Ragtime dancing

I am constantly amazed by the quality and caliber of artists and musicians who create an entertaining and educational experience for young and old minds. Last Sunday, we were invited to see the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Ragtime Xylophonia at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. This was the first time we had been at any event at the Alex Theatre or for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Our time at Ragtime Xylophonia was immensely enjoyable because of the variety of pre-show activities and, of course, the show itself.

As soon as we entered, to the right, was an art station by Kidspace Children’s Museum. They were using recycled materials to create Earth-friendly art projects. On the left, was Louise Reichlin teaching children and any adult who wanted to participate, Ragtime dance moves. Mishy got into the spirit and danced away – first by watching and slowly trying, and then by dancing her own way, with Ragtime flair.

Mishy trying some ragtime dance steps in her own space.

After her dance lesson, we headed upstairs where there was an instrument petting zoo. The instruments were provided for by Metzler Violins and the students of Central Los Angeles High School #9: School for Visual and Performing Arts volunteered for this program.There were line ups that felt slower because it was crowded – crowded because every child or every parent wanted their child to pet an instrument. Mishy picked up a violin, which was a bit too big for her. Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the sound she made when she moved the bow across the strings. There were smaller violins to pet as well as a cello. I am told the variety of instruments change and at every concert, they are different. We will be going to see their next concert on May 1st – Whimsical Winds – I’m looking forward to seeing which instrument my daughter would like to pet then.

Mishy trying the violin during the Instrument Petting Zoo.

We next headed downstairs to the tent which was set up on the side of the Alex Theatre. REMO Recreational Music Center had set up a drum circle activity by offering different drums to beat. Mishy and Babba beat drums to their own beat and then Mishy helped put away the drums as the ushers told us it was time to head inside for Ragtime Xylophonia.

Drumming with Remo.

The program started with Wade Culbreath on the xylophone. Mr. Culbreath has a loyal adult following. There were hoots and hollers after his solo performance. There was also a great deal of applause. Alan Chapman then walked on stage and hosted the performance, starting with a short interview with Mr. Culbreath. Mr. Chapmans’s voice via the microphone is as smooth as it is on radio. We listen to him every morning on Los Angeles’ only classical radio station, KUSC 91.5FM on his program, Modern Times.  Mr. Chapman gracefully introduced the musicians and at the end of the show moderated the questions with an expert’s flair and great comic timing.

Ragtime Xylophonia featured the compositions of George Hamilton Green, who was simply the greatest xylophonist in the world. He elevated the xylophone to the position of it being seen as a legitimate musical instrument. We were privy to five of his works as well as the work of his brother, Joe Green.

Tickets are still available for Whimsical Winds on May 1st at 2PM. One hour prior to the performance, they offer a variety of fun and educational children’s programming.

Details:

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

http://www.laco.org/

Press release for Whimsical Winds

http://www.laco.org/press/318

George Hamilton Green

http://georgehamiltongreen.com/

Alan Chapman

http://www.kusc.org/Hosts/AlanChapman.aspx

Kidspace Museum

http://www.kidspacemuseum.org/

REMO Recreational Music Center

http://www.remo.com

Bonus Photo:

After the show, we walked around Glendale and found a Japanese restaurant which had terrific lunch specials until 4PM. Mishy and Babba played with the Benjamin Franklin statue outside the restaurant.

Mishy and Babba hanging out with Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday, we were privy to a sophisticated, unique, challenging, and unexpected concert for families as part of ULCA Live! at Royce Hall. Bill Frisell Trio performed music they composed specifically for two Buster Keaton short films, High Sign and One Week, as well as two animated shorts called The Whim Grinder by Jim Woodring Animation.

