Many thanks to Aliza Sena for creating this diary montage, and to everyone at Creative Capital! My book AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (Wave Books, 2021) would not have been possible without their generous funding and other support!
At the age of 27, Jonathan Stein fought for immigrants' rights at the U.S. Supreme Court alongside his colleagues and won. That was the 1970s, and just the beginning of a life spent making room for compassion in our harsh world. The attorneys at Community Legal Services have provided free legal aid and representation to low-income people for more than half a century. They have stood with those facing racism, poverty, and other forms of violence from unjust laws and institutions. For most of Jonathan’s legal aid career he pursued modern and post-modern dance and has performed in over two dozen dance works. He will be the voice of 27 ONWARD, performed inside the home of Community Legal Services at 1424 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The stage will be set on the 2nd floor, overlooking a magnificent arch of historic Mercer tiles depicting images that celebrate the lives of working people. See you there!
In November, 2021 I had the privilege of working with friends Eva Birkenstock and Kerstin Brätsch and a dozen extraordinary young artists to build an exhibition group show. JOIN US on February 19th to see the show of art, tapestries, psychic playlists, and my short presentation of new (Soma)tics.
I was working on a vegan cookbook that was also (Soma)tic poetry rituals for a few years. It was fun making it, a different ritual for writing poems with each recipe. Then my diet took a radical shift a couple of years ago, removing all sugar and gluten and all highly processed vegan cheese and butter, knocking 90% of those recipes out of my life. If I no longer put these foods in my body, the book needs to evolve with me.
Note: Out of respect for the greenest of the queens, we will capitalize Celery.
Back in the 1990s, I considered opening a food truck selling my Celery rib recipes. Each plate would have three Celery ribs with delicious vegan fillings packed into the grooves. I had my homemade tofu cheese, my faux fennel sausage, and lots of luxurious fruit creams. I had several kinds of beans and rice; also, mac and cheese with olives and tempeh bacon. One of my favorites was Celery stuffed with spicy marinated seitan, dipped in batter and deep-fried, with its own tangy peanut sauce for dipping. YUM!
GREEN RIBS is what I wanted to call my food truck! And I was going to paint it a VERY Celery GREEN, HAHA! Why not!? I would serve most of the Celery crisp and ice-cold, while I would char others on the grill for my barbeque soy chicken. Charred ribs also were perfect for my salty caper and red onion mashed potatoes, topped with melted parmesan.
Starting over, I want a Celery chapter in the cookbook. I’m working on this recipe: Celery brushed with sesame oil, dusted with spices, and flame-grilled quickly for a nice sear, then topped with Celery prepared three ways: smoked, creamed, and pickled. Celery on Celery on Celery is so Celeriac!
My favorite new recipe is unsweetened 99% dark chocolate, melted with almond butter, cardamom, white pepper, and crispy fried matchstick-sized pieces of burdock root, topped with thin shavings of my pickled red pears. That rich, earthy quality of burdock in the arms of almond butter, chocolate, and spices with the acid and sweetness of pickled red pears is my new Valentine’s Day dish, served on a chilled and crunchy thick rib of Celery!
My hope is for another good snowstorm this winter. One recipe is snow mixed with cayenne and toasted walnuts. I tried this with various kinds of crushed ice, but it’s terrible. It has to be FRESH snow, and it has to be made by the sky. I’m watching the weather, and as soon as they call for SNOW, I’m toasting walnuts and setting them aside!