the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Monthly Archives: April, 2013

These featured artists will celebrate EARTH with us on Sunday

Upcoming Events

This Sunday, April 28th, is our next service in New York, the theme will be THE EARTH!

  • Our featured visual artist, Natalie Collette Wood, will present collage, sculpture and paintings that look like fractals, crystals and explosions.
  • Melody Allegra Berger will play the fiddle
  • Alexandra Cole Plakias from Brooklyn Grange, a 2.5 acre rooftop farm in Brooklyn, will present the food offering
  • Our pal Kaina Quainga will Hula for us
  • We’ve got nature footage from Park McGinty
  •  We’ll also hear the poetry of Philip Larkin, the voices of The Secret City Singers, and a story about a trip to the manicurist

All this, followed by coffee and treats.

OH, and please bring something for the nosh table!  Wear something floral too!

 The Secret City – THE EARTH
(rsvp via Facebook using the above link and invite friends, too)
Sunday, April 28th


Dixon Place

Suggested donation: $15

“The Earth laughs in flowers.” – Emerson


Upcoming Service: THE EARTH, Sunday 4/28

Upcoming Events

Spring has sprung, and the earth is ALIVE! Join us as we celebrate her in all her glory – with flowers and music and dance and food and art and community. It’s gonna be a big, beautiful day, and we’d love to have you with us.

The Secret City – The Earth
Sunday, April 28th
Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
btwn Rivington and Delancey

$15 suggested donation


RSVP via Facebook (optional)
Volunteers welcome and appreciated! Just leave a comment on the facebook event page.


Baltimore Fishbowl columnist: “I fell in love with The Secret City.”

Check out Sun, Moon, Dog, Pineapple: An Unbeliever’s Creed, written by University of Baltimore Asst. Professor and Baltimore Fishbowl‘s Bohemian Rhapsody columnist Marion Winik, who was inspired by her first experience at The Secret City service.

In the beginning was the word. The word was but. Do you believe in God? No, but. Do you believe in the immortal soul? No, but. Do you believe in magic? No, but I believe in hormones, endorphins, serotonin, in the fireworks and transformations wrought by chemistry. I believe in every kind of serious embrace — parent and child, lovers, friends — and I believe in the power of connection between people to change the rules.

Read the full article at the Baltimore Fishbowl.


Service Recap: LA excited by THE BODY


“…Finally, something worth worshiping!  A communal, spiritual, art-fest without the g-o-d talk.  From a neo-pagan, dionysian, tantric, taoist, atheist, sacred humanist…thank you for creating something worthy of the 21st century.”

The above quote was in an email I received on Monday, from someone who attended our latest LA gathering. It’s one of my most favorite notes I’ve ever received about the experience of The Secret City. It was a truly phenomenal gathering this past Sunday; the theme was THE BODY – and something about it and the crowd and the talent and the music and the choir and the food and the African Dancers, and the drumming and the nudity (!!!) – well, you get the idea. It all added up to a major explosion of joy and love and community.

I have always felt that the work of the Secret City had endless potential to reach WIDE and DEEP into the hearts of our country’s artists and creative people, spiritual seekers and outcasts. In the past few months – I’ve seen that growth start to really take place, to spill out of our walls and select community into an ever expanding, ever connected sea of people.

I feel so happy and grateful. And, I think we need more costumes. Maybe in general, but certainly in our services. More costumes. And maybe more nudity. We’ll see. People really seem to like it. As Walt Whitman said, “If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”

We’ll be back in New York City on Sunday, April 28th, the theme will be THE EARTH, and then back to LA on Sunday, June 16th. The theme for LA isn’t set yet – we’re going to take suggestions and then vote on them. Feel free to comment here with any theme you think we should do.

– Chris Wells, Founder & Artistic Director

Mario Calvano was our featured visual artist.  Notice his nude paintings, Allegories,  hanging above Chris.

blood orange


from Matthew Feitshans, who did the food offering of blood oranges and chocolate with salt.

An offering of food…

Taken inside you, delivered to your cells by the world’s greatest delivery system..
Your personal Fed Ex, the big brown UPS truck of your life (barreling down streets way too narrow for them to be driving that fast) that’s your blood, racing — racing…
My hands, my very clean hands, racing in the chill of three AM this morning, peeling, dipping, chilling, dusting.
Three elements: blood orange, chocolate and salt.
Citrus Sinensis, a fruit made sinfully crimson by its “anthocyanins”, a pigment that only develops in the coldest of winter nights…
All oranges are hybrids, but the blood orange is a mutation, a citrus hemophilia, gushing forth from the earth’s body and turning into taste…
Just as chocolate is squeezed from the cocoa bean, the nib its blood covenant, given unto us…
Dripping chocolate like blood, spattering across my stovetop.
So valuable, Aztecs and Mayans used cocoa beans as currency, offering it as tribute to chieftains.
Just as those who founded Solnistata, the earliest known town in Europe, built around a salt mine, traded the crystals like money — “That man’s worth his salt!”
My fingers trembling over every slice… Not too much —  just a hint —
Acutely aware of salt’s second provenance — destruction,  a bloody and vindictive army general salting the earth, “No citrus will ever grow here again.”
Salt, chocolate and sweet blood, in our mouths, transporting us… Together….
Technically, histologically, blood is a “connective tissue” —  it reaches down to touch the deepest pits of your bone marrow as fine filaments, liquid becoming solid…
Take this then, my blood money, born in the deepest cold last night.
My offering to you, my tribute,
We’re connected.


tscla3 tscla11


Kulu- A Dance of Celebration performed by: Shaunte Johnson, Michelle Chua, Tanita Fadyeyola, and Indira Tyler (dancers); Anindo Marshall and Fred (Shangowale) Jones (drums).



A song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Patrice Quinn, Jeremy Bass (guitar)


John C. Reilly and Justin Welborn.



Join us this Sunday in LA! We’ll celebrate The Body


Hey California friends! We are coming back to Los Angeles for another fabulous gathering of The Secret City. This time our theme will be THE BODY – just in time for Spring! We will be back at the lovely Bootleg Theater, and there will be music, art, community, joy, and the possibility of the raising the roof. So, tell your friends and start thinking about something groovy to wear, cuz The Secret City is coming back to town!

Sunday, April 7 at 12PM

Bootleg Theater


2220 Beverly Boulevard

Los Angeles, California 90057

RSVP via Facebook (optional)