Z Puppets BRING "Monkey Mind Pirates" to WAKEFIELD PARK!


Summer has come and gone so quickly! Can you believe it is almost August!

Before summer disappears into autumn leaves, KID CITY wants to invite you to join us for out Summer WOW Event at Wakefield Park, tomorrow, July 26th!

Make a flag to put on our table top island and claim your spot on the island of calm. 

Turn your Arrghs into Oms, mateys!

Monkey Mind Pirates is a puppet, rock, yoga adventure for families in search of calm.

Sail into the waters of calm with Cap'n Fitz as he discovers

the secrets of taming the Monkey Mind Pirates.

Audience members get to learn and practice basic yoga moves to help the Cap'n find his Calm.

An innovative approach combining mindfulness with playfulness,

Monkey Mind Pirates gives kids creative tools to find calm.

Original soundtrack CD also available.

Learn more about Monkey Mind Pirates by watching the promo video below!

Maplewood Parks and Recreation is hosting monthly family days at Wakefield Park. Join Z Puppets and Kid City artists along with the Police and Fire Departments, The Nature Center, 3M Visiting Wizards and more!

Free admission, hot dogs, chips and pop!

Event will be canceled in the event of inclement weather but I hope that the sun keeps shining and that I see all of you tomorrow for our Summer WOW Event!

For more information about Monkey Mind Pirates, click here! 

See the flier below for more details. 



Wakefield Park PLAN REVEAL! Join KID CITY on June 28th!

Hello KID CITY friends! 

Happy summer! I know that all of you have officially finished school, are enjoying the summer sun and are ready for all the exciting adventures that summer brings. 

We all at KID CITY are also excited for the summer and all the amazing events that we are going to have! 

The first series of events that KID CITY will be joining in on this summer is...*drumroll*

Wakefield Park Plan Reveal! 

I know! 

Maplewood Parks and Recreation has some amazing plans for Wakefield Park and we are so excited! I don't want to give away too much, but HELLO to a brand new park! 

KID CITY will be joining Maplewood Parks and Recreation on June 28th, from 6-8 PM at Wakefield Park, and you all should join us! 

There will be candy, there will be KID CITY Tattoos, there will be PUPPETS! Yes! I said Puppets! 

KID CITY Teaching Artist Gustavo Boada and Julie Kastigar showing off their bird puppets.

KID CITY Teaching Artist Gustavo Boada and Julie Kastigar showing off their bird puppets.

Come play with these beautiful, majestic birds! Come learn about the new renovations for Wakefield Park coming in 2018 by flying with beautiful birds! Try your hand at puppets made by KID CITY artists Gustavo and Juile Boada.

I honestly don't think there is anything else I can say to try and convince you all to come to the event. These birds are beautiful and we are going to have so much fun. 

BUT, if you cannot make it out to our event on June 28th, NO WORRIES! We will have more events to come in Maplewood this summer. So stay tuned! 

I'll see you all next week!





Spotlight on KID CITY Teaching Artist: Gaosong V. Heu, 365 Plays/365 days: a 2017 Remix w/FULL CIRCLE THEATER!

photography by Linda Bachman)

photography by Linda Bachman)

Hello KID CITY Friends! 

Welcome to today's blog and welcome to summer! Can we all just take a moment to treasure this beautiful sun that is outside today... 

Now breathe in, and soak up all the bubbly feelings that come with warm weather! 

Ok, now some of you may or may not know, but I wear many different hats with KID CITY and Z Puppets! Not only am I a teaching artist for KID CITY, but I am also the Outreach Coordinator and Program Manager, as well as the new Administrative Manager for Z Puppets Rosenschnoz! As well, I am a performance artist, published writer, entrepreneur, makeup artist, photographer, scholar of Hmong Performance practices AND I PROFESSIONALLY ACT. 

So needless to say, I am a very busy person! Every once in a while I get a chance to act in a show with some of the most amazing theater companies and actors here in the Twin Cities. This year, I have the honor of being a part of a "365 Plays/365 Days: A 2017 Remix" by Suzan Loring Parks, presented by Full Circle Theater at Penumbra Theater Company. 

