If you forgot everything that made you, you – would you still be you?

If you forgot everything that made you, you – would you still be you?

Coffee and the Times.  It’s a morning ritual for most New Yorkers, and incidentally where many of the ideas for my plays and projects originate.  Perhaps it’s that I’ve always found the day to day struggle of our human existence to be the most epic adventure to be had.  Or maybe it’s that our time here is finite, and I ache for us to open our eyes to the simple beauty of it all.  Herschel said, “To the natural philosopher there is no natural object unimportant or trifling… a soap bubble… an apple… a pebble. From the least of Nature’s works he may learn the greatest lessons.”  Not that I call myself a philosopher, I wouldn’t be so bold, but I do feel this is humanity’s greatest call:  to “walk in the midst of wonders,” not to walk in the midst of a sending a text message.

Whatever the reasons, so it was that I came across an article one day about a young, New York City school teacher who went for a run and disappeared, leaving behind her wallet, cellphone, and ID.  Three weeks later, she was pulled from the waters of New York Harbor, alive but with no recollection of where she had been during that time.  My biggest question (and ultimately her’s) was, “What happened?”

Imagine what it would be like to wake up one day and completely forget who you are.  The clinical term for this is known as Dissociative Fugue, “a rare form of amnesia that causes people to forget their identity, suddenly and without warning, and can last from a few hours to years.”  On a fundamental and very primal level this is a horrifying thought.  Our identity is what keeps us tethered to this world.  Our relationships, our likes and dislikes, our style of dress – whether we care to admit it or not, these things define us, give us structure and adds meaning to our lives.  They are the cold hard facts we hang our hats on and say, that’s me.

Or is it? …

This is what we’ve set out to explore in our most current Purple Threads project.  Call Me She uses this article as a jumping off point to explore the bigger questions of Identity.  If you forgot everything that made you, you – would you still be you?  What defines us?  What holds us together?  Is it our relationships, our pursuits?  What defines you?  With such a large, multi-layered topic to tackle, it only made sense that we would be pursue it through multiple angles and artistic disciplines.  We hope to capture the scope of these questions and more, as we explore them through text, movement and sound.  When words are not enough, movement and sound might be, and when does movement create an atmosphere so visceral that we must speak?  To say this is not an ambitious undertaking would be untrue, but it is something we are endeavoring to undertake none the less.  In fact, we’ve already started, and what a journey it has been so far.  Imagine where it might take us, if we were willing to let go and run.

Danielle M. Velkoff, Artistic Director at Purple Threads

Why are the creative arts ESSENTIAL?

Why are the creative arts ESSENTIAL?

We at Purple Threads ponder this question quite often.  After all, we are building an artist collective in New York City and raising funds for it under less than ideal economic circumstances.  If our answer to this question is unsure, the future of our company will be also.

We are, however, CRYSTAL CLEAR on this answer.  ART is essential because it holds a power that no other form does.   And, if this is true, then it stands to reason that ARTISTS are invaluable.  This is where Purple Threads comes in.  We love artists.

Being an artist in the modern world is not always what we dreamt it would be.  It is a cut throat world, disheartening even in some of its better moments.  Art is often seen as superfluous and we, the artists, are often treated as interchangeable – just another actor, soprano, dancer, etc.   Purple Threads, though, doesn’t believe any human being is *just another* anything.  We do not accept that for ourselves.  We do not accept that for our artists.  We do not accept that for our audience.

We believe it is IMPERATIVE that each human being live a wholehearted existence in which who that person is, uniquely, is celebrated and championed.  After all, we are all connected.  My wholehearted existence will inevitably affect your wholehearted existence and yours, mine.

BUT why would we build an artist collective when there are children with leukemia, bombings on domestic soil, families struggling to buy groceries and countless *tangible* ways in which we could make a difference?  Why would we choose to focus our time, energy and money on the arts?

Because we are artists.

Art is our tool and we must all play our part – doctors to hospitals, donors to non-profits, mothers to their children, ARTISTS to HUMANS.

Art can travel where Senators cannot.  Beauty can heal what doctors cannot.  Storytellers can give voice to otherwise voiceless victims.  Art is a mirror for humanity giving us glimpses of ourselves and when at its best, can even move us to be changed.

