Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Carman Moore's (occasional) festival


Lotte, Bob, Carman

Carman Moore’s second night of his festival was revelatory. It opened up two very different sides of his musical landscape that were not experienced Friday night. Unexpected and powerful.

The night began with Girl of the Diamond Mountain, a song cycle created and performed by Carman and Lotte Arnsbjerg. Lotte’s performance actually explored the territory between music and performance art. The piece also included projections by Catrina Bertolotto and at the dramatic conclusion, a return appearance by dancer Kiori Kawai.

More important was the subject, an exploration of sexual abuse of children and the struggle for identity and wholeness that follows. The music was simple, spare, understated. The experience harrowing. One had to trust the the creators and commit to following through all the way to the end in the hopes that there would be new life at the end. Ms. Arnsbjerg’s work is nothing short of courageous.

Her imagery in words and Ms. Bertolotto's  visual imagery evoked the themes of baptism, the metaphor of dying in the water only to be reborn new. 

The power of the piece, and its tragic truth, was revealed in the number of people who came to Ms. Arnsbjerg, embraced her and said that she had captured their story, almost verbatim. 

I remembered my colleague in ministry in Los Angeles, Ann Hayman, founder of the Mary Magdalene Project, a residential ministry of life renewal for prostitutes. How she told me that over 90% of the prostituted women she worked with had been victims of childhood sexual abuse, most often by members of their own family. And I remembered another colleague who had struggled with years of promiscuity and alcoholism before dealing with her own childhood experience of incest. And my friend, Jed who for years ran the Larkin Street Center in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, working with runaway(throw away, in Jed’s words) youth. Again, the same story. 

At the end of the piece, an audience member stood and asked that we have a moment of silence for Avonte Oquendo, the young autistic boy who has been missing for over two weeks now with  a massive search continuing.  (There is at least one other poster of a missing autistic young man in our neighborhood, a photo, and in Spanish, perdido, ie, lost.)

This is exactly what we are trying to do here. Open up difficult subjects, explore them through art and spiritual reflection. Honor the courage of those willing to go there.

My only regret was that Danielle's student Daisy and her family had come expecting what they had heard in rehearsal. Clearly not what they had come for. They left before intermission, Danielle crafting an apologetic note  in Spanish. 

The Eks Jazz Trio +
After intermission followed what was a world class all-star jazz jam with the likes of the Eks Jazz Trio (C. Eric Johnson, Kyle Jones and F.Carter Hoodless) with Premik Russell Tubbs and Charles Burnham sitting in. Tough to find better in the city any night.

So the two nights gave us an insight into a musician who truly knows no boundaries. For Carman Moore, as they say in New Orleans, it’s all music. With his eclectic global vision, integration of visual art and dance, improvisation, boundary crossing and expression of ethics with esthetics, Carman Moore is one of those unassuming pioneers who make new possibilities realities. His weekend was truly a festival.

It’s good to make our house a home for his work,his spirit.

As we lock up, Joe and the gang are arriving.

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