On Sunday, we had a date night and headed into LA to check out a museum exhibit on cut paper. Jennifer Linssen creates beautiful works of art by handcarving intricate patterns into cardstock-weight paper, painting or coloring it, and using aluminum rods and wire to form all kinds of intricate shapes. The object in the picture above was about 16" across and about 12" tall.
What Jennifer is doing is practicing the ancient Japanese art of katagami or paper stencils. These stencils were used for printing patterns on to paper or fabrics, but the stencils themselves were an artform on their own. She and other artists have taken this artform to the next level.
Yesterday we went on the Great Park Balloon at the under-construction Orange County Great Park. Unfortunately our camera is broken, so I had to grab a few from flickr. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze. Alex loved it, even though he could barely see over the railings. We went up to 280 feet, though the balloon operator said on a calm day they can go up to 500. I was more than fine with 280 feet.
It is a huge balloon with a steel donut shaped basket that can hold around 30 people. There is netting along the sides you can't fall out, though you could accidentaly drop a camera or cell phone. The balloon is anchored by a steel tether that attaches to the center of the balloon. This is how they control how high the balloon goes. See the picture below.
Last Saturday, I took Alex to see Dan Zanes perform at Royce Hall at UCLA. It was a last minute decision and took us over an hour to get there, but we arrived 20 minutes before showtime. We got to the ticket window and as the attendant was searching for tickets, a lady came up to me and offered us free tickets. Apparently some of here friends had not shown up, and she had an extra adult and child’s ticket. So we got in free with 10 minutes to spare!
The concert was general admission, so you can sit anywhere. Dan Zanes’ concerts are reknown for a family party atmosphere, where everyone is allowed to wander around during the performance. No matter where you sit, at one point you will end up in the “pit” right in front of the stage, where kids are dancing and the parents are off to the side, keeping an eye on the kids while listening to the music.
Dan's music is heavily folk influenced, with an early rock-and-roll feel, with some Jamaican and Mexican bits thrown in. He says he doesn't write kids music, but rather family music for all ages to enjoy. I think that’s true, as Armilyn and I enjoy listening to the music as well. We can’t say that with other kid’s music.
He kinda looks like Steve Martin with Albert Einstein’s hair:
Alex's favorite song is “Jump Up” (the above video) so when I heard Dan start the song, I rushed Alex down to the front. Up until that point, Alex wasn’t exactly sure who we were watching perform, but when the song started, Alex had a look of recognition on his face. We stayed up front for a little while, enough time to see an all-female 12 piece mariachi band that performed a few songs with Dan Zanes. Very cool.