We, the people: the beautiful non-violent Italian revolution

Piazza San Giovanni

We’re on the eve of General Elections in Italy.

On Sunday 24 and Monday 25 February, the Italian people will vote on ending the clutches of an almost twenty-year-long period of conflict-of-interest-filled, corrupt, nepotist and fraudulent governing, or vote on going back for more of the same.

If it depends on the tireless efforts  of a new political force, there will be a complete turnaround and honesty and transparency will finally prevail in Italian politics.

For three years, Beppe Grillo’s MoVimento 5 Stelle (5 ***** Movement) has been gaining momentum.

Last night, a crowd of 800.000 people (and 150.000 more watching in streaming and who knows how many more watching the video stream on 120 streets and squares all over the country) gathered on Piazza San Giovanni in Rome to listen to the candidates and Beppe Grillo himself.

For Grillo (the 65-year-old comic/satirist), it was the 77th stop of his “Tsunami Tour,” criss-crossing the country in a donated camper and making two to three campaign appearances a day. The endeavor has paid off: MoVimento 5 ***** is a political force to reckon with and might well win the elections.

In an emotional ending that you can find on Beppe Grillo’s blog under “Parole Guerriere,” he took leave of the crowd.

Here is a translation.

“We searched for a way out. We were prisoners of the dark. We never thought we’d make it. We had been told that the windows and doors were bricked up. That there was no exit.
Then, who knows from where, we picked up a flow of words and thoughts. From outside. From inside. From the network, from the streets. Peaceful words, yet at the same time warrior-words.
We have used them as a guiding light in the dark, utilized them as keys that turned the lock that opened the door to elsewhere, to unknown territories, to ourselves. And now, here we find ourselves outside, not altogether used yet to the light. We squeeze our eyes and even though we know we took the only road possible, we are fearful, and rightfully so. What is happening in Italy right now has never happened before in the history of modern democracy. A democratic non-violent revolution, uprooting powers and upending pyramids. Citizens who become the State and enter parliament within the timespan of just three years.
Now we have come to understand that we ourselves were that closed door, that those warrior-words were living inside us for quite some time but we were unwilling to exit, believing ourselves alone in our struggle – while in effect, we were a multitude. And now we register surprise at getting to know the multitudes that share our thoughts, our hopes, our fears. We have finally gotten to know each other and have exchanged those warrior-words with each other.
Estranged words that had lost every meaning, we have turned into powerful arms that we used to change everything; to turn around an artificial reality where finance equalled economy, lies became truth and war was peace, where dictatorship was democracy.
Ancient warrior words, like community, honesty, sharing/participation, solidarity, sustainability, sounding fresh once more and reverberating through a far-reaching soundwave, negating old-style politics.
We have finally caught up with and understand reality.
We know that we can count on our own strengths, facing a Country in ruins and difficult times, where tensions, problems, and conflicts may lie ahead, but the road ahead is plotted. We who have found this road that leads us into the future know that the future may bring poverty, but also truth, concreteness, solidarity and contentment.
A new Italy awaits us.
Being part of it will be beautiful.”

[Cercavamo una porta per uscire. Eravamo prigionieri del buio. Pensavamo di non farcela. Ci avevano detto che le finestre e le porte erano murate. Che non esisteva un’uscita. Poi abbiamo sentito un flusso di parole e di pensieri che veniva da chissà dove. Da fuori. Da dentro. Dalla Rete, dalle piazze. Erano parole di pace, ma allo stesso tempo parole guerriere. Le abbiamo usate come torce nel buio, come chiavi da girare nella serratura per andare altrove, in posti sconosciuti, verso noi stessi. E ora siamo fuori, siamo usciti nella luce e non ci siamo ancora del tutto abituati. Stringiamo gli occhi e, anche se sappiamo che stiamo percorrendo l’unica via possibile, abbiamo qualche timore, ed è normale. Quello che sta succedendo ora in Italia non è mai successo prima nella storia delle democrazie moderne. Una rivoluzione democratica, non violenta, che sradica i poteri, che rovescia le piramidi. Il cittadino che si fa Stato ed entra in Parlamento in soli tre anni. Abbiamo capito che eravamo noi quella porta chiusa, che le parole guerriere erano da tempo dentro di noi, ma non volevano venire fuori, pensavamo di essere soli e invece eravamo moltitudine. E adesso siamo sorpresi che così tante persone a noi del tutto sconosciute avessero i nostri stessi pensieri, le nostre speranze, le nostre angosce. Ci siamo finalmente riconosciuti uno nell’altro e abbiamo condiviso parole guerriere. Parole che erano state abbandonate da tempo, di cui si era perso il significato, sono diventate delle armi potenti che abbiamo usato per cambiare tutto, per ribaltare una realtà artificiale dove la finanza era economia, la menzogna era verità, la guerra era pace, la dittatura era democrazia. Parole guerriere dal suono nuovo e allo stesso tempo antichissimo, come comunità, onestà, partecipazione, solidarietà, sostenibilità si sono propagate come un’onda di tuono e sono arrivate ovunque annientando la vecchia politica. Siamo diventati consapevoli della realtà. Sappiamo che possiamo contare solo sulle nostre forze, che il Paese è in macerie e che quello che ci aspetta sarà un periodo molto difficile, ci saranno tensioni, problemi, conflitti, ma la via è tracciata. L’abbiamo trovata questa via e ci porta verso il futuro, un futuro forse più povero, ma vero, concreto, solidale e felice. C’è una nuova Italia che ci aspetta. Sarà bellissimo farne parte.

