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Archive for the 'Family Entertainment' Category

Family Fun for the Weekend

"Little House on the Prairie" (Bay Area Children's Theatre) Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic tales of covered wagons and the wild pioneer have entranced generations of young readers. Now, Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa hit the footlights in a Bay Area Children’s Theatre production of the charming “Little House on the Prairie.” It’s a throwback to a simpler time … although your children may wonder why the Ingalls family didn’t just consult Google maps for a better route through the wilderness. Catch the show at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., where weekend matinees run now through Feb. 13. And if you miss it there, don’t despair. The production continues Feb. 19-27 at San Ramon’s Front Row Theatre, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road. Tickets are $14-$20; www.bactheatre.org.

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011
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Children’s Film Fests

"Dot" at the Bay Area International Children’s Festival Forget all the fuss about violent flicks and too-scary PG-13 rated movies at the cineplex. If you want to see some cool, truly family-friendly movies, here are two options – and they start in just a few days…

This weekend, the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival kicks off with a quirky mix of 43 animated shorts, award-winning documentaries and hilarious little films. Among the offerings, Jenny Mackenzie’s “Kick Like a Girl,” about a girls’ soccer team competing in the guys’ league, and showing them what it really means to kick like a girl. We’re also smitten by “Dot” (pictured), Will Studd and Ed Patterson’s teeny tiny stop-motion character who wakes up one morning to discover her world caving in. How tiny? They had to use a microscope and tweezers to move the 9 mm figure around for the camera. Dot rescues herself through sheer ingenuity, with a little help from some handy pencil shavings, pennies and pins. It all goes down this weekend — films, animation workshops and more, Jan. 29-30, in the art deco theater at Michaan’s Auctions, 2700 Saratoga St., Alameda. Tickets are $10 for a half-day pass, $15 for a full day and $20 for the weekend. Visit www.baicff.com for details.

Meanwhile, over in Moraga, the 2011 California Independent Film Festival hits the silver screen at the Rheem Theatre, and the lineup includes a whole list of children’s films. Among them: “Inka Bola,” an animated French short about an irresponsible guard, whose babysitting gig for a slightly wild, young Mayan prince go terribly awry; and the charming German short “Bob,” about a hamster, who chases the love of his life around the world in, yes, a hamster wheel. Check out the line-up here.

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
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FAB Five for the Weekend

Little Engine that Could (Photo by Joshua Posamentier)
Little Engine: The Bay Area Children’s Theatre adds acrobatics and music to their production of “The Little Engine That Could” (pictured), the tale of the famously optimistic little train who steps in when the big engine breaks down. The show runs Dec. 18-23 at San Ramon’s Front Row Theatre. Tickets: $15-$19; www.bactheatre.org.

Welsh holiday: Catch a screening of the classic “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” written and narrated by Dylan Thomas, at San Francisco’s Exploratorium at 2 p.m. Dec. 18. Free with admission; www.exploratorium.edu.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
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FAB Five for the Weekend

SFS YouthOrchestra (Photo courtesy San Francisco Symphony) Peter, a Wolf  & a Bassoon: Peter tries to elude that pesky wolf once more in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra’s (pictured) annual production of Prokofiev’s classic “Peter and the World” – this time narrated by “Wicked” star Eden Espinosa. The curtain rises at 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall and 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at Cupertino’s Flint Center. There’s a holiday singalong too. Tickets $15-$57, half-price for kids; www.sfsymphony.org.

Frosting the Conservatory: San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers already looks like a confection. Now you can make your own, mini, edible version. Drop in between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 11 for delicious building supplies and a decorating workshop at the Conservatory in Golden Gate Park. Admission: $1.50-$7, plus $10 for materials. All ages welcome, but kids under 14 need to bring a parent; www.conservatoryofflowers.org. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
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FAB Five for the Weekend

Philharmonic Baroque family concert

Viva Vivaldi: Grab your music-loving kids and head over to the Philharmonia Baroque family concert at 4 p.m. Nov. 6 at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church, when they perform the Winter and Spring movements of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” The kid-friendly show includes plenty of Vivaldi lore and a chance to get up close and personal with the historical instruments (pictured, above). Tell your kids, in terms of sheer fame and artistry, Vivaldi was the Lady Gaga of the baroque period. Elton John would have killed to play with him. Tickets: $7.50 for kids, $15 for grown-ups; www.cityboxoffice.com.

