LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth
Kate Clinton & Margie Adam
|by Fay Jacobs|
|In preparation for the April 15-16 CAMP Rehoboth Women's Weekend, interviewer Fay Jacobs spoke with performers Kate Clinton, who will be appearing at the Convention Center on Friday night April 15, and Margie Adam who will be in concert on April 16. Fay caught up with Kate Clinton by phone, at her NYC home on March 20.
FJ We're excited about your show. Have you been to Rehoboth before?
KC No, not even to vacation.
FJ So what have you heard?
KC It's a really tawdry place. Really, I've heard good things from friends.
FJ You once said, "Never move where you vacation. It made me nervous when I considered moving here. But I did it anyway. Do you still feel that way?"
KC Oh, that was about Provincetown. I was working a lot there and it was difficult. It's a change and you have to get used to it. But now I think it's a good problem to have!
FJ Me, too. I understand you split your time between NYC and P-Town.
KC Yes, we (Clinton's partner is activist Urvashi Vaid) have a house in Provincetown and try to get up there as much as possible. I'm there July and August. But we both travel so much. I have about 70 concerts a year. But I love the small town life with all the dyke drama. We just had 44 inches of snow in 2 days up there. Ten-foot drifts. Amazing.
FJ After the small-town life on the Cape, how do you handle New York City?
KC In New York you create a small town in your neighborhood.
FJ Has P-Town changed a lot in the last few years?
KC It's very changed. People are buying up property for investment. Like everywhere, I guess.
FJ In Rehoboth, too. Is the Pied Piper still there for the gals?
KC Oh yes. It's being sold, but I imagine it will still operate the same way.
FJ It's a landmark. So what do you think about what's in the news these days? (editor's note: the interview took place in the midst of the Terri Shiavo debate)
KC That poor woman. It's such a shame. Maybe this will tip the balance against the GOPthe party of get government off our backs. Right. It's so horrible. Is this the marriage we are supposed to be emulating? I'm appalled.
FJ So much for the sanctity of marriage, right?
KC Really. It's frightening.
FJ On tour, is it tough getting laughs in this political climate?
KC Amazingly, no. I just got back from Albuquerque from a concert where the reactions were huge, raucous, shouting; people are ready to laugh. It's like after the last election and with this administration it's like everybody has post traumatic stress syndrome. We're living out this weird father/son drama and I am hopeful it's almost over. It's like this administration is the final reaction to feminism. The straight white guys are totally in a panic.
FJ So what's your best advice to lesbians in 2005?
KC Stay in the country! We need to celebrate each other, have lesbian potlucks, look at our friends faces, plot, stay involved. And do what you do best, the things that make you happyand just cherish your friends.
FJ Well, there will be hundreds of Rehoboth friends at your concert on April 15a day many of us will need a laugh. We're looking forward to it.
KC Me, too! See you there!
Later that week, Fay conversed with Margie Adam by e-mail. Margie will be performing on Saturday night, April 16 at the Convention Center as well as doing a session about Labyrinth at the Women's Conference. Here's the result of that communication:
FJ Margie, it's been four years since your first concert here in Rehobothwhere have you traveled with your music since then?
MA My "travels" have had a lot to do with surrendering to a deep call within myself. After I recorded Avalon in 2001, I met Lauren Artress, the visionary force behind the world-wide labyrinth movement. We began to work together on an event called "At The Edge: A Conversation Between A Seeker and An Activist with Music and the Labyrinth." This eventwhich we also did as a weekend series of workshopstook me deeper into my encounter with the labyrinth, which inevitably drew me to Chartres, France to study with Lauren at the site of the medieval 11-circuit labyrinth that is imbedded in the floor of the cathedral there. Once I traveled to France, I went on to Glastonbury, England (which is also known by some people as the location of Avalon) and then to Iona, and finally came to rest in the Outer Hebrides, Scotlandout in the middle of the North Atlanticwith the Callanish Stones. Only nowfour years lateris this breath-taking journey manifesting in art. I have had to practice a kind of excruciating patience along the way. The photographic and musical work that is coming through is called Portal. I will have more to say about this project by the time I get to you all in the middle of April. And by the way... I will be returning to the Outer Hebrides in early Mayfor the third time in two years.
