Thursday, September 28, 2006

Where's the Surprise?

You are the Fool card. The Fool fearlessly begins the journey into the unknown. To do this, he does not regard the world he knows as firm and fixed. He has a seemingly reckless disregard for obstacles. In the Ryder-Waite deck, he is seen stepping off a cliff with his gaze on the sky, and a rainbow is there to catch him. In order to explore and expand, one must disregard convention and conformity. Those in the throes of convention look at the unconventional, non-conformist personality and think What a fool. They lack the point of view to understand The Fool's actions. But The Fool has roots in tradition as one who is closest to the spirit world. In many tribal cultures, those born with strange and unusual character traits were held in awe. Shamans were people who could see visions and go on journeys that we now label hallucinations and schizophrenia. Those with physical differences had experience and knowledge that the average person could not understand. The Fool is God. The number of the card is zero, which when drawn is a perfect circle. This circle represents both emptiness and infinity. The Fool is not shackled by mountains and valleys or by his physical body. He does not accept the appearance of cliff and air as being distinct or real. Image from: Mary DeLave.

What Tarot Card Are You?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How Inspiration Works

It all started in some lazy August saturday morning. Enjoying the rare priviledge of staying in bed until late, I felt like listening to my favourite symphony, Gustav Mahler's 'Das Lied von der Erde' ('the Song of the Earth'), which is basically a cycle of six songs written for tenor and contralto (or baritone) and orchestra. It's particularly encouraging that my favourite symphony was written for my vocal classification, but the most interesting aspect behind 'Das Lied von der Erde' is that, being written in the Vienna of early 20th century, it was largely influenced by the (back then) mysterious universe of China. Mahler used translations of six Taoist poems in the libretto of what is considered his Materpiece.

I had listened to 'Das Lied' before, but just like with 'Riverdance' in the same month, the month of Folklore in Brazil, this time the music set me off on a very interesting journey, which included learning the German language and reading the Tao Te Ching.

This month, here in the day job, they moved me to another department. I will probably be doing the same old things--writing, proofreading, translating, doing contents maintenance for the website--, but I'm under a different manager now. A Taoist. I have been practicing the doing-by-non-doing and the empty cup attitude here in the office, and uncovering a few wonders lately.

Last night, it was the last day of the level two Storytelling workshop. Everybody performed and received five-minute-or-so individual feedback from the workshop facilitators. I told a Danish folk tale, 'The Lazy Boy', and for the first time ever, I challenged myself to tell it sitting down, instead of floating all over the space. I grounded really firm, and it was brilliant of me to do that, because I found a way around my worst difficulty in technique. Many other storytellers had the same difficulty, and they weren't as clever as I, so one of the facilitators in the feedback part suggested Tai Chi Chuan for that particular aspect of storytelling technique, which she calls 'keeping the feet on the ground'.

From all sides, the Tao is calling me.

Image: Annamaria Ducaton's 'Presenze', inspired by 'Das Lied von der Erde'.

Presence is the axis of good storytelling technique.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Pagan Pride Day '06

We had a big time.

I opened the afternoon, telling the stories of Thomas Rhymer and Tom Goat Skin. The first is a story about a Scottish bard who takes the Third Road to Faerie and serves the Faerie Queen for seven years, then returns, misses Faerie and comes back. The second is a strong and witty Irish lad who wins a melancholic Princess' heart by making her laugh three times and overcoming two triple challenges. Between the two stories, I sang the old Irish ballad 'Down By the Salley Gardens', with lyrics written by my adored William B. Yeats. I also dedicated the Goat Skin story to my deceased friend Arthur Netto, who passed on 15th, after trying so hard to recover from anonymous spanking for almost a month. Arthur was a great actor and an inspired writer, and left a huge circle friends, most of them pagans, all artists.

My singing was pretty well. Just before heading off to Páteo do Collegio, where the celebrations would take place, I trained the song with my vocal coach, she tempered and polished my performance and I was convinced I would break everybody's heart with that magnificent, haunting melody. But naturally, being my first time singing in public, I did less than one third of what she told me. That damn old companion of mine, Anxiety. But after the performance everybody told me it was so beautiful. The fact that I sang acappella in a country totally unused to acappella singing didn't produce any negative impact, it seems.

After my performance, Marisa told the story of Eostre (her favourite version), and then there was a dance performance and the drama group performed a play about Ancient Gods waking up from a long sleep and Gaia suffering abuse from Humankind. The dance show was really cool: six female dancers represented a Pagan Goddess each. First was a belly dancer for Hestia, then a Cloak dance for Isis, then three Hindu dancers in a WICKED trio for Durga, Kali and Parvati, followed by a Nipo-Brazilian embodying Amaterasu, entirely gilded, geisha-like make-up and dancing with golden fans. The crown jewel of the performance was my ex-coven sister Shakti performing Inanna and dropping her seven veils to represent the Oldest Known Myth on our stage. I took a very noble part in this show, too: between the individual performances, I collected the veils they dropped and positioned the candles and props for each dancer. Well, I couldn't be the Divo twice the same day; plus somebody had to do the job!

