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As we approach the end of 2023, Spec Labs is reflecting on a massive year of growth and creativity thanks to the amazing work, performances, and accomplishments of our Spec Labs family. With the help of our student artists and an ever-growing, incredibly supportive community, we feel like Spec Labs has had its best year yet!


In honor of Giving Tuesday this November 28th, we are putting on an end-of-year campaign to celebrate the work Spec Labs has done this year and prepare for what we hope will be an even better year in 2024! If you'd like to donate, you can find our Giving Campaign at Donate Now | Spectrum Laboratory (givelively.org).


To get us all in the giving spirit, let’s take a look back at some of Spectrum Laboratory’s key moments in 2023:


February: Spring Classes Begin!

Spec Labs started the year on a high when our Spring session of classes began in February. Classes across our Music, Voiceover, and Film & Acting departments allowed our students to get their creativity flowing early in 2023.



March 28th-April 2nd: “Hands” is Born!



In March, our Short Film Production class set to work to create a film for the EasterSeals Disability Film Challenge. In five short days, our creative team wrote, acted, directed, and edited together “Hands: A Touching Love Story.” Our rom com follows the love story of two hands and includes a catchy original song, “Can’t Clap Without You,” sung by Spec Labs’ artist, Domonique Brown. Learn more about the making of the film here and watch the film for yourself below!



March 30th: Spec Labs Honored at Marvels of Media Awards!

Our superhero short, “Spectrum League,” was featured in the Marvels of Media 2023 exhibition at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image. Museum goers got the chance to gaze upon the film's poster and watch a screening of our crime-fighting heroes in action. Spec Labs also took home the Collaborative Innovation Award for our virtual reality musical, “Use Your Imagination.” Read more about the awards here.



April 15th: “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” Screened in WeHo!

Our award-winning short film “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” was screened at Fiesta Hall in West Hollywood for its first ever live showing! Released in 2020, an in-person screening for the film was held off due to the pandemic. Finally, this April, we were able to share the film the way it was meant to be seen: on a big screen surrounded by all our amazing Spec Labs supporters! Read more about the event here.



And watch the film, now live on YouTube, below!



May 21st: Spec Lab Records Live at The Knitting Factory!



Spec Lab Records’ amazing music students took to the stage at the historic Knitting Factory in North Hollywood to perform classic covers and debut original songs. The Spec Bands and several Spec Labs Songwriters put on an amazing show that got the crowds up on their feet. Learn more about how our artists prepared for the show here.




June: Spec Labs' Digital Storytelling Workshop Returns!



Over the summer, we put on our fourth Digital Storytelling Workshop! Students and mentors teamed up for virtual creative sessions in writing, storyboarding, music, and voiceover to bring a fantasy world of their own design to life. Learn more about this awesome program here.


Check out some of the finished products that came out of this year's workshop below and on our YouTube!




August: Fall Classes Begin!

In July, we took the month off to rest and replenish before jumping right back in with new Fall classes starting in August! This session’s classes threw our students back in action as they prepared for a new short film, Holiday productions, and lots of live performances.




October 18th: “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” Honored at WeHo Disability Awareness Awards!

Spectrum Laboratory and “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” were honored by LA County and the city of West Hollywood at the 2023 Disability Awareness Month Awards! “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” took home the ceremony’s Media Award for our moving coming-of-age fairytale about an autistic, transgender artist finding their voice. The creator and inspiration for the film, Aloni Schorin, attended alongside the film’s director and Spec Labs’ co-founder, Jason Weissbrod, to accept the award. Read more about this amazing honor on our blog and watch the film now on YouTube!



October 23rd: Spec Labs on the News!

Spec Labs was featured in a Spectrum One News segment which focused on the amazing work of our neurodivergent and autistic artists! The segment followed their preparation for our Halloween-themed show, Spec-O-Ween. Watch the clip below:



October 29th: Spec-O-Ween Featuring Tom Kenny & the Hi-Seas!



Our spooktacular Spec-O-Ween show went wickedly well with the help of incredible performances by the Spec Bands and the Spec-ond City Players. The night was filled with killer costumes, ghoulishly good comedy, and classic Halloween tunes that kept the audience howling along with our artists. A special guest appearance by Tom Kenny & the Hi-Seas ended the night with a bang! Read more about the event here.



November 12th: Spec Labs Artists Perform at Singing Recital!

Spec Labs’ vocal coach extraordinaire, Theresa Corinne Wegher-Thompson, hosted a very successful singing recital at the MKM Cultural Arts Center where Spec Labs singers got to show off their impressive pipes!



November 18th: “Hands” Screening at Film Fest LA!

Spec Labs’ short, “Hands: A Touching Love Story,” screened at Film Fest LA! The screening was held at the beautiful Regal L.A. Live Theatre and was followed by a creator panel which featured “Hands” co-director, Jason Weissbrod.



December 10th: A Specmas Carol!



