Q. Why the title Red May?
A. Short, sweet, resonant.
Q. Kind of provocative.
A. I hope so.
Q. Stalin?
A. Apples. Roses. The planet Mars.
Q. The Gulag?
A. The Red-Eye. Red River Valley. The Red-Headed League.
Q. Mao’s Great Famine?
A. Red ink. Red Riding Hood. Red-letter day. The Masque of Red Death. The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Q. Describe it: 25 words or less.
A. A Left-wing arts fest. A one-month teach-in. A multi-venue, hydra-headed, no-apologies jam. We want Seattle to turn red for a month. To eat red food (red dots, radishes), to wear red accessories, to get caught red-handed reading Karl Marx, and (while the world maximizes human capital) to live prodigally in the red as if there’s no tomorrow.
Q. Is the focus political or chromatic?
A. Both. We can do Left or we can do Red.
Q. For example?
A. A Left Book Festival, a showcase for authors who write for Verso, Jacobin, Endnotes, Monthly Review, Historical Materialism, etc. Or CAPITAL ON CAPITOL HILL, our adaptation of Bloomsday, except instead of hopping from bar to bar reading Ulysses chapter by chapter, we’ll hop with Marx’s Das Kapital.
Q. And in your Red Zone?
A. Every book with the word red in the title will be on display for a month in Elliott Bay Bookstore. Ditto for every red-titled DVD in a prominent case at Scarecrow Video: Red, Red Desert, The Red Shoes, Red River (and even the Fascist Red Dawn).
Q. The mind reels before the possibilities.
A. Exactly. What would a RED NIGHT be? A Twelve- Step cure for REDBAITING? What should the Ignorant Schoolmasters at RED MAY UNIVERSITY offer as an antidote to the neo-liberal capture of education? If black and white bodies danced around RED LINES drawn on a floor, could they map the vectors of capital flow that REDLINED Seattle’s neighborhoods? How can we open the gates to RED SEATTLE, CAPITAL OF THE 21st CENTURY, whose implacably just laws rule our dreaming hours?
Q. No constraints?
A. Only two.
Q. Which are?
A. First, riff on red. And second, assume for the period of a month that the market is not the solution to the problems that the market creates.
Q. You’re planning to exit Capitalism?
A. To take a vacation from it. From the buzzwords that Seattle is particularly susceptible to. High Tech. Entrepreneur. The Innovation Society. The Gig Economy. If everything around us chants “There is no alternative to Capitalism,” if all we’re told is that history is over and it ends with us, don’t you think simple mental hygiene demands that we try to
think outside of that box for (at the very one month a year?
Q. Who do you want along on this vacation?
A. You, Gentle Reader.
Q. How can I show my solidarity?
A. By creating something for the event. By
dash of ‘red’ to whatever work you happen to be doing (a streak, a tone, an accent). By letting us do a red remix of something you’ve already done, re-captioning or re-exhibiting it. By donating a space for a night. By co-sponsoring us. By offering us something already on your program for next May whose pure surrealist jolt fits our extraordinarily broad parameters.
Q. And when the vacation is over?
A. We prepare for the next one.
Q. You want to do this again?
A. Every year. We want to Occupy May. To make it the public home for Left reflection that’s been absent since the Occupy Movement was evicted from the heart of America’s cities. By bathing what’s
adding a happening already (Mayworks, Mayday) in a vast red penumbral glow that makes visible a full palette of Left politico-artistic activity, we can transform Seattle into a captivating Red-Light District.
Q. And your ultimate goal?
A. To invent a tradition. To inspire other cities of the world to Occupy their own Mays.
Q. Red May Cleveland?
A. Red May Cleveland. Red May Cairo. Red May Seoul. Red May Lisbon. Red May Manchester. Red May Addis Ababa. Red May Shenzen. Red May Riyadh. Red May Zanzibar. Red May Valparaiso.
Q. And after you own May?
A. Then we take over the other months, one by one.