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I’m sitting next to Susan Horowitz and Jan Stevenson in the DIA Diego Rivera Court, a venue of special romantic endearment for both BTL co-publishers.
Years ago when Susan – living and working in New York City – had her fortune told following a breakup, she was advised by her psychic contact, “Your next soul mate will have something to do with Diego Rivera.” (Sure, sure, said Susan. Diego who?)
Months later she met Jan (who looks nothing like Diego Rivera) while attending an LGBT Affirmations event. Out of the blue, and as a gesture of welcome to Detroit, Jan said, “While you’re visiting you might like to see the world-famous Diego Rivera murals at the DIA.” (‘Oh, wow!’ said Susan to herself. ‘This is cosmic!’)
Beloved PG reader: Is that Soul Mate City, or what?
Anyway, that was 15 years ago, with a wonderful Windsor Rose Garden marriage that I, valid passport in hand, attended. (Jan still looked nothing like Diego.)
As a favor to Susan, who – as the aforementioned anecdote suggests – has marked Buddhist tendencies – and to Jan – who has MBA banking enlightenments – I, artist of otherworldly concoctions, am along for TBIF ride. We threesome are getting as close to being blissed out as we’re likely to get here or hereafter.
Gathered with us are about 100 devotees of ashram musical, nine-chakra tastes, here to listen with one-pointed attention to “Digital Buddha,” a 45-minute multimedia offering created by Jin Hi Kim, involving kumungo – both traditional and electric versions of the fourth-century Korean zither – percussion, and video.
“The New York Times gives it high marks,” offers Susan, smiling perhaps just a tad too beatifically for Jan’s pragmatic, let’s-balance-the-accounting-books-of-business-before-lauching-into-the-Nirvana-lifestyle, take on things.
To be on the safe side, I put my mind into a mental lotus position, focus on my third eye (the one with gaydar possibilities) and silently repeat the mantra, “Shouldn’t have eaten two eclairs.”
The lights dim. On the screen, a disc of red-orange-gold sunlight appears. Bursts. Spins. Spins. Spins. Hypnotically. Emitting spirals of smoke. Wheels of colors. Hinted human figures with imploring gestures. It undulates. It contracts. Vibrates. Urges. Insists. On and on. ON and ON!
No one whispers. No one dares cough. Buddha knows this is serious business. The Diego images of Edsel Ford, his stern foremen, tired plant workers of decades, decades gone by, are about to be challenged. (Perhaps given an opportunity to repay their collective karmic – and automotive – debt).
Delicate and tiny Korean Miss Kim – who has written and performed for chamber groups orchestras, avant-garde jazz improvs, multicultural ensembles – is joined by drummer-macho, beau-handsome, Westerner percussionist Gerry Hemingway. (You know the type.)
As both do mandala homage, wooing the audience out of earth-bound, day-to-day complacency, it becomes apparent that, as far as performance pyrotechnics go, Gerry has met match in Kim. They complement each other. Compete with each other. Unintentionally vie with the digitally enhanced Buddha presence.
The drums pound, pound, snap, snare. The kumungo – or, whatever in heck it’s called – plucks, plicks, plinks away, then plinks, plicks, plucks away. Thirty-eight minutes, 29 seconds pass. Plink. Plunk. Cymbal crash. (But who’s counting?)
I stop focusing on my third eye long enough to sneak-peak at Susan, who gives a hint of nodding asleep or jolting awake. (Jan appears to be counting on her fingers, but with The Digital B whiring colors every which way, creating planets and moons, I’m probably hallucinating.) I surpress a heartfelt giggle. Susan smiles indulgently. Covertly giggles. Elbows me. Jan, well, looks like Jan. Thankfully.
Buddhist wisdom: Nothing lasts forever. Peace, sadly, most of all.