This summer think Sun Spots. If you haven’t heard about this amazing innovation on the skin-care scene, then listen up. Sun Spots are nifty little adhesive-backed waterproof dots that you stick on your skin, your sunglasses, your beach towel, or anything that’s exposed to the sun. They start out yellow and gradually turn red when it’s time to get out of the sun or to slather on more sunscreen. Available at Foley’s, JCPenney, and Dillard’s.


PROFILE Michael Riffkind is an artist, and glass is his medium. With it he crafts windows, jewelry, even dinner plates, using its fragile and reflective nature to create beautiful and unusual decorative objects. His art is the result of years of experimentation with handmade, American, imported, and antique glass-years spent searching for the right colors, the correct effect. And what an effect it is. Riffkind’s stained-glass windows seek out available light, playfully illuminating living spaces with touches of color and drama. His fused glass jewelry mimics precious stones; his plates can be used as plates or simply hung on the wall. Most of Riffkind’s work is made-to-order, but his plates and jewelry are always on display at his studio. His prices? “My wife says I’m cheap. I prefer to think I’m reasonable.”

-Anne Warren

Michael Riffkind teaches classes in stained glass at North Lake College. For more info, call him or go by his studio at 135 South Main Street in Irving. 259-9642.

KNON’s Window on the World

LISTENING Every Sunday evening a window opens between Dallas, Southeast Asia, and the world. For some, KNON’s weekly Asian radio broadcast is an audio tour across three exotic lands. For others, it’s a lifeline thrown out over the airwaves, providing precious moments of community pride alongside pertinent information like how to get a driver’s license and what 911 means.

Since March of this year, Sunday evenings from 7:30-9 p.m. have been dedicated to Laotians, Vietnamese, and Cambodians living in Dallas. Selections of Southeast Asian popular music are interspersed with local, homeland, and world news during half-hour segments devoted to each culture.

A few refugee community leaders organized the program, aided by SMU graduate student Lance Rasbridge (pictured left). “I see the program as a way to preserve cultural things,” says anthropologist Rasbridge, underscoring the urgent needs of refugees, as opposed to immigrants who are here by choice. “For those who don’t understand English,” he continues, “it’s a way of letting them know what’s going on.”

KNON special programs director Ranger Rita says the program ranks high in station popularity polls, but funding remains an ongoing problem.

-John Trimble and Phyllis Williams

A Good Read

TRENDS The art of reading aloud is experiencing a resurgence, as evidenced by the popularity of books-on-tape. Our household has been celebrating it with monthly readings for a few years now. It started as a “holiday thing,” six or seven friends getting together to read aloud the appropriate holiday text-Dickens’s Carol at yuletide, “Sleepy Hollow” at Halloween, and so on. Soon it became a regular, first-Saturday-of-the-month event. The choices became amazingly eclectic: short selections from Tom Wolfe juxtaposed with Management Styles of Attila the Hun or humorist Jean Shepherd’s saga of the Red Ryder BB gun.

People invited as spectators invariably end up as participants; there’s something gratifying in sharing passages we personally find delightful. And then, discovery! Some writers (Dickens, for example) are a lot more humorous-even bawdy-when read aloud.

Starting a reading group is easy. The host need provide nothing more than a well-lit room and a selection of throat-soothing beverages, honey-laced tea and fruity liqueurs are among the favorites.

To begin, readers should keep their choices to under 20 pages, with longer selections passed around the room. Normally, in a group of six, everyone reads at least twice. Source materials range from short stories to magazine articles to newspaper commentaries; until you’ve heard Molly Ivins’s words, you’ve been missing something.

-David Alex Schulz



According to highly placed Hollywood sources, the growing influence of the news media can be traced to a number of films depicting Fourth Estaters as heroes, naifs, and scoundrels.

James Woods is a photographer at his downest and outest in Salvador (1986), a movie that mixes fact and fiction in depicting the rise of U.S.-backed repression in El Salvador. Our foreign policy is amply bashed, but Woods, playing another manic slimeball, is no Galahad either.

All The President’s Men (1976) set the standard for reporteras-hero movies, with Dustin Hoffman hunt-way to the truth about Watergate, goaded end stymied by Jason Robards Jr. as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. The dialogue crackles and the newsroom vérité scenes are memorable.

Sometimes the press gets it wrong in Sally Field’s accidental smearing of Paul Newman in Absence Of Malice (1981). Newman, a heat-seeking missile of revenge, demands much more than a letter to the editor; but Field has the tougher role, and she’s a perfect blend of contrition and strength.

Mel Gibson spends The Year Of Living Dangerously (1983)snooping around Indonesia as an Aussiecorrespondent making sense of the country’s civil strife whilemaking time withSigourney Weaver.The elfin Linda Huntsteals scenes as aphotographer (and aman), but the film’s production values are abysmal.

-Chris flicker


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