the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Posts In Passion

The Secret City | Passion Gallery


Our latest trip to LA was a marvelous thing – bright and beautiful and luscious. The theme was PASSION and the event delivered in a glorious way, with a packed house and Tango Dancing, a Love Potion and lush paintings of peacocks and sphinxes. I’m always so grateful to The Bootleg Theater and all the wonderful LA artists and supporters who make the events happen. We’ve got some great pics of the day – these are taken by Bobby Lucy. Look at all those beautiful, smiling faces!! We’ll be back in LA on June 22nd, the theme will be ADVENTURE.





wow! we had an AMAZING day in Los Angeles yesterday, celebrating PASSION. a packed house, slammin band, fabulous guest artists and a beautiful celebration of art and community. we’re going to post some video and pics from the service in the upcoming days. in the meantime there’s this great image our friend molly bryant took of me in my opening outfit – as someone said, it was sort of like dame edna meets truman capote meets tina turner – I’ll take it!


Kera and the Trumpeter | Featured Musician

Our musical guests this Sunday for our celebration of PASSION is Kera Armendariz who fronts Kera and the Lesbians who lovingly refer to their music as ‘bipolar folk.’ As a performer, Kera’s passion is tangible, at times bringing the crowd to tears, but most consistently keeping a dancing crowd completely enraptured, hanging onto every word her very expressive being has to sing. She brings heaps of charm to the set, with her joking between songs and her Elvis-like dance moves, it’s obvious that she lives for this. Kera has performed with a diverse list of acts including Devendra Banhart, Best Coast, and Crystal Castles.


Facebook ButtontwitterSound Cold ButtonBandcamp Button






Moti Buchboot & Ayona Weaver | Featured Dancers

This Sunday, in honor of the theme of PASSION, we present Argentine Tango with Moti Buchboot & Ayona Weaver. I always love presenting dance in our services – it really brings an extraordinary energy into the room. And, TANGO, I mean, right? Here’s a bit about this Sunday’s dancers:

Moti’s tango training began informally with his study of martial arts almost three decades ago His interest in movement brought him into contact with a variety of styles. This experimentation with physical art forms led him, eventually, to dance.  After getting a taste of many types he discovered Argentine tango.  Using tango as a vehicle for artistic expression, Moti has developed into a successful tango performer, promoter, and teacher locally and internationally.  His dancing style is dynamic, experimental, and innovative.  It abounds with creativity, continually involving new forms of expression.

As a migrant from the Washington DC tri state area, Ayona’s first experience with partner dancing wasn’t until 2011, when she was exposed to LA’s mixed Salsa on the streets of the Santa Monica promenade.  She then eagerly began exploring the other Latin dances including Bachata, Merengue, and Cha Cha before the mystery and intrigue of Argentine Tango piqued her curiosity. 

Wanting to expand her dance repertoire and dive deeper into the passion of Tango, she began training under Moti Buchboot, a master in his own right with over 20 years of Tango training.  Her modern jazz background, coupled with her long lines and natural grace, made her a natural; and under his tutelage quickly exceled.  Soon thereafter, Moti took her under his wing as his protégé and they became dance partners.


Wendy C. Ortiz | Featured Artist

Thrilled to introduce Wendy C. Ortiz to the Secret City community. Wendy is the author of Excavation: A Memoir and Hollywood Notebook, both to be released in 2014. She is a columnist for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and curates and hosts the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series. She’ll be reading a poem for us on Sunday in Los Angeles at our service on PASSION. Please visit:


Paul August BruinsSlot | Featured Artist


This month’s visual artist is Paul August BruinsSlot, a long time friend and a wonderful painter. He’s the perfect fit for the theme of PASSION. Here’s a bit about his work: Paul August BruinsSlot brings new spirit to ancient images of monsters and gods. With a classicist’s hand and an innovator’s eye he reveals both the human and divine in his subjects. He mixes traditional watercolor techniques with experimentation and a sense of play that brings a freshness and vitality to some of man’s oldest imagery.


From our Grand Poobah


Just a few days and we’ll be back in glorious LOS ANGELES for our next gathering of The Secret City. The theme will be PASSION, in honor of springtime.

As everybody knows, it’s been a long, cold winter in the Northeast – there’s still about a foot of snow on the ground here in Woodstock but the great thaw has begun and the creek outside is trickling and, at night, the birds are singing and hooting in the woods.

So excited to make our way back to Southern California and celebrate the joy and wonder of spring with our LA community. We’ve got a beautiful gathering coming together with wonderful artists and performers: Paul August Bruin Slott is our featured visual artist – Paul is a friend from way back, and a fabulous LA artist who makes figurative paintings with watercolors and  oils and sometimes coffee, his work is rich, lush and sensual, drawing on classic motifs as well as contemporary. I’m delighted to have him take part.

Kera Armenderiz is our featured musical guest – Kera’s a dynamo live performer with powerful voice and presence. She fronts the band Kera and the Lesbians, a Gypsy Folk outfit with the edge of a great garage band. Kera’s going to do an acoustic solo number for us, with her glorious, passionate voice.

Our reading will be done by Wendy Ortiz, a new LA friend – Wendy’s a writer/poet, gal about town and Los Angeles Native. She’s written a couple of books and is at work on a third, based on her column in Modern Love in the NYTimes. Interesting side note – while living in Olympia, Washington, Wendy was a mud-wrestler.

Oh, we’ve also got TANGO dancing taking place next Sunday. Our friend and Secret City supporter, Ameenah Kaplan, introduced me to Tango dancer extraordinaire, Moti Buchboot (that name!!), who will dance for us. I always love when we have dance in the services  and am thrilled to have Tango for the first time.

Our food offering for the day will be a special love potion made from Passion Flowers – our friend and volunteer coordinator Mike Anderson is making that and it’s bound to be delicious.

What else?

Oh, the choir is putting together some special songs, of course. And, I’m going to read a story about pursuing your life’s passion.

As always, it’s gonna be a joyful day of community and art. Can’t wait.