Lilli Lewis and her trio are on a cross-country tour with a mission: spread radical decency.
It’s an ongoing practice, says the New Orleans-based Americana, folk and rock singer and pianist. And there’s no better way to serve that message than through the healing power of music.
“Music is about uplifting the community and sometimes for emotional vulnerability,” Lewis said. “We try to not be heavy-handed or self-righteous. Musicians are familiar with practice — we sound terrible at first. But when you practice together you listen deeply and understand the currents underneath the notes. You start to work like an ensemble.”
That’s what she wants for all humans — to listen more deeply and pay attention to each other, even when the undercurrents can seem so divisive.
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“We’re all in a vulnerable situation. We’re all going to die. That’s what it means to be human,” she said. “We don’t have all the time in the world. We don’t live in a just world. If we all understood what just living looks like we’d achieve varsity humanity. We’re not there yet, so decency is JV (junior varsity).”
Lewis and her trio will perform a high-energy, jazz-influenced brand of Americana on the Fourth of July at Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, a 20-minute drive west of Colorado Springs. Her show will be one of more than 80 performances, classes, guided hikes and other events taking place Friday through July 15 throughout the aptly named tiny town tucked in among the aspen and pine trees. Events can be found at greenboxarts.org. Many are free, though some are ticketed and require reservations.
“We pride ourselves on providing intimate experiences. None of our venues are very large,” said Green Box Executive Director Scott Levy. “I don’t know of another organization that exists in the same way in a community that is so small. It feels like a place for respite and reconnection and a way to quiet the mind and let the creative juices flow. That holds true for audience members who come from Colorado Springs. It’s a different vibe and energy, a different pace here.”
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This year’s roster of national performers includes the Paul Taylor Dance Company from New York City; the Delbert Anderson Trio, who plays a mix of Latinx, southwest, jazz, funk and hip-hop; and Larry & Joe, a bilingual duo who blend Venezuelan folk songs with bluegrass.
Green Box also is known for its art installations. This year, 13 works of public art will be on display, including “Skye,” a permanent, large, stainless steel sculpture by California-based sculptor Brian Wall; the temporary outdoor mural “Open Skies,” by Manitou Springs artist Brenda Biondo; Nikki Pike’s large, 3D, bark-skinned, egg-shaped piece “A New Work,” that will live in the middle of an aspen grove; and “Earth.Speaks,” five benches using material from the earth, by Brooke Smiley.
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James Turrell’s popular “Green Mountain Falls Skyspace” also is still open May through September. Space is available Tuesdays through Sundays for sunrise, sunset and midday experiences throughout the festival.
Green Box was founded in 2009 by Larry Keigwin, a New York City-based choreographer and artistic director of the New York City-based professional dance company Keigwin + Co., and Christian Keesee, a New York City-based philanthropist and chairman of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, Kirkpatrick Bank and Kirkpatrick Oil & Gas Co.
Keesee is part of the Kirkpatrick family, who have lived in the Green Mountain Falls area since the 1900s. After Keesee invited Keigwin + Company for a dance residency program in 2006, other arts activities naturally emerged and the festival grew in size. Last year the two-week fête attracted 6,000 visitors.
Contact the writer: 636-0270
Contact the writer: 636-0270