Science/Nature Demonstrations, Family/Cultural Entertainment, Author Readings Set For Los Angeles Times KidCity

LOS ANGELES, July 15, 2003 – The first Los Angeles Times KidCity, a free two-day outdoor educational adventure designed for children ages 7-13, will feature six stages showcasing a variety of children's and family entertainment, including science and martial arts demonstrations, children's storytelling, dance and musical performances, and appearances by popular children's television and cartoon characters.

The free event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 19, and Sunday, July 20, at Exposition Park, 700 S. State St., Los Angeles. Parking is $6.

KidCity will celebrate childhood learning, reading and literacy through interactive science and nature demonstrations, cultural and historical exhibits and performances, book readings and storytelling, the performing arts, sports, and fun-filled recreational activities.

Designed as an urban community, KidCity will feature four city-themed areas – City Center, The Neighborhood, The Garden and The Beach – each of which will include a variety of interactive exhibits and demonstrations, ranging from the arts, science and technology to nature, history and culture. It is the first major children's event at Exposition Park involving all five Exposition Park venues: California African-American Museum, California Science Center, City of Los Angeles' Exposition Park Intergenerational Community Complex, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Detailed information about event participants, demonstrations and interactive sessions was published in the official Los Angeles Times KidCity event program, which appeared in the July 13 edition of The Times. Event information also is available online at

California Science Center Stage – The power behind science

Both days: From the power of air to that of chemical reactions, the center's Science Spectacular Show demonstrates science in action.

Heritage Stage – Showcasing the state's diverse ethnic communities

Saturday: Melvin Eddy Blues Band; award-winning Asian Pacific Island theater troupe, East West Players; Abalaye African Dance Ensemble; and Japanese Festival Sounds, a taiko drum ensemble founded by Johnny Mori of the jazz group Hiroshima.

Sunday: Storytelling by Ellaraino, whose stage, television and motion picture credits include "The Fox Clubhouse," "Fire Down Below" and "Sneakers." Musical and dance performances by A Hawaiian Experience; Kayamanan Ng Lahi Filipino Dance Troupe, Arte Flamenco Dance Theater, Korean Classical Music and Dance Company, Danza Azteca Xochipilli.

Live Action Stage – A celebration of dance, music and the martial arts

Both days: Debbie Allen Dance Academy and high-energy hip-hop by Culture Shock Dance Troupe

Saturday: Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team; Hype! dance group; National Wushu Training Center martial arts

Sunday: Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do martial arts; Jazz Tap Ensemble; song and dance troupes Everybody Dance! and L.A. Hip Kids

Mervyn's Stage – Activities tailored for young adults

Both days: The younger set takes to the runway as they model the latest kids' fashions and accessories.

Saturday: Taping of KPCC-FM's Book Club of the Air for Young Adults. Presentation of first Los Angeles Times Above & Beyond Awards, which will recognize the academic achievements and community service of outstanding Southland children.

Sunday: LeVar Burton, host/producer of "Reading Rainbow," the highly-acclaimed Emmy Award-winning PBS children's series; bilingual children's and folk music performer Suni Paz with the duo Colibri and Jackie Breger; Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble; International Children's Choir of Long Beach

Natural History Museum Stage – The wonders of the animal kingdom

Both days: Presentations of "Who's Afraid of Snakes" and "Albert's Adventures in the Pits," a look at 89 years of excavation history at the La Brea Tar Pits; wildlife education programs by STAR Eco Station and Nature of Wildworks

Reading by 9 Storytelling Stage – The joy of books

Both days: Bilingual author, singer and songwriter Jose-Luis Orozco

Saturday: Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen; Ellaraino; Kiko Ellsworth, who stars in ABC Televisions' daytime drama, "Port Charles," and in the upcoming Sony Pictures production, "Bad Boys 2;" and Arlen Escarpeta of the NBC television series, "American Dreams." Performances by award-winning Asian Pacific Island theater troupe East West Players and The Children's Museum of Los Angeles' Reader's Theatre Project.

