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An Artsy Weekend at OCPAC


By Rebecca Meekma.

If Isabel and Maggie look tired in their class pictures this year (Tuesday is El Morro’s picture day) I take the blame.

We had such a fun-filled weekend that they need to catch up on their sleep. I sent them to bed early on Monday, but bedtime was thrown to the wind on both Saturday and Sunday evenings for two very different artsy outings at the O.C.  Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.

Saturday we met another family for a very special, free outdoor dance performance by San Francisco’s Project Bandaloop. Their members rappelled off the side of Segerstrom Hall and danced across the side of the building several stories tall. For a brief second it sort of reminded me of the old Batman and Robin TV show, except this was not campy. It was amazing.

This performance showcased the athleticism as well as the artistry of modern dance. The 8-year-old boy with us was as engrossed in the performance as my girls.  We all wished we could move through the air like the dancers.

Even a musician got into the act, rappelling to a miniscule cornice about 50 feet in the air where he played trombone for several pieces. Talk about playing on the edge!

Prior to the performance we had dinner at TK’s Burgers on Bristol, just west of the 405, a totally casual, surfer-style joint that serves tasty burgers, fries and onion rings. Not the place to go if you’re dressed up for a big night out, but perfect for us prior to our outdoor dance adventure. Caveat emptor: TK’s is cash only.

On Sunday we went to a special tent next to Segerstrom Hall for the latest version of the classic Peter Pan. The play is presented in the round with a spectacular, totally 21st century touch: the ceiling of the tent serves as screens for computer generated images that encircle the audience. When Peter and the Darlings fly out of the nursery and out over 19th century London, you really feel as if you are flying with them. I almost got queasy! (I don’t do well on California Soaring at California Adventure, either.)

The actors were great, as were the puppet versions of Nana, the Darling family’s dog, and the crocodile hungry for the rest of Captain Hook. Indian Princess Tiger Lily’s dance of gratitude for her rescue by Peter was stunning, perhaps breaking the PG-13 barrier in a G-kind of way. Wow!

Maggie, 6, who believes in fairies, sat in awe, not squiggling for the nearly three-hour performance. An older woman in our row sneaked glances at her, tickled to see a child engaged by the timeless story. When Tinkerbell almost dies, the audience is compelled to chant, “I believe in fairies” to revive her, a moving experience that made me feel anything is possible.

During intermission, we explored the concessions tent where the girls eyed the roped off candy store area.  To enter, you must purchase a $6 take-out food style container to fill to your heart’s content. This was the treat of a lifetime for my girls. I doled out sugary treats throughout the second act.

The excitement of the performance or perhaps the candy kept the girls from falling asleep on the ride home. We talked about our favorite scenes and what it would be like to fly as I drove down quiet streets. If there ever was a good reason to stay up late on a school night, this was it.

Peter Pan continues through December 5. I highly recommend it no matter what your age.

Also, this Sunday is 10.10.10: Experimental Media Arts Festival at the Beall Center at UCI’s Trevor School of the Arts. Tech meets art with interactive performances, roaming avatars, robot-building workshops, high tech airplane, auto displays and more. I’m looking forward to the iPhone concert. Should be a blast.


Rebecca Meekma is that friend who always knows something fun to do and the Calendar Editor for Parenting OC. Reach her at [email protected]

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