Soul satisfying volunteer event; fair warning for filmgoers

Fair warning: Lois says not ‘Before Midnight’ nor after should readers bother catching the latest in the ‘Before Sunrise’ series starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.

By Lois Caplan

OF ALL THE VOLUNTEER JOBS I’VE TACKLED IN MY LONG LIFE, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Annual Back to School Store is both the most fun and the most satisfying. My 23-year-old granddaughter Claire agrees with me. When she is in town for the event she volunteers to escort a youngster through the beautifully equipped “store” to help outfit a child with all the clothes and school supplies he/she needs to start school. 

This year’s Back to School Store will be held on Sunday, July 21. Youngsters will leave the store with new sneakers, a winter coat, other clothing and school supplies. With the help of personal volunteer shoppers, the youngsters are outfitted with clothes and books they select themselves. Thanks to individuals who sponsor one or more children at $180 each, numerous kids are outfitted for their first days at school. If volunteering is not your cup of tea, become a sponsor.  Call NCJW at 314-993-5181 to offer your services or your donation. 

FREE PARTIES SOUND IRRESISTIBLE TO ME. On Aug. 16, at the Third Degree Glass Factory from 6 to 10 p.m. there will be artists in heat defying acts turning molten glass into glorious art. At 6:45 p.m., Third Degree will host the Union Avenue Opera when it gives a sneak preview performance of Wagner’s Die Walkure. The Rosewood Band will perform, there will be fire spinning in the courtyard and Chef Heidi will serve small plates for in gallery or al fresco dining. It’s a free party (not the refreshments) at Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar in the Central West End. No reservation required – just go. 

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS SO BAD YOU WERE IN PAIN FROM IT?  Last week I had just that experience and thought about how grateful I would have been if someone would have warned me not to go see “Before Midnight,” a film that received some fine reviews from movie critics. It was their reviews that convinced me not to read any more critical comments or surely not to believe them.  I hated the $21 bucks it cost me for three tickets but most of all I despised the long, painful two hours I spent watching a film that was more boring than watching paint dry on the walls. I keep reminding you that my employment by the Jewish Light will hit the 50 year mark in September (just a month shy of the paper’s gala Oct. 6 at the Ritz-Carlton celebrating 50 years of independence) and in these many years I have hardly ever criticized an artistic endeavor. Neither a play nor a concert or a ballet or a movie has ever inspired my enmity to the point that this worthless piece of soporific cinema did. I do hope that it was not written by your grandchild.

CHICAGO’S ANDREA KRAMER IS AN ATTORNEY, AN ARTIST AND AN ACTIVIST who makes beautiful, elegant jewelry, which is now  available in St. Louis. I was introduced to her work by Nancy Yawitz, who is Kramer’s representative in town and the daughter of my old friends, Aubrey and the late Juanita Yawitz. Kramer’s one-of-a-kind, handmade jewelry is inspired by her personal crusade to empower women and promote gender equality.

While traveling in Africa and Asia, Andrea saw unique jewelry worn by locals for special occasions. She started designing bold and inspired necklaces, bracelets and earrings, combining unexpected materials – bone, horn, glass, wood, vintage Lucite, rhinestones and clay– and the Andie K line of wearable art was born. 

The Andie K mission is to empower women around the world. She donates all profits to charities that benefit women and children. Since it was launched at the end of 2012, Andie K has contributed to many organizations including the Women’s Treatment Center, the Chicago Foundation for Women and a Silver Lining Foundation.

Here in St. Louis Andie K jewelry is available at the Designing Block, Distinctions and Mary Tuttles. For more information on Andie K. Wearable Art contact Nancy Yawitz at [email protected].