Revolution #234, May 29, 2011

Mural tour raises $420 for fund drive

Sunday, May 22, the sun was shining as we gathered to start a walking mural tour of Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of Chicago. This was a benefit for the promotion of BAsics. After welcoming the group, one of the organizers read part of a quote from BAsics:

"Imagine if we had a society where there was culture—yes it was lively and full of creativity and energy and yes rhythm and excitement, but at the same time, instead of degrading people, lifted us up. Imagine if it gave us a vision and a reality of what it means to make a whole different society and a whole different kind of world. Imagine if it laid out the problems for people in making this kind of world and challenged them to take up these problems. Imagine if art and culture too—movies, songs, television, everything—challenged people to think critically, to look at things differently, to see things in a different light, but all pointing toward how can we make a better world."

To the sound of applause, we headed off for a great time, learning about this art form, Mexican history, and the present-day reality in this community. For over an hour, our tour guide, one of the founders of the Chicago mural movement, entertained and educated us, as his contribution to promoting BAsics. He pointed out how the structure of a building is integral to the murals, and told us about the collectivity of the process. One person was struck by how "interwoven art and politics are in the fabric of the community; it's not hidden or a mystery. It's out in the street, on the walls; it's what murals should be and it's just beautiful art." A young woman commented that "It's visual language and, no matter what educational background you have, you can understand it and it's meant for you and the people in this neighborhood."

Some of us got a bite to eat after the tour, including our guide who said he'd been reading his copy of BAsics and liked the beginning, "It starts with how the slave trade is at the base of the richness of this country and a lot of people, even though they don't like to hear it, they can understand that it's the truth." And he really liked the fact that art and culture is discussed in BAsics. Another man who recently bought the Revolution DVD and BAsics said, "What I've seen of Bob Avakian on the tape, I love that and watch it twice or three times a week, sometimes the same thing over because every time I listen to it I get a more clear understanding of what he's trying to project. He's got a dynamite personality; he comes out with it and that's what I like about it.."

Only a handful of the 30 plus people on the tour had ever seen a copy of Revolution newspaper or knew much of anything about Bob Avakian. Word of the tour spread in all sorts of ways—someone was chatting on Facebook about what she was doing with the tour; her friend decided to buy two tickets, told a friend of his about it and he came with his wife. Another woman said her husband told her about it from something he'd read at his college; she came and brought a friend. People were quite unanimous in their praise of the tour and were happy to receive a copy of the entire quote on art & culture from BAsics (Chapter 2, #8). We're looking forward to connecting with many of them in the next month. All in all it was a good start to raising $30,000 in 30 days.

A second tour is being planned. It will be held before the completion of the 30 days.

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