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Nellie Newsletter

5/1/24
 
MAY DAY!! MAY DAY!! No, wait, it’s just May Day, no emergency. Originally, it was a holiday to celebrate the beginning of summer, with people dancing around maypoles and baskets of flowers. Then it became the International Workers Day, like our Labor Day. But I digress . . . .  
 
So, Alison is home now, for a minute, anyway. And Sock Monkey is here, much to the cats’ dismay. And we’re all still recovering from Simi Valley. (More on that later . . . )
 
Let’s see. Alison was in Kentucky at Patti’s, where I hear she had a great time. And she just returned from the Cherry Blossom Festival, which is always fun.
 
And that means we have a whole bunch of new readers joining us this month. Welcome New Readers! This is going to be fun. A word of caution though. If you are using your company e-mail, especially if it’s for someplace like a school, you may have language filters that will block certain incoming e-mail. We don’t do much swearing here, but we do occasionally use the word ‘bitch’. (Come on, it’s the title of her book already!) Except for Sock Monkey. He swears like a sailor! But his is all cartoon swearing, like “%(&&$@)/*%%”. (“Hey”, yelled Sock Monkey, “Watch it!”)
 
OK, let’s move on to the rundown of Alison’s activities (lest we further upset Mr. Monkey!):

1.            Daily Book Readings – The daily readings are currently on hiatus for an indefinite period.
 
2.            Bonnets, Etc. - Bonnets, tin cups, books, photos, Alison sells them at her online store, 'Not Your Mothers Mercantile'. Everything autographed. Here's the link to the store: Mother's Mercantile   New items have been added. (To see the complete selection, click on the “Shop Now” button.) Be sure to specify how you want them signed. Also, check her schedule. If she’s out of town, she won’t be here to fill your orders.
 
3.            Cameo - You can have your favorite cast member record a personal video greeting - Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Get Well Soon, you name it! Check it out: Cameo Website   Or... cut to the chase: Alison Cameo
 
4.            Radio Show / Podcast - The Alison Arngrim Show is on every Tuesday at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. The best way to catch the show live is to go to the UBN Radio page on FaceBook: UBN FaceBook. Alison’s next guest will be Eric Andrews-Katz (Author, Massage Therapist). If you have any ideas of who you would like to see interviewed by Alison, pass them along, and we’ll see what we can do! If you miss a show, or want to catch any of the past episodes, go to her FaceBook page for the show: Arngrim Show Archives  Keep in mind, this is the year of the 50th anniversary, so expect a lot of reruns.
 
5.            Who's Going To Do The Cooking? -  Alison will be appearing on her FaceBook page, cooking something with instructions, whenever she can find the time. She has made many incredible dishes. You can find all of these on her YouTube Channel: Who's Going To Do The Cooking?

Now for a little schedule:
 
First up, on May 9th, Alison will be going to Chicago and presenting “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” at the Venus Cabaret Theatre at the Mercury Theatre, 3745 N Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613, at 7:00 pm. Here’s the website for the club: Venus Cabaret Tickets are $33, and can be purchased here: Venus Tickets  According to the website, you can click on ‘Add-Ons’ to purchase a VIP Photo Op with Alison, but I couldn’t find it on their site. Tickets are selling well, and rumour has it that there may be a second show added. Check the website for details. This will be Alison’s first time at this venue, and I wish I could be there!
 
OK, then Alison returns to New York City for her annual Mother’s Day appearance at the Laurie Beechman Théâtre in the West Bank Cafe,  407 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036, on Sunday, May 12th. Here’s the link for the Beechman:  Beechman  And here’s the link for Spin Cycle: Spin Cycle NYC  Tickets are available here:  Beechman Tickets  Tickets are $26, with a $25 food/drink minimum. The food is fabulous! Remember, you can always take Mom out to the show, and point out, “At least I didn’t turn out as bad as Nellie!” (Mom will be grateful!) Unless you did, of course! But watch yourself! Last year they had to remove a whole table of guests from the club for being drunk and disorderly! (Hey, New York City friends, heads up!! Alison is coming to town!)
 
