Winter Art-Stravaganza

I didn’t purposely intend for this to happen, but owing to lucky circumstances, we had three weekends in a row of fun performing arts events to attend this winter!

(Plus, lots of miscellaneous odds and ends.)

First, we survived something that wasn’t artsy at all: Echo Lake Science Night!

I delegated the volunteerism to Brian this year. He helped coordinate volunteers, and it ended up being really easy, because one of the high school science teachers offered extra credit to any students who signed up. There were more volunteers than openings for them, which was awesome. This is the biggest science event in all of Shoreline — we get something like 40 booths, and it’s awesome.

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Eleanor and William are playing a “banana piano.” The computer makes different tones when someone touches one of the bananas!
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YAAAAAAS we got the UW planetarium to come back!
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Katie LOVES the spelunking obstacle course

Then, Eleanor did her percussion thing for the Westside Band Festival. This gets all the 6th grade band students from the west side of town and puts them together for a huge mega-band that plays Ghostbusters together. Eleanor was thrilled to play the bass drum.

But in truth, it’s a recruitment event for the middle and high school bands, who also perform in the festival. “Look, kids! Join band in middle school, and you might someday be in the DRUM CORPS!”

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Eleanor is torn. She doesn’t want to do band in middle school, but wants to do it in high school. Maaaaaybe she could pull that off as a percussionist. Maybe. I personally think she needs to broaden her horizons; she’s got lots of musical opportunities outside of school.

Katie would also like to let you know that Super Bee came to visit us that same week. Here he is helping Katie practice piano:

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and here he is enjoying a snack with Gaston the dog:

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William also had his Blue & Gold Banquet that week, and even though he reminded me every day that he needed to bring a cake to that banquet, I still forgot until 90 minutes before the event, BUT we managed to pull off a blueberry coffee cake anyway.

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William still wears one of his fuzzy watch caps every day, even when playing silly Cub Scout games.

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Because: William and I are made of awesome. (I would also like to point out that this is the only cake the adults wanted to eat. The stake president had two slices. So did I.)

Our first non-school-sponsored Winter Arts Event was a production of “Ananzi Tales” at the Northwest Puppet Center. Brian had never seen a production there, and he was mightily impressed by the creativity and skill put into this one-man puppet show.

The Ananzi puppet reminded us of Rizzo the Rat crossed with Grover. We had no problems buying the $5 make-your-own-Ananzi kit at the end of the show; anything to promote puppet artists is a good thing, I say.

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Our second Arts Weekend had Eleanor, William and I attending Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of “Cendrillion/Cinderella,” a modern refashioning of the fairy tale. It was very different from other story ballets we’ve seen; very dreamlike and symbolic (this version has Cinderella’s father recognizing the Fairy Godmother as the ghost of his dead wife, and they do a pas de deux that mirrors the steps done by Cinderella and the Prince).

William enjoyed it in his William way.

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That evening Brian and I went to his department’s annual Groundhog Day party (I love that they recognize that Christmastime is too dang busy for a department party, but everyone loves a shindig in early February).

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This sign is wrong. I saw for myself that Punxutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter. But perhaps we’re trying to think positive in the Dept. of Lab Medicine.

BUT PHIL WAS RIGHT — because two days later:

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Here’s Jeff walking to school. I didn’t find out school was cancelled until 10 minutes later. Whoops! He walked home and was fine.
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Look at the branches that fell off the tree!

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ANOTHER NO-SCHOOL SNOW DAY. Annnnnnnd the following day was a late-start day, too.

Eleanor was invited by her friend Audrey to go sledding in the park and have lunch/playdate afterwards, and didn’t come home for six hours. I’m so happy with this new friend she’s made!

Speaking of Eleanor and her friends, we got to see them at the New Beginnings program with the YW at church. All of the 11 year olds who will turn 12 this year were invited to come and learn about the Mutual theme for the year (“Ask of God”). In true YW fashion, they had these little bracelets for all the girls, representing different features of the YW theme.

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Not as attractive as wearing Babybel cheese wax on your ears, but close . . .

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The Winter Arts Weekends came to a close this past Saturday with a performance of “As You Like It” by the UW theater dept.

It was cute — the stage design for the Forest of Arden was beautiful (lots of cherry blossom-laden branches suspended on wires above the theater-in-the-round stage) and there were beautiful musical interpretations of the shepherd’s poems (think mandolins, accordions, big wooden acoustic bass, very hipster-folk).

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In a cute twist, Jacques was played by a woman, and they reinterpreted the character’s lines to suggest that she was secretly in love with the Duke (Rosalind’s father) the whole time. So . . . a production of AYLI with five couples getting together at the end! Wow.

(It nearly made up for the fact that the actress playing Touchstone wasn’t funny and shouted all her lines in the exact same way. Nearly.)

I enjoyed these Arts Weekends so much that I think I’ll make a point of doing it again next winter — it’s  a great way to get out of the house during the gray-sky times. We’re too busy during the holidays for such things, and summertime is the time for outdoors affairs. Winter arts, hurrah!

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This has nothing to do with the arts, but this was the most epic fairies vs. knights war the kids have had in a while (it was 90% negotiations of how magic spells/weapons worked) and I wanted to capture it while it was still around.

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