December 24 - January 6, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 52

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The Good Life

Children’s Book Drive Exceeds
Organizers’ Expectations

by Michael W. Sasser
Consulting Editor

While most in the community prepare for the December holidays in the fashion most of us are accustomed to—shopping and socializing and revelry—many here in South Florida remember that a time of giving also means a time to give not just to those whom we love, but to give in such a way to benefit the entire community.

Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas, for example, see this time of year as when to make charitable donations, volunteer at community agencies, etc. Businesses big and small often join charitable efforts at this time, as do community organizations.

Sadly, though, as each of us is fixated on our own holiday observances, the efforts of the charitable organizations and companies among us could go unnoticed. This is sad, because too often these things fly under our collective radar and yet they represent a group expression of mankind’s very best nature.

The Good Life would like to congratulate one community-based charitable effort that exceeded organizers’ expectations this year.

Jewish Community Services (JCS) of South Florida was named more than a month ago as beneficiary of an annual children’s book drive presented by Barnes & Noble Booksellers in north Miami-Dade County.

The store kicked off a month-long drive on Sunday, December 5, to collect books for children of needy families. They are collecting both secondhand and new children’s books, which will be disbursed through JCS. The public was invited to attend an afternoon program of children’s storytelling and author readings on the day of the drive launch, and scores took part in the effort.

Every year Barnes & Noble presents a holiday book drive for charity. This year, Barnes & Noble has partnered with Verizon Communications in an effort to distribute one million books to one million children.

The event and subsequent efforts have been a huge success. Barnes and Noble has collected more than 1,000 children’s books and given them to JCS for distribution. Many are being distributed through the JCS Kosher Community Food Bank. Still others have been donated to the City of North Miami Parks and Recreation Department.

“The children’s book drive exceeded our expectations,” said JCS President/CEO David B. Saltman. “We are grateful to Barnes & Noble North Miami and their generous customers for providing this opportunity to brighten the holiday season for children in our community. We are also proud to welcome Barnes & Noble as a new JCS partner in serving the South Florida community.”

JCS is a social service agency that serves all Miami-Dade County residents regardless of race, religion or ethnicity—something many outside the Jewish community might not know. JCS services youth in numerous ways, including: individual and family therapy, play therapy for traumatized or nonverbal children, supervised parental visits, foster care, counseling for at-risk youth and many other services.

JCS offers many other programs, events and support services for the community on a year-round basis.

Even given the spectacular number of participants in this particular effort, most South Florida residents were probably unaware of it.
But, this time of year, one does not have to look far for an opportunity to get involved in such a fashion near one’s own home or in one’s own community. Opportunities abound for those willing to seek them out. Your columnist happens to have as one of its core principles that this is essential to living The Good Life.

So, this season as you enjoy friends and family and hearth and home, try to reserve some energy and attention for those less fortunate than us. Remember, their need is year-round. Now, though, with the focus on good will toward (mankind), is an optimal time for giving—by whatever means at your disposal.

The Good Life wishes you a Happy Holiday and a healthy and happy New Year.

-- Your input is welcome at The Good Life. Please send all correspondences, comments and announcements to SassFL@aol.com.
1.  Miami Country Day School high school students Brenda Schamy, Brittany Holland, Liza Schwartz, Dominique Shienman, members of the Jewish Community Services Club, which they and other students started on their own

Final Notes of Year Include Madeline Kern Singing
in Concert, a Bagful of Theatre Fun

 by Ron Levitt
Contributing Writer


Here is a smattering of notes with which to close out 2004, while looking forward to 2005.

