Saint Paul MN Sunday August 10, 2014
Deb and Rebecca came in late Thursday night from Boston to visit. It is always such a pleasure when they are in town. They slept at Sarah and Sarah’s apartment this time but we fed them daily and were able to spend time with them each day.
Saturday night we went to see Circus Juventus. I think the four of them were a little uncertain when we mentioned Circus Juventus; after all, it is a school for kids up through high school about circus performing, whether as an after-school activity or as a training ground for a career. This is CJ’s 20th anniversary and their summer show always highlights their older performers; their May show gives everyone a chance to perform and we consider that show more for parents and grandparents. The title of the show was “Neverland” based on the Peter Pan story. They have made great strides in 20 years, the sets, costumes, staging, and acts are all amazing. Our four guests were all overwhelmed with the capabilities of the students-and Sarah L was pretty intrigued by the elaborate safety rigging. One of the nine graduating seniors will be starting at Ecole National de Cirque this fall ( a professional circus school in Montreal). He played Hook. We all commented that college admission resumes or videos for these students must be pretty impressive to admission officers.
The facility seats 900 and CJ puts on 21 shows, all are sold out. We walked to the arena, it is just up the hill from our condo and on-street parking becomes very crowded. Our usher was a parent of a 10th grader who has been with CJ since 2005. As you peruse the list of performers, you observe that most of the “older” ones have been with CJ at least six years. So what kind of acts did they perform? There was trampoline and dance but the three-hour performance includes high wire walking including sitting on a chair on the wire and pulling the chair out from under you while on the high wire; fire dancing including gymnastics on a stand with fire ringing the bottom of the stand; flying trapeze where aerialist one (Hook) catches aerialist two; trampoline including landing on a slim board in the air and landing three people high; triple trapeze with first set on a swinging contraption, second set hanging from the first set, and third set of performers hanging from the second set; climbing up and rolling down silks hanging from the rafters; etc. Our jaws dropped numerous times during the evening.
Because of the constant motion and multiple focus points, photos usually came out fuzzy. This video came out fairly well, overlook the mis-directed spots.
The six of us and Kathy went to the Mu Performing Arts production of “A Little Night Music”. Mu is an Asian-American focused theater and it was interesting to view their staging of the play which is set in Sweden around the 1900s. We wrote about Mu earlier this summer when Kathy, Chris and I went down to Rochester in late June to see one of their productions. They do nice work and “A Little Night Music” was well done. An understudy stepped in for the Friday night performance and she did an excellent job as Desiree.
If you know our daughters, you can understand that vacation for them means sleeping late so after a late brunch at our condo on Friday, we headed over to Minnehaha Park and went for a bicycle/surrey ride. Another item that had been on our list. Since Sarah L had to work, the five of us just fit on a double surrey (no fringe on top) for an hour “zipping” around the park. Minnehaha Park may be in Minneapolis but we still think it is a great place to visit.
Saturday Bernie hosted us at her house for a lunch of chicken and vegetable ka-bobs. Her rain gardens are in full bloom and are successful in attracting butterflies-one of her goals. The day was overcast but despite a few sprinkles we were able to be outside most of the time.
Before Deb and Rebecca arrived, we did more touring along the Mississippi. Wednesday morning we took the Landmark Center tour of “The Great River”. The weather was fantastic and the river was back within its banks. If I am able to remember all of the details, by now I could give a pretty informed tour. We knew about one half of the stories/details our guide provided. I had forgotten that Raspberry Island used to be called Navy Island due to a WWII training facility there. I should have recalled it, when we lived in South St. Paul as kids there were several young men in our neighborhood who practiced crew out of the Minnesota Boat Club building which dates back to 1910.
Thursday night was a pontoon birding trip along the Mississippi River, leaving from Harriet Island. We spent about two hours on the river. The trip was sponsored by the Mississippi River Fund in conjunction with the National Park Service (Mississippi National River and Recreation Area). Anna from the River Fund was our driver and Ranger Sharon was our bird expert. We saw several bald eagles, chimney swifts, pileated woodpecker, egret and blue herons. Again, it was a great evening and the ride itself was a pleasant way to spend two hours along the Mississippi.
Our final Mississippi River time was lunch with Chris and Nelson along the river in NE Minneapolis followed by a trip across the Stone Arch bridge from the east side this time. Maybe one of these years we will finally travel abroad and can compare notes with them and our other cousins who are more international travelers than we are.
Ed and Chris Monday August 11 5:15 pm