Monday, June 27, 2011

Speakeasy afternoon

Breakfast with Marsha and Amanda discussing Gala plans. Back at the church, it’s clear that Human Being has spent the night again, though he’s not here. Stephen is in making last minute  plans for tomorrow’s first opening of the speakeasy. All of us working on the wrap up of the concert series.
Beautiful Saturday afternoon. At 4 PM, I come to the church for the opening of Woodshed's speakeasy. Last minute preparations still underway. Jon Deak from the Philaharmonic comes and we go out to the backyard with its little tables and chairs. Its the first time this backyard has been used for anything for over 10 years. It’s sunny with a little breeze. Andrea comes and joins us and I get a couple of cold Brooklyn  Summer’s for Jon and I.  
He tells us all about their trip to Venezuela, thier work with El Sistema, music as a means to saving children’s lives, their awakening awareness of their own intrinsic value as human beings, their becoming the subjects of their own history. And how much my son Micah contributed to the  experience. The continued craziness of Caracas. And how Jon would like to see this same program happen here. As do I, right here, at the Centre. 
More and more people are starting to come. John Hudson joins us. The young and hip from Brooklyn on safari to the gentrified Upper West Side.  I marvel that John has been our connection to that world.  Happened because Stephen was Titania in John’s Dark Lady Players’ production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. 
There’s an older man near me. John Mage, of the Monthly Review. Lives across the street at the Belnord. The conversation begins with a semi-uncomfortable review of the whole landmarks process. When I see how we lost hard core left allies on that one, I think again how important it is to maintain control of the narrative.  And then it turns out that John is friends of my organizer friend Mark Stansbury from Columbus, Ohio and his long time activist parents, Les and Marge. That Mark stays with him when he comes to the city. (Where he worships with us.) We talk about the history of the Belnord, the rent struggles. The divsion between  the long time residents, old lefties and psychiatrists and musicians and the new hedgefunders. And of course Matt Damon. How are we going to connect with the people there?  A continuing question...
John’s nephew asks if he can try the piano. Amanda and I go with him. He can’t believe the richness of the sound. He’s finished a new song. He shares his. Amanda plays one of hers. She asks him if he’s a church kid. He says no, but that he loves playing gospel, loves playing in churches. And he heats up the keys with a gospel riff. 
in the backyard
Back outside, the grill has been fired up. Veggie burgers being cooked. Fresh potato salad and cole slaw on the table. We sit back, cold white wine. It’s getting near evening. Nearly perfect. 

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