Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Standing Tough Against Bullying- How it all got started.

A few weeks back there was a listener who posted on my person Facebook page in outrage that Derek and Romaine hadn't posted anything about the recent suicides of several LGBT students. In fact, this listener was furious that we dared comment about what exciting events we were taking part in while we were on a week long show tour in California. He insisted that we should be talking about the teen suicides instead. I explained to the listener then that while we were aware of these unfortunate events that Derek and I spend time talking about these issues on our show regularly and we don't need a rash of suicides to talk about them as we already had been. I added that when we had a plan of how we could have a larger impact he would hear from us again.

Well, that time has come. Not long after this Facebook exchange we had professional wrestler and author Mick Foley on our show. He has been a guest several times and enjoys doing our show because it gives him an opportunity to talk to an audience he rarely gets to speak with. He is and has been a very strong supporter of the LGBT community and while many may not expect that from this wrestling giant, I for one am not shocked at all. He is after all a HUGE Tori Amos fan and supporter of her non-profit RAINN (rape, abuse and incest national network). While on our show the topic of the teen suicides due to bullying came up in conversation. Mick expressed his desire to help make an impact in this battle against bullying but he also expressed his frustrating in not knowing how he could help. He vowed to do anything he could and we promised him we would help him come up with a way. After his appearance on the show Derek and I started talking about how refreshing it was that someone like Mick Foley would want to take on an issue like bullying considering his line of work. After all most people think of wrestlers or professional fighters AS bullies because that is what they portray on their TV sets when they tune into a fight. We really wanted to hold true to our promise to Mick and we had been searching for a way that we could get involved in this fight to bring down bullying. That is when Derek suggested a PSA (public service announcement) campaign featuring tough guys like Mick Foley. After all, they are the role models to many young people out there that are not being reached by many of the anti-bullying projects that are currently being hatched. After hearing Derek's idea I was fully on board. To be really honest, I hadn't been this excited about a project since my Laramie Project Special. As promised, I contacted Mick and the planning got under way. After speaking with Mick I contacted TNA wrestling and asked if they would be interested in joining Mick in the campaign and they jumped at the opportunity. TNA Wrestling has launched a similar anti-bullying campaign on their weekly show on Spike called, "Eliminate The Hate." I was over the moon at the though of getting many of their wrestlers into the studio to record their PSA's. They were the first group of athletes to jump on board but certainly not the last.

The Intern Project: Are You Standing Tough?

When we were first hired, and even in the initial interview, I remember Romaine mentioning a special “intern project”. For the first few weeks, there was little mention of the project.  I can’t say I thought much of it.

But back in September, the reports of teen suicides were becoming more and more frequent. Many of these kids were bullied because they were gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or even straight-out misunderstood. Derek and Romaine, inspired by a recent interview with wrestling legend Mick Foley, decided that we should start a campaign that could make on impact on both the bullies and the kids who are being bullied.
Romaine sat us interns down and explained the gist of the project: with the help of Mick Foley, she planned to set up interviews with some of the nation’s “toughest” athletes. 

Let me just say that as an intern, this is an incredible opportunity, but more realistically, it’s a crazy fucking responsibility. All too often kids like Wil and I end up in internships where we are relegated to go-foring and bitch-work. It means a lot to both of us to be involved in a project we can actually be proud of…you know, something you can put on a resume.

So with help from Lubri-Katie, me and Wil found ourselves in the studio right away recording the first set of PSAs. For a 22-year-old like me, it’s hard to pretend to be a professional while conducting interviews with famous wrestlers.  With the exception of a few slip-ups and retarded misstatements, like calling people the wrong name or getting my facts wrong, everything went well. And that weekend Wil was off to mix and edit everything together.
In the end, everyone is excited to get the new site www.standingtough.com  off the ground and launch the campaign. It’s been great so far, and it’s only going to get better. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dian Hanson, Laura Bennett, and more friends

Here's some pictures of a few guests from the past few weeks.

Dian Hanson of Taschen Press
Dian's big book of Breasts

Dian Hanson

Project Runway's blogger, Laura Bennett comes to the studio

Laura Bennett

ADD Jeff and K-Hole fill in for derek