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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The day after: you won't see that in Milwaukee


10/30

Stepping outside, it’s strange. Our neighborhood seems normal. Cool, some light rain. Here and there yellow police tape cuts off the sidewalk under scaffolding where pieces have blown off. There were loud bangs last night when pieces flew off our apartment building and the neighboring building, landing in the driveway next door, but that was all.  People are out, walking around.

Strange to feel so normal when you know that major parts of the city are without power. Parts of the subway underwater. The 14th Street power station blew up. No subways or buses. We’ve cancelled the clergy gathering we were going to host this afternoon. And the Princeton students who were supposed to visit today, who arrived in the city over the weekend,  are stranded in Brooklyn and don’t know when they’ll get out. Their leader calls me from Prospect Park talking about  how bizarre it is to see tree branches--- and whole trees---strewn about while joggers and bikers make their usual circuits.

I look to see who’s open. Of course Mani Market, the neighborhood grocer. Taki, the owner, a true rock star. Stayed open through the whole storm. Walking down Amsterdam, about evrery third business is open. Mainly bodegas. And as I expected, Barney Greengrass is the only restaurant open on the block. The line is so long, I look for another place to get my coffee, but nothing else is open. Not Dunkin Donuts, Not the Bean. Only Barney. So I go back, wait my turn. As I pay Gary, I say thanks. He smiles, then shakes his head. Time to check the church.

Martin and Teddy are working in the studio I look and see Soledad, the world famous flamenco dancer, in overalls with a paintbrush. Martin tells me they worked all day yesterday until the storm while Teddy was all over the church carrying 4 x 6’s, nailing boards over windows, making sure everything was secure. 

Teddy tells me everything was uneventful. There’s a man on the steps wrapped in plastic bags. He said that he had invited him in but he wouldn’t come in. And when I praise Teddy’s work to Jamie on the phone, he tells me that Steven had worked hard tying down outdoor garbage cans and containers. He’s not sure about the basement but Marc had been down there and had a smile on  his face when he left. I go down to check it out, and sure enough, dry as a bone. 

Martin and I talk contract again. Can we finish it this week?

Anna and Puppy come in. She’s concerned that she missed Bible Study but I tell her that we had cancelled. She’s got all kinds of instructions for me on all kinds of things but I’m not fully paying attention.  

On the one hand, the city is requiring cabs with less than 4 passengers to stop for anyone along a route they’re traveling. On the other, Teddy reports hearing from someone about cabbies charging triple fares. That’s illegal, I say. Yeah, says Teddy I told him you got two choices, call 911 or punch the guy in the face...

RL comes in. Relieved that his windows held up and no water came in. He’s been in working on his studio all day. Yesterday he and the Noche crew were working all the way up until storm time. 

Hey, I got a good one for you, he says.  I’m walking home down Amsterdam. The streets are empty. Everything’s closed, well except for the Gate. No traffic except for emergency vehicles. The wind is swirling. The rain is coming down. And I see this couple. With a dog. Bent against the wind. And the dog squats and poops. And with the wind swirling and the rain pounding the guy pulls out a plastic bag, bends over and scoops the poop. I love this city. You won’t see that in Milwaukee! He’s got that RL twinkle in his eye.

On my way home, I pass by Central Park. See it is closed. That never happens. Some determined runners are making their way in. I see lots of branches. Downed trees. Hard to assess how it compares to last time. The runners and closed park make me wonder, what about Marathon Sunday? How is that going to happen?

Later in the day, Teddy texts to tell me the man on the steps wrapped in plastic is an amputee. I’m bringin’ him in, Teddy says. 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reformation Sunday: Battening down the hatches


10/28

Today is Reformation Sunday. But it’s also a day on which everyone is holding their breath in anticipation of the coming hurricane. 

Reformation robe
In honor of the day, I’ve got my collar on for the first time in a long time and I wear my academic robe, explaining the difference between a priest and a minister. To oversimplify, a priest is an intermediary, a minister, more than anything, a teacher. My ordination and that of my elders, equal, but different. All a result of the revolution begun by Luther on October 31st, 1517. O that day he would nail his 95Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. 

Needing to raise money to pay for St. Peter’s basilica, the Pope had authorized a new sale of indulgences under the direction of Johan Tetzel who was known to have said, As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs. Luther insisted that  since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.

