I don't start my Mondays like a lot of my 9 to 5 friends out there. I purposely chose to make Monday one of my days off from my part-time job to give me one more day to relax and stretch out the weekend (although I did go into work for a little while yesterday so that I wouldn't have to go in today, but working in your office alone is a lot different than working when 5 other people are around. It almost doesn't feel like work).
So instead of spending Monday mornings checking my email and phone messages, or going through the snail mail from over the weekend, I try to spend my Monday mornings writing poetry, or my novel, or emails to friends. I do enjoy this slower pace of life that I've created for myself. It's not without its own drawbacks and valleys, but it is much more conducive to my writing life and my healing. And after doing the social justice movement work I've been doing for the past 8 years, I am in desperate need of some healing.
Part of my healing includes prioritizing music and dancing in my life, which is why I made a point to go see Lila Downs yesterday at Stern Grove.
And all I can say is: "Damn."
I always thought this woman was beautiful and talented and now I can say I have a full-blown celebrity crush on her (I distinguish celebrity crushes from real crushes, because, come on, they're not really 'real', right?). Not only was this woman a powerful singer with great range and an eclectic musical style--girlfriend sang everything from lilting folksongs in Spanish, Mixtec and Nahuatl to deep, throaty Southern-style blues to staccato, funky rap en Español--but she was a vibrant, sinuous dancer, all curves and lines and energy. Her stage presence, I'm sure, could be felt way up in the trees where all the late-comers had to sit, and it blew me away.
And she's a radical! Her blues song was about the struggle of migrant Latino farmworkers, and although my Spanish comprehension capacity is limited, my Spanish-fluent comrade M. informed us that she also sang about a Mexican human rights lawyer who was murdered.
I had a great time hanging out in the park, got to hang out with my friend J. whom I haven't chilled with in a while, got to sit with M. and her partner B., comrades from the old 'New Left' who dropped some knowledge on me during our ride back to the O. And I ran into a lot of acquaintances and friends in the park, too, which for some reason surprised me, but also made me muy feliz. Among them was P. and vkdir, the latter of whom recently busted up his hands a bit in a bike accident--ouch! Speedy healing, vk.
Needless to say, I'm gonna buy Lila's CD and hopefully go to her next concert in Frisco, which is scheduled for September 24th at the Palace of Fine Arts, which is a great venue--no bad seats in the house. I saw the off-the-hookWorld Arts West Ethnic Dance Festival there recently, and decided to go back there as much as possible. Anyway, Lila's concert tickets don't go on sale 'til Sunday July 18th.
Opening for Lila was an amazing Algerian singer named Souad Massi. What a treat to see two kick-ass female singers/musicians in the same day. Souad's music seemed to fuse Arab/Algerian rhythms and vocals with flamenco guitar, as well as more rock-ish, folksy guitar and drums. I think I need more time to appreciate her band's complex musicianship; Souad's performance left me very, very intrigued.
Monday, Monday. I spent some time this morning working on my novel and I'm off to my yoga class soon.
I love being an artist!
Beast Crawl, Oakland, Saturday, September 2
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