Tag Archives: ice cream

Art with a cherry on top

Cherry Ice Cream (oil on canvas) by Barry Levitt

I learned a day too late that the third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day thanks to a 1984 proclamation by President Ronald Reagan, though I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to celebrate after the fact with a small scoop or two. 

If live performance art was ice cream, live simulcasts would be the cherry on top. They allow folks to enjoy works of dance, music and theater that they wouldn’t otherwise experience.

National Theatre Live presents “the best of British theatre broadcast live to cinemas around the world” — and you can see their latest offering at the Phoenix Art Museum Sun, July 24 from 2-5pm.

It’s a new version of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” by Andrew Upton, starring Zoe Wanamaker – known to “Harry Potter” fans as Madame Hooch from the movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It’s being performed at London’s Olivier Theatre.

This production of “The Cherry Orchard,” directed by Howard Davies, is being presented at the Phoenix Art Museum by Arizona Theatre Company. The Phoenix Art Museum is the only Phoenix-area venue to offer this presentation of “The Cherry Orchard.” Here’s their description of the work…

You can see a new production of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov July 24 at the Phoenix Art Museum

Set at the very start of the twentieth century, Anton Checkhov’s The Cherry Orchard captures a poignant moment in Russian history as the country rolls inexorably towards the October Revolution of 1917. Madame Ranyevskaya returns home, more or less bankrupt after ten years abroad. Luxuriating in her fading moneyed world and blissfully unaware of the growing hostile forces outside, she and her brother snub the lucrative scheme of Lopakhin, a peasant turned entrepreneur, to save the family estate. In so doing, they put up their lives to auction and seal the fate of the beloved orchard.

“The Cherry Orchard,” which was Chekhov’s last play, is being presented in high definition and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. Tickets are just $15 for Phoenix Art Museum members, ATC subscribers and students with I.D. — and $18 for others. Space is limited and tickets can be purchased online.

Other providers of live simulcast and taped performances include Emerging Pictures, which offers Ballet in Cinema, Opera in Cinema and Shakespeare in Cinema series. Also Fathom Events – which recently presented a revival of the musical “Company” at several Valley movie theaters.

It’s all art with a cherry on top. Yum.

– Lynn

Note: The Phoenix Art Museum also offers films with an arts twist.  And the Film Bar in Phoenix presents two visual arts-related titles this month — “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” and “!Women Art Revolution.”

Coming up: What would Robin Hood do?

A summer camp tale

Valley mom and dancer Kriti Agarwal has enjoyed summers in India, Dubai and America

Chandler mom Kriti Agarwal says she eagerly seeks local summer camps that will help her two young children “develop their social and mental skills.”

Agarwal recalls spending her childhood in India and her “formative years” in Dubai before coming to America to earn an undergraduate degree in business management and economics — and an M.B.A. with an emphasis in technology management.

“Growing up internationally in the Gulf,” she says, “I used to look forward to summer camps.”

Seems the appeal was threefold. Summer camp meant no more school for a while, gave Agarwal a chance to enjoy diverse activities and beat the heck out of “just droning to sleep in books!”

Her summer camp experiences included arts and crafts, sports and “personality development” (think public speaking, drama, elocution and dance).

The dance stuck with her big time. After training from the age of six in contemporary, folk and modern dance styles — and enjoying formal training in two traditional Indian dance styles (Kathak and Bharatnatyam) — Agarwal went on to start her own dance studio called “Kriti Dance.”

Enjoy Bollywood style dance during the Phoenix Suns half-time on Fri, March 18

Agarwal’s studio offers all sorts of dance classes for children, teens and adults — and her dancers have performed during several Phoenix Suns half-times.

Your next opportunity to enjoy a bit of Bollywood during a Suns half-time will be Fri, March 18. The game starts at 7pm at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix.

It just so happens that basketball was part of her many summer camp adventures — along with soccer, horseback riding and swimming.

You get the feeling while watching her dance (check her website for video) that she has the energy and flexibility to kick, dribble, back stroke and ride a horse all in one fell swoop.

While most of us are whining about Arizona summers, Agarwal recalls summers spent in the Gulf region — noting that “the only place hotter is the earth’s core, or perhaps sitting on erupting lava.”

Seems her many summer camp activities took place indoors, where fans and air conditioning were plentiful — thanks to the “scorching heat” she says the Gulf and Arizona have in common.

Still, it isn’t the heat that Agarwal most often recalls of her summer camp days. Instead, she reflects on the “positive impact” summer camps have had on her life.

The next adult/teen workshop at Kriti Dance begins March 6

Agarwal credits her own summer camp dance experiences with fueling a lifelong passion for dance — and hopes the summer programs offered by Kriti Dance will “instill confidence” in children and adults who’ll go on to explore plenty of new activities.

But what I admire most of all, truth be told, is her admission that ice cream was another summer camp lure.

It’s certainly at the top of my checklist.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about Raising Arizona Kids’ 2011 Camp Fair

Coming up: More Valley dance delights

Photos courtesy of Kriti Dance

Old friends, new year

I ran into an old friend on Friday while waiting in line at a favorite breakfast haunt with my daughter Lizabeth. We ended up sharing a table and lingering over talk of films, showtunes and such.

I met Alan, who hails from Philadelphia, more than a decade ago when he was still in music teacher mode — and charged with teaching Christopher, then in elementary school, to play saxophone.

Nowadays he’s a hypnotherapist. And Christopher’s sax is long gone. Still, I run into Alan fairly often since we’re both ASU Gammage season ticket holders. He enjoys shows with his wife Anita, while I usually take Lizabeth along.

My husband James knows better than to try and wrestle either of us for a ticket. And we’ve already seen everything from “Starlight Express” to “Les Miserables” together.

Earlier in the day I’d been musing over what to feature for a New Year’s post — with little success. Clever New Year’s resolutions with a theater-geek twist topped my list, but I’d had far too little espresso to make that magic happen.

I set what seemed a more manageable goal — culling some of my favorite lines from all sorts of Broadway showtunes. But alas. So few really translate without the music. And many simply aren’t fit for family magazine fare. Think There’s a moment you know…. from “Spring Awakening.”

In reality, I’ll be hibernating long before the official New Year is upon us. But I’m rallying just long enough to offer one-liners of the mostly G-rated varety. Consider this post a preview of sorts. I reserve the right to make changes as (or perhaps if) the inspiration strikes.

Whether you love my list or hate it, I hope it inspires you to consider some of your favorite quotes from stage and screen — and how you might sum up your own hopes for the New Year in a simple sentence or two.

Life’s too quick (Rent/Out Tonight). A person’s a person, no matter how small (Seussical/Horton Hears a Who). What do you do with a B.A. in English? (Avenue Q). Don’t be the bunny (Urinetown).

I may not be smart but I ain’t dumb (Sweeney Todd/Not While I’m Around). And all these things I feel and more/My mother’s mother felt and hers before (Baby/Story Goes On). Don’t want a nation under the new media (American Idiot).

Because I knew you, I have been changed for good (Wicked/For Good). There’s life outside your apartment (Avenue Q). Well they can kiss my tush (Spamalot/Diva’s Lament). Let me be a kid (Runaways).

At the end of the day you’re another day older (Les Miserables/At the End of the Day). I really need this job (Chorus Line/I Hope I Get It). Nice is different than good (Into the Woods/I Know Things Now). Give a man enough rope (The Will Rogers Follies).

Just breathe (In the Heights/Breathe). A lawyer is a shark (Legally Blonde/Blood in the Water). Brush up your Shakespeare/And they’ll all kowtow (Kiss Me, Kate/Brush Up Your Shakespeare). It sucks to be me (Avenue Q).

You see what you look for, you know (Company/Being Alive). Children may not obey, but children will listen (Into the Woods/Children Will Listen). We were born to consume/From the cradle to the tomb (Walmartopia).

For life is quite absurd (Spamalot/Always Look on the Bright Side of Life). I wish I could go back to college (Avenue Q). My child is next in the line that has no ending (Baby/Story Goes On).

In everything you do/Always be yourself (Billy Elliot/The Letter). It’s not the time to overthink (Legally Blonde/Bend and Snap). Everyone’s a little bit racist (Avenue Q). Happiness is two kinds of ice cream (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown/Happiness).

