IF WE WANT REAL CHANGE WE HAVE TO REALLY TOUCH. I know that I need to touch and be touched, for lots of personal reasons, including my sanity; I know that I have to touch and be touched to take my activism across the line, to preach and sing in the Stop Shopping performances, and to keep me telling the truth.
I was once a professional in "arts administration," and people around me were spinning their words and so was I. Then I left that job and entered a community of activists who do outrageous things in public and go to jail on a regular basis. When I was in this community for just a few weeks, starting about 15 years ago, I knew that there was no going back to the professional world. For one thing, the committed full-body hugging! The hugs of people who risk arrest together – it’s another world! Long, slow hugs.
We would go to defend a community garden with Guiliani's cops everywhere, and we would embrace and look into each others' eyes and laugh. Everyone was touching. This flowed into the stage shows, which were spoofs of right wing Christian church services that soon took on a life of their own quite unlike the thing we mimicked, because - the touching. It was decidedly un-puritan touching. It was touching to think better, to dance better, to deal with New York better, to have sex better, to stop shopping better. We were de-professionalizing together, truth-telling together, and letting the holy spirit take a ride in our bodies as the music rocked everything. Getting radically honest has its pleasures.