It’s been an incredible weekend and it’s not over yet.
On Friday afternoon I remembered that a play I’ve really been wanting to see will be closing on September 6, and I found some discount tickets for the second row. If you care about women, Africa (the Congo, specifically), human rights, music, or just about anything that’s central to humanity and if you’re in or near NYC, then make it a priority to see “Ruined.” Recession or no, I don’t think there was an empty seat in the theater (and there are certainly no bad seats) and I wasn’t the only member of the audience soaked in my own tears at the play’s end. (You can read a review here and understand why).
Quite simply, the play–everything about it (the narrative, its delivery, the actors, the music, the set, the lighting, the costumes, the theater itself)–was exceptional. It took a heavy subject–the war in the Congo and, specifically, the rape of women–and made it accessible, interesting, and thought-provoking without falling prey to what I call plight syndrome.
And I hadn’t seen an audience as diverse and as engaged in a play in…well, possibly ever.
So that was Friday.
Yesterday, I spent a good 8 or 9 hours in front of the computer working on a few enormous projects while Francisco cleaned, polished every pair of shoes he owns, did laundry, and cooked. And then we headed up to El Barrio, where Rooftop Films was hosting a night of short documentaries on the theme “Where You Live,” featuring shorts from Alberto and Jalisco, Mexico, Hong Kong, Detroit, Niger, and points in between.
Again- big, supportive audience. And there was something special about being on the roof of El Museo del Barrio (The Barrio Museum), where you can see almost all the way west across the city.
My favorite shorts were “Chunking Dream”:
I’ve wanted to go to one of the Rooftop Films since I first learned about the organization a couple years ago but never seemed to get around to it.
Today, we’ll be at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival for Afro-Cuban, Peruvian, and Guinean music and dance followed by a performance by Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca:
[just skip to 1:15, which is when “Mambo Yo Yo” starts]
Now I’m no dancer, but if that song doesn’t get the crowd moving today, even in this heat, I’ll be very surprised.
Here’s my question though: Where are all the kids? And, specifically, where are the babies?
I didn’t see a single baby at any of these events.
I wouldn’t necessarily take a baby to a play, but being out and about so much this weekend made me realize that I never really see kids (little kids at least) at any events. Yes, babies cry. And Americans are famously intolerant of baby noises (though we don’t seem to be as bothered by ringing or vibrating cell phones during performances, meals, or other events shared in public spaces). But there’s something a bit disturbing to me about the fact that we seem to hide our babies away until a certain age (please tell me that age isn’t 5) because they’re not publicly accepted.
I could rant on about this topic for a while, but I won’t. Let me just say: NYC, get ready. Because this baby isn’t going to be hiding in a bassinet until she can walk. She needs more stimulation than a mobile hanging over her crib.
And quite frankly, you could use some stimulation, too.