Author: Sophia Pierce

Exciting Events in Austin, Texas

Along with so many other wonderful attributes, Austin is well known for its many festivals, shows, exhibits, and rallies. Too many to list in their entirety, below is a small but substantial compilation of a very diverse selection of monthly/seasonal events.

To begin the year, visitors may attend the Austin Home and Garden Show. Throughout the second week in January this grand display, hosted by the Austin Convention Center, offersa variety of exhibitions and programs which include on-site expert advice in the areas of home decorating, home repair, and outdoor landscaping, gardening, and up keep. Another option would be the Annual Tenant Show. Here guests can view (moderately priced) featured works of art from the fields of photography to jewelry to sculpture! This is event is held at the beautiful Guadalupe Arts Center.

In February the Carnival Brasiliero will bringpatronsthe opportunity to explore one of the largest extravaganzas of its kind outside the Brazilian borders. This wildly entertaining event is filled with alluring Brazilian music, brilliant costumes, and hours upon hours of adventurous fun. In other circuits, visiting tourists can attend the Motorola Marathon. This speedy expedition begins its marked course in the northwestern sector of Austin, heads through downtown toward Town Lake, and ends at Auditorium Shores. Its exciting route features several of Austin's landmarks along the way.

During the first week of March, guests can visit the Texas State Arts Festival. Throughout this celebration, artists, craftsmen, musicians and stage actors come together to celebrate Texas culture and history. This exciting event is easily located across from the Texas State History Museum. Another exhilarating occasion to be part of is the ever popular South by Southwest. Visitors may join an eclectic variety of multimedia artists, musicians and film makers as they display and advertise their creative works. For the chocolate lovers, the Austin Chocolate Festival may be just what the doctor ordered. Presented by Fat Turkey Chocolate Company, this noble cause supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

In Austin, the month of April is full of interesting adventures to be had. The Austin International Poetry Festival highlights poets from around the globe for four days of poetic bliss. Several venues participate and host a variety of sessions such as "To Rhyme Is Not a Crime" and Friday Madness. The Old Settlers Music Festival brings an array of award-winning Americana musical artists, crafts, delicious foods, and tasty beverages. This festival features acoustic jazz, blues, bluegrass, and other old time rock n' roll.

Throughout May, Austin begins to truly blossom. In early May, a glamorous event is hosted by the Parmer Events Center called the Wonderball. This enchanting evening brings together young ladiesand their fathers and grandfathers to share a magical experience. As part of its origination, Austin hosts a Taste of Mexico. This magnificent rally offers an abundance of Old Mexican cuisines developed by some of the best restaurants in the area. Its purpose is to entertain the public with a variety of eatable ensembles and to remind the locals about their city's original culture and heritage.

In early June, the Austin Museum of Art – Laguna Gloria hosts the Texas Greek Festival. This wonderful benefit celebrates the Greek culture through enticing foods and pastries, live music, and traditional Greek dancing. The Texas Hill Country Railfair & Festival is another delightful pastime to fill a summer day in Austin. Here, featured locomotives and cars from model trains to real trains are displayed in a magical "railroadiana". As an added bonus, the Hill Country Flyer rides its tracks throughout the day from Cedar Park to Burnet.

In July, The Austin Symphony performs its annual Patriotic Concert which wraps up with an astounding fireworks display over Town Lake. For the car lover, the Stone Mountain Event Center presents the Samuels Summer Sizzle Show & Shine Shindig, Austin's largest classic car show complete with fabulous door prizes and tons of fun. This event benefits such charities as Make a Wish and St. Jude's Children's Hospital. For the thrill seekers, Slick Willie's Family Pool Hall supports Midnight Madness,a treasure race taking participating teams through the winding streets of Austin. Groups of up to six players move from clue to clue throughout the city, trying to get ahead of the competition. The final clue will lead them back to home base (Willie's). Exciting prizes go to the winners, but everyone can expect to have an incredible time with plenty of food and beverages to go around.

Late summer brings one exciting event after another to the Austin area. During the first week in August, the annual Austin Ice Cream Festival invites the public and their pets to play games and enjoy live entertainment and delicious ice cream, at the lovely Waterloo Park. Batfest invites thousands of people to come to Town Lake and downtown Austin to view the magical spectacle of the flight of the bats while shopping for unique crafts and listening to exciting live bands. In September nothing says Austin tradition like the famous Austin City Limits Music Festival. This non-stop music extravaganza rolls on for more than 30 continuous hours; jam packed with set after set of rockin' music displayed on eight stages, performed by the hottest local and not so local bands.