Lovely songstress Madeline Kern is always in demand. Over the holidays were solo appearances at the South Florida Press Club initiation, the Theatre League of South Florida holiday party and on Dec. 26, will highlight, along with comedian Pat Louis and the Jerry Brock band, at the Gwen Margolis Community Theatre in North Miami. (Call 305-893-3771 for tickets). But, an even bigger gig awaits her on Sunday, January 9, when Madeline Kern will be the guest artist with the Hallandale Symphonic Pops Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Peter Fuchs. It should be amazing seeing Madeline with a 60-piece band at South Broward High Auditorium in Hollywood. Although Kern is usually a showstopper on her own, having a big band in back of her should be a blast!  Tickets should be a hot item, so call 954-709-6880.
Can it possibly have been 1961 when boyish Robert Morse won the Tony for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying? Well, at age 73, he still has that impish singing style at the Great American Follies currently at the Parker Playhouse in Lauderdale. And, he’ll be around, thrilling the audiences until mid-March with a string of other veteran performers, including Michelle Lee through January 2, and then Kitty Carlisle (January 5-16), and other stars to be announced for February and March.

The Follies is actually in its second season—the variety show sequel—at Parker with an array of former dancers, veteran celebrities and specialty acts. Seeing Morse and Lee, only 62, and dancer Lorene Yarnell (remember Shields & Yarnell), Jan McArt and a string of return veterans, is a blast from the past. And, you can see the show several times from now until March 13 and it will always seem fresh.

It seems it has been running forever at the Atlantis Playhouse near Boynton Beach, but it is actually only since this summer, and keeps getting held over. It’s the pocket size musical about prostitution called The Life and it is still going strong under director Gary Waldman and choreographer Kevin Black. But you’d better catch it now, Waldman says they will bring down the curtain January 2.

Ditto for Menopause the Musical at the Miniaci Center at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. This show keeps coming back and seems as fresh as ever. The show’s producers—Alan Glist and Gfour Productions—say performances will continue with “no closing date planned.” Call 954-462-0222 for tickets.

And, meanwhile, RESPECT; A Musical Journey of Women continues through January 30th at Wilton Manors’ 26th Street Theatre, with its feel-good approach, and its string of music. 

It is not until not until February 4-13, but movie aficionados are excited about the 22nd Miami International Film Festival. Veteran actress Liv Ullman, best known for her work with director Ingmar Bergman (Cries and Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage), will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The festival, under the guidance again of Nicole Guillement and for the second year under the auspices of Miami Dade College, will have presentations at five Dade locations and there will be more features than ever—118 in all—with more options for viewing them. Hometown boy Andy Garcia stars in the festival’s opening film Modigliani, and the documentary lineup includes Cocaine Cowboys, from South Florida filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman. If you want the complete lineup, go to www.miamifilmfestival.com or call 305-237-3456.

For fans of young, talented, local actor E.L. Losada, who won a Carbonell for Best Actor in a Musical (Batboy) and last year’s Curtain Up award for Best Newcomer, you’ll catch him on stage a lot this coming year. After finishing his holiday role in It’s a Fabulous Life in Dade and Broward, he begins rehearsal for Jekyll & Hyde, due this spring at Broward Stage Door. That will run till the first week of May, and then he starts rehearsals for the Shakespeare project again at New Theatre—three plays this year, Romeo & Juliet, The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.

Another popular young actor, Nicholas Richberg  (Curtain Up winner foe Best Actor in a Musical (Blood Brothers), has been in New York, studying  (as if he needed any more musical show talent). Several local theatres are hopeful Richberg soon returns to his home in South Florida, where he is always in demand.

Mosaic Theatre in Plantation, which is having a rousing fourth season under the guidance of artistic director Richard Jay Simon, will open its third production of 2004-05 on January 6—The Memory of Water. It will be the Florida premiere of the Shelagh Stephenson comedy, which won the 2000 Laurence Olivier Award, a touching play about three daughters who come together on the eve of their mother’s funeral.  It will run through January 23. Mosaic has been a big hit this year with smash productions of Amadeus and Art.

There is still time before year’s end to see these recommended shows—Bug at GableStage, Affluenza at New Theatre, Beauty and the Beast at Actors’ Playhouse, Ice Glen at Florida Stage in Manalapan and Shear Madness, upstairs at Actors’ Playhouse.

