Monday, March 10, 2014

Exploring and performing...

Hey everyone!

Yesterday was an amazing day of adventure, exploring, and performing. We started off the day with a group of us going to Fetish - Spatique in the Garden District. Ms. Joanna from Shalom Zone had told the owners (a lovely mother-daughter team) about our team and what we're doing down here, so amazingly they wanted to offer us some breakfast and kind words. One of my favorite inspirational comments from them was "if you all keep giving like this, the universe will always give back to you".

Afterwards we headed into the van and drove to the French Quarter for the rest of our morning off! The weather was incredible, the sky was blue, and we of course were laughing our heads off in the car all the way to the Mississipi River. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in five days as I have here. It's been so wonderful getting to know my teammates and keeping each other lively by laughing until our muscles ache, no matter what crazy circumstances surround us.

Some of us split up to do some shopping, but a group of us wanted a New Orleans breakfast so we headed to the Corner Oyster Bar and Grill for some Po'boys, eggs, and caffeine. We wandered Jackson Square and found some cute boutiques and beautiful artwork, but most importantly a street poet named David Blanton. For a donation, you can give him a subject and he will write you a poem in 20 minutes. Since our theme on this trip has been "Art Nurtures" we gave him that as our subject and explained a little about who we were and what we were doing in New Orleans.

20 minutes later, we return to a beautiful poem that we were so stunned by, we wanted to share it with our audience at our Trinity Church performance later that day (which we did).

"Art Nurtures

There is nothing more powerful
than full self expression,
the cosmic realization that you are
exactly you and sharing that
through art, drama, or dance
is a never ending joy.
The truth is loving the tension
within and without, whispering
or screaming it out, turning
your heart inside out
to those willing to listen with
an open ear to expressions
that may not always be clear.
The Muse is found in the struggle,
in the tension of muscle and mind,
and words that almost say enough.
Artists aren't so tough, they just know
how to bleed the demons within
and make something beautiful in the end."

After receiving the gift of this poem, we headed back to HONO for a team meeting, sandwiches, and a quick prep for our performance. The house was soon filled with music and text in every room-- it was a great reminder of all of our strengths and excitement to perform. Actors were on the porch, dancers were in the kitchen, and musicians roamed through every common area and bedroom they could find. Nothing is cooler than hearing a house booming with art and creativity!

We head to the Trinity Church and after a run-through of the program we give a 60 minute performance to the community. It was wonderful seeing so many familiar faces! After our finale of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", we had the whole church on their feet clapping and singing along! A lot of kids from the Shalom Zone were there and afterward rushed up to us on the stage. The musicians generously helped some of them hold and play their instruments, which was adorable to watch.

We said our goodbyes and headed to the Praline Connection for our team dinner! After all the tastiness the group got to dance to some amazing jazz music played by very talented street musicians out front and then peruse the art fair where chalk drawing ensued.

And of course, it was a delicious end to a delicious day.


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