hello again + 2020 !!

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hello out there my beauties– !! {freddie mercury said this and i literally cannot, ever, stop beginning blog posts or emails like this..} here is what i wrote to end 2019:

there are not enough words or photos to describe the decade– so i’m not even going to attempt. so many dreams made real. blessings of falling in love. even greater blessings of owning my truth in ways i never thought i would. traveling to places i never thought i’d see. reconnecting with the land, performing my own words + stories, trusting my voice enough to sing + my body enough to dance, returning to theatre, creating my first art installations, sharpie scrawling my words everywhere i went. finally having a room of my own– then moving more times than is probably healthy. reclaiming my own story, alchemizing my trauma, healing my own lineage, brushing up against death, carrying only the firelight of my heart into the deepest darkness + most harrowing threats. i am so grateful for all the people i met, all the places i shared myself + my work, the journeys that have contributed to my ultimate healing, the 4 books i self-published, the tons of shows i curated + hosted all over the city. but really. i have seen the bottom of the bottom. and the heighest fucking heights. i love my family + all those who never lost hope in me, and for me. i am my own greatest gift at the closing of this decade. my own Legend. my own Hero. where we go from here is all of my own choosing. and i couldn’t be happier– to be the sacred firekeeper for my own utterly unique + magickal blaze of a Life.

happy new year, everyone.
may you never give up on yourself.
may you remember what it feels like to wildly dream.

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and with that– may i reintroduce mySelf… 

i have been creating art– writing, drawing, book-making, singing, dancing, imagining my own worlds– for as long as i can remember, expressly to make sense of my vivid mental and emotional landscapes, quite literally to survive my everyday traversal of them {map-making comes in handy}, and to bridge deeper connections to my fellow spirits + humanimals.

i started my professional career as an arts journalist + editor and grew to (re)discover my passionate sensitivity for community organizing, holding and facilitating space, and of course returning to my lifelong love of multi/cross-disciplinary performance.

my work is based at the core in communion via the written and spoken word and its theatrical vocalities– four full-length books of poetry + prose and countless live performances charged with immersive imagery, myth + spiritual dynamism; thunderously edgy, honest + rooted in reverence to the natural world.

my practice also extends always into the public sphere– to ephemeral poetry graffiti, whimsical + ritualistic art installations, and lovingly curated gatherings of creative souls, from intimate to massive, dedicated to the expression, experimentation, evolution, and enjoyment of all– both in my longtime independent practice in venues across queens + NYC, and since late 2016, as director of public programs at LIC’s socrates sculpture park {where i grew up playing + exploring, two blocks from my childhood home}.

i am first and foremost a torchbearer, alchemical storyteller, and servant of the people– in addition to a very proud queens, NYC native + descendent of southern italian immigrants {polignano a mare!}. art is my lifeblood and lifeline, and an absolute necessity for the survival turned thrival of these challenging + transformative times we all are called to navigate– both bravely + vulnerably, both inwardly + outwardly.

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what’s. up. NEXT:

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i’m so grateful to be included in the second southeast queens biennial exhibition– the thematic timing couldn’t be better, as i’m literally currently processing, healing + moving onward from many {more} big life changes + moves throughout 2019 that are finally ending in 2020. i’m considering the grander arc of my story in three {four?!} dimensions in this show, with two installations in these two jamaica, queens venues + hopefully some performance too. thank you so much to molaundo + margaret for this opportunity to share new work in new ways. i’m always so enlivened by the challenge + invitation to express myself in ways that are not solely paper + voice, the viscerality of the physical. {coming soon} “IN THE BEGINNING WAS A HERO SEEKING HOME”

2020 Southeast Queens Biennial – WRITING HOME:
Literacy. Identity. Environment.

Curators: Margaret Rose Vendryes & Molaundo Jones
Dates: February 14 – April 17, 2020
Press Reception with Curators: February 21, 2020 at 1PM starting at York College Fine Arts Gallery and at 2:30PM continuing to the Miller Gallery at the Jamaica Arts Center
Programming: March 27- York College Fine Arts Gallery, 6-9PM / April 16- Miller Gallery, 6-9PM

Opening on Valentine’s Day, the second Southeast Queens Biennial will be a nine-week group exhibition at the York College Fine Arts Gallery and the Miller Gallery at the Jamaica Arts Center. Molaundo Jones and Margaret Rose Vendryes, the curators who are also visual artists, have invited ten Queens-based artists to address literacy, identity, and environment with work that investigates how their creative practice contributes to the life of the borough. Statistics document the remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens, but relay little about what is it like to live/work/play within culture-fluid communities that are still becoming “home” for many of its residents. Through painting, book arts, installation, photography, doll arts, performance, and interactive constructions, the 2020 SEQ Biennial artists reveal what can be “read,” in more ways than one, through the visual arts. Definitions of literacy, identity, and environment, remain open-ended as these Queens artists compliment, and complicate, NYC life through visual narratives that are like WRITING HOME.

For participating artists, location details, and general RSVP, visit: www.seqbiennial.com

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ABOVE: cut outs of all the places i’ve lived after leaving 25 years spent in my same family home in astoria/long island city. it’s been a wild ride, to say the least. “i did it for Love” …

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more in the hopper from me, from the 2020 season at socrates sculpture park, new collabs + evolutions of the very interesting shapes my work is stretching towards taking. i hope to use this site more often + not have everything lost on facebook + instagram {although it’s worth watching on instagram .. hahah}. i’m feeling a Moment of edging + discovery and i’m hoping to have more of these conversations + discussions in Person, soon. the last piece i wrote felt like physically feeling my way into the darkness– using my instinct instead of my eyes.

i was very unexpectedly not able to have a formal book launch for my latest, THE BOOK OF LEGEND back in september, so it feels as of now incompletely introduced, in a way– but as the universe always does– it has its own plans. i still think it’s learning how to take up space, how to howl from its gut, its Own Name.. and i’ll let it lead me there, and to you.

here’s to what’s Out There– and In Here, of course, too–

XO

a.

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.