For the past two years, I’ve been honored to perform as part of the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)’s annual Purim Shpil, which includes a spectacular theatrical musical performance, delicious food, fantastic costumes and decorations, bands, and me on the decks at the end of the night. the enigmatic theme for this year is “The Spawn of Estherlu Present Parthenogenesis: The Next Generation” – and the event is actually split into THREE days, the first being the folk pageant, the second the party, and the third, on Sunday is the youth-built youth-run pageant.
The party, is on Saturday March 15, and it’s there I’m playing at the end of what they’re calling THE BIG BLOWOUT. There will be a show! Dancing til late! The Rude Mechanical Orchestra! Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe! me, DJ Ripley! House band Mary Feaster, Lee Free, Jessica Lurie, Hannah Temple, Viva, Xavier! MC’d by Majesty! Roti by Domestic Workers United!
At LightSpace Studios, 1115 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn (L train to Jefferson, or B57). $12-$20 suggested donation (nobody turned away for lack of funds). 8pm: doors; 8:30: everything else. Costumes definitely encouraged!
**all performance spaces are wheelchair accessible**
Purim is definitely one of the more fun Jewish holidays with one of the customary pastimes of the day being “eating a festive meal” as well as drinking wine, giving food to charity, and making noises at strategic and spontaneous moments. As JFREJ describes:
“Purim is a favorite Jewish holiday for feminists, young people, queer folks, and party animals of all stripes. Purim’s narrative, the Book of Esther (aka the megillah), tells a tale of a foolish king, a woman refusing to dance naked for all the king’s men, a beauty pageant, a secret revealed, and a time of tables-turning on the bad-guy known as Haman (may his name be blotted out)! The holiday calls for noisemaking, rule-breaking, binary-blurring and an end to business as usual.”
Now that’s an agenda I can get behind!
JFREJ are the real deal as far as radical grassroots organizations go: commited to coalitions with many of the other most inspiring organizations in the city. The lineup of affiliates are many of them organizations that Dutty Artz members have worked with (especially with events like Beyond the Block) or our beloved fam work with or are members of:
CAAAV (Organizing Asian Communities)
Domestic Workers United (DWU)
Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Inc.
FIERCE (Building the Leadership & Power of LGBTQ Youth of Color)
FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality)
GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side)
Picture the Homeless
Right to the City (RTTC)
Urban Justice Center (New York)
Communities United for Police Reform
One thing I appreciate is how JFEJ really works to make radical movements participatory and inclusive without different organizations and interests dissolving into each other, and this is also evident in their approach to and respect for social events and nightlife: all kinds of folks come out and sparkle in their finery, various musics and communities represented. Every year, I have the realization that the amazing Juliana Huxtable identifies (as do I) as one of the best parts of a party: “I don’t want to go somewhere and feel completely at home. I want to be surprised by someone I see—to see different people exist together.” It’s one of the things that adds conviviality and mutuality to the experience of the city.