Evan Weissman on why Warm Cookies of the Revolution is good for your civic health
Evan Weissman of Buntport Theater describes his growing side-project Warm Cookies of the Revolution as a "civic health club." All about getting people together to discuss community issues and have fun, the growing monthly event just naturally draws out ideas in a positive environment. This month, he's invited three very different folks to present differing views of the perfect government, but the evening will also include cooperative LEGO city-building and, well, warm cookies and milk.
Westword: How did you choose the three presenters -- out of a hat? Just joking, but that IS diverse!
Evan Weissman: Elections may be important and invoke strong feelings out of people, but we're generally not exposed to big, bold, innovative or visionary ideas during them. Raising or lowering a tax rate by a few percentage points, or cutting funding for one program over another have serious repercussions, but that is entirely different than talking about wholesale system changes. So, we figured since we're not holding an election -- thank the lords -- why not get a diverse range of folks to present their ideal governments and figure out ways not to bore the hell out people that are watching. That's on the one hand; on the other hand, people are less and less interested in shouting matches between people that fundamentally hate each other, so we wanted to stay away from the Jerry Springer version of this program.
Andrew Orvedahl is one of the best stand-up comics in town and we've been collaborating on this whole program, so I said, "You have to do it" and he said, "fine," and then we both giggled for a while and then we cried. But that's neither here nor there. I really have no idea what he's going to present! Thomas Wolf ran for Mayor as a "free" candidate- -- meaning he didn't take money from "special interests," and he is a self-described "international money seller," so most people have strong feelings about guys like that. He's a very thoughtful and concerned fiscal conservative. Senator Morgan Carroll is an elected official and has written on the role of citizens in a democracy, so her perspective is really valuable. We hope this is successful and are planning on replicating it again and again.
Create Denver is co-sponsoring the event and the next one will most likely take place at the McNichols Building.
Continue reading for more about Warm Cookies of the Revolution.
And how will the LEGO city fit into the proceedings?
Folks are asked to bring LEGOs they own, and we'll have a bunch as well. Technically, they can get a headstart on the city building on the front end, but we plan on hearing the ideal government pitches first and then people can make the city and chat with other community members. The idea behind this was simple: If you can build a LEGO city together with strangers, couldn't we build a real-life city together? No, that's totally a joke! We just thought LEGOs are rad and building a city with other people would be really fun and you could discuss the pitches you heard. "Man, those three were idiots, huh?! Pass that blue piece, please."
Do you foresee how the talking and the building might intersect in some magical way?
Honestly, I think magic occurs on a daily basis in our community. Sit at a bar during a Broncos game and you've got grandmas fist bumping gang-bangers and day-laborers buying drinks for lawyers! You never know what might come from some good old-fashioned LEGO building, especially after hearing three interesting people pitch you on something they've thought long and hard about.
And what if someone spills their milk on their LEGOs?
We make no guarantees about the LEGOS. Honestly, if you think to yourself, "My Star Wars LEGO set could never mix with Medieval Castle LEGO," you probably want to leave them at home and come use our commoner pieces!
What am I leaving out? Why should people come to this event? What will they take away from it?
I think what we're trying to do with this event, and with Warm Cookies of the Revolution as a whole -- the idea of a civic health club -- is make it feel like participation in the decisions that affect our lives is both necessary and fun. We do need to think about new ways of governing, that's how progress happens, but if we get bogged down in the details or believe that it doesn't matter or that we can't make a difference, well then we've lost. I'm not saying we can make our civic life as exciting and popular as a Broncos game, but I'm also not convinced that we can't. I love me some football, don't get me wrong, but rethinking and envisioning our entire political structure, playing with LEGOS and eating warm cookies and milk sounds pretty damn fun too!
People should come because there is literally nothing else fun to do on Monday, January 14, and everyone knows that! Also, they can come with their own ideas for an ideal governmental program and share it with the crowd -- but they only one minute or less! I'm not sure what people will take away from this....I hope they have fun and I hope they connect with a new person and I hope they are inspired. Maybe even for a minute, they'll hark back to the days of being a kid when you played with LEGOS and dreamed about what could be, instead of always worrying about what was supposed to be.
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