Friday, November 5, 2010

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

Ticket Giveaway for Toyota Symphonies for Youth and the California State Parks in Hollywood Film Festival
R.I.P. Halloween, hello Season of Giving! Despite the current heat wave, it's time to get into the autumn spirit and be thankful. Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, so here's a cornucopia of tricks and treats to make sure your November isn't lacking the thrills of the recently departed All Hallow's Eve.

Toyota Symphonies for Youth Ticket Giveaway: Last month we sent a happy family to the LA Phil Presents Toyota Symphonies for Youth: Pianissimo concert. This month, we have two tickets to LA Phil Presents Toyota Symphonies for Youth: Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The concert plays on two consecutive weekends this month (11/6 and 11/13, 11:00 AM) with Dudamel Conducting Fellow Jean-Michaël Lavoie conducting the LA Philharmonic, accompanied by a bevy of ballerinas. Click here if you are free for this weekend's performance - we'll notify the winner by Friday morning.

Ticket Giveaway for California State Parks starring in Hollywood Films: Many wonderful films were made in our state parks, and this weekend these productions are being celebrated at a film festival benefiting the California State Park system. See the films on a studio lot, and hear from actors involved with making them happen: Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and MASH will be shown at the
Paramount Theater at Paramount Studios on Saturday (11/6) and Spartacus and Planet of the Apes will be shown at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater on the 20th Century Fox lot on Sunday (11/7). We have two weekend passes for a family of four to give away so click here if you want to be in this drawing. We'll award passes by Friday morning.

Art You Glad It's Autumn? The whimsical and colorful work of
Maira Kalman will be showcased at the Skirball Cultural Center starting November 17. Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) is the first survey of Kalman's work. A versatile illustrator and decorator, you'll recognize Kalman's work instantaneously from countless New Yorker covers. The Annenberg Space for Photography presents Extreme Exposure, showcasing daredevil photographers who venture into environments where no ordinary documentarian has gone before. We all held our breath at the sight of a determined elephant charging through the shallow waters toward an intrepid photog risking his life for the shot. If your family loves photography as much as we do, head to LACMA to see the godfather of color photography, William Eggleston, and over two hundred of his photographs in William Eggleston: Democratic Camera-Photographs and Video, 1961-2008.

Gobble It Up: November is a time for family, friends, and feasting, but also an opportunity to count our blessings and pay them forward. Kids benefit from even a few hours of service to those less fortunate, and you can learn more from reading past Popcorn Adventures on Oliver, The Blind Side and The Pursuit of Happyness. We love Union Station's annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the park. For the last 20 years the Union Station Foundation has been host to what's been named the "Biggest Potluck in the Nation," with over 1,8000 volunteers and 5,000 meals served last year. There are countless other ways to give back this Turkey day, so check out the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Create The Good for ideas for giving in your neighborhood.

DIY Thanksgiving Table: It's our tradition to host our loved ones around the dinner table each year, and the kids love to decorate the table. Some of our favorite finds are the Pilgrim Hat Centerpiece --all you'll need is a terra cotta pot, black felt, and black and yellow poster board. Let the kids create ornate place cards out of colored paper, leaves, and Popsicle sticks. We found a great site to jog your imagination, and another clever craft site with cute ideas like fashioning a photo into a clever Pilgrim napkin ring.

Showtime: If your kids have a fascination with the Trojan War, don't miss master storyteller Daniel Morden performing at The Getty Villa on November 13 and 14 at 3:00 PM. The one hour show is best for kids over eight. From the creators of the global dance phenomenon STOMP comes PANDEMONIUM, featuring outside of the box implementation of everyday objects like bottles, saws, and toys, alongside a complete symphony orchestra with strings, woodwind, and brass. Helen Hunt stars in Much Ado About Nothing in the Shakespeare Center's 25th Anniversary production, for two weeks only in December; featuring the music of Lyle Lovett. A Holiday must-see is The Nutracker, coming to UCLA Royce Hall on December 18. Tickets are sure to twirl out the door quickly, so get your tickets for this wonderful winter extravaganza. For more seasonal sounds, check out the Brian Waite Band at the Santa Monica Library. This kid-friendly jam band is right for elementary school and smaller who will encounter a cast of characters styled to provoke thought and educate through music.

Film Fix: Head to the Hammer Museum on November 14 for a free screening of The Black Stallion, the first feature film by
Duma's Carroll Ballard about an unbreakable bond shared between a boy and a stallion while stranded on a desert Island. This weekend, James Cameron's record- breaking masterpiece Avatar will finally be premiering on HBO. Now we can get native with the Na'vi on demand. Be sure to head out to the multiplex over Thanksgiving weekend for Disney's 50th animated tale, Tangled, which opens on November 24. The El Capitan is hosting a live show with the movie's new characters -- Rapunzel and Flynn Rider -- from November 24-December 19.

Fall Back: Just a reminder that we turn our clocks back one hour at 2:00 AM this coming Sunday (11/7) when we go back to Pacific Standard Time.
Daylight Saving Time starts again the second Sunday of March 2011.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kids Off The Couch - Vote Election Day 2010

We attended The Women's Conference last week, which fired us up about getting to the polls tomorrow. Why? The conference theme -- "It's time... to be an Architect of Change" -- reminded us that each of our voices is critical. Witnessing a conversation between former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor andSupreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg was particularly thrilling. Neither justice, each of whom was at the top of her class at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools respectively, could get a job in a law firm when they first started their careers.Four women have now been appointed to the Supreme Court. Change can indeed happen in a life time. We hope that you'll exercise your civic responsibility by voting tomorrow. It only takes a moment and we promise that you will feel virtuous afterward. Your voice does matter.

How to Teach Kids a Family Civic Lesson: We are big on bringing kids with us to vote. They will enjoy punching out the chads and can wear your "I Voted" sticker all day long. Best of all, they'll get the message that democracy is active. Studies show that political beliefs are developed at home but since no kid wants to be lectured about politics, here are some media choices that will open up the subject for discussion.

Toddlers and Pre-School: We loved listening to School House Rock: Election Edition, singing along with songs about how a bill passes through Congress and learning a catchy rhyme about the Constitution.

Elementary school: There's nothing better for rousing politicos than
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.Our Popcorn Adventure centered around this classic Jimmy Stewart title about a fresh-faced Senator in Washington D.C. includes tips on voting with kids.

All the President's Men is about the power of the press. Our Popcorn Adventure is about touring the Los Angeles Times' printing and editorial facilities. Turns out, teens think it's pretty cool to watch Dustin Hoffman andRobert Redford in their edgy prime.

Kids Off The Couch

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