MG Kids ushers in 2014 at First Night

By Carl Hausman, MG Kids correspondent

This year (or rather, last year), my experience at the Morristown First Night was somewhat different from the usual. To begin with, while it was still way too cold for my taste, unlike previous years it wasn’t absolutely frigid. Also, when it came to the first fireworks, we — no, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

Carl Hausman ponders the entertainment options in the First Night program. Sharon Sheridan photo

Carl Hausman ponders the entertainment options in the First Night program. Sharon Sheridan photo

First, we went to see a comedian cum pianist with a better-than-the-usual comedian’s sense of humor. He had several amusing songs, including “When Bad Things Happen to Good Mice,” a tribute piece to traveling singers and a litany/lullaby about the atrocious standardized tests students have to go through in school. He followed that song by showing us a book he had written titled “The BSAT Official Study Guide: 350 Questions You’ll Never See on the SAT!

John Forster shows off his "BSAT" prep book during a performance at the Market Street Mission. Paul Hausman photo

John Forster shows off his “BSAT” prep book during a performance at the Market Street Mission. Paul Hausman photo

As an example, here is one of the questions from the book: How would you improve the following sentence – “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone”?

A. Just leave the sentence alone.

B. There ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.

C. There isn’t any sunshine when she’s gone.

D. There isn’t any sunshine when she’s absent.

E. She only goes out at night.

Barrett Felker of the Gizmo Guys juggles balls by popping them out of his mouth during a show at Morristown High School. Paul Hausman photo

Barrett Felker of the Gizmo Guys juggles balls by popping them out of his mouth during a show at Morristown High School. Paul Hausman photo

After this show, we went to see the Gizmo Guys: Comedy Jugglers at Morristown High School, where we had not been before on First Night. They did amusing things such as juggling with their tongues instead of their hands, attempting to knock straws out of people’s mouths and performing tricks in a manner that combined complex juggling with a yoyo.

Following that, we didn’t have time to get to our usual fireworks perch on top of the Bank Street parking garage for the 9 o’clock fireworks, but we found that the parking lot at the high school was also a very good spot from which to watch them. This year, there were a lot of special-effect fireworks, such as smiley faces and colored spirals.

Once the fireworks were over, we started moving again just soon enough that I didn’t freeze solid. We then went to see a blues band called the Cobra Brothers.

Then, we started toward the final performance before midnight (which, incidentally, happened to be at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the church I attend). 

Fancy First Night fireworks seen from the Morristown High School parking lot. Paul Hausman photo

Fancy First Night fireworks seen from the Morristown High School parking lot. Paul Hausman photo

The final performance was a Chinese-style shadow puppet show titled “Tiger Tales.” It was a story told from the point of view of an old rabbit to her granddaughter, describing a series of adventures she had had, beginning with when her two scientist instructors brought to life a tiger that ate them and later became king of the jungle. The story continued when the rabbit was made prime minister to the tiger and then had to save herself from being eaten and so tricked the tiger into attacking his own reflection in a well of water, so that he drowned.

Grandmother Rabbit tells adventures of her tiger-taming childhood to her granddaughter. Paul Hausman photo

Grandmother Rabbit tells adventures of her tiger-taming childhood to her granddaughter during a shadow-puppet performance during First Night Morris 2014. Paul Hausman photo

Afterwards, we hopped into the car and drove to the top of the parking garage mentioned earlier (last year, we watched the midnight fireworks from the top of the St. Peter’s church tower, but it’s been under repair). For some reason, the fireworks didn’t seem as impressive as the first fireworks show, but they were still a lot of fun. 

The Cobra Brothers perform in the Presbyterian Church parish hall. Paul Hausman photo

The Cobra Brothers perform in the Presbyterian Church parish hall. Paul Hausman photo

Finally, we began the drive home. Unfortunately, for some reason I was wide awake and could already tell that it was going to take me a long time to fall asleep that night (or rather, this morning). This First Night was a little different from all the others, but that certainly didn’t make it any less fun!

MG Kids correspondent watches the Gizmo Guys. Sharon Sheridan photo

MG Kids correspondent watches the Gizmo Guys. Sharon Sheridan photo

Carl Hausman, 13, is a four-year MG Kids correspondent and a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown.

Interested in becoming an MG Kids reporter, artist or photographer? Contact MG Kids Editor Sharon Sheridan at MGKids@sharonsheridan.com.



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