The Americas Cake Fair to help raise awareness, stock supplies at  Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as demand rises


Two sweet story opportunities this week:
The Americas Cake Fair to help raise awareness, stock supplies at
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as demand rises

With a huge influx of new residents from Puerto Rico expected in the coming months and the Thanksgiving / holidays approaching, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)’s need for food donations is rapidly increasing. The Americas Cake Fair is conducting two community outreach initiatives to help raise awareness for SHFBCF’s services and stock supplies of local emergency food pantries. Both events provide excellent visuals and interview opportunities.

Wednesday, October 4, 10:30 AM – A Baker Inspires Others

The Founder & CEO of Satin Fine Foods, Inc. & The Americas Cake Fair is meeting with students enrolled in the Second Harvest Culinary Training Program, which provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. Kevin O’Reilly will share his inspiring business story, from humble beginnings working in his family’s bakery in Ireland to creating a “better-tasting mousetrap” (Satin Ice) to establishing one of the largest fondant manufacturing companies in the world.

Where: SHFBCF Main Facility, 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32805

Saturday, October 7, 2:00-4:30 PM – Drive-Through Food Drive at the Ace

Central Floridians can support their community and donate non-perishable, unexpired food items in exchange for ticket vouchers to The Americas Cake Fair. A donation of 10 food items entitles each consumer to one ticket voucher, with a limit of four vouchers (40 food items donated) per household. Vouchers can be redeemed at the Cake Fair registration window at the Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, October 13-15, 2017. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. Participants can simply drive into the large surface “car park” at Ace Cafe Orlando, stay in their cars, and volunteers will exchange ticket vouchers for donations, right through car windows; or they can park and enjoy a visit to the Ace.

Where: 100 W Livingston St, Orlando, FL 32801, corner Livingston & Garland


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The Americas Cake Fair Returns to Orlando on October 13-15, 2017! Tickets on Sale Now!

Event Coverage: The Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair, Hosted by Satin Ice

“An event to bring together hobbyists, teachers, bakers, cake artists and housewives, alike.”

Welcome to the Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair hosted by Satin Ice. The Orange County Convention Center hosted this lavish event and it was a great place for it. The layout was open and welcoming. It was a different type of tradeshow that welcomed all types of people connected to cake. Those of us who love to bake on the weekends with our kids could find some fun cookie cutters and edible glitter to make baking at home exciting. Those who bake wedding cakes for a living and are on the lookout for new ways to ship their wares or find a new stand to put there amazing cakes on, could find them here too. This one event managed to bring the Americas’ love of cake and meld it with some of the most talented cake makers from across the land.

On top of Kevin O’Reilly’s incredibly easy to navigate event, there were some of the most talented celebrity cake makers and chefs on hand to share their knowledge and talent with the crowd. The ‘Cake Maker to the Stars’ Mich Turner was on hand to share her passion for structure, refined opulence and detail. Roland Mesnier was there to share some of his incredible memories of his 25+ years of cooking and baking in the White House under 5 different Presidents of the United States. Food Network’s judge on the new series, “Cake Wars,” Ron Ben-Israel was on hand to share how his dance background helps him create incredible cakes with movement and beauty.

Friday night brought a completely different fashion show than we have ever been to before. CakeCentral presented the Sugar Arts Fashion Show and Cocktail party. The show included almost all edible fashions walking down the runway. There were incredible gowns, skirts, belly dancer costumes and more. The fashions were made from edible ingredients such as isomalt jewels, wafer paper, gum balls, dark and milk chocolate, gum paste and a new gelatin-based material known as Flexique. It was mind-blowing to see some of the edible items that really truly looked as if it was fabric and moved like typical clothing. The show favorite was by far the incredible Neo-Victorian fashion created by Cake-decorator, Joseph Cumm. It was a masterpiece dipped in a variety of chocolates. Sidney Galpern’s flower-inspired creation was a beautiful, glittery work of art. The amount of time that went into each unique piece was communicated throughout the show.

Here’s to having this incredible event come back to Orlando for years to come! Happy Baking!

Mich Turner and Ron Ben-Israel

Roland Mesnier

Book Review “The Birthday Queen” by Audrey Wood

Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“It’s the most exciting day of the year, and the Birthday Queen knows exactly what to do to make your party the best ever! From decorating your home with balloons and streamers to baking your favorite cake, the Birthday Queen doesn’t forget a thing. Here comes your guests! Now it’s time to Celebrate.” Celebrate you shall! The Birthday Queen is engaging, inviting and fun! Audrey and Don Wood have another hit on their talented hands!

The illustrations are bold and bright and inviting. You are pulled into the Birthday Queen’s world from the first beautiful balloons. She invites you in to help celebrate a very special occasion. My daughter loves looking at the bright pages. I know this will be a book we will read together before and during getting ready for birthday parties and any other time that we are looking for a fun book!

Book Review “Kiss, Kiss Good Night” by Kenn Nesbitt

Author: Kenn Nesbitt
Illustrator: Rebecca Elliott
Board book: 12 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

A snuggle, a hug, a kiss, a nuzzle. What wonderful ways to show you love someone. “Kiss, Kiss Good Night,” is a warm, loving, cuddle-inducing book. The animals in this book are all going to bed and before they fall asleep, their mothers each give them a sweet sign of love. There is nothing better than a mother’s love, especially at night. Kenn Nesbitt captures just what it means to love and be loved.

Rebecca Elliott is an incredible illustrator. She beautifully portrays a mother’s love with her adorable animal pictures. In every furry detail, there is a bit of love. This is a wonderful bedtime book. I can’t wait to read this to my daughter every night!

Book Review “The Gingerbread Bear” by Robert Dennis

Author: Robert Dennis
Illustrator: Tammie Lyon
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Run, run, try if you dare, try and catch this Gingerbread Bear! This is a childhood classic told in a new way starring a gingerbread bear. This story takes place in Woodlands National Park and lends itself to a very cute retelling of the story of the Gingerbread Man.

The illustrations are cute, the story is cute and the ending is cute. It’s an enjoyable ride through a national park. Maybe it will be a fun read while teaching about the great outdoors or before going on a camping trip. The repetition will help younger readers stay engaged and enjoying their reading time.

Book Review “Frosty the Snowman” by Walter Rollins & Steve Nelson

Author: Walter Rollins, Steve Nelson
Illustrator: Sam Williams
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Hardcover: 16 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Release Date: September 24, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

From his corncob pipe and button nose, Frosty the Snowman has never looked better. Sam Williams knows exactly what Frosty the Snowman should look like! The cover of this book is so inviting, so warm, so friendly and so wintery-wonderlandy! It’s wonderful.

This book is the classic song broken up into sections and beautifully illustrated part by part. If you are a fan of the song or the cartoon, you will love this book. You and your loved ones will end up singing your way through this book, and that is the making of a beautiful holiday memory.
5 stars

Book Review “Firehouse!” by Mark Teague

Author: Mark Teague
Age Range: 2 – 4 years
Board book: 32 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Spend a hilarious day at the firehouse,” after reading this line from the official synopsis, I was expecting a hilarious book. “Firehouse!” isn’t hilarious. To be honest, it’s not even all that fun. The book is full of facts about what firefighters do in a firehouse, during a fire drill, and during a real emergency. This is a great resource to teach children about firefighters, but as far as entertainment goes, I’m just not sure this hits the nail on the head.

The illustrations are detailed-but in a book geared toward 2-4 year olds, the illustrations are too detailed and the font is not friendly. The story is about firefighting dogs. The dogs are classically cute but not cartoon enough to be alluring to young children. Maybe use this book in a theme unit where you’re teaching children the vocabulary for the firehouse, but I’m not sure this would just be a fun read for everyday purposes.

