Tag Archives: multicultural events

Ireland meets Japan

Famous castle in Himeji, Japan -- one of nine Phoenix sister cities, which also include Ennis, Ireland (Photo: http://www.famouswonders.com)

As wearers of the green celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, all of our hearts go out to the people of Japan. It turns out both countries have cities considered “sisters” of Phoenix, Arizona (we have nine global “sisters” in all).

Families who attend the free “WorldFEST” this weekend can enjoy all sorts of hands-on activities and exhibits in the “Sister Cities Village” — including “making fairy wreaths with Irish colors from Ennis, Ireland” and “competing in a chopstick challenge by Himeji, Japan.”

Festival guests are invited to participate with the Phoenix Sister Cities Commission as they launch a fund drive to assist relief efforts in Japan by making donations at the Himeji, Japan booth in the “Sister Cities Village.”

Other hands-on activities include “learning cattle roping from Calgary, Canada” and “making carnival masks from Catania, Italy.” Just make sure the siblings in your brood know better than to practice the roping techniques on one another.

You can even enjoy “writing your name with Chinese characters from Chengdu, China” and “face painting and pinata-breaking by Hermosillo, Mexico.” Sibs will want to avoid trying those last two on one another too — not that the little darlings would ever consider such things.

Parades are another matter. These are plenty safe to try at home assuming you don’t expect the family cat to lead the march. There’s just a single parade time for the festival so don’t miss it if your family is fond of floats and such.

This weekend’s “Sister Cities Parade” — complete with “colorful flags and festive floats” from Phoenix sister city regions — kicks off at 1pm on Sat, March 19 as part of “WorldFEST,” which takes place at Heritage and Science Park in Phoenix (home of the Arizona Science Center).

“WorldFEST” hours are Fri, March 18, 4-10pm; Sat, March 19, Noon-11pm; and Sun, March 20, Noon-5pm. It features “sights, sounds and tastes from around the world.” Think art, dance and music — plus food/drink and more.

Grown-ups can enjoy “beer sampling & pints” (not so free) and cooking demonstrations by various chefs. But the kiddos will have more interest in “KidsWORLD” — described as “an interactive, educational playground engaging children to travel over seven continents.”

I’m told there’ll be areas where children can “explore rain forests in South America,” “dodge icebergs in Antarctica,” and enjoy “a mini safari through the African jungle.” Not sure how that works — but I’m eager to find out. Let’s hope my height (or grey hair) won’t give me away…

– Lynn

Note: Heritage and Science Park is located at 115 N. 6th St. in Phoenix — near plenty of Valley attractions, including the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.

Coming up: Finding voice lessons in the Valley

Odds & ends

I must have had a blast in preschool. Sorting shapes. Finding matching colors. Hunting different letters. Searching for related numbers.

My favorite posts are those that manage to weave seemingly disparate parts into a cohesive whole. When I got word of this weekend’s opening of “Little Shop of Horrors,” I imagined chasing down all sorts of monster shows or working the plant angle somehow.

But sometimes the piles of papers resist fastidious filing. So I have to live with throwing all sorts of goodies into a single post without much rhyme or reason.

I’m starting to wonder whether there’s a “Monopoly: Midlife Edition” of the classic board game. If so, I figure I’m due $200 for “passing go” by “letting go” and sharing news of nearing events “odds & ends” style…

Chandler-Gilbert Community College presents “Little Shop of Horrors” — which features book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken.

If you’ve ever swayed to “Under the Sea” from the movie “The Little Mermaid” or felt sentimental listening to “Beauty and the Beast” from the film of the same name, you’ve enjoyed some of their other collaborations.

“Little Shop” has more mature themes — like personal boundaries and blood-sucking plants — but it’s every bit as fun. The CGCC production runs March 4-11 at the Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.

I suppose I could have stretched the plant theme a bit with an “everything’s coming up roses” transition to this next event — a celebration of “Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children” taking place Sat, March 5, in Scottsdale.

The event honors founders Rosie and the late Woody Schurz. Others to be recognized include Alice Tatum (community honoree) and Judy Conrad (faculty honoree).

This party has plenty of appeal. Ticket prices are reasonable in fundraiser world — just $75 each. Featured entertainment includes jazz artist Tatum performing with Rosie House students. It’s happening at the Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery. And there’s a silent auction (just in time for teacher gift shopping).

Rosie’s House offers more than 300 group and private music lessons each week — and hopes funds raise from this celebration will “support the goal of teaching 10,000 music lessons in a single year.”

The Division of Fine & Performing Arts at Paradise Valley Community College is also raising funds for music education this weekend — with an event titled “Stompin’ at the Savoy: A Tribute to Swing.”

