Category Archives: Performances/Events

Summerstage Kids: Free Family Festival in NYC 2012

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City Parks Foundation has announced the 2012 launch of SummerStage Kids, New York City’s unique, interactive family festival presenting more than 95 free performing arts events at 36 locations citywide. This free festival will run from June 10 to August 22, exposing New York City youth to the world of arts and culture through a vast and diverse collection of engaging entertainment unparalleled by any other festival of its kind in NYC.

The festival will feature artists specializing in dance and include a wide range of music such as classical, rock, Latin, jazz, and soul. The event will also encompass storytellers, theatre, contemporary circus, juggling, poetry and puppetry. With a focus on international culture, the performances will introduce the city’s youth to the diversity of New York City. The series is made possible through the support of Disney.

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Stoweflake Hot-Air Balloon Festival, July 6-8, 2012

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If you are looking for something fun to do this summer, but don’t want to have to take the family too far away, than you might want to consider adding the 26th anniversary of the Stoweflake Hot-Air Balloon Festival on July 6-8, 2012 to your calendar. The event will take place at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, one of New England’s top resorts.

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Celebrating 10th Anniversary of Hershey’s Chocolate World Times Square with New Look, New Experience

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I recently made my way over to Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square to celebrate 10 years of sweetness. Right from the moment I entered the store, I could tell that changes had been made, beginning with the overall look of the place. The displays seemed bigger, more fun, and interactive.

Diane Bondareff/AP Images for HERSHEY’S

You definitely can’t miss the The “Wrap Hershey’s Happiness” experience where consumers get to put a personal touch by customizing a wrapper for an iconic 7 oz. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar.

Wrapper designs include Times Square themes as well as seasonal options. I had fun including a picture on mine, as well as a personalized message and then seeing them on the store’s outdoor marquee in the heart of Times Square.

Diane Bondareff/AP Images for HERSHEY’S

If you can resist eating your bar, and are sweet enough to pass them on as gifts, you can choose from several different ribbons and gift tag options.  The “Wrap Hershey’s Happiness” pricing starts at $4.75 and will be open to for creative fun daily during the store hours of 9 a.m. – midnight. The “Wrap Hershey’s Happiness” experience will also be available online at www.HersheysStore.com.

Another fun event that the kids, big and small, will enjoy is the “Taste Hershey’s Happiness” station, where a variation of your favorite Hershey’s samples, as well as new products and special offerings can be found. Two complementary products will be sampled each week, and a Hershey’s Chocolate World Times Square store associate will be on hand at the station to discuss product attributes with guests and provide samples. What’s even more fun is that visitors can enjoy the redesigned “Mix Your Favorites” experience, where guests can create a customized mix of Hershey’s Miniatures, Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Reese’sMiniatures candy. I had a blast filling my not-so-little Hershey’s bucket, and had lots of fun treats to bring home to the kids afterwards.

With Wendy Bradford (@MamaOnetoThree) Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for HERSHEY’S

Wendy and I with our goodies! Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for HERSHEY’S

If this all sounds like the experience I shared with you at my visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, PA it’s because that is exactly what designers and developers intended – to bring a little bit of Hershey’s Chocolate World right here to NYC. Personally, I was like a kid in a candy store, a chocolate candy store to be exact and I am excited to see so much fun happening in one of my favorite stores in the Times Square are.

Be sure to check them out next time you are around, and don’t forget to smile for the cameras and everyone who will see be watching you in the big lights of the big city!

 

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Always fun events at The Scholastic Store

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I’ve blogged about the Scholastic Store so many times now that it’s not secret I love that place. But it’s been a bit since, and I just wanted to put a little reminder out there to everyone looking for fun, free events for their little ones and family in the city that the Scholastic Store always has something going on. So, for example, with the movie Hunger Games coming out, Scholastic is celebrating the series with family fun activities on March 24, 2012.  But whether you go this month, next month or later in the year, don’t forget to give check out their website at http://www.scholastic.com/sohostore and the Scholastic Store events page for up-to-date information on what’s happening.

Enjoy!

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A Non-Fashionista’s Guide to New York Fashion Week

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I admit: I’m not a huge fashionista. But when you live in the fashion capital of NYC, trendsetter or not, it’s always a thrill to glimpse into the glitzy world that most people have relegated to Hollywood fictions (ahem, Gossip Girl). Recently, I got my own taste of the sequins and gowns at New York Fashion Week, when NYCityMama was invited by Fiber One to attend Monique Lhuillier’s Fall 2012 show.

I arrived at the silver Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week façade about 15 minutes before the show. This is the second year the sleek building sat on the southwest corner of the Lincoln Center plaza, nestled between the grand homes of the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Ballet. Inside, pop-up booths featuring sponsoring brands lined the bright lobby, offering free samples, photo ops, and other fashion-themed displays.