http://www.beppegrillo.it

Read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Star_Movement

Beppe Grillo (CNN)

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/22/world/europe/italy-beppe-grillo-profile/

Beppe’s Inferno (The New Yorker)

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/02/04/080204fa_fact_mueller

Meeting Italy’s silenced satirist (BBC)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6187504.stm

Judith Malina’s “No Place To Hide”

The Living Theatre might be the longest-running avantgarde theater company in the world. In its 67th season now, founder and director Judith Malina is still going strong with a new piece that just opened in Manhattan: “No Place To Hide,” and working on another one, “The Triumph of Time,” for her fellow-actors in residence at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey.

Here is an excellent photo essay by Gaia Squarci of Judith in action, accompanied by a text of Chelsea Matiash for the Wall Street Journal blog, as well as two photographs by theworldforacountry of the event mentioned in the blog, a work-in-progress presentation at The Whitney Museum of American Art (during the Rituals of Rented Island exhibition) of “The Chairs,” by multi-media artist and theater director Theodora Skipitares.

Judith Malina after the performance of The Chairs, a work-in-progress presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art

Judith Malina after the performance of “The Chairs”, a work-in-progress presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art

Judith Chairs 2

Theodora Skipitares in artist talk at The Whitney Museum of American Art, after the performance of “The Chairs.” In background, left, narrator Judith Malina

http://blogs.wsj.com/photojournal/2014/03/19/judith-malinas-living-theatre-to-debut-no-place-to-hide/?mod=WSJBlog

Living Theatre to Debut Judith Malina’s “No Place To Hide”

By Chelsea Matiash

When the Living Theatre gave up its home on the Lower East Side in 2013, it appeared to be the end of an era. Unable to pay the rent, the company closed is doors and packed the bags of its ailing longtime leader, Judith Malina. Ms. Malina, the group’s co-founder and artistic director, relocated from her apartment above the performance space to the Lillian Booth Actors Home, an assisted-living and nursing-care facility for entertainment professionals in Englewood, N.J. Ms. Malina, 87, suffers from emphysema but continues to write from her new home, where members of the group visit her often.

Photographer Gaia Squarci recently spent time with Ms. Malina and previewed her latest play as part of a project documenting the Living Theatre and its co-founder. Despite the struggles of the past year, Ms. Malina’s story is one of resilience, Ms. Squarci said.

She described her first encounter with Ms. Malina this winter during a show at the Whitney Museum. “Judith was sitting on a chair all dressed in black, black hair lightly turning white close to the scalp, wide-open eyes and bright pink nails,” Ms. Squarci recalled. ”She looked small and frail from a distance,” but she was the center of a flurry of handshakes and smiles. “She doesn’t hide her fragilities,” she said. Since that encounter, she has followed the Living Theatre during a transitional period.

The experimental company, whose performances are rooted in social change, politics and the avant-garde, is no stranger to losing its home. In the 1950s and ’60s, the group’s unconventional performances led to the closing by authorities of all the Living Theatre’s New York venues, after which it began a new existence as a touring ensemble, traveling internationally. Over the years, the company reinvented itself, presenting performances in different venues and spaces before settling at the Clinton Street Theater– its first permanent home since 1993.