Our upcoming Christmas show is sure to make all our hearts merry and bright with the Holiday spirit! Created by Cathy McAuley, Liv Brazill and Garth Herberg, with stunning artwork from Spec Labber Faith Butterfield and incredible set design courtesy of Hollywood prop master extraordinaire Jim Landis. Spec Labs Music and Voiceover Departments combined to put on “A Specmas Carol” just in time for the Holiday season. This live theatrical and musical production will feature a cast of twelve brilliant puppeteers, a live band, and original songs. You won’t want to miss this musical twist on a classic Christmas tale!



December 16th & 17th: Production Starts for “House of Masks”!

Our newest short, “House of Masks,” is keeping us in the spooky spirit well into the Holiday season as we start production this December! This twisty psychological thriller is set to be released next year, hopefully just in time for Halloween.



It’s been a busy year for Spec Labs filled with lots of incredible performances and accomplishments. All of our success wouldn’t be possible without the help of our talented artists and the generous support of our community!


Please consider giving to our end of year campaign to continue uplifting neurodiverse artists in Los Angeles and beyond. You can donate to Spec Labs' Giving Campaign using this link or by clicking on the banner below. Much gratitude from all of us at Spec Labs!


Let's create more great things in 2024!




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This October 18th, Spectrum Laboratory and our award-winning short film “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses” were honored by Los Angeles County and the city of West Hollywood at the 2023 Disability Awareness Month Awards!



Held by the city of West Hollywood’s Disabilities Advisory Board, the 25th annual awards ceremony took place at the We-Ho City Council Chambers. The ceremony included a presentation of four Disability Service Awards to individuals and organizations dedicated to advocacy on behalf of people living with disabilities.



Spec Labs took home the ceremony’s Media Award for its acclaimed short film, “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses.” The film, a coming-of-age fairytale which follows the experiences of an autistic, transgender artist, was written and inspired by the life of one of Spec Labs’ very own students, Aloni Schorin. Schorin accepted the award alongside the film’s director and Spec Labs’ co-founder, Jason Weissbrod. Check out their acceptance speech at the awards ceremony below!



This amazing honor included a plaque from the city of West Hollywood, and several certificates of recognition from the California State Legislature and Senate. A particularly touching note on the California State Legislature certificate extends “Deep respect and heartfelt admiration” to Spec Labs’ “unwavering commitment and service, of eight years, empowering [our] student artists by celebrating neurodiversity and inclusion in the arts,” especially through our short film, “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses.” The message goes on to say that Spec Labs’ consistent acts of kindness and generosity have made the state of California “a better place in which to work, live, and thrive.”



Spec Labs is so proud of its community and all those who worked on “Boys Don’t Wear Dresses,” especially its creator and inspiration, Aloni Schorin. We are so excited to announce that our award-winning film is now officially live on Youtube! You can watch the film and our awesome Spec Labs’ artists in action at this link.



Please watch and share the film with your friends, family, and loved ones, so that we can all celebrate the incredible work of our neurodiverse and autistic artists. We hope to have many more successes like this one under our belts in the future and cannot wait to see what comes next! A big thank you and congratulations to our Spec Labs' family!


Learn more about the film at: https://www.speclabs.org/boysdontweardresses

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It's been a big week for Spec Labs with all hands-on deck for our Spec-O-Ween show this Sunday the 29th! That's right, our fangtastic event is just two days away! Make sure you're there to enjoy our Spec Bands' and Spec-ond City Players' special brew of Halloween themed tunes and sketches at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. In case you've been living in a coffin for the past month and haven't gotten your tickets yet, get yours at www.speclabs.org before it's too late!


We're also selling limited-edition Spec-O-Ween posters signed by none other than SpongeBob SquarePants himself, Tom Kenny! There are only 30 of these wickedly cool posters available, so make sure to buy one before they sell out! Posters are available for purchase here.



We're thrilled to have Tom Kenny & the Hi-Seas as our special guest performance for Spec-O-Ween. Tom Kenny and his 13-piece RocknSoul band are going to tear down the house with a ghoulishly good performance alongside our amazing Spec Labs artists. Watch the video below to check out the awesome shoutout Tom Kenny gave Spec-O-Ween!



If you're on pins and needles waiting for Sunday to arrive, check out our Spec-O-Ween blog for a behind the scenes look at what our artists have in store for the show. You can find our blog at www.speclabs.org/blog, or just scroll down to the previous post!


This week, Spec Labs was also featured on the news! The Spectrum News Channel did a segment on Spec Labs' artists and their preparation for this Sunday's Spec-O-Ween. Watch the video below to see what they had to say about our awesome artists!



It's going to be an unforgettable night full of tricks, treats, and everything Halloween! The party gets started at 6 pm and the performers take to the stage starting at 7 pm. Costumes are highly encouraged, especially if you want a chance at the costume contest's winning title! If you can, we also recommend carpooling to avoid any terror-inducing encounters when it comes to parking.


We are so excited to see you all there this Sunday! Spec-O-Ween is going to be a scream! ;)



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