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Family values 11.24.04

'Persian Treasures: The Best of Iranian Animation'

fter consecutive weekends seeing what $150 million can achieve in animation, our family just watched a group of shorts that represent the other end of the spectrum. We were enthralled.

"Polar Express and The Incredibles are just there to laugh at and have fun with," Lila explained. "These cartoons actually have a meaning to them." Bahador, the last of the six, was her favorite, a political allegory about a town of mice oppressed by a gluttonous king with a "monster" who frightens the citizens. The animators employ puppet mice, clay sets, scorpions, and even a live animal to great effect.

Each film has its own style, from the silhouette animation of the folk tale Sweet Story, to claymation in the riotous Companion, and even a story told entirely through characters and sets made entirely of yarn, Shangoul and Mangoul (somewhere between the three pigs and the three billy goats gruff). As the credits roll on Companion, the camera recedes to show us the "set" sitting on a table, a reminder that simple technology can be all that's needed to support good ideas.

Lila pointed out that "all but the goat one have a meaning to include others." Yes, and there is also a running theme of goodness in the face of oppression. Lila says, "Most aren't really funny, they're sad," but my two-year old boy was simply entertained, laughing long and loud throughout.

Persian Treasures plays Sunday, November 28, at 3 and 5 p.m. at the Dryden Theatre, George Eastman House, 900 East Avenue. 271-3361, www.eastmanhouse.org

--- Lila and Adam Wilcox

This week for families:

Double Dutch 41 Backus St. Double Dutch, ages 6-12, Wednesdays 2:45-3:30 p.m., #30 School Gymnasium, 36 Otis St. Register, 428-7860

Genesee Valley Park Ice Rink 131 Elmwood Ave. All ages open skate, Mon-Thurs 12-1:15 p.m., Fri 12-1:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m., Sat 9 p.m.-10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m., Sun 2-3:15 p.m.; Skate & Shoot (helmets required) Mon-Fri 1:30-2:45 p.m., ages 13 and up, times subject to change. $2-$4 428-7889

Henrietta Public Library 455 Calkins Rd. Tues, Nov 30. Preschool storytime, 11-11:30 a.m., ages 3 and 4 | Pre-register. 359-7092, TDD 321-1499, www.hpl.org

Holiday Pet Photos Sat-Sun and Tues, Nov 27-28 and 30. GRASP with Donna's Pet & Praise Training Academy, 520 Stone Rd, Sat 12-6 p.m., Sun 1-6 p.m., Tues 5-9 p.m. $9.99 per package. 234-1953, 865-PETS

Mood Makers Books Sat, Nov 27. Children book club, 274 N Goodman St, 1-3 p.m.

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Family nights, ZooDiscovery classes. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org

Sex and drugs

These words strike fear in the hearts of parents of teenagers. That makes sense. The harsh truth is that teens have high rates of death due to accidents and mental health problems linked to drugs and sex. We can recall our own behavior and attitudes when we were adolescents. We probably remember close calls that drove our parents crazy, not to mention those things we did that they never found out about. We have scars, too. We ought to worry.

Open communication with our teens is the best way to prevent substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. We don't want to preach to our kids because they'll turn us off faster than Lawrence Welk. They have to want to talk with us. A teenager in my care explained it all to me. "Why would I talk to them about sex and drugs? They never tell me about what they did when they were my age." That is the answer and the challenge. Can parents muster the courage to confide in their teens about their own early experiences with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and sexual exploration? Can we tell our kids what we didn't even tell our parents?

My experience with adolescents is that they will talk when parents will share the lessons of their past, model honesty, and be imperfect. It is really hard to do. The odds are that our kids will respond with, "Gee, Dad, I'm doing a lot better than you did." Then we can say, "I know."

--- Laurence I. Sugarman, MD