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Greetings and welcome to GISH PICKS: A GUIDE TO CULTURAL ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES, a free weekly e-newsletter/blog I created as a service to the Houston community in 2003. Please enjoy and please share. My business grows by word-of-mouth from people like YOU! In fact, here’s an easy way to spread the word in Facebook land: please LIKE my GISH PICKS Facebook page this week and you’ll be eligible to win FOUR HOURS of free childcare any upcoming Friday or Saturday night (7-11pm) at Discover Gymnastics. On your mark, get set, LIKE! Big congrats to last week’s winner and LIKE-able human being, Austin Crossley.

As I am putting together the TENTH edition of THE SUMMER BOOK: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS, I have been reflecting on my kids, who are the reason I created that book. I have thought more than once that corny phrase, “My, how the time has flown!” And my mother’s words keep popping up: “The days are long but the years are short.” When I first created GISH PICKS ten years ago, my boys were 2 and 10 and now they’re both teens. They need me less and I sometimes need them more, especially as I grapple with the final act of the show “You’re-18-and-it’s-time-to-go-to-college.” The best part about time passing and kids growing up? We learn that we are not alone. That others have gone where we will go. And that our kids are going to be ok. Author Katrina Kenison describes this letting go process so beautifully as she reads from her book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Grab your tissues and enjoy...

Click to view video
Click to view video

It’s been an eventful week so far! The beloved Director of the University of Houston UH’s School of Theatre & Dance, Dr. Sidney Berger, died on Saturday -- if you ever went to the Children’s Theatre Festival at the University of Houston (featured yearly in GISH PICKS until its end in 2008), you have him to thank since he founded that program in 1978. He was a sharp-witted guy that I bonded with because he and I both loved Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Also this week, on Monday, I gave Deborah Duncan’s viewers a slew of fun spring break ideas during GREAT DAY HOUSTON. And Yippee! The Houston Public Library is restoring Saturday hours to 14 neighborhood libraries – see more about that here.

Have a great week, be kind to each other, and GO.FIND.FUN.

Picks for the Weekend of February 22, 2013

Guys Read


When I heard that award-winning children’s author Jon Scieszka was coming to town this weekend, I immediately thought of his fab book, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, a favorite in my house of dudes! Scieszka is the featured author for “Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People” this Sunday, February 24 at 3pm at Johnston Middle School. He’ll talk about his work and will take questions from the audience. A book sale and signing will follow, giving families a chance to visit with the author.

Jon Scieszka is the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature emeritus and the bestselling author of more than 25 books for kids, including his first picture book, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! By A. Wolf; Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales; Math Curse; Robot Zot!; and the Time Warp Trio series. Most of his best-known works were written in collaboration with illustrator Lane Smith, and he has sold more than 11 million copies of his books worldwide and won more than 20 prizes. Most recently, Scieszka founded “Guys Read” to encourage a passion for reading among young boys, with the philosophy that boys love to read most when they are reading things they love. Booklist says of the first Guys Read volume, a collection of stories by authors such as Jack Gantos, Kate DiCamillo, Eoin Colfer, David Lubar, and Christopher Paul Curtis, “A must-have collection for the boys in your library—and while you’re at it, get a copy for the girls, too!” And Booklist says of his third and latest Spaceheadz book, "With plenty of twists, lots of well-timed comic noises, and even a hilarious section narrated by Major Fluffy, this is sure to delight fans, while recruiting new ones. Another laugh factory between covers."

“Cool Brains!” will take place at Johnston Middle School, 10410 Manhattan Drive. The doors will open at 2:30pm and admission is free and open to the public. Enter here to win a free, signed poster at the reading (must be present to win).

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


The youth musical theatre organization Class Act Productions presents “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” this weekend – February 22 and February 23 at 7:30pm and February 24 at 2:30pm. A satire of big business and all it holds sacred, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses a little handbook called "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" to climb the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive. Along the way he tackles such familiar but potent dangers as the aggressively compliant "company man," the office party, backstabbing co-workers, caffeine addiction and, of course, true love...

