We're flipping out that this week's cover celeb is the very lovely (and very pregnant!) Jenni Pulos from Flipping Out! The star of the hit Bravo show spoke to us about impending motherhood, finding love a second time around, and her fab rap career! Check out Jenni's beautiful cover story this week in Celebrity Parents Magazine!
Julia Sweeney is one funny mother. The former Saturday Night Live actress, author,
performer and overall cool mama has a great new book out called If It’s Not One
Thing, It’s Your Mother. It’s full of funny stories about family, the adoption
process and Julia’s razor sharp take on various topics. We spoke exclusively
with Julia about the writing process, her new role in the Disney Pixar film
Monsters University, and how to laugh through all of life’s experiences.
Whether you loved her as Pat on Saturday Night Live or know her from her great satirical books, Julia Sweeney is one funny lady. And she just happens to be our cover celeb this week, as her new book, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother, is released. Click below to see Julia in action and stay tuned for her cover this week in Celebrity Parents Magazine.
What were you doing prior to becoming “Moey?” I've been a professional songwriter since I graduated from Brown University. After a year singing in Europe, I moved to New York City and was a singer/songwriter at downtown venues like Mercury Lounge and the Bottom Line. I created a business writing and performing custom songs for special events. I have written songs for a Prime Minister, Governor, a publisher, actor, and brides and business mavericks galore. I went to New York University and earned an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing. I wrote and produced a musical that won several awards at the New York International Fringe Festival. It transferred to an Off-Broadway production when my son was an infant. Inspired by parenthood, I began writing songs for children and Moey’s Music Party was born.
How did Moey come to be? Moey was my husband’s nickname for me. I grew up listening to School House Rock, Sesame Street, and Free To Be You and Me, so I always wanted to give back and write songs that would inspire kids the way those great songs influenced me. Every time my son would delight or frustrate me, I used it as fodder to write a new song. I spent three years as the music director of a New York City preschool and Early Childhood Learning Center, so I was fortunate to have the perfect focus group and sing my new material to 300 children each week. It really helped me understand what makes songs resonate with children.
What has been your musical evolution? Moey’s Music Party has been a thriving, full time business for the past eight years. I left teaching at the preschool when my concert schedule became so packed. Central Park hired me to create their Sandbox Sing-along Series. I feel proud that after giving 26 concerts in the park, I grew their audience from 40 to 400 people per concert. My band is sponsored by Oriental Trading Company, the nations largest distributor of party supplies, and we perform for at venues including 92 Y Tribeca, Williamsburg Waterfront, VH1 Save the Music Family Day, the New York Public Library, FAO Schwarz and schools, museums, birthdays, and charity events galore.
I would never have become a children’s songwriter if my mom hadn’t made music such a fun thing to share as a family when I was little, so it’s very important to me to create opportunities for families to come together and enjoy music. I developed a 35-week curriculum of Moey’s Music Party classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers that I’ve been teaching since 2006. This class introduces children to instruments, songs, dances, puppets, phonics, and musical story time based on a weekly party theme. I love the intimacy of these classes and getting to develop such a personal connection to children and their parents.
I have stayed true to my love of musicals, and I wrote and produced “Moey Live! P is for Party!” Off-Broadway in 2008. I’m very excited to be collaborating now with a Tony Award winning producer who is turning my fairy tale songs into a family musical.
How has your music changed over the years? My first CD was a celebration of the milestones in a child’s life during their first 5 years. It includes universal songs that all boys, girls, and parents can relate to like going potty, listening to parents, sharing, washing your hair, and trying new foods. My second release, Happily Ever Moey! A Fairy Tale Lark in Central Park, is a CD and DVD combination set. Inspired by reading classic fairy tales to my son, I wanted to update these evergreen stories and give them new endings that would be more relevant and inspiring for today’s children. Central Park is a real life enchanted forest and the perfect backdrop to bring these fairy tales to life. 65 children joined me to turn these stories into candy colored music videos. Happily Ever Moey was named in the top 10 products at Toy Fair 2012 and won multiple awards from National Parenting Publications Association, Creative Child Magazine and more. My 2012 CD, Princess Revolution! is a concept album that celebrates every girl’s strength, confidence, and sparkle. I want girls to embrace their love of princesses and bling, but know that they don’t need a fairy godmother, prince, or magic wand to rescue them. All 15 songs carry the message that girls can have confidence in their voice and individuality. I want girls to know they can slay their own dragons and wake themselves up with their own magical kiss. I was thrilled that the CD won a 2012 Parents’ Choice Gold Award. I love empowering children. I realized being Moey has given me a pulpit in front of thousands of kids and parents – I want to use it to not only entertain, but educate, inspire, and empower the 8-and-under set.
How would you describe your musical aesthetic? I know how important it is for lyrics to include movement and interactivity, so many of our songs are call and response and include directions like jump, run, twirl, etc. My band is pretty rocking. The New York Times said my music was “more Joan Jett than Joni Mitchell” other reviewers have said we are like “Sesame Street Meets the Go-Gos.” We have a range from the rocking title song on Princess Revolution! to beautiful ballads like “Me and My Mom” on the first Moey’s Music Party CD.
How do you include your son into your work?
My son has been my muse throughout my career as Moey. He inspired all the songs on Moey’s Music Party, the debut CD and the stories we read together were on Happily Ever Moey. Once he became a big kid and started liking Big Time Rush more than Moey’s Music Party, I wrote Princess Revolution. By the way, that’s the only CD his photo isn’t on. [laughs] It was great to have a recording session with his 2nd and 3rd grade buddies. They sing on Playground Rock Star. It was really cool for them to be in our recording studio in Williamsburg.