The show opened up with a series of shapes and images which explored themes of spirituality, the evolution of consciousness, and the contrast between horror and beauty while Bill Frisell Trio played. Mishy was fascinated by the shapes. I was fascinated with how the images and music complemented each other. My husband was amazed by the quality of the music. The opening sequence was an abstract sensation for the ears and eyes which set off the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

I had never seen a Buster Keaton film before. I had heard about Mr. Keaton’s greatness. Yesterday afternoon, I was introduced to Buster Keaton in a very special way.  Bill Frisell Trio took me on a journey into the classic comedic films of Buster Keaton by playing music which enhanced what was seen on-screen. The music complimented the story and added to the overall pleasure of watching comedy that was intelligent, not just farcical. Sometimes it was a simple tap-tap on the drums or a beautiful, sweeping audio landscape of breathtaking music. When the show was over, we reluctantly left our seats, wishing for more. Much more.

The Bill Frisell Trio is Bill Frisell on guitar, Tony Scherr on bass, and Tony Wollesen on drums. This was their only stop in Los Angeles. They will be returning to the Village Vanguard in New York for an extended run, starting on April 17th.

UCLA Live! offers quality shows for adults and families including Arlo Guthrie on April 8th at 8PM. UCLA Live! also offers special programs for underprivileged children and are looking for donations to their program, Design For Sharing.

Details:

Bill Frisell Trio

http://www.billfrisell.com/

UCLA Live!

http://www.uclalive.org/

Design For Sharing

http://www.uclalive.org/community/design/

 

Mishy waiting to see Epoxie. We there early. She was very excited.

Mishy and I have seen a lot of shows since first visiting Epoxie in Studio City at Two Roads Theatre two months ago. When I told Mishy, Epoxie was again performing in a revamped show, she wanted to see him right away. As soon as the theatre doors opened last Monday, she ran inside and was welcomed by Epoxie, played lovingly by Philip Briggs, an experienced clown who has the ability to make everyone feel at home, feel heard, respected, and enjoy their time by laughing. And laugh we did. A lot.

Mishy balancing a peacock feather on her hand.

We also learned a few circus tricks. The show is incredibly interactive. Children and parents are welcome to sit up on stage and participate as much as they would like. In fact, the rules of the show are: you may eat – popcorn is sold in the lobby – you may walk around, you may talk to Epoxie during the show, you may even leave – though I can’t imagine anyone wanting to leave because it really is a fun show.

Mishy performing her circus trick.

Mishy even performed a trick of her own. She put her hands behind her back and asked him if he knew where her hands are. While the show has a structure, Epoxie welcomes audience suggestions. One girl asked Epoxie to juggle while balancing a peacock feather on his foot and he tried and did it – just because she asked and even thanked her for the suggestion.

Epoxie about to juggle and balance a peacock feather on his foot.

What I love about this show is that it gives the tools of how to juggle, how to balance things on body parts, how to perform magic tricks – how to be a clown! – in a way that children feel like it’s natural for them to know and learn and practice and have fun trying.

Mishy is balancing a plate on a stick!

There are many wonderful opportunities to enjoy theatre with your children in Los Angeles and The Magical and Joyful Spectacle of Epoxie produced by Jumbo Shrimp Circus is a must see for parents and children in their early years. Again and again. We plan to return and bring a lot of our community of friends with us.

Balloons for everyone!

When the show was over, every child was able to take one balloon with them as a souvenir.  Mishy didn’t want to leave until she saw Epoxie was in the lobby, signing balloons.

What I also love about this show? It is so clear to me how much Philip Briggs cares about doing a great show for his audience. He’s a father. He has so much patience for being with children and loves playing with them, while being entertaining and letting the children and adults learn a few circus tricks at the same time.

Details:

The Magical and Joyful Spectacle of Epoxie

Two Road Theatre

4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604

Sunday 11AM, Monday at 1:30PM

Tickets are: $10 for children $12 for adults, $8 per child for groups of 10 or more.

http://www.jumboshrimpcircus.com/boxoffice

facebook.com/jumboshrimpcircus

Bonus Photos:

Mishy hiding behind a balloon.

Now, she's really hiding.

At the faery hunt.

Last Saturday, we were invited to go on a faery hunt at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. One of my daughter’s favorite pop up book is, How To Find Flower Fairies, research conducted by Cicely Mary Barker. Here is a photo essay of our time at the faery hunt. Below are details of the giveaway.

Auntie Angelica Root welcoming the faery hunters.

Gifts for the faeries.

