Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's always something...

Never have Emily Litella’s words been more true; it’s always something. It's the middle of the homestretch towards the finish line of KlezKamp and we can’t get into our office! As Henry mentioned in his entry today, there was a major flood in the basement of the Workmen’s Circle Building and the elevator shaft and other parts of the basement (not our office or our storage area, thank goodness) were filled with water and sewage. The office is off limits until the haz-mat guys are finished pumping and cleaning. They tell us I'll be able to get back in by tomorrow morning. We honestly don’t know what we will do if that is delayed but as Sherry wrote earlier, like Passover, KlezKamp comes around every year and we always manage to get ready.

Until yesterday, when we first heard that Lauren Brody broke her arm in a fall, followed by news that it was a health hazard to breath the air in the office, we had been having a fairly uneventful, if unpredictable, run up to KlezKamp. The registration pattern was different this year. Many more people registered later, causing us to worry that the numbers would be down this year. Fortunately, the last minute rush did indeed come and we will have about the same number of KlezKampers as last year-- over 400 people coming together to share their love of our Yiddish folk culture in all is permutations.

KlezKampers can look forward to an amazing array of classes, evening programs, dancing, forshpayzn (programs before dinner), in house Radio KlezKamp, and a chance to make and meet friends. Many families are attending, including a number of grandparents choosing to spend the week with their grandchildren while the parents have a week off. We will have one four-generation group this year—great–grandmother, grandmother, mother and child. We have KlezKampers who are only a few months old and we have KlezKampers in their nineties. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to speak with so many of them on the phone before we even meet in person.

Another thing KlezKampers can look forward to is the amazing KlezKamp zhurnal (journal), edited with great skill by Faith Jones. Faith put together a wonderful array of articles and photo essays focusing on our theme of Mame Loshn: Women in Yiddish Culture. There is even a crostic puzzle on the theme, created especially for KlezKamp for the second year in a row, by Rick Winston. The zhurnal will be posted on our website after KlezKamp so that those of you who are not able to attend can still enjoy it.

We’ll do our best to chronicle KlezKamp for you here on the blog.

Wish us luck that we’ll be able to get into our office tomorrow!!


After 23 years it's still a challenge!

Wednesday: Hard to believe that's it's imminently erev KlezKamp. As I sit here translating Yente Telebende vaudeville 78s for my class, it feels like back in the olden days of KK when all we had to worry about was producing a full week of deeply textured, original programming run smoothly and with great care and good cheer.
Yet, amid the kind of enthused, excited "finals week" ambience which characterizes our KlezKamp preparations, we've had some challenges: On Monday, our good friend (and KlezKamp accordion instructor) Lauren Brody, fell down a flight of stairs and broke her arm in three places. As of now, we're still without her replacement (as if she were replaceable...!) We wish her a full and speedy recovery.
More critically, only weeks ago we learned that our year round home (the Workmen's Circle building in midtown Manhattan) has been sold and that, as soon as this spring, we're going to be out on the street with nowhere to go! (Does anyone know of affordable office space in NYC???) And if that weren't enough, as if in some kind of weird foreshadowing of our imminent enforced departure, yesterday the building suffered a flood of bite sized-Biblical proportions: diluvial effluvia of raw sewage spilled into the basement -- where our office is -- and filled two elevator shafts to heights of six feet! As of this moment, we are locked out of our offices with no clue as to when we will be allowed back in.

Such is the magical pixie dust environment in which we create KlezKamp.

Stay tuned....