Commonfield Miami 2016 - Collaboration with LXV for the Miami Music Club

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 1.10.59 PMOctober/2016 This was a collaboration with musician LXV from Philadelphia. The piece explored the concept of transcending the self through movement to music focused on the act of transcendence. A soft choreography set around the parameters of creating a ritual space using the materials of rope and water. Jenna enacted the ritual based upon different sections of the musical piece. She eventually exited her own being to find the energies and thoughts of those in the crowd. The dance that followed was no longer her own, but that of those watching. Here is an excerpt, captured by Nikki Rollason.

Dance: Me

Lighting: Dennis Fuller

Music: LXV

[embed]https://youtu.be/hJANTBzuyHs[/embed]

LXV : https://lxvlxv.bandcamp.com/

Commonfield Miami: http://commonfield.org/convenings/2016

Miami Music Club: https://www.facebook.com/miamimusicclub/

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The piece is a response to past collaborations that Jenna had with Misael. The work is about relationships. The two movers, Jenna Balfe and Misael Soto are best friends and past lovers. The musician is the current fiancé of Jenna. The development of the piece feeds off of these connections. It informs the language of the movement. Jenna has performed for Misael in several different pieces of his. Of mention was the performance at The Artists Ball at Vizcaya during art Basel 2015. In this piece Jenna along with other performers took turns performing different actions throughout the garden. The actions were: 1. To dress as a gardener and plant and re-plant a rose bush in the gardens. 2. To swim out to a coral sculpture of a boat in the Bay and lounge/exist on it as though it were a private paradise. 3. To walk about the house and inner garden with a sense of ownership and to engage with off beat objects and details with the weight of the performers presence.
       In this piece Jenna experienced the space in a way that was empowering. By being given "permission" to be fully present and contemplative in public while also acting under the premise that Vizcaya was hers, she settled fully into her skin.
In particular the witnessing/viewership given by Misael, gave her a feeling of being well reflected and thus able to more deeply engage. This manifested as she would draw people into her viewership and experience of Vizcaya, as she felt her power.

The piece looks at the difference between the role of witness and viewer. Exploring the roles we take with people that we are close to us in our life and the delicate balance of acceptance and influence. The environment in which this conversation takes place will also be considered, as this informs the act of being present.

     The musical component helps Jenna and Misael to remain present and in the space that they are actually performing in. The music is ambient in nature and allows the two to enter the next stage of their exploration.
      In these violent times, coming together is what is needed. Witnessing someone for who they are pure and simple, can invite them into a space of peace.

The Body is a Feeling

  The Body is a Feeling is a process of discovery for each person in the piece and for the group itself. The body holds memories from this life and the entire story of humanity in each individual's bones. This work explores group members relationship to each other and the collective unconscious.

This project was created to form a therapeutic community with the intention of creating a performance as a manner of exploration into our shared consciousness. We are a group of focused musicians and dancers. The group meets weekly and is guided through different process oriented practices based on contact improvisation, authentic movement, meditation, improv( music/movement) and verbal processing and sharing. Through these exercises we are finding a language that is common between us but also larger than what our group can contain. Our practice of going into ourselves and then reflecting each other allows us to become more of ourselves. There is a sharing of disciplines, music and dance that enhances our seeing of eachother in this space. The co-creation of language that occurs through our shared practice  becomes the choreography. The choreography is built chronologically, based upon the outcome of each weeks meeting. This continuation of the conversation parallels our lives journey together. It also speaks to the belief in the collective unconscious, and our faith in the serendipity that guides the work toward revealing our place in the conversation.

