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October, 2007:

The Play I’m directing.. 10/31- 11/4 in Fairfield CT

Please excuse this bit of shameless self-promotion, but Yonkers clown and performer Adam Gertsacov (Hey,that’s me!) is directing a play at Fairfield University.

Here’s the press release, along with some information about the show. Of particular interest is that opening night will feature a talkback with Adam and the translator, Ron Jenkins. Ron is a professor of theatre at Wesleyan University, and has been Dario Fo’s onstage English translator for over 15 years. They are both graduates of Ringling Clown College. Ron is the author of one of the best books about contemporary clowns Acrobats of the Soul (available via Amazon.com)
He is also one of the top Dario Fo scholars in the world.

Hope you can attend!

Clown Laureate Directs Nobel Laureate’s Work in Connecticut

Adam Gertsacov, Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland, will direct Nobel Laureate Dario Fo’s We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! The show will perform at the Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University in Fairfield CT from October 31-November 4. The show will feature Fairfield University students. Gertsacov has been in residence at the University as a guest artist. The opening night performance will be followed by a talkback with director Gertsacov and translator Ron Jenkins

Fairfield, CT, October 22, 2007 –(PR.com)– We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! is a social farce with a message. In the play, high prices have caused a revolution in the supermarket, with housewives stealing food from the market. When they get home, they realize they can’t tell their husbands where they got the food, and pretend to be pregnant. From this one simple lie, a farce develops so that by the end of the play nearly everybody in the cast (including the policeman, who looks suspiciously like a number of other characters in the play) has become pregnant.

Written in Italy in the early 1970’s, the play has sparked social actions. Soon after the play was first performed, a similar supermarket riot took place in Italy. The play was later performed on the site of a Fiat plant strike, and has become a much loved play among workers and political leftists. Since 1974, the play has been translated into over a dozen languages, and performed in more than 30 countries around the world. It is considered by many theatrical critics to be one of the great comedies of the twentieth century.

The author, Dario Fo, is an Italian satirist, playwright, actor, director, composer, and clown. In 1997 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 2006 he ran an unsuccessful race for mayor of Milan, and lost by a very tiny margin. He is the author of more than 20 plays, and currently runs a theatre company in Italy with his wife, celebrated Italian actress Franca Rame.

The director, Adam Gertsacov, is a clown and performer based in Yonkers, New York. Adam is the current Clown Laureate of Greenbelt, Maryland. He has performed his original shows in over 39 states and 7 countries, as well as on Czech, Canadian, and American television and radio. Gertsacov is the artistic director and boss clown of the Acme Clown Company. In addition to his work as a performer, Gertsacov is the director and curator of Bright Night Providence, a New Year’s Eve Celebration in Providence, RI.

The show is at Fairfield University, Fairfield CT (exit 22 off of 95) at the Quick Center for the Arts

Wednesday October 31 @ 8 pm (talkback afterwards with Ron Jenkins, translator & director Adam Gertsacov)
Thursday November 1 @ 8 pm (talkback afterwards with director Adam Gertsacov & Fairfield University professors)
Friday November 2 @ 8 pm
Saturday November 3 @ 2 & 8 pm
Sunday November 4 @ 2 pm.

Tickets are $12 ($5 for students of any high school or college)

Call 1-877-ARTS-396 or (203) 254-4010 to purchase tickets or for additional information.

You may also visit http://fairfield.edu/x1534.html for more information.


Congestion Pricing Forum Oct 11

Thursday evening, October 11th @ 7:30pm. The forum will be held at the Riverdale Temple, located at the corner of Independence Avenue and West 246th Street.

Speaking in favor of congestion pricing will be Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

Speaking in opposition to congestion pricing will be Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

If the congestion plan is implemented, commuters who drive below 86th Street, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., on weekdays, would be charged an $8 fee. If a commuter travels on a toll bridge or tunnel before entering the congestion zone, the price of that toll will be deducted from the congestion fee.

Local residents will be given an opportunity to ask questions and make statements on this important issue. Light refreshments will also be served at this event. For more information, please call (718) 548-3800.

I urge you to participate in this important forum and voice your opinion.

Mysterious Fish and the Connections that lie Within

The New York Times > T Magazine > Slide Show > The Exhibitionist > Slide 3 of 5

I have a mysterious connection to this image— if you’d like to find out more, please send me an email!

Different but same

The last few days have been a study in contrasts and similarities. As Adam blogged earlier, on Thursday I was honored at Tehillah. It was a wonderful experience, though somewhat bittersweet, because I’ll be stepping down from the synagogue board (and the Vice Presidency) within the next few weeks. But learning a bit of Torah for this honor (interpretation, reading, chanting) was really the first serious studying I’ve done since I found my congregation, and realistically, I know that all of the work I was putting in on the operations side of the shul was keeping me from learning and growing, spiritually. So as the Rabbi put it, I hope that I can now move from tachlis (the practical, “brass tacks”) to spiritual and put in/get out something entirely different from my Tehillah experience.

The Simchat Torah service was joyous and so meaningful to me, and made even more so by the presence of Adam’s mom, Karel, who came down from Providence, as well as the participation of our dearest friends in the service itself. After the terrifying part was done (the Torah reading and sermon – which I got through just barely, choking up only at the very end), we danced like crazy – with each other, with the Torahs, with me high up on a chair with the Torah (I was much more worried about me dropping the Torah than them dropping me!). I’m still on a bit of a high from the whole thing.

