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    Category: Second Story Additions

    GHBA Remodelers Council: Add the space you need by building up – - December 12, 2019 by admin

    By Shawn Vacek, Remodelers of Houston

    A home addition can be a very valuable remodeling project for your home. If you have a one- or 1-story home and you need extra space, it may be worth considering building up rather than out.

    If you have a growing family and too few bedrooms or baths, building up or out are both good options. The size and shape of your property will help you decide if you can build out. If you have a large backyard, a first-floor addition may be a good choice. If not, your choice will be to build up.

    If you currently have an attic space with a higher ceiling a dormer or two or partial addition might work to get some additional room. By why stop there? A full second-story addition can double the space that you currently have, to give you extra bedrooms and baths, a luxurious master bedroom suite with walk in closet or any other spaces you desire.

    If you are considering adding more space to your home, keep the following in mind.

    Your homes foundation

    Your contractor with the help of an engineer should determine if your home can support a second story or if you need additional structural support. Most existing foundations can be reinforced to support a second floor pending an engineer evaluation. This can be much more economical than pouring a new foundation. Overall, reinforcing the foundation and building up will add value to your home.


    Do you have a staircase? If not, it will be necessary to build a new one. One of the more difficult elements is determining the best placement for the staircase. Much thought needs to go into the staircase location based on design for accessibility, flow and balance in the home.

    Additional key elements to consider when adding a second story are window style, roofing material and elevation, and exterior facade to create a look that you desire.


    Second-floor design work is challenging, so you want to be certain that youre working with someone who has Design-Build experience in second-story additions. A good Design-Build remodeler can take care of drawing up the plans based on understanding what you want the second-story add-on to achieve.

    When adding on new space to your home, your remodeler should create a space that flows seamlessly with the homes existing architecture and style. Look for and experienced remodeler that you can trust to get the job done right.

    This article was provided by a member of the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association. The Remodelers Council is dedicated to promoting professionalism and public awareness of the remodeling profession through education, certification and service to the Houston community. To reach the author directly, email For information on this article, please contact Lorraine Hart at To join the council or to find a professional remodeler in your area, please visit

    Excerpt from:
    GHBA Remodelers Council: Add the space you need by building up -

    Family bought 20th-century church for $320,000 and lives in it: Photos – Business Insider - December 12, 2019 by admin

    In December 2016, Anastasiia and Gunther, a young Maryland couple, were on the lookout for a restoration project. So when they saw a for-sale sign in front of an old church up the road from their house, they stopped the car and looked inside.

    About six months and $320,000 later, it was theirs.

    Now the couple and their three children live in the 120-year-old All Saints' Church. While they're actively renovating it, it maintains many of its original details.

    What is now called All Saints House was deconsecrated in the 1970s, Anastasiia told Business Insider. Since then, it has seen three separate owners (not including Anastasiia and Gunther) who have added lofts, rooms, skylights, and bathrooms.

    The couple said that when they bought the home, it was livable but had sat empty for years and needed some fine-tuning. So they began chipping away at their long list of restoration projects, which they document on Instagram.

    So far, completed projects include the stripping of dangerous lead paint from the front door, adding a breakfast bar in the kitchen, redesigning the master bedroom, and renovating the kitchen.

    Business Insider caught up with Anastasiia to find out what it's like to live in a house with over a century of history.

    Do you have a similar home-renovation story? If you want to share your story, email this reporter at

    See the original post here:
    Family bought 20th-century church for $320,000 and lives in it: Photos - Business Insider

    Every movie and show coming to Netflix in January – Polygon - December 12, 2019 by admin

    Even with Netflixs recommendation algorithm steadily serving you new movies, new TV shows and original programming tailored to your binging habits, the streaming services firehose of content makes whats coming and going difficult to parse.

    Thats why we break down each months additions with a spotlight on what to keep on your radar. Netflixs own new releases category is an info dump. Consider us a picture-in-picture talking head, screaming recommendations at the screen.

    Favorite Netflix Originals Sex Education and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina return with new seasons. Meanwhile, Anne With an E gets one last season before its untimely cancellation (fans are still clamoring to save the series). The second part of the Bojack Horseman finale also premieres at the end of the month.

    On the franchise end, two out of three Lord of the Rings movies and both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory films come to the platform, along with the most unhinged of Shrek films and the Cinderella story that started it all.

    Dracula (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: From the makers of Sherlock, Claes Bang stars as Dracula in this series inspired by Bram Stokers classic novel.

    What the Love! with Karan Johar (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Multihyphenate celebrity Karan Johar guides perennially lonely singletons through physical and emotional makeovers to set them up for dating success.

    Ghost Stories (Netflix Film)

    From Netflix: From the directors of Bombay Talkies and Lust Stories come four new short films taking a twisted turn into the spine-chilling realm of horror.

    Good Girls: Season 2

    Messiah (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: When CIA officer Eva Geller (Michelle Monaghan) uncovers information about a man (Mehdi Dehbi) gaining international attention through acts of public disruption, she begins an investigation into his origins. As he continues to cultivate followers who allege hes performing miracles, the global media become increasingly beguiled by this charismatic figure. Geller must race to unravel the mystery of whether he really is a divine entity or a deceptive con artist capable of dismantling the worlds geopolitical order. As the story unfolds, multiple perspectives are interwoven including that of an Israeli intelligence officer (Tomer Sisley), a Texas preacher (John Ortiz) and his daughter (Stefania LaVie Owen), a Palestinian refugee (Sayyid El Alami) and the journalist (Jane Adams) who covers the story. The series also stars Melinda Page Hamilton, Wil Traval, Fares Landoulsi, Dermot Mulroney and Beau Bridges.

    Created by Michael Petroni (The Book Thief), directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and Kate Woods (Rectify), and executive produced by Petroni, McTeigue, Andrew Deane (The Double), Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (The Bible Series, Ben Hur), the Netflix original series Messiah is a provocative and suspenseful thriller that explores the power of influence and belief in the social media age.

    Nisman: Death of a Prosecutor (Netflix Documentary)

    From Netflix: This series follows a prosecutor who investigated the biggest attack against a Jewish community outside Israel since World War II and met a violent and mysterious death.

    Spinning Out (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: After choking during an important performance, a competitive skater dealing with family issues and her own inner demons struggles to revive her career.

    The Circle (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Welcome to the ultimate popularity contest. To win the cash prize, would you be yourself, a better version of yourself or someone else altogether?


    A Cinderella Story

    Does any movie encapsulate 2004 girlhood more than A Cinderella Story? Before the Cinderella Story movies became a franchise starring other tween idols and heartthrobs like Selena Gomez/Drew Seeley, Lucy Hale/Freddie Stroma, Sofia Carson/Thomas Law, and most recently Laura Marano/Gregg Sulkin) it all began with OGs: Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray.

    American BeautyCatch Me If You CanCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryChasing AmyChitty Chitty Bang BangChloeCity of GodDinner for SchmucksDragonheartDragonheart 3: The SorcererDragonheart: A New BeginningDrugs, Inc.: Season 6

    Ferris Buellers Day Off

    Play hooky and revisit the John Hughes classic.

