Wednesday, February 27, 2013

MSU Extension to offer free home maintenance and repair workshops

If you want to be able to fix things around the house now is your chance to learn. The MSU Extension will be offering a four-part workshop on “Home Maintenance and Repair,” Tuesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. starting March 5 at the Warren City Hall, 1 City Square (east of Van Dyke, between 12 and 13 Mile Roads).The workshops are free and open to the public.

What will you learn?

March 5

Home tightening, insulation and ventilation

Ever wondered why your heating bills are so high? How do you plug leaks and insulate important areas while allowing for enough air flow? Participants will analyze their use of energy around the house for the purpose of saving energy and money.

March 12

Home heating and cooling
Just because a furnace is running does not mean it’s running properly. During this workshop participants will learn how to maintain a furnace so that it works efficiently now and throughout the summer. They will also learn about duct work and how to be comfortable while reducing energy costs through landscaping, ventilation and insulation.

March 19

Water heaters, appliances and technology

Increase the efficiency of your hot water heater and appliances. Avoid phantom power drainers when using technology.

March 26

Paying for energy upgrades During this workshop participants will learn about  Michigan Saves, utility rebates and community programs, and how to select qualified contractors.

For more information on these and other workshops visit the MSU Extension

Friday, February 22, 2013

Glitz and the paparazzi will make your Oscar party a real experience

For those of you hosting your own Oscar soirée' there's still plenty of time to add some exciting details.

What's most important with an event such as this is to follow the theme closely.

That means pulling out all the crystal glassware. Sipping bubbly out of a Solo cup won't do in this case, although plastic champagne flutes are a nice substitute. If you're shopping for tableware and cutlery think black, gold and silver. Remember elegant is the look that you want to achieve in terms of décor. White linen tablecloths can be dressed up with fresh flowers and Oscar party favors, or your own accessories.

Roll out the red carpet (even a yard of inexpensive red fabric) to set the stage for arriving guests. If you're keen on making it a real Hollywood A-List gala invite someone to play the role of the paparazzi as guests arrive so years from now - you'll have your own most memorable Oscar moments. Encourage your celebrity guests to play the part, offering information on their attire and accessories. Don't forget the swag bags filled with Oscar goodies, to be handed out as guests arrive. If you don’t have room to set up a bar, consider hiring a bartender or family member to serve drinks and appetizers before the show.

Live coverage of the 85th annual Academy Awards begins at 7 p.m. (ET) on ABC. Make sure your TV is set up and in working order before your guests arrive.

Give your guests a special treat with the Oscar Backstage Pass sponsored by Samsung. 

The unique app serves as the ultimate complement to the live telecast giving fans premiere access to behind-the-scene activities going on via more than a dozen exclusive live cameras strategically placed on the Red Carpet and throughout the Dolby Theatre including the press room.

Make your Oscar party engaging by adding an Academy Award voting ballot to the swag bags. Invite guests to pick a winner for each Oscar category, and award the person with the most wins a novelty prize such as movie tickets or a miniature Oscar trophy.

Last but not least, serve popcorn. An awards show about the movies should have all the feeling of the theater experience.

MJR Oscar Experience live!

Ever wondered what it might be like to attend the Academy of Motion Picture Awards? The Oscar Experience sponsored annually by MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20 gives everyone the chance to imagine it.

WHAT: Donations are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Admission includes costume and prize raffle and Innovative Food Stations featuring hors d'oeuvres, desserts, wine, Pepsi and of course - popcorn. Advance tickets can be charged online at scponstage.com or by calling the Southgate Community Players at 734-282-4727.

WHEN: Doors open at 7 p.m. Feb. 24

WHERE: MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20, 15651 Trenton Road, Southgate, MI

WHY: Not everyone is cut out to host their own Oscar night. Besides being great fun it is a benefit for two great causes: The Southgate Community Players and The Overture Society and Ballet Americana.

Looking for something else for the family to do this weekend? CHeck out our list of family-friendly events going on in the Detroit area:

Easter Sunday brunch

Looking for a place to dine on Easter morning? A full brunch buffet including desserts will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 31 at The Community House at 380 Bates in Birmingham. As part of the fun there will be an Easter egg hunt around the house at noon and 2 p.m. for children 12 and under.  Bring your camera because the Easter bunny is expected to attend as well. Cost: $22 adults, $12 for children. Register at www.tchserves.org or call 248-644-5832.

On stage

"Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding," Feb. 22, at Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 14 Mile Road west of Van Dyke, Warren, doors open 6:30 p.m., show starts 7:30. Tickets, $63, include show, champagne toast, dinner, wedding cake and entertainment. For details, 586-268-3200.

