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The Help, and a ‘Riot Ballet’?: Friday Picks for the Non-Compulsive Arts Enthusiast

In an effort to help us all have more time for summer – and for me to have time for my ‘work-in-progress’ that is pushing its way out – I’ve decided to condense Tuesday’s picks and Friday’s Reads into a single post on Fridays. I hope to bring you at least one great book and one great link each Friday.

Here’s what I’m excited about today:

1. The Help

Many of you have already heard me rave about The Help. I believe it the best book I’ve read in the past five years. It was recommended to me by my mother-in-law, a voracious reader and member of two book clubs. I love that she ‘previews’ books for me and passes on the best. Like most of you, I don’t have nearly enough time to read, so its nice to have a ‘filter’ for books worth a space carved in my jam-packed Mommy day.

If any of you have not read The Help yet, I highly recommend you do, compulsive reader or not. My favorite books are those who deal with substantive topics in a hopeful light. Kathryn Stockett’s novel about the lives of African-American maids in 1960’s Mississippi certainly does both. (for a synopsis, click on the ‘trailer’ link below). This story will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. Even a year after I first read it, the characters of Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen are still impeccably vivid.

And, if you’re not in the reading ‘zone’ due to our fine summer weather, then you may be interested in The Help movie. I know what you’re thinking: great books brought to screen tend to not live up to great expectations. But the trailer and other reviews lead me to believe that this adaptation stays tightly to its original story. Already I can say that the casting was dead on. Minny and Hilly Holbrook, specifically, look exactly as I pictured them.

I, for one, am greatly looking forward to the release on August 12th. I admit a small degree of nervousness. After all, it could be a satisfying Lord of the Rings experience, or a stomach-turning, ‘give me my money back’ DaVinci Code debacle.

2. A Stanley Cup Riot Ballet – and no I’m not kidding!

For those of you looking for live entertainment, I read an interesting article this week in the Metro News. A local dancer  – Edmond Kilpatrick – has created an original ballet based on the recent Stanley Cup riots. Edmond states he has attempted to analyze the events of June 15th from three different viewpoints: the instigators, those who were swept up in it, and those who watched in horror.

The show promises to be controversial, at the very least. What I loved about the idea, though, was the creative integration of arts, sports, and community.

Artists are at their best when they use their talents to interpret painful experiences for themselves and their neighbors. Perhaps this is one of the greatest gifts arts bring to society: a vehicle for embracing and moving beyond hardship.

What about you? What are you doing this weekend? And how do you feel about such a successful book as The Help being released as a movie? Do you think it will live up to expectations or not? Can you think of any movies that did live up to their literary predecessors? Why do you think they ‘worked’?

And for those of you who wondered: yes, another Sunday’s Commentary is coming in just two short days. I plan to write about morons and how they upset my life. No, just kidding. Well, sort of. It will be brutally honest, and I hope, at least, make us laugh and figure out a way to deal with the crazies.

So excited about all of you who came to blog-visit this week.  I hope you’ll introduce yourself, say what you think… and still come back, and say what you think some more.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I haven’t heard of ‘The Help’ outside of you mentioning it, but I’m definitely going to read it before I watch the movie. You’re right – the movie could bring the book to life, or be an utter disaster, but I do hope it does the story justice. I think Pride & Prejudice did Jane Austen well, but it took a 6-hour miniseries to give the story its due! Marley & Me was a pretty good interpretation of the book and did a really good job of showing Marley’s psycho behaviour.

    I have a couple of books I’m trying to read this weekend, between doing yardwork while Bryan naps, but tonight I’m watching football! Ahem, and hopefully watching the Lions get in the “Win” column 🙂

    I look forward to Sunday’s post about dealing with “the crazies”.

    August 5, 2011
    • Nice. Check it out for sure. It sounds like there’s a lot of potential. A movie that surpassed its book: Beaches (I know, super-old). One that failed: A Tale of Two Cities (my favorite Dickens’ novel). One that almost got there but didn’t: Something Borrowed (just came out this year). I think its hard to bring a writer’s ‘voice’ to the screen. And Emily Giffin’s ‘voice’ (author of Something Borrowed) is my favorite thing about her books. Maybe ‘Something Blue’ will be better.

      August 7, 2011

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