Monthly Archives: September 2013
Yesterday it rained in Albuquerque. Like a real rainy day. Not a spit shower, not windstorm with drops on the side, not a sunny-day monsoon moment. But a long gray wet sloshy spashy beautiful day.
I took a long morning walk while it was still cool and damp and full of wet earth smells. Here’s the photo album of the day:
Dancing Around the World is one way to describe much of my international travel. During the 1980s it was mostly to France and the rest of Europe; in the 1990s and 2000s, mostly to Africa. With a side trip here and there to Asia and Latin America.
As a dance presenter I needed to see what was percolating globally. As a perpetual student of history and geography I wanted to understand how the environment within which it was made influenced, infused and informed the dance itself.
I suspect my dance friends have found my endless attempts to give our dance programs a geo-art twist a bit silly at times. But I have just never been able to separate any kind of art from its place in the world.
Now as I look at this final Global DanceFest program I feel completely justified. The very last piece we will present is African in heart and soul, body and mind. Panaibra Gabriel Canda and Boyzie Cekwana have worked for a very long time on Inkomati (Dis)cord whenever they have had the chance to connect in their native countries of Mozambique and South Africa, or elsewhere in the world. Now it’s completed and will be here in Albuquerque and everything that a Global DanceFest wrap should be.
Inkomati (Dis)cord IS a visit to contemporary Africa. The history between two countries, the politics that never end, the doubt people feel about where they fit in the sometimes dysfunctional environments…the vitality and genius it takes to survive and thrive. It all comes out in the incredible creativity of African artists. As does the indispensable perseverance, humor and interdependence that these remarkable people bring to this unique work: Canda whose thoughtfulness infuses the work, Cekwana whose humor tinged with cynicism takes on African politics, and Maria Tembe, who lost her legs in a car accident, and is a dancer of unbelievable beauty.
I will come back to this topic of how dance and cultures based on geography and historical amalgamations intertwine. It is usually more difficult to trace than here—but I always try!
I hope everyone reading this blog within driving and flying distance will be here for Inkomati (Dis)cord. Because it is what I’ve been trying to get people to come and see for all these years of Global DanceFest. October 4 and 5/North Fourth Art Center/Albuquerque New Mexico USA.
Happiness is an elusive state of being but we never give up trying to define it. The country of Bhutan has gone a step further than the rest of us and defined “Gross National Happiness” and is building national policies around the concept. Which certainly makes as much sense as our fixation on how high our Gross National Product can/should be considering that its numbers give equal weight to the revenue earned through car sales AND through the medical, disability and death costs associated with car crashes.
Tingley Beach: 6:30am. I’m feeling good. Walking semi-briskly, just the slightest bit of chill in the air, it is calm with only people about who like to be up early, walk dogs, move their sleepy bodies and ride bikes. Feeling good.
Half hour goes by; I’m trying to think about what photos I can take that will indicate fall is almost here. Dying flowers…that works. And the ducks and geese are out in full force this morning. Their kids are all teens now, mostly ignoring parents while simultaneously mimicking their grown-up actions. I love these guys. Teenagers in the water fowl world are a sign of fall I’m thinking.
All of a sudden I realize I am happy. Happy is not the same as feeling good. Happy is…well, you know it when you feel it. One-part satisfaction about where you are in the moment; one-part calm; one-part anticipation; one-part rested; one-part invigorated and on and on it goes. That is happiness.
Here is the weekly Tingley Beach photo album:
You felt badly.
You called the doctor.
In a day or few, you saw the doctor.
The doctor knew EVERYTHING.
He (usually) told you what to do/not do.
You got better. Or died.
You feel badly.
You Google your symptoms.
You call a specialist who might deal with those symptoms.
In three to four months, you will see this specialist.
He/she will know A FEW THINGS.
He/she will say maybe you should try this OR it could be that OR you
should see the specialist who knows about left earlobes. (Turns out you
mistakenly booked in with the right earlobe specialist.)
YOU DO A LOT MORE ON-LINE RESEARCH.
Eventually you see the doctor/specialist.
He/she says he/she doesn’t know what you have but gives you a few
prescriptions to try.
And says let’s schedule you for another appointment in six months to see
how you’re doing.
You get better. Or see another specialist. Or die.
As I morph from performing arts presenter to writer (in my non-administrator life) all the freedom that change brings is present –accompanied with an occasional twinge of regret or moment of fear.
Yesterday, the visit to our center from the Egyptian delegation of arts administrators was occasion for one of those twinges! I am convinced that if the world were run by artists: performing, visual, literary, film, or culinary, it would be a far better place. These Egyptians, in the middle of all the turmoil, violence and dysfunction in their country, continue to imagine, create, teach, share, think and dream. And every country has this same coterie of smart and responsible people. What an untapped resource to run the world.
Anyway as they talked about their art centers and opera houses and dance festivals I wanted to immediately book my ticket for a visit and get to know some of the artists and invite them to come to North Fourth with their cultural offerings. And then I said STOP Marjorie. You are a writer. You will travel to all the places in the world—just not to mingle with contemporary dancers and arts administrators. Well maybe a little.
My neighborhood is transitioning also. A new bank—honestly does the world need more banks?—is looming over the little thrift store just a couple of blocks up on Central. I’ve never been in it and it is not necessarily a great thrift shop but at least it does the world no harm. Can’t say that about banks can we?
So tired this morning. Restless sleep. But today I need to be hospitable and animated—a little at least—for our North Fourth State Department visitors from Egypt. Other cultures frequently seem to be much more gracious than us when it comes to welcoming international guests. We want to prove that Americans can be just as kind and courteous so we have informative little in-house tours and treats planned.
Back to the morning walk though. With my new Panasonic Point and Shoot. Not sure I like it as well as my old Canon. But trying it out did give me the impetus to keep moving my lethargic body down the path through the ducks and geese by the flowers passed by bikes smiled at by dogs.
Are these photos better than the recent fuzzyish ones? I can’t tell.