One thing that gives me joy every Friday is watching Danielle as she works with Daisy on her English. Her father and brother are here, looking in wonder, perhaps befuddlement, at the giant puppets inhabiting the sanctuary. After their last experience with Carman Moore’s festival, I have no idea what they might make of this strange church and my Spanish is nowhere near good enough to begin to explain.
Before the Bread and Puppet performance, I ask for a few moments to talk to the company about the place they are performing in, this strange and wonderful West-Park. When I get to the part about the 1982 march against nuclear proliferation that drew over a million people to New York City, planned right here, Peter says that he created over 2000 puppets for that march. As I get to know Peter, I’m beginning to realize that as he talks about his puppets, it’s almost as if they’ve taken on life of their own after having been created. Like living beings. And when I look at them, I can see it.
Late afternoon, there’s something very weird. RL has come in from the chapel. His Open Mic signs have been removed. Backing fabric taken down. The altar cleared. Three candles and a Bible placed carefully. Almost like an attempted guerrilla resanctification. For sure not Ethel. And probably not B&P who for the most part see this part of the place as terra incognito. As one person said. And so it remains a mystery.
After a visit to Rachel, I come back to watch this performance beginning to end. And realize there are changes from opening night. I’m pondering Peter’s use of the ancient Lo How a Rose ere Blooming as his framing device, sung in German. You absolutely cannot look for a linear progression although it clearly begins somewhere and ends somewhere. And as on opening night, the audience is profoundly moved by the time the giant puppets blossom into flowers.
Open Mic starts late. Several performers were quite upset to arrive at the regular time and realize that there was at least an hour delay. There was some placating by free tickets to B&P.
Nevertheless, amazingly, there’s one of the biggest crowds yet. And our role as a gateway entry for artists from overseas continues to grow. Tonight, we are blessed by April Sun, newly arrived from China (aprilsunmusic.com) with her girly pop and Jonathan Meur with a carefully crafted style here from the island of Mauritius. Wit a clear strong following back home, he’s ready to make a try at New York City.(Jonathanmeur.bandcamp.com)
Finally there’s Dave who has brought his own entourage. We’re thankful that he played late so that his people stayed throughout the show.
As for me, I’m happy that even when I’m not sure what I’m feeling or what I want to do, I can still surprise people and lay down some good songs.
And as always we end with RL and Stay Awhile.