2017 Destination Races: Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

 

It’s the second most wonderful time of the year…. Registration for the 14th annual Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon and GunBunFunRun 5K opens December 1st. The race sold out in a record 17 minutes in 2016, so be sure to pay attention to the registration instructions below as the process has changed from previous years. This year’s race date is Sunday July 16th. [Read more…]

Yokohama Tire is Sending 12 US Youth Soccer Members to England for a ‘Chelsea FC Experience’

London’s calling…and Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) is answering. YTC, in conjunction with US Youth Soccer, is sending 12 Yokohama Skills Challenge participants (along with chaperones) to England for a “Chelsea FC Experience,” including a visit to legendary Stamford Bridge.

The contest, which runs through June 3, is open to US Youth Soccer members, ages 13-18, who compete in select Yokohama Skills Challenge events across the U.S., including the Needham Memorial Day Tournament Driven by Yokohama, May 26-29. There’s also a chance to win by going online at http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/YTCPromotion/. [Read more…]

Meatless Monday in Israel Celebrates Four Fantastic Years

It’s amazing how a good idea and some strong enthusiasm can make an incredible difference. Here’s proof. Just four years ago, Miki Haimovich decided to launch Meatless Monday in Israel. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Miki was a well-known and trusted figure in her country. She had worked as a TV news anchorwoman for nine years.

“When we brought the Meatless Monday global campaign to Israel four years ago, few people had heard of it. What’s more, most couldn’t understand why reducing meat consumption was an issue that needed to be addressed,” said Ms. Haimovich, “Things have come a long way since.”

Over Half a Million Meatless Monday Supporters

Based on a recent survey, nearly 65% of the Jewish population have now heard about Meatless Monday. More importantly, over 500,000 respondents say they are currently choosing not to eat meat one day a week. These results are particularly impressive because they were achieved only through public relations and word of mouth – not paid advertising.

Meatless Monday Embraced by Leading Israeli Organizations

The growing support for Meatless Monday is rooted in partnerships that have been developed at leading organizations, such as caterers Sodexo, ISS, Shultz and Idit, as well as health and environmental protection agencies and animal welfare organizations.

“We offer a win-win-win proposition,” said Or Benjamin, Meatless Monday campaign manager for the past year and a half, “Employees are happier because they get a greater choice of healthy foods. The service providers like it because plant-based meals cost less to make. And our country’s Corporate Social Responsibility officers are pleased because it reduces greenhouse gases.”

Gala Event to Celebrate Four Years of Meatless Monday

Late last February, partners, volunteers, friends and family attended a special Meatless Monday event held in Tel Aviv to celebrate the four-year anniversary. Awards were presented to leading partners, including Intel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Rabin Medical Center. This festive gathering doubled as a fund raiser to help finance future Meatless Monday campaign efforts. Catch up on their latest news on their Facebook page.

Get Involved. Join the Meatless Monday Movement

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in eating healthier and maybe helping to protect the environment. Why not take a moment and think if you know someone who might also share these interests. You could talk to them about Meatless Monday, or send them an email, or maybe forward this article. Like to know other ways you can help? Please get in touch with us at info@MeatlessMonday.org

Meanwhile, in honor of Israel’s four year Meatless Monday anniversary, here’s a one of our favorite traditional Jewish meatless recipes. Enjoy!

Eggplant Bell Pepper Kugel

Let’s Rise Wellness Program by Westin Hotels & Resorts

Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, Inc., unveiled its first global brand campaign in more than five years, taking on the disruptions, distractions and unpredictability of travel and empowering travelers to embrace well-being as a way to regain control of their routines and be their best while on the road. The $30 million dollar, integrated advertising campaign – called Let’s Rise – communicates Westin’s commitment to its guests’ well-being before, during and after their stay. The Let’s Rise mantra will also serve as an anchor for the wellness programs and partnerships that roll out for guests and associates throughout the year. [Read more…]

Star Wars Day at Sea Returns to Disney Cruise Line

In 2018, the epic day at sea returns to Disney Cruise Line with 15 special Disney Fantasy sailings to the Caribbean from January through April. Star Wars Day at Sea transports guests to a galaxy far, far away to celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga with Jedi, Wookiees, droids, Stormtroopers and others during the special day-long celebration. [Read more…]

Baltimore Center Stage Announces Honorees for 31st Annual Young Playwrights Festival

Baltimore Center Stage is pleased to announce the honorees for the 31st Annual Young Playwrights Festival, a yearly competition that invites students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Maryland to submit original writing. The winning playwrights will be honored with workshops and in-school performances. A selection of plays will be staged at the Annual Young Playwrights Festival, which will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 1, at Baltimore Center Stage, 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21202. [Read more…]

Daddy and Daughter Holiday Retreat: Hello Fort Lauderdale!

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Well, this is the second of such trips where I split my two girls up for a one-on-one session with their Fit Father to create individual memories and experiences. I leave all work behind while letting them choose the destination and timing, as well as their respective itineraries. It’s all about them. [Read more…]

Fun in the great outdoors at the Adventure Park at Long Island!