Performed at: Movement Research at Edens Expressway during their Open Performance on February 22, 2016

Dancers: Cassie Mills and Jenna Balfe

Musicians: Dennis Brewster Fuller and Josh Millrod

Photos by: Dion Kerr

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People/Trees/Here

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Main Movers: Ewa Josefsson, Katie Cora Stirman, Jenna Balfe

Audience Movers: Mauricio Abascal, Ganesha Michael Shapiro and Crystalle Caceres

Musicians: Dennis Brewster Fuller, David Alexander Bennet, Doug Webber

Set Design: Bhakti Baxter

Documentation: Monica Mcgivern

Background:

This Performance piece was about healing through finding connection to people, the environment and our general place in this world. Human nature, organic nature, built environment- all are "natural phenomenon" The piece discusses the commonly observed dichotomy between man, nature and built environment and attempts to bridge the gaps through the practice of healing art. These are the three different points of connection that the piece focuses on.

The foundation of movement I work with is contact improvisation- a form of dance that is without a codified technique, but uses concepts of weight share, serendipity and gravity. The physical structure of this forest is perfect for contact improvisation. The roots are multi level and varying width, the branches intertwine and grow all over each other, so when climbing around it is easy to interact with the tree's in a similar way one would doing contact improv with another body. The way you slide and shift weight all come into play, and also the communication with the trees emulates the communication that occurs between bodies. After a while, the movement becomes something other than what you will, it relies on trust and flows on it's own.

The music for the piece was created by: Dennis Brewster Fuller, David Alexander Bennet and Doug Webber, began to rehearse with us in the last month of the practice. They would do some movement practice with us in the beginning and then begin playing music for us. The musician's role was to respond to the narrative and movements of the dancers. While the piece had a definite structure, there was room for improvisation, allowing for a dialogue to occur between movement and sound. Since the timing of each section was approximate, cues from the dancers or musicians would move us through the piece.

This site specific piece was set in the Mangroves- a very special ecosystem to South Florida. Mangroves act as arms hugging in the land of S.Fla. They are barrier island tree's protecting our land from the storm surges and hurricanes. The strand we had been practicing for the last 3 months is a particularly mature forest; some tree are at least 100 years old. During rehearsals, we would spend the first 30 minutes free climbing around the mangrove forest; Getting the energy of the forest and warming ourselves up. We would begin our practice by connecting to the trees as entity's. Listening to their history of strength and braveness- existing in one area growing upwards toward the sun. This act of growing in one spot without question for potentially hundreds of years, to me, represents a higher form of consciousness (I hope to re-incarnate as a tree in my next life for this reason). This is the first point of connection to the land (trees).

The second point of connection is to each other (people). Myself, Ewa Jossefson and Katie Cora Stirman began working together in March of 2014. We met on a weekly basis in the mangroves at Kennedy Park. I wanted our time together to be healing and educational. Katie is a dancer whom studies various forms of energy and body work. Ewa is a Yoga teacher in Miami. Both are amazing women who had so much to share. I framed our time together as being a collaborative learning experience, where I would frame the rehearsal/practice and then Ewa and Katie would flesh it out with their energy and input. Before each practice we would share about our lives and reactions to the world. I would then use the information shared to affect whatever it was I had pre-planned for rehearsal. Over the next 4 months we developed strong relationships to each other. Helping each other to grow and learn. Through this community healing process, the narrative of the piece was built.

The third point of connection (here) is to our urban environment and our general day to day existence. This concept is to me the most important, because it enables a person to be present in our world with nature at every given moment. Whether in the middle of the mangroves or riding the bus, we are always in nature. Being "here" also includes connection to other humans in deep healing ways. This is actually the point where all things meet. In the now. So this third point of connection is where we really bridge this gap I speak of.

