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Rose Scharlin, Meet DJ Lance Rock

L.A.’s first co-op nursery school gets a boost from Yo Gabba Gabba!

She’s a septuagenarian Angeleno looking to have a little work done. He’s into music, is great with kids, and Brad Pitt dressed up as him for Halloween.

Rose Scharlin, meet DJ Lance Rock.

LA’s very first co-op nursery school (named after its longtime director) comes together with the front man for preschool TV sensation Yo Gabba Gabba! May 8th to celebrate the school’s 70th birthday, inaugurate a campus greening campaign, and just plain gyrate to the music for some good, clean fun.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Yo Gabba Gabba! is heir to the legacy of the Electric Company, Sid and Marty Kroft, and even Mr. Rogers; a throwback to live action educational kids’ TV created by the very kids those shows influenced a generation ago, only now those kids are parents, and indie rock musician parents at that.

Imagine the possibilities. Biz Markie has a regular beat-box segment. Jack Black, Elijah Wood and Mos Def have guest starred, and so have bands like The Ting Tings, Black Kids, MGMT, The Roots, and Devo.

Needless to say, the show is a hit, not only critically and with its key demographic of 3 to 5 year-olds, but also with hipster parents who enjoy grooving to all that indie and alt rock as much as their preschoolers do.

Enter stage left: Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School, a community institution in that bastion of hipsterdom itself, Los Angeles’ Eastside.

Rose Scharlin is a place where generations of the free-love sort have been given their first gentle push into society, or really more of a warm embrace. With its predominantly outdoor campus (policed by free ranging chickens) and a mission statement that speaks to the empowerment of children and challenging the impact of bias, how much more hippy-dippy could you get? Well, a lot, really.

The school and the two dozen or so families that attend, operate and maintain it, are using the 70th anniversary to launch into a new era of green. Old asphalt is to be replaced by self-watering vegetable gardens with built-in worm beds for fertilization. Native plants are taking back over. Water recycling and renewable energy are on the horizon.

Yo Gabba Gabba! saw the potential and are donating their talent to entertain 300 of Rose Scharlin’s closest play-date pals at Echo Park’s historic Rec Center Studio. It’s not the millions who watch Yo Gabba Gabba on Nickelodeon, or the tens of thousands who cheered their recent White House Easter performance. But it is a lot more intimate.
Chalk this fundraiser up to a growing list of socially conscious celebrity charitable endeavors — or maybe Yo Gabba Gabba understands synergy and its audience better than most. After all, Rose Scharlin, like Yo Gabba Gabba, is taking the best of what worked yesteryear — and yet both have a responsibility to today, and particularly to today’s children.
Maybe these two were meant to be.

JP Pitoc is an actor, a kickboxer, and a dad, but not always in that order. A graduate of an all-boys, Jesuit, military high school in NYC, it is one of JP’s life-long dreams to be personally excommunicated by the Pope. He frequently spends time instructing his very young children in the rudiments of esoteric martial arts, believes poetry should always be read out loud, and is a big fan of reggae music, if you know what I mean.