Archive for November, 2012

Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public

November 17, 2012

Ok, lets just condense the
why-i-haven’t-been-here-in-a-year-or-so  into 
“i’m erratic” and move on,
because that is much less interesting than why I am here now.

I recently funded and participated in a Kickstarter art project, Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public, a project by “a girl in Salt Lake City“, that  is a really cool example of what I think of as Urban Art Intervention. Here’s how the Kickstarter campaign was presented:

This past summer, my best friend and I found ourselves crying in public for various reasons and in various places (multiple sidewalks, a gas station, an auto parts stores, a concrete bench outside a law building). We made total spectacles of ourselves.

People who cry in public force everyone to witness—it’s completely embarrassing and also sort of awesome. We want our essay to perform this kind of spectacle. The kind where complete strangers are pulled into another person’s intimate grief—just by sharing the public space.

So! We’re printing our essay over four 11 x 17 broadside posters and posting the edition of 350 (that’s 1400 posters!) in multiple cities—hopefully yours!

When you support the project, you’ll not only be helping out with printing costs, material costs and shipping costs—you’ll also become one of our project curators (or distributors). This means we’ll send you the broadside essay. You’ll choose 3 posters to display somewhere in public (on a top-secret designated day in November) and keep the fourth as a thank you prize.

Help us out. It’s going to be rad.

How could anyone resist that?! The hardest part was deciding where to put them up. Although part of me wanted to hang them in some really cool, trendy part of Portland or somewhere iconic, like Powell’s Bookstore, …the other part wanted them to be in my neighborhood and/or places where people might be ready to cry, because I see a lot of folks that I think might need to cry in public, and seeing this hanging up somewhere might just subliminally say, “Hey, its okay — we all do it”.

MAGDolls Hair Parlor, Portland, OR

So I chose the shop of my favorite hair genius, Michelle at MAGdolls because she gets a very diverse group of folks in her shop, some of whom seem very likely to cry in public, and if you did need to cry, Michelle’s shop would be a very safe place to do it. Although I have not yet cried there, when I’m feeling sad I like to change the shape and color of my hair.

Mt Scott Community Center

Then I thought about the places where I have actually cried in public and I realized that it was usually in places where i felt sort of anonymous, part of a large crowd of people where i didn’t particularly stand out, places with nooks and crannies i could dip into if the crying became too much to hide. I thought of Mt. Scott Community Center where I sometimes go to swim. Although I haven’t cried there yet, it is not inconceivable that this could happen and this would be the type of place I could do it in and not feel completely exposed. Looking at the picture just now I imagined the person putting up the lost pet poster and how they were probably crying while they did it. And even though the Community Center looks pretty ritzy, it is located in a park that used to be a druggie hangout, in my neighborhood in the somewhat blighted area of outer Southeast Portland called “Felony Flats”. What my friend refers to as living in “the Deep, Deep South”. There are most likely people with all sorts of reasons to cry in public here.

On my way out of the center, contemplating the third site, I spotted a lonely looking bus stop. I have done much public crying over the years on, or waiting for, public transportation. I realized I didn’t have any tape and then I had a brilliant idea. I would go to “I’ve Been Framed”, my favorite local art store, get tape, ask them to put a poster up there (because probably artists are a large “cry-in-public” demographic) and then put the fourth poster up with tape at the bus stop. I purchased my transparent duct tape (along with a cool new sketch book and some pens!) and headed for the bus stop. Sadly, when I got there and looked in my envelope there was only the cardboard piece to prevent bending. I’m not sure what happened to the last poster. If I find it somewhere I will drive straight to that bus stop.

I’ve Been Framed Art Store, Portland, Oregon

In the meantime, if you are at a bus stop and you need to cry–go ahead, we all do it sometimes.