Sunday, May 24, 2009

Revolution/Garage Sale/Critical Mass/Pillow Fights

Writing on the seeds of the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Germany, Jacques Barzun examines the forces behind revolution. And while taking community action at the lot is far from revolutionary, it shares both the "event" and "resonance" that make public uprisings successful.

I'd like to think that my making of the video was the event that spurred the action but that's not the case; perhaps it was a rough draft of a preliminary pre-event?

Luther's mythical nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the Catholic All Saint's Church was an authentic event and it was followed by resonant action by the masses. In From Dawn to Decadence, Barzun writes that various people find reason to participate in such action, namely:

ardent youths full of hope as they catch the drift of the idea, rowdies looking for fun, and characters with a grudge. Cranks and tolerated lunatics come out of the house, criminals out of hideouts, and all assert themselves.

This passage strikes a chord with me because of the diversity of stakeholders -- to use contemporary planning vernacular -- that are and will be affected by whatever happens in this space. Young, old, gay, straight, lifelong residents, newcomers, students, employees, transients, hipsters, yuppies, hippies, property owners, developers, dogs, etc. stand to benefit or lose when something (or nothing) happens here. Uniting this diverse population is the task at hand.

With that said, I'm working on using the lot as a legitimate "community garage" space for the Second Annual Capitol Hill Garage Sale. If you have any experience organizing events -- specifically working with indemnity and liability -- please get in touch so I can further educate myself on the specifics.

And if you're more of the revolutionary type and are planning on storming the lot, setting up camp and making noise, then more power to you. On that note, has anyone reading this site been involved with Critical Mass or with the flash mob pillow fights?

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