Welcome to my blog..


"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty

When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.

I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.

As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.

This summer I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May.

Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.

For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani

Friday, December 12, 2014

Indie Theater Hall of Fame (!) & some much-needed R&R

As I stagger to what seems like the finish line of a very full year, I want to give some really nice news: was named (much to my surprise) one of the People of the Year by Indie Theater Now and inducted into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame.  Don't believe me?  I barely do, so here's the link: http://www.indietheaterhalloffame.com/Person/julia-lee-barclay-morton

That is a gorgeous honor to receive and I am in quite stellar company.  If you haven't checked out this site, it's a great place to see what the vital center of theater in NYC is that isn't the more commercial variety.  While there are much more well-funded avant-garde spaces (such as PS 122, The Kitchen, etc.), but what makes Martin Denton's site so interesting is his eclecticism and lack of a 'house style.'  Before 1999 when Martin began reviewing the rest of us, many downtown theater types just came and went without a trace.  Now our work is published, reviewed and acclaimed and many careers have begun thanks to Martin's initial attention.

In other news, I am quite fried, after a month (November) of writing 50K for NaNoWriMo, attending Ian Hill's amazing production of my play Autograce (a cut up of personal and political memories from 1973-74) and teaching.  I am horrified by current national events, everything from Ferguson to Eric Garner to the CIA 'torture' report, which has me in what I can only refer to as an ice-cold rage.  Then there's 'nice guys' who we have revered for years who have - of course - been sexually abusing women the whole time (current face of this age-old story: Cosby). Jaysus.  Not to mention climate change. Oh that little thing.

So, with all that, my poor 51 year old body and spirit has shut down, so I'm taking it back to psychic home base, aka Kripalu (a yoga retreat place in Lenox, Massachusetts).  My other psychic home base is in Scotland, but I can't afford that in time or money.  I realized I had a few days between end of classes and my class's final meeting, so called and booked an R&R retreat for midweek. So incredibly glad I did. I feel like I'm running on less than empty right now and I can hear the gears scraping next to each other as the engine dies.

My first response to exhaustion is to work like a maniac, which I did for a few days, then start autistically flipping from Twitter to Facebook to email to NYTimes to phone to...anyway, you get the idea. By this point I know: OK, I am exhausted.  I have been trying to chill out at home, but find everyday life quite distracting and am too tired to hold any meaningful boundaries.  This is when I know I've hit that moment when I need a retreat.  I'm grateful it's possible.  I'm also grateful to my high school friend Ellen who helped me listen to the gentler voices inside and to my beloved Canadian John for supporting the idea when I brought it up as a possibility. He sees how brittle I am right now and how hard I've been pushing, and it's such a relief and a wonder to be with someone who understands what I need and supports that need. Real love, what an amazing thing. I hope I never take it for granted.

He also makes a mean carrot soup and is doing so right now.  What more can a girl want?

I feel incredibly lame for not running around protesting all that is wrong, especially with police brutality, and I am aware that the fact I have a choice in the matter is proof of privilege, but I've got to make the less heroic, but more life-saving choice right now for health and wholeness.

When I return, I will have my final class with my lovely students this year, mark their final papers and journals and then go to Maine with John for Christmas with my mother and some of her friends.

After Christmas, I'll be back to the book as primary focus until it is finished - having put some gas in the tank. Sustainability is a real thing and a real need. I have spent most of my life working like a maniac so taking these pauses is extraordinarily difficult and guilt-inducing, but given my background, I think perhaps feeling guilty means there's a 99% chance I'm doing the right thing.

Oh - and last but not least - until December 19, you can read my synopsis for The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani at Medium.  If you like what you read, please recommend it, so the synopsis may be considered for the final round of Medium's synopsis contest (for NaNoWriMo winners) and be read by some fabulous agents, editors, writers, etc. If the synopsis wins the final round, the manuscript will be read by these fabulous people as well. That would be great. So, if you want to help me get this baby published, taking a moment to read and recommend the synopsis would be a huge help.

Meanwhile, I wish for all of you for this holiday season: the pauses you need, some delight, some ability to breathe, create, make and receive love, and show your righteous anger at the many events that deserve that anger these days. I am a big believer in non-violence and hope that the protests go in this direction, not because there isn't a reason for force, but because it doesn't work in the end. Most successful revolutions are non-violent, especially domestic ones. Not telling anyone else what to do, just an observation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Want to help me - for free (!) - with The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani?

