Tag Archives: Lied Discovery Children’s Museum

A blast of blue!

Blue Man Group performs at ASU Gammage through Sunday

I first encountered the work of Blue Man Group while exploring a piece they donated to the Lied Children’s Discovery Museum in Las Vegas, but hadn’t seen them perform prior to attending opening night for their brief run at ASU Gammage (which ends this Sunday).

I went into the experience with a fair bit of skepticism, since I’m more of a traditional Broadway theater kind of a gal. My daughter Lizabeth, who joined me for most ASU Gammage shows before leaving to attend college in New York, offered sound advice: Don’t judge.

Tuesday’s nearly-packed house included folks of all ages, and everyone (other than a wailing baby) seemed to be having a great time. There was plenty of laughter and audience participation throughout, and two lucky audience members ended up joining Blue Man Group for a time on stage. Only one needed to wear full body protection.

The fun actually began before Blue Man Group took to the stage, as folks in two rows of seating added for this production donned the special gear provided — a clear hooded poncho for covering head and torso. It comes in handy when Blue Man Group makes some of their messier art on canvases sometimes given afterwards to younger members of the audience.

Folks who felt uncomfortable with loinclothed lads perched atop the arms of chairs at ASU Gammage during “Hair” last season will be relieved to know that Blue Man Group stays fully clothed for all their in-the-audience antics.

But before Blue Man Group takes the stage, there’s something you might call the warm-up act — a red crawl of words running across the top of the stage as if an Italian opera is taking place below. It’s got sensible tips designed to increase viewing pleasure, but it’s a sassy little thing.

Don’t text during the show, it warns, because it might frighten the old people. The old people to my left laughed the loudest, though the young people to my right are probably saying the same thing about me.

So here’s what I remember of the evening: Gumballs, marshmallows and film footage that looks remarkably like a trip down someone’s colon. Giant cell phones with apps presenting literary classics reduced to word counts you can easily “tweet.” Entertaining “tough love” for parents too busy with gizmos to pause for playtime. And blacklights the “Hair” hippies would die for.

Blue Man Group is an homage of sorts to the arts and sciences. Physics is cleverly couched in music making, and a brief lesson in animation creation quickly turns into a full-on dance party.

Giant props make their way from stage to audience, and back again. Visions of childhood food fights and teepeeing houses (consult your urban dictionary as needed here) return — and mild sexual innuendo entertains those with a taste for such things. 

Experiencing Blue Man Group is a bit like going to high school. You walk out smarter than you were when you walked in, and you get to experiment with all sorts of things along the way.

– Lynn

Note: Click here for additional show and ticket information, and here to learn more about Blue Man Group education initiatives like “Blue School” and “Invent an Instrument.”

Coming up: Homeschooling and the arts, From biology major to “Blue Man”

Vegas has a children’s museum?

This mural greets visitors as they first enter the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Las Vegas…

Interactive museum exhibits make learning fire and water safety fun…

Hands-on exploration is encouraged throughout the museum…

The museum’s mini-city teaches children about using energy wisely…

Several museum exhibits feature a healthy eating and good nutrition theme…

Museum exhibits encourage children to explore community life…

Several exhibits focus on performing arts like theater and music…

The museum is filled with artwork created by visiting children and families…

Science-related exhibits include this tornado and a hurricane wind simulator…

Several exhibits show practical applications of math and science…

The museum is full of activities that families can enjoy together…

A demonstration area looks like the set of a television cooking show…

You had to know there would be neon somewhere in a Las Vegas museum…

The museum has areas for mechanical science, medical science and more…

Every now and then parents actually let their children try something first…

Visit the museum online to learn about plans to move/expand on the strip…

– Lynn

Coming up: Photo tour of the Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Losing it for libraries!

Check out this bumper sticker I spotted on a car in Cedar City, Utah

My daughter Lizabeth thought I was losing it last week when I jumped for joy over spotting a pro-library bumper sticker on a car parked near one of the Utah Shakespeare Festival theaters.

But I had a recent library related e-mail in mind, and knew the photo would mean a lot to its sender. She’s the mom of a friend, and she’s working with others in Wickenburg to keep their library open. Seems it was shut for a time and that it’s now open again amidst some on-going controversy.

The Wickenburg Public Library has faced some tough times of late

Since I’m more stage mom than investigative journalist these days, I can’t run terribly far with the community’s concerns on this one — but I can help to keep libraries in focus for fellow families who love them like we do.

When Lizabeth and I realized we’d have several hours in Las Vegas the other day, she looked up places it might be fun to visit. We’d driven to Las Vegas from Cedar City, but had lots of time to kill before our flight.

She found a children’s museum, which we spent an hour or so exploring. The museum was adjacent to a public library, so I popped in to take a few photos — much to the dismay of two security guards near the entrance (and Lizabeth, who wishes I’d see more of the world without a lens).

I shot this photo of a Las Vegas library while Lizabeth called her dad to share her disbelief

Once we got to the airport and our gate, I searched online for news stories I’d missed while at the Utah Shakespeare Festival — where there is little time or longing for television or other news sources.

I was pleased to see a story about funding recently awarded to libraries in Maricopa County – which will be used to provide free library cards to families in need who would otherwise be unable to check out reading materials. Now if only we could manage food for the one in five children who live in poverty.

Later in the week, another story activated my library radar — news of a study demonstrating that reading aloud to children during early childhood is a key factor in early and ongoing school success. I give that one a big resounding “duh.”

Some give to libraries. Some use libraries. Some lose it for libraries. It’s all good.

– Lynn

Coming up: Photo tours of the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas and our own Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Valley teen shares tips on choosing a theater camp

Update: Click here for details about an “I Love My Librarian” contest