In about 2 hours, we put on 46 amazing, short plays and let me tell you it is a whirlwind of excitement and energy for the actors and the audience. The show really does not allow you to disengage and I promise, you'll be thinking about the themes, the words, the images you saw for days to come. 

I don't want to give too much away, because I want you all to come see it! But I will leave you with this final thought: 

In these hard times, it is so important that we continue to be inspired by one another, to find our voices, and to hold one another accountable to be better to ourselves, and to be better to humanity. This play does this beautifully and I could not be more proud to be a part of this wonderful team with Full Circle Theater. 

I dare not say another word! Please come see this production of "365 Plays/365 Days: A 2017 Remix" TODAY! We have 7 more showings. 

Buy your tickets here!

FB Invite here!

Check out an awesome review here!  

For more details: Keep on scrolling down. 

Till next time! 


Cast left to right:  Shana Eisenberg, Daniel Sakamoto-Wengel, Ashawnti Ford, Gaosong V. Heu, Matthew Thompson, James A. Williams [first weekend only], Marcos Lopez, Ricardo Beaird, Siddeeqah Shabazz, Elizabeth Cates, and not pictured: Daniel Coleman [last two weekends] - photography by Linda Bachman)

Cast left to right: Shana Eisenberg, Daniel Sakamoto-Wengel, Ashawnti Ford, Gaosong V. Heu, Matthew Thompson, James A. Williams [first weekend only], Marcos Lopez, Ricardo Beaird, Siddeeqah Shabazz, Elizabeth Cates, and not pictured: Daniel Coleman [last two weekends] - photography by Linda Bachman)



Co-directed by Rick Shiomi, Martha B. Johnson & Harry Waters, Jr.; Cameo Directors Stephanie Lein Walseth & Lara Trujillo. 
James A. Williams will serve as Artistic and Cultural Consultant. 

This production presents 46 short plays selected from Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays, viewed through a 2017 lens, to create a compelling theater experience. Our 2017 Remix aims to deeply involve diverse audiences in Parks' unique humor and vision of healing in America. 

Selected plays range from hilarious parody and theater-of-the-absurd, to pieces of powerful lyricism and epic tragedy, and speak forcefully to past and present issues: major events in American history, racism, anti-war themes, and other pressing social concerns.

For more information visit: fullcircletheatermn.org

Approximate running time: under 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission.
Due to content, recommended for ages 12 and over.

Buy tickets in Advance! Tickets at the door are $2 more!

*Post-play discussion after every show EXCEPT Preview, Opening, and the closing matinee
**James Williams (First weekend)

Performance Dates:
Friday, May 26 || PREVIEW PERFORMANCE 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 || OPENING PERFORMANCE 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 28 || MATINEE PERFORMANCE 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 1 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm
Friday, June 2 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 3 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm ** Audio Description
Sunday, June 4 || MATINEE PERFORMANCE 2:00 pm

Thursday, June 8 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm ** ASL Interpretation
Friday, June 9 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 10 || PERFORMANCE 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 11 || MATINEE PERFORMANCE 2:00 p.m.

For group sales or Community Partnerships contact info@fullcircletheatermn.org



Laugh Labs at Weaver!

Hello KID CITY friends! 

I hope you all are doing swell on this beautiful May day! It definitely feels like summer and  everyone at KID CITY is looking forward to the summer fun that has yet to come! 

As we prepare for our summer events, KID CITY is wrapping up our last residency at Weaver Elementary with our Laugh Labs! 

Over a 5 week period, KID CITY teaching artist had a chance to go into Weaver and work with their Targeted Learning After school Program. In this residency, students had the opportunity to work on designing dioramas that would go inside of the KID CITY Laughter Museum! 

Not sure what a Laughter Museum is? This is a Laughter Museum!


These kiosks are professionally made and feature the smiles and laughs of different residents within and around the city of Maplewood. We call it the "Laughter Museum" because not only does it capture and display laughter, BUT you also have a chance to laugh, when playing with the museum! 

Each museum has a different theme, equip with fun mirrors, silly mustaches, dioramas, rubber chickens that squeak and more!

