Okay, to add to my earlier post, my homegirl Eisa Davis has written a bomb piece and it’s nearing the end so catch it before you kick yourself.
“Lively! The form of the mixtape
elevates the play!”
By Eisa Davis
Directed by Liesl Tommy
With Kim Brockington Denise Burse Eisa Davis
Ayesha Ngaujah Linda Powell
Wanna know more? Check out the blog!
Watch the video!
“On this mixtape, style will dictate, we bounce back and forth in time…”
Using the rhythms of music and memory, Eisa tells the story of a radical upbringing on the dividing line between Oakland and Berkeley, California– in a family that includes her aunt, professor and activist Angela Davis.
Time shifts between the 70s, 80s, and 90s as smoothly as a DJ fading from song to song. Each track, each memory, has a built-in switch to the next, for theatrical momentum that keeps on building.
The music crosses styles and decades, but it’s hip-hop and a b-girl stance that keeps the piece bouncing in the present.
NOW– May 2, 2009
Mondays through Saturdays :: 8 PM
Ohio Theatre :: 66 Wooster Street ::Soho
Premium (Reserved) Seating - $35
General Admission/Seniors/Students - $20
Mondays pay-what-you-will (at the door only)
I love LOVE August Wilson. Really I do. He was a word genius. Yes, you feel it coming, don’t you? BUT, I have to say that even in his echoing glorious passing, he is still having plays done by institutions that would rather do the safe black play as opposed to try out new black playwrights. At this point, I don’t even know if one could consider me new but I still shove myself into that category because, nine times out of ten, August is still going to snap up that one black play spot most theaters have room for (the ones that aren’t primarily “black” already). We should give him a little time to come back with less frequency so we can enjoy voices under 45 for a minute. I’m serious. But that doesn’t negate my love and worship of him. So with that said, the fam over at Africanvoices.com have arranged for friends and family of AF visiting/living in NYC to go see “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at Lincoln Center for a deal. Sigh. Deets below:
August Wilson’s JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE — SAVE 50%*
“AUGUST WILSON’S JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE IS A DRAMA OF INDISPUTABLE GREATNESS…
…It’s a splendid production about the migration and dispersal of a race and culture, searching for an identity and home. The essence of this production is in its organic acting by one of the strongest ensembles in town. It’s a pleasure to watch.” –The New York Times
“A BOLD, BLUESY SYMPHONY! The impeccable ensemble performances are flawlessly tuned to the rhythms of Wilson’s dialogue. Director Bartlett Sher has honored this extraordinary play with a production of piercing depth and shimmering beauty.” –Variety
“I HAVEN’T SPENT A BETTER NIGHT ON BROADWAY ALL SEASON LONG! A must see! It will remind you of how good live theater can be – and send you home unwilling to settle for anything less than the very best.” –The Wall Street Journal
“ESSENTIAL VIEWING! This impeccable revival is ablaze in theatricality!” –Associated Press
WITH: Marsha Stephanie Blake, Chad L. Coleman, Michael Cummings, Aunjanue Ellis, Danai Gurira, Andre Holland, Arliss Howard, Ernie Hudson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Amari Rose Leigh and Roger Robinson.
Please visit www.lct.org for interviews with the cast and more detail.
Discount Coupon for African Voices Family
Lincoln Center Theater’s Production of
August Wilson’s JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE
At the Belasco Theater on Broadway
Now through June 14:
$49.00 (regularly $96.50) Orch/Front Mezz
$39.00 (regularly $76.50) Rear Mezz
$26.50 (regularly $51.50) Balcony
BUY ONLINE: VisitBroadwayOffers.com use code JTAVC330
BUY BY PHONE: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code JTAVC330
BUY IN PERSON:
Bring a printout of this email to the Belasco Theatre Box Office,
111 West 44th Street: Mon-Sat: 10am to 8:30pm, Sun: Noon to 6pm.
*All prices include a $1.50 Shubert theater facility fee. Limit six tickets per order. Regular phone/online service charges apply. Subject to availability. Offer may be revoked at any time. No retroactive discounts
This one was inspired my dear friend, Yvie. In the spirit of Charles Mee, I have no issue putting up my fiction because there is no such thing as something that hasn’t come before something else. This is an evolution of a bunch of different word combinations. Holler!
