Jared Goodman wants to make the world a less hateful place—through the power of ice cream.
Go ahead and raise an eyebrow. He's used to dealing with skeptics.
"When I tell people that I do these events with ice cream and performance," Goodman says, "they're just kind of like, 'What the fuck are you talking about?'"
Five years ago, Goodman launched Morgan St. Theater (morgansttheater.com), which hosts multicourse ice cream sundae pop-ups. A self-taught ice cream maker, he makes every component of the sundaes from scratch, and uses each menu to tell a story.
Sometimes, the stories are commissioned. The Portland Art Museum recently hired Goodman to make sundaes inspired by paintings. For Hand2Mouth Theater's annual fundraiser, the ice cream was inspired by one of the company's plays.
Other times, the stories are his own. Goodman hosts an annual Passover edition of Morgan St. Theater, which draws on his own Seder memories. Last year, that included rosemary chocolate ice cream served on freshly baked challah topped with lemon curd, strawberry sauce and sprinkled with hazelnut praline.
Currently, Goodman is working on the show that he sees as the culmination of everything Morgan St. Theater stands for. Its working title is "The Jewish Project." Scheduled for the fall, Goodman will host seven pop-ups in seven different locations around the city, with sundaes inspired by personal stories involving Jewish culture and history.
"With Trump and the very significant rise in anti-Semitism," Goodman says, "I wanted to use the Morgan St. Theater format to go out to cities where there are no Jewish people and use ice cream to be like, 'Jews are OK.'"
To make the show more accessible, all or most of the tickets will be available for free. But the Jewish Project is a bit of an exception. For the most part, Goodman isn't interested in soliciting approval.
"I've kind of reached the point where I'm like, if you're excited about what I'm doing, you want to come, that's awesome," he says. "If you don't buy into it, I'm OK with that, because enough people are excited about it."
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