Sunday, July 19, 2015

Paradox, perplexity and profound beauty


Moselle, RL and Rachel

 The end of the day gets thrown off by a surprise. I’m in the chapel with Jeremy working out a new song, when Jamie calls wanting a conference. (Earlier Alex Fry and her violin player and another singer had been in rehearsing for Alex’s show next week..) Everything else gets set aside. By the end of the extended day, we have finished negotiating the long anticipated deal with the Shen Wei Dance Company. ( One of the premiere companies in the  world. Signed, sealed, delivered. We get closer.

A congratulatory beer with Jamie at the B then back to West-Park for Open Mic, tonight in Mc Alpin  due to the Antigona performance downstairs. It’s an interesting night. The event of the  night is that  RL niece Rachel and her daughter Moselle are here for a visit
RL opens
. First time meeting. So RL opens with his family song, Pinto. ( Mandola Joe is back after a long absence with a solid set, mainly here for RL’s relations.
Mandola Joe
Chris San Juan does a solid set of stand up comedy. 
Chris San Juan
And first time visitor Brian Jacques brings his original music. 
Brian Jacques
Hip hop artist Devin Hunter is also  a newcomer. 
Brian Devin Hunter
Actor, singer and all around blues man Mike Handelman is in on a break from his ongoing role in the Fools and Kings Project’s production of rarely produced King John.
Mike Handelman
( One week left ) Then Mike’s friend James Leaf delivered a powerful set of spoken word poetry.
James Leaf

I did a set dedicated  to friend  who is on her way back to home. So I began with my Lonely Hearts, brought in Ripple and finished with my new Carolina Goin’ Home…Still needs work. Then went downstairs to meet My friend Liljana and her friends who’d just seen Antigona. They were of course, blown away. Noche is excited about having received two Bessie award nominations. ( and an amzin greovew in the upcoming New Yorker magazine.(

Pat O’Connell (of the Great Open Mic Tour of 2015 (ttps:// is back for a solid set with his killer Old Soldier.
Pat O' Connell
Steve Bea does his stand up, sensitive to the fact that RL’s grand niece Moselle is 15
Steve Bea
and Dion closes out with his own stand up.
The one and only Dion
And then, of course, RL finishing with Stay Awhile.
Moselle, RL and Rachel

Patrick and I head for the Gate to talk about how we could take this to the next level.  All in all, a good night.


I come to the church to prepare for tomorrow after spending a hot afternoon at Summit Rock in Central Park watching Mike’s performance. I finish my work and wrote a long email to a friend discussing issues like truth and beauty, liberation vs. transformation, the future of the church, things like that while on the other side of my office wall, Noche was making  beauty, which by definition has to be true.

I watch the last fifteen minutes, including Soli’s incendiary last dance. And wait for RL’s niece Rachel and Moselle. We go up to RL’ s office and talk awhile then all go the Gate for a late dinner. There are questions. And stories. A few tears. But those are their stories to tell when and how and where they want to. Moselle is here to spend a month with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, pretty cool stuff for 15 year old.

This afternoon, I wrote my friend about what Rubem Alves said about how North American Christians want to leap too fast to the happy ending. That we need to be able to explore life in all its paradox, perplexity but most of all profound beauty.  As I said to Martin, truth can never be summarized in 25 words or less or 140 character tweets. At best, we see it, hear it, and say one word, yes.

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