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The Tidewater Gaia Circle, a recently formed group of citizens concerned with both local and global ecology and environmental protection, has announced a program of film, music, theater, and spoken word to celebrate humanity's inseparable relationship with the living Earth. "Gaia," the name of the Earth goddess of the ancient Greeks, is used today by professionals across all fields, from theoretical science to the arts, to characterize the living planet, an organic system in which all the parts are essential to the well being of the totality. The First Annual Earth Week Gaiafest will extend over four days, April 21-24, at four separate venues.

This year Earth Day falls on Friday, April 22. On the evening before, Thursday, April 21, at 7:15 Gaiafest gets underway at the Naro Expanded Cinema, 1507 Colley Ave., with performances by the Tidewater Guitar Orchestra, a unique ensemble playing a wide range of music from Central and South American traditional to European classical, and the women's drumming group Beleza, with its energetic rendering of rhythms from diverse cultures. Also scheduled is a showing of Baraka: A World Beyond Words, a nonverbal film tour of the contemporary world in all its contradictions of harmony and calamity, peacefulness and violent destruction. A brief talk by Tom Ellis, Ph.D. on Gaia as a concept for working with nature for the sustenance of all rather than exploiting her for the profit of a few will introduce the film.

Admission: $8 in advance / $10 at door

On both April 22 and 23 the venue will shift to the 40th Street Stage, Elizabeth River Theatre Company's performance space at 809 40th St., just off Colley Ave., Norfolk, for an evening of local talent beginning at 7:30 with a set of standard and original folk music performed by singer/song-writer Daniel Redwood. At 8:15 p.m., actor, playwright, and regular Port Folio Weekly contributing writer D.D. Delaney's one-act play, "May Whole Day Pole Play," will take the stage. It is a sensuous "cosmi-comic romantic fable" borrowing on many of the themes and customs surrounding medieval and early Renaissance May Day celebrations, when folk welcomed the return of the Sun to the northern hemisphere after a long, cold winter. At 9 p.m. Playback Theatre Hampton Roads will reflect audience members' reactions to the play using its unique brand of interactive improvisation. From 10 p.m. to midnight, in collaboration with Oya Xclusive International, an open mic will get underway on Friday, April 22, hosted by godchild the omen, a veteran of the Virginia hip-hop and spoken word scene. In the same 10 p.m.-midnight time slot on Saturday, April 23, Queen Sheba will host her long-anticipated finals competition for choosing members of the Norfolk National Slam Team. Admission for each evening at the 40th Street Stage is $5 at the door.

Also on Friday and Saturday evenings, the Naro Expanded Cinema will sponsor a Gaia filmfest-area premier screenings of five films related to the Gaia theme, with discussions led by an expert moderator to follow each film, at the Studio for the Healing Arts, 1611 Colley Ave. The films include:

OIL ON ICE -- The fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is connected to politics, America's energy policy decisions, and the Arctic's native peoples.(57 mins) showing Fri, April 22 at 7:30 pm

PEACABLE KINGDOM -- Farmers join with farm animal rescuers to share their life-changing experiences and expose the cruelty of factory farms. Soundtrack by Moby. (70 mins) showing Sat, April 23 at 6pm

BEING CARIBOU -- A husband and wife filmmaker and biologist follow a herd of 120,000 caribou as they migrate across the fragile Arctic tundra in their quest for survival.(72 mins) showing Sat, April 23 at 7:30 pm

WORLD SPIRIT: The Art of Alex Grey -- Grey's visionary art and his spoken prose combine with Kenji Williams ethereal music for a transcendental experience.(60 mins) showing Fri, April 22 at 9pm

POPOGANDA:The Art and Crimes of Ron English -- This New York guerrilla artist makes public art in a big way by employing billboard liberation antics that subvert corporate advertising icons and mascots (Ronald McDonald and Joe Camel) that prey on our children for profit.(82 mins) showing Sat, April 23 at 9pm

Admission is $5 for each film or $10 for a filmfest pass to all screenings. For more information visit or call 625-6275.

On Sunday, April 24, the scene shifts to the Norview United Methodist Church, 1112 Norview Ave., at 2 p.m., when the Five Points Partnership will present Magpie, the internationally recognized folk duo Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino known for their hard-hitting topical songs of freedom, peace, justice, and environmental action. Local musician/singer Amy Ferebee will perform an opening set. A noon "Sunday supper" at the market, 1132 Norview Ave., will precede the concert, with a vegetarian plate available beside the regular Farm Market fare of smoked chicken, ribs, and North Carolina Bar-B-Q.

Suggested donation for meal and concert is $27 with reservations before April 20 and $30 thereafter. For children and seniors it is $18 with reservations and $20 without. To reserve, call 237-2555.

For information on associated Earth Week events at Old Dominion University, scheduled from April 17-23, visit To learn what the Norfolk Environmental Commission has planned for its all-day event on Earth Day at the Virginia Zoo, call 441-1347.

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