again and again the message that comes out of this adventure of expression is "dont be afraid of the way they look!"
sometimes at the beginnings of shows the crowd seems totally disinterested. or, even later in the show, one of the audience members seems bored, or even surly. or, most recently, the whole audience at the youth dentention center in eugene, oregon, seems uncomfortable beyond belief, surly, sarcastic, and disinterested.
BUT! see, it turns out, its all just a big fake! every time, and i mean EVERY TIME, at the end of the show, it is not so.
this experience at the youth center was the final example, the final proof, that has helped me to know that i never need to fear their faces. hanging with and performing for these kids was like watching ice melt. we did 2 45 minute sets for 2 different groups and each time when we began they were so stiff and uncomfortable. yet, as we were energetic, silly, sincere, and unflinching in our message of expressiveness, connection, and spirituality, the stiffness melted. when ben began beatboxing (he sounds really funny) the audience cracked up and the day was won. soon they were full of questions - how did you meet? where do you come from? how did you learn how to play guitar? and my personal favorite, from a girl who had been derisively laughing at us towards the beginning of the show - don't you evet get embarassed, like that people are going to laugh at you? this was just after i had sung "let love rule in me", perhaps the most personal and revealing of the songs i sing. from that moment, i watched, and her face was calm and appreciative, sincere, relaxed. and if she did laugh from that time on, it was with us, not at us. it is amazing, again and again to watch this ice melt. in crowds of "at-risk" youth, as in crowds of church congregations, as in us when we are performing. the warm love of the spirit of Life, breaks down these walls of self consciousness, fear, separation, and leaves us feeling natural affection and togetherness.
below, some photos from our most recent shoot, at the Quadros Ranch in Yreka, CA.