Occupy Wall Street – Zuccotti Park – November 8, 2011
An opportune confluence of circumstances made Election Day an exceptional sketch haul. I subwayed down to Zuccotti Park from the Upper West Side, having found out that Graham Nash and David Crosby would be appearing at Occupy Wall Street at 3. I arrived plenty early, grabbed a 99% button (courtesy of the bearded guy with the hat, see below), and bivouacked at Cedar & Broadway. I did some singalong with the street musicians – songs of Guthrie and Seeger. The ensemble had an additional two or three players, including a guy on the spoons – when’s the last time you saw a band with that kind of action? They also played (at least 3 times) the original “Marchin’ Down to Wall Street”, composed by Richard Kent Green, which was included in his singalong lyrics handout sheet, and reproduced here without permission (but with righteous attribution). Alas, they moved on before full sketch closure was achieved. Then I got a little overly involved in sketching the occupants and spectators (all the day’s Zuccotti work was done from standing room only). These diversions, pleasurable as they were, resulted in being unfavorably positioned once I became aware of the precise location of the “star” action. Here the crowd was tightly packed, with sketch conditions suboptimal to say the least. At one point my eraser dropped, and the helpful guy next to me picked it up for me. He could see the value of sparing everyone the adventure of me stooping, reaching, and getting up in short order. There was an obscene amount of video cameras and gear, with some rigs being held up overhead, thus impeding viewing for live eyes. I didn’t take no shouldering from no one. Since no electric-powered amplification of music or voice is allowed in the park (hence the human microphone – I was a participant in a few communiqués), the subsequent news account that I saw – they were “audible to 99” – kind of rang true, in a subdued way. Little did I know there was also a melodica accompanist on the stage! I was close enough to be able to join in on more singing along, to “Long Time Gone” and “Teach Your Children”. Wisely, I didn’t push my envelope on lyrics, and stuck to the choruses. Only the sketch effort on Crosby proved worthy, and autographing was never a serious consideration, whisked to and then away in a black van.