Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Luck to New York's Sweetheart, Inga Schlingmann!

Labor Day Weekend, our very own Inga Schlingmann, Miss Manhattan, will represent New York at the National Sweetheart Pageant in Hoopeston, Illinois. For those of you unfamiliar with the Sweetheart Pageant, it's essentially a mock-Miss America, with many of the 1st runners up to the Miss America state pageants competing. I've heard it's great fun, and the group makes plenty of appearances while staying with host families.

I've seen Inga's new gown by Chen-Huai Chuang who made her Miss NY gown, and IT IS STUNNING. That, coupled with the facts that this girl is fiercely intelligent, ridiculously talented, and stunningly beautiful (see exhibit A ^), I have no doubt she will make a lot of people say, "Wow- have you seen New York?" Good luck, girl! Make us proud!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Exciting News on the Platform-Front: A Brief Update

I'll admit, I've been a bit lax with my blogging lately, but don't think it's because I have nothing to write about! Quite the contrary- I've been so busy I've had a hard time keeping up! Here's just a brief update on the exciting things going on right now.

I've partnered up with Block Institute in Gravesend, Brooklyn, to develop a performing arts curriculum addition for their students ages 4-7. Block Institute serves students with developmental disabilities, and there's substantial research that supports the idea that dramatic arts facilitate strong personal and educational development in special populations groups, such as kids living with disabilities. I'll be developing a creative improvisation program linked with the existing curriculum which will culminate in a performance at the school in November. More details to follow.

I'm also doing several independent studies this semester as I begin my senior year at Empire State College to deepen my understanding of using drama as a therapeutic and educational tool. I'll also be studying theatre as a tool for social change, about which I am very excited. There are a lot of amazing groups out there that use drama to educate and promote change, and I'm thrilled to learn more! Again, more details to follow.

And finally, check out this video from the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Fundraiser I attended. It gives you a feel for the type of work Sean Casey does (and I'm in it at appx 2:25).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Miss Thousand Islands 2010 and Brooklyn Independent Television Appearance

What kind of sisters would we be if we didn't make a sign with an incredibly unflattering photo and an embarassing nickname?

With some of the Miss NY Class of '09! From L to R, Katie Birchenough- Miss Empire Rose; Angela Galasso- Miss Lewis County, Me, Kristan Lettiere- Miss Thousand Islands, Courtney Sheridan- Miss Fulton County, and Lynn Tryon- Miss Mohawk Valley.

Waiting to get our photos taken with Miss Thousand Islands 2010!

With Kristina Ferris- Miss Thousand Islands 2010

Because no pageant would be complete without a sassy Sheridan photo...

This past weekend, I traveled up to Clayton, NY for the Miss Thousand Islands 2010 pageant! "Where's Clayton?", my fellow Brooklynites might ask. Upstate. REALLY far upstate. Like, a stone's throw from Canada (literally)- farther north than Binghamton, Albany, Ithaca, Syracuse, Watertown and practically every other major upstate city you can name. It was a 3 hour drive from my mom's house in Fort Plain to Clayton, but an attractive 3 hour drive, so I didn't mind. I find that I miss the Adirondack area most in the summer, where it can easily be 10 degrees cooler than the city. Irony is talking on the phone with your mom who's complaining about how chilly it is that evening, while you're literally peeling your sweaty body off the subway seat...

Clayton = beautiful. Such a picturesque little waterfront town; I was reminded of downtown Lake George (over in Warren County, for those of you who've never been), but with more water... We noshed on "the best pizza in the Thousand Islands area" (uhoh- here comes the Brooklyn pizza snob- the pizza wasn't bad, but couldn't hold a candle to the giant, crackly, chewy, sweet and salty deliciousness that is Brooklyn-pizza), and some tasty homemade ice cream, and then headed into the beautiful Clayton Opera House to grab seats for the pageant!