The month of October is filled with non-stop action and fun for Austin's visitors. The Austin Film Festival compiles viewings of both Indies and top-billed films from major production studios, along with a Screenwriter's Conference allowing new writers to meet and work with seasoned writers and screenwriters. The Maker Faire is a fun-filled event that celebrates local tinkerers, inventors, builders, crafters, hackers and other creativity-minded folk. This entertaining event is held at the Travis County Expo Center. The New Belgium Brewing Company sponsors Tour de Fat, a festival developed in honor of all programs that support health awareness through cycling that features fabulous bicycle stunts, live entertainment, and lots of delicious Belgium libations. At the end of the month, Halloween on Sixth Street calls all the ghouls and goblins out to play. This spooky spectacle brings together thousands of decked-out participants to one of the largest Halloween celebrations around.

November and December light up the streets of Austin with the true spirit of the holiday season. The Chuy's Christmas Parade brings marching bands, vintage cars, celebrities and floats to Austin's holiday celebration. A Victorian Christmas on Sixth Street is a magical transformation from today's hip vibe to old world Victorian for Austin's unique downtown strip. This celebration includes parades, food/beverages, and an enormous variety of booths offering superbly hand-made crafts. Drawing closer to the year's end, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar offers an eclectic assortment of unique gift items coupled with local amusements, old Austin style, to entertain its guests. This fantastic event is held at the Austin Music Hall. At Santa's Workshop visitors join together to indulge in wonderful music, games, crafts, and beverages, and to share a moment with the beloved…Santa Claus. Finally, the month-long festival, Trail of Lights and Zilker Park Christmas Tree Lighting, begins with the lighting of the Zilker Tree which opens the mile-long trail of lights carved through Zilker Park. Patrons are welcome to experience this whimsically-lighted fairyland throughout the holiday season.

Austin leaves no time for boredom for its many local inhabitants or curious visitors. Whatever your fancy, this fabulous city has something that's perfect for everyone.



Five Newsworthy Events Michael Jackson Would Have Made Much More Interesting

In the world of entertainment and pop culture, the right music can have a profound effect on a situation. The Imperial March makes Darth Vader's appearance in "Star Wars" both ominous and magnificent. The indie rock soundtrack compiled by Zach Braff transformed "Garden State" from a cute indie film into a movie that spoke to a generation and launched the careers of several fringe bands. A swell of triumphant lyric less notes on "Biggest Loser" tells you it's time to share in the emotional rise or fall of a contestant as they're informed of the week's weight loss. And the opening notes to the song "Thriller" lets 1500 Pilipino inmates know it's time to break into a choreographed dance routine in the yard.

On June 25th, 2020, two years will have passed since American pop legend (and frequent headline maker) Michael Jackson passed away from cardiac arrest brought on by abuse of the drug propofol. Though it's easily argued that the King of Pop's best songs had already been recorded, the footage from the planned "This is It" tour made it crystal clear that Michael Jackson, "Entertainer", still had some moves to share with his fans during the 50 dates scheduled at London's O2 Arena between July of 2020 and March of 2010. It's shameful, really, to think what could have been. Concert wise, that is.

Which got us thinking: what if MJ hadn't stopped with his planned tour dates? What if he had lent his image, songs, or opinions to some of the major happenings of the last couple years? What follows are the Top 5 situations over the past 12 months we would have loved to see Michael Jackson's name attached to.

5) Heidi Montag's Plastic Surgery

Over a career that spanned nearly five decades, Michael Jackson's dalliances in plastic surgery were constant fodder for tabloid magazines and inquiring minds who questioned the rationale behind Jackson's ever changing appearance. Considering that his efforts were seemingly focused on one body part (his nose), it's curious to try and gauge what Jackson's take would have been on 20-something Montag's head to toe reconstruction. Not content to adjust just her nose, Montag- a stunning starlet before her surgeries- underwent procedures that ranged from simple (liposuction) to bizarre (part of her facial reconstruction included having her ears pinned back). We'd like to think that Michael would have taken a stance of solidarity in this situation, standing beside Heidi in her quest for physical perfection. Not that anyone would have taken her any more seriously as a result, but at least she'd look a little less…plastic.

