Saturday, January 8, 2011

Celebrate Gay Marriage

Last night was the opening of Celebrate Gay Marriage at the Foundry Gallery at Dupont Circle in DC.  It was a lovely evening!

I picked Chris up at work at 3:30 so we would have plenty of time to get there by the time it started at 6 and especially for the special events at 7.  I drove because I tend to drive faster than Chris does, plus I have special guardian angels when it comes to parking, and we figured we might need them in downtown DC on a First Friday!  The drive was perfect.  No traffic snags whatsoever, and we found a parking place two doors down from the gallery (in a garage for $10 for the night - not bad at all) and were there inside by 5:45!  What good luck!

The gallery looked great.  It's a small place with just one large, one medium, and one small room for displaying work, but all were nicely appointed and the work was hung well.  I was very impressed by the quality of the work chosen for the show.  I felt honored to be among them. 

I introduced myself to the folks who were there and felt very welcome.  There were lovely snacks, including wine, which were kept well-supplied all evening.  Around 6:30, the place started hopping.  I felt very fortunate because several of our friends came by to see us there.  My friend Ken came with a friend.  Ken was instrumental to my being in the show - he was down in Richmond a couple of weeks ago and agreed to take my piece to the gallery so I wouldn't have to drive up there to do so.  Thanks, Ken!  He said that dropping off the piece was actually a moving experience - the artists were so happy and thankful to be having a show on the topic of Gay Marriage that many had tears in their eyes. 

It was very special to me to have the models come to the show as well.  They came up from Richmond especially for the show, making a weekend of it.  It was awesome having them there and getting to introduce them to folks.  I also loved having them there for what happened a little bit later...  (note the foreshadowing!)

Another special person who came was Pythia Peay.  She is the author of a wonderful book called Soul Sisters which I read when I was on a silent retreat at Dayspring Retreat Center last year.  I was so moved by the book that I contacted her via email, and we struck up a rich and wonderful conversation.  I knew she lives in the DC area, so I let her know about the opening last night.  I was delighted when she was there!  It was great to meet her in person and to get to know her better.  She and Chris had a lovely conversation as well.  Such lovely people are coming into my life these days.  I feel so blessed.

The last couple of people who came to see the show whom I knew were my college roommate, Laura, and her friend Peggy.  It was great seeing Laura and meeting Peggy.  Laura is an immigration lawyer in Maryland and a fascinating woman to talk to.  Peggy was great to talk to as well when we went to dinner after the Opening.  Chris and I stayed  at Laura's house for the night and had a great breakfast this morning before coming back to Richmond.  What a great evening!

But that's not all!

I also got to talk to a couple of the artists at the opening.  One of them, Michael Janis, does really beautiful, intricate glass pieces.  Using glass powder, he creates images in glass, on glass, then fires them, creating many layers of images and glass.  The one at the show, The Lovers, is quite wonderful.  It's pretty large, 18"x36".  I really like it.

Another artist, John Paradiso, does terrific work as well.  If you click on his name, you can see an image of the work he has in the show.  He uses embroidery and other "womanly arts" in juxtaposition with male pornography to explore what it is to be a gay man.  He really pushes the edge.  When I looked at his work, I found a kindred spirit - someone who is deeply exploring an issue which society has trouble with.  I imagine his work is distasteful or even offensive to some, but I found it fascinating.  One thing I really enjoyed was his series, Men Working.  The reason I like it so much is because he uses Caution and Danger tape in his quilts!  Just like I used in Mother and Daughter Jocks bound by Caution.  I love the commonality there that we're both exploring taboo topics and found called to use the same material!  Great minds...

At 7 PM, there was a real treat.  A portion of  The Gay Men's Chorus of DC was at the show and they performed 3 pieces for us.  They were great!  Their singing was smooth, and their delivery was professional and fun to watch.  They looked like they were having such a great time.  As always when I hear people singing, it made me want to join a choir again!

After their performance came the moment we'd all been waiting for - well, I had been, at least! - the awards ceremony!  When I enter a show, I hope I'll get in, first of all.  Then, if that happens, I foster a hope that I'll perhaps, just maybe win a prize.  It's such a lovely affirmation of my intention and efforts.  And I love it for my models too!  Well, the work at this show was so strong, I couldn't tell if I might win a prize or not, but I held quiet hopes.  Honorable Mention was announced - a lovely photograph.  3rd place went to the partner of the man who did the embroidered piece, John Paradiso.  Then 2nd place went to - ME!  I was so excited!  Grinning from ear to ear I tapped on people's shoulders so I could get through the crowd to get my prize, a certificate, a check for $150, 6 months on their website, and a tote bag from a store in DC.  When I went back to where I'd been standing, I was grinning from ear to ear, so happy, so pleased.  I gave the models hugs, so happy they were there to see the affirmation of their efforts!  Chris smiled at me from where he was standing and pursed his lips in an air kiss.  I felt his love and pleasure for me.  I am a lucky woman to have such good friends and such an amazing husband.

It was a good night!

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