Number of local artists who worked to bring the elaborate world of Mary Poppins to life for Macy’s over the course of the past year. The sculptors, painters, and costume designers created 455 castings, 126 figures, 70 sculptures, 63 animations, and 54 props—including Mary’s magic carpetbag, the source of wonders galore.
Number of individual vignettes in Up, Up, and Away—The Magic of Mary Poppins, the annual holiday auditorium display at the downtown Minneapolis Macy’s store. Based on the beloved books by P. L. Travers and their illustrations by Mary Shepard, the whimsical scenes depict Mary Poppins’s umbrella-guided arrival at Number 17 Cherry-Tree Lane, a disappearing—and reappearing—chalk drawing, a fanciful carousel, and more. The show runs through December 31.
4? Maybe 5?
Number of auditorium visitors who’ll be able to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” A couple of Scrabble players, we’re guessing—and a few more who had exceptional British nannies.
More than 15,000,000
Number of people who’ve visited the holiday auditorium displays in the downtown Minneapolis department store since the tradition began in 1963, when Dayton’s welcomed 214,389 guests to Santa’s
Number of auditorium visitors who stopped off to see Santa in 2005. The jolly old dude is back this year, of course, post-Poppins, ready to receive wish lists and pose for pictures.
Cost of a popover at the Oak Grill, 12th floor. So you can pop downtown for Poppins, then charge upstairs for the traditional puff pastry. Some things never change.
All contributing editor Sandra Hoyt wants for Christmas is a magic carpetbag—by Marc Jacobs.
Things To Do Before… you re-gift the fruitcake
Stella Artois, Ice Skating Priests,
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Minnesotans love the British Television Advertising Awards, the annual screening at the Walker Art Center of wacky, witty, and daring ads from England; in no other American market where the BTAA is shown do so many seats sell out. This year’s show runs from December 1 to 30, promising a Stella Artois ad that features ice-skating priests and Honda ads voiced by Garrison Keillor. Brilliant! For more arts events, see page 130. —Tim Gihring
2. Face it: your house is a wreck, you can’t cook, and, well, why should you have to? Skip the stress of holiday entertaining and gather the group at Firelake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in the downtown Minneapolis Radisson Hotel. The restaurant’s party rooms are available sans rental fee and the menu is both upmarket and accessible: prime rib, roast chicken, and walleye-and-wild-rice cakes. For more dining ideas, see page 99. —Rachel Hutton
3. You can check out winter-break entertainment from your public library. Museum Adventure Passes admit four to such attractions as the Minnesota Zoo and Science Museum of Minnesota. The complimentary passes are limited in number and must be used within a week; as always, it’s best to visit the library with an open mind (open to spending an afternoon at, say, the Walker instead of Fort Snelling). See www.melsa.org/museumadventurepass. —C.R.l.
THE SAGE OF STARBUCKS
Brave New Workshop owner John Sweeney has been published again—on a coffee cup. Millions of macchiato drinkers across the country now read this quote from Sweeney on the side of their Starbucks: “Improvisers don’t look at change as an obstacle, we look at it as fuel. We know that the next great idea lies just on the other side of change. We are constantly asking ourselves, ‘What can I do to incite change?’ Well?” —CAROL RATELLE LEACH
Toys for Tots—and Teens
You’ve made a list and checked it twice—now add one more item (other than Candyland, please). Toys for Tots, dedicated to providing a “tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children,” enlivened the holiday for 81,000 Twin Citians last year. While donations of toddler toys abound, the organization is in dire need of gifts for teens, includings sports equipment, art supplies, event tickets, or electronic games. Guns are not accepted, nor are gambling-related items. If you’d like to help, bring unwrapped toys to one of the more than 200 participating Twin Cities locations (including Cub and Rainbow Foods) by December 21. The items are trucked to a warehouse, then distributed to agencies that apply on behalf of needy kids, indicating age, gender, and any special needs. Each child receives two toys and a stocking stuffer—suffused with that all-important element: hope. —JUDY KOGAN
Beyond Yellow Ribbons
Shawn Aiken is one of a dozen soldiers honored by the stylish TakePride T-shirt line at www.takepride.com. The featured Minneapolis native, who is due back from Iraq this month, is said to embody the army medic motto, “To Fight To Heal.” Proceeds support military-related charities nationwide. —CAROL RATELLE LEACH