Description of the Performance:

For the first 30 minutes we move throughout the forest. The music begins and we over a period of ten minutes make our way to get our large red, blue and yellow clothes that we have each individually hung. The cloth and things we brought into the forest, came from us needing to bring in fabric to cover ourselves to keep the bugs away. They also represented the concept of making a home in nature. We begin our journey from within to begin to express to the audience. We begin to make vocalizations in our own spaces while still moving around the trees and each other. The sounds we made were beautiful, silly and scary and beyond. I jumped into the water and begin to bathe myself (which I had never done in rehearsal) while singing.  We were reacting and sourcing from our own guts. We make our way towards each other,become aware of one another. We move towards each other and begin to find a common pitch. We notice one another and make contact. The music is subtle and tribal - inspiring us to be as real as possible. Which of course, in such a vulnerable state is a difficult task. We climb into an area of roots close to the water where we are able to be close and touch. We begin to harmonize our voices in meditation. Once we reach the end of this we separate. I make my way to the edge of the forest to tell my story. I tell a story of hiding chocolate in the crack of a tree on the playground in kindergarden with my best friend. Ewa tells a story of how for the past couple of years she had been in a battle with the natural world. Katie told a story without words, throwing sticks and breaking them, and then realizing that her desire to make noise was hurtful to the tree, and she apologizes, in a way that was very real and poignant. During the stories there is no music, once we finish the music starts again and we exit the forest and enter the audience that is situated in front of the opening to the mangroves on a bunch of sheets. We have been bathed in the energy of the mangroves and we enter the audience approaching are other movers that had been planted in the audience. These movers have been a part of Bodymovement classes and Company- Mauricio Abascal, Ganesha Michael Shapiro and Crystale Caceres. Our intention was to share our energy that was built by the audiences attention to our narratives as we climbed around the forest. We danced playfully with them using contact improv as the foundation of movement. We hope to spread the idea of playfulness and integration of natural world experience with the built/mowed environment. We moved towards the set built by Bhakti Baxter, which represents the built environment. We play with the structures that are interactive- advocating acceptance and integrations. The structures are minimal and open displaying the idea of architecture that is open and inclusive of organic nature. One such structure is a buch of wooden triangles that appear to just be stacked on the floor, but it is then brought to life by pulling arose and bringing it to stand as a triangle tunnel. The piece ended with all of us running off, some of us back into the mangroves and others toward the parking lot, or just into the audience.

After the piece was over the audience lingered around the site. People began climbing in the tree's dancing around or just sitting around and talking. People were speaking about feeling and deeper sorts of thoughts. For me working with so many amazing collaborators and working in  a way that was not egocentric- I was able to learn so much about what it was I thought I was saying. At first I felt I was alone in my thinking (more or less) but quickly cam to see that everyone not only understood, but resonated with the idea. They were open to adding their own understandings.

Press: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/263321870540464/

"Artist Jenna Balfe Dances in Magroves, Teaches Healing with Performance and Nature" By: Liz Tracy, Miami New Times Blogs

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2014/07/jenna_balfe_dances_in_mangroves_healing_with_performance_and_nature.php

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10609398_10152636620844106_171625294_nThere soon will be more photos and video of the event!

Reflexion/Live at INDEX Performance Festival, Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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My work is about being present, healing and sharing life experiences with each other in simple yet profound ways.

Never having been to the Dominican Republic, I decided to do a piece that would enable me to share my initial reactions to this country with the people in attendance to the festival. The piece is based on my current body of work- Movement in Context. Which looks at movement as a practical means of expressive exploration in any given environment. It is about moving for a reason; i.e climbing a tree, moving with/around another person, moving around/with/ontopof furniture in a room with the purpose of being expressive. In this situation, Movement in Context takes on the shape of a roaming physical narrative. I arrived two days before the festival began to give myself time to experience the place and develop a narrative to share. I went around videoing my experiences with my iPhone. I also collected objects and materials during my journeys. For the performance I played the video on a wall of the museum behind me. I dressed as I normally would, carrying my backpack filled with the objects I had collected on the journey. In the video there are some of the objects I collected, as well as the process of collection. I stood before the projection taking objects out of my bag and one by one and dancing with them to re-tell the story of how I found them, and also my reaction to them as objects. Through the process of live re-collection I channeled the greater meaning of my recent experience and purpose of sharing. In this way, the work in it's reflective state, became present and cathartic for me. In the moment of performance I became overwhelmed by a sense of wholeness and unity with the people and the place. I felt the lines of all my recent experiences blur together in the golden brown of my skin. I felt the eyes of the audience listening and charging my understanding.This was the first half of the performance. For the second half I invited a friend from Miami, Sebastian Duncan-Portuondo to move with me live, playing with each other the space and the audience. We hid behind potted plants. danced on each other and around each other, went into the crowd and bumped against people, sang etc. This section demonstrated to the potential for live physical narration. Reflexion/Live is a piece that operates from the perspective that we live in a world that we can and should engage in in a more playful and physical way. Furthermore, Reflexion/Live is working to discover a way that we can tell physical narratives to each other. Returning to our roots as cave men and women but being inclusive of our beautiful and frightening intellects is where the piece is positioned

