New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, poetry, children’s literature, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.
Welcome To Friday’s Five…Friday’s Five introduces five events or explorations that we think our reading audience will enjoy for the weekend. We do know the wide variety of tastes in a reading audience just from the responses to our columns. Many columns have readers that agree with the columnist or like that columnist’s point of view on issues and the arts. We hope to be different and appeal to a wider audience. Disagreement fuels discussion! Here is this Friday’s Five.
1. House of Cards…If you do not have Netflix, invite yourself over to someone’s house that does. Even if you have to bring the wine or dessert, this show will be worth it! Kevin Spacey plays a politico that has been wronged by the President of The United States. Spacey’s character was instrumental in putting this President into power. Robin Wright plays the wife who loses valuable leverage with her charity. Spacey, her husband is not made Secretary of State by the President as promised. She ups her wheeling and dealing. She wheels and deals her revenge even better than her husband. Kelsey Grammar is great as the Mayor of Chicago in the Starz series Boss. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is great in recently cancelled Starz Magic City, the story of Miami Beach’s rise in the 50’s. Spacey is exceptional in House of Cards. There are thirteen episodes in this series. If you see it at someone’s house, please bring sleepover clothes. One chapter will not be enough.
2. Beautiful Creatures and Safe Haven…Finally! Two kissing movies are opening on the same weekend. One has creatures and humans kissing, but the creatures (witches called Casters) look human. The other has an escapee from her past and a recently widowed father with two children kissing. They both take place in the Carolinas. Kissing and similar geography have to work in your movie selections. See both movies on the same day between your belated Valentine’s Day dinner. Aren’t my selections classic? Do not sneak in backwards into the second movie after seeing the first, my column could be shunned by the movie people, if you do.
3. Small store weekend…”Support a Small Store” weekend is a great time to visit that community store that you now overlook with your trips to Walmart and Sam’s Club. Walk in, find something for fifty cents more, and buy it anyway. You will, also, find some great piece of craftsmanship that you won’t find at Costco. You will, likewise, find something that you will come back for on another day. The family doughnut and coffee shop down the street from us now has a Dunkin’ Doughnut on the next block. We like Dunkin’ Doughnut coffee, however, not in this instance. That seventy-five cents a day extra we pay adds up, but not in this case. They are family. Family always comes first.
4. Beyonce’s Life Is But A Dream…One hundred Internet and newspaper articles have already appeared highlighting and bashing Beyonce’s ninety minute special on HBO. It will be shown Saturday at 9PM. My high school students adore her and follow every move she makes. They debate her songs, her clothes, and the name she gave her baby…Blue Ivy. They will be the real judge on how revealing this show will be and how good it is, also.
5. Stand Up Guys…If you are piled under tons of snow, the laughs in Stand Up Guys will help you get through your worst weather nightmares. Al Pacino is leaving prison after twenty-eight years. Christopher Walken an old gang member picks him up. Getting the aging gang together sounds like a doable goal. Christopher Walken killing Pacino is another goal. He keeps putting off his killing assignment because he likes Pacino. It is hard to kill someone who is hugging you and telling you what a great friend you are. Alan Arkin as a senior citizen’s home resident is a stitch.
6. The Barnes Museum…Reservations are needed for the small group tours. First Sunday mornings are free. From post impressionists to early modern paintings to African sculpture, each room will inspire you and entice you to want to see more. Research the Barnes Foundation online at (www.barnesfoundation.org) before visiting the museum and get a pre-visit look at the collection.
Children’s Literature…The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillohas scampered its way into writing history by winning the 2004 Newbery Book Award. Despereaux is an extremely small mouse that refuses to follow mouse customs and traditions. He loves music and Pea, the king’s daughter. He has been forbidden to converse with humans. Despereaux’s discussions with the king and his daughter, Pea, has led to his shunning by his family. The Mouse Council puts him on trial for this ‘talking’ crime. Despereaux is cast into the criminal’s dungeon. There he meets some strange characters, some good, some bad…rats and men. The story of Despereaux makes a good parallel writing, analysis activity with the Ben Franklin story, Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. Disney made Ben and Me into an enjoyable movie with cartoon characters depicting Ben Franklin’s story and the history from that time. The book, written in 1939, goes into Ben Franklin’s years in France. The Disney movie does not.
Children’s Literature II…Amy The Dancing Bear by Carly Simon Follows the long line of children’s books written by television stars, movie stars, singers, and dancers. These authors include Madonna, Jaime Lee Curtis, William Buckley, and now Carly Simon. Except for Buckley’s, The Story of Wilfred Malachey, a computer thriller, the others are perfect books for bedtime stories and read alouds. All children love animals and strange creatures as they frolic around with young children. These books promote a light and refreshing approach. These delicate approaches are enough to calm any child before bedtime and instill they joy of reading in all ages before lights out.
New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.
New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.