embracing self + other: dzieci’s FOOLS MASS begins this wk

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it’s december, friends..!!!

and at a moment in which i am working through much forgiveness towards myself for past actions, compassion for myself and others, seeing and being seen, no matter how painful– there is nothing more honest than donning the grody teeth, sooting yourself up, and embodying a fool in dzieci theatre‘s long-running production of FOOLS MASS. it allows you to look at yourself differently, point blank– and at others, the idea of ‘otherness’ and the judgment and repulsion directed towards those in that category– what we feel is grotesque, crazy, abnormal, be it differently abled people, body types and abilities, mental illness, deformities, the homeless, addicts, outcasts.. and the dark or unruly or nontraditional or seemingly shameful parts of our own selves. there’s a place for everyone in fools mass, because there’s a place for everyone in dzieci– and it’s hugely transformative to partake in. please join us this holiday season, SHOWS START THIS WEEK in bklyn, nyc, queens + upstate <3 you literally won’t forget a dzieci performance. i guarantee this! .. did i mention we are performing at st. john the divine??!! #holyshit #dreamcometrue

more info (including many more testimonials/reflections):
http://dziecitheatre.org/the-work/fools-mass/

quick link to 2019 date listing: HERE

“Fools Mass is such a rich exploration of human nature and our spiritual search. There is the constant flow between control and chaos, aloneness and togetherness, creation and destruction, the absurdly mundane and transcendent simplicity. The search for true contact without an intermediary leads us into a true spiritual connection within and between one another. It’s a rich experience worthy of multiple viewings.” ~ Matthew Purdon ~

“By the end of the Fools Mass, I was in love with every character. I no longer saw their teeth, or the dirt on their faces, or their stooped and spastic forms. I saw only human beings in love with the sacred, in connection with spirit. I saw brothers and sisters. I am still in rapture. It was magnificent, and deeply moving. And I can’t stop thinking about it.” ~ Dave Klaus ~

IN OTHER NEWS:

as i am embarking on my 4th move this year and 8th or 9th move since 2015– i’m honored + excited to have been invited to exhibit new work in The 2020 Southeast Queens Biennial: WRITING HOME, which will be on view in two venues: the york college fine arts gallery AND the miller gallery at JCAL, from mid-february through early april 2020. i’ll share more info as we get closer– i always treasure the opportunity to stretch from page into three dimensions, especially on a subject (HOME) that is so deeply pertinent at this moment. molaundo, my old friend from queens council on the arts– thank you for Seeing me <3

“Statistics document the impressive ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens but, for those who live here, numbers appear hollow and rhetorical. What is it like to live/work/play within culture-fluid communities? How do neighbors communicate without a shared native language? How can one remain true to self, family, ethnicity and fit in out there? The 2020 Southeast Queens Biennial invites artists with a significant connection to Queens to visualize these and other questions that address literacy, identity, and environment.”

AND SPEAKING OF ART:

my wonderland of public programs at socrates sculpture park is in hibernation for the winter BUT our OPEN CALL DEADLINE FOR PROJECTS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO DEC 8! and the theme this year is: MAKING MONUMENTS (!!). more info on the socrates annual fellowship HERE.

ALSO; WHY NOT:

we are nearing the one-year anniversary of my first alchemical theatre work, PROVENANCE, which debuted at the plaxall gallery last december. you can watch the piece in its entirety HERE, or if you need a shot of spirit in these early waking hours, open to this DRUM PRAYER…

it’s also coming to me to work on a new piece:
liar + a truth-teller: a performance/discussion on things we don’t like to talk about.’ more on that soon..

it has been a helluva year from start to finish. i’m always posting reflections, vulnerabilities, news + updates from the road on my INSTAGRAM. don’t forget, folks, that we are nearing the END OF A DECADE. what has happened in your life from 2009 until now? what have you created? what have you kept in? who were you then, who are you now? these questions have prompted rapid change in me in the last few months. looking forward to creating where 2020 will take me..

hope to see you out there– all best + happiest holidays to you + yours

XXOO

a.

shedding light, trusting darkness

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‘and what do you wield, warrior?’
‘the sword i pulled from my own heart.’
‘but you do not wish to carry this weapon, 
onward, for your journey?’
‘i only wish to carry a prayer. 
to see and be seen.’

hello out there my beauties,

i wanted to let you know that the most honest thing i have written on the internet has just been published by an amazing site called REBELLE SOCIETY- it’s called “how my experience with mental illness helped me trust my darkness.”

A wise and wild coyote once told me, “It is in happiness that you will find the seeds of sadness. And it is in sadness that you will find the seeds of light.”

When I was a kid, I couldn’t bear to be in complete darkness. Even as a teenager, there was always a light somewhere: a nightlight in the kitchen, light in a window next door, streetlight outside. My journey has been to find that light in myself, instead of always seeking it outwardly.

I didn’t know what true freedom was like until I lived through this story. I had a conception of freedom and a lot of daring cliff-jumps, but the darkness remained a sign and a trigger.

Throughout my whole life, this specter of the idea of darkness chased and chased me. Or maybe it never actually moved — just stood, luminous and unending — and I kept running. I have messages written all over my body, to remind myself of the truth — about the dark, about myself.

I have always been a personality of extremes. This is my gift, in my new legend: to be able to viscerally feel, process, move through ecstatic heights and drastic lows, with not much in between.

The “not much in between” though was my own conception. The instinct to keep running, searching for higher ground, safer territory, more abundant provisions, without realizing perhaps I could, with time, just stay here. Grow these seeds of my own planting. Take some time, gaze into the night, into the earth, into the darkness, into the silence, into myself, and not only see and receive what is there, but to trust it.

This is not just a story about struggling with mental illness. It is a story about what every man, woman and spirit is here to grapple with: personal freedom and personal truth, and how they are inextricably intertwined.

YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE ESSAY [RIGHT HERE] …

it’s powerful and unnerving and surreal to be able to have clarity on this journey- and to be able to share it in this way, in a way that undercuts the usual disempowering narratives about mental illness and provides an entry point into radical recontextualization and reclamation of your own legend.

thanks to my fierce and wonder-full friend shafina, on 11/16 i will be telling an off-book, organic version of this story at my first storytelling show, HOW TO BUILD A FIRE, at open source gallery one week from today. the theme is RESILIENCE [more info]

some more events coming up: [here]
and my latest book of poetry & prose, WILDLIGHT, is still on sale [here] !

i’m open to your thoughts, words, wishes- let me know if you have ideas for collabs- i’m all ears for projects you dream up and opportunities to speak the legend…

from wanting creature to
proclaimer of the word //

with biggest big love,

XO

a.

“and of course i am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.”
“we can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. for we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. the fact that we are here and i speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. and there are so many silences to be broken.” -AUDRE LORDE.

*tattoo image at the top is one of my latest, from karen glass tattoo XO