GirlTalk at CAM Raleigh (Jan 2013)

CAM - Contemporary Art Museum by Suzie Tremmel, used under the CC BY license_squareWhile CAM is not the place to go on a rainy day to release some energy, it is well worth a visit with a well-behaved, relaxed child, and you might be surprised how they react to contemporary art that some adults have a hard time appreciating.

GirlTalk has been up for a while and will close in about two weeks, on 1/14/2013. So this is your chance to see it, and a perfect one-parent-one-child outing. On a grown-up level, GirlTalk features works of nine women, who are all using text in their pieces to convey a message. I like the textile art by Lisa Anne Auerbach, seeing some small pieces by Jenny Holzer, a video (excerpts also available here) by Marily Minter, as well as the large dominant piece by Kay Rosen.

And while you ponder the works and messages on an abstract level, your budding reader will be happy to find big fat letters everywhere, and even some sight words.

If you’re done upstairs, and want to expose your little one to some truly fragile and beautiful sculptures, head downstairs for the Angel Otero exhibit. Handholding strongly recommended!

The image is CAM – Contemporary Art Museum by Suzie Tremmel, used under the CC BY license

Storybook Tales (11/3/2012)

Lydia Bevan performing Danse Allegresse, Raleigh Dance Theatre, spring 2011 (c) Robert Schantz

Lydia Bevan performing Danse Allegresse, Raleigh Dance Theatre, spring 2011 (c) Robert Schantz

Raleigh Dance Theater is something like the “little sister” of the Carolina Ballet. A pre-professional, younger company (age 12-18), that provides Triangle dancers opportunities to perform on stage and catch a glimpse of what a professional career in ballet would look like.

Storybook Tales is a program that “will be sure to delight even the youngest audience members, according to their press release. The performance lasts approx. 90 minutes, and consists of three pieces: Snow White, Rainbow Fish, based on Marcus Pfister’s beloved children’s book, and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, based on the book by Kevin Henkes, and made possible in part by Target.

There will be three performances this weekend; Saturday at 12p and 4p and Sunday at 3p. Fletcher Opera Theater in Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. $12 (online until 7p tonight!) or $15 at the door.

  “Lydia Bevan performing Danse Allegrese, Raleigh Danse Theater, Spring 2011” (c) Robert Schantz

Monumental Fire Sculpture (11/3/2012)

If the youngens are old enough to last until 10:30p, Cary may have a quite unique event for you: The Firing of a public art installation made from clay. The artist Nina Hole and members of the public have built this piece over the last two weeks. And they weren’t stingy – three tons of clay have been used so far.

Festivities start at 7:30 and culminate around 10pm, when the (still pliable) mass will be fired and unveiled.

International Festival of Raleigh (9/29/2012-10/1/2012)

Note: The title originally stated Fri-Sat; this was typo; the festival is through Sunday.  Thanks to J. for alerting me!

Korean Dance

If taking your kids out of school to travel the world for a year or so sounds crazy, here is your local, low-risk, short-term alternative: The International Festival that is held annually at the Convention Center in downtown Raleigh. More than 11% of Wake County’s population, which is over 100,000 people (including Yours truly) are foreign-born, and want to share their heritage with you. While not specifically directed (only) at children, there are at least three areas that are perfectly suited to give little one a taste and a glimpse of the world:

First, and perhaps the best kept secret, are the dance performances. In some cultures (think India, Brazil), dance plays a much more important role than here. Where American expats abroad may teach their children American history and children’s songs or cook out on 4th of July, expats from other countries living here may in turn teach their children traditional folkloric dances. On the main stage, there is a different group performing every 10-15 minutes. From a Teen African Drum Ensemble to Lebanese Belly Dancing or Korean Percussion, there is a wide variety of exciting performances, many of them by earnest teens and adorable children.

Food is of course another great cultural bridge, and there are Food booths from just about any ethnic cuisine you’ve heard of. Thai, Lebanese, Italian and Mexican of course, but also Dutch, Turkish or French. Dig in, and let the little ones sample the foods that taste so different from their everyday meals.

Third, the festival does have a genuine “kids corner”, with the usual face painting and balloon animals and storytelling, all with an international twist.

The festival is taking place Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday; tickets are $8 and kids under 6 are free! At this low price, it is worth dropping in for even an hour or so sometime over the weekend, and see what is happening.

