March 8, 2015

Enjoying the Arts

**3/15 update – We just listened to this beautiful On Being Podcast featuring Eve Ensler and wanted to share it with you.  In their conversation, Eve shares about her journey living with cancer and how she has made sense of this in her effort to advocate for the telling of stories of women and girls around the world.


Nicaragua’s art scene is alive and well.  From the national theater, various embassies, cultural centers, book stores and local bars, there is always an art event to attend.  Each week in February, we attended a different type of performance and thought that we would share more about this with you here.

The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler was first produced in 1996.  Each monologue touches on a different aspect of the women’s experiences, such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, genital mutilation and birth.  Since its creation over 100 million dollars have been raised in proceeds, which have been donated to groups working to end violence against women and girls.

I (Cassie) first saw the performance in 2005 when a friend was a part of the cast at her University.  On my last night in Honduras, a friend and co-worker Elizabeth invited me to join her at the performance and I have not stopped raving about it.  The performance was very well done, incredibly professional and each of the actresses were very talented.  It was also interesting to see this performance in Spanish, as there is a lot of slang, but I was excited by my ability to follow along.


On Valentines weekend, Kevin and I attended the III International Bolero Concert at the National Theater in Managua.  It was a night of beautiful music from around Latin America.  Cuban artists sang alongside Columbian artists, in fact, almost ever Latin American country was represented.  The concert was in honor of Marina Cárdenas, a famous Nicaraguan bolero singer who passed away in 2014.

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In mid-February, we attended the International Poetry Festival in Granada.  Our friends and former MCC workers, Adam and Marisa, first invited us to attend in 2012 and we have not missed it since.  Granada sets up a large stage in Central Park and people can enjoy poetry readings from sunup to sundown for two weeks.  We attended the festival on its last night, which included readings from poets around the world.  This event will always be a highlight of our time in Nicaragua.

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At the end of February, I headed back to the National Theater with hopes to see Katia Cardenal in concert, or at least that was the plan.  I invited three of my neighbor friends, one who has a baby, who had never been to the theater before.  Lela, who is sixty and has lived in the capital for her whole life, did not have a huge interest in visiting the theater.  But her daughter and I convinced her that for just $3 each, there was nothing to lose.  We all piled into a taxi and headed over to the theater, but when we arrived, we were told that children under four years of age were not permitted in the concert hall.  Thus, we scalped our tickets, found a taxi to take us home and laughed for the duration of the ride.  Fortunately, everyone is in agreement to return sometime soon.

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To finish off our February art experience, I thought I would share about a new exercise class I have been going to with three of my co-workers on Thursday nights.  Unfortunately I do not have any photos to show you, but just imagine fifty woman crammed into a tiny room filled with mirrors, no fans, no air conditioners, Managua heat and loud, bumping music.  I am improving my salsa and bachata, while learning how to get dance it up to Latin music.  For 15 cords (56 cents), it is a great workout (I track over 8,000 steps on my fitbit) and it is a good time to connect with co-workers.  I plan to keep heading back.

I hope that this post inspired you to check out the art scene in your part of town.

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