The closing event for Celebrating Resilience had a calmer energy. The audience was only 35 people -not the 90 person crowd that filled the room–to the MAX!– on the third floor of STRUT on the night of our opening event, December 5. The shorter program allowed time for Vince Crisostomo, the Program Manager of SF AIDS Foundation’s Elizabeth Taylor 50- Plus Network, to say a few words.
“In our twenties, one of my friends, told me that the greatest form of art was a life well lived. You need to go into a process. You need to do things like Bodyscapes to tap into the material of your heart to give it image, words or sound. When we first introduced Bodyscapes people said they had never done it before. They were not artists. Maybe as a young kid someone said you were not talented or your work was awful. You put your crayons away and you never took them out again. Bodyscapes was a way to get back into art to heal. I have been very happy with the project. Very happy working with Diane.”
Offstage, the poets were not as anxious this time around–opening night jitters were gone. They show a mature off stage comfort, allowing them to move more fully into the soft or reflective or angry or hopeful space of their poem.
On the night of the closing, they get silly with each other. Bodyscapes artists spend quite a bit of time together over the course of the two month project. We created the poems and drawings over a week-end 2 full day workshops. We met to rehearse/present the poems. We gathered for the big opening night poetry reading and now, again, we recited our poems at the closing event. Joyously and tenderly, they spread their love for being alive. Sam New shows off his nail polish, red and orange, of course. I got my upbeat NorCal closing event diagonal vibe on, rather than my usual uptight New Englander opening night producer demeanor. M.Grant gives Jesse some SHADE.
To all the remarkable LGBTQIA+, both men and women, living all over the world, may the words of vitality expressed in Bodyscapes artist Marty Carl’s poem heighten and animate your journey as the elders who LIVED, AGED and FLOURISHED through and after the AIDS pandemic.