Roberto Valdez, Poet, Youth Advocate, and Board Member of Medicine Wheel was a strong voice for the untold stories of the countless young men and women who have worked at Medicine Wheel. In 2011 he set up the Scholarship fund to help other young people tell their untold stories. He had the brilliant idea to ask 300 donors to make a simple donation of just $10.00. allowing us to take one of these young people on our annual artistic retreat to Italy.
Roberto met many obstacles along the road, poverty, addiction, sexuality, self-esteem, and homelessness among them. We are all so “delicately balanced” as he says. On November 29, 2016 one day after his 27th birthday Roberto passed away, claimed by his addiction. His story is not finished however.
Please consider making a $10.00 or more donation, to the Valdez Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made payable to Medicine Wheel Productions, 100 K Street, South Boston, MA 02127. Or donate online at:
Angel Danilo Esturban I am just a Guatemalan Dominican kid from Boston who was shy. Growing up was hard. I’m talking about: not knowing my mother for the first 6 years of my life; being lead poisoned and having brain damage. It was always a challenge for me. I was always afraid of being who I am and to just live free. I grew up in Jamaica plain, Franklin Field and South Boston’s D Street projects. Moving was always difficult. You know the feeling of meeting new people and leaving your friends behind for a new life. I never understood the reasons why my mother was not around so much but it was because she was poor and couldn’t afford rent. That’s where the system, I call the DSS, came into our lives. Being separated never crossed my mind, it was more like a break from my mother and brother and sisters but I knew something wasn’t right. Why we couldn’t go back after that first week and switching schools was just confusing and something new. Until I reach the age of 8 and figured out the meaning behind not being home with mom and siblings. I understood I was in a foster home, but it didn’t see much as a foster home since it was my aunt that took me in instead of some random non family member strangers taking me in, so I was comfortable with the idea but still didn’t know why I couldn’t go that easy. Later I find out my mother couldn’t pay rent because my father basically ran off, and made his own new family. Plus she couldn’t speak English so it was hard for her to get a job. In September 2002 my dad passed away. I was only 6 years old 2 weeks away from my birthday. We had things planned but I guess life is just full of mysteries. After that I always had a black cloud over my head knowing my dad was gone and a fat kid and not living with my mom messed me up made me want to always be on my own.
My godparents used too buy a lot clothes instead of toys so that’s when I knew I had a thing for styles and clothing. To me it was fun l getting my first polo shirt and Levi jeans also Fubu and Hilfiger tracksuits. It was like opening a new power ranger toy on Christmas. My passion for fashion was there from the start watching rap music videos and pop videos trying to mix the styles together all in one but I was afraid of showing my ideas because I was already getting bullied and didn’t want to make myself look more like a freak than I already was …plus I didn’t have the money to get the clothes I wanted but that all changed.
When I was 13 years old I was back in Southie selling drugs and getting high so, I had an advantage to buy new clothes which I did. At the same time I was in middle school. That’s when my love for fashion opened up even more I was more free and was able to get the clothes I needed .. I was wearing skinny jeans and got backlash for it ppl used to call me gay and other bad names I will not say. It was painful and made depressed but made me anger as well so I continued to wear more skinny jeans and show off my amazing outfits to the world I was finally free! I started to get in trouble and wanted to stay out of trouble so my second oldest sister had told me about a program more like my sanctuary the medicine wheel brought me to a world I never thought I would imagine coming across such as amazing people who filled my heart with love and warmth. The energy was already there at MWP. Michael made me realize there is so much to life then just living it. He taught me how to be me how to be free how to be the person I always hid. After leaving MWP I Continued with my fashion end up making clothes and also art. I feel like I need to reach out to others and talk more about myself in person so people can understand where I’m coming from and basically there is a lot of stuff missing but I want to tell my story on my clothing and art
Peace and love is what we need
from one Angel to another
This year’s Vigil was joined blessed by 2500 people during the 24 hours of December 1.
