Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "New" Steel Magnolias Movie

I know information about the new version of Steel Magnolias has been floating around on the 'net for more than a while now. I've had mixed feelings about the movie, but I'm pretty sure they aren't for the same reasons that most of the D-OC has. I've been a fan of the movie for years. My mother doesn't care for it, but I can't remember a time when I didn't love it.

Even as a child, I remember having a sense of understanding that Shelby had many problems going on that weren't just related to diabetes. And I've always been aware that having a child would be difficult for me, though not impossible.

As I grew, I became more aware of the fact that diabetes wasn't as cut and dry as the movie made it. I understood that having diabetes wasn't a death sentence, and it wasn't a death sentence to have a child while having diabetes. But I also understood that the movie didn't exactly give a true look at life with diabetes.

It was strange for me. Shelby was the only person I'd seen on TV or in a movie that had diabetes. I felt a connection to her AND the movie because of this. Much like I felt a connection to the character Stacey in The Baby-Sitter's Club books.

When the news about the new, all African-American cast version of Steel Magnolias was coming out, I couldn't help but think it would be messed up. Partly because I really dislike remakes of movies. Like really, really, really don't like them.

But...I can't help but be curious. I'm a die-hard Queen Latifah fan, so that's almost enought to make me watch it by itself. But I'm curious, like many of us, as to how they will represent diabetes in this movie.

They've recently released a trailer for the movie, as well as a scene from the movie on youtube. I plan on watching it at some point (I don't get Lifetime, so I'm going to have a friend record it for me) and I'll probably blog about what I think. Until then, I leave you with the youtube clips...

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Life is a series of choices. What shoes to wear, what to eat for lunch, what book to read next, what job to take, what to study in school, what extra curricular activity to pursue, and the list goes on. Some are minor decisions. Some are major. And some seem minor and turn out to be major.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been sticking close home. After traveling so much in the past couple of months, I like sticking close to home. But with that I've gotten lax about carrying around my "emergency d supplies" with me in my purse. It's the little case that has a complete site change, extra batteries, iv-3000 tape, insulin, and a variety of other things. I work 5 minutes from my house, and if I need to leave, it's never a big issue to run out and make it back to work in my 15 minutes I get for break. So lately, I've been leaving it at home.

This morning I got up to get ready for church and it was a complete site change day. Meaning: new CGM sensor site AND new insulin pump infusion site. I was running a little behind this morning because I knew I had to be a church early and I didn't get up early enough. It was my week to teach Sunday School. I put my new pump site and new CGMS, grabbed breakfast and took off for church. I bolused in the car (don't ask) and there was no problem.

My emergency d supply bag
When I got to church it was around 9:30. At 9:40 I got the dreaded "NO DELIVERY" alarm. My kids were coming into the classroom already and there was no way I could leave. I knew I'd had my bolus least I thought I had. And I made a choice. I stayed at church. Even with no insulin being delivered, I stuck it out. I knew what would happen. By 11:00, my blood sugar was 273. When I got home at 12:30 it was 370.

I could have left, I'm sure. Tried to find someone to take my class for a while so I could sneak out. But I HATE when diabetes stops me from doing something. I hate having to say "diabetes is making life difficult." So I made the choice to stay. I felt it was easier to deal with the crappy feeling from the high blood sugars than it was to have to get help from someone to take my class while I went home to take care of my insulin pump.
The result of my decision

I know it probably wasn't the best decision that I could have made, but it would have been even better to have had my emergency set change with me. Sometimes we make choices that don't work out so well. I made the choice not to carry my emergency d supplies. I then made the choice to stay at church, and essentially go without insulin for nearly 3 hours.

This experience did teach me a lesson though... don't go without your emergency site change!!! Take it with you!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Steel Magnolias: Raising Money for JDRF

Steel Magnolias. This movie and/or play is often a source of debate in the Diabetes Online Community. Some people love the show. Others hate it for its ending and somewhat inaccurate portrayal of life with Type 1 diabetes can be. I personally fall in to the “love it” camp, while my mother hangs to the other side. She’s always told me that the thought of anything happening to me, her Type 1 daughter, made the movie too difficult for her to watch.

My love of theatre has let me to a couple of different productions of the play, most notably the Broadway production from 2005 starring Delta Burke and Christine Ebersole. I was recently made aware of a staged reading of Steel Magnolias at which all proceeds would go to benefit JDRF. Like anything that involves theatre, I was intrigued. Add in the diabetes connection and I got excited.

