Family vacations don't have to be grueling nine-hour treks that zap energy and wallets. As Southern California's tourist destinations proudly roll out their newest attractions for summer, competitive promotions can save local families the equivalent cost of parking at LAX for a week. Three of the attractions even have food covered, offering kosher options for observant families.
The Broadway blockbuster by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, which tells the story of what happened in Oz before Dorothy dropped in, has been selling out in ticket presales on its national tour. So you might have better luck finding a pair of ruby slippers than a seat at the Pantages, where it flies in from now through July 31, starring Stephanie J. Block, Kendra Kassebaum and Carol Kane.
But this tale, with its Grammy Award-winning music, based on the book by Gregory Maguire, isn't your grandmother's "Wizard of Oz." (Judy Garland never used words like "swankified" or "disgusticified.") This show is all about Elphaba (a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (a.k.a. the Good Witch of the North) -- who used to be best friends.
But who was really "wicked" and who was really "good?"
Eleven teams. Thirty days. One-million dollars. Zero bagels. That is what 32-year-olds Avi Scheier and Joe Rashbaum tried to face as one of the teams on the sixth season of the around-the-world reality show "The Amazing Race."
"Race" teams are given clues telling them where to go and what tasks they must perform. At the end of each episode, the last team to reach the "pit stop" is eliminated -- the first team to cross the finish line at the end wins $1 million.
Brace yourself. This Sunday night, some angels, a spy, a cynic and a meddling mother-in-law are coming over to break the Fast of Gedaliah. You don't have to feed them, however. They're all part of the 56th annual Emmy Awards on Sept. 19, hosted this year by comedian Garry Shandling.
You've bought the perfume. You've ordered the flowers. You've reserved the brunch. You forgot the card.
Picking out exactly the right thing to say to mom on her special day is not easy. The funny cards aren't very Jewish; the Jewish cards aren't very funny.
Take one part Aimee Mann, one part Pete Yorn, stir in some Tori Amos and add a dash of Yiddishkayt and you've got two of the newest sounds in rock.
Picture the "Bad News Bears" in a basketball court, add kippot and a dash of Chanukah and you have the makings of the Disney Channel's latest original movie, "Full-Court Miracle." The film is based on the true story of Lamont Carr (Richard T. Jones), a down-and-out former University of Virginia basketball star, who is asked to coach the Hebrew Academy Lions by the team's captain Alex Schlotsky (14-year-old Alex D. Linz). Schlotsky, after learning about the Chanukah legend in school, is convinced that Carr is really Judah Maccabee. Meanwhile, Alex's mother, a doctor, wants him to give up basketball and follow in her footsteps.
Talk about fiction: A show with four women who live in Manhattan and spend most of their time talking about men, eating and shopping -- and none of them are Jewish? That all could change this season on HBO's "Sex and the City," when one of the gals considers heading to temple.
Mah Nishtanah Ha Lila HaZeh Mikol HaLeilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights I'm required to act like a 25-year-old adult, but on this first night -- being the youngest person at my seder table -- I get to be a kid.