We hope that in the days ahead, you will choose to JOIN THE THREAD.  We are in this life together, snuggled up next to each other in vibrant colors and textures.  Our tapestry is not complete without you.

Art is so much more than important.  It is ESSENTIAL.  So are YOU.

In Love and the ARTS,

Tamra Paselk, Executive Producer

Stand in the Present. Savor the Moments.

Stand in the Present.  Savor the Moments.

“I have a friend who, whenever she sees a beautiful place, exclaims in a near panic, ‘It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!’ It takes all my persuasive powers to convince her that she is already here.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

This is something the team at Purple Threads thinks about all the time both in our own lives and in the work we do.  In fact, every actor must learn how to access a moment – how to be truly present and available to what is happening HERE in this moment on the stage.  It’s so easy to live in the past or to feel anxious about the future but our lives are made up of all the moments, little and big, that happen in our present.  Those moments become the beauty we’ve experienced in our past.  They also provide the groundwork for the beautiful thing that becomes our future.

Let’s look for the “here” in our lives today. There are so many beautiful moments begging to be savored by us.

We would LOVE to hear about some of your savored moments. Share with us if you’d like!!

Night of Secrets Cabaret to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims

Night of Secrets Cabaret to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims

Night of Secrets Benefit Cabaret.  Profits to benefit the Hurricane Sandy Victims.  Please come out and show your support.

Metropolitan Room, Nov. 12th at 9:30pm. Get details and tix here: Nights of Secrets

Much love going out to NYC and Tri-State area tonight…

Much love going out to NYC and Tri-State area tonight…

Much love going out to NYC and Tri-State area tonight.  Rilke writes in his Letters to a Young Poet, “No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others.”

The Purple Threads Team has been, like many others, thinking alot about New York this week in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. This company is driven by a love of art and a passion for this city along with all those living in it. You may be wondering why we’ve chosen the quote above to discuss this. “This was no small event!” you say. Indeed, you are right. This was definitely not a small event.

We would say, however, that no small kindness in the after math of this event will be too unimportant. No generous gift, hot meal, overnight stay at a shelter or smile in passing will be unimportant. Even the smallest of these could unfold itself into a wonderful, wide fabric …

Purple Threads was founded on a principle. We do not believe anyone is meant to go it alone and for us, art is a medium that heals, brings joy … ties us all together. Should we not lie alongside one another and become part of the hundreds supporting another? Haven’t we all at one time been the one supported by the hundred?

Some of us came out relatively unscathed while others of us lost homes this week. Were we not all connected, those statements might stand alone as two separate statements of fact. But we *are* all connected. Some of us might be sitting safely in our own homes tonight but that does not mean we are not hurting for those who are not.

Let’s not be bystanders.

All of our love to New York and the Tri-State area.

Purple Threads Ensemble

Let’s Begin!

Let’s Begin!

What is it that you hope for, dream to do or be? Not only has the Goethe quote below inspired Purple Threads, it has evidenced itself as truth. We hope the same for you! Let’s BEGIN!!

Until one is committed
There is hesitancy, the chance to draw back
Always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and Creation)
There is one elementary truth
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits ones self
Then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
That would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issued from the decision
Raising in one’s favor all manner
Of unforeseen incidents and meetings
And material substance
Which no one could have dreamt
Would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.


Erica Jacob Goes “All Hoodooloodoo”

What’s inspiring Erica Jacob, Music Director for TKR?

Fiona Apple?  Classical music?  October 5th at The Kitchen Riots is going to be quite the interesting workshop of original songs!  Also, what is Hoodoolooodoo?

Tickets Available Here!

Meet Chef Renee Locher, Serving Up Dance

Meet Chef Renee Locher, Serving Up Dance

Purple Threads is excited to introduce you to Renee Locher, our 1st Chef for the Kitchen Riots Festival. Renee is an incredibly talented dancer and an inspiring choreographer.  Her work will make you laugh, cry, giggle, and sigh.  This week we’ll hear from Renee and introduce you to the dancers.  We’ll also be treating you to sneak peaks of the work, funny rehearsal moments and fun facts you’ll love to know and tell.  Many of us won’t ever be GREAT dancers but The Kitchen Riots team is determined to help us all live vicariously through those who are!  Renee Locher, Dance Chef Extraordinaire!!  Glad to have you on board.

