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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Monday, July 21, 2014

An Artistic Year

     Tonight, Marc and I took Vinny with us to see We Will Rock You at the Ahmanson.  I've wanted to see this show for a really long time, so I was so excited it was coming to Los Angeles and very excited to see it.  Queen is the soundtrack of my childhood, and I even got to see Queen live in 2005 at the Hollywood Bowl (yes, I know Freddie Mercury was gone... Paul Rodgers took his place on that tour and it was phenomenal).  One of the best experiences of my life. We Will Rock You really does an awesome job of translating Queen's counterculture vibe to modern times. Loved it.

     The past year (as in twelve months, school year, not calendar year) has really been an artistic turning point for me.  Marc and I have made the arts a priority, and it all feels SO right.  Growing up an artsy geek in the greater LA area, I always imagined that I would spend a great portion of my life soaking up the arts scene in Los Angeles. For various reasons (mostly education and small children), this was the first year where I really felt like we did that.  With visits to the Getty Center and the Getty Villa and MOCA and LACMA and the Pompeii exhibit at the science center, I've definitely gotten a good taste of the LA life I wanted.  The little tastes I've gotten make me want more more more.  I wish we didn't live so far from the subway lines.  It's only about a 20-25 minu;postID=2329769197757677996te drive to a decent subway stop, which saves us some parking money and gas, but L.A. really needs a public transportation network more like New York because L.A. traffic sucks, and I'd love to avoid it altogether with a decent schedule and reasonable prices.

     This has been a great theater season for me too. I've seen more shows than I can practically count. I've seen Evita and Lion King and Ghost at the Pantages, bare in Los Angeles and community theater, Rock of Ages in Las Vegas, a community theater production of Next to Normal (totally blew my mind), The Last Confession and We Will Rock You at the Ahmanson, Cats at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center, and In the Heights by Cabrillo (oh my gosh, amazing!).  When you add to that list the shows I saw Vinny in -- Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz, and Shrek, that's a lot of theater watching! I also directed two shows with my students and performed in a six week run of Willy Wonka at a local community theater. As a family, we hit the original Renaissance Faire for the first time, as well as a smaller faire called Nottingham Village, which actually was better in many ways than the original Ren Faire. We went to the Holli Festival (festival of colors) for the second year in a row and this time brought the kids. Altogether, this past year really represents, to me, one of the major highlights of living here. 

     I also realize that these things have only been possible because Marc and I have prioritized them. We have chosen to spend our money on these things instead of theme parks and other entertainment this year. We haven't done a lot of typical family friendly "kid" stuff, but our kids don't really need typical kid stuff. They are being raised to be patient and to work to expand their attention span, to appreciate staring at statues or taking in a garden. They are developing their own tastes. Tiana especially loves looking at ancient jewelry in museums. Vinny loves statues and realistic art, mostly classical stuff, and he isn't at all into surrealism or impressionism (which pretty much is the exact opposite of my tastes). Vinny has gotten past the shock and awe factor of nudity in art and might actually be starting to see the beauty in some of it, while Tiana still finds in necessary to giggle and say "Ew!" at all nude figures in art, regardless of gender.  Kids will be kids... but they don't always have to have non-stop action and "kids-friendly" entertainment. Given time and guidance, they can learn to find anything entertaining. With my few remaining days of summer, my kids are begging me to take them to the Natural History Museum. How many kids do you know who would rather go to a museum than a water park? 

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