Love is a verb. Superlove is a movement.

We followed a line of women (and a few scattered men) into the Superdome early Friday morning. After being thoroughly searched and promising never to turn on our video camera, we were allowed admittance. The entrance was decorated with a selection of feminist art pieces such as poster board sized pages of a graphic novel entitled, “Oh fuck, I’m a Victim.� In it, artist Vicki Rabinowicz depicts a woman who is followed, kidnapped, and raped. In one frame, she is drawn small enough to fit in her attacker’s hand as he masturbates onto her entire body then flushes her down the toilet. At the end of the strip we discover that the victim is the artist and that she drew this on her 28th birthday, tens years after the attack. Not all of the pieces were as jarring though. To the left lay a ball of bras (think office ball of rubber bands) roughly five feet tall. The only thing holding this work together seemed to be the very godforsaken wired hooks of each boulder holder. Along the back wall was a timeline of shirts, bags, posters, and other promo items representing performances from around the world. Near that was an altar with lit candles to honor those who fell to final rest when Katrina hit.
Past the welcoming gallery inside is where we all met. We were an international collection of women and girls. Represented in the audience and on stage were activists from Bosnia, Kenya, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Iceland, Afghanistan, France, Guatemala, The Philippines, Iraq, and displaced Americans from New Orleans.
Ball O Bras


The backdrop of the stage was the sparkling pink official logo of V to 10th. Behind this massive { } draped a billowing mauve cloth and a black screen peppered with lights to stimulate stars. Next to the main stage on the right was The Red Tent. This served as an open (shoeless) space for storytelling and sanctuary. Although all events were free, the tent had a sign up list and it was at capacity for every 80 minute time slot.
The opening ceremony was completely successful in its mass cleansing of the space and the attendees of V to the 10th. We were now, in fact, sitting in the Superlove. Joan Roshi, a zen priest in her 60s, initiated a call and response for the following holy vow:
“For as long as space exists and the world abides, may I too remain to dispel the suffering of others.� x3
It may sound a bit hippy dippy, but it was powerful and became even more so when she reminded us that it was our responsibility to hold each other to this promise. “I might be a Buddhist priest,� she said, “but I know when my government can do a lot better.� Word.
Immediately afterwards came a beautiful song with high-pitched sounds like weeping. Only after the intro did I recognize it as a cover and remix of Marley’s “No woman No cry.� Already a favorite, the version this woman sang stung deeper than when I’d ever heard it before. I did not catch her name but I was totally permeated by her presence.
A few more local activists came out and said a word or two. Then the Mahalia Jackson all girl’s choir preformed. Since so many schools in NOLA do not have decent music programs (if they have one at all), this choir was a collection of girls who were neighbors, friends and church mates. They all swayed together and they were so awesome, I almost wished public displays of faith like this made me weak in the knees shouting and jumping like others. An older woman on stage did things with a tambourine that I didn’t even know were possible.
Then came Eve. After a few moments of pumping us up with rah rah vagina VAGINA, she got down to the overall mission of Superlove. She began by reminding us that in our daily interactions we often fail to listen to the full stories of individuals. We avoid this to bypass the yucky feelings of guilt and responsibility that arise when we come in contact with injustices. “We need to take a deep breath this weekend and listen to everyone’s stories,� she pleaded. She encouraged us to see each panel, performance, dance, and song as an offering that we could take or leave. To resist the urge to pick apart something we did not, or could not, relate to and just let Superlove be.
In subsequent posts, we will be sharing details of the parts that we took home with us.
SMU in NOLA
(SMU in NOLA are students Jessica Andrewartha, Meg Bell, and Allie Thompson.)

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6 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2008 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Sounds awesome. The Big Easy’s such an inspiring, crazy-wonderful place.

  2. ljgong
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Awesome post! Keep up the good work!

  3. Posted April 13, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a great show. ‘m so glad to hear of it happening in NOLA
    about NOLA:
    pre Katrina NOLA had a great music program in it’s schools. The marching bands transcended the typical marching band experience. There were jazz bands and trad. jazz brass bands- all coming from the high schools.
    Pre Katrina, music was everywhere (in NOLA), including the school system.
    My son went to McDonog 15.

  4. TexasMomma
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I wish with all my heart I could be there…I hope to attend events like this in the future! Thank you for sharing!

  5. KatieKatyKaytee
    Posted April 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I just got home from Superlove! It was…amazing. As said, Eve & company made it really clear from the beginning that this weekend was about a movement based on love, and I think it made everyone in the Superlove more open. I spoke with everyone I could, met people that I’d never have gotten the opportunity to interact with in any other walk of life. This was a huge weekend of emotion and pride and tears and joy. I hope you post about the parade!
    The Vagina Monologues introduced me to feminism, and I couldn’t be happier to have been there and met the people I did. I hope everyone else who went had an amazing time!

  6. Poindextrous
    Posted April 14, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I was in the Vagina Monologues in New Orleans in 2000 on my college campus. Changed my life. I love Superlove.
    Incidentally, one of the victims of Katrina was Newcomb College, the women’s coordinate college of Tulane University; without Newcomb I don’t think we ever would have done V-Day (or a lot of other really important feminist stuff). Some fabulous and uppity women are fighting Tulane to get Newcomb back, and it’s going to the LA supreme court, hallelujah. More info at http://www.newcomblives.com

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