Sunday, May 18, 2014

Easter 27: While outside a torrential rain was pouring down


Dos Pubelos Fiesta

 At last we have a porter! Stephen S has agreed to take the job and gets there 30 minutes early and ready to go. He’s a lifelong member of the church and captain of the softball team. Scratch one off the to do list.

Arcadia is in to sign checks. And also be interviewed by Danielle for a class project.
Karen again providing music as she sits at the piano lost in her own songs.
I spend an hour in the sanctuary on a PHEWA video meeting as we plan our strategy for this summer’s upcoming General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (USA) in Detroit.  I’m still amazed that we can all sit in or own places from Hawaii to New York and places in between and see each other all at once as if in the same room.

A man from Bangladesh is seemingly a bit lost. Excessively cheerful. Bangladesh small country, but New York City, New York City…he is saying. I point south on Amsterdam. There on 85th, the Copy Shop, everyone there is Bangladeshi. They can help…so I head him in that direction. I would have said Dunkin’ Donuts, but they could be Pakistani. I love this city.

The Dos Pueblos event is getting underway. And I’m getting anxious. They’ll be having a salsa band in McAlpin Hall. Open Mic will be below. It’s a very thin floor. Not sure how this is going to work. And Danielle is convinced someone’s going to wind up upset.

I have much admiration for Dos Pueblos. They began as a solidarity group for Nicaragua in the 80’s as the country faced a US funded, trained and facilitated counter revolution that bled the country. We will simply never know what the Sandinista revolution might have become if it had not almost immediately go one on one with the US. The Dos Pueblos folks stayed faithful, continuing in  solidarity even after the fall of sandinismo and eventual return to power of the party behind Daniel Ortega.

They were able to evolve into a sister city program with Tipitapa, a small town east of Managua along the lake. Dos Pueblos projects today include clean water and a new library that a group of New York City high school students went to help build.
The students reported on their mission
Tonight’s crowd includes the longtime Upper Westside solidarity workers, the high school students back from their mission and many of the New York City Nicaraguan diaspora. And a salsa band true to its name, El Grupo Internacional.
El Grupo Internacional

Hugo and Ann
Hugo and Arcadia are here and dancing and Leila and Berik too. There is the warmth if history, shared experience, commitment, overtime.
Somehow, the open Mic has been carrying on downstairs with another eclectic gathering. Everyone has been quite cool and cooperative.  Outside a torrential downpour---like rainy season in Nicaragua—is threatening a flash flood. No one’s going  anywhere for awhile.
Luoe and friend

I am trying to focus on a succession of electric acts in the chapel, but I’m still between two places. By the time my set comes up, most if the regulars have cycled through including Joe, who may be the only one I know who could pull off a performance of Old Mac Donald, and Pat O who finished with one of his favorites, Jackson Browne’s Something Fine.  As for me, I finish with It Ain’t Me Babe, just like I intended to last week and feel good about it.

The highlight though, has to be Steve B’s performance of his original song about Open Mics and jams…I’m sure I’ll get ti right next open mic…a fine piece of work. And he also sings a song about a couple he just married who had been together for 40 years. He reveals he’s a clergyman. Turns out a rabbi. We need to have a conversation. RL wants to make a video. 

On her way out, Lupe says they want to have Ambassador Francisco Campbell in the fall, along with Noam Chomsky. I’m glad y went well. The rain is stopping. Another good night.

                                                              Something Fine

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