Friday, June 21, 2013

French Theatre, Music, and....Baseball?

Week of (Friday) June 21 - 27:  Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families.  Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!  Bonne semaine! (Scroll down to FRENCH THIS WEEK for the list )

TONIGHT is the last chance to see a play in French at the Lycee Rochambeau: Le Bal des Voleurs. All en français. According to the description, this is a great comedy and appopriate for all ages.  

For a more contemporary French experience, today is the day France celebrates its traditional street music festival: La Fête de la Musique, and lucky for Washingtonians the French lovers of our city are embracing the occasion with two huge festivals tomorrow (Saturday, June 22): one along the banks of the Potomac in Georgetown (Free admission for all) hosted by the Alliance Francaise and another hosted by the Maison de France at the French Embassy ($15 per adult ticket, but kids get in free) from 4pm to Midnight:

Alliance Francaise / Malmaison Event on the Potomac, Georgetown:

Here is the description of the AFDC event from the web site:

Taking place along the Potomac River, this grand fête will transform Malmaison and the surrounding area into a haven where musicians, music enthusiasts, artists, and food lovers alike will collide for an all-day musical experience.  

While most of the musical performances and general festivities are not designed with kids in mind, the Alliance Française has planned some fun activities for les petits from 2pm to 4pm, including a  special drum workshop with musician Baba Ras.  According to the web site there were initially 20 spots available (RSVP required!) but when I called today no one was available to confirm if there are still spaces [update as of 5:pm Friday: still 5 spots left!]. In case the workshop is full, not to worry:  kids can still participate in the drum decoration activity at 3pm.  

Here is the full list of acts - one that looks like it might be fun for kids (but no promises!) is El Bouffonperformance artist/mime/musical act.

Note: the official language of the fête is music (and likely most singers will sing in English), but it is such a big part of French culture and this free public event on the streets of DC is precisely in the spirit of the real French fête, I had to put it at the top of the list. 

To help ensure you get a dose of French language, stop for lunch in Georgetown at La Madeleine: nine times out of ten I go the people that work there are from French-speaking countries and more than happy to "papoter" (chat!) en français. Then stroll down to the water, if your kids are not too noise-sensitive (mine is--we will be staying clear this year) check out the acts, then make your way to Malmaison for the drum workshop and other kids activities from 2pm-4pm.

Summer Soltice Fête at the French Embassy

The Embassy event looks like it might be a bit more family-friendy, and I have heard from one Mom that indeed, it is fun for little ones as well. Here is an excerpt from the web site:

For the eleventh consecutive year, the French-American Cultural Foundation will recapture this lively atmosphere in the gardens of the Embassy of France for its annual Summer Music Fête. More than 50 bands and street performers are expected to attend, creating a spectrum of local artistic talent for your enjoyment.

In addition to multiple musical acts there will be "many other offerings from temporary tattoos, character drawings, to pictures in front of French landmarks and much more!" However the web site also warns that it is extrmely popular and there may be a long wait to get in. 

And if you prefer to stay away from the boucan (racket/noise), altogether you can still celebrate from home and do music-themed activities throughout the week (see ideas below).

To get a feel for the real deal that takes place throughout France each year, google video search "fête de la musique" and watch some video compilations and reportages like this one on youtube. Or tune into the official radio station here

Now for a quintissential French cultural experience (not!), this one comes out of left field;-):  

Go see the Nationals play on Tuesday night at 7:00pm and learn about baseball in French!  The French Baseball Federation will be providing explanations in French and English during the game. Included in the $25 ticket price is a French Baseball Team cap. Quoi?? France has a Baseball team? This is crazy because to me baseball is as about as French as fried chicken or meatloaf, but apparently I'm wrong.  I wonder what the equivalent of "Play Ball!" is...Jouez!??  We may just have to go see to find out.

Bonne Semaine!


At Home

Sing along to children's songs in French on At the top there are also links to Chinese and English songs!  

Learn the words for musical instruments in French here. This site has a full glossary for les grands.  

Out and About
Note:  Both Saturday and Tuesday storytimes at the Alliance Française are cancelled for the summer (from June 17 to August 31st)

Friday, June 21
8pm: French family theatre Lycee Rochambeau: Le Bal des Voleurs. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults.

Saturday, June 22
2-4pm: AFDC: La Fete de la Musique 2-4pm (for adults it goes to 3am) - drum workshop (RSVP), drum decorating, other musical acts.  

4pm-Midnight: Summer Soltice Fête de la Musique events taking place at the French Embassy

Tuesday, June 25
7:05pm - Watch the Nats play en Francais

See the calendar for full view of events this week, including regularly scheduled events and storytimes. Looking for adult events en francais? Check the following calendars: 

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