Tickets start at $20 and the show takes place at the Nancy Bock Center for the Performing Arts, 3800 S. Panther Creek Drive in The Woodlands.

Asia Society Family Day (photo by Simon Gentry)


This Sunday, February 24, from 1-4pm, the Asia Society Texas Center is hosting their fifth “Family Day” by hosting partners in the arts, ethnic, and literary communities who will explore stories’ numerous forms, such as dance, poetry, and theater. This family event will encourage visitors’ creative expression through activities, demonstrations, guided art tours, and performances such as Chinese Zodiac Storytelling by Mary Dodson Wade; Polynesian Dance and Storytelling by Hālau Hōʻ'ola Ka Mana O Hawaiʻi; Storytelling through Yoga by Beth Reese, Yogiños: Yoga for Youth; Persian Storytelling by Kaemerz Dotiwala; and South Indian Music and Storytelling by Prema Bhat. There will also be a “Memory Storytelling Game” by Janine Joseph and HGOco; Blind Contour Drawing; and much more.

The Family Day is free for Asia Society members; $5 for nonmembers and tickets are available at the door. The Asia Society Texas Center is located at 1370 Southmore.

16th Annual Table Talk
Compassionate Houston


There are two fine events going on next week that I thought might be of interest to you so get out your iPhones and plug ‘em in:

  • It’s time for the most TALK-ed about event of the year, the 16th annual Friends of Women’s Studies “Table Talk 2013. This special gathering of women conversationalists (one community leader per table) takes place next Wednesday, February 27, 11am at the Hilton Americas Hotel Downtown. I’ll be snapping photos and want to see YOU there!

  • Join Compassionate Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and the Boniuk Center for a panel discussion, “Houston as a Compassionate City”, also next Wednesday, February 27, at 7pm. Houston has the exciting opportunity to be named a “Compassionate City” by a Mayoral Proclamation. Attend this discussion to learn more about this opportunity and to think back on Houston’s legacy of compassion. Much will be explored about the concept of compassion from a Jewish perspective.

GISH PICKS is a free weekly email in which I highlight family-oriented cultural events, products or services. Please note that I "highlight" events, but I don't know if they are appropriate for your particular children, so choose wisely based on age, maturity and interests. I know many of you go to events based on GISH PICKS recommendations; PLEASE remember to tell the organization that you are there because of us. Word-of-mouth like yours helps our business to grow. In the same spirit, please also feel free to share GISH PICKS with friends and families.

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The purpose of GISH PICKS is to help parents become aware of all the fun things they can do with their children in Houston and the surrounding area, so GO FIND FUN! Please do give me feedback and ideas, as you are out there in the trenches also looking for interesting things for your family and I want to hear what you find.

If you are having trouble getting to a website listed here, try hitting the "Ctrl" button and left-clicking on the web address, which should make it "live".

For more about my personal, family, and business enrichment company, Gish Creative, and the services we offer, please click here. You are on this list because I thought this e-newsletter would be helpful to you or because you signed up for it. Please feel free to tell your friends to subscribe by clicking here.
My goal is to serve as an information resource for Houston parents through my various endeavors, including:

  • GISH PICKS, which is online and emailed out to thousands of parents and caregivers;

  • THE SUMMER BOOK®: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS AND CLASSES FOR KIDS AND TEENS which comes out annually in March and is sold at bookstores all over Houston, including Barnes and Noble; and

  • OTHER SERVICES including SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS, PRIVATE CONSULTATIONS, and ART PROGRAMS that cover topics such as summertime fun, passion-finding (for adults, children and families), marketing, historic preservation, art classes, and activism. All of these services can be tailored for any audience and budget.

Sarah Gish
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone/fax: 713.482.7065

© 2013 Sarah Gish

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