Sunday: Karin Anna Cheung, lead star in MTV Films' "Better Luck Tomorrow;" Clippers Reading All-Star Team with Clippers forward Tremaine Fowlkes and children's author Dr. Kenneth Cole ("No Bad News"). Performances of "Razzle Bam Boom: The Wright Brothers Musical;" " Robin Hood;" "Two Friends: Dos Amigos," a bilingual, bicultural stage production; and "Tales of the Ashanti," an African folk tale puppet show. Celebrity reading by Sico Millennia, one of the most sophisticated mobile communication robots in the world.

Other activities include:

Reading by 9 Reading Gazebo – Readings by popular children's book authors

Saturday: award-winning biographer Jerri Chase Ferris ("Demanding Justice"); Mel Gilden ("The Return of Captain Conquer"); Kathleen Krull ("Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez"); Lael Littke ("Searching for Selene"); Nancy Matson ("The Boy Trap"); Ann Redisch Stampler ("Something for Nothing"); Edgar Allen Poe Award-winning author Wendelin Van Draanen ("Sammy Keyes" mystery series); Mark London Williams ("Danger Boy" time travel adventure series)

Sunday: Susan Casey ("Women Invent! Two Centuries of Discoveries That Have Shaped Our World"); Marilyn Gould ("Xavier's Promise"); Grammy Award-winning songwriter Bunny Hull; writer/illustrator Dolores Johnson ("Bessie Coleman: She Dared to Fly"); Nancy Smiler Levinson ("Prairie Friends"); D.J. MacHale, ("Are You Afraid of the Dark?"); Derringer Award-winner Michael Mallory ("Night Shocker"); Debbie Leung Yamada ("Striking it Rich")

Artists' Corner

Saturday: Illustrators Robin Preiss Glasser, Kathryn Hewitt, Dolores Johnson, Kelly Kennedy, Kadir Nelson ( Spike Lee's "Please, Baby, Please"). Cartoonist Scott Fresina. Demonstrations of Japanese anime and comic book illustration by Digital Manga.

Sunday: Scott Fresina, Robin Glasser, Dolores Johnson. Shawn Hendrix, video game developer, Games Workshop.

Children's Cartoon Characters

WB characters Bugs Bunny, Taz, Sylvester and Tweety will make guest appearances during both days of the event.

Interactive Demonstrations

KidCity will feature more than 60 themed exhibits and interactive demonstrations featuring futuristic robots, NASA Mars exploration rovers, daytime stargazing and sunspot observation, Latino arts, nature and wildlife stations and Olympic memorabilia. Children can learn about early California history at Mervyn's "Moving Missions" and the Heritage Discovery Center exhibits.

Sports demonstrations include free-style skateboarding, gymnastics, martial arts, rock climbing. Recreational activities include basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey, Sumo wrestling, Velcro wall, bungee run and bungee challenge.

KidCity Sponsors

KidCity title sponsor is Mervyn's. Presenting sponsor is Bank of America. Major sponsor is The California Wellness Foundation. Supporting sponsor is Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier. Media sponsors are KMEX-TV, KTLA-TV, KDIS-AM Radio Disney (1110), KKBT-FM "The Beat" (100.3) and KPCC-FM (89.3).

About Reading by 9

Launched by the Los Angeles Times in 1998, Reading by 9 is a multi-year initiative aimed at helping Southern California kindergarten through third-grade students read at grade level by the age of nine. The program is conducted in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, and is supported by almost 50 business, civic, education, media and philanthropic organizations.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing company, is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country and the winner of 30 Pulitzer Prizes, including three this year in national reporting, feature writing and feature photography. The Times publishes five regional editions covering the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange and Ventura counties, the San Fernando Valley, and an Inland Empire edition covering Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as well as a National edition.