Calling On Our Ancestors #1





Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now.

Creative Subversives!

Experimental Activists!


Travelers of Mysterious Paths!

Weirdoes and Wild Folk!

Outsiders and Rebels!

Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now.

We’re in trouble.


Prince, Your Royal LoveSexiness, help us to claim the power of our divine erotic. Guide us in harnessing our anger with purple precision, spiraling upwards into greater and greater harmonic ecstasies. Let us dance!

Bella Lewitzky, walk with us as we stand (and sit) up for what is right and just. Help us channel your devastating confidence, that can allow us to embody tiny Jewish Old Ladies with the fierceness of a dragon–as we approach the biggest bullies in the world. Be with us as we exude the stern nobility of thousands of years of Jewish faith and endurance, causing them to run screaming from the room without us even having to speak. Cover us with blessing like your knit unitard, worn rough in dance classes and rehearsals, across the globe, over decades.

Martha Graham, lend us your undying dedication to discipline. Let us shape the world into a breathtakingly beautiful place without ever losing touch with the divine diva within. Bring forth our drama and our fertile mythologies. Guide us to contract with full control around the toxic bigots that have emerged, and release their negativity into the underworld to be recycled into warm floors for dancing. Help us with make-up and hairstyles! Even the end of the world calls for elegance.

Jim Morrison, rock those cosmic leather pants and ejaculate us into Dionysian furor. Send us the words that will unlock our souls and make even the most close-minded pay attention to their human bodies shriveling beneath their confusion. Take us to the edge, and take us beyond to the new world shining, naked in the summer rain.

Bob Marley help us see beyond this time and place. Remind us that we can rise up fiercely with gentleness in our hearts. Shower us with Jah Love and hit us with holy music.

Pina Bausch help us to see the desolate beauty of every human being. Accompany us as we learn to glide through the shadow passages of our hearts,  paying close attention at every turn and returning with the maps that can lead others into the dream worlds. Free us from the tyranny of unexamined, literal thinking. Choreograph the battles to come so that everyone is so enraptured by the surreal feast of the senses, that no one can remember why we should fight at all, and instead we all dance, dance dance!

Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now!

Mel Wong take direct us out of our doldrums. Remind us to follow the bizarre calls of inspiration, through the tunnels of the subconscious, into vast canyons of beauty. Give us the feedback we need over and over, for everything that we attempt, “Good work. Keep going.”

Kate Wolf sing us the stories of the flowers and the hills and the ordinary folk who love this land. Remind us of the refuge of friendship. Help us access the wisdom that is well beyond our years.

Gene Wilder, dive into our anxiety and let it erupt in Yiddish hysteria. Help us remember tender zaniness. Lead us to laughter and ridiculous joy.

Frida Kahlo give us ferocious courage. Help us persevere and turn all of our suffering into art that cannot be ignored.

Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now!

Rumi, Kabir, Mirabai, Basho, Whitman, Neruda, Tagore, and Rilke, please guide our souls into our words and onwards to those that most need relief and insight and encouragement at this hour.

Robert Mapplethorpe, don’t let us off the hook. Shock us into beauty. Help us worship our bodies.

Chogyam Trungpa, wake us up! Confront our neuroses and provoke our basic goodness. Guide us to the genuine heart of sadness over and over.

Isadora Duncan, caress us with your eternally flowing scarves. Give us the strength to bare our breasts and bring radical new ways of seeing into the world.

Arnie Zane, dance with us into queer, passionate ferocity.

Charlie Chaplin help us find the humor in the direst of moments.

Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now!

Georgia O’Keefe, lead us into the wilderness of our hearts. Remind us of the creative power of solitude. Help us to deeply see each petal of every flower, and the blossoming beauty within each other.

Della Davidson, help us remember the pleasure and the sensuality, the beauty and the longing, the richness of our subconscious and the wisdom of dreams.

Salvador Dali, keep us outrageous and subversive. Melt our attachments to clocks and conformity.

J.R.R. Tolkien, teach us of the power of small, ordinary beings in the face of enormous tyranny. Remind us of the Shire.

Artist-Ancestors, I call on you now!

Jimi Hendrix, play the Star Spangled Banner across the heavens and let it rain awakening upon all of us. Teach us the magic that can transform this country into an electric blues lament that heals our centuries-old wounds.

John Lennon, bring us together, over you. Don’t give up on us. Tell us again and again to give peace a chance.

George Harrison take us within.

Remy Charlip teach us to revel in bright colors and stories and aging bodies and rainbows and the simple truths that children understand.

John Cage and Merce Cunningham remind us of the organic perfection of chance, the power of silence, and help us trust the collision of those things that we never would have thought could fit together.

Alvin Ailey, coach us to find our dignity again, to dance our bold visions, and to celebrate joyfully amidst the sorrows.

Stephen Levine, poet of the Deathless, soften our bellies and divert our marches to war. Allow us to see the Beloved in everything, and to embrace the unimaginable pain we carry together as a human race. Let our hearts break, help us grieve and remind us that there is only ever one way forward, the Braille method, feeling along moment by moment, dissolving into Grace.


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,

Janis Joplin,

Marvin Gaye,

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash,

George Michael,

David “Ziggy Stardust” Bowie,

Leonard Cohen,

Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwoʻole,

Jerry Garcia,

Michael Callen,

Peter Tosh,

Cat Stevens,

Billie Holliday,

Freddie Mercury,

Paul Robeson,

Pete Seeger,

Woody Guthrie,



please sing us into balance. Please sing us home.

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