Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kids Off The Couch - What's On Our July Radar Screen!

Stock your Summer with Culturally Rich Activities

The US government just issued new dietary guidelines confirming that more plants, less salt and more exercise are key to improving the health of all Americans. We leave it to you to gobble up the stone fruit and heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers' markets, but can help by stocking your family's cultural pantry this month.

Pictures of the Year: Kids and photography are a natural pairing, and we love quizzing ourselves on the world events from the past year at the 67th Annual Pictures of the Year International which runs until October 10 at the Annenberg Space for Photography. This traveling show represents the best of photojournalism from the past year and is a virtual global travelogue.

Native Son: We got an early view of the impressive retrospective of one of LA's most vibrant local artists at LACMA's summer blockbuster, John Baldessari: Pure Beauty (through September 12). We'll go so far as to proclaim it a must-see for every Angeleno this summer. Baldessari's So Cal roots are evident in his photographic art, which employs discarded film stills and other found images to comment on the prevalence of media in our lives. Most will recognize his large-scale works with blue, green or red dots over the faces of people, and seeing them in context (as well as reading the show notes) made us fans. Great for teens, or a grown-up date -- especially if you can get reservations at the new Red-O on Melrose, featuring a Rick Bayless-inspired Mexican menu.

Ticket Giveaway to Grease Sing-A-Long! Paramount is re-releasing one of their classic hits, Grease, as a sing-along event. Come join the fun as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John belt out beloved tunes such as "You're the One that I Want". Click here to write to us for tickets to the only advance screening for this film, on July 6 at the AMC Century City. Be careful to think about the ages of kids that watch this film - it's sexuality meter runs higher than you might remember.

Plans for the Fourth? Maximize your festivity by celebrating at the Hollywood Bowl, complete with fireworks and country star Vince Gill who joins the LA Phil and USC Marching Band for a program that also includes the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West. Tickets are still available for the shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, July 2-4.

Outdoor Music for Families: The Skirball Cultural Center hosts fabulous outdoor concerts each Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 and 2:00, starting July 10 and ru nning through September 5. Get in the habit of dropping by with the younger ones for a whirlwind world tour of dance and song at the wonderful Family Amphitheater Performances.

A 3-D Summer: We weren't naturally 3-D believers, although Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which is now on DVD, piqued our interest. But watching Toy Story 3 (in IMAX, no less) has us believing. Maybe it's just Pixar's spectacular storytelling, or maybe it's that our kids grew up with Toy Story's Buzz and Woody, and watching Andy pack them into the attic as he heads off for college choked us up. Either way, we're all into the funky glasses and big screen extravaganza that make going to the movies a special excursion again. Toy Story 3 is easily the best film of the summer so bring one and all -- though kids under 8 might want to wait for the July 9 opening of Despicable Me; it's zany and considerably less scary for younger kids than watching Buzz and Woody get whisked away by a trash truck to a burning landfill - don't worry, they get rescued in the nick of time!

Gladiator and Gerome: Ever since NPR did a story about gladiators being dug up in England, we've been itching to re-watch Russell Crowe in Gladiator (Rated R, 2003). It could inspire a trip up the hill to see the Getty's new show, The Spectacular Art of Jean-Louis Gerome, a French artist from the 19th Century who was more successful financially than critically. Come judge his artistic merit for yourself - we promise the kids won't be bored with paintings of gladiators, lions and duels. (Or the nudes - beware!).

Free Art for Everyone: Target Arts & Wonder Free Family Event runs from July 16-18 at participating museums around town, including LACMA, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Japanese American National Museum and The California African American Museum. When visiting a museum with a robust permanent collection, we let the kids explore the gift store's postcard rack for an image that appeals to them - then head into the museum to find the matching piece of art.

Where's my Mummy? If mummies are your thing, LA is the place to be this summer. The stars of the Bowers Museum's Silk Road exhibit are two Chinese mummies, never before seen outside of ther native land, and apparently "celebrities in the world of archeology" (according to the Los Angeles Times). Secrets of the Silk Road closes on July 25, so hurry down to Santa Ana. And Mummies of the World premieres at the California Science Center this week, boasting the largest traveling collection of intentionally and accidentally preserved mummies. Mummies 3D: Secrets of the Pharaohs plays in the museum's IMAX theater during the run of the show. Advance tickets necessary, so plan ahead!

Kids Off The Couch
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