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We chat with this local organization about its recently launched initiative that empowers women to be appointed to boards, commissions and “take a seat at the table.”

The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati recently launched its Appointed! initiative to get more women on boards and councils in the city.

Cincy Chic: What is the Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati?
Holly Hankinson, Advocacy Director of the Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation: The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region and ignites a shared desire to improve it. We have more than two decades of deep involvement, understanding and building results, and stay at the forefront of the challenges and solutions affecting women and their families both locally and nationally. We believe, and research shows, that when you empower women, the entire community thrives.

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us about your new Appointed initiative?
Hankinson: Appointed, a non-partisan initiative, identifies opportunities for women to serve on civic boards and commissions, and empowers them to seek a seat at the table.  We provide support and training opportunities, and are a resource available to connect elected officials to interested board candidates.

Cincy Chic: What inspired the initiative?
Hankinson: We were initially inspired to launch this program after hearing about a similar initiative by the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City. We knew there was nothing like it in Cincinnati, and when we researched the numbers we identified gender disparities across our region, as well. Appointed launched in May, and we’ve already received a lot of interest from women ready to serve!

Cincy Chic: How are you helping to help shape the community with the initiative?
Hankinson: We believe civic leadership should reflect the communities they serve. Women represent 51% of the population in the Cincinnati region but hold less than one-third of civic board seats, and 34% of our civic boards have no female representation at all. Across our region, women of color are even more deeply underrepresented.

We also know that female leaders make a difference. Diverse boards and groups use better governance practices and make better decisions. They also get results; research shows that corporate boards with more gender and racial diversity have better financial performance.

Our goal is to help build civic boards that reflect our diverse community, achieving better results for our region.

Cincy Chic: What makes Appointed such a unique initiative?
Hankinson: Although appointed boards exist in nearly all government jurisdictions, yet nationally there are very few programs aimed at increasing underrepresented voices or recruiting individuals to serve, and we are unique in our region. Appointed is unlike a formal leadership development program in that the level of involvement is up to the participant. We will share board opportunities that match her interests. We will also invite participants to trainings and events for networking and to deepen their knowledge. But attendance isn’t mandatory to receive our support and resources.

Cincy Chic: How can readers get involved?
Hankinson: To get involved, interested participants fill out a quick form, so we can capture their interests and relevant background information. Signing up only takes five minutes. That’s all it takes to raise your hand!

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Women’s Fund?
Hankinson: The Women’s Fund recently released our Employer Toolkit, a first-of-its-kind toolkit filled with 30+ actionable policies and practices for employers that will benefit employees and their bottom line. Visit our website or follow us on Facebook for other upcoming events and updates!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Hankinson: Visit our website for more information, including FAQs, resources, direct links to local boards and commissions, and of course, to sign up!

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Disney•Pixar’s superheroes return for a fun new sequel. See if our critic thinks it’s a worthy follow-up to its incredible predecessor.

 

“Oh honey – don’t make me have to Tweet about you feeling emasculated!” Helen Parr a.k.a. ElastIgirl (Holly Hunter) prepares to go to work at her new job while her husband BOB a.k.a Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) look on in a scene from THE INCREDIBLES 2. CREDIT: © 2018 Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved.

 

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Brad Bird, Catherine Keener, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, Bob Odenkirk, Huck Milner, Eli Fucile and Sophia Bush with John Ratzenberger

WRITER(S): Brad Bird

DIRECTOR(S): Brad Bird

WEBSITE: https://movies.disney.com/incredibles-2

HERE’S THE STORY: Picking up right where the first film left off 14 (yes, 14) years ago, The Incredibles 2 finds the Parr family – Helen a.k.a. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Bob a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Dash (Huck Milner), Violet (Sarah Vowell) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) – adjusting to life since working as superheroes (“supers” for short) are still illegal. Furthering complicating matters is Violet’s growing interest in boys, Dash being Dash and Jack-Jack’s growing unpredictable powers.