    Free WillyGhost RiderHarold & Kumar Go to White CastleHitchInceptionInstructions Not IncludedJulie & JuliaKate & LeopoldKill Bill: Vol. 1Kill Bill: Vol. 2KingpinKiss the GirlsMonster-in-LawNew York MinutePans LabyrinthPatriot GamesSaint Seiya: Season 4-5Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

    Shrek Forever After

    Rewatch the moment the Shrek franchise truly lost it.

    Strictly BallroomTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the OozeTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingThe Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    If youve ever thought to yourself Hmm, Id like to have a Lord of the Rings marathon, but without the first movie, youre in luck this month.

    The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of FearThe Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!The Original Kings of ComedyThe RingThe Talented Mr. RipleyTremorsTrue GritUp in the AirWhat Lies BeneathWild Wild WestWilly Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryWyatt EarpYes Man

    Sex, Explained: Limited Series (Netflix Documentary)

    From Netflix: Attraction. Fantasies. Fertility. Discover the ins and outs of sex in this fun and informative series, narrated by singer-actress Janelle Mone.

    Thieves of the Wood (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: In this historical drama series, infamous Flemish highwayman Jan de Lichte becomes a local hero during the Austrian occupation of 18th-century Belgium.

    Anne with an E: The Final Season (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: A milestone birthday sparks a search for Annes origin story as she sorts out matters of the heart and starts setting a course for her future.

    All the Freckles in the World (Netflix Film)

    From Netflix: In Mexico City, a 13-year-old falls for the most beautiful girl in school. With some help from his friends, he will try everything in order to win her heart.

    Go! Go! Cory Carson (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: Join kid car Cory Carson on his adventures around the winding roads of childhood in Bumperton Hills! Based on the hit toy line Go! Go! Smart Wheels.

    Cheer (Netflix Documentary)

    From Netflix: From the team behind Last Chance U, Netflixs documentary series Cheer follows the competitive cheerleaders of Navarro College in Corsicana, TX. Led by Monica Aldama, the small junior college has won 14 National Championships since 2000. The stakes on the mat are high, but for these athletes, the only thing more brutal than their workouts and more exceptional than their performances are the stories of adversity and triumph behind the team members themselves. Over the course of six episodes, viewers will join the Navarro College cheerleaders as they face injuries, sacrifice, personal setbacks and triumphs, all leading up to one nail-biting and adrenaline pumping final competition at the National Championship.

    AJ and the Queen (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: RuPaul stars in this outrageous series as a down-on-her-luck drag queen traveling across America in a van with a tough-talking 10-year-old stowaway.

    The Evil Dead

    Giri / Haji (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Family duty sends a lawman to London to look for his mob-assassin brother as a yakuza war threatens to engulf Tokyo. Trust is even tougher to find.

    Harvey Girls Forever!: Season 4 (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: A robot band, a pirate adventure ... and a run-in with a friendly ghost? Just another season on Harvey Street, where every days out of the ordinary.

    The Inbestigators: Season 2 (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: Who? When? Where? These school-age sleuths ask smart questions -- and they always solve the case! When crime strikes, call the Inbestigators.

    Medical Police (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Two American doctors who discover a deadly virus in Brazil are recruited as government agents in a race to find a cure and uncover a dark conspiracy.

    Scissor Seven (Netflix Anime)

    From Netflix: With a trusted pair of hairdressing scissors and the ability to disguise himself, Seven offers contract killing on the cheap. The only problem? He often has trouble completing assignments.

    Until Dawn (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Frances funniest comics carry out ghastly tasks as they try to outlast and outwit one another while overnighting in famously haunted locations.

    Zumbos Just Desserts: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Cohosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo return to the Dessert Factory to judge impossible cakes, amazing confections and other fantastic sweets.

    Betty White: First Lady of Television

    The Healing Powers of Dude (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: When an 11-year-old boy with social anxiety disorder has to start middle school, he finds strength in a lovable comfort mutt named Dude.

    Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: Burrow girl Kipos life turns upside down when she surfaces in a wild world of mutant creatures. Shell need all the help she can get to go home.

    The Master

    Big Fat Liar

    Quien a hierro mata (Netflix Film)

    From Netflix: A cartel boss is released from prison and put in the care of nurse Mario (Luis Tosar), who questions his duty and reconnects with his traumatic past.

    NiNoKuni (Netflix Anime)

    From Netflix: High school colleagues Yuu and Haru travel between the real world and a parallel fantasy universe to help their friend Kotona, whose life is in danger.

    Steve Jobs

    Ares (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: When her friend suffers a bizarre accident, Rosa realizes the secret student society theyve just joined is built on demonic secrets from Dutch history.

    Grace and Frankie: Season 6 (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are two women reinventing their lives in this funny and honest series, now returning for Season 6.

    Hip-Hop Evolution: Season 4 (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Season 4 of the music series follows hip-hop in the U.S., showcasing the stories and sounds that shaped its history and culture.

    Sex Education: Season 2 (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Sex Education is about Otis Milburn, a socially awkward high school student who lives with his sex therapist mother, Jean. In season 1 Otis and his friend Maeve Wiley set-up a sex clinic at school to capitalise on his intuitive talent for sex advice. In season 2, as a late bloomer Otis must master his newly discovered sexual urges in order to progress with his girlfriend Ola whilst also dealing with his now strained relationship with Maeve. Meanwhile, Moordale Secondary is in the throes of a Chlamydia outbreak, highlighting the need for better sex education at the school and new kids come to town who will challenge the status quo.

    Tiny House Nation: Volume 2

    Tyler Perrys A Fall from Grace (Netflix Film)

    From Netflix: Grace Waters (Crystal Fox), a longtime pillar of her Virginia community, stays composed when her ex weds his mistress and her son moves away. With convincing from her best friend Sarah (Phylicia Rashad), she tries putting herself first, and a handsome stranger (Mehcad Brooks) becomes her surprise second love. Yet any woman can snap, and Graces new husband soon ravages her life, her work and many say her sanity. Shuttered in a cell awaiting trial for his murder, Graces only hope for vindication lies with Jasmine Bryant (Bresha Webb), a public defender who has never tried a case. Co-starring Oscar nominee Cicely Tyson and writer/director Tyler Perry, A Fall From Grace is a mesmerizing thriller built from unthinkable secrets.

    Vivir dos veces (Netflix Film)

    From Netflix: Emilio searches for the great love of his youth, with the help of his daughter and granddaughter. Will he be able to reconnect with this lost love before his memory fails?

    Wer kann, der kann! (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Nailed It! takes its cakes to Germany, where amateurs try to re-create fantastic sweets. Model Angelina Kirsch hosts alongside chef Bernd Siefert.

    The Bling Ring

    Family Reunion: Part 2 (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: This sitcom about a Seattle family who must readjust to simple living in Georgia returns for its second season.

    Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty (Netflix Original)

    From Netflix: Southern-born comedian, writer and actress Fortune Feimster is back with her first hour-long Netflix original comedy special, Fortune Feimster: Sweet & Salty. The comedian recalls her childhood misadventures as a former Girl Scout, debutante and (disqualified) swim meet champion; her familys complicated relationship with Hooters; and how a movie helped her realize she was a lesbian.

    Word Party: Season 4 (Netflix Family)

    From Netflix: Cue the music: Its time for a party! Join animal babies Franny, Bailey, Kip, Lulu and their new friend, Tilly, for more learning and language fun.

    Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak (Netflix Documentary)

    From Netflix: The six episode docuseries explores the ways influenza evolves and how prepared humans are or arent for the next devastating global outbreak.

    Playing with Fire: Season 1

    The Ghost Bride (Netflix Original)

    View post:
    Every movie and show coming to Netflix in January - Polygon

    Why the London Tube Map May Need a New Design – CityLab - December 12, 2019 by admin

    London's Tube system has grown, and its map is having trouble keeping up. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Its never been easy to design a map of the citys underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

    A familiar tradition played out in Englands capital city last week, as Transport for London (TfL) released a new version of its Tube map. The citys public transportation agency is adding a few stops to the west of London that will ultimately compose Crossrail, or the Elizabeth Linean entirely new rail service that will cut across all of London when it opens in 2021. For now, TfL Rail, a patchwork of soon-to-connect Crossrail segments, will begin serving cities and towns outside of London starting December 15.

    As they have in the past, transport critics and map geeks assailed the new map for betraying the design principles of Harry Beck, the draftsman who brought abstraction and clarity to the increasingly tangled Tube map back in 1931. Becks use of straight lines and extremely loose adherence to true geography created the template for the systems current iteration (and many others). But as the complexity of the Underground network has grown, the map has evolved with it, inspiring an an ongoing debate among Londoners who hold passionate beliefs about the Tube and what its supposed to look like.

    For those unfamiliar with this saga, be forewarned: Transport typography in London is serious business. TfL has an entire design guide dedicated to the style used across all of their services, and a new typeface upgrade in 2016a re-up of the original Johnston fontwas big news.

    But TfL is growing, and the Tube map will have to change in rather significant ways to accommodate it. In the coming decade, the agency is poised to add the Elizabeth Line, adding 10 new stations. Crossrail 2, a proposed north-south rail line, could be under construction by the late 2020s if it finds funding and approval. Then theres a Northern line extension and the possible Bakerloo line extension. And if London Mayor Sadiq Khan has his way, several more suburban rail lines and trams will be absorbed into TfLs system.

    All this comes after several other recent additions to the original Tube mapthe London Overground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and the Jubilee Line Extension, amongst others. The map has made room for more intersecting lines of different shapes and colors, squeezed into fewer and fewer crevices. Some critics say that a radical visual overhaul is needed to preserve usability for visitors and commuters.

    Every transport systems goal should be that you dont need to know the city to be able to use the transport, said Jonn Elledge, the editor of The New Statesmans CityMetric site. Thats no longer true for all sorts of reasons in London. It should be usable for all people, and its not performing that crucial function.

    Elledge is a patron saint of Tube map criticism; he often writes op-eds calling for change. He finds two major faults with the current Tube map, which he described as a mess. The first is the loss of certain details: Since theres so much new information being added to the map, he explained, it leaves out geographical accuracy. For example, the new Tube map has stops that are outside of Londons fare zones, in cities like Slough and Reading. Those two towns are more than 20 miles apart in real life, but a visitor glancing at the Tube map might be forgiven for thinking that they were in the same general neighborhood.

    The second major fault is the overall message, or lack thereof. As TfL has taken over more services, its unclear what theyre trying to communicate, Elledge told me. Some trains come every 3 to 4 minutes; others come maybe every 10 to 15, like the Overground. Theyre not all the same frequency trains.

    Then you have the criss-crossing lines of National Rail, which do not make it onto the main Tube maptheyre on a separate and more sprawling Tube and Rail map. But if a traveler knew they existed, they could be very helpful in certain situations. Between Waterloo and Wimbledon, theres a high-speed train that gets you there in 15 minutes. But its not on the map, Elledge said. Instead, the Tube map would suggest to take a roundabout way, via central London. You cant see if youre not familiar with it.

    However, TfL has made certain additions that Elledge viewed as steps in the right direction. The dotted line between stations at Camden Town and Camden Road, suggesting that riders can walk to transfer lines, makes the system more approachable, he said, and should be expanded elsewhere. One model to follow, he said, is the Night Tube map, which casts a dark blue hue to show the lines available on weekend nights. That simplicity makes it much more legible, he said.

    Still, Elledge recommends essentially starting from scratch. Its really rethinking what the map is for, and what its trying to do, he said. The agency needs to start from a blank sheet of paper.

    Transport for London is certainly no stranger to cartographic critiques. In a statement to CityLab, a spokesperson for the agency said that we constantly keep the Tube map under review and I can assure you we are very careful to ensure that the information on the map reflects what customers need to know. To allow for varying digital applications, TfL has also opened up all of its demand and mapping data to app developers.

    Of course, with smartphone wayfinding available from Google or CityMapper, the role of a physical map from TfL itself may be diminished. But that doesnt discount its importance, Elledge insists: A transport map truly is a cultural item, he said. You can locate yourself in the city, and its one of the few things that we can all engage with. Thats something unique.

    This is not a rhetorical argument for me: As a relative newcomer to London, I often find myself wrestling with the Tube map to find my way around. While reporting this story, I found myself thinking a lot about the role that transport maps play in citieswhat they offer us as riders, and how they change the way we interact with our transport environment.

    For one, it has something to do with motility, or our capacity to get aroundas opposed to mobility, or our ability to get around. Motility is a key factor in our individual well-being on public transport, according to research; if someone feels like they lack the capacity to travel on a certain mode, it may affect their willingness to take that mode in the future. A Tube map too complicated or intimidating for someone like me to use will both hurt ridership and fundamentally limit my horizons as a London resident.

    Jug Cerovic, a Paris-based Serbian architect who designs maps for a living, is a strong believer in the importance of cartographic legibility. In an incredible side project, hes taken it upon himself to standardize major subway maps from around the world.

    The map is the network, Cerovic told me. Above groundwhether in a car, on a bike, or on footyou can go in any direction youd like, he said. But thats not true underground. When you go into a station, you enter into a parallel dimension its a totally different concept of space and time. Without the map, you cant use the system. Its essential.

    And how that map appears has implications, he says. In Paris, where he grew up, he had the 1990s Mtro map: That is the way I see the system, when I think of it. But friends of his who moved to the city in the 2000s or thereafter know a different Mtro map, which, in London fashion, added new lines and services. These people have difficulties navigating certain places, and avoid others that appear too cluttered on the map, he said. Because thats the way they see the system.

    Cerovic laughed when I asked about London. Only in New York and London do they care so much about their maps. Nowhere else do they care this much. (Hes got a point: Last week, the New York Times recently had an interactive feature on the development of New York Citys subway map. Readers loved it.) He described Londons Tube and Rail map as frightening: I dont want to go there when I see it.

    In Cerovics latest version of that same map, he utilized the TfL design style throughout, but the lines are more playful and less overbearing. If [TfL] keeps their current version, itll become a mess. But its possible to make it better, he said. TfL has no excuse not to make a better map. Especially when considering more complex networks, like transit systems in Paris and Tokyo, he argued. If you can map Tokyo, you can map anything.

    But Cerovic doesnt discount the massive impact technology has had. It used to be the same map for everyone, he said. Now there are so many different maps. Google Maps, in particular, has become integral to our perception of the city, and its contents. He referenced a statistic that 13 percent of all web searches are on Google Maps, and close to 80 percent of users find information about nearby businesses on it. Its universality in our lives is only growing, he added, with appointments, travel times, and other information available.