Down the path to start the search.

We meet Boon, the faery of friendship, who accepts our gifts.

Boon tells us to get to Faeryland, we touch our nose and jump.

Mishy touches her nose to get to Faeryland.

We find the Faery Queen who tells us she is missing her light.

Searching for the Faery Queen's missing light.

Does Troll have the missing light?

Children in faery costume.

Does Half Man, Half Bird have the missing light?

The Faery Queen releases the spell on Half Man, Half Bird and they dance.

She receives her missing light and all is well.

Sparrow signing Mishy's Faery Certificate.

Natural Traveling Momma is excited to be giving away two tickets to see any upcoming show of The Faery Hunt, an interactive outdoor adventure which is the winner of Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks Award for Best LA Children’s Theater. To enter, comment below. For an additional entry, click on to a Faery Hunt’s link and then place another comment below. The contest ends April 25th at 5PM. Good Luck.

Faery Hunt is a not for profit organization which visits hospitals. They also offer different birthday party options.

Details:

A Faery Hunt

http://afaeryhunt.com/index.htm

How To Find Flower Fairies, research conducted by Cicely Mary Barker

<iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=natutravmomm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=0723258902″ style=”width:120px;height:240px;” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

It’s been raining in normally sunny California. What better place to go to when it’s raining? Anywhere indoors. This weekend we were invited to the Los Angeles Travel show held indoors at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I thought it would be fun to pick up some ideas for our next adventures. My husband looked over at the Iceland booth – one of the places on my list to visit – which made me very happy. Iceland was named Iceland so people would think it’s too cold to visit and pass it by. I am told it’s absolutely beautiful there and it has been one of my dream places to visit since I was a teenager. (I had a few friends in highschool who were originally from Iceland, including my first roommate.)

Malaysian dancers at the Malaysian booth

Mishy got into the spirit by watching the Malaysian dancers and then later joining them. She was given a gift of flowers.

Mishy posing with some Malaysian dancers

We later headed over to the Los Angeles Times Global Beat stage to watch a Japanese belly dancer who won over many male fans.

Japanese bellydancer

Mishy dancing along her way.

My husband headed over to the Travel Stage where online budget traveling was discussed. Moderated by Jane Engle, with speakers, George Hobica, Johnny Jet, and Kelly Meritt, this forum was a reminder to continue the same budget practices we have at home. Some suggestions were to make use of googling coupons, use restaurant.com as well as groupon.com – and there is nothing better than grabbing sandwiches at the deli and sitting in the park to have a picnic if you’re a family to cut back on the expense of consistently eating at restaurants. Also, if you want to cut back on the cost of beverages at restaurants, bring along powdered drink mixes and put it in your water. You could even bring along powder lemon – which I found to taste like the real deal.

The panelist asking a question about breakfast - do not eat it at your hotel if you want to watch your budget

There were many fun giveaways, different booths were sponsoring. At the Apple Farm booth, which is a luxury hotel in San Luis Obispo, attendees could pick a room key in hopes of winning a free three night stay. We didn’t win, but we did speak to the owners who pointed out the charms of their hotel. It isn’t a working farm. There are about a dozen apple trees on the property and guests are welcome to pick an apple and eat it during apple season. If you’re interested in heading to Mount Vernon, WA soon, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is from April 1st-30th, 2011.

Mishy loved kicking the inflatable globe ball, which was a very popular giveaway.

Beaded Mardi Gras necklaces - another popular giveaway.

Riding an authentic stage coach by Coyote Springs Stage Lines. The driver cranked it up and down so you can really feel what it was like 300 hundred years ago.

Mishy with the world in her hands.

