Call & Response: A Mini-Series

Location:  Brooklyn, NY
United States
Project Description: 

Over the course of three Sundays in Fall 2011, the Asian American Arts Alliance (a4) will host Call & Response, a series of three events commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and announcing a4’s Locating the Sacred festival slated for fall 2012.

Call & Response provides opportunities for citizens of New York to come together at intimate gatherings to explore the sacredness that exists in the creative interactions we foster with each other. 

A Fall Equinox Kirtan with Anjula Prasad:
Celebrate the coming of the fall season by engaging in this outdoor Kirtan--the simple yet powerful “call and response” chanting that has its roots in many of India’s devotional traditions. Master kirtankar (or person leading the kirtan) Anjula Prasad will engage the audience with her beautiful voice in melodious repetition of Hindu mantras (or sounds and syllables considered capable of creating spiritual transformation), as we progressively attune our minds with our spirits during this collective sonic experience. 

The Kirtan takes place outdoors in the beautiful garden of the historic Greenwich House Music School. Greenwich House opened over 100 years ago to improve the lives of the expanding immigrant populations, and has been a mainstay of the Greenwich Village community through its successive transformations. The music school has been the home of many artistic luminaries, including the avant-garde composer John Cage, whose approach to musical harmony reflected his keen interest in Zen Buddhism and Hindu philosophy, experimenting with the power of sound itself for what it could tell us about life. With the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2012, this event is also an acknowledgment of his legacy.

Sacred Spaces - A Slideluck Potshow:
It’s a slide show... and a potluck! The Asian American Arts Alliance & Slideluck Potshow invite artists in New York and across the world to submit photographs, or images of artwork, on the theme “Sacred Spaces”. In this time of deep global uncertainty--economically, politically, culturally--what places enable you to reflect, to make sense of it all, and to find your place in the world? What does “sacred space” mean to you or your community?

The work of the selected artists will be projected inside the majestic Judson Memorial Church. Recognized as the birthplace of post-modern dance and Off-Off Broadway theater, the Judson is home to an extraordinarily diverse congregation and continues to be a bastion for civil rights and spiritual enquiry in these challenging times. The evening will begin with a potluck centered around the theme “Sacred Spices”. Spices have been the basis of religious rituals, medical practices and the creation of trade routes since 50,000 B.C. Even commonly used spices smuggle in historic properties-- rosemary is believed to improve memory, while cardamom is thought to help with digestion. 

Say You Heard My Echo:
Say You Heard My Echo is an original theater performance of spoken word poetry, dance, installation and live art that weaves together the fictional poetic narratives of three Asian American women in back and forth conversations with female religious icons. A collaboration among poets Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Adeeba Rana, and YaliniDream and visual artist CeCe Carpio, this performance highlights the voices and narratives of these three fictional New York women as they find solace and inspiration in the company of Mary Magdalene, GuanYin, and Aisha a decade after 9/11. The show is an exploration of what remains sacred in times of war as well as the intersections between feminism, APIA identity, and religious freedom. The event is presented on the main stage of the historic Flushing Town Hall in Queens, across from where the Flushing Remonstrance was signed more than 450 years ago, a fundamental document in establishing the religious freedoms enshrined in the US Constitution.