    But for transportation, digital maps, only tell you one thinghow to get there, he said. It shows the journey from point A to point B. But an analog map allows you to ask questions about your city. Because you might know where point A actually is.

    John Surico is a freelance journalist and researcher who covers transit and open space for a number of outlets, including The New York Times and VICE. Hes currently a MSc candidate in Transport and City Planning at University College London.

    See the article here:
    Why the London Tube Map May Need a New Design - CityLab

    The Star Wars movies debrief: Return Of The Jedi recap, legacy and best bits – Den of Geek UK - December 12, 2019 by admin

    This article contains spoilers for Return Of The Jedi and the wider Star Wars series.

    After The Empire Strikes Back magnified everything that Star Wars offered, it would be fair to say that Return Of The Jedi faced a tough task tying up the cinematic phenomenon that was the original Star Wars trilogy. And while the 1983 Empire follow-up may not be remembered as fondly as its immediate predecessors, it still manages to offer a fun space drama with plenty of action.

    At one point known as Revenge Of The Jedi (and reportedly scheduled to have Luke take Vaders place alongside the Emperor), this instalment was directed by Welshman Richard Marquand. Steven Spielberg was approached, as was David Lynch, who was fresh off of The Elephant Mans Oscar success, but he had next door to zero interest.

    A pity for them, really, because the film was a huge financial success grossing somewhere around half a billion dollars from its budget of around $40 million. Critics loved it, too, and despite unfavourable comparisons with Empires darker story, its clear three-act structure clearly won hearts.

    Opening with Luke (Mark Hamill) and cos daring rescue of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Jabba the Hutts decadence is on full display. His palace on Tatooine is packed with sycophants and co-conspirators, marking the ultimate test of Lukes restraint as a Jedi completing his training and thats not even mentioning the Rancor in the basement.

    Moving into the desert on Jabbas barge, the Sarlacc sequence remains one of the franchises most enduring set pieces. It offers everything Star Wars does best the comedy of an almost blind Han Solo doing more harm than good, R2-D2 doing his best to support the combat, and Luke swinging his lightsaber in a way that makes him look infinitely more assured than he did in his last battle with Vader. Plus, of course, theres Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) strangling a giant space slug to death something no one is likely to forget in a hurry.

    After a brief detour to kill off Yoda (a sequence that still feels a little unnecessary even now, but more on that later), the second act of the movie moves to the forest moon of Endor. Here we find speeder bikes, Ewoks and an Imperial Base that provides a shield for (dun dun dun) a second Death Star. Here, the Rebels team with the indigenous teddy bears (who are surprisingly vicious) and attempt to overpower the superior force while Luke turns himself over to Vader, who takes his son for an audience with the Emperor himself (a deliciously eeeevil Ian McDiarmid).

    The third act of Return Of The Jedi is arguably some of the finest sci-fi in history, offering three different planes of action surrounding the second Death Star. In the Emperors Throne Room, Luke refuses to join the Dark Side. On Endor, Leia and Han battle to knock out the shield generator. And in space, the Rebels engage the Imperial Fleet in what is arguably the best space-combat sequence in the franchise so far.

    The Emperors full plan is revealed, as the real big bad explains that the Death Star is not only operational, but ready to fire on the assembled fleet. Meanwhile, Vader duels with Luke, suggesting he plans to turn Lukes sister (revealed via Obi-Wans ghost early in the movie to be Leia) to the Dark Side, which sends the Jedi into a rage.

    Severing his fathers hand but refusing to kill him, Luke is attacked by the Emperor who is able to zap him with the Force Lightning weve since seen in Revenge Of The Sith. Vader has a change of heart, throwing the Emperor to his death in the depths of the space station, before dying in Lukes arms while the latter tries to rescue him. The Death Star is destroyed (again), and our heroes reunite on Endor as celebrations begin across the galaxy. The end.

    Thats a heavily truncated version of events of course, but theres plenty to unpack here. Of course, its worth noting that everyones favourite bounty hunter, Boba Fett, is unceremoniously slain during the battle above the Sarlacc pit. Thankfully, we have The Mandalorian now.

    Secondly, Return Of The Jedi gives us a much clearer look at the sagas antagonists. In literal terms, we see Darth Vaders helmet removed to reveal his scarred, pale face. We also finally get to see the Emperor in the flesh, although arguably we find out more about him through the prequel trilogy, which charts his rise to power.

    Its a shame to see Yoda, one of Empires best new additions, essentially relegated to simply confirming Lukes fathers identity before he croaks on Dagobah. The Jedi Master is another character thats served well by the prequels (CGI battles aside), but it still feels like his death is solely to place Luke as the last remaining Jedi.

    Speaking of Lukes journey to becoming a Jedi Knight, Hamills understated performance in Return Of The Jedi is arguably his best yet. Hes confident, but not overly so, and the contrast between his calm when dealing with Jabba and his cronies versus his stoic nature when interacting with his father and the Emperor shows that hes learned his place in the universe.

    In the run-up to The Rise Of Skywalker, rewatching Return Of The Jedi offers up more questions. How did the Emperor survive his fall? What kind of legacy does Vader leave for his grandson, Kylo Ren? Will we see more Ewoks? We cant wait to find out how the latest instalment answers these.

    Return Of The Jedi isnt a perfect movie. It sags in the middle, slowed down by a reliance on Endor and a lack of fresh planets to explore, but it offers a fitting culmination to Lukes journey. At the conclusion of the movie, hes beaten his father in combat (albeit having lost his temper somewhat, suggesting hes not as infallible as expected) and finally brought balance to the Force for a while, at least

    Best lightsaber bit: As fun as R2-D2 flinging Lukes lightsaber through the air at the Sarlacc pit is, we have to go with the Jedis new green saber clashing with his fathers classic red laser sword in the Death Stars throne room, while the Emperor looks on gleefully.

    Best non-lightsaber bit: The Executor-class Star Dreadnought crashing through the Death Star remains a fist-pumping moment, even all these years later.

    Jedi wisdom: Search your feelings, father. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate. Lukes appeal to his dads better nature speaks to the conflict within all of us. Basically, be awesome and say no to the dark side.

    Rules of the Force: With Anakins redemption leading to him becoming an un-Vader-fied Force Ghost, it turns out that one good deed can make up for being the Galaxys biggest mass-murderer. Vader may have spent much of his life as a Sith, but after killing the Emperor he appears alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda as a benelovent spirit at the movies conclusion (with original actor Sebastian Shaw controversially replaced by Hayden Christensen thanks to George Lucas post-prequel tinkering).

    Who has a bad feeling about this? Its a double whammy this time, with both C-3PO and Han Solo both saying the immortal words. Threepio says it when entering Jabbas palace, while Han is similarly dubious when hes about to be roasted by Ewoks alongside Luke and Chewbacca. We cant blame either of them, really.

    Galactic stop-offs: A much shorter tour itinerary we revisit Tatooine and Dagobah, but other than that the only fresh locale is the forest moon of Endor, home of the Ewoks.

    Who wins? A definitive win for the Rebels here, as the second Death Star has been destroyed, alongside the Emperor and Darth Vader. Lukes the last Jedi, but hes got a sister now (that he kissed passionately just one movie ago, so make of that what you will). Han has been saved, too, so everything is going to work out just fine, right? No more Star Wars, no sir.