After doing a little research on producer David Youse and his Four Things Productions, I found that Four Things has a pretty successful history of production to raise money for charity, including a staged reading of The Normal Heart that eventually made its way to Broadway. I decided to email the producer back and request an interview. Mr. David Youse was very much willing to help out, wanting to get word out about this production, in order to raise the most money as possible for JDRF.

First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me about this production of Steel Magnolias and about the work that you are doing at Four Things Productions. Can you tell us a little bit about Four Things Productions and what you do?

Four Things Productions is committed to raising money for various non-profits by presenting theater events with wonderful actors. I try to pick one play and one charity, per year, and raise awareness and the most funds, that I can.

How do you pick the organizations that you choose to donate your proceeds to? Do you have connections to Type 1 diabetes? What brought you to JDRF?

The process can be different each time. Sometimes I think of which play to produce first, one that I think an audience would like to see. Then I find a charity that equals what the plays is about. The Normal Heart would be an AIDS related charity. Steel Magnolias-Diabetes. My mother was a Type 1 diabetic so I'm very familiar with the disease and have that personal connection to it. Playwright Robert Harling and I both decided that JDRF would be our pick, since the funds go to research. We looked at other charities, but felt that JDRF was one that we connected with, because of what they do.

Did you choose to produce Steel Magnolias first, and then pick JDRF as your organization? Or was it JDRF that came before Steel Magnolias?

After the success of The Normal Heart, I realized that the 25th Anniversary of Magnolias was coming up. Knowing the play, I knew that I wanted to present it for a diabetic cause.

You have managed to put together an amazing talented and well known cast and  two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey is directing your production. How was this group of women put together, and are you aware of any personal connections to Type 1 diabetes that might have drawn these women to the project?

Robert Harling [playwright] and I met about two years ago, first, on this project. I asked him who is dream cast would be, 25 years later. Names, names, names kept coming up. Then when you bring on board the brilliant Judith Ivey, she has her vision and the director will take the lead. The three of us come together to discuss who would be great for which role and you want to cast it with the women who you know will connect on stage. This is truly an ensemble piece so each character has to be carefully thought of. Of course I look to see if anyone is public about being a Type 1 diabetic, but what is on the internet is never the real answer. But everyone, it seems, has someone they know who suffers from diabetes.

For my readers who are not your typical “theatre people,” can you explain the difference between a staged- reading and a full production?

A staged reading is simply what is says, a reading of the play with very minimal movement. In a full production with sets, lighting, music, etc, the vision of the director will establish what they want to get across not only in the performances, but with the visual as well. In a staged reading, I believe it's a more powerful way to explore the writing and creating art for the individuals who are witnessing it. By simply reading the stage directions each audience member can create what the beauty shop looks like, what they are wearing and their mind can wonder on what they see. What is so remarkable about this process is that the person sitting next to you can have their own vision of what is happening. So, everyone can enjoy their own show, in their own minds and create for themselves what they are witnessing.

I must note that your staged reading of The Normal Heart, directed by Joel Grey, ended up making its way to New York where it was eventually produced on Broadway. Do you have any hopes of that happening with this production?

I never thought that The Normal Heart would end up making its way to Broadway. I never think that far in advance about a project. I believe that if you focus on why you're presenting the reading and who it's for, the world will take care of you. So, right now, I'm presenting The 25th Anniversary staged reading of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias, directed by Judith Ivey, to benefit JDRF. After Los Angeles, we will be presenting it in New York on December 3rd, for JDRF, and after that, we can only see what happens.

Any last things you’d like to share with my readers?

Supporting theater, in any city, makes us more aware of others, their joys, their sorrows and it not only creates great conversation, it educates us on all of us. Support the arts when you can, and support a cause, which you are passionate about. I believe it will make us a better country. INFO AND TICKETS: Thank you, David Youse

Thank you again, for taking the time to answer some questions for me. I know that there are several people in our Diabetes Online Community that live in the Los Angeles area, and I hope that they get the chance to see the show. I know I would love to be there to see my support for diabetes research and my love of theatre meet on stage. Break a leg!

If you are in the Southern California area next weekend, please try to go see this production. It will be more than worth your money. The production will be at Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Califorinia, Saturday, September 9th, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Four Things productions can be found on facebook and the individual Twitter account for this production is located HERE. If you are in the area and get a chance to see the production, please let me know! I'd love to have you guest post about the play.