Book Review “Giggle!” by Caroline Jayne Church

Author: Caroline Jayne Church
Board book: 10 pages
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

A book called, “Giggle!” has to be fun! And it is! It’s a rhyming book with a button that when pressed, plays an infectious giggle. My 16-month old daughter loves pushing the button and just laughs along with it. We laugh along with her, as our daughter laughs.

This is a great book to help teach cause and effect, a button that giggles is so very rewarding! “Giggle!” shows how much fun rhyming can be. The illustrations are absolutely adorable! Go out and buy this book and enjoy it with your little one.

Book Review “Over the River and Through the Wood”

Author: L. Maria Child
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

L. Maria Child’s verse about Thanksgiving Day has been given new life in this Matt Tavares-illustrated new book. Matt Tavares’ illustrations have given new life to this classic poem. His beautiful take on a family’s trip to Grandfather’s house through a blustery cold and snow-filled Massachusetts of yore, is reminiscent of any antique Christmas card.

There have been so many ways in which Child’s verse has been put to use throughout the past, but with this beautifully illustrated book, it speaks to a new generation who will benefit from seeing what it was like to have to travel to Grandfather’s house in a horse drawn sleigh. This is something that can bridge the gap and bring families together each year to read the poem and enjoy these beautiful illustrations on a cold, Thanksgiving night. It helps bring back tradition and really would be a fantastic addition to any holiday season.

Matt Tavares outdoes himself with this particularly detailed book. Each page creates a sense of nostalgia and warmth. Whether you are in the mood for the holidays or not, you will be in full-on holiday mode after immersing yourself in this delightfully engaging holiday classic. There is also a very nice nod to L. Maria Child at the end of the book and it allows the reader to understand where this holiday classic came from and more about the incredibly talented author who penned it.

Book Review “Maisy’s First Colors: A Maisy Concept Book”

Author, Illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Series: Maisy
Board book: 14 pages
Publisher: Candlewick; Brdbk edition
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Board book+ Maisy+ rhyming text+colors= a perfect combination for any preschool class!! For fans of Lucy Cousins’ Maisy books, it should come to no surprise that this book will make a wonderful addition to your classroom library! Cousins does it again and makes learning about colors fun.

Charley’s picked bananas, a big yellow bunch! Green pears for Cyril,munch, munch, munch! Maisy and her friends all have their favorite foods, from Tallulah’s oranges to Eddie’s blue lollipop to Maisy’s juicy red apples. When they all join together for a picnic, they make a tasty rainbow — yum!” The mixture of Maisy and her friends and very easy to recognize colors and foods, makes for a wonderfully inviting read.

Our fifteen month-old happens to love Maisy books and she is really enjoying the latest installment. She’s drawn in by the characters and then kept there by the fun illustrations and is able to point to the colors with ease. Maisy’s First Colors includes rhyming text that can help introduce poetry and rhyme to younger readers. This book is perfect for children ages 6 months and higher.


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Book Review “Maisy’s First Numbers: A Maisy Concept Book”

Author, Illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Series: Maisy
Board book: 14 pages
Publisher: Candlewick; Brdbk edition
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Another wonderful Maisy concept book by the beloved creator of the Maisy series, Lucy Cousins. Maisy’s First Numbers is a colorful treat that creates a welcoming, easily accessible world of numbers. The illustrations are fun and the text is rhyming which makes learning to count even more enjoyable.

Maisy’s First Numbers is perfect for ages 6 months and up. The book has bright colorful illustrations. Younger readers will find it easy to hold and manipulate as it is a board book. This would be a great help when introducing number concepts to preschool-age children.

Our fifteen month old daughter, loves the Maisy series and enjoys this book because of how bright and colorful the illustrations are. She also loves to point to the three butterflies and the slow slow turtles. Learning to count to 5 just got a lot more enjoyable with Maisy’s First Numbers.

