Celebrate Festal Culture

About

Mission

Many Mouths One Stomach (MMOS) is a Tucson-based collective of artists, teachers and community activists who come together with the intent to create, inspire, manifest and perpetuate modern festal culture.

“Festal Culture” is the expression and fulfillment of core human needs through public celebration, ceremony, and ritual. The All Souls Procession is an event that was created to serve the public need to mourn, reflect, and celebrate the universal experience of Death, through their ancestors, loved ones and the living. Our events establish a legacy that reclaims public space through art and blurs the line between participant and observer, ritual and performance. Together with our commitment to education, outreach, and collaboration, MMOS stewards a vision wherein the creative act becomes a mode of living.

History

The All Souls Procession had its beginnings in Tucson, Arizona in 1990 with a ceremonial performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson. Johnson was grieving the passing of her father, and as an artist, she found solace in a creative, celebratory approach to memorializing him. After that first year, many artists were inspired to continue, growing the Procession into its modern incarnation. Today we find ourselves organizing well over 150,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes of the public for those who have passed. Myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creatives of all kinds collaborate the previous year to prepare their offerings for this amazing event. The All Souls Procession, and now the entire All Souls Weekend, is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones and ancestors.

Many Mouths One Stomach was coined in 1995 and became a 501c3 in 2006 to be able to manage and fund an event that was growing beyond its creators’ capacity. The formation of the organization catalyzed and solidified many of the community activities that were already occurring such as teaching movement, circus arts, puppet making, music, hosting, producing and curating events for other organizations as well as providing consultant and technical direction.

The All Souls Procession creates cross collaboration and pollination across societal, economic, racial and artistic boundaries like no other singular event. Our organizations curatorial tendencies are towards free, open and participatory events and experiences that affirm an individuals’ creativity within the context of community and the cycles of humanity and nature.

Core Values

Clarity of Intent

Our planning efforts involve diligent attention to the kind of experience we intend to provide, and remain open to the support that magically presents itself as a reward for this clarity. Honoring that events of such significance have a life of their own, we establish a basic framework for safety, inclusiveness, beauty and originality from which the events can evolve as they need to.

Creativity

We are midwives of revelation. We provide the environment and the circumstances that are conducive to free expression. Our creativity is our personal connection to ourselves, our environment and our inspiration. Creativity is also our process of meeting our core need for expression, for healing and transformation, for community and for bringing something new into the world. Creativity requires taking risks, being courageous and being open to making mistakes.

Collaboration

Collaboration gives us the opportunity to have our work reflected back upon ourselves, informing, deepening and expanding our process, creating mutually supportive and dynamic relationships. Collaboration reaffirms and honors the process of others through enlisting their involvement. We acknowledge that conflict can arise, and we are dedicated to working through conflict to greater understanding and resolution. Through collaboration we find and name our commonly held values and help identify each of our roles in service to presenting successful events and participating in a more civil society.

Integrity

We believe that love is greater than fear. We believe that the quality of our lives is expressed through the quality of our relationships, and the quality of our events is directly the result of the integrity of our organization. Integrity is a passionate dedication to act in an ethical, honest manner in alignment with wholeness and balance, taking into account negative and positive aspects of experience. Our integrity is expressed through a commitment to quality, loyalty, constancy, trustworthiness, responsibility, accountability and maintaining our agreements, renegotiating where necessary.

Stewardship

By design, our organization is a holding presence, set up to sustain itself over the long term, instilled with values that persist beyond the involvement of any individual or group. Our organization is structured so that our record keeping and defining documents are open and available, and instructive as to our process. We protect and preserve the authenticity of our events, our relationships and our way of working as we cultivate other stewards who will similarly care for each other and our community.

For even more detail, read our Glossary of Terms.

Community Ritual

Projects

The All Souls Procession Weekend

MMOS’s flagship event began as an individual performance piece by Tucson artist, Susan Johnson in 1990. Today All Souls has now become one of the most authentic public ceremonies in North America today. Over 150,000 people from all walks of life come together every fall in Downtown Tucson to commemorate, honor, mourn and celebrate the passing of our ancestors and loved ones.

In the months leading up to the Procession, free, family-friendly workshops are offered to the public. In addition, MMOS gives people the opportunity to experience the event through projects like the Urn and Video Ancestry Project.

Tucson Circus Arts

Tucson Circus Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality and most diverse physical theater, circus and performance training available. We encourage a balanced program of circus, dance, theater, music, martial arts and craft-developing body, mind and spirit through multi-disciplinary activity. Our board and teachers are both nationally and internationally based and always expanding.

TCA’s directive is to further perpetuate Circus as a fine art form. Uniting physical theater, dance, music, martial arts and circus arts we believe is the key to helping create well rounded, talented and empowered performers of all kinds.

