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COLD HEAT NEWS » Entertainment, Featured Article, People » Addams Family Values for The New Age

Addams Family Values for The New Age

Hello out there!!! The other Dr. Laura who lives in the heart of West Hollywood is truly honored to be writing for a cutting edge international publication like COLD HEAT NEWS. The very title appeals to my existentialist bent, conjuring up the opposites that attract and contradictions that compel in our globalizing world.

These paradoxes are explored very humorously in The Addams Family Musical now playing on Hollywood Boulevard at the celebrated Pantages Theater. The American-Russian Business Council kindly comped me two tickets to the show which I shared with an American musician I met the same day I taped my Maria Amor talk segment for Global TV in Garden Grove. The musician and I enjoyed the production along with several of my Russian associates.

Charles Addams’ one of a kind family members originally appeared as cartoons in THE NEW YORKER Magazine before starring in several television shows and films between the 1960s and the 1990s. The comically uncertain Spanish origin of parents Gomez and Morticia make it unsurprising that the Addams Family has scored such a hit in large multicultural cities like New York and Los Angeles.

In the musical, Addams daughter Wednesday falls in love with a young man from Ohio named Lucas Beineke. Both families immediately start to worry about appearing “normal” at their first meeting. The more restrained and rational Beineke family is contrasted constantly with the more impulsive and intuitive Addams family in a variety of inventive musical numbers with titles like “One Normal Night,” “Crazier Than You,” and “Let’s Live Before We Die.”

The hilariously alien and paranormal aspects of the Addams Family can certainly be read metaphorically as well as satirically. “Normalcy” is not a universal constant; it is culture specific. Those of us who work often with the world market may experience cultural differences in this very same surrealistic way.

A lively sense of the absurd like Charles Addams’ is most helpful in navigating cross-cultural interactions. Mr. Addams’ endearingly macabre characters perhaps strike a chord with the vast majority of American families that are not “normal,” whose members are not all from the mainstream and may even have a skeleton or two in their closets.

In December 2011 my friend April Lufriu in Tampa, Florida was selected to represent family values around the globe as Mrs. World. She is the proud mother of a blended family with a stepson and a young son and daughter. This native of Honduras helps her husband run a granite and marble construction business.

While her American family background is atypical in many ways, April has gained love, respect, and support from fans around the world for the charity work she is doing on behalf of Foundation Fighting Blindness in Maryland. April, her sister, and her two children are all affected by the genetic blinding condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Her work on behalf of FFB initially motivated her to enter the Mrs. World pageant.

My own father, brother, and husband all have wives with doctorates in the male-dominated fields of science and foreign languages. Some of us have children and some of us do not. My husband recently started coaching flag football to his surrogate daughters at a private girls’ high school in Pasadena. I often feel like a mother to my two media companies’ large and growing crop of astonishing international talents.

In the global family of man, all members must find love and success on their own terms. Ability and character mean as much (if not more) than conventional values in this quest. As the Addams Family knows, we best serve our own interests and those of others by making full disclosures with no secrets and no lies.

At the end of the Addams Family Musical, Uncle Fester becomes madly enamored of the moon and rides out to join his lady love on a rocket. As Uncle Fester transcends earthly life and love, Lurch the normally silent butler leads the company in a touching chorus called “Move Toward The Darkness.”

The wild and wacky Addams Family shows us how darkness can lead to growth and transformation. People like Mrs. World who have the courage to grapple with the darker and sadder aspects of family life may inspire us to meet our own mighty challenges. Shooting for the moon like Uncle Fester may take us closer to the top than we ever imagined.

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Dr. Laura Wilhelm was born in Philadelphia, PA on May 17, 1965. Her family lived briefly in Palo Alto and Oakland, CA before settling in San Diego when Laura was 10. In 1988 Laura graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Reed College in Portland, OR with a major in Russian and minor in Classics. She received her doctorate in Russian language and literature with honors from the U of Kansas in 1994 before relocating to Los Angeles with her husband, Christopher. Laura belongs to Dobro Slovo, the national Slavic honor society. Laura received much recognition for her work with the City of West Hollywood's Russian-speaking immigrant community before moving on to an eclectic teaching and consulting career in the Greater Los Angeles area. Since May 2009 Laura has run an award-winning business and talent development company called LauraWil Intercultural. Her associates comprise major international names in the arts, entertainment, fashion, literature, and science. Laura is a member of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and sits on several of their committees. In West Hollywood she has helped to develop and promote programming for major world events such as Fashion's Night Out sponsored by VOGUE Magazine. In 2011 Laura's company was nominated for a WHCC Creative City Award (Category: Creative Communications). In January 2012 Laura was appointed CEO for a youth oriented online media company called vrmedia based in Washington, DC that has quickly formed networks up and down the East and West Coasts. At around the same time she started collaborating on charity fund raising for the Foundation Fighting Blindness with celebrated beauty pageant winner April Lufriu (Mrs. Florida, Mrs. America, and Mrs. World). Laura works with many other charities such as Finding Freedom International, Pals Around the World, and We Care For the World. She has been invited to serve on the Board of Directors for Designers 4 Africa, whose clientele includes A-list celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Gisele Bundchen. Laura's Los Angeles company is running an ongoing bi-cultural RUNGLISH book promotion whose author Nina Naydenova is allied with renowned Russian luminaries such as tenor Nikolai Baskov and Oksana Fedorova, Russia's only Miss Universe to date. vrmedia plans to carry a definitive annotated translation of Leo Tolstoy's classic autobiography CHILDOOD-BOYHOOD-YOUTH as well as many other world masterpieces through Penguin Classics. As Los Angeles Chair Laura reviews fashion events for Emerging Global Designers. She also writes regular features on cultural topics for COLD HEAT NEWS and HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY. She has appeared live on KNBSTV.COM and Global TV. In graduate school Laura worked and studied in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. She and her husband have visited Greece and led two successful Explorica tours of Italy for students from Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA. Laura is active with the American-Russian Business Council, the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Sister Cities. Recently she was designated Russian Ambassador for the multicultural 2012 Global Independence Day awards event at the Beverly Hilton. She has listings in numerous WHO'S WHO, American Biographical Institute, and International Biographical Centre publications.

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