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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Mary Magdalene Celebration: 10 Years of Praising Mary Magdalene Through Image and Song

Mary Magdalene's Love by Tanya Torres, Oil on Canvas, 10" x 8", 2017.
Just finished yesterday... as you can see, it is on my work table.

This is my new Mary Magdalene, finished yesterday, when I was finally able to sit down to paint after months traveling in Spain, Italy and Morocco. Her hair is turning white. Which is how I feel after all the traveling, which was wonderful, and also challenging. It was a little painful to see so much art and so much beauty without a studio or a place to stop and think, and make. But that was part of the reason to leave New York for a little while. Disconnect and start over. 

I am starting over, in a way, and choosing to keep those projects, actions and groups the person I am now still feels connected to. And after 10 years there is one thing I do that definitely stays: my work with the Magdalene. 

Before leaving I felt overwhelmed, and even though I had a great place to celebrate Mary Magdalene this year, I felt weak, and tired. I had no energy or will to do anything. Just planning the trip was an immense effort. It was truly overwhelming. And I tried to cancel the event when I noticed that Raquel was overwhelmed, too.

But then I couldn't cancel. It didn't feel right to reject the gifts I had been already given. A theater for the performances. A wall for the exhibition. Help. Support from people who have been to the Celebration and loved it. I persuaded myself to do it smaller. And settled on the exhibition and the full play Mandala: Stories of the Net and the Sea, because Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice had expressed their with to present it in my neighborhood. And I felt a little relieved.

Then, I left and started improving. I felt really tired walking all day, going from monument to museum, listening and learning, getting lost and finding the road once again. Metaphor and reality. But I also felt the need to come back to work, and it became more and more present as I traveled. 

By the end of the two months, I knew I needed to revive the full event, and as soon as I got back, reconnected with Johanna, the leader of the Red Tent, and with my creative partner in all Magdalene endeavors, Raquel Z. Rivera. 

How did I persuade Raquel to come? I said we'll do it like the first time. And then she realized it would be a full decade since that first time, when we sang her songs without musicians, in a circle, just our hearts making music. I have dreamed of this for a long time. 

I said: 
Dos meses es un largo tiempo. Pero me sirvieron para despejarme, caminar, poner muchas cosas nuevas en la cabeza y regresar con la hora europea, lo que quiere decir que me levanto a las 6 de la mañana sin problemas. ¡Eso es lo mejor de todo! 
Poco a poco he ido retomando los proyectos dejados a medias y terminando lo que dejé a punto de terminar. Y... la Celebración MM. 
A pesar de que "cancelé" realmente no cancelé. Después me dije, tenemos un espacio gratis y muy bueno para el día de la Magdalena y Xiomara y Marni quieren hacer la obra, así que eso va. La exhibición también va, aunque todavía no he escogido a todas las artistas. 
Y... tengo una propuesta para ti. ¿Estarías dispuesta a venir por el fin de semana o por el día sábado? Sí, así de cortito... para que no tengas que dejar nada. 
Esta es la idea: Después de la obra, con un grupo íntimo de gente que se sepa las canciones, (aunque no puedo garantizar lo de íntimo), cantamos y prendemos las velas. Y tú guías. Sin músicos, aunque Leticia tiene acceso a músicos si lo deseas. Nada de show, una ceremonia, una ofrenda. 
Montamos un altar.Corazón hace la danza de apertura.7 Canciones, una a una.Prendemos las velas con cada canción.Palmeamos y sonreímos.y quién sabe, agujita y su combo pueden tocar la última canción y bailamos para cerrar.
Si estás dispuesta, te envío el pasaje y te quedas aquí (o te vas el mismo día, o te quedas un mes, jajaja, como tú quieras...) 
Lets set up an altar, with candles, lets invite the people who know the songs and offered to sing last year, lets print copies of the songs, I will send you the plan ticket and we'll do it like the first time. 

Everyone accepted my invitation to come back to do the full event:

The Red Tent: Women come together to celebrate menstruation, welcome girls into the women's circle, and say aloud their mothers and grandmother's names. Hosted by Johanna Cabrera.

The Magdalene Fair: Artists, artisans and authors will exhibit their creations for sale during the entire event. Come see the crafts, books, and other Mary Magdalene inspired creations as well as the personal creations of each participant.

21 Magdalenes: An art exhibition of 21 paintings in honor of Mary Magdalene. 

Why Mary Magdalene: A colloquium in which we come together to talk about Mary Magdalene and what brought us to her. 

Mandala: Stories of the Net and the Sea: The full play by Xiomara Evans and Marni Rice

A feast: Everyone is invited to bring a dish or drink to share. Offerings are accepted all day. Lets make a great table of beautiful food to share!

The Ceremony: The event will culminate with the singing of the 7 Songs of Praise for Mary Magdalene. The ceremony begins with an opening dance by Corazón Tierra, who has created this piece especially for this ceremony. Raquel will sing each song. You are invited to join the singing by contacting me so I can send you the songs. Raquel will sing the songs like the first time we sang. Everyone is invited to join with voice, instrument or palms. I hope Alexandra, the wonderful bomba dancer, will interject a dance as we continue the songs. I will light a candle at the Magdalene Altar as we sing each song. With the last song, everybody dances!

And yesterday I finished the piece above, the Mary Magdalene I have been working on for about a year and with is the image for this year's invitation and altarpiece. That was the signal to start letting people know we will be celebrating 10 years!

I am filled with joy and expectation. I am filled with the love of the Magdalene. I am filled with love for my friends and partners in this wonderful 10 year and beyond adventure.  I am full, and I hope you will join us to share the love!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Staring at Midday. Culminating at 8:00 p.m. El Barrio Art Space Black Box Theater and Lower level, 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Hosted by La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña and El Barrio Art Space. I will personally put your name on a seat if you let me know you want to come. Free. Donations accepted to support the artists, but not required. 

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