    You can read all of our Star Wars recaps here.

    Are you a fan of Return Of The Jedi? Are there any other aspects of it that you love, any that you didn't, or anything that weve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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    The Star Wars movies debrief: Return Of The Jedi recap, legacy and best bits - Den of Geek UK

    Ex-Forces Awards touches down in Scotland for the first time – Real Business - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Touted as theworlds largest celebration of veterans in second careers, the Ex-forces in Business Awards had its Scottish debut on December 3 in Glasgow.

    The event made clear its distinction from its English counterpart with a Scottish pipe band that welcomed the (mostly) tartan glad guests to the ceremony.

    However, the national pride on show revealed something deeper about Scottish culture, namely its deep respect for the military institution.

    A traditional pipe band plays at the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

    Scotland has a long-establishedrelationship with its military, with a significant part of the population being associated with the armed forces in some way.

    Statistics from Citizens Advice Scotland suggest that as many as20%of Scots are part of the Armed Forces Community, whether serving, a veteran or related to a serving member.

    Government statistics put the number of military veterans in the country at 237,000 in 2017 a number thats undoubtedly risen over the past two years.

    These facts give us a snapshot of the significance of the veteran community in Scotland, as well as the importance of commending those who have forged successful careers after service.

    Advocate of the Year winner, Louise Macdonald poses for a picture (centre).

    Like its English counterpart, the Scottish Ex-forces in Business Awards was launched to highlight the skill sets veterans have developed through military service including a high work ethic, flexibility, leadership and teamwork skills.

    These are all highly valued attributes private sector employers look for in candidates. However, misconceptions among hiring teams relating to the commercial applicability of veteran candidates, (thousands of whom leave the forces each year), combined with a lack of exposure around those that succeed, has created something of a grey area for veterans looking for second careers.

    Awards such as the one held on December 3 provide the inspiration, as well as the contacts veterans need to manage this transition successfully. To decide upon the nights winners, a panel of 20 high profile veterans, (including the Scottish Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace), presided over 250 nominations to decide the winner of each of the 14 categories.

    Here they are:

    2019 marks the first year of the awards in Scotland.


    Louise MacDonald, Wood

    The judges were particularly impressed by the extent of advocacy that Louise has not only pushed for veterans at Wood, but which she has also received from others in her organisation and beyond. Its clear that her impact is wide ranging and profound, and despite having no personal military background she has led the way in defence engagement with passion and dedication. The judges also highly commended Michael Hashim of Bruce Stevenson, who they see as a leader of the future having already made a big impact in a short period of time.


    Ian Smith, Gray and Adams

    The judges found Ians story of perseverance to be truly inspiring. The skills and values he acquired during his army service have genuinely shaped his approach to work and life, helping him overcome some notable challenges. To balance a full-time job and family life with further education in his 40s and again in his 50s demonstrates bravery and inner steel and his successes have come as a result of this hard work. The judges also highly commended Ian Hodge of Peak Scientific who has carved out a strong career in the engineering field while employing a number of ex-forces candidates.


    Gavin Neate, Neatebox

    The judges felt Gavins achievements really stood out for their outstanding innovation and huge impact. His services ethic shines through in his business and the work he has done to grow the company, and he exhibits a real entrepreneurial flair. Gavin has made significant personal sacrifice to fund the business, and has taken the best of his RAF background to create a truly disruptive company with global potential. The judges also highly commended Tom Morton of Safe Shores Group who they identified as a clear innovator with great social impact as well as business impact.


    Chris Newlands, Spelfie and Tripsology

    Having successfully embarked on a career as a financial advisor after leaving the Royal Navy, the judges admired Chriss ambition and courage to launch a new parallel career as an entrepreneur. They commended his innovation and disruptive spirit through both of his businesses, as well as his desire to raise awareness of social issues such as air pollution. The judges praised Chris for creating interesting and unique concepts and then developing viable commercial models to turn them into successful businesses.


    Jamieson Rogers, GlaxoSmithKline

    The judges were won over by Jamiesons very inspirational story of overcoming adversity to get into engineering. They noted that he didnt just succeed against the odds once, but overcame setbacks multiple times to reach where he has. His perseverance in the face of considerable adversity is a key attribute he gained during his military service and which he has used to carve out a successful second career and achieve terrific results for GlaxoSmithKline.


    David Dent, Parexel International

    The judges were full of admiration for the longevity of Davids commitments and achievements across military service, business and charity throughout his career, and the truly international nature of his impact. Having delivered life and limb saving interventions for soldiers and civilians alike in his career, David has not let his own significant injury in the line of duty hold him back from his achievements in business and sport as well as his considerable efforts to support veterans charities.


    Simon Watkins, University of St Andrews

    Simons incredible leadership and response to not one but two major fires at the University wowed the judges. He was prepared to remain in post without a break for 48 hours to ensure the job was completed, using skills formed through his years in the RAF. He has helped to secure significant additions to the maintenance budget and to install innovative new systems, while his leadership has saved lives and implemented changes that will enable a safer and more organised response to any future incidents.


    Bryan Flannagan, City of Glasgow College

    The judges applauded the incredible range of achievements in the two years since Bryan left the Royal Navy. In everything that Bryan has turned his hand to he has made a tremendous impact and demonstrated an innovative approach. Everything he does is used to inspire service leavers in their second careers and to help bridge the gap between the military and the commercial sector. The judges also highly commended Nicholas Hayes, whose dedication to supporting veterans resulted in more than 15 service leavers joining Openreach in just 18 months.


    Graham Allison, Amazon

    Graham was chosen by the judges for the sheer scale of his achievements over the last couple of years, which have enabled him to make it to a director-level position in Amazon at the age of just 35, a feat that is even more remarkable given he spent over five years in the Royal Navy. Graham has also conducted more than 100 interviews with a focus on high-potential military candidates. The judges also highly commended David Gillespie of Collins Aerospace who as well as forging a successful second career has also mentored young people for a career in STEM.


    Amanda Scott, FDM Group

    Amandas impact is clear from the outstanding commendations she has received from senior leaders at FDM Group. She demonstrates great leadership, living by military values both in her civilian job and in the army reserves. She has applied these values to her day job at FDM with great effect, gaining the respect and admiration of her colleagues. Amanda has also inspired others to join the Reserves through being a positive role model and a beacon of everything that is great about the modern reservist.


    Gillian Dowds, Fujitsu

    In order to succeed in her post service career Gillian has been prepared to adjust, initially taking a more junior role in order to enhance her education credentials and to develop her skills and experience ultimately leading to rapid progression. To successfully complete an MBA whilst holding down a full-time job is hugely impressive. At Fujitsu she has managed a major and complex project, through which she has received great commendations from both colleagues and MoD representatives.


    Darren Taylor, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

    Everything that Darren has achieved in his post-military career has made him a genuine role model. He has used his skills and successes to set an amazing example to other service leavers and has never stopped reaching out and guiding these people. He has also inspired the next generation, engaging with local schools as part of the Scottish Governments Developing Young Workforce initiative, promoting both his current industry and the benefits of pursuing a career in the military.