4) Michael Jackson as Cameo Actor (Movies)

As amazing- nay, amazeballs- as it was to see Mike Tyson's mug in "The Hangover" franchise, how fantastic would it have been for the Wolfpack to run into MJ doing a legacy show in Vegas? Or hiding in the backroom of some dirty Bangkok bar? For that matter, with his pale complexion he could easily have slapped on a little glitter and played a small- but soulful- role in one of the "Twilight" movies. Don't tell me Stephenie Meyer couldn't have penned a part for Gloved One (clearly worn as protection from the sun).

3) The Use of Michael Jackson as a Gauge for Career Damage Due to Scandal

Back in the early 90's- long before news was made, broken or exacerbated by texting (Rep. Weiner's graphic messages), facebook, uncensored twittering (Roger Ebert's controversial comments on the death of Ryan Dunn), and all manner of evolved methods of instantaneous data delivery- Michael Jackson had to weather quite a storm of scandal involving allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. Though Jackson was never convicted of the crime, his name was still raked through the mud on television and in print.

Though it's impossible to say what impact social media would have had on Jackson's case, it would be interesting to be able to use it as a thermometer to grade the severity of a situation. For instance: Mel Gibson has seemingly tarnished his reputation and career beyond repair following a DUI, anti-semitic remarks, and a tape where he uses racial slurs and is implicated in domestic violence. Better or worse than MJ? Using after-scandal product sales (album sales for Jackson, ticket sales for Gibson) as a measure, Gibson would be dubbed the more severe scandal having brought in less than $1 million at the box office for his latest film, "The Beaver"; Jackson's post-scandal release, "HIStory", sold over seven million units. Sorry, Mel.

2) Michael Jackson as a Cameo Actor (Television)

Several shows on TV could have easily incorporated Jackson into story arcs where he played himself or a fictional character. High atop the list of fantasy appearances would be a Jackson 5 era appearance on "Mad Men". With the series moving through the 60's, it's easily believable that Don Draper would have occasion to take his kids to a Jackson 5 concert at the Apollo. Or perhaps he could have played a creepy serial killer nemesis for Michael C. Hall to study on "Dexter". He could have even duetted with "30 Rock" star Tracy Jordan on a re-issue of "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" with a "Thriller" theme. The possibilities are endless!

1) The Use of Michael Jackson Songs for Ridiculously Appropriate Soundtracks

With the amount of crazy behavior that's been chronicled in the media in just the last six months or so, we'd like to suggest the following Michael Jackson songs be used when speaking of their respective headliners.

"Thriller"- The Dallas Mavericks' NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat

"PYT (Pretty Young Thing)"- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's indiscretions with a 17-year-old prostitute

"Beat It"- Anything to do with Charlie Sheen's firing from "Two and a Half Men", Oprah Winfrey's parting from syndicated daytime television, "surprise" withdrawals from "The Bachelorette", or Brett Favre's(potential)retirement from the NFL.

It's sad to think what could have been if Michael Jackson was still with us, but it's heartening to know that the legacy he left will be entertaining us long into the foreseeable future.


Father's Day Events for Sports Fans and Outdoor Enthusiasts in Dallas, Texas

Father's Day is Sunday, June 19. Celebrate all weekend long and treat dear old Dad or that special person in your life to an adventure in the great outdoors. Enjoy an outdoor movie, bond during a family sleep over at the Dallas Zoo, eat barbecue ribs on the Cowboys Star or fish for a propane grill.

Half Price Books Presents Movies in the Parking Lot
5803 East Northwest Hwy
Dallas, Texas
Phone: (214) 379-8000
When: June 16, 8:45 p.m.
Cost: Free

Half Price Books is hosting a series of free outdoor movies this summer. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One," is on the schedule for June 18. Bring a comfortable chair and enjoy a free movie amid the starry sky.

Overnight at the Dallas Zoo
650 South R.L. Thornton Freeway
Dallas, Texas
Phone: (469) 554-7500
When: June 18-19, 6:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 per person, minimum age 7

The Dallas Zoo is celebrating Father's Day with a special overnight event for families. Visitors check in Saturday evening and enjoy a night tour of ZooNorth before taking a s'mores break. Bring a flashlight and bedroll for the indoor sleeping area. Adults may want to bring an air mattress for extra support.

