Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps; ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Continues on Local Screens (Mon., 1/4/16)

1) You’ve braved the malls, you’ve crawled through the traffic, and you didn’t grumble once—well done! You deserve a little present for yourself. In the midst of the holiday rush, slow down and relax in the natural setting of the Phipps Conservatory with its Winter Flower Show and Light Garden. This spectacular display includes the festive seasonal colors of poinsettias, amaryllis, and evergreens accompanied by thousands of tiny LED lights. If weather permits, mingle in the Outdoor Garden, complete with glowing lights and festively lit trees for a unique holiday treat. There’s even a garden train that runs through nine fairy tale and fable settings with interactive displays. Runs through January 10. 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. One Schenley Park, Oakland.


2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Look at it this way, after this there’s only two more to go. Back in 1977, director George Lucas premiered Star Wars, which along with Jaws changed the nature of the movie business. The summer blockbuster was born, and now, unless a movie makes $70 million opening weekend, it’s considered a flop. That first film turned out to be the third installment of what Lucas promised would be a nine-part series. And that seemed like a good thing since he followed up with Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Fun movies and a terrific way to spend a rainy afternoon.

But in 1999, it all started to go horribly wrong with the release of The Phantom Menace. Suddenly LucasWorld didn’t seem a particularly entertaining place to be, and by the time we got through Attack of the Close and Revenge of the Sith, it was generally agreed that maybe the franchise had run its course. But we forgot that it’s a nine-part adventure, and George and the gang are in the process of coughing up the last three in the series. The Force Awakens (which is number VII) takes places 30 years after Return of the Jedi. No word on the actual plot (believe me, we landed in Normandy with less secrecy than this movie), but here’s my question: Since the emperor is killed and the Empire is defeated at the end of Jedi, who are they going to be fighting for the next three films? Rampaging boredom, if you ask me. Check Fandango for screens and times. (TH)

3) It’s Global Mondays at Cappy’s Cafe in Shadyside with imported bottled beers for only $3. While there, team up an import with a bowl of their scrumptious chili. 5431 Walnut St.