Saturday, May 05, 2007

Grover Dancing

I've had better weeks.

Work has been rather all-consuming this week. I got an email from BF Thursday afternoon, shortly after learning that I'd be working on Saturday, on top of the 50 hours I'd already put in. He was writing to ask me if I wanted to go to Ogden After Hours. At that point, I was so mind-numbingly exhausted that I couldn't imagine being very good company for an evening out for art and music.

Wait. That was exactly what I needed at that point. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art hosts a weekly series of Louisiana musicians performing in the building's stunning atrium. Free for members (that's us!), with wine and beer available for a modest "donation". Yes, that's exactly what I needed.

The new exhibit of Herman Leonard photographs was extraodinarily moving - pairing his iconic jazz images from the 50's and 60's with contemporary (yet pre-Katrina) photos of New Orleans life. Billie Holiday - Angel with Smoke. A sexy shot of a shirtless Lenny Kravits on one of his many sojourns to our city. Swing dancers at The Palm Court Cafe in 1996, looking as though they'd traveled in time just for that number. So sublime...

But. Oh. I realized I had tears running down my face as I took in one in particular.

Inside an unidentified church here in Louisiana, a Creole Mass is taking place. A woman is jubilantly dancing down the aisle, all in flowing white with a matching parasol. Joy, absolute pure undiluted unsullied unselfconscious joy. Joy so great there was no way to keep it in, no other way to express it than to dance. Joy.

We headed back to the atrium to hear some standards by James Andrews and his New Orleans All-stars - music I associate more with Mardi Gras, probably because it gets more air time then, but music that moves you - and, better still, makes you move. Now, we were looking down into the atrium from the second floor landing, listening and people watching. And then I spotted him. I'd never seen this man before, but he was having fun.


That doesn't do it justice. He was having Joy.

He was dancing, all within a space respectful of other folks around him - and careful not to spill his beer. Loose limbed, head grooving (and not in the Billy Crystal from When Harry Met Sally way) - he was so in his body, to borrow from SMID's Blog Exchange post earlier this week. Instead of crying this time, I started giggling. BF asked what was so funny - I pointed down below and said the fateful words...

"Grover Dancing!"

That was it. Peals of laughter melted the week and the worries away and all I wanted to do was find my Grover Dancing place too. I wanted that joy.

No. I crave that Joy.

I think we all do, and sometimes we have to be reminded that it's out there for us when we're ready.

When we're ready to be like Grover.

And Dance.

4 comment(s):

cathouse teri

Aw... I love Grover!
And we should all dance like him.

Sometimes I forget to dance.
When I was in DC, my friends took me to a reggae club and it was the best dancing ever. You simply cannot not dance when you hear that kind of music play.

Music does heal you and I'm glad you got to share some of that healing joy that evening.

soccer mom in denial

I've always been a fan of Herman Leonard so to be able to pair his images with a night of New Orleans musical standards is just amazing.

"Grover dancing" can come in many forms - singing loudly and without abandon, painting outside the lines, even cooking a dish without a recipe. New Orleans, and ALL of her wonderful residents, need lots of Grover Dancing moments.

Jenn in Holland

Is it jst because I am secretly in love with you that every post I read gives me chills and makes the hair on my neck stand up?
Sheesh. Love this post. Love the links. And love, love, love the images...
Good for you for taking care of yourself and getting out for a litte wine, a little music, a little art and a little love.
Everybody Dance Now!


ME dancing is like watching a man during a nerve gas attack... while having a seizure... and the hiccups.

Not a pretty sight.

Which doesn't mean that I don't do it... i just means that it ain't pretty.


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