Back to nature

Escape the stresses of the season at Christmas at Beech Creek Gardens, a nature-oriented holiday celebration going on Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 27 at Beech Creek Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve.

Kids can take in the fun, educational exhibits of Candyland & the Christmas Express, while grown-ups can get creative at craft workshops. And everyone can join in making gingerbread houses on select days.

Details are at www.beechcreekgardens.org, or call 330-829-7050.

Beech Creek is at 11929 Beech St. NE in Stark County’s Washington Township.

Songs and sorrow

When Adele recently talked to Rolling Stone about the perils of fame, the topic almost inevitably turned to Amy Winehouse, another powerhouse singer. But where Adele has won an Oscar and recently renewed her conquest of the music world with her new album 25, Winehouse has been dead for more than four years — and her life story is one laced with suffering and substance problems as well as musical virtuosity.

It is the latter more than the former that drew people to Amy, a documentary about Winehouse that has been widely admired (96 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the five nominees for the Producers Guild of America’s documentary feature award), And it arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday.

As one critic said of it, “it’s the music that suddenly feels monumental because somewhere in that dark stream of rolling notes and rumbling minors, we can hear the eternal soul of human sadness turned, for a brief moment, into something undeniably beautiful.”

Harsh ‘Hunting’

Quarterback Jameis Winston recently threatened to sue CNN over its plans to telecast The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. CNN aired the program anyway and, if you missed it, you can find it on DVD and Blu-ray beginning Tuesday.

Coming from the makers of the documentaries The Invisible War and Outrage, The Hunting Ground professes to “reveal an endemic system of institutional cover-ups, rationalizations, victim-blaming, and denial that creates perfect storm conditions for predators to prey with impunity.”

But the controversy over it goes beyond Winston’s objections to the way it handled his case, in which he was accused of sexual assault while at Florida State but neither charged with a crime nor found to have violated the school’s code of conduct.

Looking at another case in the film, Slate’s Emily Yoffe questioned the film’s version of it. She said that “it’s the filmmakers who should be asking themselves what is good and what is just. Sexual violence on campus is a serious issue, and it is imperative that we understand its dynamics, work to prevent it, punish wrongdoers, and aid victims. Blurring the truth, and failing to tell both sides of the story, is not the way to achieve these goals.”