The show was late to start—no surprise there—so I waited at the information desk to get my seat assignment. I stayed in line instead of exploring the booths because I didn’t want to lose my place, but not for want of entertainment. Let’s just say that with all the multi-colored outfits, costume jewelry, and other curious ensembles showgoers flaunted, the lobby itself became an impromptu catwalk.

When the doors finally opened, each party was individually escorted to runway area (nothing to make you feel more important than a personal guide, right?). I took my seat, and though I didn’t spend much effort into celebrity sightings, the chatter of the girls in the row behind me told me some of the Gossip Girl cast was indeed present.

Before long, the room went dark and the show started—and it was every bit as dramatic as it looks on the big screen. As the lights dialed back up and the first model hit the runway, pumped-up music and all, I couldn’t help scooting to the edge of my seat and leaning in.

Fiery reds, shiny black leather, and sparkling sequins paraded before our eyes in various shapes and forms. I saw nothing that I’d personally wear, of course, but I was mesmerized.  I later learned that Monique Lhuillier had her beginnings in bridal couture, which explained the beautiful silhouettes of the flowing gowns and open backs. My favorite of the collection, which is meant to be an edgier and sultrier upgrade of past designs, was the marbled red and black strapless gown (above) with an off-center thigh-high split. At the end, the models filed out one after the other for a final strut, and then it was all over.

So here’s my take on New York Fashion Week for the non-fashionista: You don’t have to anticipate the trends. You don’t have to get, or even like, the collections. All you have to do is marvel at the theatrics—on and off the runway—and delight in being a part of all that glitters, if only for just a bit. At the very least, it’s something that will make all your girlfriends jealous.

Photography by Christine Wei.

Disclosure: Admission to the Monique Lhuillier’s Fall 2012 show was courtesy of Fiber One Bars, which were sampled at Fashion Week. We also had the opportunity to taste the new Fiber One 90 Calorie Chewy Bars in Chocolate, Caramel & Pretzel.

 

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An Honest Look into Life’s Tough Questions with the Lady from Dubuque

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As my friends know, I make no effort to hide how much I love Broadway. I love dressing up for the theater, walking up the grand staircases, taking my seat among hundreds of other musical lovers. Some productions I’ve loved enough to see four times, in three different cities and two different countries.

But despite all that grandeur, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for off-Broadway shows, too. There’s something to be said about the intimacy of a small theater (and about the great view that you get no matter how close you are to the last row). The characters become that much more real, their emotions that much more palpable. And, most importantly, talent isn’t only found on the big stage.

I was recently reminded of this fact when I attended one of the first performances of The Lady from Dubuque, a play by Pulitzer winner Edward Albee that first debuted in 1980. This year’s revival is running at the Frank Gehry-designed Signature Theatre, a modern and welcoming space complete with a cafe/bar, bookshop, and sofa-filled lounge area. For drama and architecture buffs, there are even touchscreen displays mounted on the walls to learn more about the venue and its events.

Though I obviously didn’t require the Playtime! childcare service, considering my single status, it’s a brilliant idea for letting parental theater-goers enjoy a classy, grown-up night without having to worry about finding a sitter. Shows aside, this building simply makes a great community space, and I can also see someone in the area coming here to meet friends or get some work done on a typical day.

The show–which I quickly realized is really adults-only–begins with Sam and Jo inviting two other couples over for drinks and games. As the jibes get meaner and banter turns into yelling, the audience finds out that Jo is dying from cancer. Dramatic and often uncomfortable, with no lack of profanities, the play takes a brutally honest look at our relationship with ourselves and others and at dealing with the end of life. When two strangers arrive after the group disbands and one of them insists she is Jo’s mother despite Sam’s protests, the issue of identity becomes paramount.

While I admit some of the show must have gone over my head–I’m sure there’s lots about married life and domestic dynamics that I can’t comprehend as a twenty-something–there’s no denying the talent of the cast. Laila Robins, who tackles the role of Jo, plays out the sustained pain so convincingly that you can’t help but wince, especially against her witty albeit snarky quips. Theater star Jane Alexander and Peter Francis James (the Lady from Dubuqe and Oscar) are poised and steady, unexpectedly injecting dry, laugh-out-loud humor to balance out the bleak nature of the plot. And Tricia Paoluccio, in her sincere and earnest portrayal of the simple, unsophisticated of character of Carol, ended up becoming my favorite out of them all.

Regardless of age, the play poses some great questions that are relevant to any audience: what it means to feel pain, who we are, and how we know who others are. Perhaps on the serious side for a weekend night, The Lady from Dubuque provides lots of food for thought for a profound experience with plenty of dramatic talent to boot.

