Outings + Activities

Go: Seattle International Children's Festival

I've been flogging the Seattle International Children's Festival without shame to anybody who will listen to me. I lurve this festival, I do. Why, you ask?

At the opening night party at Bagley Wright Theatre last night, James from the Australian circus troupe Circa removed his underwear -- they were not tighty-whities, that's all I know -- without taking off his pants, and flung said unmentionable into the audience. Gasp! (It was Circa's first-ever performance in front of an American audience, and I guess he wanted to make an impression. Or maybe it was in solidarity with the potty-trainers in the audience.) That's reason number one.

American flamenco dancer Savannah Fuentes beat time on the stage with her black shoes, backed by the rich vocals of singer Keiko Ooka and Tyson Hussey on guitar. No explanations, nothing dumbed down, just a performance by three people in complete charge of their art form. An (almost) all-female band of Guinean master drummers owned the house with their powerful, rapid-fire drumming and joyous dance. Reasons two and three.

So many styles of entertainment, so many sensibilities, so many great artists we've never heard of, so much diversity and color and passion -- all of it crammed into one week at the Seattle Center. It's not sanitized or cutified for kids. It assumes that children can and will rise to the occasion and honor what they're seeing onstage. And they do.

I'll be at Circa's evening show on Friday to see The Space Between (leave the kiddos at home -- this one's for teens and adults) because I just have to see what this funny, shockingly flexible trio of youngsters (what are you guys, 20?) does with more time. The Amazones du Guinea perform on Saturday, and if I'm not exhausted by then, I'll be there too. Saturday is Family Day, but if you're off work during the week, home with preschoolers, whatever, you can also buy tickets to shows on Wednesday-Friday.

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