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A Dyke About Town: Song, poetry, and dance
A Dyke About Town: Song, poetry, and dance
by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Seattle Women's Chorus
Mercy listened excitedly to a rehearsal of Seattle Women's Chorus' (SWC) upcoming concert, Lullaby of Broadway. The performance will take the songs we all love and put them in a Lesbian context. "When You're Good to Mama," from Chicago, and "Take me or Leave Me" from Rent are clearly Lesbian songs. "We Kiss in a Shadow," from The King and I, resonates for anyone who has had to hide her love. There will be the chorus' own version of Broadway beauties.

The women of the chorus are having fun re-making music they grew up with. Mercy enjoyed listening to director Dennis Coleman showing the chorus girls how to bring the characters from those shows to life. She was amazed at how intricately the harmonies fit together. This concert will involve more music than any previous one has. Kathleen McGuire, the artistic director of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, created all the arrangements.

With 205 women, SWC is the largest Lesbian chorus in the world. Lullaby of Broadway will fit nicely with the Seattle Men's Chorus Concert with Debbie Reynolds.

Jane Hirschfield at SAL
Mercy enjoyed Jane Hirschfield's reading at Seattle Arts and Lectures very much. Her friend, Karma Mmpi, found the poetry luscious. Hirschfield's 30 years' study of Zen has given her an exquisite sense of the present moment. The first piece she read was her oldest one, "What Binds Us:"

And when two people have loved each other see how it is like a scar between their bodies, stronger, darker, and proud;

Moosemuzzle particularly liked the poem "The Suitcase" about the loss of hearing in the poet's left ear. Mercy likes to have such well-spoken person sharing the experience of aging with her. Hirschfield talked about her experience of hearing Stanley Kunitz read her poem, "Against Certainty," in the last week of his life and understanding how much about mortality her lines were:

To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live one shadow fully at ease inside another.

Puddletown Dancers Rain Festival
Mercy had fun at the Puddletown Dancers Fly-in. This was a weekend full of high-energy square dancing. Anne Uebelacker, who calls for they Gay square dance club in Vancouver, BC, was quick witted and in good voice. Mike Kellogg, from California, met her standard. Students who had newly graduated from Mainstream, Plus and A-level classes were focused on remembering the calls. They all were more confident by the end of the weekend. The club will start new classes in September. Mercy wants you to think about taking them. Dancing is a lot of fun.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Mercy, Cuteness and Equality made a trip to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). Mercy has been making trips there for decades. She always enjoys the quality of the plays and the sense of community there. One thing that has bothered her about OSF is that the audiences have not tended to be very diverse in terms of age or race. The casts have been increasingly diverse. The new artistic director, Bill Rauch, has done two things that have significantly improved the diversity of the audiences. One was "Festival Latino," last year, which included Spanish subtitles and plays in Spanish. The Festival plans to continue some of this, spread out over the season, this year. The other step is lowering the lowest ticket price to $20. This makes theater much more affordable.

The Festival has had to cut its budget because of the economy, but has managed to maintain the quality of its staging through other economical choices, such as asking actors to play more roles. They hope people who can't afford larger vacations will go there instead. A trip to the Festival gives one the illusion of going to Scotland, Nigeria, Spain and England.

Ashland Hostel
Mercy, Cuteness and Equality particularly enjoyed staying in the Ashland Hostel. (www.hostelz.com/hostel/3589-Ashland-Hostel). Hotel stays are expensive, particularly in tourist places like Ashland. Dorm rooms at the hostel cost $28. Private rooms range from $40-84. We asked manager, Jeffrey, whether it was all right to say the hostel is Gay-friendly. He says they never pay any attention to what combinations stay there. There was one guest who was uncomfortable with two women sleeping together, so the manager removed the homophobic one.

Coming Up
Mercy is looking forward to seeing La Sonambula at the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast (www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/broadcast/hd_events_next.aspx), and Branford Marsalis at Jazz Alley (www.jazzalley.com).

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