the next service is in Los Angeles on June 11

Posts In Solitude

Solitude | Gallery

The Secret City | Solitude

Our theme this month is SOLITUDE, in honor of this time. I read something recently that said, for people living in places where the climate changes a lot over the course of year, that winter is when you really learn what a place is made of. it reveals the bones underneath a place – I know I learn about myself in the winter – my less-showy parts, perhaps, come to light.

The Secret City | Solitude | Gallery


Mariana Newhard | Cultural Calendar

Mariana Newhard

Our Cultural Calendar this Sunday, Feb 22nd – the theme is SOLITUDE – will be read by Mariana Newhard, a New York actor and videographer. Mariana hails from Manila, the capital of The Philippines, where she grew to love mangoes and the performing arts. Musing on the theme of solitude, she feels she is never lonely in the company of art


Melinda Tracy | Food Offering


Melinda Tracy began coming to The Secret City last year – she’s become a great part of our community. For the current season, Melinda has been curating our food offerings, creating in a line-up of wonderful chefs and food people, she’s really enriched the way that the shared taste works in our services. For our upcoming service in NYC – Sunday, Feb 22nd – she’s going to provide the offering herself and, in keeping with the theme of SOLITUDE, she’ll be presenting Japanese tea. It will be our first time having tea together.

Melinda Tracy is a Brooklyn-based chef with a passion for connecting people over food.  With a rustic aesthetic and focus on seasonal, local ingredients, she creates menus that not only delight the palate but also feed the body and spirit through shared experience.


Josh Lefkowitz | Featured Artist

Josh Lefkowitz

I first met Josh Lefkowitz when he was performing in a play on theater row in New York City a few years back – he was funny, charming and great. I had no idea he was also a writer – and an award winning poet. I’ve asked him to read for us for our next event in NYC – Sunday, Feb 22nd, the theme is SOLITUDE. So glad he’ll be part of the line-up. Here’s his bio.

Josh Lefkowitz received an Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry at the University of Michigan, and won the 2013 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Prize.  His poems, stories, and essays have been widely published both online and in print, and he has recorded humorous essays for NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC’s Americana.  Previously, Josh performed a pair of full-length autobiographical one-man shows in theaters and spaces across the country, and toured both domestically and internationally as part of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell.  Most recently he was a finalist for the 2014 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize.


Zhong-Jing Fang | Featured Artist

Zhong-Jing Fang | Featued Performer

I can barely contain myself! For our upcoming service in NYC – the theme is SOLITUDE, Feb. 22nd – we have a ballerina from the American Ballet Theater coming to perform for us. Zhong-Jing Fang is someone I’ve been acquainted with for a few years and the timing finally worked out to have her come be a part of The Secret City. I think she’s going to dance The Dying Swan – I might faint. Here’s her bio:

Born in Shanghai, China, Zhong-Jing Fang received her early training at the Shanghai Ballet School where she trained for seven years. Before joining ABT’s Studio Company in 2002, Fang graduated with a major in ballet from the Performing Arts College of Shanghai Drama University.

In 2000, Fang was the winner of the famed Prix de Lausanne, and winner of the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Prize at the Ninth International Ballet Competition in Paris. In June 2001, Fang won First Prize in the Junior Division of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. Most recently, she won first place in the Junior Division of the Shanghai International Ballet Competition.

In April 2003, Fang joined the main Company as an apprentice and, in January 2004, became a member of the corps de ballet. Her roles with the Company include Aya in La Bayadère, Twig in Cinderella, Prayer in Coppélia, Zulma in Giselle, Nanny and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Rosaline’s Friend in Romeo and Juliet, the Fairy of Joy in The Sleeping Beauty, the Hungarian Princess and Lead Czardas in Swan Lake, the Prelude in Les Sylphides, Ceres inSylvia and roles in Black Tuesday, Continuo, Kaleidoscope, Sinfonietta and Symphonic Variations. She created a leading role in Pretty Good Year.


Polly Law | Featured Artist


Our featured artist for this month’s service – SOLITUDE, Feb 22nd – is Polly Law, a wonderful artist whom Bobby and I met when we moved to Woodstock. Her specified medium is bricolage – even the word itself I find thrilling. We’ve never presented a bricoleur before, or would it be bricoleuse? Either way, I’m thrilled she’s taking part. Here’s a statement she’s put together about her work:

My work is paper dolls with deep personal issues. I use humble materials- illustration board, acrylic paint, buttons, wire to achieve elegant and sophisticated effects. I manipulate the forms and employ pattern, rich color and gesture to explore myths of deep time and current self.
The female figure is my usual vehicle for expression. The figures themselves are inwardly-focused though their gaze may be disconcertingly direct. Often they chafe at the constraints of mode but who does not also wish for the rustle of silk in their life? The figures stand proud of the backgrounds to achieve a flat/3D effect- turning the frame into a proscenium. Each piece a small theatre for private dramas. My work has been favorably compared to that of Joseph Cornell but in fact has been more influenced by the animation work of Jan Svankmajer, and the luscious patterns, textures and graphic forms of Eyvind Earle.

The “Rude Mechanicals” explore the intersection of bodily desire and emotionless technology. The period appears to be La Belle Epoque, but the sense of our deepest selves being taken over by the machine is very contemporary. The gears and mechanisms of desire grind slowly but very fine.

The “Esopus Mystics”series is inspired by and uses bits of the natural landscape in the Hudson Valley of New York. Unseen forces live and move in the corners, in the quiet glades, in the niches while we blunder and crash along in our fog of unknowing.

“What the Tide Brings” explores the kingdom between the water and the land and the gifts it provides those who visit. The bits of sea wrack, shells & bones were found on the beaches and tidal flats of Cape Cod during meditative walks.

My work is usually of an intimate scale but for the “Secret City,” I am working to a life-sized scale and without a frame. The mood of introversion and solitude remains the same.

I have been working in my bricolage style since 2000. My work is represented by galleries in Provincetown, MA, Rhinebeck, NY, and Hudson, NY; as well as numerous private collections.


Maia Kamil | Featured Performer


Very excited about our musical guest for this month’s service on SOLITUDE, Sunday, Feb. 17th. Maia Kamil, 17, has been singing and performing since she was born. She was first featured singing “That’s Alright Mama” in a music video for Little Kids Rock, a non-profit that provides free music instruction and instruments to under-served public school districts across the United States. As part of YTOP, Maia has performed with an international group of musicians in Europe and Israel. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey and is currently a senior at the Hudson School in Hoboken.