Honestly, who doesn't love a good old fashioned rubber chicken? 

Students within this residency worked in pairs and had the opportunity to design the dioramas that would go inside each laughter museum. 

From circuses, castles, and outer space, each pair worked together with the guidance of our teaching artists, to create special pieces that would inspire all the people of Maplewood to laugh. 


Check out some highlights from our last session together! 

So make sure to look out for the KID CITY Laughter Museums which will be popping up all over Maplewood this summer! 

Till next time! 



KID CITY is looking for Teen Video Interns!

Hello KID CITY Friends! 

It's that time of year again! KID CITY is looking for Teen Video Interns for this summers Videography Internship! 

Teen video interns will collaborate as a team and work with award winning, KID CITY teaching artists Jessica Huang and Ricardo Vazquez to create mini-documentary videos about two Maplewood Parks & Recreation summer events. Teens will learn about shooting and editing video while gaining work experience in this paid internship. 

Teen Videographers will be have the opportunity to learn video editing on Final Cut Pro, how to compose a shot and create a narrative, as well as journalistic integrity as they film and conduct interviews at the Summer WOW Events. 

I, myself, still remember what it felt like in high school, as the pressure of preparing for the next stage of my life was drawing near. Whether your path is college, work or exploring the world, opportunities like this only come around once in a blue moon! As the world continues to move into the digital age, having skills in videography and video editing will be extremely valuable. But more than that, this is the perfect opportunity to meet new people, gain leadership and learn how art can impact your community.

See an interview from our Year 1 Teen Video Interns Arun Madurai and Akhil Madurai, as they interview the City of Maplewood Mayor Nora Slawik! 

So don't miss out on this amazing internship! And apply today!

Till next time!



To apply or for a full description keep on scrolling! 

Click here for the online application.

Click here for the job description and a PDF of the application! 


KID CITY Teen Video Internship Job Description

KID CITY is a collaboration between Maplewood Parks and Recreation and the award-winning artists Z Puppets Rosenschnoz. KID CITY goals are to:

1. Engage Maplewood residents in city revitalization through the creativity of kids.

2. Spark connections across the diverse populations of Maplewood.

3. Empower youth to become future leaders shaping their community.

Teen Video Interns must be 14 years old or older AND available for all training, shooting and editing dates. Interns will be paid $9.50/hr. for up to a total of 40 hours and report to KID CITY teaching artists. Payment will be received in full at the end of the internship period.


● Work together with the team to create mini-documentaries about Maplewood Parks and Recreation events

● Attend all training, pre-production, shooting and editing sessions with KID CITY teaching artists

● Give and receive constructive, respectful feedback

● Follow all rules set by KID CITY artists and CTV North Suburbs for use of equipment.

● Check email a minimum of 2x per week to receive communications from staff, and respond to phone calls/texts within 48 hours of receipt.


● No previous experience with video is required

● Interest in taking photos or videos

● Ability to arrange independent transportation to and from multiple locations including: Maplewood City Hall, Wakefield Park, and CTV North Suburbs in Roseville.

● Ability to commit to all scheduled dates, totaling 40 hours.


( hours total) [CTV North Suburbs] Monday, July 24 [1-5 pm] & Tuesday, 25 [1-5 pm]


2 events, 5 hours each (10 hours total) Wakefield Park. Wednesday, July 26, 3:00-8:00 PM & Wednesday, August 23, 3:00-8:00 PM


(20 hours total) [CTV North Suburbs]. Thursday, July 27 [1-6 pm], Friday, July 28, [1-6 pm], Thursday, August 24th, [1-6 pm] & Friday, August 25, [12-7 pm]

Desired Qualities

● Self-motivated

● Good communicator

● Able to work well with others as part of a team

● Interested in video and journalism

● Interested in community development through the arts


KID CITY brings Toy Theaters and Brainstorm Theater to John Glenn!

Hello KID CITY Friends! 

I feel like it has been so long since I last spoke with you all...

KID CITY has been so busy this spring, particularly with our in school residencies! 

As I write, we have our wonderful teaching artist at Weaver Elementary doing some Laugh Labs in Maplewood. But you'll hear more about that soon! 

