Friday, July 06, 2007

Prophets and Saints Propaganda

A documentary film crew from a company called "G9" in Sausalito was interviewing people at the Phoenix Hotel on the Fourth of July during the Propaganda III art show in the hopes of making a feature film about the year-long world tour (check out the post below this).

At one point, the editorial assistant who was pre-interviewing me for possible talking head stardom, explaining the project with, "This is the start of a Movement!" which made me laugh with its insular foolishness.

I told the assistant that just two blocks away in front of the ugly Federal Building a Quaker group had been protesting the American invasion of the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Iraq, for over five years now on a weekly basis. "Now that's more what I would call a Movement."

Almost a year ago, a monthly civil disobedience "die-in" started up at the front doors of the Federal Building on the first Thursday of each month, with various groups doing what I've been terming as "guest star" stints, about half of which have been documented on this blog. One month it was the Episcopalians, another time the Free Lt. Watada group, another time the Unitarians, and this month's highlight was a strange little group from Berkeley that brought along puppet masks.

When I asked the people holding the puppets who they were supposed to be, they shrugged and said they were told the figures were "prophets and saints."

They also told me that the organizer, the woman in green above with the clipboard, would be able to tell me who the prophets and saints might be, which she kindly proceeded to do.

"That's Job," she started off. "Who?" I asked. "Job. You know, in the Old Testament." She continued, "And this one, I think is Saint Martin the Pobre." I asked, "Do you mean San Martin de Porres?" and she confirmed, "yeah, that's who I mean."

The rosy-faced puppet above was another, very obscure Spanish saint...

...while the puppet above seemed to stump her. Finally, "Oh, that's Miriam." "Who?" "You know, Miriam." "Miriam who?" "Miriam from the Old Testament," she replied, with impatience that not everyone knew instantaneously who Miriam might be.

At the end of the weekly Peace Vigil on Golden Gate Avenue at 1PM, half the group walked up to the plaza in front of the Federal Building for speeches before the civil disobedience die-in.

The organizer was yelling at everyone that they needed to stand in a circle so she could be heard in the windy plaza.

Once her screechy voice was put in front of a megaphone, I was quickly out of there.

On exiting, I passed a ridiculously large San Francisco police presence for the small little group, but that's okay since there doesn't seem to be any real crime in San Francisco anymore.


pjwv said...

Miriam the Prophetess is the sister of Moses and Aaron -- I believe she gets some big solos in Handel's Israel in Egypt, which is undoubtedly why that woman thought she would be well-known.

sfmike said...

Dear Patrick: Of course, thanks for the Handel reminder, and thank you above all for getting the joke. At first I thought I was mishearing the woman, but when I finally realized that she was saying "Miriam," all I could think of was the 1930s movie star Miriam Hopkins, except that she was very blonde which didn't quite work with the puppet, but then neither did Saint Martin The Poor.

Jon said...

Kids. Shrill people from Berkeley. Darn them.

sfmike said...

I liked the kids, but shrill voices in megaphones are one of my serious pet peeves.

markleym said...

I loved the puppets but had no idea who they were. Bless you for your investigative journalism, Mike.

The die-in went smoothly and quickly, with ten arrests. The new twist this month was that, instead of handcuffing arrestees individually, homeland security police made little chain gangs, a line of six men and another of the four women. All were released by 3 p.m.