Parents of RBL Artists:
Thank you for enrolling your artist in Rock Band Land’s visual art program.
Please be sure to read through all of the info below.
Class Dates / The Big Show
February / March session of classes and events starts the week of February 11th, beginning on Monday and then each day through Sunday. Video Bing Bong is on Mondays from 3:30-5:30 or Tuesdays from 4:15 - 6:15. Class dates are always posted here if you need a reminder during the session.
The final work from Video Bing Bong will be screened at The Big Show on Sunday, March 17th at The Verdi Club. Parents and siblings will be on the guest list. More info will come on the show later, but for now please be sure to add the show to your family’s calendar.
Where is Rock Band Land?
Rock Band Land has moved!
We are now located inside Castle Bing Bong 400-E Treat Avenue. The castle is hidden from the street, it’s a secret for your rockers to discover. To throw spies from other kingdoms off our trail we have hung a sign for a fake business out front. You’ll know it’s us when you see it.
When is Rock Band Land?
Though we have a variety of creative classes and are open 7 days a week, our Video Bing Bing classes are offered Mondays from 3:30-5:30 and on Tuesdays from 4:15 - 6:15.
Each class meets 5 times per session:
Monday Video Bing Bong: 2.11 2.18 2.25 3.4 3.11 and The Big Show on 3.17
Tuesday Video Bing Bong: 2.12 2.19 2.26 3.5 3.12 and The Big Show on 3.17
What Class Is My Kid In?
Please allow me to answer that question with a question: What class did you enroll them in? That's the one.
If you are still not sure you can check your inbox for a receipt from ActivityHero, the enrollment service we employ to make all of our lives easier. If after trying that you still don't know, go ahead and shoot an email to Alejandra@rockbandland.org. After we’re done teasing you for not being on top of your own stuff, we will gladly remind you which class your artist is in.
Rock Band Land Contact Number
Take a second now and put my Alejandra’s phone # in your phone: 530-400-3175. This is the number to text if late, if you need to pick up early, or if there is an emergency.
Who Will Be Teaching My Artist?
Video Bing Bong is led by Taylor McElroy & Alejandra Widner. You can see more about them here on our RBL Team Page.
What Will My Artists Do In Class?
Rock Band Land is a creativity program that focuses on imaginative thought, play, and collaboration through rock music, visual art, and storytelling.
In Video Bing Bong (VBB) the artists will form a production team and learn a series of visual art and photo / video art techniques. Together, they'll work toward the creation of one collaborative video that will be based on an original RBL song and story. Each week the VBB artists will learn some variety of skills including but not limited to camera and flash techniques, lighting, stop motion animation, green screen application, drawing, painting, mixed media collage, script writing, blocking, editing, and storyboarding. The class will conclude with a public screening of the artists’ video work at the RBL Big Show on Sunday, February 10th at The Verdi Club.
Here are a series of recent music videos created in Video Bing Bing.
Special Concerns, Medical, Behavioral, and Developmental Issues
If something is happening in your artist's mind or body that might effect their experience or their behavior in our class, please be sure to share this information with us. Our staff has vast experience working with kids (and adults) with special needs. We will do everything in our power to help accommodate your artist and give them the best experience possible.
I include this section because in the past there have been numerous examples where parents who, for whatever reason, have chosen to withhold this kind of information from us and, if they had shared it, we could have significantly bettered their child's experience. Sometimes they simply forgot to tell us, sometimes they weren't sure, and sometimes they were either in denial, embarrassed, or afraid of stigmatizing their artist with a label that might accompany a doctor's diagnosis.
This is your reminder to not forget. If you are dancing with denial or embarrassment, get over it. This is about your kid and not your feelings. And if you are concerned about stigmatizing your artist with a label, please do not worry - we have your kid's back.
Here's the thing:
Every single one of us has issues of some sort. We all come rocketing out of our mothers a perfect blend of completely awesome and totally messed up. Some issues are major, some are minor, and together they make us who we are.
Here's the other thing:
Whether you tell us or not, we almost always know when something is going on developmentally with one of our artist's. We are not therapists or medical professionals - and we don't claim to be, but we know kids. Though we are fully capable of accessing and reshaping a situation to accommodate specific concerns that we see in a child, it's eight million billion times better for your child if you share information with us from the get-go so that we can work together to make sure they have everything they need to succeed.
Hmm, Should I Stay or Should I Go?
You will go!
Rock Band Land is a parent / caregiver free zone during our classes. We are extremely strict on this rule.
