Out of The Shadows: A Team Holler Joy event
During the pandemic, with housemate and co-instigator Michele Minnick, I organized and co-created two events focused on our little neighborhood of Sabina-Mattfeldt, which we affectionately refer to as “the holler.” Calling ourselves Team Holler Joy, we organized two events: A Night of Joy in the Holler: an antidote to election and Covid stress, and Out of the Shadows, a Team Holler Joy Solstice Celebration, seen in this photo by Aaron Levin.
For both events, we gathered a team of neighbors, some with artistic and other skills to contribute, others who wanted to help by building fires and providing warm beverages. Both events complied with the current Covid guidelines, fully masked, and appropriately distanced.Our next event will likely be in April, on Earth Day, with other events to follow. These productions offer us an opportunity to build community with our neighbors, and also to experiment with new forms, skills and technology.
For Joy in the Holler, we planned the event with co-conspirators Jean Grae and Gavin (Quelle) Tenille for the evening of election day as an invitation to unglue from our screens and the results coming in. There were three fire pits with refreshments, distributed around the neighborhood; a silly hat parade led by a resident flugelhorn player; street ping pong; and a singalong of The Times They Are a Changing with the extended Scally family, including son Alex (Beach House). One mom from the neighborhood rallied the kids for some sidewalk chalk drawing and other activities. We erected a community drawing board for people to write or draw their dreams for the future, which people continued to enjoy and embellish for several days after the event. Jean and Quelle shared old jazz 78s on their vintage gramophone, and Jean DJ’d a socially distant dance party in their yard from their porch.
For Out of the Shadows, a guided audio tour of the neighborhood and visual art installation with videos of musical contributions from the Team Holler Joy Jazz ensemble, we provided an event that was both virtual and live, and followed the tightened safety protocols put in place in mid-December. With neighbors who made up our Visual Design Committee who created an array of natural and constructed decorations for our neighborhood field, we created a path made of lights where participants traced a spiral path back into and out of 2020. At the center of the spiral there was a fire for people to burn their “shadows,” challenges from 2020. Upon emerging from the spiral, they whispered their wishes onto red ribbons and hung them from a well-loved tree. People made cookies that were sent home to each household. We invited colleague Ursula Marcum to perform a shadow puppet show and Glenn Ricci (both of Submersive Productions) to provide additional music. Our festival of light was an opportunity to embrace the darkness, literal and metaphorical, and to welcome the coming light of spring. We were graced with an unusually long lasting snowfall a few days before, the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn and a bright sliver of moon in the sky, so the elements conspired to make it a wintery and beautiful evening.
Here is a link to our audio tour (you may need to copy and paste into your browser): https://youraudiotour.com/tours/1185/
Here is a link to Ursula Marcum's shadow puppet piece, The Return:Â https://youtu.be/xU0AcwLbwUQ