Minneapolis 2016



Carnival Residency at Redeemer Lutheran Church

Sept 13th – 26th, 2016

We built our Carnival world behind Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, with a crew of 30 artists and activists from 4 different countries. Our local partnerships were strong, our community experiment went deep, and our shows stunned and thrilled our audiences! As one crew member notes, “It’s surprisingly difficult to explain the magic of Carnival”. Hopefully, you can get a glimpse of it in press, photo albums or highlights listed below.  



  • We worshiped together in the bigtop with Redeemer Lutheran Church! While the Carnival band led worship music, Sarah Thompson shared words adorned in full color as liturgist, and we received another unforgettable sermon by Pastor Kelly Chatman.  
  • We shared an evening meal with stories of the struggle in Honduras followed by a music concert and dance party with our friends and crew members in Cienaños (co-presented by Witness for Peace, Augsburg college and Bethany Lutheran).
  • Crew members Kara Bender, Grace Aheron and Sarah Thompson co-facilitated a “Restorative Circle” practice shared with middle and high school girls from the Harrison neighborhood.
  • Talented crew members taught multiple classes at Augsburg College’s Spanish and Theater departments. Many of us also led chapel and opened for Jim Wallis at a convocation about Anti-Racism work.
  • Sculpture professor, Robert Tom, brought students to our site who decorated our broken clock tower and attended a skill share, by Village Organizer England Porter, where they learned about making a solar oven and a hand crank laundry machine.
  • Dimitri Kadiev painted a beautiful mural at All Saints Indian Mission, that wrapped around two sides of the building. Our crew joined in to help and then lay in exhaustion for a group nap on the warm concrete.
  • The Carnival visual artists (Eli, Pedro, Dimitri & David) produced a banner to express our solidarity with the Standing Rock struggle to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. Then, they squeezed in one final project, painting the top and sides of a garage wall.
  • Crew member and stage manager Grace Aheron recited the Magnificat with little baby Cedar on her hip, while Carnival Crew led worship at United Theological Seminary.
  • We got people out of the pews to dance with us at Church of All Nations! It was a treat to have our topsy turvy message so well received by friends there.
  • The crew sat at the feet of Ricardo Levins Morales and considered the healing power of art as medicine to today’s social and environmental atrocities.
  • Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, First Nations Kitchen and Ghandi Mahal  co-presented a Harvest Block Party in south Minneapolis, which included a community street art project, food truck, local performances and fire dancing by Carnival performers.
  • Behind the Blue Lines – Stories of police brutality, abuse and misuse of power” facilitated conversation among crew and local friends. It was beautiful to witness meaningful cross reference concerning power abuse both within the United States and Latin America organically take root during our time.
  • JimBear Jacobs (Mohican) and Bob Klanderud (Dakota), old friends of Carnival, took our crew on a Sacred Sites Tour which shared the history of Minnesota from a native perspective.
  • Healing Minnesota Stories hosted a showing of the film Dakota 38 at Redeemer Lutheran Church which was followed by group discussion about the current day pains of our native brothers and sisters.
  • And of course we held our post show group dance parties at the end of each Carnival show which wove crew, audience members, performers, and people of all ages with the wild beats from our live band!
  • There were an incredible assortment of opening acts which highlighted cross cultural, local and international artists including Logan Oakgrove and The Little Thunderbirds, Cienaños, Joe Davis and the Poetic Diaspora, and Baba Naji and the Society of Sun Drummers.
  • We brought current events into our theater shows by including Berta Cáceras in our litany of resisters and standing in solidarity with Standing Rock Reservation when performing “I’m Gonna Stay on the Battlefield”.
  • Taylor Shulz and James Daniel (JD) Frost added clowning styles from Commedia dell’arte into each show which added thoughtful and hilarious mockery about current day social tech addiction and consumerism.
  • Carnival characters! Stinky, Snacks, Gladiola, Butter Bear, Big Bongo, Trash Panda, Makashoot, DJ Mixed Metaphor, and many others!
  • Jorian Shultz shared about his circular Jewish calendar and helped us make the connection between the sukkah of the Jewish Sukkot festival and the lovely fire-pit/gathering place in Redeemer’s garden where the crew lived for two weeks.
  • Rev Elona Street-Stewart (Lenapé) visited and spoke with crew about her personal journey connecting her experiences as a native person and as a Christian.
  • JimBear Jacobs and Bob Klanderud began our “Rooted Wind” show with a sage ceremony, a blessing of the four directions and an acknowledgement of whose land we are on.
  • Bob Two Bulls shared a beautiful prayer at the start of the “Burning River” show and helped us remember the native struggle to protect the Water.
  • Bob Klanderud generously gifted his drum to Pedro Sanchez, who had come prepared (along with Eli) to teach the Carnival Crew members the songs of the indigenous grandmothers in Mexico.
  • We had the Honor of borrowing Sharon Day’s prayer quilt, made by Nibi water walkers, behind the Carnival performers as we celebrated the healing power of and lamented the pain of the water.
  • During our crew debriefing together, Carnival Crew discussed how future Carnival’s can be observed as a month-long ceremony and spiritual discipline while envisioning even more varied artistic output.
  • During our crew closing ceremony, we shared in a deeply meaningful practice from the “Work that Reconnects” as we readied to return back to each of our home communities.
  • During our debriefing time at Anathoth Community Farm, we learned about their history with the Catholic Worker movement and about how their farming is connected to their faithful resistance as environmental witnesses and stewards.
  • We were inspired and humbled by the courage of our crew members from Honduras (Gustavo, Leonardo and José) who’s house and community art space was shut down by the government for writing songs that animated the people’s protests on the streets.
  • For the first time ever, Carnival crew included a 5 month old baby (!), who enchanted us all, brought us back to our innate sense of love, and to whom we give our allegiance!
  • We bonded with neighborhood children in the area, invited local residents to join us around our fire, and soaked in the generous love and enthusiasm of a Minneapolis local and dedicated Carnival volunteer, Sarah, and her vivacious family.
  • We enjoyed remarkable discussions at our Crew Training, weaving the intersections between race, sexism, christian hegemony, cultural appropriation and living into a space of resistance and restoration.
  • Meals and more meals! Pastor Kelly on the grill for the neighborhood meal! Eating with Augsburg faculty and Jim Wallis, United Theological Seminary, Soup for You Cafe at Bethany Lutheran, Church of All Nations, Prairie Oak Institute and a pizza throw down at Redeemer. A delicious and hospitable dinner at First Nations Kitchen, a community meal from Faith Mennonite and abundant offerings from Anathoth Community Farm!
  • AND Sister’s Camelot provided free organic meals to all Carnival attendees on two nights of our performances, an incredible gift!
  • We took time throughout the residency in small groups we affectionately named “Grapos” to listen to each other, reflect and give support. We are like the fruit of the vine!
  • And a thousand other precious moments, songs and connections! What treasure we hold!