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culture

Seussical, Chicago, Shakespeare Theater, Dr.Suess, Review, arts, culture, kids

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents Seussical A whimsical adventure through the world of Dr. Seuss July 5–August 17, 2014.

Do your kids love Dr. Seuss? Do you? I grew up reading Dr. Seuss and now, I read Dr. Seuss to my girls. They love the Lorax, the Whos in Whoville and especially the Cat in the Hat! Well, guess what? The awesomeness that is Dr. Seuss has been made into a musical, perfect for kids of all ages to enjoy this summer.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is bringing the humor and magic of Dr. Seuss to life onstage this summer for young audiences and their families in the Broadway musical comedy Seussical. I hear that it’s playful, energetic and full of whimsy and Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. I don’t know how they will top last year’s production of Shrek the Musical but I can’t wait to see them try.

Seussical will be performed July 5 through August 17 in CST’s Courtyard Theater with a run time of 75 minutes.

Every performance features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, CST partners with the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) to offer hands-on craft activities in CST’s Lobby. Tickets start at $18.

My girls can’t wait. They look forward to our annual family trip to The Shakespeare Theater. It’s become quite a tradition. We walk along Navy Pier, have lunch in the city, ride the merry-go-round, munch on some Garrett’s popcorn and just go where ever the day takes us. The best part of the entire weekend is that we make memories; just the four of us and that makes me look forward to it too.

Aside from getting to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago with your family taking in the arts I get to giveaway a family 4-pack to the 2 pm shows this Saturday, July 12th, to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment naming your favorite Dr. Seuss book and/or quote below and 1 winner will be chosen randomly. But hurry. The contest ends on Wednesday July 9th at midnight. Good luck.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Seussical and our weekend in Chicago this weekend!

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travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

When my family and I traveled to Orlando, Florida recently, we had the pleasure of attending Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at Disney World. We love taking our girls to the theater and letting them enjoy cultural events while they are still young enough to really enjoy the magic because of the infinite possibilities of their imaginations and let them develop a love for the arts naturally.We’ve been taking them to the ballet and the Chicago Shakespeare theater for years; next stop, Broadway. La Nouba tells the fascinating story of the boundless and festive journey of the imagination. The Big Guy and I first saw La Nouba on our honeymoon in 1999. Since then, the Cirque du Soleil and, more specifically, La Nouba have held a special place in our heart. So, imagine how excited we were to share it with our daughters?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

In case you are unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil, it is a version of the circus that is humane, uses no animals and captivates the audience, young and old alike, with acrobatic feats that defy the imagination and music that makes your feel like the whole thing is a wonderful, magical dream. Dazzling costumes, dramatic lighting, bizarre choreography and ethereal operatic music set the stage for clownish observations, a human puppet and a host of amazing acrobats that all bend and weave together to create one of the most exciting and engaging shows under the soleil.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

A door opens and the two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvelous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary.

 

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

We took our daughters, ages 6 and 9 at the time, and they both were enthralled with the performers. My 6-year-old LOVED the Titan, especially when he performed on the trampolines and the little girls doing the Diabolos act. In fact, she made me buy her her very own set and plays with them almost daily. My 9-year-old was smitten with the Green Bird and the dancers. The Big Guy finds the power track/ trampoline act to be the big show stopper. Me, I must confess, I am mesmerized by the aerial ballet in silk. The show definitely has something for everyone and I could go on for days talking about La Nouba but as a picture is worth a 1000 words, a production like La Nouba leaves me speechless. La Nouba is something that has to be experienced to be believed and to fully enjoy it.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

Next time you are at Disney World, and I know you will be if you have kids, if you are on the fence on whether or not to take your children to see La Nouba, I am here to tell you that it will be something they will never forget.

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting

Have you been to a Cirque du Soleil production? What was your favorite act or character?

travel-family travel-Orlando-Florida-Cirque du Soleil-La Nouba-culture-parenting, Disney World

If you’ve seen La Nouba, what was your favorite part of the show?

Photo Cirque du Soleil

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets for review purposes, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I’ve been in love with La Nouba since the first time I saw it on my honeymoon in 1999.

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Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business

What do you think of when you hear the word Latina?

The stereotypes are out of control. In fact, if you Google “Latina” every photo is of a hot, caramel colored girl in a tiny bikini, sometimes leaning over a lowrider or laying in bed. Oh and there are a couple of pregnant women surrounded by 12 kids. Go ahead. There is nothing you can say that will shock me. My husband likes to joke that he thought I’d be a little more Sophia Vergara and a little less Julie Bowen of Modern Family.

Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business

 

We have all heard the Latina stereotypes: voluptuous, passionate and hot-tempered Latinas. We fight to make up. We have lots of kids because of all the sex and Catholic refusal to believe in birth control. We all have thick accents and we live to serve our controlling husbands and walk our Chihuahua dogs. When we are not in the kitchen cooking from scratch in our high heels, we are in the bedroom working on another bebé.  We are all nannies and mothers. You could believe this and it could be true in some cases, because even a broken clock is right twice a day but mostly, you would be dead wrong.

Latina is not a color.I have been assumed to be everything but Latina on several occasions: Caucasian is the immediate go to, if they notice that I don’t exactly fit the stereotype for Latina. I have dark brown hair, light brown eyes, fair-skin and not immediately identifiable features. My mom is Southern by way of Ireland, France, Italy, England and the Cherokee nation. Then the guessing begins. Italian? Greek? Jewish? It makes me feel as if those guessing think I’m anything other than what I actually am: Latina on my father’s side.

