WHAT'S YOUR PICK THIS WEEKEND?
Greetings and Happy Easter if you celebrate that. Most schools are out on Friday so I hope you enjoy three days of family fun! There are a lot of events going on this weekend, so check out some ideas below. Here’s your chance to have a voice in making changes in our community: hop online and participate in the Houston-Galveston Regional Plan MindMixer, an online conversation about clean air and water, good jobs, safe and attractive neighborhoods, transportation choices, and open spaces and parks. Once on their site, you have a choice to vote on various ideas and to submit your own – what a great and easy way to create changes together!
I write about movies in 002+ Magazine so I’m a big fan of movies and try to see as many as I can. I recently saw THE HUNGER GAMES and was very disturbed by it – starting with the storyline and ending with the graphic nature of the film. I’m not a prude by any means and I encourage my kids to think for themselves and to make informed decisions about choices in their lives, including cultural activities such as movies. But I have to say that I am very sad that a story about kids killing kids is so popular right now. The themes of abuse of governmental control and fighting back and being true to yourself are good ones, but I feel those kinds of lessons can be presented in a different way with a different tale. The film is extremely violent at times and it doubly disturbed me that the violence was set against a backdrop of beautiful nature, something nobody seems to have picked up on. I will admit that my 12 year-old saw it (unfortunately before I screened it – it was a bad mommy moment!) and he said he liked it and the way that the lead character stayed true to herself and triumphed because of that – and we had a good conversation about the film. But if I had seen it first, I would not have let him go. He doesn’t need to see bloody bricks being used to kill people and dead kids lying around. I’ve had many friends defend the film for a variety of reasons, including the questions and conversations it inspires as well as its costumes (yes, they’re gorgeous and creative) and the style of the film (again, gorgeous). And there are conversations all over the internet about the film (here’s one that makes the case that the movie is good for kids) but I stand by my concern about where we are going with this kind of art. I’m an artist myself and don’t expect art to always be easy and peaceful – in fact, art is meant to grab you, make you think, and create a connection between viewer and maker. But this film and the book are being marketed to kids and I have a problem with that. The human brain isn’t fully developed until 25 years old (at least) so as parents, we need to step in as the backup pre-frontal cortex and help our kids make wise choices about what they see. I recommend that you think twice – or view the film first – before letting your kids see THE HUNGER GAMES.
Serving as an antidote to THE HUNGER GAMES, I was thrilled to be able to see I AM, HAPPY, and MR. HAPPY MAN – all uplifting documentaries screened this past weekend at the wildly successful inaugural presentation of Mountainfilm on Tour in Houston. I AM and HAPPY turn their lens on the topic of happiness and human contentment and I was fascinated by their discoveries – the main one being that competition and division in our culture create fundamental dissatisfaction in all of us. Most of us know that, but the films delve deeper into this issue by talking to a wide variety of people – psychologists, peacemakers, scientists and more. One of the stand-out moments for me was in HAPPY when a comedian is talking to middle school kids about bullying and he brings a kid in front of a crowd of his peers who breaks down when talking about being bullied. I’ll be organizing screenings in Houston of HAPPY, which the filmmaker would like to get into schools, churches and youth groups across the country, so contact me if you’re interested in setting up a screening for your group. Speaking of bullying, I’m going to an advanced screening of BULLY tomorrow so will report on that film next week. BULLY was originally rated R because of graphic language on a bus, but after pressure via a petition and by Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Justin Bieber, Weinstein Company is releasing it without a rating. It opens here next weekend. If you’re looking for some film fun this weekend, check out my quick list of family-friendly movies in town this weekend. And I’m pleased to announce that girls from the Girls Rock Camp will be the opening act for the "I Can Do Anything!" shorts film screening I curated for the Aurora Picture Show that will be at Discovery Green on Friday, June 8, at 7pm. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us this summer!
Take a trip and visit me in social media land. You can find GISH PICKS and THE SUMMER BOOK on Facebook and I am now tweeting about cool things in Houston each day using #houstongems as the hashtag (if you’re a tweeter peep, you’ll know what that means) so “like” my pages and follow me on twitter to become a tourist in your own town.
And if you want me to excite the parents at your company about summer fun, contact me and let’s make that happen. I’ve spoken to church groups, businesses, parenting organizations, schools, and many more varieties of organizations, so I’d be happy to speak to your group. They’ll have so much fun they’ll forget they’re at work!
So what’s YOUR pick this weekend? Get out there and do it and GO.FIND.FUN!