Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blues For Challah Setlist Recap

We're nearly done unpacking from Blues For Challah:  The Second Set, and what a weekend it was.  The Whole Phamily was so grateful to have the opportunity to provide social media services and onsite kids' programming to this weekend.  I hope that these efforts were successful.  Here are some highlights:

 Seth Rogovoy's presentation on Bob Dylan's link to Judaism was polished, well-delivered, and entertaining in its own right.  I wrote about Rogovoy's book earlier, but had no clue that his presentation would include live performance.  How happy was I when he confirmed my suspicions regarding the messianic theme of Quinn the Eskimo?!?   And even happier when I shared that Phish's rendition brings Quinn to a new level.

Meeting Michelle Esrick, the brainchild i.e. filmmaker behind the Wavy Gravy movie Saint Misbehavin', was a real treat.  We sat at the same table on Friday night and I was thrilled, since I am connected to challah baking, to be asked to explain the symbolism behind using two challot and salt at a shabbes table.  Her sister and I connected on mindfulness meditation.  I lamented I have yet to read Jon Kabet-Zinn's book on it that Stango gave to me already a few years ago.  Michelle's film was educational about Wavy Gravy's life and mission.  Because of the weekend's intimate setting, I couldn't have imagined a more perfect scene.  I loved that Concealed Light asked after the film's screening, "what's the big deal about Wavy Gravy?"  This film, therefore, opened the door for my 9 year old regarding the whys behind the 60s counterculture.  Sure, she knows we love Dylan and the Dead, and that we read plenty of books about MLK, Jr in February, but a two sentence explanation (end of Camelot, fight for Civil Rights, end of Baby Boom, the Beatles, Vietnam) was a good start.

Me and Michelle Esrick, producer/director of Saint Misbehavin'

Of course, I loved that Michelle expressed that her presence at this weekend was bashert and from Hashem (two terms she learned just this weekend).  Doesn't everything happen for a reason?  Hakol bashamayim hi.  (you can ask your rabbi what that one means).

Meeting Rabbi Moshe "Mickey" Shur finally was inspiring.  He grew up with Stango's close childhood friend's father.  We had long-heard of Berman's dad's hippy cum frum friend.  I was thrilled to see that, even though I didn't know him when he knew Wavy Gravy while living in San Francisco in the 60s, he maintained his open, loving, laid-back, funny, warm vibe that was clearly a product of those years.

Saturday night jam:  a bunch of participants brought out their guitars, drums and voices for a really fun homegrown Dead jam.  What an interesting mix of people.  The diversity of Jewish folks is captured in this brief video where we see Rabbi Moshe "Mickey" Shur's son on vocals (long payos dude).

Stango was most impressed by Arthur Kurtzweil's presentations on lyrics.  He was also the keynote speaker.  Stango liked that he got to the real truth on a high intellectual plane without fluff, pretense, or glamour.  That's my husband for ya.

I ran the kids groups for which I received positive feedback.  We made centerpiece tablescapes for the dining room tables with Duplos .  We acted out a play about the parsha with the parts of Yaakov, Eisav and Hashem.  We read the parsha story.  We visited the goats.  We ate fantastic snacks provided by Isabella Freedman.  We dressed up as turtles, pirates and creative play silk creatures.  We read books about being a young farmer.  We played Uno and Zingo.   We enjoyed Pez as a Shabbes treat which was cleared ahead of time with the program director (since I am sensitive to the healthy food vibe at Isabella Freedman; I am, after all, an advocate of drinking raw milk and eating fermented foods), though it wasn't for everyone.

photo from

Pez at a Dead show is just so much fun, so that was where I was going with that.  Or just a couple of Mike and Ike's.  But I don't know if the kids fully understood that this was very specific to being at a Dead show.  They likely just saw it as candy.

Here are some more photos and footage.

Stango and Concealed Light at Dead Jam

Stango and The Nunever.  Rodeo!  Note the lovely Gucci scarf.

these guys knew how to jam!  Another son of Rabbi Shur and Rabbi Jeff Hoffman

Concealed Light felt stifled that she couldn't read chords.  Clearly was too tired to improvise and jam, which I know she is capable of.

 And how is it that I always thought this was a Peter, Paul and Mary song?


What a success!  Hope to join again next year!