Archive for September 21st, 2011

September 21, 2011

Pedagogy of the Oppressed: The Musical!

by Tom Tenney

I was just kicking around on Kickstarter looking at potential projects to fund and came across this one:

How timely and appropriate!  I put in ten bucks to be able to go to the opening night, if others of you do too we can make it a field trip!

Here’s more info:


Youth and student advocates from a Brooklyn community are working to change the education system with an inter-active theatrical event—Pedagogy of the Oppressed – The Musical! Based on the famous work by Brazilian educator Paolo Freire this original work dramatizes the diverse experiences of students, teachers and parents in public schools and the moments that influence our ideas about education. The play also demonstrates a fresh approach to learning and the teacher/student relationship. Think satire, smart mob, documentary drama, and a call for education reform, all wrapped up in an entertaining musical theater experience.

Falconworks’ energetic and culturally diverse community-based acting company employs techniques from Nobel Prize winner Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, used to create theater with non-actors throughout the world. The group has produced over 100 original works, uniting adults and youth from an economically challenged community in Brooklyn, NY as allies to foster social change. All the organization’s work uses theater games, music, dance, skits and story-telling techniques to encourage spectators to become actors and to investigate economic, cultural, political and other social forces.

Falconworks Artists Group programs have been funded by Independence Community Foundation, North Star Fund, New York Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding from this campaign will be used to cover production costs, including, costumes, stipends to cover performer expenses, marketing and our set which will be designed by artist and activist Rachel Owens and made from recycled “found” materials.

September 21, 2011

Resistance and Performance Part II

by StefiaMadelyne

Protester Says More Artists Required at #OccupyWallStreet

  • by Liza Eliano on September 21, 2011
    Jon McCarthy printing tshirts at the protest and shots of his design and the lino block. (image by the author for Hyperallergic)

    Today marks the fifth consecutive day of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a grassroots protests of over 2,000 people from all walks of life who have descended on Wall Street to speak out against corporate America’s plundering of the lower and middle classes.

    In addition to organized demonstrations and rallies twice a day at the opening and closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange, visuals have also played an important role in catalyzing the movement. But one artist at the protest today, Jon McCarthy, says that more artists need to come out.

    McCarthy, a Brooklynite and a graphic design student at FIT, has been doing his part, creating linocut symbols and striking graphics to define the movement and printing them onto t-shirts for people to take away for free (although donations are accepted). The graphic he is working with today is a bold black and white sketch of an iconic image of a fist rising up surrounding by overlapping leaves. McCarthy’s use of the fist, a symbol of several past rebellions of the disenfranchised such as the 1968 Paris protests, carries a profound history of the struggle of working men and women, while the leaves are intended to represent the masses united in peaceful dissidence.

    McCarthy noted that artists in response to the protests “should not try to invent their own symbols, but use the symbols that have come before us.” More importantly, though, was McCarthy’s call for more artists to join the protest and create works that will ignite a younger generation to act up. “We need to reach kids,” he said, adding that art is an extremely important tool for youth education.

    The protest is continuing at Zucotti Park, which is located at Liberty Street and Trinity Place.

September 21, 2011

In the News: Resistance and Performance

by StefiaMadelyne

Occupy Wall Street: the protesters speak

The anti-capitalist protesters who have set up camp in lower Manhattan are becoming a fixture of the area

    • Anti-capitalist protestors in New YorkAnti-capitalist protesters march through Lower Manhattan, New York. Photograph: John Stuttle/ O’Neill had no regrets. He had travelled thousands of miles across the country – and gave up a well-paying job as a data manager in California – to sleep rough in a downtown Manhattan public square, enduring rain and increasingly chilly nights. Police keep a close eye on him every day.

But O’Neill was happy to be part of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests that have transformed New York‘s Zuccotti Park from a spot where Wall Streeters grab a lunchtime sandwich into an informal camp of revolutionaries, socialists, anarchists and quite a lot of the just-plain-annoyed.

“Regrets? No. God, no,” said O’Neill, 34. “It is a little scary for sure. Somebody had to make a stand to do this. It is kind of amazing right now.” O’Neill is even happy to sleep on the park’s concrete benches. “It’s OK, actually,” he said.

O’Neill is part of an encampment in the square that looks ramshackle but in fact is highly organised, and looks rapidly on the way to becoming a fixture of downtown Manhattan life – if the police let the protesters stay there.

That looked unlikely on Tuesday when several protesters were forcibly arrested and taken away, including one woman who ended up in hospital. But for now the protest continues after beginning last weekend with a march on Wall Street.

The protest has morphed into a wide-ranging anti-capitalist demonstration that has attracted attention – and support – from around the world. Bemused bankers, construction workers and other downtown workers pass by every day, stopping to gawp and take pictures. Sometimes there is a lot to look at. Today, for example, Zuni Tikka, 37, was engaged in a topless protest along with several friends.

The protesters’ camp in Lower ManhattanStanding bare-breasted behind a poster that proclaimed “Capitalism Isn’t Working”, she happily posed for interested bystanders. The lack of clothing, she explained, was a metaphor. “I can’t afford a shirt. Wall Street has stolen the shirts from our backs,” she said.

That carnival atmosphere is typical of the protest. Anyone hoping (or fearing) for a violent assault on the bastions of American capitalism will be sorely disappointed. Instead, several hundred protesters each morning and evening set off to march by the New York stock exchange.