The fundraiser —  which features a silent auction, musical performance and video clips documenting the Savoy Theatre’s role in the swing jazz movement — takes place March 5 & 6 at the PVCC Center for the Performing Arts.

The goal of this shindig is to “raise $15,000 to provide full-tuition waivers for five students” — one each in creative writing, dance, music, theatre and visual art. Adults tickets are $20 — but senior, staff and student tickets are less.

It just so happens that these shows and events fall at times that allow the most dedicated among you to attend all three in a single weekend.

It’s a quick and fun fix for those of you struggling with a high G.Q. (guilt quotient) because you support youth arts in theory but rarely find yourself out there in the audience.

– Lynn

Note: Remember too that plenty of theater productions open this weekend — including Greasepaint Youtheatre’s “Disney’s Jungle Book” and Actors Theatre’s “Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews?Click here for a comprehensive calendar of family-friendly events from Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Click here if community college news is of special interest.

Coming up: Art meets democracy, ASU Gammage unveils new season, Tucson meets Yonkers, More community college offerings

Update: I just learned of another weekend event — the 8th annual “Jewish-Muslim PeaceWalk” taking place Sun, March 6, in Tucson. Learn more at www.peacewalktucson.org.

Don’t blink in Chandler

"Multicultural Harmony" by Sara, 10, Zehra, 12, and Ayla, 11 - Funkor Child Art Center

A bevy of alerts from the fine folks in Chandler crossed my virtual desk today — all noting upcoming events with a multicultural twist.

I got the feeling after reading them that you should never blink in Chandler, lest you miss something truly remarkable.

Here’s a quick review of just a few of the multicultural arts experiences you can enjoy during a single month — January 2011 — in Chandler:

First, the initial fundraiser for the Tolerance & Holocaust Museum to be built in Chandler. It features a premiere of the award-winning documentary “Rene & I” on Sat, Jan 8, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

The film — which is being presented by the East Valley Jewish Community Center — shares the story of Rene and Irene Guttman, twins sent to Auschwitz at the age of six who survived cruel experiments by Joseph Mengele. 

“Rene & I” is described as “an uplifting story about overcoming adversity against all odds” and “a tribute to tolerance, endurance of the human spirit, and the triumph of good over evil.”

Holocaust survivor Helen Handler, who was sent to Auschwitz at age 15, will speak prior to the film’s screening. Handler is the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust and has dedicated her life to “preventing hate and genocide.”

The evening will also include a “bookstore event” in the lobby and opportunities to learn more about how you can support the building of the museum or become a museum volunteer.

A second event designed to foster greater awareness and acceptance takes place just one week later — on Sat, Jan 15, in the courtyard of the downtown Chandler Public Library.

The “16th Annual Chandler Multicultural Festival” brings together “a collection of nations and cultures” for a day of dance, music, art, ethnic foods and more.

Think flamenco, Native American and step dancing. Think music from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Africa and the Dominican Republic. Think Russian/Jewish folk music and Middle Eastern music played on the Oud.

Students from the International School of Arizona are scheduled to perform songs in French, Spanish and Italian at 12:10pm on the “Unity Stage,” while students from Hope Chinese School are scheduled to perform at noon on the “Celebration Stage.”

The event also features live entertainment, diverse artisans and “an interactive area for children where they can experience a rock wall, bounce activity, coloring, and arts and crafts.”

A third event, also part of Chandler’s “2011 Celebration of Unity,” is “an inspirational multi-media jazz concert based on poetic masterwork by poet/playwright Langston Hughes.”

The concert takes place Fri, Jan 28, at Chandler Center for the Arts. “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods of Jazz” will be performed by Dr. Ron McCurdy and his jazz quartet.

“Ask Your Mama” is a 12-part epic poem that pays “homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad beginning in the 1960s.”

Hughes scored the poem with “musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin ‘cha cha’ and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indies calypso, and African drumming.”

The performance will be accompanied by “video images of the Harlem Renaissance by African American artists and photographers including Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks and Romare Bearden.”

Now, perhaps, you understand my admonition to avoid blinking in Chandler. But do feel free to clap, scat or tap your toes.

– Lynn

Note: Learn more about the “Rene & I” event at www.evjcc.org and more about the other two events at www.chandlercenter.org. Details about Chandler’s multicultural festival are available at www.chandleraz.gov/special-events or the city’s special events hotline at 480-782-2735. Click here to learn more about the Funkor Child Art Center.

Coming up: What do “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” Vanderbilt University and The Dramatist Guild have in common?

Art & air conditioning

"Fractured" by Kathryn Herbert from Herberger Theater Art Gallery exhibit at the University Club in Phoenix

You know you want it. Frankly, some of us nearing the big “5-0″ want it more than the rest of you. It’s air conditioning.

