The sweet dysfunction of Oz

FRI 12/26

The holidays are nearly over, and you're probably in serious need of a little escape. Sounds a lot like a wayward adolescent we know named Dorothy who, in the process of distinguishing herself from the family unit, takes a journey through the right side of our brains to prove that family entertainment can be compatibly sentimental and psychedelic. While hers is a long and harrowing trip, all you'll need is a few hours driving that comfy theater seat through the twists and turns of The Wizard of Oz, with all its neon-animated characters delivering dysfunction so sweet the screen seems practically edible. Follow Dorothy and pals to the frightening bewitched forest, through the field of sleep-inducing poppies, and into the great green halls of Oz itself. Be spooked by the sinister flying monkeys and saved by the fluffy, iridescent Good Witch and her band of musical midgets. Let the familiar soundtrack and amazing choreography lift you right up over the rainbow and then come full circle with young (pre-cursed) Judy Garland as she realizes that there's really no escape from, or replacement for, home. Follow the hot air balloon to the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland) this Friday at 8 p.m. The $5 ticket price includes sounds from the Mighty Wurlitzer, cartoons, newsreels, and previews. Info: 510-465-6400. -- Justine Nicole


Tech 4 Tots

LHS tickles little brains

This week, Lawrence Hall of Science (Centennial Drive, above UC Berkeley campus) provides a dizzying array of activities with which to blind the little ones with science (as opposed to blinding them by letting them sit thisclose to the idiot box). First, on Friday at noon and 1:30, Nigerian-born master drummers Rasaki Aladokun and Olusola Adeyemi acquaint kids with the talking drum, giving 'em a little bit of song, costume, and movement while they're at it. Saturday, Sandi and Stevie present their "Insect Songs," dancing the Itchy Itchy Flea at noon and 1:15 p.m. On Sunday from noon to 2 p.m., celebrate the centennial of flight with the interactivities of "Flying Machines." And finally, the Train Singer Greg Schindel leads a classic train sing-along and hands-on activities from noon to 2 p.m. Monday. It's all free with the price of admission -- visit or call 510-642-5132 for more info. -- Stefanie Kalem


Skating, Schmating

Much like California, the ancient land of Judea saw no snow or ice in late Kislev/early Tevet, some 2,500 or so years ago. Bay Area kids can celebrate the wonders of modern ice technology when you ferry them to Berkeley Iceland (2727 Milvia St.) between 6 and 9 p.m. for Chanukah on Ice . They can skate with Judah Maccabee, light the ice menorah, receive dreidels and gelt, indulge in some holiday-themed arts and crafts, and nosh on kosher consesh, all for $15 at the door. Call 510-540-5824. -- Stefanie Kalem

TUE 12/30

Ring It in Early

All hail the old Lord of the Rings

Mars? Dude, that planet is so two months ago. This year, Saturn's rings are in their most open position in thirty years, appearing to be nearly twice as large as the red planet did this past summer. Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) celebrates this spacey lord of the rings with a Saturnalia Party for the whole family from 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Come as Sun Ra or in New Year's Eve fancy dress and check out the Ring World planetarium show and other special exhibits, and generally party until you're seeing stars (telescopes will be open, weather permitting). Tickets cost $11 for adults ($8 for Chabot members) and $8 for youths and seniors ($5 members). Info: or 510-336-7300. -- Stefanie Kalem


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