The show was a lot of fun- very well thought out and fast paced! I was joined by some of my 2009 pageant sisters- how nice to be reunited with them! All eight contestants were just lovely, and I was particularly impressed with each lady's onstage question answer. This is usually one of the toughest phases of competition, because there's really very little you can do to prepare for a random question, but each young lady demonstrated eloquence, awareness and intelligence! Nice! Congratulations to Amy Valenti, who won the Community Service and Children's Miracle Network Awards; to my awesome sister, Kieren Sheridan, who won both the Talent Award and Miss Congeniality; and to the court- 3rd RU Elizabeth Quencer, 2nd RU Stacey Minchin, 1st RU Corri Dartnell and Miss Thousand Islands 2010 Kristina Ferris!

Also- be sure to check out Brooklyn Independent Television's coverage of the Wafels & Dinges truck! Wafels and Dinges is a sponsor of the Miss Brooklyn Organization, and Brooklyn Independent Television just so happened to be featuring them on the day we held a fundraiser for my state expenses! I'm interviewed about food (of course), and get to chat a little with the host on why the Brooklyn food scene is so great, and what makes Wafels and Dinges a perfect match for Park Slope (appx 2:30 into the video)! Check out the video here. (Click on the link, and then on the video menu on the right, select the 2nd video- "Wafels and Dinges"). And yes, the cute guy in the hat and yellow t-shirt serving wafels is the Baron of Brooklyn (my boyfriend, Joe)!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Miss Long Island USA 2009

Claire, Marina and I after the pageant.

This past Sunday, I hopped on the LIRR with Claire to watch our very own Marina compete in Miss Long Island USA 2009! How exciting! I had never seen a USA pageant aside from Miss USA on television, so it was really fun to experience another aspect of pageantry! Marina was AMAZING (1st runner up in her 1st USA pageant!), and I sincerely hope that she goes to the state pageant in November, because I'll be there watching!

Congratulations to Jamie, Miss LI 2009! And a fun side note: the director of Miss LI USA was one of my judges at Miss Brooklyn!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Guest Ringmaster at the Coney Island Boom-A-Ring Circus!

With another excited circus goer!

Visiting with some of the stars of the show!

Introducing myself, and talking a bit about being Miss Brooklyn!

With Jason, feeling under-rhinestoned for the first time in my reign! The circus costumes were incredibly sparkly!

With my girl, Melanie, after the show!

Ellen and I "assuming the position" (we've realized we have WAY too many pictures in this pose). For those of you who don't know, Ellen is Miss Brooklyn's trainer/ surrogate mom/ booking manager!

Melanie and I with some of the talented (and very cute) Negrey Troupe!

What a night! After a slightly hectic delayed start (I got stuck on the train, and my ED Kim accidentally went to Staten Island!), I was greeted by members of the PR and Production teams of the circus, and give a backstage tour! I was able to meet some of the animals (see above), including their three beautiful Asian elephants! It was amazing to touch their gravely skin, and feel their trunks! The Ringling Bros are doing some amazing work through their Center for Elephant Conservation.

I was then escorted backstage at the big top, where I got to meet some of the performers, all of whom were very kind and welcoming! As the show started, I introduced myself and was able to talk a bit about the Miss America Organization, and the work I've done with my platform. I was then escorted to the audience, given fantastic seats with the rest of the Miss Brooklyn entourage, and got to enjoy the show!

All of the acts were incredibly impressive! There was a Wheel of Steel, Motorcycle Globe, balancing acts, clowns, an incredibly talented bicyclist, a nerve-wracking crossbow act, some amazing acrobats, jugglers, and of course, elephants and tigers!

Below is a video of an adorable daschund act. I watched in awe and amazement, and laughed to myself imagining my mother training our two (far less disciplined) daschunds to do similar tricks.

I was quite excited when I heard that the circus would be coming to Coney Island. I live only a couple of miles down the shore in Manhattan Beach, and I truly love this part of Brooklyn. It's been a rocky past couple of years for Coney Island, but additions like the circus are helping to revive the old magic that some thought this family-fun destination had lost. The Boom-A-Ring will be at Coney Island for the rest of the summer! Shows are Wednesday-Sunday, with a final performance on Labor Day (9/7). Haven't been yet? GO! Already been? GO AGAIN! Being the Guest Ringmaster at the Coney Island Boom-A-Ring Circus was quite possibly my favorite appearance of the year, not only because it was fun, but because EVERYONE I encountered was incredibly kind and enthusiastic! Thank you for a wonderful evening!