“Dance of the Word” was scheduled for 4pm on a Sunday in recognition of Earth Day, and the rain hadn’t let up. A friend and co-worker of mine, Mindy Levokove, was on the program. She’s always unique and interesting, thought-provoking and creative whether dancing, reciting poetry, chanting, yodeling, acting, or playing an instrument. I never know what to expect, but I always find it an experience I’m glad I had. Though I didn’t know everything planned, it is a production of Evie Ivy’s, so I was looking forward to the belly dancing. The show usually includes poetry, dance, music, and once, comedy. I had been looking forward to going for days, so the rain wasn’t going to stop me.
I got there a few minutes after four, but nothing had begun. Due to delay with the sound man, a spontaneous open mic got going. I was asked to participate, but I brought no poetry and was not expecting or prepared to do comedy as I was not part of this show. Maybe I should’ve been more flexible, but I went there psyched to be an audience member. I was having a good time sitting with Robert Gibbons, Marilyn Thomas King, and Joshua Meander, talking, drinking, and sharing my fries during happy hour at Bar on A.
I was not on a tight schedule, so it didn’t bother me that it was getting off to a slow start. Marilyn and I got into a conversation about our first names, and the influence of Hollywood on our mothers. My mother had shared with me that while pregnant and thinking about a name for me, she was torn between Marilyn (Monroe) and Mindy (Carson). She went to a movie with Mindy Carson in it, and her decision was made.
Once when I was in a production of the Vagina Monologues, I had hoped so much my mother could see the show though she had passed on some years before. Another actress had assured me that my mother had the best seat in the house.
After covering the origins of our names, Robert, Marilyn, Joshua, and I all got talking about different poetry reading series. So I was having a good time even before “Dance of the Word” could get going.
When I first arrived, I saw Mindy Levokove wearing colorful plastic trash bags and food containers. I figured she was going to speak for the planet. Someone has to.
The open mic was short. Then we were advised to take a break. I felt for Evie Ivy. I know what it is like to put a show together and pay attention to a lot of details to then be confronted with something you need someone else for. Apparently, the rainy day affected the turnout which then led the sound person/manager to the conclusion it should start later when people get there. But those who decided to stay home were not on their way, so it wasn’t in the best interest of the show that this happened. Life goes on and so does the show.
Evie, Juana, and Edi started the show with beautiful belly dancing. The women vary in size and age as we all do in real life. (None of this age 18-24, size 0-4 bullshit.) The movements are captivating. I could watch belly dancing for a long long time. When I once took a class, the teacher shared that it began as entertainment for women before men took over and commercialized it, but that it is still most enjoyed by women. She said it had something to do with attention span. I guess one can pay attention when one likes what s/he sees and isn’t impatiently waiting for anyone to get naked.
Alan Baxter hosted and read from his book, Second of Eternity. Joshua Meander read and had Juana, a belly dancer, accompany him by playing a tree. Then the three dancers came out in different costumes and delighted us to a Turkish rhythm. Their body movements feel like a living poem to me. It is meditative and a gorgeous way to honor one’s woman-ness.
We heard a number of readers including Gordon Gilbert who read “The Playwright and the Play.” Mindy Levokove took the stage in her costume of our trash and did a yodely chant or a chanty yodel. On the program, it said she performed “Corn.” It struck me as the planet calling out to us, sort of wailing, perhaps warning, definitely speaking in Earth tones.
Robert Gibbons, a writer whose work and delivery I’ve enjoyed very much over the years and always feels musical to me, read and left us with “…I’m just a basil plant, but I have your mother’s eyes.”
The show concluded with another belly dancing number. I was a happy audience member. Happy to be in an environment where sensual is about the senses and not twisted to mean anything else. A woman-ish environment.
Around midnight, I received an email from Marilyn Thomas King. It was full of info on Mindy Carson.
(c) 2012 Mindy Matijasevic