Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Fair Lady + New York's Chelsea Market = Kids Off The Couch Road Trip: Flower Power in NYC

The Merry Month of May is made for celebrating mothers and the bountiful blooms of Spring. What better way to combine the two than by winging off to New York City for a special visit to Chelsea Market? The market, located in an old Nabisco factory, explodes with New York's finest -- fresh fish, remarkable flowers, scrumptious bakeries, clothing and kitchen supply shops, and exotic food stands. Our cinematic inspiration was My Fair Lady, the classic musical starring Rex Harrison as a linguistics professor who transforms a Cockney-accented flower girl into a lady. Dazzled by Audrey Hepburn's sunny turn as Eliza Doolittle, we headed to the refrigerated flower rooms at the Chelsea Wholesale Flower Mart, and delighted in copious floral splendor before heading out to forage among the many food vendors in the cavernous building. After everyone gathered their favorite lunch treats, we headed out into the daylight and clamored up to an extraordinary elevated garden walkway called The High Line that afforded views of the Hudson to the West and fun peeks down the art-filled streets in the Meatpacking district, and West Chelsea. Securing a seat for a Sunday morning picnic required a bit of Eliza's gumption but once settled, we spread out in the sunshine, nibbled on freshly baked muffins and practiced our best "rain in Spain" imitations. Happy Mother's Day to all! Click here for more about the Market and the High Line, an elevated walkway that stretches through the neighborhoods of Chelsea

Kids Off The Couch - The May Radar Screen

May is for Mothers

Here's what we want for Mother's Day. You can forget the spa, or the brunch at a fancy restaurant (we'll be full from breakfast in bed, after all). Just get us out of the house for some Q-time all together as a family.

As for the rest of May, get your teacher gifts together, finalize those summer plans and then... put your feet up. You're going to want to rest up for the schedule-jangling, camp-trunk-packing and medical-form-filling out days of summer.

Mother's Day: Our favorite Mother's Day gift is to have a tree planted in our honor by TreePeople.
It's a good, green way to express your enduring love - any time of year. We also love the idea of spending Sunday morning at the Hammer's free screening of Little Women, and catching an al fresco brunch at Wolfgang Puck's Hammer Cafe. If you want the more traditional fete, click here for a list of brunch specials around town, or go to tea at a fancy Beverly Hills Hotel (Hotel Bel Air is still closed for renovation so try Tea at the Montage or Afternoon Tea at Bazaar by Jose Andres). For a truly memorable afternoon, get some fresh air at The Descanso Gardens where Mother's Day will be celebrated all weekend. Kidspace also has a Mother's Day Spa and activities for youngsters.

Weekend Highlights - May 8-9: The Santa Monica Festival takes place this Saturday, from 11:00am to 6:00pm at Clover Park. Come listen to music, eat local food and relax. If you bike to the event, you can be entered to win a new set of (two) wheels - and there is a free bike valet to help you keep your day green. Families with younger children will prefer motoring over to the National Train Day, celebrated this Saturday at Union Station. Free, all day long.

Strawberry Festival: If you are a Farmers' Market groupie, you know it's strawberry season, and time to celebrate all things berry at the California Strawberry Festival. Festivities take place over the weekend of May 15-16 in Oxnard and Strawberry Shortcake is the Official BerryFest Princess of Strawberryland for Kids (the theme park portion of this foodie-fest).

One Better than Baywatch: A national arts project called Portraits of Hope is working with local schools to transform the lifeguard stations along our CA coastline. Starting May 10, you'll find cheerful, flowery guard stations sprinkled along the beaches. Click here for information about this public art project.

What's Up, Chuck? The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences has a fun new exhibit about the prolific genius who created Bugs Bunny and his friends. Chuck Jones: An Animator's Life from A to Z-Z-Z-Z is free, and opens May 14. Worth a browse with your animaniacs.

Art Watch: The new
Monsters and Miracles show at the Skirball Cultural Center presents classic illustrations by beloved artists such as William Stieg and Maurice Sendak, with iTouch stations where children can hear celebs reading books aloud -- this is a gorgeously presented show for anyone who loves to read. If photography is your thing, check out the Annenberg's Water: Our Thirsty Planet, and don't miss Tasteful Pictures at The Getty Center, scrumptious images of food, glorious food!
KOTC Reader Suggestion: A KOTC subscriber, Laura Sympson, came up with this clever idea for a Popcorn Adventure. Take in the new animated film, The Secret of Kells and embark on a weekend at LA's Renaissance Faire. The Renaissance Faire takes place each weekend in the spring (until May 23); here's our take on bringing kids to these fairs. We've had our eye on this film for some time (the film's website is worth a visit) and will alert you when it's on DVD.

Creature Comforts: The Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum is a leggy extravaganza with special programming throughout the weekend of May 15-16. The Pavilion of Wings will be open as well (it's a rite-of-spring in our home) so while you're looking at the spiders, don't miss the chance to have thousands of butterflies land on your shoulder and head - a blissful experience. And, before it gets too hot to hang out in the deep valley, check out the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar.

For Parents With a Moment to Spare: The Venice Art Walk and Auction takes place over the weekend of May 22-23 and offers wonderful Art and Architecture tours of Rustic Canyon and areas of Venice and Santa Monica. Ticket prices apply; event benefits the Venice Family Clinic.

Concert Watch: Lots of great music coming our way in the next few months, especially for tweens and teens. There's Glee - Live In Concert at Universal Amphitheater, May 20-22. South Pacific opens on May 27 and runs through mid-July. And Rent comes to the Hollywood Bowl for three nights, August 6-8. It's a good time to look over the whole summer schedule for the Bowl. Kids will love the Bugs Bunny at the Symphony and a sing along Sound of Music (September 25).

Please Give: Nicole Holofcener's new film, Please Give, captures the mood of mothering a teenage girl better than anything we've read or seen. You'll never be able to purchase a pair of blue jeans for your daughter without thinking of Catherine Keener's struggles with parenthood and... liberal guilt. Presuming that some of you worry about these things, check out Women for Women International, a phenomenal organization that pairs women like us with women in war-ravaged countries; our financial and emotional support can help another woman change her own destiny. Click here for more information about a Mother's Day gift that really counts.And, Mom? No one appreciates all that you do more than we do. (With gratitude and apologies to our male readers!)
Kids Off The Couch

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