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December 2008

Chapter 3: Nana I Ke Kumu: Look to the Source

PuaAno ai me ke Aloha, e na hulu mamo like 'ole:  Greetings amongst all of us, birds of many feathers.

In times of uncertainty,
The Po’e Hawai’i (The Hawaiian People) say,
“Nana I Ke Kumu.”  “Look to the Source.”

It is there in the stories of the ‘Aina (The Land) that certainty can be found.
And it is in those stories that we will recognize and reconnect to every thing holy,  Within us, within each of us, human and in all other forms.

It is in those stories that we learn to honor the earth worms, which burrow deep, slender holes in the hardest soil, to loosen, to prepare, to enrich for the planting of seeds of every kind;

It is in those stories that we learn to honor the honey bees which burrow deep into every flower, finding and carrying the sweet pollen of life to plants of every kind;

It is in those stories that we remember the beauty of all beginnings, that belief in beginnings  are part of us, have always been part of us;

It is in those stories that humans are reminded that we are but one kind, among many, each beloved for its special gift, its special kuleana (responsibility) to the Whole;

It is in these stories that we learn that our relationship to every living being is kinship, not kingship not stewardship;

It is in those stories that we are taught that leadership rests not just in one man or one woman but in all; that responsibility for all wars, all peace, all chaos, all clarity, all failure, all success rests not in one man or one woman, but in all;

And it is in remembering what we already know, that the breath and breadth of life will grow.

So, brothers and sisters, “Nana I Kou Kumu”, “Look to your Source.”


Chapter 2: To Look Ahead, Look Backwards

Maryo 11-05 b If I could take a trip in  a magic time machine back to a single moment in history,  I'd be beamed to Broadway on that night in June, 1937, when Orson Welles' production of Marc Bliztein's The Cradle Will Rock opened -  despite all the attempts to shut it down.

Have you seen Tim Robbins' film, Cradle Will Rock?  If not, rent it and watch it tonight.  It's a terrific film, the cast is remarkable (John Cusack, Vanessa Redgrave, Bill Murray, Ruben Blades, Susan Sarandon, John Turturro...), and the story – well, stories – are breathtaking.  Three stories are woven together:  Diego Rivera's mural at Rockefeller Center challenging the domain of “art” as defined by the rich and powerful.  Hallie Flanagan of the Federal Theatre testifying before the Dies Committee (later called the House Un-American Activities Committee). Orson Welles building the production of Blitztein's musical.   Called “a mostly true story” by Robbins, this film will suck you in.  Yes, details have been changed or embroidered, but the base stories are absolutely true.

And my time-machine moment?  Well, the Federal Theatre was coming under fire for being too radical at this time in the life of the New Deal, and, per Flanagan's book Arena: The Story of the Federal Theatre, “there were rumors in Washington that [The Cradle Will Rock] was dangerous” for it addressed issues of labor unions, strikes, free speech, and justice.  In mid-June, a letter had come from Washington prohibiting the opening of “any” new play between then and July 1 for budgetary reasons; but since The Cradle Will Rock  was the only show slated to open, the targeting wasn't subtle.  The actors' union and musicians' union forbade their members to performing in it. Armed guards sealed the theatre building.  How Welles figured out a way around this was brilliant and I guarantee you goosebumps.

Yes, the night when The Cradle Will Rock opened anyway is the moment I'd visit.

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