(R)evolution I: EROS(ion) Flow at the Gershwin Hotel, 01FEB11
My 1997 entry into the New York poetry scene was in the TriBeCa loft of the poet Max Blagg. In keeping with the New York Beat tradition of boundary smashing, we had a fertile exchange. He opened up about his chemical process of transforming the blonde of the forbidden male gaze into alchemical gold, and I laid my healing hands on his crown chakra; together we passed through a portal into the unknown passage of Eros.
We landed in the unexplored terrain of the hieros gamos that the cosmology of January 23, 1997 established as a portal to the age of Aquarius. This state of divine union had Blagg’s Beat in its thrall but its personal relations precluded this vision ever becoming a reality. Making this 21st century icon material in art became the goal of my 14-year passage through the New York arts scene.
As I had been trained in Los Angeles for the previous two decades by the most revered metaphysicians and shamans of our age, New York provided a laboratory to put my alchemy into practical use. In time I discovered firsthand that for all its eclecticism, the New York avant-garde was unfamiliar with the shamanic use of astrology in “performance as ritual,” and that understanding propelled me to establish alchemy as a web of conscious evolutionary interactions gathering under a singular movement: ®evolution.
This passage reflected the zeitgeist. My article on Blagg resulted in my first Internet publication, in Paul Laster’s www.bkyn.com. I met Edwin Torres at a unique conference at art and transformation at the Italian Cultural Institute and realized quickly that he was creating a language of the hieros gamos through his virtuoso command of sound passing through the chakras that takes poetry into a completely new terrain in the 21s century. It was, in fact, Edwin’s playful wordplay that came up with the apt tile of the (R)evolution launch: EROS(ion) Flow, meaning both a breaking down of boundaries and the building up of a new gender dynamic.
In 2005, I started a cycle honoring the anniversary of the hieros gamos configuration. My first poetry event was a dinner at the Lab Gallery which brought three New York generations (Edwin Torres, Max Blagg and Valery Oisteneau) together into a 21st century vision of the hieros gamos. A month later, I hosted the salon “Intergenerational Genus” in the Roger Smith penthouse.
My first NYC reading at Brooklyn Fireproof was arranged by David Gibson where I met Jeffrey Wright, an extremely physical poet whose material manifestation of an image of steering a ship wheel sailed me forth to The Alchemy of Love, my 2007 five-chapter experiment in uniting heaven (Internet) and earth (the gallery space) in a multimedia transformative art forum that Wright coined as the blogel.
In 2008, while installing Black Madonna with HP Garcia at his New York City gallery, I met the new media performing painter and writer Dianne Bowen who became a companion on the final phase of the journey. Guided by her marriage of word and image into a visible language of the unspoken, we embarked on an ever-evolving conscious dialogue incorporating a creative pummeling of the unconscious, which would restore Sophia as the deity of a new aesthetic uniting heaven and earth. Her preliminary interactive painting performance “Drawing Down the Zeitgeist” is both artifact and portal for a ritualization of the hieros gamos in everyday life.
It wasn’t until May 2009 that I met the artist, Aldo Tambellini, who, unbeknownst to me, had provided the blueprint for (R)evolution with his Internedia happenings back in the early sixties that gave form to the dark energy in the New York avant-garde, yet — due to its very essence — would be confined to the shadows for another half decade until the 96 percent universe was ready to be acknowledged by science and honored by an acceptance of the Tambellini aesthetic in my own lost generation (also confined to the underground because what we were manifesting had yet to be defined). This premiere (R)evolution performance makes the connection tangible, by bringing an intergenerational Kundalini aesthetic into the public consciousness via the social network.
Only in the past year, as my journey became guided by a specific intention — revealing a new movement at the moment of its awakening, did I meet the performing artists delivering the hieros gamos through music. The downtown bardic Pied Piper James Maddock sums up our longings of a new holistic connection; and when I first heard his song “When the Stars Align,” I rushed to manifest his lyrics by bursting backstage at a Danbury bar on St. Patrick’s Day to ask him for his numbers so I could do his astrology chart and figure his position in this new constellation forming around a 21st century icon.
The joyous final phase of my journey was a reflection of the divine face of the feminine in the kundalini-awakened performers Louisa Bradshaw and SK. Lover, whose talents and wisdom marry the sacred with the mundane, the ordinary with the extraordinary, to create, along with their (R)evolutionary counterparts, a new breed of “everyday superstar.”
I am extremely grateful to Neke Carson and Michael Wiener for hosting this event as part of their decade-long Tuesday night series at the Gershwin. My video artist partner in alchemy, John Knowles, a.k.a. Panman, brings a backdrop to the unfolding while delivering a new generation into the oldest archetype on earth. My depths of gratitude also go to James and Suzanne Knowles and Matt Semler for providing me prime real estate for developing my philosophy, and to HP Garcia, whose Templar tradition has provided the resources to put it into latter-day practice. And thanks finally, to my friend and editor Rolf Maurer for assisting me with the program.
This performance on the eve of the Chinese New Year passage into the Rabbit is a crossroads between past and future. The past is tradition. The future is yet a dream. The present is poetry. And poetry in the 21st century, I do believe, is (re)volutionizing the world.
Lisa Paul Streitfeld