Then, on May 17th, she will be presenting Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch at Play Louisville, 1101 East Washington Street, Louisville, KY 40206 (at Buchanan Street), at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $22 ($35 for VIP), and you can get them here: Louisville Tickets  This will be Alison’s first time at this club. Here’s the club website: Play Louisville
 
Then on May 18th, the very next day, she will be presenting Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch at Play Nashville, 1519 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37203 (between 15th & 16th Aves), at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $22 ($35 for VIP), and you can get them here: Nashville Tickets  This will also be Alison’s first time at this club. Here’s the club website:  Play Nashville
 
And then she takes off for Kansas to join the rest of the gang at the Little House on the Prairie Museum in Independence, Kansas, for 2024 Prairie Days, Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2. Ticket prices range from $6 to $175, depending on what you sign up for. Here’s the link for info and tickets: Independence Kansas There will be the usual selection of activities: Meet & Greet, Autograph Signing, “Prairie Remembers” Dinner, VIP Breakfast, etc. All details are available on the site above, with the ever-changing cast of characters.

New Item: On June 14th we will be arriving in Monaco for the 63rd Festival De Television De Monte Carlo for a MAJOR Little House reunion. The gathering will feature Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Alison, Matt Labyorteaux, Wendi Lou Lee, and Leslie Landon. (Phew!) If you ask me, this line-up is outstanding!! The festival is open to the public, and many of the events are free. However, if you  want to buy a ticket, prices range from €49.00 to €7,750.00, depending on what you sign up for. (Oh, that’s in Euros, by the way.) Check out the website for more information: Monte Carlo Website (Sorry, it’s in French!) Well, the Festival is (sort of) in France, after all! You can bet Sock Monkey and I are going to this one! (Sock Monkey wants to meet Prince Albert!) Oh, and here’s an article about the Festival in English: Hello Monaco 
 
Another new Item: Alison is returning to P-Town! Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14, Alison will present Confessions of a Prairie Bitch at Redroom, 258 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA. Tickets are $35, or $45 for VIP tickets, and are available on their website: Redroom Tickets  This should be good. Alison likes P-Town, and P-Town seems to like her. And it is usually just one big party! And, to top it off, this is Bear Week in P-Town! What could be better? (Love dem bears!)
 
July 19 – 21 - Walnut Grove 50th Anniversary Celebration & TV Cast Reunion - Walnut Grove   (See below for more info in the 50th Anniversary Report)
 
After that, Alison will be returning to Keystone South Dakota for Carrie Days presents LHOTP 50th Anniversary – SD. Yep, Carrie Days, the celebration of all things Carrie Ingalls. (Robyn & Rachel love this one!) There will be the usual shenanigans, dinners, breakfast, panels, Meet &   Greet, autographs, etc. All details, plus ticketing, are available here:  Keystone Tickets   Tickets prices range from $6 to $350, depending on which options you choose. I’m toying with the idea of going to this one. You know, like, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, etc. Could be fun.
 
This just in: After South Dakota. Alison will head to Northern California to present Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch at Oasis, 298 Eleventh St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 795-3180 (or info@sfoasis.com ) on Thursday, August 1st, at 7:00 pm. This is a new club for her, but not her first time in San Francisco. Here’s the website for the club:  Oasis San Francisco    Tickets are $35 or $45 for VIP (includes post-show meet & greet and photo op) Purchase tickets here:  Oasis Tickets  
 
So, we’re staying about 3 months out with details. For the rest of the ones that I’m aware of, I’ll just put the event, dates, and link. More info as we get closer.

August 30 – September 1 – The Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT -  Hartford
 
September 3 -  Farm & Home Center, Lancaster, PA -  Lancaster 1
 
September 4 – An additional show due to popular demand, at the Bright Side Opportunities Center in Lancaster, PA - Lancaster 2
 
September 14 & 15 – Johnny Cash’s Hideaway Farm in Lyles, TN -   Johnny Cash
 
September 26 – 28 – FanX Salt Lake City Comic & Pop Culture Convention - Fan X
 
October – Entire month!! – France - French Shows
 
November 15 – 17 - Branson Convention Center in Branson, MO “A Prairie Christmas From Branson” - Branson
 
So, before you start sending me e-mails and lists, I’m only citing the events that Alison is going to be attending. There are others, but you’re on your own for those! And in terms of who will be appearing, all bets are off. This is a moving target and is always changing. We do the best we can!
 
