That's what SHE said: changing how we look at homework, who poisoned Flint, Michigan, the contradictory problem with 'Making a Murderer,' tips for a happy mind, DeRay McKesson helps Colbert address his white privilege, things to do and theatre to see and more...

Stephen Rodrick returns to his hometown on the outskirts of Flint, Michigan to find one of the greatest toxic water disasters in American history, with irreversible damages..."Hanna-Attisha has been losing sleep for months. When she dreams, she dreams of lead, the facts and figures of her studies spinning around in her brain. She spends her days thinking of a decade from now, when more Flint kids have ADD and more are introduced to the wrong side of the juvenile-court system. "We have to do the best for them we can," says Hanna-Attisha. "It's just a nightmare." 


Vicki Abeles, director and producer of documentary Race To Nowhere takes on homework and spotlights the schools around the country that are freeing families from the burden and giving back play and time with family to young students..."We have confused quantity with quality, busywork with challenge, conformity with discipline. We consistently ask our still fragile and growing children to put in second and third shifts, logging more hours in a day than many adults I know. As parents, we give up our authority over the afterschool hours, allowing schools to claim as much of our family time as they desire. Combining their time in school with school-sponsored activities and homework, many children’s work hours today remind me chillingly of the unhealthy way I worked while on Wall Street. Aren’t seven hours of school, plus perhaps a sport or a music lesson, enough for a child?" 

From the The Business Bakery


Kathryn Schulz argues, "A private investigative project, bound by no rules of procedure, is answerable only to ratings and the ethics of its makers." The problem with the documentary lies in its dead certainty, the very thing it is outraged about in the case of Steven Avery..."Toward the end of the series, Dean Strang, Steven Avery’s defense lawyer, notes that most of the problems in the criminal-justice system stem from “unwarranted certitude”—what he calls “a tragic lack of humility of everyone who participates.” Ultimately, “Making a Murderer” shares that flaw; it does not challenge our yearning for certainty or do the difficult work of helping to foster humility. Instead, it swaps one absolute for another—and, in doing so, comes to resemble the system it seeks to correct."

Because who doesn't want that?... "If you were to break your arm you would not tell people, “I am broken.” But when we feel anger we’re quick to say, “I am angry.” And this causes a lot of unhappiness. Your arm lifts stuff. Just like your brain produces thoughts. That’s what it does. And as you well know, some of those thoughts are ridiculous. That doesn’t mean that’s who you are. This distinction is central to mindfulness."


LA families looking for rainy day activities should check out this list of over 20 Southern California Museums for Free on January 30, as well as Journey to Space at the California Science Center and Mummies of the World: The Exhibit debuting at Bowers Museum this March. For grown up theatre, check out Rainn Wilson in Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Geffen, Mel Brooks comes to Segerstrom along with a viewing of Blazing Saddles. and Awake & Sing! by Clifford Odets at the Odyssey Theatre through January 31, 2016. Also coming up, Segerstrom Center's Off Center Festival 2016 features new artists and runs January 16 - 30, 2016. Also of note, The Echo Theatre Company presents the world premiere of BED  by Sheila Callaghan on February 3 and How Love Lasts  premiering February 18. John Posey's Father, Son and Holy Coach comes to the Odyssey with an all-new production on February 13 and Tempest Redux comes February 20. For Orange County folks, ITC kicks off its 2016 season with Closer Than Ever by Maltby and Shire on February 10.   

New York families should check out The Secret Inside You at the American Museum of Natural History or Picasso Sculpture at the MoMA closing February 7, 2016. Also, The Astronaut's Tale coming to BAM or The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show coming to the 47th Street Theatre or Step Afrika! at the Brooklyn Center for Performing Arts. For a family pleaser, check out Wicked on Broadway! New York parents looking forward to springtime theatre in New York, be sure to get your tickets now for  David Harrower's new play Blackbird starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams.

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