New parents will be invited into the castle’s reception area at drop off, but we respectfully ask (by "ask" I mean insist) that you make a swift drop off and take full advantage of a kid free two hours by enjoying your time away from Rock Band Land. We will host an open house prior to the start of the session, where you are encouraged to come see Castle Bing Bong.
If your rocker is prone to experiencing separation anxiety please communicate that with us before hand. It is completely normal that your rocker might be a little nervous or shy on the first day of class. We will engage with them right away to help them feel comfortable. The only time that we have ever had a nervous rocker who we couldn't turn around was when the parent insisted on staying. This is not an option any longer. When we say, "Ok parents it's time to go," please go.
Food, Drinks, and Snack
Artists are encouraged to bring water bottles (filled with water only), but please send your artist to class fed. Artists will not be allowed to bring snacks, gum, or candy into class. There is no food at all allowed in the art and video rooms.
Each week we send out a mailer documenting the group's progress and providing parents with info for the coming week. Some of these emails will be super important as they will include materials that your artist will need to get the most out of their RBL experience.
As our email list for each class is created simply by copying and pasting the info that you provided to ActivityHero (the enrollment service we use), if you or your spouse are not receiving emails from us this is most likely due to 1 of 3 reasons:
The info that you provided in ActivityHero was only partially filled out (ie only one person's info was included).
There was a typo/s in the emails provided.
Your email account has redirected our correspondence to Promotions, Social, or Spam folders. Please check there and mark us as safe.
Additional email addresses can be added to the list by sending an email requesting the addition to Alejandra@rockbandland.org.
Not Afraid of The Dark
We want to be sure that everyone is absolutely, completely, totally, without a doubt, one hundred thousand million percent checked out on the amazing experience your artist is about to participate in.
We write and produce only original material with our rockers in our Rock Out classes. We do so with great care and passion, and though we help steer, we mostly follow their lead when it comes to the directions the stories and resulting songs go in. We have a few simple rules that we insist are followed:
We must respect our bandmates and their ideas.
Our stories and songs must be original.
Though anything can happen in our stories including dark, spooky, tragic, and dangerous things, there must be a sense of redemption in each song / story, and the messages of our songs can't be mean.
Potty words aren't allowed.
Most importantly, if a rocker feels like they can make an idea better, or if something makes them uncomfortable it is their responsibility to speak up and to offer an alternative suggestion. Don't worry, if your rocker is on the shy side, we are constantly scanning the room during the writing sessions to see if someone looks uncomfortable or is frightened by the story's direction. When we see that we stop everything to help them through, either by clarifying something that maybe was frightening them unnecessarily, or by changing / adding on to the idea.
If those rules are followed we can go almost anywhere thematically, and we do.
Sometimes our subject matter is dark. We have written about some really spooky and frightening things - in fact more than any other type of story, our rockers almost always ask to write a scary or spooky tales. We've written about a magic canyon that steals kids, a blind man who has fallen in love with a woman with a severed head, a penguin who married a dead, rotting fish, a peacock that was abused in a Victorian zoo and came back from the dead to avenge it's death, plagues, kidnapers, demons, trees that give human body parts, a wish granting trains made out of bones, we've written about fear, great battles, bullying, revenge and retribution.
We write this to you not to frighten you, because we believe entirely in our process and our creations, but just so that you are completely aware of what we do. Since much of the artwork in ABB and VBB will be based on RBL stories it important that you are aware of the kinds of stories we write. Also, we know everyone is crazy busy and a lot of folks sign up for programs simply because their friends' kids are in it. There is nothing at all wrong with that, but Rock Band Land is definitely not T-Ball.
If you have yet to listen to some of the songs and stories, we encourage you to do so now. We do what we do and we do it well, and though a creativity school, we are also art and media creators. As with all media and art it's your responsibility as parents to determine what is right for your artist to participate in and to consume.
Sicky Sick Sick
Just like in regular school, if your artist is sick please keep them home. In our line of work we are pretty much aircraft carriers for kids' colds, providing safe landing for the out of control, renegade germs that fly into your children and out of their mouths and noses. The thing about being sick is, it's no fun. We prefer to keep RBL fun for all, including us teachers.
If your artist has to miss a class we'll be sure to catch them up and we'll send any materials that they might need to you via email.
Thank you in advance for helping to keep the rest of the band healthy.
