I should have seen it coming: When I was a kid, I watched Japanese cartoons such as Astro Boy, Marine Boy and Gigantor with the utmost fascination. They were weirdly beautiful to look at and never made a lick of sense, and I seriously couldn't take my eyes off them. Those early, big-eyed anime precursors, etched indelibly in my mind's eye, should have prepared me for what was to come. With the advent of new technology, the whacked-out innocence of anime now reaches new heights of oddness. I still haven't got the slightest idea what these cartoons are about, but my five-year-old stands by them. Somehow, she knows the rules. So I won't even begin to try to explain Yu-Gi-Oh!, the latest Japanese craze to hit Saturday-morning TV. Suffice it to say that there are strange monster duels, ongoing sparring contests marked by ingenuity and triumphant one-upsmanship. And I wouldn't dare attempt to decipher the whole steaming tar pit of gaming and visual imagery that is anime.
Don't try to figure it out, rookie. But if you need help, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Mall Tour, coming to FlatIron Crossing, 1 West FlatIron Circle, Broomfield, today from 10 to 6, is a good place to start. Gird your wa, or whatever it is you need to wend your way through the vagaries of a zillion incredible splitting monsters with magical powers and fighting styles that shift with the flip of a card. Better yet, just send the kids: Only they can truly appreciate the handouts, interactive challenges, workshops, video arcades and dueling areas offered. And besides, it's free. You can go shopping -- that's something the little ones have yet to figure out. For details, log on to www.yugioh-card.com. -- Susan Froyd
First-graders put on a show of shows
First-graders at the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning have worked all year to create Entertainment in Motion, an original theatrical production. Crew leader Keziah Decker notes that, although the show is influenced by Stomp! and Cirque du Soleil and is focused on performance, there are no trapezes involved. The students realized the school's "learning through doing" philosophy by mostly doing their own research, writing, directing and choreography for the show. They studied various performances from countries around the world, then created their own interpretations. Episodes are connected by the story of a little girl who, in her fantastical travels, encounters Hungarian dancers, Indian yogis and Russian gymnasts, to name a few.
Don't let the amateur nature of the production scare you off; Decker (in her teaching role) promises this is not your average first-grade play. "It is exceptional," she says. The students will perform Entertainment in Motion at 4:30 today and tomorrow at PlatteForum, 1610 Little Raven Street, Suite 125. The performances are free -- and first (grade)-rate. Call 303-893-0791 for details. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz