Life and United Mime Workers

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  • #624 Reply

    Hello everyone,

    I enjoy and get much encouragement and amazement from these meetings. I just want you to know (in my somewhat apologetic way) that when I’m in the process of waking up (I have an usual twenty-five hour relation to the moon) like today I’m doing well if I can hang on to what other people are saying – please don’t interpret my mimishness as disinterest or lack of awe! The rest of today this session will be on my mind and like a living zoom lag time I will talk to you in my video mind.

    Anita, I think the blog and all it implicates is wonderful, complex, and the whole activist-progressive-educational-community direction it opens is crucial for the times. I have some catching up to do with investigating and educating myself about the Community Data Clinic, the Innovation project and course, and the twenty-first century in general, but there’s still that possibility, isn’t there? I’ve been reading the web site and it’s connection, whoa! I’ll be having more time to get my house in order after this week, in fact, and well…I think it’s starting to gel. I’m starting to get the idea of what you, Adrian, Mitchell, Jorge and others are pulling together with your incredible talents.

    Paul it was so good to hear that we will talk about archiving. I was on the cusp of contacting you in order to describe to you the Ellen Swain, UIUC archiving of the United Mime Workers and related material and so to have that already on your mind makes me very happy.

    I zoomed in on the latest event of the Friends of Geese and walked through the park to see the devastation (the Park District seems to be landscaping a golf course, bless their hearts) and see, through you Penny, the shocking potential of a ground-level group of people when they start to move together, no matter what the initial activating issue really. When you talk about the work the group is doing, and the meaning of that work, it’s so apparent how social life swings around the locus of such a group. What did Margaret Mead once say? Something similar happens around cultural events of the performance type too, and especially as it all acquires longevity (which doesn’t take very long). There’s something to be said for not going away. Penny, you alluded to archiving too and I wonder what your situation is with that.

    The span of generations represented in the larger grouping of people encompassed in this project of the course, blog, Data Clinic, Innovation project, etc., is exciting. It jumps out that all the people of us participating who are here now and were there then includes the fact that we are each of course working and doing many things. So on top of the bringing along of history there is the adding to what’s now, and what’s now is the importance of the history. Anita and Paul and Mazie and Penny bring this out and I felt strongly that there’s (I’m learning) a “power” in the unbroken working chain of lives spanning such a long adult time as fifty years that hinges on the continuity at present and I hear Anita, Adrian, Jorge and Mitchell so attuned to that – the blog idea is a wonderful manifestation.

    Mazie, I’m hoping that at some point the fantastic article you put us on to can be talked about more, and especially your work currently and the way sectors of a population get washed out of hierarchies of publicity, and history. It seems like what you do, however much I’m aware of it so far, is so fundamental to this meeting’s conversation. I would love to hear you expound on your work and your thoughts!

    Paul, I’ve watched the film on the landfill and read the article in the paper and other information and now will listen to the interview which I’m looking forward to. I have this picture of your life and Mazie’s life up in Maine being so multifaceted, as you always are, and look forward to us talking. I certainly will appreciate any perspective and advice on the UMW archiving adventure. I’m working with Deb Langerman (Indianapolis) and Bob Feldman (Berlin) on this! I’m impressed by your sixty boxes and the fact that they’re organized and you can expound on any of them! I never got to the NCSA to go through what you left with Anita and Adrian after that conference here, and I got spirited away by my ailing brother in Atlanta followed by the pandemic. Well now there’s a great excuse!

    I’m trying to demonstrate that I can type. I love you all and look forward to the next time,


    #631 Reply

    Wow! More to come.


    #632 Reply

    Fabulous Jeff. Thanks so much for your deeply felt/thought responses. Yes to so much of what you said.
    One of my memories of the mime troupe is going with you all to visit a youth facility. You worked with the youth and they put on a very realistic (I wonder why!) performance of the police frisking and arresting a number of people. I don’t remember what the point of the mime was–except to say, this is our reality–it was very powerful.


    #633 Reply

    Thank you all so much for this rich conversation! We’re following along eagerly. :]


    #634 Reply

    Dear All,

    Thank you *Jeff* for that wonderful exposition. I could literally feel your energy through the keyboard! You literally defied email!! ;]

    Thank you too for the feedback on the Clinic, its work, and the blog idea. We’d LOVE to have you come into the Clinic once we are able to share space on the campus again (apparently, the admin is saying not likely as a scenario until 2022-23). My apologies for the slow reply. I just got out of a lecture for the Innovation Illinois class that Adrian’s leading this semster on the BSA, Project 500 and how student-generated research can actually be part of larger structural transformations – and can be a complement to marches, protests, etc… as we saw in the case of Civil Rights, Desegregation and Project 500/SEOP on this campus. So my message to the class’ students was – as you said, Jeff – to provide a bridge between the present and past – and to show students how their research, writing, and the sheer act of making arguments on paper (or online) can do more work than they sometimes imagine.

    You’re also right, Jeff, that our team loves LOVES LOVES the active projects you are all a part of – in Maine, in Illinois, in Champaign and beyond — and we would love to have a space to platform and thread through what your civic work or research look like today as some of UIUC’s most dedicated and socially committed alum.

    So however we can, we would LOVE to continue to think through with this group how we can help support thinking, work, research, or just communication among and between this network. Whether it’s a blog, or another kind of activity.
    We miss you all! Jeff, we hope your brother is doing ok in Atlanta.

    And if folks still think another meeting might be useful, Mitch will reach out to suggest another date sometime in early November… I know I will value being able to see everyone on this thread when November does come around!!
    Sending hearty hugs and abrazxs to the group!! xxoox!


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