Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Curtis loves and lives well

Sun Valley resident to keynote SV Wellness Festival

Express Staff Writer

Jamie Lee Curtis, shown happily signing books at Iconoclast Books in Ketchum in 2006, will be the keynote speaker for the 13th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival. Photo by Willy Cook

Embracing positive change and celebrating spring through body and spirit renewal are two of the significant themes that will be visited throughout the 13th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival. The festival will begin Friday, May 28, and will continue through Memorial Day on Monday, May 31.

The three-day festival will include more than 50 presentations and workshops addressing various practices of body, mind and spirit wellness. A new parenting discussion will feature Susan Kaiser Greenland, who will teach parents to practice mindful awareness with children, teens and their families. Deb Snyder, an expert on intuitive parenting, will also be present.

The festival will also feature Dr. Abraham Verghese, author of "Cutting for Stone," who will discuss the importance of the doctor--patient relationship, the samaritan function of physicians and where meaning resides in a medical life.

Lama Surya Das, author of "Awakening the Buddha Within," and who His Holiness the Dalai Lama calls "The American Lama," will talk about healing oneself and healing the world. In addition, financial healer Spencer Sherman will introduce a step-by-step plan for achieving greater prosperity and peace of mind. Many more speakers and presenters will be visiting and communicating with attendees at the festival. For a complete listing, visit

Opening as keynote speaker for the festival on Friday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sun Valley Inn Limelight Room will be actress and children's book author Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis is a resident and familiar face in Sun Valley who also shares a deep connection and family history with the valley. Sun Valley Resort honored Curtis' mother, Janet Leigh, by naming a Seattle Ridge trail Leigh Lane.

Curtis does a great deal of public speaking.

"It's a natural offshoot of another way of communicating ideas over the years," Curtis said. "At first, I was an actor with no mouthpiece. I was someone else's mouthpiece. When I starting writing books almost 20 years ago, that was as an organic experience as public speaking for me. I am not a role model—it's not a goal of mine."


Curtis said she'd like to talk about things people experience. She enjoys relating to people and wants people to know she gets it. Her talk, "Live Wisely, Love Well," will reveal her personal experience on the choices everyone makes and the ability for everyone to change their lives.

"You will find your place if given the opportunity to think differently and have your own mind," she said.

Curtis has starred in the films "Freaky Friday," "True Lies," "Trading Places" and "A Fish Called Wanda." She recently completed filming the Disney comedy "You Again" opposite Kristin Bell and Sigourney Weaver. The film is scheduled for release in the fall. In addition, Curtis co-starred opposite Richard Lewis in the sitcom "Anything But Love," as well as played the title role in TNT's adaptation of Wendy Wasserstein's play, "The Heidi Chronicles" and the CBS telefilm, "Nicholas' Gift."

"There are many degrees of wellness," Curtis said. "Balance and equanimity are tough in a turbulent existence, which is the human existence. Anyone who has raised a 14-year-old, been part of a marriage, is an adult and held people who are dying can talk about turbulence."

Curtis' children's books have sold 5.1 million copies. In fall 2009, an interactive collection of four of her earlier titles was released, titled "Books To Grow By, a Treasury." This fall, her ninth book, "My Mommy Hung the Moon, a Love Story" will be released.

Curtis is an AIDS activist and has a deep and active connection to many children's charities, including Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, as well as being the official spokesperson for the Children Affected by Aids Foundation. She serves on its executive advisory board and on the board of the Starlight/Starbright Foundation.

Curtis is a recovering alcoholic and addict and served on the boards of directors of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and of the Scott Hitt Foundation.

"Closed mindedness of wellness is a concern to me," she said. "I do consider a recovering drug addict a well person just as a person who is trying to be well."

Curtis is the mother of Annie, 23, and Thomas, 14, and has been married for 24 years to actor and director Christopher Guest.

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