The next morning begins with a continental breakfast followed by an Animal Adventures Outreach program where you can get up close and personal with a critter. After a monorail ride, families can enjoy the zoo for the rest of Sunday.

Visit for complete details and registration information.

105.3 The Fan Father's Day Barbecue
Cowboys Stadium
1 Legend Way
Arlington, Texas
Phone: (817) 892-4000
When: June 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $25 to $49

Are you ready for some barbecue? The admission price entitles you to enjoy a barbecue lunch, walk the field, pose for a photo and collect autographs from football players.

Admission is free for kids ages 3 and younger. Free parking is also available for this event. Get complete details and purchase tickets at

Lone Star Park's Father's Day Fish-for-a-Grill Contest
2200 North Belt Line Road
Grand Prairie, Texas
Phone: (972) 263-7223
When: June 19
Cost: $5 admission

The first 200 men age 21 and older through the Grandstand admission gates on Father's Day will have the opportunity to spend five minutes fishing in a tank. Those who catch a special fish will enter a random drawing to win a propane gas grill. (This sounds like more fun than the Mother's Day contest where women dug in a mud pit looking for a diamond.)

Visit for complete details.


January Family Friendly Events


Eagle Watching: Head to to go eagle watching. While you are there take the kids for a ride on the ferry, and check out the Piasa bird. The ferry is 6.50 each way.

1/7/2020 – 1/11/2020

Disney on Ice

Where: Scottrade Center

Price: $15.00 – $17.00

1/9/2020 – 1/11/2020

Longhorn Rodeo

Where: St. Charles Family Arena

When: 7:00pm

Price: $14.00 – $29.00


Loop Ice Carnival

Where: University City

Price: Free

1/17/2020 – 1/19/2020

Cardinal’s Winter Warm-up

Where: Millennium Hotel Downtown St. Louis

Price: Adults- $40.00, Children 5 – 15- $10.00, Under 5- Free

1/28/2020 – 2/1/2020

St. Louis Auto Show

Where: America’s Center Downtown St. Louis

Price: Adults- $9.00, Children 6 – 12- $5.00, Under 6- Free

If you would like your event added to next month’s event listing, please contact me at


Revealed: The Queen's Speech in the Event of Global Thermonuclear War

A recent article in USA Today reports that in 1983, Queen Elizabeth of England had a speech prepared for her in the event of the outbreak of a nuclear war, similar to the one her father, King George VI gave at the beginning of World War II.

The text of the speech, obviously never given, was released along with a number of other classified documents by the British government under the "30 year rule."

1983 was a year in which concern that a global thermonuclear war had reached new heights, largely due to President Reagan's policy of confronting the Soviet Union. The Nuclear Freeze Movement, which proposed stopping the building of all nuclear weapons, was at its height. The movement at that time was passing resolutions opposing the deployment of nuclear Pershing and cruise missile in Western Europe to counter Soviet SS-20s and attempting to elect leaders, including a new American president, who agreed with its agenda. An FBI investigation suggested that while the Nuclear Freeze Movement was not controlled by the Soviets, it was heavily influenced by the KGB.

1983 also saw the airing of a movie, "The Day After," that purported to show what the effects of a nuclear war would have been in and around a small town in Kansas. "Threads" a British version aired the following year.Both movies caused comment and controversy,

The Queen's speech was obviously never given, and might not have been in any case if conditions after an initial nuclear exchange had prevented it, was an attempt to provide comfort and encouragement to the British people in what would have been the darkest hour the human race would have every experienced.

"My message to you therefore is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it."

Despite fears to the contrary, a global thermonuclear war never occurred. President Reagan's strategy brought about the end of the Soviet Union and with it a global catastrophe that would have occurred if the two super powers were ever to clash.


Summer Movie Festivals and Events in and Around Atlanta

Summertime and movies are a perfect match. Whether you join an outdoor festival for the thrill of watching the Big Screen while picnicking and relaxing, or cool off in a air-conditioned theater while the movies transport you to another world, there’s plenty of chances to go above and beyond just renting a movie in and around Atlanta.

The first big movie-related event of the summer is the Monster Bash at the , June 6th. The event starts at 2 PM, with movies starting at dusk. There will be monsters, movies, hot rods, models, and music!