Producer Jerry Waxman reopens Hollywood Playhouse this weekend with Day After Day, which will run through January 23.  
And, Caldwell Theatre in Boca should have packed houses when it opens Enchanted April, the 2003 Tony Award-nominated comedy. It will premiere on Friday, January 7.

Ron Levitt, an entertainment/travel writer, served as Assistant Secretary of State, overseeing cultural affairs. The former United Press Correspondent is president of the South Florida International Press Club. Reach this column at ron@levittgroup.com.
 1. Madeline Kern

Help Me, Rhonda
by R.L. Sternberg
Staff Writer

Dear Rhonda: Life is just so expensive. All these stores are jacking up the prices and I can’t afford it! That’s why I have a confession. I fix the prices on the items that I like. Last time, the cashier realized the price wasn’t right and called a manager. I was safe because they couldn’t prove that I had done it. I really don’t care or think what I’m doing is wrong.  My sister tells me I’m crazy. I think she’s jealous because she doesn’t have the guts to do it. Besides, she doesn’t dress well at all! Rhonda, am I at fault here or is being assertive a crime? - Thrifty Shopper, Miami Beach
Dear Winona: Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!  Get real—you are delusional to think that you can defraud vendors and violate the law. Your fantasy of being assertive is ludicrous. Perhaps you should shop in locations that are priced within your means; after all, there are affordable styles worn by a great number of women. All your bargain hunting may just end up costing you tremendous legal fees in the end or perhaps a jail sentence. Your champagnetaste can no longer sustain itself on your beer pocket! No returns, no refunds, final sale.
Dear Rhonda: I’m a 45-year-old decent looking guy with a good job, great sense of humor and a heart of gold. I’ve dated many beautiful women since moving to Miami, but they’re all so shallow. They ain’t shy to say that they prefer dating wealthy old men in their eighties than to struggle through relationships with men their own age. I’d really like to meet a hot girl with a great body who wants to enjoy a good life and pop out a couple of bambinos. Rhonda, in the two years I’ve lived here, I just ain’t been lucky. What’s a guy to do? - Anthony, South Beach
Dear T: Sorry if I’m a little slow—but who’s shallow? You speak of women as a commodity, some ‘thing’ to possess. You’ve seen too many episodes of “The Sopranos.” As for finding a pretty girl with a hot bod who will bambino pop for you—sorry, but we’re all sold out here! I look forward to hearing from you in another two years with the same story, only with more of a receding hairline. Best of luck to you, Anthony!
Dear Rhonda: Recently, I met a 49-year-old man on JDate.com. He’s never been married and has no children. I’m an attractive, intelligent woman who’s old enough to be his mother, so I was up-front about my age and just how uncomfortable I felt about the whole thing. Funny thing is that he didn’t seem to mind at all. We went out and had a lovely evening. We had a lot in common and enjoyed each other’s company. Since then, he has called me a number of times to go out, but I feel that there’s just no future for us. What should I do? Help me, Rhonda. – Hilda, Miami Beach
Dear Hilda: I am a little baffled by your concerns. Perhaps if you were thirty years younger, they would be valid. However, not dating this gentleman seems a little counterproductive. It doesn’t sound to me like you’re looking to start a family with this man, in fact I’m sure that your children are grown with kids of their own. If anything, he’s the one who should question his future with you. What if he chooses to have a family of his own? Friends come in all sizes, colors and ages. Feel flattered that you are attracting such a young audience. You sound like a fabulous woman who should be enjoying life to the fullest. Leave the labels to designers and the future to the zodiac. If dating younger men really makes you uneasy, try including the age range of male suitors you wish to attract in your online profile. Step aside, Joan Collins!
 R.L. Sternberg, a freelance writer and poet, has enamored some of America’s most rich and famous with her words. An avid Philanthropist of the ‘Societal Art World’ and aspiring Film Producer, Sternberg takes pleasure in sharing her profound thoughts with her public. Please send your letters to ‘Help me Rhonda’ via email:  RLSternberg@hotmail.com.

