• The Henn Theatre welcomed moviegoers excited for this year’s Star Wars entree, The Last Jedi.
    The Henn Theatre welcomed moviegoers excited for this year’s Star Wars entree, The Last Jedi.
  • The only edible houses in the gingerbread house display at the Murphy Art Center were made by Jennifer McMahan’s fourth grade class at Peachtree Elementary School.
    The only edible houses in the gingerbread house display at the Murphy Art Center were made by Jennifer McMahan’s fourth grade class at Peachtree Elementary School.

SCOUTING AROUND: 'Star Wars' fans flock to the Henn

   Jedi returned to the Henn Theater Thursday night. Since the theater was unable to show Star Wars: The Force Awakens two years ago due to compatibility issues with the digital format, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the first episode in the newest trilogy of the saga at the theater.
   “We are thrilled,” said Paul Fry, who co-owns the Henn with his wife. “Everybody seems to be hyped about it. ... They’re glad that the Henn is back.”
   Richard Davis has seen every Star Wars film on opening night, including A New Hope at the Henn when he was only 6 years old, which made the first showing at 7 p.m. special.
   “It takes me through the years,” Davis said. “Star Wars is a part of life, as far as I’m concerned. ... It’s just kind of a little tradition for me.”
   Larry Thunderwolf had seen every Star Wars film in the first few days, and ended up at the Henn Thursday night “by accident.” When he called earlier in the day for ticket information for Friday, he learned there were showings Thursday night, and got tickets for his family.
   “This was a happy accident,” he said. “No way was I going to miss this.”
   He was also happy that he didn’t have to go out of town to see The Last Jedi. He traveled to Cleveland to see The Force Awakens.
   The Henn does not have the ability to show 3-D films, so fans who wanted to experience the movie in 3-D could visit Fry’s other theater, Andrews Twin Cinema, where the movie was shown on one screen with 2-D and 3-D showings alternating.
   “We find 3-D has a certain demand for it,” Fry said.
   Usually, movie companies require that theaters show movies for two weeks, but Disney required that The Last Jedi must be in theaters for four weeks. To accommodate that request at a small twin cinema, Fry hopes to be able to swap out showings on the two screens while showing other movies, like Ferdinand.
   For the first showing of The Last Jedi, the Henn had 77 seats out of the 150 available full, while Andrews had 41 out 160 seats full. Fry thought weekends would be better for the film, and that Christmas day, traditionally a big movie day, would help.
   Those at the first showing were pleased with what Rian Johnson brought to the saga.
   “It’s a classic as always,” Davis said, adding this episode had more action and comedy.
   Fry said he is huge Star Wars fan, and saw the movie before the public.
   “I thought it was excellent,” Fry said. “It was very well done.”

Kids’ gingerbread art on display
   The Cherokee County Arts Council introduced its display of gingerbread houses in the Cultural Calendar Room of the Murphy Art Center Saturday. But, with this exhibit, the only gingerbread was the cookies provided for the reception.
   The houses were creatively made from paper bags, cardboard, milk cartons, or graham crackers by students in Cicely Mason-Cable and Jennifer McMahan’s classes at Murphy and Peachtree elementary schools.
   “The idea was to let kids express themselves,” said David Vowell, the arts council director.
   His favorite work was a cardboard house with a colored-on Hershey bar door, but he also liked the edible houses with the use of ice cream cones as the base for trees. He thought the most interesting was one that used Frosted Mini Wheats as roof tiles.
   The idea he wants to try himself though is the paper bag gingerbread houses. The shape is held with newspaper stuffing, making the house easy to store for future years.
   As the artists in the exhibit are elementary students, Vowell estimated it was the first time most of kids’ art was seen on display outside school or home.
   “That’s part of what I want to do with the arts council. That encourages art like nothing else can,” Vowell said.
   Teachers contacted to participate were also excited that the project involved STEM, Vowell said.
   Since space is limited in the Cultural Calendar Room as there is also a pottery exhibit in the room this month, Vowell limited the number of classes that could participate this year. He would like to see it become a bigger display filling the room and featuring all schools next year.
   The idea for the exhibit came from board member Sheryl Vowell, who also researched the history of gingerbread and why its associated with Christmas to include with the exhibit.
   The exhibit will be on display throughout the rest of the month. Donations are accepted to provide materials to the classrooms. The MAC will be closed on Christmas Day.

Raffle sale ending Friday
   The Valley River Arts Guild’s Fine Art Raffle Sale is ending Friday, with winners being announced after 7 p.m. at the Murphy Art Center.
   The raffle is a fundraiser to support the annual Student Art Show, which the Valley River Arts Guild sponsors. This year, the prize money for art show will increase from $500 to $1,000, thanks to contributions, said Tim Ford, president of the guild. fifty percent of the money raised during the raffle goes to the student art show.
   Tickets are $2 each or three for $5, and can be placed to win one of seven pieces of fine art from award-winning artists in the guild. Winners do not need to be present at the closing reception to win.
   Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.