Saturday, May 24, 2014

Easter 33 and 34: Happy Birthday Bob....hip hop is something you are


Pat O in for his weekly check in with Danielle and I and our to do lists. We haven’t made as much progress a last week, but simply getting it all down is reassuring and cuts through the confusion.

Steven S is in making his rounds and getting everything in shape. It's a relief to finally have someone in this position.

Everyday there are several people who just want to walk in and pray awhile. Karen has been playing her music nearly every day.

Long conversation with Marina. Noche is pressing ahead with Antigone. There will be a staging this summer in Phoenix and then a full production in Seattle in the fall. I can’t wait to see this.

regroup Theatre people in almost every day working on Mc Alpin. Looking forward to their August residency.

Off to some independent film screenings  at Milica’s gallery.


And today Pat meets with me to work on our 60 day plan. I need to get hold of the congregational development side of this. And we have to keep moving within  our time constraints. The clock is ticking.

Pat leaves with just enough time to rehearse before tonight’s Open Mic. We accept Mandola’s challenge to honor Bob Dylan’s birthday weekend with most of us coming up with at least one Dylan song. As for me, I’m working on Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, which begins When you’re lost  in the rain in Juarez…

RL starts it off with an early Bob Dylan’s Dream, a young man’s song from  this old man’ perspective.
Ed S
From RL’s parody Walk, walk walkin’, out Dylan’s door…endin with at least 6 versions of Dylan’s voice to Ed S’s deconstruction to Pat O’s traditional folk treatment to Mandola’s Robert Service style presentation to my own, it’s a full night. With Joe running it like a competition. We all won.

Gave me a chance to tell my Juarez story. How I was doing a consultation in El Paso. Took a tour with the Presbyterians. Felt completely dissatisfied. Took a cab back to the border. Went to the Kentucky Club. Met a couple of journalists who volunteered to give me a night time tour of Juarez. Una noche felliniesca, they called it. I saw a neighborhood springing up at night out of cardboard and tin and several thousand people. A club with a 1950’s Cleveland strip club vibe and an mc with a pencil mustache. Singing cuando caliente el sol with senoritas de la noche.  And too many wonders to describe. Walking across the bridge, as the sun was rising, I realized the Dylan song was not surrealismo but realismo. The first time I opened Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I got it immediately. Magical realism is every bit as real as it is magical.
Lost in the rain

Of course Nick played his best banjo yet. David L doubled as a photographer, taking pictures all night. Friends of John J turned out to hear the guy who is giving us Austin right here in NYC. Steve B, who Joe caught at his day job doing a wedding in the Park, another solid 3 song set.

And Jelani, a young rapper, waited all night long for his set. He lost his words after he got his flow going. But then he just stopped, talked straight from his heart about what he sees in his community. There was clarity and anguish and passion. I recalled our conversation last week in my class in Newark about how some rappers simply fulfill the worst of white imposed stereotypes, as described by womanist theologian  Kelly Brown Douglass. I see what Jelani is trying to do. Am reminded again about the sanctuary role of the Black church in communities. And as KRS1 once said, rap is something you do, hip hop is something you are.

Time to go debrief.

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