Zoie Runs Into Herself
by t.tara turk
On the bus in the foreign country she’d only read about, she thought about the fact that she was supposed to feel akin to the faces around her because of their shared skin color. But she didn’t. Not in the least. Though there was a similarity in culture (because she read a lot, she realized because these folks were the origin of a lot of what she had now), she realized people often ignored the surface reputation of things. Like their fried chicken was not her mothers. And despite couscous being delicious and all, it was in no way the same thing as a big mushy creamy buttery glob of her grandmother’s mashed potatoes. AND (this was the last AND because she hated to carry on too much - this was evident since she was traveling by herself by choice), this country did NOT have macaroni and cheese. In fact, she didn’t even know where she could find some cheese. Cheese was so necessary.
Nobody really spoke to her. They looked at her big nappy curly hair and it was as if they could tell that she was listening to Joe Cocker in her ears. Like she had a big tshirt that said “Not One Of You At All” since they’d already sneered at her a few times and then overcharged her for things like mangoes and cowry shell necklaces. It’s not everyone, she had to admit. But it’s like when you’re dating, it’s not all the guys that give you issues. Just the fucked up ones. In a sense, it was a fucked one that sent her here. Sent her to this writer’s workshop in the middle of a country that was just as close to her as one of her cousins from down south whose vernacular she could barely make out so she just sort of grinned and nodded, mentally recording the voice for later to dissect while she tried to fall asleep because she wasn’t so much of an asshole that she would just dismiss what she didn’t get.
She had to get out of her head. Normally when she left their “dorms” (odd that she was a fairly grown New Yorker living in a dorm but it had some kind of kitschy value when she first heard of it), it took a moment for her to decompress. She imagines being sprayed like Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood after some plant contamination. That’s what it felt like. She had to scrub her mind of some the literary and personal ridiculousness that came out of her fellow “writers” mouths, thus missing lots of the red dirt, old men haggling in a thick patios, the colorful outfits of women who barely make enough to afford a dollar menu in any American city. Oh if she could be a camera sometimes and replay things that she missed just because she was in her head. On cue, the bus jumps and hits one of the many lumps in the road and her head is knocked against a window. A little boy in front of her laughs, his teeth white and glaring in a way that most beauty queens would kill for, and rubs the spot on his head where she was hit. She smiles back at him and then he, shy, turns, away from her, dimming his own grin. He buries his soft brown head into his mother’s arm as she rattles on to a group of other woman in way that reminds her of a politician. There is elaborate hand movement, words that start at the top of the sound wave and then work their way down to some kind of mom bass, head nodding and smiling. His little fingers spread like a small birds tail and he grasps his mothers juicy looking arm. This doesn’t deter the mother at all from her politicking. Her own mother would have pulled away or shot her a look.
“ZWA!” he says, reading her name after his brow wrinkles. She looks down and smiles to herself. Yes, it could be read like that since her mom was one of those Respellers. It’s Zoie. But she goes with it and nods to the little boy and, upon further thinking, decides that ZWA sounds better anyway. Especially if she gave up the writing thing and decided to be like a rock star or a DJ (her dream) or something much more useful. Even after the little boy and his mother have left the bus, she is still looking at her moving panaramic landscape and her dumb spelling name, back and forth like a tennis match. How does this name fit say, oh, that building with the old popular soda pop (she likes that word combination a lot) ads of white people with glistening Farrah Fawcett hair and muscle cars chugalugging delicious carbonated chemical beverages? She gets it. She’s a hybrid like the ad. Adverstising some place she doesn’t really belong. She was a citizen of the world up until she decided to actually see the world which also made her see that she wasn’t very worldly at all. Go figure.
In the midst of the trees that looked like the poor man’s safari, she was trying to write a story about this journey. It wasn’t going very well for a few reasons: 1) she was trying to write on a very shakey shockless bus (without a sports bra thank you) 2) she had ADD and couldn’t stop looking at all the different people getting on the bus, on top of the bus, on the side of the bus - haggling and laughing, some screeches she couldn’t assess the emotional backing of, lots of animals sounds and delicious smells of things she really couldn’t identify, wondering if her apartment back in the city had a toilet overflow (happened often) and why she should worry if she was pissing with no fears in a room similar to an outhouse but inside a building, wondering if he missed her, wondering why she wasn’t attracted to anybody she saw there, wondering if she were, would they try to marry her to get into her country and then make her look foolish whereas she would end up on Dr. Phil or something - ADD 3) she had writers block because all the other writers at this workshop where generally the very kind she detested: the kind that are like bad Halloween remakes of the writers they love. There was Holly who thought she was Flannery O’Connor so everything out of her mouth sounded like she was trying to be off key like a Billie Holiday song but she ended up sounded like some nut from a halfway house. There was Peter who thought he was Brett Easton Ellis of the 00’s and ended up sounding like the PR guy for crystal meth. There was Clara who hadn’t read anything past 1928. And lastly there was Ayaro who liked to right like a slam poet and only ended up waking everyone up from their foreign body clock haze like a shock jock in the morning. Of course, they probably coined her the same way she coined them. Well, they actually told her. To her face.
