I felt it necessary after that first email, full of hawk attacks, cramped quarters and impersonal gotham-ness, to let you all know that Peaknuckle and I are not only safe...we're enjoying ourselves. The city is opening to us and in many ways opening us. Pea is shedding like crazy, as the earth warms prematurely. And the city is taking me and tearing me open in a wondrous, somewhat miraculous way (yes. I've always been dramatic).
First off, I got the very coveted and sought after job of Hospital Clown, with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit!!! My job, my JOB (I LOVE saying that), is to show up with another Clown from the Unit and make sick kids happy. The organization is Amazing...trainings, monthly 'emotional hygiene' sessions aka group therapy and an unforgettable Clown Conference in the Berkshires that I attended last week with 65 other huge hearted folks from all over the country (the Circus has something like 100 clowns doing this in , , , , and ). Their were clowns there who'd been doing this for over twenty years and on average people'd been doing this for about ten years. Now imagine all of these folks in one room sharing juggling, dancing, magical, musical and oddball talents with each other, or sharing their stories around the dinner table- my favorite was from one of the pioneers of the job from way back when they were making all the mistakes. He was walking around with two fake legs (adding up to four), and showed up in a room of two little girls where conjoined twins (attached at the head). He went pale and scared (which I've done more than twice already), and the twins started cackling at him, taking turns (only one could face him at a time) pointing and insulting him. That's our job he said. To lower our status, so that these victims of the medical establishment can have a little power over their situation.
I wish I could share all my stories with you, with the whole world, and I'll probably start Blogging, but one room (in addition to clinics, pre Op and post Op, we do in-patient rooms) there was a little girl with burn over her whole body, as in, all that I could recognize as human was eyes and teeth. (I'm seeing younger humans in these sort of dramatic situations each time I go- and each time, I get a little pale and quesy- getting my 'hospital legs" is what they call it, I think, and each time my "supervisor" saves my life-and the life of the kid, in way, by pulling me into a game). So the game with the little girl was to do a silly Elmo song as we shuffled along on a line (we didn't want to go out of her line of sight) and dance and be silly. I don't know how I saw it or were I saw it...there was nothing left of her face to do it...she smiled. We goofed, she smiled, I was transformed (and it's been a LONG time since I've used language like that). And these sort of stories happen every time I go (about once a week). And this is my JOB! WhaHOO!
And speaking of transformation: My second job, as a theatre teacher in Brownsville is also transforming me. I teach K through 4th grade in a school where I'm one of THREE white people in the whole after school program. Literally. It's 99% black and a depressed part of town. Lots of fights, yelling and kids who are...well...thugs in training. I had quit the job last week (gave my two weeks notice) and when I went in this week a miracle happened (maybe because I'd 'given up'?). The 3rd grade class was un-usually loud, mean and disrespectful
and I yelled (I never yell). I basically alpha-ed them and put it straight. I told them that there will NEVER be yelling again in my class, that if they get five checks (to get a check they have to be quiet and put out their thumbs when I put mine out), they get to do whatever game they want for the last five minutes of class. The class was all giving checks. They actually played my games, enjoyed it and when it was time to cash in their checks, they picked "Talent Show," a game I'd never played with them, but was more than happy to see them play, as their Theatre Teacher and all. All they did for five glorious minutes was to go on stage one at a time and be silly, weird and goofy! Thugs in training! Being silly! Being kids! I was transformed.
And now my house. The one that I reported last time as way too cramped. Well. I'm still in my teeny room, but I've tricked it out...with curtain rods up high to hang clothes and towels and lots of coat hooks on the wall and drawers under the bed to optimize the up and down space. That's why the skyline in Manhattan is so freakish. When there's no space just create it. Pies in the sky. And I love all my roommates. There's a saxaphonist from , a jazz singer with a lovely little boy, a flutist and old time banjo player who plays with another roommate- my Apple Computer Store hook up - and they make it sound like folk fest every other day, and then there's the den mother who owns the house who plays the piano and runs around in bizarre burlesque numbers.
AND! Sophie (my Ladyfriend) and I are making a wholesome burlesque show called:
Peg + Ass = Us
A tale of boy-meets-girl, but the whole involves much more than the sum of their parts! Puppetry and song bring a fantastical analysis of fetish vs. preference, queer vs. straight, wrong vs.
oh-so-right...The show will be a vaudevillian revelation of sexual practices that poke holes in rigid notions of gender and sexuality, but are still full of the good old, wholesome awkwardness that is part of the journey from the bar to the bedroom. will have good doses of educational information, song, dance, drag, puppetry and of course, mythical creatures.
SO there you have it.
OH WAIT! TWO more things...I have a new number (on my new ! I know, I'm SO New Yawk):
You all should use it, I love walking around talking to people who aren't next to me like a crazy person!