Spotlight on CELLULA! Z-Puppets gets Glowing with CELLULA! Puppets and Music, Mitosis, OH MY!

Hello my fellow KID CITIANS! 

Gaosong here with your weekly blog, and do I HAVE A GOOD ONE FOR YOU TODAY! 

Today's blog is a special SPOTLIGHT and EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW about CELLUA! Produced by Chris Griffith and Shari Aronson, KID CITY Partners and Z-Puppets' Co-Creative Directors! As well as In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre! 

Cellula is like a bedtime story as told by biologists, illuminating the true marvels of cell science inside of all of us. This innovative show uses dazzling glow in the dark puppetry and live accapella music to tell the story of Mitosis! 

Yeah, I said Mitosis! (featured above).

This performance is directed by master puppeteer Kurt Hunter and features highly acclaimed improvisational vocalists Mankwe Ndosi and Libby Turner with blacklight puppetry from our very own, award winning, favorite Creative Director duo, SHARI AND CHRIS! 

Now, raise your hand if you remember learning about Mitosis in middle school? (Me! Pick me!) 

Very good, now raise your hand if you actually remember what Mitosis IS. 


Yeah, I don't remember either. Here's a refresher in case you have forgotten, OR if this is your first microscopic lesson on Mitosis (Get it? See what I did there? Microscope, cells. CELLULA. Microscopic, because this is a tiny lesson?)

Definition courtesy of Google.com.

Definition courtesy of Google.com.

Now that we are all on the same page, let's dive right into the interview with Shari and Chris!

1) What was your inspiration for Cellula?

I wanted to create an experience for kids that conjured the same feeling of awe and wonder that I had when I first looked through a microscope with my mother. My father, my mother and most of the 2 generations before me are all scientists. People often overlook how close and deep the connections are between science and art. Cellula is an homage to my family lineage, my DNA!

2) What is the coolest thing you have learned about Cells in this process?

There are so many amazing facts about cells! I find it fascinating that cells signal each other and the different agents of action (like DNA and RNA) within their own membranes to communicate their readiness to move onto the next phase or to express or suppress the genes written into the codes of their DNA.

3) If you had to use 3 words to describe the show, what would those words be and why?

Joyous, swirl, mama Cellula is a joyous swirl of color and music in celebration of science. The show is like looking through the lens of a microscope along with a mother and her child. It is like a bedtime story as told by biologists.

Wow! CELLULA sounds SO AMAZING! I love how this show was inspired by memories Shari has of her parents. This would also be a wonderful show to share with your family. Even more though, just imagine all that you are going to learn about Mitosis (and I promise it will be more fun than that definition I posted above.)

I am so excited to see CELLULA on opening weekend and you can too! To buy your tickets today click on this link -->


Lastly, if you come an hour early for each show, you can explore the Microscope Fun Gallery! FREE, Hands-on activities with state of the art, vintage magnification devices hosted by volunteers from the MN Microscopy Society, MIA and Mill City Museum!

Congrats again to Z-Puppets and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre for your amazing production of CELLULA. KID CITY is so lucky to have Chris and Shari's creative minds' and playful hearts' guiding our programs, every step of the way!

For more details about CELLULA, keep scrolling down or visit the Facebook invite at https://www.facebook.com/events/1195440917176342/

Till next week! 

Have a Ctellula Weekend!


Purchase your tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2592121

Tickets: $15
Children: $8

  • Friday, January 27: 7pm
  • Saturday, January 28: 2pm* and 7pm
  • Sunday, January 29: 2pm**
  • Friday, February 3: 7pm
  • Saturday, February 4: 2pm* and 7pm
  • Sunday, February 5: 2pm**

Recommended for ages 5 and up

* Saturday matinees are pay-what-you-can at the door
** All matinees are sensory-friendly

Show Length: 50 minutes - no intermission

Who is this new face in KID CITY!?

Hello KID CITY friends! 

We are all so excited to introduce one of our newest members to KID CITY's Advisory Committee members: Maplewood Police Officer, PAM VANG! 

Yes, yes, it's true! And I know what some of you are thinking, 

"What is the KID CITY Advisory Committee?"

Great question! As some of you may know, KID CITY is a partnership between Z-Puppets Rosenschnoz and Maplewood Parks and Recreation.

However, KID CITY has a lot of help and guidance from our Advisory Committee, which consists of many professionals that live or work all around Maplewood, including teachers, principles, Government staff and even the Mayor of Maplewood, Nora Slawik! 

We all work together to advise and support KID CITY to be the best it can be! 

KID CITY is so excited to have Officer Pam Vang represent the Maplewood Police Department and KID CITY in this upcoming year of programming and events. 

So let's all get to know her and give her a warm welcome into the KID CITY family! 

Officer Vang grew up in Saint Paul, MN and always knew that she wanted to serve and give back to her community, the only question was: "how?"

In high school, she worked at the Maplewood Mall as a mall security. This is where her career in serving and protecting first began, as Officer Vang get to work side by side with the Maplewood Police Force as mall security.



When Officer Vang graduated from Arlington High School in Saint Paul, she prepared to continue her education by studying Criminology and Law Enforcement from the University of Minnesota Duluth. There she realized she was very passionate about victim advocacy and decided to pursue this career full time. When she graduated from school, she returned to the Maplewood Police Department as a community service officer, which includes (but is not limited to) performing work such as administrative tasks or animal control. 

