art of the brick

Art of the Brick

It was Evan’s turn today for a city day-trip, and along with some school buddies we headed off into Federation Square for a bit of Lego action. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing Nathan Sawaya’s Art of the Brick, and it did not disappoint.

I’m pretty sure I’m safe in saying that once a Lego kid, always a Lego kid, and I am most certainly a fan of the little plastic block. In saying that, I wouldn’t have been as interested in seeing a Legoland type of display – cityscapes, spaceships, car-like creations. Although these types of structures require immense talent and incredibly steady hands, it’s not so much the type of things I’m interested in seeing.

Nathan Sawaya’s exhibition is very different to this. His work is sculptural, emotional, and in many ways very mature. It’s a fascinating contrast between medium and content. It’s a bit like seeing the Mona Lisa drawn in crayon…it perplexes one just a little.

And although I think the boys were a little distracted by the prospect of laser skirmish in the afternoon (oh boys…), I think Evan got into the show almost as much as I did. He was suitably impressed by the level of difficulty, both in terms of the construction and the transportation of the sculptures. I think he got the contrast too. He was compelled to get up very close, to look at the details, to study the expressions on the Lego faces all with a little frown on his own face.

He loved the dinosaur, huge and tactile, and he spent a fair while studying the globe of the world. He was also very keen on the coloured skulls, bright and bold on the black wall – he was really fascinated by their symmetry, four skulls exactly the same, only different in colour.

Personally, I particularly like Mask and Yellow, and I’ll admit I would have liked one the skulls to take home for my wall.

We didn’t stay for ages, just long enough to look at everything a couple of times. It was pretty busy, but not overwhelmingly so. Just the right amount of action to make you feel you were in the middle of a pretty exciting show. I noticed that the ‘Play and Build’ sessions were solidly booked out for most of the day – luckily the kids weren’t that keen on doing building of their own, but had they been, pre-booking would have been a must.

This is a really interesting show, well worth looking at as a day out. Being in Federation Square, it’s in a great location too, very easy to get to. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can check out their link on Little Melbourne’s site.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter

When Bond meets Pixar, it’s gotta be a blast!

Every school holidays I try and take the boys to at least one film. I love the movies, and going with the kids is a great excuse to indulge in some Pixar magic. I left the choice of film up to them, but I have to admit that I was quietly pleased when Oscar’s pick was Cars 2.

Booking online takes so much pain out of the school holiday movie process, and with our home-printed tickets we skipped the line and cruised into cinema 2 with no further ado.

We settled in with popcorn, chips and choc-tops, thoroughly enjoyed the short Toy Story film (Pixar always include a little short-film treat), and then got geared up for what turned out to be a surprisingly different film to original Cars. Yes, the characters were much the same but the storyline was so different it  was almost unrecognisable.

The movie begins as a carbon-copy James Bond intro with a perfectly cast Michael Caine getting into all sorts of trouble as Finn McMissile, including an exciting explosion-rife and gadget-reliant car chase. After this somewhat unexpected introduction to the film, we pop back to Radiator Springs where we get a quick refresh of characters and back-stories and it quickly becomes obvious that this time round Mater is going to be the star of the show.

The story goes that Lightening McQueen and his small-town pit-crew travel around the globe to compete in a World Grand Prix. The international race is a brilliant vehicle for some spectacular scenery, a major drawcard of the film. The Pixar gang have absolutely outdone themselves this time around…the scenery in Japan, Italy and London is just to die for. The Italian Rivera almost brought tears to my eyes – the blue waters peppered with yachts and villas made me even more aware of the fact we’re smack bang in the middle of a grey, cold old Melbourne winter. Tokyo and the rainbow bridge in Japan was gorgeous too.

I’m pretty sure that this side of the film was pretty much lost on the kids, but they did seem to really get into the action and excitement of the races and the secret mission storyline that Mater finds himself part of. Oscar still hasn’t stopped talking about how Mater got gatling guns (just great! not…) I get the feeling that the details of the plot might have been a little tricky for the younger ones, but older Evan seemed to really get into the intrigue. Oscar seemed happy with the colour and motion, and the grown-ups in the cinema seemed to giggle at the in-jokes in all the right places.

