Saturday Afternoon: Kid-rockers The Sippy Cups Dazzle Dolores Park

Categories: Last Night

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The Sippy Cups 

@Dolores Park

June 19, 2010 


Better Than: Eating strawberry Pop Tarts while watching a Flaming Lips video

It was like many Saturday afternoons in Dolores Park, aka "Hipster Hill": City types
lounged in groups next to open containers and fixed-gear bikes. Laughing children
dangled from monkey bars and pumped back and forth on swings. Happy dogs skirted
this way and that, chasing Frisbees and half-chewed tennis balls. But then the music
kicked in and a gigantic human sun tower roved through an audience of sprawling
families...

Yes, San Francisco's favorite cosmic kid-rock band The Sippy Cups was in the house, or
rather, on the black top. Decked out in full psychotropic garb - faux fur, wacky hats and
screaming neon prints - the group rocked their own brand of zany tunes as part of a free
show to raise money for the park's new $3.5 million dollar makeover.

"It's kind of a dump now," Phil Ginsburg of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department said, gesturing to the 30-year-old dilapidated playground. "But in just a few short months, it's going to be one of the best parks in San Francisco."

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Children of all ages, their parents, friends of parents, friends of friends and so on sat mesmerized as the rainbow-clad rockers launched into their first song, "Flower Power." One Sippy Cupper passed out daisies while Sippy Paul sang out an invitation that would set the tone for the entire show: "Hey! You can be my friend/Come and play with me." 

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As always, the show promised fun, love and friendship through rock n' roll. The Sippy Cups performed their own songs, catchy originals with cleverly instructive lyrics that any parent could appreciate ("Too many sweets/Brush your teeth" and "1 + 1 is not 7/ 2 + 2 is not 7"). They also pulled from a fantastic repertoire of covers, including their own rendition of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" (translated to "I Wanna Be Elated") and a gut-wrenching version of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence" (appropriately, "Won't you come out to play?").
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At first, the kids hung back, as kids often do, but the Sippy Cups soon had them creeping
forward with their amusing antics. Before a rendition of Syd Barrett's "Bike," Sippy Paul
engaged a group of wide-eyed kids about their vehicles of choice: "I have a gold stingray
with a red-speckled banana seat," he called out in his own childlike voice. "Tell me about
your bike!"

Then Sippy Doug, who's listed in the CD liner notes as contributing simply "characters, juggling," stole the show with his arsenal of acts and disguises. In addition to the roving sun tower, he juggled blue-glittered pins while teetering on a unicycle and handled flaming torches with comic flair. Despite costume change after costume change, the kids were onto him by the beginning of the fourth song.

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"I know you were the one riding the bike," one blond-haired cutie asserted, a kind of accusation. He was not buying Sippy Doug, now dressed in a black soldier's uniform and slurring under a thick mustache, as the infamous "Major Minor." 


But the song that really got the kids spinning was The Jackson 5's "ABC." By the end of a version of The Who's "Pure and Easy," they were following Sippy Doug, now dressed like a ballerina version of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man, around like the pied piper.

At the end of the show, the Friends of Dolores Park announced the raffle winners and
awarded a sundry of prizes that included Bi-Rite ice cream and Burning Man tickets.
Finally, The Sippy Cups returned for one last number, an original and favorite of mine, "Drinking From the Sky" and we all left happy and humming under our breath: "...drip patter drip drip drop..." Awesome. 

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 Critic's Notebook 

Personal Bias: I own the entire Sippy Cups collection and can sing
along with every song -- and it may or may not be because I have a 4-year-old son.

Random Detail: Sippy Doug has the entire wild rumpus scene from Maurice Sendak's classic children's story "Where the Wild Things Are" tattooed across his chest, shoulder and back. 

By the way: Dolores Park renovations are scheduled to begin in October 2010 and be completed by June 2011.

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