Corporatist Conservative Cabals have so much money, so much control of the world's resources, so much mendacity and so little empathy for the common folk. Yes, they have a pretty tight grip on the reins of power, but we have endless wells of creativity, we know how to throw a party, we know how to stage a rally, and we know how to put play back into, and onto, Legitimate Theater. Last night in NYC a varied group of activists convened at the David H. Koch Theater, home of the New York City Ballet and Opera. It was intervention time!
Reverend Billy, Brave New Foundation, The Other 98% and Koch Brothers Exposed among others, conducted a modest face-lift on the upscale building, or perhaps a "facade lift" with a huge sticker suggesting new ways to think about our rich overlord patrons of the arts and their hitherto covert orchestration of trumped-up grassroots organizations spewing falsehoods while waving flags.
Unbeknownst in the planning stage to our graphic agitators, the evening was a red carpet event for Koch Theater funders and Board of Trustees. People like Sandra Bullock were in attendance, and security was triple-heightened. A friend of mine was part of a four person team in charge of putting two 18-foot ladders on the side of the building and applying an 11-foot by 4-foot sticker above the building's titling signage while 700 people gathered for a mystery "event" at the other side of the building. The "event," a short film about the Koch Bros projected on the far side of the building, was both attraction and distraction, so that the tag-team could work their magic fifteen feet off the ground. It seems that sleight-of-hand and magician's art of distraction can work for more folk than corrupt state governors and their lapdog legislators...
A massive projector in a nearby hotel room displayed this short satirical movie while free popcorn was handed out to the 1,000 people gathered in the street. Meanwhile, our brave stickermen finished their work, took off their uniforms and hats, and smoothly blended back into the swelling crowd.
Once the sticker was applied, a live marching band accompanied by Reverend Billy (who writes some fine Kos diaries, btw) walked with the people from the other side of the building to view the sticker along with another video projection - also projected from a strategically selected hotel room across the street. The second projection showed caricatures of the Koch Bros. saying such things as "I trademarked Greed. That's right, I own it" and "I love democracy. That's why I buy elections." Security arrived, and were not pleased. It took the guards about 15 minutes to get the sticker down, though that allowed for plenty of time for pictures and celebration. The projection continued for about 40 minutes.
It is a beautiful thing, this notion of "serious play." Public space is prescribed and constrained by many of the same corporate forces that are forever altering our society. Reclaiming such space, even for the theater of Theater, is a metonymic reclamation of our very democracy.
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Update: Reverend Billy was arrested towards the end of this event. This is a pretty amazing video of the vibe in the street. Of course, all of this is suppressed by mainstream media.