But, after a brief entanglement with the villainous Underminder (John Ratzenberger), supers find themselves again at the forefront of the public eye … And not in a good way. This troubles Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), who runs – along with his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) – runs a tech company and has a love of superheroes, despite a personal tragedy that befell he and his sister’s parents. Determined to show the world it needs supers, he devises a plan to have Helen work to show all the good supers can do while Bob, well … He’s just going to have to stay at home and raise the children for now, occasionally calling the help of his good friend Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) for help.

And while things are going great for Elastigirl once she is called back into action, Bob finds being a full-time parent quite difficult, Violet has her troubles dealing with adolescence and Jack-Jack? Well, let’s just say that his powers might make him an incredible problem for Bob and everyone’s safety.

But once the mysterious ScreenSlaver shows up on the scene to cause havoc for all superheroes, it becomes clear that despite the laws, it’s time once again for the Parr family to become incredible …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of the original Incredibles movie, superhero movie fans; Disney•Pixar fans; Holly Hunter fans

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who don’t like animation or superhero movies; those will make more of the film’s potential pro/anti (depending on what you read into the movie) feminist stance; those who overanalyze aspects of a movie more than necessary

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? A movie that proves to be just as good (and in some aspects, better and in others, not so much) than the original, The Incredibles 2 delivers the trademark Disney•Pixar magic with a well-crafted mix of humor, action and heart to satisfy audiences of all ages.

Flipping gender roles for Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl proves to work without any of the trappings of stereotypical/traditional comedy tropes; whereas Bob finds himself out of sorts, it’s not because of his gender, it’s because of his role in the world. Likewise, Helen comes into her own while balancing her desire to be a success, strong and still wanting to be a part of her day-to-day family life. The juxtaposition works more to show the demands of being a modern working family and sorting out one’s role in the world, which of course flows well with the story’s overall family dynamic. Likewise, Violet and Dash maintain their child and sibling sensibilities in a way that make all of their interactions work and feel right, especially within the film’s 1960s-style setting. 

Family values aside, the thing that keeps the Incredibles 2 moving along well is the genuine connection the viewer will feel with each of the Parr family members and their interactions with each other. Whereas the true villain of the picture is relatively easy to figure out early on in the picture, the action, humor and interplay between the Parrs more than overcomes any story flaws present. Throw in possibly the best performance in the film by writer/director Brad Bird as fan favorite Edna Mole (to say more would ruin much of the fun), a solid turn by Jackson and the introduction of other superheroes – Sophia Bush does a solid job as Elastigirl fan turned superhero herself the Void – and you have just about everything you need for a solid animated, family-friendly yet inspired adventure. 

Given that 14 years have passed since the first film’s release, it’s a pretty incredible feat that it all comes together so well.

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

 

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A local lady launched a resource that’s helped more than 200 area families improve their unique pregnancy and parenting experiences.

Cincinnati Birth and Parenting is a doula agency that offers services and classes to soon-to-be parents.

Filled with the best birth and parenting professionals Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have to offer, Cincinnati Birth and Parenting offers members a wide array of activities, services and classes to educate women and families on their options in parenting and pregnancy. 

Founder of Cincinnati Birth and Parenting, Molly Murray, first launched the agency in 2015, with the belief that there is no wrong way to birth your baby. Murray told us her inspiration for Cincinnati Birth and Parenting also came from her idea that all women and families deserve information, resources and support for whatever may come their way.

Murray describes Cincinnati Birth and Parenting as a doula agency. A doula refers to someone who is a professional support person, helping individuals, and their families go through a transition in life. Typically, doulas are well educated in their particular field.

Earlier in her career, Murray worked as birth and postpartum doula and tells us the inspiration behind Cincinnati Birth and Parenting was that she “had grown beyond what she could serve as an independent doula.” Three years after opening the Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network, Murray opened the Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Doula Agency.

Other than providing members with countless activities and opportunities to learn and grow, Cincinnati Birth and Parenting hosts meet and greets twice every month to help families connect with each other and agency members in a less formal setting. The Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Doula Agency, on the other hand, hosts Pain Coping classes for the birthing process and family-friendly educational events about options in regards to pregnancy, birth and postpartum. 

Molly Murray, Founder of Cincinnati Birth and Parenting

Murray accredits the network at Cincinnati Birth and Parenting for making the agency unique, “we are comprised of and connected to the very best professionals and businesses in the city.”