Then, when you think of film festivals in Atlanta, you think of the Coca-Cola Film Festival at the fabulous Fox Theater. You have never had a movie experience like the one you will have at the Fox. The building itself is worth the $8 ticket. The twinkling ceiling, the art deco design, and the biggest screen in Atlanta make for a real adventure. Add great movies like The Blind Side, a double feature of Ferris Bueller’s Day off and The Breakfast Club to let some of us relive our youth, and The Wizard of OZ, all playing in June, and you have a can’t-miss opportunity. For $12, you get a movie ticket and a wine-tasting to make everything even more special.

Atlanta offers free movies, too, including Flicks on Fifth, a series of free movies at Technology Square in Midtown, located between Spring St. and Williams St. on Fifth St. These movies will be presented every Wednesday, from
June 10-July 21st. Some chairs are provided, but you are well-advised to bring your own lawn chair or blanket. Movies include Sherlock Holmes, The Hangover, The Blind Side, The Hurt Locker,Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Hot Tub Time Machine. Movies begin at approximately 9 PM.

Free movies are also offered at Screen on the Green in Piedmont Park. Movies began on May 27 and will run through June 24. Upcoming movies are Dream Girls, Star Wars: A New Hope, and a viewer’s choice movie on the 24th. Movies start at sunset.

Regal Theaters offers a great deal for parents: free kids’ movies every Wednesday at 10 AM (but get there early, it can get crowded.) The movies run all summer. There are Regal Theaters all over Atlanta and metro, Google Regal for a location near you.

So, as you can see, it’s no chore to find great summer movie events in and around Atlanta. The chore is deciding which ones to see!


Philadelphia Film Events from February 17-February 22, 2013

Film visionaries from the old school and new school merge for an eclectic mix of work to entertain, educate and inspire audiences in Philadelphia. These screenings in varied neighborhoods across the city allow movie fanatics to enjoy both classic, world and modern cinema without leaving their hometown.

Sunday, February 17

Temple University is partnering with the Philadelphia Film and Video Association to host the school's MFA Thesis screening, at the International House of Philadelphia in University City. The event, titled "On the Road," features several narrative short films covering diverse stories about blindness, vision, emotional trauma and culture shock, to name a few. Filmmakers and alumni from Temple's Department of Film and Media Arts are expected to be in attendance to celebrate their work. There is no charge for this public screening.

Tuesday, February 19

Magnolia Pictures is hosting a special advance screening of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection, "A Place at the Table" at the Ritz 5 Theater in Old City. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, this documentary reveals the serious implications of hunger crisis in America. The stories of three Americans experiencing food insecurity are interwoven through interviews with experts and activists who are working to solve the national hunger problem. Attendees are encourages to join Jacobson and Silverbush for a post-screening discussion. Free tickets to this event are available through reservations.

Wednesday, February 20

The Institute of Contemporary Art presents a screening of the 1970 film, "Cleopatra" at the International House if Philadelphia. Directed by Michel Auder, this movie is an improvisational take on the 1963 Hollywood classic starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It also features Andy Warhol's ensemble cast including Taylor Mead and Andrea Feldman.

Thursday, February 21

The Philadelphia Film Society and the University of the Arts are hosting a screening of "The Fifth Season" at the Gersham Y in center city. Directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, this Belgian film is about a small village that does not experience spring – bringing the harvest to a standstill. This circumstance also causes chaos among the residents. The screening is being presented as part of a "Passport to World Cinema" series intended to showcase the year's strongest films from around the globe.

Friday, February 22

Millersville University is screening a live cinema performance titled "Funny Bones" at The Ware Center on their Lancaster campus. Hosted by Dan Kamin, this event features film clips from the work of Charlie Chaplin, live music by one of the school's music students, a classic Chaplin short and live demonstrations. The two-hour program is part of the Fam Fun Fest and open to the public.



Reviewing the Kentucky Derby Festival Events – The Great Balloon Glow

I'll never forget the first time I saw a hot-air balloon. I was six or seven. I was playing outside of our house and heard the WOOOSH, WOOOSH, WOOOSH, of the burners overhead. It scared me, and then scared me even more when I saw the now familiar outline of a hot-air balloon coming over my head. The friendly pilot waived down at me and I waved back. Instantly I was hooked on this method of transportation. A year or two later, my parents took me to the Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race at the Fairgrounds, and I overcome with a love for hot-air balloons.

Sadly, it took me close to 30 years to attend the events in person. In that time, the Kentucky Derby Festival has added several balloon events, including the very popular Great Balloon Glow.

