by Ethan Norman

I was running through the woods today when I realized what the two most priceless things in the world are: ability and opportunity. I found myself so grateful for the beauty of the earth, which can feel so far away, down in the neighborhood. The opportunity to get out away from man-made things and see some real art; the woods and waters, mountains and oceans. I was then aware of what a blessing it is to have the ability to walk, run, or swim in these inspiring creations. Ability and opportunity need each other. We so often have the time but not the skill, or, more often for some of us, ability without time. I think that is why our first annual For the People, By the People meant so much to me.

It is not a surprise that Jeannine Brown could get a room full of artists to nearly fall on the floor in laughter, but doing it by reading bad poetry was new. Where do you get the opportunity to share your ability of dramatically reading terrible poems, in such a way that ignites so much joy? For the People, By the People. Our hearts moved with Ethan Beaver as he gave himself in pantomime to a song that articulates his heart’s cry. Then there were Grace Hamer’s enchanting voice, Terry and Jeni’s chemistry, Joe Jaynes giving Sir Ian McKellen a run for his money, Braxton’s piano playing looking effortless, and Dorothy Giles’ original scene so moving I forgot where I was for a while. You just had to be there when Mark and Billy Kyle of Full Disclosure Comedy tied it all together with a hilarious improvised summary of the night, and I’m not even going to try and talk about our potluck dinner beforehand. Some of you know how passionate I get about potluck.

You just had to be there. People with unpredictable abilities had the opportunity to share them, and we all had the opportunity to experience what each one can bring to the table of our magnificent artist community. Perhaps that is what For the People, By the People is truly about: community. The word “community” is like an endangered species, but nobody knows exactly why it’s on the endangered list. To some of us, it is precious. It is a place where the priceless things are made known, and value is rightly attributed to the individual apart from the confusion of the world. As for For the People, By the People, you really had to be there. But don’t worry, it was the “first annual,” and that means we will most definitely do it again. You should come. It was, well, priceless.