But he also had another objection. On the moral side of the equation he asked, Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money? He had no intention of leaving the church or dividing the church. But, as is so often the case with questions, once you ask one, it’s like pulling a loose thread. One leads to another. And a whole structure of thought begins to unravel. 

Luther chose  the day deliberately. It was All Hallow’s Eve, (Halloween), the night before All Saints’ Day. And he wanted to call into question the necessity of praying to saints. And the next day, November 2nd, was by tradition All Souls’ Day, a day of remembrance of all those who have died. Because of what Luther began, we now conflate All Saints and All Souls as all of us are saints. And November 1st became the Day of the Dead. 

Luther’s theses led to some very basic radical ideas:
  1. Forgiveness was God’s alone to grant
  2. No mediator is necessary between human beings and God
  3. The Bible should be in the language of the people, belongs to them, not the church...when people can read for themselves, they won’t be manipulated
  4. Our ministries are given to us by our baptism

The issue of putting the Bible itself into the language of the people was itself radical. In essence, it would enable people, in Freire’s terms, to become the subjects of their own histories. No longer subjects in the narrative written by a religious system  of domination and control. And Guttenberg’s printing press, the Internet of the day, made that revolution possible. 

The social and political ramifications of these theological ideas would go beyond what Luther had envisioned. So much to his dismay, the peasants revolted believing that he would support them. And Luther would turn against them, as he would the Jews who he naively believed would convert en masse once he had shown them a Christianity purified from corruption. He simply couldn’t fathom their continued persistence in their own tradition and his response was vehement and vitriolic. 

Luther’s reformation, a faith based in Sola Scriptura, Sola gratia (only scripture and only grace) would open the door to John Calvin of France who took these thoughts further into a church that would be reformata et reformanda... IE, reformed and (ever) reforming... My tradition seems to forget that last part. For Marilynne Robinson,(see her Death of Adam essays) it was Calvin's thoughts that would open the door to humanism.

And just because it’s still Octoberfest, I shared this quote from Luther. 

He who drinks much beer sleeps well; he who sleeps well does not sin; and he who does not sin goes to heaven.

Even though Teddy has created an easel for us to go to the street and collect from people their theses, especially in these pre-election days, concern about Hurricane Sandy, the so called Frankenstorm, sends us into a flurry of preparation.  

This is complicated by the fact that Sanctuary NYC is preparing for their one year anniversary and the visit from  not only other New Thought ministers but also the Mayan Elders from Guatemala with their message about the end of their calendar and the beginning of a new age. 

We’re pulling down ladders, tying things down and trying to tighten anything that could blow away. Taking down our banners, removing debris from the scaffolding, stacking chairs and tables in the back yard.  l leave Marsha on a ladder to grab my Guatemalan clergy shirt and stole to jump into the procession and than deliver a greeting in English and Spanish aware of the activity swirling around outside the building.

I excuse myself from the service and go back out to finish the work. Rachelle is wanting to direct things. Anna and Puppy are intently observing everything. And commenting. I regain focus. Check out Jay’s work in the back. Steve tying down the mini dumpsters left by Woodshed’s recent clean out day. Double check with Jamie and Marsha on blow away details, John R standing at the ready.

In the back of my mind, the small attendance, even with the coming hurricane, gnaws at me. Jeremy’s drum flowing world music fills me with envy, it’s what I always wanted. Back to the job at hand. Thankfulness for this crew. We are battening down the hatches. Prepared as we will be. 

There’s an eerie quiet in the air as I head home. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We call it marriage


12/26

George has come from Florida.  Another from a gay couple who have been together many years who have gotten tired of waiting for their home state to come around and have decided to get married anyways. A weekend trip to New York on New Years’ weekend. He’s moved by our church’ long commitment to marriage equality and that we call it marriage, not a blessing of a union. And the story of the Steven window moves him as well. I hope to see he and his fiancee soon. 

A young white man was asleep on the steps when I got there. Teddy was going to try  and find out his story while I met with George. 

A big meeting with our center board and how to move forward with our 501c3 with a Union student who’s had a career in non-profits before beginning seminary. Mim. Ted, Katherine, Danielle and I are all around the table. The discussion at least  brings clarity. 

I’ve still got my service to plan and my longtime friend Jean has arrived early. I’m able to direct her to the Met while I finish my work. When she returns, Jeremy and his group the Magi are rehearsing for their Saturday night gig at the Village jazz landmark the Blue Note. He writes intelligent lyrics and has a solid pop sensibility that allows him to weave in his catalogue of musical experiences seamlessly while laying down a groove with hooks that crawl into your head. 

