The Laundry Lectures

There are people who gather in laundromats and talk about perilously intellectual things. Stranges who become a group of people by disussing subjects with coins dropping into indsutrial washers and clothes tumbling in the circles of dryers in the background. Their topics are erudite, the kind that in the classroom stay dry as parchment or at a poetry reading seem a tad pretentious. But in the laundry mat it is just talk between people, reclaiming education and conversation at once.

I heard of these people by chance, after watching an indie film at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. By just days I missed their festival "An Anthology of Open Source Projects." What was leftover was a display of scattered hand-drawn notes, maps, diagrams---a treasure-trove of DIY love entitled How To Create a Cultural District and Have it Vanish into the Morning Mists of Dawn.

If you'd like to take a spin at the Laundry Lecture Series, there will be at least one more in San Francisco. Here's the info: Sun, June 18th @ Fairoaks x 22nd (8-9pm)-- they're walking and talking, so don't be late.

This goodness comes from the arts collective Red76, which also runs many other cool projects, including Little Cities:

Little Cities Build Yr. Own House parties are pretty simple. Guests are greeted by a room filled with cardboard and various supplies, markers, paint, glue, etc, etc... and, for the rest of the night we make houses out of cardboard, listen to music, have some drinks. That's that. The following morning we ask that party guests return to the site of the previous nights party. We'll have some coffee, sit around and talk. Try to figure out a place that we all agree on that is a special place, a place that we, collectively, would like to homestead. Taking our homes in hand we venture out onto the streets taking the trek towards our new homeland. Placing our homes in this newly homesteaded area we are all the new stewards of this land. There to look over it, see that everything is okay, watch out for it.

As time goes on, and more and more people get together for these parties, an invisible community of Little Cities will start to grow across the country. Various Little Cities linked by the people and ideas that came to the parties, sat down, cut up some cardboard, listened to some Steely Dan and maybe drank a beer with someone they hadn't met before. Invisible communities of Little Cities comprised of people who spotted an outcropping of discarded cardboard, junk and trash strewn across the grass or pavement, who realized upon a closer look that it wasn't trash at all.