Well, here's how...

I just published a synopsis of the book here on Medium: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani

The lovely folks at Medium (which is kind of like Tumblr but for longer-form articles) are hosting a contest for people who 'won' National Noveling Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), i.e. wrote over 50K words in November.  They have asked us to submit a 500 word synopsis of our books, and the three synopses with the most 'recommends' on the site (that's where you come in) then gets read by four literary folks, editors and agents. The book from the synopsis they choose can be submitted to an agent at ICM and an editor at Vintage and Anchor books.

This is clearly a fabulous opportunity.  Because the first part of the contest involves having folks recommend the synopsis, I am reaching out to you.  If you would be so kind as to read the synopsis and if you like what you see recommending it, I would be much obliged.

Thanking you in advance for all your support and - as always - for reading this blog.

***

In other news, My First Autograce Homeography (1973-1974) has been published today by Indie Theater Now, hooray!  So, if you didn't get a chance to see the show or you saw it and want to see the next, check it out.

***

In other news, yes everyone I know in New York is horrified that Eric Garner was killed in a chokehold by a member of the NYPD for the crime of selling cigarettes on a street corner and the officer was not indicted even though the whole event was videotaped.  I have been writing about that a lot on Facebook and Twitter, sharing links and outrage.  I am still mulling how best to articulate my thoughts on this beyond the initial and obvious horror.  All I could write last night was the simple - but clear feeling of everyone I know, which also happen - tragically - to have been Mr. Garner's last words:

I can't breathe.

Of course, for Mr. Garner the lack of breath was a real, physical reality and meant his death, while for us who are alive, it's a feeling of frustration, anger and especially for men of color - fear.  I am not equating the two, simply seeing the connection a lot of us are seeing.

On the bright side, the protests are made up of people of many colors and ages. Because I am teaching right now, I don't feel I can go and participate until the semester is over. This is because the police have a nasty habit of kettling and arresting people. Later though, I will be there, too.

Interestingly enough, my grandmother, Jani taught reading at integrated high schools in Milwaukee in the 1970s and had her share of run-ins with racist pinheads. She did things like hurl herself in the middle of racial fights, the shock of which generally diffused the situation.  So, in a sense, the book - tragically - addresses the situation we find ourselves in now - lo these many years later.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Writing a lot, unexpected theatrical healing, much gratitude and unconditional love

So, I did it - wrote about 56K words in the month of November for my book, so now I have a lot more words.   'NaNoWriMo' or National Novel Writing Month - is about getting you to produce 50K words, which in their estimation is a short novel, in a month.  For my grandmothers' book, it's not even close, but I did get refocussed on the project, so that is good.

I am still working on putting in a lot of Jani's own writing into the book, and figuring out how that will intersect with mine, especially her correspondence in the 1970s, which was - well - endless.  I've also unearthed some precious gems from her writing in the 30s and 40s.  This writing mostly intersects with my own ideas about what she was thinking and feeling at the time, so that is good.  Sometimes her words are jarring and remind me how far off I can be, too - which is equally good.  I've also gotten more information from her oldest daughter, which differs from everyone else's experience in some ways - and in some ways not at all.

What I have begun to realize is that now I must consider the research part of the book basically complete and move forward with what I have, because I could research forever and not find out everything.  My lovely cousin, Sharon, has also been in touch with another cousin who remembers Dick as well. This is wonderful, and I will teach out to him, but again, I'm coming face to face with the reality, which is: I can't put in Everything.

At some point, I need to stop adding and begin revising.  However, that time has not yet come.  There are a few periods of times I need to flesh out.  But I will be doing so with my imagination in combination with the information I have now.  Even in my own 51 years, if I talk about memories of a time when I was there, other people will have differing memories of the same event.  There is no way out of this fact - there is no objective truth that endless amounts of research will offer me, and I'm going to have to trust the research I have done thus far and my own vision of this two women I knew so well when they were alive, even if only as a child and young adult.

Wish me luck!

***

In other news, I want to say that watching My First Autograce Homeography over and over turned out to be a profoundly healing experience.  At first watching the play, which included renderings - not precise but pretty damn close - of traumatic episodes from my life, was very hard indeed.  My first response at the first shows was to be almost out of body, a real PTSD kind of thing. In the middle of the run, I cried a lot.  But, by the end of the run, I was in a whole new place.  I could see these events as something from my childhood that lives there in the past and not here in the present.  Having people witness this piece, which seems to have resonated with them for their own reasons, which I really hoped would happen, also helped. This was yet another experience of walking through the flames that has led to another level of groundedness and wholeness, a sense of being OK in my own skin - one less bloody thing to run from in my psyche.

