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Fool's Tales

Musings from a lifelong fool

Welcome to Thomas Atwood's blog! You'll find some food for thought here, including forays into cultural criticism, social justice, humor, arts, and the archetype of the fool.

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Alfonzo sings A Simple Song
Thomas Atwood and The Faithful Fools Street Ministry

Alfonzo sings A Simple Song

My name is Thomas Atwood, and on April 7, 2018 I had the experience of a lifetime. My clown alter-ego, Alfonzo the Conjuring Fool, was blessed with the opportunity to sing A Simple Song from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass in memory of Kay Jorgensen, Co-Founder of the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in San Francisco. Kay had transitioned from this life on January 15, and the song was a tribute to Kay and her extraordinary ministry. A Simple Song was Kay’s personal favorite, so I wore a foolscap that once belonged to her. No longer able to call our beautiful annual dinner Oscard’s Feast (after Kay’s clown persona), the fools titled the event “Remembering Our Way Forward.” The assembled artists, choristers, poets, playwrights, actors, soloists, and justice advocates at the Unitarian Universalist Church of San Francisco (UUSF) truly delivered a night to remember. The gathered community of fools made it easy and fun for Alf. (At the Faithful Fools, heart wisdom, expression, and celebration are much more important than competition or celebrity.) Bill Ganz on piano and Cricket Rothrum on flute made it magical. The makeup artistry of Esmé Rodriguez—one of the greatest drag queens in this world or any other—manifested my inner clown as never before. Mark Sumner organized the music program with elegance and grace, and Hy Carrell juggled the logistical pieces as only a good stage manager can. As Meg Whitaker-Greene said in her clown persona, Entonces: “Kay is still walking that high tightrope, gazing down on us to see what we’ll all do next.” As Kay herself would often say, “There is plenty of work to be done before we can dissolve these illusory walls of separation.” So we set ourselves to the task of learning (and relearning) the art of falling down spectacularly and getting up with a smile. Of such is the work of fools and clowns everywhere. Requiesce in pace.

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