Monthly Archives: February 2016

Economies of Effort: 3/Cid Pearlman and the Year of Free

Laurie and Debbie say:

six dancers rehearse Economies of Effort 3

We’ve written before about Laurie’s daughter, Cid Pearlman, who is a choreographer in Santa Cruz, California. Right now, she’s putting together the third part of her “Economies of Effort” triptych, for performance in Santa Cruz and San Francisco, and she’s raising money here. (She has just a week left to raise the funding she needs.)

This isn’t an everyday (or every year) dance company fundraiser. This is Cid’s “Year of Free.” Every 2016 performance: in San Francisco, in Santa Cruz, whether it’s “Economies of Effort” or her annual “Looking Left” festival of dance and performance, will have no admission charge.

Why a year of free?

Our goal is to reach out to folks who can’t afford to participate in dance/art experiences, or who don’t feel able to take the financial risk of buying a ticket. In fact, all performances we produce in 2016 will be free to audiences.

It’s more than that. The “Economies of Effort” triptych is about making and building, about “the idea that we derive power and agency from making things.” The events are not just free admission, but also free form. If you attend, you are not just an audience member: you move through the space “choosing your own path and creating your own narrative.”

The “year of free” is deeply exciting to us, because it represents Cid choosing her own path, creating her own narrative, not just through the dance world, not just through choreography and built environments, but through the social conversation about income inequality, about value, about what we care about, what we pay for, what we appreciate.

If you are at all interested in cutting-edge dance, you will be delighted with Cid’s work for the choreography (“intelligent, sensual” says the San Francisco Bay Guardian), the dancing (“big-boned, unself-conscious and full of personality” says the San Francisco Chronicle). And you should see “Economies of Effort” for the integration of the art, design and installations by Robbie Schoen.

If you are able to contribute, you will be helping her not just to make dance, or to make interactive dance/art installations, but to affect the conversation about what it means for something to be free.

Have You Heard of Autherine Lucy? Me Neither.

Debbie says:every-month-is-black-history-month-button-in-3-sizes-8

One of the things I appreciate about having an official “Black History Month,” even though I don’t believe in the concept, is the things I get to learn about heroes from black history who should be household words, and aren’t. One hero I learned about this year is Autherine Lucy.

In 1956, Autherine Lucy won a court judgment allowing her to attend the University of Alabama. To do so, she had to walk through a mob of thousands of racists throwing rotten fruit and setting fires.


After she had only been enrolled for a few days, the level of mob violence on the campus reached such a height that the University administrators suspended Lucy (not, of course, the rioters), saying that they were doing this for her safety, which was certainly at risk.

When the Federal Circuit Court ruled that she should be reinstated, and it was the University’s job to protect her, they found a way to expel her on a technicality, and the expulsion was in force for the next 32 years. In 1988 it was lifted, and now there is a clock tower named for her on the campus, in a space which also commemorates two other desegregation heroes of that time and place: Vivian Malone and James Hood. Malone and Hood are both deceased; Autherine Lucy (now Autherine Foster) is still alive.

All ages need heroes. Sadly, all American ages need heroes to fight anti-black racism. I am deeply grateful to everyone who risks their life, their safety, and their stability for justice, and I’m glad to know about Autherine Lucy.

Thanks to Denise Oliver Velez at Daily Kos for bringing her to my attention.