Yesterday, daughter Zena and I flew from Tampa to New York City. I came to see friends and attend MaMaPaLooZa. She came to see friends and spend time with her Dad.
We arrived at JFK where I decided to take the train into Manhattan. I am plenty agile but somehow managed to get my leg and suitcase stuck in the subway turnstile. Determined not to lose my fare, I wormed my body and baggage forward, but without luck. Finally, a generous woman joined me in tugging, kicking, and wiggling the corner of my bag enough to free my leg, followed quickly by the suitcase which popped up like a jack-in-the-box. This was when it first occurred to me that I am suddenly a tourist in Manhattan. I don’t live here anymore, really.
I made it to Donna Kaz’s house in time for dinner and slept soundly in her Murphy bed in the guest room.
Then, today, Sunday May 28th, is MaMaPaLooZa. She is sixteen years old. The first festival was in 2002. If I could have imagined her coming-out party, this would have been it! Christen Clifford and Zhen Heinemann did a perfect job blending feminism along with a message of inclusivity at this year’s event. Both artists are experts at these things. I stood feeling my heart swell in my chest, leaning on Zhen, listening to Christen on the stage.
“There are different ways to be a mama; there are all kinds of nurture work. We are here because of certain biological reasons, but regardless of sex, free of gendered performance are care-givers and nurture workers, seeing to parents, children and each other. They make our world go round. We need them and we value them.” -Christen Clifford emcee, MaMaPaLooZa Festival 2017
One of the standout bands this year was Vienna Carroll. Soulful, knowledgeable, and bringing stories of sacrifice and injustice to the fore.
Lastly, I have to mention what a magical place New York is. Things happen on the isle of Manhattan like no where else. When I sat waiting for my bus at the end of the day a conversation with a stranger evoked promises of future connections. Shelly Acoca, is the beautiful, bright, bubbling journalist and editor who kindly snapped a “traveling” photo of me. I hope we meet again!
I hope you’ll tune in from time to time as I share bits and pieces of the next 45 day journey that will take me from NYC, to London, to Italy, to Scotland.