Oh, Viola Swamp: When a sweet-tempered teacher goes AWOL and the worst substitute ever arrives in Harry Allard’s classic children’s book, it’s up to the rowdy schoolchildren to figure out what happened. Now “Miss Nelson is Missing” is going theatrical with a zany, musical at San Ramon’s Front Row Theater, staged by the Bay Area Children’s Theatre Nov. 2-14. Tickets $14-$20. www.bactheatre.org. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
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FAB Five for the Weekend

Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Children's Museum Goblin Jamboree: Get a head start on Halloween at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s haunted wonderland party (pictured). Ride a spooky train, take a class at the witches’ school and enjoy live entertainment at Sausalito’s adorable children’s museum fundraiser. The fun runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 16-17. Tickets $13-$15, available at the door; www.baykidsmuseum.org.

Abracadabra: Livermore’s Bankhead Theater is hosting a lineup of amazing magicians from Hollywood’s Magic Castle and other star-studded venues. The hocus pocus fun and magical prestidigitation starts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14. Tickets $12-$51; www.bankheadtheater.org
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Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
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FAB Five for the Weekend

Chevron Family Theatre Festival (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Family Fest: Cinderella, Toto and the Sippy Cups headline the fourth annual Chevron Family Theatre Festival at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts. The fun runs all day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 24, with free activities and shows outside the theater, and $5 seats for the stage performances. Visit www.lesherartscenter.org/theatrefestival for details.

Zany Boat Races: Berkeley hosts its third annual Derby Day cardboard boat races — with prizes for funniest, most futuristic and, of course, fastest sinking ship — from 1 to 3 p.m. July 23 in the West Campus Pool, 2100 Browning St. at Addison. $5 per boat entry.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
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FAB FIVE for the Weekend

Mark Morris' "The Hard Nut" (Photo courtesy of Cal Performances)
Frothy snowflakes, hard nuts: The classic moves of the “Nutcracker” ballet are all well and good, but once you’ve seen “The Hard Nut,” the Mark Morris Dance Group’s hilarious, irreverent take (pictured above), you may never go back. The snowflakes are magical, the nursemaid a scream, and we swear we spotted someone doing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” moves in the opening party scene. The production features the Berkeley Symphony in the pit, and the angelic voices of the Piedmont Children’s Choirs too. Cal Performances, Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, now through Dec. 20. Tickets $36 and up, but children’s tickets are half off Dec. 17 and 18.

A cookie-loving mouse: You know what happens if you give a mouse a cookie, right? He’s going to want a glass of milk to go with it. And if you give audiences at Active Arts Theatre’s popular stage productions a play called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” they’re going to want an extended stage run to go with it. So the show is running Dec. 19-23 at San Ramon’s Front Row Theater. Tickets $15-$19.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
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VIRTUAL Mozart

Secret Builders
Care to chat with Wolfgang? The San Francisco Opera has teamed up with SecretBuilders.com, a virtual world for kids with a focus on the creative arts, and the result is pretty cool: a meet-and-greet with a virtual Mozart , audio and video clips from the opera, “The Magic Flute,” and an “Art for Mozart” contest where kids can design their own Papageno posters. And your kids may not care about this part, but us opera-lovers think it’s wildly cool – it’s not just Mozart frolicking about that stage, there’s a David Gockley avatar too. Gockley, the San Francisco Opera’s general director, says he’s  looking forward to “rubbing shoulders with Mozart, even if only virtually.”

As for the rest of SecretBuilders, which is aimed at kids 6-14, you can also go on a quest with Galileo, visit Frank ‘n’Stein’s Gallery and nosh at the Macbeth-themed Weird Brew Cafe.

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
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FAB Five for the Weekend

Home Alone Ahhhhhh: Remember “Home Alone”? Rialto Cinemas Elmwood is relaunching its popular family matinee series with the famous cinematic tale of Kevin, whose family manages to leave him behind when they take off for a Parisian Christmas vacation. Now, the 8-year-old must defend his home against a pair of truly moronic burglars. Pick up free tickets at nearby boutiques or donate $4 — it’s a benefit for Berkeley PTA groups — at the box office. The movie screens at noon Dec. 5 and 6.

Tutus & nutcrackers: San Francisco’s Zeum hosts its first-ever, pint-size “Nutcracker” Dec. 4-20, featuring the Mark Foehringer Dance Project and the Magik*Magik Orchestra in a zany production aimed at kids 3 and up. $25.
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Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
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