"Pride and Prejudice" by L.A. Theatre Works company, 7 p.m. Feb. 21, at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. For tickets, $25 gold circle, $20 house, $15 students/seniors, visit www.MacombCenter.com or call 586-286-2222.

Stagecrafters presents the musical "A Catered Affair," Thursdays-Sundays Feb. 22-March 10, at the Baldwin Theatre, Royal Oak. Advance tickets $16, opening night includes 7 p.m. pre-glow with refreshments; to purchase tickets, 248-541-6430 or www.stagecrafters.org.

"Boeing-Boeing" by Rodgerland Productions, Feb. 23, March 2, at Imperial House, 34701 Groesbeck, Clinton Township. Buffet dinner 6:15 p.m., cash bar, show follows. Tickets $25 per person. For reservations, 586-776-9844.

Box Theatre presents thriller "Extremities," 8 p.m. Feb. 22-23, at the theater, 90 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. For tickets, 586-954-2677 or www.theboxtheater.com. Play is for mature audiences, contains adult situations, violence, language.

Ridgedale Players auditions for "You Can't Take It With You," March 3, registration 6:30 p.m. at the theater, 205 W. Long Lake Road. Show dates May 3-19. Visit www.ridgedaleplayers.com.

"Lame Duck Soup" on stage 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through Feb. 28, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $10-$15. For details, 248-327-0575 or www.gocomedy.net.

Village Players present "Little Shop of Horrors," 8 p.m. March 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, and 3 p.m. March 10, 17, at the playhouse, 34660 Woodward, south of Maple, Birmingham. Tickets $19; 248-644-2075 or www.birminghamvillageplayers.com.

Michigan premiere of romantic comedy "Phoenix," March 1-24, at Matrix Theatre, 2730 Bagley, Detroit. Tickets $20, students and ages 65 and older $15; call 313-967-0599.

Farmington Players present "Rabbit Hole," 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 2, at the Farmington Players Barn, 32332 W. 12 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Farmington roads. Tickets $16 adults, $2 discount for students. For details, 248-553-2955 or www.farmingtonplayers.org.

Water Works Theatre Company auditions for "The Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Much Ado About Nothing," 3-7 p.m. March 10 and 4-10 p.m. March 11, at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church, 320 W. Seventh St. Callbacks March 18. Performance days Aug. 1-11 as part of Shakespeare in the Park at Starr Jaycee Park. For audition appointments, waterworksbackstage@earthlink.net.

Detroit Ensemble theatre at Michigan Actors Studio presents "All the King's Women," 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays, March 8-9, 15, 22-23,

Magenta Giraffe Theatre Co. presents "Soul Mates," weekends through Feb. 23, at the Albreact Performance Space, 1301 W. Lafayette, No. 113, Detroit. For reservations, 313-408-7269 or www.magentagiraffe.org.

Broadway Onstage presents comedy "How the Other Half Loves," 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. select Sundays Feb. 22-March 23, at 21517 Kelly Road, Eastpointe. Tickets $16 opening night, $18 other performances; call 586-771-6333.

"Almost Maine" presented by L'Anse Creuse High School, 7 p.m. March 7-8, Tickets, $5, available in advance at John R. Armstrong Performing Arts Center, 24600 F.V. Pankow Blvd., Clinton Township, or at the door.

Walk for Warmth

Macomb County Walk for Warmth, registration 9 a.m., 1.5 mile walk 10 a.m. March 2, at Clinton Township Senior Adult Life Center, 40730 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township. Snacks provided. Minimum pledge $20 per walker; for pledge sheets, 586-469-9999 or mccsa@macombgov.org.

VFW events

VFW Post serves Polish dinner, 5-7 p.m. Feb. 23, $10 advance, $11 at the door; Hard Times Party, March 9, $25 tickets include dinner, refreshments, music, raffles, all events at the post, 35011 23 Mile Road, New Baltimore. Call 586-725-7100.

Empty Bowls

Pewabic Pottery's 19th Empty Bowls fundraiser to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 23, at the pottery, 10125 Jefferson, Detroit. Guests can purchase bowls created by Pewabic staff, local artists or students, $5 to $25, and receive soup and bread donated by local restaurants. Call 313-626-2000 or www.pewabic.org.

Winter concerts

Warren Concert Band Winter Concert, includes selections from Sousa and Rimsky-Korsakov, 3 p.m. March 3, at Warren Woods Community Theatre, 13400 12 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr. Tickets at the door, $10 adults, $5 grades 9-12, free for those younger with paid adult. For details, www.warrenconcertband.com or 586-709-8192.

Macomb Symphony Orchestra "Making Warm Family Memories" family-style concert, 3 p.m. March 3, at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. For tickets, $18 reserved seating adults, $15 students and seniors, 586-286-2222 or www.macombsymphony.org.