Book Review “Digger, Dozer, Dumper”

Author: Hope Vestergaard
Illustrator: David Slonim
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 27, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Digger, Dozer, Dumper brings to life every truck your child (or you) may have ever played with. Going into great detail, the book includes sixteen rhyming poems that highlight the job and personality of each vehicle. From a cement mixer who can’t sit still to a very helpful tow truck, youngsters are invited to find out which vehicle they can identify with. Children will learn more about there favorite vehicles while getting to know some new ones.

Hope Vestergaard masterfully writes poems that will interest children ages 4 and older, as David Slonim creatively brings each truck to life in his illustrations and could easily entice any child age 2 and up into following along. The amusing pictures make this book easily accessible to many ages.

Digger, Dozer, Dumper could easily be brought into any preschool classroom to get kids excited about all sorts of vehicles. The words used in this book are higher level and therefore could open up a plethora of new vocabulary for younger children. This could be a great starting off point on all new vehicles never really taught about in school. in my experiences in the classroom, I can’t remember ever seeing a quiet and determined street sweeper toy or character in a book; or a lifting and drilling skid-steer loader. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I myself learned a thing or two about the names and jobs of these various vehicles and I have Hope Vestergaard to thank! If your students enjoy playing with planes, train and automobiles, add this wonderful book to your classroom library.


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Concert Review: “The Package Tour” New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men – Orlando FL

The Package Tour – New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men
Amway Center
Orlando, Florida
June 21, 2013 7:30pm

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

After 25 years of performing together, you would think that the New Kids on the Block might be sick of each other. You’d be wrong. This group looked they were having more fun then a bunch of kids at Walt Disney World, I should know -as I’m there all the time! Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood were on point last night as they headlined The Package Tour at Amway Center here in Orlando, Florida. They proved that they may be older, but like a fine wine, this group has aged well!

Opening for the New Kids on the Block were Boyz II Men. Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris showed the crowd that this is what they had been missing all these years. Their set was just about 30 minutes and it proved to be lots of fun and full of nostalgia. They sang their hits “On Bended Knee,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “Motownphilly,” “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” and “Water Runs Dry.” The Boyz proved that they still got it. Their energy was through the roof and they all looked and sounded great too.

Following Boyz II Men, was the ballad loving 98 Degrees. Proving that time has been good to the whole group, the guys of 98 Degrees showed off their vocals and their muscles, as they performed in wife beater tank tops for most of their set. They’ve traded in the mushroom haircuts and the baseball caps for sleeker hair and vests and suspenders. As was agreed upon by the women in the crowd around me, Jeff looked as though he had stepped out of the pages of a Fireman’s Calendar donning suspenders and tight shirt displaying his biceps. Getting back to the music, 98 Degrees put on a good show. Their energy was not as high as Boyz II Men and their choreography seemed to need a little bit of an update. They sang their hits, “Invisible Man,” “The Hardest Thing,” “I Do (Cherish You),” “”Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” and “Because of You.” 98 Degrees also showcased a new song off of their latest album, “2.0,” called “Microphone,” which was enjoyable. Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons showed that they can still perform their hits well and that they just may have some heat left in them.

We were informed at the beginning of the New Kids’ set that we would be in for a 2 hour set and that we should kick back, relax and party like there’s no tomorrow. Laser lights beamed brightly as the group came on stage and promptly started in with one of their singles, “We Own the Night” off their newest album, “10.” From that song on, it was a set filled with fun choreography, wardrobe changes, fog, pyrotechnics, a rotating and rising stage, and five very good looking, happy guys who were loving the crowd and having a ball performing.

The New Kids performed a variety of songs from their past hits such as “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “I’ll Be Loving You Forever,” and “Step By Step.” In what proved to be an incredible medley, the group performed “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind),” “If You Go Away” and the highlight of the medley featured Joey performing “Please Don’t Go Girl.” He may not be hitting the high high notes as he used to, but Joey McIntyre proved he is a force to be reckoned with as he clearly knocked this song out of the park!

