Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Fever, High Wires and Garden Clean Up Days

Poster for Spring Fever Circus Cabaret.

This week, the crescendo of Spring conferences and talks rose to a swirl with a final two dashing across the streets of the city, reflecting on the travails of cycling, the challenges of storms, and possibilities & limitations of agency in our global city.   The conversations which take place with these talks are part of what makes it fun to do this.  So are the adventures I enjoy with buddies, with family afterward when its all done. Dinners with friends on Friday.  Conversations with students Saturday.  And garden clean ups with the Times Up! gang on Sunday.  

And the city opens spaces with lights and color, music and performance... to unwind. 

Riding over to a Saturday conference at St Joseph College, I was in awe of the beauty of Spring in Ft. Green.  My students and a tremendous colleague were there to greet me.  My friend Loretta Pyles was there to help us compare the experience of Super Storm Sandy with her experience in New Orleans with Katrina.  "Solidarity, not Charity" was the slogan for Common Ground.  "Mutual Aid, Not Charity" for Sandy.  These movements build on themselves, borrowing from bits and pieces of each other, as history traces its arch on our lives and stories.  Countless participants in the session wanted to talk about their crazy experiences with the storms and the ways they have had  to cope.  Five months later, one woman there was still displaced, couch surfing.  Another had brought her kids to live with her parents.  Yet, she still takes her kids to volunteer her in the shelter, where they can see they can still help out.  So many of the stories start to sound the same, the images the disaster seem same from Katrina to Sandy, noted Loretta.  Yet, are we learning from the lessons...?  No one is entirely sure, except that it looks like we're still trying to grapple with what to do to prevent the next disaster, if possible. 

Finishing the conference I hung out with the gals in Williamsburg, hanging at the Spring Fling trapeze show. The luminary Jennifer Miller was there to greet us, with jokes in hand. 

I've never been one for dance, but the precarious bodies descending down the trapeze felt both mesmerizing and terrifying.  Lights shone in through windows as performers hung, flying to and fro from the ceiling, depending on strings, hung from the ceiling.  

Performers on deck watched from the balcony, looking down, anticipating their show.

The city seems to open up in these moments of raw ambition, performance, and exposing one's self to what is precarious and alive along the way.  The ambition to destroy is also the ambition to create.  So many ideas careening through space, colors tracing through the sky, across the sidewalk. 

Finishing the show, we walked over to the Kidstheater on E.4th in the East Village. I had gotten a tip on the show from a picture on the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space fb page.

Photo and Caption by MORUS: On a chilly day in February a group of ebullient young people filled our space with warmth and laughter when they stopped by, "en masse," as part of a scavenger hunt. It turned out they were the cast of a production of RENT opening at the Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street, on Friday, March 29.

The exercise was designed to get the teens acquainted with the history of the neighborhood and help prepare them for their roles. While some may argue that when Jonathan Larson’s tale of bohemian love, triumph and tragedy became a Broadway smash it put the East Village in the sites of cultural predators, the charm of these kids is undeniable.

Three of the 12 performances are already sold out but the show runs through Sunday, April 7. For more information about the RENT cast, tickets and Kidz Theater -- http://kidztheater.squ

The kids performed with delightful lack of abandon.  I had been inspired to go by the MoRUS folks who had been invited by the cast.  On our way home, we passed MoRUS, where people were popping in and out, enjoying the evening air.

Waking up with the sunshine, we cooked, played cards, hung out, strolled, clean gardens and enjoyed the city, one afternoon and forever.

Green Oasis Garden on 8th opened up to us, inviting us to clean and enjoy , conspire, find secret hiding places, swing and mulch.

Later we strolled, enjoyed some of trees, art, egg creams, and perogies which only the village can offer us.  

Hamming it up and strolling down Ave A, our fun weekend passed into memory. 

The other day on the Peace Ride, Keegan played Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.

But now I know that rose trees never grow in New York City
Until you've seen this trash can dream come true
You stand at the edge while people run you through
And I thank the Lord there's people out there like you
I thank the Lord there's people out there like you

I am so glad I have friends and buddies, artists and comrades, students and fellow New Yorkers, such as all you.

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