It was the third day of their workshop. Perhaps MAYBE she wasn’t as good as she should have been in holding her reactions to the other writers’ “masterpieces” (she distinctly remembered only thinking, “I sure wish I could find a good juicy website to read”) when, after their lunch break, she walked into the room and they all rolled their eyes at her.
Later the roundtable went something like a passive aggressive interrogation tactic. “I just really feel,” said Peter the Brett, “like we should make room for everybody’s style here without judging. I mean like fuck judging, yeah? Just fuck it. This is supposed to be safe space.” Peter the Brett only wore blazers and t shirts. Even if it was fucking a million degrees outside. His dark hair was in STARK contrast to his pale white skin. Zoie was doodling him and his blue veins and nodding, unaware that passive aggressive had a target with her face on it. Holly the Flannery just rolled her eyes back at Zoie. Zoie could tell she was wasted and it was only 10am. Holly the Flannery’s hair fell like red wave over her half mast eyes and her head kept moving around her shoulder region without any music. Ayaro tried to cypher with her before class. Something about “Peace Queen…vibing in so important with us here in this spiritual land of the ancestors who’s blood falls from our everyword like juice squeezed from oranges stolen too soon.” Zoie raised her eyebrows, like she was trying to figure out a mathematical equation. Bullshit plus ego minus meaning equals….but Ayaro didn’t notice and felt his effort to “conversate” had been enough to sway her over to be, well, nice. He had left Zoie in an after cloud of nag champa incense. Bouncing almost away in his brown suede classic Pumas. Clara was the surprise. She could give a shit. But then she always looked like she was about to walk in a river with stones in her pocket. Her sallow cheeks and sinewy arms only really met when Clara reached for a cigarette. Zoie was, however, fascinated when Clara would take a drag on her rolled cigarette and stick her tongue out to release the loose bits of tobacco trapped from her inhale. To Zoie, it was like spitting out dirt. She wondered if Clara had been one of those kids eating dirt on the playground and therefore smoking rolled cigarettes made her feel…safe.
Zoie was pissed that she was remembering her classmates while the bus was hitting a nice cruising altitude throw some lush greenery that she’d only ever seen in magazines. It was like the postcard of a 50s Redwood Forest minus the milky family and the dog. She let her nose inhale the earthy smell of the animal shit, the pond water, the blooming flowers, the swaying green leaves. She wanted to take a nose picture of it because back in New York there would be moments where she wouldn’t remember this moment. She would look at the forty year old gum stuck on the concrete and not believe that there could be anything that resembled a painting of heaven that had come to life. Maybe in the subway she would stop this time when the Jehovah Witness Harlem Ladies Who Lunch in Church Hats handed her a Watchtower. Just for the picture. She had no time for nothing else.
Well, she did. But she did nothing about it.
She looked down at her pad and realized that she didn’t have anything written down. It was no secret that she was the one person in the writing group who hadn’t written a clear concise paragraph just yet. They were supposed to bring in new pages every afternoon and she did…just different ones. The point was to have a novel by the time they left. Everyone else, in their random mini issues, had been able to carve out at least a story that they were able to follow, drunk or not. Except Zoie. She’d written “the” a few times and then “Al” but only because she wanted to put an “x” over his name like a big target since he was back in New York, not giving a shit about her. Fucking the new girl. Pretending he just grew up the other day. Zoie put her pen down and starting biting her nails. Actually gnawing on them. When she looked up she saw two huge eyes staring at her. Behind the eyes was the most adorable little girl she’d ever seen. The lashes brushed the girl’s cheek. Her skin was like fudge. Her dimples looked like a butterfly just gently pushed an indent in the girls cheeks. She smiled. Zoie was entranced. The little girl made her vagina ache for one of her own…or the one that was there and that she lost. The little girl caused a hollow echo inside Zoie. Outside a beautiful rainbow smelling wind blew and by the time it reached Zoie, it was the sound of a sinking ships bowels vibrating in dark water. She wrote that down. Sinking ships bowels.