EN&V Holiday Shopping Guide and Event Planner

Are you still in search of that perfect gift for your family and friends? Here are some ideas to simplify your last-minute efforts:
King Jewelers—With the opening of their 4,000 sq. ft Aventura salon, King Jewelers has become South Florida’s complete jewelry store with styles and prices for everyone to enjoy. Starting at $100 and up, King Jewelers offers jewelry from fine Italian collections, modern and estate collections, luxury European watches, and specializes in gem and fancy color diamonds. The store also features a sterling silver gift collection to accommodate any gift giving need. King Jewelers is located at 18265 Biscayne Boulevard (between 182nd & 183rd Streets) in Aventura and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For more information, contact King Jewelers at 305-935-4900.
The Market Company Store—This tropical gift and art gallery will be having an after-holiday sale. Find exclusive gifts for exceptional people. The store is located at 428 Española Way, Miami Beach.

Miami HEAT Tickets—Buy sold-out Miami HEAT tickets, 24 hours a day, by calling 800-952-5242. American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

All Things Bright and Beautiful Pet Boutique—Located in the lobby of the Humane Society of Broward County, the boutique stocks a variety of items including proper chew toys for puppies and dogs, training accessories, books, dishes and beds to match any décor, catnip-filled toys, and T-shirts for pets. All proceeds from the purchases in the boutique benefit the homeless animals at the shelter. The Humane Society of Broward County is located at 2070 Griffin Road, a block west of I-95. For more information, call 954-989-3977 or visit www.humanebroward.com.

Joy Brandy—Fabulous new collections have just arrived at Joy Brandy’s boutique. Her beautiful ladies knitwear from Italy and Frnace, as well as tailored suits and exquisite handbags, make the ideal gifts. Visit this longtime designer at her boutique located at 1071 95th Street, in Bay Harbor Islands. Hours are 10am-3pm, Monday-Friday, and by appointment on Saturdays. Call Joy at 305-864-8004.

Give the gift of a memorable night out. Look through the pages of EN&V and you’ll find amazing events going on this holiday season. Buy tickets for your loved ones to see shows including RESPECT; Cinderella, the British Panto Show; the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus; Beauty and the Beast; the Fercos Brothers; Bug; Paul Bunyan at Florida Grand Opera; and Real Men.

In this issue, you will also find ideas for where to go for New Year’s, including La Paloma, Crystal Café, Prime Grill, Shula’s, Bay Harbor Inn.

Entertainment News & Views wishes all our readers a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

A Whole New World Just for Kids!  
 “E-Venture Kids” Comes to Television


by Robin Roth,
The Blonde of “The Blonde and The Maven”
Staff Writer

Information Television Network (ITV), an award-winning television and multi-media production company, is bringing to television a brand new learning concept for children. The series is a brilliant way to introduce travel, entertainment, exciting adventure, geography, history, culture (language, food, music, hobbies) and lifelong pen pals to kids between the ages of 7-14. “E-Venture Kids” is an awesome show that has created an innovative way of allowing kids to see different parts of the world and gain appreciation for the cultures of other children. The goal here is to foster understanding and friendship among young children of the world.

The creators want to convey to their young viewers that, IF the society of children understands and respects each other more, then they WILL love each other more. If we adults give our children a better understanding of the cultures of others, then it is possible to stop hatred in the world before it grows further out of control. Children aren't born with prejudice and animosity toward each other. It is learned by mixed messages from society and others in children’s lives before they have a chance to form their own unbiased and pure opinions. ITV’S extremely talented and creative CEO and Executive Producer, Ana Cristina Lerner, wants its viewers to, “Appreciate and open their hearts to the diversity among the children in the world.” She also states that, “We are all one in this global world and we all have the same vision. We must teach our children to love one another and share in each other’s cultures. There is so much love and raw talent in today’s children to make this vision a reality.”