South Oakland Concert Band "Spring Blossoms" performance, includes medley from "Les Miserables," 3 p.m. March 3, at Royal Oak High School auditorium. Admission, $10 adults, $8 seniors, free 12 and younger, payable at the door.

Cultural Center

New series at Lorenzo Cultural Center, "The Gilded Age to the Great War: America at the Turn of the Century," begins 1 p.m. Feb. 23, with program "America & the 'Great War.'" Related lectures continue through March 8, at the Lorenzo Cultural Center on the Macomb Community College Center Campus, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Free, registration required by calling 586-445-7348.

Art show

Freedom of the Arts, an intergenerational art show, takes place 6-8 p.m. Feb. 28, at Villas of Shelby Senior Living, 4200 W. Utica Road. Show includes paintings by artists of all ages, and refreshments. Call 586-697-2456.


Mom-to-Mom resale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. March 2, at St. John Lutheran School, 16339 14 Mile Road, west of Utica Road, Fraser. Admission $1. Call 586-415-5995.

Maddie's benefit

Fundraiser for Maddison Babcock, a teen with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 2-B, includes drawings, raffles, auctions, food, beverages, entertainment, 7 p.m. March 2, at Mount Clemens Masonic Lodge 6, 65-1/2 N. Walnut. Call 586-463-0271.

Family bowling

Ray Township Recreation offers Cosmic Bowling with Sponge Bob, 2-4:30 p.m. March 2, at Summit Sports Center. Fee $6 residents, $9 non-residents, free ages 2 and younger, $3 more person after Feb. 27; includes two games of bowling and prizes. Call 586-749-5171.


All-day scrapbook open crop session, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 23, at Mount Clemens Public Library, 150 Cass Ave. Registration required due to limited table space, 586-469-6200.

Bridal shows

Andiamo Bridal Show, noon-3 p.m. Feb. 24, at the andiamo Banquet Center, 7096 14 Mile road, west of Van Dyke, Warren. Admission $5 includes champagne toast and sweet table. For details, www.andiamoitalia.com/bridal.

Brides-to-Be show, noon-3:30 p.m. Feb. 24, at Macedonian Cultural Center, 43133 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights. Admission $8 at door, $7 advance; call 586-228-2700.

Palette Club

Lakeside Palette Club joins Mount Clemens Art Association and Warren Tri-County Fine Arts in juried show through Feb. 24, at Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens. Visit www.lakesidepaletteclub.org. Club meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 4, at St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road. Program on critiquing members' paintings.

Maple syrup

"Maple Sweetness for Homeschoolers," 11 a.m. March 6 and 14, at Historic Center of Wolcott Mill Metropark, Ray Township. Fee $5 adults, $3 children. "Maple Sweetness" program 1 p.m. Feb. 23-24, 12:30 and 3 p.m. March 2-3, 9, 1-17, 23-24, 30, at Wolcott. Fee $5 adults, $3 children. To register or get more information on all programs, 586-749-5997.

Classical music

"The Basic Elements of Classical Music," program 2-3:30 p.m. Feb. 27, at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Drive. Fee $25; to register, 313-881-7511 or www.warmemorial.org.

Rose Society

Grosse Pointe Rose Society free lecture on Earth Kind roses, 7 p.m. March 13, at Grosse Pointe Congregational Church, 240 Chalfonte, Grosse Pointe Farms. Open to new members.

Chorus rehearsals

St. Clair Shores Community Chorus, celebrating its 50th season, rehearses 7:30 p.m. Mondays at Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church, 22310 13 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. For details on becoming a member, SCSCommunityChorus@yahoo.com.

Dance lessons

Beginner line dance and couples dancing lessons Tuesdays at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore, east of Gratiot, 6-6:50 p.m. basic line dancing, 8-8:50 p.m. couples, $30 for six weeks. Also, line dance classes 12:30-1:30 p.m. beginners, and 1-2:30 p.m. intermediate, Thursdays, $4 per lesson, at Warren Community Center, 5460 Arden off Mound Road. For details on any of the lessons, 586-777-7242 or countrycuzzins@wowway.com.

Detroit Zoo

Wild Winter Safari Social, March 9-10, both 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Detroit Zoo. Admission $14 adults, $12 ages 62 and older, $9 ages 2-14. For details, 248-541-5717 or www.detroitzoo.org.

Shores Library

St. Clair Shores Cultural Committee and the city's Public Library present "Film Movement" featuring a recently released independent or foreign film, 6:30 p.m. third Thursday monthly at the library, 22500 11 Mile Road. At 1:30 p.m. Fridays, classic movies are shown in the library's William R. Gilstorf Meeting room. New release Thursdays feature recently released movies on DVD, 6:30 p.m. first Thursday monthly. For details call 586-771-9020 or visit www.scslibrary.org.

