- Of course it's awful when your kid is being bullied, and it's easy to villify the parents of the bully for allowing the kid's behavior to escalate. But what do you do if your kid is the one causing the trouble? How do you stop it?
- Speaking of bullies, here's a crazy story about a man on an airplane who grew tired of the toddler next to him complaining about his ears hurting...and slapped the kid. The kid sitting in his mother's lap, whom the guy didn't know, but apparently did call a racial epithet. All around great showing for that guy.
- Here's an interesting story that kids' behavior can improve just by upping the quality of the television they watch, even if you can't lessen the quantity.
- A recent study out shows just how much teens are concerned about privacy. Even just thinking about what it must be like to be a teenager in the age of facebook and Twitter makes me cringe.
- Surprised babies.
- If you haven't watched this video about Lurie Children's Hospital collecting valentines for their patients, please do so.
The United States typically recalls February 22 as the birthday of George Washington, our ubiquitous first president. (This year, Google throws us a curve by honoring Chicagoan Edward Gorey with a Google Doodle.) But it turns out there's another American hero with a February 22 birthday—you just probably had never heard of him before. Born in 1888, his name is Horace Pippin, and he's the subject of a marvelous new picture book: A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin (Knopf/Random House, $18), written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Caldecott honoree Melissa Sweet. To celebrate the artist and the anniversary of his birth, we've got free copies of the book to gift to five lucky readers (details below).
To be honest, nobody here at TOCK Central had heard of Horace Pippin either, until this book arrived. We're glad that oversight has been corrected, because he's an inspiration. He grew up relatively poor in small towns in Pennsylvania and New York, the grandson of a former slave. Always drawing from an early age, he ended up seeing battle in European trenches during World War I, where a bullet wound left his right arm crippled. Around age 40, Pippin taught himself how to draw and paint again, and he began to create anew. When his work eventually came to the attention of N.C. Wyeth, he suddenly had a champion with connections.
Soon enough, despite his hardscrabble roots, Pippin became a popular folk artist in the first half of the 20th century. Today, his work hangs in museums across the nation—including at the Art Institute, which displays "Cabin in the Cotton." (The work is reproduced in the book's endpaper, part of a map showing us where some of Pippin's prominent works hang.)
Author Bryant distills his biography very well, while Sweet's stunning visuals soar: in her choices to mix media, in her clever lettering (which incorporate quotes of Pippin's) and, most of all, in her gorgeous use of color. As the book's title suggests, Pippin himself gave a lot of thought to the palette in his paintings.
In a collection of great appendices for older kids and adult readers, the publisher includes some details historical notes with a photo of Pippin and suggestions for further reading. Best of all, we get detailed statements from both Bryant and Sweet about their process in making the book, and how it helped them to connect to the artist they've come to love.
A Splash of Red is in bookstores now. To enter the our giveaway, which is open through March 4, click on this link and fill out the form. Five readers will each get one copy of the book mailed to them. Good luck!
On any given Sunday, the Beat Kitchen turns its stage over to some of the finest kindie music acts in the city as well as touring musicians. But occasionally, there's too much good music out there to confine the festivities to just one day. So this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday are filled up each with kids' music, and by two very different bands.
On Saturday, the Boogers tear up the stage. The band sort of sounds like the Ramones if any member of that band had been allowed to procreate and wanted to start making music for his kids. You can check out the Boogers' song "Pandas Are Dangerous," below:
Then on Sunday, it's Apples, Peaches, Lemonade, a self-described "dance band" featuring Old Town School of Folk Music vets Judy Higgins, Michael Clarke, Jonas Friddle, Maria McCullough and Jason McInnes, along with some of their fiddle students. There's no video of the band yet, but you may recognize Jason as the leader of the Old Town band o' kids, The Young Stracke All-Stars:
The Boogers play at 3:30pm on Saturday 23, and Apples, Peaches, Lemonade play at noon on Sunday 24. Both shows are at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave, 773-281-4444. Both shows are $8.
Move aside, Jennifer Lawrence. This Sunday’s Oscars belong to Maggie Simpson.
Maggie, the star of "The Longest Daycare," a four-minute film we loved that's nominated for Best Animated Short Film, will be making her Academy Award debut. The typically silent toddler from The Simpsons plans to make lot of noise, and you get to decide what dress she’ll be wearing. Check out the photos, and vote on Facebook to see the silent fashionista in either dazzling red, elegant lavender or classic black—each with a matching pacifier.
For more Oscar coverage, read about the nominees here and here.
Vote before Sunday. The Academy Awards are Feb 24 at 6pm.
Last week, we told you that Lurie Children's Hospital (formerly Children's Memorial) was asking supporters to send valentines to its current patients. The goal was to hit 8,000, so every patient received a card, and the hospital's Family Life Center could be festooned in red. Turns out, they almost doubled that goal, and hit 15,206. The above video is about as heartwarming a treat as you'll get on this Thursday. I cried watching it, I admit it!
And it's important to remember that there are a lot of ways you can help Lurie Children's year-round. Good work, everyone.
For children on the autism spectrum, self-expression isn’t always easy—which is why art programming can be so important. “There are no rules in art,” says Sandy Hernandez, co-creator of the Sandy Lush Project, a new autism awareness and fund-raising org. “They can just be free to express themselves however they feel.”
This Friday, Hernandez (who goes by Sandy Cakes) and her Sandy Lush Project partner Brandon Garcia invite guests to the first-annual “Autism—Express Yourself!” exhibit. Partnering with and also benefitting LEEP Beyond, a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to providing programming for special needs children, the exhibit features paintings on canvas, clay sculptures and photography by sixteen autistic child artists. The Sandy Lush Project helps raise awareness for autism through fun events, all while empowering the community it serves. “[Friday’s show is] about them, and they’re the ones raising funds for themselves,” Hernandez says.
The Project began just months ago with a toy drive. Since then, “from one little thing it just blew up into a bunch of events and now we help out more kids,” Hernandez says. Smaller-scale activities ballooned into dreams of bilingual art, photography and music classes that would help non-English speakers with autism to communicate more easily.
Performances by two bands, Confusion and Estrella Negra, along with DJ Rebel X and poet Nora Leon, add music and words to the artistic environment. Sales from photos on display from LNP Photography also benefit the cause. A $5 donation earns guests food and refreshments; past 9:30pm, $35 buys a three-hour open-bar bracelet (so long as you’re 21+).
LEEP Beyond shares a similar mission with Sandy Lush, offering children: classes in art, music, science, gymnastics and yoga, as well as a chance to communicate nonverbally in a less structured environment (Read our story on the new organization). “It’s not something they have to write,” Hernandez says. “They might not be able to talk, but they can sing.” In the future, Hernandez hopes to continue to spread understanding through events big and small, like a cupcake decorating class which pairs special needs children with other children. Learn more about this Friday’s exhibit/benefit here.
Autism—Express Yourself! will be held at Wise Fools Pub, 2270 N Lincoln Ave (773-525-5401, wisefoolspub.com) from 6:30pm–1:30am. Tickets are $5, but $35 open-bar bracelets will be available beginning at 9:30pm.
As you no doubt know by now, the list of neighborhood schools that could be closed by Chicago Public Schools as part of its "utilization" efforts has been narrowed down to 129. A final decision won't be made until the end of the month, after more hearings are held in communities where parents are fighting to keep their schools (that just sounds weird, doesn't it?). The above clip gives a good rundown of what's been happening the last few months, and if you haven't looked over the list yet, you can download the pdf of all 129 school slated to potentially close.