Health December 2, 2014

Body & Soul


The Power of Storytelling [pg. 2]
Healthy Movie Snacks [pg. 3]
From Magic Lanterns to Holodecks [pg. 4]
Getting Red-Carpet Ready [pg. 5]



The Power of Storytelling

Discovering Spiritual Value in the Movies We Watch


Can watching a movie like “Fried Green Tomatoes” help you discover your personal courage? Does “Mrs. Doubtfire” provide insight into dealing with divorce? And can “The Bucket List” teach us how to grow older more gracefully?

While most people watch movies like these for mere entertainment, a growing number of therapists believe that films, just like art, theater, music and dreams, can help us learn more about ourselves, connect us with each other and help us work through a myriad of life issues.


The website lists hundreds of movie titles and the issues they relate to. The basic concept is simple: Characters in a movie struggle with the same types of issues as we all do, and we can learn new approaches to solving our problems. Movies encourage tears and laughter and help reduce anxiety, fear and bottled-up anger. They provide a safe environment to examine our feelings.


Most cinema therapy occurs with the guidance of a therapist but can also be experienced on a personal level. The key to gaining insight from a movie or other art form is to experience it with conscious intention and process your feelings afterwards, such as in a discussion with a therapist or group of friends.

“Just experiencing art in itself can have a healing effect, but I think the intention we bring to it helps determine its effect,” said Reverend Ken Brannon, rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley. “So, if you go to a movie because you know it’s on a particular theme and it’s something you’re experiencing in your life, you open your heart to whatever you might learn. That might be more therapeutic than saying, ‘I’ve got some time to kill, let’s go to this play.’ Your receptivity is different.”

Brannon’s familiarity with using drama, role-playing and storytelling in therapy comes from his studies at New York University where he earned his master’s degree in Drama Therapy. He subsequently worked in New York psychiatric units and with prisoners on Rikers Island using drama therapy and improvisational theater in their treatment.

“How do you feel, how did you connect with the other actors, are questions to ask,” Brannon said of movie watching. “Part of it is: What am I looking to get out of the movie, and also the self-awareness of who am I, who do I understand myself to be? If we have those kinds of conversations, our ground is just riper for things to take root.”


Stories, fables and fairytales have been part of therapy for a long time. Likewise, according to Brannon, much of the power of movies comes from storytelling. “That’s how we connect with each other—we tell stories about our day at the dinner table, we listen to our children’s stories about school. Movies give us something to talk about, a common ground that connects us.”

“I think movies can be deeply spiritual,” Brannon said. “Some movies can be spiritually uplifting, and some can be spiritually damaging. I’ve walked out of movies before because I’ve felt like it wasn’t good for my spirit to be in that movie. Horror movies for me are not helpful. They are made to activate that place in the brain that triggers fear, and I kind of feel that, as a people, we’re scared enough,” he laughed.


He noted that movies help us define and expand the roles we see ourselves in. “Let’s say you understand yourself to be a victim. You can ask yourself, ‘What would it be like to be in a role of empowerment, or a hero? How can I expand or deepen my roles?’ 

“Movies can help us do that because they give us examples, and we see that, ‘Hey, I can be more than I am, I don’t have to be stuck. There’s more available to me than what I’m living out.

“Good art can definitely be healing.”


Snack Attack

Healthy Snacks for Movie Night


Jicama sticks with cayenne pepper make a great (and healthy) movie snack.

We’re hardwired for it. Even young children who have yet to step foot inside a movie theater—who have not hitherto glided past the colorful concession stand and inhaled the smell of butter-slathered movie popcorn—understand the power, and the need, for a movie snack. The perfect symbiosis of a well-timed snack and movie cannot be understated, and although the ethereal “Sno-Caps,” and delectably spicy “Hot Tamales” are tempting to include in your at-home movie snack repertoire, there are other healthy alternatives that pack a serious flavor punch.  

Local chef and caterer extraordinaire, Judith McQueen, lends her expertise to our snacking cause with a few ideas for delicious treats that you can create in your own kitchen. McQueen preaches simplicity when it comes to her food, and one of her movie-night snack recipes that is deliciously simple is roasted grape tomatoes. When they’re roasted, these little beauties develop a charred skin, while their insides are sweet and caramelized. Add some kosher salt and a few flecks of pepper and you have a deliciously gourmet movie snack.  

