the next service is in LA on March 12

About Chris Wells

Chris Wells

CHRIS WELLS is an Obie award-winning writer, actor, singer, cabaret performer, lyricist, teacher and arts activist who has made original theatre, music and performance for many years.

ECSTASY!! our service from June 28th

We had a magnificent gathering at the end of June. Here are some pics from the service–the theme was ECSTASY, inspired by Gay Pride, and Independence Day.


New York artist Harry Krishna created an instillation for our service that day. It was mostly found images, several of which were depictions of Michael Jackson. Harry had put the piece together the day BEFORE Michael Jackson died.

The wonderful Jennifer Miller performed for us that day–

she escaped from a straitjacket RIGHT BEFORE OUR VERY EYES! Here are some other fun images from that day. SHOES!!
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Danyon and Emma!

Nikki and Gib!

The fabulous Patrice Quinn arriving just in time for The Mingling Ritual!

The remarkable Justin Sayre read the Cultural Calendar with aplomb!

We re-enacted that old acting exercise, HA, and laughed our asses off for a few solid minutes…IT WORKS!!

Who else but Jammie and Michael, in the most ECSTATIC outfits of the year. By the way, Jamie also contributed the food offering for this service, Sister Emily’s Pralines–dear lord, they’re heavenly. (ouch). As Jamie taught us to say, in the words of dear Sister Emily, “Comment-t’allez-vous, y’all?”

Our dear Jack and Jonathan.

Mona Mansour and her birthday cake!

A group of lovely pals–John Kellam (visiting from LA), Laural Meade (also visiting from LA, and sang for us in the service), Joanna Pee, Kelly Mares and Gib Frazier. Wonderful company.

Those sparkly Coloff sisters, Leah and Rachel. In a bit of synchronicity, Leah had her Coney Island purse on that day, which has the sign for the CYCLONE on the flap.

Here I am with two of my dearest dears–Laural and Patrice. Scrumptious!

LOOK! It’s Patrice and Bobby!

And now, our own Jeremy Bass, eating cake.

Incredible day. Thanks to Bobby for taking the pics, and to all the amazing people involved in the service, and to all the friends, old and new, who came out on a sparkling summer day, with the gay pride parade going by just a block away. It was an ECSTATIC moment. Love and Happiness.

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CONEY ISLAND!!

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Playing catch-up on the blog!! Here are some pics from last month’s adventure, which I wrote about in the monthly sermon, THE PERFECT ESCAPE. Bobby and I went to Coney Island one misty, Friday morning. AND, we rode the CYCLONE. First stop–The Boardwalk. Misty morning in June.

I guess i would be the FREAK.
 

George Tilyou, the great Coney Island impresario once said, “Coney Island, between June and September, is the world.”
But on that misty morning, Friday in early summer, no one was going to Coney Island but Bobby and me.

We snuck into the back of Dreamland, which was still shut that early in the day. We wandered around and got to see some of the locals up close…
FINALLY, we made it to the famous rollercoaster–the ultimate goal.
The entrance to the ride…after this, I would never be the same.

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Memory: proust

In honor of Proust, we had madeleines as our food offering on Sunday. Sadly we don’t have a picture of them. Everyone was too busy tasting them to get a shot. But, they were SUBLIME! Pamela Gregory, of Napa, California, sent them to us. And we all tasted them at the same time–such flavor, such texture. Is there lavender in a madeleine? Lemon?
Here’s a snippet of what Proust had to say about the power of taste to evoke the past…

“…after
the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell
alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent,
more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting,
hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and
almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”


And here’s a shot of some lovely folks who came on Sunday.

 

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MEMORY.

More from this past Sunday’s service on MEMORY. The service was full of memory-spurring experiences…the interactive portion of the service was SCENTS/MEMORY, where we shared various scents, to see what memories they might evoke. The scents were Hawaiian Tropic Suntan Oil, Lavender, Curry, Tiger Balm, Cody Air Spun cosmetic powder, Clove and fingernail polish.

“…the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has
the power to recall memories…” Rachel Carson

above image: Sally, Danyon and Justin, smelling scented cotton balls. 

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MONEY!!

Good morning world! It’s monday, May 5th–Cinco de Mayo!It’s a week since our last service. The theme was MONEY!

The inspirations for this month’s theme were the current global economic situation, and the upcoming fundraising efforts for The Secret City. MONEY proved to be a rich and valuable theme for us–artists and money have a very complicated relationship.
Somerset Maugham, that very successful writer, said, “Money is like a sixth sense, and you can’t make use of the other five without it.”
The service was filled with surprises…
And lots of new, lovely visitors…
This is the moment to ask people to invest in something that reminds us of our calling, something that reminds us that relationships and experiences are the most valuable things. And our monthly rituals do that, they remind us of the importance of the life of the senses, the importance of having a place to come where we are reminded of purpose, and connectedness. And as a result, community is being built, people are showing up, conversations are starting.
It’s nice to see the services growing in JOY, too…We held a game show–kind of like Let’s Make a Deal, but the questions were all about currency…like, how many ridges are there on the side of a dime? (118). There was triumph…
And there was loss…
Mostly, tho, there were sweet people having good times…
So, today is a day of beginnings…I have meetings with development people, we’re finalizing the fiscal sponsorship with The Field, so that the funding letter can go out. And going to the County Clerks office to file a DBA for the Secret City bank account. All business stuff. Trying to make the set up of the organization and the funding of the organization a creative activity–to include people in the process as much as possible, and to ask for help along the way.
SO, MONEY! Here we go. Or, should I say, MONEY, here we come!
Oh, and don’t forget, we now offer childcare!!

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The New Blog

Hey there. This is the first entry on this new blog. The Secret City is a monthly art sanctuary in New York City and we’ve been in operation for about a year and a half. We meet in a small space on 14th St, the last Sunday of every month. It’s an amazing thing, if I do say so myself. This is a quicky entry to get started and see how things work here. I have been using blogger, but this seems to be more useful, as I’m going to be starting podcasts, seeking donations, selling books, and building a national/international community. I have a pal who’s going to help out, too, with design and linking and all that stuff. For now, I’ve posted some pics from our latest service, which was last Sunday. The theme was style.

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