Today I am here to share with you all KID CITY's residency with John Glenn Middle School! 

This past April, KID CITY had the opportunity to work with students from John Glenn and their after school TOPS program. 

If you're not sure what TOPS is, or if you're interested in learning more about John Glenn, click HERE to read my last blog post about this partnership. 

Our KID CITY artist team worked with John Glenn students for 2 different programs. 

1) Brainstorm Theater and


Over 5-6 weeks, students spent their Tuesdays and Thursday's after school with our teaching artists. 

Both programs were very different, but our hopes were to inspire these young leaders to use arts for civic engagement. Watch the video below to learn more about Brainstorm Theater and the process we went through to do this! (To learn more about this partnership, visit my past blog here)

Each student brought their very own perspectives and experiences. From the very first day, I knew that this was going to be a great group of leaders, who were not afraid to have difficult conversations about the issues and barriers in their lives. 

At the end of the process, the students from Brainstorm Theater were able to host a forum with their peers about some of the issues they had previously identified and rehearsed. 

The forum itself is is a large part of what makes Brainstorm Theater so special! I wanted to give the forum it's own blog, so stay tuned for next week's blog where I go into depth about the FORUM! :) 

Moving on from Brainstorm Theater, our 2nd program was KID CITY COUNCIL. Here, student's were given a challenge to create a way to bring people of Maplewood together through art. In the end, they had to create a short puppet show using Toy Theaters to describe the problem and proposed solutions. 

But first, we had to find out what barriers exist in our communities that keep us apart. There were conversations of technology, geography, race, culture and even not having enough free community events. 

Watch the videos below to see how KID CITY COUNCIL addresses these issues with their Toy Theaters. 

It was great to see how both groups took on this challenge and came up with so many different solutions.

Not only that, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of color, music and puppetry that truly brought these Toy Theaters to life! All in all, we at KID CITY believe that it is extremely important to empower the youth in our community to engage in a dialogue and find creative solutions to real world problems. (To see more example of Toy Theaters, visit my past blog here!)

Just like we say in our mission statement:

KID CITY empowers Maplewood through the power of playfulness and public art across age, class and culture, putting youth at the forefront of creative community revitalization.

With every event, workshop or residency we host, YOU, THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS, are at the heart of everything we do. So thank you for coming on this journey with us! From everyone at KID CITY. We were so honored to build this partnership with John Glenn Middle School. It would not have been possible without them hosting us in their beautiful school. Cheers for an ever growing friendship between KID CITY, John Glenn Middle School AND the City of Maplewood.

Till next week! 



KID CITY Teaching Artist Derek Phillips and Shari Aronson having ice cream and silly fun with guest!

Hello my KID CITY enthusiasts! 

I cannot believe today marks 1 month since our 2nd Annual KID CITY Laugh IN! It feels like it was just yesterday that we all got together to celebrate community and laughter! 

If you're new to KID CITY and you have no idea what a Laugh IN is, do not fear! The Laugh IN is a free annual event in the City of Maplewood that celebrates laughter and all the amazing talent and people that live in our community. 

This year's Laugh IN featured a wide range of performers, table exhibitors and JOKES! 

From Z Puppets Rosenschnoz Laugh Labs, Maplewood Parks and Recreation root bear floats and Ice cream Sundays, to Twin Cities Family Fun's reading corner, all our guests had lots to do. 

We had our community talent showcase which featured:

  • Award winning Hmong dance Group: Nkauj Ntxuas Dej (NND) 
  • Little Miss Minnesota Lilah Lee
  • Amy Korbecky: Comedian 
  • Weaver's 4th and 5th grade choir 

AND our 2nd Annual Joke Swap Challenge! This year the Maplewood Police Department and the Maplewood City Council went head to head again, competing for the title of the "JOKE SWAP CHALLENGE WINNER!" Last year the Maplewood Police Department took home the honor and this year, the Police Department did it again with their uniform magic! 

Although it was definitely a close race, with both teams picking jokes that left the audience laughing for days. The winning joke was, of course, a joke about a cow. Because, who doesn't love a good cow joke? 

