The wonderful reason this woman is selling bags made from retired theater backdrops.

What happens to those massive gorgeous painted theater backdrops when a show ends?

Jen Kahn who has been a stage manager on and off Broadway for years, never gave a second thought to what happened to the stage scenery when a show ended until a road trip in 2015. She and her friend wandered into a store selling bags made from old sails from sailboats when inspiration struck.

They could do the same thing with discarded theater backdrops.


Just like that Scenery Bags was born.

The gorgeous backdrop from this production is one of the backdrops Scenery Bags used. All photos via Jen Kahn unless otherwise noted.

Kahn collects discarded backdrops from theaters and set rental companies who would've thrown them away.

Jen Kahn in her car laden with backdrops.

The massive backdrops are then cut up and stitched into simple, super cute, rectangular clutches.

Bags are made at a factory in Florida.

Depending on which part of the backdrop they're cut from, the bags come in entirely unique patterns and colors.

"Desert Song" drop (left), "Desert Song" bags.

Each bag also comes with a label inside identifying which show it came from.

Scenery Bags!

There's a label inside each bag.

Kahn didn't just want to repurpose backdrops, though. She wanted to help make theater more accessible to everyone.

A portion of proceeds from the bags goes to the Theater Development Fund's Stage Door program, which takes middle school and high school kids to see Broadway shows.

Photo via TDF.

Scenery Bags went live on July 5, 2017, and sold out in just 48 hours, making enough money to send 10 kids through Stage Door to see shows.

Kahn credits much of the company's early success to the support she's received from the theater community.

“We have been given such an amazing opportunity to create less waste, keep a part of theatre history forever, and introduce a new generation of story tellers to theatre,” Kahn writes in an email.

They also had help from one particularly notable theater fan: "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's" Rachel Bloom.

These @scenerybags are made from retired theatre backdrops and a portion of the profits go to taking kids to see theatre!

A post shared by Rachel Bloom (@racheldoesstuff) on

Bloom found out about Scenery Bags through actress Krysta Rodriguez on Instagram. Rodriguez and Kahn became friends when they both worked on the Deaf West Revival of "Spring Awakening." Rodriguez was a supporter of Kahn's bags from the beginning and was one of the first people to get one.

When Bloom saw Rodriguez post about them, she immediately reached out to reserve her own, and when she received it, posted an unprompted photo on Instagram. Within 24 hours, Scenery Bags' followers jumped up by 1,400.

The next batch of bags are coming soon, from well-known musicals like "Hairspray," and "Oklahoma!" and from the looks of these backdrops, they'll be super cool.

"Hairspray" (top left and right), "Oklahoma!" (bottom left), and "Oz" (bottom right).

“We may be giving [kids] an introduction to theatre, but I strongly believe they will be giving us back so much more,” Kahn writes.

Arts programs in America are endangered. These bags aren't just cute; they're a reminder of theater's significance and will help ensure kids still have opportunities to see live shows.

If arts programs are cut from schools, a generation of kids won't be encouraged to express themselves creatively, and the art world will suffer as a result. Kahn's contribution is just one theater-lover's attempt to turn that around.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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