Friday, December 21, 2007

Ander's School Holiday Show



I kept Zaza out of school so she could cheer along with Grandma and Poppy, and the mid-morning show was very well attended by both moms and dads thanks to the Writers' Guild strike.

As Ander and classmate Mlle. Pomme were both missing their front teeth when rehearsals began, they were singled out for a solo during their class's rendition of "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." (Their front teeth had mostly grown in by the time the actual performance rolled around, but then I suppose they got what they asked/sung for...)

There was something so awesome (to use Alexander's new favorite adjective, in its proper sense) about tall, first-grader Ander striding purposefully up to the microphone -- there wasn't even a hint of the near-paralyzed kindergartner who whispered his way through last year's Silly Songs concert, or even a glimmer of the little guy who I coached to imagine his audience in their underpants only last night.

I'm still warm and fuzzy from it all. Such a mixture of nostalgia and home-grown fun and crunchy granola-ness, nothing in the least bit slick to hint at our 2-blocks-away proximity to Hollywood: a stage decorated with wonky teacher-made paper snowflakes and hand-painted signs, little girls in fancy holiday dresses paired with crazy socks and hand knit scarves, musical accompaniment provided by two parents on acoustic guitars and the vice principal playing a frumpy upright piano, children wearing paper 'Unity Crowns,' songs in Spanish, poems written (and shouted out) by five year-olds, and a hearty rendition of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Every parent (and grandparent) sang along and there wasn't a dry eye in the cafe-gym-a-torium as Ms. H's class unrolled a hand-painted rainbow banner and sang "Imagine." No one was hip or jaded or concerned about their own hair-dos or their child's flubbed lines or worrying about getting their kid's performance onto high-def video (we all knew we could rely on fellow parent and gym teacher Mr. W to shoot the whole thing for us from his perch on the gymnastics apparatus).

The kids were supposed to go back to class for an hour or so, but walking out with the crowd and into the chill -- Ander in a Santa hat and Zaza sporting a hot-cocoa moustache -- it seemed like a perfect start to Winter Break. So off we go!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Zaza's Holiday Show: The Selfish Giant





She was a flower in the Giant's garden. And she and two other little flowers sang ("Daisy, and lily, and violet and rooooooose...") and danced and were so incredibly cute that they have forced me to write the word cute here. I am resisting with much difficulty the urge to add several extra U's to the word cute. Seriously: my teeth hurt from the sweetness of the whole thing. It was absolutely GOOEY with cuteness!!!! We're talking Sanrio to the nth degree.

(must. attend.
liz. mcgrath. exhibit. to. counteract. sugary. sweetness.)

Zaza knew all the other kids' songs by heart as well -- her personal favorite being the part of the naughty North Wind who exclaims (in a knightly kneeling pose with kung fu punches and an evil laugh for emphasis): "Soon you will feel my icy pain! Ha-hahahahaha!"

She was also raw-therrrr jealous of the Snow Queen's costume -- she had a long, long white train that another girl had to carry behind her and drape over the garden.

This was a fully-staged production, with teacher-made costumes and makeup that rivaled the Cirque du Soleil, as well as original songs, and live piano accompaniment. Thanks to graphic designer parents, there were professionally printed programs complete with lyrics (which aided in singing along supportively, but drew attention to some of the truly baaaaad forced rhyme).

Interestingly (or, rather, uninterestingly), all of Oscar Wilde's Catholic imagery was PC-ly excised from the story -- they even made the Child a girl-child -- although the kids understood that the Giant dies of old age at the end.

We were forbidden (yoiks!) to film or photograph the rehearsals, backstage prep, and performance, with that job being assigned to a select group of 4 or 5 parents/pros (professionally edited DVDs and photo CDs will be available as a fund-raiser in the new year). The pictures above were all taken in the classroom after the play. Ander's friend Mr. A chose the Trader Joe's pink roses to bring to Zaza. He said they were "just sooooooo Zaza." He was right.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Akimbo


Look it up.

This is pretty much the picture in our old dictionary.

You do remember dictionaries, right?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Horton Plaza Ice Rink








Wet trouser seats, soggy mittens, blisters, overpriced and oversized gloves (sold to forgetful moms).
Oh but it's all worth it.
I do love the outdoor icerinks that pop up smack dab in he middle of cities over the holidays. Something about their very temporary-ness, or the sliding gliding view of skyscrapers, or their obscenely convenient proximity to Starbucks' mochas and cocoas.
This one had the rockin' new-fangled ski-boot-style skates that you don't have to lace, and decent piped-in Christmas tunes, and a pretty teenage girl from whom Ander did not mind taking a mini lesson.
Zaza held my hand for about ten minutes, and then she was off -- fueled by images of gliding ice princesses and bolstered by a low center of gravity -- more graceful and confidant than I have ever been on ice.