Sunday, May 30, 2010

"I Want '80s Hair!"

This year, the whole family attended the 3rd Kansas City Jiggle Jam, an annual music festival aimed at kids. Carter and Lea are veterans, but it was Erik's first chance to attend since he had no overseas travel obligations (Erik often conducts research in early Spring after the semester ends). While Carter's favorites - They Might be Giants and Justin Roberts - were not on the bill this year, we found some new bands to follow.

The festival is located on the grounds of Kansas City's fabulous Crown Center. It features two stages, "bouncy things," a fountain for playing, vendors of all sorts, and miscellaneous activities. We spent most of Saturday having a lot of fun. Pictures and comments follow.


After playing in some of the "bouncy things," we headed over to the main stage for a concert by The Jimmies. The song being performed in the photo above is about Punxsutawney Phil. The Jimmies put on a great show and we have added this group to our musical rotation.

Carter bugged both Erik and Lea about playing in the fountain for much of morning. When we finally arrived, his play was limited to a quick spin through the area. The fountain erupts in a pattern, and kids line up to sit on the holes that project cold water. When all of the jets are flowing at full speed, chaos ensues. Carter's main objection was the water's cold temperature.

After a quick, early dinner at the Crayola Cafe, we got first-row seats to the next show by Ralph's World. Our friend Harry alerted us to this Chicago-based act. Lea and Carter are singing along to "We are Ants!" in the photo above. After the set, Erik encountered Ralph while playing with Carter near the stage. Ralph was extremely nice and chatted with Erik for a few minutes. His band is another one to add to the rotation.

Our first-row access was largely due to an LCNS delegation occupying several seats. Carter's friend Hayden was a particularly good dancer.

Ralph invited up the whole audience for the last song. Carter was unfortunately not game for this great opportunity.

The final band of the evening was the Zeros, a KC-based New Wave tribute band. Carter really enjoyed the music of Lea and Erik's youth, dancing with his mom, playing ball with his dad, and generally rockin' out.

Carter had a few teachable moments during the day. Here Erik reminds him to share the beach balls (provided by the band for everyone to enjoy) with other kids.

The Zeros had an '80s "hair salon" set up onstage. Carter eagerly volunteered, telling Lea "I want '80s hair!" We were hoping for a Flock of Seagulls 'do, but his hairstylist was more keen on color (the other hairstylist was all about texture). As you can see from the photo above, Carter didn't enjoy the smell of 80s hair spray and mousse. He ended up with a blue and green head. We all really enjoyed the set, with fun renditions of tunes by the Buggles, Cars, Devo, Ramones, Soft Cell, Simple Minds, and other "classic" bands.

The next day, we wandered around Union Station, the ornate transit point of the Midwest that opened just under a century ago. Erik and Lea recounted stories from Erik's father, who has told us about his semi-close encounter with Harry Truman back in the days when thousands traveled through the grand old building. Unfortunately, it is now almost empty, with just a few activities available (and a few Amtrak trains).

We stayed overnight at the Westin, which was built on an existing hill. The rock is a real outcropping, but the waterfall is artificial. On our way out, Grandfather Stark snapped our photo. He is the host of a St. Louis-based radio program who was visiting his family and attending the festival. We met him at the waterfall and had a nice talk about kids' music.

Thus ended another successful Jiggle Jam. We are already looking forward to #4!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Everybody Loves a Parade

The Art Togeau Parade is an annual event in Lawrence, attracting art cars from near and far. This year's collection was quite good, featuring crazy bicycles, UFOs, and zombies. Several photos follow.













"Oh, the Places You'll Go!"


Carter's two-year career at the Little Red Schoolhouse came to a close yesterday. While the cooperative environment was a big commitment for us, Carter thrived there. All of the parents participated in the classroom and in special clean-up days, but we also had the chance to be involved in fun activities (like the 5K/10K fundraiser - Erik ran the 10K last year, and both he and Lea ran this year).

Surprisingly, the sage words of Dr. Seuss to graduates were not a part of the charming ceremony to congratulate the class of 2010. But, they sang songs, received their "diplomas" and participated in the ceremonial tossing of the mortar boards.
video

video
After the ceremony, Carter announced: "I feel like a kindergartner."


Lea congratulates Carter.

A family picture with the "graduate."


Carter and his buddy Hayden.

Carter reminisces about his long journey through pre-school with Miss Stephanie.

Carter, Hayden, and Stephanie discuss Hayden's gift to the school.

Thanks and goodbye to the Little Red Schoolhouse!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Piano Party

video

Carter began studying piano a few months ago and he performed in his first recital today. His teacher, Rachel, wisely pitched the event as a "piano party" at her house. Formal recitals, like those at which Erik performed for many years as a child, are wonderful and challenging events. But, with the low stress of the party, Carter experienced no stage fright - bounding up to the piano to play "Old MacDonald." The video is above; below you see him relaxing after completing his piece.