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From left, Todd Jefferson Moore as Cyrano, Alban Dennis as Christian and Kari McGee as Roxanne in the Seattle Children’s Theatre production of “Cyrano,” adapted by Jo Roets of Belgium’s Blau Vier Theatre, coming to USC as part of the International Performing Arts Festival for Youth.

Photo by Chris Bennion

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Performing Arts Youth Fest: Fun ‘Nose’ No Age

Like the children who attended last year’s inaugural event, the International Performing Arts Festival for Youth has grown a little bit bigger. Expanded from two days to four, the festival begins Wednesday, May 17, and runs through Saturday, May 20, at the Bing Theater and Annenberg Auditorium as well as on several outdoor stages throughout campus. The first three days – chockablock with workshops and such performers as Jude Narita, Mark Taper Forum’s PLAY and the Jim Gamble puppet company – are reserved for school groups, with an expected attendance of 1,800 kids per day. The final day, or Family Arts Safari Day, is open to all children (of all ages). Featured events include school and community youth showcases; “Bali and Beyond” shadow puppets; improvisation by musician and comedian Dennis Moynihan; “The Environmental Defenders,” an interactive sci-fi show; and “Hopscotch City,” presented by the Center for Childhood, teaching participants how this ancient game (Roman soldiers hopped, too) is played in Bolivia, France, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan and Nigeria. There are also plenty of hands-on workshops – in puppetry, swordplay, improvisational theater and creative movement, this last led by a Gypsy folk ensemble. But the centerpiece of the festival, co-sponsored by the USC School of Theatre, is a presentation of “Cyrano” – adapted and directed by Jo Roets, of Belgium’s Blauw Vier Theatre, and produced and performed by the Seattle Children’s Theatre. A poetic distillation for a young audience of Edmond Rostand’s tragicomedy, this “Cyrano” uses just three actors and a one-act structure, in contrast to the five-act, 60-character original. It plays first on Thursday, May 18, at 7 p.m., in the Bing Theater, and is reprised on Saturday, at 1 and 3 p.m. Note: Symposia, of interest to arts leaders and educators, follow Thursday evening’s performance – “Breaking the Barriers of Youth Theater,” with Jo Roets, and “Why Should My Child Be Required to Take Theater?” Admission to “Cyrano” is $10 general and $5 children. Admission to all other events and performances is free. For “Cyrano” tickets, call 213-740-7111. For more information, the number is 213-740-5678. Or, visit http://www.home.earthlink.net/~socalfest.

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Winging It at the Natural History Museum

Most butterflies – the only creatures with true wings (instead of modified legs) – fly at speeds of about 5 or 10 miles per hour and live between two and three weeks. The long-lived monarch, however, has been clocked at 50 mph and can travel up to 2,000 miles during a migration. See the monarch and hundreds of its cousins flying, now through Sept. 4, at the second “Pavilion of Wings: A Live Butterfly Experience.” The pavilion, an enclosed landscaped area on the lawn of the Natural History Museum, features more than 20 types of butterflies, including the zebra long wing, American painted lady and Question Mark, as well as one type of moth, the spectacular luna moth, distinctive for its large wings span and green hue. As many members of the Lepidoptera order as are on display, they represent only a fraction of the 250 different species found in California, the 700 in North America and the 112,000 worldwide. The interactive exhibit is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; prime viewing times are when the sun is at its highest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission to the pavilion is $3 general, $2 students/seniors, $1 children ages 5 to 12, and free for children under 5. Call 213-763-DINO.

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Step Into the Past Lane

Follow the winding Arroyo Seco, the dry stream that parallels the winding 110 freeway, on Sunday, May 21, and step off the fast track into the past lane, when the 11th annual Museums of the Arroyo Day celebrates the history of this art- and architecture-rich region. The arroyo museums – the Gamble House, Heritage Square Museum, Lummis Home and Garden, and Southwest Museum – all preserve and perpetuate Los Angeles life before condominiums, congestion and urban sprawl. And once a year, they open their doors to the public for free. The Gamble House, the most complete and best-preserved “ultimate bungalow” by renowned Arts and Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene, offers visitors self-guided tours of the house. In the garden: lemonade and cookies served with an exhibition of “stained glass” designs by junior docents, inspired by the art glass found inside. Other highlights of MOTA Day include historical skits and exhibitions, turn-of-the-century singing, “water-wise” garden workshops and Native American dancing and storytelling. MOTA Day starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. Free and continuous shuttle service is provided between the museums in Pasadena and Highland Park. For parking and general information, call 213-740-TOUR.

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Examining Feminism, Classics and Xenaphilia

Bronze and stone artifacts of long-gone cultures as well as imagined visions of the past (as represented by television sensation “Xena: Warrior Princess”) are featured side by side in the third international feminism and classics conference, at USC’s Mudd Hall of Philosophy, from Thursday, May 18, through Sunday, May 21. “Feminism and Classics III: The Next Generation” – focusing on the generational shift in feminism, especially within classics – includes an exhibit, theatrical performance, discussion of TV’s “Xena” as well as a series of academic workshops, ranging from a theoretical discussion of post-modernism to practical advice on how to publish a paper or get an academic job. Some of the highlights: R. J. Stewart, head writer and executive producer of “Xena,” will be talking during lunch on Friday, with commentary provided by Sheila Briggs, associate professor of religion at USC, who’s writing a book about “Xena”; a performance by UC Santa Cruz students of a modern adaptation of Aristophanes’ “Thesmophoriazusae” at UCLA; and an exhibit of ancient artifacts from the collection of USC’s West Semitic Research Project, curated by a group of girls from the 32nd Street School, exploring the connection between ancient diasporas of women and their own diaspora communities in Los Angeles today. The show is on view for the length of the conference in USC’s Hoose Library. The conference is sponsored by the USC Southern California/World Exposition, the Ahmanson Foundation, the Women’s Classical Caucus, the USC Center for Feminist Research and the California Community Foundation. Registration is $15. For more information, call 323-666-4399.

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