Additionally, this doula agency offers various levels of pricing based on experience. “[It’s] a team approach to your care and continuous unlimited birth support,” Murray explains. “All our doulas are both birth and postpartum doulas.”

In the future, Cincinnati Birth and Parenting is looking forward to expanding the doula agency and anticipate supporting over 100 families in 2018 alone. In addition, she says, “our doula agency will begin offering a grant for at-risk families [such as] LGBTQ families, families of color, single mothers, teen families, and recovering addicts beginning in 2019, which will help serve at least one family per month who would not otherwise be able to afford doula services but who are of the greatest need for extra support.”

Murray says Cincinnati Birth and Parenting Network will be hosting their second expo of the year in August. This event will allow community members to meet network members and learn more about their options. 

To learn more, visit their doula agency website here, their network website here or follow them on Instagram.

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Have a kiddo who loves the kitchen? Learn about a local bake shop with classes for kids that teach baking with a huge helping of fun!

Sweet Petit Desserts is offering kids baking classes.

Cincy Chic: What are the kids baking classes you’re offering?
Taren Kinebrew, CEO of Sweet Petit Desserts: The kids baking classes are for children starting at age 8 and up. They include 4-week of classes and, at the end, each child receives a personalized chefs apron, hand mixer, certificate of completion, and an opportunity to audition and be seen by Food Network’s Kids Baking Series!

Cincy Chic: When and where are the classes being held?
Kinebrew: The classes happen monthly and run for 4 Saturdays, with each child learning a new recipe each class. We hold the classes at our 1426 Race Street Sweet Petit Desserts location in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: What inspired you to start offering kids baking classes?
Kinebrew: I had such a demand for our classes and by nature I am a teacher and felt it only right to teach those who aspire to be bakers and possibly entrepreneurs.

Cincy Chic: What is the cost to participate?
Kinebrew: The 4 week class cost $299. There is a deposit of $149 required to reserve a space, and only six spaces are available.

Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about the Food Network opportunity for kids?
Kinebrew: I have direct contact with a casting director specifically for the kids that go through my baking class!

Cincy Chic: What makes these classes unique?  
Kinebrew: Right now there aren’t any other baking classes for kids that allow them to to hands on training. Each child literally does all the work while I instruct! Each student will gain knowledge using math and science skills that will help them not just in baking, but in life. They’ll learn to be confident and get an opportunity to participate in a “Bakers United Kids Edition” event that will allow them to sell their product to the public while earning a profit!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more, follow along, and sign up?  
Kinebrew: Here is the direct link to our website with all the details https://www.sweetpetitdesserts.com/baking-classes! The next class starts June 9 and July 14 with limited spots!

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Oceans 8 features a star-studded female cast, but did the stars align for a box office hit? See what our movie critic has to say.

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 

 


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Armitage, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkafina, Sarah Paulson with James Corden, Carl Reiner and … Another familiar face from the other Ocean’s films.

WRITER(S): Gary Ross and Olivia Milch (screenplay); Gary Ross (story); George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell (based on characters by)

DIRECTOR(S): Gary Ross

WEBSITE: http://www.oceans8movie.com/

HERE’S THE STORY: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has spent nearly 6 years in prison in New Jersey. And now, she’s about to be released. And what does she have planned the moment she gets out of jail, other than hanging out with her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett)? A heist, of course, just like her late brother Danny would have done. Her idea? Rob the Metropolitan Museum of Art during its biggest social event of the year of a $150 million dollar necklace locked in a Cartier vault.

How is she going to do that? Well, it starts with getting fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) to convince prominent socialite Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) to let her style her for the gala. Of course, Daphne will have no clue that she is being used, nor that pick pocket Constance (Awkafina), computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), fencing – stolen property, not the sport – expert Tammy (Sarah Paulson) and jeweler Amita (Mindy Kahling) fit into the mix. Then again, when you have a $150 million on the line, it’s probably best to not ask a whole lot of questions. 

