Friday, February 27, 2009

Randy Bewley Funeral Services

Randy Bewley

Friday February 27
6-8 p.m.
Bernstein Funeral Home
3195 Atlanta Highway
Athens, GA 30606
Funeral Service
1 p.m.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
498 Prince Avenue
Athens, GA 30601

Randy at Rewind...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prayers for Randy Bewley

Randy is being taken off life support this afternoon at Athens General Hospital. Please pray for him.

**Update** Randy died today a little before 5:00 pm following a heart attack and car accident that occurred on Monday in Athens. Randy was the guitarist for Pylon and a dear friend. He was a wonderful person who will be very greatly missed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Could he be any better?

Watching him speak to Congress tonight is inspiring me all over again. Maybe I'm just a foolish, romantic American girl, but he makes me proud and hopeful every single time I see him. This broadcast also makes me realize how amazing it is that we got him elected. Love me some Barry.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre

I took the kids to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre at the Fox today. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing - I heard one of the dancers being interviewed on WCLK radio on Thursday, and remembered how wonderful this show was when I saw them back in the late 1980s. I got tickets and off we went.

The performance was divided into three segments: Go In Grace, a recent piece from 2008, Suite Otis, a tribute to Otis Redding from 1971, and finally my favorite, Revelations, from 1960. The opening piece was such a disappointment, much more theatre than dance, and not even very good theatre. It was choreographed by one of the dancers, Hope Boykin, and is performed to the music of Sweet Honey in the Rock. It completely fell flat, and I was embarrassed for having gone on and on to my children about how wonderful the show was going to be. There were too many people onstage, the costumes were bulky, not allowing the viewer to see the dancer's body at work, the story was preachy and unclear, and worst of all there was a hearing impaired interpreter onstage at all times, "translating" the words of the songs and much of the time blocking the dancers. It was not worthy of the name Alvin Ailey, and caused me to worry about the future of his troupe. I looked for a clip to post here but couldn't find one. Small wonder. (Read more about recent Ailey choreography here)

Suite Otis began and I whispered to my kids "Now THIS is what it's supposed to be like." The dancers came out dressed in pink, against a black background. Each song was choreographed around an Otis Redding song, and delivered what you expect from the troupe - color, fluidity, sublimity (is that a word?) and moments that left the audience stunned by their beauty. I later discovered it was choreographed by George Faison, not Ailey himself. I wish there were a clip of this on YouTube but there isn't. Here is a still that I found:

The final piece is the Ailey masterpiece, Revelations. It didn't fail to impress, as always, with the Negro spirituals, the beautiful costumes and the incredible fluid lines of the dancers' bodies, both individually and as a group. The opening segment, "I Been Buked", caused Nicholas to turn to me and say "Ohhhh, I see now...even though they aren't dancing together, at the end you see that they ARE!" Yes! The kid gets dance! Here's an excerpt from this segment...sorry I can't embed, and just fast forward past Judith Jamison to about 1:17. And if you want to watch the whole thing, it comes up chronologically on YouTube:

I hate to sound negative about something I love so much, but I hope the troupe doesn't stray too far from Ailey's original mission. They should stick to the basics, that's where the beauty of the company lies.

Nick and Rosie leaving the show. It was a blustery day...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cemeteries and family, aka Julie and Mom's adventure

This summer, my mom took me on a crazy adventure looking for our ancestors' graves. It's all part of this equally crazy attempt to get us into the Daughters of the American Revolution. Crazy because I can get in on my dad's side without any problem, as my aunts have already traced us back basically to Charlemagne or something. But Mom wanted me to get in on HER side of the family, so she could do it too. So she's been consulting a geneologist, who advised her to find the gravesites of these certain ancestors and photograph them for some unkonwn reason. Like that's gonna prove we're descended from them. Maybe Mom misunderstood. In any case, one exquisitely hot Friday, we took off for Conyers and Lithonia, the little Georgia towns (now basically Atlanta suburbs) where my mom's mom and dad were from, respectively. First we went to the graveyard where my grandfather's mother and father are buried, and took pictures.

Rock Chapel Methodist Church, Lithonia, Georgia

My great-grandmother, whose name was actually "Martha". It bugs my mom that her headstone says "Mattie", cause Mom is named after her.

Next we were off to look for this lost cemetery where some distant ancestors are buried. Mom had heard of this graveyard from her cousin, Robert Ragsdale, who went there years ago with his uncle (my grandfather) and his dad (my mom's uncle, or something.) He had given us these really funny directions: Take Rocksprings Road until it turns into Hwy 124. Go to the third red light after the first hill. Turn right on some road with "lake" in the name, and just before you get to the lake there's a road off at an angle to your right. It's a dirt road. Turn right and go until you see some power lines. The cemetery is in the woods just about halfway up the hill.

Here's what we finally found, after several phone calls to him ("Julie, you know the last time I was up there was with your grandfather, my father and Uncle Louis. I musta been about 17. It probably looks a little different now!")

That's Mom climbing up towards me. I had already forged ahead and spotted markers in the woods. Robert told us on the phone "I told y'all to wear sturdy shoes and long pants, didn't I?" Mom had forgotten that. "When I went the last time, I was covered with ticks when I got home!"

We finally found the motherlode, and it was well worth the heat, the long climb and the ticks. (Yes, I was covered, too.) Here's mom finding our ancestors.

I love this little cemetery. How did it end up like this? Was there once a church? There's absolutely nothing around that indicates a building, nor is there any evidence of a sign or any ruins. Nothing except some power lines and some awful new houses. But it's beautiful back in there.
It's called Anderson Cemetery and it's in Gwinnett County, but I can't find any more information about it online.

Regardless of the details, we got the information and the necessary photos. As a matter of fact, we're being inducted into the DAR this Saturday! Yay Julie and Mom!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Transitions and rituals

Today I had an epiphany of sorts. I've been really hurting lately and wondering if this hole in my heart will ever heal, and if I'll ever be able to let go of what I lost when Paul betrayed me. I'm honestly surprised that it's still with me to the degree that it is, even given the severity of everything that happened. And then I thought back on my friend Lukas and his tattoo, which he spent the better part of Saturday night showing me and explaining his motivation for getting. At the time it seemed melodramatic and a tad drastic, but talking to my therapist yesterday about it, something clicked in my head and it suddenly dawned on me why he had gotten that tattoo. I had been trying to explain to her how much of Paul I'm still carrying around with me, and that if I could just take this pain out of my heart and do something with it, I'd feel a lot lighter. I can't carry it anymore, honestly. Then it hit me...what a perfect way of marking the pain in a visible and beautiful way by burning it onto another part of my body, purifying it, localizing it, once and for all making it small and moving it away from my core.

All that to say I'm going to get a tattoo. I want to feel the hurt of getting it, and celebrate it as a way of moving on beyond the pain of Paul and into a new era. I can't carry this around anymore in my heart, honestly I can't take it anymore. So I welcome the pain and the beauty that I know will result. Now I just need a design. Here are a few I've considered:

Each of these knots represent either healing, unity of soul, heart and mind, strength or power.

I realize that the pain is not going to go away on its own. What Paul took from me is not the ability to trust someone, or to feel love again or anything trite and soap opera-ish like that. He took something deeper, and that's why it won't stop hurting. When we were together I was beautiful, young, special, irreplaceable and most importantly I could be myself. I'd never experienced that before, and haven't since, to not have to pretend to be witty or interested or interesting or anything other than who I am. I'm mourning that, cause I don't ever feel it now. I play at being a professor, or a student, or mom or a good friend. I can't get back the feeling that I can let down my hair, be myself and it's okay. I realized today that what he gave me was a soft place to fall, and most of all, the security that he loved me no matter what, and there was nothing I could do that would make him stop loving me. I didn't have to BE anything, and it was okay.

But there was something that would make him stop loving me, that I did have to be on my guard, and when I wasn't, he replaced me. Now I'm stuck in that self-consciousness I've had my whole life, that if you don't act a certain way and say certain things people won't like you. It's what I've fought against my entire life, but Paul, whom I loved and trusted, verified it as actually and in fact, true. I don't want to believe that, because surely it isn't.

Despite the fact that a year and a few months have passed, I still am in the same pain and loss as October of 2007. I want to move beyond that and I need something tangible, a ritual of some sort, to mark the move away from that hurt and betrayal and into something positive, where I am the center of my being. I don't know if that makes sense, but this tattoo seems like the perfect way of getting there....burn it, let it go, leave something beautiful permanently in its place.