The Gift of Immigrants

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 9.47.58 AMYou’re young, alone, and surrounded by strangers who speak a language you don’t understand. You’re weary, having travelled thousands of miles into the unknown, because everything you knew and loved has been destroyed.

Meet Bessie

This is the tale of the woman Baltimore came to know as its premiere kosher caterer, Bessie Bluefeld. About 100 years ago she followed her husband Charles from Ukraine to settle in Baltimore.

terryAsBessie

You can meet Bessie this weekend at the Atlas Intersections Festival, Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE.

DC actor Terry Nicholetti performs this history/theater one-woman performance on Saturday at 1:30 and Sunday at 2:00 pm

GET TICKETS

“Nothing to Lose”

Kate Champion

Choreographer Kate Champion asked the question: what does it mean to put really big bodies on the dance stage? She premiered “Nothing to Lose” at Sydney Festival in January, 2015

Champion was inspired by watching the way larger bodies moved through the world, and dancing in clubs. It led her to ask why she never saw bodies like that on the stage.

kjdrinkwater“Dancing in a fat body is incredibly radical and controversial because it’s not done, it’s not encouraged. That’s what makes this show so interesting.”

Kelli Jean Drinkwater, fat activist

I certainly have been reluctant to dance with abandon due to my body size, and have only done so when in a safe and sacred context, where I could feel the freedom to be as I truly am. A fat body really does move differently, and it’s amazing to see fleshy dancers. I have NEVER seen fat bodies in this context before.

How does it make you feel?

The Speckless Sky

Have you ever been re-united with a piece of music, after such a long time that it makes you feeeel things?

Wednesday night I went to hear two musical heros (both Canadian!) at Wolf Trap, the splendid outdoor performance venue in Virginia. We sprawled under a clear blue sky (while it poured down rain at home!)

k.d.lang and Jane Siberry played to an enthusiastic crowd of fans. We had lawn tickets, so sprawled out and wined and dined as the shadows grew long.

k.d. will always have a place in my heart. Her disc Ingenue kept me going during the last weeks of my mothers life, and the first months without her. “Constant Craving” revived my longing for life  in that darkening October. When all went gray and cold her voice stirred something wild and deep in my blood. She called me back to life.

Maybe a great magnet pulls all souls toward truth
or maybe it is life itself gives wisdom to its youth
Constant craving, has always been, has always been.

I loved watching her cavort with her band and flirt with the front row fangirls. She can croon, she can belt it out, and man can she hold a note! The rockin’ version of Craving was worth the price of admission, I was dancing on the grass.

Play Inglewood

Jane’s music takes me back even further. I can’t remember remember how I found her, through my ex, maybe, or on WICB Ithaca College radio, but I had Speckless Sky on vinyl, and over the years as I’ve purged the record collection, hoping to get them digitized, I’v ehung onto that one, seeing as it was never on iTunes or CD as far as I could tell. Now, you can download Jane’s early works for free, or make a love offering if you like.

I want to write something down
I want to sing a song
or paint something
lie down and fade away
or get up and get away

Play One More Colour

Something about her wandering, peculiar songs touches the right nerve. I remember The Taxi Ride just completely broke me when I’d listen to it.

Did you call me? It’s only the trees outside flailing. It’s only the sirens that are wailing.

Jane played a very short set and we were disappointed, because she was wonderfully quirky and elegant and sweet, wearing a beautiful gown. But she came back in mid-show to duet with k.d. on Calling All Angels. That song, that song.

Everyday I gaze upon the sunset with such love, and intensity
Its almost as if you could finally crack the code and finally understand what this all means

Play Calling All Angels

My dear, dear friend Grace recorded this song on her album My Life, at a time when her brother was was dying from Parkinson’s, a disease she shares with him. This is music that cracks open your heart and heals you.

I am thrilled I got to hear these angels sing.