The Travel and Adventure Show will be moving back to Long Beach on January 14th-15th, 2012 with new media partners, Los Angeles Magazine and NBC LA. For more information, please visit:

www.adventureexpo.com

For Los Angeles Magazine:

Twitter Handle: twitter.com/losangelesmag Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/losangelesmag

Details:

The Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Show.

www.latimes.com/travelshow

Groupon for daily deals on restaurants, spas, adventures

http://www.groupon.com/r/uu1243521

Restaurant.com – restaurant coupons

www.restaurant.com

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, WA

www.TulipFestival.org

Apple Farm, San Luis Obispo

www.applefarm.com

I have been wanting to go to the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA, near Burbank to see the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s children’s concerts. I am very excited to be able to give away two tickets to their upcoming show of Ragtime Xylophonia. Here are the details of the concert:
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Starts at 2:00 PM

Wade Culbreath, percussion
Alan Chapman, host

GH Green Triplets
GH Green/Becker Jovial Jasper
GH Green/Becker Cross Corners
GH Green/Becker The Humming Bird
J Green/Cahn Xylophonia
GH Green/Cahn Fluffy Ruffles

LACO “goes Green” with an entire program of percussive fun with works by composer and xylophonist George Hamilton Green and his brother Joe. Get into the groove as you learn about rhythm and beat in this fun, kid-friendly concert. Be there!

Pre-Concert Program Drop in anytime from 1 to 2 pm
LACO’s Instrument Petting Zoo – where children can pet/touch instruments.
Other fun activities with LACO’s Family Concert Partners

Tickets:

Box Office Info

Subscriptions: for 3-concert series: $39, $24 
Single tickets
: $16, $10

Order by phone: Call Jacquie, Marcella or Laura in the box office at 213 622 7001 × 215.

Groups of 12 or more get a 15% discount off single ticket prices. Celebrate a birthday or bring the Scout troop, dance class or soccer team! Call for details.

Event Promoter:

Name: Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

http://www.alextheatre.org/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=393&month=03&year=2011

Another upcoming concert in this series is Whimsical Winds on May 1st at 2PM. This is the last concert of this year’s series. Here is the link for more details of that concert:
http://www.alextheatre.org/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=394&year=2011&month=5
If you would like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment. If you click onto the link regarding their Whimsical Winds concert and leave another comment, you gain an additional entry. The giveaway ends on Wednesday, March 23rd at 5PM. Good luck!
UPDATE: Congratulations, Kathy! Mishy likes picking your name 🙂

If you want to see a show that is well produced in a fun, child friendly way, full of energy and contains silly silly songs, The Pop Ups – Pasta! A Puppet Musical is the show to take your preschool aged children to. This Sunday, Mishy, Babba, and I
attended the morning show of The Pop Ups at The Highway Performing Arts Spaces in Santa Monica. This was our first time at The Highway Performing Arts and I hope they host more and more family theatre because it’s a charming space – with
a lovely tree covered in knitted wear near the entrance. Mishy wondered if the tree was cold.

The Pop Ups is the brain child of two Brooklyn based musicians, Jacob Stein and Jason Rabinowitz who have endurance triathletic endurance. They made a smash appearance last year locally, and they recently made an appearance in the Los Angeles area over the Thanksgiving holidays. This time, they were in town for a four performance showcase. They would love to be signed up to do a television show – hint hint. They have the makings of being incredibly successful children’s performers. Why? Because they love children and it’s so clear they love what they do.

What makes The Pop Ups special? Their energy and exuberance at being surrounded by children. They include all
audience members in their journey of finding ingredients to make the best pasta sauce in the world so they could get their chef’s hats. The story is of them journeying to various places in Brooklyn by different modes of transportation and their encounters with new friends. The plot is simple. The puppetry is fun and silly. Their songs are contagious and some songs are reminiscent of Coldplay – if Coldplay were Muppets.

If there were to be a sequel – The Pops Pasta! A Puppet Musical Two, or a title much more creative which I am sure they could come up with, I would love for them to go deeper and further with their message of fun and perhaps, add in some elements of education in a non pandering way. Of course, there is a place for just laughing and watching two grown men entertain
and win the hearts of children. Mishy loved this show. My husband did too.

Details:

The Pop Ups

http://www.thepopups.com/ 

For my East Coast readers, they will be performing at The Soho Playhouse from March 5th 2011 to mid April. They are performing every Saturday at 11AM.

https://www.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/794015

For my Los Angeles based readers, The Pop Ups will be returning in the summer! I’ll keep everyone posted.