By John Ballard
Last night when I went to bed the last Twitter messages I saw reported 32,000 people had occupied the Brooklyn Bridge and there was a People's Library, a marching band and a light projector.
This light show was then played on the side of the Verizon building and more than one Twitter message reported they had tears in their eyes as it was presented. Here it is.
Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing fame found and interviewed Mark Read, the creative force behind what is being described as a Bat Signal.
This interview only takes a few minute and is priceless.
Xeni Jardin: How did you go about finding someone nearby who would allow you stage this from inside their home?
Mark Read: Opposite the Verizon building, there is a bunch of city housing. Subsidized, rent-controlled. There's a lack of services, lights are out in the hallways, the housing feels like jails, like prisons. I walked around, and put up signs in there offering money to rent out an apartment for a few hours. I didn't say much more. I received surprisingly few calls, and most of them seemed not quite fully there. But then I got one call from a sane person Her name was Denise Vega. She lived on the 16th floor. Single, working mom, mother of three.
I spoke with her on the phone, and a few days later went over and met her.
I told her what I wanted to do, and she was enthused. The more I described, the more excited she got.
Her parting words were, "let's do this."
She wouldn't take my money. That was the day of the eviction of Zuccotti, the same day. And she'd been listening to the news all day, she saw everything that had happened.
"I can't charge you money, this is for the people," she said.
She was born in the projects. She opened up her home to us.
She was in there tonight with her 3 daughters, 2 sisters. The NYPD started snooping around down on the ground while the projections were up, it was clear where we were projecting from, and inside it was festive.
"If they want to come up they're gonna need a warrant!," her family was saying. "If they ask us, well, we don't know what they are talking about!" They were really brave and cool.
Great comment, first in the thread:
"She wouldn't take my money."
Throughout the United States a million conservative heads just exploded.
And many more.
- I'm 81 years old and tears welled up in my eyes from the emotion of what this act of courage, love and hope by our progeny says to me and my generation. Bravo!!
- Fist in the air, tears in my eyes. Fuck yes.
- Denise Vega is an excellent example about how anyone can support the OccupyWallStreet movement without sleeping in a tent at an occupation.
High risk but payoff is huge.
I love her quotes: Her parting words were, "let's do this." "I can't charge you money, this is for the people," she said.
The description of the projection setup made me laugh: But then, we held the projected in place with gaffer tape, a broomstick, some baling wire.
Just goes to show you don't need boatloads of money to make a difference.
I feel so empowered when I read stories like this.
- So beautiful. I'm 62, laid off in August, struggling between despair and optimism, so pleased and happy about this movement. It's brilliant, just enough magic to make it more wonderful, thank you thank you thank you. This was so smart and funny and terrific.
- I'm nearly speechless. Thank you Xeni for getting this interview. A huge ginourmous thank you to everyone who made this possible. I think this is the most magnificent piece of street theater I've ever witnessed elevating it to the level of sacred theater. Let's hear it for the backstage crew that make the magic happen! I love you all.
- The OWS patriots (sounds better than protesters, the repubs have no copyright on the term 'patriots'), Mark Read and crew, Denise Vega and family, all selfless in their actions - makes it even more disheartening to hear FoxNoise denigrate and insult the OWS patriots. That vile Rep Peter King in NY should be voted out of office next election for his insulting rant in re: OWS and the people participating. Bitter, spiteful troll of a man: Peter King.
- Light cannons are more powerful than sound cannons any day!
NPR devoted a few minutes to the story on Morning Edition this morning.
The audio version is much better, but here is a snip of the portion reporting from a subway car.
ADLER: But inside the trains, Occupy Wall Street groups were using the people's microphone.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mike check.
CROWD: Mike check.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We wish you...
CROWD: We wish you...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...a good afternoon.
CROWD: ...a good afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And we welcome...
CROWD: And we welcome...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: NYPD's finest...
CROWD: NYPD's finest...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...to keep peace at our train. CROWD: ...to keep peace at our train.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Greetings officer.
CROWD: Greetings officer.
ADLER: Then they told the passengers their stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: My name is Chuck.
CROWD: My name is Chuck.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: ...I just got laid off from my job.
CROWD: ...I just got laid off from my job.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I had to move back in with my parents...
CROWD: I had to move back in with my parents...
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I am 25. CROWD: I am 25.
ADLER: Then they asked people in the train to speak about their economic troubles. But the passengers, perhaps overwhelmed, did not want to talk. In the evening, thousands of Occupy Wall Street supporters marched across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Two dozen people were arrested for blocking traffic at the beginning, but the huge march was largely peaceful.