OK, I am just going to say it, I am a fair skinned Latina woman; possibly the whitest Latina you may well ever meet. I get it. It might be a little bit confusing for those who don’t realize that, like every other race, we come in every single color of the rainbow, with different combinations of hair and eye color and varying degrees of assimilation. We are not all the same. We don’t look the same. We don’t talk the same. We don’t come from the same place and we certainly, don’t all fit some concocted cartoonish stereotype. My daughters are beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes, if you ask them what they are, they will tell you, “I am Latina!” Because, they are and it’s that simple.

Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business, motherhood, raising daughters

Some are true. I think as a group many of us are loud, passionate people who place a great value on the family unit but not all of us.  Many of us are determined, handworkers who demand respect and take pride in our work, no matter how menial the task. We want to succeed and we’ve always had to work for it; from the farms to gaining respect in a new country so we are not afraid to work our asses off for what we want.

For many of us, failure is not an option. When, in business, I am asked to be “more” Latina that bothers me. I am not insulted because I am proud of being Latina. But I am offended that you have the nerve to ask me to prove that I fit into YOUR idea of who I should be. How do I quantify myself to meet your expectations? Would you ask a homosexual to be “more gay” or an African-American to be “more black”? I don’t think so.

I totally get that if I market myself as a Latina blogger, people expect me to be Latina and I am. It took me a long time to take ownership of that because I had spent so much time in my life feeling like I had to prove it. But when you ask me to be “more Latina” that insinuates that you don’t want me to be Latina, you want me to fit some misguided idea that you have of what it is to be “Latina”.You want more “spice”. That bothers me.

Latina, Latinas, Stereotypes, DEvious maids, Latinos, racism, business I am first generation Mexican American. I speak Spanish. I grew up immersed in the Latino culture. I may not have been born in Mexico, but my father was. I will not apologize for not meeting your stereotype. I don’t speak with an accent and every thing I do is not overtly “Latin” in nature because you know what Latin people are? We are just PEOPLE, just like you.

Well, maybe not like you (the person asking Latinos to prove their Latino-ness) because I am pretty sure you are an asshole and you might even be a little bit of a racist, or just really ignorant to my culture. We are not all built like Sophia Vergara (though I wish we were). We are not all oversexed, tequila drinking, hot-tempered caramel colored taco eaters who dance Cumbia. Well, mostly I am, with the exception of the caramel colored skin but many are not.

 

What’s the stupidest thing anyone has ever asked you based on a stereotype Latina or otherwise?

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Shrek-the-musical-Chicago-Shakespeare-Theater-Shrek-Fiona-Musical-kids-Broadway-show-funny-arts-culture

Recently, we took our children to see Shrek the Musical at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.

Our girls have been waiting to see this production since they knew it was on Broadway. Unfortunately, we live in the Midwest and so we have been waiting patiently for Shrek the Musical to come to us. Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for about 4 years now. Our daughters have been to many performances at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater but never have we seen a production like Shrek the Musical. It was bold, bright and outrageous; everything any child or child at heart would want in a production.

Just like the movie, in a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre, Shrek, not the usual expected handsome prince, shows up to rescue a feisty princess, Fiona.

Throw in a donkey who won’t ever shut up, a hilariously small bad guy with a temper, a fire breathing dragon who needs some love, a cookie with an attitude and a whole bunch of other fairy tale misfits and you’ve got a story that calls for a real hero.

I was really concerned how an onstage adaptation would measure up to an animated movie but let me assure you, it exceeded my expectations in every way. The characters were rich and vibrant, passionate and colorful, and even though they were not cartoon characters, they were larger than life.

Every actor in the production lived and breathed their character. The characters were multidimensional and lovable. I felt like I was part of a fairy tale. If you’ve ever been to a Chicago Shakespeare production, you know that the stage and theater are small and intimate and you feel like you are part of the story, part of the production itself.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, FamilyI’d advise anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area to bring your whole family to Navy Pier this summer for this heartwarming, 75-minute musical adventure based on the Academy Award-winning film. It recounts the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim his once-secluded home.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, Family

Accompanied by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon and rescues the cursed Princess Fiona. On this fairytale journey, Shrek discovers the value of friendship and realizes that true love is more than skin deep.

Following each performance, audience members are invited to meet the cast in the theater lobby. We did and my girls, and my husband, were thrilled to have their photo taken with Donkey.

In my opinion, make a day of it! We had lunch at Harry Caray’s and walked the pier. It was a beautiful July afternoon in Chicago. The girls rode the merry go round and we made some memories. Then we picked up some Garret’s popcorn and headed home.

If your children liked the Shrek movies, they will adore the stage production.  I don’t know that I have ever been quite so captivated by performers. Shrek the Musical calls for big, larger than life character to deliver a larger than life story and this production pleasantly exceeded all of my expectations.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, Family

Shrek the Musical will be running at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater from now until September 1, 2013. Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for children 12 and under.

Disclosure: The Chicago Shakespeare Theater provided me tickets to the production for review but all opinions are my own.

 

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Mexico Barbie, Mattel, Racial Stereotypes

Mexico Barbie, Mattel, Mexico, Mexican Barbie

Hey Latinas, does this Mexico Barbie represent you?

Did you know that Mattel has a new Mexico Barbie coming out? At first I thought, hell yeah! I was so excited. I grew up on Barbie. I love her and so do my girls. Now, I’ll have a Mexican Barbie to share with my little girls. A Barbie that represents their culture, their heritage, their mother and themselves. Thank you Mattel!

Then I saw Mexico Barbie.

Mexican Barbie is dressed in a traditional Mexican folkloric dress; a fluorescent pink dress with multicolored ribbons. She comes with a Chihuahua dog under her arm and in the box is also a passport, you know so she’s documented. After all, we don’t want Mexico Barbie in “our” country unless she is here legally with up to date papers.Something about Mexico Barbie does not sit well with this Mexican.

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