She expected the concert to release her from writer’s block. She wanted it to give her the balls behind her eye rolling in the workshop, the courage to face the blank page, the ability to drown Al’s face when she went for a swim in the river with the children from the nearby village who liked to sing Mariah Carey songs…she wanted permission to return to herself.
The bus was emptier than it was when she first got on. There was less chaos and less clicking of tongues, fluttering like chicken wings. There was just Zoie and a few old people rocking back and forth with the tire bumps, almost swaying with the wind outside. She could have sworn they were connected. Not that time mattered but she looked at her tattered leather worn watch and saw she only had forty more minutes before she got to the city where the concert was. She’d packed a bag small enough to maybe spend the night if the mood hit her. That mood usually never did. Her own mother had a expressed a body shattering awe when she told her she was going to another country to write.
“But you don’t even like going outside,” she’d said, Zoie hearing the words curl around the end of a cigarette even though they were on the phone.
She wanted to say, “yeah, when you discover the man you love becoming a man after he’s left your bed, you will try going to the moon to not be in your own skin…your own obviously contaminated skin…” but she didn’t. She said, “Yeah, well, I’m almost thirty so I guess there’s some stuff I should see if I can.” She said this to hurt her mother. She knows it. She looked out the window and could admit this to the women the bus flew passed, their skin smooth with acceptance but brows furrowed in an effort to resist, futile resistance against whatever life brought them. Her mother had never gone anywhere either. But she wanted to. She always talked about ridiculous adventures of real estate in Vegas, medical billing in Florida, driving the cost of the PCH in Los Angeles after a hard day of something other than being a clerk. Whenever the opportunity arose though, her mother balked. There was always a reason she could find, like gum in her purse, for not going. But she didn’t know this about herself. She saw herself as a go - getter. Zoie saw herself as someone who had been gotten.
She made shapes out shapes out of the sweat stains on the bus drivers back. A heart breaking. A car driving along the beach. Words disappearing into thin air.
But they didn’t really disappear. Though Zoie would have dismissed this next phenom as “bullshit”, her words would always travel. This particular moment they were traveling across seas, taking a tour that Africans did once except without sickness - perhaps a little of the same fear, confusion and anger - but non of the disjointed feeling of someone ripping a body part called home from one’s existence. She couldn’t even feel her words travel. They slid along water, seeing things she would never see, animals no scientist could dream of conceiving, dancing along the water’s shadowy depths, all the way to the A train on 125th street during a hot humid summer afternoon where a train was being in held in the station and should be moving shortly. All the way to him.
Zoie would not believe this but he did think of her often. It had been a year and her face did appear in the oddest places as he went about his daily life. He could even hear the cadence of her speech and her words as clear as if they were their own entity, their own being. He was standing up and holding a bar on the train, now moving side to side, trying desparately not to touch anyone on either side of him because the air condition was broken. And it was hot. A putrid hot that smelled like fermented blues. He could feel a few girls checking him out but he didn’t return the look anymore. Not in the past few months. He was tempted but, and this last thing would surprise the twenty-one year old version of him, he felt like a loser. He had played Zoie wrong. For the first few months after he left, he would rationalize all the reasons he cooked up as having to hit the door. She was talky. She was so chipper. She was not so deep sometimes. She was so grounded. She was too much of a measuring stick for his own short comings. Before Zoie, he was tall and fine and walked around waiting for the clouds to land on his nose. He could say all the right things, write all the funny quips, give the perfect glance. He was the measuring stick. But then her greatness cast a shadow on him.
The train moved fast now. Somebody had opened one of the small windows as the train headed downtown towards Columbus Circle. He had this urge to hit Lincoln Center. Like zombies, everyone on the train moved silently from side to side, finding a multitude of things to look at rather than each other. There was year old gum. There was discarded newspaper parts, dissected like class project and thrown around the car. There were interesting shoes, odd coats in the summer time, heavy Mr. T jewelry hanging around necks of brown and beige, colors of Puerto Rican flags in t shirts, socks, pants, sweaters and odd metro card accessories. Interested in everything but each other. A bead of sweat travels down his square forehead. Normally he would wipe it but he wanted to feel it travel down his forehead, cross his eyebrow, and slide down the side of his face, like a tear coming out of the wrong side of his eye. He enjoyed it. Like those monks that like to beat themselves for Jesus, he felt anything that made him look like he was near making alms, was good for him. Even if it went unnoticed by anybody in the subway car.
