Giant Magnet's opening night on Tuesday at the Bagley Wright Theatre featured a sampler of festival performances, as always. You can see them at Saturday's Family Day in Seattle, and on Monday in Tacoma.
1. Jamie Adkins. A skilled clown with an amusingly blank expression, Adkins jumped in and out of a cardboard box, juggled, played with paper, balanced on a chair and stripped down to his skivvies. Kids shouted with laughter, and so did we -- it was charming and hilarious. (Especially a nifty sleight-of-hand in which three juggling balls turn into a sheet of crumpled paper -- how'd he do that?) He's at the Bagley Wright on Saturday at 5 p.m. and at the Pantages Theatre in Tacoma on Monday at 1 p.m. Do not miss -- you can thank me later.
2. Gansango. The African dance troupe, headed by local choreographer Etienne Cakpo, performed an exuberant set that began with an imaginary playground double-dutch game. Clad in simple, brilliantly colored costumes and accompanied by a pair of drummers, they presented a high-energy, accessible introduction to African dance for the kiddos. They're at Bagley Wright on Saturday at 1 p.m.
3. Black Violin. A Miami-born pair of classically trained violinists melded hip hop beats (yes, there's a DJ) with amplified classical music, and it worked like mad. I've never heard anything quite like it. "We're gonna throw some stink on Bach," said one -- and they did, proving that they could indeed make classical music "cool for kids." By the end of the show, the whole audience had its hands in the air. You can see them on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Bagley Wright, and on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Pantages Theatre.
There's a lot more going on this weekend -- check out the schedule and, oh, I don't know, buy tickets for everything. Make sure to take a swing by the Center House for free arts and crafts for the kids.