A teetotaler friend of mine once espoused the virtues of spinning in place in order to reach a higher plane of consciousness. He even posted a video online of himself doing it, twirling around for about five minutes until he collapsed in a heap on his floor.
I'm not positive his twirling was inspired by the writings of the 13th century Sufi mystic poet Rumi, who concluded one of his poems with the lines, "Dazed by the marvels of love, our whirling endures," but the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey certainly are. The whirling in which the dervishes engage is no random spin, either. Highly structured, the spinning is designed to emulate states of spiritual ecstasy, which, when accompanied by the chanting and music, it certainly can. The Whirling Dervishes don't tour too much, concerned as they are with spiritual rather than worldly pleasures, so the fact that they're appearing in Irvine is a rare treat. Come for the beauty of the performance, and go home and give whirling a try yourself. Just make sure you keep away from any hard surfaces.
The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey at the Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-4646; www.thebarclay.org. Tues., 8 p.m. $30-$50.
Lots of Blame to Go Around When the Levees Broke: Part II
With the benefit of a little distance and hindsight, the tragedy that befell (and technically continues to befall) the Gulf states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can be analyzed without playing the political blame game, at least in the sense of not resorting to finger-pointing at any one political party. Fact is, the entire political system failed the American people during that time, Democrat and Republican alike. And while it may be emotionally satisfying to say things like, "George Bush doesn't care about black people," such sloganeering seems to be a case of missing the forest for the trees.
Spike Lee's documentary When the Levees Brokeexamines many sides of the issue, illuminating the tragedy with first-person perspectives that show (to resort to the kind of folksy saying that seems to be forever associated with clichéd portrayals of Southerners) the fish stunk from the head down. The Irvine Fine Arts Center is presenting the second half of this documentary (they screened the first half earlier), so you might want to rent the first part before you go. Be prepared to get mad, and pray that when the Big One hits California, our government will have learned its lessons.
When the Levees Broke:Part II at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine, (949) 724-6880; www.cityofirvine.org/depts/cs/finearts/. Tues., 7 p.m. Free.