PEOPLE OF MALKIN BOWL!
We are gathered here today among friends and the like-minded to celebrate collective creativity! To celebrate that thing inside us which inspires us to bring something out of nothing and which motivates us to share it with others, that they too might be inspired in turn. We are a perpetual motion machine of culture!
We have gathered here the people who would rather share their creations than simply take in the prepackaged culture trough that mass media provides us to feed from. We have gathered here the people who chose to invest volunteer hours in this event rather than to watch the world progress beyond them, losing contact with friends and family while studying the false lives of false people. They give nothing back to the system beyond their lowest common denominator stamp of approval. They create nothing; they are nothing.
They look like us, they walk like us, and some of us have even lived their lives temporarily, but is it not clear that we are different breeds? Is it fair that our tax dollars subsidize their state-sanctionned brainwashing? Is it not clear that a nation cannot exist in harmony containing those who merely live and those of us who choose to live larger than life? One side invariably suffers beneath the domination of the others.
We have gathered here a concentration of those fortunate enough to dream and brave enough to realize our dreams. A community not merely of visionaries, but of those who pour the stuff of dreams into the molds of words; who carve it into the freedom of lines, curves, colour; who smear it into a conspiracy of sound.
I have a dream that I will one day inhabit a nation of artists, united under the Muses, where every exchange will be meaningful and be between unique individuals. We will not have conversations but collaborative poems; our currency will be charcoal sketches, melody and haiku. Freedom of expression will be a responsibility to exercise, not a right, and everyone will have thoughts worth sharing.
This dream is one we are all sharing; you are all its principals and I am only its perspective. This is ground zero - this is where the lands of fantasy and reality overlap. That is why this must be the first step - this must be the starting point. Stanley Park will be seized by the artists and Malkin Bowl will be the seat of power of this new state. The whales in the Aquarium will be set free and the Lion's Gate crossing will be driven beneath our feet - an underground highway for the passage of slaves to the automobile. We will free the innocent grey squirrels from the oppression of the fascist black ones, and it will be safe to walk the Sea Wall at night without fear of being assaulted by anything more offensive than an eight piece jazz combo. Instead of a flag our emblem will be a tree, that our ideals will be planted across the planet daily. Children will be our police and Canada won't try to reclaim the land because their hands will be free of low-income artists and students, but the revolution will soon spread to every campus, park and coffeehouse across the nation. Every concert hall will be an embassy, every artist a diplomat. And it all starts here.
Not on this ground, but in your heads. Not every dream can be realized, and not every dream should be. But every dream can be shared, and as each of you ponders and imagines improvements and amendments to my dream it will take life and become more than my one mind could ever have created.
This is where my speech ends, but it continues in all of your heads, and by the time that ends, between us we will have solved all of the problems of the world. That is why it is vital that we meet again, and regularly. Together we will make the world tremble, dance, cry and sing; it's only a matter of time.
Remember that history will only remember the watched, but that it is made by the watchers. Either way your participation is vital. I know why I am here; do you know why you are? Think about it when you go home, or better, get up here and tell us why.
Become the act that follows me.
Having submitted this as my recording on voices of everythingians, I felt it only fair to make good on past precocity and finally get around to posting the complete transcript here (but only, you may note, after having waited long enough to warrant the rare destinction of a nodeshell created through the curiosity of nate himself!)
The day of August 22nd, 1998, The Living Closet put on its first post-house-party event in the open-air forest amphitheatre of Malkin Bowl in Vancouver's Stanley Park, more commonly occupied by Theatre Under the Stars productions. I had been invited to be the keynote speaker to open the main stage after an afternoon of art and Chinese opera and wanted to reflect this honour with a new and site-specific work, but by the night before the show all I knew was that I would be employing the conceit of a dream in a somewhat shameless aping of the words of one of history's more eloquent speakers.
A half-hour before I was scheduled to speak, I was approached by the organizers and informed that they had a DJ on-site who was interested in spinning thematically-appropriate music behind the poets and spoken word performers. Was there any kind of music I would find appropriate for my performance? Ask him, I said, if he has anything appropriate for inciting a riot. At T minus 20 minutes, I wandered from the event site and sat down at a rocky plinth in the park, where I picked up a pencil and the above speech unwound in its entirety from my hand. I scanned it once for coherency and possible illegibility (on the recording you can hear how I had problems making out "culture trough" 8), stepped up on stage, took a deep breath and hoped I wouldn't come across as too foolish.
Concensus seems to be that I succeeded at coming through as just foolish enough. Many subsequent performers that day referred again and again to my impromptu outburst and though today I cringe a bit in reading back to its lines of unabashed us-vs.-them idealism, I still appreciate the lyrical phrases and marvel at its quasi-spontaneous generation. I sit and wait now for the proper context of another magical occasion to provoke what I like most from myself; when I surprise myself with what I'm capable of. It hasn't found me yet, but in the meantime I bide my time here and practice writing in the event that ever again I'm possessed with something to say.
For you non-voices of everythingians-listeners, a recording of the oration is available at
http://livingcloset.vancouver.bc.ca/theact.mp3 (NOW http://www.minotaurmedia.com/closet/web/theact.mp3 - Jan 2006) and pictures from the event (including one of me on stage reciting this) can be located at http://livingcloset.vancouver.bc.ca/8_22_98_e.htm (NOW http://www.minotaurmedia.com/closet/web/8_22_98_e.htm)June 2011: The Internet is far too fragile a thing; you can hear the recording at myspace.com/rowanlipkovits (not quite sunk yet, though I wouldn't give it another decade), and the picture is probably out of circulation for the time being beyond the thumbnail accompanying the track at myspace. Perhaps you would like to mirror it in some more permanent form?