It’s called Savor the Arts — “a series of culture-specific events that blend performances with culinary tastings, exhibits, workshops, armchair travel presentations and more” — and it’s a multi-sensory whirlwind that begins this weekend, when the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) invites the public to immerse itself in the culture of Italy (and, by extension, the Italian-American experience).
The tour gets rolling Friday, November 14, with a 7 pm Ballroom Dance Social that “visits Italy” for a $15 per person participation fee (no partner necessary). Then, at 7:30 pm, take part in a Paint and Sip glass painting workshop (hosted by Laurie Ruggeri), for which a $30 fee includes all supplies.
The events run all day Saturday, and get going early with “Armchair Tours” of Florence (10 am; $15) and Puglia (11 am; $15), conducted by Brookdale Community College. Cindy Gato hosts a free 11 am Italian Wine Cork Craft session — and a 1 pm Mozzarella Making/ Tasting ($10) plus 2 pm Mozzarella Take Home Class ($20) are conducted by Mozz master Gregory Isnetto. Then at 6:30 pm comes a pre-show reception (catered by Gaetano’s of Red Bank) for the centerpiece event of the weekend: a performance of the Off Broadway one-man production Blood Type: Ragu.
Written and performed by actor/playwright Frank Ingrasciotta, Blood Type: Ragu is a funny and tender coming-of-age story exploring the first-generation American’s delicate dance between culture and identity. The actor plays more than 20 characters who live, love and laugh in this fast-paced journey that the New York Times called “a garrulous and enlightening production with a lasting rewarding flavor.” Tickets to the 8 pm performance ($30 per person, or $45 for the show and 6:30 reception) can be reserved by calling (732)706-4100.
The Savor the Arts schedule continues on Sunday, November 16 with a free 1 pm poetry reading by Suzann Bracato, a 1 pm Paint and Sip acrylic painting workshop hosted by Gail Sanderson ($35, includes supplies), a 2 pm “Sunday Gravy” cooking class ($25), and a 4 pm “World of Italian Opera” multimedia presentation hosted by Brookdale faculty member Jeffrey DiLucca ($15). As part of the series, the Middletown Arts Center will also be publishing a special Savor the Arts Cookbook, featuring recipes from the Middletown Township community.
Pre-registration is required for most of the events in the Savor the Arts weekend. Take it here for complete schedule details and links to register.