Read more about the festival here, courtesy of Yesdr : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1473359209559865.1073741857.1440624439500009&type=1

Movement in Context is a series of labs, classes and performances that raise awareness and sensitivity to our interaction with the environment. When I say "environment" I don't just mean what we have categorized as nature or wilderness, but all of the spaces and places that we humans interact with on varying degrees. I am beginning this exploration in the Mangroves to acquaint ourselves with an essential aspect to our South Florida Living. It is the beginning of a story that we are telling through physical exploration. The Mangroves are very specific to our Peninsula living. They act as guardians of our costal land. Their long leg like roots intertwine and grow in all directions creating an organic jungle gym. The features of this forest are perfect to transfer the dance movement style of Contact Improvisation from body to body- to body to tree. In these tight spaces and greater stretches between branches and roots, a mover can utilize the concept of weight sharing to move between or transfer the body slowly from one branch to a distant other. After a while of moving and becoming warmed up the serendipitous flow that occurs with another body in Contact Improvisation begin to occur with the Mangroves. There is a communication that is vibrant and alive between human and plant in this instance.

The forest in particular that we have been moving in is Kennedy Park- Coconut Grove, FL. This forest has some tree's in it that are 100 yrs. old or more. It is a gem of an example and it is easily accessible.  While in the forest and facing out towards Biscayne Bay it is so dense and thick one could imagine that they are existing in a Florida that is pre-settlement. But then you hear children playing, dog's braking, cars passing, music playing, the occasional death rattle of a car hooked up with sub-woofers, construction, etc. But this does not distract from the point. As a matter of fact it is the point. There is this incredible piece of "nature" right next to all of the "non-nature" speaks to the truth of the matter, which is that we are not separate from our environment and the divisions we create in our mind make the interaction with the "dirtier one" more difficult.

Through holding space in this forest, I attempt to bring light to this division, which touches on other perceived dichotomies such as mind/body, mind/spirit, spirit/body and body/nature. I argue that there is no separation.

Moving in Context means to move with a purpose, moving with another body creates movement that is necessitated by the other body in space. It is the same with the trees.You have to lift your legs and stretch your arms and twist and bend and press your body in ways that are so complex and beautiful. Combining this dance with the tree's with the other people in the tree's is the goal of this project.

The continuation of this project will move out of the forest and into other areas. This will be the continuation of the physical narrative we are creating in our place of Miami.

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Moving in Context (In the Mangroves)

Movement in Context is a series of labs, classes and performances that raise awareness and sensitivity to our interaction with the environment. When I say "environment" I don't just mean what we have categorized as nature or wilderness, but all of the spaces and places that we humans interact with on varying degrees. I am beginning this exploration in the Mangroves to acquaint ourselves with an essential aspect to our South Florida Living. It is the beginning of a story that we are telling through physical exploration. The Mangroves are very specific to our Peninsula living. They act as guardians of our costal land. Their long leg like roots intertwine and grow in all directions creating an organic jungle gym. The features of this forest are perfect to transfer the dance movement style of Contact Improvisation from body to body- to body to tree. In these tight spaces and greater stretches between branches and roots, a mover can utilize the concept of weight sharing to move between or transfer the body slowly from one branch to a distant other. After a while of moving and becoming warmed up the serendipitous flow that occurs with another body in Contact Improvisation begin to occur with the Mangroves. There is a communication that is vibrant and alive between human and plant in this instance.