Then came the Ostara ritual. It was already very later afte the long Creative Shower, so Claudiney Prietto (the organizer of the event and High Priest of the Ceremony) kept the ritual quite short. We use an auditorium owned by the municipality, so there was a deadline to return it--clean and tidy again.

After the ritual, in the merry-part thingy, a couple of girls I didn't know approached me and mentioned they loved the two stories. They didn't tell anything about the singing, so I just thanked and shut up. :)

Last night, I went to watch a live opera for the first time. It was an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'the Tempest' by a Brazilian composer. My favourite play by my favourite playwright. Their Caliban was the usual goat and their Ariel was the usual blue bird, which was a bit disappointing. Why can't people create new Calibans and new Ariels? Oh well, but they were great singers (Caliban a baritone and Ariel a mezzo-soprano), and Prospero was a real virtuoso! The ending speech Prospero gives in the play, addressing to the audience, asking for forgiveness, surrendering his Powers and musing about Life became a superb aria. Too bad it was written for baritone voice. I'd love to try singing it and having it in my personal repertoire!

How was everybody else's Pagan Pride Day?

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's me, me, ME!

I thought I owed you some update.

Hm, ok, I don't owe you anything, but I'm givin' it to you anyway.

- Remember the choir I failed to join a couple of months ago? My vocal coach is an old friend of the choir's vocal coach, and last Saturday she got me a chance to join it. I went to watch the rehearsal last Saturday, and I had no idea it was the same choir. Well, I went there, watched the rehearsal, got my ears profoundly hurt due to the total lack of pitch from the choir and left half an hour before the rehearsal was over (when my second audition was supposed to take place), feeling really good that I failed to join it in July. Well, it turns out that everything happens for the best!

- I've got my Brazilian passport. Now I can go to Spain without needing even a visa for 90 days. If I'm lucky enough to get my Italian citizenship before moving, I'll be able to stay there forevermore.

- Tomorrow we're having huge and beautiful Pagan Pride Day (+Ostara) celebrations. And because I'm the local bard-en-vogue, I'll be performing. I'm telling two stories and for the first time ever I'll sing in public. Let's see what they think of my vocal gifts! If everything fails, well, I can always go back to my narrative gifts! (which, truth be told, everybody loves)

Here's the official website of the São Paulo Pagan Pride Day.

I'll try to see if Claudiney has pics of my previous performances to send to me. Since you won't fly to Sampa overnight, visit the site. My name's there. In bold. (I promise I didn't ask them to do that--but I don't need to pretend I'm embarassed or to hide it like it's a bad thing)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Ahoy, me crew! 'Dis a most special day!

September 19th - Talk Like a Pirate Day!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Philadelphia Wonders

Last night I went to the Theatre to watch a fabulous play, 'Bent' written by Philadelphia playwright David Sherman (now living in London). The play is on the condition of Berlin homosexuals on the days of Hitler and his Gestapo. The cast was just BRILLIANT. I hear there is a movie made with that script, with Mick Jagger doing the drag queen, which was played by a classical singing baritone last night, but I didn't find it anywhere up to now. I'll be looking when my manager lays his eyes somewhere else other than my screen.

And now I check my emails and come across another wonder from Diane's city: Bianca Ryan

Philadelphia has a lot to offer the world!

The Seven Fours Tag-game

Tagged by Diane! (shouldn't you be in your Reading Deprivation, Di?)

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Radio Presenter and Producer
2. Trainee reporter in a small newspaper
3. English-as-Foreign-Language teacher
4. Airport Agent (But never again!)

Four Movies I have watched over and over:
1. Spiceworld (Well, I've been 16 once!)
2. Fight Club
3. Labyrinth
4. Legend

Four places where I have lived:
1. Duque de Caxias, RJ
2. São Paulo, SP

(Sorry, but before moving to Sampa my life was really colourless)

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Spongebob Squarepants
2. The Simpsons
3. Pinky and the Brain
4. Any other Warner Bros old school cartoons, especially Looney and Tiny Toon.

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Bom Jardim, RJ
2. Ouro Preto, MG
3. Petrópolis, RJ
4. Araruama, RJ

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Michelangelo (risotto with funghi, tomatti secchi and ruccula)
3. Margherita pizza
4. A Chilean baked dish made with mashed corn and vegetables

Four Places I'd rather be:
1. Madrid
2. London
3. Skellig (see photo)
4. Iona

Four people I'm tagging to continue this game in their blogs:
1. Synnöve
2. Laura (Any of the three! Whoever picks this first and agrees to join the fun)
3. Aster
4. Sue Silverstream

(the rule is simple: answer these same questions above in an entry on your blog.)