Cool Family DVDs

October 2, 2009


Meet Gustafer.  He’s from the sun, and he’s got a cult following thanks to DVDs full of quirky animation and Beatlesesque songs. 


April 25, 2008

PopWatch – Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Sensation

By Abby West


Last year my colleague Beth Johnson started a dialogue about the wonder of sharing a concert experience with your children. Recently, my family had just that sort of magical time at Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Sensation at New York's DR2 Theatre. Illustrator/songwriter/musician Morgan Taylor has developed a 45-minute show that is a beautifully streamlined narrative about his creation, a little yellow cone-headed alien from the sun named Gustafer.

The multimedia show at the intimate, 99-seat theater, which has been extended through Saturday, May 17, features Taylor's whimsical (and comical) illustrations on a big screen, guest musicians, and Taylor's engaging interactions with the children. Like many of the kids there, mine knew the words to just about all the songs, which have addictive melodies and surprisingly deep lyrics that touch on life, love, and death while talking about Gustafer's explorations of life on Earth. (This includes pie-jumping and a pterodactyl with a penchant for wearing a tuxedo.) But it was the kind of plain old good time that even newcomers to Gusafer's world could get caught up in, and a wholly imaginative and creative experience I was glad that my children could be a part of. It left me craving a chance to go to more wonderful things like that with them.


March 28, 2007

KIDS' CORNER - Mellow Yellowgold

By Abby West


Morgan Taylor, the mastermind behind Gustafer, comes across like a modern-day Dr. Seuss on his new DVD/CD combo. Plus: DVDs of the classic ''Noisy Nora'' story and ''Fantastic Four,'' and two recommended books

MUCHA GUSTAFER Taylor's ''Gustafer Yellowgold'' music is for lovers of pop — be they dads, moms, or the kids

Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World
(DVD/CD, 30 mins.; 2007)

I never did the whole children's music thing. Never regularly listened to Raffi; never appreciated the musical stylings of the Wiggles. Nope. Our children, now six and eight, listened to the same eclectic music my husband and I did, and had only the briefest of baby-TV flings with Teletubbies, Barney, and Boohbah.

But now we're all thoroughly entranced by the animated story of a little yellow creature with big eyes and a very sunny outlook, set to the most infectious original songs. The simple, yet beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations in the DVD Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World introduces you to the pointy-headed Gustafer, who came from the Sun, now lives in Minnesota, is friends with a pterodactyl, and has an eel and a dragon as pets. Yes, the minimal visual style serves songs well, with titles like ''Mint Green Bee'' and ''Rocket Shoes,'' and whimsical lyrics (I jump on cake from up above / I step on pie so warm and lovely / It's mine to punt, vanilla bundt / All freshly baked, I'm on your cake).

But I submit to you that Gustafer doesn't count as children's music. The DVD, which runs the lyrics across the bottom of the screen, and includes a karaoke-style sing-a-long feature as well as a bonus CD, is the creation of illustrator/singer/songwriter Morgan Taylor. And it's like he's tapped into some pleasure center in the brain — both adult and kid. The hard-to-define music, which has been compared to the Beatles, the Flaming Lips, and Matthew Sweet, is just absurdly appealing. And what Taylor, who's been dubbed a sort of modern-day Dr. Seuss, has accomplished isn't children's music — it's family music. A —Abby West
For all ages.