The forest in particular that we have been moving in is Kennedy Park- Coconut Grove, FL. This forest has some tree's in it that are 100 yrs. old or more. It is a gem of an example and it is easily accessible.  While in the forest and facing out towards Biscayne Bay it is so dense and thick one could imagine that they are existing in a Florida that is pre-settlement. But then you hear children playing, dog's braking, cars passing, music playing, the occasional death rattle of a car hooked up with sub-woofers, construction, etc. But this does not distract from the point. As a matter of fact it is the point. There is this incredible piece of "nature" right next to all of the "non-nature" speaks to the truth of the matter, which is that we are not separate from our environment and the divisions we create in our mind make the interaction with the "dirtier one" more difficult.

Through holding space in this forest, I attempt to bring light to this division, which touches on other perceived dichotomies such as mind/body, mind/spirit, spirit/body and body/nature. I argue that there is no separation.

Moving in Context means to move with a purpose, moving with another body creates movement that is necessitated by the other body in space. It is the same with the trees.You have to lift your legs and stretch your arms and twist and bend and press your body in ways that are so complex and beautiful. Combining this dance with the tree's with the other people in the tree's is the goal of this project.

The continuation of this project will move out of the forest and into other areas in our "environment". This will be the continuation of the physical narrative we are creating in our place of Miami.

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Three Points Music Festival: Lecture

When: October 5, 2013 Where: At Gallery Diet, 174 NW 23 Street, Miami, Florida 33127

What: A lecture panel with: Bhakti Baxter, artist discussing patterns in nature. Robert E. Griffiths, mathematician who related patterns in nature to the mathematical description of them. Collin Ford of Coral Morphalogic- showed us direct examples of pattern formation in nature via- the corals that they raise and exhibit. Jenna Balfe, dancer/performance artist- gave a movement lecture that focused on the energetic influence of intention on patterns in nature.

The focus will be on fractals, corals, sound and dance among other forces that help determine why things take the shapes and forms that they do. The presentation will provide a diverse range of perspectives given the panel's varied fields of expertise. The closing of the lecture will open up to the audience for questions and answers and further discussion.

 

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Spinal

IMG_0230 IMG_0231 IMG_0232Magnus Sodamin- Painter David Alexander Bennet- Guitarist

Dennis Brewster Fuller- Organist

Jenna Balfe - Mover

Katie Cora Stirman - Mover

Casey Zap- Lighting Magician

We all brought our skills and dreams together to make this piece happen for a group show titled: Collabo Show- organized by Bhakti Baxter. Participants of the show could contribute in any way they liked, the only rule was that they collaborate.

We all came together and added our idea's to the pot. Magnus painted Katie and I to blend into a psychedelic rorshcach painting he made. David played ambient guitar music that slowly escalated which informed the incredible slow meditative movement's being made by Katie and myself.

We performed this piece at the Collabo Show on August 30, 2013- Curated by Bhakti Baxter

Press: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2013/09/the_collabo_show.php

http://artisabout.com/2013/09/04/the-collabo-show-2/

We performed it again at the Opening Party for the III Points Music Festival.

Press: http://iiipoints.com/

 