I cannot begin to explain the degree to which my own personal healing was Not my intent in writing Autograce - nor is it ever the reason I create something for other people - so I am pleasantly surprised by this development. One thing I know, if I had directed the piece myself, it's doubtful this would have been the outcome.  There was something deeply important about Not being part of the creation process of this event other than as the writer of the text in order for this healing to be possible.  I needed allies, others in there with that material that were not me, yet also not trying to help.  The actors, Ian, and Berit, were all part of this process for their own reasons, which is as it should be.  Somehow, this freed the whole experience from clutches of personal expectation...

As someone who was first saved by the theater, which was introduced to me by my former stepfather, David, when I was around 6 years old and somehow wangled my way into watching him rehearse You Can't Take It With You with the Portland Community Players (Maine). I loved sitting next to the director and helping him time the scenes. I also had a fabulous childhood aha experience of going back stage and seeing that the stairs that seemed to go upstairs, when behind the flat, went back down. Ohhhh, that was a thrill.

The theater became a sacred space for me for many years after that, a place I could go and feel like I was a human being, when most places I just felt awkward.  I started directing at age 16 - though had some attempts at directing - first when I was 8 or 9 years old and tried to direct an Easter play for grammar school, but then that was tragically cancelled when Judy Tanucci pushed Susan Farrell off the stage - alas an early career thwarted....But the fact is, until I could get some serious help - for issues related to childhood traumas - the theater saved me.  So, why not again?  And, of course,  where else would the healing from probably the most singularly traumatic event of my childhood but the theater?

So, another round of thanks, not only for the artistry involved but also for helping me move from one place to another, to all the artists involved (Ian W. Hill, director and designer with Berit Johnson assisting and running the show, actors John Amir, David Arthur Bachman, Olivia Baseman, Derrick Peterson, Alyssa Simon and Stephanie Willing and the audiences who came to witness this event.  I am so moved by all of it - not to mention the amazing reviews (see last post for those).  A specific audience shout-out to my former stepfather, David (the one who brought me into the theater), who had the guts to come and watch this show, because some of the events involved him (including saving me from what was most likely a near-death experience). He said the show helped him see the events from my perspective, which meant so much to me, and could not have been easy.

Most importantly of all, however, at the end of every night, I could come home to my beloved Canadian, John, who was able to hold my hand through the first show and come to another one later on, but every night when I got home from the theater, held me through whatever my response was at the show. To have someone so close, so loving, so present during this process was unbelievably healing. Hard to believe that in a few days, it'll be only two years since we stumbled upon one another on OKCupid of all place. John has been the saving grace of my life these past two years.  I could have probably stumbled through life without him, but having such a strong ground to stand on makes taking these more dangerous deep sea journeys possible and makes life seem like a glorious and boundless adventure.

So, tonight, I am full of gratitude for so many people in my life and artistic successes and journeys I don't know if I could have undertaken even a few years ago, but mostly - and I don't even care how corny this is going to sound - for love. Real love, unconditional love. The best thing in the entire world ever. And, in this case, in a very specific form, my beloved husband, John.


Friday, November 21, 2014

The kind of reviews you dream about...for Autograce

A brief post to link to two astounding reviews for My First Autograce Homeography (1973-74).

For one's work, especially if it is experimental in nature, to be seen on this level, is quite moving.  So, I am sharing what other people say about my own stuff for once...and what a relief That is...

Here is Adam McGovern's review: Good Soldiers

Here is Michael Niederman's review: The Super Movie Hits of the 1970s

There are only two nights left to see the show at The Brick (tonight, Friday at 8pm and tomorrow, Saturday at 4pm and 8pm).  Please do come along if you can!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Autograce photos

Hey there, I haven't disappeared but am in the middle of a show run for Autograce...while I'm "just the playwright" so don't technically have anything to do, I did take photos during dress rehearsal and am trying to get the word out, etc. plus it's an emotional piece to watch...however, everyone is fantastic in the show and Ian Hill has done an amazing job...so if you can get down, over, up to The Brick before November 22, do so.

Here's some of the photos to give you a bit of a taste of the show. (Also, I am now on the evil that is Facebook, so I post stuff there faster...so 'friend' me (acckkkk friend as verb...) if you want to follow more public stuff like this in a more timely way).

