Philly: More Than Just Sports Hype

Holy FoolWe are fired up for what is coming to Philadelphia this summer, after the NBA playoffs leaves town.  Holy Fool Arts is organizing its 7th residency of the Carnival de Resistance from July 24th through August 5th. Weekend productions (which weave storytelling, dance theater, live music, and circus arts) will be taking place at Arch St. United Methodist Church. 

CdR is rooted in a prophetic Tradition of many compelling strands.  This is how these holy fools describe it on their website: 

The Carnival de Resistance is made up of a diverse group of people who’s political persuasion and theology covers a spectrum of beliefs. The following are not indicative of the overall “message” of the Carnival, but are simply some of the historical movements, artistic traditions, fields of study and teachers that have influenced us.

  • Nomadic lifestyles of indigenous and traditional nature-based cultures whose lifeways we believe, while under attack, embody a way to practically resist the forces of empire and domination.
  • Nomads in the margins of society, who have lived inside the system but subversively as a counter culture–(gypsies, maroons and other escaped slaves… and the circus.)
  • Projects like “Awakening the Dreamer”, that asks people in the developed world to hear the deep wisdom and the urgent warning of indigenous elders.
  • Scholars like William Stringfellow who find rich theological meaning through the witness of the circus (see quote below). Or like Ched Myers, who helps us see the theatricality of the prophet’s demonstrations and the dramaturgy laced throughout the whole of scripture. Check out Ched’s ongoing scholarship illuminating the legacy of resistance within communities of faith.
  • Communal celebration and earth connected spirituality found in traditional west African drum and dance–joliba ballet, Les ballets Africains, Mamady Keita
  • Resistance traditions found in the roots of Brazilian samba. These colorful parades which happen during Carnivale, provide an opportunity for various “escola” (neighborhood samba schools)  to embody various myths, create parody of political figures or historic events, or express their view on a social, environmental or international issue.
  • Earth honoring spirituality and communal ceremony and cultural remembrance found in the Native American Pow-wow gatherings
  • Folk musics that have come out of the African diaspora of the slave trade and have ignited faith resistance movements for generations –gospel, blues, spirituals, reggae
  • A deepening awareness of “Environmental Racism” –  and how the site of large landfills, waste treatment plants, and industrial factories are intentionally located by city and county governments, in mostly poor communities where the expectation is that businesses and residents won’t fight to keep it out
  • The thorough critique of civilization that is helping us to understand the roots of the big problem as put forth by such writers as Fredy Perlman, John Moore, John Zerzan, Kevin Tucker, In the Land of the Living Journal.
  • Alternative Gatherings that attempt to create alternative economic and political structures, such as PAPA fest, burning man, or the rainbow gatherings.
  • Bicycle powered tours and festivals. The pleasant revolutions are rolling in with pedal powered tours by musical projects: Kipchoge and the Ginger Ninjas, the petrol-free tortoise carnival tour, or cellist Ben Sollee. Also, our friends at Rock the Bike are powering whole festivals with bicycle generators and making ‘health’ delicious with their bike blender.

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