Tag Archives: international music

A yen for multicultural art?

We enjoyed a lovely dinner last night with our children and James’ parents, who share our penchant for Italian fare despite extensive world travels.

My only experience with Japanese food was during graduate school, when I had a roomate who often shared family recipes featuring Japanese flair.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to duplicate them — but I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to explore the culture of Japan and other countries.

Head to the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa today for a free Japanese-style celebration of Grandparents Day

So I’m excited about today’s (Sept. 5) noon to 5 p.m. “Passport to Japan: Grandparents Day” event at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.

Admission to museum exhibits, including “Jump to Japan,” is free today (Sept 5) — and museum visitors can explore a wealth of Japanese art and culture. Think kimonos and origami. Swordsmanship and cuisine. Calligraphy and storytelling.

Here’s a look ahead to other multicultural events and experiences coming to the Valley and other parts of Arizona…


Calo Flamenco CUADRO at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts. Sept 19 (3pm; free). Features music and dance following traditional themes and elements of this folk art form. www.caloflamenco.com.

Calo Flamenco performs Sept 19 at Chandler Center for the Arts

The Power of You at ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. Oct 2 (5-9pm; free). Features a thematic dance performance in the Indian classical style of Bharata Natyam by Stage Sanchar (presented by Arizona South Asians for Safe Families). www.asukerr.com.

Japanese Folk Dance at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. Nov 15 (1pm; free with admission). Features Japanese music and folk dance. www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org.


Celtic Harvest Festival at Tequa Plaza in Oak Creek (near Sedona). Sept 24 & 25 (hours; ticket prices vary). Features art workshops and demonstrations, music and dancing, children’s activities, and vendors selling items from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. www.celticharvestfestival.com.

Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Oct 24 & 25 (9am-5pm; free with museum admission of $4 to $7). Features opportunity to learn about the traditions and culture of people from Mexico and Latin America. www.musnaz.org.

The Arizona Irish Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Oct 31 (10am-8pm; free). Features Celtic music and dance, along with kids’ activities. www.festival.azirish.org.


Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa. Through Oct 10 (times vary; $6.50/ages 1 & up). Features both traditional art forms and pop icons in a fun and educational exhibit. www.arizonamuseumforyouth.com.

Community Second Sunday at the Heard Museum (Phoenix and Scottsdale). Sept 12 (11am-5pm; free for Arizona residents). Features free admission to all exhibits at both Heard Museum locations (presented by Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa). www.heard.org.


Spirit of Nature at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. Sept 25 (7pm; $25-$30). Features acclaimed Chinese flutist Chen Tao and ‘mistress of the pipa’ Gao Hong. www.themim.org.

Gao Hong (above) performs with Chen Tao Sept 25 at the Musical Instrument Museum

A Mexican Celebration at the University of Arizona Music Building (Chowder Hall) in Tucson. Sept 25 (7:30pm; $9/general admission). www.cfa.arizona.edu/music.

Pops Adventures Around the World at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Oct 1-3 (times vary; $18-$83). Features Phoenix Symphony conducted by Jack Everly performing music from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. www.phoenixsymphony.org.

Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Oct 14 (7:30pm; $49-$59). Features trio performing Latino music, along with the blues, played in a European style. www.sccarts.org.


Multilingual Reading at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson. Sept 10 (8pm; free). Poets Sherwin Bitsui, Alberto Rios, Natalia Toldeo and Ofelia Zepeda read from their work. Features a chainlink of translations in Zapotec, Spanish, Tohono O’odham and Navajo. www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu.

Visual Arts

Kimono Evolution: The Japanese Character of Silk at the Phoenix Art Museum. Sept 8 (12:30pm; free with admission). Features rare opportunity to view exquisite objects from a private collection not previously displayed publicly (presented by members of the Japanese Culture Club of Arizona). www.phxart.org.

La Phoeniquera art exhibit at the Arizona Latino Arts & Culture Center in Phoenix. Through Oct 29. Features an examination of urban Phoenix by Latino artists who are experiencing the cultural changes firsthand. www.alacaz.org.