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There’s nothing like a day at The Adventure Park at Long Island! Within seven beautiful acres of woodland you will find our amazing “aerial forest park.” Come to the Adventure Park to experience “adventure in the trees” on your own or with friends, family and parties. Ages seven to adult. [Read more…]

Third Annual Nomadic Journey: Mountain Biking Cambodia’s Ancient Temples of Angkor

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Greetings from Cambodia for Fit Fathers’ third annual nomadic expedition, a rediscovery of life, newfangled cultures, freedom from attachment and enlightenment. I’ve been traveling for over 20 years now but just recently began traversing the globe to indigenous countries on solo missions. From Phuket to Nepal, the appeal of simple life, thankfulness, ancient spices and herbs and nurturing foods entices my pallet. So I continue digging deeper for truth, perspective and the freedom of life while doing so on a mountain bikes utilizing the best local tour guides in the field. Welcome to my world.

After a 25-hour commute starting on United Airlines from Washington Dulles to San Francisco to Korea and then on to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I landed rather restless. As usual it was confounding circumstances at the airport when I arrived at 11:30 pm so I feverishly picked out my $9 Tuk Tuk driver and headed to the Grand Boutique II in Phnom Penh for two nights. The streets from the airport into town were pretty dusty and awaiting trash truck pickups. The open ride let me get a feel for the city before the next day’s explorations. Food cart vendors were open for business and those that weren’t were preparing for the next day’s busy day. Keep in mind mopeds and Tuk Tuks rule this town like most cities in Southeast Asia. The 3-star, boutique hotel was a small, quaint spot situated in the middle of the hustle off of 5th street. For about $50 a night it surprisingly included complimentary breakfast (exotic fruit platter, fresh mango juice and vegetable stir fry rice), free WiFi and instantaneous customer service. Mental note, trust is an important trait for travelers and jetsetters so your senses must be keen and instincts impeccable to avoid ominous scenarios. You will never see me rocking headphones to drown out the environment while I’m away.

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I popped up bright and early and went for a run to view the bustle of Cambodia’s busy capital streets. By far, running and biking are the most strategic ways to enjoy new lands while simultaneously energizing the body. With 90-degree weather the entire 10-day stay I promised myself to spend the journey outdoors soaking up Vitamin D. First up was a trot to the National Museum which is actually a temple rich with Cambodian history and relics. Later that night I caught a traditional and magical dance performance put on by the Cambodian Living Arts which was the highlight of my day. The revelry is fixated on love, food and peace. For example, in flourishing countries the masses are devoted to earning their next million, obtaining elaborate jewelry, luxury cars, fancy shoes, expensive purses and the grandest houses, while the poor Cambodian farmers dance fervently in solidarity — Beh Krawine Dance — to bless their crops and well-being. It’s the unpretentious things in life that generate happiness.

Next up was a short flight on Bayon Airlines to Siem Reap for day 1 of mountain biking (MTBing) while visiting the ancient temples of Angkor. After extensive research I selected Cambodia Cycling as my tour guides of choice. The 3-day ride totaled about $600 and included 3-star accommodation, an experienced cycling guide, your bike (Trek or Giant) full board meals (breakfasts, lunch and dinner), boat trip on Tonlé Sap Lake to see the floating fishing village, a support van and a 3-day Angkor pass. In fact, Dara, Son and Greg ascertained that every need imaginable was handled under their care including the litany of vegan grub in the area which I have a penchant for. Directly from the airport we hit the ground pedaling to the temples. Combining the love for cycling with nomadic travel is the best and most modest act a spiritual outlier can ask for.

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The route took us to Prasat Kravan Temple, the Buddhist Temple Banteay Kdei (meaning a citadel of chambers) and the infamous Ta Prohm Temple which is adorned by the roots of enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers. It was built in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII who is discernibly looked upon by historians as the most formidable Khmer monarch. Keep in mind roughly 80% of all Cambodians are Buddhists. We also admired the Bayon Temple and the temple complex of the breathtaking Angkor Wat. On the gentle ride back to the Angkor Boutique Villa I felt like a kite dancing in a hurricane, flowing freely with thoughts as pervasive as the Andaman Sea. For dinner Son reserved a table at Chamkar Vegetarian Restaurant where the open atmosphere was meditative since I was seated next to the garden. Trees grow inside the eco-friendly eatery and bamboo dividers can be rolled up or down depending on the weather. Chamkar serves fine and genuine foods using fresh, local veggies and as organic as possible. Yes, the meals were light, refreshing and pleasing.

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Each day we road out from my art deco suite to a uniquely, mystic pocket of the country ripe with fascination. For the next 48 hours in Siem Reap I embraced adoration of living in the countryside to explore the simple life and the floating village where the locals (mostly Vietnamese fishers) dwell and work. In the country a little girl eats her rice in what seems to be a private abode behind a bush while roosters scream in excitement and rustic bike shops tend to the villagers number one mean of transportation. Both the Cambodians and I were equally curious with each other. Humbled is an understatement, especially since the people here survive off the crops they grow. After MTBing I went back to the hotel to relax, find more veggie grub and attend another dance and arts show later that night. Certainly I will return again to this part of the world, possibly Vietnam.

