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Archive for October, 2010

Day of the Dead, Minnesota

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 30, 2010

The Day of the Dead, celebrated on the first two days of November, is a time when Mexican families remember and honor their ancestors. Families gather in cemeteries to clean and decorate gravesites, eat and drink, and tell stories about the departed — just like a family reunion. In their homes, people set up ofrendas, or altars, dedicated to the spirits of their loved ones and covered with symbolic objects and some of their ancestors’ favorite food and drink. Friendly images — like a skeleton playing guitar — make death seem more approachable.

Ofrenda created by René Lopez, a teacher at Guadalupe Alternative Programs, for display at the Minnesota Historical Society's Dead of the Dead Celebration.

Thanks to a strong Latino community and the support of local arts organizations, every year the Twin Cities sees several Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Every year, the Minnesota History Center hosts a celebration.

CENTRO's Day of the Dead

Latino community organization Centro offers a traditional tour of altars. (Noon-6 p.m. daily through Nov. 5. Free. 1915 Chicago Av. S., Mpls. 612-874-1412.)

Mercado Central

Lake Street’s Mercado Central throws a traditional celebration with Aztec dancing, traditional foods, mask-making, music, candlelit procession to El Colegio and an exhibit of ofrendas by students and community members. (2-9 p.m. Mon. Free. Mercado Central, 1515 E. Lake St, Mpls. 612-728-5401.)

Minnesota Institute of Art, Minneapolis

And continuing through Nov. 14 is the Young People’s Ofrenda Project put on by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, an exhibition featuring ofrendas created by students from urban charter school El Colegio. (Free. 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-3131.)

Altered Esthetics invites the community to come together and celebrate the lives of those we have lost. El Día de Los Muertos is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away and a time for families and the community to come together. Altered Esthetics is having a one-day celebration, art show and candlelight procession on November 2nd 2010. The celebration and exhibit opening will take place in the evening, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and is free and open to the public. The candlelight procession will take place at 8:30pm. We will begin the procession at Ae and continue around the surrounding Ae neighborhood, returning to the gallery at 9:00 PM. Artists and guests are welcome to set up their own ofrendas at Ae gallery prior to the event – we are open Saturday, October 30th 1pm-5pm and Tuesday, November 2, from 1pm-4pm. Altered Esthetics Gallery is at 1224 Quincy Street NE
Minneapolis, MN.

A Day of the Dead Dinner will take place on Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 5:30 at the Campus Club West Wing on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. The program is hosted by Angelica Afanador Pujol, Assistant Professor of Art History and will display Day of the Dead Folk Art. The dinner is co-sponsored by the Office of International Programs and the Campus Club. Reservations are required. Call 612-626-7788.

Posted in cultural heritage, Mexico | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Halloween Weekend in the Twin Cities

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 29, 2010

Looking for something chillin’ this weekend?

I’m heading to Bare Bones Theater’s all ages Halloween performance at Hidden Falls Park, along the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, MN. This year its Carnetheria, a puppet spectacle that plumbs the deep and darkest depths of a dreamlike Carnival. It’s going to be cold so we’re wearing lots of warm things and taking hot chocolate. First, we walk through the woods meeting amazing creatures and people. We find an open air theater in the middle of the woods and have a seat on hay bales. Then a spectacular puppet performance will take place in the dark woods; mysterious music provided by a live orchestra. My son, Anil, and I missed the 2009 performance so we’re looking forward to going again. Here’s
The Amazing Fire Battle!

Click here for a clip from the 2009 performance of Devoured — Spirit Puppet –Created by Soozin Hirschmugl.

As they say on their website, “Using larger-than-life puppets, shadow puppets, bike puppets, costumes, masks, song, dance, stilting, aerialism, fire artistry, and original music by a live orchestra, the BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza promises an unforgettable nighttime spectacular through the best traditions of community theater, public pageantry, and seasonal celebration.” An amazing amount of time, artistry, passion goes into the preparation, theater and music, and clean-up of the outdoor performances which are held for two weekends – the weekend before Halloween and the weekend of Halloween itself. This is a tiny peek into the magic that takes place to create these shows:

Too cold to be outdoors? Try Bomp: Bedlam Theater’s recurring dance party/caberet that will move to Nick and Eddie on Loring Park for a Halloween edition with the Moongoons (who provide ritualistic energy exchanges that concentrate the powers needed for spellcasting & party rockin. Srsly), Shannon Blowtorch, Wzz Wnshp (burlesque) and Plain Ole Bill. (10 p.m.-3 a.m. Fri. $5-$7. 18-plus.

