Friday, July 15, 2011

He has a name


Danielle is upset as I arrive at the office. Hb was there when she arrived. Along with his ladyfriend. And an open beer bottle. She called Project Reachout. Turns out he’s got a name. Edward Green. They are not encouraging.  A little while later she looks out the door. There’s a police suv across the street. Later, she looks out again. No Edward. No lady friend.  Only an empty beer bottle,which she removes. She’s feeling guilty about not warning him first, asking him to leave. I don’t expect her to do that. Not alone.  He looked so sad, she said, like he was about to cry. (Maybe I added that.)
I came to work after breakfast with David Michalek. He’s just opened, Portraits in Dramatic Time,  his latest installation on a 45 foot screen on the plaza at Lincoln Center as part of the annual Lincoln Center Festival. 40 films, real time 6-8 seconds, stretched out to 8-10 minutes on the  screen. Famous actors, off Broadway actors, off-off Broadway, Thai and Chinese Theatre, Theatre of the Deaf actors...actors of all kinds. You see how much can happen in 8 seconds, how much we miss going on around us all the time. 

portraits in dramatic time

We’re catching up. David did the 14 Stations, the traditonal stations of the cross as experienced, interpreted  and staged by homeless and formerly homeless participants in the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness community. That show opened and hung in West-Park at least six months. It later showed at Dia and then the Brooklyn Museum of Art.  We still have our set. I would like to reprise that exhibit next Lent as part of our Centennial celebration.  And would love to help with David’s vision on Mary’s Book of Hours. 

The 14 stations that hung on the walls of West-Park

A woman walks in. Tells me that she worked for Riverside Shakespeare Company for 8 years. That her office was right where mine is. I take her in. Show her the archival exhibit on the back wall, with the large RSC picture. And she gets choked up. Oh my God, she says. All those years,  all those years. We talk some more how in the 70’s -80’s the church proudly resisted spending anything related to the building. It was  all for people, members or not.  She harrumphs. I invite her to come on Sunday. Ah, I’m not religious. My mom was Jewish, dad black. A sixties thing you know? But I’ll be back. It’s beautiful to see this place open again, you breathing life back into it, and then she’s gone. For now.  
Christian comes in to talk more about his chamber music orchestra, he’s up to 30 members now.  I would love to get them involved in a Sunday morning service. 
RL and David come by to check out the bathrooms and keep that project moving forward.  David takes him downstairs to look at the transformation in the basement. RL comes back up, chuckling.  Blue eyes crinkling beneath his flowing white hair and cowboy hat. This place looks more like me all the time, he says, laughing. We talk of his friend Jack Hardy, who died this year, his weekly  pasta and songwriters event at his Greenwich Village apartment. Mentor to Suzanne Vega,  John Gorka, the Roches, Lyle Lovett, on and on; and more recently Jeremy. Well, sorry we’re taking so long with the bathrooms, he says, but that’s what you get when you leave an alcoholic Indian in charge, he laughs  again and he and David go for one more look. 

There's loud noise outside. We run out to look. The Prophet is sitting there, stripped to the waist, shouting at the street. I ask if he's alright. I can't understand his answer. Every conversation with him is like Pentecost. And then ohyesohyesohyesalrightalrightalright, then iwannbeagoodfathergoodfathergoodfather then igonowgonowgonowgonow.... he gets up, slowly dresses, wrapping his colorful sheets around him, carefully wrapping the red bandana around his head before carefully tying it on.  He stands up, looking at the church, extends his right hand, bows his head three times.  Looks back at me, says thankyouverymuch picks up his walking stick and starts down the street again.  What is his story? Where is he from? Is this a real religion he follows or only his private invention? 
John Hudson has come in to check on things. We talk about his own upcoming production. And Woodshed.  And then Marsha comes in. To keep working on the thank yous we still owe eafter the concert series. We end the day with gratitude. 

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