    Emma Chesney, Pasquill

    Since medical discharge in 2010, Emma has carved out a successful second career by applying the organisational and people management skills that she gained in the RAF. Her quick progression and consistent promotions at Pasquill are testament not only to her hard work but to the strong results she has driven for the business. The work she has done to transform workplace culture has resulted in a can-do attitude and greater employee engagement as well as improvements in sales, profitability and productivity.


    Jemima Estabrook, FDM Group

    The judges were impressed by Jemimas team leadership skills and the way in which she has honed them from her military experience training her troops. She is constantly looking to improve and develop her team, while also advancing her own pursuit of personal development by seeking to learn about new technologies or processes. The judges also highly commended Karis Hynd of Royal Bank of Scotland for the high regard and respect she receives from her team and her strong leadership capabilities.

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    Ex-Forces Awards touches down in Scotland for the first time - Real Business

    How to Cure the Renovation Bug? – The New York Times - December 5, 2019 by admin

    The renovation of Geoff and Liz Caans house in Newton, Mass., has been a 16-year work in progress. Since the couple bought the 1920s Georgian-style brick house in the Chestnut Hill historic district in 2003, Ms. Caan, an interior designer who favors rooms bursting with statement-making color and pattern, has rarely rested.

    Renovating and redecorating the rooms one by one, she has overhauled some spaces more than once to suit her changing tastes and the shifting dynamics of her family of five.

    Its like a little laboratory for design ideas, said Ms. Caan, 51. I think your home should evolve with you.

    When she and Mr. Caan, 50, a managing director at SLC Management, moved in, she decided to keep the kitchen cabinets, but added black-and-white striped wallpaper and painted the floor a vivid red-and-white diamond checkerboard.

    A few years later, she replaced the venetian blinds with black shutters, swapped the nickel pulls and plumbing fixtures for brass ones, and repainted the floor with a pattern of interlocking hexagons in two shades of blue.

    Last year, she repainted the floor again, in Farrow & Balls electric Yellowcake.

    I loved it at first its very bright, she said, noting that her goal with the floor has always been to divert attention from the inexpensive cabinets that came with the house. Its funny, because people always love the kitchen, but its really kind of junky.

    The family room has undergone such extensive changes that repeat visitors could be forgiven for thinking they were in the wrong house. When we first did it, it was light yellow, pink and green, Ms. Caan said. It was winter when I did it, and I was in this kind of Palm Beach-y mode like, Get me out of here so I made it look very tropical, light and summery.

    That lasted five years. Then she threw everything out and started over, coating the walls in a deep emerald green and banishing the pink accents.

    Then, two years ago, I just felt like I was more in a blue phase, she said, so she repainted the walls a high-gloss aqua and added cloud-patterned Fornasetti wallpaper to the ceiling.

    And dont get her started on the living room.

    Its had 500 different furniture arrangements I just keep playing with it, she said, to accommodate the furniture and accessories she acquires. Recent additions include a 19th-century English secretary that belonged to Mr. Caans mother (now used as a bar) and a taxidermy zebra mount from SafariWorks Decor.

    Stuck indoors during a snowstorm last winter, she suddenly felt inspired to give the room a salon-style gallery wall. I decided to gather all the art that was lying around, she said. I just started to hang stuff and added little charms and things to fill in the spaces.

    For Mr. Caan, the redesigns sometimes double as workouts. I do help with some of the heavier lifting, he said, literally, in terms of moving things around.

    But he welcomes the changes. Prior to this house, we lived in different cities, in different apartments and houses, he said. With this, you get a whole change without moving, so its refreshing.

    Of course, there were less glamorous improvements along the way. The Caans replaced the heating system, going from oil to natural gas. They finished the basement. They fixed drainage issues outside, and added a bluestone patio and fence. They replaced the gutters and built a new driveway.

    Between the flurries of renovation, there have been a few moments of relative calm. I take breaks, Ms. Caan said, recalling the time in 2016 when she finished renovating the three bedrooms and two bathrooms the master suite and rooms for the couples daughter, Lilly, now 19, and younger son, Leo, 12 on the second floor of the three-story house.

    I did the whole second floor at one time and then took a couple of years off, she said.

    But like a dormant virus, the renovation bug always comes back. I wake up one day and Im like, Oh, that fireplace surround is awful, and I cant live with it for another day, she said. Then I make some phone calls, and its gone.

    When their older son, Henry, 24, left for college, she wrapped the walls and ceiling of his third-floor room in black-and-white, gingham-patterned wallcovering to make it a more welcoming retreat for guests.

    Over the years, the Caans have paid contractors a total of about $430,000, Ms. Caan said, estimating that they spent a similar amount on the decorating (and redecorating).

    And theyre not done yet. For 2020, she has big plans.

    The kitchen and the dining room will be changed, Ms. Caan said. Im going to open them up to become a larger kitchen-dining area.

    And where there are now kitchen banquettes, she plans to add a powder room. She also intends to open up the back wall with big windows and doors.

    Then it might be time to give the house another break. Weve been chipping away at it over the years, she said. Its getting there.

    For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

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    How to Cure the Renovation Bug? - The New York Times

    Christmas events kick off this weekend in Chattanooga. Here’s what to do no matter where you live. – Chattanooga Times Free Press - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Christmas is just around the corner, and every area of town is getting in the spirit. This roundup of local holiday happenings will help you find a way to get festive with your neighbors this holiday season.


    Brew Lights 2019

    Dec. 7, 7-10 p.m.

    Most holiday events are focused on families, but sometimes kid-free festivities are a welcome break. The Chattanooga Zoo's second annual 21-and-up holiday event features animals and alcohol under the glow of colorful twinkling lights. Christmas carolers and DJ Santa will add to the already abundant holiday cheer. Buy tickets at


    Dec. 7, 6:30 a.m. until Dec. 8, 6 a.m.

    The Southside's 12th annual 24-hour block party features something for everyone, from old favorites like the adult big wheel race and chili cook-off to new additions including an axe throwing competition and "what's under my kilt" game. The family-friendly day kicks off with a pancake breakfast followed by a parade down Main Street. Many events benefit local charities, and businesses get in on the action with open houses and sales. Visit for more.

    Chattanooga Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

    Dec. 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 14 and 15 at 2 p.m.

    Chattanooga Ballet's 32nd annual production of this holiday classic returns to the Tivoli Theatre with four showings. This year's production features 200 local children, music from the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, and fresh choreography from the company's new artistic director, Brian McSween. Ticket prices range from $18-$65 and are available at or by calling 757-5580.


    Ruby Falls Christmas Underground

    Dec. 5-8 and 12-23, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday-Friday

    Named a 2019 Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, Christmas Underground transforms Ruby Falls into an interactive holiday wonderland. Visitors can meet Santa in the underground winter wonderland of swirling snow flurries and sparkling geodes, mine for "joystones" and stroll through a Sugar Plum Fairy Village and glittering ice cave. Tickets start at $16.95 for ages 3 and older and include a souvenir joystone. For more information call 821-2544, or visit to buy tickets.


    Hixson Community Christmas Tree Lighting

    Dec. 7, 6 p.m.

    Open to the entire community, this holiday event held at Clear Creek Church of Christ begins with a meet-and-greet opportunity to catch up with friends and meet new neighbors. A program follows at 6:30 p.m. featuring sounds of the season performed by the Hixson High School music department, and the festive evening concludes with the lighting of the tree at 7.


