Sunday, March 09, 2003

Off the Hook! The last day of the International Women's Day event at the Women's Building in San Francisco was off the hook!

The performances not only documented the struggles of women in the world but showed the spirit in which women endure. I wish I had everyone's names. One Palestinian woman did a piece telling the story of the generations of women in Palestine: their daily harassment through checkpoints, their struggle to continue their education, and the constant threat of losing their homes to bulldozers.

Rolling right along was poet and spoken word artist, Aya de Leon who ripped the mic with her pieces such as "If the revolution were a black dance club" and "It's time to reclaim hip-hop," which staked a claim to Hip-Hop that doesn't just have women being booty-call MTV video jigglys. She just cut her first CD, "Aya de Leon: Live at La Pena" and a new chapbook. In addition, she'll be conducting a weekend writing getaway at Mills College April 4th weekend, for people who say they just don't have time to write.

Followed up by Maria Gaitan, aka Chola on Cello, whose music accompanied a video short of INS officers running down and beating immigrants attempting to cross the border, followed by a slide show of Chicana history. There was something about the cello music that carried the emotion of the pieces deep into your body. Perhaps its the deep resonate sounds that touch upon sorrow and somehow pull out what you couldn't express before. In between, she relayed her story of being on a board of education and realizing that her real calling was to be a performance artist cellist.

Loco Bloco, a women's drum group, led the audience out to the streets to view the various muralists, singers, spoken word artists, and martial artists (kali and capoeira) positioned around the block.

Saturday night, I was by myself with the kampilan (a long Philippine sword) in front of some garages street level. This became a drill on trying not to kill the audience. I guess some people thought it was just a dance (yes, sometimes it's so beautiful, people forget it's deadly). They would push up against the space I was moving in. I had to keep from accidently landing a blow. That was scary because people are unpredictable and you are never sure where they are going to move. This night we got a small wooden platform where Rona and I did some knife sparring. We weren't too afraid of the knives, we were more afraid of falling off!

The Capoeira group was ABADA-Capoeira San Francisco, led by Mestranda Márcia "Cigarra." I always enjoy watching Capoeira: the rhythm, song, drumming, chanting. Although Mestranda didn't perform, her students were quite good. I had watched her demo a few years ago...AMAZING! She could bound and leap like a deer, yet land like a feather. I'd learn Capoeria, but I'm lazy. It's quite a workout with all the flips and spins. For people who would like a great workout but hate the gym, Capoeira may be for you.

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