Tonight we went to the Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn at Brooklyn Bridge Park for the first time since it opened to enjoy several hours of a really special outdoor performance event, "I Do Not Doubt I Am Limitless: Walt Whitman's Brooklyn,"
channeling the psychedelic spirit of poet, journalist, humanist and Brooklynite, Walt Whitman, by the stunning waterfront backdrop:
when I recline on the grass I do not catch any disease,
Though probably every spear of grass rises out of what was once a catching disease
A collaboration of the amazingly creative ISSUE Project Room and the Brooklyn Heights Association as part of the latter organization's Centennial Celebration, it featured a marathon reading of "Leaves of Grass," recited by some of the nation's most intriguing poets, in between some intriguing performances by musicians and bands - including the Wingdale Community Singers, the wonderful Christy and Emily,
and others performing original work, along with new pieces. Some were inspired by the Good Gray Poet, like the incredibly talented trio Prince Rama of Ayodhya's amazing musical meditations on lines like "When I give, I give myself" and "If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred."
We didn't stay for the whole 5 p.m.-midnight event, of course - it's still going on as we write this - and so we didn't get to see all the event participants, who also included CSC Funk Band, Loren Connors and Suzanne Langille, Jonathan Kane’s February, Henry Grimes, Shannon Fields, Sexual Energies School: Quebec City, Steve Dalashinsky, Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers, Lilah Freedland, our friend Holly Anderson, Alyssa Taylor Wendt, Nicole Peyrafitte, Pierre Joris,
Brendan Lorber, Yuko Otomo, Tsaurah Litsky, our old friend and colleague Linda Lerner, and others. But from about 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. we enjoyed some great classic Whitman poetry and Whitmanesque music.
Even a physical manifestation of the Brooklyn newspaper Walt Whitman edited made an appearance.
We're really glad we did too and grateful to ISSUE Project Room and the Brooklyn Heights Association, Brooklyn Bridge Park, all the talented musicians and poets, and especially to Walt Whitman for tonight's event. Christy and Emily quoted an appropriate line:
OUT of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me,
Whispering I love you