Well friends, here we are in August, the Sunday of Summer. Don’t know about you but usually around this time I stop running around to think “…where the hell has vacation gone?!” while shielding myself from back-to-school commercials, popping blueberries in the shade. (Meanwhile, all of Europe hangs up ‘Closed’ signs and takes an actual 30-day nap because #priorities)
As much as we all anticipate this indulgent season of rest, I find summer can be a bit of a conundrum…For dancers, it’s a 2-3 month layoff when you file for unemployment—yep, this is a thing that actually happens to the performing artists carving out our cultural legacy. You run around trying to stay in shape for the Fall while nursing whatever physical/mental/emotional burnout remains from the season before… For students, it’s 3 months of recovery from intellectual exhaustion likely accompanied by an internship and unhealthy amounts of contemplating your future/reclaiming lost sleep. I liken it to a motivational Tug of War where ambition & apathy pull equal weight.
Anyways, I come to you aboard the Amtrak, somewhere between Washington D.C. and Manhattan… figured I’d use this forward momentum to reflect a bit on time spent in our confusing Nation’s capital as I head back to the City I know and love…
This past Monday, I was leaving work when I caught wind of a ‘Broadway Protest’ being held at one 1600 Pennsylvania Ave…I thought to myself, “HOLY S***, THIS IS WHY I’M SUPPOSED TO BE HERE RN” while getting an Uber straight to the White House (“Just out front is fine, thank you. #5stars”). As I approached the crowd, I recognized the opening melody of Les Miserable’s ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ … naturally, I burst into tears and broke into a million pieces right there in the front yard.
I know. I knowwwwwwwww.
I stood there, profoundly humbled and genuinely hopeful…surrounded by a community of people who to me, comprise everything that our nation has fought so hard to uphold… free speakers, singers, movers and makers— Artists shining in a spotlight of their own making…and I cried. I cried for the harmonious riffs defying the weight of a shameful political climate…for the children holding up posters with quotes from Broadway songs somehow even more relevant here and now than for the theaters they first inhabited.. for finding myself in the middle of this crowd of brave, beautiful beings, being the change we need to see. As I composed myself, I looked up into a sherbert sunset and saw no irony in it’s reflection: A cultural canvas representing every single size/shape/color under the sky because love is love is love is love is love. Down fell the tears.
Until recent years, I haven’t fancied myself to be persuasively “political”. Maybe it was living abroad…or down in the depths of theaters… I didn’t feel informed enough to speak confidently about our nation’s divided perspective. And then I moved back to New York and found myself on a Campus where it’s more offensive to not Vote at all than to fight majority opinion…So I started reading. I stopped hiding from news reports, I began a listening journey seeking to understand, searching for the right opinion to hold, for me. Like most things, personal relevance is a driver of taste and it will surprise no one to read of my distaste for rhetorical negligence— most especially at the cost of our Culture.
Suffice it to say between Hamilton, your feedback from this little thought train, and witnessing the most peaceful, moving protest since the Woman’s March, I feel my summer work here is complete. If you need me before the leaves turn, I’ll be facing the Sun and riding out Strawberry Moons with the family & friends I neglected on behalf of 7 Seasons of Suits and the entirety of Chef’s Table.
It’s a delicate window of produce ripe for the picking, plans meant for changing and all the happy hours. Let’s have at it.
‘…there’s a life about to start when tomorrow comes’