Our programs are community based, non-competitive and professional. We strive to infuse the creative act as a mode of living and learning through practice, performance, participating and creating modern festal culture.

Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts

Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts is an art parade. This 100% audience participatory event encourages the community to express their creativity, share the streets of Phoenix and enjoy the company of local business, professional artists and local government. Over the past seven years, Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts has presented a unique, award winning event that celebrates artistic expression and the landscape of downtown Phoenix. Since its inception in 2006, when the procession consisted of 300 people, the parade has grown in size every year to a record 2200 participants in 2010. The parade and its organizers have won several accolades from the New Times’ “Best of Phoenix.” Over the last five years, more than 75 local and nationally recognized, professional artists and groups have contributed their talents including: a popular big band/marching band from Portland, Oregon; Japanese Taiko drummers; Hawaiian hula dancers; Brazilian samba musicians; a local puppet guild; a New Orleans style brass band; a local funk band, world renown stilt walkers and regional fire performers.

SOL AXE

SolAxé! (soul -a-SHEA)

Dança – Bateria – Alegria (dance-band- joy)

The Tucson group that you all have known for both DANCE and DRUMMING inspired by Brazil and beyond has a new name!
The group continues to offer drum and dance to the Tucson community, because what everyone shares is a love for sharing collective joy through the music and dance inspired by Brazil and beyond.

In the spirit of and with intention to honor our past leaders and our master teachers, we continue to build community by offering opportunities for all people to learn drumming and dancing regardless of their experience, as well as the opportunity to share it through performance.

Ongoing Efforts

International Procession Network

We envision a network of groups that organize public processions and events, sharing resources and talents at venues around the world. MMOS’s current outreach online and off is just the start of this network. We want to spread the quality of arts throughout all our communities, but we need your help!

Interested in joining the network? Send us an email telling us about your organization- any info regarding its mission, list of programs/projects, events- and ideas you might have (exchange programs, artist-in-residence, co-sponsored events) in helping us further perpetuate festal culture throughout the world.

Trust/Foundation

MMOS plans to establish its own funding entity to help grow the arts in Tucson and abroad. We believe that until adequate support for the arts is established, this vital part of our culture will be more defined by struggle, than creativity and inspiration. We aim to fix that- with your support!

Want to become an annual sponsor to MMOS? You can donate via Paypal, but if you’d like to communicate with us more directly, or have other funding ideas, please e-mail our MMOS Administrator.

Who We Are

Melanie Cooley

Board of Directors

Nadia Hagen

Board of Directors

Sharon O’Brien

Board of Directors

Paul Weir

Board of Directors

Leslie Ann Epperson

Board of Directors

Karel Moonen

Board of Directors

Adam Cooper-Terán

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Zeke Prebluda aka Falkotronik

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

To Ree Nee Kaiser Wolf

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Karen Falkenstrom

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Ruben Palma

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Sahar Mitchell Strange

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Fonda Hamilton-Insley

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

Tom Prezelski

Advisory Board & Community Stewards

The Mouth

Heartbeat of the Urn: an interview with Odaiko Sonora

Jhon Sanders speaks with Odaiko Sonora co-founders Rome Hamner and Karen Falkenstrom on their vision for the 2014 All Souls Procession grand finale ceremony, their history with the Procession, Japanese and Korean ancestors rites, and much more!

SHARING SKILLS AND STORIES: an Interview with Mykl Wells on the All Souls Procession Workshop Experience

A talk with Mykl Wells about the past, present and future of the All Souls Procession workshops!

MMOS News Update: Winter Solstice 2013

End-of-the year MMOS news wrap-up for 2013.

All The Mouth posts All Galleria posts All Stories posts All Features posts

News & Events

The Procession of Little Angels

The day before the big Procession, a small Procession takes place in Armory Park. The park fills with children and families, gathering to paint wings, create paper flowers, get their faces painted, dress in costumes created at our kids’ costuming workshops, and approach grief from a child-friendly, child-driven place. Stories that Soar! and Tucson Circus…

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Night of the Living Fest

Three days and nights of amazing music! A portion of proceeds benefits the Procession–and the official Procession afterparty is Sunday night. Night One: November 4th Burger Cactus Fest Peach Kelli Pop, Death Valley Girls, Feels, Guantanamo Baywatch, The Shivas, The Gooch Palms, PART TIME, The Sloths, Patsy’s Rats, Hammered Satin Fan Club, The Flytraps, VAJJ,…

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All Souls Procession & Finale Ceremony

There is a LOT of logistical info here. Read it before you come to the Procession, as it will make the experience better for you and all other attendees. For more on the musicians, intentions, spirit, history, and meanings of the Procession, you can look at our blog. For questions that are not answered here,…

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