Ms. Malina will direct when the company debuts her new play, “No Place to Hide,” at Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center on Wednesday, marking the Living Theatre’s first production since losing its space on Clinton Street. The production, presented as a work in progress, explores “the reasons and consequences of hiding” and invites audience participation.

Said Brad Burgess, the executive producer: “We want to help the public and ourselves confront where we’ve come from, what we’ve done to each other, and expose ways of making things better through what we do for each other.”

Looking into the future, Ms. Malina said one of her plays, “The Triumph of Time,” will explore the positive aspects of aging, in contrast to “the views of society.” She said she hopes to involve other older actors living at the Lillian Booth Actors Home.

Aging “is when you become who you really are and what you’ve been building up to,” she said. “You’re more complete.”

Below, Ms. Sqaurci’s photographs provide an inside look at the latest work of Ms. Malina and her company.

Judith Malina sat back in her room at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J.

Gaia Squarci for The Wall Street Journal
Judith Malina sat back in her room at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J.

Ms. Malina penciled in an item on her calendar

Gaia Squarci for the Wall Street Journal
Ms. Malina penciled in an item on her calendar

Gaia Squarci for The Wall Street Journal Performers worked during a rehearsal of the Living Theatre Company directed by Ms. Malina at La MaMa rehearsal studios.

Gaia Squarci for The Wall Street Journal
Performers worked during a rehearsal of the Living Theatre Company directed by Ms. Malina at La MaMa rehearsal studios.

Gaia Squarci for The Wall Street Journal Ms. Malina is helped down the stairs following rehearsal.

Gaia Squarci for The Wall Street Journal
Ms. Malina is helped down the stairs following rehearsal.

INTAGLIO

The performance of INTAGLIO -with music by Philip Glass – broke an almost 40-year silence of creator/choreographer/dancer Koert Stuyf and his muse, the inimitable stage legend Ellen Edinoff.

Philip Glass himself introduced the world premiere of INTAGLIO at the Rabozaal in Amsterdam on 29 April 2012.

Afterwards, a minutes-long curtain call for Ellen Edinoff, Koert Stuyf, Mickey de Haan, Peter Spoor (all in costumes designed by Zandra Rhodes), Philip Glass, Michael Riesman, and the producer of INTAGLIO, Rob Malasch.

Here’s a short reportage with images of Ellen Edinoff and fragments of an interview with Koert Stuyf.

 

And  the evening’s  introduction by Philip Glass and minutes-long curtain call at the end.

 

Generations at Dansgroep Amsterdam: Learning from the Masters

Scottish choreographer William Collins, an alumnus of the Amsterdam School for New Dance Development, kicks off the Generations program with Exclamations. Collins’ choreography is larded with indeed, exclamations, shards of song and talk about a dead cat. These burlesque moments and assistant-choreographer Airen Koopman’s plain and playful costumes, relieve and counteract the anguish created by Collins’ proclivity for distortion and disjointed movements. Collins’ insistence to go back to the essence: the dancer’s body (and voice), in a bare setting, without a sound score, is admirable. However, too often in works like these, I can glean the studio exercises that lay at the basis of its creation. There are quotes (unbeknownst to Collins?) from the early works of Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker and Pina Bausch. Exclamations has its moments, but for me, it is not a finished work. It is not yet polished with the ambiguity and multi-interpretability that characterizes all great art. Now, one can’t expect a young choreographer to be a great artist all at once. Collins’ approach is an honest exploration. But approaching dance this way, leaning toward theatricality but skipping its dramaturgical considerations, there is always the danger that the choreography will not rise above the common workshop performance experience. Collins’s work tells me that dramatic tension as I know and enjoy it, may be dead. So: a true generation-gap. Exclamations lacks a certain charisma that keeps my attention fully going, like with the next choreography on the program Remains to be Seen. Michael Schumacher is a seasoned and hugely accomplished dancer/choreographer, who worked with the likes of Ballet Frankfurt and Twyla Tharp. His latest work has an intensity and clear dramatic line that almost belies its improvisational origin. It shows the hand of a true dance-master. Again, the stage is bare, but Pink Steenvoorden’s light plot dresses the stage in mysterious auburn hues, until a sudden switch to daylight reveals the true colors of dancers and costumes (by Elian Smits). Tiny search lights, like lost stars, signal at the beginning and the middle the “remains to be seen,” mesmerizingly underscored by Steven Heather’s music. All through this 20-minute choreography I am sitting at the edge of my seat, wondering “What’s next? What’s next?”
In Infinite, Hungarian-born grande dame of Dutch dance Krisztina de Châtel shows what maturity and mastery can accomplish. Piazzolla’s Eight Seasons, as played by violinist Gidon Kremer and reworked and adapted by Han Otten, forms the powerful soundscape against which Abu-Graib-like hooded figures (the entire DGA ensemble) rhythmically stomp around the stage in endlessly fascinating patterns. Performers unite with audience in an ever-tightening noose-around-the-neck. This is spine-tingling dancing at its best. Sometimes dancers will break out of the faceless anonymity of the clinically-clad crowd in hospital blues and greens, like Charlie Chaplins on the loose in Modern Times.
At the end, a moving moment when Krisztina de Chatel joins DGA’s 12 fabulously versatile dancers on stage to take the bow. Hopeful signs of new beginnings for DGA and new dance generations to come.

