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Yearly Archives: 2006
The rooster begins to sing early
While darkness is still on the land,
Awakening people to greet the Sun. – Navajo Chicken Song
It sounds like a hymn, repetitive and incantatory, increasing in complexity. Two thousand miles away, I press the cell phone to my ear. Linda Davis (Zuni/Navajo) is singing a traditional song – over the telephone. “Harmony is our way of life,” she explains. “The sun rises every morning for the people and animals, like a promise. Sleeping through it is a waste.” (more…)
The Atlanta Folk Art Festival, now in its 13th year, is probably the largest and most distinguished self-taught exhibit in the world, hosting 90 galleries and artists and attracting more than 12,000 visitors annually.
Housed in Atlanta Trade Center – 80,000 square feet, the aisles wide, cool and breezy in spite of crowds moving about the towering displays – painting, sculpture, fabric art, pottery, quilts – multicultural and mixed media – prices range from 5 bucks to 5 figures. At many booths the artists themselves are present, working while viewers gather around. (more…)
North Carolina Dance Theatre is bringing its program “Under Southern Skies” to Chattanooga during its national tour March 5, 2006, at Hayes Concert Hall, in the Fine Arts Center on the University of Tennessee campus. The program explores the theme of Southern heritage, and includes four pieces, “Shindig,” “Sweet Tea,” “Salt,” and “I’m with You.” Dancers are joined on stage by North Carolina bluegrass band The Greasy Beans, and critically acclaimed acoustic guitarist Christine Kane. (more…)
Latin Nights! Dancercize! Salsa Aerobics! One of the many cultural benefits of the influx of Spanish-speaking peoples from the Caribbean, Central and South America is the immense surge in popularity of partnership dance. Part revival, part revolution, this interest has transformed the club scene across the U.S. with fresh venues springing up and old ones adding Latin nights to the dance mix scene. (more…)
The Storm Upon Las Tortugas
These were always our islands.
Before memory, and within it, still, the small brown men
Sweep our shores in their bark boats,
Laughing to see our great girth, and our swiftness,
Dragging their widely sieved nets, taking, in a single tear,
A dozen of our number, the weakest among us,
While the bright blue fish flutter like banners.
So, when you came, we knew not what to look for:
Not for a democrat, noble in dimension,
Who would embrace without argument or remorse
The puny and powerful alike.
Down came the Butterfeld Bank and the Hyatt Hotel.
Down came the roofs of our tiny yellow houses.
Our resin kitchen chairs were scattered upon the wreckage and the deep.
Even our dead were not spared
But forced, protesting, from their graves into the yards and streets.
Our friends, too, succumbed to your fearsome integrity.
The aging palm planters, los mercantos and the tremendous ships,
All we had known turned their faces from ours, shrugging at memory,
Choosing, instead, to cruise the waters in search of pleasant, unscathed shores.
But we will not forget how we opened our windows to the seas
Rushing toward us, how we scrubbed our shells upon the ruins,
How our young ones wept through the hot nights, calling
Not for comfort, but for comrades lost,
And how the trade of billions
Offers us, now, only the waste-filled sand hills to rebuild upon
(The reef, alone, persists, veiled in a sparkling blue blind).
We scorn pity, and call you El Terrible.
Violette Verdy is in love – with “the tenderness in the European character,” she says, “tenderness about life, food, children and the arts.” Verdy’s neoclassical piece, Inoui Rossini, meaning ‘Extraordinary’ and set to Rossini’s evocative music, draws upon this culture. “So much of my career has centered on teaching. I find my choreography seems naturally to be about educating dancers in what a disciplined body can suggest, and audiences in how ballet transforms the body into an articulate instrument. The Atlanta company dancers are receptive, generous. They can do extraordinary things. I had to show off their talents.”
Currently a Distinguished Professor of Ballet at Indiana University, Verdy is a retired NYCB principal, and has held artistic directorships for the Paris Opera and Boston Ballet companies. – Colleen M. Payton
May 5 – 6, 2006, 8pm
The open mic phenomenon is sweeping the nation, so it is not too big a surprise that it thrives in Gwinnett County. In fact, if you want, you can visit an open mic venue every weeknight (Sunday through Thursday) in Gwinnett. I know. I’ve tried it. But here’s a word to the wise: if you seen one, you have NOT see them all. Each has a unique personality. (more…)
It must be Sunday. It is 1930, certainly. I know
because my father, characteristically calm, is a baby.
My grandfather supports him in the crook of his elbow,
and leans against a church playground slide,
one ankle crossed over the other. His smile is cocky, his hat tipped jauntily
off center. His pocket sags, heavy with coin, or a Sunday flask
or maybe a gun.
This was Oklahoma, after all, the untamed west.
A gust unsettles the collar of my grandmother’s dress.
She wears a string of pearls and a flapper-style hat.
It looks like a pilot’s cap, with its dangling chin strap.
I suppose flight was so much the rage, that year,
even ladies’ millenary was caught up.
She sports open-toe pumps, and squints a bit
into the sun.
Did my grandfather guess, then, that he would hold his construction business through
the Depression, employ his fellow townsmen, among them a high school student,
my father, who would earn fifty cents an hour, a good wage?
The money kept him in hamburgers and movie tickets year round.
He even had a car to drive.
No wonder he was class president
if high grades and dependable personality wouldn’t do it.
My grandfather kept an office down by the Elk City depot.
I’ve seen it, a tiny brick building in a dirt yard,
anonymous now, but, perhaps incredibly,