Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow and Sangre

Last week I had the pleasure of snowboarding for the first time in two years. I'm volunteering with Matt's org Chill. Funded in large part by Burton Snowboards, Chill brings Portland teens up to Mt. Hood to teach them life lessons, such as persistence and responsibility, in the guise of snowboarding. Matt's working with a bunch of different amazing Portland agencies dedicated to youth empowerment, including Metropolitan Family Services, New Avenues for Youth, El Programa Hispano, IRCO, Open Meadow and a bunch of other schools and organizations.

So, last Friday I drove up to Timberline early with a bunch of the other volunteers - Rico, Scott and Daley. It was a gorgeous and warm-ish day. We had time for a bunch of awesome runs, then Scott, Daley and I decided to take one of the long trails (2+ miles) directly to Government Camp (sort of illegal and out of bounds, but very cool!) where we were to meet up with the busload of kids to help them gear up (Burton provides snowboards, boots, jackets etc for all the kids and their chaperones) for the day. Once we got everyone geared up we hit the mountain. After a day of riding I was pretty whipped, but it was energizing for me to hang with some of the kids. I was drawn to the kids who were having a harder time because I wanted to help keep their spirits up and not let them give up when they got frustrated. Plus it's just a pleasure to connect one-on-one with these teenagers, as I don't necessarily have many other opportunities to hang with teens. I'm back with them tomorrow and I can't wait!

Last night a bunch of us went to see our friend Jaime in a show at Milagro Theatre called Bodas de Sangre or Blood Wedding written by the famed Federico Garcia Lorca. As you might gather from the title, there was certainly some drama and intensity to the piece. Themes running through included death, birth, destiny, history, love and lust. In general, I thought the Olga Sanchez (the show's Director, and also Milagro's Artistic Director) did a fine job putting this together. The staging was inventive and poetic. Better known as a poet, Lorca's words are evocative and brimming with symbolism. A highlight for me was just post-intermission. The angry wedding crowd is in the midst of searching for the runaway bride and her lover. It reminded me of a Greek chorus with the Moon spouting incantations and Death lording over with foreboding. The staging was simple, elegant and dreamy. I believe this was the first play I've watched in another language with supertitles. Very much list viewing a foreign film with subtitles. Effective enough, but sometimes I missed some of the action and other times my timing in reading was off. All in all, though it was a lovely experience and I look forward to checking out more bilingual shows at the Milagro.

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