What’s the matter with kids today? Nothing — they’re great!


Kyle Massey and Margie Barron.

There are a lot of terrific kids in the entertainment industry. I discovered that back in the ’80s when I was the West Coast correspondent for the teen dream magazine Tiger Beat. It was an opportunity to get to know many great youngsters. Only a few go bad and they’re the ones you hear about. But mostly I respect child performers because they have to work as hard as the adult actors plus juggle school work. And they have to handle the scrutiny of their young lives in the spotlight.

Some kids use their fame to help worthwhile causes, as I saw recently at the birthday-themed GBK Celebrity Lounge co-hosted by Tiger Beat and Bop at the SLS Hotel. It was in celebration of the Kids’ Choice Awards, and the event supported the American Cancer Society, which wants “more birthdays and less cancer,” said Jeb Baird, ACS regional vice president.

There was a huge birthday cake “wall” along with cupcakes created by Bread Basket Cake Company, and I went crazy over it almost as much as Dancing with the Stars alumnus Kyle Massey. He’s a great example of a multi-talented kid star who is a terrific young man. Kyle told me he has the “Dancing with the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” show debuting at the Tropicana next week. “That’s what is exciting in my life,” he beamed.

Pop star Cody Simpson and Diary of a Wimpy Kid star Zack Gordon were seen with the yummy Welch’s Fruit Snacks and Sabra hummus snacks. And very important to emphasize making life better with nutrition and fitness was Bios Life Slim. MGA Entertainment had their new bald Bratz doll called True Hope, which reflected a kid fighting cancer with strength and fierceness. The celebrity-favorite RevitaLash Advanced mascara and new hair product, American Apparel, RockaBella Jewels, and ImPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails were also among the fashion and beauty products enjoyed by trendy Aubrey O’Day from Celebrity Apprentice, plus The Hunger Games’ young stars Amandla Stenberg, Kalia Prescott, and Willow Shields.

Amandla Stenberg and Gavin Keilly.

Ematic electronics wowed Glee’s Vanessa Lengies, Wizards of Waverly Place’s Jennifer Stone, A.N.T. Farm’s Jake Short, and all the celebrity guests with the Tablets PCs and MP3 Players that fit their tuned-in lifestyles. And Modern Family’s Nolan Gould especially enjoyed the Toy State Road Rippers wild toy cars.

Along with all the fun stuff, GBK founder Gavin Keilly made sure there was a focus on the charitable Dream Center that rescues people from poverty, and the Model Citizen Fund, which fills backpacks with emergency supplies for homeless kids. Glee coach Dot Marie Jones thought it was a great party that had kids helping kids.

Billy Elliot the Musical

If you like stories about talented kids, head to the Pantages Theatre for Billy Elliot the Musical (April 10 to May 13). The Tony-winning show is about a blue-collar British lad who wants to join a ballet dance class in a town where that’s weird for a young boy to do. It takes place during a miners’ strike during tough economic times, and turns into a celebration of a boy’s journey to make his dancing dreams come true. And there’s a message to take home from the show, that your talent can inspire a whole community.

Billy Elliot was a hit movie in 2000 and later was developed for Broadway featuring music by Elton John. Now the nation tour of the show has come to Hollywood with four boys alternately playing Billy because the singing and dancing role is so demanding. The big cast is actually filled with lots of kids who kick up their heels during the high-energy numbers. Ah, youth!

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