    Christmas Tree Lighting

    Dec. 6, 6 p.m.

    A longest popcorn string contest, ornament crafting, seasonal food and drink, and photo ops with a special guest are among the highlights of this third annual event co-hosted by the city of Lakesite and Covenant Church at Lakesite City Park.


    Holiday Window Treasure Hunt on the North Shore

    Through Jan. 5, 2020

    Shop local for the chance to win a gift basket worth more than $1,000 by participating in the NorthShore Merchants Collective's fifth annual Holiday Window Treasure Hunt, which benefits the Northside Neighborhood House. To enter, pick up a game card from any of the 28 participating businesses and search for hidden gems in the holiday window displays while checking names off your shopping list.


    Christmas Festival & Parade

    Dec. 6, 3 p.m.

    The city of Red Bank's annual holiday festival at Red Bank City Park on Redding Road features family activities, music, food, vendors and a visit from Ole St. Nick. A parade of floats sponsored by local businesses, organizations and groups begins at 6 p.m.


    Town Tree Lighting Festival

    Dec. 7, 4-7 p.m.

    The Mountain Arts Community Center in Signal Mountain is pulling out all the stops for the town's annual tree-lighting, which includes pictures with Santa, stories with Mrs. Claus, a holiday gift market, and free refreshments provided by Life Care Center of Red Bank. The MACC's newly reopened auditorium will showcase performances by Signal Mountain Middle/High School brass and strings, the Thrasher Kool Kids Chorus, the DuRoy Family Sing-a-long, Princess Ballet and a teaser by the cast of "Frozen, Jr." A short presentation will share the story of how soldiers during the first World War called an unofficial truce for the celebration of Christmas.

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    Christmas events kick off this weekend in Chattanooga. Here's what to do no matter where you live. - Chattanooga Times Free Press

    Peloton adds Fire TV and Apple Watch integration while reducing pricing – Digital Trends - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Peloton reduced the price of its digital-only memberships and launched on Amazon Fire TV and Apple Watch apps so members can access workouts outside of owning a Peloton bike.

    The high-end exercise bike company announced the app additions on Wednesday. Peloton is also dropping its pricing for digital memberships from $19 to $13 a month, according to CNBC.

    Peloton wants to be everywhere you are, from your wrist to your phone or tablet, or even to your TV, to make your workout experience even better, the blog post reads.

    For Apple Watch users, the Peloton app will provide metrics like heart rate and pace and distance. You will also be able to see how much time remains on your Peloton workout.

    The Amazon Fire TV integration will allow users to directly access the Peloton app onto their smart TV to take a variety of classes like strength, yoga, stretching, and more.

    Digital Trends reached out to Peloton to find out if more app integrations will happen in the future such as for Android smartwatches or other smart TVs and well update this story once we hear back.

    The digital membership is leaps and bounds cheaper than owning a Peloton bike, which starts at $2,245, plus an additional $39 a month to access 24-hour cycling classes. CNBC reports that the company is looking to move away from having its core user base as cyclers to cater to a broader fitness audience with more accessible price points.

    While the company is known for its high-end luxury bikes and devoted fitness following, one of its holiday commercials has gone viral, and not necessarily for a good reason. Many people have called the 30-second clip sexist and that it has a distinct theme of the husband subtly telling his wife to lose weight. Peloton has since responded to the backlash of the ad, saying it was meant to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey.

    Peloton has revolutionized exercise bikes and fitness tech, bringing all the tech of an in-class spinning experience into your living room. Its by and large the most expensive bike on the market, but with it, you get 24-hour access to studio cycling classes.

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    Peloton adds Fire TV and Apple Watch integration while reducing pricing - Digital Trends

    The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week – Phoenix New Times - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Your plans have arrived. This week, you can browse tons of unique designs at Sticker Drop and Workshop, find a perfect gift for a loved one at Tempe Festival of the Arts, or sample some of the best tamales the Valley has to offer at Tamale Festival.For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times calendar.

    Talk storytelling with Michelle Malonzo.

    Piper Center

    Once a month, literature nerds descend on the Reading Room at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. This month, theyll be discussing who gets to tell which stories, and why. The free Get Lit: Who Can Tell a Storysalon with Michelle Malonzo happens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 5. Expect a lively discussion about who gets to tell the stories of marginalized experience.

    Can authors tell these stories if they havent lived them? Does doing research make it acceptable? What about being an ally? And when does a book about marginalized experience raise awareness, rather than simply profiting from it? Register online if youre attending, so organizers know how many people to expect. Lynn Trimble

    The Valleys hip-hop scene is a tight-knit group, with MCs and other artists regularly banding together to uplift and celebrate the community. This holiday season, several constituents are going one step further by hosting a combination concert and toy drive. The charitable event will feature performances from a slew of local and regional rappers and singers, including J-Luv and Blaze Rock, AkReshon, Joe Louis, Prophetiko, and Rap Van Damme. And all you need to get in the door? An unopened present. Talk about another gift that keeps on giving.

    The 21-and over concert is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, at Yucca Tap Room, 29 West Southern Avenue in Tempe. Chris Coplan

    It's time to celebrate 10 years.

    RPM Orchestra

    The RPM Orchestra are marking their 10-year anniversary with an immersive performance at Langmade Project Space, 1345 West McKinley Street. Its happening at 10:15 p.m. on December 6, after most of the First Friday art shows have closed up for the night. The quintet perform proto-Industrial Americana music and create original soundtracks for silent films.

    Theyre ramping it up for First Friday, by screening two experimental films and adding a stilt-walking percussion performance to the mix. Even ritual troupe Arcane Collective will be part of the action, and youll also get to experience a sonic performance featuring sounds recorded in Civic Space Park. The performance is pay what you wish. Visit RPM Orchestra on Facebook. Lynn Trimble

    Get your sticker fix.

    Wasted Ink Zine Distro

    You can never have too many stickers. So mark your calendar for Friday, December 6. Thats when Wasted Ink Zine Distro will be celebrating five years on the local lit scene with a sticker drop and workshop. Look for designs by diverse zine creators and other artists, which make fabulous additions to everything from books to bikes.

    The free event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Hive, 2222 North 16th Street. Youll find six zine creators tabling in the courtyard, where you can also enjoy food and conversation with fellow sticker geeks. Explore art inside the nearby gallery, or shop local businesses at The Hive while youre there. Lynn Trimble

    This holiday season, you could watch movies with a mischievous man-elf, a cranky old man visited by ghosts, or the one with Jimmy Stewart. For a change of pace, consider catching a screening of the 1974 slasher flick Black Christmas. Here, a gaggle of young sorority girls are threatened by the deranged phone calls of a certifiable psycho killer. But then they all come together to teach him the true meaning of Christmas just kidding, its a bloody horror movie, sillies. God bless us, everyone!

    The screening is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 6, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $10. Chris Coplan

    Having fun along Mill Avenue.

    Lynn Trimble

    Tempe Festival of the Arts returns to Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe on Friday, December 6. Thats your first chance to explore more than 300 artist booths, featuring works in more than a dozen mediums including painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and more. Look for local artists while youre there, and bring your holiday shopping list. Friday festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Festival offerings include a kids zone complete with a youth art exhibition and hands-on art activities, plus live music, street performers, and a chalk art competition. Fourteen artists will be making chalk on Fourth Avenue west of Mill Avenue, inspired by the theme a stitch in time. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble

    Weaam Abbas artwork from a World Refugee Day exhibit.