So today we experienced an entirely different spiritually joyous event – the wedding of our neighbors, Jose and Maria Theresa. They are a wonderful couple from El Salvador, and we’ve socialized with them a bit, though we have a pretty serious language barrier, moreso with Jose than Maria. So when we got the invitation (entirely in Spanish) to come to the church (all in Spanish) and the reception (all Spanish too) we were a bit trepidacious. Add to that that Jose and Maria had told us that they are “Charismatic Catholics” – and we really didn’t know what to expect.

So we showed up at St. Peter’s church (three blocks from our house), and right off the bat we were out of place. Adam was wearing a suit and tie and I was wearing a dressy lace blouse and silk skirt. We were the most dressed up next to the bride and groom! The service started and even if we hadn’t caught all the “Christos” and “Sanctos” we would have known from the crossing and kneeling and swaying that this was a deeply faithful community. It was actually quite lovely and moving. Then, during the reception (in the church basement), the Spanish gospel singer came out and had the entire room on their feet, clapping and waving and shouting in song.

And then it hit me – this is what Tehillah looked like to me, just about, when I first got there six years ago. Sure, the Hebrew was more familiar than Spanish, but only barely. And yes, I knew the general idea of what a synagogue service was about, but I’ve also been to Catholic weddings and funerals and seen communion before. And all those people dancing and singing at the tops of their lungs, joyously praying together – could be St. Peter’s, or Tehillah. In both cases, the purest expression of community, faith and belonging.

As I said in my sermon on Thursday, I’m still very uncertain about my feelings about God. But I’m quite certain about my feelings about being a part of a Jewish community. And it’s beautiful, and strengthening to me, to see how meaningful spiritual communities are to others as well.

The Tire Done Broke, but Stephanie Done Fine

Thursday night was Simchat Torah, (it’s a celebration of the reading of the Torah, with music and dancing and fun) and Stephanie was honored at our synagogue as the Kallah , or the Bride of the Torah. This meant that in addition to her busy schedule of doing her work, and being the vp of the synagogue, she also had to study to read Torah, and to write a drosh, or sermon on the subject. She hadn’t read from the Torah in 23 years.

In honor of this big event my mom came up to Yonkers for the ceremony, which is I think the first time she’s stayed at our house overnight, and the first time that she’d been to a Tehillah event. I picked her up in White Plains (my sister-in-law drove her in on the way to a party of her own– her grandfather was having a big dinner for his birthday)

So as we are driving back, (in Stephanie’s car) I hear a noise, and the car starts to shake. It turns out we got a flat tire. I manage to pull over to the side of the road (we were nearly at Yonkers Ave and Rumsey Road, so I pulled over to Rumsey Road to avoid any unpleasantness) I called AAA, but before they could get there, a Good Samaritan (just a guy, not a member of any religious cult) stopped and changed the tire for us. I might have been able to do it in a pinch, but was shy about doing so, as I haven’t done it, and would rather keep all of my legs in one piece, thank you very much. This is why I hired AAA– because I am a mechanical maroon.

Anyway, the Samaritan stopped and changed the tire, and I tipped him an easy $20, and we were on our way– paper plates in tow. We made it to the synagogue in plenty of time, and Stephanie was really fantastic– she read and chanted the Hebrew beautifully, her drosh was meaningful and touching and well-done, and we ate lots of food and danced and celebrated.

The next day I bring the tire to Goodyear to get fixed, but they are clear that they can’t fix the tire– we need another one. Oh yes, and their is some dry rot on your other tires– perhaps you need four new ones.

Not sure if it was a line or what, but we are hopefully going to Toyota tomorrow to argue with them regarding service and warranty on these relatively new tires. (28,000 miles) Goodyear didn’t get our money this time– but never fear– they will eventually.

The Proposed Purser Park vs. Habitat for Humanity

There’s a movement afoot in our neighborhood to build a new green park next to a local school that could desperately use a park– weirdly, it’s the good people at Habitat for Humanity that are holding it back. An example of where sometimes self-interest from enlightened people isn’t enlightened self-interest.

HH has the rights to build on three empty lots next to a school. The group/movement wants that land to create/build a playground/green park for the school next to it. A picture speaks 1000 words (which means a few less I have to write!)


IMAGINED AFTERWARDS (this is not an architectural drawing, just an idea)

There’s been a lot of wrestling, because the city wants it to happen, but not enough to give HH the concessions it wants on some other properties that it will get in exchange for this.

I’m a supporter of HH, but here they are in the wrong. I think it’s infinitely clear that the best use of the space is as a public park, and that three low income houses can go in another place, to be built by HH. Come on city, Habitat– do the right thing. Take a small hit to make sure that the school and the neighborhood get a nice area. Three families vs. a neighborhood– the greater good is clear in my mind.

The local paper has been covering this, and most of the pro-park stuff is at http://www.purserpark.org. Not sure where the city or HH side is being told. And I’d like to learn– I’m willing to admit I’m wrong– but based on the photo, I don’t see how.