People pushed in the car and people pushed out but he stood there, stoic, challenging himself to be a statue, to be still and let things happen. He had no way of knowing that across the world Zoie watched other people push in and out of an old bus that looked like a rejected school mascot. And Zoie was still but not by choice. Her thoughts would render her paralyzed at times. He did remember that. If he knew where she was and why, he would have pictured her sitting there, pink mouth open a little, exposing two slightly buck teeth, breath stealthily escaping without disturbing her stillness. Her eyeballs would situate themselves to the one side, her back would hunch a little, she would hold her right thumb in between her index and middle finger…and she would stay that way. He loved that pose. Better than Mona Lisa. Better than that chick with the pearl earring or whatever. Zoie was a genius. He loved to sit and watch that pose, imagining atoms bouncing off the insides of her brain like a class of kindergartens at FAO Schwartz after a meal of Cookie Crisps, Hawaiian Punch and Gummy Bears sprinkled on sundaes. ZOOM!
Why this sudden trip down Zoie Avenue? It could be that he looked at Lisa, the girl he thought was more interesting, this morning and realized that she wasn’t. She was just Lisa. And Lisa was fine….just sorta fine. She had no poses. She isn’t especially linked to genius that he could see. She had a nice laugh, sort of like Julia Roberts, clunky and goofy. Sometimes, he realized, he could look and not see her thinking her skin was from some funky X-Men accident where it blended into the wall. But she was there. Her silly questions would wake him from his dream of her. She thought she was adorable. That’s it, he thought. She was the girl in highschool with thick lipgloss and sticky gum who was always complimented on her long hair, her cafe skin and her long legs. She bought her standard of beauty like a bag of groceries. Lisa carried it around the entire apartment, all the time. They didn’t live together. He wasn’t that crazy. He knew Zoie thought they did. He knew Zoie thought they were playing house. House. In front him, real house. A tired looking dad holding his running nosed two-year old on his knee….looking fragile but everytime the car shifted, the dad’s grip tightened. That’s house. Not for him. The two year old was staring at the sweat sliding down his head, with her mouth open, like Zoie. He smiled at her. The two year old had no interest in smiling back.
Lisa would smile at him if he smiled back. She would wave if he waved. Was the shoe on the other foot? Not treally. Actually not at all. She does things all the time that he doesn’t mimic because he thinks that’s how it’s supposed to be. Do you, ma. He closed his eyes to see if he could remember how Zoie felt under his arm. Real, substantial, warm skin sticking to his warm skin, her fingers strumming his lower back absently while she read the subway ads and laughed at them. Lisa was under his other arm. He can’t quite say he feels her flesh, more like the peach fuzz from her body, her angular limbs, her scent placing itself on his arms, her looking at him and then looking at other people looking at him. Agh. What a fucker, he thought. How did he get piqued by this girl? She was a girl. She flirted. He was intrigued. Intrigue turned into routine, routine turned into thereyouhaveit.
He would not have broken up with Zoie but it was like a car going out of control. He stepped out of the subway and took a deep breath in his lungs. Cigarettes and hot dogs. Lovely. He was irritable that day and she was irritable that day, talking about something she wanted to do but something he knew she wouldn’t. Go to some third world country and join a writer’s group. Not in her character, he told her. Zoie was the stable girl. The bill payer. The pro and conner. The be reasonable girl. Some thing clicked that day as he sat on her couch, drinking some of her tea, feet on her coffee table. He saw it click in her head. She got up. She threw things in the sink. She stomped around. She slammed her doors. He sat there. And then big argument bomb blew. Accusations like artillery from a lost war. Fingers pointing. Eyes of fire. Pride wall growing as big at two Walls of China facing each other. And then she told him he was a “fucking kid who would never group and always live in his head, giving two shits about the rest of us on Earth.” Like an indie film, he remembers clomping down the stair well like a jackal…he couldn’t get away from her fast enough.
And he didn’t suffer from withdrawl. It may be because Lisa was there. But he didn’t feel a big gaping hole like Hiroshima. He felt more like a hot pot of seventeen alarm fire chili sauce. But he could live with that. Lisa’s blowjobs and finding new things to do in the city with her ex Alvin Ailey friends was a nice vacation. But he’d never been on vacation for a long time before. It was kinda dull. He wanted home.