I can't even begin to say enough good things about this cast, too. Along with beautiful visuals, there is also a kick-ass 1973-74 sound track...what's not to like?

photo by Mark Veltman of Stephanie Willing 

All the photos below are ones I took:

Stephanie & Derrick Peterson

Derrick, Stephanie & Olivia Jane Bateman

Alyssa Simon & John Amir

Olivia, Stephanie & Derrick

Alyssa & Stephanie

Olivia, David Arthur Bachrach, Stephanie & John

Alyssa

Derrick
Alyssa, Derrick & Olivia
David

1973-1974...it was a very, deeply weird time...if you lived it, you know. If you didn't, come to witness a pivotal time in the U.S. when all the rules had been upended before anything else had replaced them, the President resigned in scandal, Patty Hearst was kidnapped by a revolutionary cell, a big recession with inflation was beginning, oil was being rationed because of an embargo by OAPEC and...no one knew what the fuck was going on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

the beauty of letting go of control...

I don't think there's any way this subject can come off as anything but self-serving, because it involves a stage text of mine (My First Autograce Homeography 1973-74) being produced and directed, but the real subject of this post is how moving it is to watch another director/designer, in this case Ian W. Hill, work with one of my texts.

I should begin by saying no one besides Ian has ever taken on one of my texts as a full production. Some other brave souls have directed staged readings of a couple of the plays, but this is a first. Ian is incredible, which I already knew...

But last night I had the privilege of watching him work with his cast (see here for details) at The Brick. I saw a deeply personal text, which is cut-up so that the words can resonate, I hope/d, beyond my own experience into something that could touch the deep weirdness that was 1973-74 America - turned into something of deep beauty, humor, horror, sadness and something else I cannot even explain - perhaps it's what Proust was on about. An uncanny sense of - not deja vu - but instead the nature of memory itself and time passing, having past and that lost time, as Proust called it, recaptured perhaps...

To watch someone else be able to take my words and make them into something that is both deeply personally his and yet hit the essentials of what I was getting at even though it's not spelled out in any literal way is such a gift. If I wasn't willing to let go of control of this text, this could not happen...and especially since I'm mostly writing now, I am so glad this is possible...and so grateful that Ian could find in this text enough into which to sink his formidable directing and design chops...

I will probably only see this one rehearsal. It's also very emotional watching the piece, because the time period was a traumatic one for me (not to mention the whole fucking country). Most importantly, I know it is in good hands.

If you weren't around during 1973-74, it will give you an interesting window into what was a very disturbing time (see The Ice Storm for another child's POV of this off-kilter time)...and if you were there, it'll bring you back.

But ...wait...there's more...There is...

Ian and his GeminiCollisionworks are creating something beautiful. Please come and witness it if you can.

***
In other news, I am doing the National Novel Writing Month thing - working every day - getting a lot of writing and editing done on the book...

and in weirder news (for anyone who knows me), I joined the evil that is Facebook, so I can finally be back in touch with my far-flung friends...and also tell people about the work I care about, such as this show. So - like - friend me (!) Ack, friend as a verb, I die a little...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wedding(s) & God(s) & Bushwick(s), oh my!

So much to write about, so little time...

As mentioned in the last post, there were two staged readings of my newest stage text '...whatever God is': a love story but before that - not mentioned because no photos to accompany the mention of it, was wedding number 2 with John in Inwood Hill Park! This was a ceremony meant for our family and friends, the one we couldn't have in rush last July...more on that at the end (saving the best for last!)

I recently also saw a show I really liked, Any Size Mirror is a Dictator by Panoply Labs - a process-based dance-opera, the likes of which you have never seen. The prospect of this cumulative event brought me to the dreaded hipster-than-thou Bushwick to Momenta Arts, and it was worth it. Bushwick, for anyone who hasn't been there yet, basically looks like an extended college campus amidst old warehouses and two-story houses that looks now like Williamsburg did back in the day (early 90s) - except it's already way too expensive - to be young and in NYC these days is kind of a disaster. Word on the street these days is most artists are living in places like Detroit. I get it. As for Bushwick now, I found myself both attracted and repelled. Attracted because it's a bunch of artists with little money (my people) and yet - as with any new-ish scene in NYC - it's predominantly young. I am now 51 and as such feel a bit aged out of that hood, which is the de facto set of Girls. On the other hand, this show...