Given that Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), the man responsible for Debbie going to jail in the first place, is also going to be Daphne’s date for the evening, however, there are a lot of questions waiting to be answered indeed …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway and James Corden fans; fans of heist movies; people who liked Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; feminists 

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who feel that franchise reboots/add-on movies are unnecessary; people who will miss the original – and by original, I mean modern – Ocean‘s cast; people who have difficulty accepting movies where the audience is required to continually make large and critical leaps of faith

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? A film that features strong performances despite nearly being undone by a script that tries to make a major plot twist and instead creates a major script problem, Ocean’s 8 isn’t a bad film nor great film by any means …

It’s just a nice diversion from your day-to-day existence, which given the nature of the film will be more than enough to satisfy most fans.

Ocean’s 8 is fun because of the seriousness most of the cast gives their roles in terms of performing, NOT because of the situations tin which they find their selves. For much like the scathing reviews of the hot mess that was Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s 8 has a script that requires the audience to believe one of its characters makes a massive switch in a plot twist that only works because it has to for the entire film to work, which distracts from what otherwise would be a fun if not predictable due to its, well, predictable nature. 

Bullock, who has somehow started looking like Michael Jacksonall of the sudden, keeps everything flowing smoothly with a solemn resolve while Blanchett plays up her character’s cool and confident nature. Rihanna continues her streak of picking roles where she really gets to continue develop her acting skills into a solid package and Hathaway gets the biggest spotlight, which given the discussion of her role in the film’s trailer, makes total sense seeing as how she does so much to make what could have bene a throwaway role a critical one. At least James Corden continues to prove he may be the most talented host on late night TV with his role as an insurance investigator called in post-heist as he proves there’s a lot more to him than being a more affable Ricky Gervais who does great stuff with pop culture and music. (That’s a roundabout way of saying he can act.)

And like its male-driven counterparts, Ocean’s 8 is a movie you don’t go to for a logical story; it’s one you see for its stars and their interplay with one another. There are cameos from celebrities you’d expect to see at an event involving a big gala at a major metropolitan museum, the main cast trade jokes and interplay well with each other; unfortunately co-writer/director Gary Ross plays things down the easiest path and while there are several subplots that are potentially interesting – what happened with Danny? Are Blanchett’s and Bullock’s characters more than just friends? Why is Armitage’s character even connected to Hathaway’s character in the first place? And we’re supposed to just roll with THAT explanation for Hathaway’s character?! – that are just left unexplored or that are unsatisfying that the grand potential for Ocean’s 8 never quite materialized.

But behind every great fortune is a crime … Audiences will just wish it wasn’t in robbing them of a better movie that could have been made. 

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

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The 21c’s spa is celebrating Global Wellness Day in a special way. Read on for all the serene details.

The spa at 21c Museum Hotel is celebrating International Global Wellness Day on June 9.

In honor of International Global Wellness Day on June 9, The Spa at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati is offering the public a free afternoon of serenity.

This afternoon includes interactive classes, as well as hands-on demonstrations, giveaways and endless opportunities to Zen out and enjoy the celebration. The idea is to give attendees the opportunity to pamper themselves and focus on their own wellness and serenity.

Spa manager Natasha Burns says the mission behind Global Wellness Day is to focus on living well. “We’re inspired by that mission, so this program was created as a way for us to give thanks to our community for their support of 21c,” Burns explains.

The morning of Global Wellness Day will commence with an introduction to 21c’s extensive spa menu, which you can find here, followed by Mediation 101, a Thai Massage demonstration, Aroma Therapy and lastly, guests will participate in a Yoga class. Throughout the day, guests will also be able to enjoy snacks and refreshments from 21c’s award-winning restaurant, MetropoleActivities will run from 10:45 am- 4:30 pm.

21c is a multi-venue museum, which is open and free to the public. The museum space also includes a boutique hotel, located across from the Aronoff, with a chef-driven restaurant. Exhibits that reflect the global nature of contemporary art as well as cultural events are typically hosted in the museum. 

“The Spa at 21c is equipped with three deluxe treatment rooms, including an en-suite whirlpool tub, steam showers and heated floors.” Burns says. “The Spa at 21c overlooks breathtaking city views, just footsteps away from the Cocktail Terrace.”

