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Jun 23, 2008

Dance of the Street People



American Dance Festival.  I just remembered that it's going on right now up in Durham, and I remember the quote of some Ninth Street business owner who said upon the dancer's arrival each year, "It's the return of the posture people!".

Back in 2000, I saw Mark Dendy's "I'm Going to my Room to be Cool Now and I Don't Want to be Disturbed," and my God it was loud.  I think of that performance almost every time I hear "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone", and I thought of it again when I saw this friendly guy on W. Main Street in a year or two ago.  I thought I might send a copy of the photo to the Dendy folks, but then I discovered that the dance company had shut down some years ago.  Dendy is still around but not his dance company.

In any case, I wanted to mention that there's street people, and there's street people.  The guy pictured here seemed to be high-functioning alcoholic when I met him.  I don't remember ever seeing him at Urban Ministries of Durham, but on this occasion, he was a perfectly amicable guy to chat with for a while.  Yesterday I met someone like him on the streets of La Ceiba Honduras.  "Stone" (his nickname, not a pseudonym) is a recovering crack addict Honduran who teaches English (he grew up on one of the Bay Islands where they speak both English and Spanish) and writes poetry about staying away from drugs.  He was sitting outside my hotel when I was looking for folks to share some excess candy with and we hung out for a bit.  He's pretty funny.

There are sadder sights in La Ceiba.  Though it's nothing like, say, India, there are still more than a few kids on the streets at night looking for a few Lempiras or some food.  I don't know what the "responsible system" is down here, but I've avoided giving money to any kids so far.  I've also avoided eye contact, and I can't help but feel some shame about that.  But shame is nothing compared to hunger, right?  Fortunately for the kid on this evening, another kid from the hotel ran into the restaurant and brought him a small meal.  When the kid approached me a second time, I gave him a fresh pack of gum.

08:30 PM in Destination Durham, Traveling, Urban Ministries of Durham | Permalink


I hope I am attaching the correct name to the correct awful pieces of performance art that I saw at ADF in the late 90s. At any rate, I'm inspired to haiku.

If mediocre
at many things, good at none:
do performance art.

Posted by: Glenn | Jun 24, 2008 9:21:04 AM