The Event

The Great Balloon Glow is held the night before the Great Balloon Race at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Shortly before the sun goes down, many of the balloons that will be competing in the Great Balloon Race roll out their envelopes and begin filling them with the hot air that will bring them up to the sky. As music pumps all around them, the balloons begin to rise. When the command is given, all of the balloons attempt to fill their balloons with several seconds of flame from their burners, causing the balloons to simultaneously glow.

This event was started in 1993 after bad weather forced the Great Balloon Race to be cancelled. This event gave balloonists the chance to show off their balloons before a large crowd.

Event Rating — 9

The Great Balloon Glow is one of the more popular events of the Kentucky Derby Festival, attracting an average of 65,000 people to the Kentucky Exposition Center. Children and parents alike wander around the lawn of the Kentucky Exposition Center staring in amazement at the many shapes, sizes, and colors of balloons that surround them. My wife, daughter and I truly enjoyed the event because it gives you access to all of the balloons and allows you to see them all inflated and it one place for an extended period of time. You could appreciate the difficulty that crews must have getting some of these balloons, such as the Energizer Bunny, inflated. Many of the balloons were also giving out free goodies for the kids. The only downside to the event is that the "glow" itself is somewhat disappointing. It's very difficult for all of the balloons to fire up at the same time, so the effect of all balloons lighting is brief and limited .

Ease of Attendance — 8

The Kentucky Exposition Center has lots of parking (for $5) on the grounds. The popularity of the event means that you may wind up parking far away from the balloons, however, so be prepared if you have young kids.

Family Friendliness — 9

The Great Balloon Glow is almost perfect for families. It's held on a weekend evening and it has something for everyone in the family. Everyone loves the beauty of the balloons, and your kids will enjoy getting the stickers, pins, and other items being given away. At last year's event, there were even rides indoors for the kiddies. The only downside to this event is the massive crowds and lack of lighting at the event make it very easy to lose anyone who gets separated from you. Additionally, you should be prepared for mud if it has recently rained.


Michigan's Proposed Sporting EventsTicket Tax Must Be Stopped

As you may have heard, the state of Michigan is suffering through a landmark financial crisis, ranking 49nd in the nation in unemployment in a recent survey. The state government is in serious debt, and Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm is planning to do something about it.

Her target? Sports (as well as concert and movie) fans in Michigan. She's banking on the notion that Michiganders are too closely attached to their teams at this point to give up going to the games, even if they have to pay more out of their already shallow pockets to continue to go.

And with the Tigers in the midst of a pennant race as both young and old fans discover (and re-discover) a sport that used to be so dear to the hearts of Detroiters, the tax seems even more difficult to bear.

The tax would add up to around $24 million per year on sports tickets for Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons, Lions, Michigan International Speedway, minor league baseball, and hockey events. Tigers season ticket taxes for a family of four would range from $230 to more than $1,200 per year extra and for a similar family Red Wings season tickets would cost between $597 to more than $1,900 per year extra. It is expected to be about 6% overall for each ticket to a game.

You can't fault Granholm for her creativity, but the bottom line is that she is picking the wrong segment of society to mess with this time. The same loyalty and passion that she seems to be banking on to make the tax work if passed are the same traits that are going to make it exceedingly difficult for the tax to pass in the first place.

Sportstalk radio was abuzz with people voicing their almost overwhelmingly negative opinions of the tax right after it was announced, and many hosts including WDFN Sportsradio 1130's popular morning host, Sean Baligian, are leading campaigns to let state representatives know that the tax is a bad idea and should not be passed.

I happen to agree with the protestors, as the tax is a difficult for families that are already cash-strapped in many cases by the economy as the auto companies that are the backbone of the state's economy continue to slash jobs with not enough viable replacement opportunities in sight in the immediate future.

Sporting events are one of the few places where families can get away from it all and bond over a common interest, and ticket prices have already been going up in the past decade and also more recently. Red Wing ticket prices saw increases in the playoffs that made it difficult to sell out the historically packed Joe Louis Arena, Michigan season ticket holders have had to pay extra fees, and Tigers ticket prices have also gone up as a result of the team's resurgence as a contender.

The tax also appears to be short-sighted, because while every major pro team in the state is successful right now except the Lions, it's difficult to predict when these teams might fall off. If they do happen to hit hard times, the tax will make the tickets an even tougher sell in many cases and people will end up staying home in larger numbers. Just because tickets are hot items right now doesn't mean they will be in the future.