Along with your roasted tomatoes, try this take on the crunchy and iconic movie snack we call popcorn—add a splash of Braggs Liquid Amino Acids to your kernels for some salt and depth of flavor. Then sprinkle on a few teaspoons of olive oil. The combination of the two flavors adds a saltiness and rich quality to the popcorn that becomes a seemingly decadent treat. Braggs is full of, well, amino acids, and protein, thanks to the non-GMO soybeans from which it’s made. Olive oil is a healthy eater’s best friend and is a great alternative to butter on your popcorn.

For even more crunch appeal, try peeling and slicing a jicama root into sticks. Mix together a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of cilantro and cayenne pepper.  Roll the jicama sticks in the mixture, sprinkle with sea salt and munch away!

Judith McQueen likes to roast heirloom teardrop tomatoes for a healthy but flavorful snack on movie night.

Molly Brown, owner of Glow Live Foods Café, has a special appreciation for movie nights.  With two small children and a successful business, Molly definitely enjoys being at home, especially if it’s a night with her husband, yummy vegan snacks and a good flick. One of her family’s favorite movie night snacks is coconut-oil-crazed popcorn. For this Brown pops one-quarter cup of organic popcorn seeds in one-quarter cup of coconut oil (high heat). She then drizzles an additional cup of melted coconut oil over the popcorn and sprinkles with four tablespoons of nutritional flakes (which are high in protein and B vitamins) and some pink salt.
For an adult bowl, she adds two tablespoons of spirulina.

For a healthy hot drink, Brown makes a vegan hot cocoa by mixing and lightly warming homemade almond or coconut milk, melted coconut oil, a sprinkle of cinnamon and one tablespoon of raw cocoa. 

Whatever your perfect movie night at home entails, be sure to include some of these scrumptiously healthy snacks. You might even try smuggling a few of these nibbles into your local movie theater. You’ll leave the movie both enlightened and healthier. Just make sure you don’t get caught!


From Magic Lanterns to Holodecks

Technology's March Continues to Enhance the Movie Experience


The magic of movies is that they can instantly transport us to a different space and time. Filmmakers serve up a new and different world for us and our imaginations take it from there.  The magic of technology is that this mysterious leap of faith can happen anywhere we happen to be. Anywhere.

Consider my dad’s report from his otherwise uneventful return home from Norway: “My screen on the second leg of the trip didn’t work, so I couldn’t watch movies.” Let’s give that a closer look. He could not watch movies at 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean while traveling at over 500 miles per hour. Hmm. The last time I had my teeth worked on, I watched a movie from a flat screen that was mounted on the ceiling. In restaurants, unruly children are pacified with movies on smartphones and tablets.     

Safe to say, movies have become an integral part of our everyday activities. 

It all started with a remarkable 17th century invention called the magic lantern. Danish mathematician Christiaan Huygens discovered that by placing a concave mirror behind an oil lamp, an image painted on a glass slide (and eventually photographic film) could be projected onto a wall. As slides were added and then mechanically moved in and out of the projected light, motion pictures were born.

The first modern-day movie theaters opened around the turn of the 20th century showing short, silent, black-and-white films. The era was marked by two epic feature-length silent films: D.W. Griffith’s 1915 release of “The Birth of a Nation” and the 1925 debut of “Ben Hur,” which did not include Charlton Heston, the iconic actor most associate with the film.

Films with synchronized sound, or “talkies,” were introduced in the 1920s, the most notable of which was “The Jazz Singer,” a feature film musical starring Al Jolson. While Technicolor was invented in 1916, it took decades for color to find its way into everyday film fare. Some consider the 1952 release of “The Wizard of Oz” to be the true coming of age for color film.

For the following couple of decades, advances were mostly in quality: the fidelity of the sound and resolution of the images.  That was the case until the advent of 3D films, which had their heyday in the ’50s, with a resurgence in the ’70s and ’80s, and again in the last few years. Computer-generated imagery (CGI) also found its way into films during the ’70s and ’80s, with the “Star Trek” films and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” among others. The first full-length CGI film was “Toy Story,” which was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released in 1995. Before that, it would have been hard to imagine that a computer could generate imagery sophisticated enough to convince us to care about the story of a bunch of toys. 

Theaters themselves have also evolved from the intimate, single-screen theaters to include drive-ins, IMAX theaters, and sprawling multiplexes. There are now “4D” offerings in which the experience of a 3D film is augmented by effects in the theater like wind, mist and vibrating seats.

