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August 1, 2006 > Celebrate good times, come on!

Celebrate good times, come on!

When Kool and the Gang urged everyone to celebrate good times in their 1980 hit song "Celebrate," they could have been singing from the Motherhouse of the Domincan Order at Mission San Jose in Fremont, especially last week. The Dominican Institute for the Arts (DIA) celebrated its 10th anniversary by gathering artists from around the country and the globe. Busy days included workshops and seminars on a wide variety of creative endeavors including feature writing, poetry, story-telling, readers' theater, music, painting, etching and the healing arts.

Renowned Dominican artists - sisters, friars and lay members - visited, exchanged ideas and shared their special talent for delivering a message of God's grace. Far from somber and sterile, this group is a mesmerizing collage of creativity and fun. DIA has grown from its original 22 members to nearly 200 and each year a large number attend an anniversary celebration at a Dominican facility. This year the Motherhouse hosted the group and on Thursday evening, a luau and talent show included a  humorous description of fifth grade behavior, a magic show, dancing, and a tongue-in-cheek dramatic reading of a courtroom trial of a well-known alleged villain.

William Wesley Wolf III was on trial. His reputation as "The Big Bad Wolf" who terrorized Little Red Riding Hood was put on trial by a creative group of Dominican Sisters. Some challenged the traditional story, noting that without "innuendos or suppositions," the alleged bad behavior and attempted murder by Mr. Wolf was simply a misinterpretation of events: an invitation to enter granny's house, subsequent self-protection from granny's attack and an innocent game of tag with "Red."

Others in the group representing "the state" stuck with the more obvious explanation. Was William Wolf a wily and dangerous creature or just a poor, lonely and misunderstood inhabitant of the forest? Throughout this serious (accompanied by much laughter from the audience) case of attempted murder, attorney's, witnesses and court officials mimicked courtroom behavior and as the verdict was read, the audience was hushed in anticipation. Pronounced "Not Guilty" by the jury, the defense attorney asked her client about a discrepancy in his recollection of events. He denied any serious issues and claimed he was only playing with Little Red Riding Hood since, "I often play with my food before I eat it!"

The uproar of laughter set the stage for more merriment and dancing to round out the evening. All participants gathered on Friday morning for what is considered the highlight of the event, presentation of the "Fra Angelico Award for Excellence in Art." Whether winner of the award or not, it is a certainty the participants of this "party" all left for their respective homes with a song on their lips. It might have been a verse from Celebrate:

"There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you."
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