The concept for the show was conceived by a young woman in her 90’s, Floss Keesley. She saved beautifully colored postcards from her travels around the world and wanted to share all her glorious experiences and knowledge with children. After Floss spoke with Robert Weneck, former President of the Motion Picture Television Underwriter Society of Florida, and Public Relations Marketing Specialist, he knew exactly where to go to find the very best and most creative team to make her dream a success, 'ITV.’ With the help of the innovative team at ITV who produced the show, the groundwork for “E-Venture Kids” was born.

“E-Venture Kids” is a children's television series about kids who discover the world by surfing the web. With a global network of electronic “pen pals,” the kids visit medieval castles and roaring waterfalls. An ITV production team went on locations in Brazil and Canada, where they visited a rodeo, sat-in on an Indian tribe's pow-wow, went hang-gliding off a mountain, and danced the samba in the Brazilian Carnival with the children of the country. Bob Buruchian, Vice President of Production and New Media stated, “Being on location with these children and filming this series was an incredible adventure to be a part of. I loved this project. I was inspired and learned volumes from the kids. Being in the field with them in their environment was an amazing, unforgettable experience.” He continued, “Beyond the program, we plan to develop and dedicate a web site offering more information about the people and countries visited and enabling kids to develop pen pal relationships with children of other countries.”

“E-Venture Kids” is a series of real-life journeys that will forever impact the way kids view the world. Finally, we will have intelligent, fun, wholesome television learning for our kids. (And without people in fuzzy costumes)!
Information Television Network has produced more than 400 half hours of programs and has consistently been recognized for its excellence with prestigious industry awards including Emmy's, Freddies, Tellys, Auroras, Angels, Omnis and Gracies. Other current ITV projects include: “Kids Healthworks” (The Fun Route to Healthier Kids), “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” (Vital, Insightful and Current…The Future of Medicine Today), “Cutting Edge Medical Report” (The Cutting Edge Medical Report), and “The Art of Women's Health” (Devoted to the Health and Wellness Issues of Women).
ITV, keep it up! You're doing great work!

For more information about “E-Venture Kids,” to find out when the series is on where you live, and to watch a video clip, visit www.itvisus.com/programs/eventure/index.asp.

Annual Holiday Party for the Young Artists to Benefit Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artist Studio
by Sir Ron Wetherington

The Guild of Florida Grand Opera, and Isa and Marvin Leibowitz, were the holiday party hosts for a festive evening with the Young Artists. The Young Artist Studio is a training ground for the opera singers of our new century. Throughout the year, they fuel the public’s enthusiasm for the opera art form through appearances in recitals and concerts held in museums, libraries, and community centers. 

After a beautiful program of holiday music, everyone joined the Young Artists in a variety of songs of the season including the Florida Grand Opera’s Justin and Troy Moss, Denise Courshon, Andrew Goldberg, Evelyn Gigiras and Mariann Danner.

Guild Board members and Opera supporters Burt and Lydia Harrison, Rae Swarte, Ralph Lutrin, Mary Louise Cole-Wood and Robert Wood, Constance Spadafora, Linda Smith, Betty Joy Field, Grace Miro, Anita Ricci, George Berbarian enjoyed the delicious buffet prepared by Jay Caplan Catering. 
If you are interested in joining the Guild, contact Evelyn Gigiras, 305-854-1643, or for information on the young Artist Society, contact Mariann Danner.
1. Constance Spadafora, Francois and Helen MacLellan and Claudine Assous
2. Hosts Isa and Marvin Leibowitz flanked by Young Artists: Afton Battle, Brian DeMaris, Rachele Griffin, Corey Bix, Fenna Ograjensek, Bryan Griffin, Kate Mangiameli, David Crawford, David McFerrin, Tim Kuhn
3. Sina Vacca, Mort and Jane Robinson
4. Marvin and Isa Leibowitz, Troy and Justin Moss
5. Doris and Martin Rosen  
6. George Green, Sonja Zuckerman and David Melin
Photos by Sir Ron Wetherington

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