...which was not so much a show as an experience - reminiscent of the kind we created with Apocryphal Theatre back in London - but with the advantage of having worked on this piece for a long time and presenting it as a cumulative set of process-based performances over 7-weeks in one space.

These kinds of experiences are hard to explain and I therefore encourage you to see Panoply's work whenever you can...but suffice to say the images, ideas, sounds and movements created many moments that we as the witnesses could bring together in our own consciousness as we saw fit, this last section of the opera being appropriately titled AGENCY. They also kept their rehearsal process open, which I watched that day, too. The building of a language between bodies that is both understood as intimate but also accessible - not in the sense of spelled out - in fact the entire performance gorgeously resisted signification (without losing a sense of significance - a neat trick) - but instead in the sense of: if you remain available to all the sensations, images, sounds (complex music by Brian McKorkle with text and direction by Esther Neff - and an astonishing ensemble of women who can move in all kinds of exciting and unexpected ways and musicians who can work with all of this), there is an experience available of a kind of psychic rearrangement. A sense of potentiality, of somehow touching the productive unconscious that Deleuze & Guattari are on about - but without being lectured at or to...a true delight. The last time I've ever had that experience has been at a Richard Foreman show. This has the advantage of now feeling like a much more feminist manifestation - a true female agency being embodied, which was deeply refreshing. Womanwomen as subject(s), not object (s). At times I got totally lost, was annoyed, etc., but in the way life happens, so I am cool with that. The piece fed (is feeding) my soul over time rather than frittering away like a refined sugar in an hour like a more straightforward show might have done.

***
The two readings of my own piece '...whatever God is' were two distinct experiences - one with a small audience, the first blush experiment - some kind of simple, happy thing...the next version - also an experiment - two weeks later with no rehearsal in between - with a larger audience - had a very different vibe because the actors could not move around as easily and there was this sense of the second time around. However, the actors did spectacularly well with dense and difficult material, improvising their way through the text and having spontaneous conversations between themselves and with willing audience members.

My vision for this William James-inspired piece is simple: theater as conversation...the opposite of the 21st Century 24/7 Performance Imperative...However, when attempted in a theater space, some folks have difficulty with this kind of thing and keep waiting for Some Normal Theater to Happen. So as not to be hopelessly abstract, below are some photos of the reading to give you a sense of what I'm on about....

(Pictures from the reading - taken by John Barclay-Morton)


Christian Huygen, Shawn Cuddy, Roy Koshy (back) and Alyssa Simon - theater as (animated) conversation

Roy, Maria Silverman (back) and Shawn - actors discussing how they themselves deal with pain and grieving.
Alyssa - just a note to say: she's in Autograce, too!

Christian, Maria, Roy, Shawn & Alyssa - listening to audience member telling us about her own mystical experience - we were happy some people felt good participating in talking about '...whatever God is'

I hope to find a way to make this piece happen the way I envision it in different rooms, layered, over time. Seeing Panoply Labs reminded me of what is possible again, and for that I am quite grateful. Sometimes I feel I must pit things into a certain Theater-Specific box, when I know better than that from my time in London and even some of the stuff I did before I left for London, so am glad to have my cage re-opened...

Speaking of which...

The brilliant Ian W. Hill of Gemini CollisionWorks is directing another text of mine My First Autograce Homeography (1973-74) at The Brick November 14-22 - this is a cut up from memories I wrote down from that period of time in my life - when a traumatic period of time for me coincided with a traumatic period of time for the U.S. While I was living with a caretaker who suffered a psychotic break, Watergate was unfolding. As I was released from this woman's apartment where she was holding me hostage, Patty Hearst was kidnapped. As the movie The Exorcist was released, my caretaker, Mrs. Levine, decided I was evil - being 10 years old and all, and the age of the possessed girl in The Exorcist. I discovered doing research for my grandmothers book that during the same time Mrs. Levine spiraled down to truly crazy and dangerous, someone tried to rape and strangle my grandmother Jani (who then went and used that experience to change the rape laws in Wisconsin, which in 1974 were crazy - like for instance attempted rape was a misdemeanor and raping your wife was cool). It was a weird fucking time for the country and a scary fucking time for me. The piece is a cut-up however, so not a literal retelling - there are images and ideas that link into larger realities - and I really, really wanted someone else to direct it, because it's clearly too close to me.

