Calling all “progressive” parents: Okay, so your 6-year-old's in a gifted-charter-magnet-enriched school studying Sanskrit and taking college-prep courses; he's got an iPad, a Kindle, a Wii, a soccer coach, a taiko tutor and more apps on his smart phone than you have hybrids in your porte cochere . But what will Junior do when he gets asked a question on the SAT about “marionettes” and doesn't have a clue in hell as to what that is? He's probably never spent a second using his own imagination on things like daydreaming (no time for that!), much less on puppets, since you've been ramming academics down his little throat. So how about this: Treat him to an art form that dates back to 2,000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt (see, there's a history lesson there!) to a form of puppetry (hand-eye coordination!) that tells a story (plot lines, literature!) often to music (that's called music) in an architecturally devised structure not designed by Frank Gehry where other humans seek entertainment (sociology, anthropology and just engaging with live people, for cripes sake). You can do all that at Bob Baker's Marionette Theater, where the famed puppeteer has been putting on shows for young and old alike for the past 50 years. His latest, Something to Crow About! , reprises his first cabaret-style show with puppeteers in the audience's line of sight. Dancing fireflies, waltzing laundry and farm animals galore come to life on this musical day on the farm. Sit next to your kid. And when he laughs, sings along, and maybe puts his little hand in yours, you'll consider throwing the Wii in the trash. Bob

Saturdays, Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays, 10:30 a.m. Starts: July 17. Continues through Sept. 26, 2010

LA Weekly