All right, enough schedule for now. (Phew!!)

Rumour Control

 1.  What DOES it take to be the Queen of the Internet in 2024? Should Alison try to find out?? 

2.  More recipes…what kind??

 3.  What should Alison do to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first airing of “Country Girls”, September 18th, 1974?

Miscellaneous
 
Just For Laughs Part 1 – In 1978, NBC Producer George Schlatter came up with a new program he called “Just For Laughs”, a comedy variety show featuring the top comics of the day. This is Episode 1, hosted by Don Adams. (The very first opening remark by the host is about LHOTP!) So, in a Don Adams skit at 22:00 minutes in, there is a knock at the door . . .  See for yourself:  Laughs Part 1
 
Just For Laughs Part 2 – This is Episode 2. Alison has a line in the opening montage, and then re-appears at 39:13 minutes in for a few minutes of her stand-up routine. Enjoy! :  Laughs Part 2
 
Medley of David Rose LHOTP Music – David Rose was the composer for all of the LHOTP music, also Bonanza, and he wrote “The Stripper”. Mike Distefano, a Pianist in Las Vegas, has recorded a medley of David Rose music from LHOTP. He gives a lengthy explanation in the comments section regarding each piece that he plays. Intensely dedicated fans may be able to recognize each theme. For your enjoyment: David Rose Medley
 
Fifty for 50 Podcast – Yep, this is still going strong. Hosted by Pamela Bob, featuring Alison and Dean Butler, they  have a new podcast every week. The last two were: 4/25 – “Questions, We Have Questions” and 5/2 – “Questions, Questions, and Yes, More Questions!”. They attempt to answer all of the submitted questions. Not sure what the next one will be. Check it out here: Fifty For 50
 
Behind the Scenes Highlight – This is the section where we highlight the many people who help to keep this thing together. Last time we talked about Trip and Rebecca Friendly.
 
This month I would like to shine the spotlight on Chip Duckett.
 
Chip Duckett is the founder along with Ron Lasko of Spin Cycle NYC, “a cultural communications company that specializes in PR, marketing and special events and is extremely diverse in its projects”. (Example: Spin Cycle works with charities and brands to integrate celebrity, working with performers as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle, Kesha, Grace Jones, Rufus Wainwright, Dionne Warwick, Kim Petras, Nico Tortorella, Lea DeLaria, Vanessa Williams, Molly Ringwald, and the casts of Hamilton and Pose  ( Spin Cycle NYC )
 
Chip has been booking Alison’s shows and tours around the country for several years now. (You may have noticed that several of her shows have a link to the Spin Cycle NYC site for tickets.)
 
Alison met Chip many years ago, during a wild, surreal night in Dallas doing promotion for the flavored liqueur Alize and immediately became fast friends. (You’ll have to ask her sometime – it’s a great story!)  When everyone recovered and returned to Los Angeles, Alison and her management met with Chip to discuss a booking in New York. You see, Chip Duckett was Joan Rivers’ exclusive New York producer for live dates for 17 years. And back in June of 2002, he asked Alison to come do a show at Club Fez in New York, where Joan was playing. Well, of course she said yes, but as Chip explained she would have to do a fairly long show by L.A. standards, 90 minutes! Alison would need to come up with some really crazy new stuff…it was decided that what with her website and all, it should be called…..”Confessions of A Prairie Bitch”. That’s right. The book was years away from being written. Whatever was she going to do? She had never even done a show in New York before! But Chip was absolutely sure he was onto something.
 
Not only did Alison perform for over 90 minutes, but the audience demanded an encore! It was obviously the start of something big. Everyone was thrilled, and Chip and Alison have been putting on shows and having crazy adventures ever since. (See ALL of Spin Cycle NYC’s wide array of projects at Spin Cycle NYC)
 
So, Chip, for all that you do, we thank you!

Maintaining our lives in the age of COVID-19 – Well, guess what? We have a new variant (again). This one is called FLiRT. There are two of them, KP.2 and KP.1.1, and they appear to be highly transmissible, with current vaccines providing only partial protection. There should be a new vaccine formulation by fall that will target these new strains.  
 
This is a wily virus. We can’t afford to let our guard down for a minute. Mask, wash up, beware of crowds, etc. (You know the drill by now!)
 