The nomadic escape on two wheels was another unforgettable experience that I will cherish dearly. No man or woman should ever fear the unknown. Self-discovery is a powerful awareness tool.

The White Snake: Baltimore Center Stage Announces Cast and Artistic Team

Baltimore Center Stage is pleased to announce the cast and artistic team for The White Snake. Opening Night of The White Snake, March 3, will mark the grand reopening of the theater after its $28 million renovation. The White Snake will be the debut production in Baltimore Center Stage’s completely redesigned Head Theater.

“We are so excited to open our doors and welcome the community as they experience our remarkable transformation,” said Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. “We chose Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of The White Snake as the first production in our completely redesigned Head Theater because it is a visually stunning piece. I know our audiences will be swept away with delight.”

Mystery and magic intertwine in this fantastical tale brought to life in grand spectacle in the newly renovated Head Theater. Originating from an ancient Chinese fable, The White Snake tells the story of animal spirits White Snake and Green Snake, who take human form as a beautiful woman and her sly servant. White Snake soon falls passionately in love with a poor fisherman, but their relationship is reviled by a conservative monk and tragedy lurks behind their newfound happiness.

Adapted by the award-winning playwright Mary Zimmerman—known for her stage adaptions of Metamorphoses, The Odysseyand The Jungle Book, and for Metropolitan Opera productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Armida, La Sonnambula and the this year’s Rusalka—this production of The White Snake will be directed by Natsu Onoda Power, a Washington, DC-based author, playwright, director, designer and professor.

Power’s recent directing credits include Wind Me Up, Maria! A Go-Go Musical at Georgetown University; The T Party (which she also wrote) at Forum Theatre and Company One Theater Boston; A Trip to the Moon (which she wrote and illustrated) at Synetic Theatre; and the Elliot Norton Award-winning Astro Boy and the God of Comics (which she wrote) at Studio Theatre and Company One Theatre. She is also an associate professor in Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies program and the author of God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post World War II Manga.

“The power of this story is that it transcends everything that divides us, culturally, historically, politically,” said Power. “It is important to me, however, that we do not simply call the story ‘universal’— because that sounds like a move to ignore all cultural specificity and differences. It is the opposite: the characters clearly see their differences, and still make the commitment to love the other person, whatever it entails.”

The cast includes Aimé Donn Kelly* (White Snake), Eileen Rivera* (Green Snake), Joe Ngo* (Xu Xian), Peter Van Wagner*(Fa Hai),  Caitlin Cisco* (Ensemble), Samy el-Noury (Ensemble),Lucy Lavely* (Ensemble), Brett Messiora (Ensemble), Pooya Mohseni* (Ensemble), Linden Tailor* (Ensemble), Damian Thompson* (Ensemble), Jason Kao Hwang (Actor-Musician/Composer – violin/viola), Joshua Ziemann (Actor-Musician/Composer – marimba, percussion), Yukio Tsuji (Actor-Musician/Composer – shakuhachi, percussion).

The artistic team includes Mary Zimmerman (Playwright), Natsu Onoda Power (Director), Jeff Song (Actor-Musician/Musician/Music Director/Composer), Hana S. Kim (Scenic and Projection Designer), Nicole Wee (Costume Designer), Rui Rita (Lighting Designer), Alex Hawthorn (Sound Designer), Andrea “Dre” Moore (Puppet Designer and Constructor), Tommy Kurzman(Hair, Wig & Makeup Design), Rick Sordelet (Fight Director),Deanie Vallone (Production Dramaturg), Stephanie Klapper(Casting Director), Larry Smiglewski* (Stage Manager) andAlison Kochman* (Assistant Stage Manager).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association

The White Snake opens Friday, March 3, with previews Feb. 24 to March 2, and closes Sunday, March 26. For more information, visit www.centerstage.org or call the box office at 410.332.0033. Press night is Friday, March 3.

The White Snake is made possible by Miles & Stockbridge PC and T. Rowe Price. The White Snake media partner is Maryland Public Television. Baltimore Center Stage is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences. Center Stage’s 2016/17 Season is made possible by The Shubert Foundation and the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences.

About Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage is a professional, nonprofit institution committed to entertaining, engaging and enriching audiences through bold, innovative and thought-provoking classical and contemporary theater.

Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978, Baltimore Center Stage has steadily grown as a leader in the national regional theater scene. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and Managing Director Michael Ross, Baltimore Center Stage is committed to creating and presenting a diverse array of world premieres and exhilarating interpretations of established works.

Baltimore Center Stage believes in access for all—creating a welcoming environment for everyone who enters its theater doors and, at the same time, striving to meet audiences where they are. In addition to its Mainstage, Off Center and Family Series productions in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood, Baltimore Center Stage ignites conversations among a global audience through digital initiatives, which explore how technology and the arts intersect. The theater also nurtures the next generation of artists and theater-goers through the Young Playwrights Festival, Student Matinee Series and many other educational programs for students, families and professionals.