Sunday, August 3, 2014

Walk with ME @ First Free Saturdays @ Walker Art Center

I woke up in a much better mood to walk this Saturday. I knew that a few folks were planning on coming and I had slept better than the week before. Also, I had decided to give the walk a specific time and have an open time of 12-3pm. I got to the Walker Sculpture Garden and it was HOPPING with families out for First Free Saturdays.  
Here is my awesome spot. 
I got there early and set up the zines and books. A few folks stopped by and I told them about the project. What I found amazing were the people who came near my lovely shaded tent and I would say hi to them and they wouldn't say anything. Literally looking in my direction and they just....stood there. Now, I have mentioned in other posts that I feel like Minnesotans are reticent about this project. I thought maybe I was making it up. That I was just nervous to be home and that I was over exaggerating. I KNOW there are people in LA that would scoff at this project and think it strange. But here I am in an art garden and people are freaked. In LA, I feel like folks that come to art things are a bit more ready for this type of experience. I know I have glorified LA and I am scoffing at Minneapolis' ability to be open. But I am starting to get some data that supports that hypothesis. 
BUT that makes it EVEN MORE EXCITING when folks say YES to this! Gabi and Laura helped me recruit for the 130pm and we all struck out. I approached a good 15 people and not a one would come over. Then a new friend of mine, Carlos showed up. Boy, was I happy to see Carlos. Even if nothing else happened today. I could walk with Carlos. Gabi is an awesome intern at volunteered to walk. So I sent Gabi and Carlos off on a walk. 
During the half hour before the walk was meant to start I spoke to a few groups of folks. They took zines. I begged to young adults to walk. They were not into it. My friend texted saying that her and her crew would come Thursday night for my last walk with me. So I was like "Well, one walk is good enough for me." I don't want to bribe, beg, or bitch to get walks. I want them to come to me a bit. Those are the best ones. So up, walk two kids and their Mom. And the teen girl was wearing a M tshirt. And I just knew that M stood for Minnetonka. Minnetonka is where I grew up. So I said "Hey you guys go to Minnetonka?" "I went there!" I explained the project expecting the rejection I had gotten all day from families. And the Mom, Maria, turned to the kids and said, "Well, hey, do you want to walk with the person that created this project?" They said yes, we took a walk around the pond. Mr. Stranger, (the character Cameron had created at another First Saturday event) and Macie. We spoke of where I went to elementary school. If I went to West or East. The concerns of teens. I asked them how they felt walking with me. Fine. I don't feel like I imparted any wisdom to them. I was a bit nervous to walk with kids. As an adult, I always want to make sure I am appropriate with them. My life is not filled with kids. I didn't want to swear or say anything too liberal. I exclaimed how jealous I was that they got to go to Excelsior. As I love Excelsior. We got back to the table and there was another family there. I explained the project and the mother looked pretty shocked. So away I went on a walk with Maria. 
Maria grew up in the city but has moved into the western suburbs. We talked about what diversity was. As a city person, she went to a school with a lot of different races. But we hit upon an interesting concept the diversity of a western suburb school. That now there are kids from all over the world that end up in those schools and that folks she went to school with never leave their hometown. She was speaking to openmindedness. That maybe color is not the only type of diversity. As people she went to school with never left their neighborhood. I think it speaks of class. You can move around and become a more tolerant person if you have the money to feel comfortable in those moves. But I agree with her that being open to diversity is something that you learn and embrace or you do not. It was very awesome to hear that where I grew up is expanding a bit with kids of different races being more blended into the upper middle culture I grew up in. I am so glad that this amazing woman takes her kids out of Minnetonka and brings them to meet crazy artists like me. Crazy artists that end up being from the same place. When they all left I told them not to take everything too seriously. Which maria probably thought was kind of funky. I just remember the pressure out there. to be perfect. To fit in. To say the right thing. I hope those kids stepped out of that for a few minutes while we walked and talked. I applaud Maria for leaving her comfort zone of the city. Caring for her kids' education. And integrating the city with the suburb. 

When Maria and I got back Gabi and Carlos had finished their walk. I was jazzed by how things had played out. I don't win any audience participation awards but I was very true to my art form and I didn't dumb it down for the kid audience. I felt supported by Gabi and Laura and I enjoyed meeting another artist who has ties to LA that I had wanted to meet. 

Carlos finished up his writing. I have to mention I didn't walk with Carlos, cause I was worried he came with some romantic intentions. Carlos can refute this. But I avoided that situation, because I am kind of madly interested in someone else. I told Carlos when I met him that I was seeing someone. Which is a bit of a lie. As the guy I like and I, have not discussed that future. In all honesty, I wish this person I have feelings for would have been at the Walker yesterday (distance is a factor). Anyway, I felt super honored that Carlos had come AND I hope that Carlos and I can be friends. What an awesome guy to show up to a crazy ass art project! So Carlos and I had some coffee, lunch (Jasmine Deli the absolute best), and checked out my friend's art show. Carlos was kind enough to drive me home. Both of us are going through a major transitions, we were able to talk about some serious things and just have fun. I had a great time chatting.
The most amazing things always happen after walks and the amazing thing that happened yesterday happened while Carlos and I stopped at the Quatrefoil Library to return my VERY VERY overdue books. Andy Strudevant and I had gone to the Quatrefoil Library so I could become a member in June! And my books were due in July. And here it was the beginning of August. Two amazingly fun gay men were the volunteer libraries that late afternoon. Jean and well, he joked that is name was Wayne, so that is what I now have to call him. Wayne was wearing an amazing Espirit belt and looked like an elderly GQ model if GQ models were super skinny men. He wore white, red and blue and it looked fashionable not like a fourth of July outfit. Jean looked super familiar, like he goes to my mother's church or something, in a plaid button down tshirt. No matter, we all got to talking and I told them about Walk with ME. By the end of it, Jean had volunteered to walk with me! And he said he thought other folks involved with Quatrefoil would probably want to walk also. THIS WAS SOMETHING I had WANTED to DO!!!! I had put up a road block that I needed to contact the Spirit on Lake people and do it all formally and here is this guy saying "Hey! Let's do this!" All causal like. Nothing wrapped up in bureaucracy. Ahhhh when things fall in place. Let's hope my walk with Jean happens. I truly hope it does. I want to hear the stories of Jean's era of being gay and I want to honor it and write about it. Here's hoping! 

Laura and I before the walks. 

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