The set that the New Kids performed included some tributes to other performers as Jordan sang Prince’s “Kiss,” Joey sang a cover of George Michael’s “Faith” and Donnie sang Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” into which the group then sang their own hit “Dirty Dancing.” Other hits included in their set were “Click, Click, Click” “Single” and “Remix.” And a real treat for those of us on the floor and even in the surrounding 100 section, was when the New Kids performed “Tonight,” they walked through the crowded swarms of screaming women and hugged and sang to all of us. It was truly an amazing feat, as their fans proved to be very much in love with every single one of these guys and really didn’t want to let them get back to the stage!

Jordan proved he can still hit the high notes, Danny showed off his break dancing skills, Donnie proved to be the group’s leader and emcee as he conducted the crowd, Joey has some new dance moves and an amazing set of pipes, and finally Jonathan proved to be an incredible performer that those of us who have been lifelong fans, knew he always was. All in all, The New Kids on the Block put on an amazing show. Their final two songs left the crowd wanting more as they paired with Boyz II Men to sing their hit , “Motownphilly,” and then finished the show out with an incredible, confetti-filled, “Hangin’ Tough.” If you are a fan of any or all of these bands, get yourself to an arena near you when the Package comes to your town, it’s the one gift you’ll want to open again and again!

Interview with 100 Monkeys

100 Monkeys is a funk rock band featuring its members Ben Graupner, Ben Johnson, Jackson Rathbone (“The Twilight Saga”), Jerad Anderson and Lawrence Abrams. What is unique about this band is that they each do not have a set role in the band and each member switches instruments and roles titled the “Monkey Switcheroo”. This band is not like any other band I have ever seen live. They explode with inspiration and experimentation when they perform live. They recently just released their second studio album titled “Liquid Zoo”. Media Mikes got to hang out with the band during their House of Blues Orlando, FL tour stop and chatted with them about their music and their unique concert experience.

Click here for a chance to WIN a SIGNED CD, “Liquid Zoo” from the band!!

Mike Gencarelli: Your first album, Monster De Lux was all improvised, how do you feel that you have evolved in “Liquid Zoo”?
Ben Graupner: Well “Liquid Zoo” is our second studio album like “Grape,” where we went in with a bunch of pre-written songs and really worked them out with a studio style of recording. It has a lot of influence from the Louisiana area because we traveled that album from Van Nuys, California to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So that’s probably responsible for the brass, the gospel choir, and sort of just the general tone of the album. We are always looking to do something new and something crazy.

Patty Gencarell: You’ve been compared to bands such as The Beatles and Iggy Pop, who have you been inspired by musically?
Lawrence Abrams: Each other. I would say, each other.
Jackson Rathbone: Yea, there’s so many different inspirations. We all come from different walks of life, from different areas of the country, from different planets in the solar system [laughs].
PG: Yea, I read Mars, right?
Jerad Anderson: [laughs] Good looking out. Good looking out.
Ben Johnson: Yea, we’ve got Mars over here [motions to Uncle Larry].
JR: I think we carry that with us. Ben Johnson, Ben Graupner and myself all went to high school with an amazing artist named Spencer Bell. Johnson played in a band called, The Stevedores, with Spence. They released one album before Spencer passed away. He’s still, honestly, a really big inspiration for us, especially as song writers. What we do after we write a song is we’ll bring it to the group. We write in really different varied forms. Sometimes one of us will have a song pre-written and bring it to the group and it will change drastically. Or sometimes we’ll just be jamming and then we’ll write a song during a jam and then we’ll perform it that night. It’s very eclectic the way we write our music and how we perform it. At the end of the day, a lot of our song writing is influenced by the song writing of Spencer Bell. If you check out his albums, I think you’ll see it. If you look at his,[asks the group] is it “Live and Wasted” that has “The Monkey Song” on it?
BJ: Yea well “Live and Wasted” and “Live Art Fleetwood” have “The Monkey Song” on them.
JR: And if you look at Spencer’s version of “The Monkey Song” and our version of “The Monkey Song,” it’s very different but it’s kind of like the way we write. We might write a song one way but then, because we all mix up instruments, we might just rearrange the orchestration and just kind of make it 100 Monkeys.
PG: For the track “Ugly Girl”, what or who was your inspiration? Was it a type of person or a specific person?
JR: “Ugly Girl” was definitely inspired by a type of person not one in particular. It was interesting because it was one of those songs that we were kind of like separately writing, while we were in different parts of the world, literally. “LDF,” the song off of “Grape” and “Ugly Girl” were both kind of partially written in London and in Los Angeles. The part of the lyrics that I wrote in London, were really inspired by the different attitudes that I felt whenever I would travel over there and then when I went back to Los Angeles. It was like, ‘Oh, okay, yea that’s definitely one of the vainest cities that I’ve ever been to in my life.’