I’m always looking — so please share what you’ve found on the multicultural front in Arizona arts and culture in the comment section below.

— Lynn

Note: Many of the venues/organizations noted above offer additional multicultural fare, so please visit their websites to learn more.

Coming up: Trumpet tales, Art & animals, Poetry perspectives, Making magic in Tucson



Musings on “Eat Pray Love”

A treat for mother and son movie time

A bag of popcorn is a powerful thing.

Seems my soon-to-be 21 year old son, Christopher, is still happy to spend the afternoon with mom–as long as popcorn and a movie are involved.

Last week he surprised me by suggesting we see “Eat Pray Love“–so we headed off to Harkins Shea 14 to enjoy the tale of travels through Italy, India and Indonesia.

I was intrigued to learn in advance of the movie’s release that Julia Roberts had embraced Hinduism during her filming of “Eat Pray Love”–recalling my own mother’s practice of the ancient religion.

Watching Roberts’ performance, I saw a bit of my own adventures–undertaken not as an adult but as a child. Like “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert (whose book debuted in 2006), my own mother embraced travel as a means of self-exploration and self-expression.

A memoir of life's journeys

For Gilbert, travail and travel followed a bitter divorce. For my mom, who died more than a decade ago of pancreatic cancer, it was the loss of my stepfather–a truck driver and devoted family man–that triggered that first trip.

He died after spending months in a coma, following a burst appendix suffered at home in bed as he refused to go to the doctor or hospital for care. (Do your kids a favor and lose the macho when medical care might be warranted.)

I think I was in the fifth grade at the time (it’s been a while), and recall the teacher who faithfully drove me to and from school each day so my mother could be by my stepfather’s side.

One of the next things I remember is the front yard of our Colorado home–a lovely two story with a dark grey exterior and red front door, plus a glorious staircase and a spacious back yard.

There's an art to letting go...

The lawn was covered with most of our furniture and other possessions. We had to sell the house, and wouldn’t have room for much as we traveled to our new home–in Anchorage, Alaska.

International travel was never in the budget–but we did manage to live plenty of places. Alaska. Hawaii. Northern California. My travels to Europe, China and Israel came later in life as a college student and young professional.

I decided, after seeing “Eat Pray Love,” that I wanted to share a bit of Italian, Indian and Indonesian culture with our readers–but a trip abroad will have to wait until the onslaught of college tuition for three subsides.

So here’s my plan…

Today I’m heading out to the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix with my family, where we’re going to explore instruments from around the world.

Eat, pray, love...repeat as needed

Each child (all now young adults) will be in charge of a country and theme represented in the movie.

Christopher, 2o, gets Italy (“Eat”). Jennifer, 19, gets India (“Pray”). And Lizabeth, 17, gets Indonesia (“Love”).

James is in charge of whipping out the credit card at their amazing gift shop and cafe (which I’m told features “food prepared from scratch, using fresh local ingredients”–including pastries to die for).

Christopher and I will have cameras (no flash allowed) in tow so I can present a future post on “Eat Pray Love” museum style.

We’ll also check out today’s 12:30pm “Museum Encounter” featuring 2010 Grammy Award nominee Rahim AlHaj, an Iraqi-born musician and composer performing concerts this weekend at the MIM Music Theater.

His instrument, the oud, is considered “the grandfather of all stringed instruments.” Today’s “Museum Encounter” with AlHaj is free with museum admission.

It's a tough job, but...

But how, exactly, do you persuade a grown child to accompany you on such an adventure?

Simply put, a pastry is a powerful thing.


Note: “Eat Pray Love” is now showing in Valley theaters (rated PG-13, 133 min.). Click here for MIM information, including hours and pricing. 

Coming up: Lynn and Liz get noisy, “Eat Pray Love” ala the MIM, Theater offerings from Valley community colleges, Sampling snack bars at Valley venues, Local storytelling treasures