Saturday, August 30, 2014

Occupy where you are


There is a fresh bouquet of flowers on the steps. And also Geoffrey. Looking half- like his old sub-Saharan  prophet self and half like his newer cleaned up Geoffrey self. Long skirt and sandals, no straw hat.

Pat O is in to fill me in in yesterday’s meeting that took place while I was trying to make my way back from the beach and Alistair’s car broke down.

Trisha is in working on details of her upcoming new take on Othello.

Then my old friend from Occupy, Jason H arrives with his friend Frenchy. Jason H says to  Frenchy, I used to live here. And we tell the whole story of Occupy and West-Park, those crazy, heady, wonderful days.

Frenchy is a Dean of Students at one of the high schools with high risk kids in the Bronx. His roots go back to New Orleans, (hence Frenchy), and he’s still got family there. He’s also been a dancer  with some of the top shelf African-American dance companies in the city. Like Ailey. Bill T. Jones. He wants to use dance and other arts for the students to learn to tell their own stories. Ah, Freire, I say…becoming the subjects of own history…and he smiles. He’s got a special heart for queer youth and their double marginalization in the ghetto.And of course the conversation comes around to child sexual abuse. That hidden reality. Jason and I recall the number of Occupiers who had been abused. 

Jason lives in Staten Island and working with community groups on the Eric Garner choke-hold death issue. Almost lost in the Ferguson aftermath. I ask if he was in Al Sharpton’s march. He shakes his head disdainfully, I don’t do that, he says. Al’s in. And he’s out. I want to work with the people who stay. Who have to live there.

I give them the full tour, I want Frenchy to see all the performance spaces. He’s impressed. The back to the chapel for more conversation. Jason, as always, sees all the connections. He’s trying to connect Amanda’s  tower project to Frenchy’s work. And always, he sees the connection between everything and how it all fits together, how it’s a systemic, global problem. It’s what Occupy got intuitively. But he’s not sure what exactly to do except to keep bringing people together for conversations. To see what might come out of them. Frenchy listens to our global conversation for awhile then says, I don’t know man. I just think you gotta occupy where you are. That’s all I can do.

He asks what’s next. I say that I find you have to  let it simmer a bit, see what rises to the top. I feel the connection too. We’ll talk again.

Sam and Ryan and the  Cymbeline folks are doing their final run through. Tomorrow night is opening night.

I stop by to see RL. Watch another Leverage with him.... The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide leverage….Leverage got it. The system isn’t broken. It’s fixed. Occupy where you are.


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