"You must love cows...because you keep staring at my calves!" 

Look at that calf go!

With all the fun,games and performances, we cannot forget all the good food that was at the event. 

With Maplewood food truck TOT Boss and Maplewood Parks and Recreation Root Beer Floats and Ice Cream Sundaes, everyone, young and old, got a chance to treat themselves to some free fun and laughter fit for a kingdom--the kingdom of Maplewood that is. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us on that beautiful Spring day and I cannot wait to see you all for our next event, coming up in June! So to stay connected with us and upcoming community events where KID CITY will be, please follow the #KIDCITYMN or like us on Facebook at Z Puppets or Maplewood Parks and Recreation!

Till next time, 

Have a goofy day!


Two KID CITY Laugh IN attendees having fun with our Funny Face Gallery.

Brainstorm Theater! KID CITY's first week at John Glenn Middle School!

Teaching artist Shari, Ifrah and Derek working the students from Brainstorm Theater.

Teaching artist Shari, Ifrah and Derek working the students from Brainstorm Theater.

Hello KID CITY Friends! 

Gaosong here with you weekly blog! As you may or may not know, KID CITY has been BUSY BUSY BUSY as we get ready for our 2nd Annual KID CITY LAUGH IN! (which you are all welcome to join us for, Saturday April 1st, 2017 at the Maplewood Community Center/YMCA.) ;) 

Join us all for the Laugh IN, April 1st 4-6 pm at the Maplewood Community Center/MCC! 

Join us all for the Laugh IN, April 1st 4-6 pm at the Maplewood Community Center/MCC! 

However, that does not mean that we have forgotten about our teaching residencies!

Last week marked our 2nd week at John Glenn Middle School, doing teaching residencies with their after school TOPS programs. 

The TOPS Program is an after school program open to all students at John Glenn Middle School. TOPS features a wide variety of classes that offer students additional learning opportunities. The TOPS program consists of non-traditional classes that are not offered during a regular school day.

Now, we are hosting two different residencies, one of them is Brainstorm Theater and the other is KID CITY COUNCIL. Today's blog will feature our first 2 weeks working with the students in Brainstorm Theater. 

However, if you want to learn more about KID CITY COUNCIL, read my previous blog here

Brainstorm Theater is inspired by Brazilian Theater Maker turned politician Augusto Boal, whom created Theater of the Oppressed. In our KID CITY reinterpretation, Brainstorm Theater is does the following: 

  • Jump into scenes of conflict to re-wind and re-write the outcomes in order to rehearse revolution that will empower our lives. 

At the end of our 5 sessions, we will have a final scene and performance, which will be presented to other students within the TOPS Program at John Glenn Middle School. 

However, there is a lot go planning, play and discussion that goes into creating a performance! 

Right now, we are in our planning stages. 

This involves lots of warm up exercises that include Image Theater (featured above) and Dynamizing. Both of these forms of theater are used to enhance and expand our brains to think and strategize in new, creative ways. 

As we each went around the circle, we shared experiences of times that we felt we were wronged, or stories where the outcome was unjust for ourselves, I just knew this performance is going to be powerful.

There were stories of lost friendships, bullying and mistaken identity, all resulting in an outcome, that was not favorable to our students. However, with Brainstorm Theater, we want to change these outcomes in the future!

Next week, we will work together to finalize 2-3 stories that we can then create a scene for. All the students will be in leadership positions when creating scenes; as the directors, actors and creating an improved script for the performance.

As we move forward, I am very excited to see how the scenes will grow and how these students will revision the outcomes to these stories, so they can empower themselves in the future. 

So stay tuned! Because at the end of the 5 weeks, I will feature a whole VIDEO about the experience, so you can see the whole journey! 

If you want to read more about Brainstorm Theater and our experiences at other schools, click here

Again! I would just like to take this moment to say, thank you for joining me today and I hope to see you all at the Laugh IN for our Joke Swap Competition and for a whole day filled with FREE FAMILY FUN!

Need inspiration for the Joke Swap Competition!? Then check out the poster below!

OR, For more information to the Laugh IN, please click on this link to the FB Event Page!

I'll see you all soon!