I’ve got to admit, I liked the first Cars film more, and I think to be honest the boys did too. In saying that, there is nothing actually wrong with this film, and as I mentioned it is spectacular to look at. Well worth a trip to the big screen, and a good one if you’ve got a few kids of different ages to entertain.

The film’s website is worth a look too, it’s a bit of fun.

Coming up…
I’ve got a couple of exciting things coming up over the next few days. I was lucky, lucky, lucky and won tickets (big thanks to Little Melbourne) to see Fantasia at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda.

This very special screening is part of the Music on Film Festival being held at the moment. You can find out more information here, and it’s well worth a sticky-beak as there’s some great films showing over the weekend. I’m really looking forward to showing the boys one of my favourite venues in Melbourne.

I’ve also just booked tickets to see The Art of the Brick in Fed Square next week. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is more about my love of Lego than anything else, but I’m sure that the boys will love it too.

I’ll share my thoughts on both of these, and then head off to my book club meeting next week, after which I’ll give you a run down of what we made of the novel Room by Emma Donoghue.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the running for this month’s give-away, full details here…entries close 14 July.

Join us:   Facebook  and  Twitter

Mum-friendly kid treats

Very little time in front of the computer this weekend means that I’ve got a couple of things that I want to share today – a book, a gig, and an exhibition.

First up is a book that I meant to mention a little while ago, before I got a bit carried away with all this going-out-in-public stuff.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Lisa McCune has released a book, Hopscotch and Honey Joys. It’s essentially a cookbook, beautifully put together by Lisa and her good friend Di Thomas, but it is also much more than a collection of recipes. It’s been put together like a lovely, personal scrapbook of ideas…a Mum’s guide to lovely things for kids and kin.

Between them Lisa and Di have six children between the ages of four and nine, and as such the content is really helpful and fun for a pretty wide range of us, from those with really young kids as well as those whose kidlings are a little more grown up.

I’m thinking that Hopscotch and Honey Joys would be a really great gift for a new Mum, as it’s got some really great ‘basics’ in it, like tips for travelling with kids, party games, knowing your different types of potatoes, etc.

It’s an effective blend of tips and recipes, and I particularly like the fact that many of the recipe ideas would be great for cooking with the kids. I’m really finding that including Oscar in the cooking process is helping with his pathological dislike for anything not vegemite, so any ideas for kid-friendly cooking goes down really well with me.

My personal favourites; creamy rice pudding (yum, yum, winter fun), potato printing (might try this one this afternoon), shaving cream play (never mind the mess guys), and the carbonara gnocchi bake (my mouth is watering just thinking about it.) If you’re keen for a sneak peak, you check out a couple of pages here.

This is a really well put together book, with a wonderful balance of fun and function. Check it out.

Now, I’ve been doing a fair few outings on my own, which has been a very nice treat, but I was starting to feel a little guilty.  As such, I had a bit of a look around on Little Melbourne and found some great kid’s gigs coming up in June. I’ve picked out one for Evan, and one for Oscar and I’m looking forward to some nice one-to-one time with each of them.

I’ve just bought tickets to see Play School’s Big Jazz Adventure, running 12 and  13 June at Melbourne Town Hall. This caught my eye for obvious reasons (Play School + three-year old = happy) but also because I discovered last week that Oscar quite digs jazz. Let’s see if we can’t make him even cooler than he already is.

Given that I didn’t think that the Play School gig was really going to cut it with my ten-year old, I found something different for Evan. We’re thinking of getting along to see The Art of the Brick at Federation Square. I’ll admit, this is also a little self serving, as I’m a very big lego fan, but I do think that the boy will get into it as well. Should make for a nice day out regardless.

So here’s to hoping my energy holds out, it’s looking like June’s pretty packed too!