May 15, 2013

Kicks! quick review of Enchanted Storybook Forest at Brookgreen Gardens

A forest it’s not, but enchanting it is.

A forest it’s not, but enchanting it is.

Brookgreen Gardens’ latest attraction called the Enchanted Storybook Forest is a collection of castles, ships and houses built just for kids by area architects, builders and designers. Their handiwork provides fun for youngsters as intended but is also something to marvel at and appreciate by adults who can see the books they read to their kids at night come alive.

The buildings are suitable for tots who are able to walk up through around ages 10 or 11. Each house has something different inside to delight imaginations, from the chalkboard paint walls in The Crooked Man’s house to the rope swing outside of the Dr. Seuss house.

(The latter was by far my almost 2-year-old’s favorite, though she’s a bit too little for the rope swing.)

Cinderella’s castle has a swing attached on either side with a hopscotch board inside.

Rapunzel’s castle has a tire swing and a body with an open face for photo ops.

There’s also a make-your-own teepee station and a ship from “Treasure Island,” but the latter was under construction during my visit.

The attraction, which is free with garden admission, is located right next to the butterfly pavilion and is pretty close to the Children’s Discovery Room and the live animal attractions, so you can make a day of it with the kids.

Another perk I discovered was the courtesy strollers Brookgreen Gardens provides. They were a lifesaver when the toddler started losing steam but mom still wanted to walk around a bit.

The Enchanted Storybook Forest is open every day the garden is open during regular garden hours through October, so make sure it’s in your plans this summer to visit. You won’t be disappointed and neither will your kids.

Get admission and hours of operation online at www.brookgreen.org or call 235-6000.

Caroline Evans, cevans@thesunnews.com

‘Acid Rap’

Any discussion of Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” should start by first having the mixtape tagged with that most exclusive and arousing of labels; yes, “Acid Rap” is most certainly an acquired taste.

There are two great features on which one’s perception of “Acid Rap” will hinge, Chance’s rapping and the music he is rapping over, under and upon, of which the former is more important and the latter will be discussed first.

“Acid Rap” is, at its title suggests, composed of a psychedelic palette. .

There is a bouncy, rubber soul feeling to the majority of the tracks, with low ends that burble like pasta shells being poured into boiling water, guitars and synths and various other sounds ricocheting about wildly atop them. Even the more conventional tracks, like the brontosaurus stomping “Smoke Again,” carry themselves with an odd air.

The end result, from a purely instrumental perspective, is an album that is endearingly strange yet friendly to receptive minds.

Potentially more polarizing is Chance himself. His voice ebbs and flows from a nasally whine to a drawn and fried, cigarette smoke rasp, from singsongy to just plain singin. There is no truly apt analogue for Chance’s flow; if pressed, he resembles a more melodic Lil Wayne, the delightfully bizarre iteration circa 2005-2008, his era of mixtape dominance.

Those beats and (more importantly) that voice would be less intriguing if they had nothing to say; fortunately, Chance is as much about substance as flash. Amid amusingly convoluted Dr. Seuss-ian bars, Chicago vernacular and a penchant for rapid, sophomorically mocking “nanana’s”, there are compositions of a deeper meaning.

“Paranoia,” hidden on the back end of “Pusha Man,” is a heart-wrenching plea for mercy from a cruel summer. “I hate the sound of fireworks,” Chance raps. “I hear everybody’s dying in the summer, so pray to God for a little more spring.”

“Acid Rap” is both wonderfully wild and astoundingly honed; it is a free to download mixtape with a breadth and depth studio albums would envy, capable of rattling cars and preconceptions, invoking dancing or tears. In short, it is an acquired taste, in the most complimentary sense of the term.

B. David Zarley, For The Sun News

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