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My Bold Bonus Life: 13

A cool rainy Sunday in my extra life in Manhattan: a rousingly good church service, a three-hour brunch-with-live-jazz with good friends who’d driven up from Philadelphia, then an excellent late-afternoon play in a small theater with audience discussion with the playwright and composer afterwards. Then, of course, the long walk and the frozen dairy product, this time a roasted almond fro-yo in a sugar cone.

It has been decades since I was a regular church-goer: roughly since I moved in with my husband in our house out in the country 40 minutes from the church I used to attend.

Today’s service makes me want to go back. From the website: “Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village defines itself as ‘a church in the Christian tradition’ and ‘a sanctuary for progressive activism and artistic expression.'”

The congregation endorses and works for peace without asking everybody to hug the person to their right, which always annoys me. Here people introduced themselves to me afterwards without even being prompted, which I did like.

Wonderful lunch and conversation nearby at Cafe Loup with friends Anne and Al. Anne and I met 32 years ago at Berkeley when we’d both won NEH grants for nonfiction writers to spend a month there studying fiction. (That was another bonus life I lived once. In fact, this is probably my third extra life.) Food report: eggs Benedict — very good — and chardonnay.

The 4:30 play was Dear Harvey, about San Francisco gay politician and human rights advocate Harvey Milk, who, with the city’s mayor, was assassinated by a fellow city council member. This was part of the ongoing Fringe NYC festival.

I almost gave up on this festival because I didn’t like the first play I saw. Glad I changed my mind. This one was the perfect bookend to the morning’s church service. Heart-stirring and inspiring to action. Milk showed that if one person takes a stand and sticks by it, he/she can accomplish remarkable things.

Or, as Cleve Jones, the creator of the AIDS quilt, says in the play: “You can be this totally ordinary person with this really fucked up life but if you have courage and speak the truth and are willing to stick it out, it’s amazing what you can do.”

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Categories: Dear Harvey, extra life, Fringe NYC

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