Friday, October 7, 2011

Kids Off The Couch - An Appreciation: Steve Jobs

"Death is Very Likely the Single Best Invention of Life"
For a simple and elegant statement of how Steve Jobs touched us all, head onto Facebook and witness your friends reactions to the news that Jobs succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. You'll see Apple logos digitally altered to shed tears, hilarious grainy photos of an early adopter's first clunky desktop computer ("This is about where I got on board - 27 years ago. Thanks, Steve!"), and more than a few photos showing a fan's multiple Apple products lined up in tribute to their late creator: iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone and iPod. As someone who spends most of her day glued to one or another Apple products, I bow to the insight that each one of our lives could be transformed by a personal computer. Never mind his brilliant product design and marketing genius, Steve Jobs gave us each the gift of creative potential.

Articles about Jobs are legion this week - many are worth perusing, and kids will particularly enjoy photos of the early computers. For the sake of some profound dinner table conversations this weekend, here are a few bits of Jobs lore to help you teach your kids about a man whose legacy they are already living.

The first is a blog piece discussing the breadth of Jobs' influence on film, from the birth of computer animation and the plethora of screens from which our digital kids use to consume media. Go rent Toy Story this weekend and marvel at Pixar's early masterpiece. 

The second is Jobs' famous Stanford commencement speech in 2005. NPR posted the speech in its entirety on it's site. Below the video, you will find a link to a printed version of the speech.

In his Stanford address, Jobs compiles the many lessons of his own life into three stories. Each of you will find your own teachable moments in the 15-minute video. (Younger kids won't find the actual speech as compelling as teens). Jobs' ability to regroup after being fired from the company he founded is a prime example of resilience and recovery. As much as parents hate to watch their kids experience failure, learning to bounce back from disappointment is a critical life skill. Jobs' single-minded pursuit of his passion reminds us how important it is to help children find their own passions...whether we understand them or not. And, finally, while Jobs' words that echo most eerily today are not really apt for children (as in the quote above, he is eloquent about how facing death teaches us to live more fully), these sentiments resonate deeply in our parental bones and remind us to pursue our dreams and to embrace what is truly important in life. 

"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish". 

Thanks, Steve.
Kids Off The Couch
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Los Angeles Kids Off The Couch - ZAM FEST Ticket Giveaway!

Saturday, October 15 from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Ticket Giveaway: Two Family 4-packs to ZAM FEST

Paul Kim, an avid fan of the Coachella Festival, set out to create a music and art festival that could inspire the same kind of passion in kids that rock music inspires in young adults. The result is ZAM FEST, a one-day festival that debuts in Long Beach in two weeks. "I would take my daughter to different events with the hopes of inspiring her to find something she's passionate about, but found that most were essentially clones of one another" says Kim. "So I thought, why not create something that has the potential to inspire lots of kids, and can give back to our communities at the same time?" At a time when the public school system isn't always able to expose kids to inspiring arts programming, we applaud Paul's efforts. Join him for the first annual ZAM FEST on October 15.

What: ZAM FEST stands for the Z Arts & Music Festival, where the Z refers to our current 'Z Generation' of kids. Festival entertainment will include the drummers of Taiko Project; the original music of teen rock band The Christopher Brothers; the Indian Bollywood- style dance troupe Beyondancing; the quirky dance music of AJ & The Flip Flops; the athletic hip hop dancing of the Beast Mode Crew and the turntable and beat-making sounds of Knockstudy DJ Scratch. Also making her performing debut singing her hit song "Do My Thang" is Cori B, who follows in the musical footsteps of her father Snoop Dogg. Families can also participate in a hands-on recycled material ReCreate Art project, a EuroZip line above festival grounds, Human Hamster Balls, food trucks and a surprise performance.

Subscriber Giveaway:
 KOTC subscribers can enter to win one of two Family 4 Packs to ZAM FEST. Write to us at -- and please include a cell number.

Where and When:
 ZAM FEST is a one-day only event, scheduled rain or shine for Saturday, October 15 from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. The event takes place in the Marina Green Park in Long Beach. Click here for a map.

 Tickets are currently available online and at the festival on the day of the event. Discount early bird tickets are available now with adult all day tickets priced at $12, kids all day tickets priced at $8. Children under three will be admitted for free. After the pre-sale period ends, adult all day tickets will be $15 and kids all day tickets will be $10.

ZAM FEST gives back: A portion of the proceeds from ZAMFEST will go to a local arts mentoring program called Create Now. 

Kids Off The Couch
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