Thanks to all who showed their support!
|December 1 Program Day With(Out) Art/World AIDS Day 24 hour VigilREAD MORE ABOUT VIGIL|
|11:00 pm||Gathering and greeting||Gather on the BCA Plaza 539 Tremont Street at 11:00 pm for our first processional water walk to Fort Point Channel.|
|Michael Dowling||Water Walk|
|Midnight||Karen Krolak||Dictionary of Negative Space, An Interdiciplinary lament|
|12:15 am||Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence||Blessing of the Names Memorial Quilt|
|12:30 am||Amir Dixon||BleTitle: Alive. I: The Prelude: Breathe Written, Directed and Produced by: Amir Dixon & Noah Turner For the boys who dance in the dark. A multimedia performance bearing witness to loss, grief, resilience x survival|
|4:00 am||Katya Popova||“Flow”.collaborative: drapery, figures, live sound|
|6:00 am||Sadada Jackson||Smudging|
|7:00 am||Noel McKenna||Buddhist Chant|
|8:00 am||Bob Sances||Rosary|
|9:00 am||Sheila and Robert Frankel||Kaddish|
| Yoga Meditation
Inside/Out Dance Company is a youth performance group based at The Dance Studio in Orange, MA. Company members make work collaboratively with each other, company director Ingrid Schatz and guest choreographers. Company members Ava Doody, Jenna Dunphe, Laura McGinnis, Sierra Richard, Amanda Scott and Ceara Zhang will be performing, “A Light in The Dark.”
|11:00 am||Barbara Hamm||Mindful movement and a meditation|
|Noon||Mike Ward||Reading from “The Sea is Quiet Tonight” In this insightful and inspirational memoir, Michael Ward returns to the early years of the AIDS epidemic, when so little was known and so few who were diagnosed survived. He chronicles in candid detail his partner Mark’s decline and eventual death. By looking back on these devastating events, the author not only honors a generation lost to the illness but also opens a vital window onto the past, before medication helped save lives and when HIV/AIDS was usually a death sentence.|
|12:30 pm||Dell Hamilton||Poem|
|1:00 pm||Ian Spencer Bell||Solo Duet Ian Spencer Bell performs Solo Duet, a dance poem about his relationship with a dancer who, in early 2000s Brooklyn, concealed that he was HIV positive. He talks as he dances, considering light, seeing, and deception. Lines of poetry merge with lines of the body. Bell has danced versions of the poem in New York City at the 92nd Street Y, in San Francisco at CounterPulse, and in Great Barrington, Massachusetts at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, where he is a visiting artist.|
|1:15 pm||Chali’lnaru Smilez Dones||Blessings from the Taino People with members of the Guainia and Higuayagua tribes.Photos curtesy of:RV Photography|
|1:30 pm||Sam and Carol Ou||Cellist, Carol Ou will present the uniquely festive and exuberant cello music of Latin America. This afternoon’s program will include a virtuoso solo cello sonata: Jaguar Songs by Venezuelan composer, Paul Desenne, Danzas Latinoamericanos for cello duo by Mexican composer, José Elizondo, and the Deux Choros for violin and cello by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. Joining Carol will be her brother, cellist, Sam Ou and violinist, Amy Galluzzo.|
|2:00 pm||Liz Roncka||Dance|
|2:30 pm||Carol Ou||Cello Duets|
|3:00 pm||Nancy Armstrong||Soprano|
|3:00 pm||Karen Krolak||Water walk|
|3:30 pm||Anne Livermore||Bad Raqsan’e Sahra
Bad Raqsan’e Sahra—the Sahara Wind Dancers—has been performing in some incarnation since 1995. The troupe enjoys an omnivorous musical taste and specializes in Middle Eastern dance fusion with influences including classical Indian, swing, jazz, and burlesque. Collectively, the troupe boasts about an equal number of children and graduate degrees, and while not dancing, members are IT people, writers, stay at home parents, engineers, artists, scientists, and more.
|4:00 pm||Elizabeth Rookey||Dance Performance Elizabeth Rookey is a current student at the Hartt School studying Ballet Pedagogy as a Junior. She has most recently performed Martha Graham’s Chronicle and the Tarantella from Bournonville’s Napoli. In the past, Elizabeth has danced with Ballet Austin as a trainee and attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts under the direction of Michael Owen.|
|4:15 pm||Christine Bennett||Dance|
|4:30 pm||Jane Wang||Performance|
|5:00 -6:00 pm||Robert Carr||The Unbuttoned EyeIn Carr’s Unbuttoned Eye, we are gifted with Mapplethorpe, self-portraits in frames, and bodies desired and grieved. These poems represent moments, sweat, 80’s glitter, and finally healing. We’re treated to flowers and the natural world of crows. Every spore bursts with feeling and “fluid drains away enchanted.” Uncompromisingly, Carr lays bare the realities of life and death – the vitality of pretty boys in bath houses where “pleasures shiver, all that’s male” and the AIDS pandemic where “the dead swallow boys with narrow shoulders.” Carr has a gorgeous gift for verse, stillness, and comes out victorious on the other side.Cynthia Manick, author of Blue Hallelujahs
|6:00 Pm||Water Walk|
|Matt Hull – Trumpet
John Cushing – Trombone
Max Ridley – Bass
Tim Wolf – Percussion/Saxophone
A non-traditional brass band led by trumpeter and composer Matt Hull. The group’s sound is inspired by love, friendship and the uncertainty of the radio dial. Lineup will consist of:Matt Hull – Trumpet
John Cushing – Trombone
Max Ridley – Bass
Tim Wolf – Percussion/Saxophone
|7:00 pm||Andrea Blesso Albuquerque Audra Carabetta
Choreographer: Brian Crabtree Meghan McLyman
Music: Michael Wall
Text: Meghan McLyman
|BRIAN CRABTREE has been dancing and making dances for over thirty years in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and his beloved hometown of Portland, Maine. For eight years he was a dancer in Ram Island repertory Dance under the direction of Daniel McCusker. There he performed in the works of several choreographers including Lucinda Childs, Doug Varone, Maida Withers, Yvonne Rainer and Mr. McCusker. He formed an independent group to show his own early dances called Random Moves Dance Collective. Since moving to Boston in 1994, he has produced several projects of his own and in collaboration with Marjorie Morgan, Caitlin Corbett, Jody Weber, and Audra Carabetta. His work has received support and recognition from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cambridge Arts Council, Dance Umbrella, Somerville Arts Council, and This That Productions. He has shown work at Dance Complex and Green St. Studios, and has twice been a resident artist at Boston Center for the Arts. His dances have been favorably reviewed in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Boston PhoenixANDREA BLESSO ALBUQUERQUE has danced with each of the elements – underwater, 18ft in the air, spinning fire fans, and in the mountains of Portugal. She has many careers – Director of Dance at Boston Center for the Arts, performer for Crabtree & Dancers, performer and board member for EgoArt Inc, model for artist Judith Larsen, and Board member for ANIKAYA Dance Theater and Boston Dance Alliance.|
|7:30 pm||Gail Weston Roberts||Songs|
|8:00 pm||J Michael Winward
Bret Silverman, pianist
|Night and Gay (Alex/Peter)
GayLight Savings Time (Michael/Peter)
“We’ll Meet Again”.
Michael, Peter, Alex
|9:00 pm||Robert Sances||Water Walk|
|9:00 pm||Allan McClendon||Blessing|
|9:00-10:00 pm||Nancy Aleo||GongsMs. Aleo has exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally, and maintains a studio in the Boston area. Recent exhibitions include: Galerie Le Cabannon and Galerie Aqui Siam Ben in Vallauris, France, Attleboro Arts Museum, Cambridge Art Association, New England BioLabs, Ipswich, MA, Sguardi Sonori, Napoli, Italy. Other regional, national, and international exhibitions including Washington DC, Georgia, New Mexico, New England, Germany and Japan.|
|11:00 pm||Marshall Hughes||Spirituals|
|midnight closing||Michael Dowling|