    Lynn Trimble

    If youre eager to support businesses owned by local immigrants and refugees, block out some time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. Thats when Local First Arizona and several community partners are presenting a free event called World Bazaar Phoenix. The event brings together artisans who make jewelry, clothing, baskets, and accessories, so you can shop local with global flair.

    Youll experience live music and dance from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while you shop. More than 50 vendors are participating, so its an easy way to tick off all those names on your holiday gift list. Bring extra money for food and drink. Lynn Trimble

    The Grinch was spotted at the APS Electric Light Parade in the past.

    New Times Archive

    The Valley doesnt have regular snowfall to mark the holiday season. We do, however, have the APS Electric Light Parade. For its 33rd edition, parade promoters have chosen the theme of Walking in a Desert Wonderland, which seems perfect given temperatures average a brisk 70 degrees. The parade begins at Central and Montebello avenues, heads south to Camelback Road, and turns left at Seventh Street before winding down on Indian School Road. Or, skip the festivities and just check out the pre-parade gathering, where youll peruse the floats up close and personal.

    The parade begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. The pre-parade party, meanwhile, is set for 5:30 p.m. at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Avenue. Chris Coplan

    Tamales are the cornerstone of the holiday season.


    Tamales check every box for the perfect meal. Theyre steeped in rich tradition, tasty whether filled with pork or portobello, and super-convenient to eat. Food Citys ownTamale Festivalis the perfect way to celebrate this dynamic food. The event will not only feature dozens of local tamale vendors, but Food City is previewing several new flavors set to debut in time for this holiday season. And when youre not eating tamales by the handful, enjoy performances by local ballet folklorico dancers and mariachi bands.

    The totally free festival is set for Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 West Washington Street. Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Chris Coplan

    Libraries long have been a place to get your geek on, thanks to their wealth of lendable media and ephemera covering a multitude of subject matters. So it seems fitting that the Velma Teague Library, 7010 North 58th Avenue in Glendale, would host an event like LibCon West, an afternoon-long geek extravaganza happening on Saturday, December 7.

    Various geeky activities will be offered, including programming focusing on gaming, fandom, and cosplay. The pirates of The DREAD Fleet will also present a live show, and local bands Dratini on the Rocks and the Driftwood Quintet will perform geek-oriented music selections. Vendors, special guests, and a scavenger hunt is also planned. The con will cap off with a Lightsaber Walk led by the Jedi of Syndicate Saber through the streets of downtown Glendale.

    The nerdy fun starts at noon and goes until 5 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

    2000 Foot Turtle doing their thing on stage.

    Mirna Estrada

    For most cities, early December isnt ideal for family-style gatherings (unless wintry hellscapes are your bag). But this is Phoenix, and so its only natural the team at The Trunk Space would host the annualWinter Fest. That day, over a dozen bands will hit the stage, including 2000 Foot Turtle, DOMS, No Lungs, Just Another Day, Tullis, and Commiserate, with several sets featuring a joyous selection of holiday tunes. Then, enjoy the local artists, tasty treats, and other family-friendly activities. Have fun with your massive snowstorms, the rest of America.

    The fest is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, at 1124 North Third Street. Tickets are $6, and kids 12 and under get in free. Chris Coplan

    Cast for Black Nativity.

    Black Theatre Troupe

    American poet Langston Hughes transformed the traditional Nativity story for the stage. Hughes Black Nativity, first performed Off-Broadway in 1961, features an all-black cast performing traditional Christmas carols with a gospel twist.

    Black Theatre Troupe will perform its original production of Black Nativityat 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. The performance is a lively celebration of hope, joy, and liberation. Its part of a 12-show run that continues through Sunday, December 22. Black Theatre Troupe performs at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street. Tickets to the show are $41. Lynn Trimble

    A little girl named Rosie was forced to leave her violin behind during World War II as her family fled the ravages of war. Decades later, the German immigrant founded Rosies House, a nonprofit that provides free music education for youth living in the inner city in Phoenix. Children develop character and music skills through various music classes, including choir, piano, mariachi, strings, and more.

    Every holiday season, they perform a free concert for the community. Its a way for young musicians to share what theyve learned and experienced the thrill of hearing a live audience reaction. This years Annual Holiday Concert takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. Its happening inside Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park. Lynn Trimble

    Passengers on the Titanic were thinking big back in 1912 when they set off on the journey that ended in tragedy. Their ship was billed as unsinkable. But an iceberg proved that theory wrong, leaving more than 1,500 passengers dead in its wake. Theres an exhibition that tells the Titanics story of its sinking and the lives of those on board through artifacts and other objects.

    SeeTitanic: The Artifact Exhibitionat Odysea in the Desert, 9500 East Via de Ventura in Scottsdale. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, December 9. Timed tickets are available online. Adult tickets are $20.95 online or $24.95 at the door. The last admission is 45 minutes before closing. Lynn Trimble

    Add a little poetry to your life.

    Rinky Dink Press

    Rinky Dink Pressis celebrating its third birthday this month with the launch of 10 new micro-collections. Each one has a different author whose work you can fit inside your pocket, so youre never far from poetic inspiration. The launch happens at Trans Am Caf,1506 Grand Avenue, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, December 9.

    The evening includes readings by six poets, plus select alumni writers from prior collections. The party is free, but youll need $1 for every tiny collection you want to take home. Feel free to wear your party hat. But fair warning: PBS will be filming the event. Lynn Trimble

    Perhaps youve been fooled by the festive decorations or the touching finale, but Home Aloneis more of a horror flick than a holiday classic. Not because poor Kevin McCallister is left all alone to fend for himself against nasty burglars. No, its because of how utterly prepared he is to thwart Harry and Marv in the most violent means possible. That little bugger is a demon who shouldve been abandoned far sooner.

    Could this analysis help with this weeks Home Alonetrivia? Guess youll find out starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10, at Growler USA, 5415 East High Street. Register your team, or Old Man Marley will eat your fingers or something. Chris Coplan

    If food is what you know, then write about it.

    Julio C?sar Morales

    Writing experts often recommend writing what you know. For most people, food is right up there. Its a fraught topic for some this time of year, as picky eaters gather around holiday dinner tables and doting cooks insist that everyone take a second helping. For others, family gatherings around food bring moments of discovery or joy.

    Whatever your relationship with family and food, writing is one way to explore your thoughts and feelings a bit deeper this time of year. Duane Roen is teaching a workshop called Writing About Family and Food from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11. Its taking place inside Library Room B at Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road in Tempe. The workshop is free, and no registration is required. Lynn Trimble

    Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns.

    Jim Louvau

    The Phoenix Suns recently detailed longstanding plans for a $230 million renovation to Talking Stick Resort Arena, complete with a new scoreboard, sound system, and fancy sports bar. Does the teams record merit such an investment? Sitting near the middle of the Western Conference, our boys could achieve a .500 record for the first time in years. Will said renovation ever improve the Suns chances of one day securing a much-lauded championship? Stranger things have certainly happened.

    Contemplate these questions and more when the Suns do battle with the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 11, at 201 East Jefferson Street. Chris Coplan

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