The upcoming benefit for Occupy Eugene, appropriately named “Occupy Free Expression,” is a testament to how well OE can channel local talent and creativity into an articulate platform for social change.
The event will feature talent from Occupy emcee Plaedo Wellman to other local slam fixtures. The evening will begin with more formal poetry readings and segue into the harder-hitting, more gut-wrenching material.
“I think that ideas about social, political and economic reforms have a much greater chance of being understood and appreciated by more people and absorbed into our culture and daily life when those ideas are converted into artistic expression,” wrote event organizer Jennifer Frenzer-Knowlton.
Historically, most successful revolutions are backed by those capable of expressing the plight of the oppressed in a more abstract, perhaps more approachable way than by marching through streets or chanting slogans. Eugene is fortunate to have such spokespeople and artists like Wellman, who can stitch social change together with spoken word to capture the heartfelt earnestness of oppression that oftentimes is lost in more traditional forms of protest.
“Culture provides meaning and it provides context,” says Wellman. “I think that by having an evening, an event with poets to speak, we are giving a context that provides meaning for Occupy and for people that are politically informed or socially informed, people that want to make changes in the way we live our lives. And structural changes to the way we organize our system.”
“Occupy Free Expression: An Occupy Eugene Benefit Event” will take place on Sunday, Jan. 15, 4-6 pm at Tsunami Books.