Monday, March 30, 2009

Japan comes to L.A.

Sometimes I forget just how amazing the Getty is. Located on a hilltop above the 405, where you have a 360-degree view of Los Angeles, this museum is the perfect respite from the noise of the big city.

When CC and I went on Saturday, they were hosting a daylong interactive family festival centered on the exhibit Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors (on view until May 24). What was especially fun was that they made everything so kid-friendly. CC got to watch traditional Japanese dance, listen to storytelling and even make her own frame out of origami paper. And the best part -- no tantrums!

First, the dancing. Performers from Azuma Kotobuki Kai took the stage in the museum courtyard. CC watched as the women brought out parasols and fans, and wove them into their routines. It was a blazingly sunny day, and I mostly wondered about their costumes and makeup. It was gorgeous, but they must have been warm. CC clapped and clapped after the women performed. She loved it.

Next, we headed to the lecture hall to take in some storytelling. The Jim Jam theater company explained to a room full of excited children about taiko drums by having the kids pretend to play with their own drumsticks. CC really got into this part, banging on her imaginary drum with the best of them. Unfortunately, we had to duck out while one of the storytellers was describing the origin of the Hawaiian islands. CC got a little restless and apparently wanted to get back to the drumming.

After wandering around the gardens, and watching as my child tried to take home some of the flowers for herself (glad no one saw that one), we made our way over to the outer museum courtyard for some origami projects. There was also painting, but picturing black paint all over her new dress stressed me out enough, so I respectfully declined.

The frame was an easy choice. The volunteers had small shapes of colorful origami paper in little baskets, easily accessible to little hands. Throw in the glue sticks, and with Mommy's help, voila, we had an instant frame, complete with a stamp showing it was "Made at the Getty."

All that and a choo-choo to boot. CC was completely enthralled by the tram that takes visitors to and from the parking garage. Glad we were able to exit without her insisting we go another round just for kicks.

It was a great day, a nice getaway within the city, and another opportunity for CC to explore different cultures in a fun atmosphere. Let's just hope taiko drums aren't on her Christmas wish list this year.

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300

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