Archive for the 'the arts' Category

ree & me

Wow!

One of my photos is featured on the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s extremely famous blog. It’s a great honor, especially considering that she gets thousands of submissions every day. Woohoo! She says it’s “haunting in a lovely way”, which is very me, I suppose… Thank you, Ree!

Click right here to check it out amongst other beautiful shots.

emotionality and roads

Please, please don’t watch “The Road” the post-apocalyptic drama with Viggo Mortensen when you’re expecting. Yes, Viggo is certainly always nice to look at, but believe me when I tell you to stay away.

I watched it on TV just a few weeks into my pregnancy and it has haunted me ever since. I still want to talk about it regularly with my husband and I’m sure he’s getting tired of reassuring me that everything will be fine (“Oh my goodness. Any chance this will happen?” “No, it won’t happen. we’ll be fine. It was just a movie.”) and/or that he will indeed protect the Muffin if the world is destroyed by a great cataclysm (“But what if it does happen? *gasp!* I think could totally happen! Right?” “Then we’ll be fine. I’ll make sure of it.”).

Repeat different versions of the dialog ad nauseam for months.

heavens & stilts

I have always loved the Bread and Puppet Theater and now I have an extra special relationship with them since I feel like Peter Schumann “married” my husband and me by serenading us with his band right before we went to City Hall. 

We just got back from watching their wonderful show called ” Tear Open the Door of Heaven”.

A Bread and Puppet show usually starts on the sidewalk in front of the theater where Peter Schumann’s orchestra loudly plays lively tunes, while Peter dances his special tipsy ballerina santa dance, welcoming the audience to the theater and delighting passers-by.

The show itself was poetic and powerful. Peter Schumann was very involved as a performer. In fact, for the first part of the show he was alone on stage manipulating cardboard cutouts and paper maché puppets. The audience was so captivated by the simple storytelling you could have heard a pin drop. 

Some of the dance interludes included a forest admiration dance, danced by a NYC rushhour crowd; a deforestation dance, danced by the deforestors to make room for their cars; and the dance of the foolish woman, who tries to bring back to life the child victims of the bombardments on Gaza.

Circus in the New Building

(Peter Schumann as Uncle Sam on high stilts. image credit: breadandpuppet.org)

Bread and Puppet is also performing “The Dirt Cheap Money Circus”, which is a bit more kid-friendly, but still very poetic, political, and powerful. Kids love these shows too, so if you have a kid, go see it. This year the circus features the billionaire bonus celebration dance, the logic of the US Healthcare System, the history of humanity, and the removal of a mountaintop.

Playing through Dec. 13th at Theater for the New City.

gospel & rock

We saw The Kinks at the Town Hall yesterday. Okay, it was former Kinks singer-songwriter Ray Davies performing with The Dessoff Chamber Choir, but still, THE KINKS! It was a baby boomers concert, I think I was the youngest person there, and that never ever happens anymore. When legendary Mr. Davies ran onto the stage, the audience went wild. I was a bit apprehensive about the choir’s involvement, just because it was a difficult concept to wrap my brain around. As it turns out, 60s rock and choral arrangements work together perfectly. Who knew? It was a fabulous concert. Really brilliant. 

Here are The Blind Boys of Alabama, progressive southern gospel music superstars, whose wonderfully harmonious concert we went to a few weeks back. When spirituality meets humor, magic happens.

I was sitting so close to the stage I could have reached out and touched their patent leather shoes.

poetry & travel

on a big metal bird all alone

standing in line with hundreds

on an unhurried dark blue train

grateful for a musty seat

a stone and a blossom in my heart

murmur of voices

nervous tap-taps of a pen on a desk

soap and sweaty palms

uniforms and bare toes

hearts pounding hearts abloom

butterflies in my tummy

knowing where to go is a curse

arriving anywhere is an adventure

arriving anywhere is nostalgia

joyful to see mountains and cities

searching for something better faster

contradictions and hope

 

(An very talented artist asked me -and many others- to write about travel, departing, arriving… for a project she’s working on. This is what I sent her.)

clowns & puppets

Recently, I was fortunate enough to get invited to sit backstage at a shadow puppet play (wayang kulit). I have seen a few of these traditional storytelling productions from the other side of the screen, sitting on the ground amidst thousands of enthralled audience members, while my husband gets to sit in the back.

The puppeteer (dalang) is I Wayan Nardayana (stage name: Cenk Blonk) probably the most famous puppet master in Bali. He is the rock star of puppet virtuosity. I have met him several times and I can tell you that he is charming and somewhat alluring. His puppet shows are not only hugely popular, they are also enormous undertakings that involve dozens of assistants, helpers, musicians, singers, technicians and workers. And – I love this detail!- there’s this one guy who sits near Nardayana during performances whose only job it is to gently wipe the sweat off his face and neck with a piece of cloth!

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The dalang is a storyteller. He narrates the tale, moves all the puppets, says their lines, gives different and unique voices to all the characters, and provides the gamalan orchestra players with their cues. (Now you know why he needs a sweat-wiper.) The dalang is also an educator and a thought-provoker. He typically tells an ancient Hindu story from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata, interlinked with current events. Vaccines, post-traumatic stress disorder (from terrorist attacks), the economic crisis, safe sex, you name it, he’ll weave it in.

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These interludes are usually delivered by short and stout clown-servants, who are routinely much wiser than their masters. The clown bits are the people’s absolute favorites. They’re like Shakespearean clowns, or like Laurel and Hardy, as my father rightly remarked after watching for a few minutes. The crowd cheers, hollers and hoots. I understand only a few words here and there, if I’m lucky and if I pay close attention. However, I can tell what kind of jokes the clowns are telling by the noise the audience makes. The more perverted the joke (or the more subversive), the louder the crowd’s roar. I guess that’s universal.

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I really like the phrase "always an adventure". I am a Reiki Master and work as a therapist in Manhattan, in my private practice and at a cancer center. I also freelance as a translator in the New York City area and beyond.

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