Commissioned by John Zorn, the premiere in October 2019 of Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses was dedicated to Jen’s father, who passed away unexpectedly during a nap in his favorite chair while she was on a 5-month research fellowship in Japan. Unable to wake Jen’s father, Jen’s mother called 911 who arrived with their local Texas sheriff, who then sent Jen an email — which she first thought was spam — that her father had passed. Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses is a raw, coming-of-age exploration of grief, legacy, family, race, sexuality, fertility, technology’s effect on our connection with nature and to each other, our own conflicting ambitions, and an investigation of life, from when Jen’s mother handed her Jen’s childhood diaries from a shelf in her father’s closet. Embodying Zero Grasses’ closing song, “Life As You Envision,” it was Jen’s parents who inspired her to live life as she envisions it.
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