FJ Well, we're delighted to have you back again! You're branching out for us this year and doing a workshop called Community Labyrinth Peace Walk. Can you tell us a little about this ancient walking and meditation tool? I hear it reduces stress.
MA The labyrinth is a pattern that is rooted in the spiral in nature. It is a single circuitous path leading from an entrance to the center and back out again. It's not a maze. Just one pathno dead ends, no tricks. The canvas I am bringing is 36 feet in diameter and lays flat on the floor. You are rightit certainly can reduce stress since the act of slow and focused walking on a winding narrow path (less than two feet wide) does tend to quiet one's mindand heart, for that matter. It is used by some people as a meditation tool. I am actually interested in its applications for "long haul" activists; that is, those of us who have been working on social change for decades now. I am concerned that as we continue to drift deeper into a very dark era in our human history, those of us who have committed our lives to peace and justice may gradually surrender our energies to anger and/or despair. Walking the labyrinth as an individual experience and with others as a community-building event around peace actions has been a significant grounding and centering experience for mesurprisingly so. My experience is that a shared contemplative experience among activists can be just as invigorating and replenishing as a march, a conference or a rally. That's why I am working with the labyrinth right now.
FJ I see in the brochure that you have been identified not only as an activist but a "spiritual leader." That's a new description, isn't it?
MA Actually, that's not a phrase I would use to describe myself. I am very interested to explore the intersections of activism and spirituality through culture but I am fundamentally a feminist singer-songwriter-activist. When I hear myself identified in those terms, I am standing on solid ground.
FJ And you are a producer, too! Everyone here is very excited about the screening of the film Radical Harmonies: A History of Women's Music. How did you get involved with this project?
MA Dee Mosbacher and Boden Sandstrom, who are the film's producers and also old friends, asked me early in the research phase to sit down with them and give them names of women who had contributed significantly to creating and sustaining the network and movement of Women's Music over the last thirty years. Since I was fortunate to perform at one of the very first women's music festivals in 1973 put on by Kate Millett in Sacramento, California, as well as the first National Women's Music Festival in 1974and continue to stand happily under the banner of Women's Music today! I was able to give them contacts and perspective they found useful. My major concern was that any film attempting to tell the story of Women's Music cover not only the musicians but also the technicians, producers, distributors, the bookstores and radio shows...all indispensable contributors to the whole. Once it was clear that this extraordinary radical feminist cultural phenomenon was going to be documented and made visible to a larger audience than was able to actually experience that time, that music with its audiences of women who were being transformedin the moment!by the collective experience of the music and the empowering woman-loving energy. I had to do everything I could to support Dee and Boden in making the film. So of course, I got into raising visibility and funds for the project and at some point they labeled me Associate Producer.
FJ Were you ever the "girl with a guitar" or has the piano always been your instrument of choice?
MA (LOLlaughs out loud) Although many reporters sent to interview me over the years have assumed I played the guitar because I sang "Women's Music"which would mean it must be "protest music" so it must be sung with a guitar.
I have never played the guitar. I began playing the piano when I was three years old. I began to study the instrument when I was five. I stopped studying classical music when I discovered George Gershwin at 13 years of age. He ruined me for classical music. Those seventh, ninth and eleventh chords. All that polyrhythm. Ooohwee! Those gorgeous melodies sailing across the top of all that chord color and syncopation. Be still my heart!
FJ I hope you get some time to enjoy our town during the conference weekend. What has been your impression of Rehoboth and its women's community?
MA I loved the boardwalk near my hotelwalking on it transported me out of the present into another era. Fabulous! I can call up the welcoming energy of the women's community as if I was just there. I remember going to the workshops and feeling how engaged and awake everyone was. I am happiest when I am surrounded of women who are AWAKE! That's why I'm thrilled about being invited back to the Women's Weekend.
FJ We're looking forward to hearing your music and your adventures with the Labyrinth!
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 3 April 8, 2005