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Family valued 2.2.05

Georgia on your kid's mind

When is Georgia only 60 miles from Rochester? When her paintings are on exhibit at Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Georgia O'Keeffe and New Mexico: A Sense of Placeruns through May 8.

O'Keeffe's landscapes hang next to photographs of the scenes, which makes this exhibit very accessible. Rather than copy desert views, O'Keeffe emphasized some details and deleted others. What kid can't relate to selective memory?

Straddling the line between realism and abstract art, O'Keeffe's style appeals to kids. It's colorful, it's recognizable, and as with the Cracker Jack boxes of our youth, there's a prize inside each painting.

Sometimes the prize is a face hidden on a canyon wall. But the best prize is an understanding of symbolism. Animal bones aren't necessarily sad. Bones can be beautiful because they show life endures against all odds. It's time kids realized Disney didn't invent the circle of life.

Organized by the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, this exhibit is free for kids 13 and under, $10 for adults (includes gallery admission). Audio wands, with tour options for kids and adults, are $5. My kids loved the wands so much, they didn't even try to use them as weapons.

The Albright-Knox, an outstanding center of modern art, offers free admission on Fridays from 3 to 10 p.m. Fees apply to the O'Keeffe exhibit. Family activities are planned one Friday evening per month. Visit February 11 for a percussion workshop, dance party, and cross-cultural puppet theater. For details, visit www.albrightknox.org or call 716-882-8700.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)

This week for families:

Annie Fri-Sun through Feb 5. Webster Theatre Guild, Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Rd, Webster, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 1:30 p.m. $14, $10 kids. 671-1781, www.webstertheatreguild.org

Beauty and the Beast Thurs-Sun through Feb 6. Junior Repertory Company, RAPA School of Performing Arts, 727 E Main St, Thurs-Sat 7 p.m., Sat-Sun 2 p.m. $12. 325-3366

Brighton Memorial Library Stories for pre-K: Mondays 10 a.m.; for toddlers: Mondays 10:30 a.m.; for families: Thursdays 7 p.m. | Through Feb 25: Alice B. Wilson Literary Awards Contest, for Brighton residents grades 6-12. | 2300 Elmwood Ave, 784-5300

Down in the Valley, Two by Two Wed, Feb 2. Storytelling and singing, David Anderson, Sankofa with Akwaaba, Wheatley Library, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 3:45-4:30 p.m. 428-8212

From Herzl to Homeland: A Family Extravaganza Sun, Feb 6. JCC, 1200 Edgewood Ave, 1-4 p.m. Free. 461-0490, www.jewishrochester.org

Helmer Nature Center Wed, Feb 2, what's a whistle pig?, Helmer Nature Center, 154 Pinegrove Ave, 3:30-5 p.m. | Sat, Feb 5, team trivia, for adults, W Irondequoit High School, 7-10 p.m. $8. | 336-3035

Henrietta Public Library Stories for preschoolers: Wed, Feb 2 and 9, and Tues, Feb 8, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Sun, Feb 6, Mardi Gras, music, games, 1-4 p.m. | Stories for toddlers: Tues, Feb 8, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | Stories for families: Mon, Feb 7, 7-7:30 p.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092, www.hpl.org

Interrupting VanessaSat-Sun, Feb 8-20. Big Theatre for Little People, recommended ages 5-12, Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd, Sat 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sun 1 and 4 p.m. $9-$12. 232-4382, www.gevatheatre.org

Karate Lessons City of Rochester Recreation Centers, ages 8-17. $5.Starting Wed, Feb 2: #42 School, 3330 Lake Ave, 3:30-4:30 p.m. (428-7829) | Starting Tues, Feb 8: Adams St. Rec Center, 85 Adams St, 4-5 p.m. (428-7266) and Webster Ave Community Center, 530 Webster Ave, 4-5 p.m. (428-7828)

Musical Feast: A Midwinter Carnival Sat, Feb 5. Intro to the sounds of the orchestra, instrument petting zoo, kids' games and activities, Hochstein School, 50 N Plymouth Ave, 2-4 p.m. $5, $10 families. 454-4596

Paper Stories and Crafts Sat, Feb 5. Arnett Branch Library, 310 Arnett Blvd, 2 p.m. Free. 428-8268

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005 | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006 | Live Science! demos and theater, Sat 2, 3 (sign-interpreted), 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Wednesdays, book and beast, 11 a.m. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Wed, Feb 2, Wednesdays for Tots, 9:30 a.m. $7, $5 kids. | Tues, Feb 8, Tuesdays for Tots, 9:30 a.m. $7, $5 kids. | Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog, through May 1. | Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700

Swimming Lessons Saturdays through Mar 21. Ages 7-13, various recreation centers and schools. Free. 241-4443

Wednesdays For Tots Wed, Feb 2. Songs with Bart and Kevin, Strong Museum, 1 Manhattan Sq, 9:30 a.m. $7, $5 kids. 263-2700

Gadgets and school: value-addled technology?

My fourth grade teacher ruled her classroom with an iron fist. We all knew the rules: If we had anything other than a textbook, a No. 2 pencil, and a composition book on our desk, it would be taken away. Her desk drawer was filled with Garbagepail Kids trading cards, squirt guns, peashooters, packs of Juicy Fruit gum, and other contraband seized from hapless students. If you were lucky, you might get your treasure back at the end of the school year.

Districts are now wrestling with issues of a generation of high-tech gizmos. What today's student is allowed to bring to school varies, and many parents and teachers wish there were clearer guidelines. Just about any high-tech tool can be turned into a toy that can interfere with classroom decorum. A cell phone that serves as a parent's link to a child can also stream video, play MP3s, send and receive text messages and email, browse the web, and take digital pictures. The phone then becomes more of a distraction than an aid, especially when the polyphonic ringtone sounds during class.

A PDA (personal digital assistant) used for scheduling can become a portable media player when you add a memory chip and a pair of headphones. Handheld gaming devices may help students pass the time on long bus rides, but impede socialization skills that students need to develop. Children spend less time interacting with their peers and are "jacking in" to their gizmos more often.

So, how many high-tech toys are headed for storage in the teacher's "June Box?" Apparently, not that many; as long as gizmos stay in the backpack, they're safe. The number one item? Trading cards... some things never change.

--- Stan Merrell