Lice Aint Nice
We know that lice is not an uncommon thing among our rockers' age group. Chances are most of you have already been through lice scares at your rocker's school. If you have experienced it you know that it's not as gross as the stigma makes it out to be, but it does take fair amount of time, effort, and money to rid oneself of lice. Just like colds and flus, if your rocker has lice please keep them home until they have been cleared. It's usually just a few days, and I'll happily send home any materials that they might have missed.
Yes, as a messy haired neat freak and works with kids, I have a personal interest in this, but mostly I think that to knowingly send your kid to interact with others, when they could potentially infest them with lice, is the equivalent of cleaning your soiled, cloth diapers in the public pool. It's nasty, hugely disrespectful to the other families in our community, and doing so will get you permanently removed from all future RBL pool parties.
I have long tried to joke about this and keep it light, as is our style at RBL, and yet some folks have still tried to leave their kids at RBL when they had lice. Seriously, don't do it. We always find out, the kids are always sent home, and the parents are always embarrassed for either being selfish or for trying to pull a fast one on us. Save yourself the hassle.
Potty Trained Humans
This one seems like a no brainer and yet here we go: all rockers must be able to use the restroom without assistance from teachers.
I have many years working the direct care field with adults with developmental disabilities, and I've helped to raise two kids. Even if you took all the feces that piles up on 17th street each day and saved it for a year (believe me, it's a lot), it would still pale in comparison to the amount of butt butter and slurm snakes that I have wiped off of other humans. Those days are done.
Obviously if your rocker gets ill or has an accident we will help them, but they have to show up with a solo plan for toilet navigation.
Crocs Do Not Rock
Please do not send your artist to RBL in Crocs, flip flops, wheeled shoes, sandals, or those weird sock-like shoes that leave your toes wiggling in public like maggots. Your artist needs to have reliable footwear to help keep them safe in class.
Dress for Success
While on the topic of healthy fashion choices, your artist is in an unique program that will include green screening. This means if they wear a green shirt, a green pair of pants, a green headband, a green scarf, a green burka, a green pair of shoes, or a green handkerchief that is super long when you pull it out much like a clown, that portion of their body will not show up on film. To make things easier on everyone, please do your best to NOT send your artists in green on VBB days. Should we want to make part of your artists' body disappear (on film) we have some fun green screen bodysuits for such occasions.
Costumes, Props & Face paint
Every video that Video Bing Bong makes uses some combination of face paint and costumes to depict various outrageous characters. We may reach out to families by email for item loans for props after our video has been conceptualized. The face paint we might use on filming day(s) is "Non-toxic, FDA compliant, Paraben Free & totally Hypoallergenic." However if your child has very sensitive skin, and/or you would like us to skip the paint on their face for any other reason, please let us know by their first drop off. Similarly, if you prefer your artist is not in a costume that may have been worn by another artist, please let us know that as well.
Pick Up & Drop Off
Compared to our former home on 17th St., Treat Ave is like a country road. It’s quiet and tree lined, and were it not for the needles and broken glass, the people, and the giant PG&E parking lot you might think you were in the Irish countryside. Parents must get out of their car for pick up and drop off. We realize parking that can be a challenge and sometimes double parking is a necessity. Please take care as you are picking up and dropping off, and please be respectful of our neighbors by not blocking their driveways.
Also, this session will be our first experience with pick up and drop off at the new space. It might take a second to get our systems dialed in. Thank you in advance for your patience. If there are any updates on drop off or pick up protocol, I’ll be sure to send them to you in an email.
Doors / Prep Time
Video Bing Bong requires a great deal of class preparation on our part, often this preparation runs right to the start of class. We will do our best to open the doors 5 minutes before each class start time, but if the doors are closed and locked please be patient. We will absolutely open at each class's scheduled start time.
Thanks to all you nice people and your cool kids, RBL has become a popular destination for local weirdos. We tend to fill up well in advance for our classes and camps. If your artist is enjoying their time with us, we encourage you to look at our class and camp schedules now and reserve their spots for the future. Don't make the mistake that many parents have made by waiting till the end of the session only to find that we are full. Those parents rarely make that mistake twice because instead of a happy artist spending six weeks with us, they end up with an inconsolable, crying child for 6 weeks. The parents feel guilty, they try and buy their kid's affections back, there are daily ice cream parties and cakes, the kids become another statistic on the childhood obesity charts, and the parents, if the mange to stay together and alive during this ordeal, age gracelessly and in despair. Please don't let this happen to you.
If you have any questions related to Video Bing Bong, please email me at Brian@rockbandland.org.