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Season of Giving

Wave of Media Coverage Powers Actress Karen Black Past Crowdsourced Cancer Goal

It was a truly inspiring thing to watch Monday.

As one media outlet after another picked up the story of actress Karen Black and husband Stephen Eckelberry turning to GoFundMe to raise money for her non-insurance covered European cancer treatment, the amount pledged sped past $17,000 on its way, at press time, to more than double that. In the midst of it all, Eckelberry shared a heartfelt message of gratitude while donors like Paul Warren ($20.00) explained their connection to the actress:

I had the great pleasure of meeting Karen in the 80′s when she was performing on Broadway in Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean. I was a young actor at that time and Ms. Black was very kind and supportive. Ms. Black you are a unique talent and person. I hope this new treatment will help. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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Matt Damon Goofs with a 90-Year-Old Hollywood Legend

Only a very few select actors can claim to belong to the Hollywood breed that is at once genuinely nice, well-adjusted with family, boffo at the theatrical box office, killer on the small screen and self-deprecating throughout. Tom Hanks once ruled this roost and now, well, the perch arguably belongs to Matt Damon.

Hot on the heels of Damon’s time-capsule-worthy hijacking of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the actor today shows how to turn a charity-pitch into something unique and notable. From the unlikely starting point of a “toilet strike,” watch this message on behalf of water.org via Stan Lee’s World of Heroes YouTube channel:

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Will Ferrell’s Eight-Year-Old Son Set for Solo Piano Performance

Tomorrow night’s event is invitation-only, but chances are you’ll be seeing some really cool clips of it on Tuesday evening local newscasts.

Piano teacher Margie Balter (pictured), well-known for helping anchor the authenticity of film performances such as Holly Hunter in The Piano, is hosting a special charity event at the Gibson Baldwin Showroom in Beverly Hills. A number of her current students will be playing pieces from her latest album “Music from my Heart,” with part of the proceeds from the sale of CDs and playbooks going to the Playing For Change Foundation and the first International Playing For Change Day concert in September.

One of Balter’s most promising students is Magnus, the eight-year-old son of Will and Viveca Ferrell. A rep for the event sent FishbowlLA the composition that he will be playing (“Zanzi”), and it definitely speaks volumes to the stage this young Hollywood progeny is at.

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2012 Kickstarter Highlights Included Top-Funded Journalism Project Yet

Kickstarter has put together an awe-inspiring look at the people, projects and places that kept the crowd-sourcing platform humming last year to the tune of $606.76 donated per minute.

As far as journalism was concerned, 2012 highlights included Kickstarter’s “most funded” such project to date – design and architecture focused podcast 99% Invisible, produced out of San Francisco’s East Bay. The program asked for $42,000 and wound up receiving $170,477. From creator Roman Mars‘ summer update #6:

Before this campaign began, I was feeling pretty confident that we’d make the goal and the show would have a successful Season 3. I had no idea the level of support and excitement that each of you would bring to this effort and turn it into the most funded journalism Kickstarter ever. Thank you so much for being a part of it.

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Posthumously, Billy Wilder Authors a Much More Joyous Sunset Blvd. Tale

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is located at 4650 Sunset Boulevard, eight and a half miles east of Norma Desmond‘s fictitious, haunted lair. Billy Wilder‘s timeless Tinseltown tale was made for around $1.75 million and now, all these years later, the filmmaker together with his late wife Audrey has reached out from beyond the grave. Six-fold.

From the hospital announcement:

Stars of the silver screen have had a huge impact on our hearts and minds for decades and at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles we are grateful when Hollywood stars partner with us to benefit the health of our patients.

This year, our hospital received a very special Christmas gift when the trust of Billy and Audrey Wilder sent an $11 million gift to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles that will support the work of our division of Neurosurgery, the Neuro-oncology program and the division of Rheumatology while still leaving money left over to provide for the under and unreimbursed care for children we provide each year.

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Larry David Recalls the Day Mom Crushed His Journalistic Aspirations

Per a hilarious teaser clip for Current TV’s Friday evening broadcast premiere of Joy Behar’s Comics with Benefits, a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser held on Monday at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City, Larry David‘s mom did more than curb her enthusiasm when the comedian expressed his young-age professional aspirations.

David recalled on stage with Behar how his journalistic aspirations were ridiculed by his no-nonsense mom. “I said, ‘Ma, I think I want to be a sports announcer when I grow up,’” David remembered. “She said, ‘What makes you think you… you?…. you!!! You’re going to be a sports announcer? Are you kidding? You’re not special.’”

Had mom not been so harsh, David probably would have wound up more on the color commentary side than play-by-play. In a perfect world, he would have found his way to the sad sack New York Mets.

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Stevie Wonder Forgets the Words to His Own Christmas Song

Ha ha. It doesn’t get much more fun than this.

At the top of an appearance today on Good Day LA to promote the 17th annual edition of his “House Full Of Toys” fundraising concert at the Nokia Theatre, Stevie Wonder picked up on a Justin Bieber duet clip from last year’s edition and started performing “Someday at Christmas.” At one point, he forgot how the lyrics go but kept right on going:

“… And I’m messing up my own words. That’s OK because I’m with Steve [Edwards]. So he’ll forgive me on this show…”

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Orange County Register Says Thanks with Highly Innovative Non-Profit Fundraising Campaign

As if dozens of anachronistic full-time newspaper jobs and a renewed commitment to the print side of the Orange County Register isn’t enough, the paper’s new publisher Aaron Kushner is giving OC residents yet another reason to feel thankful that he is their local paper’s owner.

A special gift cheque program rolling into driveways and mailboxes this weekend is set to earmark up to $12.4 million in “ad dollars” for OC non-profits. Here’s how the program works:

The Register’s 124,000-plus seven-day subscribers are receiving receiving gold envelopes in the mail during the next few weeks immediately after the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Each envelope contains a $100 gift cheque, which they may designate to an Orange County-based 501c3 charitable organization they care about most passionately.

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Watch: KROQ’s Bean Featured on CBS This Morning

We all know what KROQ employee Scott Mason is thankful for this Thanksgiving.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the story about how Gene “Bean” Baxter from the Kevin and Bean show donated his kidney to his friend and colleague.

Well, CBS This Morning has been tracking this story and aired a piece on Wednesday that will choke you up if you aren’t stuffed with food yet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

KROQ’s Bean Recovering After Kidney Donation

KROQ’s Gene “Bean” Baxter is recovering at Cedars-Sinai hospital after successfully donating his kidney to co-worker Scott Mason.

Baxter made the announcement earlier this month that he had decided to help his friend and KROQ’s director of engineering after learning of his health woes during a recent trip to his home in Seattle.

(And yes, that’s really Bean’s sock monkey in the photo.)

“We are happy to say that both Bean & Scott are done with their surgeries & everything went as expected!,” the Kevin & Bean Twitter account tweeted on Tuesday.

Bean is expected to make a full recovery and return to the airwaves on Nov. 26.

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