Monday, December 19, 2011

Three days of peace, love and music. And crafts. And art. Days 1 and 2.

The day begins with an explosion of activity. Ted and Judith and the crafts people are hustling about getting ready for the festival to open. DJ Dan has been hired to work security. Amanda and Teddy are working on a big brown paper sign that says Music and Crafts today. Deacon James is sweeping the steps. Jason and Danielle are in serious negotiation for the ongoing presence of Occupy Wall Street here at West-Park. I call Micah and invite him down.  And Tracy has arrived to go to coffee and talk about strategy for the anti-sweat shop campaign. Meanwhile, discussions with Con Ed continue and there seems to be some kind of breakthrough. They will come Monday, work on the lines, run a pressure test. If all goes well, the heat can come on. 
Berik and Leila
Micah arrives, I introduce him to Jason and they head off together. Nick is feverishly at work trying to finish his installation piece and Leila and Berik are finishing their exhibit in the chapel. The doors to the festival swing open and I show Tracy around. The Christmas lights are sparkling and the music ready to begin. 
Brandon stops by to say hello, checks out the festival. Amazed. 
Mandola Joe
Amanda and Aaron
Amanda and Piano Dan
The music begns with violinist/fiddler Katy Rowell followed by Mandola Joe and his Buskers group. Amanda plays a set accomoanied by Aaron Rito on guitar, who also does his own set. And then Piano Dan.
Jeremy and Bob
Late in the afternoon, RL is not able to perform so Amanda asks me to step in and I set my nerves aside and do a short set. DJ Dan and Teddy and Marc the sound guy seem surprised that this is me, too. Piano Dan arrives for his set. When Jeremy arrives,we go to the Chapel to rehearse. He does his set, asks me to do some harmonies on a couple of his,  and then we do two together: Early on one Christmas Morn, originally recorded by the Cottontop Mountain Sanctified Singers, Frankie (Half-Pint) Jaxon, lead singer, and Go tell It on the Mountain, in the style of the Swan Silvertone Singers (by way of Bruce Cockburn.)
And now its time for the art shows to open. Andrea and Dan and Nate arrive. Micah has gone off to Occupy. The singers are ending, artists arriving. Nick Etre has emptied the session room and installed two portable radios under the floor playing the Beach Boys’ Let’s Go Away on loop until the batteries die. This is part of his Wear Your Love Like Heaven installation with surprises in unexpected places, again in dialogue with the building. Oh and Yeah featured sculpture, painting and print by Peggy Chiang, Maude Kasperzak, Joanna Kopczyk, Margo Malter and Bettina Yung.

Teddy and Sarah

I go off for dinner with Andrea and Nate. Then come back to close up. The Mc Alpin gallery is filled with young artists and friends. I share some wine, conversation and then its time for Sarah and I to lock up. We’re almost ready to leave when I hear noise upstairs. We go up to find some occupiers in the attic, the old Boy Scout room. When I see a ladder, I have to climb it, one says. Well no, not exactly. 
So we clear the building. Go outside. All the doorways are filled with sleepers. And to make it perfect, George is there in the south doorway, looking over all. Welcome back, George, I say, good to see you. 

Exhausted but another day begins. Mandola Joe opens the day followed by Jeremy. I sit in with some harmonies again, then run off to a play, Hand to God, with the family where I’m surprised to find two Woodshed friends, Kaitlin Binnie, the wardrobe supervisor and the playwright, Robert Askins. 
Piano Dan and Cindy
RL rocks

When I get back, Neil Howard is doing a set. Judith is concerned that the moody music will hurt sales. Uh...anyways, Piano Dan arrives with his vocalist Cindy Thrall. She’s energetic and lands somewhere between Nashville, lounge, and kick ass wedding singer. My son Dan and his friends are all in the balcony listening. RL arrives, ready to perform. Asks the audience to stay. 
He straps on the guitar and launches into his own Christmas song, Who’s That Fat Man?, complete with Elvis shake and swagger,  which if I had it recorded would go right on my play list. And then does his reading of Red Ryder and the Fat Woman, a wonderful story of a long ago Christmas, his grandmother Mabel and a BB gun. How life goes on, you use what you have. What he came back to  read at the end of the Festival clean up last year. You might say that was the beginning.Pastor K’s family has stayed and is glad they did. Dan and his friends glad they stayed, too.  
Amanda asks me to come on one more time. This time, she joins in with harmonies, which feels good. And playing is gettng easier, more comfortable, all the time. 

A good end to a good day.Time to join my Occupying boys. 

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