My kids don’t watch a whole lot of TV, mostly because I can’t figure out how to finesse our multiple remote controls to turn it on without enlisting the help of my eight-year-old, but also because I’m a little afraid that if I start turning it on, it will prove such a fantastic and cheap babysitter that I will never turn it off again. Then I’ll have to change my URL from practicingparenthood.blogspot.com to watchingtvwithmykids. blogspot.com and I don’t really know how to do that, either, so the TV (mostly) stays off in our apartment--except for when we watch movies, which I arbitrarily put into an entirely different category of TV-watching.
When I heard about “Spectacle: The Music Video” exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, which explored the history of the music video and its massive impact on popular culture through over 300 videos and interactive installations, I immediately added it to our summer schedule. I wouldn’t have to handle any remote controls AND my kids could watch TV at a museum, which meant not the inevitable slippery slope into couch potato-ness, childhood obesity, and the mass obliteration of developing brain cells, but culture.
We watched some videos by Run DMC and other early hip hop pioneers, danced along to some YouTube fan remixes of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” and watched one of my personal favorite 1980’s videos, “Take On Me” by a-Ha. Unfortunately, “Spectacle: The Music Video” is now closed, but if you want to park your kids in front of the boob tube and feel positively virtuous doing so, go to the Museum of the Moving Image for its long-running permanent exhibit, Behind the Screen, which traces how moving images are made, marketed, and shown and features artifacts, computer-based interactive experiences, audiovisual material, and commissioned artworks all relating to film, television, and digital entertainment.
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria (Queens), New York 11106; (718) 777-6888; movingimage.us; Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Fridays: 10:30 AM to 8:00 PM (free from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM), Saturdays and Sundays: 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays; Admission: Adults are $12, Students and seniors are $9.00, Children ages 3-12 are $6.00; Children under 3 and military personnel are free; Strollers are not permitted in the galleries, but can be checked for free at the admission desk.
- Mack Made Movies by Don Brown
- Marcello the Movie Mouse by Liz Hockinson, Illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
- Scanimation Picture Book Series by Rufus Butler Seder