As I give her the tour of the building, the cast and crew of You Will Make a Difference are arrivng and getting ready for their Friday night performance. Teddy is finishing work on a redo of Noche’s floor. She sees the life that fills this space.

And somewhere, the contract is being worked on. 



We need not think alike to love alike


10/25

The day begins with Kimberley. She shares with me that her Unitarian roots go back not only to 19th century New England but to 16th Century Romania an the court of King John Sigismund whose preacher Frances David preached  We need not think alike to love alike.

I share our conversation with Jane about relating to the New Thought religious movement. How they are not faith communities per se, but communities of faith practice with no commonly held theology but a shared practice. And that is why collaboration has been difficult to define. The interfaith project, as we have experienced it, has been predicated on relationships between/among particularities. For theologians like James Cone and Gustavo Gutierrez, this is a dialectical relationship. For Sharon Welch, it becomes more a multilectic (my word). 

In community’s like Sanctuary NYC, that encounter is already taking place internally as the community seeks to live out its life inter and intrafaith.  This would seem to call for new models of collaboration. 

KImberley’s focusing her energy on planning  next weeks’ read through of the Book of Revelation.

Martin continues to be anxious about our contract. Soledad has spent the day working with the Ukrainian Figure Skating team attempting to help them take flamenco onto ice through their skates. This is not easy.

Crisis. Someone has told our attorney that we have  serious structural and systems issues. That it is surprising we haven’t been shut down. That it will cost millions simply to be safe. And that he has ethical concerns being involved.

As angry as this makes me, I have to focus. Call on Ann Friedman of the Landmarks Conservancy who crafts a detailed e-mail reviewing the Matthew Gottsegen 10 year plan, the priorities for restoration, etc. But most importantly, that after dozens of investigations, no report has ever suggested that there were serious structural and systems issues and that it would be a waste of time and money to redo what has already been done

Of course it takes another high level meeting to resolve this, but Ann’s report does what is needed. Negotiations back on track. But why does this happen? What end is served  in seeking to derail our project? I don’t have time to engage in that analysis.

I’m late for our Interfaith Assembly meeting and a conversation with RL.

Back at the church, there’s someone new at the piano. Kara from Queens. The smile, the laugh, the familiarity just a little too intense. But she plays the Beckstein well. 

The St. Agnes boys are hard at work. Marc wants to get to the sermon recordings. martin is anxious. RL is waiting.....





From other steps: what I said at Yale


10/24


Yale Divinity School


From the panel on Faith and the Public Square, Yale Divinty School Convocation, October 24th.

Let me first say that it is an honor to be on this panel. Even though I fall slightly beyond it’s  boundaries. But then I thought,that’s a place where I often find myself...

It is also significant that we are having this panel just two weeks before our presidential election. I am the pastor of a small urban church in New York City. Even though our first presentation this morning was on the Occupy Movement,I feel I need to come at it again from  a slightly different angle. We live in a  time of kairos,and the Occupy phenomenon was a visble sign of the time we are now in, of that kairos. 

Following the eviction at Zucotti, our congregation hosted over 100 Occupiers for several months. Living with them day to day, I got to know them as people I lived with. People with names. Histories. We were in relationship. 

Ultimately, Occupy was/is not so much a movement as a space. My first visit to Zucotti, I felt that Occupy was equal parts protest and performance art. There was humor, creativity, optimism and hope, if not also naivete and innocence. 

What else was different?  Most " movements" of our time have had a specific objective. End this war, pass or remove that law, respond to some specific incident experienced as grossly unjust and/or paradigmatic. 

OWS was more global-- a spontaneous combustion response to a system, a worldwide system,  that simply doesn't work anymore. That is broken. Or more accurately, fixed. It was the first mass action since Martin Luther King/Ralph Abernathy’s abortive Poor People’s Campaign to raise seriously class issues. And it’s concerns were both political and social. 

As I lived with OWS ( and apparently Homeland Security) one of our social workers described the group like this:
*1/3 idealistic youth who'd left whatever they had to come be part of what they saw as a moment of kairos
* 1/3 "lost souls," IE, young people who had left home for multiple reasons:
   Significant numbers who were  victims of abuse
   LGBTQ youth who had aged out of the foster care system
    People with serious  substance abuse problems
    Mental illness and
*1/3 hardcore homeless, who were, as was reported by the Daily News, pushed into Zucotti.