Enough with Arizona’s dry heat. I’m way beyond ready for some dry cool–which is why I went in search of museum adventures to fill my weekend hours.

Ceramic art from the "Ceramic Design" exhibit at the ASU Ceramics Research Center

One of the first things I found is an exhibit you can only enjoy on weekdays, so get there today if this strikes your fancy. I have other suggestions for Saturday and Sunday fare.

It’s the Herberger Theater Art Gallery, on display at the University Club in Phoenix while the Herberger Theater Center undergoes renovations. Like many Valley theater-goers, I’m pulling for essentials like more potty space for women than men for a change.

Anyhow, the current exhibit is titled “The Sacred and the Living” (redundant, perhaps?) and it features artwork in various media by 26 Arizona artists. It runs through July 28–but you can enjoy it today (Fri) from 9-11am and 1-5pm.

You can experience three free art exhibits this weekend thanks to the ASU Art Museum–each of which are open today and tomorrow from 11am-5pm.

The "Jump to Japan" exhibit opens this weekend at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa

There’s the off-kilter (yup, it’s also the name of a Celtic rock band) “Ceramic Design: Manufactured Brilliance & Beauty in Daily Life” at the Ceramic Research Center, which promises to be more illuminating than late-night infomercials hocking products that promise a different sort of manfactured beauty.

There’s “Signs and Signals from the Periphery, an Installation by Dinh Q Le” featuring the work of an “internationally acclaimed multi-media artist” who tackles the everyday with a view to global significance. It’s at the ASU Art Museum on the Tempe campus, as is this next cool-fest…

The “11th Annual Family Exhibition” titled “What Moves Us: Art of Transportation from the Permanent Collection” presents all sorts of transportaion in all sorts of media. My main interest will be in those with windows, a roof and AC that’ll knock your socks off.

This would have been the perfect outing for my young son, now nearing 21, who used to feel about cars, trucks and construction vehicles the way I feel about espresso and chocolate. Too much is never enough.

Etwan Finatawa brings "Nomad's blues" from Niger to the MIM in Phoenix this weekend

Also in the “Friday and fabulous” category is the July 16 opening of the “Jump to Japan” exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, a destination that will also take you close to the Mesa Arts Center and the Arizona Museum of Natural History.

The latter currently has three exhibits, including “Lights! Color! Action!,” which “explores the relationship between light and color and how they are used in our daily lives.” You can gently remind your kids once they’ve seen it that not everyone on the planet has the luxury of light and color (which leaves me wondering where I can find a study on the role of color in cultural identity and expression).

Make & play drums at the MIM!

The newly unveiled and ever so glorious Musical Instrument Museum (the “MIM”) in Phoenix has two special offerings this weekend–a “Build a Rhythm”  workshop where kids ages 8-11 can build and learn to play the Dondo drum from Ghana (Sat at 10am; $35; preregister) and concerts (Sat 7:30pm and Sun 2:30pm; $32-$36) by Etran Finatawa performing “Nomad’s blues” from Niger, “a gritty, mystical, dynamic journey to the Sachel desert region of Africa.”

Hopi Dance Group performs at the Heard Museum in Phoenix

I’m tempted to recommend that last one to politicians who sometimes have a hard time telling their countries from their continents. We can send them to the Heard Museum in Phoenix for extra credit–where they’ll discover that “American Indian” refers to more than a single homogenous group of people.

On second thought, let’s put play before politics this weekend as the Heard Museum continues its July series of “Target Free Sizzlin’ Summer Saturdays” featuring free museum admission plus unique kids’ activities and music/dance performance.

Illustrator Yazzie comes to the Heard Museum this weekend

This Saturday’s line-up at the Heard includes 11:30am and 1pm Hopi Dance Group performances, a noon to 2pm book signing by Yazzie, Navajo, illustrator of “The Stone Cutter & the Navajo Maiden” and more.

Grown-ups can enjoy the Heard for free the Friday night before during a 6-9pm event featuring live music, art and wine tasting. That’s a whole lot of happiness in one place.

As always, just give a holler if I’ve overlooked something you think other Arizona families might enjoy. And so much the better if they couple art with AC…

–Lynn

Theater Works in Peoria presents "On the Air!" during their summer cabaret series

Note: If theater is your muse, check out the new “Little Red Riding Hood” from the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, the “On the Air!” summer cabaret performance at Theater Works in Peoria or “The Hormel New Works Festival” at Phoenix Theatre. Please check all event details before attending, and remember to visit “Raising Arizona Kids” online each day for a comprehensive calendar of family-friendly events and activities.

Coming up: A view from the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Arts advocates gather to evaluate and fuel progress in Arizona arts and culture