Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The bear hug of life itself


Good to see Cara back to help us out.

Tonight will be the opening of the Peter Schumann exhibit at the Queens Art Museum. Curated by Jonathan Berger, son of Center Founder Ted Berger.  I’ll ride the 7 train out to Flushing then try and wend my way to the old New York State building from the 1964 State Fair.

And I will be blown away by how Schumann’s vision fills the museum. A mural fills one entire wall with the city, the 99% oppressed giant and the peasant shoe flag from the 15th century peasant revolt that could have set Europe on another course had not the Reformation ultimately sided with the emerging bourgeoisie.

There will also be Peter’s Shatterhouse and his Chapel, every inch filled with puppets. Only here in Queens it is black and white not the earth tones of the West-Park puppets.

Peter will insist first that it isn’t a solo show, but a Bread and Puppet show, only possible through collaboration. And that the gallery visitors need to see the show at West-Park to fully understand the Shattered World.  The night included the Bread and Puppet band playing as a second line brass band and a group of Georgian singers  and Peter’s primal folk songs from the northeast kingdom. Accompanied by his fiddle.

And of course the show includes a red brick oven where he builds a fire and bakes his bread.

Somehow I will make my way from Corona to Astoria to meet up with Zeljko and Zoran after a downtown screening to enter into the Serbian Queens diaspora and enjoy a night of rakia, ayvar and large platters of food of every species. And more rakia. At one point, Zoran will say, You know how gypsy we are. There are always bear hugs. To show affection for each other equal to the love, the bear hug of life itself.

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