Brie Brazelton, Solar B Brian Chandler, and Annie Brazelton

Shannon Kelley

Brie Brazelton, Solar B Brian Chandler, and Annie Brazelton

Life Is My Designated Driver (and Dog Is My Co-Pilot)

Peeping Arts Alive!

Have you ever noticed how sometimes, if you relax and let life drive, it will steer you in precisely the right direction? You may wind up somewhere you’ve never been, with people you’ve never met, doing things you’ve never done. And if you’re able to go with it, you’ll find it’s often just what you needed-not to mention far better than anything you, mere mortal though you are, could have come up with on your own.

If I’d had my way last Friday night, I would have stayed home, lying flat on my back on the (relatively) cool hardwood floor, where I’d positioned myself in the line of the ceiling fan’s strongest breeze, and probably stayed there through the weekend and until the heat wave had passed. But the fates were having none of my party-pooping ways, somehow propelling me up, into a dress, and out of the house. And, given my line of work, I suppose it should come as no surprise that, when life took the wheel, it landed me at nothing short of the party of the year.

Driving to the Arts Alive! Dance and Creativity Center for its grand opening party celebrating its rebirth under the new and fearless leadership of Anthony Parris and Laura Eliseo, I told myself it’d be an early night, that I’d be back to that cool spot on the floor in an hour. But life had other plans. Which is to say, I stayed for six.

I couldn’t help myself.

Was it the Hawaiian blessing, the belly dancing, the Panzumo performance, the incredible sets from Niki Shane and Earth Circle, and pint-size goddess Elise “I am this many” Van Peris’s moves on the dance floor? Or was it the pungent aroma of burning sage, the fire dancing, the art-studded setting, and the people inside whose energies combined to create a mysterious and powerful juju all their own, a juju for which I was no match? Maybe it was the community-driven, creativity-loving mission of the center, where the arts are nothing if not absolutely, positively alive, and the love the community sends right back? Or maybe it was the heat.

I don’t know. What I do know is that it was around 11 when my shoes came off. The hours passed, people kept coming, and I kept staying, soaking it up, wanting to grab each and every person and ask, where have you been all my life?? And life, how long have you known this was out there, right under my nose, you fickle mistress, you?

And, you know, thanks for driving.

On a personal note, this will be my last Peeps for a while, as life and I are planning to hit the road, and go where it takes us. (Those familiar with my skills as a driver might be relieved to know that I intend to let life do most of the driving.) Until then, peace. And remember to buckle up.

I’ll catch you on the flipside.

Never fear: While I’m away a worthy, party-loving soul will fill in. Where will your peeps be? Email

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