Advances in technology have also enabled us to bring these sophisticated experiences home. In fact, some home theaters are on par with the most state-of-the-art theaters open to the public. Older viewers will remember the old 8mm film projectors playing family three-legged races and birthday parties. Those were replaced by videotape (remember the Betamax versus VHS wars), then DVDs and now Blu-Ray discs. With everything converting to digital format, one can easily and instantly access almost any film ever made. Movies can be rented from local shops, vending machines or online companies. With dedicated movie channels on cable, video on demand, and streaming on the Internet, the same transaction can be done all electronically and remotely.

As technology progresses, it becomes more and more portable. And so do our movies. No longer restricted to theaters or living rooms, we are free to roam the planet and watch movies at will. In 1987, when “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” was released, few people could predict that in a couple of decades that same film could be viewed via built-in screens on planes, trains and automobiles. This advancement has made travel more pleasurable for many people, not least of whom are the parents of small children. Portable DVD players, smartphones, tablets and laptops play movies anywhere we happen to be. The proverbial silver screen is now pocket sized.

Size doesn’t matter though. It’s more about the experience one is after. The world’s largest IMAX screen is 117 feet tall; Google Glass’ display is less than an inch and is integrated into eyeglasses. It doesn’t support movie watching yet (most people prefer using both eyes for that activity anyway) but that doesn’t mean it won’t soon.

The future of movie watching could even be “a chip in your head,” said Kyle Baysinger, owner of Maestro Technology Solutions. “But seriously, no matter how the technology changes, the majority of us don’t have a room dedicated to immersing ourselves completely in a story told by light and sound. Going out to a movie theater will always be an entertainment experience people will want. Who knows, maybe someday it will be a holodeck (of “Star Wars” fame) with a completely interactive story that is personal to the individuals attending. Whatever we as humans can imagine, someday the technology will probably exist to make it happen.”


Getting Red-Carpet Ready

All of the Local Shops and Stops to Look Like a Star


Today, the red carpet is synonymous with entertainment awards, Hollywood glamour and VIPs, but just why is it we use a red carpet? Legends and stories abound, but most sources point to the red carpet color being attributed to ancient Greece and the classical play “Agamemnon,” in which the lead character in the play is welcomed home on a red carpet that is representative of the gods. The red carpet subsequently became worthy of those who were “god-like” in the eyes of Hollywood. 

The world’s most famous walk the red carpet for awards ceremonies, such as the Oscars, to strut the latest fashion trends, hairstyles and priceless jewels. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity to create your own red-carpet look or throw an Oscar-worthy party! Our Valley has all of the perfect shops and professionals to get you “red-carpet” ready. 


Ladies and gents, let’s start with the gown, or tux for you dapper dudes. Lists abound for the best (and worst) dressed at the Oscars, and some careers soar or stumble based on those choices—whether Renée Zellweger’s yellow, Halle Berry’s sheer floral, Anne Hathaway’s glittering silver or Gwyneth Paltrow’s girlish pink Ralph Lauren gown. The good news is that not only can you find your perfect outfit right here in Sun Valley, where shops carry lines from all the black label designer name brands like Versace, Alexander McQueen, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino, Ralph Lauren or Brunello Cucinelli, but local shop owners can also provide expert advice on how to customize your look to be on trend with that particular and unique local style know as “Sun Valley Formal”—where everything from glittering gowns to jeans and jewels abound. And men, don’t worry if you traded in all your suits for North Face gear, you don’t need to buy a tux. From baby blue with ruffles to classic black and slim tie, renting a tux has come a long way, baby, and you can choose from high-end designer to retro and cool. 

Local Resources

Elle Rose on Sun Valley Road (designers such as Versace, Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Missoni, Jitrois, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino), with baubles and bags to match. Brass Ranch in the Sun Valley Mall carries Ralph Lauren (cue Gwyneth Paltrow’s girly pink Oscar win) and Panache features exclusive collections of fabulous Diane Von Furstenberg and Donna Karan, as well as the understated, yet elegant, Brunello Cucinelli, with all the trimmings to match. Sheepskin Coat Factory and The Board Bin both rent tuxedos for gents, and Consign Design and Déjà Vu offer an opportunity to visit the best consignment and vintage designer stores, where you can find designer brands at a fraction of the price. Splurge while sipping champagne at Paula’s in Hailey and remember to own that red-carpet-worthy look!