It was what Kelly McGowan, who had observed our church encampments, called the the Poverty diaspora of America.
What society had failed to deal with in a humane and positive way, OWS had the moral courage to seek to respond with inclusion and care. Where all were unconditionally accepted and every voice valued. What the church was supposed to be about at its heart. More than one person said to me, this is the first place I have ever felt at home.
    
And for awhile it worked. In all honesty, it was ready to implode before the eviction. The questions they raised were profoundly spiritual: 
  Leaving everything and sharing in common
  Radical inclusion
  The nature of humanity. As I said to one Occupier friend:You've just discovered what we call original sin--you moved from the garden to the fall pretty fast...that image of a better world didn't last long.

Occupy was macro. But let me say a word or two about micro. The campaign for a Sweatshop Free Upper Westside. This campaign’s coalition  includes:
  Undocumented immigrants
  Union workers
  Political leaders
  Faith community people
  Community residents and most strikingly, over 60 small businesses. The demand is simple:
   Just obey the law. Pay the workers their due,with papers or without. 

It is a project seeking to build justice on one issue in one  neighborhood with a replicable model. And a way to make plain  that economic justice does not just come from Capital Hill or City Council. That every decision we make works for or against justice. 

Yes, this is a time of kairos.The empire is over. We live in a global economy in which everything is connected. Models must be holistic. 

The mainline church as we have known it is over:  we're living in the postlude. Yet our church structures continue to govern themselves and their mission by no longer viable corporate models. Models that came close to destroying the US economy if not the world economy. 

And I reluctantly must say that in this moment of kairos, our biggest problem may be the liberals. Can I agree with Christopher Hedges that liberalism is essentially done? The end of liberalism as a contending alternative has been hastened by a practice of apriori acquiescence seeking to ameliorate those who by primary identity can not compromise.  Because no dialectic is ever drawn, the discourse has moved steadily to the right until the real space of political discourse has narrowed to irrelevance. 

In my own deeply divided New York City Presbytery, the division is  not ideological or theological but big, white and rich vs small, colored and poor. These are faith communities of privilege,power and control, are inclusive of and advocate for women and the lgbtq community and at the same time protective of the entitlement of privilege. Their supportive client relationships with small ethnic congregations do not represent a commitment to social transformation but the a new form of ecclesiastical colonialism. 

We need to stop worrying about institutions that are dying and engage ourselves in the work of building good ministries on the ground, at the grass roots level.  

The signs of transformative, faithful,ministry will be grassroots coalitions, collaborations, partnerships and networks that will show these marks:
  *Global in perspective
   *Interfaith as way of life
   *Practitioners of what my friend Sekou calls an organic theology, IE,rooted in community and exegeting the 
ongoing life and experience of that community.

Wherever I go, the discourse of progressive faith has moved beyond liberation to transformation. We need to move beyond a critical analysis expressed primarily in materialist terms to one  that is holisitic. One that:
  • Understands evangelism and social justice to be integrally related
  • Understands the practice of ministry to be rooted in relationships
  • Seriously engages issues of race and class 
  • Lives at the intersection of beauty and justice, ethics and aesthetics
      And....most of all a commitment to build a community based in radical hope and to live out in joy that emerges from struggle with the full and  certain knowledge that,as Archbishop Tutu said long before apartheid fell, we have already won. 


Bob('75) and panel chair Chris Glaser ('76)




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thinking about teeth


10/23

Pondering the realization that in this country, teeth are a class issue.  Those with money get to keep them. Get crowns, implants, replacements, reconstructions.Those without get their teeth take out and receive dentures. Insurance pays for cleaning, extractions, dentures, that’s it. Something so simple as teeth. 

Martin growing anxious for a contract.

Trying to nail down plans for Reformation  Sunday but things keep interfering.

Marc tells me I succeeded in making a good recording of last Sunday’s service. Still trying to get them ready for posting.

Thinking about teeth.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

As a child


10/22

Morning begins with breakfast and a conversation with our longtime lawyer Harris. As we finish, I take him by to see the posters from our film of the “Second Meeting” to give him a feel for what we’ve been up to.