Now, I’ve always said, “Be on the lookout for the next epidemic”. Over the course of history, there has always been a next one. I’m getting a little wary of the reports of Bird Flu this year. Bird Flu only affects birds, right? Well, except for those cows that have become infected. But they say it will not be a danger to humans. (Think on that a minute) Cows are mammals, right? And humans are, well, mammals also. So, I was a little suspicious. And now we have reports of at least one dairy worker in Texas infected with this virus. So, watch the news reports and be careful. (They have already used the term ‘pandemic potential’ in their reports.)
 
And for our Fauci moment: "I don't know how to explain to you that you should care for other people." But we must.

50th Anniversary Report
 
Our report from the “The Year of the Reunions “ headquarters:
 
Simi Valley – This was an epic event, to be sure. I maintain that this is a watershed event that will never be equaled and is fast becoming legend. It was overwhelming, and a lot to process for everyone who was there. So, we will be sharing reactions over the next few issues.
 
Reflections on Simi Valley – Last month we heard from Wendi, Lucy Lee, Pamela Bob and Ketty Lester regarding their reactions to the event. Here are a couple more for this month:
 
David Friedman (Jason Cater) - Where do I begin… Four years ago, I was invited to a LHOTP event in Walnut Grove, MN for the 45th anniversary since inception of the show. I decided to go. It was the first event I participated in, relating to my acting past since my departure when I was 12 years old. I was blown away by the experience and felt honored and flattered to be a part of it. Upon reflection I realized that LHOTP is more than just an iconic TV show. It’s a piece of art that has been woven into the fabric of American pop culture. It’s been a vital part of so many people’s lives. I know that now for a fact! I went again for the 50th in Simi Valley. Words can’t explain how amazing these events were. We had a multitude of fans endure extreme heat/humidity, rain/thunder and another snafu that was out of our control. I want to thank all the fans that came out for these events from the bottom of my heart!! I WILL see you all again soon! I also want to thank my fellow cast mates who made me feel like I was a part of their family, even though I don’t participate in these events often. With Love!  - Dave Friedman.
 
Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) - Sometimes in our lives there is this rare moment where the frenzy and chaos, the uncertainty and confusion, the hard work and hint of hope in our dreams collide with an extraordinary flash that freezes in stillness. And within that magical moment of stillness, you find you are without words, breathing in slow motion, seeing but disbelieving, humbled to your core, wrapped in peace and contentment while bursting with satisfaction, profound pride, and a deeper gratitude than you’ve felt in a long time for having been part of a team who made it to the finish line. That was the feeling that overwhelmed me as I stood inside the gym at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Center looking at the dream come true for the Little House 50th Anniversary. This was the original dream that Danny Sanchez and Orlando de la Paz had visualized several years ago, and friends, fans and cast members had been working on long before I became part of the experience. It was a dream team of professionals I could not have been more honored to work with on this labor of deep, deep love. The event would open to the public the next day, and it would bring stories, and laughter, and thanks from 18,000 fans from 27 countries. It would touch the deepest part of my soul, triggering profound gratitude for having been part of something that still touches the hearts of so many people. But, when all was said, done, and enjoyed, what would leave the deepest impression on me was that fleeting moment before the crowds, that rare moment of frozen stillness that took my breath away as I stood in that gym spellbound by the artistry before me. I will never, ever forget the love, respect, and admiration that washed over me in that moment for each member of the team who had held so tightly to the dream. – Love and hugs, Pam
 
Walnut Grove – OK, Walnut Grove, now it’s your turn! They finally have a site that explains their event. Check this out: Walnut Grove Reunion  It will be on July 19 – 21, 2024. Definitely go to their site and check it out. There are several events and rules for attending, getting things signed, etc. (For example, you can attend the bruncheon or the luncheon, you cannot get tickets to both.) They are having autograph sessions, a bruncheon, a luncheon, photo ops, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, and of course, there is the museum. Times for the various events will be announced sometime in June. Tickets for the bruncheon and luncheon will go on sale on June 4th at 1:00 pm (CST) and will be pre-sale only, not available day-of. The numbers to call for tickets will be posted on their site prior to the sale on June 4th.
 