Before he reached the steps of Lincoln Center, he could feel the mist from the fountain in the center. It was matinee time. There were hundreds of people perched around it and on it like kids who wouldn’t leave the nest. He walked around it, waiting for a spot to clear so he could pull out his package of butter cookies and his bottle of sparkling water. He noticed that very few people dressed for occasions anymore. He felt like if you were going in to see an opera or something, you should at least let the art’s vibrations hit some kind of outfit you could be proud of it and not something you hung plants in earlier. Afrohouse attire was not the same as opera attire. You were supposed to move and sweat and in afrohouse, thus your jeans and t-shirts or spaghetti tanks (he loved the girls in those), giving some space for the beat to hit and allowing them to drop to the floor and spin back up if necessary. But some painted lady with a boombox in her belly, tearing your heart out over her man lost at war deserves a blazer…some clean socks maybe? These kids today….some of them were even meeting old people who knew what to wear. The ocassion was obvlious to them. Because it was daylight.
He likes to come here because it is conducive to feeling like you’re at the corner of your art and ancient art. Sometimes, in the summer, there is nothing but art inside and in this center, charging around the fountain like mischevious dwarves. Once he and Zoie came here for a Ben Harper and Gang concert. A whole tribe of multi-hued gypsies showed up. The Birkenstock crew from the Upper Westside and Brooklyn. The four inch wedge girls with the natural hair and the coco mango oils resting on their skin. The headwrapped afrohouse boys with their backpacks and baggy jeans. The pseudo-preps with their popped polo shirt collars and dark crips jeans. Everybody came for love. That day he was filled with love for Zoie. That day he was not taking for granted her warm caramel skin and cateye glasses. He could see bits of sunshine dug deep into her face. He couldn’t stop touching her round pouch of a stomach or the small of her back. That day he loved her completely and wholly, his eyes unable to leave her. The vision of her dimples were burned into his corneas so that even when he went to a stand to get her lemonade, he couldn’t even stop seeing them.
She was still on the bus, riding and rocking side to side like a parishoner who refuses to leave the gospel. The bus driver turned a few minutes prior and told her that the city was coming and she would get off then. When he turned, the shirt unstuck itself from his back and all of her shapes disappeared. She was humming a song, remembering Him and the last time she knew they were truly happy together. Lincoln Center. The fountain. The people. The summer in New York City was so potent you could drunk it and wake up with an aching hang over for long ago. She remembers his fingers touching her skin and rising up slowly, only to land back down on her skin again. She could not stop smiling at him. There were hundreds of people around them, some where even breakdancing, but they felt as if this were their world and they were just having company. The night was falling through the skyscapers around them. Each of their lips was salty from the pretzel they shared and tart from the lemonade he bought. Ben Harper was singing to them, a song that he only sang live that one time. Strawberry Fields. Oh she loved that song. She wore out the CD from the movie it was in. She listened to it over and over and over again. The way Ben played it, sometimes it felt like she was falling right there in that moment into a Alice and Wonderland abyss from which she knew she would never recover. And she did it everytime she heard that song.
When he left her, she never listened to it again. Not for any other reason other than all things reminding her of him where banned. But she could not ban her heart so she liked to try and escape it. Midnight subway rides. Long walks along Central Park. Running to a third world country to write a story she could not find. However, that morning when she saw in the papers that Ben Harper was going to be in this city when she was, she realized it was a sign. That she should run towards something for once. Perhaps whatever it was would be there when she got there but she should still run forward anyways. The backwards thing was not working.
The bus stopped and she filed out with the rest of the silent riders. It was heading towards evening and she was remembering the directions in her mind by curling her eys up and doing everything but saying them under her breath. That would have been a dead give away that she was a foreigner. She was, afterall, from the city. She turned left with confidence, then right with a smidge more confidence, right again with a little less confidence. She walked past women packing their brightly covered vegetables and gossiping like school girls. She held her breath when walking past a group of elderly men, smoking cigars and talking politics like it was a car they’d left by the side of the road. And then she saw the stage. It was minimal and light sparsely. Ben sat on a chair and played that guitar you can lay on your lap. She didn’t know what that was called.
The rest of the night, she shared coconut water with a group of teenage girls who wanted badly to come to America and meet Kanye West, did the generic rasta rock with a couple of white girls with dreadlocks from Northern California, laughed and cried with some Sarah Lawrence girls who were backpacking across the country for their break. Oh Ben Harper’s soundtrack just filled her empty spaces and brought family like strangers from all points of that area that night. While she loved all the songs, she just kept waiting for that one. The one she knows he doesn’t do very often in concert. The one that was a long shot but might be the one that would give her heart back.