Lennard is a German filmmaker from Hamburg who is doing a documentary on Nil Frahm who played at West-Park a few weeks ago. He wants to photograph the Beckstein, get some shots for his film. He is shooting the piano as our St. Agnes guys are cleaning the sanctuary. They weave around one another in an intricate unconscious dance.

Steven and I and Teddy meet to further develop our ideas for Reformation Sunday. Only question is whether we hae enough time to pull it off. I look over my theses from the last two years and am struck by waht was written and what has changed, what remained the same. 

Martin has brought his friend Wendy back fr another visit. As always, possibilities, but.... And I remind myself that Martin and Noche are an example of a possibility that became a reality.

Anna and Puppy have returned to Bible Study as well. We begin with another Jesus and children passage.  We note that the disciples reject the children. On their first mission trip, Jesus told them that when they were not received, they were to shake the dust off and move on Here it is they who are rejecting, once again just not getting it.

So Jesus welcomes them. Then says that we must receive the kingdom as a little child. We reflect that on the one hand, there is this sense of innocence, simplicity. But then, as we reflect on our own childhoods, we realize that childhood is not always happy or simple. In fact there can be dominance, abuse, suffering. To be a child is to be defenseless and vulnerable. 

And we talk about how it makes sense that this passage follows the one on divorce, since children are the primary victims of divorce. And in Jesus day would heighten their already marginalized status. 

We come, vulnerable, exposed.

Teddy points out that child molesters do not survive well in prison. And I suggest that Jerry Sandusky was probably abused himself. Circles. Cycles. 

Which leads us to the rich young ruler. (Though nothing defines him initially as rich or a ruler..) He calls Jesus good, an invitation to respond with another status affirmation. But Jesus refuses  to play. He wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. But Jesus responds with don’t do’s. And he throws in an extra law, not to defraud. Which in Jesus’ day meant to deny a worker just wages. Or refuse to return what was given for safekeeping. The Upper Westside business that refuse to honor the labor laws come immediately to mind. As do the banks. 
To claim to have done all these is to put oneself at the level of Moses. Pretty audacious.

Jesus loves at him, loves him. (Nowhere else in Mark does Jesus love anyone.) Having spoken out about  commandments, Jesus seeks to live out what he called the greatest, IE, love your neighbor as yourself.  Then follows the command to leave all to the poor and follow me. And he goes away sad, because he had many possessions (literally, had much property.) To make sure everyone gets it, Jesus uses the camel and the eye of the needle metaphor for getting into the kingdom of heaven. (And it is  pointless to look for even tiny loopholes around that. He meant what he said, not a play on words about a real gate in the wall.) And then makes the claim for God’s ability to make the impossible, possible.

Peter states emphatically  that they have  left everything. Which in fact, they had. 

And yet again, the disciples don’t understand. And Jesus must remind them of the last shall be first nature of his community. And that in this age, we are destined to receive many times over what we have lost. Not, as has been accused, pie in the sky. But in this age. Eternal life will take care of itself.  

This day is the first day of a new way of being....not defined  by avarice or acquisition or consumption. And the seeds of what our children will become are already  planted. If we want a nonviolent world, we have to begin with our children and break the cycle.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Keeping it in perspective


10/21

As every Sunday, Teddy is there to greet me as I arrive. Everything is almost ready. Anna has come back again, with Puppy under her arm. And there is a woman visiting from Toronto.

No Marc, so I hope I’ve set the recording mic up right.

Teddy has said that his kids tell him that purgatory is gone, or at least they don’t talk about it anymore. I ask him to hold that thought.  While going through the announcements, I talk about next Sunday being Reformation Sunday and remembering the last two years when I nailed my theses to the church door. (http://west-parkpress.blogspot.com/search?q=11+theses )And pretty soon, ideas start flying and we agree to talk about it after services.

Today’s topic (in Mark 10:35-45 and Job 38) seems to be keeping it in  perspective. Or rather, ourselves in perspective.   

The disciples yet again, are still  not getting it. Jesus is talking about the cross so how do they respond? James and John want to be second and third in command. Want to be Jesus’ right and left hand go to guys. Want to be better than the other guys...The fact that they even ask suggests that they already think they are better..

So Jesus asks if they are ready to drink his cup, share his baptism.What’s he talking about? The cup...it is the cup of suffering, but more it is the cup of salvation. We don’t aspire to be martyrs. Don’t set out to suffer. ( Although I’ve seen some OWS folk at demos who seem to live for antagonizing the police into attacking and enjoy the suffering ...)We do  commit to being faithful..and to follow the road where it will lead... 

