Tag Archives: Souvenirs

Comicon tales

A few of Lizabeth's fun finds from Friday night at Phoenix Comicon 2011

It was “show and tell” at our house this morning — something my daughter, now 17, hasn’t done since circle time during kindergarten at Desert View Learning Center in Phoenix.

She awoke eager to show me her first day’s haul from Phoenix Comicon, taking place this weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center, which is billed as “the signature pop culture event of the Southwest.”

Autographed photos. Freebie like luggage tags and treat bags featuring faces of fan favorites. Posters to line the walls of her college dorm in NYC this fall — including one from a movie called “The Roommate” that’ll hardly make a glowing first impression.

We got our first taste of Phoenix Comicon 2011 while lunching at Majerle’s Sports Grill, across the street from the stage door at Symphony Hall, which we first discovered when Lizabeth performed the role of “party girl” in the Ballet Arizona production of “The Nutcracker.” The streets were dotted with folks wearing superhero T-shirts and other pop culture fare.

James was struck, while picking Lizabeth up after the event Friday night, by the blend of people intermingled in the streets — those finely dressed for an evening graduation ceremony, those donning patriotic garb for the Phoenix Symphony’s “Boogie Woogie Pops” concert and those whose tastes trend more towards Marvel’s “Green Goblin.” The city, like our three children, is growing up all around us.

Having a mom who blogs is a mixed bag. My kids know to offer a disclaimer for arts-related conversations that aren’t meant for public consumption. But sometimes they enjoy the opportunity blogging brings to spotlight the good things we discover during our daily travels.

Lizabeth was particularly animated while describing finger puppets she’d seen at one of the exhibitor booths at this year’s Phoenix Comicon. Finger puppets of cute, furry animals aren’t hard to come by. But “bacon” finger puppets – and even “finger” finger puppets — have a different sort of magic altogether.

Lizabeth took special care to snag a business card for Stacey Rebecca Gordon, proud puppet crafter and performer whose business is dubbed “Puppet Pie.” I was delighted to discover that Gordon — who describes herself as improviser, mom and wife — has a charming, cheeky blog complete with photos of her works.

One of Lizabeth's favorite actors is working to create a culture of literacy

Lizabeth was equally smitten with the “Kids Need to Read” booth. “Kids Need to Read” is a non-profit organization based in Mesa that enourages literacy, promotes social responsibility, fosters leadership and inspires imaginations. Canadian-born Nathan Fillion, one of Lizabeth’s favorite actors, is a co-founder of “Kids Need to Read.”

“I felt like such a geek,” Lizabeth told me during one of her many Comicon tales. I expected her to follow with a story of being the only person at the Convention Center sporting regular street clothes (if that’s what you call a purple “I’m Not Dead Yet” T-shirt from the musical “Monty Pyton’s Spamalot“).

But she was referring to gushing over someone she met at Comicon. Not a celebrity or actor protraying a super-hero, but a real super-hero — a librarian. Lizabeth shared with the librarian how much trips to our local libraries, still a favorite pastime for James and the girls, have meant to her through the years.

Libraries make the world feel bigger and more intimate at the same time, and no child should ever have to do without them. Lizabeth mentioned to the librarian she met at Comicon the fact that librarians she met as a child were always so nice, friendly and helpful.

Lizabeth shared that the librarian seemed genuinely touched by her words. Perhaps she, like many others, feels unappreciated or doesn’t receive nearly the recognition she deserves. It can’t help that so many libraries and other keepers and creators of culture are taking a hit during budget battles that strip pounds while trying to save pennies.

Tonight’s Phoenix Comicon events include the “Kids Need to Read Geek Prom,” sponsored by Bookman’s — with all proceeds benefiting “Kids Need to Read.”

Comicon also includes a film festival — with films sporting titles like “Laptop’s Revenge,” ” Paint-B-Que” and “Peace, Love & Tacos” (plus others with a more offensive vibe). But it’s Lizabeth’s flyer for a 2010 independent film titled “Beautiful Boy” that looks most intriguing. The movie hits Valley theaters in June.

As James headed out this morning to drive Lizabeth to downtown Phoenix for more Phoenix Comicon adventures, I commented that Lizabeth seems to be having the time of her life. He readily agreed, adding an insight of his own…

“She’s with her people.”

– Lynn

Note: Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix is home to the “Arizona Pop Culture Experience.”

Coming up: From Sondheim to South Park, Father’s Day meets JFK

Musical memories

There’s “The Rhythm of Life” from the musical “Sweet Charity,” which debuted on Broadway in 1966 — and “The Circle of Life” from the 1997 musical “The Lion King.”

History is full of music marking the times of our lives — whether serene, somber, soulful or celebratory. I got to thinking about my own musical journeys after learning of “Respect: A Musical Journey of Women.”

This perky performance featuring more than fifty “top 40″ songs of the past 100 years takes to the Herberger Theater Center stage through Feb 12, 2011. Grab your girlfriends, your daughters, even your grandma — and go.

In the years following my mother’s death, I was especially moved each time I heard Bette Midler’s recording of “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”

I also think of my mom each time one of her own favorite songs, like Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” reverberates from my radio.

Certain songs call to mind particular times in my life.

Songs like “Mahogany” (from the 1975 movie) and “Wildflower” (first recorded by Skylark) seemed the perfect anthems for my teenage angst. 

Dan Fogelberg’s “Part of the Plan” was woven into a valedictorian speech I gave at graduation, and Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” became a sort of theme songs as I got older and life became infinitely more complicated.

Even now, music is something shared with family and friends as a way to express our feelings for each other and our thoughts about the world around us.

For Christmas this year, my husband James gave me both Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise” and a Bob Welch CD that opens with the track “Sentimental Lady.”

My son, Christopher, has long wished I would leave the digital “Dark Ages” and enter the magnificent modern age of mp3 players.

Perhaps one day I will — but only to record a sort of soundtrack of my life that might give my children more insights into their mom as not only parent, but also person.

I love to tell my kids about some of my favorite concert experiences, like the Springsteen concert James and I attended that opened with the Elvis classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” 

Or Jackson Browne’s Phoenix concert held the night before we’d all learn who had won the 2008 presidential election. More than a few hippies in the house found special meaning in songs like “Where Were You” and “The Drums of War.”

We’re an eclectic bunch when it comes to musical tastes. Jennifer favors country and Lizabeth loves Broadway. Christopher can’t get enough of the ’80s. I’m still stuck in the ’70s. And James is slightly less retro thanks to music of the ’90s.

It’s easy to take both people and music for granted. Make time during the post-holiday lull to enjoy music together — whether you’re making noisemakers with your children at a local musuem or attending a performance like “Respect: A Musical Journey.”

For music is the stuff that dreams, memories and journeys are made of.

– Lynn

Note: Local museums that routinely feature musical experiences for children and adults include the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Heard Museum, the Musical Instrument Museum and more.

Coming up: Meet more “Stage Moms”