How do you find your own work-life balance? I am grateful that my schedule is flexible so I am always available for school events. I perform a lot on weekends, but my husband is very supportive and enjoys using these days as special ‘guy time’ for him and our son. I feel like every day is "Take my child to work" week because my band rehearses at our apartment. Monty has grown up at casting sessions, concerts, recordings, and meetings. It's a very creative, bustling atmosphere and he has become a great musician.
Let’s talk about your latest album and how it compares to previous ones? Playground Rock Star is my 4th CD and celebration of the energy and exuberance of preschool age kids. We look forward to collaborating with actual rock stars who are now parents. I love the collaborative spirit of Free To Be You and Me and thought it would be really fun to expand the pie and share the fun of performing with children with other ‘adult’ musicians. Princess Revolution was super fun – I love dressing up in my ball gown and producing princess balls at Bloomingdales and The New York Junior League and Tribeca Film Festival, but I have missed my boys. This CD is definitely for all little rockers – boys and girls! We are speaking with charities that are committed to building playgrounds nation wide. We would love to donate a portion of profits to the right charity.
What are your plans for the future, both personally and professionally (music classes, etc.)? Moey’s Music Party is one of NYC’s most belove children’s bands and I’m very excited that we are now becoming a national brand. Moey’s Music Party songs and videos are on Pandora, You Tube, Itunes, Amazon, etc. We are expanding into TV, digital, ebook, and picture books, CDs, classes, and musicals. I’m launching a Moey’s Music Party music show on my YouTube channel this summer. I am talking with production companies about developing an animated Princess Revolution show and live action Moey’s Music Party show. An ebook company just optioned my song “Pierre Wouldn’t Was His Hair” and I wrote a song for a video game. I would love to franchise my classes so that other musicians can lead them for kids in their communities across America.
You’re the niece to the late Wendy Wasserstein, who I loved. Can you describe your relationship with the great playwright? Aunt Wendy was my very own Auntie Mame. She gave me a feather boa for my 8th birthday and an example that every girl can grow up to be an Uncommon Woman. I was so lucky as a child to be a guest at her glamorous opening night parties on Broadway. I feel that the empowering message in my Princess Revolution! CD is a continuation of her legacy. I want every little girl to know that she is the Uncommon Woman of tomorrow.
Ricky Schroder has a wild heart. The star of Silver Spoons
and The Champ penned and directed Our Wild Hearts, his first family film
starring his daughter, Cambrie. We spoke with Ricky exclusively at The
Peninsula Hotel in NYC about growing up in the spotlight, how work and family
life blend organically, and how he’s an ever-evolving dad.
It’s no coincidence that Gloria Loring is our cover story. Fans
of Gloria’s will remember her from her days as Liz Chandler on Days of Our
Lives. Or maybe from her smash hit, Friends and Lovers. Oh, and she also
happens to be singer Robin Thicke’s mom. But in addition to all those
accolades, Gloria recently penned an eye-opening—and enlightening—new book,
Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous. We spoke to Gloria about her
career and coincidences and how it all works together beautifully.
Photos: Gabbeli Photography
Hair/Makeup: Renee Strong
How did your book come to be?
The book came to be because of a confluence of occurrences.
It was truly a series of extraordinary coincidences. An interviewer once had
told me that coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous, and that
fascinated me. Years later, I found out that Albert Einstein said it! [laughs] If
you’re going to borrow, borrow from someone brilliant, right? The idea for the
book came twenty years ago, but I actually started writing it twelve years ago.
The stories I used in the book were good,
but the book isn’t about how lucky I am.
It’s about what has happened to me and how this can help you. I needed to come
to this from a position to absolutely know that this is true—to feel that there
is a magnificent intelligence that created everything. You don’t have to
believe in a personal god but there is an intelligence, a creativity, a being,
and a bliss that exists in the world. We see it—we have it in ourselves in
fact—and since we are in the human experience, we have to be careful about
picking up unfortunate ideas about ourselves and taking them on to be true.
Celebrity Parents has a delicious cover story this week with restauranteur, winemaker, author and Masterchef judge Joe Bastianich. Click below to see Joe discuss wines (one of his favorite topics!) and then tune in to this week's issue of Celebrity Parents.
Leeza Gibbons is truly an ambassador of good. Whether she
was delivering the latest in Hollywood news during her years as anchor on
Entertainment Tonight, or through her tireless work today with Alzheimersdisease.com, Leeza is
determined to deliver information—and support—to those in need. We spoke
exclusively with Leeza about coping when a loved one is diagnosed with
Alzheimer’s, scrapbooking through the pain, and turning a new—and beautiful—page
Let’s talk about your work with alzheimersdisease.com
It’s a web destination which is a tremendous resource for people
who are affected by it. It’s a sigh of relief for those who are lost and you
can feel overwhelmed when you find out that your mom or dad, or spouse, has a
memory-robbing illness. You don’t know what to do. You get frozen with fear
because you’re afraid of what you don’t know and you’re afraid of what you do
know, and that is that, for now, it won’t get better.
Of course, a diagnosis of any disease is scary, but
Alzheimer’s is especially frightening to so many people.
That’s true. When you ask, “What is our life about?” It’s creating
memories, it’s who we love and our experience is replaying those memories. When
you take that away, it questions our very existence. It makes you face a lot of
those soul-searching moments. On the website, we have expert advice and words
of wisdom from real caregivers. Both my grandmother and mother both died from Alzheimer’s.
We got everyone in my family together, and talked about our experiences. We put
those interviews on the site. We hope families will be inspired by our
experience and they can start those conversations.