Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Sunnylands Celebrates Chinese New Year With ‘Artistic’ Family Day | BH Courier

Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Sunnylands Celebrates Chinese New Year With ‘Artistic’ Family Day

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – 12:39 PM

It may not be celebrated at El Pollo Loco, but this year marks the return of the chicken, actually rooster, to the forefront of the Chinese calendar and the reason to have yet another party. This year the party is at Sunnylands Center and Gardens … and it’s free.

Years ago, Ambassador Walter and Mrs. Leonore Annenberg began a tradition of hosting exuberant New Year’s Eve celebrations at Sunnylands, their lavish winter estate in Rancho Mirage, and while the Annenbergs are no longer with us, the tradition is remembered with a free Family Day on Sunday, Jan. 22, featuring Chinese lion dancers, a community chalk drawing and numerous hands-on activities for children and adults.

Serendipitously, the Family Day also falls during the exhibition, “Asian Artists in Crystal: Steuben Glass at Sunnylands,” showcasing 36 glass objects that craftsmen at the Steuben Glass Co. engraved with the design of artists from 16 countries in Asia and the Middle East.

This month’s Family Day fun includes decoration of paper lanterns and joining in the chalk drawing of a dragon with Bijan Masoumanath, an Iranian-born artist and frequent participation in chalk festivals across California.

No celebration of Chinese New Year would be complete without lion dancers, and at 11 a.m. the renowned troupe, Wushu Shaolin, will perform on the Great Lawn in a production featuring music, dance, kung fu and elaborate costumes.

Then, at 12:30 p.m., Anne Rowe, director of collections and exhibitions at Sunnylands will talk about the Annenbergs’ famous New Year’s Eve celebrations that brought U.S. presidents and celebrity entertainers together through the decades to welcome in the new year.

For more information call 760-202-2234.

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The underlying theme for the series of plays presented by CVRep (Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre) during the 2015-2016 season said it all: “Identity: Lost and Found.”

Operating pretty much under the radar, CVRep, was formed, initially, as producer of Youth Outreach productions and special events and venues through the Coachella Valley.

In 2010, CVRep found a home at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage and begun producing adult plays, but word of its existence was spotty at best. Yet, in 2015, CVRep received Small Professional Theatre status from Actors’ Equity and rented additional space.

CVRep has come along way since its founding. Student enrollment in the CVRep has increased 150 percent from the year before, and for the 2017 season subscribers number nearly 1,000. To date, nearly 12,000 local students have been bussed to the theater, free of charge, to see age-appropriate socially and culturally relevant productions on such topics as bullying, teen suicide and dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Having found its identity, there are two plays and one musical left in CVRep’s 2016-2017 season, all under the theme of “Love, Marriage and Life Changing Events.”

More information is available 760-296-2966.