Characters Animating the Streets

photo by Ann Maree Walker

In the parade we become characters animating the streets. We are breathing life into the bricks and arched windows like eyebrows. We are calling on neighbors to come out of their homes and show their faces to celebrate with us. Over on Utah and Nebraska We are bringing art to spaces that it may not always tap.

We Made It! We did it!

Year Two of the People's Joy Parade succeeded without bad weather or drama.
Prior to the parade I was filled with anxiety…Would people show up to watch, to participate.? How do I make sure everyone feels appreciated thanked, recognized. This year was bigger than last year an estimated 350 people marched up from last years 200, not to fail to mention the several thousand watching. Now I have this great sense of relief and space. Ahhhhh.

Thoughts on this years parade.

CAMP Collaborative
This year the parade officially partnered with CAMP as a fiscal sponsor. This collaboration has been exciting as it also allowed me to view a day to day glimpse into the workings of their program. There are several different facets to CAMP. It is a house /intentional community currently consisting of Lyndsey S., Irene Compadre, Ian Schlake, Queen Bee, and Jenny Shriner. Each of these people seem to have an interest in community building that is further evident in their personal projects; Cherokee Real Garden, Bike Shop, Arts Space, and Finder’s Hive Art Supply. Primarily because they live together they are able to keep a low overhead and have been able to do this work.
camp residents from Queen Bee

Depending on the day CAMP has a different activities including yoga, conversational Spanish, open studios, Grace Space girls program, and green party meetings. Two things I love about hanging out with CAMP residents has been their flexibility and willingness to share. They were very patient about all the parade works in progress occupying their back yard and lower level. It seems like whenever I end up helping there I end being fed.

The CAMP residents and regulars rallied together to support the parade and that was very inspiring for me. Digger a board member helped with the Gigante Workshop and assisted with the space during Costume Shop and pre-parade hours. Jenny Shriner and Queen Bee both helped with the Footbeat Choir. Jenny also supported the costume shop and helped get Gigantes. Irene and Ian worked with the Cherokee Real Garden to make costumes. Lyndsey ran grace space in addition to all her outreach work in the community as we tried to extend the parade invitation.

Ups and downs of artist collabs.
What it feels like….One of the hardest things for me about organizing the parade is writing the press releases. It is hard to get a clear confirmation from people for an event that is voluntary. Even after a series of conversations or an email that they are going to do it, a person might not show. On the other hand there are individuals that always show but never really r.s.v.p. If I can’t at this point pay artists to participate, I at the very least can be sure to try and get participants press. One thing I have to learn is not to take the no-shows personally. Intellectually, I realize that everybody has a lot going on and that schedules change but it is hard for me not to feel sad when the night before someone emails me and cancels. I also don’t like looking like I can’t keep my word in the face of the general public.

Art Stars I guess though for every no show there is also a individual/group that goes above and beyond. Galen is consistently one of those individuals. Each year he takes it upon himself to develop a couple of entries into the parade that are usually memorable and accessible conceptual like works of art. This year it was Cinco De Volvo a procession of Volvo owners each dressed in a way that reflected their relationship to their car. Then there was Galen’s band on a float. They played their heart out wearing giant foam masks made by Mike Stasny as they traveled down the street.

photo by Queen Bee
Other standouts for me were Robert Van Dillen’s costumes, he is someone I wish to collaborate with in the future. I know that he worked with Bob Kramer Marionettes and there is an inventiveness and craft to his costumes that consistently impresses me.
photo by Cheri Hoffmann

Wesley Fordyce went above and beyond with this Gigante building. He created two cabezudos, one giant devil puppet, and built the framework for my whale costume.

Bob Hartzell was a rockstar at the costume shop. He focused his attention on building a rocket with Jermaine. His collaboration inspires me to think about future potential projects with the parade. Like month long youth artist pairings to generate costumes.

The Carmen Mirandas
were a fiery fun group or red hat ladies in fabulous Miranda inspired costumes complete with fruit built onto baseball hats.
CAMPERS represented (see above pic)
Queen Bee was true to the song that inspired her costume “Brick House” turning a box into a sexy work of art. Jenny S. made a fantastic Marie Antoinette-esque headdress. Not to forget Ian and Irene's heavy/light shopping cart butterfly and flower power costumes.

Ann Maree Walker
- costume maker extraordinaire brought a troupe of dressed friends. photo from Ann Maree Walker
How can you not love Laura Mart and her willingness to get her fabulous, taken to the top, art costumes out into the street!

photo by Queen Bee
I am really proud of the Grace Space Girls Dragon. Lyndsey Scott built the dragon with regular students in her Grace Space after school all girls Program. The day of the parade 15 girls showed up to help carry and walk the dragon, a piece that was fantastically collaborative. Also I was thrilled to see how the quilt was temporarily remade into the body of the dragon.

History of Parade

A brief calendar.
Seeds of the parade our sown among many different people. I've been thinking about how among many of my friends we have this ongoing interest in performative interventions that shakeup and bring laughter or transformation to the people around us.

May 2009 People’s Joy Parade Year 1

November 2008 Dia de los Muertos Parade
Peat, Minerva, Mark, Kelsey, Jason, Celia, Rebecca, Mike, Lyndsey,Sarah, Emily H.

“i remember the fire truck and peat joining and 'making it real' in that larger-vehicle inclusion, i remember espeically the ganesha clearing the way, and altares with LEZ”-Lyndsey

May 2008 - Cinco de Mayo informal procession. Lyndsey, Sarah, mark p, dan huck, ryan wiley, Drew, Hannah, Rebecca, Emily H., my brother Billy, andrew & his lady, patrick ritch was video'ing,

"i remember isi jackson from piano shop came to get her face painted, two ladies i met on the street who moved (jokers).... who else?" Lyndsey
-- We hugged the Cherokee and had a brief pedestrian parade around the dance stage. Afterwords we stayed and danced like crazy.

November 2007 dia de los muertos vigil with the fire circle and kelsey's shrine backdrop -- Shared stories of loss around a fire.

May 2006 Cinco de Mayo Cherokee Treasure Hunt Family Portrait. " you painted beuatiful portraits at the lot during temporary mural project, the foam that shirley wallace removed. and at PARKING DAYS" -Lyndsey..

May 2003 Casa Loma Mural with Southside Catholic Community Services inaugurated on Cinco de Mayo. "i know for me the dancing muralla by CASA loma is the community/interactive TOUchSTone * * * * /cornerstone...."-Lyndsey

What I am learning:

This year one of our goals we to get the invitation out and this I think was one of our successes. We visited Roosevelt, Southside Community Services, and flyered the neighborhood. We networked at the Convening. We posted our calls online, on doors. In streets….We approached panaderias, neighborhood bodegas, hair salons, galleries, art spaces. We dressed pretty, spoke in Spanish, and tried to make clear the welcome. We called colleges and emailed high schools.

In our door to door adventures, we learned that the neighbors on Nebraska, Utah, and Iowa had discovered the parade last year with joy and enthusiasm.

I am already brainstorming next year
I want to see skateboards, wheel chairs, more artist collaborations. Floats about local businesses. What about Nick Cave the costume artist as grand marshall? Drum lessons for local kids. Thriller dancers. Performances at Iowa and Cherokee. A Band sponsorship program.

Special thanks to Travis and Brooke who helped me make our rocking People's Joy Shirts and kept me calm the night before the parade.


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