The Blogfest!

The Festival Blog


The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is more than just performances and lectures.

Across the 15 days of each Festival, numerous programs promote healthy living through active lifestyles, food and sustainable consumption, and activities that engage the mind as well as the body. The message we spread is one of building a healthy community, living life to the fullest and enriching the mind, body and spirit.

Unfortunately it’s difficult for us, at times, to incorporate these messages of healthy living into the demanding schedules of our staff and crew. By day 15 of the Festival most of our staff have mastered stand-up-sleep and can count the green vegetables they’ve eaten on one hand. We do this work because we love it even if our bodies don’t love it quite as much. That’s why come July 1st when we transition from on-the-go 12+ hours a day back to a normal 8 hour work day at desks we rejoice in the sedentary.

At first this change of pace is divine, a long-awaited rest for tired toes. But as the days of desk life roll on it becomes less of a reprieve, less of a novelty and more of a sentencing. As inherently active people (you have to be to make it through June at the Festival!) the prospect of sitting down for 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, for 49 weeks can seem like torture for our tushies.

But what about healthy living? What about active lifestyles?

So we began our research and came to the following conclusions:

  • Standing desks are all sorts of great for you. They reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other metabolic diseases.
  • There is such a thing as "Sudden Onset Cankles"
  • Adjustable desks exist, but are relatively large and expensive

We crafted some DIY some standing desks et viola! The W.B. Mason standing desk!


Needless to say it took approximately half a day of make-shift desks, two ladies doing coordinated office exercises, and just a touch of whining for everyone to agree that an investment in standing desks was an investment in the health of our staff. Although there are many flavors of standing desks we opted to go for the best of both worlds, a Sit/Stand desk by Varidesk.

After only one day with the "test desk" sent over by Varidesk, we were hooked. Even the skeptics in our office found it easy and fun to use. The option to stand or sit provides a happy and healthy balance wherein we reduce long term risks of disease (caused by prolonged sitting) and yet don’t get overly fatigued from standing all day.


Other totally health-based reasons we’ve found to get a sit/stand desk:

  • Having a reason to clean off our desks to make room for the sit/stand addition
  • Having the ability to choose whether you sit/stand based on how you feel and what you're doing (we all have those sitting days, we won't lie!)
  • Being able to practice our sweet dance moves as we work the day away

It un-numbs our tushies to walk around the office and see Festival staff moving around, sitting, standing, and dancing as necessary. We are cultivating a culture of healthy living that we so effectively promote during the Festival. Sometimes we can get so busy planning or running the Festival that we forget to take care of ourselves. But when we pause, we can be reminded that a happy and healthy staff will ultimately lead to a more successful festival!

16 days of great art and big ideas, June 12-27, 2015.

Special Thanks:
Angelique Kidjo with Ibeyi, Box City, Carmen de Lavallade, Cry You One, Dan Zanes, Darlene Love, Kurt Elling with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Lucinda Williams, Machine de Cirque, Magmanus, Moona Luna and Pistolera, Perfect Catch, Plena Libre, Ragamala Dance Company with Rudresh Mahanthappa, the cast and crew of Rodney King, Taylor Mac, the leaders of the Bike, Boat, and Walking Tours, and the entire crew of the 2015 New Haven International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Additional Thanks to the Ideas panelists of 21st Century Art and Politics, Africa, Ebola, and Global Health Equity, Carmen de Lavallade In Conversation, Claudia Rankine: How Art Teaches a Poet to See, Cooperation Amidst Crisis: May Day 1970 and Its Lessons, From Artist to Activist: A New Haven Legend, Hong Kong Artists in New Haven, Jelani Cobb: Contingent Citizenship, New Art, New Cities, New Living, Rock ‘n Roll That Heals with Mary McBride, Roz Chast: Cartoons as Family Memoir, Sinatra at 100: Cultural Influences, Backward and Forward, Surveillance and Civil Liberties in the U.S., Town Hall: Justice, Civility, and Active Citizenship, and Waterways and Our Changing Environment In Association with WNPR

Filmed and Edited by Tiffany Hopkins, Brice Shipley, Rachel Lawlor, Eleni Georgakopoulos, and Robert Gagne

Plene Libre is our final concert of 2015 on the First Niagra Stage. Come and join us!

Carmen de Lavallade invites you to come to the Yale Repertory Theater at 2pm today to see her final New Haven performance of "As I Remember It"

New Haven is a vibrant cycling community! See the sights, explore bike trails and paths, and discover a piece of local history.

Machine de Cirque is an exciting new ensemble of young acrobats out of Quebec's vibrant and innovative circus arts scene. The company brings to New Haven a thrilling new show, featuring gravity-defying stunts, jugglers, and hilarious antics. From June 24 - 27. Tickets available now!

Passion for Bach and Coltrane is inspired by the poetry of A.B. Spellman, specifically his book of poems Things I Must Have Known. The poetry speaks to the musical mastery of J.S. Bach, John Coltrane as well as religion and mortality.
1 performance only in New Haven - Tonight June 23 at 8pm!

Angélique Kidjo wants you out on the New Haven Green TONIGHT for a great concert with Ibeyi! 7pm. Be there.

his heart-warming comedy features the expert juggling team of Michael Karas and Jen Slaw.
After the 3:00pm show on Sunday, June 21 Michael and Jen will provide materials and lead a from-the-stage lesson on juggling.

Kurt Elling joins the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in tonights headline concert featuring the music of Frank Sinatra. It may be raining this afternoon, but we are planning on a beautiful concert tonight!