MG: In your videos for “Wandering Minds” and “Ugly Girl”, you certainly aren’t afraid of getting dirty, do you enjoy the video making process?
BG: Oh yea, definitely, it’s a lot of fun. William Schmidt directed both of those videos so it’s always fun to work with Will. We like to have a goodtime in our videos and we’ve got a new video coming soon that we’re really excited about. I think people are really going to like it.
MG: What song is it for?
BG: It’s for “Modern Times.”
PG: The pink nail polish in the video was a really nice touch.
UL: Well you never want to give monkeys makeup!
BG: You see what happens, it doesn’t work out well. [laughs]
JR:My favorite is still in the “Wandering Minds” video when something hits you for the first time, [motions to Ben Johnson] you just go right thru it and something bangs this object right like ‘bonk’ [laughs] and you just keep going, you just keep playing.

PG: From video making to movie making, Jerad, you produced the film “Girlfriend” co-starring yourself and Jackson and also scored by the band, what is next up for your production company?
JA: We’ve got something in the works that’s a high school wrestling comedy. It’s supposed to shoot October 17, and the band will be scoring that as well. So that’s what’s next on our closest horizon.

MG: Do you guys find a major difference between making music and creating a score?
BG: Yea it’s a totally different process. When you are making a score, I think that the major aspect is trying to make the music disappear rather than have the music stand out on its own. You’re looking for something that you almost don’t notice is there. You can tell when it starts working because the movie and the images pop off the screen. And when you take the music away, they don’t. It’s a night and day difference; two different worlds.

PG: Any possibility about appearing on the “Breaking Dawn Part 1 or 2” soundtrack?
JR: Honestly, we are not allowed to talk about it.

PG: Jackson, when you are on stage, how does it compare for you to working on films like “The Twilight Saga”? Do you have a preference?
JR: Do you have parents?
PG: Yes.
JR: Which do you like better? Do you have a favorite?
PG: Um, no. [laughs]
JR: Exactly.
PG: Not in written word. [band laughs] I’m a teacher so you know, ‘we have no favorites.’
UL: That’s exactly what he’s saying.
JR: I think it was the first time I ever got up on stage and I was singing, acting and I was dancing. And it’s just all about entertainment. I think all of us are entertainers, and that’s the greatest feeling in the world to allow someone to escapes for an hour and a half whether it be at a rock show or at a film, and get outside of their own lives. Hopefully, maybe it makes you think about something different. “Girlfriend,” the movie that Jerad produced and we scored, and I also co-produced with my company, PatchMo Entertainment, that’s a really important film for us. That was a really passionate project for us because it stars a young man with Downs Syndrome, an incredible actor by the name of Evan Sneider. And it’s just touched the lives of so many people. A lot of people have this preconceived notion about Downs Syndrome and people with Downs Syndrome. Then you watch that film and you’re like, well this actor is one of the best actors that I’ve ever worked with. Amanda Plummer, a seasoned veteran, said that he’s the best actor she’s ever worked with.His performance has inspired people all around the world and it’s just incredible to be able to have that effect. That’s what entertainment does, it either makes you laugh or makes you cry; makes you think about your life and that’s amazing. The power of any piece of art, it’s what it does.

