Someone please dress up as the Grinch in the days before Christmas and drive around during rush hour with a Christmas tree on the roof. The stories that can be told with that little start…
Enrich Your Children’s Lives: Cultural Travel In Your Hometown
Once a month I take the children to a theatre performance because I want them to understand and appreciate the culture of performing arts and how the arts in general enrich our lives and influence our well-being, health, education and broaden our cultural understanding and experience.
Canvas for Our Lives
We are each born with a canvas and it’s up to us to use any medium to paint our life-portrait.
The Arts and Cultural Curation
The arts in any form help to develop our understanding of the world, society and ourselves. The arts remain an area that I don’t see being developed enough in the classrooms so I take over the role of cultural curator for my children and make the opportunities for them to grow.
The week before Christmas we attended the Minnesota Children’s Theatre Company production of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and it was fantastic and by fantastic I mean it was extraordinary! The visual aspect of the production was brilliant in its own right as were the scenes, performances and the depth of the role of the Grinch.
The actor, Reed Sigmund , poured so much into the role of the Grinch I have to think after such a performance he would be drained to his core: every gesture, every word, every song and seeming his every fiber became the theatrical production and transformation into the Grinch.
During intermission my son and I were laughing and reciting lines from the play in a Grinch manner as my daughter danced in the aisle.
The second half was even more engaging, outstanding and a get-out-of-your seats clapping experience. It was moving not just from the message but from the passion the actors put into their roles as they took us to Whoville and beyond.
Theater arts can reach into your dreams to pull forward your personality and broaden your limits.
Culinary Arts: Foodies
After each monthly performance we go out for dinner to talk about what we enjoyed the most and what we learned from the production. My curation turns from the theatre arts to food; culinary arts presentation and we step across the threshold to a culture unlike our own.
Explore the Global Table: Latin American Food
Last night we selected Latin American food and a restaurant platformed around Venezuelan street food. The restaurants success started as a food truck and expanded by demand into a beautiful space in downtown Minneapolis.
Humble Food Truck Beginnings: Hola Arepa in Minneapolis, MN
Hola Arepa, click image above for a link to their website, now welcomes customers with a decadent menu of freshly prepared food made from scratch in the Venezuelan street food tradition mixed with other Latin inspired dishes.
We took in our surroundings and looked over the menu while talking about arepas and how they are a simple bread of grilled cornmeal, water and salt.
I find it facilitating that seemingly every culture has a foundation of some type of bread. My daughter selected the cheese arepa commenting that it’s a Venezuelan version of a grilled cheese sandwich.
We expanded out beyond the grilled cheese to try their chips and three house selected salsas, arepitas, esquites, plantains, a take on a Cuban sandwich with their house roasted pork and ham along with the traditional shredded beef and black beans arepa and finished it off with a slice of the S’mores cake and a funky version of a sweet and salty snack; Flaming Hot Cheetos Brittle that came out in a single serving Cheetos bag with a bowl.
Everything was fresh, well-prepared, visually engaging and delicious. My kids still enjoy the dessert portion of our meals to be the most relevant to their exploration into a culinary cultural visit.
My daughter can name the desserts that she feels belongs to a place: bread and chocolate anything; France, Black Forest cake; Germany, Tiramisu; Italy, Daifuku; Japan and she has a travel itinerary planned to travel to various places… just for the desserts.
We spent our evening enjoying the food, talking about the performance and my plan to write a letter to the actor who played the Grinch suggesting that he drive home in character some evening to bring some astonishment to the evening rush hour traffic around the Twin Cities. I can only imagine how many laughs it would bring to look over beside you as you creeped to get home and saw the Grinch driving a tree-topped car to your side.
We also talked about Venezuela and the tradition of the arepa and how Vensuela is one of the top megadiverse countries in the world along with some of the social history and political struggles of the region.
It was an enriching evening well-spent.
If you’re in the Twin Cities area it’s not to late to see How the Grinch Stole Christmas as the play runs through January 6, 2019 and will be on stage again each holiday season.