Hilltown Families Meet Gustafer Yellowgold
On Saturday morning Gustafer Yellowgold performed Gustafer Yellowgold Wild Wide World at Flywheel in Easthampton, MA, a family concert much supported and organized by Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. A fun weekend performance for families with kids preK-3rd grade and early enough to get out afterwards to enjoy the first significant snow fall!
Preceeding the performance, families were served pancakes and the Pink Panther played on the big screen … all this before the invasion of a melancholic yellow alien from the sun – Gustafer Yellowgold – in a weekend morning music show!
The New York Times described Gustafer Yellowgold Wild Wide World as a cross between “Yellow Submarine” and Dr. Seuss, filtered through the lens of the Lower East Side, and after seeing this performance you may just find yourself concurring with this analogy.
Who was that yellow guy?
Gustafer Yellowgold is not only the name of the band, it’s also the name of the main character that leads the audience through a series of eight vignettes offering character sketches of Gustafer, his friends and family. Morgan Taylor, the creator and illustrator of this little guy, along with Rachel Loshak, perform and sing songs as the story board plays behind them.
Taylor describes Gustafer as a friendly creature who came to Earth from the Sun and has an interesting magnetism for making friends with some of Earth’s odder creatures. His best friend is Forrest Applecrumbie the flightless pterodactyl. Gustafer and Forrest built a small cottage-style home on the edge of an uncharted wooded area in Minnesota. He has a pet eel named Slim and a pet dragon named Asparagus who lives in his fireplace. Gustafer’s older brother Ben, an inventor, also came to Earth and lives a few miles away on Nugget Island.
With deadpan humor, Taylor engages the audience to share their favorite pets, dinosaurs and hobbies. Kids shouted out their favorite pets followed with updates of recent pet deaths. “An unexpected twist,” Taylor humorously acknowledges.
Taylor, also shared that Gustafer’s favorite dinosaur was a pterodactyl named Applecrumbie, only to be corrected by a grade schooler that pterodactyls were indeed NOT dinosaurs.
The most unique hobby, hands-down, was Gustafer’s. He really likes to jump on cakes! Song and story board followed having audience laughing and giggling throughout.
Available on their website are four songs to sample:
But to really get the full experience, a viewing of their DVD, Gustafer Yellowgold Wide Wild World is a must. Their website is a nice perusal too, and to follow are a few more links to Gustafer’s family activities:
What is Flywheel?
If you’ve never heard of Flywheel in Easthampton, MA, you must have been snoozing under a pile of unfolded laundry after a stretch of sleepless nights. Now that the kids are getting older, it’s time to get out and explore the very cool kids music scene that places like Cup & Top, Valley Free Radio and Flywheel support. Flywheel is a non-profit, volunteer-run community arts space open to all. Their activities range from family concerts to experimental works. But before you go running out to Easthampton I have to break the news to you that Flywheel will be closing soon and yesterday’s family concert was the last one for a while. Not to fret however, they will be reopening in a much better location in the months to come and their family concerts will be included on the Hilltown Families list of suggested events.
Photo credits: Sienna Wildfield
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Gustafer rules! Thanks, Uncle Rock!
Saturday, June 16, 2007, 11:00 am
Club B-10 at Mass Moca $5
In its 8-year history MASS MoCA has never before hosted aliens hailing from the sun — this June will be a first. Illustrator-singer-songwriter Morgan Taylor will delight audiences with animation and songs about his latest creation, Gustafer Yellowgold on Saturday, June 16, at 11:00 AM in Club B-10. Time Out Kids describes Taylor’s shows as “Beatlesque… very beautiful.”
Gustafer Yellowgold is a friendly creature who traveled from the sun to Earth where he and his best friend Forrest Applecrumbie, a flightless Pterodactyl, have built a cottage-style home in Minnesota. Gustafer’s pets are just as interesting, including a pet eel named Slim, short for Slimothy, and a pet dragon Asparagus who lives in Gustafer’s fireplace. In the live show, animated illustrations of Gustafer and his friends are accompanied by Taylor’s catchy narrative songs which engage the audience in a truly different multimedia experience. The Portland Press Herald suggests, “Where music met art was a magical little place, and Taylor was terrific in bringing us there.”
Since his creation Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon. Live shows accompanied by Taylor’s music have opened in venues for all ages in New York as well as on tour in America and Europe, and as an opener for up-and-coming indie acts such as Wilco and The Polyphonic Spree. People of all ages can appreciate and enjoy following Gustafer and his friends on their adventures on Earth. Taylor has been working with Little Monster Records on releasing a short DVD and bonus 10-song CD titled Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wide Wild World. The MASS MoCA show offers a chance to see what The New York Times calls “…a cross between Yellow Submarine and Dr. Suess, filtered through the lens of the Lower East Side.”
Tickets for Gustafer Yellowgold are $5 per person. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at http://www.massmoca.org.
Thanks so much for the great review! We had such a wonderful time at Flywheel – everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and the kids were, indeed, on the ball, and charming!
Looking forward to coming back to Easthampton!!
Sienna, thanks for the great review and pictures, and for getting the word out about the show!
I have a handful more pictures at Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child website, and will hopefully soon have some from Rachel’s camera too. You can also hear them sing two songs live on the archive of yesterday’s (02/03/07) show.