Rainy Day Caberet

Rainy Day Cabaret (a “cryptic” cabaret) will present “Wake the Dead” the Old Arizona Theater in Minneapolis on November 4, 5, and 6th. RDC was conceived in 2007 by Joanie Mix, as a part of the 2007 Minnesota Fringe Festival, with her production of Making Dolls. RDC is a group of emerging artists who hope to provide a new and continuing form of entertainment for any level of art enthusiast. Through the use of choreography, music, video and costume design, a dark world is generated where you are invited to come and fill your open mind.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will be presented by the Reader’s Theatre at Oliver H. Kelley Farm, Elk River MN (directions) on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Fee: $10; Reservations: required, call 763-441-6896 , Step inside the rustic barn at the Kelley Farm for a performance of Washington Irving’s horror classic “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Performances last approximately 1 hour. Not recommended for children under 10.

Join Anil and I on Friday at Matthews Park, 2318 28th Ave. S. Minneapolis for the annual Halloween Party and Parade (4-5:30 p.m) This Seward neighborhood parade is a beloved event for the ghouls in the community as well as spirits that float in from various parts of the Twin Cities. A party with games and treats follows in the recreation center. It’s free, no registration necessary – just dress up and show up! For more information, call 612-370-4950.

The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul

If you’re really daring visit any of the real haunted places in the area: The Fitzgerald Theater, Forepaugh’s Restaurant, The Caves, and the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul or The Seventh Street Eatery and City Hall in Minneapolis. Twin Cities Nightclubs has a list of Halloween parties for adults.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Posted in art, family travel, quite unusual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Universal Packing List

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 28, 2010

Just stumbled upon the Universal Packing List website. All I had to do was enter a date for travel, where, temps, where I’d be staying, etc. and it told me what to pack and reminded me to do things like make arrangements for pets… and even which country-specific vaccinations I need! Here’s an example based on my upcoming trip to India in January.

Things to do before you leave

To do for most trips
Check the expiration date of your passport
Wash the dishes
Make a lunch
Pet Care
Unplug electrical stuff
Turn down (or up, depending on where you live) the temperature in your home
Empty all trash cans
Confirm airline tickets
Get your airmiles in advance
Memorize PIN codes to credit cards
Check out what hospitals are covered by your health insurance
Get travel insurance
Change money
Install or recharge batteries
Get maps
Forward (or hold) delivery of newspapers and magazines
To do for longer trips
Balance your bank account
Empty your wallet
Wash clothes
Leave expensive watches and jewelery at home
Pay the rent and other necessary bills
Plant care
Turn down the temperature on your water heater
Empty all water containers
Store away things that are easy to steal
Empty your fridge of perishables
Hold delivery of snail mail
Wax boots
Core vaccinations
Typhus vaccination
Typhoid vaccination
Polio vaccination
Tetanus vaccination
Destination specific vaccinations
Yellow Fever vaccination
Cholera vaccination
Hepatitis vaccination
Plague vaccination
Meningitis vaccination
Japanese B Encephalitis vaccination

Unisex clothes
Trousers ( Pants, Jeans )
Cap ( Hat )
Clothes for women
Sandals ( Flip-flops )
Optional clothes
Swimming trunks ( Bikini )
Pyjamas ( Pajamas )
Beach pants
Money and documents

Basic documents
Vaccination certificate
Insurance certificate ( Health Insurance card )
Paper from your local social insurance office
Credit/ATM cards ( Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard, American Express etc )
Driver’s license
ID card
Address list (with phone numbers and email addresses)
Optional documents
This packing list
Photocopies of passport and other important documents
International Student Identification Card ( ISIC )
Tourist organization certificate
International Youth Hostel Card
For carrying money and documents
Paper folder
Airline tickets
Train tickets
Small scale map
Large scale map

Things for packing
Small extra backpack ( Knap sack, Day pack )
Plastic bags ( Ziploc )
Stuff Sack
Small box
Luggage belt
Things for sleeping
Sheets ( Bed covers )
Eating equipment
Multi-tool ( Folding knife )
Miscellaneous equipment
Extra car keys
Extra things
Safety pins

Toilet bag ( Bathroom bag, Necessaire )
Extra blades for Razor
Shaving gel ( Shaving foam )
Electric shaver
Toothbrush ( Electric toothbrush with charger )
Soap box
Liquid soap
Sunblock lotion
Extra glasses
Hygiene (women only)
Menstrual cup
Hygiene (optional)
Hair brush
Barrettes, headbands, hair ties
Clothes pegs ( Clothes pins )
Laundry bag
Fingernail clippers

General health items
Prescription medicine
Sore tape ( Adhesive tape )
Insect repellent
Band-Aids ( Plaster )
First aid kit
Water bottle
Water purifying filter
Chewing gum
Pills, tablets and medicines
Water purifying tablets
Motion sickness tablets
Contraceptive tablets
Fever tablets
Pain killers
Allergy pills ( Anti-histamines )
Malaria tablets
Electrical stuff

General electrical items
Cell Phone ( Mobile Phone, Cellular Phone )
Charger to Cell Phone
Wall socket adapter
Flashlight ( Torch )
Bookmark reading light
Extra batteries for your camera, flash, torch, watch, MP3-player, PDA and GPS
Digital Camera equipment
Digital camera
Memory cards
Battery charger for camera
Associated cables
Generic photo equipment
Camera bag
Music items
Music player ( Cassette, CD, MiniDisc, MP3 )

Posted in family travel, travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Minnesota cabins

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 27, 2010

Just back from Minnesota’s great Northwoods. Avoiding corporate chain hotels for locally-owned cabins. We found a rustic cabin for $55 a night on White Lake, just north of Duluth. Newly remodeled – family spent summers and weekends there for 15+ years while kids were growing up. Don’t get up there as much anymore, so renting it out for a fair price to Minnesotans who can appreciate their low-impact business and invest directly into the local economy.

