i does pass by the jail on camp st regularly. i neva hear any singing coming from behind the fence. but i remember the first time i got locked up- we sang and did yoga (typical antiwar hippie stuff) before they let us out. so i got excited when i passed by the national cultural center and saw a sign advertising a prison concert. i like live music and it’s always nice to see a different side of prison and prisoners. i spent a year and a half teaching at san quentin- california’s “oldest and best known” (their website description) prison, complete with death row and gas chamber- and had some experiences that i will never forget; the lessons i learned about power, control, and the human psyche will stay with me forever. i ended up getting kicked out of there and banned from returning (imagine that. little ole me. stuuuuuu). but that is another story.
i can’t remember the last time i went to the cultural center. just a couple days ago, some british theatre company had come to guyana (as part of their round-the-world tour) and put on hamlet at the national cultural center. according to freddie, all “the remnants of the civilized class in Guyana were there”; in fact, he was so moved apparently that the title of his column was “Civilization is still alive in Guyana!” (exclamation point my addition lol). i didn’t see him say anything about the dress code tho. yes, like so many other ‘official’ places in guyana, the cultural center has a dress code that does fret me. is a challenge sometimes tho (u kno, when you don’t have enough challenges in your life) to see what u cud get away with, to introduce logic and critical, rational thinking to people who might otherwise never come into contact with such things, and to practice/build some zen buddhism techniques (i died with laff the other day when someone said, with seemingly sincerity, that we must be compassionate with ignoramuses for it is love they are seeking. i’m obviously not zen enough, so the more opportunities to practice, the better heh. good thing i live in guyana HA). my friend vidya recently proclaimed a one-man boycott of the cultural center until they get rid of the dress code but i don’t think that’s going to work. first- i don’t think anybody has told them about it. better/more effective, i think, might be to go inside then strip off. or to do a nekkid picket or something by the entrance, get lots of tv cameras there etc. but, as i entered, in my black jeans and sandals, i relaxed. we guyanese cannot be kept down, let me tell you, and in their own special way, does make things change. the amount of back, belly, bamzee and boobs on display was truly spectacular, as was the stunning variety of outfits. vidya- don’t worry- you might not be able to wear short pants, but just put on a minidress and you good! just tell me when u going and i’ll be there (with my camera)
even tho i was looking forward to the event, i wasn’t sure how it would be. i didn’t get front seat tickets in case you know, for some reason, a swift exit was necessary (yes, is so i does think). was a prison concert after all, so maybe all the doors wouldn’t be open.. i wanted to be close-ish to the ones i knew would. i was glad, when the show finally started, that i hadn’t spent the xtra money because as soon as the lights went out people just swarmed forward claiming unoccupied seats. aha- we brilliant guyanese again! i made a note to myself for next time.
saw some friends who i know have friends inside. the goat man also showed up. is an upside down world we live in for truth boy when the biggest criminals walk free and the small timers (like the pregnant mother of one who just got a 3 yr sentence for marijuana possession) get punished. one thing that has been proven inevitable tho is that everything has an end; it’s just a matter of time.
speaking of time, we got started only about 50 minutes late, which is good by guyana standards. of course that meant intermission came at 11pm, with another 16 items left on the program. for some bizarre reason, there were all these other things going on- like skits, spoken word poetry, dancing etc. all the signs i’d seen had said “concert” which in my understanding of english means singing, so i was pretty confused. the singing was really the best part imo tho there were far too many songs about jesus for my taste. i mean, i get that religion is huge in guyana and especially maybe if you’re locked up, but gawd, there are oh, only about a billion more things you could sing about! anyway, somebody who stayed til the end tell me what i missed (yea, dis ole girl left at halftime and went to her bed). until next year heh!