So, in case you didn't live then or didn't get enough of the early 1970s the first time around, or were perhaps let's say a bit too high to remember it (that'd be about 50% of you who were young adults then at a guess), come on down to The Brick Theater in Williamsburg and see what Ian has done with this piece. This event promises to be a multi-media feast (Ian being old enough to remember this time, he's got his own references, so it's not going to be a personal story - but a kind of non-generational time-summoning, I think).

The reason this is so exciting for me is this is the First Time someone besides me has directed a full production of one of my texts. Because I seem to be shuffling over to the writing corner more and more by inclination (though that could change - most of my life has been a swing between directing and holing up somewhere doing more private stuff like writing) - having the privilege of giving this text to someone else - who I know for certain gets this work direct and design it, is a great feeling. (Weird small fact: this is the last text I wrote before 9/11/01.)

If you haven't seen Ian's work yet, then that should be enough of a reason to go, not to mention the kick-ass cast: John Amir, David Arthur Bachrach, Olivia Baseman, Derrick Peterson, Alyssa Simon and Stephanie Willing.

I wrote a long blog about theater I attended in NYC in August 2011, that included a long bit about two plays of Ian's in contra-distinction to a trend I was seeing of easy irony: Irony & its Discontents. Check it out if you want to know why I think you should make yourself acquainted with his work (and it's one my most popular blog posts)

I hope to see you there...

Finally - last but in no way least: wedding! John and I got married Again on October 4 in Inwood Hill Park. Photos are still arriving, but a few samples are below. The ceremony was officiated by our amazing friend Shawn Cuddy and included many rituals sacred to us, including (since it was Yom Kippur and because it's a beautiful ceremony) a Yom Kippur-inspired Tashlich ceremony led by friend Candace (who is the reason I ever met John since she convinced me to join OKCupid - where I found him - as anyone who's read this blog knows...go back to December 2012 and read on, if you wanna know).

We spent two days prior in fear we could not do the ceremony outside where we wanted it - in the park at the point where the Harlem and Hudson Rivers meet - because it was supposed to pour-ass rain All Day Long - which it did. We moved the ceremony to later in afternoon in hopes the skies would clear - and they did! So we had a beautiful ceremony surrounded by intrepid friends and family. There was a also, in relation to the Tashlich-inpsired ceremony, wherein you throw something into the river to let go of your sins/burdens (whatever you want to call them) for the year to let them go, a 5 minute silence - at which time folks looked at the river as the sun was setting. This was in honor of my meditation practice but also - no surprise to anyone who knows me well - John Cage.

There were many other beautiful moments, such as an invocation of the Four Directions (something at first I did not get but was so important to John & Shawn that I found my way into it and was moved) and hand-fasting, an old pre-Christian wedding ritual that involves symbolically binding the hands while saying vows - and us reading to each other our own vows. We also had friends read poems, by others and themselves.

I did not realize until afterwards how meaningful this would all be for us, because we were already married, but something about people surrounding us in a circle, putting all this time and energy into getting the ceremony to say and be what we wanted, having it led by a good friend I've known since 1981 (!), made it all - meaning John's and my union in relation to our community - feel even more solid.  The calling to the Four Directions also seems to root us here on the earth somehow, too. I know that sounds pretty hippie, but as friend Nathan said at our toast later "Hooray for hippie weddings!" It's so who we are like it or not, and it's So Inwood (where the nearby Indian Road Cafe plays Neil Young with no irony - and is the NYC epicenter of the white pony-tail).

After the ceremony, we had a potluck reception at Bread and Yoga Studio - which was simple and lovely. John and I both feel blessed to be surrounded and supported by such love. If you were there, thank you so much for being a part of that beautiful day. If you couldn't attend but sent us your love and good wishes, we held you in our hearts. We will always remember this day.

Special shout-outs, too, to to Kate Vargas who sang at the ceremony (see my blog post about her music from January) - this woman can sing!  And to Alyson Lounsbury (amazing poet) who wrote us a wedding poem (and also did my hair and held my hand throughout the day...a truly indispensable human). Friend Nathan who got chairs and tables and read a D.H. Lawrence poem, Christian who just helped with everything like always, Nanette who made sure Something happened for reception decorations, Peter who read Rumi, Julie who read Levertov and my mother Robin, who is the only human being to have attended all three - count 'em three - of my weddings. Damn, that's love, isn't it??




calling in 4 directions - John smudging & me fanning

walking into the circle together - check out yellow orchid bouquet!

more Canadians flew in (and they did make themselves known!)

the sun was setting, so this is grainy, but was during the 5" silence, a lovely moment