I was torn between the two subtitles, so I gave the post both.
Lisa D. Gray
Yesterday was amazing. I first event was inspiring and unique, as it was the first one. This second one solidified that the space is in existence, is necessary and is filling up with the people that are making it an inhabited, creative and important space. This time, rather than at first being hit with a feeling being completely overwhelmed at the the success of things (and then the self-doubt of how the hell I will maintain this level of awesome), I was overwhelmed by the feeling that came later for the first event: appreciation. (Stupid ego)
Performers, starting with Colleen McKee and ending with Mk Chavez, were powerful. Collen started the night off with a rumination on the origin and spread of the use of “Ketchup,” from it’s fishy etemology to its rendering by the president as a vegetable, where the weaving of politics, history, access and sexuality expertly came through. Vida E. Felsenfeld shared a performance of meditory flaminco dance moves and poetry, a beautiful mixture of genres that empowered. Melissa Jones followed, reading from her new book of Poetry, Pinapple Grenades. Her poems told a raw story through polished words about struggle, pain, the places the heart and soul and mind go to in searching for the words to express these, and included song in a rendering of her brave truth-telling, to end at a place of finding the self again and moving towards a place of strength. Judy Elkan discussed her experiences wiht play writing, the current play she is working on and it seems unintentially led into a conversation about race, which admittedly got a bit awkward, but more on that later. Her play, which I wish she got to reading, is hilarious and insightful, hitting on ideas around gender norms and expectations, religion, aging and more. Amanda Meth, read her poetry, discussing harsh realities about the struggle between Israel and Palestine, situating herself in a history and ancestory that has a continued presence and relevance. Yodassa Williams read out of her finished and upcoming Sci-Fi Young Adult novel about teen twins who learn they are goddesses. I have been waiting to hear this masterpiece for some time! Witty, sarcastic and engaging, the excerpt she read had the twins dealing with heavy realities such as sexism/unwanted sexualization, masterfully balancing the graveness that attends such heavy and real issues with the lightness of humor to portray the everyday demands put on teenagers today. Lisa Gray, reading from her novel, drew up the scene around us with her words. There we were in a segregated town, experiencing the sick reality of history. I also performed, but I was not in the audience or outside of myself, so I can’t tell you what it was like. I can tell you I read from my chapbook, “All Small Carcasses” about three young women navigating the spaces of New York City and those of looking for parental figures, which become entangled in each other. Paula Fonseca read a portuguese poem, incouraging us to take a voyage to a place of not knowing, of wanting, of not wanting as a place of wanting, as the poem was about the states or conditions of wanting or in Portuguese, the verb “Querer, in it’s many,, many forms. ” Kelechi Ubozoh read poetry with song incorporated, telling narratives about love, marriage, race, gender expectations and aspects of Nigerian culture — in truth, i don’t know what wasn’t cleverly tucked into her beautiful, expertly-timed and deliverd performance. The woman is suppose to have a mic in her hand. Mk Chavez anchored the night with her poems about industrial vaginas, the power of females\the feminine through lines about hefers who in some culture are sacred, but more importantly, “shit in the street as they are walking away.”A force to be reckoned with, an ingenous and moving poet and human, I could listen to MK’s poetry for a very long time and be completely fulfilled.
Megan Lynn Kott’s rendering of Kelechi’s Costume of the Day!
Vendors included Tarot Reader Elese Osborn, who in green lips and astrological expertise, transformed the LIMINAL kitchen into a Tarot Reading station! She brought grounding, affirmative, and insightful energy to the event and attendees commented on how much they loved the readings and wanted to go back for more. Ali Roth of Blue Willow Tea in Berekley brough us delicious tea, an iced, reddish floral concoction that was pefrect for the day. With a range of options like Blood Orange and the classic Earl Grey, we will definatley need to have her come back for more tea indulgence in the future. Megan Lynn Kott, local celebrity, though so very humble, set up an in person version of her original Costume of the Day blog and drew people’s costumes throughout the event, sparking conversations about disembodied clothing, the things our clothes say about us and the ways in which a different rendering of the everyday can change your persepctive of yourself. Yodassa set up her pop-up shop, Style and Joy, from which I purchased a sneak item that functions as purse and hidden wino bottle consealor for a freind who’s bachelorette party I just missed (becuase she lives in NY), a sexy cold shoulder button down and a peacock earring holder so perhaps I will lose less of my earings going forward. There was also Loard’s Ice cream (pistacio and burbon cherry) from the store on MacArthur, free for neighbors!
Thank you to my team of volunteers: Charise Sowells Malouf, Patricia Price, Kelechi Ubozoh, Nancy Loquello, Kaleen Carimbocas, and Liz Green, for carving out time to support LIMINAL.
The night ended in hunger and tunes, the stopping of a handful of cars to ask if this was the new club, and as always, great conversation and company! Yes, there was also pizza, though as new yorker, it is against my best judgement to eat anything called pizza out here. Thank you Fists of Flour, you provided us with needed sustenance, and though I am a picky pizza snob, I believe I just might order again.
Paula Fonseca reading in Portuguese
(A blog about the awkward discussion that began, via what seemed to be a well-intentioned expression of needing to take responsibility for one’s racial privelage and address the existance of subsequent knee-jerk reactions that are actually rooted in unchecked racism, which went a bit awry will be posted at a later date. I did not want to take away from the awesome Showcase that took place and the celebration and thanks that were in order by expounding here. STAY TUNED for more on the inevitable drama that comes with intentional creations of space that question the validity of mainstream hierarchies and their subsequent societally dominant beliefs.)
Open coworking hours for the month onTuesdays and Fridays Times TBA
An Intro to Fashion Blogging with Yodassa Williams Saturday May 2nd Time TBA
Love’s Labor: A Workshop for Mothers Writing About Loss Saturday May 9th 10AM-2PM
Love’s Labor is a writing workshop for mothers who have known loss. Whether you’ve lost a pregnancy, a child, or someone or even something else, this day is for putting words to the unspoken. Taking inspiration from prose writers who’ve written movingly about loss, we will access our own memories and make them accessible to others. Love’s Labor is open to any mother who feels the urge to write. Cost is $80.
Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life which was named a “Best Book of 2013” by The Boston Globe and Library Journal and has been internationally published. Holding Silvan explores motherlove and medical ethics through the brief life of her son. Her stories and essays have appeared in many other venues including The New York Times, The Carolina Quarterly, and Best New American Voices. A regular speaker at hospitals about neonatal loss, she has also taught writing at UC Berkeley Extension and around the Bay Area for over a decade. Read more at www.monicawesolowska.com