The Watering Hole TRANSCRIPTS

View text and listen to audio transcripts of The Watering Hole pieces. 


Track A
This Room is a Broken Heart – Morning Boat
The Beach Explored
Spray Cap
Water Brings Me Back to You
This Room is a Broken Heart – Evening Boat
Wings and Rings
Ebb & Flow
This Room is a Broken Heart – Afternoon Boat

Track B
This Room is a Broken Heart – Morning Boat
Wings and Rings
Ebb & Flow
This Room is a Broken Heart – Evening Boat
The Beach Explored
Spray Cap
Water Brings Me Back to You
This Room is a Broken Heart – Afternoon Boat


Grand Staircase
Created by Montana Levi Blanco and Rhiana Yazzie

With Montana Levi Blanco, Iyvon E., Emmie Finckel, Gabriela Gutierrez, Miranda Haymon, Lynn Nottage, Campbell Silverstein


Campbell Silverstein
My name is Campbell Silverstein and I'm the Associate Director of The Watering Hole and my ancestors are my grandma, Mabel Atkinson. She's one hundred and one, one hundred and two in November and she is absolutely the reason that I'm here in this space at this moment. I just think about all the different things that she has had to endure and go through to get to this place now as well. And the opportunities she was able to give her children, were able to give their children or my mom who was able to give me the opportunity to um exist um in this space as like an out, Queer man who is intersted in making theatre and art and photography. Um yeah. 

Montana Levi Blanco
When I contemplate my ancestry I am in the presence of the powerful matriarchs who stewarded me into this world. My grandmother Stella Blanco and my mother Theresa Blanco. Together, these women exemplify the maternal capacity for love, empathy, fortitude and self reliance. My grandmother, of Mexican, inyaci-Indian blood, picked cotton in Southern New Mexico until the age of ten. After working in a downtown LA lampshade factory she transferred her skills and opened an artisan lampshade business, Shady Lady Lamps that she ran as a single, female, business owner for over fifty years. As a child, I grew up playing with lots of fabric, crystal fringe, and electrical wire. It is an honor to still be in communion with these materials today in my work as a costume designer. My grandmother's legacy is my artistic inheritance. For example, I learned from her that working with your hands was a means of supporting self and family but also a catalyst for engineering a rewarding, creative life. My mother, Theresa Blanco, is driven by an intellectual, artistic, and spiritual curiosity about the world. Continual exposure and memorable experience describe the infrastructure of my childhood. As a single mother, she saw a singular opportunity to mold a child through art and music. From as early as I can remember I've been attending live concerts: Etta James, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Janet Jackson, Alvin Ailey, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and Naughty by Nature, to name a few. My mother’s taste is varied and limitless and I'm grateful this reverence for cultural osmosis has been passed onto me. James Baldwin, Khalil Gibran, and Toni Morrison were household names. Jeopardy and CBS morning ritual, my mother has taught me that every moment we have in this life is an opportunity to be further informed, to take risks, and to learn anew. The theatre is a beautiful conduit for growth and continual learning. My ancestors instilled these tenants in me from the beginning and it is a blessing to honor their legacy and teachings in my life as a theatrical storyteller. 

Lynn Nottage
My great grandparents, Ida Walker, and James Edward Crump came to New York City just before the turn of the 20th century and they settled in an apartment on West forty-third street off of what is now Tenth avenue. So they literally were around the corner from where the Signature is today. And when they arrived in the neighborhood, it would have been called the Tenderloin and it was a red light district. And it was an entertainment district that ran from about West twenty-fourth Street to West fifty-third street and had initially been an Irish neighborhood. And as African-Americans migrated from the South slowly, we began to fill those blocks with our energy and our creativity. And in many ways, I think that we probably established it as, um, this area as like the entertainment capital of the world. And, um, it was also, uh, very interestingly, the center of gay life and Black Bohemia.

