Unless you’ve been living in an underground tunnel somewhere, a la the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or a recently overthrown dictator, you’ve probably heard of this little thing that’s been sweeping the nation. Oh, you know, OCCUPY. That little old thing. That movement of young, old, employed, unemployed, underemployed, radical, moderate, black, brown, white, queer, and straight. That movement of everyone who’s been paying attention to the widening wealth gap, our economy falling apart, corporations taking over our government, y’know, things getting shittier right before our very eyes. THAT thing.
Well, the Occupy movement started pretty soon after LATM embarked on its nationwide tour and I’m not saying we started the whole thing, but some people are…okay, fine. No one’s saying we started Occupy. But we knew we couldn’t make a tour documentary about the state of our nation without jumping right into it.
The three of us have been visiting our own nearest occupies (what with being human beings who care about things offstage as well) but felt we needed to add an emergency stop given THE ADVENT OF THE REVOLUTION. So Nato and Kamau flew out to New York (where I’d been living for two months) so that the three of us could visit Zuccotti Park, talk to those occupying Wall Street, and put on a show for the people of Liberty Square.
Oh yeah and we pretty much had three days to figure it all out. Three days to figure out: flights, places to stay, time to talk to people on the ground, finding an available theater close to Zuccotti, letting people know said show would be happening, and figuring out what we’d say onstage. No big. Right?
After a couple days of frantic phone calls and theater visits, Kamau, Nato, Keri, and our filmmakers Mike and Evan arrived and we headed out to Zuccotti. We talked to a young artist, a former Wall Street employee, an out of work contractor, and the leaders of Occupy Judaism who called us sacred clowns and implied we were doing God’s work. (Hear that, abuela?! Estoy haciendo la obra de Dios!) We were exhausted but inspired. We hoofed it straight from the park to the theater (which we’d found and booked less that 48hrs before) without the slightest idea if anyone would show up. But New Yorkers stepped up and every seat in our little theater was filled with friends, strangers, and some of the people we’d talked to moments earlier. So thank you, New York. Thank you for coming to our show, for being the first spark in this growing movement, and for having a Halal food cart on every corner.
You had me at, Halal, New York. You had me at Halal. (Janine makes out with a plate of chicken over rice. Kamau and Nato awkwardly leave the room. Fade to black.)