ACL Wrap-up from Austin Kiddie Limits

Abrakadoodle

Buttercup playing Abrakadoodle’s Art+Play Game

I know I went all nuts on y’all and said I was NOT going to bring my kids to ACL this year. I stick by what I said, that there are easier ways to see live music with your kids, but if you have an adult ticket anyway, and you have really great in-laws in town who can pick the kids up about mid-afternoon, then why not?

ACL’s Austin Kiddie Limits has kids activities like rock-star hairdos, temporary tattoos, video karaoke and different ways to get messy with paint. That is Buttercup above, at the Abrakadoodle art+play activity, which might just be the art+play at her next birthday party.

Growing Up Austin

Me and Sparkles Being Like Monsters (at least one of us)

We learned a lot at the Rosetta Stone booth, where we took this picture. (Heather, the photographer, said, “Be like a monster!” and Sparkles left me hanging!)

Rosetta Stone at ACL? Aren’t they the folks who do language lessons on CD in big yellow boxes for $500? And, do CDs still exist? Well, I talked with Jonathan Mudd, Director of Global Communications and Paul Weaver, Senior Director of Product Content at Rosetta Stone. They said Rosetta Stone still makes the CDs in the big yellow boxes, but they also make mobile apps for kids and adults. They are leveraging the language theory and speech recognition engine that they have perfected over the years and merged that with the latest in mobile technology and game design.

Their first offering for kids is “Kids Lingo Letter Sounds” which helps English-speaking kids ages 4-5-years-old learn Spanish. Cute characters tell a story and the kids speak Spanish to move the action along. My kids like that they get to talk, they don’t just passively watch the screen. I like that it is based on a story, so it keeps their attention. Both our girls either are now, or have been, in Spanish immersion classes at their elementary school. Now they can practice what they learn at school by playing a game. The game does need more words and it would be good to have options for other ages. Hopefully that will come in time. For now, Sparkles and Buttercup have both given it a thumbs-up!

But what about us grown-ups? Rosetta also has a number of Travel apps for any age, so you can practice transportation, restaurant and “Donde esta el bano? when you are on a trip. Since it will be a while (maybe when the kids are grown?) before I can learn all of Spanish, this is a fun place to start.

The music at Austin Kiddie Limits was pretty good and I doesn’t usually like music made for kids. My favorites were Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon and Play Date. There was also shade and lots of room for dancing, which is pretty sweet.

That’s all for this year from Austin Kiddie Limits. Stay tuned for a few more posts, the last of the Parenting Advice from ACL Musicians series, and an overall ACL wrap-up.


ACL Musicians Can Help You Get Your Kids To Sleep

Play Date

Shanti Wintergate from Play Date on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

[Updated with info from Seth Goldstein from The Ohmies, after I found an email I had lost.]

Oh, so sad about the rain and no ACL Sunday. More sad for people with flooded homes and cars. ACL, I can’t wait to meet up again next year. Now, on with the show.

For GrowingUpAustin interviews with Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) artists, I wanted to dig deeper, past the superficial questions about the band members’ musical influences and their fascinating personal lives and ask about what is really important to Austin families.

Here is a compilation of the answers to the first question: “What is the best lullaby song ever that isn’t a traditional lullaby?” Because, sometimes parents and kids really need a good lullaby. If you are on Spotify, here is the Playlist.

There were some traditional responses that are good to remember. We use both of these at our house.

  • Shanti Wintergate from Play Date  – “You Are My Sunshine” (Play Date, by the way, is the first made-for-kids band that Sparkles has added to her disco playlist that includes Adele, Justin Bieber and songs from Grease. That is a pretty big deal around our house. That’s why Shanti gets the cover photo for this post.) UPDATE: Sparkles just saw Shanti’s picture and she says, “Shanti,I love you! I like your red dress and I love your music.”
  • Rev. Sterling Lands II from The Warrior Gospel Band – “Amazing Grace” (The Blind Boys from Alabama did an amazing version of this at ACL on Saturday, here’s a pic of that…)
Blind Boys from Alabama

Blind Boys from Alabama at the Zilker Tent

These songs are beautiful.

Casper Babypants

Casper Babypants on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage

I’m not to sure about these. The music sounds like a lullaby, but the words are so sad. This would make a great breakup-recovery-playlist. I might still try “This Lullaby” and “Hobo’s Lullaby,” oh my, these melodies are so sweet.

  • Johnathan Terrell from Not In the Face – “This Lullaby” by Queens of the Stone Age (Queens of the Stone Age played at ACL, what is with this lullaby list + ACL 2013 connection?)
  • Greg Attonito from Play Date – “Pale Blue Eyes” by The Velvet Underground
  • Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs  – “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by Al Green
  • Arlene Bell from Disciples for Christ – “I Love You More Today” by Conway Twitty 
  • Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain – “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynard Skynard
  • Kevin Marks from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound – “Hobo’s Lullaby” by Woody Guthrie

These choices don’t have sleepy music or sleepy words, but they are fun and that can be good too.

  • Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe –  “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus (Ironically, since Brian says this song always puts him to sleep.)
  • Rick Carney, Music Director for School of Rock – “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones (Not too sleepy and I might change a lyric somewhere in there, but it makes me smile.)
  • Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets – “Borderline” by Madonna (I don’t know if you know this about me, but I don’t like made-for-kids music very much. When I see music with my family, I like kid-friendly grown-up music better. But the shows by Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage were AMAZING. There was no kid-friendly or adult-friendly line to be drawn, it was just high-energy, great-rhythm, crazy-dancing, smiles-on-every-face music. I heard a rumor that Tim and the Space Cadets from Brooklyn and Mother Falcon from Austin might join for another Austin show soon, one that costs less than $225. Stay tuned for more of this…)
Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Tobias Winkerton from Junip sings Swedish Christmas carols, wether it is Christmas or not. Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band gets extra credit, because she composes original pieces with her child’s name in it, which is pretty sweet. Scott Mills from CALEB said good lyrics and melody keep him awake, so he sometimes goes to sleep to “Med sud i’ eyrum” by Sigur Ros, ambient music in a different language.

And, since everybody is sharing, I’ll share an unusual lullaby from our house. Blue Eyes and I sing one song for each girl, when they are in their PJs and all snuggled in their covers with the lights off. When my teenage step-daughter Noel babysat, she didn’t know the songs we usually sing, so she sang a song she knows all the words to, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. They call it “The Mama Song” and they sang it every Thursday night for a good long while. So, sometimes we are shopping at Target and Buttercup will start belting out “MAAAAMAAAAAAAA, just killed a man!” Yeah, it’s not how they describe it in the parenting books, but it all works out somehow.

I’m going to try out the new lullaby songs this week. If y’all try some, let me know how it goes. And stay tuned for answers to Question #2 – If you met a teenage musician and she asked, “What is more important, to be inspired or to practice?”, what would you tell her?