 I want my life to be something more than long (Pippin/Corner of the Sky). What you want is right in front of you (Legally Blonde/What You Want). Never met a man I didn’t like (The Will Rogers Follies).

In learning you will teach/And in teaching you will learn (Tarzan/Son of a Man). How do you measure a year in the life? (Rent/Seasons of Love).

– Lynn

Note: Where song titles aren’t listed, the song title is the same as the quote noted for that show. Feel free to comment below with your own favorite (and family-friendly) Broadway one-liner.

Coming up: New year, new theater

OMG: Opera makes good…

I’m still not sure why it happened. But somehow Lizabeth, my now 16-year-old daughter, heard about an opera called Rigoletto way back in her elementary school years. Maybe she was more open to opera than other children, and even many adults, because she went to an elementary school with a rich music, dance, drama and visual arts program.

Maybe it was her early violin and piano training (things she learned to love attending family-friendly Phoenix Symphony performances as a young child). Maybe it was the early dance training with Dance Theater West and Ballet Arizona that gave her a rich appreciation for beautiful sets and costumes.

Whatever the reason, she just had to go. I’d never experienced opera before—as a child or a grown-up—and it certainly sounded like a wonderful adventure. Opera was none of the things I’d assumed through the years. Boring? Nope. Stuffy? Nope. Hard for children to understand? Nope. Enjoying Rigoletto with my daughter was an “OMG” moment: Opera makes good.

It was like the best of theater, music and dance rolled into one. After seeing Rigoletto with Arizona Opera at Phoenix Symphony Hall, we became season ticket holders. Opera became an enchanting tradition we’d enjoy together several weekend afternoons each year.

We had fun getting dressed up to go out together. We liked reading the stories of various operas. We escaped the doldrums of weekend chores and errands. We grew closer as mother and daughter. (Jennifer and I grew close in other ways—often with art or craft projects that reflected her real gifts as a visual artist.)

I’m glad I followed Lizabeth’s lead on this one. Like many of you, perhaps, I never expected to enjoy opera. I tell friends now that if they’re convinced they don’t like the opera, it’s probably because they’ve never seen one.

You’ll have three more chances to enjoy an Arizona Opera production this season (none of them involving boy wizards, vampires or wolves). La boheme comes to Phoenix in Jan. and Tucson in Feb. Arias comes to both Phoenix and Tucson in March. The Barber of Seville comes to Phoenix in April and Tucson in May.

Like many, you may be in denial that 2010 is just around the corner, but it’s only a few weeks away. So don’t delay in getting tickets. There are plenty of opera buffs in Arizona and productions do sell out.

Each opera has a different flavor. You might prefer mint chocolate chip ice cream over orange sherbet or rocky road, but why not try them all? If you’re looking for new adventures to enjoy with your family, give opera a spin. It’s among the most adventurous performing arts.

Worried you don’t know enough about opera to make it enjoyable? You’re just a click away from a quick and easy version of Opera 101. The Arizona Opera website features opera synopses, composer bios, an opera glossary, opera FAQ and more. If you can master child rearing, you can master opera—and with much less time and travail.

Teachers can visit the “Learn” portion of the Arizona Opera website (www.azopera.org) for information about opera school tours, opera field trips, opera “look in” events and more. They’ll even find comprehensive study guides that integrate opera into lesson plans that meet Arizona standards in a host of arts and academic areas. What’s not to love about a resource that supports our teachers as they work to bring the very best in education and the arts to our children? (They even have something called “Opera in a Box.”)

The Phoenix Opera (www.phoenixopera.org) also offers live productions and educational materials—and is currently accepting applications for its Young Artist Development Plan, which engages truly talented young singers in the world of opera training and performance.

Those of us with teens know all too well how quickly the years slip away. Many of us have experienced the genuine power of the arts—including opera—to broaden our children’s perspective on the world and their own place within it.

You wouldn’t be afraid to try a new ice cream flavor with your child. So don’t be afraid of trying a bit of opera. Whether it’s ice cream or the arts, children tend to favor the tastes of their youth. Expose them now before they mistakenly decide, without ever seeing or hearing opera, that it’s yucky.

–Lynn