City: WHY, State: TKR

City: WHY, State: TKR

As one of the producers, I have been working around the clock (with my colleagues) on the
production side of The Kitchen Riots!  We have been immersed in spreadsheets, numbers, calendars, websites, venues, etc.  Truth be told, it’s easy to get lost in that process and forget WHY it is that we are all working so hard.  In order to clear things up, I decided to take a trip back to my hometown City: WHY located in State: The Kitchen Riots.

First I visited a dance rehearsal with TKR’s choreographer, Renee Locher, and was rendered speechless by the beauty of what is being created.  (Anyone who knows me knows that “speechless” is a rarity!)  To see the power of their stories combined with the level of talent was awe inspiring.  Then, to see the dancers feeling so engaged and happy with the process gave me a great sense of pride in what Purple Threads is creating for its artists.

My second stop in WHY this morning was with Erica Jacob, Music Director at TKR.  She sent me several sound tracks and music charts so I opened them up to take a listen.  As the first sounds reached my ears, I felt my heart open up.  For several minutes, my soul was literally soaring above the daily grind.  And the lyrics.  AH!  The lyrics!!  I was filled with a renewed sense of confidence that what we’re creating is unique.  Not only that, it’s important!  PLUS, it’s rockin’!

My third and final stop in WHY this morning was a visit with Danielle Velkoff, Artistic Director of Purple Threads.  She read me a few excerpts from the script she is writing.  Chills came over me. It was mesmerizing.  Line after line floated came out of her mouth and my whole body was subsequently transported into this impactful story.  And, this was just a draft!

My trip back to WHY reminded me that I am doing this because I BELIEVE in it heart, soul and mind.

YOU – friend, supporter, audience and artist – you are our WHY.

Tune in next week for a sneak peak of The Kitchen Riots’ opening night.


Purple Threads’ Top 3 NYC Venue Picks

Purple Threads’ Top 3 NYC Venue Picks

Later today, Purple Threads will be introducing the venue for The Kitchen Riots! Now that you are all waiting (excitedly, obviously), we thought, for the fun of it, we’d list a few of our favorite (less pricey) NYC venues for you.  “What makes a stage?” these beg us to consider.

1. NYC Subway Stations
The Underground has become a hotspot for performers of all kinds to make themselves known.  Did you know that one must actually audition to perform in the NYC Subway Station?  And the competition is fierce!  We at Purple Threads have seen some of the most talented individuals out there, right downstairs at 42nd and Broadway.  For us, Subway Stations come in 1st on the list for creative opportunities to change the environment.  Think about it.  Take what would typically be a rushed, stressful moment – thousands of people trying to get places – and transform it into a moment of humor, beauty, relief or contemplation.  You go, Subway Performers!

2. Central Park! 
Why not?  Listen, if you’re ever in New York and feeling bored (HA!), take a stroll through Central Park.  Music – what’s your flavor?  Jazz, Classical, Rock?  Keep walking.  You’ll find it.  Dance?  Salsa, Hip Hop, Bhangra?  Keep walking. Orchestras?  Yes. Opera? Start jogging – it’s a little further into the park.  Jugglers, Jokers, Singers, Painters, Shakespeare ….  Coming in #2 on the list: Central Park. We love the extraordinary moments that exist there every average day.

3.  The Corner
There’s this construction worker who works on 2nd Avenue (You know, the subway line being built there – STILL and probably for the rest of our lives!).  He uses his lunch break every day to sing Frank Sinatra songs on the corner of 2nd and 67th and he’s really good!  He does it because it makes him feel alive and he hopes it’ll bring a smile to a few faces along the way.  Well, that it does.  We’re definitely smiling.  “The Corner” ranks #3 on the venue charts.

Martha Graham quotes, “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.”   Purple Threads agrees wholeheartedly and celebrates the unique things that makes us all TOTALLY AWESOME.  Stay in touch!! We’d love to know more about what makes your expression unique.