My musical neurocommunication with Ravi Shankar ended with his deep bow. The burst of applause was startling after the stillness, as was the quick dash of movement to the bathrooms. I turned to Cousin Sam, thanked him, and started to put on my coat. Sam didn’t move, ”We should stay for the next act.” I whined at that, “I’m tired and it’s a long schlep back to campus on the bus.” “Trust me. We should stay,” he said softly, but firmly. And so, mildly kvetching (complaining in Yiddish), I was still seated when the curtain re-opened.
My cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and were about to experience neurocommunication as we headed out to a Ravi Shankar concert in a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and it was frostbite territory standing at the bus stop in Cambridge, Mass. Freezing almost took my mind off of being homesick for my family back in New York. Overcome with loneliness, I needed an attitude adjustment and Sam insisted on some music therapy. He thought that classical sitar music from India would distract and soothe – reboot my brain. I wondered why we were the only Harvard students who ‘d come to hear this relatively unknown musician from India. But it was the sixties and Shankar hadn’t yet been labeled by The Beatles’ George Harrison as “the godfather of world music”.
With a screen & stage career spanning over 40 years, therapist Carol Potter is best known for her role as Cindy Walsh in Aaron Spelling’s Beverly Hills 90210, among many other Hollywood credits. She has also been seen on stages in New York, including the original Broadway production of Gemini, Los Angeles, and regional theater.
A Harvard graduate, she became a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in 2001.
Kim is a key member of the Wayans clan that created TV’s In Living Color. The ten Wayans siblings grew up poor in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. Elvira, Kim’s mother, was a homemaker and social worker who took the kids everywhere, no nannies, and no babysitter. Their father was a supermarket manager and the Jehovah’s Witness in the family. With no background in the entertainment business and little money, the Wayans’ success is an unlikely story.
Podcast interview with Jan Levine Thal, Artistic Director, Kathie Rasmussen Women’s Theatre (Krass), Madison, WI. Krass supports women playwrights and directors but welcomes people of all genders in all other aspects of its work. In this interview she discusses why women’s theater is the same and different from all other theater. See the website for current and past work:krasstheatre.com
When regional Native Americans convene in Chattanooga’s First Tennessee Pavilion, you’ll find me there, too. This year, the gathering seemed larger and more energetic than ever. I come to admire the colorful dress, hear the drum circle, and watch the dancing. The booths full of Native American arts and crafts are irresistible and my drawers are full of jewelry purchased there. I also come for the honor guard, a promenade of Native American veterans, police, firemen, and war mothers.
Neil Young is now in his sixties, with many great achievements and awards, including MusiCares Person of the Year. When Young received the honor given his decades of work with Farm Aid and Bridge School Concerts, some of the most famous musicians in the business serenaded Young with his own songs: Elton John, James Taylor, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow Leon Russel, and Keith Russell. Young was quoted as saying that he’d forgotten how many songs he’d written. When did cultural superstar Young hit retirement age? He’s at the point in his life when he either 1) created so many songs he lost count or 2) really can’t remember. Not to worry, Neil.
On a cold night in Sixties, my cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and headed out for a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I had the homesick bug; Sam cheered me up with a concert by a relatively unknown Ravi Shankar. Shankar was a musician who would eventually attract the Beatles, and the West, to his music. He was more of a cult icon in those days. I was an early entry into the All-Things-Eastern craze, having squeezed myself into a course on Buddhism at Harvard Divinity School. Even so, I had never seen Shankar perform or heard his music.
Maria Tallchief, international ballet superstar, inspired the ballerina in those of my generation caught up in the Dance Fantasy. Like gambling fever, the Dance can be all-consuming, easily contracted and a life-long passion. I caught dancing fever at first sight, growing up in Bermuda. I stared, open-mouthed when the square dance caller yelled ‘allemande right’ and my older brother Joe and his friends flew around the circle formation. “Me, too!” begged my five-year-old self. “Can I, huh, Can I?” The caller looked pained when Mom asked permission. “Yeah, OK. But only if she can find someone who’ll dance with a kid that young.” The deck was stacked against me, but Joe paid a friend sixpence to dance with me. My love affair with dance was off and running.
Cultures all over the world have individual artistic expressions that set them apart. One of these unique gifts that varies between people groups is the art of dance. African tribal dances began to shape and define their culture long before it transferred to America. Modern day African American dance has been revolutionized into a creative expression of talent and movement. These exceptional stylistic qualities can be seen in specialized dance companies like that of Alvin Ailey. The heart and soul that comes out through their artistic talents compels generations everywhere.