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June 13, 2021 @ 10:04 pm

Congrats Class of 2021- Laz Meiman

Long-time Connectopod contributor and valedictorian Laz Meiman graduated Grover Cleveland Humanities magnet with High Honors class of 2021. He has been with us since the beginning, as reporter, teacher, producer and supporter.
An independent thinker who wants to turn his perceptive talents to government, Laz feels he can be a proponent of positive change. His passion for history has inspired some great Connectopod episodes over the years. Congrats to Laz and good luck at UCSC!
In this repost of a 2020 interview, Laz covers Fred Hampton and the Rainbow coalition, high school political internships, social justice leadership, the college application process, and cutting up an ox.

We are so proud of you, Laz! Congratulations!

You can also hear Laz explaining campaign finance reform as a guest on the podcast Contested Politics

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May 24, 2021 @ 2:51 pm

Changing the Narrative- Unhoused Youth: Alejandro Soria

Part therapist, part educator, part advocate, and part den mother Alejandro Soria, director of the drop-in center for homeless youth at The Village Family Services,  leads his team to provide support for homeless transitional age youth 14-24 (TAY)

This interview, edited for length, took place during the height of the pandemic, and soon after two of their TAY, had recently passed away, including Robert Fuller, whose murder by hanging in Palmdale was in the news. Alejandro talks of all the Village Family Services in North Hollywood offered to homeless youth and the hidden challenges of serving youth in a lasting and life-changing way. 

 

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May 3, 2021 @ 3:54 pm

Changing the Narrative-Unhoused Youth: Ricardo Cobian

Art heals. Art can save your life. Ricardo Cobian was homeless at 18. By 22 he was planning his own demise. Ricardo found the DiC who helped him back from the brink and gave him the stability to find his passion for art, processing pain, and envisioning a future. Named  New Futures Prize Winner at The Other Art Fair Los Angeles (Spring 2021), this talented artist is now exhibiting on the prestigious Saatchiart.com/Ricardo Cobian

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If you need a place to turn to help you prevent homelessness or help you if you are experiencing homelessness go to  The Valley Family Services . They will help you. No judgments.

Produced: Betsy Foldes Meiman

Theme Song 'True' by Haunted Horses NYC  

Sound Engineering: Joe Foldes

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April 16, 2021 @ 4:51 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park Highschool- The Edgar Allan Poe Project promo

This was ninth-grader T's first brush with Edgar Allan Poe. She had a definite opinion!

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Mr. Blythe shared his curriculum and together we came up with the idea to have them narrate Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."  The crazed narrator provided the perfect vehicle for the class to become an ensemble of different personalities in his murderous head. Betsy Foldes Meiman directed the piece as if it were a take on Batman's Joker or popular video game homicidal maniacs, some of which she has voiced. The class took up the challenge and dug deep into the text, ingesting and performing Poe's words with deep understanding. Language and literacy barriers were smashed. The shy became killers, and of course Mr. Blythe himself, the poor victim. Recorded remotely by Betsy over zoom over a week's time, the edited files were given to professional sound designer Eric Willhelm who then created an eerie and ever more stressful atmosphere driving the story to its explosive conclusion. 

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. We think they will never forget The Tell-Tale Heart!

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 16, 2021 @ 4:39 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park HS The Edgar Allan Poe Project- Letter number 4

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Part of the Edgar Allan Poe Project, Mr. Blythe had his student write letters from 'Dr. Poe' to the insane asylum about his 'patients' (his characters!). They are as creepy as Mr. Poe's characters themselves! We thought it would be fun to have them read by professional artists.

Letter 4 is narrated by Voice over artist Laz Meiman (of Nickelodeon's Harvey Beaks) soon heading off to college!

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. 

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 16, 2021 @ 4:36 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park HS The Edgar Allan Poe Project- Letter number 3

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Part of the Edgar Allan Poe Project, Mr. Blythe had his student write letters from 'Dr. Poe' to the insane asylum about his 'patients' (his characters!). They are as creepy as Mr. Poe's characters themselves! We thought it would be fun to have them read by professional artists.

Letter 3 is narrated by  Voice over artist  Betsy Foldes Meiman

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. 

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 16, 2021 @ 4:30 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park HS The Edgar Allan Poe Project- Letter number 2

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Part of the Edgar Allan Poe Project, Mr. Blythe had his student write letters from 'Dr. Poe' to the insane asylum about his 'patients' (his characters!). They are as creepy as Mr. Poe's characters themselves! We thought it would be fun to have them read by professional artists.

Letter 2 is narrated by Voice over artist and actual therapist Steve Morris

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. 

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 16, 2021 @ 4:24 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park HS The Edgar Allan Poe Project- Letter number 1

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Part of the Edgar Allan Poe Project, Mr. Blythe had his student write letters from 'Dr. Poe' to the insane asylum about his 'patients' (his characters!). They are as creepy as Mr. Poe's characters themselves! We thought it would be fun to have them read by professional artists.

Letter 1 is narrated by Playwright and film commentator Richard Harland Smith

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. 

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 16, 2021 @ 3:44 pm

LAPL/Canoga Park HS- The Edgar Allan Poe Project

Mr. Blythe was concerned that his 9th Grade class of IEP* learners were having a hard time engaging with online learning (really who wasn't?!).  Rockstar Librarian Marcia Melkonian and The Friends of the Canoga Park Library reached out to Connectopod because engagement is our game! Mr. Blythe shared his curriculum and together we came up with the idea to have them narrate Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell Tale Heart."  The crazed narrator provided the perfect vehicle for the class to become an ensemble of different personalities in his murderous head. Betsy Foldes Meiman directed the piece as if it were a take on Batman's Joker or popular video game homicidal maniacs, some of which she has voiced. The class took up the challenge and dug deep into the text, ingesting and performing Poe's words with deep understanding. Language and literacy barriers were smashed. The shy became killers, and of course Mr. Blythe himself, the poor victim. Recorded remotely by Betsy over zoom over a week's time, the edited files were given to professional sound designer Eric Willhelm who then created an eerie and ever more stressful atmosphere driving the story to its explosive conclusion. 

We had so much fun with this class and are grateful for their hard work and the joyful spirit with which they took to learning through art. We think they will never forget The Tell Tale Heart!

 

*Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.


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April 14, 2021 @ 3:09 pm

Changing the Narrative: Unhoused Youth- Still Grateful and Still Aiming High

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Formerly homeless Bianca Palmer is now a medical professional. Music helped her cope through the tough times she related in her interview. So when it came time to do her episode, it was an easy choice of subject matter for her. Here she interviews two fellow TAY (Transitional Age Youth) who have reclaimed their lives with the resources of the Village Family Services drop-in center. 

Connectopod music producer and professional musician Joe Foldes helped Gayle Alvarez complete her brother DJ's last song left unfinished before his suicide. "Find me Next to You" is a gift of love. 

Phillip Hargo processed the challenge that was this last year through his hip hop piece '2020.'

You can feel the energy and determination as we move into a new beginning!

 

Thank You to our professional musician mentors Joe Foldes who transcribed, played, and mixed DJ's "Find Me Next to You," as well as the entire episode, and Kevin Stevens who ran our recording session and drummed on "Find Me Next to You"

If you are struggling with homelessness tap the DiC.

6801 Coldwater Canyon Avenue  

North Hollywood, CA 91605
Phone: (818) 755-8786

 

Produced by Betsy Foldes Meiman

 

 

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