She could tell when the conert was winding down, when the musicians were forgetting they were onstage because they were having so much fun. When the line between audience and performer started to blur and lyrics shouted out from the middle of the night wafting up to Ben’s microphone. When one tall lanky man in a Brazil yellow t-shirt wiped the sweat from his brow with his hand and Ben was wiping his own hand on his pants. When Zoie was rolling up her jeans so the loose dirt wouldn’t cake itself around the bottoms and another girl was putting up her hair in a bun to let the cool sweat travel down her spine. And then he thanked them with love, breathless, grinning hard, nodding at his band members and exited.
Something in her sank. While she had just been elevated, she’d felt herself hit her head on her own expectation. It was silly, she thought. In a world where people pray for food, heathcare, shelter, rain, sunshine, foodstamps and love, she was praying for a song. And she knew that a piece of her would die a little if she didn’t hear it. That shamed her. She stood there as folks mulled around, like a family reunion, before heading to the exits. But she just stood there.
He was walking up Broadway, aimlessly, after spending the afternoon on the fountain reading Paul Beatty’s novel and knowing he would never be that talented, when he started humming the song. It was a song he hadn’t thought of in so long, the last time at the fountain with Zoie and joy and a swollen full heart like happy well fed baby. After that, he never thought of the song again. Until then. It was a perfect interesection of things. An old book store that Zoie could never get enough of, the smell of the flowers and ripe mangos from the bodega, a trumpet player taking his trumpet out of its case to play for change, the cold lemonade in his hand. All these things at this intersection made him finally see the point of this whole day where the sun and all the planets aligned themselves for truth in his heart, even if he wasn’t ready to do anything about it.
He stood on the corner of 72nd and Broadway, in front of the big building that Zoie always said she wanted to live in with the gate and the gatekeeper and the courtyard in the middle of the city. She said it was like a castle with NYC perks. He stood there and put his hands out a little and took a deep breath.
Zoie, I was wrong. I want to send something to make it right, he thought. He reached down from the inside of his feet and tried with all his might to send something…anything. That would be the first step. That would be him…moving forward.
Zoie finally turned when she accepted that she wasn’t going to hear the song. She picked up her foot and before it could land, there was wild applause and the lights came back on. Zoie spun around and Ben was back, picking up his guitar, his band members setting down their cigarettes and beer bottles to pick up their instruments.
She knew from the first chord.
He knew he’d done it when he heard the trumpet player play the first chord.
Zoie ran forward towards the stage, sliding past people and making sure not to trip on the empty coconut gourds.
He walked diagnolly across the street to the trumpet player, digging into his pocket for a ten dollar bill he knew was in there because he wasn’t one to have extra.
She was there by the time he opened his mouth. “Let me take you down…”
“….because I’m going to Strawberry Fields…nothing is real…” He was standing next to the trumpet player and singing, people stopping and listening, tossing coins, tossing dollars…
At some point, Zoie and He were singing the same song, across the world from each other. Running forward and letting go.
* * * * * *
“Damn!” Peter the Bret Easton Ellis said. He slid back in his chair like somebody slapped him.
“Well, you’re sly kitty after all. Me - ow,” said Holly, offkey and drowsy, her unlit cigarette dangling from her mouth.
“Honestly I didn’t think you were going to write a thing while you were here. And that’s the truth. I mean those other pages…and then this…Christ,” Clara spoke down to the pad on the table.
“It was alright,” Ayaro finally said….”for a genius.” He laughed and clapped.
They all left the room that day, finally feeling joined since one member had been able to beat her hurdle. Zoie was just tired. She’d been dancing and singing all night long…finding herself.
Every so often, I’m going to post jobs for folks to peruse. I know it’s hard out there for those not crafting Ponzi schemes so this one’s for you!
Part-Time Education Assistant
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (New York NY)
Responsibilities: A perfect opportunity for an artist to get involved with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Part-Time Education Assistant will be primarily assisting the Director of Education with his schedule as well as the marketing and promotion of VLA classes and workshops. Assitant will be responsible for maintaining current customer information, researching new customers, and scheduling and producing E-blasts. Assistant will also enter marketing data and provide marketing reports, as well as maintain VLA’s online profiles and newsletter. Assistant will also contact arts organizations, law firms, and artists with new programming, as well as disseminate advertising material. Assistant will also help design a variety of projects from concept to completion (sign-up sheets, guides, invitations, promotional material).
