I went to the most amazing party this past weekend. I rank it up next to the Dada Ball, a completely ridiculous party I went to in New Orleans in 2004--which I have long considered the Best Party Ever. Anna and her partner Ben were celebrating their 10 year anniversary, but it was also a celebration of their families, their communities, their friends, of creativity and art and music and zines, and also a way of bringing people together to introduce cool people to other cool people and to see what happens next.
First, they are talented artists and extremely creative people, which you can get a sense of at her comics blog. Anna also makes zines, which is something I did in high school but let it die there. She is an adult who makes zines. For those of you who grew up with 90's zine culture, photocopying and stapling and distributing your own personal magazine is something special. The two created a zine prior to the party that she sent out to all the guests that explored the idea of marriage and relationship, and most significantly why the two of them aren't married and don't want to be married. It was fascinating. Then they made a second zine for the party which had info on why they made it alcohol free (quoting a straightedge zine-maker who wrote extensively on the topic of "intoxication culture") AND the zine included a short bio of all the guests so that even if we were all meeting each other for the first time, no one was a stranger. When we arrived at the ridiculously amazing Jamaica Plains Spontaneous Celebrations community space we were assigned "conversation buddies" that we had to seek out--these were little slips of paper with the other's person/people's photo plus some interesting things to talk to them about. Our conversation buddies were both artists and political activists, so we talked about fiber arts and Occupy Boston and made fast friends. The party included vegetarian and vegan fare by Puddingstone Kitchen, poetry readings of Rumi and Rilke, a performance by Ben's dad, who wrote a song for the occasion, and by Ben's band, and then a sing-a-long with Ben or his dad on the piano.
It was so damn beautiful. Everyone's heart was radiating and the room was full of this internal heart fire and light. I burned right up in it and became part of the love vapor, like everyone else.
The party made me realize how important it is to celebrate things like community and love and relationships and friends and harvests and traditions, old and new (like walking around the tree! You had to be there.); all of those things that change and all of those things that stay the same. When my husband and I got married, we had a small and very modest, very private ceremony. It was beautiful and spiritually meaningful and was full of baraka, blessing. But it wasn't exactly a celebration. We had just met a month before (life is funny!) and neither of us were into big weddings. We also felt that we could have a ceremony and then a party later in the year. For various reasons, including being overwhelmed at just having married this awesome stranger and a massive dose of family politics, we didn't. Insh'Allah, we'll take the time and energy to pause at some meaningful point in the future to put our love on display; for each other, for our families, for our friends, for our communities, and have us a real nice sing-a-long hoedown.
Mad props to Benanna.