When Rebecca “Commie Girl” Schoenkopf saw the blurb for the Dr. Pop July event in Chicago where we showed the documentary Bogotá Change, she immediately facebooked me with a request for an L.A. event.
“Sure,” I said. “If you help.”
And she did. Great commie girls think alike.
She and her partner Paul had just seen the film, and once Rebecca got her jaw off her lap, she evangelized about it on the Fourstory website, (where she and comrade-husband- Gary-Phillips blog together) with a particular focus on recent Colombian Green Party presidential candidate and former Bogoá mayor, Antanas Mockus. Rebecca only refers to the man as MOCKUS! – all caps, exclamation point, all the time.
So….yesterday afternoon Rebecca, Gary and I were joined by an eclectic group of interesting smart people (many of whom I met for the first time) who gathered to see the film at Busby’s East in my neighborhood (formerly the Conga Room, and before that, the Jack LaLanne fitness club) which proved to be a surprisingly great venue for our purposes.
We had some snacks (Busby’s makes a mean guacamole), I did a little intro on our “fun theory” and showed the Piano Stairs video to the uninitiated. Then we watched the documentary, followed by a really thoughtful discussion. Here’s a little taste of that.
Some people had been to Bogotá recently and were impressed by the character of the city. They told us a bit about their experience, and how they appreciated learning the story behind the story. Aaron was one of those, and he did a shoutout for CiccLAvia’s 10/10/10 debut, an L.A. prototype inspired by Bogotá’s bike and pedestrian-only rule for miles and miles of streets on Sundays. Lynda, who spent time in Bogotá in the 80s, before the period covered by the film (1990s), suggested that the city was so difficult and beaten down at that time, that middle class and poor people alike were ready and hungry and aligned for change. Earl got us talking about the distinction between a “thinker” mayor and a “doer” mayor brought up by characters in the film. Ginny expressed her conflicted response to an exciting vision of possibilities for change that was nevertheless packaged in what she found to be an unacceptable top-down process.
It is always such a pleasure to meet some of you in person. We enjoy it so much, and learn even more. A big thank you to those who came out.
Stay tuned for information about our next Dr. Pop event (this time in London) –– a Dr. Pop panel at This Is Not A Gateway ‘s third annual festival sometime between October 22-24.