Since then, she has been a sworn officer for 2 years with the Maplewood Police Department and of course, now an advisor for KID CITY! When asked what is something that most people wouldn't know about Officer Vang, she told us, 

"I love kids!"

and went to explain that she has always wanted to work with kids and if she was not a police officer, that she would be working directly with children, perhaps in the social system of government. 

(Isn't that SO PERFECT! I mean, we ARE KID CITY after all!)

As we finished up, Officer Vang wanted us all to know, 

"I'm excited to be a part of this, I've always wanted to do community outreach events," 

and we want to let you know Officer Vang, that WE are all excited to have you be a part of KID CITY and all the ways you will help us grow in the future! 

Three cheers for KID CITY and all of our amazing Advisory Committee Members! 

Hip-hip HOORAY! Hip-hip HOORAY! Hip-hip HOORAY!

I'll see you next week folks!


Where's your HAPPY PLACE?!

Hello fellow KID CITY Enthusiasts! 

Gaosong here with your weekly blog about our most recent programming at KID CITY! We just finished up a residency of "Happy Places" last Sunday and we had a blast!

Teaching Artists Chris, Gaosong (moi) and Gustavo setting up before the youth join us for Happy Places!

Now, you may be wondering, "What is a happy place?" or "How DO I get there?" Excellent question! Here are the directions to your happy place!

1) Close your eyes 

2) Think of a Happy Place and you're there! 

BUT, if you want to see how KID CITY turns your happy place into a reality, keep on reading!

3) Make a Toy Theater (see photos below)

4) Use your imagination to model your Toy Theater after your happy place AND...

5) Viola! With the magic of green screen technology, you are physically in your happy place!

To be inspired for your happy place, CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO BELOW, to see what magical world Violetta created!

What did you think of Violetta's happy place? Fantastic right!? Who doesn't want to eat a giant cake everyday? That would DEFINITELY make me the happiest person in the world! So, the next time you are feeling blue, just close your eyes and imagine yourself in your happy place. You'll be amazed as to how mentally placing yourself into a different location, (i.e YOUR HAPPY PLACE) can completely alter your emotional and physical state of being. And if you need a little help, you can borrow some ideas from Violetta, I am sure she wouldn't mind sharing that giant cake! 

Till next time friends, stay warm!


Brainstorm Theater with Fairview Alternative High School!

Students at Fairview showing us how to use masks in Image Theater!

Students at Fairview showing us how to use masks in Image Theater!

This past fall, KID CITY had the honor and pleasure of working with a group of talented and inspirational students at Fairview Alternative High School. We met with these students twice a week for 9 weeks and in that short period of time, explored concepts of "Brainstorm Theater." Now, some of you may be wondering, 'What is Brainstorm Theater?'

WELL! "Brainstorm Theater" (formally known as "Theater of the Oppressed") is a form of social justice theater created by a Brazilian theater maker and social activist, Augusto Boal. It is a form of theater that allows you to rehearse for revolution as you "re-play" stories from your life. With help from the audience, you explore different solutions to personal injustices previously experienced, in order to find alternative endings that turn your tragedies into personal victories! 

On the last day, KID CITY Teaching Artists took their last photo with this amazing group of students. 

On the last day, KID CITY Teaching Artists took their last photo with this amazing group of students. 

We shared stories, tears and laughed every single day. At the end of the residency, we were able to have a forum, showcasing 4 collective stories that were work shopped and performed by our very own students from Fairview! The stories included topics such as: (1) Familial Obligation; (2) Generational Gaps; (3) Unfair Rental Practices and (4) Strict punishments in Schools. 

All in all, we BRAINSTORMED different tactics and applied them in our scenes to try and resolve these issues. However, an important part of Brainstorm Theater and life, is knowing that sometimes, not all things can be solved, nor will it always go your way. With Brainstorm Theater, the students from Fairview are now better equip to find strategies and solutions when confronted with difficult situations in the future. As students, staff and teaching artist learned and grew to be more empowered by one another, we felt it was important to share the power of community with everyone we could. 

Presenting, Fairview Alternative High Schools very own "Mannequin Challenge!" 

Thanks for tuning in this week and make sure to follow us on social media following our hashtag #KIDCITYMN and liking our pages at Z-Puppets Rosenschnoz and Maplewood Parks and Recreation

May you all find a little inspiration from the students from Fairview and KID CITY to empower those in your life! Till next time, stay warm my friends! 


A Jolly Time at the Mall!

Hello beautiful people of the Inter-web! Welcome to KID CITY's new Blog! 

My name is Gaosong, Outreach Coordinator and Project Manager for KID CITY and fellow teaching artist, here to bring YOU the latest events and news coming out from KID CITY. 

Last Saturday, KID CITY had the honor of joining Maplewoodians at Maplewood Mall for "Shop, Ship and Share!" The sky was shining brightly as the brisk winter day welcomed us into Maplewood. The team set up our booth right across from Santa, as the many smiling children awaited his magical presence. KID CITY ran into old friends AND made some new friends as we were able to collect laughter, funny faces and jokes from children of all ages. We laughed and played the day away, but before we knew it our time with you was over. :( 

However, have no fear! Now you have a way to stay connected to KID CITY by following this blog. Every week, I am going to post up a new blog for you all! So wipe those tears! We will have coverage of our events, interviews with our artist team members and bring you behind the scenes of our many programs. 

For other ways to stay connected to KID CITY, you can follow the #KIDCITYMN on Facebook and Twitter OR visit our partner KID CITY Page on Maplewood Parks and Recreation 

Till next time, 

Stay playful!

Click on the photo to see more photos from our event!