Spring Celebrations and “Celebrity” Musings (Part 1 of 2)

15 04 2013

The spring is a-bustlin’ with increased activity, outdoorsiness and whimsy!  I have found myself volunteering with the 2nd annual Texas VegFest, upping my skills on the silks and trapeze and joining a swing dance flash mob team.

April has been a season of perfect weather in Austin and I have tried to spend as much time outdoors, upside down or in the air as possible – most recently with this (super blurry) first attempt at the Dirty Dancing Lift:

We’re choreographing a new praise dance piece at the church and I was brave enough to ask for a duet in the choir this summer, so we’ll see what happens.

Last weekend, I attended an all-night slumber party hosted by the Authentic Relating Games crew (aka the Austin Love Juggernaut) and met some of the finest folks that this city has to offer.  Though the games can get a bit intense, these are a group of people who want to go deep, to minimize the chitchat and tap into the core of who they are.

After a bit of socializing, our hostess suggested that we build a fort and so the whole crew got to work, pushing together tables, stringing up blankets, lining the fort with pillows… and then we all crawled in and shared the most fabulous group-generated stories.

I was selected for a game called Hot Seat where you sit in the middle of the circle and the group fires questions at you – whatever they truly want to know about you – usually questions that provide a learning experience and help you clarify what’s going on in your world.  Even for me, someone who is very self-aware, I still learned a lot through it.

The best part?  You get to make one request of the group at the end of your session.  I tentatively said “Well, I do love massages” and moments later, I had sixteen people massaging me.  Sixteen!!  This would be someone else’s worst nightmare, but yeah – I was kind of heaven.

At UT Austin's 40 Acres Fest for Eeyore's Birthday Celebration

At UT Austin’s 40 Acres Fest for Eeyore’s Birthday Celebration

With Sara of the ATX Love Juggernaut - Or, as My Friend Captioned this Photo: Ayo in the filming of her new rap video.  "I'm a Texan V to the E and double G followed by the I and E. Don't mess with me, My mad rhymes flow like rich hon-ey. That's why all the birds sing Chicka-dee-dee-dee!"

With Sara of the ATX Love Juggernaut – Or, as My Friend Captioned this Photo: Ayo in the filming of her new rap video. “I’m a Texan V to the E and double G followed by the I and E. Don’t mess with me, My mad rhymes flow like rich hon-ey. That’s why all the birds sing Chicka-dee-dee-dee!”

It has been fun running into blog readers, fans and friends all around the city.  A shout-out to friend and blog reader Lisa from San Diego who I ran into at VegFest and to Suzanne, a reader and (new?) RVer in town for the month, who recognized me at the 40 Acres Fest and offered such a warm welcome!

I’ve had an interesting relationship with publicity lately.  Der Spiegel did a profile on me in their international “Personalities” section and the Israeli Weekly in North America did a feature on Jewrotica.  The attention is of course very exciting and the Der Spiegel piece was particularly fun because it is such an established paper, but I have had three hesitations:

1)  What is the fine line that distinguishes sharing an exciting accomplishment from excessive or blatant self-promotion?  These project developments are exciting to share, but I don’t want to brag and I definitely don’t want any sort of publicity to get to my head, so I regularly try to keep myself in check.  In fact, I’ve started taking “listening days” where I will only listen to my friends and practice being in a more quiet and supportive space, rather than sharing my own stories.

2)  Though the publicity is flattering, journalists seem to be more interested in covering my life and my story.  Obviously my footprint is on Jewrotica, but in several of these articles, my story has become the foreground instead of the background and I’m not sure that I like that.  Jewrotica is a team effort and I’d really rather folks start focusing on the project and other players on the team instead of just me.  I think that I will insist that any journalist who interviews me going forward also at least interviews two members of my volunteer team for more well-rounded coverage.

3)  You know how a person is allowed to call themselves overweight, but others are not allowed to do the same? Somewhat similarly, I am totally okay with tastefully sharing my own life adventures on the blog and occasionally through Facebook, but it’s partially because I am the one sharing them and so I retain a certain element of control.  Even when the reviews are positive, it feels different and weird when other people write about you.

Der Spiegel - Personalities Section - April 8, 2013

Der Spiegel – Personalities Section – April 8, 2013

Israeli Weekly Jewrotica Feature

Israeli Weekly Jewrotica Feature – Though It’s Jewrotica.ORG

It’s also been interesting to experience the stuff that journalists make up.  The article in Israeli Weekly was almost a direct re-print from January’s Israel HaYom article, only with the addition of a few made-up quotes (literally, I never spoke with the journalist!) and a new journalist claiming credit for the coverage.  And they even snagged and printed a year-old photo of me caving in Austin from… the blog?  Craziness.

One last press update:  I was just offered the cover of a monthly Jewish magazine for their May women’s issue.  The offer is flattering and exciting, but also overwhelming as they want an “edgy” photo of me and I don’t want my image to be a source of controversy with a borderline sexy photo.  The idea of being the “It Girl”  is theoretically enticing, but I have too much invested in my more-conservative identity to be a pin-up and I think that too much publicity would be a hindrance rather than a boon.  (I like playing at mini-fame, but I would never actually want to be famous for real.  Ick.)

I think that I will go for the cover issue, but with a less edgy photo and with the pre-condition of reading the article first.  I continue to laugh at my life.

Continued in “Spring Celebrations and ‘Celebrity’ Musings (Part 2 of 2)“…

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6 responses

16 04 2013
sillysadhaka

The Authentic Relating Games crew really inspired me! Sounds like the members are all on quest for genuine interaction. I want to know more about this awesome concept. Also, a 16-person massage doesn’t sound to shabby 🙂

17 04 2013
ayo

Definitely! Do you live in Austin? You should join us some time. The group generally meets on Sunday evenings at Casa de Luz around 7 pm. 🙂

17 04 2013
sillysadhaka

I’m so far away from Austin –> Alberta. Thanks for the invite though, ’twas very sweet.

17 04 2013
Suzanne

Hi, Ayo! Thanks for the nice shout-out on my blog. Yes, very “new!” It was so much fun meeting you, as yours and Yair’s RVing adventures were a great inspiration to my full timing dream becoming a reality.

I am back from my Enchanted Rock weekend, so give me a shout if you are in the area. I will treat you to a smoothie from the Juice Bar, or your pick, my treat.

17 04 2013
ayo

That sounds wonderful! I’d love to meet up and get to know you. Do you prefer daytime or evening?

Shoot me an e-mail and we’ll set something up. 🙂

18 04 2013
Scientist

“Chicka dee dee dee dee” is the fuss call of the Carolina Chicadee. They make that when the are upset…In this case because you are so awesome birds that fly are jealous.

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