Tag Archives: Local

Mini Van Feed: Capoeira, Hip Hop Chess, and the Adventures of Mr. Potato Head

This past Saturday Van’s Capoeira class did a demo at a Hip Hop Chess event in downtown Raleigh. I am only recently becoming familiar with Capoeira, and I didn’t have a clue what Hip Hop Chess was. The event was held in a large meeting room behind the IMAX theater at Marbles Children’s Museum.


A minister-type man kicked off the event with a rather extended 30 minute talk about “why we were all there”. I originally thought the purpose was to showcase different martial arts and dance troupes, but quickly realized that was only the half of it. The group that organized the event had a larger mission in mind. The philosophy behind the mission was that teaching at-risk kids chess would greatly improve their life-decision making skills.

There were several things that the speaker said that struck me.

1. He was able to tell all the teenagers to “leave their cool at the door”, and do it in a really-not-so-cheessy sounding way, where you could tell they were all listening and would actually comply. Even I was thinking, you know what, I think that I too,  will leave what I have left of my cool at the door. We had to do this to allow us to meet someone new.

2. He explained why learning to play chess was crucial. He said that the skill of learning to think through all of the consequences when making a decision, as is done when one plays chess,  helps you become a better man or woman. Plus they had video footage of the Wu Tang Clan doing it, you can let your cool back in now.


The RZA of Wu-tang Clan wins the championship belt at the first annual Hip Hop Chess Federation's Chess Kings Invitational.

3. Towards the end of his talk, he started the poem, “The hand that rocks the cradle…” and stopped. The entire crowd responded with, “rules the world.” How did I somehow miss this piece of language? The way he spoke about this particular passage had me in tears in less than 5 minutes.

I like to think that I was on the verge of tears because my smoocher was nervous. He is 6. He has never been on stage. He hates crowds. He hates noise. He is new to capoeira. It wasn’t him that was nervous, I was nervous.

After the man finished speaking, he introduced the teacher of Van’s Capoeira class. He was great. He took a lot of time to explain the history and instruments of Capoeira. It is a martial art invented in Brazil by slaves from Africa. They would practice self-defense moves in public and disguise them as dance. The instruments are basic yet effective.

He also explained he had given all of his students Portuguese nicknames. He went around the semi-circle and told the audience each student’s nickname. There was a kid nicknamed “Viking” and another called “Battery”, and then he came to Van. He said that his nickname was “Beedu”. It means the wise one. A funny kind of emotion is being a proud parent for seemingly silly reasons.

It is all pretty neat to watch. The class all took turns sparring with eachother and the crowd was into it. At the very end Van’s teacher whispered to him and asked if he wanted to spar and he declined.  He was brave for standing up there.

What does this have to do with the adventures of Mr. Potato Head? Being so close to Marbles Children’s Museum, we *had* to go there afterwards. The exhibit this month is the Adventures of Mr. Potato Head. Just had to give a shout out to Hasbro, the exhibit is brilliance in marketing. Lenovo should sponsor travelling children’s museum exhibits.


This American Life Movie Encore

So the question you might have is what in the heck is a “This American Life Movie Encore.” I wasn’t sure myself until last night. Let me break it down:

This American Life is a radio show, hosted by Ira Glass, that now has a TV show (Showtime), that now has a movie. But the movie last night was actually a live taping of the radio show on stage in NYC last week. How do you host a live movie? Good question. Apparently when they first aired the movie last week, there was a live feed from on stage in NYC to movie theaters across the country. (?!?! wow! Has this ever been done before?) I was unable to attend the live movie, but was free for the encore of the live movie last night. The funny part is that Ira knew there was going to be an encore last week, so he would talk to the audience watching on May 1 (shout outs to the theater where his dad was watching in Baltimore) and then he would talk to the audience on May 14 (Latecomers!). It was really messing with my space-time continuum (see what happens when you watch Star Trek, you start using words like space-time continuum). 

The movie had the same format as the radio show: one+ hour split up into acts where 4-5 people are tell their stories and are sometimes interviewed. The theme of this particular show was “Return to the Scene of the Crime”. The stories told in the movie were for the most part excellent, leave that one weird one with Neil Patrick Harris in Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long blog.  

The prologue was about a girl in Florida who had stolen from a convenience store and as part of her punishment, had to return to the store and spend several hours holding up a sign that read, “I stole from this store”. Act one was “D-U-Why?!”, a story by Mike Birbigilia about how he was hit by a drunk driver and then blamed for it because of a carelessly written police report. He ends up owing the drunk driver 12 thousand dollars because he can’t get anyone to listen to him (talk about frustrating). Act Two was a story by Starlee Kine about enjoying being the most popular girl at a rehab center. While she reads the story, there are a series of drawings done on Post-It notes shown on the screen behind her relating to the story. They are the work of Arthur Jones who does the Post-It Note reading series (these are really incredible).  The last story is by Dan Savage, who writes a sex column called Savage Love. His story was called “Our Man of Perpetual Sorrow”, and was a story about his issues with the Catholic church before and after his mother’s recent death.  Excellent piece, that had us all in tears.

