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So something funny happened last week. It’s not earth-shattering or anything, but it did kind of creep up on me. Birthdays don’t exactly appear out of nowhere. On some level, we know when our kids’ birthdays are coming up. Punch’s big day shouldn’t have been a shock. We’ve been celebrating it for years, after all. I remember the first one vividly as it was the night of the infamous Bush-Gore presidential election, dimpled chads and all. Nevertheless, when he burst through the bedroom door that morning and announced, I’m a teenager! It hit me like a safe falling from a roof: I have three teenagers.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Bob Bergamini, has given many talks and shared much information about safety in the cyber-world for kids and teens. So I asked Dr. Bob to share some thoughts about this important topic for this month’s column.
Story: Ben enters a farm house that appears to be abandoned. Inside, though, he finds a barefoot young woman named Barbra who seems to be in shock. Eventually, Ben learns that Barbra and her brother Johnny had been attacked by “the living dead,” and that Johnny is dead. Barbra ran to the house before slipping into shock. Ben abandoned his truck, which needs fuel, and is seeking shelter in the same house.
Well, this is unusual. Here we have a movie helmed by a group of actors who spend their free time dusting their Oscars. The movie has a tested director, an intriguing, if well-worn premise, and virtually no competition at the box office. What would it take to make this worth a rainy day jaunt to the Cineplex? Whatever it is, this movie doesn’t have it. In fact there is only one word I can think of to describe it: unredeemable.
After 150 years of helping families build brighter futures, Epworth Children & Family Services continues to grow its footprint. Through merging with Progressive Youth Connection (PYC) this year, Epworth has expanded its preventive programs. “We are helping families before they unravel,” notes CEO Kevin Drollinger.
I will be brief; mainly because there’s really not much to say. This is a B- comedy with some career-killing casting that made me laugh two, maybe, three times. David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) is a two-bit drug dealer with a cushy suburban sales territory. He finds himself in a bit of a pickle when his stash and his cash are stolen. In order to satisfy his supplier (Ed Helms), he must graduate from dealer to trafficker and move a supply of drugs across the Mexican Border. To create a believable travel story, he recruits a makeshift family, rents an RV and the holiday road trip begins.
BREAKDOWN STL partnered with Three French Hens to host a Design Dilemma party. The event took place at Three French Hens' store and featured both decorating demonstrations and answers to design problems. BreakDown STL works to educate teenagers about positive life choices in topics such as sex, alcohol, drugs bullying and self-harm. Pictured: Nancy Ade, Jeannie Hood and Sandie Hea.
Social media is everywhere: By phone, laptop, tablet, desktop or even a robot, like it or not, it’s how people communicate today. The laws dictating social propriety have been overturned. I’ve seen email RSVPs, condolence texts, wedding evites and thank-you notes on Facebook. Thankfully, tweeting during a funeral apparently is frowned upon.
Story: American artist Mark Rothko, whose body of work included surrealism, abstract expressionism and bold, innovative experiments in color, took a disciplined approach to his work. Ensconced since the early 1950s in a former YMCA gymnasium in the Bowery section of New York City, Rothko enlisted the aid of various assistants to help him in the construction of his massive paintings.
Story: Two rival teen gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, have an ongoing feud in a turf war fought in New York City’s blue-collar, West Side neighborhood, circa 1957. Tony, former co-leader of the Jets, has dropped out of the European-American gang and is concentrating on his job at Doc’s drug store.
CLAYTON EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER celebrated its first full year of operation with a summer picnic. Since opening last summer, the preschool has doubled in size to serve 100 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. The picnic was held on CECC's campus in Oak Knoll Park, and children celebrated with Kona Ice snow cones, barbecue and more summer fun. Pictured: A CECC student dances in a cloud of bubbles courtesy of Tekno Bubble Bus.
NOTE: The review below was written for the original presentation of Stupefy! last December. The latest production features three new cast members, including Chris LaBanca, Ben Ritchie and John Wolbers, who are replacing Blaine Adams, Rob Suozzi and John Foughty, respectively. Additionally, the new rendition includes a 5-minute video pre-show as well as new scenes and a new ending, all in a “faster than last time” 90 minutes.
Stories: Winning Juliet focuses on the new girl at a high school who runs into unexpected animosity and resentment by some established ‘popular’ students when she decides to audition for the female title role in the school’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo & Juliet.
Story: It’s the early 1920s, and Rose is determined to make her mark in show business. Not as an entertainer on the vaudeville circuit exactly, but rather as an impresario who knows what’s best for booking agents and small-time venues in the many cities she visits with her two daughters, Dainty June and Louise. Rose pushes her children to extreme limits in her efforts to make the younger of the two, June, a bona fide star.
Kim Eberlein (Volunteer Leadership)
Sitting down to talk about Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ programs to avert bullying, the first obvious question is, What does Shakespeare have to do with bulling? As it turns out, the connection runs deep.
“Cruel to be Kind” was the first of three commissioned plays about bullying for young audiences by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Pictured: Drew Pannebaker and Khnemu MenuRa
Bullying is part of the universal themes present in many Shakespeare plays. This scene, from Me and Richard 3, commissioned by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, won the Kevin Kline award for Most Outstanding Play for Young Audiences in 2009. Pictured: Jenn Theby Quinn, Aaron Orion Baker and Michael Perkins
In today’s high-tech world, there are even more ways for kids to communicate—and harass—their classmates. Not only at school, but via text message or on social media, there's evidence that students are increasingly bullied by their peers. This physical, verbal and electronic harassment has led to troubling consequences—victims can wrestle with depression, fear and anxiety, even to the point of committing suicide. And communities are left asking: Who is liable?
The January movie curse continues. I don’t know how much of the blame for this film we can put on Peter Farrelly—the production credits have more names than I care to count. Nevertheless, his name is among them; and this movie reeks of his signature, sophomoric witless comedy. The lingering question about this movie is How? How on earth did they assemble that cast with that script? The film stars A-listers, Oscar winners and soon-to-be Oscar winners. I get that they have their eye on a beach house, but come on.
I think I’m finally starting to get Quentin Tarantino. I think somewhere, way back when, Tarantino was profoundly impacted by an injustice. Maybe it was a bully stealing his lunch money, or maybe something worse. Whatever the reason, the 10-year-old boy inside of him clearly feels the need to right a wrong. And like any 10-year-old boy, he wants to right that wrong with as much violence and bloodshed as possible. Whether it’s a fighter who wants one last score, a bride attacked at her wedding, or Nazi hunters, Quentin Tarantino wants justice. This time, it’s for slaves.
Weighing in at more than 300 pounds, Eric Morff was very unhappy. He couldn’t sleep in the same bed as his wife because his weight-induced snoring kept her up at night. He always found an excuse to not exercise, and spent the weekend sleeping because he was so tired. And he never had the energy to chase his 4-year-old son or 2-year-old daughter around the house. Morff’s weight was disrupting many parts of his life, and through the encouragement of his wife and mother, he finally decided to seek help. Recalling information about weight-loss coach Charles D’Angelo from a previous Ladue News article, he made the call in September 2011 that would change his life. “Charles helped me understand that I was ready to lose the weight, why I was ready and what was important to me: my wife, my children and myself,” Morff says. “I needed to make this change for them and for myself.”
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Story: Well, there’s this young wizard named Harry Potter who has great mystical powers. Harry is an orphan who now lives with his non-magical, “Muggle” relatives, dullards who hope that he will turn out ‘normal.’ Nonetheless, he and his best pals, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, become students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, presided over by Albus Dumbledore.