Qualifications and Requirements:
-Must be available Mon-Fri (20 to 25 hrs per week)
-Excellent typing and computer skills
-Knowledge of contemporary art, film, music, theater, interactive media, literature preferred
-Must be detail-oriented, organized, and self- motivated
-Foreign language skills a plus
-Assists in other duties as needed.
Expertise in Adobe Creative Suite and in HTML, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Quark. Proficiency with additional graphic design and software packages desirable. Knowledge of Constant Contact a plus.
Please send resume, salary requirements, and cover letter to:
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Esq., Director of Education
No Phone Calls Please
Since 1969, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts has been the leading provider of pro bono legal services, mediation services, educational programs and publications, and advocacy to the arts community in New York. The first arts-related legal aid organization, VLA is the model for similar organizations around the world. For more information about Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, please see www.vlany.org.
Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento, Esq.
I am all for people staging protests. In fact, it’s actually kind of cute when these people are mostly folks who’ve decided what their reality is, generally don’t have solutions to current problems and specifically didn’t have much to say when the basis of our current havoc starting floating around many years ago. It’s almost starting to get cliche - our politics. Democrats/Liberals/all around non rich people who have a certain entitlement issue about them are usually pummeled for voicing their opinions about trickle down theories, budget favors for major corporations, going to war when we’re broke over reasons that aren’t transparent. I mean the list could go on but I’d really sound like Michael from Archie Bunker. Nobody ever won that argument. It just ended in offensive yuk yuks. Hey, wait. I think we have something here. Maybe that’s what the tea parties are. Offensive yuk yuks. Me and every other person who feels like our current President is really trying to make a difference here (what happened to all those conservatives who didn’t criticize George Bush because they were taught to respect their current President - was that hogwash?) have wondered when the solutions instead of the “nos” from the other sides will come in. Is tea going to help the economy? I wasn’t a genius in high school but I do remember some Econ 101 (with my orange crazy curly haired Magnum PI wannabe teacher). The money has got to come from somewhere or else that lovely “super power” title that we all hold so dear is going to get crowned to some other country. How would you like them apples? Like Obama said, “no money, no customers, no customers, no business.” Instead of pouring tea in the water, why don’t you go buy some more tea? And cake. And a vacation. And a car. And a house or something. Pull that dough out of your mattress and give it to a local sign maker instead of being cheap and putting your magic markers to poster board and holding it up at Veteran sites (see Kansas Vet Memorial sites).
Here’s a little ditty pulled from the Cato Institute:
President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.
Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.
The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.
Wait, I thought you Republicans wanted less government. How did your boy get to grow it more? Confused? Me too. Here’s a listing of the past 8 years of debt from the Bureau of Public Debt (we have some folks tracking this stuff, kids):
What exactly is your protest about? Is it about keeping your business as usual at a time when there is no such thing as usual or are you throwing party tantrums? If it’s party thing, drink your tea and buy some cake so you can stimulate the economy and stop running your mouth about stuff you don’t want to understand.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a Capricorn (if you believe in that) or if it’s because I was raised a certain way but I make no bones about holding money a little close to the heart. So just as I was adding up all the money I’ve spent in former relationships and literally about to kick myself in the ass, I read this story about Whitney from Bossip.com. It straight doesn’t make me feel that much better though. One one hand, I could’ve lost a lot more change but on the other hand, am I comparing myself with a crack head?
WHITNEY HOUSTON allegedly paid a $400,000 (£270,920) ransom to kidnappers who were threatening to kill her ex-husband BOBBY BROWN, according to a sensational new book.
Houston and Brown divorced in 2007 after nearly 15 years of marriage and their union was plagued with rumours of drug problems. In his autobiography, Preacher of the Streets, former gang member David Collins claims Brown was snatched over a $25,000 (£17,000) debt to a drug dealer, and held bound and gagged at gunpoint by members of a New York street gang known as the Preacher Crew.
Collins alleges the fearsome group decided to extort more money than was owed, and Brown was allowed to call Houston who delivered $400,000 (£270,920) in exchange for the safe return of her husband.
Collins writes, “They came to an agreement. She was personally going to bring $400,000 to get her man back. The next day, she did just that. She was wearing a wig.”
The alleged event took place in April 1993 - at the peak of Houston’s fame.
The kidnapping was never reported to the police, and representatives for both Houston and Brown have refused to discuss the claims.