And this posting from Paul Valenti keeps up with all the Walnut Grove changes: Valenti Report
 
A new one has been added:
 
Gravel Road Productions, in conjunction with Susan McCray, is presenting “Little House On The Prairie: A 50th Anniversary Cast Celebration”, August 30-31 & September 1. The event has now been moved to Hartford, CT. Tickets prices range from $12.45 (child’s ticket) to over $600, depending on what you’re looking for. Proceeds will benefit a local not-for-profit Kids Play Children’s Museum, located in downtown Torrington, CT. There will be many activities, and a long list of cast members in attendance. Check out the website for all the details: Hartford Reunion

Rumored additional events include Northeast Ohio, various other locations around the country, and maybe Europe as well. (I’m hoping for one in France!!) As time goes by, more people are realizing that this is the 50th anniversary, and it’s a big deal. I believe there will be many more events going forward. Hard to keep up! And I believe this will carry over into next year for all those who missed out on the first round.
 
So, as you can see, things are getting a little crazy over here. There are going to be events almost every weekend all summer long, and then some! A few suggestions:
 

  1. Cast lists are constantly changing, and even those listed the day before the event may have to cancel at the last minute. Be patient, be flexible, be prepared.
  2. Check the weather forecast before you go. California is usually sunny and hot, but not so much this year. Other areas are also having weather issues. Be prepared, plan ahead.
  3. Don’t count on lodging being available. Again, plan ahead, or you may be sleeping on the street! (Not advisable!)
  4. Parking will be a nightmare, no matter how you slice it. Plan ahead, arrive early, be patient.
  5. Recommend that you bring cash. Some people take credit cards, but many do not. And ATMs won’t always be available.
  6. And above all, be patient. (Have I mentioned that before?) There are a lot of events going on, and everyone is doing the very best that they can. There are thousands of people from all over the world who want to come to these events, so there will be lines and waiting. And you will meet people waiting on-line. You will all have something in common, and stories to share. I know several people who met for the first time at the 40th reunion in Walnut Grove, who are great friends to this day! I predict that this will be the adventure of a lifetime and look forward to meeting all of you!

Prairie Tidbits
 
Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls) – Melissa has been very busy lately. Let’s start off with her interview on the Celebration Stage at the Simi Valley reunion:  Melissa Simi Interview  And here’s a link to the music video for the theme to the Ghostbusters move: Ghostbusters  Why, you ask? Check out who pops up at 2:23 minutes in! (Thank you, Sarah!) And here's an article from Dailyu.net from 3/5/24 that explores her life from 1974 to 2024: Daily U Article
 
Leslie Landon (Etta Plum) – Leslie has been coming to events this year. We saw her at the Simi Valley Reunion, and she will be joining us at the Television Festival in Monte Carlo in June. Here’s a link to the TV Festival’s FaceBook page for an announcement about Leslie (In French, of course): Leslie Monte Carlo  See you there, Leslie!
 
Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) – Charlotte paid her second visit to The Jim Masters Show on 4/17/24. Here’s the link: Jim Masters Show   Good job, Charlotte!

The Saga of Sock Monkey (Chapter One Hundred Thirty-One )
The evening at the bar had gone well. The Bears had fun, and Alison had fun, and Sock Monkey had several more drinks before the night was over. There had been dancing, and snacks, and several cats roaming through the bar all evening. (Sock Monkey had wisely steered clear of these little beasts.  As he had learned earlier in the day, these island cats were not to be messed with!) They had managed to get through security and checked in to the ship and had collapsed in their stateroom. It was now morning, and they were stirring. Alison was calling down to see if she could get some breakfast sent up, and Sock Monkey was checking out their room. It was very spacious and nicely laid out. He stepped out onto the balcony to see what he could see, and WHOA!!! THAT’S THE OCEAN!! Everywhere he looked, it was water for miles. They had set sail during the night and were moving along at a fantastic rate of speed! The wind almost blew him off the balcony! He was clutching the railing so he would not get blown away. “Alison!”, cried Sock Monkey, “Help!!”
(To be continued . . . )

There you have it. The fifth Nellie Newsletter for 2024. Stay safe, mask up, wash up, get your booster shots, and be good to each other. And we’ll see you at the reunions!

As usual (Comme d’habitude), be good bonnet heads, and I’ll talk to you next month.

-       Bob


copyright 2023 Alison Arngrim