Friday: Yo Gabba Gabba At Hobby Center

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Photos by Brittanie Shey
Leslie Hall (right) and a new fan after Friday's show.
Yo Gabba Gabba, feat. Leslie Hall & Biz Markie
Sarofim Hall, Hobby Center
December 10, 2010

Yo Gabba Gabba, the children's TV show currently touring as a live stage production, has plenty of positive messages for young kids: It's okay to be different. Be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables. You don't have to be afraid of the dark.

But the biggest message seems to be one of the show's most popular taglines: Listening and dancing to music is awesome. It's this musical pedigree - guests on the show include Mark Mothersbaugh and Biz Markie - that makes the show a hit with parents as well as kids. It's also what makes the program most endearing to Aftermath.

Which is why hipster dads and young moms showed up at Hobby Center on Friday, kids in tow, dressed in DJ Lance Rock costumes or matching mother-daughter T-shirts displaying the shows' characters. Aftermath, who does not have kids, borrowed a friend's three-year-old to help us get in the childlike mood. Not that we needed much help.

Because Yo Gabba Gabba makes it okay for anyone, regardless of age, to enjoy music with a childlike wonder, which explains why Aftermath was left singing the words to "Party In My Tummy" all weekend without feeling like a goofball. So yummy! So yummy!

Not to mention that it's pretty cool to see an actual robot do The Robot.

The show started with an explosion of confetti and the upbeat song that introduces each character (and their signature dance) to the crowd, "I Like To Dance." Other than a balloon drop, a few basic stage props and a large screen behind the actors, this was a stripped-down performance where the characters and the music took center stage.

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A mom wearing Foofa's trademark flower.
Security at Sarofim Hall seemed overly concerned with making sure kids stayed in their seating areas instead of letting them dance in front of the stage. At one point DJ Lance Rock even gracefully addressed this problem after asking kids to come forward to help him pay a dancing game.

"You guys are doing a good job. I don't know why they're asking you to sit back down." Afterwards, kids regularly scrambled to the stage to get a high-five from DJ Lance. Hopefully that misunderstanding was sorted out before the sold-out 6 p.m. show.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live is perhaps best known for the surprise guests who join the characters onstage for the show's regular segments. Aftermath was maybe the only person in the crowd who cheered for Midwest diva Leslie Hall when she came out to teach the kids how to Dancey Dance. We aren't sure anyone else in the theater knew who she was.

But when Biz Markie transitioned from a larger-than-life figure on the screen to a larger-than-life figure on the stage (via a small door), parents in the crowd went absolutely nuts. Biz spent about 20 minutes sitting at the stage stairs, teaching kids simple beat-boxing sounds. He then performed a few brief beats of his own.

Parents were bum-rushing the stage to get pics of their kids sitting on his lap, like he was some demented hip-hop Santa Claus (he was dressed in green). Classic kid moment: The first child Biz pulled up to mimic his beats replied "You spit on me!" Out of the mouths of babes, etc.

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