Some people argue that the tax is a necessary evil and is a better idea than continuing to cut in other areas, but there has to be something better Granholm can find to tax because the last thing the state needs is for less people to attend sporting events, which are one of the few positives in the downtrodden Michigan economy.

Tigers games in downtown Detroit are helping to revitalize parts of the inner city as sports bars and restaurants are packed on a continuoual basis, and if people have less disposable income because of this tax, they will be less inclined to spend money on things like a meal or beers before a game, not to mention team merchandise in the local and in-stadium shops, and even more money will leave the already poor city of Detroit.

Any way you slice it, this idea seems completely misguided and it's becoming increasingly obvious that sports fans won't stand for it. Fans wishing to voice their displeasure with the tax can go to for links on how to contact their state representatives.

And if you're a fan of sports in general from out-of-state who disagrees with this tax, Michigan fans could use your support as well. If the tax is somehow successful in Michigan, it just might set a dangerous precedent and lead to taxes in neighboring states as well in a time when sports ticket prices are already on the rise to begin with.


Harry Potter Book Events in Kansas City on July 21

Calling all Muggles! Where will you be at 12:01 AM on July 21? If you're in the Kansas City area, here's where your fellow Muggles will be!

Harry Potter Extravaganza
Location: Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, 4801 Main Street
Hours: 10.00PM – 1.00 PM
Admission: RSVP
Contact: 816-701-3481

Come join us on Friday, July 20 for a 3-hour Harry Potter Extravaganza. The magic begins at 10 PM. We shall have our very own version of the Hogwarts Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Attend the Potions class where you can concoct bouncy balls, test tube candy, and other wizardly potions. Have your fortune told, and test your Magic IQ in a history of magic trivia contest. This magical night will end at midnight with a reading of the first pages of The Deathly Hallows, by none other than KMBC-TV's Chief Meteorologist Bryan Busby.
Immediately following the event, you can buy your own copy of the book from the Reading Reptile. All proceeds will go the Library's Children's Book Fund. What's more, you may be the lucky winner of one of twenty copies that we are giving away! Magical!

Harry Potter Summer School
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Campus, 45th at Walnut, 64111
Hours: 6 pm – 8:30 pm, Monday – Friday, July 16 – July 21
Admission: $20 for the First Child, $15 for the Second Child, $10 for Adults, $45 Max for Families

This is not your regular Vacation Church School – come find out how! We are currently accepting students between the ages of 2 – 99. School opens on July 16, and closes July 21. Classes will run from 6 pm – 8:30 pm, Monday – Friday, culminating with an Outdoor movie showing that Friday at 9 pm. And then, a minute after midnight, the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released to our students. Email for an application form or for more information.

Harry Potter Party!
Location: Legends 14 Theatres, at the "Main Attraction" Theatre 7
Hours: Friday, July 20, 8:30 PM – after 12:00 AM, Midnight.
Admission: Admission Packages include a Movie Ticket and a $10.00 Concessions Gift Card. Call for details.
Contact: 913-428-2989or 913-384-3126

The party begins at 8:30 PM and does not stop until after midnight. It will be a "monumental movie presentation" of "epic proportions!" First, the new movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will begin at 9:00 PM, showing on our four-story high, 87-foot wide movie screen. Then we'll have a drawing for lots of great family fun prizes and packages. At the stroke of midnight, we will release the book you have all been waiting for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pre-Release Party
Location: Mid-Continent Public Library, Red Bridge Branch, 11140 Locust, 64131
Hours: July 14, 2007, Saturday 2:00 PM
Admission: RSVP – Registration is required
Phone: 816-942-1780

Come join the party as we celebrate the release of the seventh and final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and of the latest movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." It will be a fun, magical time with lots of trivia, games and refreshments. You will also get to make your own wand, as you enjoy ythe company of fellow Harry Potter fans.

Barnes & Noble Harry Potter Midnight Magic Costume Party
Town Center Plaza, Leawood 4751 West 117th St
Hours: July 20, 9:00 PM
Admission: Free
Phone: 913 491-4535

To celebrate the July 21st release of the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Barnes & Noble is hosting a very special Midnight Magic Costume Party. Dress up as your favorite character from the series, and come enjoy an enchanting night of spellbinding prizes and activities, great photo opportunities, Harry Potter Memorabilia, and lots of magic.