21c hosts several events throughout the year, including Halloween parties, New Years Eve parties, and spa-specific programs focusing on wellness. In the future, Burns says, the team at 21c is looking to bring Cincinnati new, cutting-edge services that are “agelessly natural.”

The 21c Museum Hotel is located at 609 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202To learn more about this event, visit 21c’s Facebook event here .To learn more about 21c, visit their website.

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Learn about a local woman who launched a non-profit organization and is planning a fashionable fête that fuses her passion for fashion and pursuit to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Fashion for Freedom is a non profit organization that raises awareness about human trafficking.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about Fashion for Freedom!
Geetha Minton, Founder of Fashion for Freedom: Fashion for Freedom is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and stems from the desire to use fashion to raise awareness about human trafficking.  We seek to help reinvent the lives of those impacted and to empower them to create a new future. We have partnered with End Slavery Now, a project of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center that serves to educate, inspire, and equip modern day abolitionists to bring freedom to the enslaved. Everyone has a role to play in ending slavery.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind the organization?
Minton: I currently own a freedom business GKM Design where we donate proceeds to another freedom business that employs women that have been rescued from the red light district in India. The concept behind GKM Design is to give agency and beauty to women who have been told they are worthless. So I thought about taking this concept and expanding to a much grander scale. Let’s tie such a heavy and gut wrenching topic to something glamorous and get people educated and excited about getting involved to help end human trafficking.

Geetha Minton

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Fashion for Freedom?
Minton: I am the founder of Fashion for Freedom, and we also have our board members: Ryan Minton, Jeanine Sack, and Stacey Lipp. Samantha Burris handles all our social media and we also have a host committee for the event who has been enormously helpful.

Cincy Chic: When is the event being held?
Minton: The inaugural Fashion for Freedom Fashion Show and Silent Auction will be held January 26, 2019 at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Learn more about the event on Facebook.

Cincy Chic: What makes Fashion for Freedom unique?
Minton: This is the first event like this in Cincinnati that we know of. I believe we are taking a different angle to educate people and get people excited about joining the movement with our Fashion for Freedom fundraiser.  This will be an annual event. We are also hosting some local survivors at the event. One of our sponsorship levels for the event, The Survivor Sponsorship will outfit a survivor in a custom GKM Dress and treat them to an evening of pampering including hair, makeup and nails.

Cincy Chic: How are you helping women around the world?
Minton: Fashion for Freedom is giving them a voice with this event and with our purpose. They are not able to speak for themselves so we’re going to do it for them.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Fashion for Freedom?
Minton: Our biggest focus right now is the fundraising event at the Freedom Center. After that, the sky’s the limit. Our vision is to expand Fashion for Freedom as far as we can to make the biggest impact on eradicating human trafficking.  

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Minton: You can go to fashionforfreedom.org for more information or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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Love all things art, architecture, and home? This Cincinnati-based blog is giving local craftsmen and artisans a place to be featured for their work. Read on to learn more.

Queen City Home is a platform where local craftsman and artisans are featured for work found in and around the home.

Cincy Chic: What is Queen City Home?
Page Helmick, Owner of Queen City Home: Queen City Home is the premier destination for residential design interests in Greater Cincinnati. Art. Architecture. Home Accessories. Interior Design. Landscape Design. We love Houzz and Pinterest and HGTV; and we love Cincinnati. Why not roll them all into one? We decided to develop a platform where local craftsman and artisans could be featured for work that can be found in and around the home. Whether you are on the search for a contractor to renovate your master bathroom or a cool piece of art to hang over a sofa, you are sure to find inspiration on Queen City Home, curated by talented people right here in Cincinnati.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind Queen City Home?
Helmick: My dad started an architecture firm in Cincinnati in 1979, the same year I was born, so I’ve always had a high respect for and ongoing interest in great design. I had the fortune of working with him for a few years and during that time, I was constantly impressed by the number of people in Cincinnati who are creating and executing really cool stuff. From landscape architects to interior designers to residential contractors to artists and craftsman, I was often inspired by the fierce entrepreneurial spirit combined with the passion for residential design. It only made sense to create a place where people could get a daily dose of design for products and services that meet two requirements; they are curated in Cincinnati and they can be found in or around the home. Hence, Queen City Home.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Queen City Home?
Helmick: Me, Page Helmick. Born and raised in Cincinnati, married with 3 kids, graduate of Miami University with a BS in Marketing in 2001. My day job is doing sales and marketing for an accounting firm. Content for Queen City Home is usually curated over the weekend.

