Sooner or later, kids need to expand their theatrical horizons beyond The Lion King. Hair, staged fully-clothed by RAPA School of Performing Arts, is a groovy place to start.
Set in 1969, Hair doesn't tell a story as much as it captures an era. Through evocative songs, the audience is introduced to a "tribe" of New York City hippies. When one gets drafted, he must decide whether to go to war.
My conservative 12-year-old son commented, "The hippies have a point. But you can't just want peace on a silver platter. To get peace, you might have to do some unpeaceful things like war." Then again, "The theme of running away from the government is good. Maybe if Bill Gates did, he wouldn't have gotten into trouble." Subpoenas. Draft cards. They all burn the same, baby.
What about the drug references? My kid says, "Don't worry. The DARE program went way overboard on that stuff." And a couple uses of the F word? "I've heard worse on the school bus."
Creative staging and energetic choreography helped hold my son's interest. And the songs! "Aquarius" was a stand out, and so was "Black Boys/White Boys." In case you're wondering, "Sodomy" was cut from the show. Too bad. The kids on the school bus could use the vocabulary upgrade.
Hair continues August 12 and 13 at the RAPA Playhouse, 727 East Main Street. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors. For info go to www.rapaonline.org or call 325-3366.
--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)
Are you ready for the big fall push? It's back-to-school shopping time again! Walking through the area Mart-Marts (an appellation my family has bestowed upon all big box retailers) it's been readily apparent that, since the end of June, retailers have been laying in for the end of summer. As well they should, because the average parent spends about $500 per child on back-to-school "needs." So, like the first crocuses of spring pushing their way through the tundra, school supplies have been creeping into store aisles and on to end-caps as retailers hastily clear out the remains of summer merchandise.
Every year my wife and I take turns venturing into the Mart-Marts with our children's supply lists gripped tightly in our hands. On an average outing, I feel like a suburban Indiana Jones searching for the Ark of the Covenant, wading though aisles cluttered with multi-colored, two-pocket folders, three-ring binders, and wide-ruled paper. As fortune would have it, my kids' tastes have moved away from licensed products emblazoned with glossy pictures (a big relief, as they are usually more expensive than standard supplies).
If you feel that this is happening too soon, then don't look behind the colorful displays filled with packages of No. 2 pencils and erasers. If you do, then you'll see orange and brown, pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters and other autumnal avatars hiding around the corner, waiting for their turns on the shelves.
--- Stan Merrell
The Cool Kids series culminates with the Canimals on Parade and Cool Kids Block Party on Saturday, August 13. It's a kids' festival (at the Brockport Summer Art Festival) with games, art activities, canned-good sculptures, and raffles on Market and Main Streets (near the Canal Bridge), in Brockport, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. Bring your canned good for the sculpture contest. www.generationcool.biz, 637-3984
See more family listings in the Mind, Body, Spirit section of the community calendar.