Be a prophet or a stone age man
This past week began with the sad news of David Bowie's death. I don't have words to express how deep cuts the loss of David Bowie. All through Monday and into Tuesday, I read from friend after friend how life-changing and life-affirming this man was to each of them. His brilliance pierced the divisions of nationality and race and age, and united us in an understanding that it is okay to be whoever we are. Bowie was also a marvelous example that we don't need to be only one thing--we can be whoever we want to be today, and we can reinvent ourselves tomorrow--as long as our core is true and kind and loving and nonjudgemental and....well, the list is long in describing all of Mr. Bowie's attributes and contributions to music and culture.
As the home of the longest running ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW in the world (another place where we learn that it is okay to let our freak flag fly), we felt it only fitting that we open our doors to pay homage to this remarkable being, so we held an impromptu tribute on Tuesday night after our regular programming. I say "impromptu," but in reality, Roger spent almost twenty hours compiling music videos, live concert performances, interviews, TV appearances, and movie clips into a two-hour curated program. Many of these glimpses into Bowie's life came from your suggestions, so thank you for sharing them with us.
It was wonderful to have the theater jammed packed full of voices lifted in joyful/mournful singing (especially during my own personal favorite, the German version of "Heroes") and the back hallway and front corners by the stage were filled with jubilant dancing. I loved hearing the auditorium break up in laugher when Bowie sang "funny, little fat man" to Ricky Gervais. All the tears; all the hugs. We were not strangers, and the old adage rang true, "A joy that's shared is a joy made double; a shared sorrow is cut in half."
This was our gift to the community, and free to all, though through your generosity we raised $200 for the Oregon Food Bank, and we have more than 50 pounds of food to donate.
Then, only yesterday, we learned that Alan Rickman had died (also of cancer and also at age 69). Though many remember him as Hans Gruber or Professor Snape, my favorite of his films is TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY.
Everyone grieves in their own way, and I was glad that I was able to mourn and celebrate David Bowie's life and death in community. The Bowie tribute will continue this weekend at the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. I'll have tissues available in the lobby.
All the Names We Will Not Know
Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952
(for Adriana Corral)
Before dawn, trembling in air down to the old river,
circulating gently as a new season
delicate still in its softness, rustling raiment
of hopes never stitched tightly enough to any hour.
I was almost, maybe, just about, going to do that.
A girl’s thick dark hair, brushed over one shoulder
so regularly no one could imagine it not being there.
Hair as a monument. Hovering - pitched.
Beloved sister, maker of plans, main branch,
we needed you desperately, where have you gone?
Here is the sentence called No no no no no.
Come back, everything grants you your freedom,
here in the mire of too much thinking,
we drown, we drown, split by your echo.