A musical weekend

I'm not usually one to kiss and tell, but I've got to tell you about a special kiss I shared this weekend.

OK, actually it was a "global kiss," a musical creation of jazz musician Steve Oliver, whose music I enjoyed Saturday at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. I was bopping and grooving to the vibrant sounds of Steve and his band when he sent out a "global kiss" during a rousing performance.

It's the first time I've heard the term, but appeals to me for obvious reasons. I mean, what's not to like about a kiss that essentially goes out to the world?

The music and the "kiss" were just the right touch for a beautiful day engineered by my husband, who knows how much I enjoy art and music, especially when they are fused together at an event like the Festival of the Arts. More than 140 artists are part of the well-orchestrated outdoor gallery that runs through the end of the summer. (And a great bargain in ultra-expensive Southern California since the $7 ticket will grant you admitance the whole season.)

"Look, look how much fun they've having making music," I told my three-year-old son, who watched the musicians intently and swayed from side to side to the music.

Sadly, our two kids were among only a handful of young kids we saw at the event. Perhaps the beach just a few blocks away proved to be a tastier temptation on a day when temperatures topped 80 degrees. Or perhaps the venue was just not kid-friendly enough despite a wing devoted to art created by kids at all grade levels.

The evening before we'd spent listening to another band at an ampitheatre near our home. Dozens of kids romped on the various lawns, where many families laid out their blankets and picnic dinners.

Truthfully, I didn't have the luxury of studying all the artwork that captured my attention since I was so busy running after my two-year-old daughter when the music ended. Still, I was happy and I think my kids enjoyed being outside, dancing and even gazing at some of the artwork.

On Sunday, we decided to stay home and take care of some housekeeping, but I took a break from chores to take out all our various toy instruments to make some music of our own. I put in a CD and we took turns sharing drums, maracas, a guitar, a ukelele and other instruments we've gotten as gifts or bought on our own.

My son, who not surprisingly has always preferred drumming to any other musical instrument, ran from drum to drum with a set of drumsticks. My daughter who is generally unstoppable, even with a broken arm, tried out all the instruments. She finally ended up dragging an adult-size guitar onto her tiny lap and strummed it slowly.

She looked at me, smiled mischievously and sang her own song. "I love you. I love you," she sang softly, almost inaudibly. She smiled at me again and got up to leave.

That, my friends, is the sweetest music and kiss of all.


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