Cincy Chic: What goes into the content at Queen City Home?
Helmick: Each post features a product is useful, unique or just plain cool. The name of the designer is always included, and whenever possible, the post is linked to that designer so anyone interested in learning more about a particular designer can do that. The featured products and services offer a wide range with respect to both budget and style.

Cincy Chic: What makes Queen City Home unique?
Helmick: It’s one central place where you can view a wide range of Greater Cincinnati products and services that can be used in or around your home.

Cincy Chic: What do you enjoy the most about running Queen City Home?
Helmick: Discovering the incredibly talented people in our town who are working round the clock, often multiple jobs, just so they can bring their passion to the marketplace. So many of these people don’t have a marketing platform, so I love the opportunity to get to put them under a spotlight in front of an audience that is quite interested and engaged in cool, unique residential design.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for you?
Helmick: We have a website coming soon! The website will host a design director of all the people we have featured, along with a creative corner where we will get to highlight different designers and their products, so stay tuned!

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Helmick: Right now readers can check us out on Facebook. If you want to be featured on Queen City Home, send an email to page@queencityhome.net.

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The galaxy’s most famous scoundrel finds himself often upstaged in latest Star Wars stand alone. Read on as our critic shares if it’s worth a trip to the theater.

 

“You know, once you see my face … You’ll know I’m not Harrison Ford!” Alden Ehrenreich prepares to make his presence known in a scene from SOLO: A STAR WARS STORYCredit: Jonathan Olley © & ™ Lucasfilm, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE: 


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Thandie Newton

WRITER(S): Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay); George Lucas (based on characters created by)

DIRECTOR(S): Ron Howard

WEB SITE: https://www.starwars.com/films/solo

HERE’S THE STORY: The second installment in the Star Wars “here’s the story behind this character/moment in the main films,” Solo focuses on the most famous scoundrel in a galaxy far, far away: Han Solo, now portrayed as his younger self by Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!, Rules Don’t Apply). And this is a much different solo than fans are used to, for the young solo is a man with a dream: To escape his current life on the planet of Corellia where he is living under the rule of Lady Proxima (voiced by Linda Hunt), become a pilot in the Empire fleet (!) and possibly marry his lady love, Qi’Ra (Emilia Clarke). 

But once he and Qi’Ra run afoul of Lady Proxima, Solo finds himself eventually in a whole lot of trouble – which is why once he escapes from prison via a very hairy newfound friend (Joonas Suotamo), he is quick to take on a risky job with Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson). Of course, that job has much more to it than he originally suspects, which sets in motion a trail of events that make being in debt to Crimson Dawn leader Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany) a very, very bad thing. Throw in a contentious relationship with the most notorious and charismatic smuggler in the galaxy (Donald Glover) and you have an epic tale in the making.

Or at least that’s what everyone behind the world’s most popular sci-fi fantasy franchise hopes, anyway …

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Donald Glover fans; Star Wars diehards; Chewbacca fans

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who hate anything outside of the “original” Star Wars films (now known as episodes four, five and six, respectively); adults that are not already Star Wars fans; those who will.

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? Far less hard-hitting (both in terms of storytelling, character development and action), Solo is in fact a Star Wars story … It’s just not the best Wars story despite having it focused on what many consider to be the best character in its galaxy.

Accompanied by a friend at the screening I went to, I was asked for my opinion of the film, which took me a second to formulate. And then it came to me: Watching Solo is like watching your team’s franchise quarterback that often underperforms lead to victory as he passes for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns … Only to remember that what was supposed to be said team’s championship season is instead going to end up 8-8 and missing the playoffs. 

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that’s there’s necessarily anything wrong with Solo. Ehrenreich proves himself capable of hitting all the beats as younger version of one (if not the) most famous of Harrison Ford’s roles. He conveys the expected mix of ambition, recklessness and confidence one might expect while mixing in a nice bit of sensitivity that will set up for why he becomes cold as ice later in his life. Likewise, the rest of the cast turns in commendable performances, Glover in particular in continuing his hot streak by making his turns as Lando Calrissian count for all they’re worth. Harrelson does exactly what he needs to do to make his character’s arc work from start to finish and Chewbacca is Chewbacca – “lol” intended.

However, Solo doesn’t feel like the epic its intended to be for a very simple reason: It doesn’t feel special in any way. It just feels like a standard action film set within the Star Wars universe.

The first hour of the film feels like conveniently placed together events made to fit the existing character fans know INSTEAD of bringing about any real revelations other than how he got his name. To put it another way, the backstory isn’t so much of a coming of age tale where we see how Solo evolves from a boy to a man or any major change in his life that feels organic or revelatory. Instead, it’s a standard action story that doesn’t make Solo feel so much special as just a capable hero. There’s not gritty, soul searching moment, there’s no epic, battle sequence – the most intense sequence in the film is arguably more of a ship battle where several people play a critical part in the outcome – and the most interesting character is barely given a name and has a more interesting backstory than Solo’s in his own movie. In fact, for a man named “Solo” it’s only at his best, it seems, when he has a bunch of people – or Wookies or droids – helping his cause. (Seriously, you see the movie and tell me who was more interesting head-to-head: Solo or Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37?)

It would just help Solo‘s cause a lot more if he was always the main attraction in his own movie.

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

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A local family-owned farm is launching garden workshops and hosting a Family Fun event Memorial Day weekend. Read on for all the details. 

 

Blooms and Berries Farm Market is a garden center, market, and a friendly place for families to visit.

What started as a desire to grow an assortment of plants became a blossoming family farm that offers visitors the opportunities to learn about and enjoy the plants that grow there.

Cathy and David Probst have always been motivated by the value of hard work, and it’s something they wanted to instill in their children. So, leading by example, during the spring of 1999, they launched Blooms & Berries Farm Market, offering seasonal flowers, produce, and fun events for the whole family.

“Our fourth-generation farm has been part of our family since 1939,” says Owner Cathy Probst. “A lot has changed in the last 70 years, including the passing of David in 2005. Today, however, we like to think he would be proud of how far we’ve come.”

Each summer, the market employs nearly a dozen students and teaches them teamwork, life lessons, and the value of a hard day’s work. “We nourish the earth so it can nourish us and our community with acres of beautiful, delicious fresh and local produce,” adds Probst.

Guests visiting Blooms and Berries Farm Market can enjoy activities such as picking strawberries and blueberries. There’s also a playground so that families visiting the market can let the kids run loose and play.

For those who really love to spend time at Blooms and Berries Farm Market, there’s the opportunity to book birthday and family parties as well as events for Scouts, religious groups, and other types of gatherings including team building and corporate groups.

There are several events scheduled at Blooms and Berries Farm Market throughout the summer, including the upcoming Family Fun Weekend May 26-27.

For $5, families can enjoy Memorial Day weekend on the farm. “There will be animals, music in the sound garden, hayrides, a Family Scavenger Hunt, and the chance to play on the farm playground,” says Probst. “Plus, admission to the event is free to veterans and active military members as well as free ice cream.”

The picnic area will feature hot dogs and BBQ sandwiches available for purchase as well as ice cream, fudge, and other tasty treats from the market’s store.

The event will be held on Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm and on Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. You can purchase your ticket by clicking here<https://blooms-berries-farm-market.myshopify.com/>.

Other events throughout the summer include the opening of produce stands and even the fall farm festival that’s planned for the end of the season.

Probst says you’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled for other events offered by the market such as the Veggie Garden Workshop with Farmer Jeff. Events like this give guests the chance to learn veggie gardening tips and tricks, such as what makes a good fertilizer, how to keep disease down in your garden, and the types of varieties to plant in your gardens.

To learn more about Blooms and Berries Farm Market, visit https://www.bloomsandberries.com/. You can also follow along on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/bloomsandberries/>.