PG: Jerad, just touching on Downs Syndrome. I’ve worked in special education for the past five years, with Deaf children and children who are hard of hearing.
JA: I understand Sign Language. [Using American Sign Language]
PG: Yes, exactly, I do too.
JR: [They’re speaking in sign language right now.]
PG: Where did you learn ASL?
JA: Actually it was something that I got into and took as a foreign language for school. Then I worked retail and met a bunch of Deaf people while working there and I made friends with them. I sort of struggled and tried to use what I was learning and then it just started becoming a part of me. I ended up having and making good friends with one Deaf person and lived with as a roommate for one year. Then I was a TA (teacher’s assistant), for the Sign Language Department just because I liked it.
PG: I was sort of thrown into it myself, having been excessed to a Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. I loved working in it.
JA: Yea, it’s a different culture. They have their own culture. We actually have Deaf people who come to our shows and have a good time, because they can feel the vibration of the music. They enjoy what we do on stage, the spectacle.

MG: Tell us about performing, what do you like most about touring, getting to improvise every concert and performing the “Monkey Switcheroo”?
JR: There are so many different aspects of touring that really makes us happy. One is the stage show, the switching, that’s just what we do. That’s what makes 100 Monkeys special. However, I think one of the favorite aspects of touring for all of us has been being able to meet new bands. For instance, are y’all local here? (Orlando)
PG & MG: Yea.
JR: If you were able to check out Beebs and Her Money Makers, they were fantastic. And you know, it’s being able to meet new bands like them, that being inspired by them to either up the ante or try something different. When we were in Nashville, Tennessee, we met the bassist for Darius Rucker, this guy named John Mason. He was great, we took him out for a beer afterwards and really just pried into his brain about what about our stage show that maybe even we can perfect. I think that’s what we really love about touring. It’s getting to meet the fans, face to face, and getting to meet new bands that are doing new cool things. We get toys all the time [motioning to the 100 Monkeys’ monkey given to Ben Graupner] which keeps us entertained because we all have ADHD, which really showcases in our music and our instrumentation. [laughs]

PG: Tell us about the Spencer Bell Memorial Project?
JR: It’s one of those things that’s really near and dear to our hearts. We’ve been doing it for a long time.
BG: It’s evolved recently and we now do The Spencer Bell Legacy concerts. The most recent one was put on at Mohawks in Austin, Texas. It wasn’t even put on by one of us or Spencer’s family. It was just a couple of fans of his music who took it upon themselves to contact all the bands and put on the show. We think that’s really cool, that people are inspired by his music. They love his music and his writing. They are just taking it upon themselves to bring people together to celebrate it. Also there has been, what was the name of that drug that they did the research for?
JR: I’m not sure of the exact name of the drug. But due to the money that has been raised by the fans over the course of a couple of years doing the SBLs, they actually changed the adrenal cancer drug for the first time since 1965. Dr. Gary Hammer was finally able to persuade the pharmaceutical companies. Literally the 100 Monkey Effect is about the collective consciousness and about raising an awareness for something. Because we were able to raise such an awareness for it, he finally was able to convince the pharmaceutical companies to create a new drug since 1965, which is extremely, extremely hard to do because there’s no money in it. Pharmaceutical companies only focus on what will make them money. If its orphan cancers like that, there’s not enough people out there with that specific cancer. The interesting thing about adrenal cancer, and other orphan cancers like it that kill a lot of people all over the world, is that it is one mutation of a chromosome. Which hopefully if you can find a cure for that, then you can really get deeper into being able to find a cure for breast cancer which has 30 different mutations and prostate cancer which also has about 30 different mutations. So hopefully if we focus on orphan cancer awareness, we can get doctors to discover what one mutation takes. Because one mutation is what starts it all; and that’s the hardest thing to find and that’s really exactly what we are trying to figure out with orphan cancer.

All photos taken by and are Copyright © Patty Gencarelli