Visionary Investments

Some stories just beg to be retold.  The story of Alexander Yakovlev is one of them.  In 1958 as the Cold War simmered, Russian Alexander Yakovlev was one of the first recipients of a Fulbright scholarship to study a year in the United States. In 1985, he became Gorbachev’s key adviser on perestroika, glasnost and democratization, and helped end the communist dictatorships not only in the Soviet Union, but also in the former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe. The cost of one scholarship probably contributed more to ending the Cold War than untold the billions of dollars spent on weapons, which served to aggravate tensions.

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Riding to Remember Homeless in Central PA, May 1-8

“Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man (or “the human one”) has no place to lay his head.” ~ Matt 8:20/Luke 9:58

Christopher Fitz training for the Homeless Horizons Bike Tour
Training for the 250-mile Homeless Horizons Bike Tour - post pneumonia and all

That pretty much summarizes my state in the coming week.  On Sunday, I leave Brethren Housing Association’s Campaign Kickoff Block Party for seven days on my bicycle, raising awareness about homelessness while trying it out as well.

Check out the full schedule, facts about homelessness and how we plan to highlight local challenges – and solutions – here:  Homeless Horizons Handout.

Of course don’t have all the solutions.  None of us.  Some people choose to be homeless.  Perhaps we need to find ways to let people be homeless.  But most of them, research says, want to have a place to call home, a shred of security in an otherwise insecure, changing environment.  And research also suggests that it would be far cheaper to us a society – monetarily and morally – to give them a hand up, rather then let them “fend for themselves.”

There are many solutions.  I hope you can be one.  Most of all, i hope you can ride along with me and my homeless shelter trailer next week.  See more at or follow tweets @brethrenhousing.

See you out there!

Highlights in Jubilee Arts – Dance, Leaps, Playback, More…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

A lot has been happening in the last past months in the liberating arts, so i’m putting together some highlights, both across North America and in my little corner of it…

Conscious Dancer Magazine is a fabulous online and print resource for all kinds of consciousness-raising forms of interactive movement, which is an exploding area of creativity in the past ten years: Contact Improv, Contemplative Dance/Authentic Movement, Biodanza, 5Rhythms and more.  Their all-new Gift Visions Giving Guide was just released too.  Check them out on the web: or Twitter/Facebook.

Leaps and Bounds is making the rounds, a one-woman narrated dance performance conceived and embodied by Tevyn East.  I haven’t seen it yet, but multiple folks have shared their excitement for this event that “explores the intersection of faith, ecology and the global economy” using storytelling, song, poetry, prayer, movement, and music.  From the website, “this work of theater sheds light on the driving factors of our ecological crisis while awakening the imagination to a new way of living with and relating to Earth.”  It’ll be in DC on Saturday and Baltimore on Sunday.  Wish i could be too!

A grand North American Playback Theatre Conference is now planned for June 16-19, 2011 at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA (somebody’s fair city).  This is the first event of its scale in the last decade, sure to encourage and inspire those who attend – whether experienced Playbackers or newcomers.  You can also join the incipient Playback North America network as an individual and receive a discount to the Boston event in addition to getting network support benefits:

I was inspired by a gathering of Playback Theatre leaders in October organized by Arts Rising under the auspices of Christopher and Anne Ellinger and their team from True Story Theatre in Boston.  More than forty of us came out from across the East Coast (and well inland) to play, vision and talk about our common hope for this embodying and healing art form.  Out of that that gathering came momentum for the upcoming conference planned for Boston as well as my own conviction that i would take a break from expanding my own Playback Theatre work.  Well, so much for that idea…

River Crossing Playback and i have received a number of beautiful requests to bring this form (or other related forms) to a community-wide gathering, a home for troubled teens, a distant school district and a new Playback Theatre program at a nearby school.  Two of us also joined Baltimore Playback Theatre for Global Playback Day on November 14 and had a blast.  The good news is, we have a budding leadership team of five folks at the core who are beginning to lay the groundwork for a more solid performing troupe.  The challenge is that things depend a lot on me still.  So where to find the time?  Alas… is open for (free) business.  Promote your artistic offerings at little or no cost, and minimal time investment.  This site was built to support artists and troupes who want to hang a simple e-shingle in a community of other embodied liberating artists.  The idea is, if someone visits your page and realizes that you’re not the only one doing this weird stuff, you’ll have all the more credibility, right?  So i have been testing the site for the past two years and we are now seeking “tester investors” to open an account, fill out a bio, and start posting events, photos and blog entries… and most of all, offer feedback on improvements or functionality.  Check it out at:

Since August, i began new work as the Director of Development for the Brethren Housing Association, an organization in Harrisburg, PA that provides transitional housing and holistic support to primarily women and their children who are homeless or situations of dire transition.  I love the work.  And i love that i can support myself and my family doing this work.  And it also affords relatively little time for the liberating arts.  Emphasis on the relative… so stay tuned for another beautiful balancing act called life.

Many blessings to you in this winter-ing time.