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Pop Culture

From comedies to kickass concerts, these two creatives are here to make social impact fun

Aaron Brown and Lenny Barszap raised millions for the unhoused community in a movement they've named "Trojan-horse social impact."

Lenny Barszap (Left) Aaron Brown (right)/ (The Pharcyde, Brownout, Adrian Quesada, Lenny Barszap, Chris Rogers (muralist), Chris Baker (TOOF), Aaron Brown) - photo credit IIsmael Quintanilla III

Have fun doing good.

There is often a distinct line between social impact—that is, something meant to provoke thought, connect us to our humanity, inspire positive change, etc.—and entertainment, which provides us a fun escape.

But sometimes that line can become blurred in innovative ways, allowing entertainment itself to be the change agent.

This is the concept behind creative partners Aaron Brown (Onion Creek Productions) and Lenny Barszap (Entertaining Entertainment)’s Been There music festivals, which are specifically intended to be social movements in disguise.

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"Be my own damn hero."

It’s a heartbreaking reality for artists that sometimes, you put your heart and soul into something, with full hope that it will resonate and inspire others, only to see that idea vanish into thin air. This can be especially true for those who create professionally and have to deal with many factors outside their own control. And, really, even for those of us who don’t identify as artists, the gut-wrenching disappointment of having a dream snatched away is pretty universal.

But when disappointment strikes, perhaps one of the best things we can do is acknowledge the pain, appreciate the opportunity and move on with grace.

This seems to be the road taken for the creators of the would-be “Batgirl” film, which, on Aug. 2, was officially scrapped by Warner Bros, not to be streamed on any platform. Though several reasons have been allegedly attributed to the surprise decision—such as “poor test screenings”—The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film “was a casualty of new corporate strategy,” where the company opted to take a tax write-down rather than opt for any kind of release of the $90 million movie.

This news came as a shock for DC fans, who had not only been eagerly anticipating Michael Keaton’s return as Batman, but a career comeback for Brendan Fraser as well, not to mention a huge win for representation with Leslie Grace playing the titular role as Barbara Gordon.

Despite this news, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the directing duo behind “Batgirl,” released a heartfelt statement on Instagram that ultimately chose a glass-half-full perspective.
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Welcome to “A Song of Nice and Fire” Upworthy’s weekly series recapping one of the most brutal shows on TV. Since brutality is not really in our wheelhouse, Eric March has taken it upon himself to dig deep, twist and turn, and squint really hard to see if he can find the light of kindness in all the darkness. He may not always succeed, but by gosh if he won’t try his best.

Here’s what he found on this week’s "Game of Thrones."

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