When I asked about baptized, someone Hope responds that it is about living his ministry. I say that it is in baptism that we receive our ministries, not ordination. Each of us has a call, a unique life we are supposed to live.  It is also about the Holy Spirit..at Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit declares this is  my son in whom I am well pleased..and it is the Holy Spirit that  sustains us on this path...

The clear image is of servant leadership, and once again, as if we haven’t heard it enough times, the last shall be first and the  first shall be last....

We have been reading through Job, but we haven’t been really following the story..I ask who can give a brief summary and John responds. About a righteous man who is the pawn in a game between Satan and God. He loses everything, but still keeps faith. He believes he can have his day in court and be vindicated. He wants to be heard. This is one of the first explorations of the question, why do bad things happen to good people?  Job has been demanding  of God to know why? and God’s ultimate answer is, where were you when I lay the foundations of the earth?  In other words, you can’t have the full mind of God....remember that.....none of us, no one of us... knows the full mind of God or else God would not be God. 

That foundations of the earth is a graphic image. I remember a geologist showing me a mesa in New Mexico. The eons of each color. Here an ancient sea. Here the time of the dinosaurs, all in plain view... and if you lay a piece of paper on top, that  is the time of humanity... it’s not all about us...

We are reminded that the God who does the big things like building the foundations of the earth is also the one who does the little, like feeding little baby ravens... like in that beautiful song...His eye is on the sparrow.... 

Most of us are just folks trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got....it’s not always good vs. evil, we can disagree, we will disagree, and still be motivated by the  same call with each of our limited knowledge. We need to be understanding of each other on the way. 

After the final circle, we gather in my office. Luther made his Here I stand moment to declare both what was wrong and what should be.  In our day, this year, two weeks before the election, where do we stand? I took the occasion two years ago to make my declaration, say who we were coming back. Reopening the doors. But what do we have to say now? And what’s today’s Wittenberg Door, the Internet? 

We want to say who we are, what our reformed tradition has to offer to this day while inviting our neighbors to add their thoughts. This needs some work. But an idea is coming to life. 

You will make a difference



10/20

You will make a difference


Cut out letters saying “YOU WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE” are strung across the entrance to the church. The audience for this evening’s performance is assembling in the narthex. At the appointed hour, flashlight holding cast members lead us in to the darkened sanctuary and the scene I saw rehearsed the other day plays out in the balcony. The characters wander and in and out wordlessly. A sense of ennui? (Or as Teddy, said, I get it...life sucks...) Finally there are some conversations and a confrontation with a daughter over the use of ecstasy. And in a search for names, a name from the witch scene in the balcony is repeated. I feel the implied connection.

balcony rehearsal
As we’re led through the opened pantry down to the basement, I can’t help but remember the Tenant again and what an incredible artistic achievement that was. We line up along a path with cast members moving, dancing, miming among us. Then they form an arc for us to pass through, as they repeat catch phrases from commercials and other bits of American pop culture. We cut off a piece of string to carry with us.

in Mc Alpin
Back in Mc Alpin, the theatre has disappeared. Cast members are holding candles and speaking monologues with various levels of intensity.  Until only one speaker is left and we’re led, singing la la la la lala to sit at table for a served vegan feast. 

Jeremy G sits at the head, like the host. We talk about how this performance grew out of his experience with and reflections on Occupy Wall Street. The questions we’re called to raise, not necessarily answer. I remember how at the beginning OWS felt like equal parts protest and performance art to me. And how when the question What’s your plan? was hurled at the front line of Occupiers, the answer came back, What’s your plan? Can we make one together? Jeremy tells me that much is improvised, changes every performance.And that one teacher told him choreography was the essential part of the performance.

We talk about what we’re trying to create. The interaction, synergy of groups that work in the  building. Openness to collaboration as intention, not collateral byproduct. 

As for me, I struggled to put it together. Until I stopped. Like the Beatles said, Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.... which I do. And meaning comes by experience. Perhaps it’s even like a ’60’s era happening, every night ending with live music, a hoe down or a feast...

On my way home, I meet Jeremy M to borrow an external hardrive to download Zeljko’s interview takes before he leaves. Late Saturday. And work ahead....






Links for Alivewire and You Will Make a Difference :