Thursday, February 7, 2013
If action follows thought, then what might follow One Billion Rising, a global dance/awareness campaign to “end violence against women” begun by Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues and coming memoir In the Body of the World?
One Billion Rising is the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a campaign by Ensler and allies to illuminate (and eliminate) rape, battery, incest and sex slavery.
“V-Day exists for no other reason than to stop violence against women,” the website states. And few can doubt her conviction. She was, herself, sexually abused by her father for years, and that ore of pain has stoked a flurry of activism for girls and women everywhere. It begins with the passionate and prolific writing of articles, plays and books, which she launches into movements.
The V-Day campaign has raised about $90 million dollars for more than 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in numerous countries. With her 2010 book I Am An Emotional Creature, she aspires to inspire a new generation of young women activists called V-Girls. And with One Billion Rising, a name taken from United Nations figures about the number of girls and women subjected to rape and violence in their lifetimes, she’s recruiting everyone in solidarity.
Participants include other social movements, celebrities, NGOs, political figures, spiritual leaders, students. There are planned events in 187 countries. There are local events, begun by Sarah Saxby Bishop and Reda Rackley, who founded local women’s spiritual support group Circle Sisters 25 years ago.
“We kept seeing this [campaign],” Rackley says. “One Billion Rising. But nobody was doing anything locally.”
She and Bishop reached out to their friend Jayson Fann of Big Sur Spirit Garden Productions, who tapped his years of organizing shows of international artists and performers. He is bringing dozens of them, including the V Note Ensemble from Venezula, the Pan-African Ashe Ensemble and Salinas’ Yaocuahtli Aztec Dance Company.
The event will be four hours, lined with 100 artists, presenters, poets, musicians and dancers. There are speakers like Katharine Daniels Kurz, executive editor of Monterey’s Women’s International Perspective (WIP); scholar, author and activist Riane Eisler; Louise J. Miranda Ramirez, tribal chairwoman of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation; Syrian journalist Alia Tuki Al-Rabeo. Congressman Sam Farr will send a video message addressing the Violence Against Women Act the Senate failed to extend.
This all takes place at the free OBR event at Monterey’s Center for Spiritual Living on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, which was the day Ensler launched V-Day 15 years ago. It all revolves around “Break the Chain,” a song by Tina Clark that scores a dance choreographed by Debbie Allen (Fame!). Allen provides an online tutorial for the dance; there’s a modified one for people in wheelchairs.
“The point of the flash mob is to energize and pull in young people,” Bishop says. “They’re the most at-risk group, 14-18. As I’m teaching this dance, I’m thinking, ‘I’m teaching this to people who may have already suffered.’”
This Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 7-9, CSUMB’s Empower Club will again perform The Vagina Monologues as a prelude to the coming events; and there is an OBR event in Santa Cruz.
Bishop, Smith and Fann tapped Dianne Lyle, who’s been teaching dance locally for 30 years and who herself recently danced a piece for Maya Angelou, to guide people in that flash mob dance. She’s been teaching it to her dancers, like kids from Monterey High School, at Chautauqua Hall and HARA Motions Pictures (who will preview their film JANE, about sexual abuse). There are open dance rehearsals at the final iteration of Sand City’s Independent Marketplace, this Thursday, 5-6pm, followed by a performance of the dance piece at 6pm. At 9:45am on Feb. 10, the flash mob will appear at the finish line for the Together with Love walk/run benefit for the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center.
Then on Valentine’s Day, the flash mob will have their big moment to rise and shine as they – the community, the world – get a chance to dance to show support and love for girls and women.
The V-Day organization offers strategic support, but no money. So Bishop, Smith and Fann are grateful for the support of a previously anonymous donor, and that the artists are performing for free or way below their usual fee.
But even so, there’s not enough money for food, Bishop says, and donations of money and time are accepted.
“If there’s not enough to cover the costs, we’ll split the bill,” Bishop says.
That kind of togetherness in facing adversity is not new to either woman. Their organization, Circle Sisters, was born of it 25 years ago.
“I grew up in a home with violence,” Smith says. “I saw my mother violated. I was violated. I said to Sarah, ‘What if we saw a convergence of people who lit candles? It [could] light up the world.’”
“We were two single mothers, poor, we couldn’t heat our house,” Smith says. “We had to help each other. [And] if the two of us can help each other, how about many more?”
ONE BILLION RISING takes place 4-8pm (the flash mob begins 5pm) Thursday, Feb. 14, at Monterey Center for Spiritual Living, 400 W. Franklin St., Monterey. Free. 238-1056. www.OneBillionRising.org, www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingMontereyCalifornia
: : ARTIIFACTS : :
• Kim and Luis Solano, through their Haute Enchilada Cafe and Galerias and more, are engines of culture, entertainment and food in Moss Landing. Their expansion of such grew last month with the launch of an 1,800-square-foot venue, the Haute Enchilada Arts and Cultural Center. It was a benefit concert for the Women’s Crisis Center by folk singer Alisa Fineman on Jan. 27 to a crowd of about 50. The Solanos offer up the venue to the community for same. www.HauteEnchilada.com for more.
• The Big Sur Fashion Show, taking place at Henry Miller Library some time in May, is holding their first meeting for “everyone interested in helping in any capacity” this Friday, Feb. 8, at Fernwood. Check out www.BigSurFashionShow.com for details.
• The Cavalry, a men’s group that counts as one of its members longtime local peace activist Phil Butler, threw a celebratory lunch for him last week. The occasion: Feb. 11 is Phil’s 40th anniversary of being released from his nearly eight-year internment as a POW during the Vietnam War.
• Richard MacDonald is one of the most successful sculptors in the world, with galleries in France, China, Las Vegas and, or course, Carmel. He is currently working on a monumental piece for the Royal Ballet in London and in honor of such, attended a private dinner in November at Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles. MacDonald and 119 of the prince’s other guests had dinner in the Picture Gallery, in the company of paintings by Titian, Vermeer, Rembrandt and Rubens. Dawson Cole Fine Art in Carmel is currently showing MacDonald’s Myth & Legend: Recent & Retrospective Works, through Feb. 10.
• “Each one teach one.” Coaches are needed on Monday, March 11, for the National Steinbeck Center’s 10th Annual Day of Writing event. Coaches will help kids with the mechanics of writing, in this case essays about their own lives through the prism of Steinbeck’s The Red Pony, as well as accessing the deeper rewards. The time commitment for coaches is just three hours. The rewards are sure to last longer.
• In the Seaside space vacated by Alternative Cafe at Fremont and Hilby, another creative endeavor is taking shape. Denese Sanders, who teaches at MPC and CSUMB and has worked with Arts Habitat for many years, says Open Ground Studios is a “definite probability” to become a shared studio space for visual arts, printmaking and book arts, for dialogue, coffee, and music, for visual art to “expand into whatever media it needs to go.” The open house, 4:30-7:30pm (6pm presentation) this Friday, Feb. 8, might elucidate. 236-8636.
• The Jan. 24-30 Artifacts column stated that Ede Sabo has “stewardship” of the Monterey High School Theater program. As per his email signature, he is a volunteer of the Friends of MHS Theater (and a parent) and promotes the kids, but has no creative influence on the shows, actors or direction.