Dripping in diamonds turns heads. No red-carpet event would be complete without talking about the “rocks,” and actresses (tastefully) dripping in jewels is a tradition that began in 1944 when actress Jennifer Jones first borrowed pieces from Harry Winston’s to walk the red carpet. Nowadays, actresses are dripping in jewels. Lupita Nyong’o was decked from head to toe in Fred Leighton for her 2014 Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress, while competitor Jennifer Lawrence donned a $2 million Niel Lane crystal, diamond (100 carats) and platinum necklace (down her back). But neither could top the $15 million Harry Winston cluster pendant worn by Charlize Theron (featuring more than 155 total diamonds). Now that’s a statement necklace! But sometimes all you need is a simple bangle or a pair of sparkly earrings to create a similar effect (cue Gwyneth Paltrow’s stunning cuff with her earring- and necklace-free white Tom Ford ensemble in 2012). The stones you choose have impact as well. Diamonds, which are the only gemstone composed of one pure element, carbon, are bonded in perfect symmetry in every direction, which explains their reputation as gemstones bringing clarity, power, strength and longevity, while emeralds were rumored to offer protection and rebirth and were a favorite of Cleopatra, who wore them and even engraved them with her likeness to be given to her guests as gifts. You won’t find Angelina Jolie handing out the 115-carat emerald earring from Lorraine Schwartz from her 2009 Oscar appearance, but you may find some dazzlers of your own to create a lasting look for your own perfect ensemble!

Local Resources

Barry Petersen Jewelers on Sun Valley Road and Holli Jewelers in Ketchum both offer unique pieces out of the ordinary, Towne and Parke in Sun Valley is a treasure chest of bedazzling bounty and the jaw-dropping displays at Jensen Stern in The Galleria are not to be missed. Looking for one-of-a-kind estate pieces? Bring your outdated ‘80s pieces into Christopher & Co. (in Hailey) and have Christopher create a fresh new look for a fraction of the price! 


Now that you are outfitted, let’s talk about your locks. From up-dos to sleeked-back ponytails, the flair for great hair abounds at any red-carpet event (the Sun Valley Wine Auction and Share Your Heart Ball count, too)! Fortunately, the Valley abounds with highly trained stylists who can transform your hair into a mane of luxury or stunning up-do. Bring a photo sample and then turn it over to the pros. Just remember that the style may need to be altered to fit your face shape, hair texture, color or length. Tips from the pros: Book your appointment ahead of time and be sure to wear a button-down in order to avoid wrecking your creation before you even get a chance to slip on your gown. One more tip: Most hair designers prefer that your hair not be squeaky clean because it’s easier to work and tease slightly dirty hair. 

Local Resources

3rd Floor Salon, Halo Hair and Chic in Hailey have experts who can help tame your mane. And Vertu and Three Monkeys in Ketchum feature top stylists as well.


Next on our list: makeup! No need to go to department stores—all of the paint and polish a girl could desire is at her fingertips here in Ketchum. Begin with a facial to remove those dead skin cells and create that healthy glow. Buff and polish right down to your toes—a mani-pedi is an easy way to add polish and flair. Gone are the days of French tips; think outside the box with choices like grey, green and gold! 

And, finally, there isn’t an A-list star in Hollywood that doesn’t splurge on a spray tan, so don’t be caught looking pasty white at your red-carpet party. Just remember to wear loose clothing, and shower and shave before you go—you don’t want to rub, scrub or wash off your newly acquired glow. Of course, if you really want to do as the celebrities do and turn back the hands of time, consider a little injection. Botox and fillers are more common than you may think. Just make sure you do your research first. Slight bruising or redness might occur, so plan ahead. 

Va-va-voom! You are ready to host your own red-carpet party and look fabulous! 

Local Resources

Your first stop is Pure for an amazing facial and professional makeup session—pure heaven! A full line of Smash Box cosmetics awaits the do-it-yourself gal at Brass Ranch, and Simply Skin is a great place to find SPF-friendly products that keep those damaging rays out. To achieve your healthy beach glow, book a spray tan at Zenergy (and consider a massage before as well). The 3rd Floor Salon in Hailey also offers expert spray tanning. Second, go to the Tanning Company and opt for a quick machine spray tan or bake in a bed. Or third, have Simply Skin apply all-over tanning cream. Fingers and toes will thank you if you book your treatment at the glamorous Chic boutique in Hailey (offering hair, nails, toes and beauty treatments such as facials and waxing). Saigon Nails in Hailey offers walk-in appointments, and In-and-Out in Ketchum is affordable, friendly and fast! And Nails by Sherine offers a soothing aromatic experience with meticulous attention to detail. Dr. Tom Crais in Hailey and Simply Skin in Ketchum’s 511 building have a complete menu of treatments, from Botox and fillers to peels and eyelash treatments.

This article appears in the Winter 2015 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.