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In a time when unemployment remains high, fires ravage homes and hurricanes flood neighborhoods, many people will be left in a cold, dark place this the holiday season. According to Feeding America, at least 23.6 percent of all children are at risk of food insecurity in the Brazos Valley alone, or 1 in 6 on a household level.
Whether you serve food to a hungry community neighbor or hand a gift to a small child, many in the community are working together to ensure every person does not go without over the holidays.
Below are a few organizations with a need for helping hands this holiday.
From a pictorial book that chronicles the history of College Station to a science fiction novel following the hardships of a shape-shifter hiding in a river valley, Brazos Valley is home to successful authors who have created texts that appeal to an array of reading tastes.
Bryan resident Martha Wells has penned 10 successful fantasy novels with publishers Tor Books and HarperCollins. Her newest novel, The Cloud Roads, is published by Night Shade Books. Wells, who says her life goal has always been to be a successful writer, is “really happy and grateful to be doing this. It’s not an easy profession to get into, so I’m very fortunate being where I am.”
As expected, writing a novel is not simple or easy. “For a novel, it takes me about a year, start to finish, more or less, to complete it,” says Wells. “As a writer, you have to be persistent and have to come back to your work every day. You have to go back and keep working on it even if you get discouraged.”
Aspiring novelists would do well to heed Wells’ advice. Her most recent novel received a starred review from Publishers Weekly: “Wells…merrily ignores genre conventions as she spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with.”
Wells, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology, uses her education to fuel the creativity and authenticity in her far-flung words. “It helps me in the fact that I write fantasy,” she says. “I make up different worlds and settings, which isn’t an easy thing to do for everyone. You can’t really do that without knowing how real cities and places and cultures work.” Many of her works, including a number of short stories and nonfiction articles, have been published in eight languages and enjoy a world-wide following.
On Wednesday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Rudder Auditorium at Texas A&M University, the classic Mel Brooks movie has come back to life here in the Brazos Valley. You'll have a monstrously good time at this spectacular new production, winner of the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award and the Broadway.com Audience Award for best musical. This wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein (that's Fronkensteen) as he attempts to create a monster – but not without scary and hilarious complications. The brains behind the laughter is mad genius and three-time Tony® winner Mel Brooks himself – who wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book – along with his record-breaking team from The Producers: five-time Tony® -winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman and three-time Tony® -winning writer Thomas Meehan. Please note: Mature Subject Matter youngfrankensteinthemusical.com
For a fun-filled weekend on October 28-29 after the Missouri football game at Texas A&M University, complete your weekend by heading down to downtown Bryan’s Wacky, Wicked Weekend. A Haunted House in the basement of the LaSalle Hotel is just one of many attractions. Admission is $1 or a non-perishable food item to benefit the Food Bank. The Haunted House opens at 5 p.m. both days and will be 'G-rated with a Disney theme that is “spooky but not scary” for younger kids; from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. the Haunted House will be “scary not spooky” for those 15 years and older.
Other attractions include spooky carriage rides, a downtown scavenger hunt where you can win fantastic prizes and Model T and Model A car parades. There will also be haunted history walking tours that are led by local historians dressed in period costume. In the fun arts and crafts area at The Children’s Museum, there will be mini pumpkins to paint and face painting available.
The Downtown Bryan Association will be sponsoring a Downtown Merchant Window Decorating Contest where you can vote for your favorite window display. For more information about all the weekend events, call (979) 822-4920.
This year marks the fifth annual Monster Bash fundraiser for The Theatre Company of Bryan, and they are celebrating with three performances of the outrageous, not politically correct classic Rocky Horror Picture Show. There will be three performances only: Friday, October 28, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 29, at 8 p.m. and 12 midnight.
The Rocky Horror Show is a long-running British horror comedy stage musical, which opened in London on June 19, 1973. It was written by English-born New Zealander Richard O’Brien, and came in eighth in a BBC Radio listener poll of the “Nation’s Number One Essential Musicals.” The play was adapted as the 1975 film 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show,' a cult hit and the longest-running theatrical release in film history.
The Brazos Breeze Flute Choir will perform their season opening concert on Sunday, October 23, at A&M United Methodist Church in College Station. The concert begins at 6 p.m., and the church is located at 417 University Drive.
The Brazos Breeze Flute Choir will be performing a combination of original works for flute choir and orchestral transcriptions. The composition of the group is piccolo, C flutes, alto flutes, bass flutes, string bass, and percussion. Robert McElroy, former conductor of the Houston Symphonic Band, conducts the Brazos Breeze. The members of the Brazos Breeze are professional musicians from cities around the area including Huntsville, Bellville, Brenham, Anderson, and Bryan/College Station.
The Red Wasp Film Festival began in the spring of 2002 at 7F Lodge, owned at that time by Craig and Carol Conlee. After meeting with local filmmaker Mark Beal, Carol Conlee realized that a local film festival could fill a void by providing access to films most people would otherwise never see.
It could be you; it could be the person walking by you in the grocery store or the child sitting next to your child in class. The changing economy has changed the face of homelessness as well. Most important, it could happen to any of us, says Ron Crozier, director of community relations for Twin City Mission.
Twin City Mission aims to provide a home for the homeless, a friend for the friendless, and hope for the hopeless. They don’t just provide a service for the community; they are truly part of the community, reaching out to help others in need. “The face of homelessness is moving toward a trend of people needing short-term assistance,” Crozier tells us. There is a national, state and local trend occurring where professionals have been laid off due to the current economic trends and are simply unable to find new jobs.
“Homelessness can happen to anyone, because of anything,” says Crozier. “There is always the fear factor of homelessness. The second someone looses a job and is late on a payment, that fear enters their mind.”
Homelessness today is a far cry from what we see in the movies or from what most people perceive. The National Alliance to End Homelessness has added the current State of Homelessness Report to their website and the statistics are sobering. In one year the homeless population has increased by more than 20,000 people, just over 3 percent; the population of homeless families with children increased by more than 3,200 households or 4 percent in that same time frame. The increase in homeless families is more than any other group mentioned in the report, including single individuals, veterans and those designated as chronically homeless.
Some people run against time or for the thrill of competition, while others run simply to say they have finished a race. Some find running a drug they cannot get enough of; for others it is a one-time training experience. Regardless of where you fall on this scale, there is a local race that matches your motivation.
Google “marathons, half-marathons, 5Ks” and discover a plethora of runs – many local – that are motivating people to get off their couches and get moving. Nowadays, these races have become goals to signal achievement and items to check off your bucket list.
Cliff Latham, who has a M.S. in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition, is the official running coach for the B/CS Marathon coming in December. He points to the fact the race is the first local marathon as yet another sign of more runners wanting to head off to the races. Bryan/College Station has always had big half marathons such as the Armadillo Dash, but Latham says that the current local running craze is driven by the impending local marathon, which is also a qualifier for bigger races such as the Boston Marathon. Latham leads a running club that helps runners pace their training to match up with upcoming races, providing both the support and the push runners need to help them reach their goals.