“And who’s Laurence Juber?,” you ask. Well, Juber is one of the best acoustic guitar players working today. And next Thursday night at the D23 EXPO, Laurence will be performing a number or two from Solid Air Records’ latest, “Poppin' Guitars : A Tuneful of Sherman.”

This is a great little recording, by the way. Very much in the vein of Solid Air’s earlier hits, the Grammy Award-winning “Henry Mancini : Pink Guitar” and “LJ Plays the Beatles .” In that it strips away all of the extraneous orchestration. And – in the end – all you’re left with is the strength of the individual song that’s being performed as well as the skill of the performer who’s strumming that acoustic.

Thankfully, the folks at Solid Air Records recruited some of the very best guitar-players in the country to come perform on “Poppin’ Guitars: A Tuneful of Sherman.” And let me tell you … When you hear Al Petteway’s gentle take on “Hushabye Mountain” and/or Greg Hawkes’ swingin’ “You’re Sixteen,” you can’t help but tap your toes.

I know that I was tapping my toes today as I was listening to “Poppin’ Guitars” and prepping for next Friday’s presentation at the D23 EXPO.

Walt and El Grupo poster
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved

“What’s that you say?,” you query. “What presentation at the D23 EXPO is Jim Hill supposed to be taking part in?” Well, late last week, I was asked if I’d be interested in being the moderator for the “Walt and El Grupo” panel. Which will be held next Friday night at 7:30 in the Walt Disney Studios Theater.

As I understand it, I’m supposed to be on stage, interviewing Ted Thomas & Kuniko Okubo about their new documentary as well as chatting with J.B. Kaufman about his latest book., “South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948.”

Mind you, this presentation will also feature a rare public screening of “Saludos Amigos.” So I’m hoping that all you JHM readers who are attending the D23 EXPO attendees will come by the Walt Disney Studios Theater to see that movie. As well as to hear Ted, Kuniko, J.B. and a certain fat man from New Hampshire talk about El Grupo’s fascinating journey to South America.

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