I feel Sexy

My heart full of leaves. I was invited to do a piece at this Bed-In. I thought about the bedroom, and what that place means to me. It is a private space where I am able to indulge in slow and gentle ritual. I often allow myself to feel sexy when I am alone, but not in the "high heels, red lips, perky tit's way", but my way. Feeling sexy for me is about the decaying smell of leaves. It's about my own smell mixing with my environment. Breathing deep and feeling my belly rise with the moment I have inhaled. The day of the performance I went into a hammock down Old Cutler with my friend Mauricio Abascal. He wanted to film me and my presence in this hammock. I used the time to feel sexy and prepare for my performance later that evening. I collected dirt, leaves, smail shells, branches and vines in a bag as I gently moved about the hammock. My movement with and in this place filled my body with a feeling of ripeness and fertility. Once the evening came and it was time to perform, I brought my bag of nature with me to the event. I also brought my journal and an aloe leaf. I sat on the bed and explained my intention to share what makes me feel sexy. I laid down and did some breathing. I then got up, took of my shirt and cut the aloe leaf open. I began to break apart the insides with my fingers and then smear it all over my exposed skin. I smelled my hairy arm pits and then rubbed it into the soft hair. I then read a list out of my journal. Things that hurt me:

nostalgia

hope

fantasy

self doubt

hatred

fear

obsession

I then began to take things out of the bag. I started gently and eventually began to empty the bag with quick excitement. Eventually dumping the contents onto my head, rubbing the dirt in and rolling around on the bed. Completely immersed in enjoying myself, I ended the piece by saying: "I fucking love nature" 1098382_310587259085302_886137507_n 1185022_310587125751982_1224675798_n 1185290_310587225751972_1076297607_n

Here is what the artist organizers had to say about the event:

Jacqueline Falcone and Guru Rugu's Bed-In and Breakfeast

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 — 8pm-1:59am

Streaming Live! http://youtu.be/A6UVBiYUOpA

Hosted by Guru Rugu and Jacqueline Falcone in Guru Rugu's bed at Cannonball 1035 N Miami Ave., Ste 301 Miami, FL 33136

Watch it live from 8pm to 1:59am at http://youtu.be/A6UVBiYUOpA! Visitors will be permitted on-set from 8pm through midnight!

To finish up Guru Rugu’s summer residency at Cannonball, he will team up for one final event with local artist and hospitality-expert, Jacqueline Falcone, to facilitate a BED-IN & BREAKFAST!

Hosted in Guru Rugu’s bed at the experimental meditation center of los angeles (currently centered at Cannonball), and broadcast live on Guru Rugu’s YouTube channel, the 5-hour and 59-minute event will feature cozy, therapeutic performances, panel discussions, music, and more from a variety of local Miami artists. Participants will include Cristy Almaida & Shaun Wright, Kevin Arrow, Jenna Balfe, Domingo Castillo, Christina Pettersson, Liz Ferrer, Amanda Sanfilippo & Cara Despain, Magnus Sigurdarson, and surprise guest appearances!

Schedule

8:00 PM — Jacqueline & Guru Rugu 8:30 PM — Kevin Arrow 9:00 PM — Jacqueline & Guests — hospitality panel discussion 9:30 PM — Magnus Sigurdarson 10:00 PM — Amanda Sanfilippo & Cara Despain — Scat Bath 10:30 PM — Domingo Castillo — UNKNOWN 11:00 PM — Cristy Almaida & Shaun Wright — Phantasmagoria 11:30 PM — Jenna Balfe — I feel sexy 12:00 AM — Liz Ferrer — ni se 12:30 AM — Christina Pettersson 1:00 AM — SPECIAL GUESTS! 1:30 AM — Guru Rugu & friends — Foot Massage Cuddle Puddle Summit-a-thon

** A Letter from the Presenters **

Dear Friends,

In 2013, Guru Rugu and I were so naïve to think that doing the BED-IN & BREAKFAST would help change the world. Well, it could. But at the time, we didn't know.

It was good that we filmed it, though, and broadcast it live on YouTube. It will be a very long and powerful film someday. What we say then could have been said long ago, or even now.

In fact, there are things that we and our many Miami artist-friends will say in the film, which may give some encouragement and inspiration to the artists and activists of today. Good luck to us all. And bon appétit.

Let's remember WAR AND DINNER AND SUMMER AND RESIDENCIES IS OVER if we want it. It's up to us, and nobody else. Guru Rugu would have wanted to say that.

Love, Jacqueline & Guru Rugu Miami, FL August 2013