The other kind of interesting thing about last night is that I went to the movie with a good friend of mine and her mom and step-dad. I had talked to her step-dad for a while at a friend’s party a week or two ago and learned that he had just taken a few classes last year to become a DJ at a local station. I told him that this is something that I would love to learn to do and last night he brought a whole folder of contacts and emails, and formats of how to get started.  So I am very excited to contact the station and take a beginner course in radio. Think local station with few listeners, not “NANO IN THE MORNING!”  : )

Star Trek

Got to see an early viewing of the new Star Trek movie yesterday afternoon because Lenovo partnered with Paramount and Intel to do a sweepstakes. Not usually my cup of tea, but thought was very good. VERY action packed. The doctor is funny.

The Handmade Market

My sister, Kelly, Van and I went down to the Handmade Market yesterday afternoon at the Marbles Museum in downtown Raleigh.

The Handmade Market is for hip, handcrafted goods from more than 50 of the best and brightest artists, independent designers and crafters from NC and beyond.

I am a huge fan of etsy, a website where you can buy and sell homemade goods, so this was right up my alley. There were many terrific vendors to see (and buy from). Adam Peele and his partner (pictured below) own Ahpeele. They are super friendly screenprinters with edgy tshirt designs. Kelly pretty much cleaned them out.


They are hosting a Traffic Jam Flea Market at the Ahpeele Studio (400 Capital Blvd) on Saturday, June 6th from 9-5. The flyer lists a myriad of activities: local art show, books, vintage clothing, tshirts, music, bread (bread?), yoga demo and… hoola hooping (interesting). I don’t think there is a website, so thought I would mention it here.

My one purchase of the day was a necklace from Ileana Rodriguez who owns India Romeo.  Two more of our favorite vendors were Lucky Accessories and it’s by design. We also bought some the sea salt caramels from Karen and Nancy Homemade Goodies after they gave us a tester. I have one caramel left that I am refusing to eat, because then I won’t have any left, and that is one of those foods that I am not allowed to have in the house because it is just too good. Who would have thunk it, sea salt and caramel, yummy.

After the market, we all went to dinner at a new sushi place called Haru on Glenwood. That one is going into the weekly cycle. They had amazing, amazing sushi and were very kid friendly, actually, all told, they were really all-around-everyone friendly.  After that we took a hike and saw two bunny rabbits. It was a really great Sunday.


Found some cards from addional artists to note in the bottom of my purse. : )

Wolfie and the Sneak 

Mood Swing Studio 


Get Dressed

About a month ago, I went through the arduous task of going through my closet to get rid of anything that was getting repeatedly passed over. I decided that instead of stuffing everything into a trash bag and taking it to goodwill, I would investigate consignment. I had driven past a new place downtown a few days prior and thought I would throw everything in the car and go check it out.

The name of the consignment shop is Get Dressed, and is in an old warehouse in downtown Raleigh. The day that I brought my clothes in, I had the pleasure of talking to Mel Snyder, the owner. I learned that in addition to running Get Dressed,  she is also an architect who had done her thesis on the potentials of co-oping, not just clothes, but lots of different things, like pets and appliances. She told me about how she and a friend of hers share their dog. He has to work in an office during the day, so the dog wanders around with her during business hours until he gets home, and then they trade off. She also shares a vaccum with the neighbors in her apartment complex. We ended up talking for around three hours about how far you could take the concept of co-oping. I love the idea, especially during this time when everyone is having to tighten up the purse strings a bit.

So I dropped by there yesterday to see how things were going, and to see if any of my clothes had sold.

First of all, a week or so prior, the Pepsi people had come by with a mini fridge full of Diet Sierra Mist Ruby Splash  for Get Dressed to give away to customers as a free promotion. In addition, they stocked the back room with a bunch of 12 packs to give away free to each of the individual consigners (there are around 100 of us). I just want to say that I love that Pepsi co is targetting a small, local, business with an individualized promotion like that. I am traditionally a Coke person, but today, Pepsi gets 10 points.

Secondly,  I checked to see if I had a check from everything I had dropped off a month or so ago (I was expecting $20-$30 max.). I had a check from March for $150 and a check from April for $125. Sweet! Of course, I promptly hit the racks, and got some new digs.  I see the cycle beginning to start.

Either way, it made for an excellent Saturday. You can see great pictures of Get Dressed and Mel here.