 

Disclosure: Performance tickets and child care option were provided courtesy of PLAYTIME! for the purpose of  this review. PLAYTIME!, the first ever child enrichment program that provides arts, culture and care for kids while their parents see an Off Broadway show. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page.

 

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I wanted to be a Rock Star…and a Rock of Ages Review

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When I was around 14 years old, and in my middle school music class in the Dominican Republic, my teacher – a very devoted, very serious musician of some kind, asked the class about their passion for music and what they wanted to be.

I very courageously lifted my hand and said, “I want to be a singer.” My teacher smiled at me and said, “Really? So why don’t you get up and sing for the class.” Just. Like. That.

At first I was horrified. My ENTIRE class of snotty, immature, often mean middle-schoolers. My heart started racing. My palms started sweating. But I really wanted to be a rock star and thought maybe she’ll discover me and introduce me to a famous producer and I’ll be on stage and….Ah, yes. To be 14 again.

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A World of Flavors with Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival

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One of our favorite places to visit, Epcot Center in Disney World Orlandowill be celebrating its annual International Food & Wine Festival starting September 30th till November 13, 2011.

One of the reasons I have loved Epcot Center since I was a little girl is because it has this way of transporting visitors from one part of the world to another, not just through visuals and special experiences, but also through the various foods served in each “country” they host.

Thus, it’s perfect that this, one of Disney’s biggest foodie events, would be hosted at Epcot as it further compliments all that the park offers year-round.

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The OHM in The Ohmies: Theater, Exercise and Imaginative Play

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So I went to take my kids to see The Ohmies, a new musical show for younger kids that has returned to NYC till September 25, 2011.

Here’s the deal: I wasn’t sure what to expect. It seemed so incredibly sweet and sugary, that I thought maybe my kids would love it, but I would, once again, be stuck in a show for little kids anxious for it to end. Because let’s admit it, it’s usually how it goes.

We arrived to Playwright Horizon’s Peter Jay Sharpe theater on 416 West 42nd Street and my boys were full of energy. They happily greeted the staff and were delighted to find out that all that jumping and falling and movement was actually a welcomed part of the show. They were also thrilled when asked to take off their shoes and show off their socks.

Not sure how I missed this when reading about The Ohmies, but it’s not just a show that teaches kids to be active and encourages them to do in their story line, they encourage and invite them to do so throughout the show!

The stage set up is wonderful. A large room with a few rows of seats for parents and a large matted area for the kids (as well as those adults who wish to join them).

The main characters, Bella Butterfly and Carlin Caterpillar, are extremely cute and sweet, as are their friends, and as they tell their tale, they manage to do something amazing: they get kids to exercise. I’m not just talking about making them get up and dance (though they do that too), I’m talking about starting and ending with stretches, a little bit of yoga (thus OHMies) and some low impact cardio. The kids had no clue, but as I sat in the row of seats and watched my kids do the downward dog through play participation, I couldn’t help but realize how brilliant this show really is.

Needless to say, by the end of this 50-minute performance the kids were exhausted, not so full of energy and mood to run around. But they were also happy and had enjoyed the show. We were able to keep them from falling asleep on the train by talking to them about the story and their favorite characters.

As for me, I enjoyed watching my boys be active and get so involved in a performance. The show’s interactive element is a nice touch and really gets little ones to experience theater in a way that is exciting for them.  They were really able to capture their imaginations and make them use their bodies as a way to help the story along. It was really cute to watch and I laughed seeing my kids get so into it.

This is a great show to bring the kids to, especially now that they are off from school and looking for ways to release some energy and be creative at the same time.

You can purchase tickets to see The Ohmies through Ticket Central online HERE. For more about the show and other information, please visit The Ohmies website HERE.

Disclosure: I received compensation for promotional services for The Ohmies, as well as tickets to attend the show. This review is independent of those services and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


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The Ohmies are Back & We’re Giving Families Tickets!

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All the little kids are out of school and we are looking for something to do that will entertain them. Well, as luck would have it, The Ohmies are in town, and they are looking not only to entertain, but educate as well!

They are performing at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater located at 416 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues.

About The Ohmies:

The Ohmies an interactive musical health and wellness brand for preschool aged children. Through The Ohmies, preschoolers will interact with a musical adventures based on a curriculum focusing on movement/physical activity, emotional development and social development.

Children will learn to identify their feelings, make friends, resolve conflicts, get along with their siblings, and to deal with anxiety. Moreover, The Ohmies will focus on movement (and physical activity) as a basis for a healthy lifestyle.

The series features Bella Butterfly and her little brother, Carlin Caterpillar.

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

If you’d like to see The Ohmies, but can’t make it on July 9th, visit THIS LINK, use code OHM04, and get $35 seats just $30!

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