In memory of stella duffy grammar piano electricity outage in fort worth

#######

One of the things she taught me was the Greek Potatoes. Slice them thin, layer them in a glass dish with Cavender’s seasoning, cracked red pepper, then glugs of olive oil, make sure everything is covered. electricity cost nyc Turn them over once or twice while they are in the oven; they’ll take forever if you stack them too close together. She taught me this some evening at her house in North Chattanooga, an adorable two bedroom covered in her curated collection of objects–in the kitchen was a poster print of Otto Dix’s Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden, another poster for Alexander Calder’s Circus. We did a lot of these dinners at her house, which, I soon learned, was something unconventional.

Did I mention that at this time I am 15, or 16, and she is my theater teacher, and she will not tell us how old she is because, she says, “It will change how you think of me. And since I am gay and weird and into theater and art, I go to her house to hang out. gas vs diesel prices There are other theater kids there, too, and we are watching the Tony Awards, and we are drinking red wine, or drinking a tiny bit of it, barely. There are only lamps, no overhead lights, and one of our classmates has actually moved in to the tiny side room because his family life at the time is in turmoil, and amidst the potatoes and the Tonys and the music playing on the kitchen radio, we are doing all night long the thing Stella loved doing most: Talking About Ideas.

It did not occur to me at the time that this was unconventional. But, as a teacher, Stella rewarded the unconventional. The ugly but true. d cypha electricity futures The beautiful and fading. The gloriously funny and hilarious and tragic. We are learning about Butoh, and Robert Wilson, and Richard Foreman, and doing the work of Nicky Flax, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and playing Augusto Boal’s games, and learning how not to fight with our parents by reading Theater of the Oppressed, and we are watching The Wooster Group and Grotowski and learning about Ellen Stewart and Anne Bogart and The Negro Ensemble. We are writing our own script to our bootleg production of The Wizard of Oz; we are doing parts of Peter Weiss’s The Investigation while cross referencing the wars in Bosnia and the work of Stephen J. Gould and making tableaus using Laban Movement Analysis, and we are separating the audience by race and class as they buy their tickets. electricity water analogy animation And in doing all that, Stella carves into us this most extraordinary value: we think this richness is normal.

She gave us power and agency. She told us we could move away, we could get into our “reach” college, we could be anything else than what was expected of us, which for a bunch of country Tennessee kids was not much except the status quo. She taught us the meaning of the words Status Quo. electricity outage san antonio She had zero tolerance for disrespect in the theater and I several times saw her royally chew out students for laughing or snickering during someone’s presentation: “How Dare You,” she would say, and say it again, “He is trying to make something interesting and genuine and you are out here too stupid to see it, you’re embarrassing yourself, you have no respect for the risks it takes to make this kind of art, How Dare You.”

Stella often told us, “If you don’t get out of high school during high school, you never get out of high school.” She was so, so right. I know this even more as I get farther away from the unparalleled fortune of her classroom. When the bullshit structure of school cliques and SAT scores kept trying to tell us that These are the best days of your lives, Stella taught us that our lives were actually in front of us.

She was the greatest teacher I have ever known, and one of the greatest friends I’ve had the pleasure to call on. She knew the deepest and darkest and most treasured sacred parts of me and I am only who I am today because of the magnificent stroke of luck that brought our trajectories together. She hated driving fast on the freeway, she hated bees, she hated the microwave. She loved sheep dogs and sparking things. She loved rituals and laughter. I carry her memory with me, always.