Posted in family travel, Minnesota, travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Join me on a Global Citizens Network trip to India

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 22, 2010

Join me on a unique exploratory tour to India with Global Citizens Network

Global Citizens Network (GCN) is a nonprofit cultural immersion and volunteer program based in Minneapolis. Named one of the four “Best Volunteer Vacations” by National Geographic in 2007, participants recount their cross-cultural expeditions with GCN as being among the most powerful, meaningful experiences of their lives. GCN seeks to share and promote the values of peace, justice, tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation by providing opportunities for cross-cultural expeditions with indigenous and other rural peoples around the world.

Join me and GCN staff on an exploratory tour to three unique communities in south Indian – including Tamil Naidu, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. Become part of the network committed to collaborating on sustainable development efforts around the world.

The cost of the trip is $1,850 (not including international airfare) and includes room, board, domestic transportation in India and international emergency medical insurance. Join us January 6-15, 2011. This is a small group with room for only three more people. All ages are welcome although minors must be accompanied by an adult. For more information contact us at, Phone: 612.436.8270 | Toll Free: 800.644.9292.

Posted in family travel, Indigenous tourism, sustainable tourism, travel, Volunteer | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Underwater sculpture park in Mexico – Museo Subacuatico de Arte

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 20, 2010

La Evolución Silenciosa (The Silent Evolution) by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor

Just over 30 feet underwater in the Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park, 400 statues–each based on a real person–have been anchored together as part art, part artificial reef and part tourism. The work, called The Silent Evolution, is in the Museo Subacuatico de Arte, the world’s first underwater sculpture park.

The Silent Revolution

The Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor

The Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor

Jason deCaires Taylor, the British sculptor (former grafitti artist who grew up near the sea in Malaysia) who created the project says he built it to reduce the negative impact tourism has had on Mexico’s reefs, as well as show humans and nature living in harmony. The cement statues are part of an artificial reef that coral and aquatic plants will grow on. His other underwater art includes a sea garden in the West Indies and human under water sculptures in a quaint English garden. Go to his website to see how the sculptures look after coral have started to grow on the installations.

The Silent Evolution by Jason deCaires Taylor

Coral growing from sculpture created by Jason deCaires Taylor.

Posted in art, climate solutions, cultural heritage, Mexico, ocean, quite unusual, water | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blog Action Day: Water

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 16, 2010

Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all – Water.

So, in honor of water, a poem by Carl Sandburg:

Prairie Waters by Night
CHATTER of birds two by two raises a night song joining a litany of running water—sheer waters showing the russet of old stones remembering many rains.

And the long willows drowse on the shoulders of the running water, and sleep from much music; joined songs of day-end, feathery throats and stony waters, in a choir chanting new psalms.

It is too much for the long willows when low laughter of a red moon comes down; and the willows drowse and sleep on the shoulders of the running water.

Posted in water | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Twin Cities Transition Town and Neighborhood Sustainability Networking Fair

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 14, 2010

Twin Cities Transition Town and Neighborhood Sustainability Networking Fair

Keynote speaker will be Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over: Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies and Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World. Richard is a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

Neighbors from Cocoran, Powderhorn, Phillips, Seward, Longfellow, Standish Ericsson and other neighborhoods from around the Twin Cities will meet with volunteers from local congregations, immigrant associations, garden clubs and student volunteers to plan how each neighborhood can build local resilience and find ways to thrive as we adapt to climate change, peak oil and economic disruption.

For more information please contact Sean Gosiewski, Alliance for Sustainability 612-331-1099 ,

– $5, November 13, Minneapolis, MN

Meet you there!


Posted in climate solutions, environmental education, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Volunteer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Facebook page for Local Flavor Travel

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 8, 2010

Please join my local flavor travel page and help direct travelers to locally-owned businesses, organizations and events!
Face Book: Local Flavor Travel

Posted in Buy-local, entreprenuers, Fair Trade, green travel, microenterprise, Minnesota, Slow Foods, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel, travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

fake hotel photos

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 8, 2010

Ran across this in the news online this morning. A reservations website, Oyster, has been tracking hotel photos and comparing them to their own photos of the same hotels. Amazing how many hotels crop their photos – whole buildings next to them to make themselves look like they are the only ones on the beach, etc. Rooms that are dressed up in photos are, in reality, sparse and without ambiance. What you see is not always what you get.

Posted in photography, travel | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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