Quilt Show

Quilt Guild of Metro Detroit presents "Quilts From the Heart" show, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 5, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 6, at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore. Admission $6. Visit www.qgmd.org.

LEGO exhibit

"LEGO(r) Architecture: Towering Ambition," through Feb. 24, large-scale models of world-famous buildings, at The Henry Ford, Dearborn. Museum admission $17, $15 ages 62 and older and 5 to 12, free 4 and younger and members, www.thehenryford.org or 313-982-6001.

Chorale rehearsals

Symphonia Chorale rehearsals for 19th season 7 p.m. Tuesdays at St. John Lutheran Church, 246 Benjamin St., Romeo. The season includes four concerts. Call 586-336-9816.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

REVIEW: No matter what, fans of Nicholas Sparks will still enjoy 'Safe Haven'

Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel star in Relativity Media´s "Safe Haven."

Nicholas Sparks
Last Friday marked the opening of the newest addition in the Nicholas Sparks' family of film adaptations, "Safe Haven."

Whether this is lucky number seven or not - remains to be seen. It was definitely not the love story I expected, it was better. Instead of heartbreaking, it was heart thumping.  

For the first 20 minutes, that is.

As with all of the best sellers written by the North Carolina author, at the heart of the story are two characters (who could be anyone in America) that are thrown together - by a number of circumstances or people – and fall in love. 

In Sparks latest feature, the love interest is Katie (Julianne Hough) who appears on the screen immediately. It's a thrilling scene that has her running from someone in the middle of the night during the pouring rain.  The suspense builds as she ducks out of the cold and settles into a seat on a Greyhound bus. Will the stranger hunting her down, who appears to be a cop, figure out what bus she's on?

Then the bus pulls out of the station, leaving the man behind. The suspense lingers until Katie gets off the bus in a tiny coastal town and decides to remain there instead of traveling on to Atlantic City. She rents a rundown cabin and takes a job waiting on tables in the local café and tries to keep a low profile - until she meets the town's grocery store owner, Alex, and his two young children, Josh (Noah Lomax) and Lexie (Mimi Kirkland).

So begins the woozy love story that Sparks’ core audience came to see.

Even Hough admits that is why she was keen to take on the role.

"I read all of his books," she said, in production notes released to the press. "A Walk to Remember" was my favorite when I was growing up. I must have read it seven times and then watched the movie over and over and over. Nicholas really speaks to women. He understands that we want compassion and love, safety and security."

David Lyons as Kevin Tierney in Relativity Media's "Safe Haven."
Those of us drawn into that opening scene, though, could have done with a little more suspense. It's there. We get a taste of it. David Lyons, who plays the character of Kevin Tierney, Katie's abusive husband and the crooked cop chasing her down, does a great job as the villain. Lyons, as with another member of the Nicholas Sparks alumni, Ryan Gosling (“The Notebook”), is intense and has that larger-than-life magnetic quality about him. 

But the scenes that he’s in are short and far-between, and the recipe for suspense that kicked things off, has been diluted. 

The story also jumps too quickly. The plot recalls the 1991 Julia Roberts movie "Sleeping With the Enemy," in which the heroine fled an abusive husband (by faking her own death) to start a new life. It took a while before Roberts' character was willing to befriend anyone - so there was some tugging of heartstrings. Whereas here, Katie jumps into a canoe and off they go. There's definitely chemistry between Hough and Josh Duhamel, who plays Alex, but other than a few cute moments, the drama between them is ho-hum. 

Noah Lomaz, at left, Julianne Hough, Mimi Kirkland and Josh Duhamel.
The same can be said of the scenes shared between Alex and his son, Josh. This is a little boy who lost his mother Jo (Cobie Smulders). There are glimpses of father-to-son moments (such as after the fire) but nothing that really sticks. Mimi Kirkland, who plays Alex's daughter, Lexi, has a couple of heartwarming scenes with Hough -- as her father's clerk-in-training -- but one expects more from director Lasse Hallstrom (“Dear John,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) and screenwriter Dana Stevens (“Julie and Julia,” “Life or Something Like It”).

Despite what wasn't on the screen -- it's another Sparks story fans will want to see. "Safe Haven" is rated PG-13.

Other films adapted from Sparks' novels include:

  • "The Notebook," starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams
  • "Message in a Bottle" starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Pen
  • "A Walk to Remember" starring Mandy Moore and Shane West
  • "Nights in Rodanthe," starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane
  • Dear John" starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
  • "The Last Song," starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
  • "The Lucky One," starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling