Encore! The Exhibitionist Returns

The Lively Foundation is delighted to announce that The Exhibitionist, the one-act play by Lively’s artistic director, Leslie Friedman, will be presented in another online reading. This encore performance will be on Thursday, Feb. 11, 11:15 a.m. Pacific time. Once again Jonathan Clark will read the role of Danny, and Leslie Friedman, will read the role of Lily. This will be the third reading/performance of The Exhibitionist in a week and a half. The first encore presentation was Wednesday evening, Feb. 3. This time the program was only The Exhibitionist. Reactions to the play were so enthusiastic that Leslie’s undergraduate classmates decided to present it so that more of their class and others could see it. To watch The Exhibitionist, please email The Lively Foundation to receive the Zoom link.

JJonathan Clark, better known as a photographer and fine art printer, will read the role of Danny. Leslie Friedman, better known as a dancer/choreographer, will read the role of Lily.

Leslie’s Play THE EXHIBITIONIST on Sunday, 1/31

It is very exciting to announce that the play, The Exhibitionist, written by The Lively Foundation’s Artistic Director, will receive a reading on Sunday, January 31, at 2 p.m. Pacific Time (4 p.m. Central, 5 p.m. Eastern). Play by Play, a theater organization in Berkeley, CA is presenting the program. In addition to The Exhibitionist, another one act play, Not Too Kosher, by Judith Offer will also receive a reading. Both plays are about 15  minutes long.

The Exhibitionist is a two person play. Jonathan Clark takes the part of Danny, and Leslie Friedman portrays Lily. They are re-meeting after a long time.

Jonathan Clark – best known as a photographer with work in distinguished museums such as the Getty in Los Angeles and the Museum of Modern Art in New York – reads the role of Danny.

Leslie Friedman – best known as a dancer- is the playwright of The Exhibitionist.

The presentation is free. Please remember that this is a reading, not an on-stage performance. All San Francisco Bay Area theaters have been closed since March, 2020. Play by Play, the readers, and playwrights welcome you! To receive the Zoom codes, please email The Lively Foundation.

Shambhavi Dandekar: Online Classes!

Shambhavi Dandekar, the brilliant and beautiful Kathak exponent and founder of SISK school announces that SISK has begun a  Distance Learning Program in Kathak. The program began just three weeks ago. This is an amazing opportunity for dancers who wish to learn Kathak. It opens access to dancer and guru Shambhavi Dandekar’s knowledge and technique to those who wish to learn no matter where they are. Currently, the program is for beginners.

Shambhavi Dandekar

Here are some of the details about the Distance Learning Program in Kathak. (1) Every video class will be taught by world renowned Kathak exponent, Shambhavi Dandekar. (2) Students will learn one class per week at any time convenient to them. (3) Students will experience Gurukul style one-on-one learning. (4) SISK Distance Learning Program will offer a “Nuance Class” every other month to practice with Shambhavi Tai and adjust nuances. (5) Kathak certifications will be available from time to time. (6) This is an ongoing course. Students will graduate to the next level every two years.

FOR A DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM Q & A SESSION: https://youtu.be/7ShFE3Ox3Rg

SISK sends this message: This is your chance to learn this beautiful dance art form from any corner of the world. The Distance Learning Program brings the Guru-Shishya together by overcoming the physical distance and time barrier.”

Shambhavi Dandekar looks forward to hearing from you! For more information kathakshambhavi@gmail.com

OTTAWA, Illinois: 1967 – Review from Photo Metro

This review appeared in the magazine PHOTO METRO, in San Francisco, April, 1992. Selected photos from the book are below the text.

The little girl leans against the rail and the carnival ride whirls past her. In Jonathan Clark’s photograph, “Reverie: Carnival,” this image encompasses a sense of time, immediacy and distance that characterizes Clark’s collection, “Ottawa: 1967/1990.” Clark took these photos on a family trip to his hometown in northern Illinois when he was fifteen. He printed them in 1990. The results are a stunning revelation of what was once ordinary life and now lives most in memory and myth: the mid-western American small town. The images are precious for more than his­torical documentation. They speak of the moment the present becomes memory. The girl is still; the ride moves on. She stays in Ottawa; the carnival will travel beyond.
The presence of the black edge of the neg­ative bordering the prints and a white, enor­mous sky emphasizes the encapsulation of time. The artist acknowledges his medium. The frame creates the effect of looking through an old photo album and becomes a window. This is a picture of a very par­ticular place in this instant of time. The vast white space of Illinois sky, however, answers with a contradictory impression as it appears to reach out of the frame forever.
In “Cornhusker,” a man in jeans, workshirt, and cap appears out of a structure and breaks into the perfect whiteness. His irreg­ular form emerges from the line created by the nearly white symmetry of the top of the structure. He is rumpled, real, maybe better than monumental. Gazing past his work, he looks immobile.
“Ernie” is a farmer whose face is the only close-up in the collection. The astounding details of the print show the lines and creases on eyes and mouth, the salt and pepper stubble on cheek and chin, the bits of hay dust on cap and coat, and his dry, worker’s hand. The bill of his cap also juts into that white distance. Ernie is a man entirely of the present moment but with a far-away look in his eye. Neither he nor the cornhusker give clues as to what they are seeing.
“Barn” has multiple surfaces and some secret story. A profusion of underbrush—leafy, flowering, feathery or spiky—climbs a small hill toward the weath­ered boards and broken glass of the aban­doned barn. The artist has achieved a white-on-white contrast of church-like roof and empty sky.
The technique in the entire collection is advanced far beyond either what one might expect from a fifteen-year-old with a half­-frame, 35 mm camera or the current pho­tographic scene and its focus on mixed media and body parts. In that context, this is like leaving a heavy metal performance and walking in on a concert of Bach.
Each image is rich in textures and design. The “Service Station” man creates an immense, heroic diagonal diagram with his arms. A fence made of smaller slats of wood marches up the hill alongside the “Barn.” Its boards are flattened on a differ­ent plane, and a row of ferny growth beside the fence echoes these lines showing both the lightest weight and the darkest value.
The rich growth appears again as the grass between the girl and the carnival ride. The spinning machine has been plunked down on top of the native grass. In “Tractor in Cornfield,” one senses the shape and weight of each lump of earth, the rows of young plants, and seemingly every leaf on the distant trees around the field. The minute detail within a larger design calls the onlooker to wonder at reality, the here and now of the world of these pictures
A philosophy of seeing emerges from the contrast of that cornfield with “Shale Pile.” A bare tree trunk has fallen across a barren black pile with a pitted, rough surface. Its upward curve, cut twice by the angles of dead tree trunks is crowned by a glimpse of a leafy, frilly tree top. That living prize is beyond this pile; the picture promises that it exists, but where is not revealed.
In Ottawa, there is a lot of watching and waiting. The artist, essential onlooker, shows others suspended in their own activ­ities. A woman waits for a tire change, lit­erally suspended in the jacked-up car, and there is no suggestion that anyone but the viewer knows that she is there. A couple looks in a sweet-shop window; a child gazes out of a train window; two men, pro­tected by backyard shrubbery, sit calmly watching a barbecue. The artist captures himself in a self-portrait-with-camera in a rear-view mirror. This is the only reminder that this world is also autobiography. Time is not pushed by the inhabitants of these frames, nor does it ruffle them.
The world from outside Ottawa is represented in the carnival pictures. Two of them present side-show billboards for the viewer to read. Both describe the aftermath of Hiroshima. One proclaims a two-headed baby; the other issues a warning about atomic radiation: “Geneticists State Mutations So Produced Will Go Down Hundreds of Years.” If the denizens of northern Illinois see this as the best the other worlds have to offer, what advantage to corn and hogs?
The effect of us watching them watching and waiting is underscored by the artist’s appearance in the mirror. He is there but at a distance. Now part of the world away from Ottawa, his experience of coming home again is as a reflected reality.
Real time is still in this presentation of Ottawa. It is as though the people, usually alone or in pairs like the two hogs in the “Illinois Landscape,” could hold their breath and, being still, still be there. The artist shows us his “Grandmother’s Window” Through it we see her cut-glass bottles and plants, but not her. The beauty of these objects, glass window lighting glass and reflecting back, tells something about the woman who selected them, but they are still, and she is gone.
In this collection, Jonathan Clark reveals himself as an artist with an eye for the smallest forms of life who is yet not afraid to present such images in the largest world. The Cornhusker enters that vast white sky just as voluptuous leaves of corn break the emptiness with their arching growth. The magic of the here and now within these black-bordered frames is the power to pre­sent a true moment and the promise that these images are solid and real. We can watch like the people in the pictures, but we can never wait long enough to get those moments back. The honesty of the presen­tation, however, also suggests that to have the real is to have real loss as well.
All photos by Jonathan L. Clark. Top row, L to R: Barn, Corn; Lower row, Landscape, Ernie

GIVE LIVELY BOOKS!

It is time to make your list, choose gifts that are just right–time to select Lively gifts! The Lively Foundation helps you by offering three splendid Lively books. They are beautiful to look at, entertaining, and enlightening to read. You will be tempted to give one (or more) to yourself; better buy two of each!

OTTAWA, ILLINOIS: 1967 Photographs by Jonathan Clark, published by Nazraeli Press. This award winning book presents photos of the small town the artist lived in for his first 10 years. He took the pictures when 15 years old. Like the Mozart of photography, his art was already outstanding. Ottawa still exists, but the way of life there is different. You will see a time that is gone in meaningful, beautiful photographs.

THE DANCER’S GARDEN, This beautiful book has text and photos by Leslie Friedman with additional photos by artist Jonathan Clark and one  by Dennis Parks, English actor. Review and comments on this book call it “a treasure,” “a marvel,” and “a wonderful quirky, perky series of ruminations on gardens, flowers, plants, trees, cats, people, indeed life. It has magnificent photographs…It is an exhilarating read!”

THE STORY OF OUR BUTTERFLIES: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, Text by Leslie Friedman with photos by Jonathan Clark and Leslie Friedman. Jonathan and Leslie see a butterfly lay eggs on a willow tree. They bring the eggs inside to protect them, care for them through all their life stages, and release the butterflies into nature. Explore cultural ties with butterflies in Chinese legends, Shakespeare’s plays, American pop music, Mozart and Puccini. Climate change threatens butterflies and yet they symbolize hope.

All three books are available now, hardback, fine paper.  Prices include shipping. If you use PayPal, add $1.50 to price. To use PayPal: go to the landing page of livelyfoundation.org  Scroll down to the DONATE button. Follow PayPal instructions OR make your check to The Lively Foundation, mail it to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Ave/Mountain View, CA 94041-1941

OTTAWA, ILLINOIS: 1967                    $55

The Dancer’s Garden                          $45

The Story of Our Butterflies               $36

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from The Lively Foundation!

 

Butterflies Released! Leslie Friedman’s New Book

The Lively Foundation is proud to announce the release of The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, the new book by Leslie Friedman. It is a beautiful book with many full color, often full page photographs by Jonathan Clark and Leslie Friedman.

Front cover is a close up of the wing of a Mourning Cloak butterfly. Back cover shows Mourning Cloak caterpillars devouring willow leaves.

The story begins when Mr. Clark and Ms Friedman observe a butterfly lingering on a tiny branch of a pussy willow tree. They see that the butterfly has lain eggs and bring the twig inside to protect the eggs from predators. The story continues through all the stages of life: egg, about five different stages of caterpillar, butterfly. More than 125 butterflies were released in nature preserves. The continual and rapid growth of the caterpillars, their vigorous appetites, the beauty of the butterflies make a suspenseful and engaging tale,

The book explores the relationship of human cultures to butterflies through Chinese legends, Shakespeare’s plays, American pop music. It reveals the desperate plight of all butterflies as the climate changes. There are fascinating Appendices which include an array of butterfly information: how a border wall between the US and Mexico endangers butterfly existence; how to say “butterfly” in many languages; how butterflies symbolize hope for diverse individuals and groups. Questions are answered: does the woolly bear predict weather like an insect version of the groundhog? Did Nathaniel Hawthorne write about butterflies and happiness?

CHRISTMAS IS (always) COMING! Remember books from The Lively Foundation: beautiful to look at, enlightening and entertaining to read. Great for birthdays, Mother’s Day, everyday when you want to read a great book. Be cozy this Christmas: shop from home and let Lively package and send your gifts. Ways to buy this book are listed below this picture.

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The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View is available now from The Lively Foundation. Two ways to order it:

#1) Make your check for $36 to The Lively Foundation and mail it to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Avenue/Mountain View, CA 94041-1941   Price includes postage.

#2) If you prefer to use PayPal instead of a personal check, please add $1.25 for a total of $37.25. Go to the landing page of this site, scroll down to see the DONATE button, click on that, follow PayPal’s directions.   Price includes postage.

 

Stanford’s Company of Authors presents Leslie Friedman

Congratulations to Leslie Friedman, Artistic Director of The Lively Foundation!  Stanford University’s distinguished program, Company of Authors, honored her by inviting her to talk about her book, The Dancer’s Garden. Company of Authors presents Stanford related writers to talk about recent publication. The program took place over Zoom on October 24. There were 17 speakers all from a wide variety of fields. Leslie received her Ph.D. in History from Stanford. The event was free and open to the public; only pre-registration was required in order to receive the Zoom code.

The Dancer’s Garden, published in 2019, is available from The Lively Foundation and the Stanford Bookstore.

Response to Leslie’s talk was so positive that she immediately received an invitation to present her new book, The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, in the next Company of Authors, April 24, 2021. This year’s Company of Authors was originally scheduled for May 2, 2020. It would have been live, in person, and on campus at the Stanford Center for the Humanities. The Stanford campus closed because of the pandemic, the Authors’ program, postponed, became a virtual event. With each author appearing individually from his or her home, the relationship of speaker to listeners became even more personal. The hugely successful event was created by History Professor, Peter Stansky. He serves as the moderator of the program. Professor Stansky gave Leslie an exceptionally generous introduction. Christina Fajardo of Stanford’s Continuing Studies coordinated the program and managed the technical direction.  It was a wonderful experience, and we are looking forward to April 24th next year!

Leslie’s Play, The Panel, Given Reading by Play by Play

Lively’s Artistic Director, Leslie Friedman, wrote The Panel, a one -act play, in 2005. It was accepted for performances at the Marin Festival of New Plays and received awards for Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Director. On September 27, 2020, The Panel was read – online – for an audience, also online, as the September event of Play by Play, an organization based in Oakland that presents readings of new one acts. Play by Play was founded by Judith Offer, herself a playwright and poet.

Please see link below to watch a video of the reading. This will be available for two weeks after the reading, closing, we believe, on October 11.

Originally scheduled for a live presentation in March, 2020, the pandemic forced that date to be canceled. Leslie said, “It was great to receive the invitation from Judith to put The Panel’s reading on Play by Play’s calendar.”  The readers all gave outstanding performances even though they were seen in a small screen instead of on a stage. Here they are:


Readers from top L: Pam Wong (The Young One), Laurie Mokriski (The White Ethnic Dancer), Torey Bookstein (The Great One, and The Jive Person), Paul Harkness (The Old One), Jonathan Clark (The Film Guy), Susannah Wood (The Moderator).

The performances were fantastic. The readers created a theater within the small, electronic box and brought their sometimes troublesome, often funny characters into three dimensional life. It was an exciting event! Some comments from audience: “I loved it!” “I loved it and thought it was perfect!” “We enjoyed it!” “The dialogue is incredibly clever! Thanks for a delightful afternoon.”

Here is a link to the recording of the reading. Please remember that this is a second generation recording and the sound may not be consistent. Thank you for your interest and CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CAST!

Share recording with viewers:
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/zEGhNdHrWYpgk-5c53CR-vfXODBabO1S8tHpzkT7JoIBgIBf5kkxcr9dqm6bnX6a.qzLPJWjNfcNL_0z3 Passcode: !9PW3upU

 

 

 

KEEPING QUIET, BY PABLO NERUDA

Now we will count to twelve/and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,/let’s not speak in any language;/let’s stop for one second,/and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment/without rush, without engines; we would all be together/in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea/would not harm whales/and the man gathering salt/would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,/wars with gas, wars with fire,/victories with no survivors,/would put on clean clothes/and walk about with their brothers/in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused/with total inactivity./Life is what it is about;/I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single minded/about keeping our lives moving,/and for once could do nothing,/perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness/of never understanding ourselves/and of threatening ourselves with death. /Perhaps the earth can teach us/as when everything seems dead/and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count to twelve/and you keep quiet and I will go.

–Pablo Neruda

With thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity which sent this poem by post card with a picture of a red fox.

Pablo Neruda, in Argentina, 1971

Lively Foundation Creates Community: Embarcadero Publishing

This article appeared in Our Neighborhoods: Mountain View and Los Altos, December, 2019, a magazine published by the Embarcadero Publishing Co., which publishes the Mountain View Voice, Palo Alto Weekly, Menlo-Atherton Almanac newspapers. Lively thanks Embarcadero Publishing for recognizing The Lively Foundation as a leader in creating community and selecting us to represent our community.

The first thing Leslie Friedman notices when she enters a room is the floor. Wooden? Concrete? Tiled? Her dancer’s eye is always looking for good floors for dancing. She is also always searching  for ways her work can serve the community. She brings people together to dance, to enjoy dance, to learn about our many cultures, and about each other. Her dance succeeds at building community.
As an internationally touring performer, choreographer, and artistic director of the nonprofit Lively Foundation that operates in Old Mountain View, her deep passion for life and her art energizes her choreography and performances. She is first American dancer or artist of any kind to perform with joint sponsorship of the US State Department and host countries around the world. These “firsts” include performances in Moscow and Leningrad/St. Petersburg, Russia; Beijing, Shenyang, and Shanghai, China; Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; Warsaw, Lodz, Krakow, Poznan, Poland; New Delhi, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Kolkata (Calcutta), Chennai (Madras), India; Bucharest, Romania; Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt; Tunis, Tunisia, and more. Her performances in these cities plus London, Tokyo, Toronto, Seoul, were all given ovations and invitations to return.
She stirs up artistic presence on the Peninsula by inviting renowned dancers to teach and  perform in the annual International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley that she hosts in Mountain View.

Artistic Director, Leslie Friedman
First launched in 2012, the week long festival seeks to create performance opportunities for professional dance artists, offers intensive training for dancers and dance students, and invites the whole community to experience dance in professional performance. “Some audience members would be dance lovers, for some it would be their first time watching, for all we hope to give them the excitement and beauty of dance,” says Leslie. The Festival also attracts adults aged 15 and up to classes in a wide variety of dances and  exposes them to the new choreography created by the teaching artists.  Performances and classes include traditional dances from many cultures flourishing in the Bay Area: Irish set dancing, Salsa, Polish folk dance, Mexican Folclorico, Afro-Haitian, several kinds of classical Indian dances, classical Chinese dance. These are in addition to Ballet, Tap, Line Dances, Contemporary, Jazz, and Ballroom dances.

Crystal Bella Chen and Oscar Adrian Rodriguez perform Ballroom dance in the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley, 2019

“There is a rich variety of movement styles available for our open Master Classes on the Festival’s Full Day of Dance©,” says Leslie, “We encourage everyone to do what they love and also try something new.” All the classes are mixed levels. That includes beginners and pros.
“A ballerina will have an opportunity to learn Afro-Haitian Dance and love it as a beginner in the class. A complete beginner might have a wonderful time in Line dances or find a gift for Tap,” Friedman explains. “Professional dancers can showcase their work here. It gives them new audiences, a chance  to demonstrate and develop their art.”
Through the IDF@SV, Friedman said she hopes to bring the diversity of arts of different origins while involving the community in dance. She also believes it is possible and important that everyone finds a way to move that they enjoy enough to keep doing.
“Move whatever moves, wiggle whatever wiggles,” she said. “If my work inspires someone to keep moving, wow!”
]ennifer Urmson, a mother of two boys, was happy to endorse the way Leslie Friedman and The Lively Foundation build community. She started taking Friedman’s weekly ballet classes when a friend invited her two years ago. “I had not been dancing for a very long time, and I was nervous about the idea of doing ballet as an adult,” Urmson said, adding that as a child, she was told ballet was for bodies of a certain shape. “But Leslie is wonderful as a teacher, very open and supportive. I was really pleased that after a couple of lessons, I felt myself getting stronger and improving my balance.”
Within Jennifer’s class there was a woman in her early 20s, other moms, and retirees. A few of them were organize activities for their dance class friends outside class, such as going together to attend a ballet performance at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Urmson said whether you attend several classes or take part in a single workshop at the Festival, The Lively Foundation seems to have a way of connecting people.
“Months after the dance Festival, you’ll hear people exchanging highlights from the event when they run into one another around town,” she said. “Even if it’s just one class, you see a different side of people. You feel you know them better.” For more information about the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley, contact livelyfoundation@sbcglobal.net
­—Esther Young, 2019; photo of Leslie Friedman demonstrating a movement for Julie Van Gelder, private student and Festival participant, by Magali Gauthier