Um, the Crumps who were my great grandparents had five children. One died very early of diphtheria, and the surviving children were two girls and two boys who were twins. And one of those boys would go on to become a minstrel performer. His flight face was blackened with cork, and I imagine he spent a lot of time in this neighborhood performing on the vaudeville stages. Um, and what a lot of people don't know about this area, that in 1900, around the time that my grandparents, um, probably were arriving in New York City, there was a massive race riot. And according to the newspapers, my ancestors would have been right smack in the middle of it because it took place um, in, in this area. It began on West forty-first street and Eighth avenue, which is just two blocks from where I'm standing right now and telling this story, you know, it was a really ugly incident.

And according to new news reports, it says that Black folks were, um, regardless of their sex were beaten and dragged from the streets. You know, cars were stopped and any Black person that was in that car, uh, was pulled out and also beaten. And the Irish policemen made no attempt to stop it. And, um, the white assailants were able to sort of be Black folks with impunity. And in some cases, the police officers joined in, which is no surprise. And this went on for quite some time. And the only way that it ended was the fact that there was a massive, um, thunderstorm, because it was in the middle of the summer. You know, there was a delusion of rain and people were forced off the streets and that's when the riots subsided, but not without the death of Black folks. And with people being brutally beaten.

And the majority of people who were arrested as no surprise were also Black folks. So this is the New York that my ancestors entered there's is, um, a tale that I imagine is very fraught and complicated, but it's also a tale of resilience and, um, and pain. And so I think it's important that we sort of sustain that complexity when we're thinking about this area. I certainly sustain that complexity when I'm thinking about making the art that I make, that it's always connected to the resilience and the pain and trauma that my ancestors went through. Um, I think about how, you know, they were improvisational and they were ingenious and they were loving and nurturing and all of those things that allowed me to be the artist that I am right now. And so often when I'm walking through, um, um, Forty-second street area, like the entertainment capital of the world, I'm really thinking about, um, how my ancestors were part of this foundation that their voices and their ingenuity and, um, their creativity is really what, um, is the foundation of, of this area, uh, which was back then, as I had mentioned called the, the, the Tenderloin.

And I also think a lot about all of the women in my family, you know, my grandmother, um, Waple in particular, who was one of the great Raconteurs. She was an immensely funny woman. She could tell you a story where you'd sit down for an hour and you'd be absolutely wracked until the bitter end, but she was not someone who ever had a platform. She didn't know when she was growing up, um, that she could be a storyteller. I mean, she never graduated from high school as a young woman. She eventually went on to graduate from high school and college when I was, um, a teenager. But as a young woman, she was a domestic and she immediately had to go to work. But while she was working, I imagine she was conjuring stories. And so I think that in part, I'm an artist in, in part, um, to continue the legacy of my grandmother, but also because I want to give voice to the stories that she was never able to share with a larger audience and give voice to the stories that she wasn't able to put center stage.

Emmie Finckel
So I come from a family full of classical musicians, like literally everybody in my family except for myself are all classical musicians except for my great, great grandmother on my dad's side was an actress. And she was sort of like a big deal in France in the uh uh late nineteenth century and so I've always, especially as I've like come into myself as a theatermaker, felt this sort of like connection with this person or my history especially because like the whole rest of my family is connected by their like artmaking form. 

Break for technology error
Um, yeah, is it causing issues? Just keep going? okay. 

Ummm and yeah, so I have like a tattoo of this woman on my shoulder and I’m like very sort of aware of that familial connection but at the same time I am also super aware of the distance between me as alike half-Asian, transgender person in the world and this white, privileged woman living in France in the the 1800s and I'm very conscious of the distance between our experiences even though this is the person I am always bringing with me into my work through that familial connection. I think that's all I have to say.


Yes, testing, testing, president, pizza, posive, a b c d e f g

My ancestors worked with their hands–carpenters, housemakers, artists, and how they brought me to this moment is doing the work that needs to be done not only for us to continue to be able to go into buildings, be able to go and sit in institutions sit in theaters, have our houses taken care of by each other and ourselves but also to question those institutions and to ask them what goes beyond just the hands that built you? What are the hands that are going to continue to support and gather and create the work beyond just the structures that hold us and how in this industry and together are we going to hold each other as our ancestors have held us up as my ancestors have held me up and built me up and how we'll continue to move forward in this space and in this community. 

Gabriela Gutierrez
Mari Mari Kom pu che. 

When I think of my ancestors I think of my grandmother, mi abueli, Ella fue la que me hizo quién soy. It is because of her that I am who I am today. 

También pienso en la gente Mapuche, the Mapuche people of South America. Mapuche means people of the earth and as a person from the earth I take pride in taking care of it. 

Siempre me acuerdo de mi abueli con las manos en la tierra, with her I learned to respect the earth and honor nature.

I am a descendant of the colonized as well as the colonizers and that has given me privilege but also stripped me of my history. 

I connect to my indigenous side through the sun and the moon, and by running barefoot on the grass. I honor mi abueli y el Pueblo Mapuche by standing tall against adversity and by being the warrior that is in my bloodline. Siempre en la lucha! Marichiweu! 

My ancestors have guided me and gotten me to where I am. Sin ellos no se donde estaria. 

Sometimes I feel distant to my ancestry but I know that when I look at the stars I am reminded that they will always guide me. Siempre orgullosos y siempre conmigo. With the strength of my ancestors, Mis ancestros, I face the world. 


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Main Lobby
Created by Vanessa German and Haruna Lee
With Vanessa German, Haruna Lee and Aoi Lee
Art for Postcards Created by Naomi Chambers, JP Kim and Jameelah P

Morning Boat
I opened the window
And the air came in
I whispered you stories
And the curtain did sing:
You are the safest here with me
We’ll hold hands and kiss
Under this tree
The water is laughing~
So laugh with me
Pleasure is soft
And pleasure is kind
Pleasure is soft
And pleasure is kind
I opened the window
So we can step through
Don’t be afraid now,
You’re right behind you
No need to hide that we are grieving
Time is a river
We wash the wounds
The water is singing~
So sing with me
Pleasure is soft
And pleasure is kind
Pleasure is soft
And pleasure is kind
Lilies blossom
Take your shoes off
Dip in fire
Let me roam
Ships are sailing
Sky is bleeding
Find the easy
Let's go home
Pleasure is soft and pleasure is kind
Pleasure is soft and pleasure is kind
Pleasure is soft and pleasure is kind
Pleasure is soft and pleasure is kind


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Evening Boat Tankas

海(うみ)にまつわる/The sea’s memoir

Islanders go to the pier to pick up God who solemnly comes from the Southern sea.

A school of lapis lazuli passed my ears and they disappeared in the crush of light.

Wash a bamboo basket of crumbs, I feel the weight of their life at my fingertips as the tide rises.     

The fisherman’s wife cracks the belly of the fish, as if the fingertips were turned red in the hibiscus.

Embrace my tasteless and dry ribs, neither hay scent nor sea breeze scent.


Dark things approaching without sound, It is like water and pathetic.

The girl is wearing a dark indigo Kimono and holding a red wildflower, Young eyes must be looking at the infinitely wide.

At a festival where I perform, Japanese immigrants labeled as non-naturalized foreigners.

The embrace of a baby and mother have a personality in the barbed wire called their ID number.

On the roadside, I buy a bunch of peonies and as a protest I lay them out in procession.


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The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
Created by Emmie Finckel, Ryan J. Haddad and Riccardo Hernández
With Ryan J. Haddad
Audio Description by Stefania Bulbarella and Emmie Finckel

(0:00-0:22) Blue sky and green treetops, leaves swaying in the wind. Pan down to reveal Ryan, a Lebanese American man with black hair, lounging on a chair beside a pool. He wears red swim trunks and sunglasses. His metallic walker stands next to him. 

The wings and the rings.
The wings and the rings. 
The tiny little inflatable floaties
that cuffed my tiny little arms. 
Orange. Bright orange. 
I thought that was the only color that existed
for the wings.
Kind of neon
to make it easy to spot a child in distress,
I guess.

The rings.
Different colors,
different weights,
different sink speeds.
“Catch it,” they would say,
“before it sinks to the bottom.” 
Testing my reflexes.

(0:55-1:01) An orange toy ring drops into the water. Then, close-ups of Ryan’s chest and the trees above him.
I would catch each color of the rainbow
and hold it in the air, 
Or I would
definitely not catch it
and the swimming teachers would
use their feet
to stop the rings
from hitting the pool floor.
A rotation of female teachers.
I don’t remember their names,
but they all had brown hair. 
They were nice.
But they never taught me
how to swim. 
I was a stubborn little firecracker.
And try as they might,
I would not let them, 
take off my wings.

They weren’t group classes,
like my nieces and nephews take now.
I am a disabled man.
I was a disabled child. 
I needed one-on-one 
from the teachers
to make sure I didn’t die
in the water,
you know?
I won’t say they failed. 
I just
refused to be taught. 

(1:54-1:59) Ryan walks with his walker toward the edge of the pool.

I enjoyed being in the water,
even if I wasn’t improving,
proving I could swim.
But it was mostly fun because
Grandma and Grandpa 
would come watch. 
They would buy me a 
warm M&M cookie from the 
concession stand.
M&M cookies are almost exactly
the flavor palette of 
chocolate chip
but they come with a rainbow on top.
Grandma and Grandpa
would even bring me 
Burger King chicken nuggets
in the shape of the Rugrats,
probably from the outside.
I don’t think they had a Burger King
the Brooklyn Rec Center. 
Brooklyn, OH. 
Not Brooklyn, New York. 
my nana, 
my other grandmother, 
she was born and raised in
Brooklyn, New York,
before moving to Ohio
when she was only 20
to marry Giddee and 
start a family.
Our family.

(2:49-2:55) Ryan grips the silver railing with both hands and cautiously steps into the water.

Nana and Giddee
would watch me swim sometimes, too,
but they were younger
and still working,
so just sometimes,
not always. 
My grandparents 
and parents
would just watch
and watch
happy sassy child,
who liked his rainbow rings
and rainbow cookies,
not learning to swim. 

(3:17-3:21) Ryan, looking gorgeous

Grandpa died
when I was six.
The first of my grandparents
to go. 
I don’t remember if 
there were more lessons
at Brooklyn Rec
after he was gone. 
My memories of water
quick snapshots
The outdoor Ohio waterpark
that was kind of like a dive bar
in water park form. 
Drinking that water park
even though my family
told me not to.
Or the muddy waters of
the lake or pond
beyond some distant relative’s house.
Muddy and filled
with sand and seaweed 
that entangled my feet.
The casino
in West Virginia 
where my parents liked to gamble.
But first, 
a swim in the outdoor pool.
Perfectly pleasant swim
with my dad
until my foot slipped
on the ladder
on the way out
and I sprained
my ankle.
Dad was there,
right there to catch me. 
But he couldn’t stop
my foot from slipping.
He couldn’t stop the sprain. 
Floating along
in an overcrowded lazy river
until the overcrowding 
pushed my yellow raft on top of me.
Would I die
in two feet of water? 

(4:36-4:39) Underwater imagery

My uncle yells,
screams for help,
as he sees my legs
but not my head.
I can hear his screams
from under the water.
The lifeguard was there 
but not of any use,
so my little cousin,
like very little,
maybe five or six,
acted fast.
Grabbed me by the hair
and pulled me back up. 
The waterpark—
indoor in Pennsylvania that time—
apologized for the inconvenience
and offered us a free meal. 

(5:09-5:17) Clouds of underwater bubbles surround Ryan as he moves his arms and legs

It was Anna
the neighbor across the street
who finally taught me.
How to swim.
Gave me lessons from 
the pool in her backyard.
I was nine or ten. 

(5:27-5:31) Ryan pulls himself out of the water and rests on the steps

It’s summer in Ohio,
visiting my family.
My brother’s backyard.
Big backyard of the 
house he built.
The pool he built.
The pool he built
without a railing. 
I can’t get in 
without help.
My oldest nephew,
sees me try to get my bearings.
He’s not used to me
without a walker
or a cane.
So he hands me
a long purple noodle,
flotation tube,
until I’m comfortable enough
to let it go. 

(6:04-6:06) He dives back in

And I start
my half laps. 
Avoiding the deep end,
short distance of the pool only. 
I don’t know who’s watching.
And I don’t really care.
I go
I’m too tired.
And then I play.
My youngest nephew
doesn’t recognize me
without glasses.
As soon as I put them 
back on he says
“Hi Uncle Ryan!” 
My two-year-old niece
is wearing the wings
the floaty wings
from my childhood.
They make pink ones now. 
She is on her back,
swimming along
with speed and efficiency.
I’ve never had
in the water. 
She believes in her wings.
Her pink wings.
Trusts that they will
carry her.
That she can
carry herself.
But my three-year old niece
is more afraid.
She is having trouble
crossing the threshold
between one foot
and three feet.
I understand
the desire to
stay standing in the water.
“Come on,” I say.
“Come toward me. 
I won’t let
anything happen
to you.” 
She inches closer
and closer
without crossing the threshold. 
I zoom closer her
“I i i i i i i-’m gonna get youuuu!”
I say
in a shark voice?
I don’t know.
I’ve never
heard a shark talk.
And she laughs and laughs.
The laughter makes her
less afraid.
I push myself back
and she comes
closer to me.
When she stops,
I shark my way
toward her again.
Until she makes her way
farther into the water.

(8:01-8:03) Ryan [slowly] steps out of the pool

Getting out
of the big pool
with no railing was
a dark and twisted
comedy horror show.
Three adults
had to extract me,
one absurdly high step at a time.
“Uncle Ryan, what are you dooooing??” 
“I’m trying to get out, sweetheart.
It just looks a little funky
your daddy didn’t put 
a railing in.”

I sit in a chair by the pool
and watch these kids
who I love so much,
learning to love the water. 
My dad,
their Giddee,
brings his phone to the edge
so they all can say hi
to Nana on Facetime. 
My Nana
who moved from
Brooklyn, New York
to Parma,
to start a family.
This family. 
“Hi Nana!
Nana, where are you?!
We miss you.” 
Nana is in a hospital bed.
She’s not coming to watch them swim
anytime soon. 
Like she used to watch me
when she was younger,
still working. 
Nana will be
the last of my grandparents 
to go.
But they don’t know. 
They don’t know.
“Bye Nana!
We love you!
We hope you feel better!” 
She loves them, too.
So much.
She won’t ever 
feel better
“Why tell them?” she would say.
Just let them
keep swimming. 

(9:50-10:00) Ryan stands at the edge of the pool looking up to the sky, trees in the distance behind him. 


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Ford Foundation Studio Theatre
Created by nicHi douglas and Phillip Howze
With Samy Nous Younes
the lighthouse is a tall but small space. 
there is a seat or stool within it for the possibility of sitting. the lighthouse has one thin slit of a window. 
only one person may occupy the space at a time. 
beyond the lighthouse we hear: 
within the lighthouse we hear or see: 
this is my space this is my space space house i am here i am safe here i am house here i am my space this is the shore this is the sea i am the land nice to meet you i am safe safe here 
beyond the lighthouse we hear and see: 
a sound cue for a smartphone alert. it’s pretty loud, soo … 
within the lighthouse we see: 
a bit of light hitting the walls of the lighthouse. 
maybe the light touches the body. 
within the lighthouse we hear or see: 
this is my light this is my light this is my light this is my light this light is my house i am but walls built tall and light shine forth guiding ships to harbor safekeeping safely kept in the narrow folds of memory i remember when i wasn’t safe 
beyond the lighthouse we hear:
the sound of amusement park enjoyment in the corner. coming from a small bluetooth speaker. a flashlight shines in the area to draw focus. 
the sound of a piece of hard candy being unwrapped crashes over the space like a wave. 
within the lighthouse we hear or see: 
you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there you were there 


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The Linney Green Room and Dressing Rooms
Created by Christina Anderson and Miranda Haymon

weight of the water just holding me down
bury me under and can’t reach my crown

waiting room hold
nowhere to go
lather rinse repeat
shutdown siloed retreat

i tried to remain so strong
i could not keep it on
we had nowhere to go
all things stop and nothing flows

you me us we
you me us we
you me us we
you me us we

we just want to celebrate
cause everything could be so great
we just want to celebrate
cause everything might be that great


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The Irene Diamond Stage
Created by Christina Anderson and Justin Ellington
With Kenita Miller

A recorded voice speaks to us. This is Quency: 

You are the experience. 
You are the experience. 
You enter this theatrical body 
full of frequencies. 
A bath of sound and energy. 
A bath that cleanses you 
so that you may journey. 
Repeat as many times as necessary. The 
frequency spans from 20Hz – 10KHz. 

Throat Chakra frequency 
Whisper your name. 
Whisper your name so that your heart will hear it. 
[a beat allows space for names to be spoken] 
[another beat] 
[another beat] 
Let this name unravel the knots in your life. 
Let this name awaken that hunch. 
That hunch you have about that person 

that moment 
that thing 
that dream. 

Let your name articulate your intuit. 

Repeat as many times as necessary. The audio will 
be tuned to 741Hz frequency, which solves 
problems and awakens intuition.

Crown Chakra frequency 
What moves you? 
In this theatrical body. 
In your body. 
In mine. 
What lifts you? 
Can you feel your energy lift 


Repeat as many times as necessary. 
The frequency will be tuned to the 963Hz 
frequency, which raises positive energy and 
vibrations and helps us connect to the source. 

Heart Chakra frequency 
Signage reads: 


An audio track tuned to the 639Hz frequency, which 
connects and balances interpersonal relationships. 

Sacral Chakra frequency 
My name is Quency. 
[whispers] Quency. 
I am the energy that guides you thru this body. 
I am at odds with my own voice. 
I hate my voice, actually. 
My task is to connect you 

with frequency 
and chakras 

I hate my voice. 
I search for a new one. 
I search eternity. 
But this voice sticks to me. 
Like a shadow. Stretching as the sun sets. 
Swallowing as the night rises. 
I search for a new one. 
I search eternity.
Audio tuned to 417Hz frequency swallows 
Quency’s negative talk. This frequency also wipes 
out all negativity inside us. 

3rd Eye Chakra frequency 
What will the turning point be? 
When will we look back and marvel at 
our ignorance? 
Daydream the possibilities. 

An audio track tuned to the 852Hz frequency raises 
awareness and opens a person up for 

Solar Plexus Chakra frequency 
We enter this body. 
No longer a hope. 
It is now a truth: 
we, as our whole and authentic selves, 
enter this theatrical body 
We gather to cleanse. 
Stories gather to bathe. 
Our triumph is now our truth.

An audio track tuned to the 528Hz frequency that 

We are the experience. 
We are centers of power. 
In this theatrical body 
we solve problems and awaken intuition 
we raise positive energy and connect to the sources 
we balance interpersonal relationships 
wipe out all negativity inside us 
release fear and guilt 
raise awareness 
We exit this body 
and return to our lives 
filled with what’s possible. 
We are rooted. 

Repeat as many times as necessary. The 
frequency spans from 20Hz – 10KHz. 



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The Diamond Backstage
Created by Campbell Silverstein and Charly Evon Simpson

Transcription coming soon.


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The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
Created by Matt Barbot and Amith Chandrashaker
With Liza Colon-Zayas

Sounds of summer in the city: distant music, voices, children playing, traffic. Lights and projection suggest the life of a New York City street. After a few moments, a singular voice rises above.

Come out. Over here. Come out. The street is hot and you’ve been inside too long.
How long has it been?

A year that felt like a hundred years. The worst in a string of bad years, they all say. But we didn’t know. How could we? Hindsight is 20/20. What does that make foresight, you think? Eyes closed, stumbling forward. Running down the street, ‘bout to turn the corner but you don’t know what’s around it. You can guess. Or… como se llama … you can predict, which my science teacher at MS Whatever-ty-five wanted us to understand is not the same thing as guessing. My abuela would predict, too, but that was different. She believed in omens. My ma told me not to mess with that stuff, that abuelita was a professional.

(Singing “Brujería” by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.)

Me quieres mandar pa' la tumba fría
Tú me hiciste brujería
Bruja, bruja, brujita
Tú me hiciste brujería


Anyway, she must not have been very good at it, because she thought 2020 was gonna be great for me.

Come out. Seriously. I know it’s weird and scary. Do you remember when they said it would just be two weeks? Do you remember sanitizing your groceries? Do you remember…?

Come out. It’s okay. The street is hot and you’ve been inside too long.

It’s not over yet. But it might be safe to exhale a little, peek a toe out, test the waters.


(Singing again, this time “Todo Tiene Su Final” by Hector Lavoe.)

Todo tiene su final nada dura para siempre,
Tenemos que recordar que no existe eternidad


Whoo! The sun and the heat and the optimism got me going. 

Let me tell you something:
I got a spray cap. For the hydrant. Yeah.
They make you use them. All the water in there trapped and closed in but ready to burst, to fly out, to empty all of itself into the hot street, hugging everyone and throwing up rainbows. But we can’t let it all go. But we can use this spray cap, let that water exhale a little, peek a toe out, let it come play.


Ah! Yes! Relief! Can you feel it? The cool sigh of contact as the droplets hit your skin. 

It’s nice.
I remember when I was a kid we’d open one of these up and cheer and it would come shooting out like Niagara up in Buffalo, like you saw on that trip you went on when you were a kid, and the street would be a river and just for a day we’d have our very own waterway, like the kids on TV, like we lived in the sticks, like our parents when they were kids in the countries they called home. But then the cops would come. Opening the hydrant messed up the water pressure. They need pressure to fight fires. But we needed…something. What about our pressure? When the street was hot and we’d been inside too long? In our pre-war walkups, looking out from boxes at the sun-shimmering sidewalk and catching snatches of song from cars zooming by with the windows down. When the public pools were packed and the beaches were a million miles away, and a damp hand towel didn’t cut it anymore. We gathered. We got soaked to the bone and felt the rushing water press against us. 

The spray cap is nice, though. Uses less water. More controlled. A compromise. Maybe that’s just right, for now. Maybe we still need to control ourselves, a bit. It’s not over yet. But it’s nice.

I get it. You ever put a pan in the sink too soon after using it? Imagine that just for a little while the past year is coming up and off you like that hissing steam. I’m not asking you to forget your troubles – too much has happened, too many truths, too much work. But that can burn you up inside. Can you imagine your arms coming alive with little streams that make the weight and the pain rise up off you, flee, vaporize, leaving you with whatever you need to keep going.


(Singing “Yemaya” by Celia Cruz.)

Virgen de regla, hoy es tu día
Madre de agua, diosa mía

Yemaya la reina eres, es para tí estos cantares
Que te brindamos o madre mía madre mía madre mía madre mía


The heat’s got me optimistic. 

Come out. Come out. Let’s be together.




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The Griffin Backstage
Created by Stefania Bulbarella and Charly Evon Simpson
With Mike Braun, Ryan J. Haddad, Francis Jue, Denise Manning, Kenita Miller, Lisa Ramirez

The voices whisper about the water. The voices whisper secrets. The lines may not be clear, may be blended, may be on repeat: 

The water brings me back to you. 

Can you feel 
the cleansing 
the cleaning 
the turning into something new. 

the gasp of air, the break through to the surface 

waves like wrinkles 
steady laugh lines 

you hear it? 

I’ve missed you 
I’ll miss you 

can we come back when this has become someplace new? 

You are at a watering hole. A waterfalling watering hole. 
You move through it.


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