A silent protest in Love Park, downtown Philadelphia orchestrated by performance artists protesting the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson. The onslaught of passerby’s wanting to take photos with the LOVE statue exemplifies the disconnect in American society. Simply frame out the dead body, and it doesn’t exist. In this event, artist activists staged a scene where Kieth A. Wallace, an Actor, pretended to be dead for an hour in front of the statue while others took turns holding a sign with “Call Us By Our Names” written on it.
To see more photos from this performance, check out #CallUsByOurNames on Facebook.
I am not a journalist, I am merely a friend of the artists involved. I was not at this event.
As the photos show, the social experiment and silent protest highlighted the peoples reaction in the foreground of the photo. In this context the people become the performance art, and the faux dead body becomes a backdrop. As an artist, I don’t want to give you my interpretation of the art of these photos. They should speak for themselves. But I did talk to Lee Edward Colston II, an actor, who was involved in the event.
Here are some of his observations of the social interactions he witnessed:
I don’t know who any of these folks are.
They were tourists I presume.
But I heard most of what everything they said. A few lines in particular stood out. There’s one guy not featured in the photos. His friends were trying to get him to join the picture but he couldn’t take his eyes off the body.
"Something about this doesn’t feel right. I’m going to sit this one out, guys." "Com’on man… he’s already dead."
There were a billion little quips I heard today. Some broke my heart. Some restored my faith in humanity. There was an older white couple who wanted to take a picture under the statue.
The older gentleman: “Why do they have to always have to shove their politics down our throats.” Older woman: “They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.”
One woman even stepped over the body to get her picture. But as luck would have it the wind blew the caution tape and it got tangle around her foot. She had to stop and take the tape off. She still took her photo.
There was a guy who yelled at us… “We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!”
"One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’
don’t even know what to say really
Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event, anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public.
When I got Robin Williams’ rider, I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work. I never watched a Robin Williams movie the same way after that. I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example.
Brian Lord.org (via boysncroptops)
This is my favorite of the photos from a wardrobe design standpoint. Jack’s sweater is smacking me in the face.That wobbly-symmetric tight striped situation is the perfect lovechild of modern and magical that Tom and Lorenzo talk about. What are those pants. Look at how ultra-utilitarian his mother looks. There’s no way in hell that woman consented to spend her time constructing those pants for him. You don’t need to know the mythology to know which one is dreaming of making it in the big city next Friday and which one is demanding to know exactly how he’s planning on coming up with the rent.
Nicki Minaj’s filthy verse on Kanye West’s “Monster” — the crazy-ass voicess, the breath control — was the first moment a lot of people started to take her seriously as an MC.
“Cups” was a many-lived ditty that achieved ubiquity after Anna Kendrick covered it in Pitch Perfect and used a plastic cup (and her hands) for percussion.
Then my boo-in-my-head Akilah made this mashup, and you get this. Which is, you know, pretty dope.
I saw EDGE OF TOMORROW and am not shy to say that I loved it. Tom Cruise delivers a surprisingly moving performance as a top brass ad exec type who is happy to be the face of the United States mili…
I wrote a post about my appreciation for the latest Tom Cruise movie. If the thought makes your face crinkle up real bad, you could try thinking of it as the latest Emily Blunt movie.
Rochelle Hurt, poet, Rust Belt and Ohio native, and author of THE RUSTED CITY, very, very kindly interviewed me for one of her posts as guest blogger for The Best American Poetry blog. I get pretty geeky in the process (par for the course)–her questions were rad. If you’d like to read about aesthetics, accessibility in poetry, Sookie Stackhouse, or read a poem about Man O’ War, here is the link to the interview.
My real recommendation is to read Rochelle’s book. For one thing, it is a novel in verse, and there’s no way to describe the work the prose poems do with large-scale formal conceit and emotion that is as moving as the experience of reading the book yourself. For those of us who lose gray matter stressing over ordering poems into something that approximates a book as opposed to a doorstop, I would point to THE RUSTED CITY a book of poems that is very confidently a book, and lovingly so. The stories of a Rust Belt city, a family, systemic ruin, labor, a daughter, and creation itself are all told through a perspective that is carefully crafted while embracing the inorganic skew that is a (un)natural result of the fractures of the era. I would recommend this collection especially to anyone who is interested in lyric character-growth, world-building, and love of people, or of the world.