Wednesday, November 26, 2008

REVELS provides context and meaning

OK, i admit it: i am a confirmed habitual Reveler. this strange amalgam of theater and pagan ritual has provided a backbone of community and spiritual succor to me for fifteen years or so. this is part of my little Revels family: my wife and our youngest daughter. we also have two teens: a boy and a girl. maybe i can find a photo of them sometime soon....

we are doing a version of Revels set in 1820s canada, when groups of men would voyage out into the wild wild west to hunt beavers to earn some good money. i played in the oakland version of this play two yeas ago, when i was cast as one of the voyageurs; this time i get to stay in town with the civilized folks and enjoy the simple pleasures of the stable community. i also get to sing some of the great choral songs which i missed last time because i was flying around in a magic canoe!

Friday, November 14, 2008

code pink peace caravan

i spent all day yesterday with the amazing crew of code pink, visiting the embassies and non-embassies of the "enemy" states of cuba, syria, venezuela, bolivia and iran.

see the photos at

there are a LOT of photos archived here: look for the set posted on november 14 to find photos of our tour.

here's the best one showing me with the iranian (non-) ambassador:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

final form of the costume: election night eve

these young ladies asked to take a picture with me, but they didn't have a camera: so i sent them this....

so much fun! everybody loved the fact that Uncle Sam supported obama.

Friday, November 7, 2008

obama won: postpartum depression

i was downtown at a teachers' union hall watching the results come streaming in. it was my third visit of the day to an obama HQ, where i went to thank the troops for all their efforts. there were four big screens against the four walls, each broadcasting a different version of the same story. at first the polls were showing mccain leading: several of the southern states were quick to report. then the new england tallies started coming in, and the inertia changed. by the middle of the evening they had called pennsylvania and even VIRGINIA as obama victories. the scene at the union hall was quite happy, but not quite boisterous enough for me: i was deliriously happy, and i needed some more intense venue to express my high-bubbling joy.

i had heard that there was to be a gathering at a snazzy hotel around the corner: all rich DC elites. i was told Uncle Sam would fit right in ; and that i would be most welcome.

it was too dull. a bunch of folks dressed too nicely to be comfortable standing around, and there they were-- standing around and holding their breath. a little cheer would burble up when some new election results were announced....

i had received a text message from a friend : "drum circle at 14th & U" so i drifted up to there. MAN-o'MAN what a contrast! these folks were dancing, hugging, shouting, singing, chanting, SMILING big & wide, crying tears of joy.

these were my peeps!

i danced and hugged and posed for "uncle sam loves the USA" pictures for hours before shimmering off-stage and climbing the little hill back to mount pleasant, which seemed even more pleasant than ever.

the gentle rain told me that even the gods were crying tears of joy.

but now i feel empty. i am reacting like a mother who no longer carries her precious child within her. although we american voters just said "yes, we can" to committing ourselves to a new path, i feel rudderless. where am I going? what am i doing?

we won! but that means the game is over.

or is it?

i have decided to take advantage of the break in my teaching "career" to go back to st john's college and finish the master's degree in asian literature.

is this a justifiable reward? or am i abandoning the worldly processes to be selfish and self-indulgent? or both?

i actually feel sad today. maybe it is mostly a reaction to the JOY of three days ago: what goes up must come down.

maybe it is in recognition of the herculean task which president obama will inherit: he will be blamed for the problems which fester, and want lancing and cauterizing.

but for me: i have to solve the strange problem: what to do with my days? where do i go? follow the river! where do i go? follow the gulls! is there an answer in their sweet faces?

Where do I go
Follow the river
Where do I go
Follow the gulls

Where is the something
Where is the someone
That tells me why I live and die

Where do I go
Follow the children
Where do I go
Follow their smiles

Is there an answer
In their sweet faces
That tells me why I live and die

Follow the wind song
Follow the thunder
Follow the neon in young lovers' eyes

Down to the gutter
Up to the glitter
Into the city
Where the truth lies

Where do I go
Follow my heartbeat
Where do I go
Follow my hand

Where will they lead me
And will I ever
Discover why I live and die

Why do I live (beads, flowers)
Why do I die (freedom, happiness)
Tell my why (beads, flowers)
Tell me where (freedom, happiness)
Tell my why (beads, flowers)
Tell me why (freedom!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

uncle sam joined by clara barton

this is donna from revels. i had invited her to come down to the white house and play political theater; so she created a costume and poster dealing with the heroic creator of the Red Cross. we got into more cameras as a team than i was managing as a solo gig. many europeans came by and expressed support for their "socialist" health care, and dismay that in the USA people still make PROFITS on others' illness.