Monday, March 5, 2012

Ninth and tenth days of Lent: the unexpected intersections of unlikely combinations of people


Tony Lo Presti, a neighborhood activist and one of the founders for West Siders for Peace and Justice, one of the main organizers for each year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. march, has brought a young Italian artist to talk about a festival that would bring together artists and musicians and children from the neigborhood together for exploration. Another good idea for combining our vision of ethics and esthetics working together across generations.
Teddy has taken the day off work to put together a crew to turn the chapel back into the music venue Amanda had created for our 100th anniversary event last December. He’ll also work the bar for us. Steve is in for follow up discussion on the silk screen idea that Jason had brought forth.
We spend the afternoon running around to gather supplies for tonight’s Singer-Songwriter Roundup open mike. Our occupy coop will be there selling their t-shirts and Jean’s brownies. 
Amanda opens
What a night it turns out to be. The chapel again transformed, candles glowing in the old iron gates. Church pews, tables for folks. Marc working the sound.  The musicians are there. Amanda opens.  Piano Dan follows. A highlight of the night has to be RL dragging me out to tango with him while Piano Dan sings Tom Leher’s Masochism Tango which I hadn’t heard since I was a kid. My dad brought it home on the 33 rpm An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer back in 1959. Brought back memories of my dad as a young guy with his frineds in our house. I remember thinking it was eerie, strange and funny. 
The Original Buskers
Justin Robert James and his dusky songs. Mandola Joe and his Original Buskers. Katie Rowell on violin and singing her own songs. Susannah Conn. RL himself. And I sing, too. Always loving to catch people by surprise that I do this. Amanda joining me on my last song. 
Sarah came too
Some of the older Occupy crowd has shown up, too, like Steve and Jessica. Steve sending out a video of me singing. And Sarah has come as well, with her buoyant spirit and a hug. Feels almost like  family. 
Amanda and Sarah are given Occupy West-Park Coop t-shirts. 
Her Occupy t-shirt

Dan and Katie close out the night. And a mixed group of musicians and occupiers head out together to the Gate. By the time the night has ended, Piano Dan has promised Teddy that he will teach him to sing. 
This is what gives me some of my greatest joy...the unexpected intersections of unlikely combinations of people. 
On the street, Teddy says, I love this place. It’s got soul, it’s got spirit, it’s got life. Amanda says, So, did you hear that?
Joe by Susannah

Piano Dan by Susannah
The day after. Passing Popover’s, I hear a rap on the window. Teddy, Steve, Jessica and our medic chaplain Mary are having a late brunch. Teddy comes out to drag me in. 
Down at the church, one of Imiko’s dancers has returned to retieve something she had left there. Soon Kanaska and Rio arrive. I notice that since he was in church last Sunday, he’s now sporting a mohawk. Kanaska started out planning a simple open mike night for singers and comedians. It seems to be expanding cosmically. I’m wondering if she can pull it off and what else I might have to be concerned about. Rafael has his own thoughts. We do a tour of the church, I’m watching her thoughts whirl. 
I’m happy to get back to Teddy and Steve and Jessica and Mary. I feel old sometimes. 

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