Korean Dance by Dance Photographer – Brendan Lally, used under the CC BY license

ShopScotch and Saturday Market (9/8/2012)

The Saturday Market @ Rebus Works

Do you remember the “City Utopias” of yesteryear, wacky prophecies of skyscrapers that house everything from a farm to entertainment to work to living, with people never venturing outside anymore? Well, the trend scouts and city planners didn’t think it would look quite like this, but Rebus Works’ Saturday Market is very close. Music, Art, Food – you can easily stay the whole day if you want.

Saturday Market is taking place as usual from 9am to 2pm. Starting at noon, everything starts morphing into ShopScotch, which will go from 12p to 5p. In addition to the veggie stands and food trucks of the Saturday market, there will be a large craft vendor gathering (look on their facebook page for details), five bands and more food trucks.

If your kids are not quite ready yet for a full-blown Hopscotch Day party, head to Rebus. “Come for breakfast, stay for lunch, stretch it to dinner!”

Brooke Hatala playing Pullen Park, New King Rippers playing Mordecai Park (8/25/2012)

Ok, if you haven’t heard of singer-songwriter Brooke Hatala yet, don’t feel bad. Most of her career still lies ahead of her; after all, she is only 11 years old. That said, you should meet her while you can, because before you know it you will need a VIP backstage pass to get close to this young musician!

Brooke is based in Cary, and she will be performing live at Pullen Park tomorrow (Saturday) night 8p-9p. Watch some of her videos on YouTube to get a first impression – then head out to celebrate the end of summer. I usually avoid Pullen on the weekends and leave it to people driving in from everywhere. But the overcast weather is often a good deterrent, and I want to hear how Brooke sounds live.

If Jazz is more your thing, you ‘big night’ is tonight. The New King Rippers, a jazz combo is playing Music On The Porch at Mordecai Park. You can preview them on YouTube as well.

Via credit: I heard about Brooke Hatala via

Photo credit: (c) 2012 Brooke Hatala.

Family Fun Day at Artspace (8/18/2012)

Labor Day is approaching, and summer camps are coming to an end. Among them, the Summer Arts Program at ArtSpace. Since art is made to be seen, the program (week-long half-day classes for over 600 kids) ends with a large exhibition.

Family Fun Day is the conclusion of the the exhibition (and the summer program). See what the kids have created this summer, and look what your own kids are drawn towards. Acrylic painting? Clay? Large sculptures? Keep in mind for next year’s classes, and perhaps their work will be on display in 2013.

painting time by Ernst Vikne, used under the CC BY-SA license

Paperhand Puppet Intervention (Aug 2012)

Every year, Paperhand Puppet Intervention puts together a magical, inspiring, frightening, enlightening show with some of the biggest puppets around. While typical theatre puppets are smaller than humans, these are large scale, some of them towering over their tiny human operators. The show takes place at the Chapel Hill Forest Theater, a nice wooden setting. Bringing a blanket and picnic is encouraged.

Today is the 2012 premiere – maybe wait a day or a week, and beat the premiere crowds. They are playing every weekend for a month, and then perform one more weekend at NC museum of art. The program usually starts at 6:20 p.m. and runs until about 8 p.m., but there are several matinees on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. as well.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention has exact play times and information.

The picture is an older photo of Paperhand Puppet Intervention by BellaBim, used under the CC-BY license

Too hot? Library or museum! (7/21/2012)

Summer continues until further notice, so here two more tips for doing an outing that is not outside:

Baby story time at Cameron Village library (Sat 10:15-10:35):
Nobody is too young for story time, and Cameron Village library has a special story time on Saturdays from 10:15-10:35 for those under 1 year old (and the person with the lap that they sit in).

Browse the Wake County library calendar for a story time for an age group and location that fits your needs.

Family Fun Saturdays at the Art Museum (Sat 10am & 1pm):
For those a bit older (5-11), the art museum has an excellent hands-on program. Tour the galleries first, and then make your own art in their teaching studios. Themes change every week; tomorrow it is “clay”.

Color-coded bookcase by juhansonin

The library is cool









Color-coded bookcase by juhansonin, used under the CC-BY license

Pilobolus Children’s Matinee (7/7/2012)

One of my passions that few people would guess is Contemporary Dance; I even took Modern Dance classes for a while (yes, yes, decades ago). There is probably no dance company better suited to get a young audience excited about dance performance than Pilobolus.

Pilobolus are regulars at the American Dance Festival, and performing this weekend at DPAC in Durham. On Saturday at 1pm, they are giving a special Children’s Matinee. Tickets are still available, and if your youngens are old enough to sit still for a while, they will be mesmerized by their magical movements and transformations.

Tickets and more information available here.