see also:

http://boycrieswolf.wordpress.com/the-performances/exclamations-dga/

http://michaelschumacherdancer.wordpress.com/

http://dansgroepamsterdam.nl/en/Home

http://dansgroepamsterdam.nl/en/Dance-group/Choreographers/Krisztina

Confusion

This was the image that cruised the world this week with tags:
“308-8-traitors-government-upturn-vote-take-note-resignation-italian-president-one-solution-lets-move”
I am not a fan of Berlusconi, and never have been. In fact, I am convinced that he did more damage to the country in 17 years than the Democrazia Cristiana in almost 70….YET, Europe, the world, will need more than just the overthrow of powerful individuals. It needs a profound change, preached by the likes of Beppe Grillo. It needs an end to greed and the end of capitalism (as we know it.)

NaNoWriMo Kick-off

NaNoWriMo 2011

Fabulous NaNoWriMo 2011 kickoff at the Central Amsterdam Library (OBA) today.
NaNo veteran Nico Janssen sketched a bit of NaNoWriMo history for newcomers and pointed out that by last year, 2.8 billion words have been generated through the NaNoWriMo community that has grown to 200.000 writers!
The challenge is personal. It is no problem if you don’t finish or manage to get 50.000 words in by the end of the month. It’s about being productive all the time, every day, writing during the month of November with 200.000 fellow writers spread out over the globe.
Lisa Friedman introduced freewriting to the assembled NaNoWriMo wannabees. “Just Do It, Don’t Think, Outrun the Critic.”
Some of her tips on how to be productive during NaNoWriMo include “Train yourself like a dog to write on command; don’t re-read (as of yet); replace self-criticism with encouragement; forget about Facebook.”
Are we ready?
I am.

Mayor Bloomberg Speaks at La MaMa Fiftieth Anniversary Gala

Mayor Bloomberg spoke yesterday at La MaMa’s Fiftieth Anniversary Gala at the Ellen Stewart Theater on East 4th Street, the block that is now renamed “Ellen Stewart Way.”
Bloomberg talked about his first encounter in 2006 with Ellen’s driving visionary force, which made him hand over the building that was formerly called “the Annex” for one dollar (1$)!
He also announced that – at the instruction of Kate D. Levin, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) – the city will support La MaMa with 2 million dollars for capital improvements on four facilities (the original La MaMa building, the Ellen Stewart Theater, La MaMa Galleria on 1st Street and the rehearsal studio building on 47 Great Jones Street). This not only to perpetuate La MaMa’s own activities in theater, the visual arts and education, but also to support La MaMa’s guiding light function in a “Naturally Occurring Cultural District.”
“Theater, including off-off-Broadway,” said the mayor, “is a major industry in our city. In fact, on-Broadway theaters have a quarter-billion-dollar impact on our economy every year.” And that is why he thinks investing in La MaMa is “a sound investment in the city’s future.”
The evening was full of wonderful theatrical surprises, like Estelle Parsons and John Kelly in a beautifully executed mother-and-son scene of Harvey Fierstein’s ‘Torch Song Trilogy,’ touching video messages from Harvey Keitel and Sam Shepard, who received the first-ever Ellen Stewart Award, a scene from Wallace Shawn’s zany ‘Hotel Play’ with a million characters young and old flocking to the stage including Shawn himself as the bell-boy, and a vibrant new piece by the inimitable Elizabeth Swados, a ‘La MaMa Cantata’ set to Ellen Stewart’s own words. MC’d by La MaMa old-timers Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw of Split Britches, the evening was a reconfirmation that La MaMa’s future is secured for at least another fifty years.

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