Global arts in the spotlight
By EILEEN SCHULTE
TARPON SPRINGS -- Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to put your hands together for Liang, Chun.
On Saturday in the 140-seat Fine Arts Auditorium, the Chinese acrobat will do some amazing stunts, such as spinning a bowl on the tip of a crooked long white stick clutched in her teeth. She also will balance the weight of a full-size table on her head.
Cued by emcee and comedian Bill Patti, she will twirl 20 Hula Hoops on her waist, knees and neck -- blindfolded -- and spin large Chinese yo-yos.
No stranger to U.S. audiences, Chun, who studied with the Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe from the age of 4, has tasted fame. She's appeared in a music video with 'N Sync, been featured on MTV and performed during NBA halftime shows.
And then there is Aboriginal musician Darren "Didgeridarren" Liebman. He'll play the didgeridoo , a five-foot northern Australian wood pipe, a wind instrument used primarily in religious ceremonies Down Under.
It's all part of the International Festival Family Day, the highlight and culmination of St. Petersburg College's month-long Celebrating Diversity International Festival, an effort to bring a little bit of the world -- as unusual as it can be -- to those in the Tarpon Springs area and beyond.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art will lean toward the culturally exotic in this four-hour event, offering eye-opening dreamscapes of French pop artist Bo Breguet and the geometric works of Uruguayan artist Volf Roitman in the exhibition gallery in addition to the live performances by Chun and Darren.
Also, there will be 20-minute puppet shows and sing-a-longs.
Children can paint murals and make Greek worry beads, origami, sidewalk chalk art and Mexican sombreros at tents near the museum's entrance. They can also get their faces painted while listening to a three-piece band.
"We wanted to offer something for families and to involve kids," said Elaine Georgilas Angelou, Leepa-Rattner Museum education coordinator. "It's free, and they also get free admission to the museum."
In addition to providing children and adults exposure to different cultures, "they will look at the museum as fun and want to come back," said Jody Sherman, the museum's public relations coordinator.
Georgilas Angelou said the majority of the event is interactive. At the conclusion of Chun's act, audience members will be invited to participate in a workshop and learn how to balance plates, performing the same acrobatic feats they saw on stage.
The event will end at 2 p.m., with a leisurely docent-led tour of the museum.
The purpose of the event is simple, said Georgilas Angelou: "We want people to feel this is their space."
If you go
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art will host International Festival Family Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College, 600 Klosterman Road . The event features Asian acrobat Liang, Chun, puppet shows/sing-a-longs, children's art activities, didgeridoo music and a museum tour. Some snacks will be provided, but you may want to bring your own picnic lunch. Coolers are welcome. Admission is free. From 6:30 to 9 p.m. tonight, Orquesta Infinidad will make music to move the spirit and the feet. Admission is free. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and supper. For information, call (727) 712-5762.
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