They blow trumpets, bang drums and chant slogans while holding placards that read “Free Market My Ass” and “Too Big Has Failed”. They go back and forth down Wall Street, behind barricades lined with police, and then return to the camp in Zuccotti Park.

The daily march around Wall StreetThey then spend the day holding workshops, informal concerts and various protest stunts (such as the nude demonstration). They welcome visitors and tourists and try to obey the demands made by the police.

Each day a “general assembly” is held where topics and events are discussed in a free-for-all of debate and discussion. “It is a leaderless situation,” said Thorin Caristo, 37, who nonetheless is part of a small core group of people who try to keep things organised.

One of the protesters, Thorin Caristo, explains why he is thereThe protest has attracted wide support and has a sophisticated social media operation. There is a live feed onto the internet and a huge presence on Twitter. Supporters around the world have even been sending in orders to a local pizza shop to keep the protesters fed. So much so, in fact, that some organisers have asked them to stop ordering pizza as they had more than they could eat. Now most help comes in the form of money or – most importantly – more people coming.

“People are donating from all over the world. There are car pools of people arriving from Wisconsin, California and Florida. They told us: ‘Hang on, we’re coming!’ One woman who has travelled a long way is Becky Wartell, 24, a massage therapist from Maine. “I am a small business owner!” she laughed. She had just returned from the latest march down Wall Street.

Becky Wartell explains why she has joined the protest”What everybody’s here protesting is that fact that 1% of the population controls so much wealth. We are the rest of society. We are the 99%,” she said.

There is a broad range of opinion on display. Some are travellers who have made protesting into a lifestyle. Some are students. Others are working people, like O’Neill and Wartell, who have taken time off to join in. No one knows how long they are going to be in Zuccotti Park.

As with much of the protest, things appear likely to just evolve as they go along. The same goes for the protesters’ aims too. “We don’t have a precise goal. We want to stay a month. That’s a loose goal. Or maybe longer. We want to be here until we have entered a worldwide dialogue about transparency and accountability in the financial system,” said Caristo.

One thing many of the protesters do know is their facts and figures. For every hippy talking about world peace or traveller wanting to heal the world, another will mention the exact tax rates that rich Americans pay, or that 20% of the US population now control 84% of the wealth. Or that the richest 400 families have the same net worth as the bottom 50% of the entire nation.

Even Tikka, as she posed topless before a gaggle of fascinated construction workers, was protesting deliberately next to a sign that read: “I didn’t say look, I said listen.”

September 21, 2011

Makeshift Magazine: Global DIY

by Farah

Makeshift is a new “quarterly magazine focused on grassroots creativity and invention around the world.” It sounds like they are trying to expand upon what the Maker Faire and Make magazine do and introduce people to global perspectives on DIY that they might not otherwise have heard about. They have contributors in 20+ countries, so it’ll be cool to see what kinds of projects they end up featuring.

The Atlantic had a small preview a couple of weeks ago: there’s a farmer/roboticist in China, a man in Kenya who made a text message controlled smart home system (photo below), a technology Fab Lab in Barcelona, and a few more.

Photo by Erik Hersman

As the narrator in the video says, “sometimes making is a tool for survival, enterprise, or self expression. Particularly in environments of scarcity, you will find immense creativity.” I think that this is a really important contrast between DIY in more affluent communities versus other cultures where DIY initiatives often grow out of the need to be resourceful with what’s available. Several people in class criticized the Maker Faire for not focusing on sustainability enough, which is a totally valid point. I’m curious: what do you guys think about this project?

The Kickstarter for Makeshift has already met its goal, but you can still pledge if you want a copy of the magazine or any of the other rewards.

September 21, 2011

Lion Brand Yarn Studio

by StefiaMadelyne


34 W. 15th Street
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-243-9070
map and directions
public transit information

Introducing Our New Charity Window for Warm Up America!

Thursday, September 8th, 2011


Come by Lion Brand Yarn Studio and take a look at this year’s window display for Warm Up America! Giant skeins of yarn and an enormous afghan make this what might be our coziest window ever. As you look at this display, we hope you’ll be reminded of just how much our craft can help the less fortunate.

Help us make this window even cozier and share your skills with someone in need this year. Last year, we collected enough afghan blocks to make over 38 afghans. This year, with your help, we hope to collect even more!


  • 7″ x 9″ afghan blocks.  Please use machine washable yarn*


  • All blocks must be dropped off in person** to Lion Brand Yarn Studio, 34 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011


  • Now until November 30th, 2011


  • Click here for patterns on the Warm Up America! website orhere for Lion Brand’s very own Warm Up America! afghan. You can also use’sStitchFinder to pick out your favorite stitch and start making your own creation.

LBYS is offering 10% off all yarn, hooks, needles and supplies needed to make the afghan blocks. To get the discount, let us know at the register that you are knitting or crocheting for Warm Up America!

Once you have finished turning in all your blocks by November 30th, you will receive a 20% off coupon for your next purchase at Lion Brand Yarn Studio as a thank you for your good works.***

Stay tuned to this blog for more information on a joining party, where we will make the blocks into colorful patchwork afghans to be donated to people in need through shelters, hospitals and social service agencies.

* All blocks must meet the size specifications listed so that they may be joined together easily. You may find it helpful to gauge swatch and block your work.

** If you live outside the New York City area and would like to contribute to Warm Up America!, please click herefor instructions on how to ship your afghan blocks directly to them. If you would like to find a charity group in your area, click here for the Charity Connection.